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Pikes Peak Marathon: Training Update #5

The Pikes Peak Marathon is now just 20 days away, and I’m feeling super prepared after taking the entire month of July as a taper month! That’s right, I am such a dedicated runner that I ended up turning the past four weeks into tapering. (For those who don’t know what tapering is it’s basically allowing your body to rest purposefully before a big athletic event.) Some athletes taper a week or two before a big race but I decided heck why not take all six weeks leading up to a big event to taper?!

Naturally I’ve been taking tapering as seriously as I have taken my regular training. I’ve been sure to incorporate a lot of useful cross training into the mix as well, which I think will really set me up for success.

A few highlights from my recent sessions:

High altitude acclimatization

PRO TIP: Spend time acclimatizing to altitude and practicing dehydration coping tactics at a high altitude lake. Especially helpful if you spend a lot of time sitting on a boat and drinking Coors Banquets. Be sure to rest your legs and not do any running or taxing physical activity.

photo-3Fourth of July at Grand Lake. 

photo-4Dehydration practice.

Arm strengthening calisthenics

PRO TIP: Let your legs rest by going on a week-long rafting trip. Focus all your energy on paddling a kayak or floating on a river. Use your legs as little as possible. Recover by hanging out at beach campsites and drinking at least a bottle of wine or 4+ beers each night.

1002987_605035333434_1043539407_nTaking a serious recovery session on the beach.

1017696_605033437234_724640619_nResting those legs like a boss.

Resistance training

PRO TIP: Continue to avoid actually going for a long run by engaging in resistance training activities. “Duning” (/dyoon-een/, verb, to make one’s way over sandy mountains) is a strong recommendation.

photo-2Dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park.

557022_10151504434512373_1018343156_nDuning.

1002134_10151504435317373_1418696125_nCooper was not a fan of duning.

Training partner

PRO TIP: Utilize a training partner to hold you accountable. It especially helps if your training partner is related to you, like say your mom, and he/she wakes you up from naps after hiking to make you go run.

photoGood thing my mom was in town to wake me up from my naps after hiking and make me go for a run. I’m a joy to wake up from a nap. I never whine at all.

Race weight

PRO TIP: Eat a healthy, balanced diet to help you reach your ideal race day weight.

photo-5Strawberry rhubarb french toast at Lou’s Food Bar. That cream cheese stuffing was pure health food.

I’m really excited to see how all this tapering will pay off for me at the Pikes Peak Marathon. It takes a lot of hard work to run as little as I have been running lately!

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On a serious note… I really have taken an extreme amount of time off in July from running, however I have still been doing some running. I ran Greys Peak (a 14er) in under three hours just before the Fourth of July, I ran twice on my rafting trip and legitimately did a lot of paddling, hiking up the Sand Dunes truly was a lot of work and on my mom’s visit this past weekend we went on two major hikes and she kicked me out of the house last night and made me go run. I have also been running during the week and have gone on a couple of trail runs recently. Still, this was not how I had pictured my training in July going when I signed up for the Pikes Peak Marathon in March. I just haven’t been willing to sacrifice enjoying my summer to train, so I really have no regrets. That being said I have gone from having an actual goal in the marathon of finishing in 7-8 hours to just wanting to finish under the race cut off.

photo-6Seen on my run up Greys Peak.

This weekend I have the Wild West Relay, one of my all-time favorite races in the world (WWR 2011 & WWR 2012), and then after that it will be August 3 and legitimately time to start tapering. As my track coach would always say, “the hay is already in the barn.” I’m still going to show up to Manitou Springs on Sunday, August 18 and toe the line and give it my best shot. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Have you ever signed up for a race and not trained for it as well as you would have hoped?

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Troop Beverly Paula Georgia Chapter

The Troop Beverly Paula Georgia Chapter was started in style today.  For our first activity, we went big: the Appalachian Trail!  Two of my friends and I went to Amicalola State Park, the site of the Southern Terminus Access Trail to the Appalachian Trail.  We left Atlanta around 6 a.m., because of course any good Troop Beverly Paula excursion leaves early.  Before we left Atlanta we also stopped for a coffee break, another Troop Beverly Paula signature activity.  We drove about an hour and a half north of Atlanta, passing through some really pretty countryside.  I am excited for fall in northern Georgia because there are tons of beautiful trees that have the potential to be amazing in a matter of weeks.  Anyway, we finally made it to Amicalola and started on the trail towards Amicalola Falls around 8 a.m.  The trail to the falls was short, just about a mile long.  However it did involve climbing more than 600 stair steps, so it was a little bit of a workout.

Amicalola Falls

The scenery in Georgia is so different from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, but not in a bad way.  In fact, I really am growing to love the towering canopies and leafy green trees.  After the falls, we headed to the Eastern Ridge Trail, which takes you to Springer Mountain, the start of the Appalachian Trail.

On our way to the AT

The trail to Springer Mountain is about 7.5 miles one way, so we only hiked part of it.  The part we hiked was incredibly pleasant though, and we really want to try to return later in the fall to check out the foliage.

Hiking the AT Approach Trail

My mom and I have actually pretty seriously talked about doing the whole AT at some point after I finish graduate school, so I was especially excited about seeing the start of the trail.  It has been her lifelong goal to do the trail, and what can I say, I am definitely my mother’s daughter.

AT Marker

The beginning of the AT journey for many people

After our hike we talked to a guy in the Visitor’s Center who gave us some ideas for our next adventures, and I think Blood Mountain is next on the list.  The name is unfortunate, but it sounds like there are a lot of great hiking opportunities there.  Overall, northern Georgia is shaping up to be pretty awesome.  I foresee an active future for the Troop Beverly Paula Georgia Chapter.