Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Back in Love

Lately I haven't been LOVING running.  I have been running, and happy to go running, but not like IN LOVE with running. I think it has something to do with constantly being on a training plan. I haven't run many trails and everything has been on the road.

Today I started out on the road and had plans to stay on the road, but then I saw this "road" that leads off through the hills. I took it. I didn't care if I got grass seeds in my shoes, I was heading to the hills!
See the road?

I ran until I came to a gate and then stopped to decide if I should go back or cross the fence and keep going up.  While I procrastinated which way I wanted to go I snapped this picture of my little dog watching a cow. He really likes cows.
I started down the hill and then stopped.  I didn't want to go back to the main roads, I wanted to go up, I wanted to stay on trails, I wanted solitude. I wanted quiet. I wanted more wide open spaces.

I wanted this.

and this

I stopped and did about 15 minutes of yoga and 15 minutes of just sitting with my dog enjoying the views. It was a beautiful fall day.

Then I finished my run rather euphoric, my legs are feeling good and recovered and my soul refreshed. Seriously the best run mentally in a long time.  I think I will do nothing but trails every chance I get for awhile.

and while I don't know if running really is cheaper than therapy, runs like this are the best kind of therapy.   While I still may do a half marathon in October I have already decided I am not going to go all out training for it. I love running half marathons, I just am so over doing 800s and tempo runs and trying to reach specific paces etc, I just want to enjoy running for running.  Besides all these crazy hills are pretty good training.

I already have three halfs and a relay on the schedule for next year.  This year will hopefully have one more half marathon and at least one more 5k.

When was the last time you had a "fall back in love with running" run?

Monday, September 28, 2015

#MotivateMe Monday Deciding What's Next

I am a week out from my last half marathon.  My hamstrings were very tight in the days following the half marathon and to top it off I got a pretty good cold.  I think the cold was coming on before the half marathon as I remember feeling very fatigued and headachy in the days before.  It came on full after the half and I was very miserable for most of the week.

I did try to run on Wednesday, but between no energy and my hamstrings so sore I decided it was no fun and went home.
A failed run day, but that's okay. 
I didn't try again until Saturday!  I whole week of nothing except gentle stretching! Saturday my hamstrings, especially my right one still felt tight, but 80% improved and Sunday they felt even better.  I got in a easy 5.5 miles Saturday and 7.1 on Sunday.
A successful run day. YAY!

This week my plan is to continue easy running and try a long run Thursday, but if my body isn't ready I will abort.  I was planning on a half marathon in October, I haven't signed up yet and have to admit to not being super excited about it, so I may not sign up at all.   I may do a shorter race instead.

here is my tentative plan for the week

Monday: Easy run 6-8 miles, Yoga
Tuesday: HIIT bodyweight workout
Wednesday: 5 miles, yoga
Thursday: 10-12 mile long run if my legs feel like it, if not, cut it short
Friday: Yoga
Saturday: 7 miles with fartleks
Sunday: 5 miles easy.  Horseback riding. (moving cows home from summer pasture)

We had clouds last night and I missed the blood super moon won't happen again for 17 years eclipse, but I did get this picture before the sun went down, I loved the horse on the horizon.

I am linking up this week with FitnessCheerleader.com, & t RunningRachel.com for a weekly linkup they host
A weekly linkup on Mondays for you to share your weekly fitness plans and meal plans #MotivateMe http://www.fitnesscheerleader.com

What's on your fitness, or nutrition plan for this week? Share your post and support each other!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Montana Half Marathon Rest of the Story

I did a race recap yesterday so today I will recap everything else.

Packet Pickup: Quick and easy.  All you really picked up was your bib and timing chip to attach to your shoe.  It is conveniently located right by the local running store. I have been having an issue with the shoes I planned to run in so I decided to just see what they had.

Shoes:  I have had the Pure Flows before but not since the originals. I LOVED the originals and hated version 2.0, since they were now on version 4.0 I thought I would see if they improved... no.  I ended up walking out of the store with the Pure Cadence.  I ran two miles in them Saturday and decided to go for it.  RISKY! But they worked out great, I only ended up with a little rubbing on one of my toes.

What I wore: My Team Beef Montana tank and INKnBURN Paeon shorts.  I took an informal vote on Facebook and Instagram Saturday and Leaf shorts won, but I just couldn't.  I felt like a Christmas elf. Maybe for a Christmas run or a 5k sometime or a fun run.  Usually I would also wear compression socks, but I couldn't find the ones I wanted so I opted for shorter ones.

What I ate the morning of:  A bowl of oatmeal with flax seed, chia, raisins, and pecans. Then I stopped at a gas station on my way in to the half and got a Powerbar and a cup of coffee.  I still had over two hours and was really hungry!

The bus ride out to the start:  I rode out with my friend Victoria, it was her first half marathon and I was very excited for her! We talked running, and family things.  Then we saw the start of the half marathon go by the window.  All the people around me started talking "Um, isn't that where we start?" We decided maybe he was just looking for a good place to turn around?  Nope he just kept driving. Finally we spoke up and told him we are running the half!  He turned around.

The starting line:  First thing I did when we got there was get in the porta potty line. We still had about an hour to the start so we all milled around talking to people we knew. With half an hour to go I got in the porta potty line again then headed to the start. There were only 8 porta potties, but it seemed enough, the line moved fast.

What I fueled with: Tropical Punch shot blocks.  I had cut them in half and put them in a baggie so I could eat them easier while running and will do this again.  I also had grape Cocogo in my water bottles of which I didn't even drink half.  I thought I was hydrating more than that...wrong!

How I felt during the race: Pretty strong! The last mile was super tough, but if I had felt really energetic at that point then maybe I should have been pushing harder. I think I paced myself really well.  Miles 6 through 13 varied only slightly in pace with the fastest mile 7:31 and the slowest being 7:38.

 I did start noticing my left hamstring tightening up with about 5 miles to do.  I worked on trying to keep my stride short so I didn't really irritate it. This half marathon felt better than the other two I ran this year and was the fastest, but also had the fastest course so that was expected.

The course:  I love this course. It is fast! It starts on a downhill and has about three uphill portions. The second up hill portion is the longest and comes during mile 5.  There is a small hill near the end, but other than that is it down hill slightly or flat. I recommend it to anyone.  The first couple miles also feature some spectacular wide open spaces to feast the eyes on.  I made sure to take time to enjoy the views.

The mantra: Stay calm, stay focused, you've got this.  Over and over! I even found myself repeating it while cleaning house for the birthday party after I got home. It wasn't what I had planned to use, it just popped into my head and stuck.  and it worked.

The finish:  They had chocolate milk and water just inside the finish line and further in had pretzels, gummy bears, more drinks, coffee, and more food including free smoothies.  I drank a bottle of water right away and then munched on some pretzels.

Finisher T-shirts were given out at the finish line as well.  They are nice Brooks tech shirts, but sadly are unisex.  I will still wear mine of course and did for my son's birthday party later in the day.

Medals: They had different medals for full, half and 10k finishers which I think is always an awesome touch,  I won 2nd in my age group and received another medal for that as well. On first glance it looked identical to the my finisher medal. On closer inspection the medal had a darker finish and the ribbon said age group winner.  Yay for a double medal day!

How I am feeling two days after: Sore! Tight hammies and obliques.  My oblique abdominals always get sore after a hard race, I must really use them when racing more than I normally do.

Now I am dealing with a head cold, headache, snot, sinus congestion, fatigue..ugh.  I felt this coming on in the days before the half, thankfully the brunt of it held off until after it was over. I also had a skin check with a dermatologist yesterday and got an all clear. YAY keep wearing sunscreen!

After the race it was all about this guy!
Can't believe my lil guy is 9!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Montana Half Marathon Race Recap

I am going to break this up into two posts, one for the race and one for other thoughts all related to the race.

Starting line photo with another Montana Running Rancher.

Mile 1: Always the sweetest mile in my opinion and so much depends on the first mile. If you go out too fast you could burn up too much energy and not have enough for the second half of the half marathon. It also can be a great indicator of how the whole race is going to go.  If the first mile is a struggle it, in my opinion, it is never a good sign.  If the first mile feels effortless, is at a comfortable pace and my breathing is under control, I take it as a good sign. 
Time for mile 1: 7:26  This is a downhill mile so I knew it would be pretty fast.  My breathing felt good. and of course with the downhill it all felt very effortless.  I also started in with my mantra

"Stay calm. Stay focused. You've got this."
I had predetermined not to use my music until at least mile 5. 

Mile 2: This was a bit uphill and had a bit of a headwind, but it still felt pretty good 7:43.
Mile 3: Pretty consistent with 7:42, but not really were I wanted to be either I decided I was feeling too good for that pace. I ate two shot blocks.

Mile 4: Picked it up just a bit and hit 7:33. I decided that was where I wanted to be.
Mile 5: Still no music and still using my mantra "Stay calm. Stay focused. You've got this." Feeling really good and had a pretty good uphill portion so this mile was a little slower with 7:56.
Mile 6: 7:36 Feeling good and starting to get tired of the mantra so I decided once I hit the halfway mark of 6.55 miles I would turn on my music.
Mile 7: 7:36 (how is that for consistent!) Feeling good and finally turned on my music! The music gave me a needed boost! Starting to feel tired but also still feeling strong and breathing was under control.  The pace was feeling really good.
Mile 8: 7:38 Ate three shot blocks, and I think there was a bit of hill in here, I can't remember now.
Mile 9: 7:38 Road construction~ rough road! But feeling pretty good and still passing people.
Mile 10: 7:33 I attempted to pick up the pace a little here. Mentally knowing I only had three miles left was awesome and a huge boost.
Mile 11: 7:31 Another strong mile ticked off and some passing of people done!

Mile 12: 7:33 Seriously impressed with how consistent my pace was. This mile felt pretty good, but starting to get some tired legs!
Mile 13: 7:37 The hardest mile! I was really feeling the hill that was in this mile, thank goodness it wasn't a very big one and thank goodness this was the last mile. and then it was all down hill.

last .1 or (.2 according to my Garmin) big downhill, like a cruel joke at this point on tired legs 1:19 with a 6:34 pace.  I was really hoping to get under 1:40, which unofficially I did, but officially I did not! 

I am still very happy with my time.  I ended up 2nd in my age group and 8th out of all the females in the half marathon.  YAY!

end of part one! Part two to follow, but after going home yesterday and getting ready for my son's birthday party, hosting a birthday party and sleepover and then a morning of dr appt I am exhausted and ready to nap! so later this week the rest will follow!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Three Things Thursday: Busy Tapering

1. Since I am tapering for the half marathon I am also not doing any strength type workouts from Monday on this week. You would think I would have a clean house and laundry all put away.  but nah, I went and had coffee with my Grandma yesterday morning, did an easy run, cleaned the kitchen and then took a nap yesterday.
I'm not going to lie, it felt pretty great. With the kids back in school my days off have been pretty busy with appointments in town, but finally not yesterday! Just a nice quiet lazy day. I did also make soup and get about 2/3 of the laundry put away.

It was cool enough out yesterday morning to finally break out my sweet INKnBURN robot capris.
I love the detail on them. I also got my daughter a matching pair.  She was super excited to have her own INKnBURN finally.

2. I found this assignment in my son't backpack.  They had to write about what they would do with the last hour of their life. (Talk about a dark subject for third grade!)
The sad face at the end kills me. Then I think about all those kids fleeing Syria, how uncertain their futures must feel, all the kids in war torn areas, all the kids growing up in intense poverty.  Ugh. My kid has is so good, but I still don't want him to do thinking about his last hour of life.

3. The very best thing about a run that is three miles up hill to start with on an out and back run?

The way back feels so good! I felt like I had so much energy at the end of my run yesterday! The skies were very grey yesterday and I started and ended my run in long sleeves.  I took my long sleeve shirt off for about half the run, but rain and a cool breeze had me sliding back into it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A runner sees a road.

I was going through my phone last night at gymnastics deleting old photos, bad shots, etc and I couldn't help but notice every time I came across a gravel or dirt road picture it made me want to run. I took this one on my run yesterday.  I couldn't help but wonder, do the pictures make me want to run because I run there or do the pictures make me want to run because I am a runner?

Probably both.

I think I could run for days just looking at this picture, it makes me miss spring and green.

I think my little dog loves looking down the road thinking of the joy about to come from the run too.

Even cold snowy roads make me want to run. I kind of really like snowy runs.

I was helping my son with his third grade math last night. His teacher had him erase the answers to problem numbers 2 and 3.  Unless my math is terrible (which it is not) he was right.
I asked him if she gave him any clues or if he was supposed to do something different and he had no clue. He was very frustrated and the homework as a whole left me aggravated. Should have been easy and it is, but either his teacher isn't understanding it or teaching to him in a way he understands or I don't get what they are doing.

Last I knew the sum was the total.

Three weeks into school and not impressed with his teacher already.  He has had nothing but amazing teachers so far and has so far been way above average in math so I know it isn't just him.  I wrote a note on the page saying he didn't understand and neither did I what was wrong and why he had to erase his answers, but Cade scribbled it out.

If they come back still wrong and he doesn't get why, I will be visiting with his teacher. If she can't help him I need to be able to.

Anyone else get the urge to run when they see a great place to run either in real life or in pictures? What you rather run in snowy weather or hot weather?  Snowy every time!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Listening to Myself from 4 years Ago

Honestly beyond the fact that I am running a half marathon next weekend I haven't given a lot of thought to goals.  I haven't really followed a set plan. I am having some guilty feelings about running it on my son's birthday.  It's local so it isn't like I won't be here for his birthday.  

I have run this half twice before with the following results.

  •  2010: 1:41: 23 6th in Age Group
  •  2011: 1:37:06, 2nd in age group, 9th overall (this still stands as my PR)
I won't lie, it's a fast course, it has a downhill start and is either slightly downhill or flat the whole way.  I think there are maybe two slight hills.

As I was running yesterday I was busy questioning my state of running.  Will the half next weekend be a struggle?

I think Cola is saying "Don't worry mom you got this"

I don't expect a PR, I just don't think I am there, but I would like a fast time! I hate that right now I am second guessing where I am at with my running.  So it was a great time for me to read an old post of mine.  

I LOVE that I wrote this (I underlined my favorite parts)
 I do believe in my abilities and just have to trust in my body that it will be performing its best. I have done my training, I am amazing and I know I can do this.  I know some days the energy is there and others it is not.  I don't want to sound negative, but I do know that sometimes when I race my body feels on top of the world and other times I feel like I am fighting for every step. Even though I still do great it feels harder on some days than others.  Mentally I am going to believe it is going to be a Superwoman kind of day and if it isn't I will deal with that later.  
 I will employ the same strategy I did in the last two half marathons of starting out slightly slower than goal pace and picking it up as I go.  I will hydrate well and use my energy gels at miles 5 and 10.  I will pee eight times before the start of the race and I will try to take time to enjoy the moment. I will remember I am strong, amazing, and love what I am doing.  

I also found a great article at  runningtimes.com about pre race jitters and two of the points discussed hit the nail on the head for me so I am going to share them with you the rest of the article can no longer be found :(
 I highlighted the parts that really spoke to me. I do recommend reading the rest of it too.  


It's the week of our race, and the realization hits: Everything I've done to prepare for this race is wrong!

We're convinced we should have run more distance. Or more intervals. Or a long tempo run. Or hills. Or rested more. Or something. Anything!

Relax. Workouts overlap in their training effect. Mile repeats will tap the same muscles and energy systems as a tempo run. Hill repeats will buoy your "speed" every bit as well as a good set of quarters. And a long run with hills will work just about everything. So even if your training wasn't perfect, chances are good that you're fit to race.

Recently, a runner I coach phoned me three days before a half marathon. He was concerned that he'd run less volume and shorter tempos than some of his friends. I told him what I always tell my athletes: The training we scheduled was the training you needed. He calmed down. And then he set a PR by 11 minutes.


The race is almost upon us, and we doubt our fitness. The answer seems clear: Run a time trial or all-out interval session to test our conditioning.

Stop. Do not pass go. Testing our race readiness will not improve our fitness, but it will deplete the resources we have available for the actual race.

This is the difference between a race and a workout: A race is a 100 percent effort, and a workout is not. As far as our bodies are concerned, a 100 percent effort during a time trial or workout is a race. It results in the same energy depletion, muscle inflammation, and psychological fatigue.

Trust the fitness you have. Don't waste it on a workout. 

Do you ever read back on your own advice and get an unexpected pick me up?  Thanks to TimeHop for sending me this one today!  The whole original post can be found HERE.   It is titled Channeling My Inner Superwoman.  I freaking love myself.  High five Christy from 4 years ago! and from Cola too
Anyone else racing next weekend? Do you second guess yourself?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday 5

1. 9 days until my next half marathon!  It feels so close and so far away still!  Yesterday was my last long run since I do them mid week, but it was cut a little short due to a meeting in town I had to go to, at this point though I know the hay is in the barn.  The work is done and now I just taper and relax, and run a little.

2. Tuesday I had a meeting after work, but between work and the meeting I had some time so I went to Costco and since I still had a little time after that I went for a run.  So different to run in town.  All the exhaust and watching for traffic!
I have to admit my legs were a little sore the next day from all the sidewalk running, but they are recovered now.

3. My coworkers at the meeting thought I looked like a rainforest in my INKnBURN monarch tee and leaf shorts.  Here I thought I looked like a butterfly.

4. My meeting yesterday was with the Montana Beef Council, two other Montana Running Ranchers and I had to go before the board to ask for funding for our relay team's next relay.  We are supported by Beef Checkoff dollars to help pay for our vans and entry fee,  For every beef cow sold $1 goes to the checkoff.  Those dollars are used for beef promotion like Team Beef runners, recipes, education and things like this.

5.  We all know core strength is so important for runners.  Yesterday I did some plank variations that I have to admit were pretty hard for me to hold for longer than 15 seconds.  Like this lateral plank with a leg lift.
and this one really kicked my butt, balance and strength!
What;s your favorite plank variation? What's your favorite way to strengthen your core? Me? I have to admit not planks!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Labor Day Weekend

We started out Labor Day weekend by preconditioning the last set of cows and their calves, which basically means the calves get some vaccinations and a vitamin shot.  It was a beautiful morning for a ride and the cows moved easy.
My son is getting so comfortable on his horse and likes to put him through his paces. Pepper is a fabulous horse for him.
After we were done I changed out of my cowgirl gear and into my running gear and ran back to the horse trailer.  It was a slightly uphill 3 miles, but felt pretty good.

My capris are actually on backwards in this picture. I didn't notice until later.
We got home, showered and took off for a wedding in Thermopolis, WY where basically the only picture I took was of my little cowboy and his new friend.
Sunday we went to the dinosaur museum in Thermop and out to the dig site as well.  Big fail here and I took no pictures.  We had a great time though, then got in the car and drove home.  I could have ran once we got home, but napping seemed more important.

I did run yesterday though,  I did a 7 mile progressive run and then tacked on half a mile of strides at the end.
How was your Labor Day weekend?  Mine was pretty great overall, I always have Mondays off so it kind of felt like just another weekend.   Also  YAY it's football season!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Three Things Thursday

1. The weather is supposed to cool off a bit starting today.  That didn't help me with my long run yesterday though.  I had to get the kids on the bus before I could run.  By the time I got them on the bus and my stuff together it was 8.  Eeek and already almost 80 degrees! I mentally prepared for a hot one and set off down the road.

2. I made sure to run by several water tanks for Cola to hydrate at, which I think he really appreciated.  It also gives me a chance to stop since he won't drink if I don't stop.
This was about 6 miles into my run... and also where I discovered that somewhere along the way one of my water bottles had fallen out of my hydration belt.  It was the full one of course.  So here I was, nearly out of water, 6 more miles to go, roasting, suffering from cotton mouth.  You see any stores here?
Yeah, me either.  I decided to call at a 10 mile long run and headed back to my car. It wasn't just the water and heat issue, I had some super tired legs as well.  They just didn't want to run.  I decided they were telling me something.

3. I ran into my dad who was out harrowing the field, so he stopped to get a hug and have a chat. 

As soon as I got home I of course took a selfie and then turned in the hose and hosed my legs down with cold water. It felt divine. And then I think I drank nearly a half gallon of water! I was thirsty!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Riding and Running and How to be a Redhead Box

The weekend flew by in a flash! Mostly I think because both days we were busy with cows and while I probably could have got in a run, Saturday was a planned rest day and Sunday, by the time we got done with the cows and home all I wanted to do was shower and take a nap.  So I did.

I did get my run on Monday though.  I was planning to do 800s x8, but then I ran down a big hill and decided to do some repeats back up the hill and cut back on my 800s a little.

How about some pictures from the weekend? Sunday we got on early start on the day and met up at the portable corral about 6:30.  The skies were beautiful. The smoke had blown out overnight and we could see blue and clouds. The Pryor Mountains were even visible again.

But then later once we were sorting the cows in the corral the wind came up, the smoke came back and things got dusty.  Take a look at my husband's dirt covered face!
My dad in the background was just as bad.

These two cousins were helping outside the corrals so they escaped the worst of it. As did it. I was giving shots in the chute.
and as per usual the kids were the first ones to run over when it was time to eat! but no worries there was more than enough for everyone.

19 days until my next half marathon! It is going to be time soon to be setting some goals!  I am ready for fall weather. Mornings are cooler, it is dark earlier.. yay for fall. I do admit not being all that excited for winter though, just fall.

Oh yeah and the redhead thing, there are lots of monthly subscription boxes out there, but I came across one last night that is just for redheads!  I may have subscribed just to check it out.
If you are a redhead or know one check out http://www.h2barbox.com/   I am not getting compensated for this in any way.  I am just a ginger and think it's cool.