Kicking off 2018 at Antelope Island!

After a multi-month hiatus, it’s time to figure out what I want this blog to be in 2018. I’m not 100% sure what that will mean, but I do know that I took a ton of pictures on my run this morning, so if nothing else, it means more pictures! I was originally thinking of doing 18 miles for 2018, but after only doing one run since the Route 66 marathon which was the weekend before Thanksgiving, it was quite a struggle! Either way, I got a great tour of Antelope Island and definitely want to go back again – tons of trail options and beautiful views!

Can you spot the animal at the top of the hill?! There he is! I blame these guys for not hitting my full 18 miles – they were blocking the trail on an out-and-back portion… yeah, I’m sticking with that! 😂 Apparently the birds were cold too! They flew off not long after I snapped the picture.

It was a beautiful morning to get out on the trails and I’ll definitely be back!

I do exist!

I’ve been pretty quiet lately, not having posted anything since my double marathon recap. That’s not to say I haven’t had a lot going on, just not a ton of time to recap everything! May was spent catching up on some of my neglected home duties (what can I say, running 5 days a week was more fun than housework) and June was spent doing a lot of traveling – Massachusetts to New Hampshire to Rhode Island to Maine and back to Massachusetts and then another full week spent in Washington, D.C.

I do have some exciting news to share for the next year – I’ve been chosen to be an ambassador for the Asheville Marathon and Half in Asheville, NC next March. I did the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge last year and am excited to take on that same challenge again. I’ll be doing the half marathon on Saturday, followed by the marathon on Sunday, but there are lots of options to choose from! You can choose one race (half either on Saturday or Sunday or full on Sunday) or you can create a combo weekend – half and half (Backyard to Backyard Challenge) or half and full (Backyard to Vineyard Challenge).

I loved this race last year because of the beautiful scenery and because it was my first foray into pushing myself to do more than I thought was possible, really the springboard for my taking on the Grandfather Mountain Marathon last July and then the Blue Ridge Double this year. I volunteered at the expo this year answering runner questions and was bummed that I hadn’t signed up, especially after we ended up getting snow! The pictures from this year were absolutely beautiful, so don’t hate me too much if I keep my fingers crossed for snow next year too 🙂

If you’re interested in one of these races, feel free to ask me any questions you have. I also have a discount code for 15% off any of the race distances until July 31. Just use invitation code AMBERHARDESTY2018AMAROCKS and then discount code 2018AMAAMBERROCKS. This is the best discount you’ll see on these races, so don’t wait too long! You can get all the details on the races on the Asheville Marathon website, including how to register and join me!

Catching up on the end of summer

I’ve been MIA on here for far too long, so this week I’m catching up on my Ragnar SWATing in August and September, giving highlights from my first ultra attempt this weekend and an exciting announcement! Here’s a sneak preview of some of what’s to come…

You can always follow me on Instagram for the most up-to-date pictures of all of my activities (or as has happened recently, all the spiders I’ve been finding at my house)! 

Catching up on fall

It’s been a crazy few months with travel, work and running the soccer league, so I’ve definitely been slacking on my posts, but that’s not to say there isn’t a lot to talk about! I’ve done 2 half marathons, started and finished training for my second marathon and just yesterday completed Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah. This week I’ll be catching up on everything I’ve done, so tune in tomorrow for my recap of the Vacation Races Great Smoky Mountain half marathon.

Catching up on August

It’s been a full month since I last posted and a lot has happened in that time. I just got back from my second Westward Adventure trip, though this time I headed out to New Mexico and Oregon for even more running and hiking fun! In early August I was cleared to start playing pick-up soccer and got put on a 4-week training plan to get me up to full-speed soccer. The goal was to have me ready to play by the beginning of September when the woman’s league started. 

Unfortunately 4 days after I officially graduated my physical therapy training program, I was playing pick-up and felt another pop in my the same knee, just a week and a half before I was scheduled to leave for the Ragnar trail relay in Angel Fire, New Mexico. 24 hours later I was back at the physical therapy office. They used some ultrasound on my knee and got me on the stationary bike trying to work out some of the swelling and get some range of motion back in my knee. When I mentioned I had a race the following weekend, they looked at me like I was crazy and said “we’ll see” at which point I said “did I mention I’m going to New Mexico for this race?!” They were not very encouraging about the race, but told me to come back a few days later and see how I felt then. 

After a few days of rest, I was able to walk normally again and my second appointment went much better. They even let me run on a treadmill at a 12:00 pace and told me to take it easy over the weekend. By early the next week, they were able to fully test my knee and decided I still had enough of an ACL to keep my knee from moving the way it’s not supposed to, so I was cleared to run the two races that I had signed up for, which was good because I was leaving in two days! 

Stay tuned for a full recap of Ragnar Trail Angel Fire, New Mexico, Oregon and the Hardesty Hardcore trail race!

April update – Working on Mountain Goat status

April was a whirlwind of hikes (18 miles at Stone Mountain and 13 miles at South Mountain) and races (Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh and the Country Music Half Marathon) totaling 9,385′ of elevation gain! When I laid out my proposed April schedule, my physical therapist said “that’s a lot” but half-way through April, I moved to fewer physical therapy sessions, with only one currently scheduled for the end of May. The game plan, now that my strength has improved, is to wait until I finish my (even crazier) June running / hiking plans to begin truly working on the agility and pivoting that will be necessary to get me back to playing soccer later this summer. 

I’m just over a week away from the Trailblaze Challenge and my amazing supporters have helped me raise over $2850 for the Make-A-WIsh Foundation. I have officially surpassed my goal and truly appreciate all of the support I’ve received from family, friends and co-workers throughout the last few months of training. I’m still trying to figure out how I want to commemorate the official hike, but I’m currently thinking of doing something on Instagram, so make sure to follow me and cross your fingers that I will have cell phone reception out there!

Resolution Updates
Walk the dogs for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week – How does non-existent sound? I’ve definitely been neglecting this resolution a lot. I am getting outside with the dogs more – while I’m working in the yard, they’re running around playing with each other or running the fence line racing the neighbor’s dogs, and they’ve been able to have a lot more access to the outdoors while I’m at work now that the weather is cooperating again, but I haven’t been purposefully taking them for walks, so for this month, I’ve got a big ol’ Goose egg

Drink more water – Still struggling with this one a bit too – I’ve been using an app to track my water intake, but there were some days when I looked at it and realized I hadn’t recorded anything for the last two days, so I had to go back and try to do an estimate. I need to get back to accurately tracking this again in May.
12 / 30 days drinking at least 39 oz. of water

2,015 miles in 2015 – Surprisingly, April was my second-lowest average daily miles so far this year, with just 5 miles per day (last month, I hit an average of 6 miles per day). I expected April to be a bigger month given all of my weekends were filled with either a long hike or a half marathon, but we did have an abundance of rainy days, which made my weekday average slip quite a bit.
151 miles in April for a total of 623 miles so far in 2015

How did your April goals go?

March update – Let’s run!

March brought a few more races, Rock ‘n’ Roll DC and the Elizabeth 8k, warmer weather and more hiking. After the half marathon, my physical therapy sessions moved down to once a week and we started working on agility drills. The drills aren’t as hard as the leg lifts, but they did make me sore. A few weeks ago, I started with a ladder drill which has four components – high knees (forward & sideways) and quick feet (two in / two out and forward / backward) – I’ve done this twice now and the first time, my knee was sore for almost two days after the drill, but I did it Tuesday afternoon and while I could feel it in my knee as I was finishing my last two sets (just on the sideways high knees), after I iced it, I didn’t feel anything else, so I’m definitely making progress. The other move they had me trying was the “ice skater” which makes me appreciate how hard skaters work – I had to do three sets of one minute each and that was rough! In the words of my therapist, my schedule for April is “a lot”

  • April 4: 18 mile hike
  • April 12: Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh
  • April 18: 22 mile hike
  • April 25: Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville

To be fair… I did warn them that my goal was to accomplish the 28 mile hike in May, so I’m not sure why this seems out of place… Yes, I added the half marathons, but I would have been hiking those weekends if I wasn’t running, so I’ll probably be covering a shorter distance than I would if I was hiking!

I also want to highlight the great support I’ve gotten from friends, family and co-workers who are all helping me reach my goal of raising $2,500 for Make-A-Wish for the Trailblaze Challenge in May. Over the last two weeks, I’ve raised almost $1,000 and I only have about $500 to go to hit my goal, so a big THANK YOU to everyone who has donated so far!!

Resolution Updates
Walk the dogs for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week – I’m still way off on this one, but I have been outside with the dogs most days of the week the past two weeks, just not formally walking them. They love to run around and play with each other / run the fence line with the neighbors’ dogs while I’m outside working on my raised garden beds or mowing the lawn, so while my official totals are lower, I do feel better knowing they’ve been able to get some exercising playing together.
3 walks / 31 days – 8.3 miles

Drink more water – March was a rough month for this one too. For some reason, I’ve had quite a few days when it’s been hard to force myself to drink a lot of water. I’ve definitely found it’s harder to do when I’m working from my home office, so that’s something I’ll continue to focus on going forward, but I think overall, I’m definitely more hydrated than I’ve been in the past.
24 / 31 days drinking at least 39 oz. of water

2,015 miles in 2015 – coming out of February, I was trying to average 5.66 miles per day to get caught back up on the slow(er) start to the year. I’ve definitely picked it up in March, with an average of 6.02 miles per day. I still only hit or exceeded my goal in 9 out of 31 days, but in 5 of those 9 days, I doubled or even tripled the mileage, so I’m catching up a bit.
186.5 miles in March for a total of 472.2 miles so far in 2015

How did your March goals go?

Updates, updates everywhere!

I’ve been on hiatus for awhile now and I don’t really have a good reason other than having competing priorities, but that’s not to say I haven’t been training and running more races. I’ve done 2 more races, bringing my total to 16 for the year so far with 2 more halfs definitely on the calendar and probably another 1-2 shorter runs thrown in for good measure. 

Half Fanatics & Time of the Season Series update 
I’ve never really talked about becoming a Half Fanatic (#7257), but I officially joined back in April after I did 2 halfs in 14 days with the Run the Bluegrass half on March 29 followed by the RaceFest half on April 12. Right now I’m sitting at Neptune, but since I’ve got a half in November and now one in December, I’ll moon up to Uranus in December with 6 halfs in 6 months. I’m also going to be checking off another state in December since I’ll be traveling to Ohio and that will also be my first trail half marathon. It’s definitely a gamble to do a half marathon on the first day of winter in Ohio, but apparently last year it was 70 degrees, so hopefully this year it won’t be too terribly cold!

For the Time of the Season Series, I committed to do a race (at least a 5k) once a month for a year, from March 2014 through February 2015. As of today, I’m committed to races through December, so I’m still on the lookout for races in January and February next year, but I’m thinking of something more local based on some of the other things I have planned for next year, which brings me to…

2015 updates
Last weekend I paced one of my friends to her first half marathon at the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon and the group of us that ran together have already started discussing doing more races together next year, which means looking at the 2015 calendar again. I’ve already signed up for a 3-pack with Vacation Races next year and have picked out 2 of the races… next June I’ll be heading out west to Wyoming for a half near Grand Teton followed by a half near Yellowstone in Montana the following weekend! It’s definitely a big adventure that will include lots of hiking and since I’ll likely be flying into Utah, I’m also keeping an eye out for a race in Salt Lake City too. 

I’ve also decided that I want to try another marathon, and the ladies I ran the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon with are looking at the Rock ‘n’ Roll series, so I’m debating doing one of those as my second marathon attempt and given the price of their marathon, I’d likely pick up a 3-pack for that series too. The good news with the 3-packs is that it’s a little more flexible since I wouldn’t have to be concerned about the deadlines for price increases, as long as I register before it sells out. 

Also on my radar for 2015 is potentially mooning up to Jupiter for Half Fanatics with 9 half marathons in 9 states within 365 days. If I start counting backwards from the races I will be doing next June, based on what I have already run or registered for, I’d have 6 states in a year, so 9 might not be too much of a stretch. 

Are you planning for 2015 already? What are your big races for next year?