June 21, 2011

Time for a vacation

Preparations are under way for our summer vacation. We're headed back to California this Friday, but with no intentions of doing an 11 day hike like last year. Instead of the backpacking gear, we're loading up the jeep with all our ski gear, mountain bikes, and lots more food than we were able to take on the JMT! The plan is to hang out in Tahoe (we've never been there) for the first half of the trip (running, skiing, biking, and even maybe some relaxing!), the head down the Eastside of the Sierra Nevadas (one of the coolest places on earth!) for the second half of the trip.

The total drive will be about 1300 miles. A lot less than the original trip we had in mind, which would have taken us all the way to Mt Rainier in Washington state.

We're spending the first 5-6 days in the Lake Tahoe basin, then heading south to Mono Lake / Tioga Pass, then down to Mammoth Lakes.

There will still be plenty of snow in Tahoe for skiing...

We'll get to hang out at the beach... and the water will be super cold, so that will be good for post-run therapy...

And ride our mountain bikes...

Tioga Pass (the gateway to Yosemite) got plenty of snow this year as well... this photo was taken a few weeks ago as they were plowing the road... I think there will be some left for us!

We'll cap off the trip playing in the mountains in Mammoth Lakes, CA... we only briefly came through here last summer on our way to start the JMT, and have been itching to go back ever since...

Blood Mountain and the ultra-classic "Bloody Couloir" (the one split by the 2 giant rock outcrops) is one of the lines we are hoping to climb and ski while in Mammoth

Rumor has it that there is a one mile road race in Mammoth on July 4th... hmmmmmmmm... my friend Luke told me after the Utah Valley Marathon to "learn from Ryan Hall and don't jump in any one mile races right after the marathon"... but rumor also has it that my racing flats are already packed :-)

... oh, and the long term forecast isn't looking too shabby, either...

June 20, 2011

Andrea: Making the Jump

[Note from Jake: Andrea made this chart comparing her pre-2011 race results (red) to her 2011 season (blue) so far... looking at the table is pretty impressive!]

I decided to compare my races THIS year with all those I have done in past years. My improvement this year is quite a leap! There are several differences between 2011 and my previous training...

1) Living in the same place as Jake to push me, keep me motivated, and run with me.
2) Increased mileage and workouts
3) Less stressful life (=no more school!)
4) Eating healthier overall
5) Taking iron supplements

I really feel like these have made me a stronger and better runner. I hope the improvement curve continues!

[Updated with Summer/Fall 2011 Results]

June 17, 2011

A few Utah Valley photos

Brightroom actually did a fairly terrible job with their finish line photos (they had a big metal bar blocking the clock, and took the pics from about 100 yards away), but they did capture a few good ones during the race...

I'm pretty bald these days. The days of the golden locks blowing in the wind feels like a long time ago!

Heel striker! :-)

June 16, 2011

Andrea's Profile in Utah Running Magazine

The fine folks at UtahRunning.com have featured Andrea in their latest magazine issue.

Check it out: Andrea North - Utahns Leading the Pack. The full text is also pasted below...

Age: 24

Current residence: Salt Lake City, UT

Running background: I ran cross country and track all through high school in
Knoxville, Tennessee (my hometown – Go Vols!). I decided not to run collegiately and
instead focus on school, but continued to run recreationally as a stress reliever and to
maintain fitness. I graduated college last May 2010 and took the chance to move to Utah.
I got a great engineering job here and now have the ability to focus more on running and
other fun outdoor adventures. My running has really ramped up since I moved here, and
I’m definitely a better athlete at altitude than I ever was at sea level!

Why the Provo Half Marathon: I chose the Provo Half Marathon for several reasons.
The race is an unaided, flat course. So many races here in Utah are downhill and point-to-
point, but I was looking for a fair course at altitude to get a true indication of my fitness.
The timing of the race fit perfectly with my training schedule, and it was an easy drive
from Salt Lake City to Provo.

PR’s: 17:52 5K, 58:30 15K, 1:21:43 Half Marathon (all in 2011!)

Training regimen/schedule (weekly mileage, types of workouts, when you fit it in):
I have been building up my mileage since November of last year. Before then, I hadn’t
consistently run more than 40 miles a week and never run more than 45 miles in a single
week. After hearing “mileage makes champions” about a million times by my boyfriend
Jake (he got 2nd in the Provo Half and runs A LOT of miles), I decided to jump on the
bandwagon. I built up the mileage very slowly – it took me about 10 weeks to go from
40 miles a week to 65 miles a week (I also cross trained a lot too, which I would highly
recommend). In a typical week, I run twice a day for 3-4 days, do a longer run once a
week of 13-17 miles, and 1-2 track/tempo workouts. If I ever feel worn down, I just take
an easy day – it’s not worth getting injured or burnt out. Non-race weekends are often
devoted to skiing, hiking, biking, or any other form of outdoor exercise.

Favorite place to run: Trails and dirt roads with great scenery! I especially enjoy
running trails in Southern Utah at the national and state parks.

Favorite pre-race meal and post-race drink: For all of the races I have run this year,
my pre-race meal has been mac-and-cheese and ice cream. This has been a great strategy
because these are my two favorite foods (= mental boost) and they give me lots of energy
for the next day’s race. Favorite post-race drink is chocolate milk, which I believe every
race should provide at the finish!

Favorite race distance: Half marathon, definitely.

Why run (motivation, inspiration): I run to maintain fitness, to be healthy and feel
great. I run so I can eat ice cream every night, to enjoy the outdoors, and to relieve stress.
I would say that I have a love/hate relationship with running…sometimes it is so hard to
get out and start running, but when it’s over, I’m always happy that I did.

Favorite quote or best advice you’ve been given as a runner: “Believe in your

Advice you would give to other aspiring runners: Train smart and stay healthy. Find
a group or someone to run with – it is great motivation and makes running much more

Goals: Not an official goal yet, but maybe I’ll try for the 2016 Olympic Trials in the

June 13, 2011

Some post-marathon analysis

I'm 48 hours post-marathon, and other than a blistered toe, my body feels great! Its actually quite surprising that I've been able to bounce back so quick. After the Antelope Island 50K, I felt like crap for about a week.

The fact that I wasn't even sore the day after the race obviously made me question whether I had run hard enough. Now, I'm not going to really second guess a 2:21 marathon... I'm extremely happy about UVM! However, you can learn something from every race, so I'm already thinking about how I'm going to make the jump to the next level.

I'll save the in-depth analysis for another blog, or maybe just save it for long run conversations with Andrea so I don't bore the readers of this site to death, but I did a little breakdown of splits this morning that I think is interesting...

I took my mile splits and compared them to Paul Peterson's splits, who finished 2nd on Saturday, running his 3rd straight sub 2:20 marathon. We ran together for the first 6 miles, before he pulled away and chased down the leaders. He ended up finishing 2 minutes and 17 seconds ahead of me, and I wanted to see at what point during the race I lost that time to him.

After Paul put a small gap on me during the 7th mile, I actually made up some time on mile 8-9, which were primarily uphill and pretty difficult. At mile 10 Paul caught the leaders and obviously that spiced things up a bit up front, and they started flying. From 10-19 is where they really pulled away, except for miles 12 and 16, which had big hills. Over the last 10K, I actually ran fairly close to what Paul ran.

So, the positives from this are that I ran the harder uphills very well and closed strong for the last 10K. I'm much stronger on uphills than downhills... so that is something I need to work on... but I'm glad that its not the other way around. The middle part of the race will come with more training and experience. It would not have been wise to try and match Paul's acceleration after the 6th mile... I may have been able to hang for a while, but it absolutely would have come back to bite me later on. I'm happy that I was smart enough to let him go and focus on running my own race, and running negative splits.

If you saw the video of my finish, its clear that I had something left in the tank at the end. That is another good sign.

Its going to take a lot of work to get to where I want to be. Not months of consistency, but years. This was only step one, but it was a BIG step in the right direction.

Epsom salt foot baths were part of the weekend recovery process

I love my Saucony Type A3s, and will be wearing them for lots more (shorter) races, but I can't afford to let this happen again in another marathon.

June 11, 2011

Utah Valley Marathon

Keeping it together at the 25 mile mark

Today was a great, great day for us. The Utah Valley Marathon & Half was the capstone of our spring season. This was my marathon debut, and it was probably the most competitive field Andrea has raced against all year. If you've followed the blog, our recent races and workouts have shown that we were primed and ready for this.

The short story is that Andrea led wire-to-wire in the half-marathon and won the race in 1:17:54!!! In the marathon, I had the race of my life and ran 2:21:47 to take fourth place, which I am extremely happy about. Andrea took home $500 for her efforts (along w/ another watch and what appears to be a replica of the Stanley Cup), and I won $300. A nice payday... but what's even better is that after today, qualifying for the Olympic Trials Marathon seems like a much more tangible goal for both of us. At least in 2016. The 2012 trials might be pushing it... but who knows?! :-)

We'll get some more photos from that race up in a few days. For now, here are our race reports...

Andrea: (full report from her Fast Run Blog)

YAY!!!!! What a great day.

I woke up at the crack of dawn to catch the buses that took us to the start. I was relieved to not wake up hungry, meaning that I ate plenty yesterday (must've been the Moose Tracks ice cream). The ride up was good - I sat by a super nice lady and we chatted. The staging area had tons of fires to keep everyone warm. The next hour went by pretty slow...I didn't know anyone around so I just sat quietly. I did a short 1 mile warm-up and my legs were feeling great.

When we lined up for the start, I didn't realize that I was standing RIGHT next to the guy that shot the gun. That came as a surprise! Oh well - we were off. There was a lead pack of about 5-6 guys that created a quick gap on the rest of the crew. The first 2 miles were pretty downhill, so I ran what I felt was half marathon effort (5:54, 5:56). That was a good feeling! The third mile was all uphill so I came in that mile at 6:15 - exactly what I expected.

Now all I had to do was cruise the downhill until a short hill at mile 11. There were two guys running together about 25 yards ahead of me. The next few miles I just tried to stay in check with them. Miles 4, 5, 6, 7 were 5:39, 5:45, 5:56, 5:55 respectively. Those miles flew by...miles go by so much faster when you're running faster (who would've thought?!).

Miles 8 and 9 were uneventful with times of 6:01 and 5:56. I started to feel the pace at mile 10. This is not surprising because the downhill gradient was less steep and I was going much faster than my goal pace (6:05/mile). I hit 10 in 6:10 and knew that I needed to pick it up and start racing. I passed one guy which lifted the spirits a bit. The next mile had a short hill, hence the 6:07. I was a little disappointed in the cheering for this section - people watching would just look at me and not say anything at all! It was kinda weird.

Anyways, I hit my goal pace in 6:04 for mile 12 and really tried to pick it up for the end. 5:45 last mile with :31 finish! I saw 100m away and knew I could break 1:18. Finished with a total time of 1:17:52. That's 2 minutes faster than my goal time and 4 minutes faster than my PR set a month ago. I honestly had no idea who was behind me or how far behind me they were because I did not see a girl after the very start of the race, but I think second place was 20 seconds slower.

The race was great overall - perfect temperature, VERY well run by the race director, every mile marker was right on, aid stations and bathrooms everywhere. I was super impressed. The only thing I really wish was better - the massages! I think it was more of a soft pet than a massage :o)

I took a shower then ran to watch Jake race. I was getting nervous about his race, but WOW he was running so fast with a mile to go and ran in 2:21:47. What a marathon debut.

I was very happy to put some names to faces today from people on the blog. Everyone is so nice and friendly - can't wait to see you for more races!

We got Dairy Queen after the race. Nothing like a large dip cone in celebration!

Jake: (full report from my Fast Run Blog)

The short story: Marathon debut, 2:21:46, negative split (71:10 / 70:36), and actually ran a half-marathon PR for the second half of the race.

The long version: Today was a most excellent day. It was fun and rewarding and just felt damn good to run fast. I've put in a lot of miles this winter in an effort to get myself back to a competitive level of running. Four to five months ago my goal for this race was to get to the starting line healthy and run under 2:37 (~6 min pace). As the spring (or endless winter) progressed, consistency was the name of the game, and my fitness steadily improved. A week after running a half-marathon PR at the Provo City Half, I did a 13 mile tempo that told me I had jumped to a new level. For the last 3 weeks leading up to UVM, my workouts were fantastic, and I felt great pretty much every single day as I tapered down the mileage. I knew I was ready for a special run today. My goal was to run ~1:13 for the first half and then negative split... but even with that objective in mind and realizing that the marathon is a long race that deserves a lot of respect, my real "plan" was to run without any external or internal limits... to just go out there, lay my cards down, and let it happen... I woke up almost every hour last night hoping it was finally 3:30am and time to get going.

Now to the race... perfect temps at the start, cool and dry. Bryant Jensen and the 2 Kenyans separated right from the gun, I hung back in the second pack w/ Paul, Dave, Clyde, and Sasha. The first mile felt super easy (5:47). We picked it up a bit on the second mile (5:29) but it was still conversational. The gap to the lead pack was getting big, so Paul and I took off a bit after 2 miles. Mile 3-5 were 4:59, 5:17, 5:23. Paul kept increasing the pace so I let him go, realizing I was going at a nice tempo at that point. Mile 6 was 5:15, then we hit the rolling hills for miles 7-9 (5:32, 5:31, 5:44). The next mile was back to5:15 for a ten mile split of 54:16. A little faster than planned, but I was feeling great, despite running alone since the ~5.5 miles.

Miles 11-13 were 5:25, 5:36, 5:23. I passed one of the Kenyans at the 12 mile marker and moved into 4th place. Came through the half-marathon in 1:11:10. Faster than I thought I would, but I was feeling great, and the plan was to run with no limits, right? I knew that unless one of the guys ahead of me really blew up, they weren't coming back, and nobody from behind was going to catch me, so I focused on running my own race.

Miles 14-20 were 5:28, 5:23, 5:37 (uphill the whole way, I was actually really happy about this split), 5:22, 5:16, 5:24, 5:15. Twenty miles in 1:48:31, and that means my ten mile splits were 54:16 / 54:15. Very consistent. Miles 21-22 were 5:22, 5:17. Now I'm starting to feel it a bit. Not really in my legs, but in my TOES! I could feel a couple blisters coming at about 16 miles. Now they were hurting pretty bad, but nothing I couldn't fight through. Miles 23-24 were 5:26, 5:37 (hill). Hurting a bit but keeping it together... For the last few miles I started thinking "keep every mile under 5:30, and break 2:23"... Mile 25 was5:21. Back on track. Andrea was at this point and cheered me on. Put the pedal down a bit and ran 5:13 for the 26th mile. I'm trying to do the math in my head... can I possibly get under 2:22?... when I hit the final chute I saw 2:21-something on the clock, then put my head down, and just absolutely went for it. The crowd was great, and anyone that saw the finish can attest that I was probably the most excited 4th place finisher of all-time! Ran 57 seconds for the final 0.2, almost tripping over my own feet as I was pumping my fists, and came in at 2:21:46. The second half of the race was 1:10:36, which is the fastest half-marathon I've ever run.

I had to take my shoes off as soon as I finished, so I just sat down on the ground and waited for Andrea to come find me. Needless to say, my excitement doubled when she told me that she won the half-marathon! As happy as I've been about my improvement curve over the past 6 months, I'm even more stoked for her... and I honestly mean it when I say that there's no way that I would been able to run so well today without her day-to-day support.

This race feels good in a lot of ways. I'm sure I'll have a better perspective on it in the next few days. For now I'm just going to enjoy it and not try to over-analyze it. I put in the miles, did smart workouts, had fun doing it, and executed a great race today.

It was great to finally meet a bunch of you guys today. Hopefully Andrea and I will see you at a lot more races in the future. I also want to thank Hyrum and the UVM staff for putting on an excellent event... every detail was covered and very professionally done.

Now we're going to take a few easy weeks, ski, bike, hike, and let the bodies re-charge.

The next marathon is going to be Philadelphia in November. Goal time... TBD :-) ...but if I've learned anything about myself in the last few months as I've built up towards this race, its that I'm not putting any limits on what I'm capable of.

Andrea in the homestretch

Start and finish of the half marathon

Jake at around 15-16 miles

Happy to get those shoes off!

Andrea on top of the podium for the women's half-marathon

New ice cream bowl?

Marathon podium. Hillary and Paul (the top 2 guys) have run 2:16 and 2:17, respectively, so it was a high quality field.

Post race at Dairy Queen. I usually say that "Miles make champions"... but sometimes I think maybe the key to our success is all the ice cream we eat! :-)

Full Results

Here's a video that Allie Scott put together... Andrea comes in just after the 50 second mark.. winning marathon is at 2:10, and I'm at 2:40

June 5, 2011

Has the endless winter finally ended?

I think winter is finally giving up. After running this morning, we headed up to Alta to ski some buttery corn snow in the sunshine, then came back home and went swimming. Woo hoo!

The good thing about the endless winter is that we have lots of snow for summer skiing, so we'll have something to do for a few weekends when we take a little break from racing after Utah Valley next Saturday.

More photos on my picasa site: June 5th skiing

June 4, 2011

Fight for Air 5K

We ran a local 5K close to home this morning. A last hard workout / tune-up race before Utah Valley next weekend. As the May Summary I posted the other day shows, our training has been going well. I had a feeling that sub-15 (me) and sub-17 (Andrea) was a definite possibility. Turned out that was exactly the case... I ran 14:47 for the win, and Andrea ran 16:52 (winning the women's race and actually finishing 2nd overall, beating all the other guys!).

I'm not surprised at all that we ran so well, but its still a nice confidence booster! I think we both felt even stronger than we did in the 10K last weekend. One week until the culmination of our spring seasons!

Full race reports... no pictures from the race, as far as I know...

The Fight For Air 5k race was very close to my condo, so it was nice to wake up and not have to drive more than a couple miles. I did a nice warm-up and included some hard efforts to get my legs ready to race fast. The number of people was much smaller than I had thought, and the start wasn't the most official (a guy starting his watch as the official time with no real start line).

Anyway, the first 1.5 miles was super fast - I have never actually done an aided course and it was actually pretty nice! I came through the first mile at 5:05. PR for the mile :o) The 1.5-2 mile was flat to slightly uphill so I was getting back on a normal pace. I felt strong through 2 miles with a time 10:35. PR for the 2 mile! The race was in Sugarhouse at this point, on the stretch that I run 4-5x a week and am very comfortable running. Jake and I marked half miles on the course yesterday, and that also helped me through the 2.5 and 3 miles. I was excited to go through the finish in 16:52! I actually hit the 3.1 mark at about 16:40 with the extra 90 meters as just bonus (the course was definitely long). I didn't think I was in sub-17 5k shape, but the 250 ft of downhill definitely helped.

I felt great during and after the race with a 3 mile cooldown. Today was a confidence booster for the UVHM next week! That is the race that Jake and I have both been building up for and it should be interesting to see what we can do.
Last tune-up before UVM... the race started at Tanner Park and finished in Sugarhouse. Got a much better warmup than before the 10K last weekend. The first 1.5 miles of the course had a net drop, then it was pretty much flat the rest of the way. Definitely a nice, fast course (although it was also definitely long... we measured it twice, and both times it was about 90 meters long).

My primary competition was Andrea, so I didn't have anyone with me right from the start. I came through the first mile in 4:29... whew!... haven't run that fast since some track races in DC 3 year ago... kept cruising on the second mile, which I hit in 4:38 (9:08 at 2 miles). At this point my focus shifted to making sure I didn't do anything to hurt myself (I've had a slight groin pull that I'm hoping doesn't act up in the marathon next weekend), so I took the pedal off the gas a bit in the third mile (5:10). I had a ton of half-marathon runners to catch in the last stretch, and came through in 14:47.

Pretty happy with how good I felt today. So far I think I am getting the taper right :-)

June 1, 2011

May Training

Here's the monthly training recap for May. Quantity has gone down (slightly), quality has gone up (A LOT). We've had excellent workouts and races all month... its been fun!



May 2 - May 8: 100 miles (Provo Half-Marathon, 1:10:52, PR, 2nd place)
May 9 - May 15: 135 miles
May 16 - May 22: 114 miles
May 23 - May 29: 95* miles (Memorial Day 10K, 31:55, 3rd place)
(*End of "The Streak")

Total Miles for May (31 days, 52 runs): 483 miles
Average Miles a Day: 15.6 miles
Total Perfect Pushups: 1800 (58/day)
Days I drove my car to work: 8 days

I feel like I'm not only back to a competitive level, but I jumped to a new level this month. The half-marathon and 10K races were solid efforts, but its really the day-to-day workload and consistency that has given me more confidence. I keep getting stronger and stronger in workouts. There were a few specific days that really told me I was now at a fitness level I have never been at before... the 13 mile tempo and the 2 x 5 miles workouts were put on the calendar at the beginning of the month to be indicators of what my goal pace should be in the marathon. I cruised through both of them, and now my expectations are pretty high for UVM. The big mileage all winter, and incorporation of more specific workouts over the past 8 weeks, has paid off nicely so far. With only a week to go, I can't wait to just get out there and race for 26.2!


May 2 - May 8: 57 miles (Provo Half-Marathon, 1:21:43, PR, 1st Place)
May 9 - May 15: 69 miles
May 16 - May 22: 71 miles
May 23 - May 29: 49 miles (Memorial Day 10K, 37:10, PR, Course Record, 1st Place)

Total Miles for May (31 days, 43 runs): 272 miles
Miles a Day: 8.8 miles

I started off the month with a huge PR in the Provo Half Marathon, which gave me confidence that my training and workouts were right on target. This month was much more focused on the track and tempo workouts instead of miles. The 10k this past weekend was a great effort, but I could definitely tell that my training was geared towards the longer distance. I know that I'm in the best shape of my life and am excited to see what I can do at the Utah Valley Half Marathon.


Its still has not stopped snowing (15" over Memorial Day weekend, season-to-date totals are pushing close to 800", and Snowbird is staying open through July 4th!). That being said, we haven't skied much in the past month. After kicking off the month with some chute skiing on May 1st, we've shifted our focus to running and recovery. We'll ski some more after UVM (as the snowpack is crazy deep and will last well into the summer), but its just not worth the risk of any freak injuries or whatnot at this point. Running fast is the #1 priority and the thing we are both most passionate about right now.

Next up...

Races: Fight for Air 5K (June 4), Utah Valley Half-Marathon / Marathon (June 11)
Trips: We're still not 100% decided on a summer vacation at the end of June... but right now we are leaning towards California... maybe Shasta/Lassen/Tahoe.

This was our workout calendar for the month of May. Days that don't have something specific were simply "run as much mileage as possible without breaking down and make sure you are fresh for workouts." I think this was a good scheme for the month, considering we both haven't done these types of workouts in several years. Its eased us back into a higher workout of quality running, and has gotten us prepared well for racing, but avoided the risk of injuries that comes with doing too much, too soon.

Jake's miles per week for the past 6 months... "Miles make champions"