2017 Tulsa Run Recap

I loved this run.  I’ve run this race each year since I’ve moved to Tulsa because the locals hype it up so much, and it does not disappoint.  It’s been around longer than the marathons here and has years of history and support.  This year was the 40th anniversary!

My mentality for this run was to just have a good time.  Enjoy the weather, enjoy the course, enjoy the run.  Since there was no pressure on a specific performance, I went out for a girls’ night on Friday (or maybe because of the girls’ night, I didn’t put any pressure on).  Either way, it was great to spend time outside of fitness hanging with the gals.  We went to Prairie Brewpub for drinks and dinner before seeing Maren Morris at the Brady.

I was in bed by midnight and then up again around six to make sure I got to the Studio to see the 5k gals off.  Their race was first at 7:50.  I brought almost my entire wardrobe with me to the Studio because it’s been so long since I’ve run in this kind of weather.  The forecast was calling for low 30s but I knew the sun would be shining and we’d warm up fast.  I had fleece-lined pants, regular pants, gloves, a hat, ear warmers, jackets, long sleeves and a costume.  Last minute I decided to go with the costume, a long sleeve shirt and my regular pants (with a side pocket of course).

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Michelle and I started together with no real plan except to have fun.  I thought about alternating hard miles with easy miles, but once we were out there just decided to run it strong.  Before we even hit the first mile I knew I was going to be too warm.  At mile 2 I began “Operation Layer Reduction while Still Running”  My velvet sleeves of the Supergirl costume were making me so hot as a double layer.  I knew I had to take one layer off but didn’t want it to be the costume.  This was a very involved operation because my bib was pinned to my undershirt, and I wanted the undershirt to be the layer lost.  So I removed the bib, took off both shirts, had Michelle hold my headphones and undershirt, put the costume layer back on, reattach the bib and tie the undershirt around my waist.  So much relief!

We kept running at a pretty good pace, rolling over the hills, and then reached my favorite part of the course.  When we get to Peoria, there’s a couple of miles of runners running against each other and it is so fun and encouraging.  I remember several specific moments of just pure bliss (I know, crazy talk) – smiling at other runners, keeping an eye on Michelle ahead of me and feeling strong.  Plus people loved the costume and cheered me on the whole way!

I did start to struggle a little bit once we crossed to the west side and had just under two miles to go.  I had a little side stitch that lasted a while so I just told myself to breathe through it and keep moving.  I never stopped and it eventually went away.

Finally, we came to the rolling hill to get us back up from the river.  I could still see Michelle but she was a good distance ahead and I knew I wouldn’t catch her.  I rounded the corner on Boston and just pushed it to the finish.  Next order of business was brunch!

I ended up with about a 20 second PR and a renewed sense of racing.  I’m looking forward to continuing to train through the winter, and pick a few more key races to practice running strong in.  What a great event!

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State 22: B.A.A. Half Marathon

When I was looking for a race to choose for Massachusetts, I knew I wanted it to be in Boston.  I stumbled across the B.A.A. Half Marathon in 2015 but had missed registration for it.  As I read about the race, I learned that it’s part of a distance challenge and the best way to guarantee entry is to sign up for the medley of a 5k, 10k and half spread across the year.   In 2016 I paid special attention to registration deadlines, set an alarm on my phone and registered for the medley right on time.  I never had any intention of doing the first two races, just wanted a guaranteed entry to the half.

When I learned the 5k race shared weekends with THE Boston Marathon, I decided to run that as well.  Chap and I used my companion pass to both get out there, and made a weekend of the 5k race, my first trip to Boston and spectating the marathon.  (Side note: Before we left for this trip, I had just signed up for the Jack and Jill Marathon with Michelle.  This is the trip that inspired me to train to qualify. )  This post isn’t about that weekend so I’m not going to write much about it here, but enjoy the pictures!

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State 22: Massachusetts

I loved Boston so much in April and was thrilled to revisit it this fall.  I was looking forward to colored leaves and crisp temperatures.  Unfortunately we didn’t get either of those.  Chap has been a reliable and wonderful travel and race companion but he didn’t get invited on this trip.   I wanted to share my companion pass with a long time soul sister and so invited one of my very oldest and best friends Katie (also the one who got me to Tulsa!) to come run with me.

We had a mediocre training cycle.  Honestly the summer and early fall just kind of disappeared in front of our eyes.  We’re both small business owners, Katie has a two year old and while we managed to stay very committed to working out, we just didn’t get the weekend long runs in.  We made it up to 8 miles in training and I knew that would be enough to get us across the line so we called it good.

It also helped us to enjoy our trip – alleviating the pressure of going for a particular time on an unfamiliar course.  I try to plan two or three runs a year where I’ll really go for it and the others are just meant to be enjoyable.  Because of this we were able to eat and drink and walk all over Boston without worrying about it affecting our performance on Sunday.

You can read a play by play of our tour of Boston on the Studio blog here.

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Carb loading.  Not totally justified but still delicious.

I want to recap three pros and three cons of the race on this blog today, more of a review of the event than the trip.

Pros

  1. Boston.  Boston is a historic city on its own.  But there is so much running history too.  One morning Katie and I went to the river to do a few shakeout miles and on our way back to the train stop, I saw a group of girls running through Boston Common who I recognized but couldn’t quite pinpoint.  I later recognized them as the women behind my favorite planner – Believe Training Journal.
  2. Race organization.  Our bibs were mailed to us.  We picked up our shirts at the finish line.  There was no waiting around or messing with an expo and it was awesome.
  3. Race course.  The course was scenic and beautiful.  We ran through the Emerald Necklace park system.  It was pretty full of rolling hills which I wasn’t really prepared for but we handled them (thanks, Tulsa).

Cons

  1. The Weather.  This was out of anyone’s control of course but our plans to just run and then dry shampoo our hair when we got back to the Air BnB (when we thought it would be in the 50s) went out the window in the first mile.  No one’s fault but still.
  2. Race organization.  There were over 6,000 runners and a single start!  On narrow park trails.  That is crazy to me.  Maybe because they’re Boston and they can get away with it.
  3. Race course. Though scenic, it was crowded because of the single start.  Parts of it had us running against later miles of the course and it was especially tight then.  And smelly.  Lots of humid, sweaty runners.

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    Crowded

This was definitely just a checkmark state and more of an excuse to go back to Boston with a best girlfriend.  It’s always better with some company, and not always about setting PRs, breaking 2 hours or running the whole way.

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Pre Race (we’re as tired as we look)

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If you want to be coached to your first or fastest race, email me!  coachsprenkel@gmail.com.  Customized plans, including run workouts, strength workouts and stretching.

 

Rudolph Run Week 11 Update

This week was pretty exciting for me.  We officially started our running club at StudiOne and I checked off another state (#22) on my half marathon quest.  My typical running days fall on the same days we host the club at the Studio so I took a little detour from my specific plan this week to make sure our group was all set to go.  We had a lot of fun, everyone worked really hard and I’m thrilled to get this program going for Tulsa!

  • Track:  I was supposed to get in 5×800 but the girls in the group weren’t ready for that distance yet so we dropped down to 400s.  I took some time running with each participant so wasn’t at my pace.  But I figured since it’s race week and all, any miles out there are good miles.  2.29 total.
  • Tempo:  Similar story here.  Usually I’ll tack on some additional miles after our group run, but today I did not.  I had a lot of work to get done before trying to pack for the Boston trip, and considered any miles logged good miles.  I went 2.66 with the group at a comfortable pace.
  • Shake-out:  This was a bonus run for the week.  Katie and I got to Boston on Friday for our Sunday race.  I knew the race was going to be in a park system and not around the downtown area so I asked if she would go with me for an easy run around the Charles.  She said yes and we got 2.48 done on Saturday.
  • Long: RACE!  This week my long run got to be the B.A.A. Half Marathon.  Katie and I ran it together and because of the surprisingly warm weather, rolling hills and lack of proper endurance training, we walked a little bit.  Our goal was to finish and have some fun doing it, and also get to explore Boston a little.  We walked probably a half marathon distance on Saturday (not ideal race prep!) but didn’t want this run to slow down our sightseeing.  The race ran through the park system in the southwest part of town.  I wasn’t crazy about the course, mostly because I think I’d rather run through some parts of the city, but it was scenic and lovely.  A few leaves starting to turn on the trees. (I’ll post more details about our Boston Trip later this week).

Total Miles: 20.9

Overall, even though this week didn’t go exactly to plan (only 2 Fit Camps, no yoga and not prescribed runs), I am pleased with the consistency of the days and my flexibility around our trip.

2017 St. Patrick’s Day 5k

If anything will bring me back to the blog, it’s a good race recap.  And since the 2017 Sweetheart Run Double ushered in spring race season, there will be plenty of recaps coming up.  Yesterday’s 5k is the first of 5 races (Ft Gibson, Aquarium, BAA 5k, Garmin) happening over the next six weeks!

I ran this course last year as a coach to a client so I was very familiar with the up and down layout of this short race.  I’d also run the north part of it earlier in the week on a 10-miler with Michelle.  Psychologically I felt prepared.  Physically (save some lingering respiratory issues), thanks to StudiOne Fit Camp and track days, and consistently running with faster partners, I felt prepared.

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Mary, my stroller partner

I rested completely the two days leading up to the run – no circuits or miles, extra naps and earlier bedtimes.  I wrestled all week with wanting to finish my Fit Camp program and giving this race a shot.  It’s not my target race so early in the week I was motivated to keep up with my normal workouts.  But by Wednesday night I was feeling pretty beat down and let the spirit of the race win me over.

Friday night was a low-key night at home with leftover homemade chicken noodle soup and an attempt to pack up for a trip the night before instead of the morning of.  It worked, mostly.  This race has a later start so I was able to get up in the morning and finish tidying up, load my car, grab coffee, drop some things off at the studio, realize I only packed my running and circuit shoes, go back home, and make it to find parking. With 15 minutes to spare, I sat in the car for a while debating my race outfit.  It was drizzling with more rain in the forecast (hat on).  Low 40s and cloudy (mid-length tights, long sleeve shirt).  Considered a rain jacket but thought I would be too hot.

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Waiting to start

While I was searching around for my race pals, big and cold drops started to pour down so I caught some shelter under a shop overhang.  This is definitely up there among least desirable start conditions I’ve had.  I hang out until they announced 2 minutes to start.  I managed to find Catharine and Jessie, talk quickly about goals and then the gun went off suddenly.

False start.

We take a minute to push back behind the line and then get a true countdown.  Then we’re off.  I have my phone in my favorite side pockets with music and Strava tracking the miles.  Watch on my wrist to help me not go out too fast.  And a general goal to keep it as close to 7 mins a mile as I can.

The first mile is mostly flat, and I feel pretty strong.  I can feel tiredness deep in my legs but part of that is the 5k race and part is all the activity early in the week.  When that first mile goes by and my pace is read, I don’t feel as tired as I should for a sub-7 mile.  I try to mentally prep for the inclines that I know are coming.  They’re not too steep or long but still noticeable.  Thankfully I start to hit the faster runners coming back upstream and their energy fuels me enough to get to the turnaround.

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All downhill from here into the flat finish.  I love running against the crowds (Sweetheart Run, Tulsa Run, St Patricks) and it carries me to the end of the runners.  The flat finish still stretches out in front of me and I start to notice tired forearms and pains in my upper back.  I want so badly to walk or pause but I try to just keep moving. I haven’t seen Michelle at all, and I know Catharine is right behind me.  I alternate thinking about members and how they inspire me at Fit Camp until finally I’m across the line.

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Tough, rainy effort

I go hands to knees in an effort not to puke and get a friendly pat a squeal from Michelle as she comes across right behind me, followed not too far by Catharine.  We all realize and briefly celebrate our PRs.  I am so, so relieved to finally have another after chasing last year’s Go Short PR for over a year!  My Strava even says I broke 22 minutes but I’ll keep working on an official sub-22.  We take a few pictures in the rain, a little immune to the cold now. And then I have to dart back to the car to hit the road for vacation.  Next up: Ft. Gibson Spring Fling for a Cause.

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Training gals, PRs for most!

Recipe: Fall Garden Vegetable Stew

View from the Run

View from the Run

Good morning!  This almost-fall day started off with a sunrise 5 miler with the Runnin’ Fools of Foolish Things Coffee Company.  We took one of my favorite routes from the shop, down to the river and back into town via the Midland Valley Trail.  It was our farthest run yet!

Something amazing is happening in Tulsa.  Fall is making it’s approach known.  Over the weekend we had a day of drizzle on Saturday and amazing temperatures in the 60s and 70s (numbers I haven’t seen since the spring!).  The change in weather was catalyst enough to send me searching for a new recipe.

A second driving force in this recipe search was the haul of garden-fresh produce I acquired last week.  Zucchinis from Cherry Street Farmers Market here in Tulsa and okra, tomatoes and hot peppers from my neighbor Wayne’s backyard garden.

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Wayne’s in the headband

I turned to Pinterest and the help of my friend Justin who has a passion for cooking and creating things in the kitchen.  He told me he could contribute some Italian sausage to our ingredient mix.  I was feeling a need to highlight the okra (an ingredient I’m not too familiar with using, and am only used to it southern-style deep-fried) and have a soup or stew consistency.

The Ingredients

(Mostly) Garden Fresh

I found this recipe from The Southern Lady Cooks, and applied my own healthier modifications to it, as well as incorporating a few more ingredients that we had on hand.

Here’s what we used:

1 tbsp fresh, grass fed cow’s butter

1 green pepper, chopped

1 cup chopped green onions

2 zucchinis, chopped

6 fresh tomatoes, diced

1 can whole, peeled tomoates

3 cups of okra, chopped (could use one bag frozen if you don’t have fresh)

5 hot peppers, chopped + 4 seeded peppers, chopped

Italian sausage (optional)

paprika

minced garlic

cajun seasoning

 

Brown the sausage, green onion, green pepper and okra in the butter.  Add all remaining ingredients and simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes.  We served over some delicious Asian wild rice but for leftovers, I just ate the stew plain.  Either way works!

Mmmmazing!

Mmmmazing!

This is an easy, healthy recipe to use up those veggies from the market and could easily be modified based on what you have in your garden or kitchen.  Enjoy y’all, and here’s to the stirrings of fall!

Puerto Rico: Long Running in San Juan

Day three of our Puerto Rican adventure had a long run built into it.  Erin and I are both training for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in October so we agreed we would run long at least once.  Since we didn’t have set plans on Tuesday, it seemed as good a day as any!

The weather in Puerto Rico was very similar to what we’re both used to in Texas and Oklahoma.  It was humid in the morning and we needed to get out as early as we could.  We managed to be out the door before the sunrise, and caught the best one of the trip.  I love it when mother nature rewards your efforts 🙂

We followed a similar path as our first run but of course had to extend it by nearly twice as many miles.  We ended up stumbling upon this fantastic really large paved sidewalk that went down around the outside of the city and kept us close to the water.  Old San Juan was also a little bit hilly so we felt appropriately challenged for at least one of the hills that awaits in San Francisco.

There was a strangely large population of stray cats hanging out all over the rocks on this path.  I was a little creeped out (definitely not a big cat person) – probably close to a hundred cats were roaming around.

Even though we managed to get in 8.5 miles, it was by no means a very serious run.  Obviously we stopped to take photos (see the slideshow below!) and to enjoy the sunrise as well as other scenery, and cats.  Vacation running doesn’t have to be as rigid as training running (hell, even training running doesn’t have to be so serious all the time!).  Part of why I do this anyway, is to see things.  Experience things that I wouldn’t if I wasn’t running.  And it certainly gave me that on this trip!

2014 Route 66 Half Marathon Training: Week 1

August has always been an exciting time of year for me.  My birthday.  Going to college.  Football season.  Cooler temperatures (hopefully).  Moving to Memphis, moving to Austin, moving to Tulsa.  It’s also usually the time I start training for fall races and I much prefer fall races to winter or springtime events.

And it’s just now that time to train for the fall half marathon here in Tulsa.  Route 66 race is on November 23 this year and puts us a perfect 15 weeks out to get started!  Here is the mileage plan for the first week of training.

Are you ready?

Are you ready?

Runnin’ Fools operates on the model of running three times per week together from Foolish Things Coffee company, and one time on your own schedule.  You may also swap out that fourth run for a cross training day in the pool or on a bike.

Week 1 Mileage 

Run 1: 2.5 miles

Run 2: 2 mile circuit (we’ll meet at the track for this)

Run 3: 2.5 easy (this one is on your own)

Long run: Timed 5k

The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare – Juma Ikangaa, Boston Marathoner

Stay tuned for updates from the group, more info on the specific types of runs and training groups.  It’s not too late to join us for fun, group support, t-shirts and discounted goodies from Foolish Things 🙂  I’ve done all the leg work putting a mileage calendar together for the entire season, mapping out the routes and will provide knuckle bumps and ass kicks along the way – me and the Fools would love to have you!  Email or comment for pricing options and different packages.

Schedule from the Shop

We run Tuesday and Thursday mornings from Foolish Things (unless Coach has a different plan that week) and Saturdays for our long runs.  Stay tuned for info on a FREE SOCIAL RUN.