Recovery Week 1

This was a glorious week. My main form of exercise was sitting on the couch and moving from my couch to the refrigerator and back, as well as walking from my car into work and back. I think after last Sunday’s marathon I wanted as few steps as possible. I think I accomplished it, but I also think I could have done better since I did have four miles. 

Normally I would take at least two weeks completely off from running after a marathon. However, I am running Vermont in May. I don’t have a time goal but I also don’t want to struggle because I let my fitness go, so I planned on taking 7-10 days off instead of the normal two weeks. But I am planning on listening to my body and if it feels too soon and too hard then I will continue to lay low and back off. 

After two weeks of minimal and occasional running I will then do a reverse taper and ease my mileage back up. Then after a month I will be back into my 40-50 mile week training but with a lower intensity. I decided this is the perfect training cycle to not stick to a real plan but just see how I feel and adapt as I go! 

Here is my recovery week recap: 

Monday: Rest, flew back from California! 

Tuesday: Rest again!

Wednesday: Rest, can now walk down stairs normally again! 

Thursday: Rest more, you get the theme. 

Oh Thursday also involved delicious food… as I showed in a previous post but I think it needs more recognition!

Friday: Rest, zero miles 

Saturday: 1 unplanned mile and a 4 minute plank. Saturday was freezing I set out for a walk with my dog and it turned into an easy jog so that we could brave the cold! 

Sunday: Yoga and 3 easy miles, felt good but I don’t want to rush back.

Weekly total: 4 lovely miles and lots food! 

Year total: 431.05

Happy Monday! 

– Jules 

New Goals & Friday Surprises

This past week has been relaxing and amazing. It’s always hard to not run and to hold myself back but I know the break will make me better and ready for the next training cycle! 

To occupy my time I have been reading, playing with dogs and eating. A lot! I mean work consumes my time as well, but that’s not fun to talk about. 

Last night, I tried a new Italian place in Portsmouth that just opened up. I will explain my food with pictures because that’s the most important part. 

I left so full but SO happy! I love when people say it doesn’t matter that you ate so much, you run all the time! Yeah but I have tallied zero miles this week and my exercise is walking to my car into the office and from my couch to the refrigerator, but I am not complaining. Anyway, anyone in Portsmouth New Hampshire should give this a try, it did not disappoint. 

At dinner my friend and I caught up on a lot, but we also talked about our dreams and new goals. Things that make us happy and how we can lead a rewarding life and one we don’t look back on with regrets. Yes, it was deep, we tend to have those conversations 🙂 

It really got me thinking though. I mean what else is there to do when you aren’t running? Think about running, plan new races, think more about running… haha. Seriously though, my passion is coaching and I can’t wait to take steps to get there this year, but I also just love to run. I love striving for new goals and seeing if I can reach them. They might be scary and impossible at first, but what if you reach them? How awesome would that feel? That is why I never limit myself, I am reasonable though and know that some goals take a while. 

Thinking about goals can be scaring, but saying them out loud that’s a whole different story! To me, that is my verbal commitment to take a chance and try to get there. I will do whatever I can. If I fail or don’t achieve them the first time that’s okay, but I have to give it a shot right? So here goes! Here are my goals for the remainder of the year.

  • Run a PR Half, ideally around 1:35
  • Run between 3:10 and 3:15 marathon in Chicago 
  • Become a certified coach & start my own online coaching business 
  • Take risks with my blog and see where it takes me!

Some of these really scare me but I want to see what I am capable of with and without running! 

Now for some Friday surprises: 

  • I got into the popular 10k in Maine called Beach to Beacon and am so excited to experience it. Without knowing what to think, I have expectations it will be like the Falmouth Road Race in Mass that I love!! 

  • Hungry Runner Girl Mentioned my Napa Race performance in her Friday Running accomplishment section today. I am such a huge fan of hers, I have been over the moon all day! I look up to her and all she has accomplished with her blog and her life, and she wants to get into coaching too! I think we should be friends 🙂 

That’s all for now, happy Friday!! 

“Just Live”

As many of you are aware I just spent 16 weeks training for Napa. 16 weeks is a long time, 4 months to be exact. When you pour that much time and effort into something it’s hard not to mentally freak out before a race. However, I run my best when I don’t have high expectations and I just go in relaxed and ready to have fun but see what I can do. 

My running friends know this first hand and probably hate me for it. I notoriously say, oh yeah I am not sure I am going to race it, I am not really feeling it. Then the day comes and the gun goes off and I am gone. It’s like a switch is flipped, my competitive side always comes out. I can’t not try my best, I don’t know why I keep pretending I know how to hold back. 

Anyway, for Napa I was nervous I would freak out. The first time I raced it in 2015 I was a mess. My family can attest to this, I barely spoke the night before and felt sick to my stomach. My whole family had come across the country to join me, what if I didn’t finish? What if I failed? The what if’s kill me. Really I should be asking myself, what if I succeed? Also, side note my parents wouldn’t have cared they were just happy to have wine in Napa! 

This time I came without my family and had my best friend with me and her boyfriend. I hadn’t seen them in months so even though I was anxious for my race, exploring and having fun with them I quickly realized was my first priority. As my boyfriend told me when I would mention being scared or worried for my race, “just live Jules”. So, that I did. 

When I travel for races I hesitate to go on adventures before the race because I feel like I should be bedridden in preparation for the big day. But that isn’t realistic! That would just lead me to have regrets. I didn’t want that. Who knows when I would return to Napa. I quickly realized it’s about balance. 

I think it’s all or nothing for too many people. I sat on the bus for my first marathon and listened to people talk about how they gave up alcohol for their whole training cycle or sugar. I silently freaked out because I had gone wine tasting with my family the day before. Immediately I had regrets and second thoughts on how I would do. Will I not run well because I enjoy wine and dark chocolate? No! This may work for some people but it doesn’t work for me. I love my wine and chocolate it helps me relax and being relaxed helps me be the best athlete I can be. 

I am first to admit I had a wine filled weekend before my race. I was in Napa with my best friend since first grade, I wasn’t going to pass that up. Honestly I slept better that night than I ever have before a race and didn’t even have time to over analyze the race or get inside my head. I think I owe a lot of my success in the race to that. With a race as long as the marathon you can get into your head, the mental race is harder than the physics race. 

My friend who accompanied me to the wineries and biked the last 5k of the marathon with me suggested I write this post about balance. She knows first hand I was probably sweating wine in that race, but I woke up determined and believed in myself. My mental game was strong and that ultimately pulled me through to the end. I have no regrets at all and had one of the best weekend trips of my life. So the moral of my story is everything doesn’t need to be so black and white. Feel free to do what works for you, regardless of what other runners do and make sure you find time to just live, be present and enjoy the adventures in life. 

P.s. I also fueled on maple sugar candies the whole race and that’s all. I like to be different:) 


Up next: my new goals for the upcoming year!! 

Napa Valley Marathon 2017 

Boston 2018 here I come!! Yesterday’s race left me with a flashy new PR of 3:20:15 and the second half marathon of my race was a PR, what?! How does that happen. I need to run more halves!

Anyway I wanted to take you through this race if any of you are considering. I have run it two times now and I saw do it!!! Off the bat I love it because it’s smaller and there are so many volunteers so anyone is there when you need them. It’s 1500 runners. Also their swag is amazing! They give you bags and a shirt. This year you could choose from a backpack or a duffel, I chose the flashy backpack! 

Plus this course is very picturesque, you almost forget the pain when you are looking at such amazing scenery, almost! 

So let me take you through race day. I woke up at 3:30 am, mainly because my brain is on east coast time and also because I was starving. I decided now would be a good time to eat. I have a sensitive stomach and always over analyze eating. However I eat superhero muffins a lot before running so I knew that would be safe. Not even lying I baked superhero muffins the night before my flight and brought them with me! I also had some warm water with lemon to wake me up. I went downstairs and hung out in the lobby listening to music until about five when it was time to catch the bus. We were staying in Napa which was perfect and I could hop on the bus at the hotel next door, super convenient!

It started pouring the second I went outside for the bus. In my head I was telling myself it would pass but I really wasn’t sure. Luckily they have a bag drop with all your new swag bags at the start so you can pack a bunch of layers and not worry. This race is so organized! We started our trek up to Calistoga at 5:15 and got there around 6:15, for a race start of 7am. It was still raining, I got out to head to the bathroom and noticed snow on the mountains in the distance. I was going to take a picture but I was too cold haha. I headed to the bathroom and then got on the warm bus for a little longer. 

I can’t really say I did a running warm up because I didn’t. It was so cold I decided I wanted to focus on keeping myself warm. I hopped off at quarter of seven and was still wearing all my layers trying to determine the best race outfit. I decided on my original plan of a tank, shorts and compression socks. Luckily it was no longer raining and it was slightly warmer.

Someone at a winery yesterday told us that since you run down the valley from Calistoga to Napa on the Silverado trail it is warmer at the start and gets colder as you go down. It was hard for me to notice since so much time was going by between my destinations but I would say I believe him. 

The first part of the course is rolling hills which I actually love. I find just flat courses harder for me, I need the variation. I would say the hardest aspect of this course is always the cadence of the road. It really dips down on the sides which makes it so you are kind of running on an angle. Also since the race is point to point it’s up to you to even out the leg that’s getting the extra work. Luckily the entire road is closed for runners except for emergency vehicles and bikers. Anyway back to the course, rolling hills at the start, I would say until you get to mile 10 at least, but then there are a few more. There is a nice downhill when you get to 20 and then it flattens out quite a bit. 

So I started out the race alone, I mean I traveled from New Hampshire, definitely wouldn’t run into a friend, but that’s how I like to race. However this course is a no headphone  race so when it starts to get tough at mile 18/20 you want someone there to distract you and talk to you and trick your brain into keeping up the effort. I will say this was my smartest race, I ran conservative in the beginning and then at the halfway mark I made some friends. I noticed these two runners who were around me most of the time, their names were Angela and Mark. 

I went up to them and asked them their goal and they say 3:25 and I was like ah me too! And they told me to join their group and tag along. They were trying to keep their miles around 7:40 avg, perfect. We picked out a few sections to take it back to 7:50 to save our energy for the end. When we got to mile 18 it started to literally hail on us. I should have mentioned it turned out to be nice and pretty sunny but with clouds, up until the hail! It was so strange but kind of awesome to experience. Luckily it was little hail and not golf balls! 

Angela had the idea that going forward each one of us would lead a mile to distract ourselves. It was perfect I think it seriously got me through the race because I focused on my next mile to lead and not how much more to go. We did that all through mile 24. My best friends Sophie and Walker also showed up around mile 23 on bikes and distracted us from the pain as we ran. Angela said they get friend of the year, I completely agree. Walker took, probably very unflattering, pictures of my pain! 

Seeing Sophie helped a ton, it always does when you see a familiar face. She biked next to me the whole remainder of the race. Until she realized it’s probably not recommended to bike through the finish 🙂 I really picked it up and ran a 6:58 last mile and 6:04 last .4 miles. I think that’s because of Sophie’s pep talk and since she Road a bit ahead of me so I was basically chasing her! I left my friends for the end but you have to run your own race. I was getting choked up at the end and my breathing was suffering because I knew I was going to crush my previous time, which made me almost hyperventilate because I knew I was so close to being done. But I tried to focus and chase a few more people down. Then I was done, and my legs were in so much pain, but I did it. I did something I never would have thought I was capable of when I started running marathons in 2015 and that’s why I am hooked on running.

My friends crossed the finish line shortly after and were amazed at my kick at the end and so so happy for me. It’s amazing when you meet strangers during a race and the pain and beauty of the marathon just brings you together. Everyone I passed at the end was cheering me on and telling me to go for it. It always makes me so inspired and almost choke up. I realize that’s why I race. I do it for myself but the experience itself is always so humbling and inspiring. Runners are amazing people and I love to be surrounded by them. 

But for now I look forward to sitting on the couch for a while and not moving! 

P.s this was my lift home from the race. The license plate says will bike 4 wine, accurate.

P.s.s this was my food right after from Gott’s Roadside, amazing! 

And some wineries of course!