Life and a Link-up


Being a farmgirl and all, the other day during a run – of course it was during a run because that is when my mind reeeeallllly wanders – I was thinking of training like farming. You know, you do a hard training run. Then you do some stretching, some recovery runs, some drills, some plyometrics, some Pilates, some healthy eating and a little wine drinking. Etcetera. Etcetera. All of those things help to nourish that little seed. Then that speed workout gets faster. The tempo run gets longer. The long run gets, well, even longer AND harder. And when harvest comes, you’ve turned that teeny tiny seed into a big strong plant, able to produce max yield.

That’s what I want.

Maximum yield.

Lots of tomatoes.

Or around here, corn.

Then I thought, wait. No. I need to back up one step further. It sort of stopped me in my tracks that the seed is not the time trial sort of training run gauging my fitness; instead, the seed is what’s planted in my heart. It’s the desire to do, to act, to “go for it!”

That’s the seed!

That’s where the trust comes in. The hopes I have for the year are psycho. Out of control. Capital P – psycho. They make less sense than last year’s goals. But since it could only have been an act of God that got me into the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon, then I’ll trust that He’s not going to give me a dream without also giving the resources to bring the dream to pass. And so I sure as heck better step out in faith and maximize what I’ve graciously had placed in my hands.


So here’s how training is going.

Oh and thanks for hearing out my rambling thoughts, by the way.

I’m taking it upon myself to kick up the accountability and join a little Training Update Link-up party hosted by Jessica at I think she’s onto something with sharing weekly updates of training, including something she’s pleased with and something she knows she needs to work on. So check out her motivating blog and the others also linked-up.


December was a bit off. Literally, I barely ran. I meant for that to happen, but I didn’t mean to be so stressed out. If you follow regularly, you know that my husband broke his collar bone. The time that was supposed to be rest was just mentally more draining than what I thought it would be. It didn’t feel like a break for any of us. He was in so much pain, and we had appointments every other day. It was just really kind of hard.

So I’ve been building up from the basically two and a half weeks of no running. I started back up on Christmas day. Yes, it was a huge gift to get out there. I did a 45-mile week. Did a couple of 65-mile weeks. This week should be around 75 miles. Much like last summer and fall when I hit my first stretch of several 100-mile weeks, the more I run, the better I feel.

I know, it’s strange.

In addition to the mileage, I’ve had a couple good workouts. I’ve been working a lot on sprinting. Lots of 60-100 meter sprints. Sprinting at around a 5:00/mile pace or faster is what I need to strengthen my form, especially when done at the end of a run. Plus, it will make my goal marathon pace seem like tiptoeing through tulips.

This workout on the treadmill instead of in the -11° tundra, did NOT feel like tiptoeing.


But I’m trusting that it will come.

So all in all I’m pleased with how the build-up phase is going.

Food as fuel

An area I know that I need to work on is fuel.

I’m my own guinea pig.

Here’s an example of one of my experiments: From December 25 until January 8, I did what’s called the Two-Week Test. Dr. Phil Maffetone created the test where you exclude any sort of carbohydrate other than what’s naturally found in some vegetables and subsist off of fats, meats and vegetables.

So no fruit, no breads, and no, well, anything that tastes good.

Um, yeah, it was kind of a bland Christmas and New Year’s.

But you can have dry wine and heavy cream, so that helped.

Pretty much had a glassful of each in either hand throughout the holidays.


No, actually, that was pretty close to reality.

The point is to remove foods that spike your blood sugar for 14 days. Then reintroduce fruits and other carbs slowly to see how you feel and how they impact your health, mental clarity, function, digestion, everything.

It really showed me exactly what I thought, which is that I do have an iron gut. I don’t really feel any different in terms of my digestion with or without carbs. But it helped me to see that I don’t need as much of the bread-type carbs as I perhaps used to rely on. I’m working on fueling more with sweet potatoes, regular potatoes and carb-rich vegetables like squash. These good carbs, I know, are the ticket to a leaner me.

Marathon runners are lean. No news flash, right?

Since getting my fuel just right is tricky for me, I’m trying to do something about it. I’ve been using the MyFitnessPal app to track all my food intake. Right now I’m at the same weight that I was when I when my ran my Olympic Trials Qualifying marathon. That was about 5-7 pounds heavier than I imagined my ideal weight I needed to be to allow me to run my fastest. (Also a part of the miracle!) Looking ahead, I still believe that really I need to be leaner to improve. Sorry if you’re rolling your eyes, I’m just being honest.

Consider some of fastest female marathoners, Shalane Flanagan or Deena Kastor or even the super lean world record holder, Paula Radcliffe, who each have a body mass index of about 18, maybe less? Not sure. I am more like a smidge over 20. I know BMI means nothing really, but it is one way to calculate body composition. I’m not concerned with dropping a huge bunch of weight; for instance, were I to lose 5 pounds that would still put me around 19.5 BMI. That’s all I’m talking about, not an astronomical change, just a realistic handful of pounds to make me lighter, leaner and faster. I’m determined to figure out my fueling to best use the tools placed in my hands. If I’m going to do this, then I need to do everything I can to give myself the best shot to run the fastest marathon of my life.

The highest yield, right?

Gotta give Shalane a run for her money. HA!

So fuel is just one piece of the puzzle and something I’m working on.

Stay tuned for future training updates. I hope to keep them coming.

How is your training going?

Have you “figured out” fueling? I would love to hear your tips, if so.


7 thoughts on “Life and a Link-up

  1. Understand the fuel issue. I have been mostly recovering from the Chicago Marathon. I have only recently been able to hit the miles and paces that I am targeting. But what has been hardest is dropping 2-3 lbs to what I consider my “race weight”. It started with a little “carb-loading” from preparing Chicago, that I let continue post-marathon and haven’t been able to go back to the eating regiment that I had before. I will be really worried if I don’t drop those 2-3 lbs in the next few weeks.

    • I know, that carb-loading is SO tricky. It can be easy to let the carb-loading start new habits. I hope the training paces keep coming more and more naturally. Isn’t it funny what a few pounds can do to ya?! Seems so insignificant, but it’s for real. Best to ya. ~Susie

  2. Thanks so much for linking up with me. I absolutely loved reading your month in review. I bet the time off, albeit hard, was really good for you. You are such an outstanding runner and I am motivated reading about your high weekly mileage and your speedy paces. Additionally, I don’t know how you did your 2-week detox during the holidays. I’ve been doing no sugar (other than what occurs naturally in fruits, veggies and dairy) and no bread for the past 22 days but I still have other things that can satisfy me. Kudos for making it through that.

    I was all about the marathon last year. I ran 3 marathons with all of my focus being on the Chicago Marathon (my highest weekly mileage was 61 which I was proud of … when I train for a goal race again I will shoot for the 70s as I know the higher mileage will help me from 19-24 where I struggled the most). I qualified for Boston for the first time and was super happy that the hard work paid off. I love that whether we run a 2:42 or a 3:34, we still face the same challenges and are still thrilled with our results because running is such a personal and relative thing. And yet, it connects strangers everywhere. 🙂 I just love that. This year for me is all about trying to run and train for fun so I can try to have a baby. I’ve still been working hard, but no high mileage and no formal speed work. Trying to back off a bit although I just signed up for a March half marathon. Ha. I look forward to following your training and linking up with you and very glad to have found your blog. Go get em!

    • Jessica! I’m horrified that I just saw this comment! I’m sorry. First, yay for the long stretch sans sugar/breads. I think that would be harder than two weeks of very, very low carb. I’m sure you’re feeling great though. Sugar’s the devil.

      I’m glad too that you see the importance of the higher mileage. It takes so much time, but it is so worth it in the end. Like you said, the last 10k of a marathon can really be nasty if that base mileage has not been thrust onto the legs. It’s the residual fatigue that really builds that marathon strength/endurance.

      And so cool that you mentioned no matter the pace, we all face the same challenges. I’ve talked with two or three other runners about this exact same thought. We are all the same! So fun to jump on each other’s bandwagon and support one another. I hope your half marathon training goes well and blessings with pregnancy. A baby changes everything in the best way possible.

      Thanks for the cheers! Best to you! We’ll be in touch! ~Susie

  3. Pingback: Finding Freedom in my Harness | Flexitarian Filly

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