Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Holiday Bowl National Funding 5K

When one travels cross-country for a bowl game, isn't it a given there would be an affiliated road race to do as well?

Or is that just a fortunate coincidence?

When the bowl games were announced earlier in December, the hubby indicated it would be fun to follow our Iowa Hawkeyes to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. We didn't have much time to consider the travel options...there are many Hawk fans (who are even crazier than us) and the airline tickets would go fast.

Flights booked, rental car secured, lodging accommodations reserved. Done!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

A Grand Finale

Can you believe 2019 is winding down?

It's been quite a decade, a phenomenal year, and a decent week for this runner. This final full week of 2019 had all the makings of a Grand Finale. Go big or go home, right?

Thursday, December 26, 2019

One Last Set of Runfessions for 2019

Here we go again...time to lay it all (or most of it) out there.

You know the routine...say a few runfessions, clear your mind and sole(s), and move on.

Care to join the party? Here's what I'm sharing...

Sunday, December 22, 2019

My Kind of Winter

When it comes to Iowa weather, you never know what you're gonna get.

We have hot summers, damp and windy springs (usually with residual snowfall), and sporadic autumns. Winter is a crap-shoot all its own.

This week, we had a taste of everything.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

2019...Looking back; Moving ahead


Yes, gratitude. It has been a predominant theme, mantra and state of mind for me these past two years.

I made it through an unexpected 3-month sabbatical from all things running in 2017. In 2018, I was  rewarded with a renewed sense of gratitude for the simple act of running, and being able to CHOOSE to do it (in all conditions).

Enter 2019...and things got even better.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Just Cool It...and don't skip the cool-down

What happens after the run?

There are many benefits to warming up before a run (or a race), but did you know a proper cool-down is also beneficial? Taking a few minutes to cool down not only benefits your body, but also your mind. It gives your heart rate a chance to return to normal as well as your breathing.

And let's not forget about the muscles that made the workout possible. A little stretching and TLC will enable them to relax and cool down as well.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Back to the BRRRR!

We now return to our regularly scheduled Winter...

Let me just say, "BRRRR!"  Even though I've lived in Iowa most of my life, I still think the winters are brutal. Granted, I've learned to deal with them, and they can be bearable (most of the time), but they still are cold.

None the less, I make an honest effort to get outside as much as possible, especially for my running. Thankfully, I didn't have to succumb to the 'mill this week (except for some walking).

Friday, December 13, 2019

Jingle for a Cure 5K

What can I say? I'm a sucker for a holiday-inspired race.

The thing is, there are not many of them to choose from in my area. There were a couple races that I used to do every year, but both of them disbanded a few years ago.

My main running friend, Barb was joyfully basking in a day of grandma-duty, so I was on my own (which is not a bad thing, just saying). I really didn't feel like driving an hour to Des Moines for a short (and solo) 5K.

Enter the Jingle for a Cure 5K!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Blinging It in 2019

The year was 2019, and it served me well.

Lots of races run, 19 in total. And, there was a nice haul of bling brought home.

Shall we play a quick game of Show and Tell?

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Change in the Weather

Change is good.

There is nothing more crippling than to be caught in a stagnant state of existence. Same rituals, nothing new, zero challenges, no ventures outside of that comfort zone...none of these encourage growth or adventure.

Thankfully, that was not the case this past week. Not only was the weather in a flux of disarray, but so was my routine. And, it was all good.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Coffee & Convo

What say we grab a warm mug and chat for a bit. I'm game, are you?

How's your life, running and otherwise? Any races on the horizon? Any great ones in the rear window? Ready for the holidays? Or the impending cold weather?

What, oh what, could we chat about if we were having coffee? I could think of several things I'd share...

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Streak is ON!

Here we streak again!

Well, let me rephrase that....here I streak again.

I know, I know. It's that time of year. The racing season has come to a close for many of us. The weather is a bit dismal. Besides, a little incentive to stay active through the holiday season never hurt anyone.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Feelin' Seasonal

 Things were feeling pretty seasonal this week.

The temps weren't too cold (or any too warm, for what it's worth). There were some holiday happenings. College football was exciting! Even college basketball had some good moments. And, my end-of-the-year run streak is now underway.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Black Friday 'Fessions

Can you believe it's that time of the month...again?

It's time to Runfess. A time to cleanse the soles, if you will, and move on to the next month in our running shoes. It's really good for the soul, as well, to come clean on a few (or several) things. After all, who needs that kind of baggage?

Here's what I'm runfessing this month...

Monday, November 25, 2019

Grateful. Joyful. Blessed.

Grateful. Joyful. Blessed. .

There is SO much to be thankful for...and not just this time of season, but year-round.

I've written previous Thankful posts (in 2018, in 2017, in 2016, in 2015 and in 2014), and I honestly don't know if I could say it any better. Bear with me, I'm gonna go with (mainly) what's been said before, but tweak some of it to make it more current.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Falling Back Into a Routine

Ahhh, doesn't it feel good to be back in a routine?

After a couple weeks of marathon recovery, followed by some bitterly too-cold-to-be-outside weather, it feels like I'm back into a routine. Even though a routine can get stagnant, there's a definite element of comfort and familiarity to it as well.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Off-Season doesn't mean On-Couch

Have you ever taken an off-season?

Many are afraid of declaring an off-season, fearing all (or some) of their fitness gains will disappear. An off-season is not a time of complete and total laziness. It's actually a time of maintenance, while recovering from a busy, action-packed or demanding season.

Myself, I had several races on my calendar this past year, especially in the last four months. All of these races were sprinkled in with training for the Marine Corps Marathon. The dominant activity was running (no surprises there), which encompassed long runs on most weekends, weekly speed drills, and many short, easy-paced runs as well. There also was plenty of cross-training to keep my muscles strong and stave off injury.

Alas, the final race of the season has come and gone...so now it's time to recover, regroup, and ready myself for the what's next. Enter: Off-Season!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Winter Running - We Got This!

Inside hibernator or opt-outside warrior?

If you're a runner and have ever debated about staying in (on the treadmill or indoor track) or heading out (in the snow), what option would you choose?

I spent my first-ever winter, as a runner, paying homage to my treadmill. In all honesty, I seriously was so new to the running gig, I did not know any better.

Summer eventually returned, and I took most of my runs outdoors. Only, when winter came back that next year, I had changed as a runner. The comfort zone of the treadmill had morphed into a vortex of boredom for me. Having gotten used to rolling hills and varying terrain, my body no longer liked the repetitious belt and unchanging scenery of my treadmill's locale.

UGH. What's a runner to do?

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Enter Winter...ALREADY?

Winter? Already???

Okay, let me set the record straight regarding Winter...

Although I'm a die-hard #TeamSummerRunner gal, I do not hate all other seasons (least of all, Winter itself). Actually, I embrace the change of seasons. But Winter showing up nearly two months early does not a #BlissfulRunner make.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

5 Strategies That Rocked My Recovery

What now?

As most of you know, my racing season has come to a close. I'm still running (duh, that's what runners do LOL), I'm just not cranking out high mileage for awhile.

With no warning, Winter staged a nasty early arrival in Iowa. We're talking single-digit temps and sub-ZERO windchill...in mid-November. I'm an outdoor runner, year-round, but even I was caught off guard with this sudden downward swing in temps.

I have to admit, though, this frigid Arctic Blast wasn't all bad because it kept me INSIDE at a time when being OUTSIDE could have botched my marathon recovery.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Let's Warm Up!

I runfess...I was a late arrival to the Warm-Up Party.

Sure, I would do a few (static) stretches before a race, and maybe an occasional march-in-place. But an actual warm-up? Even before a training run?  Not likely.

It's not that I thought I was above going through a warm-up ritual, I just never really thought it was especially necessary for just an average runner like myself. After all, I was never in contention to win any races (spoiler, I'm still not LOL). Did I really need to "warm up" if I wasn't seriously "racing?"

The short answer...yes.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Filtered Fall-Out

It's been a week of meh. Not a crisis, but my current reality.

Let's just say the weather has been un-seasonal (and not in a good way). Though the calendar still shows November, the temps have been as cold and crazy as January. The sun has been playing Hide and Seek. The wind has been blowing. The snow has been falling. I could go on....

But, I've been honoring my MCM recovery (and am feeling {almost} 100% brand new). The running was very low-key this week. Definitely not a deal-breaker, but an odd shift in routine compared to the past 14 weeks of 26.2 training.

And, did I mention the weather?

When things feel blah, I do my best to un-blah them...which may (or may not) explain my small #filterfetish this week.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

P.M.D.D. - Post Marathon Distress Disorder

Post Marathon Distress Disorder (or PMDD, for short). - I've got me a case of it.

It may not be an authentic, documented mental condition, but I can attest to its validity.

When a big race is on the agenda, you train for it. When it's a REALLY BIG race that's been at the top of your bucket list forever, you train even harder. You look forward to the big day and do everything in your power to ensure you're ready, physically and emotionally.

There's all kinds of early morning runs. There's shoe rotation. There's the fueling strategy. There's frequent weather-stalking. And there's plenty of race day stress, due to the aforementioned weather stalking.

But what happens after the finish line?

Monday, November 4, 2019

2019 Hillbilly Hike Half Marathon

Yes, there are hillbillies in Iowa. And some of them show up for races on cold mornings.

Let me set the scene....

Temps were cold (how does 32F grab you?), the trail was frosted over (and quite slick), and we had 13.1 miles between us and the finish line. It was a point-to-point endeavor, so there was no turning back. But, we were promised biscuits and gravy, chocolate milk and homemade pie at the finish line.

Sound intriguing?

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Focusing on Recovery


We all know that recovery is part of the program when it comes to fitness. Throw in a marathon,  which includes not just the race itself, but all the numerous weeks of training that got you to the start line (and across the finish line), and one's body needs some down time.

As much as I curse Momma N, her twisted exploits on weather actually worked in my favor this past week. It was very cold, very windy, very damp. There even was some white stuff on the ground. All of it kept me inside, which allowed me to focus on non/low impact cardio....inside. I'd say it was a success.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Chatting over chai

Holy Brrrr, Batman!

Didn't we just recently celebrate Autumn's arrival? The leaves had finally started turning, the air was cool and crisp, the rain had finally stopped....and now we're entertaining sub-freezing temps and wind. And, already, there's some of that white stuff on the ground.

I don't mind the change of seasons. After all, it's pretty inevitable that's it's gonna happen anyways. In fact, I kind of embrace the various nuances of each season...but that doesn't mean I'm in any big hurry for Winter to arrive.

Anyways, I've been slamming the hot beverages 'round the clock to try to keep warm. Speaking of hot beverages, what would you be drinking if we were gathered 'round a cozy table? Care to join me? What would you share, if we were chatting over coffee?

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mission Accomplished: Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap

As they say in the Marine Corps, OORAH!

And, as I crossed the finish line, Mission Accomplished.

I have had the Marine Corps Marathon on my bucket list for a long time. After all, I'm very patriotic, my husband is retired military (Lieutenant Colonel, Air Force), and I have a love for running. Why not merge all of those factors into one big race?

Now in its 44th year, the Marine Corps Marathon takes place in and around Washington, DC. Sunday, October 27th was the date. I had spent the past (almost) three months training and was eager to see what I could do over the course of 26.2 miles.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Final Countdown

Here we go! The final week of Taper...

Taking things easy. Staying active without over-doing anything. Erring on the side of caution. Getting a little more shuteye than usual....ugh! Just get me to the MCM start line already!

As luck would have it, Momma N felt it her duty to step in and give me some challenging weather. Or, maybe it was Fate? After all, if the weather outside is frightful, it may be in my best interest to stay inside and not risk getting sick.

Monday, October 21, 2019

IMT Des Moines Half Marathon 2019 Race Recap

Confession: I have a lot of favorite races.

Another confession: I'm SO guilty of going back, year after year, to these favorite races.

The thing is, I feel ZERO remorse is doing so. These races never get old, but still offer a comfy "been there-done-that" nuance.

One such race is the IMT Des Moines Marathon.  Now in its 18th year, it was in full force this past weekend in Iowa's capital city. This was my 10th time making an appearance for the weekend's festivities, and my 8th time running the half marathon.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

STOP! Taper Time

...and the Taper goes on...

I am not one to dread the Taper. In fact, I look forward to it with bated breath (quite literally LOL) with every training cycle. It's like a small reward for all the hard work that's gone into the race I've been training for.

That said, things have been a little different this go-round. Much like the training itself has been different in terms of long-run-schedule-juggling (more so than I ever have before), this Taper has thrown me for a bit of a loop as well. I'm still enjoying the Taper, but just this week I experienced a subtle taste of burnout...in terms of weather (ahem, #wind #cold #rain) and not wanting to exert any extra effort in making workouts happen in said weather.

But, first things first...

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Autumn 2019: What's on Tap

Buckle up, Friends! It's gonna be a bumpy ride...

Things have started to get a little crazy and busy in my running world. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

I have an action-packed line-up of activities (fitness and otherwise) to keep me on my toes for the remainder of the autumn season. There's weekly races, family celebrations, and plenty of entertainment as well.

Care to hear a few of the details?

Monday, October 14, 2019

Run for the Roses 10K

Windy and chilly and hilly. Those are three words that best describe a potentially tough race.

It just so happens, those were the exact race day conditions for the Run for the Roses 10K. The forecast had promised sunny skies, but the sun was a no-show. The wind was ever constant and ever cold. Oh, and hills? They were pretty non-stop as well.

But, it was kind of fun to have a face-to-face showdown with Momma N. Right there, on a chilly morning, on a new (to me) race course.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

No Breaking My Stride

Sometimes you just gotta beat Momma N at her own game.

Case in point, the weather. Just go ahead and try to taper through it (as if simply running through it wasn't tough enough).

I'm no stranger to oddball weather (ahem, born and bred Iowan here), but 2019 has really thrown us some curve balls. What's a runner to do (or anyone, for that matter)? You face it, you adapt to it, and sometimes you adjust your plans accordingly. But you do not let it defeat you. Am I right?

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Allure of a Themed Race

How do you feel about themed races?

Are you one of those who eagerly gets in the spirit (and dresses for the theme)? Or do you "ain't got time for none of that nonsense?"

I have to say that a great thing about themed races is that they draw a lot of participants to the start line. Many participants are people who may not have been interested if it was just a typical road race. Even though some participants may not know all the appropriate race etiquette, it's awesome that they're there, supporting the cause and being active.

I have been running for more than 14 years, and have done a fair share of themed races. Care to hear a bit about a few of my favorites? Read on...

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Weathering the Week

Momma N was in quite a mood this week.

We were treated to the heat and humidity of summer. There was a fair amount of wind and rain. And, we flirted with winter-like temps as well.

It would be nice if she could just pick a lane.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Coffe talk? Chai chat? Call it what you will

Shall we gather together over a warm beverage? I'll be sipping a chai latte'.

Maybe we can chat about the latest race or tough training run (I have had both). Or, we could talk about this proverbial change of seasons (is it really autumn...because it kind of feels like winter, at the moment, in Iowa). How about we share a few laughs, as only friends would do, if we were huddled around an inviting table of friendly faces.

Oh, what WOULD we talk about?

Monday, September 30, 2019

Favorite Features of Favorite Races

I have run a lot of races.

What's that phrase...Too many races, too little time?

There are some races, though, that really stick out. Maybe the race course was fun, or maybe it was tough (and you really had to dig deep to stay in the game). Some race distances are easier than others, but all have their challenges. And then there are the select few that keep you coming back, year after year.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Peaking out the Mileage

Yes, it's just about that time...

My training mileage for the Marine Corps Marathon (October 27th) is peaking. Similar to climbing a rather large (but not necessarily ominous) mountain, my training for this big race is approaching its "peak." The long runs have kept increasing in length. The weekly mileage has reached new heights (no pun intended), as has the monthly mileage.

Thankfully, once this summit is reached, the taper will happen. My training will be scaled back, all in prep for the big day. But, I'm not quite there yet (stay tuned...that'll be happening in a couple of weeks).

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Runfessions - Farewell to Summer

I seriously cannot believe I just acknowledged the Farewell to Summer reality...

I've been in denial for the past several weeks, after all. Even in the midst of all the darkness-laden runs I've done as of late, a part of me kept hanging on to the last semblance of those warm temps that I adore so much.

Oddly, I'm not too sad. Trust me, I AM sad (just not sad enough to cower under the covers and refuse to step outside). In a strange, cathartic kind of way, it does feel good to move forward into the autumn season. Summer will be there waiting for me in 8-9 months. Let's not forget that in another three months, we'll pass the winter solstice and the days will start getting longer...but I'm getting ahead of myself. Glass half full, my friends!

None the less, let's runfess....

Monday, September 23, 2019

2019 Kickoff to Kinnick 5K - the race that went virtual

There's a first time for everything, right?

On Saturday, September 21, I got to experience my first-ever canceled race. The funny thing is, many of us took it upon ourselves to run the race anyways. Runners are stubborn like that.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Making It Happen

Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow and make things happen your own way.

It was another week with all kinds of weather changes (and subsequent challenges). Summer? Fall? Or wait, was it early fall or late summer? Both?

Not everything went as planned, but it all got done. In the end, that's really what matters, right?

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Fall Fitness Transitioning Tips

Do you like running in the fall?

A lot of runners sing the praises of fall because they welcome the cooler temps for their runs.
Myself? Not so much.

Don't get me wrong; I do enjoy fall and the cooler temps can be pleasant. The cooler temps, though, can also be unpredictable and extreme (ummm, low-40's in the morning, high-70's in the afternoon, thank you very much).

Let's not forget the shorter days also throw in another nuance...limited daylight. My early morning runs (and occasional walks and bike rides) are now in 100% darkness. I'm still getting them done, but the change of seasons dictates I change a few habits for the time-being.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Taper - Yay or Nay?

How do YOU feel about Taper?

Dread it? Love it? Hate to love it?

Many runners dread the taper, fearing they will lose some of their fitness gains, endurance or speed by easing up on their training.

Myself? I'm a fan.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Going with Plan B

If at first you don't succeed, go with Plan B (or something like that).

How's that for a strategy? This week had me switching my plans around, pretty much on the daily. Not a bad thing, really, but it definitely keeps one's creative juices flowing in strategizing how to get it all done.

First world probs, am I right?

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Biking in the Dark...doesn't have to be scary

Biking...it doesn't have to just happen in the daylight hours.

With the daylight hours dwindling, there isn't a lot of natural light available this time of year. For those who work outside the home, the optimum daylight is even more scarce.

Have you ever been tempted to saddle up and ride under the stars, but were hesitant? Not sure how safe it is? Read on...

Monday, September 9, 2019

At-Home Workouts: Options Aplenty!

Did you know a gym is not a requirement for a good workout?

Easy for me to say, right? After all, I am a runner, and 98.999% of my runs happen in a non-gym setting (and, most of those runs also happen outdoors, in all kinds of extreme temps and weather conditions).

Granted, I do have a treadmill, but it's no secret that I seldom use it. I also have an elliptical, but that's reserved more for the colder months when it's too cold or dangerous to safely be outside. I don't have a gym membership, nor do I have a viable space in my house for a home gym. I do manage to work out almost every day, though, in some capacity.

I believe if I can find a way to make the workouts happen, anyone else can too.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Doubling Down

Doubling down. Double trouble. Double or nothing.

Call it what you will, there was all kinds of double duty going down this past week. Not only was there some major recovery happening (from Sunday's NewBo Half Marathon), but, technically, I was also coming off a "scale-back" from the previous week. Can you see the double objectives at play?

Fortunately, I made it work...

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Coffee Chat: Summer Don't Go...

What happened to summer?

That's the thought that's been on auto-repeat for the past couple of weeks. I could tell the days were getting shorter (those #5at5 runs have seen the sun rising later and later), and now the temps have gotten cool as well. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I'm just not ready for it to happen...yet.

In fact, there are several things I have enjoyed this summer. I don't want to see any of them coming to a screeching halt.

Let's gather for a virtual cup of coffee (or any beverage of choice), shall we?  Maybe there's a few others out there who want summer to stick around for a little longer....

Monday, September 2, 2019

NewBo Run Half Marathon Recap

There's something about the sweet taste of redemption.

It's also a lot of fun racing with friends. Add a fun race course that offers both challenges and a scenic route, and it's a total win.

Such was the case for the 2019 NewBo Run.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Welcome to the Dark Side

Welcome to the dark side.

Let me clarify...this dark side is in reference to daylight (or lack thereof), not running. Ugh. Just like that, the early morning daylight has dwindled down to the barest of minimums. It's not a crisis, nor will it keep me from doing my early-morning thing (usually outdoors, none the less), but it is a buzzkill.