Tag Archives: Hospital Hill

Taking a Break…

29 Jan

Recently, I have had quite a few people ask me “what’s next?”

The past 3 and a half years, I have had an answer to this question. But today, I do not.

Since fall of 2011, I have had a marathon planned. I knew what race was coming up for the fall and spring, and had it marked on my calendar when the 12, 16 or 20 week training would begin. While some days I hated the training, most days I loved it.

I loved the accomplishment of getting up in the 4am hour to complete an insane workout, checking it off my training schedule and documenting it on my daily mile. I loved talking to my running friends about our upcoming races and the goals we had. And I also loved the miles and miles of thoughts I had to myself, or those that I shared with friends. While there were days I despised my alarm clock, cursed the Garmin and was over the training schedule, I really did love it. As we discussed in my run group today, we hate the training schedule, but we love it more.

Today, I am not experiencing any of that. And I know I won’t experience it again for a while.

Over Thanksgiving, I decided that after I ran Phoenix, I would force myself to take a break from marathons. My body hurt, and I didn’t love running like I thought I should. With this decision, I removed the Boston Marathon from my list of upcoming races. It was a hard thing to do, but I knew it was the right thing to do.

I have done Boston the last two years, and had quite the experience at each one. I am not sure that any race will every top that of Boston 2014, and for that fact I accepted that I was OK with not going back. Now instead of running a marathon on April 20, I will be coming home from a wine trip with friends. I decided that a new experience with people I love took precedence over running the same marathon for the third year in a row. I also knew that the break was muchย  needed and would be good for me.

Taking a break while I am still on top and healthy is much better than being forced to take a break because I am seriously injured or hate the sport.

I also do not have any marathon planned for the fall, which is very strange. My husband and I are planning a big trip to Europe late summer, and I know it is not feasible to train for a marathon while on a two week trip. I want to enjoy every minute of this adventure, not be worried about hitting 50 miles a week while I am there.

One of the reasons why I decided to run Phoenix was because I had a feeling it could be my only marathon of 2015โ€ฆand it looks like that will be right!

Even though my marathon schedule is obsolete, I do have some halfs on the schedule. I am beyond excited to run the United NYC Half Marathon in March! After that, I will be running as the 1:45 pace group leader for Running with the Cows, and the 1:50 pace group leader for Hospital Hill (my favorite KC race!)

Since I am focusing half marathons now, my flexibility will be much better with my training. If I skip a day, it isn’t the end of the world. And goodbye to 60 mile weeks. Which means more sleep and more of a social life (my friends haven’t seen my out on a Friday night in 3 years ๐Ÿ˜‰ )!

My goal is to maintain 25-30 miles a week this spring, and focus much more on my cross training. I went to a class on Tuesday and I am still soreโ€ฆwhich proves that I have got to get my strength training back! I will do a couple speed sessions here and there, but nothing intense like I had been doing. Hopefully with this rest, my body will heal and I come back to my next marathon mentally and physically stronger than ever!

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xo,

Ali

Have you ever taken a break? How was the transition?

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Hospital Hill Race Recap

19 Jun

June 1st, I ran my second Hospital Hill Half Marathon.

Last year at this race, I had the most fun I’ve ever had running, and this year was almost as good.

Throughout my Boston training, I also served as a blogger for Hospital Hill. Due to some crazy life events, I couldn’t blog in the few weeks leading to the race, but luckily, I was able to contribute in other ways.

My friend Sally is the volunteer coordinator for Hospital Hill, and hooked me up with a job at packet pickup. I always thought it would be fun to work packet pickup, and the job did not disappoint. While handing out the bibs for the 10k race, I was able to talk to many people preparing for their first race, running their first 10k, trying to PR, and friends I had met online but never in real life (including Crystal, a KC native living in Cape Cod! Go visit her blog, she is so sweet!). It was such a fun experience and I can’t wait to work another race.

Our picture from last year made it up at the expo!!!

Our picture from last year made it up at the expo!!!

Another perk at packet pickup was that I switched out Ramsey’s 10k bib for a half marathon bib! I knew he wanted to run the half, but the race was already sold out when he registered. When a lady at packet pickup asked me if I knew anyone that would want to switch her half bib for a 10k bib, I quickly snatched up the offer!

Morning of the race, Ramsey and I were excited and ready to run!!

We have completely lucked out the last two years when it comes to weather. Humidity has been low and temps have been manageable. You seriously could not call for a better June race than we have had in ’12 and ’13!

At the starting line, I met Stacy, Kerri and Andrea at the 1:50 pace group. Ramsey started a little behind us (SO I THOUGHT!!!) at the 1:55 group. We were full of energy and ready to run.

40 and FAB!

40 and FAB! And fast too!

However, I cannot lie….I was a little bit nervous for this race since I hadn’t run a ton since Boston. I definitely did not train to be able to run this half…and if I made it the 13.1 miles, I knew it was because of two things: A. someone high up was on my side…OR..B. I had enough endurance from Boston to get me to the finish.

The gun went off and the girls and I continued to chit chat (I am sure Greg is shocked by that statement!!). The first few miles went by relatively fast, but as expected were pretty hilly. Andrea and I stuck together, and Stacy and Kerri also stuck together.

Andrea and I. You can see Kerri in the background too!

Andrea and I. You can see Kerri in the background too!

At the halfway point, I remember thinking to myself, “There were NOT this many hills last year!!!”

I am sure that feeling was due to the fact that I was in much better shape last year at the race than I was this year. (Note to self – always respect the distance you are about to run! You can’t”wing” it like you used to!! )

Andrea and I ran together for about 11 miles. It was so fun running with her because we always talk about running, but we have never actually ran together. She did awesome. Especially considering she had been sick the week before and I could tell she was still dealing with some respiratory crap (way to go, Andrea!!!).

The last two miles, I ran alone and soaked in the KC scenery. Although this race is hilly, it is still my favorite race in KC. You get to see some of the best places in this city and around every corner are more people cheering you on. And while there are some killer uphills, you get some of the best downhills you will experience in a race!!!

Hi :)

Hi ๐Ÿ™‚

Focused to the finish!

Focused to the finish!

Speaking of downhills, the downhill finish is the best part. I let my legs pull me down the hill, and across the finish line. I believe my time was a 1:51 or 1:52….I never even looked. Sometimes you just need those races where you run how you feel, and not for the clock.

After I crossed, I immediately started to look for Ramsey, Stacy, Kerri and Andrea. However, I did not see any of them.

I made my way through the chute, and felt my phone ringing. It was Ramsey! I thought to myself, “oh good! he finished not too far behind me! Maybe he PR’ed”.

Yeah, Ramsey PR’ed. And somehow, he had managed to beat me!!!!!!

Yes, I am excited and proud, but I was not expecting him to beat me (he totally snuck by me at the start!!)! Sheesh, I have created a monster ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am maybe still holing a grudge!

I am maybe still holing a grudge!

Overall, the race was great and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.

The crowds in KC were supportive, and the race organizers did a great job. You can bet that I will be back at Hospital Hill in 2014, and I urge you to be there as well.

And Ramsey….it is ON in ’14!!!

xo!

Ali

Life Always Gets in the Way

28 Mar

Hospital Hill Bloggers Series

The last Hospital Hill blog post I wrote was a moderate level training plan you could use over the next few months. For this post, I would like to discuss sticking to the plan and following through with training.

For me, one of the hardest parts of training is balancing your running and your life.

Life will ALWAYS get in the way.

Throughout a three month training period you will always have reasons you don’t want to run.

And it’s not just you.

I have made every excuse in the book why I can’t run or don’t want to run. Here are my top reasons to skip a run:

  1. I am tired
  2. It is too cold
  3. It is too hot
  4. I’d rather go to happy hour
  5. I don’t feel good
  6. I don’t even like to run (in the last year all of my running buddies have yelled this at some point)
  7. I am on vacation
  8. I’m too busy at work
  9. I don’t want to run alone
  10. It is dark outside

All of those excuses are ones I make often. And I can only imagine how much harder it gets when you are balancing children and spouses too.

You will ALWAYS find an excuse why you can’t run, or why you shouldn’t run. But how you deal with these excuses is what shows on race day.

As you go through your training, think about WHY you are doing it. Are you running to complete your first half marathon and push yourself to new limits? Or to get back into the sport? Or to PR?

Whatever your purpose for running this race is, I will guarantee you that if you cave to the excuses you will pay for it when you start the race on June 1st.

You must stick to the plan to meet your goal. And you will be so much happier if you do.

The next time you consider skipping a run, think about WHY you are skipping and if you really need to skip. If you are injured or sick, it is OK and a good idea to sit it out. But if you are tired, cranky, hot, cold, etc. get that booty out on the pavement and run towards your goal!!

One of my best ways to deal with the excuses is to visualize the finish of my race, as I am meeting my goal. That right there, gets me outta bed every single time ๐Ÿ™‚

Good luck these next few weeks!!!! I have enjoyed meeting so many of you over the last few weeks and hope to meet you in person on race day!

xo,

Ali

P.S. Consider volunteering for the race! I am working packet pick up on Thursday afternoon. (click here)

Half Marathon Training Plan

28 Feb

In my last Hospital Hill blog post, I talked about when you should start training. In this post, I would like to share a training plan I put together.

I made this plan based on a few I found online, as well as my own experiences training for races. I am not a certified coach, or a running coach at all for that matter, but I do believe this is a good schedule based off my experiences.

This schedule is great for intermediate runners, or someone wanting to get back into running and challenge themselves. If you would like to follow a more advanced schedule, add miles to your Tuesday/Wednesday workouts (which happen to be your harder workout days). I have been using schedules very similar to the one below for years, and my hard days and total mileage adjust to the race and goal I have.

2-28-2013 12-37-31 PM

For a larger view, click on the schedule and it will open in a new window.

This schedule is listed by week, Monday – Sunday. I like to start my weeks on Monday for a couple reasons, the main one being that this is the way Daily Mile tracks your training ๐Ÿ™‚

At the top of this schedule, it includes an overview of what that day of the week will usually look like. For example, Monday and Friday are off days, Tuesday and Thursday are your hard days, etc. You will notice not every week follows that format, but the majority of your weeks will.

Your first two weeks of training are about getting getting used to your new routine. You should already have a base built up and be able to run the first couple weeks of miles easily. If you cannot run 4 miles at a time, it might not be time to train for this race.

Take these runs easy and get in your groove. Sticking to your first two weeks will be the hardest, but the most important. These two weeks will help you get into a routine and build a base for the harder weeks ahead.

Now for the rest of the schedule….

Off Days

On this schedule, off days are suggested as Monday and Friday. I find that it can be hard to get runs in on Mondays, and Fridays are just a great day to take off. I prefer 2 days off a week, and 3 days off if you do intense cross training throughout the week (spin, bootcamp, etc).

Hill Workouts

Tuesdays of this training will be your hill days. You are running Hospital Hill, so you definitely don’t want to forget this vital part of training! You can do your hill workouts a couple ways. One being to find a a good hill, and do repeats (run hard up the hill, recover on the way down, do it again). Another way is to plan out a hilly route and run hard on all the uphills. Try to get in a 2-4 hills per workout. Your first mile of this workout should be easy to warm up your body. Then the middle mile(s) will be for the hill work.

If you are more of a beginner runner, don’t stress on hill repeats. Just be sure to get some hills into your training or the race will be very tough.

Tempo Runs

A tempo run is picking up the pace and running faster for a couple miles. During these runs, you will leave your comfort level. Try to run 30 seconds to one minute per mile faster than you normally do (example if you are training at 10min/mile pace, try to run 9:30-9:00min/mile pace). This will feel hard the first couple weeks, but then you will get into the groove and feel yourself getting fast (which is very exciting!!).

Long Runs

On this schedule, your long runs will be on Saturdays. While I realize that not everyone’s schedule will allow for Saturday long runs, but it has worked best for most people I know. If it doesn’t work for you, switch your Friday or Sunday to be your long run. This schedule works your way up slowly to 12 miles. While 12 might sound crazy right now, you will be pleasantly surprised with yourself on this run if you follow your schedule in the weeks prior!

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If at anytime during your training, you feel an injury coming on, listen to your body and take a break. If you don’t think you can do another day of hills or tempo work – that is OK too. We want you at the starting line injuring free and happy as can be!

Any questions about this or want me to message/email you the file of this schedule?

Two options…

Email me: mileswithstyle (at) gmail (dot) comFacebook me: http://www.facebook.com/MileswithStyle

Good luck, and happy training!!!

xo,

Ali

2-28-2013 12-54-08 PM

Hospital Hill – When Should Training Begin?

10 Feb

Hello to my Hospital Hill runners! This is my 2nd post in my Hospital Hill blog series, and I am already excited with some of the people I have connected to in this process.

Tonight I’d like to talk about your training plan, specifically when you should start.

For many people, half marathon training can be intimidating and stressful (for good reason though, it is a major commitment!). But I want to help you feel like you can manage the training and succeed at following your plan.

The Hospital Hill race is a little under 4 months (17 weeks) away – 111 days to be exact!

Most training plans follow a 12 week program, however sometimes you will see 16 or 18 week plans. I always prefer a 12 week program to avoid burnout and to keep things fun. To me, 12 weeks is doable, where as 16 or 18 weeks sounds crazy.

In the weeks prior to my 12 week training kick off, I like to get in a couple runs a week and some cross training. This will give you a nice base to start your training and will keep you from feeling like you are completely out of shape when you begin training.

I would suggest having a base of 10 – 15 miles per week before you begin official training. I also like to use the month before training to focus on strength and cross training. Prior to kicking off my last training session, I spent a lot of time at the gym doing Body Pump and Spin. I loved mixing it up with these two classes and have really loved the results from them. Another great workout option are at home DVD’s. Jillian Michaels can be your BFF as well as biggest enemy ๐Ÿ™‚

If you choose to go with the 12 week plan I prefer, your official training should ideally kick off the week of March 4th.

My next post will be focused on the types of runs you should incorporate into your training, and an example of my ideal training schedule.

Please feel free to email me, or comment with any questions you have! I love to hear from you all ๐Ÿ™‚

xo,

Ali

photo

 

Hospital Hill Blogging Team

23 Jan

A BIG hello to my new friends, and welcome to Miles with Style!

My name is Ali, and I have been blogging for about a year and a half. Recently, I was given to opportunity to be an official blogger for Kansas City’s most famous half marathon – Hospital Hill. I am so excited for this opportunity, and look forward to meeting all of the fans of Hospital Hill, and runners preparing for the race.

So who is Ali at Miles with Style? Well sit back and relax, because you’re about to find out!

I am Ali, a 26 year old girl living up life in Kansas City, MO. I have lived in Kansas City my entire life, and boy do I love this city.

I have been an avid runner for almost 15 years, and running is pretty much my “thing”. I find running to be the most therapeutic and relaxing activity in my life. It is also my constant – as it is always there for me. And while every mile I run might not be easy, it is always worth it!

Dallas Marathon 2012

I love to race, and as of last December, I may proudly say that I have completed three marathons! This spring, I will make it four at one of my dream races – The Boston Marathon.

Aside from my marathons, I have completed 7 half marathons (included Hospital Hill!), a few 10k’s and a ton of 5k’s. And my favorite city to race in continues to be Kansas City! I find our downtown stunning to run through – which also offers a nice distraction from the pain we are feeling during those hard miles!

I take advantage of any opportunity I have to run a race (in a tutu whenever possible!), and always love to tell the stories from each on my blog.

Hospital Hill 2012 – The Bride and Maid of Honor.

Although running continues to be a huge part of my life, there is so much more that I love to do and experience. I have been so fortunate to be blessed with amazing friends and family. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Mom and Dad

Traveling is another huge passion in my life. I believe in always living a balanced life, and strive to follow a “work hard, play hard” approach. And any chance I get to travel – I take!!

San Fran 2012 with best friends and wine

San Fran 2012 with my boyfriend

Kentucky Derby 2012

NYC Marathon 2012

Throughout my Hospital Hill blogging experience, I plan to share tips and advice for all aspects of your training.

Long runs, speed work, fuel, etc. – I will cover it! And if I don’t cover something you would like to hear about, go ahead and ask! After all, my favorite kind of talk is always run talk!

Feel free to send me questions via email (to the right), tweet me, or Facebook me! I will be writing posts about Hospital Hill every two weeks, but my regular blog posts about all things running, fitness and life will be posted weekly.

You may also catch me at the following places:

Twitter: @Alihatfield
Instagram: AliHat
Facebook: facebook.com/mileswithstyle

Until next time – take care and keep on running.

xoxo,

Ali

Running in Tutus

13 Jun

Last weekend, my best friend Nicole got married. Nicole lives in California now, and was coming in town a week before her wedding. We decided that the best way to kick off her wedding week was to run a half marathon, with the goal of a PR for Nicole.

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When I race, I am all about the outfits (umm, duh). For this race, I decided that we HAD to run in tutus. Nicole’s would be white, and mine would be purple (her bridesmaid dress colors). I made the tutus, then hand crafted some shirts, and TA DA!

Due to Nicole’s late night flight and a gala I attended on Friday evening, we did not get to bed until 1:30am. We knew the next morning would be rough, but we were ready to conquer the Hospital Hill half marathon!

Race Time

5:15 came WAY too early. Holy moly, we were exhausted. We slowly got dressed, and staggered out the door to make the trek downtown.

Once we arrived and assembled our ensembles, we walked to towards the start. Right off the bat, people were yelling at us, honking at us, and cheering at us. It was so funny!

We snapped a quick pic with an old friend, found our place in line, and began our half marathon journey side by side.

The weather was PERFECT. This race is always has a reputation of being super hot, and we got such a break this year. I will say one thing though – it was freaking hilly!!! I guess I didn’t really take the name of the race seriously. Who knew that Hospital Hill would be full of hills??

Of course she was wearing a veil.

The future Mrs. Valentine running through Valentine Rd.

It was so much fun running in these outfits because everyone was cheering for us. Seriously, everyone was. It was as if they had never seen runners in costume.

The top things we heard were:

“Oh my goodness, look at the bride! And the maid of honor too!!”
“Look at the ballerinas”
“When’s the wedding?!”
“You’re a nice maid of honor to run a half marathon with her”
“What is with the tutus?”

Nicole and I made it through the hills, and were able to finish strong and very happy.

I love this picture.

Final time: 1:50:25

So….did we get Nicole a PR? The answer is YES!!!! By 20 seconds!

So proud with our medals!

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So what did we do the rest of the week? Well…..

We rehearsed.

We relaxed.

We partied.

We watched our girl get married.

And we celebrated.

It was the perfect week, with the perfect people.

XO,

Ali

Running for Others

17 Apr

I have always been a supporter of running your own race, and not letting other people get in your way. When I run races to race, I get in my ‘Me’ zone, and only focus on myself. This might sound selfish, but it is what allows me to be the best I can be, and I always tell people to follow this mantra.

The next 6 weeks however, I will be completely changing my mindset on running for myself. And I will only be running for others.

It all begins this weekend when I run the Kansas Half Marathon as a pacer for the 1:55 group. Being a pacer means so much to me, and has been a goal of mine for the last few years. I get to wear a special shirt, hold a stick for 13.1 miles, and lead a group of runners to their goal pace alongside Stacy. What could be better than that?

The next race I run will be the Chicagoland Marathon on May 20th. I am running this marathon with my dear friend, running buddy, and accountability partner, Diana.

The purpose of this race will be to get Diana into the 2013 Boston Marathon. I have NO doubts that she can do it. And I cannot wait to run next to her when we cross that finish line under a 3:45. Diana and I have had the BEST coach (ahem Stacy Scalfaro), and we will reach that goal come race day.

Diana and Stacy supporting me through my first marathon!

The last race on the list that I plan to run for someone else is the Hospital Hill Half Marathon. I will be running this race with my BFF, Nicole.

Nicole will be getting married one week after the race, and we plan to kickoff the wedding festivities with a half marathon. Nicole’s goal will be a PR, and I will be there to help her achieve this. After all, I am the Maid of Honor, it is my duty to keep the bride happy and make sure everything is perfect (and what could be more perfect than PR’ing right before you get married?!?!).

We climbed a mountain together, a PR should be a piece of cake!

Although none of these races will be ran to achieve a time goal of mine, I couldn’t be more excited to run them. Over the next 6 weeks I have the opportunity to help others achieve some major goals. I also get to be there right next to them and see that accomplishment on their faces when they do.

Running for ME is fun, but I think running for others will be an even better experience.

More details to come on all of these races….

XO,

Ali

The Spring Race Series

27 Mar

Well, it’s about dang time that I update the blog with my spring race schedule.

It appears that I have been a little ambitious this year…but I am pretty excited for the next two months! Each race I signed up for has a story. So sit back, relax, and wish me luck!

Rock the Parkway

April 14, 2012

I have heard this is a great race, so this year I decided I had to run it! Well, I went online to register (3 months in advance) and read ‘SOLD OUT’. I panicked.

I began stalking the website and harassing the race directors to let me in. Finally, they announced on their facebook page that they would be offering 50 VIP Registrations for the bargain price of $150 (when the race sold out, the registration cost was $50). So of course, I signed up. BUT on race day I get to potty VIP, and park VIP. So be jealous.

Kansas Half Marathon

April 22, 2012

The Kansas Half Marathon will be my first adventure in Pacing. I will be pacing the 1:55 group with my dear friend and running buddy Stacy.

Although this race is the day after my 26th birthday, I am still excited to wake up in the dark (at the same time I would normally go to bed on my birthday) and head to Lawrence, KS to run.

If you are running this race, or know someone running, hit me up and come by my pace group!

Chicagoland Marathon

May 20, 2012

I recently signed up for the Chicagoland Marathon. I will be running this marathon with Diana, and the goal is to get her a BQ.

The pressure is on to the be the best pacer ever and get Diana to her goal. The pressure is also on to ensure that I can run another Boston Qualifier time!! Eek!

Apparently the course for this race was just updated, and will basically be an out and back times 4. Yes, you read that right – TIMES 4!!! I hope we don’t get too bored. I think I might actually put together an Agenda of things to discus during this 26.2.

Hospital Hill Marathon

June 2, 2012

I ran the 5K of this race back in the day (like, way back…I think I was 10). This year I will be running the Half Marathon with my BFF, Nicole!

This race will kick off the week of wedding festivities for Nicole’s big day. Nicole will be getting married on June 9th, and I am Maid of Honor. This race will be wedding themed for Nicole and I…and costumes will be a must.

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So what do you think about the spring race schedule? Do you have any tips or suggestions to keep my legs moving through June?

I would also love to hear about the races you are running this spring, so please share!

XO,

Ali

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