Eau Claire Half Marathon Race Recap

Ok, so I totally fell off my weekly recaps after Seattle. That’s probably ok because there wasn’t anything super notable about those final weeks of training. I survived one more punch of winter when we had a blizzard right before my 11 mile long run. I still managed to get in 7 miles outside and finished the last 4 on the treadmill. The weather took a turn for the better after that and spring has arrived.

That brings us to race day! The first part of my running year has led to this race. I felt ready for it but also didn’t know what to expect all at the same time. I knew I wanted to push my pace, but I also wasn’t very confident that I could get anywhere close to my PR time (1:58:08).

It was a beautiful, sunny morning with temps in the 50s at the start, but I knew they would keep going up as the race got going. I hopped off the shuttle and had just the right amount of time to drop my stuff at gear check and make a restroom stop. Then my sister and I headed to the corrals. I lined up not far behind the 9:10 per mile pacer.

We started on a nice downhill, so that got me off to a good start. I was feeling good and found a comfy pace around 9:00. Not long into the race, I passed the 9:10 pacer and figured I’d see how long I could keep her behind me.

The first 5 miles of the race ticked by fairly quickly and I kept my pace. Miles 6-10 felt like a different story. My pace started to gradually get a little slower. The hills and sun were getting to me a bit. It wasn’t crazy hot, but I’m definitely not used to the warmer temps yet. They had water stops almost every mile and I took water at pretty much every one to either drink or pour on my neck.

As I got to mile 10, I was still a bit sluggish, but felt like I could try to push my pace a bit more. Around mile 11 we entered the UW – Eau Claire campus which is know as the Blugold Mile. You’re welcomed by the pep band and a street lined with cheering students in blue and gold. There was a lot of energy in that mile that I really appreciated and I’m sure the marathoners did as well!

The very end of the race brings you back into Carson Park. You have to go uphill to get there, which sucks at mile 12.75, but the hill actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I crossed the finish line in 2:00:19. Right on my goal of getting as close to 2 hours as I could!

My sister and I celebrated being done with a beer in the beer garden.

We also stopped for cupcakes on our way home. 🙂

It was a good race, but also tough. The conditions weighed on me a bit and I just didn’t feel as good the whole race as I have in other halfs where I’ve raced and pushed my pace.

Now that this half is behind me, I have to figure out what the summer and fall have in store. I haven’t signed up for any other races yet, so I gotta get something on the calendar!

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Tenacious Ten 10K Race Recap

I had a fabulous runcation in Seattle! I truly love traveling for races and traveling/running with friends makes it even better! A friend from grad school lives out in Seattle, so I got to hang out and run with her. A couple of our other friends from grad school were also out in Seattle for the race and to visit family.

The Tenacious Ten race is sponsored by Oiselle.

They had a full weekend of events happening around the race to celebrate the wonderfulness that is running. We kicked off the weekend by attending a talk with Kara Goucher at the Oiselle flagship store.

It was a really informal Q&A session. She talked about the good times and the hard times she has gone through with running. Her outlook staying positive even during the hard times was inspiring to hear. You could also tell that she (and probably everyone else in the room) was still on a Boston Marathon high after having an American woman win the race for the first time in over 30 years.

When the talk was over, we got to meet her and get a quick picture and autograph. She’s originally from Minnesota, so it was fun to share I had traveled from MN for the race.

On race morning, my friend Anna and I walked about a mile from her place to get to the start. A nice warm up before the race. It was a gorgeous morning out. I had a really hard time figuring out what I was going to wear. Donning my Oiselle Volee singlet was a given, but the rest was a challenge. Luckily, I had brought options. I landed on arm warmers and capris for the race. It ended up being the right choice!

We met up with Hyedi and Kate at the start so we could line up together. None of us were racing, so we figured we’d try just sticking together for the run and maybe slowly picking up our pace as we went.

Seattle has a lot (I mean a lot) of hills, but thankfully the race course was one of the flatter areas of the city. We started at Gas Works Park and made our way around Lake Union. The four of us stuck together and chatted as we went. It really made the miles fly by. Shoutout to Hyedi for this mid-race pic.

Before I knew it, we were coming back into Gas Works Park and crossing the finish line. I ran the 10K in 57:53.

After grabbing our medals/cowbells (ha!), we enjoyed some of the post-race festivities including a delicious doughnut. Can you tell I was really happy to be done with Whole 30 at this point?

We cheered on some other friends and family members as they crossed the finish line and then set out to find brunch. We ended up at a really cute place, Pablo y Pablo. I devoured these breakfast tacos.

After showering, we set out for more adventures in Seattle. It was a really fun weekend and I want to start planning my next runcation immediately! 😉

Eau Claire Half Marathon Training – Week 8

This Minnesota winter is just holding on for dear life. And there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. I really don’t know if we’re every going to see spring. I just hope we actually get a summer. I need some hot, sunny days made for sweaty runs followed by recovery on a patio. Who’s with me?

Whole 30 continues to go pretty well. The weekly meal prep is still time consuming, but I feel like I’ve got the hang of it. I’ve definitely noticed my clothes fitting better, but I can’t say my energy level has changed much. How long it takes for changes to happen can vary from person to person, so we’ll see how the rest of it goes and if I notice any other changes.

Monday – 4.5 miles (9:40/mile)

That MN winter I mentioned was rearing it’s ugly head and I didn’t feel like dealing with it, so I fired up the treadmill.

Tuesday – 4.5 miles (9:40/mile)

Another day of treadmill miles.

Wednesday – 7.03 miles (9:36/mile)

Was finally able to get outside for a longer weekday run.

Thursday – rest/yoga

My workplace actually offers free yoga over lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have not been taking advantage, but I’m trying to do better.

In the evening my sister and I went to see The Greatest Showman. I am now officially obsessed with the soundtrack. So good!

Friday – 4.27 miles (9:24/mile)

Got in an easy run to end the week and get ready for Goldy’s on Sunday.

And my Oiselle Volee singlet arrived just in time for my spring races to kick off!

Saturday – rest

Sunday – 10 miles (9:13/mile)

Goldy’s 10 mile!

Goldy’s 10 Mile Race Recap

This is my 6th year doing this race, and probably the coldest. It was about 16 degrees at the start of the race. Thankfully, the sun was out and the wind was calm. Made standing in the start corral at least bearable.

I was planning to race this one and push myself as much as I could. I lined up by the 9:00 min pacer not sure if I’d be able to keep that pace, but felt good to shoot for a goal.

I got myself warmed up in the first 3 miles and my watch was showed I was keeping that 9:00 pace. It was also around mile 3 when I realized I needed to tighten my shoelaces. Getting the double-knot out of my laces took longer than I wanted, but 30-60 seconds later I was off again. (This delay has relevance later in the race.)

Miles 4-6 I was still feeling pretty good and staying pretty on pace, but I could feel the tiredness in my legs starting. I kept pushing and tried to use the downhills for a little boost to make up for the uphills.

Around mile 7, my right glute and IT band started to feel tight. Gonna have to stretch and foam roll those tonight. These last 3 miles required some mantras and self motivation to keep myself going. My legs were feeling it and there were some lovely *cough* sarcasm *cough* uphills in the last 2 miles.

On the home stretch to the stadium, we had the breeze in our faces and I told myself to just keep pushing. I made my way onto the football field and across the finish line.

Final time was 1:32:07. A really good time for me, but a little frustrating because it means I missed a PR by 4 seconds. 4 SECONDS!! I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if I hadn’t been delayed retying my shoes or if I’d just pushed a little harder in a few spots. Frustrating to be so close, but still happy with the end result. Gives me some fire for finding my next 10 mile race. 🙂

Eau Claire Half Marathon Training – Week 6 & 7

Yea, I missed my weekly recap last week, so let me get you caught up.

I’m halfway through Whole 30! I can’t call it easy, but it’s not as hard as I thought it would be. I’ve found some new recipes to try and am eating some good food.

This taco salad was a nice change to my usual weekday lunch.

I had book club during week 1 of Whole 30, so I made these prosciutto wrapped pears, and they were really good! I was glad I could contribute something compliant that wasn’t just raw veggies. Though our book club host was amazing and made a compliant meal because a couple of us are actually doing Whole 30 right now! Support from family and friends is REALLY nice when doing something like this.

I’ve been making egg bake for easy breakfasts during the week. This is the egg back from week 1, but I actually made an even better one for week 2. It’s a trial and error process with new recipes.

The Whole 30 plan calls for a pre-workout and post-workout snack to help fuel your workout and recover. Took me a little bit to find things that worked well, but I think I’ve got a routine now.

As far as running goes, I’m still chugging along with the training plan. This plan is kind of high mileage, so I have a longer weekday run and my other runs are slowly getting longer, too. I can kind of feel the mileage in my body now. I may end up taking an extra rest day from time to time, or cut a run a tad short as I get ready for all of my upcoming April/May races.

Partially because I don’t remember (whoops) and partially because this is getting long, I’ll keep the workout updates short.

Week 6

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 4 miles (9:40/mile)

Wednesday – 6.06 miles (9:27/mile)

Thursday – rest

Friday – 4.03 miles (9:36/mile)

Saturday – 3.1 miles (8:33/mile)

My “long run” for this wee was a 5K race. I didn’t actually sign up for a 5K race, so I just headed out and planned to run fast. And that’s what I did!

Sunday – Alchemy private class

Got in a great cross-training workout at Alchemy. My friend won a free private class, so she invited a bunch of friends to come do a workout. My legs were a little sore from all of the running during the week and my fast 5K. I was happy to hear the class was going to focus on upper body stuff. And man, were my arms/shoulders feeling it the next day!

Week 7

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 4.79 miles (9:25/mile)

Wednesday – 3.3 miles (9:24/mile)

Thursday – 7.35 miles (9:32/mile)

Friday – rest

Saturday – 9.19 miles (9:49/mile)

It snowed overnight. Yeah…Minnesota. I waited this late morning to do my run so the snow would have a chance to melt a little on the path as the sun came out. I did a loop along the river. I started out and the mile was fine, but when I crossed the river the path was only semi-clear. This meant the first 4.5 miles were somewhat slow. When I crossed back over the river for the second half, the paths were great and I was able to pick up my pace a little.

These 9 miles actually flew by. I just sort of zoned out and before I knew it I was done!

After my run, I did some meal prep in the afternoon. Then my sister and I headed to a roller derby! A friend of ours has been doing roller derby for several years, but it was her last bout, so we had to go cheer her on. It’s a super entertaining sport and those women are tough!

Sunday – rest 

My sister and I headed to Wisconsin to spend Easter with our grandmother. We ate our Easter meal, played a card game, watched an egg toss at her senior living facility (super cute watching the residents participate and have fun!), and chatted for a little bit before heading home. I did a little more food prep in the evening and was exhausted, so skipped any kind of workout.

I’m gearing up for the second half of Whole 30 and getting ready for my spring races to start. Maybe one day soon the snow will stop falling and it will actually feel like spring!

Eau Claire Half Marathon – Week 5

The week started out pretty busy with the end of my San Diego trip and some evening plans a couple of nights. I was also continuing to prepare for a new 30 day journey: Whole 30.

When I first heard about Whole 30 a few years ago, I never thought it would be something I’d try. Cutting out sugar, grains, alcohol, processed food, and lots of other things just didn’t sound that appealing to me. I started to come around to the idea of trying it as I heard more and more friends have positive things to say when they did it. It wasn’t just weight loss benefits, it was things like better sleep and having more energy. That sounded appealing to me.

A big part of Whole 30 is also learning how certain foods affect you. I know what my “normal” feels like, but I also have a feeling that I don’t know what I don’t know and could probably feel even better. I’ve never felt like my diet affects my ulcerative colitis, but given my recent flare, it couldn’t hurt to see what changes might make me feel better overall. So, I’m giving it a shot. It’s 30 days. I’ve found a lot of good recipes that I’m actually excited to try, and I have several friends doing Whole 30 at the same time, so lots of social support. So important!!

And half marathon training continues. Here’s how week 5 went.

Monday – 6.02 miles (9:27/mile)

After two busy days of exploring the zoo and safari park, my sister and I slept in a little and then headed out for workouts about 9 a.m. I had 7 miles on my plan for my long run for week 4 that I had pushed to Monday. I wasn’t really sure how far I’d make it and had resolved to just do whatever I could.

The weather was perfect: low 60’s and sunshine. I was enjoying exploring some of the parks and paths along the water and before I knew it I was closing in on 6 miles. It felt really good, but my sis and I wanted to do a few more things before our flight, so I called it good at that point.

Here are some highlights from the run.

Tuesday – 3.27 miles (9:10/mile)

I had Flight Club with the Oiselle Volee team. We met at Lake Calhoun and did a loop around the lake before dinner. It was nice to run in daylight after the time change!

Wednesday – rest

Took the night off from working out and attended a networking event/panel discussion. Felt good to take a little bit of a break after several days of activity. My body needed it.

Thursday – 6.04 miles (9:25/mile)

I started out on this run thinking I might add in the “big hill” that I ran last week, but a couple of miles in I decided my legs just weren’t up for it. I still had a good run without it and had some small hills on my route.

Friday – 4.00 miles (9:26/mile)

Legs were feeling tired and heavy for this whole run. Normally I wouldn’t care that much, but I was a little nervous knowing I needed to do an 8 mile run the next morning.

After running, I kicked back to watch some March Madness and dug into Whole 30 meal planning for week 1.

Saturday – 8.00 miles

The weather was basically perfect for this long run – mid 40s and pure sunshine. I decided to do a loop around the river crossing a couple of bridges and admiring the blue sky above and blue water below.

As I got started, I could feel the tiredness in my legs. It was that way for the first 3 miles or so. Then it seemed like they finally warmed up, but around mile 5 I could feel the tiredness again. It stuck around until I was done, but it felt good to be getting into the higher mileage long runs.

Sunday – HIIT

A friend was able to get a group of us into a free workout class at her gym. It was a high intensity interval workout. The variety was nice, but it was definitely a hard workout that my body felt for a couple of days after.

We headed out to brunch after to consume all of the calories we burned. 🙂 I was also in a mode of savoring my last tastes of certain food before Whole 30 started the next day.

In the afternoon, I hit the grocery store and did a LOT of meal prep for week 1:

  • Slow cooker sweet potato chili
  • Turkey & egg breakfast casserole
  • Baked chicken
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cut strawberries

Should set me up for a successful first week!

Eau Claire Half Marathon Training – Week 4

It’s not always easy to fit in training runs when you’ve got work, friends, travel and more going on. That’s how last week felt with figuring out workouts during a busy week, but I managed to get it done! It helps me to be flexible while also keeping running as a priority when I’m adding things to my calendar. Sometimes you have to get up a little earlier or move runs around throughout the week to fit everything in.

Totally worth it this past week as it meant I got to hang out with friends and take a fun trip with my sister!

Monday – 3.5 miles (9:31/mile)

Days like this one are why I bought a treadmill. We got a lovely snowstorm that started in the afternoon, so I didn’t feel like braving the path and slipping and sliding all over the place. I turned on some music and cranked out my 3.5 miles while watching the snowflakes fall.

Tuesday – rest

I happily took a rest day to meet up with a group of friends to have dinner at Hai Hai in Minneapolis. They serve “Southeast Asian street food” and it is 100% delicious! I ordered a couple of dishes and got to taste a couple of things that friends ordered. I need to go back and try just about everything else on the menu!

   

Wednesday – 5.32 miles (9:25/mile)

By Wednesday the temps had warmed up enough that the paths were clear. I headed out for my longer weekday run. I was feeling ambitious, so I decided to add a big a$$ hill to my route. It fairly steep and is .25 miles long. I wanted to do a big  hill because Goldy’s 10 mile always has some hills on the course, so I want my legs to be ready. I made my way down the hill first, ran on flat pavement for a minute, and then started my assent. It was slow and steady, but I ran up the whole hill. The legs were burning a little near the top, but I kept going and continued running at the top to finish up this 5+ mile run.

Thursday – A10 workout with Alchemy

I met up with Hyedi for a cross training workout to celebrate Alchemy’s 3rd birthday. The workout was held at an event space rather than one of their studios. We brought our own yoga mats and they put us through and A10 workout. It starts with some warm up that incorporates stretching, yoga and practice doing the moves that make up the main part of the workout. Then, they put 10 minutes on the clock and you do a high intensity interval workout trying to do as many rounds as you can in 10 minutes. This workout was all body weight exercises (e.g., squats, sit ups, shoulder taps). It also included burpies (which I HATE), but I survived. Then you do a cool down with some more stretching and yoga moves.

We were sweaty, but still smiling at the end. Since it was a birthday celebration, there were snacks and drinks following the workout.

Friday – 3.5 miles (9:40/mile)

I did a morning treadmill run because my sis and I were off to San Diego in the afternoon!

Saturday – Walk, walk, walk (San Diego Zoo)

We got up fairly early to make our way to the San Diego Zoo by 8:30 a.m. We decided to do a special panda tour where you get into the zoo before it opens to the general public and get some dedicated time in the panda exhibit as well as some behind-the-scenes looks at other exhibits in the zoo.

Anyone who knows me knows I LOOOOVE pandas! I have since I was born. I’ve seen a panda in the National Zoo years ago, but only for a few minutes. This tour allowed us to hang out in the panda exhibit for awhile in a smaller group, so we weren’t rushed through. It was so cool to be that close to the gorgeous creatures!

The tour took us around the zoo on a cart, but when that was over we spent about 5 more hours exploring the rest of the zoo. I think we covered every inch of it! Needless to say, it was a lot of walking and my legs were feeling it by the end.

I took a ton of pictures, but I’ll just share a few more here.

Polar bear nap time
Baby giraffe
Aren’t tasmanian devils kinda cute?

After the zoo, we headed back to the hotel to chill out for awhile and then went to Juniper & Ivy for dinner. I was sooo excited to try this restaurant, and it did not disappoint! Absolutely delicious meal!

Sunday – More walking (San Diego Safari Park)

We spent most of Sunday at the San Diego Safari Park, so it was another full day of walking. We got there when it opened, so beat some of the crowds to see the butterfly exhibit. There were hundreds of butterflies just flying free around you.

We hopped on the “Africa Tram” to do a 25 minute tour around some of the park.

Then we spent time visiting all of the other exhibits. We saw some of the same animals as the zoo, but the feel of the Safari Park is a bit different with some of the wide open spaces they have for the animals.

King of the jungle

These gorillas deserve a special shoutout. They were so entertaining to watch! They were really active running around, teasing each other, and even wrestling from time to time.

On our way back from the Safari Park, we stopped in Old Town for some Mexican food and margaritas to cap off the day!

I was exhausted after two busy days and slept really well before our last day of vacation. I did get in a run around San Diego, but more on that in next week’s recap since it happened on Monday!

Have you ever been to San Diego? How do you fit in runs with a busy schedule?