Catching Up (Why I have been mostly MIA)

I feel like I have been completely neglecting the blog lately.  It is a daily occurrence that I think to myself “I need to blog about that…” but I have had zero time to blog anything! To say life has been crazy the last two weeks is an understatement.  In the past two weeks I have traveled to Minnesota for my second Ragnar Relay, put in almost sixty hours of manual labor at work on a painting/renovation project, spent a weekend downtown to participate in the Chicago Triathlon, battled a summer cold, attempted to stay afloat with work and maintain some sort of a workout schedule.  I am exhausted just recounting that! I am planning to blog in more detail about the active events soon, but here is a little update on my last couple of weeks. 

It has been a week and a half since Ragnar Relay Great River.  I went into this quite blindly not knowing a single one of my eleven teammates.  It turned out to be an amazing experience and definitely a highlight of my running season.  My team was named the “Assorted Nuts.” This was very fitting in the best possible way.  Here is a tiny glimpse of our weekend in photos.
So many gorgeous water & country views on this course.  I love this stretch "in the middle of nowhere" where the runner gets to run through the flags.

So many gorgeous water & country views on this course. I love this stretch “in the middle of nowhere” where the runner gets to run through the flags.

My nutty teammates.  I have never met a more supportive group go cheerleaders!

My nutty teammates. I have never met a more supportive group of cheerleaders!

Trying to capture the sunset.  Gotta love the required safety vest, no? Ha!

Trying to capture the sunset. Gotta love the required safety vest, no? Ha!

This past weekend I participated in the Chicago Triathlon relay.  This is really my only option to Tri since I cannot swim.  (Like seriously, I would probably drown in Lake Michigan!) In my opinion, I had (by far) the easiest part of this relay as the runner, but thankfully my teammates didn’t agree and were happy with their respective legs.  A perfect threesome. :)
My relay team.  Fun to race with these ladies.  They are "book club friends" so not my usual workout girls.

My relay team. Fun to race with these ladies. They are “book club friends” so not my usual workout girls.

I am trying to get back into some kind of running routine this week.  After my half marathon fail a few weeks ago, I did a lot of resting (at least as far as running went) for the two weeks prior to Ragnar.  After Ragnar I threw in a couple of recovery runs, but yesterday felt like the “beginning” for me in some ways.  I have no real races to speak of planned until November.  Yesterday we ran crazy hill intervals at boot camp.  It was one of those workouts that you absolutely hate while doing it, but feel really awesome about it when it’s over.  Here is what we did:
3 rounds of three minutes at 3 percent incline with one minute recovery in between. The final 30 seconds had to be done one mile per hour faster (Think sprinting up hill here…)
3 rounds of three minutes at 6 percent incline with one minute recovery in between. (Same thing with last 30 seconds)
3 rounds of three minutes at 12 percent incline with one minute recovery in between. (Same thing with last 30 seconds) This round was “I want to puke” awful.
We also had body weight exercises to do in between each incline change.  As much as I absolutely hated this workout, I really do want to start working more hills into my workouts.  It made me mad to struggle with the hills at Ragnar last week when I did them so much more easily last October during my marathon.  Gotta turn that “mad” into an action plan, so in a messed up way I was thankful for this workout today.
While training for my marathon (which was on a hilly course) I was very intentional about seeking out any hill I could find.  Most of the time now I just rely on my trainer for our crazy run workouts though.  If you are wanting to incorporate hill workouts but don’t know where or how to start, my friend Sue at This Mama Runs For Cupcakes recently wrote an awesome series on hills and how to incorporate them into your training. You can check it out here.
In other fitness news, I am really excited that I will be coaching a kids run club again this fall.  Last year was my first year doing it and I had so much fun! It is fun to share something I am passionate about with a group of kids.  I am leading the advanced group (along with one of my boot camp friends, Mary, that is an amazing runner) so most of the kids will be 4th-6th grade.  It is always a challenge to figure out new ways to motivate these kids, but so rewarding in the end!
If you are a runner, do you incorporate hills into your routine? Have you ever coached running? Any tips to keep younger runners motivated?  I would love to hear from YOU!

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