Posted on

The Summer of Fun Run Comes to a Close

“The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry blank.”

George A. Sheehan

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It is hard to believe that it has been six years since I have graduated college and even harder to believe that it has taken me just as long to figure out what it means to be a post-collegiate runner. Running is my exercise of choice and so much more. As I struggled to keep a consistent training schedule and set realistic goals, I was liking it less and less. I didn’t look forward to racing because I was just going to be let down.

This summer, I decided I was just going to race, not worry about times and just enjoy being out there with a group of people striving. It helped to have great running friends who recruited to these numerous races. Quite frankly, I ran so many fun ones that if I was thinking with a time goal, I might not have ever run. The list includes: a glow in the dark 10k, the PAW-louse 5k ( I borrowed a dog), a duathlon (pro tip: don’t use a bike you have never ridden) and a few low-key races that made me just feel better about myself including a mile time trial and a 10k.

But by far the craziest race I did this summer was this past weekend’s Ragnar Trail Tetons race. 15 miles, 3 legs and lots of elevation gain was in store for each participant. My team was awesome, mostly strangers that all knew the team captain but not really anyone else. Our team captain kicked major booty organizing and being the supreme queen of all e-mails. I barely had to lift a finger to be involved. Travel started Wednesday night when four of us left Moscow to get to Tetons and likely the most dramatic event was a bear ran away from us while we were driving. We camped and finished up the rest of the travel on Thursday. I could spend many sentences on the beauty and the varied terrain the trip took us through but I’m not a poet. We arrived Thursday night, signed in and got prepared for our 8:40 a.m. start.

Our team due to injury and other circumstances was widdled down to five runners, we knew we would not get an official time but we believe it worked out better in the end for us. We were able to finish a bit earlier and there wasn’t so much waiting. My first leg took me 5 miles across a ridge with two climbs and since I did it in daylight, the views really struck me. I kept it below 12-minute pace and was able not to get too light headed with the elevation. I spent the rest of the morning watching our legs come and go and getting all the recon I could. I was able to roll really well on my 3-mile leg, keeping it around 10-minute pace,  with the slowest mile being the first (the climb was killer). I was off to sleep and wait for the crazy 7-mile leg. The 7-mile leg was to the top of the ski lift with around 2,000 ft of elevation gain and the downhill on the “sticks and stones” trail was very technical plus well, there could be bears.

After dinner and a nap, I dressed in my multiple layers (temperatures had dropped into the upper 30s) and put on my pack with my bear bell to wait to start my leg. With sequins, glowsticks and sparkly tights, I started my last leg at 9:30. It was dark and if our first runner hadn’t given me a small flashlight to use on top of having my headlamp, I would not have been in a good spot. I started the power hike to the top, I maintained sub 20-minute miles as I followed the headlamps to the top of the 3.5-mile climb and was thankful to reach the top. As I made my way down, I could hear a flurry of f-bombs from numerous places and just tried to watch my feet. I was able to run with a few other runners but by the time I reached my last mile, I was alone and the thoughts of bears filled my head. I started to sing songs from Alexander Hamilton to just fill the air. Luckily, my bear spray was never used. I finished the run in about 16:11 pace. My team finished at about 4 a.m. The exhaustion, happiness and pride that overcame us was hard to express being wrapped in blankets but we had a great time. Will we do it again? Likely, but we might have to forget a bit first.

During this summer, I hit a milestone in age- I turned 29. I have decided to make one last go at my 5k PR. This week, I’m sitting down to write out a plan but be sure to follow me here and on Twitter (@carabyrd) to see how it goes.

Cara

Posted on

A short ode to hill repeats

hill

Hill repeats are speedwork in disguise
Driving knees and long strides
Make for quick feet and strong thighs
Over pavement the runner glides
Taking on harder climbs

I have always felt like summer and hill repeats pair perfectly together. I am sure this stems from training for cross country for eight summers and hill repeats are the perfect way to slowly edge into speedwork. Running hills will develop the leg muscles – particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles – which ultimately get your body ready for the intensity of speedwork. My fondest memory of this work-out was my high school coach having to load us up on a bus and drive 15-2o minutes out to find a hill. One of our favorites was Cowman’s which is a hill in a middle of cow pasture on the outskirts of my hometown. It was a sharp climb that made your calf muscles burn but we knew that we would never see a climb like that in a race.

Even in the flattest areas, you can find a hill. Another favorite hill repeat place of my high school coach was an underside of an overpass. Into college, I would do hill repeats in the summer on that overpass blaring Red Hot Chili Peppers the whole way.

Most recently, I had an urge to find a hill and climb. I relied on an old favorite 10x 30 seconds hill repeats with a jog down. I was able to go a bit further each time and afterwards, I knew I deserved my beer.

Where is your favorite hill? Do you incorporate hill work into your training plan?

Cara
@carabyrd

Posted on

Runners and Races

The atmosphere on race day is something everyone should experience. There is a such a sense of excitement, and nervousness felt from every runner. Not to mention the sense of enjoyment from being part of such an awesome running community. I feel like us runners are an elite group of people who understand one another. I love when I am running a race and I get the encouragement from other runners I don’t even know when circling back on a course. The simple head nod, high five or thumbs up really makes a difference.

But two weeks ago I really got an idea of what racing and running was all about. At the starting line of a race I was looking around at my fellow racers. Sometimes I like to people watch but mostly I was sizing up my competition. I spotted an elderly man getting ready to run with his dog. His dog looked about as old as him. We made eye contact, I smiled, and turned back to my friend. A few seconds later he taped me on my shoulder and inquired about my shirt. I was wearing a race shirt from the year prior and he was curious if I had ran the race or if I was apart of the running group that organized it. He said that he usually puts on that event but decided to give it to someone else this year because he wanted to run it instead. He just turned 70 and has a goal to run 70 races this year. That day was already race number 31 for him. He was running around 2-3 races a week. His dog, Griffin, runs every race animals are allowed and can run up to 10 miles with his owner. We continued to talk about the different races we each were going to do this year and our goals for times. I am so excited to see him at every race and cheer him on when he crosses the finish line. One day I hope to challenge myself to something of that magnitude at the age of 70. Running and racing is a great sense of competitiveness and accomplishment, but when you really get down to the bottom of it, it is a feeling of being alive. My new friend, Dr. Mike, has shown me that. So inspiring!

Posted on

The Cost of Running

I had always hear people say ‘oh running is a cheap sport, you don’t have to pay for any gear or special equipment’ oh how wrong they are. They don’t take into account the many practices shorts, sports bras, tshirts, tanks, pants, under armor and countless other articles of clothing you need to buy for the four seasons. Not to mention the money needed to pay for the special running shoes that fit your feet and running style. But the area that really hits the wallet hard for me is the race entry fees. With all the races I ran over the summer I was curious to know just how much I spent. The number was quite surprising. Its hard to even say it but I spent $504. WHAT?!?! I had to triple check my math just to make sure. The funny thing is, I wouldn’t trade those race experiences for anything. I enjoyed every single one and can’t wait to do them all again next year. I made this to showcase my bibs and medals from each race this year.

image

I still don’t think what I have accomplished this year has set in.

Yes, all that money sure does add up but the joy of running is priceless. Plus the bonus off all the race shirts.

image

And FYI for those who read my last blog, today is day 18 of my 30 day challenges. Which means the next time I post I will have completed it and have a better update of my thoughts and results. Let’s just say I’m improving everyday.

Posted on

Race Recap: Grand Rapids Half

IMG_1924

I am on the hunt for some marathon speed (oxymoron?)

 

I had originally planned on a second marathon (after racing Boston in the spring) but starting this training block I felt less than inspired when picking out a race.

 

This summer was spent finishing my masters (specifically a MPH degree with a focus on global public health for those interested), temporarily living life in northern Michigan, and most importantly for this blog, working on creating a base for my “speed”. Focusing on a quicker cadence and including dynamic warm up drills and strides were habits I worked on to keep moving closer to my bigger goals as a runner.

 

Taking this a step further I realized that my fall race could be a continuation of this strategy. In deciding to compete in a half marathon, I would be lowering the “race pace” I would shoot for in workouts, while still building on a larger base mileage.

 

Long story short, the experiment was a success. During the race specific workouts I was able to hit paces I hadn’t before, and for longer repeats. Although apprehensive leading up to race day on what it would feel like to hold those paces for a much longer distance, the work I had put in was solid. I came away with a 4 minute pr, but more importantly the experience of holding my goal marathon pace for the 13.1.

 

Going into the winter season, I am pumped to get back to training and building strength so that when I get to the starting line of my next marathon I will be ready to feel that speed again 🙂

 

Congrats to everyone else out there finishing up their marathon/ race seasons, excited to see so many tribe members getting after it!


Sarah

Posted on

2013 so far…

I’m Kim and I’m psyched to be a part of the URTribe!

2013 has been an awesome year so far for running!  I started seriously running last year.  I’m slow, but working at it.

So far I have run the Color Me Rad 5k, The Kona Run 10k, and the Clawson Freedom Run.  Color Me Rad is a fun run and I forgot my watch, so it was truly just a fun run.  The Kona Run was a different story for me.  I was able to knock a minute per mile off of my average pace for my 2012 races.  I felt amazing when I finished.  Even more good news came after the Freedom Run when I finished over 5 minutes faster than my previous PR for a 5k race.  I’m feeling great this year.  My breathing is improving – I have asthma and require an inhaler to run.  I only have 81-92% of my lung capacity I should have, and that is after using my inhaler.  My muscles have changed tremendously.  Climbing has also helped improve my strength, particularly in my core.

I am continuing my training schedule that I kept last year, only this year I am wayyyy ahead of where I was last year.  I run 2-4 times a week at least 3 miles, if not more, and do a long run on the weekends.  Right now I’m adding a mile a week to my long runs.  I did 7 this past weekend, so I’m shooting for 8 this weekend.  I also climb 2 times a week.

URTribe is a great source of motivation and I love sharing accomplishments!  It also helps keep me accountable for my workouts.  I’m loving it and representing the company.  It’s great to be asked about it when out and getting to start a conversation about a product line I’m happy with and just fitness in general!  I can’t wait to hear about everyone’s races for the rest of the summer.  Good luck all on your training and runs.  I’m thoroughly enjoying hearing about it all from so many different levels of experience.

photo-21

Posted on

I am Lucky

6_20_13post

The thing is and I think I should preface with this, because I have been thinking about it a ton lately. Recently JORDAN and I went on a run YES Jordan is running. The amazing gazelle she is, deciding to train with me.

Good choice!

Anyway, yesterday we were out on our run and we were talking and she had expressed some aggravations about running and how it was going. Of course being the elder I had to share my perspective. And here you all go this is my perspective:

After running middle school track, skipping two years in high school in order to play soccer, then racing for Michigan State University. I thought I was over and done with racing on a track. I just thought ya know I put my time in, I had a wonderful ride but now I am done. Life works in funny ways sometimes, and being out in the great state of Washington has opened up this opportunity again. I get to race (run hard) on a track again. I get to prolong this experience. Thus every race is icing on the cake.

Also I am not racing to possibly make someone proud or win or anything. I compete but that isn’t why either. I run hard because I love the feeling of running hard and I love the feeling of coming home still pumped up from a hard run. And I will continue to do it until I can’t anymore. When that day comes, I don’t want to regret not enjoying it while I could.

I am so lucky.

Alright, SO for the race. I think that I warmed up okay, but I really think that I need to get more form drills. Maybe some harder sprints to begin with, it just takes me far too long to get focused and find a rhythm  I again AS PER usually, will blame this on the distance racing ha! I will also blame it on the fact that I really haven’t done any speed training yet. Thus I am okay with how it went considering those factors, I would just like it to feel like I am not pacing it. I have some ideas I would like to play with and I will let you know how they play out. #HFCNC (Have fun, Compete and Not Care).

Thanks,

Jac

Race: 1500 meters

Official Time: 4:51:31

Posted on

I am Lucky

6_20_13post

The thing is and I think I should preface with this, because I have been thinking about it a ton lately. Recently JORDAN and I went on a run YES Jordan is running. The amazing gazelle she is, deciding to train with me.

Good choice!

Anyway, yesterday we were out on our run and we were talking and she had expressed some aggravations about running and how it was going. Of course being the elder I had to share my perspective. And here you all go this is my perspective:

After running middle school track, skipping two years in high school in order to play soccer, then racing for Michigan State University. I thought I was over and done with racing on a track. I just thought ya know I put my time in, I had a wonderful ride but now I am done. Life works in funny ways sometimes, and being out in the great state of Washington has opened up this opportunity again. I get to race (run hard) on a track again. I get to prolong this experience. Thus every race is icing on the cake.

Also I am not racing to possibly make someone proud or win or anything. I compete but that isn’t why either. I run hard because I love the feeling of running hard and I love the feeling of coming home still pumped up from a hard run. And I will continue to do it until I can’t anymore. When that day comes, I don’t want to regret not enjoying it while I could.

I am so lucky.

Alright, SO for the race. I think that I warmed up okay, but I really think that I need to get more form drills. Maybe some harder sprints to begin with, it just takes me far too long to get focused and find a rhythm  I again AS PER usually, will blame this on the distance racing ha! I will also blame it on the fact that I really haven’t done any speed training yet. Thus I am okay with how it went considering those factors, I would just like it to feel like I am not pacing it. I have some ideas I would like to play with and I will let you know how they play out. #HFCNC (Have fun, Compete and Not Care).

Thanks,

Jac

Race: 1500 meters

Official Time: 4:51:31

Posted on

PR for 5K

6_13_13postAll right. SO this last track meet was pretty awesome. Well and a little lame, because my trusty sidekick Jordan did not attend. She was a bit hurt-ish.

I raced the 5k this week, but got to watch two of my friends in the mile. One of my friends just realized at age 27 (after competing collegiately) that you should, at some point during a RACE breath through your mouth. I am not kidding. This kid has raced countless 5ks and has run a 30 something 10k on the track, ONLY breathing through his nose. That still cracks me up. Even better the REAson he was doing this was because his 6th grade gym teacher told him to.

My 6TH grade gym teacher told me, THAT IF I did crunches I would have an hour glass figure, and I knew that wasn’t true in 7th grade.

UMMM that’s called genetics buddy.

Okay, so back to my race… I warmed up pretty well. The meet was a little behind when I had started warming up and by the time I finishes just my jog. It was caught up all the way … (I knew it would happen). So I felt like I needed more drills, but didn’t have a ton of time to do them. It is one of those things like when you know your about to go run hard (or try to run hard). You get really lazy before, so I think I could of got more drills in but instead I was like I have to pee (even though I didn’t).

Yeah a little lacking in drills, but other than that I got my strides in and felt fast (spikes). I am not really wearing proper spikes. I mean for me this all doesn’t REALLY matter. Thus wearing MD spikes for a 5k is cool.

I had not one, but two pacers actually a couple (female and male) paced me for my 5k. I could feel the love (only kidding). They had just done time trials themselves. ACTUALLY they ran the mile, then right after the 400×400 and then right after that they agreed to pace me for the 5K. AND I wasn’t about to let them get out of that. No takesy backsy.

Going into the race as a dumb 800m runner I was like AHHH I think I will run with the 17:00min 5k gal. Luckily I had my pacers and didn’t do that dumb move. I tried something similar in a half marathon once where I put the hammer down at mile 6 and that ended horrible. Well, felt horrible.

ANYWAY back to 5K that felt okay until last mile then I had to really focus on my pacer and at one point I got confused on laps. Thought we had 2 to go when we really had 3 so that was VERY disappointing.. but I did finish in a PR with a lot of hands on knees breathing. Embarrassingly kept breathing hard for quite some time. Oh 5K you are never kind to my ego. Can’t forget my goal for this year though (Have fun/Compete/Not Care). #HFCNC

Thanks!

Jackie

Unoffical (times aren’t posted) – Jackie 18:22 5K

Posted on

#HFCNC

_5_28_13post
MY first track race in maybe three years will be in ONE day. Let us state that better, I race Wednesday (kind of gave me the jitters right there). I envision I have come full circle as a runner AND person.
_
A genius friend of mine, well an awesome runner and yes friend of mine.. I asked for advice.. pointed me toward a 5k.
_
Stating simply,
“if you run a 24:00 5k on the track you’ll be okay with it. If you run a shitty mile or dread it, 800m, you won’t. “
_
I totally agreed of course.
_
At 26 I feel like it has been enough time away from the track. I would like to put my “balanced head” to the test, knowing that it doesn’t really matter not even slightly how I do. It really will not alter or even change the world in the slightest.
_
Fact, NO ONE CARES.
_
This leads me to my well thought out and very measurable goal of the season that is, to just have-fun-compete-not care. We could even make a fun little acronym HFCNC, hash tag it, and throw it on Twitter. WHAT?! It still doesn’t matter?! 
_
no.
_
We live on this impossibly large earth and we think that we impact it so heavily  Not true, unless you mean pollution wise but that is a matter for a different day.. Truth is most of what we do is for us. So, why not take your next race down in style, get rid of the nerves they can’t help you. Just relax take a deep breath and compete.
_
#HFCNC.
_
Thank you.
Jac
_FINAL_JERSEY