23 Miles of Candid Thoughts

If you are a runner I am sure you have been in a similar situation to me this morning. My alarm went off at 5:30 a.m on a Sunday..what was I thinking? I shut it off in probably half a second. Then it went off again at 5:45…how dare it. Didn’t my phone know I wanted to sleep. This happens to me every morning I set a sequence of alarms and I always talk myself out of the first one, and usually the second, but then I start waking up and I try to beat the third alarm. My competitive side has awakened! First success.

I perfectly laid out my clothes and everything I needed for my run the night before to avoid waking the dogs. It wouldn’t seem like that would be my biggest concern in the morning, but it is. Whenever they awaken its chaos. Mostly because well they love running and they can tell when I am going to leave. If they are awake and left behind they will sit by the window and whine and cry. Running for them is a treat, which I love because that is how I view it for myself as well. I don’t have to do it, I want to and I can. Anyway, back on track Julie. I successfully escaped my apartment with the dogs still asleep.

I made it to the end of my driveway and noticed none of the sidewalks were plowed from the 12 inches of snow Thursday, great. Good start. I can just turn around and go to bed, no don’t do it. Well I had all my lights and reflective gear and it is 6am on a Sunday so I guess I will try the road. I didn’t put my StabilGear on because I left them in the closet and getting them was risky business (waking dogs wise), but I regretted it now. The snow in the road was slush so there was no traction and you felt like you went two steps forward and one back. How am I going to make it 23 miles in this? I can’t even make it two feet! I proceeded for 8 miles and then went back to my house. This is ridiculous, I am getting nowhere. My calves are burning and I feel like I would make it farther if I crawled.

I went back and grabbed my stabilgear and strapped them on and jumped out the door again. By now the snow was picking up and blowing straight into my face. I started some podcasts and just decided I would run to the tradeport my work was on and back. I figured most people wouldn’t be driving to work on a Sunday in this! It was a good call because I passed only a handful of cars so I could run in the road, but the roads were terrible still since few cars were traveling on them. Anyway, as I proceeded for the next two hours I thought about many random things. Do you guys ever laugh at the things that pass through your head on a run? I really do talk to myself!

Oh wow this is rough.

Thanks for the slush shower truck, I needed that.

No, I think this actually sucks.

Did I just go forward at all? 

My calves are burning, I need to work them out more. Does anyone intentionally workout their calves?

Am I getting anywhere? Is this better than a treadmill?

Well that was ice. I really think I need a salt truck to escort me on my runs. 

Why is it snowing? Didn’t mother nature know that I had a 23 mile run planned today? Guess, not. How rude.

Alright, well maybe I just made it a mile. Everyone says the first mile is the hardest then it gets better, hmm nope .25 mile. Okay only a year of running left for today.

I am being dramatic, maybe I should listen to a podcast.

Are my eyelashes frozen? 

I hope Greg makes bacon. Oh and an egg sandwich. Wow I am starving, how much do I have left? I won’t make it. My stomach is eating itself. Okay maybe don’t think about food.

I wish I could be a podcaster. I think I have a weird voice though, I don’t think I could do it. I may also be socially awkward. It just sounds so fun. Eh no probably not my calling.

Oh I should bake something today when I get snowed in. Oh no, not food again, something else.

I reached the end of the road, the end is near, and by end I mean 7 more miles back!

Ooo a cop, they could give me a lift home right? I should have waved them down, maybe they will notice a poor girl running into the pelting snow and turn around and ask me what I was thinking. Basically what I am asking myself right now. Nope, not coming back, darn.

Okay, well hmm distractions, what is my dream job. I have thinking about teaching a lot lately, definitely coaching, but how does anyone figure out there dream job, there are SO many options. I want to try everything, without going back to school.

What about physical therapy. Okay, Julie you just said you don’t want to go back to school. Or accounting, again school. Totally not listening to myself. Maybe the wrong question to ask myself.

It would be cool to be a race director. Do I even know the logistics of what they do? I don’t think I will figure this one out on this run, although I do have all the time in the world.

What about what makes me happy in life? Puppies! Running! Food! Definitely wine. I actually love the boxed Trader Joes wine I have been getting, win there. I should have got more, whoops.

Okay, ow this hurts again. Are my legs still moving?

Bacon.

Maybe time for some music, woo love this song!

Yes, almost back. You can do this you are a rockstar. You are awesome and so strong, you can make it. You feel great, you look great (both lies).

Wow seriously Julie, why didn’t that motivation and encouragement come in the first 20 miles? I need to work on this.

Done!

These were my actual thoughts when running today. I actually wrote a few on my phone when I was running so I would remember because I thought I was crazy. I love running because I have that time to myself to think and clear my head, but when my runs get long the conversations in my head get silly. Mostly amusing after the fact. I am pretty serious while they are happening, ha!

Anyway, even with these thoughts we get ourselves out there and we complete our runs. Sometime we don’t do exactly what we had planned but that is okay, something is better than nothing and I fully believe in listening to your body and readjusting your training when life gets in the way and you really need a break. I believe that will benefit you so much in the long run and even just being able to step back and evaluate when you need to cut back or change a workout puts you ahead of so many others, probably me included if we are being honest! We also all sometimes need extra encouragement and an extra push. Some of the tricks I use to get myself out the door are below.

1.Podcasts – I tell myself to run as long as the podcast and then I can stop. Side note: my favorites are I’ll Have Another by Lindsey Hein, Run to the Top Podcast and Ali on the Run Show

2. New Spotify Playlist – always puts a pep in my step

3. Wine – who doesn’t sprint out the door if wine is at the finish! It’s not my pre-run drink unfortunately 😉

4. Bring a friend or dog – I can’t run with a furry friend without smiling, let’s be serious.

5. New workout gear – this one isn’t good for my savings account, but if I find myself in a lull I buy myself some knew gear. That is sure to get me out the door because I can’t wait to sport it!

6. Support System – I have a great group of friends and family that support my running and know that when I get my run in I am the best, happiest version of myself. So they aren’t afraid to kick me out the door!

These work for me, but there are so many options. Find what works for you and keep getting out there 🙂

 

-Jules

 

How I evolved into the runner I am Today 

To understand my journey as a runner, its best to go back to the beginning. 

I started out running as a kid with my dad. He was always a runner and would run around the block a few times a week. Eventually, one summer I asked to join him. My sister and I lived and breathed soccer, we played for our school as well as club teams so we never had time to do any recreational runner during the season. Our only “break” was the summer, and that was the time to stay in shape for the next season! However, it was also the time where I started to actual enjoy running because of my dad. We would just run a couple loops and that was it, it was our time together. My dad always worked a 8-5 job so as a kid I valued whatever time I got with him and I think that is why I decided to start running with him. 


The one race I vividly remember my dad always racing was the Falmouth Road Race. It’s a seven mile race in Falmouth mass and it’s beautiful and extremely popular. There is a lottery every year! One year I decided to join with him and we would train through the summer for it. By training we would just run but eventually hit seven miles, we never did speed or tempo, just conversational running. That was the way I liked it. After the first year I was hooked. The race itself pulled me in and the training with my dad just made it better. The next year my sister also joined! And that was the beginning of it all. 

Then it was the summer before high school and I was planning on trying out for the varsity soccer team. That summer I trained hard because I knew we had to run two miles in a certain amount of time to make the team. I ended up coming in first or second at the tryout for the running portion! I made he varsity soccer team and my love for soccer continued. Then I broke my ankle badly at the end of the season. I was really discouraged and had a long recovery due to surgery. While I crutched around the school the track coach tried to recruit me. I thought he was crazy, I couldn’t run! Especially not with one good leg! But he kept planting the seed in my mind. 


I ended up recovering for spring track and decided to join. I loved it and he definitely helped me realize the potential I had. I was always pushing to be better but within a certain extent. He always asked me what is my competition doing? And that is where I lost compared to others. I was still all soccer, track was just fun. I never ran on weekends, I only ran at practice. I think that’s what made me good but not great. By the end of my high school track career I managed to run a mile around 5:30 and two miles in 12 minutes! Looking back at how much I love running now, I wish I had invested more time and effort because it gave me so much more than soccer. 

When I went to college I stopped all sports. I ran here and there but just for fun and to stay in shape. I never really trained for anything. Near the end of my time in college I trained for a half but I just followed what my friends did. I was not interested in times or races. I had fell out of my competitive nature after years of too much pressure in soccer. I needed some years of nothing. That didn’t change until I graduated college and moved to New Hampshire for a job. 

I fell back in love with running when I struggled to adjust to working everyday and wondering is this what life is? Is this everything I worked for? Is this what I have to look forward to for the next forty years? That is when I signed up for the local half. I trained as I did for races in the past with my dad. I just focused on getting my mileage up but nothing else. I finished that race with minimal training, still did well and realized I had potential. I also realized my passion for running and getting better also showed in my work. Running made me happy, working towards a goal made me inspired, and even if it was running based it also showed at work. It was then that I decided to set bigger goals and signed up for my first marathon, Napa Valley Marathon in 2015. 

Honestly I just wanted a vacation 🙂 I trained all through winter by my own coaching and I only ran, nothing else. I ended up getting bursitis in my knee due to lack of stretching but my physical therapist said I could still train. To avoid pain I took a day off after every run and sometimes two days after every long run, but I made it to the start. I ran a 3:42 with minimal mileage due to my injury and no watch to track my speed. Then I got hooked on time and the ultimate goal of qualifying for Boston, besides I was only a few minutes off! 


I ended up trying at a marathon shortly after Napa and it was an absurdly humid hot day in may. Needless to say it was not my BQ day. I did not recover from that race, it took weeks for my body to feel better and then I felt worse. I couldn’t even run a few miles without being exhausted. Then I took a vacation and let my body relax. I thought that would help but once my body stopped and relaxed I got really sick, I had mono. Badly! Like almost in the hospital badly, couldn’t talk, couldn’t swallow, but forced myself to drink water to avoid the hospital. I took that entire summer off from running and racing. I vowed to not run another marathon for a while, maybe my time was enough for me… it wasn’t!

I then signed up for Sugarloaf marathon with friends from work. Now that I felt great and had a long recovery I dove into training. I trained harder than ever and now that I look back, I overtrained. I ended up getting a BQ of 3:33 but I felt awful. I also couldn’t recover from that race. I had a hip injury and it still wasn’t going my way. I was ecstatic but also knew I was doing something wrong with my training.


After another summer break with only casual running I really evaluated my running. I decided I needed to add some speed or quicker runs. I added some 5ks to my calendar and realized I was pretty fast. At my first 5k at my work I ran 20:30! I was hooked, I added shorter races and some speed and knew this would help. I signed up for the local half again and ran a 1:39 which was a PR but I think I could do even better now! Shortly after I found out I missed getting a number for Boston by 18 seconds. 18! I wanted redemption so I signed up for Napa again, and decided this would be the race. I also made the jump to work with a coach, Victoria at run4prs, and she created a custom plan for me. Let me tell you, working with a coach had opened my eyes to the endless potential we all possess! This training has been my best training cycle yet and I have added strength to avoid injury, success! My marathon is 23 days away and I am so excited to run and see what I can do, but I also feel like I have discovered my true passion. I want to do for others what Victoria did for me. I want to help them overcome their past, their mistakes, their injuries and their setbacks and reach their goals. I want to be a coach. Running and learning everything running related makes me feel alive. 

So now I have so many goals for 2017 that I plan to accomplish or at least make steps towards! I hope you benefit from learning from my past and also where I want to go. I would love to hear your stories! 

Jules 

Mid-winter Classic 10 Miler ~ Cape Elizabeth, Maine 

This was the first year I ran this race and I loved it! Granted I feel like the weather this February was a fluke compared to past years so I was probably spoiled. Anyway, this race sells out really quickly. It is capped at 1,000 runners but it’s also only 25 dollars so I figured why not give it a try! 

I went in thinking the course was going to be full of hills and I would just do the lower end of my tempo pace and keep it relaxed. My best races seem to happen when I don’t plan to race at all, like today. I am just relaxed and enjoying the run. The scenery, the crowds, the fellow runners, everything. 

The race started at 9:45 so I got there early around 8:30 because I wanted to try to get in some warm up miles to reach my 18 for the day. I ended up running three easy miles on the track before then headed to the start 15 minutes later. I still hadn’t decided if I wanted to race or just do a tempo as planned 7:30-7:50 range. 

The gun went off and I decided to keep it easy which I would have done for the first mile or so regardless. The first two miles had a lot of downhills so I had to keep my pace in check and ran around 7:40’s. I would say until mile five there were rolling hills but nothing crazy. I like courses like this though I think hills are one of my strengths. 

I crossed the half at around 37 minutes and realized it I ran the second half the same pace I would get my PR. Granted I have only run two ten mile races including this one, so a PR is more likely. I decided to pick it up the second half, keep it pretty comfortable until the last two miles.

I thought the last two miles were going to be sight uphill but it wasn’t bad at all. I would say there wasn’t a hill until around the last half mile and after that you are basically at the finish. My last two miles ended up being 7:06 and 6:38!! I finished in 1:12:56 which is a new PR by at least a minute.

 The best part is, it was comfortable for me and I definitely had more left. I still felt like I didn’t race it so I am super excited to see what I can do with shorter distances when I take a break from marathons. In the meantime I can’t wait to see what Napa has in store for me. 

Girls on the Run 

I can thank my sister for introducing me to Girls on the Run (GOTR) and I am so glad she did. I mentioned how I wanted to try coaching in some capacity but didn’t think high school could work because of the commitment and the fact I do have an 8-5 job. So she told me to look into Girls on the Run. I hadn’t even heard of it! 

I forgot about it a bit and then started researching it one day at work. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to email for more information and go from there. Before I knew it I was checking with my boss to make sure it would be okay if I left a bit early from work two days a week during the season. Luckily he is awesome and said it’s a great opportunity! So I jumped in and signed on to be a coach!

Today I had the coaching training and let me tell you I am even more excited! Everyone spoke so highly of the program and said you get so much out of it. The girls probably teach us more than we teach them and the lessons are applicable to even our lives. I know that it is going to be a rewarding program and it will help me focus on the big picture and what is important in life. Sometimes I have trouble keeping site of that, I know this program will help. I was filled with pride at the training today and excited to jump right in and get started. 

Soon enough it will begin, right after my marathon actually! Perfect timing because I will probably need something to fill the void of months of training. 

204 Miles for January

This month was one of my highest mileage months in a while and a great start to my run the year in miles! 2,017 miles here I come. I finally worked my way up to 50 mile training weeks, which is definitely a happy place for me. All through the summer I ran maybe 20 mile weeks and just focused on enjoying myself. Besides everyone says you can’t train for your next marathon before you forget your last, so apparently I forgot about Sugarloaf sometime in the fall 🙂 Hard to believe!


Back to the training. 50 miles is also the highest I have ever gone so I always wonder what else I am capable of. Are 60-70 mile weeks my sweet spot? How do I know? I think a lot of marathon training is trial and error. In the past I always trained for races and didn’t really track my training runs at all I did the plan, wrote it on a piece of paper and then threw it out after. It was a clean slate, a new beginning. That is good, but now I know the importance of figuring out what works best for me by tracking my training and race results.


Through trial and error over my three marathons so far I determined that I need some yoga in my weekly routine to prevent injury. I also try to incorporate lots of planks and hamstring exercises, because I know my weaknesses. I really focused on them this cycle and I have felt better than ever. I will share my plank routines in the coming weeks! 


Over this next year I look forward to figuring out the best training method for me, hopefully hitting some new PR’s, traveling to new places for races and above all having fun.