Welcome back to our Picky Log!!
The plan is, once a month, to have one of our HOKA NAZ Elite athletes write a detailed “week in the life” type of blog post where they log all their miles, include little tid bits of behind-the-scenes info you can’t get anywhere else, and of course…share their favorite Picky Bars treats!! We kicked things off last month with a week in the life of newly minted 2:12 marathoner…Nick Hauger. This month, it’s a week in the life of sub 2:30 marathoner Julia Griffey leading into the USATF 15k Championships. Enjoy!!
Usually we start our weeks on Monday, but its Race Week (woo hoo!) and I have the day off next Sunday after the race so figured I would start this weekly log on Sunday to give you a full week of insight. And this Sunday started as many Sundays in the Winter months of Flagstaff start – a long run at Beaver Creek. Beaver Creek is great because even when Flagstaff is covered in snow, this run is just a 40-minute drive down the mountain to warmer weather, a clear dirt road, and a bit lower altitude. I will always take the lower altitude when I can! It still is about 4,500 feet, but that is low compared to the 7,000 feet of altitude in Flagstaff.
I had 18 miles today and was lucky enough to have company for all the miles. Dani and Katie had 14 miles, and we met some other Flagstaff runners down there that joined the first half of our run, so it was great company. We talked with these ladies about the many different experiences we have had at Beaver Creek, where Dani had mentioned “I have sold my soul out here many times.” And that is a pretty accurate quote. Beaver Creek is a beautiful spot and an endless dirt road so no matter how many miles you have it is a great option. However, that being said, it is one of those hilly runs that sometimes feels you are going uphill both ways and, in the Summer, if you are not prepared for the heat it will hit you.
Long run days are full of miles and fuel. Before my long runs I like to start with some Picky Bar Oatmeal, Can’t Beet Chocolate is always a great go to (beets make you faster, right!?). But really can’t go wrong with any of the Picky Oats. After the run, I got brunch, cuddled with my dogs Dunkin and Dash, and worked on some emails. Late afternoon I spent some time at the gym doing light work and a lot of foam rolling and stretching to get ready for the week ahead.
Monday, the real start of the week for many of us runners. A team easy run at Mailboxes, another one of the most common spots to run in Flagstaff when there is snow on the ground everywhere else. I had 8 miles, and it was a run where almost all our team was there. Fun to have everyone back training together, including Aliphine! She has been gone for a couple months and it is nice to have her positive energy back with the team.
Food: Post morning run breakfast typically includes one of two things: smoothie topped with Picky Granola or Picky Oats filled with fruit and peanut butter. Today was a smoothie topped with my favorite Picky Granola, Double Dipped CoCo Chip Granola.
In the afternoon we had our weekly Focus Session with Shannon. Shannon reveals the secrets of handling disruptive brain messages (our brain likes to trick us) with the RANF – Recognize, Accept, Nurture, Focus method. I won’t go into detail about this, but I have found it interesting learning from Shannon on how to control the negative thoughts our brain tries to tell our bodies that aren’t fully true.
After the Focus Session is weights with our stellar trainers, the Gregg brothers at Hypo2. We have individualized programs that help focus on our weaknesses and strengthen areas that are needed to build strength and stay healthy. The best part is guessing what the playlist of the day at weights is going to be and how many of the songs Tyler Day is going to totally jam out too.
Later that afternoon around 4pm, I went out for an easy 4-mile double. Then took Dunkin and Dash for a light 1-mile walk to shake out the legs at the end of the day.
Food: Before the double I need a snack so grabbed the All in Almond Picky Bar. Honestly, all the bars are so tasty that each month I order a random assortment of them. They are easy to grab and go and digest before a run.
Tuesday AM was OYO (on your own) day. I woke up, did my normal morning routine of achilles work and stretching, answered some emails for my other job, and was out the door around 8:30. This being race week my mileage is cut back. Typically, I average 90-100+ miles a week, but race week I am averaging around 60 in 6 days (with Sunday off). Sometimes seeing only 6 miles for the morning run on the schedule is kind of nice.
Food: Today’s post-run breakfast was Picky Get Pump’d Oatmeal, topped with peanut butter and banana of course. The pumpkin oatmeal is seasonal so I highly recommend trying it when you can! And then stocking up…. Insider secret, the Laird Superfood Pumpkin Spice Superfood Creamer with coffee makes a great pair with your Get Pump’d Oats.
Mid-Morning I had a massage appointment with Shea Tinder. Shea worked her magic with some cupping, heated rags, and massaging to get these stiff legs feeling good. If you are in Flagstaff and need a good sports massage, check out Tinder Touch Massage. Shea is great!
The afternoon we had a team meet up for easy 4 mile run with drills and strides. This is a standard routine for us to do the night before a workout. The weather today is absolutely beautiful in Flagstaff and I was enjoying this double in the sun. We did our easy miles and met at the NAU turf fields to run through a full set of hurdles, mobility, dynamic drills, and strides led by Coach Jenna and Intern Ray.
Food: Once again, my pre-double snack was a Picky Bar but today the Ah, Fudge Nuts! Post run, I grabbed some dinner with teammate Alice Wright, where we talked and laughed at all things British and American culture. Then my bed time snack was some pretzels with Almond Drizzle. If you don’t have at least 2 jars of Almond Drizzle in your house, you are missing out.
Workout day. Today was a chill workout, as it is race week, but still good to get the body feeling some different paces. Nick, Aliphine, and I were at Mountain Shadows with Coach Jenna and Intern Ray. Yes, Intern Ray is not just Ray he is Intern Ray or also known as “The Man.” Mountain Shadows is a random neighborhood a bit higher than the 7,000ft of Flagstaff. But the roads are flat and open, making it a good spot for workouts. There is 1500m loop we use for a variety of workouts.
The workout was 2-mile steady, 3 minute rest, 1500 faster but controlled, 2 minute rest, and then fast 300m. This workout is low volume for us normally, but we just wanted to feel relaxed and ready to go. 10 miles overall for the morning.
Post workout breakfast is extra special, so I divulged in lots of electrolytes, Laird Superfood HYDRATE Coconut Water is typically my go to, and some Picky Pancakes topped with Almond Drizzle. Chocolate chip pancakes are the best, and these Picky Pancakes make it so easy with just adding some water (if you are feeling fancy, you can add an egg or milk to make fluffy pancakes).
The rest of my day consisted of my other job, work emails and calls. Making sure to add some stretching and rolling out in between desk sitting. Then afternoon was a COVID test appointment. This is a routine item to get tests before and after travel for all races. Most races require proof of negative test. Then I met up with Nick for our afternoon double, an easy 4 miles. We both are excited to get to Jacksonville this weekend. But we talked about how we are just as excited for our teammates racing The Ten, the Sound Running 10k this weekend. Matt, Alex, Steph and Kellyn are racing amongst strong fields, but we can’t wait to see them crush it on the track!
Travel day. This morning was an easy 6 mile solo run. A few work calls, some packing, and heading to the airport to get to Jacksonville. As expected, there were many fellow Flagstaff runners at the airport heading to the same place. It’s fun to talk with other teams and people racing before we get there. During the layover, Nick and I grabbed some dinner, after an adventure around the entire A terminal we landed on classic Qdoba. Here we talked about our plans for 2022 and got both of us pretty pumped up for hopefully a fun and strong year of racing!
Morning breakfast today was a big smoothie topped with Call of the Wild Blueberry Granola. And while traveling, I made sure to have all my Picky Bars packed. They are small, making it easy to throw a bunch in your bags. And with plane rides and long layovers, us runners need lots of snacks. I am stocked up with my Picky Bars of all flavors for the weekend.
We arrive into to Jacksonville pretty late, but the time change is 2 hours ahead of Flagstaff time. Not much else going on today besides getting straight to the hotel to get to bed.
Day before race day is a light easy run with some drills and strides. I did 4 miles for the day, which is much less than a normal training day. But the hope is to get the legs moving and feel fresh on race day. We met quite a few people from other groups in Flagstaff for the shake out run. It was fun to be running with a big group. That is one of the cool things about running, even though you are all competitors on the course, the community is full of nice and fun people that enjoy working together.
After our run with some drills and strides, I got some quick fuel with a Cinnamon Roll’N Picky Bar. Then went to check in, fill out paperwork, and get my bib. Along with Picky Bar Bars being easy to travel with, Picky Oats come in individualized packets that you can throw in your bag for convenience when traveling. My personal favorite is the Trail Mix Fix, which was my pre-run breakfast.
Gate River is a very organized race. They had all our stuff ready to go when checking in and then provided snacks and beverages for the athletes to grab and go. After checking in, Nick and I walked to grab some lunch, stopping by The Fresh Market to grab some pre-race essentials such as peanut butter and Epsom salt. The rest of the day is spent relaxing in the hotel room, answering some emails, and then jumping on the pre-race Technical Meeting via Zoom. After dinner it is time to head to bed and get ready for the race.
Race Day! I was excited for the opportunity to race Gate River 15k against a stacked field of talented women. I have always wanted to do this race. One thing about Jacksonville though is the humidity will get you!
Unfortunately, the race did not go as planned. I went out hard with the lead group and after 2 miles decided to back off a bit. I felt okay through 4 miles, but around mile 5 my stomach started knotting and after 10k I had to take a stop. This really was not how I wanted the race to go, and I finished far from where I think my fitness is at right now. 14th overall, but I do believe my time should have been much faster. Disappointing day, but after a few hours of being upset it is time to get up and get over it and get ready to get back to work. I am very inspired by the women who ran very well today, the Top 5 ladies all finished strong. Also, proud of my teammate Nick Hauger who fought hard and put himself in the race as he planned. We cooled down together after the race, and I am grateful for Nick and his positive attitude when keeping me motivated after a rough day.
If you read the last Picky Log, you know both Nick and I are big Picky Bar fans so we both had our Picky Bars and Picky Oats packed with us this weekend. Post-race it is easy to get some quick replenishment with a Picky Bar. This held us over until I was able to grab some lunch with a few of the ladies that ran the race, including my roommate Diane Nukuri. Another great thing about these races is getting to meet these awesome women and bond over more than just running. I feel that I make some good friendships through the people I meet through racing. Sunday is an off day, so I will focus on recovering and then getting the body ready to start a big build of fitness.