Thursday, December 31, 2015

I Might Be Losing My Mind

In time, we all show our true colors.  My colors are about to show that I am a bit crazy.  Really, I blame my husband who bought me awesome trail runners and a copy of Trail Running Magazine for Christmas.  I’m completely obsessed with the idea of running The Rut which is a 50K ultra trail marathon held in September in Big Sky, MT.

Registration opens on January 5th and you can bet I’ll be sitting on that one.

I’ve also been trying to talk Mitch in to doing it with me.  Because why wouldn’t he want to run 31’ish miles on one of the toughest trails when he hasn’t run anything longer than a 5K road race?  He has eight months to train, right?  If he goes for it, it will either be awesome for our marriage or leave it in shambles. Haha!  The couple that plays together, stays together.  {Mitch, if you are reading this I want you to know that it is okay to say “No.”  I understand!}

Probably the thing I am looking forward to most is training for it.  Oddly, I am excited to practice running on steep hills and rocky terrain.  Training for The Rut has got to help make me faster for a flat road marathon I would think.  I also think it will help take some of the dull out of marathon training.

And Now…

For my first ever runners tip!!!

Chapstick as Body Glide:  I usually keep a tube of chapstick in my hydration belt when I’m on a long run.  But typically, hydro belts have limited space and you can’t fit a stick of Body Glide with the myriad of other items you must carry on a long run.  On a run earlier this year I started to chafe on the underside of my arm where it rubbed against my singlet.  After going through this torture during my marathon (link to marathon blog), I didn’t want to live through the torture again so I grabbed my tube of chapstick and used it in place of Body Glide and what do you know?  It worked awesome.  Of course, I will never use it on my lips again but I now have a permanent and easily portable tube of lubricant for emergencies.

What’s the longest you’ve ever run?

Any great running tips to share?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Belated Christmas Blog

A Belated Merry Christmas to You!!!

I had a very Merry Runner Christmas.  My husband is good at picking gifts for me.

We had a very quiet day at our house.  It snowed for Christmas and we didn't have any family plans this year.  The only reason we ventured out was for our run/ride.

We both looked just a little ridiculous, but it was only 17 degrees!

We went to Norm's Island - Its a great little trail by the Yellowstone River

Mitch has been a great blog helper and takes running pictures for me all the time now!

The best part of our trip was finding decorated trees along the trail.  How festive!!


I may or may not have mentioned before that I've been participating in the Runner's World Run Streak over the holidays.  To keep the streak alive, I needed to run at least one mile every day from Thanksgiving until New Years Day.

But really.... I'm almost to the finish line.  Day 34 of 37.  Mitch even ran the last 2 nights with me.


On a side note, I signed back up on Weight Watchers yesterday.  I'm a lifetime member that has slipped back about 15 pounds from my goal and it's time to get back in to racing shape.  I read recently that for every extra pound you carry, it can translate in to 1 extra minute to your marathon time.  I don't know if this is true or not, but I know that the extra weight slows me down and makes my runs that much harder.  I'm looking to drop 20 by marathon weekend.  

Weight Watchers just released a new program.  I'm glad because the fact that it is different will motivate me to get going rather than trying to pick up on the old, familiar program.  I'm at the end of my second day and doing good so far.

Did anyone else get running stuff for Christmas?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Catching Up, Run Streak and New Shoes

This time of year it's pretty hard to get excited about blogging.  My running schedule right now is pretty boring.  Thank goodness for the Runner's World streak challenge or I might not be inspired to run much at all.

The Runner's World Run Streak is a challenge to run a minimun of one mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Years.  So far I haven't missed a single day though most days I am getting in the bare minimum of a mile.  I wonder if I would get any more than just my weekend runs in without participating in the streak.  It's been HARD to stay motivated as it requires me to get out in the dark and snow whether I choose to run before or after work.

Last weekend was beautiful.  We had weather in the 50's with sunshine and Mitch and I went for hike on a trail I've never been to.

We hiked 6 miles on Sunday (we ran just a little while trying to beat a train to the tunnel so Mitch could get a picture).  I kept thinking the whole time how I couldn't wait to try a good trail run there.

The next day the snow started to fly.  Montana weather is weird.

I was supposed to fly out on Tuesday for a business trip but the weather in Denver created too many issues and the trip has been postponed. No hotel treadmill for me!

However, going from 50+ degrees and beautiful, sunshiny days to OMG-please-don't-make-me-drive-in-this-crap weather was a difficult adjustment.  Not just for everyday getting around but for running.  Especially running.

I own Yak Trax.  They are great for keeping traction on the ice and snow, but my body doesn't really enjoy them.  Different muscles are engaged when running in them so I get sore in spots I usually don't.

But the cool part about running in the dark... regardless of weather is getting to wear a headlamp. :-)

I got to dress like a total dork for my runs and I didn't care because anyone who could see me was probably blinded by my headlamp anyway.

Even though I look like a dork, I think I am bad-ass for running in this weather.  Nobody can tell me I'm not!

For Christmas, Mitch bought me a new pair of Altra Superior 2.0 trail runners.  I was privy to the purchase since I needed to pick them out and provide size info so I didn't let him wrap them and put them under the tree (he doesn't like to wrap anyway).  I wanted them NOW and as a matter of fact, I put them on and took them for a run the moment they hit the porch by UPS.

So far, I really like them.  I have only put a couple of miles on them so far, and none on trails considering the weather.  But I've worn them out for a couple of runs on the ice and didn't need my Yak Trax.  The are light on the cushion and are close to a minimalist shoe.  You can really feel the ground in them, but at the same time they are really comfy.  I like the Zero Drop and foot shape technology of this brand.  I can't wait to get them out on a trail.

Christmas is only a few days away which means I'll probably stick to my minimun mileage. After New Years I am getting back on a full training schedule for my Spring half marathon.  I'm excited to have a reason to train.  I'm looking forward to the motivation that comes with a training schedule.
Gotta get FAST for that 2 Hour half marathon.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Run Turkey Run ~ Thanksgiving 2015

We woke up to a beautiful display of Mother Nature's flocking on Thursday!  Very pretty!

Michaela and I got our 2nd Run Turkey Run in the books on Thursday.  It was a very chilly 7 degrees when I left the house.  You can see that we are quite bundled up.

We met at Perkins for breakfast before the run.  My son-in-law even came along and brought the kids to have breakfast with us and to cheer on Michaela.  I thought that was pretty great.  He had the kids in the truck and waved at us along the route but of course you can't park at the finish line so they got out and met us there.  The wee ones were not excited about the cold (and neither were we really), so the post race festivities were cut short.

Our finish time was better than last year by several minutes (I want to say 12'ish).  Certainly not the 27 minute 5k that is on  my goal list for the year, but I didn't expect that for this fun run.  Truth be told, it wasn't easy.  The roads were icy so I purchased a pair of Yak Trax (review to come later).  This was something brand new on race day... big no-no except I wasn't aiming for a PR anyway.  They require different muscle use and I kept getting cramps in my legs.  Plus, the very cold air made it hard to breath.  I made us walk a couple of times.

Sometime in the days since that race I managed to lose my running gloves.  I'm so bummed.  They are expensive to replace and I'm sure they fell out of my lap getting out of the truck in a parking lot somewhere. Sad times.

Thanksgiving dinner was at my house.  I missed seeing Sierra and her family, but Michaela's family, Sara's family, Donovan and his girlfriend and daughter all came. I had 13 people and though my house seems big for two people... it sure seemed small when I was trying to figure out how to seat that many people!

My contribution for dinner was the turkey, the stuffing (I make the best), homemade cranberry dipping sauce - an Alton Brown recipe and pies.

I can't believe I didn't get any pictures of the beautiful turkey!  But I made sure to snap shot the evolution of my apple pie... which turned out runny BTW.

The bowl was FULL when I was done peeling.  

It takes a LOT of apples to fill a pie dish!

I later found out it was runny inside, but it sure was beautiful straight out of the oven.

And I pat myself on the back for a job well done.

I happen to think I make the best stuffing/dressing.  I don't consider myself a fantastic cook for most things, but I have figured out this one recipe and I am a master at it.  The core of my recipe (before it gets added to the bread):

I fill a 9x13 pan and usually do not have much in the way of leftovers.  I never put it inside the bird because there is a possibility that it won't heat enough to cook out the bacteria from the turkey juice before the turkey is done.  Nobody should have to eat dry turkey to accomodate cooking time for the stuffing.

Dinner was amazing.  Visiting with family was awesome.  I have so much to be thankful for!  I hope that all of my friends and family had an a wonderful holiday and feel as loved and blessed as I do.


Thanksgiving Day marked the start of the anual Runner's World #RWRunstreak:  Run at least one mile every day between Thanksgiving and New Years.  This year I am participating for the first time.

Yesterday was TOUGH.  We spent much of our day running around with the Black Friday crowds and by the time I got home I didn't have much of a desire to put on my gear and get out for day 2.  In fact it was dark.  But something really cool happened.  Mitch went with me.  We put on our warmest gear, our head lamps (review to come) and Yak Trax and went for a one mile run together in the dark at 9:30 at night.  Mitch loves to cycle, but he is not a runner.  And he ran the whole time that I did.  I was super proud of him and I was really glad he went with me.  It gave me motivation and made me feel safer.

By the way... does anyone else run slower in the dark even though it feels so much faster?

Well everyone, that is a wrap on the Thanksgiving post.  I'll write again soon.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Wisdom of Geese

They showed this video in a training we had a work.  That very same morning I had already witnessed this exact behavior by humans.

It was Veteran's Day morning.  My daughter who is in the military and is also in ROTC in college organized a community running event to honor veterans.  It was a free, non-timed run and only drew a small crowd of people, including the ROTC cadets.  That morning was cold and the run was organized on a trail atop the rims in Billings... a hilly trail.

It was a requirement of the run that we all stay behind the front runners who were carrying the American and school flags. The leaders from time to time would yell "Switch" and new leaders would take over.  We were only going to make as much progress as the slowest runner (I liked this part... it made the hills bearable).

The cadets were not supposed to walk at all. It was amazing to see the team pull together to help those that struggled to make it.  If some of the runners fell too far behind, the leaders would turn around and go back for them.  When a cadet was struggling to keep up, they would encourage him/her to keep going.

It was a stellar display of team work and camaraderie and I felt honored to be a part of it.  BTW... I got to carry a flag for a while.  It's WAY harder than it looks.  They are heavy, they flap around and they prevent you from using your arms.

Thank you Veterans!

I got back to the gym this week.  I'm determined to get back in to shape (i.e. fit in to my jeans) and build strength to improve my running performance.

Day 1:  Upper body - This included 5 different weightlifting exercises in sets of 10 - 5 times.

Day 2:  Cardio day... Running of course

Day 3:  Lower body:  5 different types of squats with 40 lbs of weight in sets of 10 - 5 times.

Day 4:  Upper body:  Like day one, with different types of upper body weightlifting exercises.

Day 5:  I took this day off

Day 6:  Cardio day:  Track work for 2.5 miles plus one road mile.
Tomorrow will be a long run.  Actually, today was supposed to be the long run with tomorrow off.  But when I got out to Duck Creek where I was planning to start, the wind was crazy!  I wasn't up to pushing 12-14 miles in a heavy wind, so I headed for the track.

Someone once said that you have to take selfies if you are going to be a blogger

I prefer shoe selfies :-)


Of course... Because I love food and today I got to eat some extra yummy food at the Beartooth Grill, it must be part of the blog.  This Huckleberry Salmon salad is AMAZEBALLS.  Smoked salmon (tons of it), Spinach, blue cheese and walnuts with a huckleberry dressing.  I'm totally going back!

Do you have a veteran you would like to honor here?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lots of pictures

Last week I traveled to Fruita, Colorado on business.  I've done quite a bit of that lately and yes... it's still hard on the running.  I did not run one time on the treadmill while I was there though.

I had an afternoon that was free (in daylight, even) while I was there.  I took advantage of it, but not by running.  I visited a dinosaur museum and drove out to get some pretty pictures.

This is the dinosaur musem in Fruita that I went to.  They said that all the fossils in the museum had been found within 20 miles of there.

I loved this skull because I could tell it was not just a cast.  How cool that they found it complete!

Leg of brontosaurus.  The bones were those up to the top of the front leg.  A little perspective as to the size of these beasts if you recall that their necks were longer than their bodies.

This was my favorite attraction.  If you stand on that square pad, it simulates a 5.4 earthquake.  When the first rumblings were over, I started to walk off of it and it started again.  I thought I was going to face plant in front of everyone that was there.


The second day in Fruita, my business didn't start until noon.  That gave me the morning to go for a run in the daylight.  Three miles in 43 degrees.  It was beautiful running weather, but three different people I passed asked if I was freezing.  I was wearing a tank top and shorts and NO, I wasn't freezing.  Unless it's less than 40 degrees, running is more than enough to keep me warm.

James M. Robb State Park:  I took this picture the afternoon before my run.  It was practically outside my hotel door.

The start of the trail in the state park.  This one was also taken the afternoon before when I was scouting the area for a run spot.  It was too pretty not to snap a photo.

Picture above and below were taken on the trail the morning I went for my run.  This looks a lot like the little lake/pond I ran around in Rifle Colorado.

My run-selfie.  I took this to send to Mitch to say good morning.


Many things went awry on my trip.  Flights, cars, schedules, weather.  I was SO relieved to get home on Thursday.  

I didn't run Thursday (traveling), Friday or Saturday (lazy).  Actually, Saturday was extremely windy and we knew that going in to the weekend.  Mitch and I planned our long run/ride for Sunday.

I felt pretty great today for my run.  It was windier than we had expected, but I didn't mind it too much. Ten miles at a 10:17 min/mile average.  I really need to pick it up a bit.

I run by the LDS temple often and today I took the little detour to run on the street where it stands.  I'm not a member of this church, but I do love this beautiful building.

The temperature was just below 50.  I didn't think I would get to wear my brand new Brooks armwarmers (arrived while I was out of town), but the cool wind made it a perfect opportunity to try them out.

Sadly I got a snag in one my first time wearing them.  Sniffle.  Must have caught it on my watch while putting it on or rubbed it on the fuel belt while running.

We went out to Fuddruckers for the perfect post-hard-workout lunch.  I love this salad.


Tomorrow's plan is to get to the gym after work for strength training.  I hope you all have an awesome week!!

Have you ever ruined your brand new gear on your first run with it?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Blog From a Plane

This blog comes to you from approx. 23,000 feet ~ United flight 406 – Billings to Denver.  Sort of.  As I write this, I am in flight but by the time I get to post it I will be on the ground because I’m not willing to pay for wifi in the air.  I’m excited to report that there is a little girl about 3 or 4 years old across the isle for me that has been having something of a tantrum for the last 10 minutes and thankfully has just now decided that she’s happy.  I hope she stays that way.


I do have quite a long layover in Denver.  Thankfully it’s a pretty nice airport so I should be able to entertain myself without too much effort.  My flight was changed yesterday and I am flying several hours later than planned.  Of course that means I get to my destination airport well after dark and I get to drive a half hour to the town I’ll be staying in.  I’m not too excited about THAT, but on the bright side the weather is beautiful for November and no snow is expected.  Whew.

On Friday I ran for the last time this season where it will be light after work.  By the time I was done, it wasn’t all that light out anyway but since the time changed on Sunday it will be dark by the time I leave the office.  The dark time of year is not my favorite.  It does, however give me an excuse to shop for new gear.  I need a headlamp and some reflective items.

Saturday I bagged my long run because I was too lazy to get up and get going.  This has been a problem the last few weeks and I suspect is has to do with the season.  I did go for a run but it was only 4 miles in the middle of the day.  In spite of my efforts to convince myself that it is still summer, beautiful views like this remind me that Autumn is here.  Right now, it’s not so bad.


Sunday was the TCS New York City Marathon and it was broadcast on ESPN2.  I heard a rumor that USN (Universal Sports Network) is going off air this month.  I have watched most marathons on that channel so I do hope that ESPN picks up where they leave off.  Because I love all things marathon, I watched it before I heading out for the procrastinated long run.

I haven’t been getting as many miles in my long runs as I would like.  The last 3 weeks have been single digits and not even what I consider “long” anymore.  But the struggle has been real.  It’s not that I’m not motivated to run generally but it has been a true battle with my mind and body to do so with as much ambition as usual.

Yesterday was NO exception.  I felt great as we drove to Phipps Park.  I didn’t have a set number of miles, but double digits was the goal.  When we got to the park it started to rain and the wind really picked up.  Rain = no big deal.  Wind = I hate you Mother Nature!

My first couple of miles were comfortable and the wind was at my back most of the run, so I can’t really complain about that anyway.  Each step from mile 3 on was a battle of wits with my head.  I’d feel great for spurts and then suddenly my brain would say something like,  “Awe, you’re tired and you should walk.”  Sometimes I would win this battle but mostly not.

Mitch caught up with me right before mile seven.  I almost hopped in the truck and called it a day.  But he was nice enough to leap frog with me – he would drive to the next intersection and wait to see if I stopped or went on.  I literally MADE myself do ten miles.  My body hurt more than it has after 10 miles in a long time, but I won.  10 miles at a  10:32 min/mile pace. I made that run my B@#%$ and I am better for it. 

Since my flight was rescheduled for later in the day, I went out for a short run this morning.  I did not really win the mental game on that one.  Two miles at an average of about 11 min/mile… I walked too much.

Next few days of running will be in the hotel fitness center.  You may or may not hear from me depending on time and whether I think of something brilliant to say.  Have a fabulous week!

How do you overcome your brain when it tells you that you can’t?