100K Relay Recap & A New Direction

Remember how that one post I warned you all that it would be a long one? Same this month, same theme. So much has happened but I will start off with the good.

Early this month I had one of the most fun race experiences I’ve ever had. My friend Kellie and I were originally slated to run the inaugural Virginia Beach Distance Races 50K relay as a 2 person team.  As the race date grew closer and friends were looking for teammates our team of two turned into a team of four running the 100K distance. The more the merrier!  The course is a 2.3 mile loop, so we names ourselves “Team WTF, Another Lap?!?”  Ben agreed to start our team off in the dark, cold morning (while I was still at home sipping coffee).  He destroyed his goal pace and Kellie, our second leg, texted me so I could arrange for my babysitter to come a bit early (Go Ben!).  Then Kellie ran and also ran ridiculously fast! I thought we were running a casual long run pace…nope. Ben and Kellie set Thomas and I up for success. At this point our team was in the lead by a small margin and Thomas took over.  The second place team was made up of a bunch of great guys who in retrospect, planned their laps smarter than we did. They broke the laps up so they could each get more rest instead of runners running 15+ miles straight and also they were better at trash talking than I am. I’ll remember that next year!  Thomas ran 3 laps and handed off to me and then he and I switched once more to give each other a break in the 70 degree heat.  I was thankful to Thomas for giving me a lap break.

In a "WTF, Another Lap???" moment.

In a “WTF, Another Lap???” moment.

Our final hand off of the race bib (used as a wearable baton) went well and even though I was worried about myself losing our team lead, we won! It felt great and I loved running with my teammates and the other competitors. Honestly the loops made it even more exciting because you were constantly running with others. I was pleased with my splits, I averaged 6:47 pace for the first 17 miles then crashed a bit in the heat and ended up raising that overall average to 6:54 for my total 19 miles….yikes. Still it was so fun and I had zero calf pain. My entire face was covered with salt but I had a smile on my face. Everyone on our team worked  hard that day.

Just want to give a huge thanks to John Price for organizing and directing this amazing new race. Also thank you to the Running, Etc. crew for managing, organizing, and supporting.  The race went off flawlessly! It is on my must-run list for every year on out.  The 50K and 100K is a very fast course for Ultra runners looking for speedy qualifying times and the relays are pure fun. Also a big congrats to friends Stephanie Manny and Steve Speirs for their 50K wins!

Team WTF, Another Lap?!?

Team WTF, Another Lap?!?

Now time for the bad of this blog post.  My personal running life has been difficult lately. Just as I seem to heal from one injury another pops up. This has been my reality on and off for the last 13 months. It’s been hard.  For personal reasons that I am not comfortable sharing online, my non-running life now requires more of me than it has during other training periods.  Something has to change. So changes were made that scare me.  I am no longer with Elite Marathoning. Mark Hadley was/is an amazing coach. I am very grateful for everything he has done for me. I ran a PR in EVERY distance under his program. I loved his training philosophies and believed in them.  I honestly believe if my body could hold up to the work, that I was completely willing and wanting to do, I could run sub 2:43 in his program.  That didn’t happen though and it took three injuries for me to see that I was putting my body through more than it could handle. If I was a full time elite runner it would be one thing. I’m not. I’m a mom of 3. Family is my priority and I will never sacrifice a proper balance for a faster marathon time.  Leaving his program was an incredibly difficult decision. It was a decision he understood and I left on good terms with a huge appreciation for the time & effort he put into my coaching.

After I made that decision, I had no idea what I would do.  Honestly I felt overwhelmed & disheartened.  Thoughts of transitioning to Ultras (something I have a strong desire to do) sooner that originally planned crossed my mind.  There were quite a few emotional phone calls/texts with best friends. Quite simply I felt a bit rock-bottom when it comes to my little running world. I had no plans at all to ever get a new coach. I figured I coached myself to a high 2:50 at the Twin Cities marathon, so maybe I can do that, with the extra knowledge I have learned the last two years, and pull off a few more PRs.  Then an opportunity arose and I took it. It’s too new to elaborate more than saying- I’m working with someone new; Jerry Frostick, Owner of  J&A Racing.  After sitting at his offices (that are about two miles from my own home) a few times for things completed unrelated to coaching, we would talk and that’s how it started. It is a different style program and that scares me but I’m very excited too and appreciative of the opportunity. A good friend pointed out that a program that makes me do things I am unfamiliar with is good, because it would bring a perspective that I lack. So a few weeks ago I felt hopeless and now I’m feeling hopeful.  I realize all these new decisions seem rash, so please believe me when I say none of them were made lightly.

As far as my Spring plans.  Everything is up in the air. I know what I want to do, and that’s everything, but I also need to resolve this nagging lower leg pain. For the next 2 weeks I will be cross-training and starting a new strength plan. Boston is NOT off the radar but I’m not putting pressure on myself either. I still have a huge endurance base and a little speed so nothing major has or has not been decided.  Tomorrow is an off day and my training partner, Megan, and I have big plans of walking to the nearest bakery and earning our calories back that we’ve burned this week. That’s about how much I have planned into the future.

Thanks for all who stuck through this long blog post.  As always, I appreciate the support.  Wishing all my snowed in friends (including my neighborhood) lots of warm love!!

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32 thoughts on “100K Relay Recap & A New Direction

  1. So awesome. I really enjoy your honesty and candor. I’m sure leaving your coach was tough, but it sounds like you made the right decision. If you decide to go ultra, I’m sure you’ll kick ass!! 🙂

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  2. Kris,

    I don’t comment often but I’ve been following your training and I appreciate your honesty. I actually just started with Elite Marathoning last week. I had hoped to start working with Coach Hadley last year but a bad case of plantar fasciitis dominated much of 2014 so I had to wait. I hope whatever injury issues you are struggling with now heal quickly. You are a very talented athlete and I’m excited to see what you do next. : )

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  3. I love how you are putting your family first. As a Mom with 3 little kids, I know what that means. Loved this post.
    I started working with Mark Hadley at the beginning of a stress fracture in December. He is spot on with his coaching, and I am so looking forward to continuing with him when my injury heals. Sounds like you had a wonderful experience also and I know you will do awesome going forward!! 🙂

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  4. I know this has been such a challenging year Kris and I truly believe it will get better. You are making wise decisions and you have plenty of time to run, enjoy life and do what needs to be done. I don’t have much to add that I haven’t already told you but you always have my support.

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  5. That sounds like an incredibly fun relay. So you say you slowed down to an overall 6:54 pace for 19 miles….that’s freaking fast to me! Truly impressive. Your rawness is admirable. Best wishes to you in your new coaching endeavors. Cheering you on!!

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  6. I know we talked about this a lot, but I wanted to say it again. So proud of you for listening to your voice, listening to your body, and taking it all within your stride. I know good things are coming for you Kris. And like I said before, I think you will enjoy this race more than any other 🙂 Lots of love!

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  7. I’m very glad you’ve made the decision that’s right for you (re: the coaching). I’ve always admired how you balanced all the training with being a mom and wife because I’m not a mom and have no clue how I could run that weekly mileage and do all the self-care that high mileage requires (I think this is what many people don’t get… stretching, foam roll, all the extra stuff that is not running that comes with it).

    It looks like you had an amazing time doing the relay! Maybe it was just what you needed, a lower-pressure team race. You guys had a great pace and definitely earned the win. I’m sure you’ll still do great at Boston and Twin Cities as well.

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    • You are so right. The little things add up. I could spend an hour a day between the PT, stretching, core, etc. then 90 minutes of running. It’s so difficult to manage it all and if something has to give, it will be running.

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  8. Don’t worry Kris. You got this. Your two weeks of cross training will fly by and you will be Back out there kicking ass. Can’t wait for some time to pass and hear about how all the adjustments help you improve and PR in the future. Positive thoughts go a long way!

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  9. Sometimes change is exactly what the doctor ordered! Excited for your future, it’s fun to follow amazing athletes and you are one of them. Best wishes, can’t wait to follow along. Take care!

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  10. Hugs Kris!!!! I am sorry it has been such a tough time, and I know what an emotionally hard thing it is to change coaches. You listened to your heart it sounds like you did the very best thing for you and your running. I wish you ALL the success with your new coach. You have so much talent and such an incredible attitude… I know that this bump in the road is one you will get over and that much more success is in your future. I am cheering for you!!! Oh, and the relay sounds super fun. Congrats to your team! 🙂

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  11. I just want to echo what everyone else has said. We support you and love your honesty and transparency. OF COURSE your kids come first and you are the best mom for it. Can’t wait to read about your new changes. Good luck!

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  12. You are a strong and amazing person and runner, and I know you’ll bounce back and do incredible things, no matter what direction you head. Changes are always scary, but I’m confident everything will work out for the best. Hugs!

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  13. Hugs and a million side fives to you, Kris. You have so much talent and have such a good attitude about everything, I’m sure you’ll flourish under your new program. Lots of good things ahead for you! xo

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  14. You will love working with Jerry. He was my coach a few years ago and my running improved, but more importantly, my running perspective changed for the better. He keeps you striving for your short term goals while also keeping you healthy so you can run forever! Great things are still ahead!!

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  15. Even though times of change in our lives are often difficult and filled with uncertainty, I have no doubt that you will never regret following your heart and doing what is best for you and your family. You have a wonderful attitude and will bring your best to any coach you work with – so I know you will have success with your new one! Sometimes a shake up is just what is needed to move forward. I will keep all of my fingers and toes crossed that the injury heals up quickly and you can get back on the roads. I am sure this past year has felt like a bunch of stops and starts but you’ve learned a TON about yourself and your training along the way and that will be hugely valuable as you move forward. I know that you will do amazing in whatever you decide to do. Hang in there. We are all rooting for you!!

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  16. I believe it’s these difficult, uncomfortable decisions that define who we really are. I know you’ve been through a lot and I’ve paid attention to your story because of my similar injuries…albeit not similar abilities! I know what it’s like to balance sport and family; you feel like your never giving enough to either one! Sounds to me that you’ve made a brave but sensible decision! Good luck with the new training plan.

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  17. It takes enormous courage and maturity to step back and reassess. It takes even more courage to say “this isn’t working for me right now.” Hard stuff, but also the exact stuff that will ultimately allow you to live your life that way that works for you, in running and otherwise. Impressed with your candor and courage and rooting for you all the way!

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  18. I seriously just teared up reading this! It’s like I’m reading my own thoughts. I also feel rock bottom with my running, and I too need a change. Often I also feel like “writing is on the wall” when it comes to my goals that I am not quite ready to reach. (And may never reach them, honestly.)

    I hope everything is okay with your family. You truly are an amazing athlete, and I hope this new coach is a perfect fit for you.

    Best wishes on your new journey!

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  19. Kris, thanks for your honesty. I admire you for putting your family first. And, I think Sub 2:43 is definitely not out of this world impossible for you. Keep chipping away. We are all on your side.

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  20. Pingback: 2015 Virginia Beach Distance Races 50K Recap - Run Bulldog Run

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