{Monday Motivation} Build the New

Well 2013 has almost come to an end and that can only mean people are going to start focusing on their 2014 New Year’s Resolutions. We all make them and (to be completely honest with ourselves) we all break them. I think the key to sticking to a New Year’s resolution is to build on where you are already. If your goal is to start running but you don’t workout yet, maybe you want to think about committing yourself to at least an hour and a half of exercise per week then look into a run/walk program like this one. Maybe your goal is to run faster and qualify for Boston (like someone I know…) maybe focus on speed and shorter distances in the spring and set your sights on a goal fall marathon. Maybe you want to get stronger, lose weight, eat healthier, work on staying in touch with far-away-friends. Whatever it is, focus on where you are already and build on that. Then you won’t be setting yourself up to fail and you can stick to your resolution. Happy New Year!

Build

2013 Year of Running

2013 has been a huge year for me- both in my running life, professional life, and personal life. It definitely wasn’t the easiest year but I think I’ve really grown and my running has completely exceeded my expectations. To wrap up the year (before writing my 2014 goal post) I thought I’d take part in Miss Zippy’s link up that I saw some of my favorite run bloggers doing. So, here it is, my 2013 year of running:

Best race experience… Although I ran my first two marathons this year, I honestly think my best race experience was running Hood to Coast. It was my first relay and the memories I made over those few days with my team are unforgettable. I also, unexpectedly, ran some of my fastest race times ever. I would do it over again in a heartbeat.

Start Line

Best run… About a quarter of the way through training for Marine Corps, I was already feeling pretty run down and unenthused by being in marathon training again. But just when I needed it the most, the running gods gave me a completely perfect and blissful run in Maine. It was incredible.

Best new piece of gear… Saucony Mirage 4, life changers. I started wearing these in October and they have completely changed my running. Before switching over I was in some pretty clunky stability shoes but I wanted less, a more natural feel. My co-worker, and RW Gear Guy, Jeff, let me wear-test the new Mirage 4s and I fell in love with them.

mirage

Best piece of running advice received … from Dorothy Beal– “You are that fast.” Before running Hood to Coast, Dorothy said this to me. I’ve been known to really hold back when it comes to running fast. I don’t like to get to that uncomfortable place. But Dorothy somehow knew I was going to run hard during HTC and she was right. It was the first time I had ever average sub-8:00/miles and it was incredible.

Me and Dorothy

Most inspirational runner… Oh gosh, this is a tough one. I’ve met so many incredible people running this year that it’s really hard to pick just one. But if I had to chose I’d say Sarah Canney (Run Far Girl). I met Sarah when we were teammates at Hood to Coast and hearing her story about her son brought me to tears but it also made me so incredibly amazed at how resilient, positive, and strong she was when facing the worst. Not to mention she kept running through it all. Kudos to you Sarah! You’re incredible girl!

Throwing up a power arch for Sarah on her last leg!

Throwing up a power arch for Sarah on her last leg!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

My mantra this year was “She believed she could, so she did.” I even wore an Erica Sara bracelet with this saying engraved on it during my training for Big Sur. This was a year of big goals for me. I became a marathoner and fell even deeper in love with the sport and everything that running has brought into my life. This saying helped me when I first started running in 2012 and has kept me going this year.

She believed she could

{Monday Motivation} Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

One of my favorite shows of all time is Friday Night Lights and this quote from it is just perfect. In running, or any sport really, you have to make the decision to either go for it and be all in, or hold back. The scary thing about really going for it is the chance of failing. By holding back, there’s room for error. But sometimes going for it is half the fun. If you fail, you can always try again. So, like Coach Eric Taylor always said to his team, you have to have clear eyes and full hearts, because with that, you can’t lose. Happy running this week!

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

Running Through a Winter Wonderland

Snowy Run2Sometimes, there’s nothing more peaceful than a winter run in the snow. Last weekend my boyfriend and I went up to Jacobsburg State Park, a reservation with miles of trails – technical and easy – just north of the Lehigh Valley. We knew it might be risky because a snowstorm was coming into the region but when we got there, the snow falling lightly around us, we couldn’t wait to head out on the trails.

We hadn’t really planned our route too much ahead of time. We looked at a map and thought we’d try out one of the longer routes, even though it went through some of the hunting land. I think we made it about a tenth of a mile onto the trail before spotting our first hunter, who luckily spotted us as well, and told us it would be best for us to run on the non-hunting land. We took his word for it, turned around and headed for the shorter loops.

The trail we picked had about a mile of some pretty technical, narrow paths. We took it very slow, due to the difficulty and the snow, but I think I had a smile on my face the entire time.

As we kept climbing up the trail, I was careful to keep my eyes on the path in front of me, instead of the pretty snow falling around us. But the second I took my eyes off I felt my legs come out from under me and I was on the ground. I had hit a patch of ice on the downhill but recovered almost gracefully. I had thought I’d be fine running on the trail because I was wearing my new trail shoes but turns out you can’t be saved from snow covered ice sometimes. I brushed off the snow that had covered my legs and we kept running along.

We only did just over 4 miles on the trails before the snow really started coming down and we decided we should head home. This was the first time I had run trails in the snow and I learned a lot. Some of the tips I gathered are:

  1. Check the hunting laws in the area– We checked before we left, and knew it was the last day of rifle season, but thought we’d be fine to run through anyway. When conditions are a little dicey though, be on the safe side and run in non-hunting areas. Here’s a great article from Runner’s World about how to run safely through hunting season.
  2. Wear trail shoes– Although I did wipe out once, I probably would have fallen a lot more had it not been for my trail shoes. I have a pair of Nike Zoom Kigers that I wear not only on trails but on snowy/icy roads. Trail shoes are a great alternative to Yaktrax for winter running.

    Nike Zoom Kiger

    Nike Zoom Kiger

  3. Keep you strides short– Running on trails is different than running on the road. You’ll want to keep your stride shorter to avoid falling.
  4. Watch where you’re going– It’s fun to look around but when the trail gets technical keep your eyes on the path you’re running on to avoid any roots or dips you might miss.
  5. Don’t worry about pace– On some of the technical parts of the trail we went as slow as 11:00/mile but that’s because we were climbing and dodging trees. Trail running in the snow will also feel a lot harder so focus more on effort than pace.
  6. Have fun!– Running through snowy woods is peaceful and exciting. It’s an adventure. You’ll feel like a kid again so enjoy it!

Do you have any other tips for running on trails in the winter? Share them below!

Funning

Funning in the snow!

Funning in the snow!

Lately my training routine has consisted of a little something I like to call “funning.” Yup, that’s fun + running = funning.

After almost an entire year of seemingly non-stop training for my first two marathons (Big Sur and Marine Corps), which included a 26-minute PR, I was ready to take a break immediately after crossing the finish line. While some marathoners cross the finish line already scheming their next race, I thought to myself, nah, I’m good… for now.

As I posted a few weeks ago, my focus post-Marine Corps has been on getting faster – #operationgetspeedy. Part of getting faster (for me, at least) is letting myself shy away from a rigid training plan. I need to start to become familiar with my comfort zone and the feeling of jumping right out of it. Going to intervals on a Wednesday just because I feel like it. Running up the side of a mountain in Bethlehem and then doing a long run the next day. Running some miles with my speedy boyfriend. Taking it slow sometimes because I feel like it. While all of this might not seem fun to your average person, I’ve been having a blast.

The only race I have on my schedule in the near future is the Disney World Half Marathon in January. Originally my goal was to shoot for under 2 hours, my previous half PR but following a recent training run where I averaged 8:20/mile or faster, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.

Type-A Hannah would typically take this, make a structured training plan, and shoot for a new goal of something ridiculous like a 1:45. But I’m tired of all that and I just want to run whatever I want to run. Moreover, I want to just have fun.

So I’m just going to keep running whatever I want to run whenever I want to run it and see what happens at Disney. Disney will be a test and I’ll re-evaluate my half marathon goals for the Spring to see what a reasonable time goal would be. Until then, I’m just going to keep on funning along.

Happy running, all!

{Monday Motivation} Test Your Limits

People always say running is a great metaphor for life. I like running because it gives you an opportunity to constantly improve on yourself, whether that means setting a new PR, getting stronger, or trying to go for the win. But it takes guts and courage to go for those bigger goals and most of that confidence comes from believing you can do it. The training is the easy part, it’s the leap of faith that can be the hardest obstacle. So go out there and test your limits. Happy running this week!

test the limits