Race Recap: 2016 Willow 4 miler + Winning my First Race!

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Years and years ago when I lived in Texas, I won a couple of trail races. My husband and I did a 10 mile in Waco and half marathon trail race around Dallas and I was the overall female winner of both. But since moving back east, I haven’t really won any races – even some of the small, local ones, despite my being fitter and faster than I was back then.

I’ve also never flat out won a race before (overall male and female). Until this past 4th of July.

But let me be completely honest here. It was a small race. Super duper small. Like <50 runners, small. I knew I had a good chance of being the overall female winner but winning the race, outright, was a nice surprise.

We learned about this race from my sister-in-law. She mentioned the kids 1k race and I then saw that there was also a 4 mile race.

Initially, I planned on doing a long run on Friday or Saturday and then racing/running as hard as I could on tired legs on Monday. But, running in the days leading up to the race was a bust – Friday was a very late afternoon run so I didn’t start Saturday’s run until later in the day. I felt like garbage from the moment I woke up and then long run only lasted 1.5 miles (I called my husband to come get me b/c I didn’t even feel like I wanted to run back to the house). I decided to make Sunday a forced rest day. I felt a bit under the weather and didn’t see the need or have the desire to push myself. A. I’m on vacation. B. I’m not training for anything at the moment. So sleep, family time and wine won out over a long run.

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    Back Home + Alaska Highlights

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    I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I last updated here! After a crazy couple of months of work, I was beyond ready to have two weeks of vacation in Alaska with my family! With the exception of a day here or there, this was my first real break from work since returning to work full-time in October – and I was oh-so-ready for it.

    To maximize time in Alaska, we chose a late afternoon flight that basically flew through the night and got us in at 1am (Alaska time; 5am – NYC time). To save a vacation day, I worked from home on the day we left – right up until it was time to go to the airport. Remind me never to do this again. The day was beyond crazy. Between getting up at the normal time (4am) to fit in a workout, starting work around 7:30am so I could be finished by 12:30pm and being packed and out the door for the airport by 1:15pm. But in the middle was all the little things I needed to fit in – straightening up, doing one last load of laundry, clearing out the fridge, washing everything in the sink. After two weeks of vacation and a red-eye flight to return home, I knew the last thing I wanted was to walk in to a messy house.

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      Fall Marathon Plans + Back Home!

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      If there’s one thing I’ve learned about planning your racing calendar out, it’s that it’s not set in stone…not even your goal race.

      Last fall, I had my eyes on the Wineglass Marathon in October, but after a few weeks during the late summer where I wasn’t feeling great and wasn’t up to long runs, I decided to forego Wineglass and chose the Potomac River Run Marathon in November – which gave me an extra 5-6 weeks of training.

      Earlier this year, I signed up for Wineglass again. I wanted that to be my goal race this fall, but after Saucony reached out to me to be part of the 26 Strong program again, I decided, once again, to forego Wineglass and choose a later marathon. I had entry to NYC Marathon, so decided that would be my goal race with the Chicago Marathon with Ruth (as part of 26 strong) as a long training run.

      But there’s been this nagging feeling in my stomach about the fall that I couldn’t shake. My worry is that running 26.2 miles in Chicago with Ruth could jeopardize NYC three weeks later. I’m not the type of runner who can run 26.2 miles and recover and then RACE 26.2 miles soon after. I’m concerned that there will be some fatigue from Chicago that is lingering by the time NYC rolls around.

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        Training Highlights + Garmin Forerunner 225 Giveaway!

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        Hello from Alaska!! We are two weeks into our three week vacation and having an absolute blast. The last 15 days have been filled with nothing but outdoor adventures, delicious food, beautiful weather and time with family.

        Running and training have gone exceptionally well, especially given that we are on vacation. I’m always cautious about training during vacation. It’s definitely a fine line – I want to maximize time with family but I also want to maintain my fitness and momentum with training.

        I’m thankful that my husband and in-laws are supportive and encouraging of my running. Out of the 15 days we’ve been here, I’ve run 13 – the two missed days were because of jet lag (the 2nd day) and a packed day of hiking and driving last week. But several of the runs have been cut short – by 1-3 miles – because of shortage of time or just lack of interest to be gone for 70+ minutes at a time when the weather is nice and there are fun activities to do. And I mostly have eliminated core and strength work and cross training for the time being.

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          Heading to Alaska!

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          We leave this morning for a 3-week vacation to Alaska to visit our family (my in-laws) and do some sightseeing and relaxing! Could NOT be more excited!

          The boys have been asking about our trip to Alaska for months. We made a countdown with 12 days to go – the first words out of their mouth each morning was that it was time to take another number down!

          We spent two amazing weeks last year – and it’s a yearly tradition that my husband hope to be able to continue as long as possible!

          We weren’t sure if our trip would even happen, however, until Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, the town where my in-laws live (Willow – which is what we named our first dog after!) has been battling a large wildfire for days. After an unseasonably mild winter (they got much less snow than recent years), the state has had unseasonably warm weather with little to no precipitation. While that sounds great, it has caused most of the state to be in a high level of danger for forest fires.

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            Alaska Adventure

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            Hi Everyone!!! I had every intention of updating you at least 1-2x/week while my family was on vacation – I figured it would be a piece of cake. But there was always something that won out over blogging and after the first couple of days, I decided to just let it go, unplug and spend as little time on the computer and my phone as necessary.

            The last 15+ days were nothing short of magical. It’s impossible to accurately describe what a wonderful, whirlwind adventure it was for us. This was one of those trips where everything felt easy and each day was more fun and exciting than the previous day.  Even though our daily routines were disrupted, we fell immediately into a new routine (or lack thereof!) with no bumps along the way. I was a bit apprehensive about how traveling 18+ hours and then being away for two weeks would affect the little guys but they exceeded our expectations and acted like seasoned travelers.

            Here’s how the two weeks unfolded: We spent the first five days at my in-law’s home on Nancy Lake (about 90 minutes north of Anchorage), then headed up to Denali National Park for three days (two nights) for lots of hiking and sightseeing. We returned to Nancy Lake for a long 4th of July weekend and finished off the trip with a two nights at the Aleyska Resort (in Girdword) which included time at the resort, Wildlife Refuge and a glacier cruise.

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