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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Rudolph Run Week 8 Update

I dropped the ball on weeks 10 and 9 but am still logging those miles for my big target 5k race in December.  I’m hoping to break 22 minutes on this one but as some fellow runners pointed out this weekend, you never know what the weather will do in December, and it’s hard to race when it’s really, really cold.  It’s good training anyway ;).  And the end goal is a BQ next year so taking the training one distance at a time.

This week was awesome.  I’m still sticking to my three runs a week, and three circuits a week plan.  My yoga needs a little more attention but I’m working on it.

  • Track:  This week was a long 200 m pyramid.  We started at 200m and added 200m each interval up to 800 before coming back down.  I thought it was a lot of fun but not all the members of the track club did!  Hit the first half of the intervals in sub 7s and the second half in low 7s.
  • Tempo: This week I treated the Tulsa Run as my tempo day.  We ran this as a group from the studio on Saturday.  Two of my gals from the running group did the 5k and Michelle and I ran the 15 together.  I didn’t really have a plan, or even look up my first year’s time.  And at the last minute I decided to wear a costume!  Fun was more the goal here and I definitely got that – I’ll write about the run in more detail later this week.
  • Long: My long run was a recovery last night after making up a circuit workout yesterday morning.  I’m proud I got all three runs and all three circuits in, and because of the great feeling after the race, already have one circuit and a set of sprints done for this week!

Total Miles: 19.8  (I’m not even bothered that I was .2 away from making a round 20, but I know some people who would be!)

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Week 8 edits

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Fresh Week 7!

All around this was a great week of training.  I loved the Tulsa Run and am so grateful to be back in the running spirit – look for a post about the race later this week!  On to week 7!

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.

Thirty Thursdays: 2 Night Camping Trip

The summer after we started dating, Chap introduced me to a type of landscape I hadn’t yet explored – the Colorado mountains.  In the heat of summer in Tulsa, a summer trip to hike is always on the mind.  The next winter, I conquered the winter mountains and learned to snow ski.  After that trip, we decided my next Colorado adventure should be a 2-night overnight camping trip.  I put it on my 30 before 30 list and it was planned a few months later.

Preparations

I had zero camping gear.  No boots, no sleeping gear, no suitable outerwear, no hiking socks, no tent, no backpack and no clue.  Just a lot of workout clothes (those came in handy!).  Luckily I had a team of two clients supply everything I could have imagined needing, right down to a hatchet.  Big backpack, smaller backpack, fleece jacket, rain jacket, water bottles, bear spray, headlamps and the list goes on.  Chap was able to supply everything else we would need (tent, blankets, water filter).

I packed everything I could think of.  Our not-so-specific plan was to land in Denver, stop at REI so I can get hiking boots and further our plan from there (pick a place to hike and camp).  Very much a team of flying by the seats of our pants.  We asked one of the REI employees to make a suggestion for the rest of our itinerary.  With his help, we decided we would head to hike up a 14er and then drive over to Indian Peaks to camp.

Hiking Mt. Evans

Neither of us had fully hiked a 14er before and we were both up for the challenge.  I can’t remember exactly how we decided on Mt. Evans, I think the employee helped us and Chap thought there was some passageway connecting to another peak.  It’s all a little fuzzy because of what unfolded after.

If there is any lesson to be learned from the following story, it’s that you should ALWAYS listen to the park rangers.  And the second lesson is don’t begin a hike to the summit in the afternoon.  We started our hike up Mt. Evans in the early afternoon, after being warned by a friendly park ranger that it wasn’t a good time to be going up, “afternoon storms will be rolling in.”  Well it seemed to be clear enough to us (idiots) and I was eager to get moving after hours in the car.

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Heading up Mt. Evans

We made it to the spot above and stopped for a picture.  This is where we debated continuing on or not.  I’m a go-getter and really wanted to make it all the way around the crest so we kept on.  It looked clear enough (see the sun behind us?!).  As we climbed, we encountered some goats and a few other hikers, two of whom passed us up to continue on.  The temperatures dropped so I put on my windbreaker and hood.  It started raining, and even hailing a little bit.

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Rain and hail

Just after this picture was taken, a little bit of chaos ensued.  Chap looked back at me and says (I’m taking his word for it, otherwise it’s the best prank he’s pulled on me ever), “Do you feel that hail on your jacket?”.  And yes, there was a little bit of hail but then his eyes got wide because my hair was standing straight up.   He threw his hat to the ground because he realized the sound of the “hail” on his hat was actually static electricity in his ears.  I still had no idea what was going on and he shouts at me, “Do you have anything metal on you?” and I was like, “I don’t know, a zipper, my phone, the keys what is going on”.

“We gotta get down this mountain as fast as we can.”

So, we started running.  We’re not really talking so that we can focus on jumping and stepping down the uneven terrain.  I’m ready at any moment to throw anything that I think is metal off my body, including the car key.  After about a half mile run down the mountain, we found some cover underneath a rock and I am ready to camp out and call it good.  But Chap said we had to go for it or we’d be stuck there for hours.  Just a few minutes after we resumed running a giant clap of thunder and flash of lightning struck somewhere behind us and I think for the first time in my life I actually thought I might be killed.  I was kind of anticipating the lightning strike on my body as we ran and also thinking about how grateful I was for Fit Camp and running as I ran for my life down that mountain.

We obviously made it down to safety and lived to tell the tale, but learned those two lessons on the way down.   The storms stuck around for a while, all along the towns on 70 so we decided to bag the first night of tent camping.  I’d had enough of mother nature for the day and wanted a sheltered room to sleep in, and some pizza.

Camping at Indian Peaks

After a semi-restful night at a roadside motel near Granby Lake, we set out for our hiking adventure.  Our new plan was to park the car, hike in with our camping gear, stay the night and hike back out in the morning.  After filling up with plenty of coffee and delicious breakfast, we visited the ranger station for a map and headed into the trail.

The weather was perfect, and I was especially grateful for the sunshine after our eventful storm adventure the day before.  All the excitement I wanted today was to see a moose.  We walked and walked, talking and talking.  My shoes were comfortable and the trail was ever changing.  It wasn’t a strenuous hike but a beautiful trail through the trees and sometimes through open valleys with the mountains on both sides of us.

We took our time, stopping at waterfalls for pictures and taking plenty of snack breaks.  I don’t think we really had an end point in mind, we were just looking for a soft place to pitch our tent after about 5 miles into the woods.

We set up camp and continued along the trail to Crater Lake.  The water was so crisp and clear!  Chap got in, but it was way too cold for my tastes (snow melt basically).

By this point in our trip we had run out of pre-packed water and were down to using a filter system.  I was a little wary of it but what choice did I have?  We stopped along a stream to fill back up, and then returned to our tent for a camp-cooked meal.  Chap, ever on the search for the best view, hiked us up past our tent to the top of a little rock formation.  It was perfect and beautiful.  There aren’t even any pictures because I knew that they wouldn’t do the view justice.  We sat up there cooking our freeze dried food and watched the sunset.

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It was hard to sleep for a few reasons.  The cold.  A tiny fear of wildlife.  The hard ground.  And the freeze dried food wasn’t sitting well in my stomach.  Or maybe it was the filtered water.  Either way, I was a big fan of this camping adventure, until we woke up the next morning.  We’d brought a shit shovel with us, because you’re supposed to cover your tracks and I was so hoping to not have to use it on our 36 hour adventure.  But that was not to be the case.  Was definitely not a fan of that just as my digestive system was not a fan of the home cooked meal.

After I returned to camp, we packed up and headed on our way out of the park.  I love the hiking aspect of camping, so if we can figure out a way to incorporate bathrooms and more comfortable sleeping arrangements in the middle of some long hikes, I’m game forever.

We ended this trip with a gigantic nap before we went to see Eric Church and Maren Morris at the Red Rocks.  A big bucket list trip!

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Refreshed after a shower and giant nap!

Do you have any good camping stories?  Or tips to help me out next time?

The New Road to Boston

This past week was the final acceptance of official qualifications for the 2018 Boston Marathon.  I was not anxiously waiting to see if my time allowed me to participate because I knew my 3:39:36 in July didn’t make the Female 18-35 year old age group cut-off of 3:35:00.  This year participants had to beat the cutoff by over 3 minutes to qualify.  Which is why I’m training to target a 3:30 next year.

Seeing all of this for the past few weeks on Instagram Runners’ feeds (people I don’t know but still follow through the IG running community) has really inspired me to think again about qualifying and to make a formal strategic plan.  I want to try again next year and I want to do it at the same race.  I’ll be familiar with the course, where to stay and the time of year spent in training.  July is a long way off so it gives me time to mentally and physically prepare, too.

Big Picture Boston Plan

There are three phases of this training – 5k, half and final.  The first 12 weeks, I will follow a 5k training plan to help me build my anaerobic and aerobic bases back up, and get me back down to some paces I haven’t seen in a while.  For the first two or three weeks of September I was trying to hop back in on a half marathon plan and those distances were just too intimidating.  I was excited to start the 5k workouts so that’s what I picked.  The target race is the Rudolph Run on December 16 in Broken Arrow.  It’s the last of my 4 Seasons challenge and I’ll have completed 3 of the 4.

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One step at a time.

The second phase rolls in right behind the 5k, with maybe a week off for pulling back a little bit.  I’ll jump up to the half marathon distances in training to target the Aquarium Run at the start of April next year.  This is the course I PRd on this year and I’m ready to do it again.  A sub 1:40 would have me really feeling good about starting marathon training.

After the half race, I’ll start the training cycle for the 3:30 marathon.  It’ll be just like last year except I’ll have snuck that half marathon training in the middle.  When I decided to go for the full this past time, I was only training for 5k distances so really had to make a big jump in miles.

The cool thing is, if I stick with it in all areas of the training (strength, runs, yoga, maintenance, nutrition), I know I can do it.  I know it.  And it can be next year.

But it starts with right now.  It starts with a daily commitment to some kind of progress.  I ordered another Believe Training Journal so I could start fresh and enjoyed keeping track of runs this week.

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Graduated to “Compete” this year

 

12 weeks to Rudolph 5k

This first week of training went really well.  I have a renewed spirit towards running after a long rest in August and a tough few weeks trying to get miles back under my feet in early September.  I changed my plan to shorter distances and have enjoyed getting back out there.  The temps are dropping too which is beautiful and amazing.  I got three runs in this week:

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Week 1 of Cycle 1 complete!  Almost 100% compliance (no yoga)

  • Track: 8 sets of 400.  I love 400s and the quick turnover of the feet.  I managed to get a few sub 6:30s and the rest sub 7:30.
  • Tempo:  I was planning to do a 1,2,1 tempo but got a 1.5 warmup in because of friends, 2 hard miles and about a half mile cooldown.  Those 2 miles in the middle were my first sub-8 miles since marathon training.  #celebratethelittlethings.
  • Long: I ran long with my friend Katie this morning.  We’re doing a half marathon in Boston next weekend so went a little farther than I would normally for a 5k this weekend.  We made it to 8.8, taking it from the Studio to the west side of the river just past the soccer fields.  It was a beautiful perfect morning.

Total miles: 25.94

That’s more than half the miles I ran all of September combined!  Good turnaround at the end of the month!

I should have done more yoga this week but have been busy planning a running program here for the studio.  I will do more yoga next week than I did this week and that will be an improvement!

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100% days in October so far! 1/1 days I made progress to my goals.

If you want help making an attainable plan for you, reach out to me and I can help you hit your goals!  Whether you want to get faster or go farther – I’ve got the tools and experience to get you there!

Tulsa Love: Retro Den Homestyling, Part 3

It’s been a while since I posted a home update.  Early in 2017, I hired the Ashleys of Retro Den to come in and help me perk up my living room.  If you need a refresher, check the before pictures and story here and check my first session of homework here.  I cringed a little bit looking back at some of those before pictures while crafting this blog post.  I love my update so much, I’d completely blacked out how bad the before was.

Couch Considerations

After I painted the fireplace and took the map off the hook, my next biggest task was picking out furniture.  I really wanted a tufted, beige and big couch.  Also with nailhead trim.  Like this one.

I was pretty set on that style.  And was working hard to get the almost $800 it would take to get that couch through my front door (delivery and assembly fees are nuts!).  The Ashleys were very patient with me, and offered up many additional suggestions via text and Pinterest for me to consider.   A considerable amount of time went into the discussions about this couch purchase.  Here are a few key points the Ashleys made to me (gently, I didn’t feel pressured or upset at these at all):

  1. Sprenk, you have a black-haired dog and want a fancy beige-ish couch.  We love Miley (and you) but know that she is not trained to stay off the furniture because you love her too much.
  2. Do you want the couch and beautiful coffee table from our store to be the only pieces of furniture in your room?  Because your budget is flat gone if you purchase this couch.  No rug.  No plants.  No gallery wall.
  3. Your Pinterest board tells us you really want something a little more simple than this couch you’re attracted to.  What about this one?  Let your table be the star of the show.

That Ikea couch was ordered later that night.  And after a morning of self-assembling, I had a place to sit!  (Had been couchless a few weeks while I made up my mind).

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Coming together!

My living room was arranged this way for a week or so while we sorted out what kind of rug I should get.  The Ashleys recommended (and again were spot on) a jute rug.  I found one on sale at Overstock.com and ordered it!

Between the couch, rug and a few key plants scattered around the room, my budget was about spent.  I am so happy I decided to forego the fancy couch for a complete feel in this room.  We started to browse for two arm chairs that could go opposite the couch when fate stepped in.

My new roommate Michelle (the same one who convinced me to run the marathon this year) has amazingly complementary taste to mine and her couch and chair just polished off the look.  So, I’m home free for a while until I find the perfect set of chairs for my space.

I refuse to put any of the before pictures on this page because they are so horrible.  You can go back to one of the original posts to see them, or read about this project from the Ashleys point of view on their blog.

Up next for this room is the gallery wall project that’s taken a few months for my slow moving hiney to get together.  Another perk about the Ashelys is they let you take your time doing your homework :).  If you haven’t hired them yet to style a space in your home, what are you waiting for?