Friday Favorites

Favorite Hobby

Ah, running…

Favorite Recent Running Story

Last week I headed out for a mid-week 7 mile afternoon run on what I fondly call the “Ellie Loop.” As I headed out of my neighborhood I noticed someone walking along the sidewalk. It looked like Ellie… but since Ellie rides her bike to work most days I figured it couldn’t be. Sure enough, Ellie was waving at me excitedly, “How far are you going?” she asked me. “Can I come?” It only took a few loops around her block while she got ready for us to be on our way. What perfect timing! I couldn’t have been happier to have company. Later I texted Ellie that it was truly like kindergarten… I was outside playing when my friend came home from school on the bus and asked, “Can I play?”

Favorite Long Run Plan

Two of my last three long runs have been with Ellie out on the trails. Holy cow. What an incredible feeling to finish a 14-miler with 1100+ feet of elevation gain…

Favorite Running Inspiration

Team Run Flagstaff has four different branches that honor its mission and goals. We have

  • Team Run Flagstaff for the general population,
  • Kids Run Flagstaff for kids learning to run or who are rapid racers already,
  • TRF PRO with the purpose of supporting our band of elite runners, and
  • Step Into Running for beginners

Step Into Running meets twice a week – once on the track with the TRF gang and once alone at Buffalo Park. The Buffalo Park workout is professionally tiered to meet the needs of different beginner levels. This session our goal race is the Girls on the Run 5K in November. How awesome will that be? We are so thankful we can partner with such an amazing organization for our finale. Heading out to Buffalo Park once a week to work with new runners is such a special time for me…

Last session I experienced SIR as a volunteer. This time, I’m experiencing it as a volunteer and as one of the program coordinators. It’s interesting to learn what goes on behind the scenes.

Favorite Training Transition

I’m gearing up to officially transition from marathon training to 50K training in late October.

Judging from what I’ve read so far the weekly mileage from that transition point until the marathon in December will be more than enough!

What are some of your Friday Favorites?

Do you do any volunteering? With what program(s)?

What quote is inspiring you right now?

 

 

August Race Recaps Round 2 – Gaspin’ in the Aspen!

First Gaspin’ in the Aspen for this girl. Very first 15K, too. For the record ~ I was very nervous!

Packet pickup ran smoothly outside of Kickstand Kafe last night. The technical Adidas shirt in a women’s cut is just awesome! Here is a quick pick of the race’s logo on the front…

AspenShirt

I woke up to my alarm at 6:00 after a miserable night’s sleep: mishaps with the covers and our neighbor’s crazy dog. Last minute decisions about what to wear for the race were made (long sleeves? arm sleeves? water belt? hand held bottle?). I drank a cup of coffee and packed a cup for after the race, ate a slice of toast with PB&J, and we were on the road by 7:20 for an 8:00 start. Our IPhones said the weather was supposed to be sunny, but that wasn’t the case. It was cool, crisp, and overcast. To me that is perfect Flagstaff running weather.

Local High School students helped us with parking at the Flagstaff Nordic Center. I put on sunscreen, took a trip to the port-a-potty, and then made my way over to the start. Everyone was warming up, or jumping up and down trying to stay warm.

AspenPreRace1

Ian Torrence, our race director who did a bang-up job, made a few announcements right before the race and we were off!

AspenStart1

The 5K split from the 15K right away. The trails were varied: wide, narrow single track, tire tracks, grassy, rocky, smooth… but all were very well marked throughout the course. We had three large hills to charge through and they did not disappoint. “Gaspin’” is right! Not only were the hills no joke, but the race started at 7,976 feet according to my Garmin and peaked at 8,319 feet. I can only imagine how it would have felt for an out-of-towner to have to climb 684 total feet at that elevation! I know how I felt! Running down those hills made me feel like I could fly…

AspenElevation

The race was peaceful – runners around me, but not crowded. I love that about trail racing: solitude, quiet, and peace. There were 4 aid stations with folks handing out Gatorade and water. The volunteers were cheerful and prepared.

At one point in the race a girl who had passed me only a few minutes earlier took a wrong turn. I stopped and a few of us shouted to her to come back. Thankfully she wasn’t wearing earphones and she heard us and turned around. Crisis averted! Right around that time I met a friendly woman named Corine who writes the blog Zucchini Runner. She stopped here and there to take pictures. I’ll be looking for them on her blog!

Nearing 2-3 miles left in the race we came to a place in the course that this race must be named after. My friend Stephanie took this picture (I will NOT be shy about bringing my camera next year!)…

Aspen0

Running through this thicket of Aspens was enough to take my breath away. The race started us off in the pines, and there were Aspens scattered throughout the course (lots of them in some areas). This place in the race, however, was unlike any other. Stunning.

With about a half a mile left Stephanie and I fell into stride with one another. All of her picture taking had put her behind me ~ heaven knows she’s much faster! As the trail wound around and the finish line came into sight we both began to speed up. Soon enough we realized that we were both pushing hard and trying not to let the other pass. I heard her say, “Let’s Go!” and we both ran full out for the remainder of the race. The crowd at the finish was super supportive and cheered for us as we came through.

I felt like a little kid again!

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(How cool is the slideshow insert? I haven’t tried that before now!)

As we crossed the finish line we were handed an awesome Nathan water bottle with the Gaspin’ in the Aspen logo on it.

AspenGoodies2In addition to happy post-race chatter the food tent had bagels, fruit, soda, Gatorade, water, and hot pre-purchased breakfast burritos plus coffee from Kickstand Kafe, I had a chance to chat a little with Cristy, a few of my other Team Run Flagstaff buddies, and one of the Step Into Running participants who was also there running the 10K.

My conclusion? It was a fantastic, beautiful, community-filled morning. When Glenn sent me the pics he took on his phone it made my heart swell. I am so blessed to have a husband who came to support me. I am so blessed to have friends at these events of all shapes, sizes, ages, and speeds to share these experiences with race after race.

The Run Flagstaff Summer Series was worth it ~ I look forward to next year!

Did anybody else race today? How did it go?

Do you listen to music while you run on trails (if you run on trails)?

Breakfast burrito or bagel?

 

August Race Recaps – Round 1!

One might think that three running events in one month would start to take the excitement out of racing.

Not a chance.

The Machine Solution Run and Walk for Kids 10K took place on a beautiful Flagstaff morning. The air had a slight chill to it, the sun was peeking out from behind the clouds, and the monsoon rains had dampened the course just enough that we weren’t kicking up too much dust…

I drove down to Fort Tuthill that morning and had some time to myself. I would choose to have family there to cheer me on at a race over being there alone ~ but I didn’t mind it quite as much as I thought I would. There are so many familiar faces at Flagstaff races for me now and I feel at home and supported even when I’m on my own.

As always, FREE downloadable photos of the race…

MachineSolutions10K

Fast forward (however slightly) to this Saturday for the Dave McKay Memorial Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff Half Marathon… this race pulled out all the stops! Packet pick-up on Thursday afternoon at our awesome running store, Run Flagstaff, went off without a hitch. On Friday night runners could pick up their packets at the free spaghetti (‘carbo load’) dinner down at Thorpe Park. I didn’t attend the dinner, but I probably will next year!

The Half Marathon walkers started at 6:00 AM ~ I was able to see a pic of their happy faces on Facebook when I was getting ready at home ~ and the runners started at 7:30…

BBBSHM_2014_StartingLine

At 7:29:50 AM the race director began a “10! 9! 8!…” countdown and at 7:30 AM we were off!

As you can see, we went nothing but up-Up-UP for the first 7.5 miles!

BBBSHM_2014Elevation

The course was well-marked with cheerfully-manned aid stations throughout. Volunteers were handing out water, Gatorade, and encouragement. Others were there to mark down racers’ numbers to be sure we made it safely through the course.This picture doesn’t quite capture the beauty of the view we enjoyed when we got to the Observatory Mesa… but I’m not sure any picture could…

Photo from NATRA on FB

Photo from NATRA on FB

Glenn caught me coming off of the trails and heading to the finish line…

BBBSHM_2014_Glenn2Still happy after 13.1 tough miles?

Of course!

Photo courtesy of NATRA! You guys and gals ROCK!

Photo courtesy of NATRA! You guys and gals ROCK!

Personal Results… 16th out of 35 in my age group with a time of 2:09:06. I am thrilled with that time (2nd fastest ever for me) and pace for my first half marathon in Flagstaff at elevation and my first half marathon on a trail (with 785 feet of elevation gain!).

More to come about my thoughts before, during and after the race…

Did you race this weekend?

How do you recover from longer races? Do you run the day after? Do you take a few days off?

What’s your favorite night-before-the-big-race meal?