Sunday, March 27, 2016

Taking to the Trails

Our pre-race shirts for The Rut showed up in the mail.  These shirts are the bomb!  Unfortunately, Mitch has a rule about not wearing the same clothes at the same time ("Oh, how cute... they match!") and because he pretty much loves his, I don't get to wear mine much. Haha!

Because the Yellowstone Half Marathon is mostly on trails and so are the Rut races we are doing, trail training is important.  I might be getting carried away though.  Even though I run much slower on the trails, I love how much more engaging it is to be on them versus the road.

Last week was a bit chilly, but we got 7 miles on the Back Nine trail before I hit the road for five more to round out my long run.  Trails are so much fun!  Sad though... no matter how much upper body strength training I do, I still can't even start to do an unassisted pull up.

We hit this same trail again today and unintentionally got 10 miles in.  Much of it was hiking, so we were out for nearly three hours.  It was such a gorgeous day, I couldn't even complain about adding ten miles to my 12 mile long run from yesterday.

Mitch takes great pictures for my blog.  If it weren't for him, this place would be a dull, lifeless page with only boring Angie selfies to look at.  Thanks for making my blog fun, Mitch.

Appropriate Captain Morgan pose

This trail run/hike was awesome, but I think we were both pretty excited to finish up.  Give it up to Mitch for a strong finish... I couldn't keep up.


Because running a 31 mile kick ass trail ultra marathon will require a new approach to race day nutrition, I've been experimenting with some new options other than my traditional GUs.

Yesterday during my 12 miler I tried a new line of products from CLIF.  Most people know CLIF bars, but they have a fairly extensive line of gels and workout/recovery beverages too.  They've recently hit the market with organic food pouches - real food for your run.  

This one is pretty darn good.  It has the consistancy of baby food, but tastes like a pina colada.  It didn't aggrivate my digestive system so that's a plus.  It's sweet without being sugary, which is a nice switch from gels.  This pack is 100 calories just like most gels.  The cons:  The pouch is about 2x the size of a GU pack and has a bulky, twist-ff lid so it takes more room in the pack than gels do.  But I was impressed enough that I stopped back at the running store and purchased another pouch as well as a Sweet Potato and Sea Salt one to try next weekend.

Today, we tried Epic Bars.  These are made with meat and are a savory alternative that require chewing.  On a run that will take upwards of 8 to 10 hours, some real food will be necessary but it still has to be portable.

The Beef (Habenaro Cherry) shown above had good flavor.  We also had a Turkey with cranberry and nuts which I wasn't impressed with AT ALL.  The downside to these are definitely the texture.  I have to say that for the price you might be better off just packing jerky.


So this happened this week!

I am one happy runner chic for sure!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Run to the Pub Half Marathon Weekend Recap

I think I'll start this post by talking about the elephant in the room - I didn't get a sub 2 hour time as was my goal for this race.  But I'm cool with it.  I knew going in that my goal was lofty and that I just wasn't there yet.

I have no complaints.  I still got my half marathon personal best and that is a huge accomplishment! Last year I did this race in 2:20:08 and that has been my official best half marathon until this weekend.

This first three miles of this race suck.  In those 3 miles you're on an uphill start and both years I have done this race it has been in a headwind.  I get so angry with myself when I walk in those first couple of miles!  Seriously... I train for these conditions.

But here are the stats breakdowns:

By the way... that little hill at mile nine about killed me.  You can see that I lost quite a bit of time there.

But lets back this story up just a bit.....

Mitch and I drove to Bozeman on Friday night so I would be there in time for race packet pick up.  I had booked a room at the Super 8 through Expedia.  I do not recommend booking the cheapest room you can find this way.  We were put in a handicap accessible room right next to the front desk!  I would not have thought it would be wise to put rooms that close to the hotel front desk, but there were two.  I don't have a problem with a handicap room except that there were no bathroom counters and everything was very low (sink, refrigerator, etc.).  And being right next to the front desk we got to listen to the phone ring and people coming and going all night long.  We left the TV on each night until about midnight so we could fall asleep and then in the morning we had the pleasure of listing to loud talking and laughter at 5:30 in the morning.  I was pretty miffed and I will never stay at that hotel again.

So on Friday night we arrived and went to the Emerson Cultural Center for packet pickup.  The schwag is what I expected except that Mitch happened to notice my bag was missing an expected pair of socks and then when I got back to the hotel I discovered they didn't provide any safety pins (REALLY?).  That warranted a walk to the local grocery store later at night.
Dinner was pasta at Johnny Carinos.  Sorry folks... no pics from that dinner.

The Schwag: Tech shirt, Hammer Gel, Pint glass & Socks

Thankfully, I always lay out Flat Angie so I found out with plenty of time that I needed to buy pins!

Never mind the horrible background that was our bed cover at the hotel.

The morning of the race, I was up at 5:30.  I let Mitch sleep and I went out to the lobby for coffee and read a magazine.  The idea is to get my body "functioning" early.

Mitch's plan was to ride the Bozeman Pass on his bicycle and then come meet me on the course.  The weather was really fantastic with the exception of a bit of wind.  Once in town, I headed for the buses and Mitch went on his merry way up the mountain (why didn't I take a picture??).

I am almost always one of the first on the bus.  I think I suffer from some strange anxiety that makes me feel like I have to hurry.  I try to sign up for races the day the registration goes live, I get to the start or pick up spots early, I get on the bus first....

But being first on the bus has its perks.  First on the bus means I was on the first bus that left, which was the first bus at the start line which meant I was first to the porta potties.  And when I got out of the potty, the line looked like this:

And within ten minutes of this picture, there was a wait that rivaled half a football field.  I'm sure the end of the line waited a very long time and I doubt they were in the race line for the gun to go off.

I ran into a couple of coworkers and an acquaintance, but mostly I walked/ran and warmed up for the race by myself.

This is my only selfie on the run and I didn't take out the camera again for the rest of the race.  I was on a mission this time so I didn't plan to snap many pictures this time.  Yes... I wear this hat for most of my runs.  It will be a sad day when it wears out.

Since this blog post is a little out of order, I've already told you how much fun the first three miles were.  After that initial climb, it was a nice downhill run until mile nine.  You can see in my stats above that I hit a comfortable cruising speed.  This race is well supported, but unfortunately they didn't have any sports drink on the course.  My memory didn't serve me well as I thought they had it last year so I expected it.  I struggled a bit with fuel and drink.  I brought my hydration belt, but the bottles held on to the lovely taste of dishwasher which made the water and preworkout I brought pretty much undrinkable.  Blah!  I brought 3 gels - I took one before the run and two along the way.  The 3rd one was too much and I spent the rest of the race with an upset stomach.

Mitch caught up with me around mile 11 and took some pictures and video.  I like this one the best:

It was true to how I felt at that point.  The good news was that I was just hitting the downhill after the climb between miles 9/10 so I picked up my second wind.

Mitch had mechanical difficulties with his bike and he missed the finish so there are no pictures, but it wasn't a glorious finish anyway.  Even though I knew I had crushed my PR, I was not happy with the numbers on the clock when I came around the corner to the finish line.  It took getting over the line and the medal on my neck before I let go of that momentary disappointment and embraced my accomplishment.

It really was a good day.  The weather was lovely and I worked through some mentally hard stuff and came through with a PR and new resolve to get that 2 hour half marathon time. I don't know if I will get a chance to try this year with my already crazy race schedule, but next year for sure.

Last years medal was cooler, but I love that they always make the medals into bottle openers. 

We celebrated with an early dinner at the Montana Ale Works, which has awesome food and stellar service.

That French Onion Soup is pretty much the best.

And even though I had a free post race beer at the race after-party, I had to splurge on something just a little more special with my dinner.

Mitch posted on Facebook:

Mitch Carlton Finishers get a beer of their choice, Angie gets a bonus beer for her PR at Montana Ale Works. A Fort Collins Double Chocolate Raspberry Nitro Stout. No PBR for this girl!!!

Mitch was right... BONUS!  This beer was pretty amazing.

For the record, I did NOT win one of the four trips to Dublin, Ireland.  Sad Angie.  Oh well, I guess I'll have to try again next year.

So ends my race tale.  I end with a nod to my favorite pair of racing shoes, which will now be retired to gym shoe status.  They were a great pair of runners, but I have definitely put enough miles on them.  

I was lucky enough to find a pair of replacements while in Bozeman.  Brooks is changing the Pureflows to something that is not at all the same as the shoes I have grown to love.  These will likely be the last pair of Pureflows I ever own, but I'm excited to break them in and run some races in them.

Until next time.....

Friday, March 4, 2016

100 Days of Running!

This blog has been a quiet place the last few weeks, but today is worthy of a celebratory post.  Today I celebrate my 100th consecutive day running.

My Victory Dance

Going back through my Strava, I estimate (not exact because I know a few activities weren't logged there) that I ran more than 265 miles in those 100 days.  Many of them were the bare minimum mile just to keep the streak alive, especially when it was cold and icy.  But I never missed a day, even when I didn't feel like running.    <<<Patting self on back

It's been a busy time, these 100 days.  In addition to running every single day, I took on a lean body challenge that I am now going in to my 7th week.  Looking at the picture above, I'd say I've come a long way in those few weeks.  I'm feeling and looking leaner and feeling great.  I set out to get my body in race ready shape and it's working.

Run to the Pub is one week from tomorrow.  This was to be my 2 hour half marathon.  I've been putting in a lot of hard work and I'm not sure I will hit that goal.  I can dig deep and pull off a few consecutive 9 minute miles (the pace needed to finish in my goal time), but stringing together 13.1 of them at that pace is more than I've proven I can do in training.  I know I have to re-evaluate my expectations so I can enjoy my race regardless of the outcome.  So... I have set a 3-tier goal:

1st goal (the BIG Kahuna goal): 2 hours
Secondary Goal:  2:10 - I've hit this time in training
Goal of last hope:  To beat my race PR of 2:20

My upcoming week will be easy workouts in the gym, one long run tomorrow (8 miles to make the final day of my runstreak 101 days - only because it falls on long run day), a couple of true rest days, lots of water and plenty of good carbs.  I'm super excited for my first big race of the season!

Extra, Extra!  Read all about it!

Mitch signed up to run the Yellowstone Half Marathon with me in June!  I am one happy runner wife right now.  No time goals for this one!  It is going to be all about the beautiful course and enjoying the chance to be a part of my husband's first big running event.

On a closing note, I leave for you a few photos from my 100 days of running!  So much more to come because training time just got serious.

From the snow....

(Above 3:  Running while on the road for work)

To beautiful spring sunshine....

It's been an awesome adventure, these last 100 days.  A special thanks to my dear husband who has put in some miles with me when I needed someone to keep me going.