Category Archives: Tapering

Pine to Palm Training (August)

I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don’t want to shrink back just because something isn’t easy. I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can’t and I can.

Kristin Armstrong

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

Ernest Hemingway

Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.

Zero Dean

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When (not IF) you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when (not IF) you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When (not IF) you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God. . . since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.

Isaiah 43: 1-4 (The Message)

August: 325 miles. 56,867′ of climbing and downhill.

  • week 1: 102.5 miles. 13,870′
  • week 2: 54.33 miles. 12,572′
  • week 3: 93 miles. 17,874′
  • week 4: 51.59 miles. 8,300′
  • week 5: 24.25 miles. 4,281′

Training Notes:

  • This month was mostly trail. My goal this month was to hit two BIG mileage weeks. I hit 102.5 and 93! VERY happy. I do deviate from my plan, from time to time. The 102 mile week was more tiring than my 93 mile week. My 93 mile week had more climbing by approximately 4,000′ than the 102 mile week. My 93 mile week was my highest climbing week at 17,874′.
  • My original training plan called for 934 miles in 17 weeks
  • I deviated a bit on the plan and ended with 1091 miles in 17 weeks
  • Weeks 10-15 in my original plan were scheduled as: 64, 70, 54, 70, 49 & 70 in miles.
  • I changed weeks 10-15 to: 71, 82, 65, 102, 54 & 93 in miles.
  • I’ll follow the same taper as the original plan.
  • Going into this race healthy at the line!!


New this month: I finished with my trainer early in the month. I spent the last 3 1/2 weeks of August, focusing only on running. Still doing the 3 P’s (pull ups, push ups, planks). I really miss the gym. I love lifting weights!

Looking ahead: Pine 2 Palm, N E X T week!

Dear Oregon, 

You did not disappoint in April. Looking forward to seeing you again! Good bye, temporarily, to humidity. Hello to tall trees, BIG climbs, BIG vistas, Sunrise, Sunset, Sunrise. 

Longingly. . . 

Loving now:

  • Lululemon, Speed Track Short, 6″ inseam. LOVE, LOVE them. In fact, I wore them every running day for 5 days. (washed them between runs) Usually, I am hesitant to buy tight shorts with an inseam shorter than 9″. These are awesome. Two great side pockets, a tiny pocket within the side pocket for your key or key fob. They are on sale right now in store for $44.00.
  • Dry max socks!! These are thick and comfy. I bought the max cushioned pair, $25.00.


Imagine that day, where you can finally say, “I did it!” When you can say, “I never gave up, I never quit!” Imagine that day when you win that gold medal, or cross the finish line. Where these moments of pain turn into memories for that goal you wanted to obtain. It might take long to reach that moment, but as soon as you get there you’ll thank yourself for the rest of your life.



Taper: Tillamook Burn Trail Run 50

April running stats so far. . .

  • Week 1: 57.5 miles, 3 days on the trail, 3 days on the road, long run 25 miles
  • Week 2: 55.8 miles, 4 days trail, 1 day road, long run 23 miles
  • Week 3: TAPER, 4 days trail, 1 day road, long run 10-12 miles
  • Week 4: TAPER & race 4, 3, 2, 50!!


I am running the Tillamook Burn Trail Run on April 30th with Teresa. We are running the 50 mile. Click on the link and check out the course. I am very excited. I LOVE heading West to race on the trail. I have never been to Oregon. Based on the pictures, the trail looks green, lush and beautiful.

Tillamook offers a 50K, a 50, and a 50/50K. It is 9300′ of elevation gain and 9300′ of elevation loss, approximately 25 miles up and 25 miles down. This should be a match made in heaven for Teresa and me!!  I love to hike/run uphill and she loves downhill running. C A N N O T wait.

Mental tapering: There is some mental homework that needs to be done, while my body is physically resting. It is a two week time to reflect on my training, to reflect on my goals, to reflect on the course. Here are my race “key” words.

  • Patience. Expect to be on the trail ALL day and expect to LOVE it. How often to I GET to run from sun up to sun down without having to think about dinner, lunch, homework, appointments? It is like a thought reset for me.
  • Trust. I put in the work that I decided was necessary. I can trust my training. No regrets.
  • Meditate. The 5 senses. Touch. Sight. Taste. Sound. Smell. What will I touch? How will it feel? What will I see? What will I taste? What will I hear? What will I smell?
  • Worship. I view long races as an ongoing conversation with Jesus, like when the disciples were on the road to Emmaus. Teresa and I on the road to Emmaus talking about life, deep in conversation. . . then, Jesus shows up, right along side. He joins in our conversation. He joins in our running, our walking, interrupted only by eating, drinking, aid stations, bathroom breaks, sock changes. He will be there. HIS creation all around. . .
  • Write it down. Teresa and I sat down and broke down this course aid station to aid station. We thought about our paces. We thought about how it might feel, physically. We thought about our drop bag. It was great to put down the paces on paper and move through the course with those times.
  • Imagine. Imagine myself climbing strong and even. I will picture myself smiling A LOT. I will picture myself at each aid station. I will picture myself crossing the finish line.

How I have trained differently. I have done more power hiking. I have not added more treadmill hiking, but I have chosen to power hike a bit more of my overall miles. Practicing the rhythm. Practicing the pace.

How I have trained the same. Hill repeats. Core work. Long runs. Track work. Hiking on the treadmill. I continue to hike on the treadmill at 15% for at least 2 miles at a time, about 2 times a week, after running. I have continued to do hill repeats. I have power walked more of them this time around.

Some key elements of this race:

  • 6 ascents.  3 are 2 miles and under. 3 are significant, 4 miles, 7 miles, 5-6 miles.
  • 6 decents. 3 are 2 miles and under. 3 are significant, 4 miles, 7 miles, 5-6 miles.
  • 7 aid stations
  • access to our drop bags and a bathroom at one aid station that we will visit three times, miles 11.7, 24.2 and 36.4
  • 15 hour cutoff (we chose early start)
  • 11 hours to get to mile 36.4
  • 12.5 hours to get to mile 44.6
  • our start time is 5:00 am.
  • It is Oregon. It could rain on and off all day. It could just rain all day.
  • We will have one 10+ mile section of forest/jeep road from about miles 24-36. This is also the longest climb. I think we are both looking forward to this.

One week to go time. . .

I’d rather be completely exhausted from the hard times which breed success. . . than well rested from achieving nothing.





Zion 100K prep

So, I am preppin’. Race day is Friday, April 10, 2015. Start time is 6:00 am. 20 hour cutoff time for the 100K. Projected forecast is a low of 44 and a high of 74.  Here’s a peak at my race plan. My goal is to finish. I have never written a race plan. Birth plan? Yes. Race plan? No. Writing a race plan helped to settle my nerves a bit. It also gave me some distance related to possible time(s).

Race Plan

Mile 0-4 Flying Monkey Aid Station (uphill to here) 19:00 pace

Mile 4-10 Flying Monkey AS (down ½, up ½) 18:00 pace

Mile 10-15 Dalton Wash AS (all down hill) I’ll see my crew here. ½ way to ½ way. I’d like to be here at 4.5 hours. Second big climb, after I see my crew.

Mile 15-19 Guacamole AS (uphill) 19:00 pace

Mile 19-26.5 Guacamole AS (flatish)

Mile 26.5-30.5 Dalton Wash AS (downhill)

I’d like to get here in 9 hours (17:42 pace). I’ll see my crew here again.There is a long steep climb at this point. I would like to have eaten well up to this point to tackle this last big climb!

Mile 30.5-35.5 Goosebump AS (steep uphill) 19:00 pace. I’ll see my crew here after that last big climb. I am thinking I might want something savory to eat. Avocado on a tortilla with salt? Maybe, new socks, new shirt?

Mile 35.5-40 Gooseberry Point (uphill) 19:00 pace

Mile 40-41 Gooseberry Point (flat)

Mile 41-47.5 Goosebump AS (downhill) I will see my crew here and pick up my pacer!! I would like to be here in 14 hours. (17:42 pace) So, I would arrive here at 8:00 pm?

Mile 47.5-55 Virgin Desert AS (downhill)

Mile 55-63 Start finish (downhill) estimated finish of 18h 35 min (17:42 pace) Finish at midnight?

**eat every hour or every 4 miles


I have 3 climbs and 11 aid stations in this race. The aid stations are each represented by a dot on the Elevation Profile map, above. I will have a pacer at mile 47. (That is the second to the last dot on the profile map.) She will run me in to the finish. My final climb begins at mile 30.5 (the 6th dot). I will see my crew at this point. My goal is to make it to this point with a strong mind, strong body and a ‘good’ stomach. I’m looking to this point to be a “refresher”. I may put on a new shirt, new socks, something to reinvigorate me for the climb and the finish. It will be good to see my pacer at mile 47!! She is a strong runner with a spunky spirit. She’ll bring me some positive vibes.

Nutrition. . . I have not had any problems with my nutrition during training. I will keep doing what has worked. I will drink Perpetuem, water and tailwind. I plan to drink 4 servings of Perpetuem, over the course of the race. I will have one at the start and then, every 3-4 hours thereafter.  I will eat salted carmel gu, chocolate chip Z bars, tortillas with nutella and the food offered at the aid stations. I will also have endurolytes.

Wearing. . . I will wear a Oiselle tank, and Oiselle Roga shorts. I have Swiftwick socks, tall, medium and short. I will bring all three. I will be wearing my new trail shoes, Pearl Izumi N2s. I have a AK UltimateDirection Vest. I have a Petzl Tikka RXP headlamp for early morning start and late night running.

I have trained consistently. I am confident that my training will get me through this race. I am most looking forward to seeing the stars. 🙂 I have two friends coming with me, who have been my cheerleaders and support through the highs and lows of my training. It will feel like home with them there. God is GOOD! I’m looking forward to this journey.

“ICE-ing on the race” week.

So, I am in week 12 of a 19, training for a 62 mile race. When you are training for a 50+ mile race, most of the time part of the plan is to run at least a marathon and a 50K before your designated race.

I choose to taper before each training race distance. I guess you could call it a mini taper. It is not necessary to taper before these training races, but I like the mental break. For my target race, Zion 100K I will do a traditional 3 week taper.

This week in Middle Tennessee. . . lots of ice and a bit of snow and temps ranging from 0-22 degrees. This weather system shut down school for a week and made running impossible, if not treacherous on the roads. Here’s how I adapted and enjoyed my running/taper week. Add this to your bag of tricks, when weather challenges your training.

Tuesday I met at my neighbor’s house for an impromptu interval class. I planned an hour’s worth of activity.  Repeat each group of four bullet points 3 times. My goal was to design a workout that included an easy cardio interval that was guaranteed to raise the heart rate,  one compound exercise per set (compound exercise= exercise targeting two muscle groups at once, like a squat combined with a shoulder press), stay on your feet for the exercises until the last set and to do 20 reps per exercise.

  • up and down on one stair step as quickly as you can for 1 minute
  • squat/shoulder press 20x
  • 1 minute 20 second wall sit
  • lat pull down with a resistance band 20x
  • up and down on one stair step as quickly as you can
  • plies with hammer curl 20x
  • tricep press with the band 20x each arm
  • bent over rows with free weights 20x
  •  up and down on one stair step as quickly as you can for 1 minute
  • inner thigh exercise with the band 20x each leg
  • planks 60 seconds with variations, depending on strength
  • push ups with arm raise to the side 10x

Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday . . . THE TREADMILL for many a runner this conjures up negative feelings,  boredom, unchanging scenery, inside, hot, time limits, etc. Friends-I shared this same opinion until this week. I’ve run 5-7-7 miles this week all on the treadmill.

My favorite plan? I like to spend the first 3 miles warming up. (It is great to have a friend with you, during this part. It helps to keep your pace easy and the talking is distracting.) At mile 4, I am ready to run some hills. Here’s how I do my hill intervals. You could do something similar with speed and no hills by using each quarter mile to gradually increase speed without changing incline.

  • miles 1-3 warm up. I set mine to 5.8/0%incline
  • miles 4.0-4.25 speed 5.8/1% incline
  • miles 4.25-4.5 speed 5.8/1.5% incline
  • miles 4.5-4.75 speed 5.8/2% incline
  • miles 4.75-5 speed 5.8/0.5% incline
  • miles 5-5.25 speed 5.9/1% incline
  • miles 5.25-5.5 speed 5.9/1.5% incline
  • miles 5.5-5.75 speed 5.9/2% incline
  • miles 5.75-6 speed 5.9/1% incline
  • miles 6-6.25 speed 6.1/1.5% incline
  • miles 6.25-6.5 speed 6.1/2% incline
  • miles 6.5-6.75 speed 6.1/3% incline
  • miles 6.75-7.25 cool down speed 5.8/0% incline

I’m racing the Dry Creek Marathon this Sunday! Race report to follow.

I would love your feedback!

What is your favorite workout on the treadmill?

What is your go to gym workout?

The Trail Race Taper

Here is what I sat down and wrote several weeks ago.

After many years of running and 5 or so marathons later, I love to taper. It used to be madness. Now, it is resting in the completion. The hardest work is done.

Three weeks later, I have more to say. I have a different understanding. I looked up synonyms to “taper”. Here are my favorites, lesson, recede, close, diminish, fade. After training for a trail race, it is so much about “resting in the completion”. The difference between training for a marathon and training for a 50K, for me, is the time that I put into my training. For a road marathon, the longest time that I will spend on my feet at one single time is three hours. I will do this type of time on three alternating weekends. The longest that I spend on my feet at one single time training for a trail race is five hours, coupled with the following day of three hours. There is also a difference is speed, terrain and scenery.

Sometimes by the end of my road running taper, I am anxious, rest-less. I like that word,  restless. Some synonyms include, edgy, fidgety, agitated. In contrast, I have noticed that by the end of training, heading into my taper for a trail race, I am rest-ing or quiet, recessing, relaxing, at ease, comfortable.

. . . I am resting in completion. The hardest work is done. . .

Now, I am spending some time each day reflecting on these thoughts from the book, Magical Running by Bobby McGee.

  1. I am patient
  2. By holding my form and relaxing I ensure an excellent finish.
  3. I am a champion experiencing the challenges of the journey to the top.
  4. I relish challenges for they are the ultimate opportunities for growth.
  5. I can commit to an excellent level of running, no matter how I feel.
  6. In running, it is required that you deeply know and believe that you have the ability.
  7. If I do not put myself into positions where I am under pressure and require of myself to choose to deal with what arises, I will never have the opportunity to know my own greatness.
  8. Once I know that I have the choice of either exhaustion or challenge, the answer becomes clear, meet the challenge.
  9. When you have passion, even the most difficult task will be enjoyable.
  10. I have practiced the skills to the point that I can forget that I have them. Now, I can abandon myself to the performance. (Flow in Sports, Jackson)

Finally, I have used a line from the David Crowder song, “Oh How He Loves” to remind myself that I will have affliction in any race, at any given time, in life. . . even. BUT as the lyrics read, “When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these affictions eclipsed by glory, when I realized just how beautiful you are and GREAT are your affections for me.” His glory, his greatness, his beauty will be the contrast to each ‘afflicting moment’.

Time to Taper

(Sigh). . . Tapering again. Shouldn’t I be good at this?! Last year, I tapered five times. I must admit that it is hard to believe that tapering is important or necessary. I mean, I go from running 50 miles a week to zero. BUT it feels more like you go from superhuman to unremarkable mortal.

I started to think about the idea of tapering. I’ve searched for good definitions of taper. I like the definition used by Blaine Moore in his article, What is a “taper”? He defines it as a decreasing in the time, the training intensity, or the training volume in which you are engaged in the days or weeks leading up to a performance event.

This started me thinking. We do not just taper in sports events. We taper in real life! Think about it, don’t you remember the intensity to which the build-up of your wedding was? I had about a week’s taper before my ceremony. Then, there was my high school graduation. I tapered for about a month before graduation, because my college was chosen, my tests were finished, my grades were pretty much secured. There was also my taper before my babies were born. Hmm. . . These were all events that I longed for and looked forward to. I was tapering and enjoying it and did not even know it.

Then, why is it so hard for the average athlete to taper and not sneak in a last minute long run or speed workout? Your race is chosen. Your workouts are finished. Your good running days and your bad running days are settled. Time to look forward to the graduation. I mean; you started out at one level when week one of twelve or sixteen or eighteen began and NOW look at you!! You have graduated to better times, longer distances, a fitter heart and body. Amazing!! Time to race and move on to the next great (running) thing.

Tim Noakes, MD in his book, The Lore of Running sums up tapering in the following quote:

“You will need certainly three weeks to put the finishing touches to your stamina and reserve energy. When you consider what a vast amount of work you have already gone through, you will admit that a fortnight or so longer is a relatively trifling matter. Endeavor to keep all your spare time fully occupied with reading, writing, anything that will keep you still, anything to divert your mind from harping on the forthcoming event.”