One With Nature

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“I don’t know why you run. To me, there are only two reasons to run. 1) If someone is chasing me and 2) if it’s time for dinner.”

I hear this all the time. ALL THE TIME. I usually just chuckle and mutter some response having to do with really enjoying it because explaining it to someone who does not have any interest in running is just too difficult.

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I have a lot of reasons for why I like to run, but one of those reasons is one simple word.

Nature.

I love being outside and taking it all in. I love seeing wildflowers and cranes and deer (and the once-in-a-lifetime wild black bear). I love wondering to myself why wildflowers are always purple, white, blue, or yellow and never a nice pink. I love spotting a beautiful deer with fuzzy antlers behind a tree beside me even though I see them almost daily in the field by my house. I love keeping an eye on our resident bald eagle pair in the winter. I love the sound of the creek washing downstream just a few feet from the trail.

There are so many reasons for me to get out there and pound the¬†pavement, crush some gravel, or kick up some dirt… but the main one for me is definitely the chance to be one with nature. Just look those flowers!!ūüĆÖ

 

 

Fall Fitness Plan is Created!

I have gained a few pounds.¬† I know that 5 pounds isn’t a terribly huge deal, but it is to me because they’ve hung around for quite a few weeks now – they would like to be here to stay.¬† This means I’ve been above my threshold weight most of the summer, which is sort of depressing.¬† This is expected when I train for distance runs because I’m hungry all of the time, but the truth is I’ve been eating like I don’t have to worry about what I’m eating, and I’m just not built that way.

So, in the interest of getting things back on track, I’m starting tomorrow.¬† The plan is in place and I will measure in and post starting stats before the day ends tomorrow.¬† It’s a longer plan than I’m usually up for (I like an 8-10 week plan), but it goes through 11/2 (12 weeks)¬†to finish up my current race schedule.¬† After that, I’ll kick off something else for the new year!

Here is the plan for now, but I may tweak it tonight.

Fall Plan

 

Oh Hey – I Started a FB Running Group!

Because I can’t NOT have a project at all times, and because a bunch of us finished up our half marathon training but still want to keep running, and because I like group motivation… I created a running group on FaceBook.¬† It’s secret, so you won’t find it if you look for it.¬† But if you want to be added, please send me an email with your FB name and I can add you!

Trail Runner

I’ve always dabbled in trail running.¬† I’ve always liked the idea of it but always dreaded hills, and trail running is nothing but hills most of the time.¬† In fact, hills used to make me cry (I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’m an honest gal).¬† Instead of running the singletrack trails, because of those pesky hills, I got a mountain bike and enjoyed the trails that way.¬† I was never really good at trail biking, but I got out whenever my husband and our friend wanted to go.¬† There were a few accidents, nothing major (although one should have been), and I really liked being in the woods.

We did run a winter trail race many years ago and have done what is touted as¬†the largest cross-country race in the nation (I am not sure if that is actually an accurate statement, but whatever!) a couple/few times in addition to a 15K trail race many springs ago.¬† That spring 15K in¬†2009 really did me in and I think I decided then not to pursue trail running as a hobby.¬† It just wasn’t my thing.¬† I mean, there were lots of hills.¬† But then my friend and I decided to run that winter trail race again in 2014 (because it was flat) and I thought maybe, just maybe, I could enjoy trail running for real.

I got really hurt on that run.¬† Nothing major (yet again), but I skinned off¬†my nose when I took a head-dive into the dirt on a downhill slope.¬† We were deep in the woods with no easy access to help, and most of the runners were ahead of us, so I powered on after a passing racer decided that if I had a concussion, that it wasn’t serious and I could go on.¬† I was in pain, and it took a couple of weeks for my face to fully recover, but I did enjoy it.¬† But I didn’t hit the trails again…

Until there we were, a couple of weeks ago, at a cabin in Nebraska and they had some singletrack trails.¬† I had my trail runners with me and I hit the trails and I loved it!¬† And then my husband and I went for a run together once we were home and I decided that yes, YES, this is my thing.¬† I love it!¬† When my husband and I were running up a hill, I truly said, “remember when I used to cry when we’d hit the hills?”

He remembered.¬† ūüėČ

Today,¬†I headed back to our center trails and went for a run by myself.¬† My husband felt confident that it would be safe, which made me feel confident.¬† When I got there, there were a few cars in the lot with empty bike racks – a good sign – and I saw a pair of runners immediately.¬† I started my fitness band and was off.¬† My planned course didn’t work out because I ended up doing the same loop twice right out the gates, but that was alright and I headed north for the cross-over to the other trail I was doing.¬† I passed an elderly guy (who was in ridiculously great shape) on my way north and then ran into him again as I was in mile #3.¬† We chatted and he asked where I was headed and if I minded if he ran with me.¬† Honestly, I felt safe but a running partner is never a bad idea so I said of course I didn’t mind.¬† He wanted to be pushed and assessed that I was faster than him so he trailed me by a few strides, shouting out directions for me as we came to forks in the road.¬† It was awesome!¬† He was great and he was very concerned with my safety (“watch that stump, jump high over that downed tree, watch out for that flag”).¬† He runs there almost every day so I’ll see him again, I’m sure.¬† He was not thrilled with my parking choice so ran with me back to my car and advised of where to park next time.

I totally dug that dude!

I did 5.11 miles!¬† I was shooting for 4.5-5.0 so I was pretty happy with the final mileage.¬† Running the trails is crazy-intense because you cannot take your mind off of what you’re doing.¬† You have to constantly be looking where you put your feet and feeling where you put them.¬† There isn’t even a moment to check your mileage on your band, which is a good thing.¬† You burn WAY more calories even though your pace will suffer (12:09 versus a pretty consistent 9:00-9:30 on the road) because of the hills and exertion.¬† I just love it!

I love it so much that I’m trying to sort out my plan for tomorrow!¬† Barre class or hit the trails?¬† We shall see!

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Fall/Winter Race Schedule is On!

I don’t like not having a race to look forward to or train for, so I just finished putting together my fall and winter race schedule:

 

September 18 – Capital Pursuit 10 Miler (registered)

October 16 – Des Moines Half Marathon (registered)

October 29 – To Grandmothers House We Go 10K or 15K Trail Race (need to decide on the distance before registering)

December 3 – Sycamore 8 Trail Race (registration isn’t open yet)

 

I need to find something in November… I have some ideas!

A Happy Heart

My husband and I go out on dates pretty regularly, but yesterday, we had the sitter scheduled EXTRA early. We’d planned on going to this fancy farm dinner that started at 4:30 but changed our minds as the cost sunk in (it was crazy – STUPID – expensive). Once we settled on a better dinner plan, we had to figure out what to do between 4:00 and 6:30 because we were NOT pushing back the sitter start time. No way! Go shopping? Run errands? Swap out my phone?

My husband and I met through fitness. He was my kickboxing instructor  and we fell in love.  He was a runner so I took up running and then started a pretty successful running club. We started mountain biking together and then got into adventure racing together as a coed team (and winning!). Fitness was the foundation of our relationship.

Then we started the baby-making process which took years and lots of science/shots/IVF/anxiety while he started a new, intense (but super exciting) job.¬† Fitness sort-of fell by the wayside for both of us. I got back into it, obviously, once our youngest was 1 but with two kids, we were both running solo, literally. Going for runs together just isn’t an option right now.

So yesterday morning, after I said, “I’d love to run Hillside this weekend,” he said, “how about we do that together before dinner?”

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Our sitter was here at 3:55 and we were dressed for running when she walked in the door! We’d packed bags for showering and dinner afterwards and we were in the car, driving to Center Trails, by 4:05!

It was so awesome running with him again! No music, just running and talking….¬†and reminiscing¬†about our past races and biking adventures on those same trails so many years ago.

My heart has not been that happy in a very, very long time!

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You Know You’re a Runner When…

… You take enough running clothes with you for half of the days you’ll be on your short family trip, even though you have no idea if there will be places to run or not.

We rented a¬†cabin at a state park this past week for 3 nights and I did no research into what types of roads and trails they had, or how long those roads/trails could be.¬† I packed my road shoes and my trail shoes and two complete running outfits and headed on my way.¬† My husband was disappointed that he hadn’t planned the same way as I did, because there were serious paved trails and singletrack trails there!¬† The first morning (Monday), I ran 3.25 miles of paved trails (taking it easy coming off of my half marathon the Saturday two days prior) and the second morning, I went for a 3.0 single track trail run.

Ready for anything – that’s my motto!

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I smiled the entire time I ran this trail!¬† And don’t worry – my husband bought some running shorts down the road from the park¬†and ran on Tuesday as well ūüėČ

 

Half Marathon training FB Style AGAIN

Like last time, I logged every training run for this half marathon in my FB group.  I just love the motivation and accountability that comes with checking in with others with similar goals.  I love it so much that I created a new FB group for those who I know like to run and want a place to check in and share tips and goals.

Here is every single training run post from my second half marathon to my third.¬† I didn’t miss a single training run!

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Half Marathon #3 is Done!

I traveled to Castle Rock, Colorado with some great blog friends this past weekend to run another half. I was scared to death of the elevation/altitude, being an Iowa girl and all. One of the gals met me early and we went up to Estes to hike for a couple of days, so that was a great way to prepare! Running and hiking at 9,000-10,000 feet will prep those lungs!

We ran 3 miles on day 1 and although we could feel the elevation, we knew we’d be fine for the half at 6,000 feet. We then hiked another three miles that first day and then¬†seven the next day (up to 10,000 feet). We were ready!

I had targeted a 10:00 pace for this race given the altitude which would have brought me in around 2:10:30. I pulled across the finish at 2:05:48 with a 9:36 average pace! I came in 92/260 (35.38%) overall, 41/160 (25.63%) of all women, and 8/43 (18.6%) in my division.

I am thrilled!!!!!131138448188546403