Crushing goals, doing the unthinkable and still going strong

Disclaimer: I received an 4 month training package with Endure Strong to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

We are officially at the end of July and we have been enjoying an amazing summer so far!  I figured that now was a good time to pop on and fill you all in on where I’m at with training!

As you may recall, I started training with Team Endure Strong at the beginning of May.  I am now officially through 3 months of training and I can tell you, this has been the most amazing few months of running I have had!  As I mentioned in my last training post, in just the first 8 weeks I saw some great improvements in my running.  Since then, things have kept moving forward in epic fashion!

My biggest “win” thus far in this training journey happened at the end of June.  It was the annual Titletown Ultra Series here in Green Bay.  I was signed up for the 8 hour option.  I ran this same course 2 years ago and ran a 50k in 8:53 (I signed up for the 15.5 hour option so I could hit that 50k and not worry about my time).  This year, I gave myself a cut off.  I had 8 hours to do as many miles as I could.  I had a soft goal of hitting that 50k mark again, but a lot of that plan was going to depend on the weather.  When it gets too warm, I struggle!  Heat and running DO NOT mix well for me.  Deep down, I knew that as long as I hit a marathon distance (26.2 miles) I would be happy.

Race morning arrived and the weather was perfect.  I knew it was going to get warmer later, but I was not going to complain about the early morning!  Just before mile 1, my Guardian Angel found me!  I met Wanda 2 years ago at the same race and we made a promise to run a few loops together this year.  We fell into step and headed off.  Once she realized my 50k goal, she made it her mission to help me get there.  Over the next 8 hours we ran, we walked, we laughed and enjoyed the day.  She kept me going many times!  In the end, she got me to that 50k marker in 8 Hours and 6 minutes.  Yes, that almost a 50 minute 50k PR for me!  Wanda may have helped me get there that day, but I know that my training with Endure Strong helped prepare me for this event!  Without the hours of training, variety of workouts, and precise paces to hit for each and every workout, I know I would now have been able to do what I did!

Since everything in my training up until this point was preparing me for the Ultra, I needed to get my next plan started.  Andrew (the coach I am working directly with) helped me pick the best plan to get me moving towards my big fall race… a half marathon at the end of September that I have a pretty specific PR goal for!  Since this race was 13 weeks out from the Ultra, the 12 week plan fit perfectly, giving me a week “off” after the Ultra for recovery.  Once of the things that I really like about Endure Strong is the variety of plan available.  Once you decide what level runner you are (beginner, intermediate, advanced or elite), you then have your choice of several 12 or 16 week plans that are based on the average number of miles you are running each week.  Andrew and I selected the 12 Week Intermediate Half Marathon Plan: 35 Peak Weekly Miles for me this time.

Each time you start a new plan, you have the opportunity to adjust your pace zones to reflect on where are are now at with your running and fitness.  We made a few tweaks to my paces and I was ready to go. Since everything I was working on in the last few months was endurance to get me to the Ultra, this next plan was going to focus more of speed as I was looking for that PR.  I made the mistake of looking ahead to check out some of the workout… maybe I shouldn’t have done that because some of the paces I was going to be shooting for in training over the next few months looked kind of intimidating!

As I mentioned, I had a nice “recovery” week between the Ultra and starting my next training plan.  The goal for that week was to give my body some time to recovery, get in a few short runs during the week, but nothing too drastic.

Anyone who knows me will agree that recovery and take it easy are 2 things that I struggle with!  I did ok for the first few days (no running for 4 days) but then it was 4th of July and we were up north…  I decided to sign up for the Liberty Run 5k.  I didn’t have  goal in mind.  I was going to run it for run and go with whatever pace felt good.  I knew I was still recovering so I didn’t have much in term of expectations.  This is always just a fun even with one of my best friends from high school.

This is a pretty small race in a small town so there was only 37 people total running the 5k.  We lined up on main street and headed out on the hilly course!  Granted there is only 1 hill, but it is over a mile ling.  Apparently, my body felt good and was ready to run!  We headed out and I found a comfortable pace.  As we started up the hill, right around mile 1, I was surprised to see a sub 10 minute mile pace!   In the end, I finished in 28:43, good enough for 2nd in my age group!

I realized that all the workouts in the last few months had been helping me get to this… running on tired legs!   I enjoyed the rest of the week with minimal running (kept it to a few morning walks) and let my body finish the recovery process.

I will be honest, the 1st few weeks of this new training plan, I struggled.  Some days, I just didn’t want to run.  Both physically and mentally!  It also didn’t help that we started getting some unseasonably warm and HUMID weather here in Wisconsin.  Running outside when it’s above 80 degrees is something I really struggle with.  I also HATE running on the treadmill (hence why I refer to it as the Dreadmill).  In the end, in those 1st 2 weeks of this training plan, I missed more workouts than I have in the last 6 months.

I’m excited to say that this week, I got myself back on track, got in my workouts and am moving forward.  Yes, it’s still been warmer than usual and the humidity has not been my friend, but thanks to the continued support from the ES team, our training calls every other week and the motivation on the chat boards, I know that I will be ok.  On those warm days, I give myself some grace on the paces, I’m listening to my body and slowing down when I need to.

This has been one of the most fun summers of training ever and I am convinced that it is because of the variety of workouts, the support of the coaches and the awesome team of other runners that I have the ability to connect with.

I still have 2 months before my target race and I am looking forward to the next 8-is weeks of training.

Wait… did I really just say that?

Yes!  While I always enjoy running and all of the places it takes me, I have always struggled with the training part.   For the 1st time in YEARS, I can honestly say that I am excited for some tough training!

As we get closer to the big day, I’ll be sure to post another recap!  Hope you are enjoying your summer and are taking advantage of every opportunity that you are presented with!

If you are looking to change up your training, give Team Endure Strong a look!  At $40 a month, it’s well worth it!

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