Sunday, January 27, 2019

Winter Training in Montana, Grandkids and How I Got Creative With My Long Run

It's not the topic of this post, but I'm working through my Running Coach lessons.  Current module of study is the skeletal system.  It's going to take just a little while to get through this part.  My main study day is Monday because I don't have a run on my schedule which frees up my evening.

Living in Montana and training for a spring marathon means that I have to deal with snow, ice, cold, wind and dark to get in all of my runs each week.  So far we've had a pretty mild winter, but this last week we got just a wee bit of snow.

Since I work a day job, I either have to run before 6:30 am or after 5:00 pm which translates in to running in the dark.  There was a little light out when I started....

Then the snow really started coming down.  It was also very windy so it was driving right into my eyes and/or ears depending on which direction I was running at the time.

Darkness set in about mid-way through my run.  This picture is cool because the sky looks purple!

I pull out the trusty trail shoes when I have to run on snow and ice.  My Salomon Speedtraks have awesome traction.  I don't think they are making these anymore which makes me sad.

These are my secret to warm feet!  The neoprene toe covers are designed for cyclists, but they are perfect for keeping my toes warm when running in bitter cold or just running in snow.  They are a bit more comfortable with my Altras because there is more room in the toe box.  Note:  If you buy these, you should get the black ones.  These pretty pink ones bleed through shoes and socks!

A fun fact about Mitch and me is that we have 13 grand kids.  My daughter, Michaela is getting ready to move her family to North Carolina in a couple of weeks so three of the grand kids are going to be so far away!  Maci and Logan came to spend the night with us this weekend (our other grand daughter is only four months old so she didn't join the slumber party).  Aren't they so cute?!  I'm going to miss them so much!

When it snows, we have the perfect back yard for sledding!  Even the neighbor's kids like to come use our hill from time to time.  I usually hate snow but I was thankful we had a bit so the kids could enjoy it when they were here. 

Saturday was long run day and I needed to get in 15 miles.  Since the kids stayed over on Friday, I didn't get out very early in the day.  By the time I started running I had ZERO motivation to get through 15 miles.  My original plan was to run three 5 mile "loops" in my neighborhood but during the first one I knew I wasn't going to be able to motivate myself to get back out for two more.  I asked Mitch if he wanted to go run five with me at Black Otter Trail.  He agreed, but I think he was sorry he did.  We had a wicked head wind and all uphill for 2 miles and then turned around to go back to the car.  It was much easier that way.  Silver lining - It was sunset while we were up there, so the view was quite lovely.

So 5 miles in the neighborhood, then 4 miles on Black Otter Trail left six miles to go to finish my long run.  I opted to get those done on the treadmill rather than run outside in the wind in the dark.  I made it through by listening to these three songs on repeat the whole time.

Today I had a hill sprint workout.  Talking myself in to going out was tough since the winds have been in the 30 mph range all day.  I did it, but I skipped the warm up and cool down so the ten intervals only racked up 1.5 miles.

It is CJ's birthday (grand daughter).  She is TWO!  We stopped by to drop off her presents and watch her eat her birthday cupcake.  She was being so dainty, picking the sprinkles out of the frosting and taking little bites.  It is my theory that it is because her mom opted for white frosting to avoid a big mess.  If she had blue, green or pink frosting I am sure CJ would have rubbed it all over her face and hair.

Overall it was a good week.  I did all of my Lean Body Challenge workouts, getting up at a ridiculous 4:00 am every day to make sure I could do them and get a ride to work (because I'm chicken about driving in the snow).

Run Training:
Monday - Rest Day
Tuesday - 10 miles on the treadmill - last five faster than the first
Wednesday - 4 miles (the snowy, dark run) - I did the wrong workout this day
Thursday - 7 miles on the treadmill (was supposed to be ten but we had a car break down and I didn't get home until late) - I did some sprint intervals for the first 3 miles of this run.
Friday - 4 miles of walk/run intervals on the treadmill
Saturday - 15 miles

Total for the week:  41.7

What are your favorite workout songs?

Driving in the snow.... love it or hate it?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Black Otter Trail - One of Our Favorite Local Routes; I Need Your Help With Vegas

I made up my Saturday long run on Sunday with Mitch.  14 miles.  He was only supposed to do 12, but he was a trooper and stuck it out with me until the end.


From the bottom of Black Otter Trail to Airport Road (running along Swords Park) is 3.25 miles so we had to do it roughly two times and add a couple of small side routes to get 14.  It's a good climb!

It felt good to get out and run again after a couple of days of being sick.  I still can't believe that I only had a chest cold for 3 days and I don't seem to have any residual cough!  That never happens with a chest cold.
It was overcast, but pretty warm - upper 30's I think most of the time.  Some of the time we were able to take off our jackets, but there was enough breeze to make our arms cold enough to lose mobility in our fingers.

The best part about running this trail is that there is a restroom about half way from end to end.  It's a perfect place to stop for relief and also to stretch.

And to fuel up.  I'm sampling these Science In Sport gels (SIS).  I like them because they are not a thick gel, more like a liquid consistency and they aren't too sweet. I'm pretty fond of the Tropical.  I got two boxes for free (plus shipping) from their website.  The only thing I don't like is the size of the packages, but that is the trade-off for the thinner gel I suppose.

One of the side trips we took from the trail was up to Yellowstone Kelly's grave site.  The city has made vast improvements to this park over the last 8 years or so.

The rest of this week is going to be a doozy.  Monday through Sunday I'm scheduled for about 50 miles total.  It's going to be hard to get them all in with some of the things going on at work, but this is crunch time so as long as I am healthy there will be no excuses for missed miles.


As you know, we are doing the Mt Charleston Marathon in April which is in Las Vegas.  Neither of us have been there before.  We are booked to stay a majority of our visit at the Stratosphere Hotel.  It just happened to be one of the better deals we could find. 

I didn't realize just how cool it was until I started looking for pictures today.  I'm stoked that it is the hotel with the amusement park rides on the top!

We can't wait to go!  We need your help though.  Have you been to Vegas?  What would you suggest doing while we are there? 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

This Week of Training and Eating Like an Athlete

The Lean Body Challenge started on Monday of this week.  I've participated in this 2 of the last 3 years and haven't made it to the end.  By week 8 I'm almost always looking for a new workout program.  I can be such a fickle Gemini sometimes!  In addition, I have never followed through with the nutrition for very long.  Less time than the workouts, actually.

Last year, I took a break from this challenge and did 80 Day Obsession through Beachbody.  It was an amazing program that really pushed me and I made it through the entire 80 day program proving to myself that I CAN stick to a program. Again I wasn't really on board with the nutrition but in spite of that I had great results.  I'm still a Beachbody member and even my husband likes to do the LIIFT4 workouts.  This is a shameless, non-sponsored plug but I do love having so many workouts to follow in the comfort of my own home.  If you have a friend that is a coach who has been trying to get you on board, I highly recommend you give it a look at least for the free trial.  If you don't have a coach friend let me know and I can hook you up with mine! Mary Rose Swan is the BEST!

Anyway... I got a little off track there!

I'm fully committed this year to get through the entire LBC program, nutrition and all as a means of getting fit and down to a weight that will optimize my speed for the Mt Charleston Marathon.  The program ends right before the marathon which means no time to backtrack. 

You will all help me stick to it, right?  I knew I could count on you.

My first week went very well. I got up early every morning for my workout, stayed on plan with my nutrition and limited my intake of beer/wine.  My goal is 3 glasses or less.

Training for the week went like this:

Monday:  Shoulders, Chest & Triceps;  Running Rest Day
Tuesday:  Legs;  10 miles scheduled but I only ran 7 because I forgot my headlamp
Wednesday:  Back, Biceps & Abs;  1 hour easy run which I did on the treadmill
Thursday:  Legs; 8x800m repeats (6.5 miles) on the treadmill - don't think I didn't notice that leg days both fell on my hard running workouts.
Friday:  Shoulders & Cardio - This was the worst day of a chest cold I caught so I only did about 15 min of cardio and skipped the 1 hour run I was scheduled for
Saturday:  Long run day scheduled but I was still sick so I opted to skip again.  I hate missing my run!
Sunday:  That's today and I'm going to go out and get my long run since I'm feeling so much better.  Mitch is going with me and we are going to do Black Otter Trail so I will also get the hills I was supposed to do for Sunday.  Two birds with one stone!

This time of year I sometimes have to get the training on a treadmill.  I have many things going on and also working extra hours so the treadmill is better than no training at all.

Zwift to the rescue!  Treadmills are SO boring.  I listen to music or podcasts but I have trouble engaging in TV shows.  The online world of fitness is growing fast and I can take a virtual run or ride any time I want on Zwift.  We have it set up so Mitch and I can both be working out at the same time.   We only have one treadmill, but he can ride while I run or vice versa.

One thing I've learned (and often forget) is that I can follow a healthy nutrition plan that fuels my body for the effort I put it through and still love the food I eat.  I've always been a bit of a foodie so if I'm not loving the taste of what goes in my mouth I'm probably not going to stay on track.

For breakfasts this week I made this Sweet Potato Quiche from Labrada.  The recipe calls for 4 foil pans, but I don't find that practical to take to work since I have to microwave my food.  I made it in a 9x9 glass casserole pan and made 6 servings.  If you do this, increase the cooking time to one hour.  I looked forward to my breakfast every day this week!  I'm going to make it again today and switch out the chicken for turkey sausage.

Eating out is usually where I make my worst food choices, but most restaurants have options that don't break the calorie bank.  From years of experience I know which places in town have meals I enjoy.  We went to BIN119 for lunch yesterday and I was planning to get the Ahi Tuna Salad, which I love.  Sadly they took it off the menu but this Caribbean Shrimp Salad was still a delight.  That being said, I don't always want salad so at other places I order a lean meat, vegetable and side salad or soup.  It does the trick. 

PS.  I love avocados.  They are my favorite.

I went to lunch at the Montana Brewing Company with my daughter and her family this week.  They ordered my favorite mac n' cheese and the biggest pub pretzel I have ever seen!  I tried a bite of the pretzel but opted for the seared Ah tuna with pesto which is delicious anyway.


What are your Sunday Plans?

Avocados - Yes or No?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Rut is On and The Big Step Forward

I'm backtracking just a wee bit.  My last post was so long and topic focused that I didn't get a chance to tell you the COOL stuff.

Monday, January 7th was the registration party for The Rut 50K!

I took Monday off for a dental appointment.  I don't handle big procedures well at the dentist so I need to be under the influence of a sedative.  That means no answering emails for me unless I plan to respond without a filter.  That's probably a really bad idea, especially if you consider that I was still in my funk that day!

The Rut opened registration to the masses on Tuesday, but they held a locals only party on Monday in Bozeman and Missoula.  Bozeman is not too far and we love going there!  We've been planning it for weeks.

Of course, if you're going to drive all that way you might as well plan a dinner date while you are at it, right?   If you're ever in Bozeman, you need to have dinner at Montana Ale Works.  So good!

The Rut locals party is hosted by The Mountain Project in Bozeman.  The mural on the wall is pretty awesome!  Free beer is my favorite, especially if it is craft beer (seen here: Shake-A-Day by Big Sky Brewing).  Yes, I know that drinking beer on a day that I was taking sedatives was probably not the best idea, but it was hours later and Mitch did all of the driving!  He doesn't have the same love of beer that I do so I always have a sober ride.

It's official.  We'll be running the Rut 50K again in 2019!  Yep... Mitch too!  He's become almost as crazy as me.

The Rut has 4 race distances:  50K, 28K, 11K and a VK.  The 28K and VK sold out in less than an hour after the registration went live on Tuesday morning.  The 50K and 11K sold out in 2 days!  I'm so glad we went to the party and took out the stress of making sure we were online quick enough to get in!

I have a ton of amazing pictures from the 2018 race even though we didn't complete it so I have to share! This is why I LOVE running mountain trail races.  Enjoy the views!
Lone Peak - 50K and 28K climb this ridge!

We had an AMAZING room!

We got to meet Scott Jurek!

I Love this man so much!!!

I made it over Headwaters Ridge before I couldn't hit time cut-offs anymore.  Brutal!

 To read my race report from the first year I did this race (2016), check it out HERE.  That was an insane day!

Okay.  So in my previous post I mentioned that I am up to something big.  Well, at least it's big for me.  I've been considering this for months and I've known for a while that I want to do it for sure but because it's a financial and time commitment I have been putting it off.  On Friday I took the leap!

 (I can't get this picture to turn correctly!)
I have some pretty extensive goals around putting this coaching certification to work in the future.  I'm beyond excited to get started on it and it is my plan to work through the course in a 6-12 month period of time.  I'll have a better idea of the timing once I start studying and have a grasp on how intensive the modules are.  Some are relatively short, but then some are really long (like the module on the Muscular System).

I'm off to get in my workout and do some meal prep!  I hope you all have an awesome rest of your week!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Pulling Out from the Funk

My job in real life is an Account Executive for a health claims administrator - or as my company likes to put it, an integrated healthcare management company.  It's a hard job... aka: stressful job.  Some weeks I'm working on my computer after hours at home and even when my laptop isn't open to the onslaught of emails, I'm probably thinking about a problem I need to tackle at work.

I've heard many runners talk about how running is their therapy.  I do agree with this in that the activity of running or any other exercise gives me a mental break.  I'm pretty good at putting the work out of my mind while I'm running or lifting.  But if I'm honest with myself, I know that a training schedule can add to my stress.  This time of year in particular, workload is heavy and trying to figure out when and how to get in the miles isn't easy.  Especially when I'd rather just go home, plop down on the couch, order a pizza and zone out on Facebook and Netflix.

In the last few weeks, I've been in a terrible funk as a result of the stress.  I've skipped a few training runs in a rebellious moment of weakness, only to feel guilty later when I've passed the ability to get out there and get it done.  It has been a circle difficult to break out of because the more stressed I feel, the less I want to run.  The more often I skip my run, the more stressed I am.  This all came to a big crescendo for me last week on Wednesday.  I found myself walking through the halls at work with my shoulders down and my head low.  I felt weepy, even though I'm not PMS'ing and I felt like a completely empty shell of myself.  I'm usually upbeat and can go with the ebb and flow of an ever-changing work environment with a positive attitude, or at least get through a bad attitude to myself and relatively quickly.

That evening, I decided I needed to fix me.

I called my good friend and asked her to have lunch with me the next day.  I worked with her for several years.  She was my walking buddy at work until she recently left the company.  Those daily walks were so good for my mental health.  Who knew?

As I was settling down for the evening, I poured myself a glass of wine.  But then, I dumped it out and opted for something a little better for me.

Thursday was another emotional day for me, but lunch with my friend helped me find perspective and to start thinking of positive ways to improve my situation.  Thanks, Mary!

On the way home I listened to a podcast I needed to hear.  Isn't it weird how that happens sometimes?

The Chalene Show | Diet, Fitness & Life Balance
Click the image and look for "Daily Habits to Improve Health and Productivity for 2019" 

I took Chalene's words of advice and put them to work for me the next day.  When my alarm went off at 5:10 am, I got up without snoozing my alarm and got my workout in.  I've made every excuse to not get up in the mornings lately, so this was a step in the right direction!

I made a big decision on Friday too, but I will tell you more about that next time.  Suffice it to say that I recognize that I need to work towards something outside of just race goals and work goals.  I'm really excited.  This one decision has improved my outlook above and beyond anything else I could do for myself.  Stay tuned!  I promise I won't make you wait long to find out.

I'm signed up for the Lean Body Challenge which starts tomorrow.  I need something to motivate me to get to that race weight.  only 14 more weeks until Revel Mt. Charleston!  Last day to sign up is tomorrow, so if you're interested check out this link:

I'm back and I'm ready to hit the ground running to meet my goals and explore new things!  I hope you're ready to join me for the journey.

How do you pull yourself out of a running funk?

Who else is participating in a fitness challenge?

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Revival of Run Which Way - 2019 Is Going to be Awesome!

~Note:  Please excuse the outdated background while my awesome husband works on getting it current.  Hopefully it will be done before my next post, but I was too impatient to wait for this one.

May 2017.  That was the last time I posted on RunWhichWay.


Dang!  It does NOT seem like that long.  So much has happened.  I will  not be doing a "catch-up" post because lets face it... that would be daunting for me and a boring read for you.

But for the sake of future posts making sense, there are a few things that went down that influence where I'm going over the next year:
  • I did not get my Boston qualifier last year.  I think at some point I will write a full post about the attempt, but not for now.
  • In 2018 Mitch and I BOTH did a marathon and finished 3 ultra marathons including Moonlight on Mt Ascension 12 hour night run, Beaverhead (another experience I will share someday) and HURLElkhorn.
  • Mitch and I both DNF'd at The Rut 50K
Isn't it cool that Mitch has joined me for all of these cool events??

We have a significant schedule in 2019 too, so I'm planning on packing this blog with training stuff, gear reviews, race recaps and maybe a few other adventures.  I've taken some epic pictures over the last few months.  I hope I have reasons to share them soon, but I can't wait to see what pictures I get to take this year!

Here's a peek at our race schedule for this year:
  • Run to the Pub half Marathon - Bozeman, MT
  • Revel St. Charleston - Las Vegas, NV (my BQ attempt)
  • Don't Fence Me In 30K - Helena, MT
  • Moonlight on Mt Ascension 12 Hour night run (my favorite race from 2018)
  • Bridger Ridge Run (20 miles) - This is a lottery race, so whether we run depends if we get in
  • The Rut 50K (because neither of us wants the DNF over our heads)
Tomorrow is the locals only race registration event in Bozeman for The Rut.  I have a dentist appointment in the morning and I'm taking the day off work anyway so we are going to drive up there and sign up before it goes live online on Tuesday.  The race usually sells out in the first day.

I want to spend hours writing about the cool stuff I'm working on and planning for the future, but I'll save those things for the days to come.

Welcome back to RunWhichWay's blog!  I'm so excited to bring it back and I thank you for stopping by to share the excitement!  Until next time.......