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Running in Mammoth Lakes

My favorite part of vacations: finding new running paths. The best way to experience a new place is to get out into it and explore on foot, in my opinion! Whether it’s New York City, North Carolina, Montana, or Mammoth, I always do a little research before a trip to find the best running hotspots. I feel like I get to see a part of the city or countryside that most tourists don’t. And I get to combine my love of travel with my love of running, which truly feels like vacation.

Last week, my parents and their friends rented a penthouse condo at the foot of the ski lifts on Mammoth Mountain and we spent 8 solid days exploring lakes and trails and mountains. I tagged along on their adventure, but began every morning with a run by myself at 9,000 ft. elevation.

Mammoth Lakes Running (Stronglikemycoffee.com)You already know I’m more fond of running than the average person, but this trip made me more excited than ever to begin mixing up my workouts and training more seriously for my next marathon. Something about just burning off my energy, pushing my feet off the ground, hurling myself forward as fast as I can, music blasting out the sound of my own breath…I just can’t get enough. I feel so lucky to be able to run as far and as often as I want, injury-free and surrounded by nature. The fact that I’ve been safe and avoided any serious encounters with sketchy people or wild animals has not gone unappreciated either!

Running in Mammoth Lakes // Altitude Training for Long Distance Runners | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Some days I just run for its health benefits and because I feel like I need to maintain the long-distance-runner body type I’m used to. Some days I run because it’s something I know I’m good at and I need a confidence-booster. Some days I’m bummed out or stressed out over something, and I know that I seem to stop thinking/obsessing/worrying/hurting for that hour I’m striding down my path. Every day and every run is different but I almost always finish a run feeling stronger than I started.

And even though I can power through a treadmill session with a pair of headphones, nothing can ever compare to running outside. While I was in Mammoth, I ran up Lake Mary Rd. to Twin Lakes, then from Twin Lakes to Horseshoe Lake and back. I ran without music but spent every second taking in the silence, smells (I ran through a campground at one point where people started morning fires and cooked their bacon breakfasts), horse ranch, wild deer, bridges over creeks and brooks, expansive views of the Eastern Sierras, Lakes Mary, Mamie, and George, and the gorgeous massive pine trees. Hitting a plateau with views of the mountain tops make you feel pretty small :)

Mammoth Lakes Running and Hiking Blog Post | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Speed has never been my strong suit and the fact that I actually enjoy running uphills makes it obvious that I’m a cross country runner at heart <3 I just thrive off of the feeling of cresting a really steep incline and knowing that I struggled and pushed myself. After I catch my breath, I’m always ready to do it again. I’ve added a few hilly trails and hill repeats to my workouts over the next few weeks as I gear up for my next marathon.

I passed high school cross country teams every day and was honestly jealous of their running camps. I went to Runner’s Workshop camps for 2 years in high school, and my high school coach also organized his own running camp for us a couple summers up in Big Bear, CA. Running teams and elite athletes love altitude training!

From the start of the Lake Basin Path on Lake Mary Rd. (which starts as Main St.), it’s 5.3 miles up to the finishing point of Horseshoe Lake. The bike path runs parallel with the one-lane road but sits a few feet over so that trees and fences usually separate you from cars.

Mammoth Lakes Running Blog Post | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Horseshoe Lake also has a perfect 2-mile loop around the circumference of the lake basin. The trail picks up at the parking lot, narrowing down to a single-track trail with pine trees on both sides. It was the flattest run of my trip because most streets have dramatic inclines and long flat roads are hard to find.

If you are braver than me or have a bigger group to run with, there are so many more bike trails to explore but I was by myself and nervous about bear sightings so I stuck with semi-paved and heavily-trafficked routes this time :) If you’ve ever run in Mammoth or the Eastern Sierra’s, let me know where in the comments below. I’d love to check out more areas!

Mammoth Lakes Hikes and Running | Altitude training for long distance runners | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Every morning after my run, we hit up a local coffee shop. At first, we intended to find a different unique coffee shop each day, but there was a definite favorite that we ended up at 5 days in a row. Full coffee shop review will be up tomorrow because it’s Monday after vacation and this girl has to get to work. See you again soon!

XOXO.

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Surviving 11 Miles on the Treadmill

Not unlike the majority of the country, our little town was hit with massive amounts of snow and freezing temperatures last week. And if you know me, you know my sun-loving-self was not too excited about the winter weather. Aside from moving my marathon-training-long-run indoors, I won’t complain about the blizzard too much because I know so many other people had it much much worse. I will admit, the thick fluffy snow photographs beautifully.

Marathon Training Long Run in Winter Blizzard on Treadmill from stronglikemycoffee.com

Marathon Training Long Run on Treadmill from Stronglikemycoffee.com

Last week I committed to a marathon and the weekly long runs that come with training. Sunday morning I woke up to at least 8 inches of snow and dark grey skies. I’d like to say I’m hardcore enough to run through the blizzard…..but I’m a snowbird at heart and take full advantage of the gym when temperatures drop below 50. The treadmill awaited my eleven-miler. First of all, I haven’t run in the double-digits since September, so I had a little bit of pre-run nerves. But the first step to surviving 85 minutes on a stationary machine:

Long Run Mental Toughness (stronglikemycoffee.com)I have repeated this to myself for years; it is a helpful mantra for any mental undertaking! When I hit “Start” I knew I would not be stepping off that machine until the screen said 11.0.

How to survive treadmill long runs:

Surviving 11 miles on the Treadmill // Marathon Training | stronglikemycoffee.com

  • First of all, set the incline to at least 1.0% grade. This helps mimic running on land rather than a moving belt.
  • Play with the speed! I always start out at a comfortable speed, but bump it up depending on what song is playing. Alternating your speed also mimics running outside when a machine is not regulating pace for you. For some reason when Masterpiece by Jessie J comes on, I hit up, up, up to 8.5 mph because that is my jam.
  • Speaking of music…Fresh new playlist made the time flyyyyyyy: 
    • Basically the entire new Florida Georgia Line album Anything Goes
    • Invincible and Someone by Kelly Clarkson
    • Goodbye from Who is Fancy (<— love that name)
    • Centuries from Fall Out Boy (not a huge FOB fan but this is a power song!)
    • I’m Gonna Show You Crazy by Bebe Rexha
    • Let Go For Tonight by Foxes
  • Mid-run fuel in the form of Tangerine Sport Beans from Jelly Belly for caffeine (studies say you should have mid-run fuel for any outting longer than 60 minutes)
  • Two nights before I had watched an inspirational running movie, which I pictured the race scenes from (runner-nerd alert).
  • A bit of an odd one…I like to do math during my runs! Since the speed on a treadmill is set to “miles per hour” and I like to think in terms of “minutes per mile,” I spend a lot of time converting different paces in my head and estimating what my marathon time would be. Buuuut if mathematics tends to exhaust you, I don’t recommend this one. ;)
  • Thinking about breakfast and/or dessert.
  • Looking out the window at this view and appreciating my warm little fitness room!

Marathon Training in Winter Blizzard | stronglikemycoffee.com

Healthy Warm Winter Breakfast / Marathon Training | stronglikemycoffee.com

And that is how I got through 85 lonely minutes on a treadmill in a blizzard. Forecasts show 50s for this weekend, hallelujah!

What is the longest you’ve run on a treadmill  & what songs do I need to add for this weekend’s playlist?!

A reunion, an anniversary, and a mistake

Every day I read “The Hungry Runner Girl” blog. I love her enthusiasm for running (and eating) and the pictures of her adorable 2 year old. She is currently training for the Boston Marathon, which I qualified for last year. Reading about her workouts always fills me with inspiration to start training for my next marathon. She honestly makes it look like FUN.

I don’t know what state I will be living in in 16 weeks and I don’t know what my medical schedule looks like, so picking an actual race to register for seems risky. (Although the Suja Rock n’ Roll in San Diego looks pretty awesome.) However my Sunday “long runs” have fallen by the wayside in the past year, so I figure it wouldn’t hurt to get back into a more regimented running routine that would keep me in optimal shape when I can finally pick a race and start training.

Sunday morning I reunited with my GARMIN. Since I wasn’t focused on specific pace or mileage, I left the GPS watch at home for the past several months.

Long Run with the Garmin (stronglikemycoffee.com)

I’ve blogged many times about my love for long runs. They were my favorite component of cross country training. In the peak of my collegiate cross country career, a “Sunday long run” meant 12-16 miles. I haven’t gone on a double-digit outting since last summer because….well, I have no need to! I decided I would start with 9 miles this weekend, and try to add a mile each Sunday.

Immediately after walking outside, I regretted wearing a tshirt. It was 39 degrees with 27 mph winds, gusts of up to 40. The sun was hiding behind some clouds and there was not a single other runner or bicyclists on my route. But I didn’t charge that watch for nothin’! I ran out against the wind for 4.5 miles, turned around and ran back with the wind on my side. Average pace: 7:36 per mile (at 7,000ft altitude, just sayin’.) Good enough for me :)

This week is my one-year-anniversary since I decided to chop my hair off. Okay that’s not a legitimate anniversary, but I look for any reason to celebrate ;) I’m growing it out now, and I can’t wait until it’s out of this awkward-length stage!

In-between stage hair (stronglikemycoffee.com)It’s also been one week since my birthday weekend, which was a non-stop food and drink fest. Such a blast, but I also feel like it’s time to get some good-quality nutrition back in my routine so I’ve stocked up on so much produce and protein. Starting with this dinner inspired by Gina’s The Skinny Taste Cookbook.

Lean Clean Dinner with shrimp, sweet potato and greens (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Except I made one little mistake. Rarely ever will I cook meat (strictly for my aversion to touching slimy poultry, not a vegetarian). Sooo I don’t have much experience at the meat counter. I asked for half a pound of shrimp. You can imagine my horrified face when I discovered that I had to REMOVE THE LEGS AND DIGESTIVE TRACT OF THE SHRIMP MYSELF.

I was so excited for cooking a clean, balanced meal so I decided to suck it up, watch a Youtube tutorial and ‘devein’ the shrimp like a grown-up. If you have not done this, I highly recommend spending the extra few bucks for frozen, pre-cooked shrimp because the slimy strings that came out of that crustacean were unappetizing.

But it does look good on the plate.

The snowy conditions here are making me slightly less eager to dawn some spandex and pound the pavement but I am determined to start a more structured running routine. Treadmills, Spotify and Pinterest quotes are winter workout necessities.

 

Commitment Quote

I love that! Have a happy Tuesday :)

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