Marathon Training in 2017

So as the time looms a little closer(about 3 weeks~ until I start training for the marathon) I really need to put in perspective on what I’m trying to accomplish and what I’ve done in the past to self sabotage myself from accomplishing goals. I’ve compiled the four biggest culprits that have really prohibited me from reaching what I want. In no particular order:

  • Lack of a proper sleep schedule – This is always something that seems to bite me in the ass. I typically get around six hours of sleep a night when I’m busy, and this is honestly due to me just not going to bed. How am I supposed to recover fully if I’m not sleeping to build everything back. I need to designate a specific schedule to adhere to, even if it means, “I need to go to bed at X time to get X amount of sleep”
  • Over training – I am fairly certain this is something that happens to me a lot more than it should and I’m knowledgeable enough to know when I am over training, but I still seem to do it. I think sometimes I get way into the numbers of things and see 5 miles on the schedule, and I need to hit those 5 miles. I need to listen to my body and not my schedule!
  • Lack of proper diet – Diet Diet Diet. The saying you can’t outrun a bad diet is 100% accurate. I recently went 130+ days restricting sugar out of my diet and got to my lowest weight I’ve been in a couple years. I got back on that train pretty hard and gained about 4-6 pounds back, which I need to drop. Diet is one of those hard things to do, because once I start putting in ALL the miles, I want to eat ALL the things
  • Lack of Strength Training – I did incredibly well with 3x strength training last year for the marathon…until about half way through. I think this went along with being over trained and not wanting to put an extra 5-10 minutes in 3 times a week to essentially make me a better runner. If I’m already logging 5- 7 hours a week running, whats an extra 30 minutes to make me a better and stronger runner?!

I think there are a few other things that hold me back, but these four seem to kick my ass every time. I need to come up with a system to keep myself accountable in all of these during training, whether its just actively monitoring them or actually tallying at the end of the week whether I was able to accomplish these and if I wasn’t, what can I do to change?

I’m shooting for a hefty goal again, try to BQ, so I think seeing this as the big goal and then sub setting them with smaller goals might be my best option.

Does anyone else suffer(or previously) from any of the above? Whats your plan of action?

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Marathon Training in 2017

Field of Dreams 50k – Recap

How does a runner ring in a milestone birthday? They run a milestone distance!

I put into place a goal that by the time I turned 30 I wanted to run a 50k, so why not create one specifically for me, on my 30th birthday? In come the Field of Dreams 50k. I had my brother in law make the logo below for it, and it turned out amazing.

Field of Dreams 50k Logo done by my brother in law

My alarm went off at 4:40 am and I debated taking a snooze hit for another 10 minutes, but laid in bed knowing I wasn’t going to really benefit from it. Got out of bed to do my morning routine, ate a pre-made PB & Honey sandwich and a banana. The nerves were rolling, so the bathroom was not an issue(we’re all runners here right?!).

The first of very few obstacles hit on the drive down, the main road I was going to take was closed off due to maintenance for a bridge, but no worries it was a quick reroute to get down to the Port of Dubuque to meet up with my Fuel Mules Rob and Cory.

As soon as I pulled into the parking lot HUGE drops of rain started coming down. It was not looking like it was going to be too much fun, but thankfully it stopped. I handed off my nutrition and dry clothes to the guys and we had a little delay due to a air pump malfunction, but soon we were off!

Quite a bit of the gear I was bringing along
6 AM start included headlamps!

The first 4 miles or so we had light rain and mist, which considering the day before called for heavy rain all day, we were happy to take it. I was wearing my Honey Stinger arm sleeves that kept me nice and toasty and just my DRC New Balance shirt and this was enough to keep me warm. The amount of rain we did end up getting was just in the start, so it really kept me cool the rest of the way without being over saturated.

At mile 6 I started alternating taking  Honey Stinger Gold and Ginsting every 4 miles, along with making sure I was taking 1-2 oz of Tailwind every mile to keep up hydration and fuel. I was extremely happy to have my Simple Hydration bottle to keep my hands free and quick/easy access while running as well.

I am happy to report that there wasn’t too much variation or outlandish things happening on the run. Every time my bottle was empty I passed it off to Rob and Cory and they would fill it up and meet back up with me. We got a couple photos on the trail, you can check them out below here.

Not sure the distance, but feeling really great!
10 miles in and rocking out!
Halfway point at 15.5 miles! Smile on my face and beer in Cory’s hand!

At the halfway point I did my first Facebook Live post, It’s hard to talk/text/learn new programs  while running!

I had my live track on so around mile 21 fellow DRC member Jen drove out and cheered me on, it was a brief pass by, as I was feeling strong and didn’t want to stop, but I was happy to see her and pushed me to keep going.

Now when people talk about hitting a wall during a marathon, you expect to hear stories of how they were mentally faltered or their body seemed to give out and couldn’t push anymore. I hit a wall at mile 25…but this was a literal one! Earlier on the trail I saw a sign stating “Bridge out after mile 18 marker on trail” and this was the only sign I saw for it. Hoping and thinking that whatever issue there was would not have hindered my approach to the finish.

Rob biked ahead and snapped us a photo showing that the bridge was actually out…in a big way. It was right around mile 25 where we came up onto the bridge and we stopped trying to figure out the best approach to get around it. As we were contemplating, I asked them both if it would be OK if I just hopped over and and kept my momentum going, which they whole-heartily agreed just verifying before if I had enough hydration/fuel. I hopped the barricade, tiptoed around on the wooden beam and climbed up and jumped off the other side, thinking this is where I was going to get hurt…thankfully that wasn’t the case!

Hitting a literal wall at mile 25!
Can’t stop, won’t stop!

With that wall out of the way, I kept grinding. I saw my heart rate steadily increase and I knew that there was no way to recover it unless I slowed down. Earlier in the day I said that if I had to start walking, I hoped that I would at least make it to the marathon point and as Cory caught up to me, with Rob and now Tom(he biked to catch up) shortly behind, I hit the Marathon point at 3:49~ and showed absolutely no signs of stopping.

At this point we took off from the Heritage trail and hit the back country roads to make it out for the last 5 miles to the Field of Dreams. We were mostly covered by trees on the trail, so getting on the Iowa country roads meant that there was a lot of wind since it was open. I wish I would have taken some pictures, or in the least, had the guys take pictures because the scenery was perfect for the last 5 miles. I did however, write all the turns down on my wrist so that I wouldn’t get lost and run extra miles!

Sometimes the path is not always easy
Right after the marathon distance – cutting out to the back roads!

Between mile 27-28 I made mention that I have felt much worst on 16-18 mile runs than I did at that point and by this time I thought I would have been feeling a lot worse, but the only thing that was feeling off was tight hips with the up/downs of the country roads.

We made the cut to the final stretch of the run and I could see the Field of Dreams in the distance. I saw Allison outside with Finn and I started getting that rush of adrenaline and my emotions were running wild. I rounded into the driveway leading to the field and Allison caught me with only .25 miles left!

I wanted to make it a point to finish my run by rounding the bases, so I ended up having to run the outfield and then one more time around the bases for good measure!

Final stretch I go!

Finishing up my first 50k!

And just like that, I had become an Ultra marathoner! I was so happy to have finished and kept strong the entire way! My final time was 4:29:26 (Garmin , Strava) – After doing the math, my first 15.5 miles was 2:16:32 with my second being 2:12:51, almost negative splitting it by 4 minutes! The elevation profile was essentially an incline the entire way. The only time I stopped was to wait for traffic at intersections and the little bit of time when we were looking at the bridge.

8:41 average pace with 156 BPM on my Heart Rate. Was on an incline most of the way!


So the day I turned 30, I ran 31.05 miles(need to get that extra so Strava didn’t steal it!) at 8:41 average with 940 feet of elevation gain with an average HR of 156. I am extremely excited about how the day turned out and how well the entire run went!

I have a couple thanks to give out and I’ll start with the products first:

  • Simple Hydration – This bottle lead to such a great hands free hydration experience. Please check them out if you never carry water, as it tucks nice and clean into your waistband and don’t have to worry about weighing your arms down
  • Honey Stinger – I was first introduced to this product line from a friend and have never looked at another solid fueling source. Since its made with mostly honey(Gold gel is essentially just honey) it sits really well in my stomach
  • Tailwind Nutrition – Getting 1-2oz of tailwind every mile, the combination of gels and this were perfect and kept me energized the entire way. I had zero feeling of being crashed and had a constant stream of energy!
  • Spibelt – The Spibelt has been a great addition to my running gear as it helps keep my phone with me and can hold a lot of my gels with little bounce.
  • Injini socks – I have fat feet. I have fat feet and my toes used to get blistered on most runs. Since I’ve transitioned to Injini’s, I have had very few issues and when I did, it was mainly due to wet shoes. 31 miles folks and I had zero blisters, and I didn’t even need to change them out!
  • Garmin – Running with a GPS watch has been a giant help in my running, but the addition to allow live track has kept peace of mind to my family as they can catch me and make sure my dot is still moving. 31 miles and not a single issue!
  • Strava – Strava or it didn’t happen!!!!

And most importantly:

  • Allison – Thank you for everything you allow me to do and supporting me non-stop even when I do crazy things. You are the best wife and the greatest mother to our children!
  • Finn & Artie – I wrote down DIFF on my arm, meaning Do It For Family – My kids are high drive of what I do and they were in my thoughts the entire 31 miles
  • Rob – You’ve been a non-stop support system since I can remember and I couldn’t have done this successfully without you. I might have ran your first 5k with you, but 50k with me is more than I could ever imagine
  • Cory – We’ve been training partners for the past couple years and you’ve helped me increase my potential. Thank you for thinking of even ever running to The Field of Dreams as this would never have come across my thought stream
  • Dubuque Running Club – without everyone from the DRC, I don’t think I would be as close to how I am, running or otherwise, if it weren’t for the continued support that we all bring to the table. Here’s to many more!

Now here are some pictures at the finish! I am looking forward to doing this again sometime, whether I run it or bike it as a mule 🙂

Rounding the bases for the final time!
Hanging out with Finn on the pitchers mound. He was a little cold
Field of Dreams!!
Cory caught me on this one, not sure whats going on!
Right around mile 29 and the last incline!
Very fitting fortune from the Chinese I ate after
Snuggling with my boys after a long day


Field of Dreams 50k – Recap

Field of Dreams 50k!


Hey Guys! Remember me!?

I’ve been silent on my site, but been busy otherwise with running, work and most importantly home life!

Tomorrow, October 12th, I turn 30 years old! I had two pretty big goals I wanted to hit before then, the first was to BQ, which this years Grandma’s marathon was supposed to be the big one, but I crashed horribly. The second was to run a 50k and I have created my own event to make this happen!

In comes the Field of Dreams 50k! I live in Dubuque Iowa, which is about a 30 minute drive to the Field of Dreams. So, why not map out 31 miles to get there?


This will be the last big effort that I do for the year and I can’t wait to have this under my belt. Feel free to cheer me on if you’re around and make sure to check my twitter ( for a live track to see how I’m doing!

Happy Birthday to me!

Field of Dreams 50k!

Grandmas 2016 – Week 2

Rather uneventful week so I’ll keep most of the post short.

Monday – Strava link here

Nice and easy today after the race on Sunday. The best part about this run was the fact that Cory and I saw a cat squatting in a front yard…didn’t even move when we ran by it.

3.1 miles, 8:30 pace, 142 avg HR + 10min strength

Tuesday – Strava link here

5 miles, 8:29 pace, 151 avg HR, 392 feet of elevation

Wednesday – Strava link here

3 miles, 8:41 pace, 145 avg HR(monitor being goofy)
4x Hill sprint + 10 min strength

Thursday Strava link here

Tempo today was a little rough. Did 10 min up, 15 @ 6:29 pace, 5~ min down. We got a lot of wind on the first half of the tempo and it beat me up. HR monitor was goofy again, but from the good parts of it, seemed like my HR was where it needed to be, even though I felt terrible during the tempo portion.

Friday – Rest day, 10 min strength

Saturday – Strava link here

DRC Saturday! I was running a little behind like usual, but when I pulled in I was amazed to see how many people showed up!


I’m so proud of how far the Dubuque Running Club has come since Allison and I started this in 2012. We are rounding on four years come May and considering we had about 5 people(mostly family) that came, seeing this makes me happy!

The run was an easy 5(glad it wasn’t a marathon pace) and I felt a bit winded. Turns out the tree pollen is extremely high right now, which could be an indication of why I felt the way I did for the tempo Thursday.

5 miles, 8:11 pace, 166 avg HR(more likely around 155~)

Sunday – Strava link here

Sunday long run with Cory and Dennis. I’m route master for this time around, which is generally a good idea as I keep things interesting. We ended up hitting a lot of elevation and with the pollen, I was having issues breathing still.

We topped off at around 850 feet of elevation gain and I was wondering why I was so tired off this since I’ve done 22 milers with the same amount…and then I realized that 11 miles less stretch for that gain is a little more intense and closer together.

Regardless, its great to get out and get these long runs in again…and it was even 45-50 degrees on the run! Glad to have my Simple Hydration bottle with me!


Week 2 down, 16 to go!

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Grandmas 2016 – Week 2

Grandmas 2016 – Week 1

Week 1, Day 1 – Let the wild RUNpus start!


Day 1 was nice and easy 3 miles with 10 minutes of strength. Happy to get this started!

3 miles, 9:12 pace, 139 avg HR – Strava link here


Woke up early to get this one in with Cory. Easy 5 with a couple hills to get it started.

5 miles, 8:20 pace, 151 avg HR, 240 feet of elevation – Strava link here


Was going to get up and do this run in the morning but I went to bed with a killer headache and woke up with an even worse one. I started a sugar cut so I think this might have been the cause but I took some meds in the morning and felt good by the time I got off.

Did an easy 3 followed by 4x hill sprints at full effort for 10~ seconds followed by 10 min of strength.

3 miles, 8:40 pace, 145 avg HR – Strava link here


DRC Thursday! Met up with the club and was able guide some of them out to a local hill for our hill repeats. Like last cycle I did a .25 hill with a 5-7% incline and tried to keep it around marathon pace. The first one was a bit fast and had to slow it down for the next two. Out of all the workouts, this is my least favorite.

3 x .25 hill repeats – 1:33, 1:42, 1:42 – Strava link here


Rest day! Stuck with 10 minutes of strength only.


DRC Group run – We had a race on Sunday so Cory and I swapped out our long run to Saturday. 10 miles with some hills in them in beautiful weather! First of many long runs to come! Only problem I had for the day was that my Heart rate monitor seems to be acting a little off.

10 miles, 8:13 pace, 599 elevation gain – Strava link here


Sunday marked one of my favorite races in the winter time, the Chili Chase in Davenport. I technically had 5 at marathon pace scheduled so I originally was going to do this 4 mile run around that, but the race day adrenaline got the best of me!

Ended up cruising out pretty fast and hit some fast pacing for the race. This isn’t a flat course by any means and the last mile has a pretty good sized hill at the finish. The only good thing about the hill? You start down it too, so a quick fast mile is in order!

We had a couple of the DRC gang down there just spectating and Shannon ended up taking pictures. I ended up posing behind Cory at the start, which basically sums up our entire runs together.

Chili Chase 2016-16

I could tell I went out way too quick on the first mile and went into anaerobic pace right off the bat, which effected me towards the end of the race. Although I was shooting for 6:45~ that was soon out the window. 4 miles at 6:28 = 5 at 6:45 right? haha

I could hear some people behind me from mile 2.5 and on but I kept up my pacing so I wouldn’t get passed. I ended up picking it up on the last bit on the hill and they couldn’t keep up or pass me.

Chili Chase 2016-31

Ended up finishing 16th overall(1 second from 15th!) and felt pretty good with the race today. Again my HR monitor ended up messing up so unfortunately I can’t mine that data.

My splits ended up being 6:20, 6:18, 6:33, 6:41 – 6:28 avg with 158 elevation gain
Strava link here

Week 1 in the books! Excited to keep moving forward!

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Grandmas 2016 – Week 1

Iowa Games 5k

So completes the 5k cycle that I am on!

I went into this race knowing that mile 3 started on a hill that spanned about 150~ feet. That being said I was giving myself a little buffer and knew that I couldn’t match my BYOBib 5k time.

I was shooting for a 19:30 and ended up hitting 19:25!

Warm up

I started the day off with a warm up “Priming” with Cory. I’ve tried this tactic before but always forget about it and I want to say it definitely helped today. This consisted of running easy for 3 minutes, picking up the pace for a minute and repeating those two steps again. The point of this is to get your body used to that speed so it can utilize oxygen efficiently by the time you start the race.

The first speed up I was feeling a winded(6:34~ pace) but by the second one I hit a 6:04 pace feeling good.

Mile 1

I started out the race jockeying into position – as per usual I ran out the gate pretty heavy but adjusted accordingly after the about .25 miles. Seeing my watch at a 5:30 pace, I knew I would be in trouble if I kept it up so I slowed it down to around a 6:05 pace.

The hill on mile 3 was also the downhill on mile 1 so I actually ran the hill smart and posted a 5:58 for the first mile. I tried focusing on my breathing and letting gravity do the work, but I still feel like I used too much energy and need to work on it.

Mile 2

The hill still continued for a little bit on the second mile so I used that to my advantage as well but turning off the street to go to the turn around was another smaller incline so it took me down a bit.

At the turn around(I do not like pinpoint turns around cones!) I tried to get a little boost as there was a person in front of me I was trying to catch and another person behind me that I didn’t want to catch me.

I started to head back up to the hill and immediately I could feel my pace dropping. There was about .1 of the 2nd mile going on that hill. 2nd mile was a 6:13.

Mile 3

Mile three was where the real struggle would occur. Already winded and knowing I had to hike up this hill I tried to keep calm. I glanced down at my watch and saw I was sitting around a 7:30 pace and knew it wouldn’t do so I tried picking it up a little bit, I ended up cruising up the hill at about a 7:10 pace, which OK as I could use the rest of the mile to get back on track.

I have stressed a lot in the past couple years that you should never stop at the top of a hill you just ran up because it is better to do a race day situation where you wouldn’t and teach your body how to recover…and I did just that.

I quickly hopped back onto a 6:20-6:30 pace and maintained it until I we started rounding to the 3 mile mark…that person was still ahead of me.

.1 and the “Hinton Kick”

Trying to gauge the guy ahead of me I kept thinking, “If this guy is in my age group and beats me to get a higher place medal than me, I won’t live it down”. With that I started kicking it in with the last .1 left.

I started slowly gaining on and then I went into full fledged BEAST MODE! As I was passing him I let out my grunts as I pushed as hard as I could. I ended up beating him by 3 seconds and guess what? He was in my age group.

My last .1 posted at a 4:46 pace topping at 4:05 pace at the final kick.


Post race

After I finished I was beat. I knew I pushed my hardest and probably couldn’t have done too much better and I am more than OK with that.

After cheering all the other DRC members in Cory and I went for an easy mile cool down and we waited for the awards to start.

We ended up with 5 medals and had the top male finisher as well!


Snagged 2nd place with 19:26…and got a new toy for Finn


Glad to be able to take a nice easy two weeks coming before the marathon training starts. I think I’ll start off by taking this next week entirely off 🙂

Happy Running!

Strava link here

Iowa Games 5k

3rd Annual DRC Light Run!


Tonight was the Dubuque Running Club’s  3rd annual light run!

We have come a long way since we started and its great to see such a turn out for this.

If you don’t run with people or are hesitant to run with a club, you should at least try it! It can be scary but it is worth it!

3rd Annual DRC Light Run!

Sunday Runday with the Gang


Got out on the trails with DRC members, Shannon, Elisabeth, Cory and his dog Lucy…which she lasted the full 8.5 miles!

Today was an easy run out on the trails and gravel roads to help recover. Was slated for 65 minutes on the schedule, but not following it to a T because I know I’m more than there with my fitness and going some extra distance on Sunday’s, as long as they are easy, is OK.

Can’t believe there is still some green out there…and its 20 degrees warmer than yesterday!

8.5 miles. 9:35 pace. 141 avg HR. 574 elevation gain.

Strava link here

Sunday Runday with the Gang

Tristate Toys for Tots Run


Had the annual Toys for Tots run today!
A lot of the DRC came out to run, but the MVRA attracted a whole lot of runners this year.

The course is a 9 mile tri-state run, starting in Iowa > Wisconsin > Illinois > Iowa

I couldn’t safely get a picture of the Iowa welcome sign, so you get to see some other runners instead : )

Today was supposed to be 4 “fast” miles on the schedule, but I couldn’t pass this up.

9.1 miles. 8:03 pace. 158 avg HR. 608 elevation.

Update: Here’s the group picture before!

Tristate Toys for Tots Run