Sunday: I absolutely love running out here at Vrelo Bosna. It is beautiful no matter the season. Today it was foggy and damp, making it look like the fall in August. There are always lots of runners making their way on the paths. It is a bit of a drive so we make a morning out of it. The kids run and bike while I get my run in, then we have coffee, pizza, and pasta post run for a family brunch.
Monday: I am back to making Monday my day off. I know most people say if you miss Monday, your running week is shot, but it works for me. With it being the first day of the school work week, I always like to sleep in a little after getting that luxury over the weekend.
Tuesday: Two runs today. My normal morning run and the first practice for the cross country team. They did awesome! 4.5km. We even did hills and they rocked it.
Wednesday: Early at it this morning. I am still getting used to this. It always wakes me up to get my morning run done though.
Thursday: I am sort of failing on the photo front, but it was a beautiful, foggy morning. Fall is starting. Effort wise–I think I need to start doing some speed work to get ready for a few races coming up.
Friday: I was getting a little bored of my usual running spots, so I went around some new streets today. Hopefully this weekend I can get work on my pace. I have five races coming up soon!
Saturday: Croatia consistently impressed me. It is one of the most beautiful countries I have seen. Old ruins, mountains that bump up against the Mediterranean Sea, and trails for days. That last 1.5 km up to our place offered plenty of challenge for my hill work I have been needing.
I was feeling pretty dead this week. So, I listened to my body and went slower.
Sunday: My legs were hella tired today. Two half marathons in one week, both sub 1:45 half’s, had my legs asking for a recovery run–slow n’ easy.
Monday: Shortie run. Had to get out of town and needed to hit the road early. Running can be time consuming. Good fun nonetheless.
Tuesday: Went for a beautiful trail run. I stopped and talked to quite a few day hikers and backpackers. After talking with them decided to take the family to Alpine Lake later that day. Ended up doing over 24 kilometers (I started my Garmin late on the hike). Wonderful day but certainly earned some beers by the end.
Wednesday: After 24 kilometers yesterday, I decided to take a day off this week.
Thursday: Feeling a bit sluggish but got out there and feel better for it.
Finally got around to listening to Ear Hustle. A very well done podcast that will be making the routine circulation in my audio experiences.
Friday: Felt pretty wiped out this week. Not running at peak performance but also feel okay with that. Sometimes your body just needs to take it easier.
Saturday: I decided to go to the trails today. The Oregon Trail. It was hot and dusty. Still feel like taking it slow, so am listening to my body.
So I was watching this awesome Billy Yang documentary about THE WHY…why many runners venture off into the amazing sport of ultrarunning. It’s actually a great video and I am posting it here so you should take some time out of your day and watch it if you have not seen it. I thought today […]
I signed up for this one because although I have done a few marathons, only my first two were flat. The last race I did without big elevation gains were a few years ago in the Thailand heat. Between more years of experience running and not being in such a hot and humid environment, I would like to shoot for a PR. We’ll see…
It is a ‘Christmas in July’ theme, so that should be fun. I will need to brush off my red and green compression socks and maybe find some candy canes instead of gels. I don’t know. I don’t Christmas well.
This is a tough race. I also did this one last year and it was nuts. I got lost (I will actually blog about this in the future) during a full-on blizzard. They moved it up a couple of weeks into September instead of October this year for weather reasons, I assume. It is in an absolutely gorgeous area–the mountains of Sarajevo and Vogosca. The after party looked really fun, but I was too out of it last year to fully enjoy it. Here’s to hoping this year I can enjoy the band, food, and drinks after the race a bit more.
Croatia is one of my favorite countries and this race follows the Dalmatian Coastline, so what wouldn’t be to love? It also lands over our school holiday, so I could enjoy it more without feeling too rushed to get back.
We will be making this one into a mini-holiday as it is over a regular weekend. Luckily, it isn’t too far of a drive—four hours or so. It is in a little town we have yet to explore, so this will be our chance to see a new area. It looks like a fairly low-key race, which I love. I am not a huge fan of overpopulated races. I am looking forward to this one!
What are you signed up for? Share in the comments!
Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3: Worn, Dirty, and Loved
I would just like to preface with I am not being paid by Hoka to write this. I just really, really like Hokas.
The Hoka ATR 3 is technically for the trail, but because it is light weight, it can easily be worn for both the road and trail. I have been running 70-90 km (44-56 miles) a week for over two months in mine now on both road and trail. My one complaint with the Challenger is that for extreme conditions, like lots of slippery mud or snow, there isn’t enough grip. However, for a standard trail in good weather conditions, there is plenty of traction.
As for the fit and comfort, it is pretty perfect for me. The toe box offers plenty of room, which from what I have read, is an improvement from previous models. It feels stable one rocky terrain. The arch support is really good, but I put in an insole for added support. I have tried a few different insoles but the one below seem to work best for me.
I have struggled with plantar fasciitis since my last pregnancy, but running in Hokas has completely fixed it for me. For a year, I had to tape my foot a special way before each run or I would be in excruciating pain. I had tried everything to fix it, down to acupuncture, but nothing worked. I read somewhere on the depths of the internet about Hokas being good for plantar fasciitis. I bought a pair, started running in them, and within a week, I was nearly pain free. I didn’t need to tape my foot any more. After a couple of weeks, it was 99% gone, and that is where I am now.
I just ran my first 50k Ultra in the Hoka Challenger ATR 3, and I only lost one toenail (not bad for an ultra!), had one blister, and my plantar fasciitis didn’t bother me at all. They are good for the long run.
As you likely know, I am preparing for my first Ultra. I have been gathering my needed gear for months now. What do you think–am I prepared or am I forgetting anything?
1. I am pretty proud of myself that I managed to figure out how to upload the GPX file for my race. Fingers crossed I won’t need to use it, but it will be invaluable if there are any visibility issues related to weather.
2. I picked up a battery charger as backup for my phone and Garmin. Considering how long the race will take, I will need it.
3. They are asking runners to bring their own cup because the race directors are awesome and don’t want to use a bunch of plastic cups. However, I don’t own a collapsible cup and bringing a regular cup would provide awkward in my hydration pack, so I will be doing this little trail running hack I picked up somewhere along the way. Turn a juice pack into a portable, collapsible cup. See below for photo instructions.
Apropos because the Bucegi Mountains have a lot of bears.
4. Compass. Getting lost is a possibility.
5. A whistle built into my hydration pack, also in case of getting lost.
6. Airhorn. For bears.
7. Trekking poles for the steep mountains.
8. Hat, two waterproof jackets (because I can’t decide which one), long-sleeved shirt, short-sleeved shirt, two pairs of gloves, windproof pants, legggings, headlamp, light neck gaiter, and Hoka ATR trail running shoes.
9. Paper map of the course provided by the race directors before the race.
10. Emergency foil blanket.
11. First-aid kit that includes a bandage wrap, alcohol wipes, bandaids, aspirin, safety pins, and a plastic garbage bag (just in case).
12. Food. Lots. Along with electrolytes and magnesium supplements.
15. And my Nathan hydration pack to stuff it all into.
This visual checklist makes it seem much more real. I am getting excited!
That was my first observation of Transylvania100. The elevation gain for the 50k is 3,328 meters, which is 10,919 feet. That is not the peak elevation, that is the gain!
I have wanted to do Ultra for years, but haven’t felt brave enough, or been in the right place and time. The stars sort of aligned for this and I didn’t have an excuse not do it. Naturally, I signed up.
Nume de familie
Senior 18-39 ani / years
It isn’t feasible to take my family, considering the costs of the flights and all that, so I am going solo. I haven’t traveled that far solo before, much less for the biggest race I have ever tackled. I am a bit concerned about the whole thing logistically. Luckily, I have figured out a coping mechanism–don’t think about it too much. Just run.
Run I have. I run on average 70-80 km a week anyway, and have upped that to about 90 km. That isn’t too much of a change in distance, but what I did do differently to start training is adding some elevation gain to my runs and trying to get that elevation gain on trails. I recently did a 24 km training run and was surprised by how much my legs were not used to that. I had to load up on electrolytes after each training run. Transylvania will be completely trail and in the Carpathian Mountains, so some pretty wild area.
I currently am living in Sarajevo, which is in a valley, surrounded by three large mountains and some other hills. This is fortunate for my training. During winter, I had been a bit lazy and done mostly flat runs. Lazy, and in fear of the ice on all the steep roads. This training has been good for me to kick myself back into action.
For my training runs, I really have only done a couple of these longer, steeper, trail routes. Some of my others shorter runs I still sought out elevation. I am a bit worried that this won’t leave me prepared enough, but I am hoping that between these runs and my base fitness level, it will carry me through.
I am now at the tapering stage. I hate tapering so much that I haven’t actually started it. I will probably wait until a few days before to kick it down to 40 or 50 km a week, but that is also unlikely. Tapering is by far the hardest part of training for me and I often just avoid it all together. However, I do better in a race if I do taper, so this will be a mental struggle that I grapple with in the weeks to come. There are infinite considerations in the tension between what we should do, and what we want to do.
If you check out the website and look at past results, it takes the best runners much longer to finish than your average 50k. It is a little hard for me to tell based on names, as most of them are foreign names, but it appears that the fastest woman came in around 9 hours last year. It also looks like there will be snow, wind, ropes to help climb the trails, and did I mention, elevation? I am trying to plan for all four seasons in one 50k. If everything goes right, I am hoping to come in around 10 or 11 hours. At the end of the day, I just want to finish without getting lost or injured.
I am looking forward to seeing what I am capable of both physically and mentally. In these types of races, you come out a changed, improved person. I think if you can’t figure yourself out in a race like this, it isn’t happening. I hope to find balance in nature and, consequently, in myself. I must travel to an unknown land and an unknown place within myself to achieve this.
Cheers to what can only be described in my book as an adventure.
Below is a video of the race from 2016. So much snow for May!