Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Trails and 3 weeks of Ultra Training Recap...

This weekend totally kicked butt! Seriously! I spent Saturday afternoon on a new trail system with a few runners from a Facebook group I had joined after Woodstock.  I had heard only a few things about Stinchfield Woods and what I had seen was beautiful so I threw it out there as a possible meet up and trail run location.  I had planned out an 8 mile route, but the map was not the greatest and the trails were not marked, so the map that we had quickly became a "reference".  The 7 of us headed out and as we got to intersections someone basically just picked a direction.  The good thing about Stinchfield is it really is not that large and has a few key land marks, like the observatory, to help guide you out of a trail.  After 3 hours and 10.75 miles (there was a ton of stops, picture taking, overall marveling at the beauty of the woods), we were all starting to get cold and it was getting late so we called it a day.  It was really awesome to explore a new place with some really cool fellow runners.  However after looking at the Garmin data, there are still so much more to explore and I cannot wait to check it out again soon.

Now for a little ultra training recap.  It is looking like Land Between the Lakes will be my first 50 miler next March and I am training like that's the plan.  So far the first 3 weeks have been great, the first two weeks I hit the milage and actually exceeded last weeks by 1 mile, however this week ended up being 12 miles short.  This shortage came from only reaching 10.75 on the trails yesterday, and skipping a 6 mile run all together today and using the elliptical instead.  My right shin has been bothering me for several weeks (looking back it has been a nagging cramp for months), and the muscle next to it is constantly cramping during runs, so I decided it needed a break today and would benefit from a low impact workout followed by some rolling.  I know for me to run 2 50 milers and 1 100 miler next year I have to train and race smart. It is going to be a matter of trusting my gut when it comes to training as well.  I know that some days the miles will be important, but as we head into a Michigan winter, hours on my feet will be taking precedent to actual miles logged once the trails become snow covered.  It is going to come down to putting in the work, and if I need a rest day taking, not because I have an excuse to not run but honestly asking myself if I can benefit from something else like rest, yoga, cross training, or an elliptical.  The biggest problem I have had over the last 3 weeks is my appetite! The increase in miles has made me hungry, like EAT ALL THINGS hungry.  So next week my goals is to make 100% clean eating choices when I get hungry, not just 75% of the time and then raid the pantry for sweets the other 25%.  Getting my eating habits under control again is going to be important because the last thing I want to do is carry extra weight for 100 miles.
If you want to follow my daily training I can be found on Dailymile (click here).

How was your running weekend? Do you run for time or milage or both?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Inside My Bear II

A few days ago Alex on Instagram asked me what was inside my Victory Sportdesign Bear II.  I picked up the Bear II back in August before Run Woodstock after hearing about it on Ultrarunner Podcast.  It was the best bag I could find to keep me organized and hopefully minimize time at aid stations looking for whatever I needed, and considering it was designed by ultra runner Victor Ballesteros, I figured he knew what worked. (Which by the way it did work and I did not have trouble finding anything at Run Woodstock during the 50K)  Right now since I do not have any ultras for a few months it has been converted from a "drop bag" to a pick up and go running where ever and whenever bag. (This saves me time for the stupid early runs because I can easily grab my headlamp/my handheld/or anything else I may "need")

Overall opinion on the Bear II: Sturdy construction, color is bright so it is easy to find and also does not make things "lost" in the bottom of the bag like bags with darker colored interiors, lots of pockets for organization and clear outer front/top sleeves to "personalize" the bag (perfect for those that like to visualize their goals).

Biggest Concern: Everyone is going to catch on to the awesomeness that is the Bear II and next thing you know it will just be a sea of red drop bags. I also wish it was just a tad larger and have thought about eventually purchasing another one for clothes/shoes at races. (But I am holding out to see what their new bag the Grizzly looks like first)

So here is what I am currently storing in mine at the moment:
Everything packed up nicely (There is still a good 2" at the top that I can fold up a shirt/shorts/socks and throw them in there)
Left side of the bag & contents from the "Food" and "Misc" pockets (not shown is 2 pairs or gloves which are drying w/ the laundry & a Simple Hydration bottle which is in the washer)
Right side of the bag with contents from the "Personal" and "Safety" pockets (not shown Garmin/Road Id/Endorphin Warrior Bracelet b/c they are next to my computer) 
Top little pockets for meds/batteries/misc little things
For a small and compact bag it stores a ton of stuff and it is all easily accessible.  It even came in handy on our recent family vacation when the oldest kid was having allergy issues.  We were able to take care of it at a rest stop with some allergy medicine from my Bear II (which I had brought incase I could squeeze a run in).  I would recommend this product to anyone looking for either a drop bag or an all purpose running bag.

Disclaimer: Pictures were taken with my less then stellar phone at 6 am but you can get the idea of what the bag is all about.  I purchased the Bear II and was not in anyway compensated or instructed by Victory Sportdesign to write a review.  Opinions as always are my own. 

How do you store all of your running stuff and keep it organized?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mash up and wrap up....

First up the winner of the Island Boost Giveaway: There is no winner because Rafflecopter is acting funny & telling me it cannot pick a winner so the people that entered will all get a sample of Island Boost to try, be on the look out for an email coming later today. (These samples are from my own stash because that is how much I believe in the product Island Boost did not sponsor this giveaway or provide me with any compensation to giveaway their product)

Second: My guest post ran this week over on Going Long & the transition to Ultra Running...check it out, it was a fun piece to write.

Third: Working on my 2014 plan and finalizing the races that I would like to run, planning out training schedules and getting started in my quest for a 100 Mile Belt Buckle. Stay tuned for a detailed plan in the next few days.

Now off to catch up on laundry and housework since while mini vacations are fun they often mean 2 times as much work when I get home. (The memories created are totally worth it though). 

Happy Wednesday & Carry On!