Sunday Funday

‘Cuz I don’t have to run day.

Not that I dislike Sunday runs, but today was dedicated to “make up miles” if needbe – and I hit my 36 goal miles last night with a very ratchet hill workout.  But more on that later.

While I do have to go into work for a few hours tonight to play janitor and accountant, I’m catching up on housekeeping and hanging out with my blissed out dogs (one order of housekeeping was brushing them today, easiest way to melt their little hearts) while Aaron churns away on the elliptical (and I point and laugh in my mind.)

Here’s the greatest hits of the week:



I just finished up The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison this week.  It’s a thriller about a man (The Gardner) who captures girls, tattoos them with butterfly wings, and keeps them in a hidden garden until they get too old so he murders them.  Definitely good treadmill fodder, and I think Dot is GREAT at character development and strong imagery, but it was a fairly easy to put down book.  And the ending was a huge disappointment.

I decided to pick up something a little heavier for this week’s read: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy.


This Week’s Playlist:

I always get a little sentimental for back to school around this time of year, and for some reason Galactic reminds me of the first weeks of college – roof parties, warm nights, a few weeks of total freedom before classes start, and the album Carnivale Electricos tops my happy summer playlist this week


Workout of the Week:

I mentioned above about my hill workout that ended my running week – and it definitely was the hardest one, but as usual ended up being the highlight as well.

All my goat friends bailed on me, and the weather kept fading in and out of thunderstorms, 90 degree humidity rewarms, and then like this burst of beautiful 72 degrees and breezy.  I drug my feet a little, took a nap after work instead of heading straight out, but for whatever reason I got a surge of motivation (probably because I didn’t want to have to think about doing this today) and hit the road for rattlesnake repeats.

This hill is pretty nasty.  It’s about 750 feet of elevation gain over .4 miles.  I try to go out weekly and do a nice long warm up and then bang out 2 repeats (which starts off as well intended running but turns into questionable power hiking.)  It’s loose boulders, scree, gravel, and the recent storms have strewn sticks and branches all around.


The most redeeming part of this run was the fact that I have been telling myself for months once I get my ascent under 8 minutes, I will add a third repeat.

Yesterday’s best ascent was 8:02.  So I got to go home instead. Which was probably perfect timing because it then started raining sideways and in my face for my 2-ish mile cool down and there was just so much salt in my eyes as a result that I basically just put my arms out in front of me and hoped for the best as I hoofed it down the country road and to my truck.  This is why I can’t run in public places.

I made a segment out of this hill today on my garmin connect and apparently I’m not the only idiot who does rattlesnake repeats because I am number 2 out of 2.  A title I’m not really clamoring for.


Hope everyone had a great weekend.  Mine basically starts tomorrow, with a 13 mile run around in the woods with one of my favorite training partners.

Green Monster Training Week 3: 

Goal Mileage: 36

Actual Milage: 36

Elevation Gain: 4,213 feet

Week 4 Goals – 36 miles 5,000 feet



Mid Week Weekend Diaries

If there was an Olympic medal for squeezing 10 gallons of you know what into a 5 gallon bucket, I’d probably still be still pacing around like a maniac trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing right this very second.

This past week has been full of chaos and monkey wrenches and putting out fires, but I finally basically had a day off to decompress so I thought I’d stop by and say hi.

Most of last week was spent in preparation for our local 20 mile trail race, Boulder Dash.  I volunteered this year (and was ecstatic with that choice due to the glorious 90+ degree, 100% humidity weather forecast.  Chilling under a canopy feeding Gatorade and gummy bears to human zombies was pretty much the best place to be that day.)

We hosted packet pick up at the bar in conjunction with Straub, and it was a really fun meet and greet/mixer that ended bright and early.

The next day some of my running girlfriends and I ran a very patriotic and well stocked aid station that runners passed through at mile 6ish and mile 13.


We had a blast, especially because we’ve all “been there done that”, and although my training partner Jen and I both had twinges of regret not running this year, it was such a positive overall experience getting to know these people and encouraging them (or laughing at them when they said BUT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!! trust, we do).  It was really cool taking the focus off me me me for a second and appreciating the sport itself, and I ended the day feeling reinvigorated and inspired to train hard.

All that running around fostering other human beings running definitely cut into my forest time (plus, I worked normal hours in the mix of all that),  so while I would do it again tomorrow in a heartbeat, it was nice to be back to normal starting Monday.  (I needed Sunday to recoup.  I think I was more exhausted after this than I was last year when I actually ran this race!)

Fortunately the weather broke, too, and 78 and humid felt about delightful when Jen and I banged out 7 miles of redemption on Island Run Monday morning.


Purely accidental.

We also decided to dress alike because free clothes.

My goal this week is to hit 36 miles.  I know that was my goal last week, too, but I fell about 5 miles short due to misappropriation of my weekend.  It’s looking good so far, although I did get a little overenthusiastic on our 12 mile rampage of appreciation on the Elk Trail today and left with a gnarly knee.


Did you really think I could go a whole post without a picture of one of my body parts in some state of gross disarray?

Hence the blog post today, as I have been couch surfing, eating leftover aid station snacks, and babying my boo-boo.  I guess if it takes injury for me to sit down and bang out a 500 word post, so be it.

I’m hoping with a little ice I’ll be good to go because since I’ve been back to regular again, there is nothing in me that wants to stop.  For now, though, I suppose I should scrounge up some dinner as a woman can’t live on Swedish Fish and peanut M&Ms, or at least not publicly confess to it.

Warrior Week

Also known as week one of Green Monster Training.

In the depths of my 8 months of basically squeaking by on the bare minimum I decided a goal race was probably the best way to break out of my funk.  While I’ve raced a lot (too much) this past year, and am pretty enthused about my performance on low casual mileage, I’m hungry for a fall race challenge.  I want to show up with the notion that I want to finish in X amount of time — not just that I want to “finish” (which I’m not knocking that mantra in any way as it’s a pretty fun way to participate in the sport, and there is definitely a lot of great circumstances in which that attitude is appropriate.)

Homegirl is thirsty.  For a sparkle shiny PR and a mind and body that matches.  I figure YEAR 4 at the Green Monster 25k trail challenge in beautiful Wellsboro PA is a great place to do it.  This race was my first “big” trail challenge when I started dabbling.  Year two busted me out of a stress reaction summer of rage and pointed me back in the right direction.  Last year, I got a huge PR (and a 3rd place in my AG) that went unappreciated in the wake of my DNF at Sinnamahone the following week.  This year, this is all the marbles.  I’m looking to take my time from 3:34 to 3:20 or below.  Armed with the plan, motivation through the roof, and a serious case of the hives… I’m ready to roll.


Obviously this is a place we can all gather and overshare.

Ok, ok, the hives were not how I wanted to start off this adventure.  But this has been the summer of me getting stung by wasps, bees, bit by spiders, and filling my socks up with nettles, so why not throw in a delayed onset allergic reaction to antibiotics on top of it all.  By Monday, or my designated “DAY ONE” – it had all worked its way into my hands and my feet, and while I couldn’t hold a pencil or put on shoes, who does that kind of stuff anyway?  We were off. (side note – I don’t advocate working out when you are ill, I’m not a #nodaysoff bonehead – I had rested 3 days prior and was at a point where I just wanted to sweat this crap out of me.)

My plan is fairly simple – building my mileage from 30 a week to a few weeks in the 50 mile range.  Once weekly quality workouts – sprints, hills, etc with a progressive overloading nature.  Once weekly long runs all the way up to an 18 miler as GM runs a little long.  Starting off with THIS strength training program for at least the first 30 days and taking it from there.  Solid 8 day taper.  Cutting back on the T&T (tater tots and tacos) a little and in exchange for some some more V&P (veggies and protein).

Week 1 Recap – total miles ~33

Monday: 10 minute easy treadmill warm up + strength workout which consisted of a ton of pushups and prisoner squats.  I was going to hop back on the mill for a couple miles after, but as my first day back, I figured easy does her.

Tuesday: AM: Muscle and strength workout – leg lifts and 20 minutes on the treadmill.  PM: Met up with my trail twin (so nerdy) for 5.5 miles of fun in the forest.



Purely accidental.

Wednesday: Strength training + 20 minute cool down on the treadmill

Thursday: muscle & strength workout – leg raises and 20 minutes steady state on the treadmill.

Friday: am: 45 minute strength training – I did this workout in the basement at work (such is my life right now).

pm: 10 miles on the cross country ski trails with my Friday night crew. It was so humid and miserable and definitely one of those runs I’d totally bail on if I didn’t have some moral support.  Afterwards I went fetal in the shower for a solid hour.

Saturday: easy two mile shakeout + stretching and stuff

Sunday: ~8 miles of trails with my cousin Angela.  We did the “Island Run loop” which is arguably one of my least favorite runs because it’s just kind of demoralizing.  3 miles up a fire road then weeds and sticks and rocks and grass to your ass and more up.  And lest we not forget the mile or so that I got us lost.  The only real redeeming thing about this loop is a huge steep downhill bomb at the end.  It’s such a good training run, though, and I am actively trying to integrate more of these suck bucket trails into my repertoire.


Before this turns into the post that never ends, here’s the quick and dirty for my upcoming week.

Goal: 35 miles

Long Run: 12 miles

Quality Workout: 3 Rattlesnake hill repeats

I am volunteering at Boulder Dash this weekend so I’m definitely trying to front load my week so I can focus on facilitating a fun race instead of worrying about getting my miles in.

Hope your weeks are off to a rousing start.  My weekend started about 10 minutes ago, so I’m looking forward to curling up with my dogs for a little Olympics binge watching.

Yesterday I “ran” Sproul 10k – aka a glorious reminder that I am not even remotely heat acclimated.

I don’t think I’ve ever run a 10k since dipping my toe into the whole running thing in 2013, or at least raced one, but some of my good friends were doing it and I was morbidly curious about the whole 3 miles up the side of a mountain 3 miles down thing.  Plus, there is a parade in town today and I try to find excuses to miss it every year because I am a horrible person.

Anyway, I really have no idea what my official time was, but it was definitely at least 10 minutes over my conservative goal of 1:15.  I have been half heartedly training with a bunch of technical hill sprints and a weekly 3 up 3 down-ish kind of route near me, but the elevation gain doesn’t touch Sproul (1,629 VS 900… my bad!).  Plus, I’ve been running mostly early mornings and evenings because it’s been so stinking hot.  10AM start time on a 90+ degree day and I knew there wasn’t enough body glide in the world to spare the old thunder thighs from what I was about to put them through.


Obligatory before photo

In all it was a good day.  I don’t think I’ve sweat like that in my whole life.  I got pretty complacent, especially towards the end when I took to a run/walk even though it was definitely a runnable stretch.  I was just really hot, and for whatever reason less than concerned or enthused about my finishing time.

Pros of 10ks (over half + distances) – you kind of just blink and they are over.  Also once you lay in the grass for a few minutes and gather your wits, you don’t feel like you were just straight up massacred for the last 3+ hours.  Maybe that means I didn’t run it fast enough, but I really have zero regrets in terms of how I fared.


Post 10k pics – not nearly as haggard as our usuals.

What is pretty fantastic about this race is the fact that now my plate is completely empty for the next two months.  With no races in my immediate sight, I actually get to train for one (or two!) this fall instead of this bizarre stretch of throwing noodles at the wall and seeing if that makes me run better.

I’m taking the next two weeks to basically baby myself and get back into a daily habit before I have to start raising my mileage and getting in some actual workouts.  Preseason/postseason whatever.  Another beauty of the 10k is that I feel good enough to get right back at it today (lest my inner thighs.  there are not even words for the holy hellfire friction festival flaps that I have going on.  Am I doing something wrong?) although it is already 3 pm and the only thing I have accomplished has been a smoothie and running the vacuum (in my defense I didn’t get home from work until 4am last night and I think I’m only halfway decompressed).  Another day of oppressive heat too – I let the dogs out and they just stood there and stared at me like they forgot what they were supposed to do because the sun melted their brains.

Hope your weekend is happy and bright.  Stay cool – cross country ski season is right around the corner!

Self Imposed Summer Vacation

I’m just having one of those years.

Pretty much the mantra as of late.

Out of respect for my employees (and business partner/dude I sleep with/fiance love of my life) I won’t get into the deep dirt, but basically business is booming (YAY) but we have outgrown our staff (YIKES) and everyone has been spread super thin for a solid six months.  Just when we think we have found some solid replacements and dump exhausting amounts of time into training them, the true colors start shining through and before you know it the police are involved or you’re getting subpoenaed to court or the IRS is levying wages because I have so much time in my day to adult for everyone else.

Bucktail ferns

Get out of town.

I have been a total debbie downer dumpy broad lately as a result.  I am trying to reconnect to the whimsical wilderness woman that I was last summer, but instead I’ve been cramming in long runs in the darkness on Friday nights, an occasional road trip to Driftwood to beat around Buck Tail with farmer Jen, go to rattlesnake hill repeats for fitness, and a little more road running than I’d like to admit.

I guess I’m just not cut out to be a straight up dirtbag for the time being, as everything has taken a backseat to my career, but I’m at peace with that.  I’m still running wild in the wilds, but with a little more restraint and dare I say even direction and productivity?  Bang for my buck instead of banging around for endless hours without a care in the world?  Both sound great, but sometimes it’s a matter of finding what serves you.

Still, I’m self imposing some “summer vacation” on myself in the upcoming two weeks.  We’ve already filed an extension on our taxes, so I’ve scheduled myself super light in the “hands on” department at work in hopes of just putting in a bunch of clerical hours.  This is basically torturous to me, but I figure with the spare time I can start transitioning into getting ready for fall 25k season.

I have three races on my radar right now – the first being Sproul 10k in just over a week, which is 3 miles up the side of a mountain and 3 miles down.  I don’t know what to expect, but I’m mainly looking forward to getting out of town for the day and hanging out with my friends.  Basically things normal people do on weekends, except I have to climb a mountain while I’m at it to justify taking the morning off of work.

Next would be the Dam Half Marathon and at the moment I plan on capping my season with Green Monster 25k.

The next two-ish weeks I’m just going to fiddle with consistent daily running, getting my mindset back into training mode, and trying to find a healthier balance between work and life which I have needed to take a step back and do for awhile now.  I don’t know why blogging needed to come back into the picture, but I feel like it helps me to stay excited about this part of my life, plus the feedback and camaraderie from a wide variety of folks in love with the sport, albeit different transmutations of it is also pretty great.

Hopefully I can turn “one of those years” into “one of those years that I will look back on and remember with deep fondness” here pretty quickly.


April Showers

I swear I’ve been trying to post the past few months here.  It’s just been an overwhelming time at work, and in my spare time I could have either run or talked about running, and we all know which is more productive.  Anyway, with my intense work season winding down and my favorite time of the year for running ramping up, I figured it was time to give the old blog a whirl again.

When last I left you, I was going through the post race season sads.  After a disappointing DNF at Sinnemahone, I decided to reevaluate my goals.  This in turn lead to a winter of just running for fitness and fun.  My mileage stayed respectable, and I consistently started running with people who are more talented than I am, which in turn kept things challenging and helped me maintain a pretty good level of fitness without being on a “plan.”

I signed up for the PA Trophy series again this year, which is already in full swing.  I finished Mile Run Half Marathon in early April in basically the same amount of time I finished my last trail half last season, so it’s nice to know the wheels didn’t just fall off this winter.


Post race with my lovely training partner Jen, who crushed my time by over 10 minutes.

After a few weeks of recovery came Hyner 25k this past Saturday, which is one of those races that as the hobby jogger I am, I’m never fully prepared for.  Pretty much the strategy was just run as fast as you can until the first 1600 foot climb and then just get complacent in whatever pack you end up in.  Ok, ok, I did get a 23 minute PR from my time last year and finally cracked the 4 hour barrier, so I must have did something right.


Post race festivities with my Sunday runday crew.  

This past week has just been an exercise in radical recovery.  I started feeling physically well on Tuesday, but mentally I’m drained and I can’t catch up on sleep for anything.  I’m kind of rolling with the punches as this Sunday is the Greenwood Forest Half Marathon.  I hate racing back to back weeks, but I’m just treating this as a nice long training run for things to come with no real goals except to check out a race I haven’t done before.

I’m glad to be back and hope to update regularly as I definitely miss this.  Hope everyone has had a pleasant winter and early season races are all treating you well.  Talk soon!

Hello my long lost blog!

I know it’s been forever, but I can explain.

A) I’m a lazy ass.

B) Work has been extreme.

C) I’ve been busy hanging out with friends.


Day date at Devil’s Den

Not to mention, Murphy’s Law has been rolling us over hard the past few weeks, culminating with my hot water tank blowing up on Sunday.

So I figured while I was just lounging around (smelling like the inside of my running shoes) watching Big A and some other gentlemen saw a hole in the side of my house to put in an exhaust so we can upgrade our lives, I figured it was a good time to check in and say hello.

My running has been pretty sporadic and lame over the past month.  Truth was, I think I needed a little hiatus to just do whatever I felt like so I could start looking forward to 2016’s agenda.  The plan as of now is to participate in the PA Trailrunner Trophy series once again, only much better prepared.

My first “goal race” of the year is going to be the Hyner 25k.  This year to train I’m following a beginner marathon training program, switching the miles to time (as Hyner should take about 30 minutes less than a road marathon to complete) with my longest “long” run capping at about 3:30.  I’m doing time based training because last winter I made the mistake of putting up way too many road miles for the sake of hitting a suggested mileage.  This year, I’m ready to strap on my snowshoes and climb my way to a 3:30 Hyner time.

I also chose a beginner marathon program because the suggested running is only 4 days a week.  I wanted to make sure I have plenty of time to indulge in as much cross country skiing as I can while the weather allows.  Once the snow melts, I can always trade off a day of cross training for running if I’m feeling like I’m lacking, but the main goal is to go into Hyner with stupid strong legs built for climbing.  Skiing definitely takes strong everything, especially backwoods on ungroomed trail, so I am looking forward to seeing how that translates into being a better overall runner.

Hm… what else?  I have 19.5 weeks from Saturday to get ready.  I’m using an 18 week plan but there’s always one week in winter where we host the biggest chainsaw carver gathering in the world and I always say I’m going to keep up with my running but instead I basically work and sleep and maybe eat some food if I remember.  So I’m not completely writing that week off, but I am going to allow myself to combine two weeks into one.  Plus, with the winter you just don’t know what to predict in terms of the weather.  Worst case scenario I get a YMCA membership.  Either way, having a little cushion never hurts, especially if you are as easily demotivated as me and you have a career that involves other germy human beings breathing on you.

Also, I have yet to figure out what I’m going to do for a lifting plan, but I know I want to lift twice a week, preferably a combination of barbell and plyometrics so I don’t have to leave my house.  I’m open to any suggestions on that front.

I hope all is well in everyone’s worlds, but the construction guys are leaving which leads me to believe I need to go take a shower before I have to burn my clothing.  I am definitely going to be as present as possible on the road (and winding trail) to this race, so hopefully talk to you soon!

Sunday Run-Day… Mixing it Up

Last winter myself and two other girls from my running club traditionally headed out on Sundays for a 6 mile loop around Brush Hollow.


While mainly a cross country ski trail, until the snow starts really flying, it’s an awesome laid back place for a Sunday afternoon trail run.  There’s a little bit of climbing, and some soggy terrain here and there, but other than that it’s one of those places that just feels good to me.  That, and the fact that the last mile is super flat (love my fast finishes) and runs right along Mill Creek and for some reason when it gets really frigid outside you get blasted with warm wind gusts coming off of the creek.  It’s such a bizarre weather phenomenon I haven’t experienced anywhere else, but it just feels good.

After my racing season was over this year, I admittedly needed a change of scenery from our typical Boulder Dash trails, and since I’m not currently training for any distance event that requires a long Sunday slog, the 6 mile Challenger/Eli Loop seemed like the way to go.

We started as a threesome, and then picked up another last week, and this week 7 people including myself showed up!  I’ve ran local races that had a similar turn out.


We definitely had some pace pushers join us today, but we also had two girls just getting back into the running habit.  It was probably the best run I have had in a long time because as a mid-packer, I could push myself to keep up if I felt so inclined, but I also had the opportunity to hang back and just enjoy some conversational miles, too.

It’s funny, though, because even with the great variety of runners we had today, even the back of the pack finished two minutes per mile faster than we did the first week we started this tradition.

If I’ve learned anything over the past year as a reformed hermit and recluse, running with others is really important.  Run with people who aren’t as fast as you are, and you can enjoy some recovery miles while helping them grow as a runner.  Run with people who challenge you and you learn really quickly that you have a lot more in you than you thought.

***I still think there’s a lot of merit to running alone.  Not only for head clearing purposes, but for mental toughness purposes.  A solo 20 miler can pretty much change your life.  Especially in the woods.  I think speed work is also best done alone but that’s because I don’t think anyone wants to see me snot all over myself (just my personal opinion.)  Also, I’ve found that the faster I become, the more often I find myself alone in trail racing situations (and also, nobody in the upper middle pack and beyond is usually chit chatting away.)  I’m blessed in that my main training partner is about 10 seconds per mile faster than I am on average, so I definitely have to put in some alone time so that that number doesn’t deviate any as we grow.  Maybe I will feed her lots of cookies this Christmas to narrow that gap (because that seems more logical than just working a little harder.)

Anyway, friends, synergy is real.  And any time you get a group of likeminded people together doing something they love just for the hell of it, it’s a worthwhile experience.  I don’t care what walk of life you come from, if you run trail, we are probably likeminded.  Heading into the new week inspired and refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes my way, this was definitely a worthwhile Sunday Runday.

And new beginnings.

Everyone is entitled to one epic emotional melt down a year.

At least, that’s what I’m telling myself after last week’s DNF.  In hindsight, I saw that shit storm brewing from a mile away, but if I took anything away from that experience as a whole is that “I will take care of it on Monday” isn’t really an effective mantra going into an ultra.  If we’re being completely honest here, I have been saying “I will take care of it Monday” for a few weeks now.

This week, I took care of it Monday.  And Tuesday and Wednesday.  Workplace melodramatics were nipped.  Phone calls with estranged family members were made.  That closet that I started cleaning a month ago is clean.  Something was just “off” in my world for the past month or so, and I feel like I just needed to take some time to restore whatever balance exists in my often chaotic life.

Views from the Hollow

Views from the Hollow

This afternoon, I did my first run since last Saturday.  It was my lucky day, as two of my most morally supportive running friends joined me.  We headed out to Brush Hollow, which is a cross country ski trail, but it’s a nice little mixed bag of rolling hills, mud puddles, and dark pines.  It was the most restorative experience I’ve had in a long time.  We did 6 short miles, but I left the woods refreshed and ready to think about the future and my relationship to the sport of trail running.

And basically, the future looks like I’m not going anywhere… except back into the woods.

One thing I want in the upcoming year is to become a more well rounded athlete.  I found a lifting program that I think will do me in, and after I went for a 45 minute easy bike ride the other day and thought that I was going to die, I realized that maybe some cross training is probably going to do me good.  I am going to tackle a 5k training plan (weird.) to get used to running in the pain zone and get more comfortable with different modalities of speed work.  I want to feel healthy.  I want to get strong.  Then, I plan on diving right into Hyner 25k training.

Because next year, my goal is to get better at things that I already feel like I’m ok at doing.  Half marathon through 20 mile is a happy distance for me.  I want to see how far I can come within the realms of those distances, not how far I can go without tapping out.

While I don’t really regret anything about this last season, I also have a much better grasp on my strengths and weaknesses as a runner, and definitely a better understanding of the time that I need to put in to continuously improve.

So that’s where I’m headed.  Repeat this year, only better, faster, and happier.  And minus anything starting or ending with the word marathon (*unless it is preceded by half.  I like that.  Maybe that was a bad analogy for NO MARATHONS OR ULTRA MARATHONS FOR AWHILE.)

I also want to blog more, because this is one of my favorite accountability.

Today on our run we talked about how you can’t train for mental toughness until you find out where your breaking point is.  Maybe I did break last week, but I’m not broken, in fact, I’m hungrier than ever.  While I thought my season ended after Sinnemahone, I instead am going to cap it tonight, ending on a much more positive note.  Here’s to a Monday of starting over, only in a much better place than you actually began.  Happy trails until next time.