Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It has started again!

and it's on again!  I started up half marathon training again this week.  My next half marathon is September 20 and that makes it just under 8 weeks away!  For whatever reason I had no energy for my 5.35 mile run on Monday so I was a little apprehensive about how speedwork would go yesterday, but I felt great for it.
Look at how overcast it was! 

I did quarter miles intervals x8 with an easy three mile warm up and mile cool down for a total 8 miles.  We had a cold front blow through yesterday and it felt like a nice cool fall day with a cool breeze and 65 degrees.

Then I did a 24 minute HIIT workout and kinked my back with 12 seconds to go in the workout.... seriously.  UGH.  I took it easy the rest of the day, but it is still pretty stiff and sore this morning.  SO.. the plan is to take it easy until my back feel better. Hopefully that won't take too long and I can get back at it!

Sunday I picked up a desk for my son that my aunt was getting rid of and it turned into an all day project of deep cleaning first my son and then my daughter's room complete with rearranging and rug shampooing.  The end result was worth it! It had been awhile since I went through their rooms and got rid of too small clothes and worn out toys.   A huge garbage bag of trash came out of both of their rooms and they look like whole new rooms!

Although on the way home with the desk we did stop and play some bale tag on some bales that were waiting to be stacked.
I wasn't all work and no play!

Friday, July 24, 2015

You like to eat right? Learn a bit about your food!

My Dad and brother started combining the wheat recently so I knew I had to get the kids up for combine rides... or maybe it was me wanting one most of all.

I spent a lot of time riding in the combine when I was little, I think I like it more now than ever.  Maybe it just has a lot to do with getting to spend some quality time with my Dad.
My Dad grows food for you :)

When I was little I had to sit on the floor of the combine, but now they are bigger and have buddy seats. Enough room for my Dad, me and one small cowgirl!  His dog had the floor occupied anyway. Can you see the top of Roscoe's head in the picture below?
The wheat is combined, unloaded in to truck and the truck either takes it into town or empties it into a grain bin for storage.

How about some wheat facts?
  • Montana ranks third in the nation for wheat production
  • 80% of Montana wheat is exported.
  • A family of four could live ten years off the bread produced by one acre of wheat. 
  • Assuming a sandwich was eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it would take 168 days to eat the amount of bread produced from one bushel of wheat.
  • Wheat is a member of the grass family that produces a dry, one-seeded fruit commonly called a kernel.
  • More than 17,000 years ago, humans gathered the seeds of plants and ate them. After rubbing off the husks, early people simply chewed the kernels raw, parched or simmered.
  • The Roman goddess, Ceres, who was deemed protector of the grain, gave grains their common name today – “cereal.”
  • If all of Montana's wheat stayed in the US, every man, woman and child would have to eat 8 loaves of bread a day to consume it all.
  • More foods are made with wheat than any other grain the whole world over
  • It was introduced in the US as a hobby crop in 1777
  • Montana is the only place that has commercial production of five of the six major classes of wheat grown in the U.S. – Hard Red Winter (HRW), Hard Red Spring (HRS), Hard White (HW), Durum, Soft White (SW), and the one we do not grow – Soft Red Winter (SRW). (In the U.S., wheat varieties are classified either as “winter” or “spring” depending on the season each is planted.
  •  There is no genetically-modified wheat in commercial production in the U.S. but researchers are looking at ways to breed wheats better able to withstand pests and drought and produce more with less pesticides on smaller parcels of land to feed ever-increasing populations. 
  •  The wheat and barley industry in Montana is second only to cattle as the top agricultural revenue source for Montana
  •  Never refrigerate bagels or any bread product. Bread products go stale up to 6 times faster in the refrigerator. Leave these products at room temperature or freeze them.

Farming.. especially dryland farming like my family does is a bit of a crap shoot every year.  Farmers are very dependent on the weather, too hot, too cold, too dry, too much rain, rain at the wrong times, hail that can knock a field flat and once you get past all that  they are dependent on the markets.  The price of fertilizer, fuel, weed control, machinery up keep, and taxes all cuts into the profit.

I get a paycheck every two weeks  Like clockwork.  Farmers get one once a year.  or if like my Dad you also are a rancher twice a year (also dependent on a million factors).  Let that sink in.  One or two paychecks a year.  All the hard work and hours spent in the fields.  There is no 40 hour workweek.

When I worked for my Dad in the summers we had 60 hours workweeks.  10 hour days from Monday to Saturday. Funny but sometimes those days went by way faster than my 8 hour ones now.  Haying, planting, calving and harvest all mean even longer days.

What is your favorite wheat product?  Me.. I love cake!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ragnar Northwest Passage: What happened besides the running

I meant to make this all one post, but I was so tired when I wrote up the first part I decided to save this for another day.  I wrote about the legs I ran at Ragnar Northwest Passage already here. I didn't get to all the other details though!

The girls of Van 2: 6 kickass women
This year thanks to the Ragnar App, we never got lost in the van and thanks to well marked routes none of  our runners got lost either.  If you are doing a Ragnar I highly recommend the Ragnar App for leg maps and updates, as well as driving directions to each check point.

While we did not get lost, we did leave a runner at an exchange and had to turn around and get her.  Luckily when she hopped out of the van she had her phone with her.  In our defense, we thought she was in the back of the van sleeping. So when Sarah, who was driving, got the call from Evie and asked us why Evie was calling her, wasn't she in the van?, we were all a little confused.

There was one new girl in the van this year and she just also happened to be a Christy.  I convinced her to go for a run with me in Spokane Thursday morning and had a fun time getting to know her better and talking running,

Four of us girls saw something very interesting and questionable in the night... we saw a runner quit running and get in a van and drive away.  WHAT!?  Yep. Four of us saw it happen. No idea if it was all the same team, different teams etc as a) it was dark    b)van wasn't clearly marked  c)no one got a look at team number .  It is a little discouraging though especially if this team placed high and didn't earn it.  Isn't half the fun of an overnight relay surviving all your legs and living to tell about it?!

We didn't stick around long at the after party choosing instead to hit the line for the ferry back to Seattle.  Lucky for us we only waited a very short time to get on, maybe 15 minutes.  I saw on Facebook later that some people had to wait up to 2 hours! YEESH! I was impressed with how fast the ferry ride was,

This is the third year we have done girls van and guys van for the team. I love it more every year.  The time spent with other women who come from similar backgrounds, live similar lives and are passionate about similar things.  Running, Beef.  Being healthy. Having fun. I have to admit having some withdrawals from them now that it is over.  No crazy drama, just awesome fun, support and good times.  I really love that I am a part of this group of dynamic women.

Before I was ever a part of this team someone and a baggie of smashed raw shrimp carefully placed just under the carpet in the back of the van at the start of the race which proceeded to make said van very stinky over the course of an overnight really started a tradition of van pranks.  You can read about 2014's pranks here, 2013's pranks here and 2012s pranks here.

We decided the boys needed to experience the condom water we went through in 2013 so we covered 48 bottles of water for their cooler with condoms.  Except I had bought lubricated so our hands were sticky and nasty trying to get them on.  The morning of the relay Sarah broke out the Liquid Ass and ran over to their van to spray some in.

She got busted and in the battle that ensued had to change clothes. So did Rachel.  and we lost the bottle of Liquid Ass.  This stuff smells a lot like it sounds and drives fear into the hearts of anyone who has ever experienced it.  They were afraid of whatever else we might have up their sleeve and we were afraid of the Liquid Ass and a truce was called.

It was nice not to have to constantly worry about leaving someone to guard the van.

Also I tried a raw oyster for the first and last time.

I would recommend this Ragnar! Northwest Passage was beautiful, had lots of awesome volunteers and seemed to be well organized.  There were some super tough legs,but it is always canceled out by the fun and memories made.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ragnar Northwest Passage

This is the fourth relay I have done and the third Ragnar.  This was probably my favorite.  I might say that about every relay though.   I left Wednesday and drove to meet up with 4 other team members. We headed to Bozeman and picked up the vans for the team then drove on to the next meet up point and picked up some more runners. We drove to Spokane Wednesday night and then drove up to Blaine Thursday where we spend the night at the Semiahmoo Resort and Spa.  It was beautiful!

Team Beef Montana/ The Montana Running Ranchers

Team Beef Montana's start time was 9:30 so we took some team pictures in the morning and then headed over to the start to cheer on Ed and the boys as they took off on their first legs.  The girls were in van 2 so while we waited for our turn we did some grocery shopping then headed to exchange 6 to wait.

We had lots of jerky that Hi-Country Meats donated for us to hand out and we had no trouble giving it away to other runners and volunteers!

My first run was: Leg 11 6.8 miles rated HARD.  
It was pretty warm out by the time I started running and three miles into the run I was starting to get hot.  I was glad to see my team about halfway through with a bottle of water for me.  I grabbed the water and ran with it and was glad I kept it.  The bottle was full and the water would splash out over me as I ran, coupled with the slight breeze it renewed me. After about half splashed out I rationed the water between taking sips of it and and dumping a little on the back of my neck.  
Time for 6.8 miles was 51:38 with average pace of 7:34
just a bunch of sweaty tanks drying
Second leg was about three in the morning and it was dark out, which was a bit of a bummer since I think it would have been a very beautiful leg running over the Deception Pass Bridges and through the state park there.  It was peaceful in the dark for my hardest leg and there were just enough runners to keep me motivated and moving.  This was the run I was the most nervous about just because of the distance, knowing it would be in the dark and the hills!  It was so hilly! Over 950 elevation gain and over a 1000ft of loss.
Time for the 9.8 miles was 1:21:05 with an average pace of 8:16

Leg 3 was the hottest, but also the shortest leg I had.  Three miles in I was feeling cooked, thankfully I only had to run 3.8 miles so mentally it was easy to power through and finish strong.  My leg ended up being 3.71 miles according to my Garmin so that made me happy too. There were some hills on this leg as well that helped make it challenging, but I was really feeling the sea level effect and finished in 28:46 for and avg pace of 7:45
and done!
My total time and mileage: 

now for the long drive home
Team Beef Montana had a time of 26:59:32 and ended up 26th out of 354 teams in our division and 59th out of 539 teams overall. We had a super strong awesome team and I am so proud of everyone's effort.    We had lots of fun and I can't wait until the next one!  I, am however quite exhausted and am going to post another time with some of the fun we had and my thoughts on the Ragnar NWP overall.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ragnar Northwest Passage Initial Thoughts

I have been busy packing, unpacking, repacking and making lists of things to pack.  Two days of travel, Ragnar Relay and then one long haul again back home.

Happily the weather conditions look pretty good. Friday highs in the the mid 70s, lows in the mid 50s overnight and Saturday into the low 80s.

Team Beef Montana is slated to start at 9:30 on Friday morning

Leg 11 6.8 miles rated HARD.
Initial thoughts: I am guessing this is rated hard because of the distance?   7 miles is a normal distance for me so I am going to re rate it as moderate. The plan is to take it easy and not use up all my energy since this is my first leg.  Don't get me wrong I still plan to push it, but not go all out.

 Leg 23, 9.8 miles and rated VERY HARD.  This leg is the reason I have been hill training the last 6 weeks,  I am going to agree that it will be very hard, not just for the hill but for the distance too! This will also no doubt be in the dark. 9.8 miles of hills, in the dark.
 Leg 35, 3.8 miles, rated EASY.  Initial thought, YAY it's not even four miles! This will be my first relay where my last leg is not my longest leg! and that makes me happy, especially after running all those hills in the dark!
Edit: meant to post this yesterday, we are now on the road! 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Three Things Thursday

1. The days are again getting shorter again and that makes me sad in the mornings when it isn't starting to get light at 4:45 anymore.  I don't run in the dark.  Too many rocks that want to trip me, no street lights, and bears.  Mountain lions.  No thanks! 

I am still running first thing in the morning though, but soon it won't be light enough to get in a quick run before work anymore.

I just love having my run done before breakfast and the kids are awake!
 I don't generally stay up late so it getting darker earlier does make me happy.

2. I saw this on Facebook yesterday, thought it was pretty awesome so I had to share.

3. and this too. 
I think I used to believe running was a cheap sport, but I have come to grips with reality. 

Almost Friday and 8 days until Ragnar Northwest Passage!  Woohoo!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

This little slice of heaven

My aunt texted me as I was making supper Monday night.."its a beautiful night, anyone want to go for a ride on the rims?"

My first thoughts were no it's dinner time, I have to work tomorrow, I have a mess to clean up, but then the words "on the rims" kept getting to me. So I said yes, the kids said yes and we hurried through dinner to get our horses saddled up.

We met up with my brother and his daughter along the way and up, up, up we went. My daughter was worried the road up to the rims would be too scary for her, but she did great and was ecstatic with the views once we got to the top. You will see why in a minute.

Little cowgirl and Shorty
little cowboy and Pepper

The views are out of this world.  This has always been one of my favorite places on the ranch and I love that my kids found it just as stunning as I always have.  To me its always like a glimpse into heaven.

This is one of my favorite places to run too. Horseback or on foot it's good for the soul up here.

and I think it gives a different perspective on the ranch and the places we explore down below.

I really love this place.
My aunt took this picture of my brother taking a picture of the kids and I while I was looking at a picture I had taken. It amused me.
I love this picture my aunt got of the kids and I all taking in the view.

I didn't get into bed until well past my normal bedtime, but it was worth it. The dishes were still there when I got home the next day from work but I have to admit I didn't care.  Time with my kids on horseback in this little slice of heaven is always worth it.