2018 Race Plans

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my goals for 2018. I started laying them out in November, of course, because I love planning.

Give me a planner and I’ll conquer the world.

     My primary goal is one I’ve had for a long time. It’s a total cliché too. You know, it’s that one about finishing your novel. Yeah. That. I’ve wanted to be a writer all my life and I recently had a small success in that a short story of mine placed in a contest and was published. But my main goal is to finish the novel that I’ve been working on for many, many, many, years. So many years I can’t even tell you how many because it’s an embarrassment. So that is my primary goal in 2018, get my novel finished!

I did run the Yellowstone Half last year but it’s the Caldera medal that’s calling my name.  Plus, I fell in love with the Tetons when we drove through the park last summer. These races are back-to-back weekends in June, and my sister and I are taking a road trip there together. We’ll be camping and hiking the two national parks all week together and I’m super excited about it! I could really use a vacation.  Next week marks the start of half training for these races and I’ll keep mixing strength training into my routine as well.

Some of my favorite photos from the Vacations Races I’ve run over the years.

     I’m also doing the Rocky Mountain Elk Double again in August and it will be my fourth year participating. I’m super excited because Meridith is flying out to join me for my favorite race! I am so stoked because she’s bringing her whole family and I get to show them Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park. I openly admit my bias for Colorado, and I love showing off the state that I’m so lucky to live in and proud to be from. Those are my three races for the year and while it doesn’t seem like a lot, the Triple is two half marathons and a 5k in seven days. It will be a great challenge.

     Last week, I took a class at REI about cross-country skiing, and tomorrow, I’m taking another class there about snowshoeing basics. These classes are free, so check out your local REI for their offerings. I could even ice skate if I wanted to because there’s a pond less than a mile from my house that’s frozen solid right now. The variety and choices are endless! I just have to push myself out of my comfort zone and out of the gym and go give it a try. 2018 is the time to be fearless!

If you want to follow my writing pursuits, I have a Twitter and a website and they come with my undying devotion. You can’t pass THAT up. 

January Wellness Challenge Wrap-Up

Okay. I know everyone on the internet has been convinced that January was the longest month in the history of ever…. and while I can kind of agree, it’s also hard to believe that February is already here. Like, what?

Anyways. During the 74-day eternity that was apparently January, Clay and I participated in a wellness challenge put on by our gym. This week, we wrapped up the challenge (Clay had a few more pull-ups to complete to get his full 500 for the month), and I think it’s safe to say that we are definitely better for having participated.

Our week four goals were centered around mental health and mindfulness. I generally try to be pretty good at taking time for myself and making sure my head is right, but this time of year always, always, stresses me out. At work, we’re preparing for our annual conference and there are so many balls in the air that it inevitably feels like one (or more) will drop and things will explode or catch on fire or collapse.

Okay, I’m exaggerating, but you get my drift.

I’m also heading into the time of year when Clay is gone for a month-and-a-half for work, which isn’t so much stressful as it is a bummer.

All of this is a long way of saying spending a week focused on destressing and self-care was a good thing.

Week Four – Mental Health and Mindfulness

  • Complete a de-stress activity at least twice this week. I make time to read every day and it’s my chance to slow down, turn my work-brain off, and just relax for a bit. Some days, I relax so much that I fall asleep in the middle of a chapter. Other days, I stay up too late and finish a book. Either way, I enjoy taking the time to quiet my thoughts.
  • Write down one thing or person you are grateful for each day of the week. This was easy – I have a lot to be grateful for.
  • Eliminate the words “I can’t” or “never” from your vocabulary for one week at the gym (1 burpee penalty for each time you say either). Fortunately, I have a pretty positive attitude in the gym. I try my best to approach each workout with the mindset that I can do what’s put in front of us. It might hurt, it will definitely be hard, but I can do it. Being aware of not using the words “I can’t” or “never” just made me more determined to push and challenge myself instead of worrying about what other people were doing.
  • Be in the moment. Turn off the phone during dinner for the entire week and engage the people you are with. Clay and I are notorious for spending dinner and the remainder of our evenings with our noses in our phones. Reading Reddit, catching up on social media, reading articles, general mindless blather, etc. Putting our phones down while we ate dinner last week was a nice change. It didn’t help me eat any slower, but it did allow us to have more conversation time, which is never a bad thing.

This month has been a good one, in spite of the stress of work and other nonsense – doing this challenge has helped bring that into focus. I think many of the activities we participated in are actually going to be positive habit-forming experiences. 33 days without alcohol (so far) and 8:00 pm bedtimes have been really, really great. I’m hoping that we continue to see improvement over the next two months, too, as we enter into a less regulated schedule and a busier period of work for both of us.

Happy February!

Race Recap: 2018 Chili Run

Last year’s Chili Run was a great one: great weather, great running with my buddy, Rachel. All around GREAT.

This year? 50 degrees and RAIN was in the forecast for the January Chili Run. Additionally, this race had an extra challenge because… I can’t get my arm wet.

It sounds so silly but yep, it’s true. You can learn more about my injury here and here. It’s been 3 weeks since I initially fell. I finally had the MRI last week because the X-Rays didn’t show enough; it’s a fracture of my radius. I’m going back to the doctor later today and we’ll see what they have to say.

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, I’m dealing with an injury, it was raining, and my reluctant runner husband, Jay, was signed up to run this race after he agreed to it after drinking a few beers. (If you want to get Jay to agree to something, that’s usually the best time to ask.)

All signs pointed toward a DNS – Did Not Start.

But c’mon. Is that me? No. No, it is not.

That’ll do! I even was able to put my thumb through my jacket’s thumb hole. BONUS!

Before I was injured, my goal was to try to hit the 22:00 minute mark for this two mile race. That would have been fast for me and a course PR. Honestly, even before I was injured, it would have been a bit of a stretch.

But given that I haven’t run for the past 3 weeks and I’ve been babying my arm because it hurts, my main goal was just to RUN. I was nervous going into this so I decided that I would stick with Jay, in case I needed to stop for any reason.

This year’s swag: The Chili Run beanie hat! Additionally you get a bowl of chili and a beer after the run!

The convenience of this race couldn’t be better for us. The start and finish is located at Carolina Blue, a local restaurant that is 2 miles from our home. With a start time of 10am, we rolled out of the house at 9:30am and were there minutes later.

We had friends running and I messaged with a few but we decided rather than going inside, we’d stay warm and dry in our car until the last possible minute.

If he looks less than impressed it’s because he is.

I knew my husband planned to listen to his music rather than chatting with me, so I brought along my AfterShokz and paired them with my phone.

About five minutes before the start of the race, all of the runners came out from the warmth of their cars and the patio to line up for the start. It was steadily raining but thankfully it wasn’t freezing cold.

My outfit consisted of capris, Bib Rave tank, running jacket, Momentum hat, and plastic bag.

There are no pictures from the race but if you’re really curious, feel free to visit last year’s post from the same race. My phone was safely tucked away in a plastic bag!

Something to note is this race doesn’t have a timing mat to cross when you begin. Therefore your time begins as soon as the race starts. Jay and I crossed the finishing timing mat at 24:49. To give you an idea of the speed of some of the runners, the top male finished in 11:13 and the top female was smoking fast at 13:19. Wowza!

After crossing the finish we cheered as a few friends crossed the finish and then we quickly jumped in the chili line. The line snaked outside into the rain so I kept my plastic bag firmly in place! We saw even more friends while waiting in the line and that’s another reason why I love this run so much, it’s got a great community vibe.

I just realized i didn’t have a picture of this year’s chili so last year’s will have to do!

Overall, despite the rain and in spite of my arm, this is always a fun race and well worth the $40 entry fee. A few spots just opened for the February race but I know they’ll go fast!

Have you ever done a 2 mile race? What’s something you look forward to eating/drinking after a run?

Athlinks: Race Results, Friends, Rivals

Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

Oh hello there! I’m giving the blogging/typing forum a go because I now have a soft cast on my arm. Hooray!

I’m waiting to get an MRI for my wrist and hopefully get some more answers on how we’re going to proceed from there from my doctor. It seems like a big waiting game at this point and while I’m usually a fairly patient person, it’s difficult for me to be so in this situation because:

  1. I’m in pain.
  2. I’m really bored.
  3. That’s mainly it. I’m in pain, so it’s hard to be patient when I’m hurting.

With all this free time on my hands (*cymbal crash*) I’ve had more than ample time to play on my computer and long for the days of working out and normalcy. I have my old standbys that I’ve been visiting but thanks to BibRave alerting me to Athlinks, now I have a new-to-me site in the rotation!

Athlinks is an all encompassing site for runners, cyclists, swimming and more. Users are able to create accounts, claim their race results (they had 49 listed races for me!), join upcoming events, follow their friends, and even see who their “rivals” are among their friends (those who have raced the same race as you). Spoiler: if we are rivals, you’ve probably won!

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a competitive racer, in fact, I’m more than happy just to be out there and getting it done by any means possible.

However, prior to the arm injury, I did set the goal of a faster 5k time for 2018. Once I’m able to get back to training, I do still want to accomplish that goal. You’re able to share goal times for upcoming events; these were set before I was hurt.

The 22 minute race is a two miler, for the record. I don’t want anyone thinking that I’m getting overly ambitious!

The gang over at Athlinks is very responsive, which is always appreciated. I was having an issue adding myself to the Start List (aka participant) for the 2018 Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 5k, which I’m running representing the BibRave team, because I was only able to find the 15k distance. After shooting them a quick note, less than 20 minutes later I heard back with an answer to my request for help.

I love being able to access all of my races in one spot. While I claimed my races, it was a walk down memory lane with races dating all the way back to when I first started running in 2011. It’s interesting to see how my races been, especially when looking at times on the same course and whether I was using the race for proof of time or just having a good time with friends.

This was one of my favorite days/races! 2017 AC April Fools half

Athlinks has an app too, however I’m trying not to add more apps to my phone so I haven’t used it. Sticking with the website on the computer for now but I’ve read fellow BibRave Pro reviews that say it’s easy to use and comprehensive.

I’m looking forward to adding more results throughout 2018 and checking back to see if I’m able to hit the goals I’ve set. Fingers crossed!

Are you on Athlinks? If you’d like to hook up over there, here’s the link to my profile.

Wellness Challenge Check-In

Week three of my gym’s Wellness Challenge is well under way. I thought I’d pop on in to give a quick update on how things are going and what’s on the docket for this third week.

Over the weekend, Clay and I made big progress on our goal to row a marathon this month. Between Saturday and Sunday, we cranked out 16,000 meters. That worked out to be just under an hour and a half on the rower.

Surprisingly, my butt wasn’t as tired as I thought it would be.

Week Three’s theme is Recovery and Mobility – two things that I think EVERY athlete can work on. Particularly the recovery part. It’s easy to underestimate how valuable rest is in order to reach our performance goals.

Week Three – Recovery and Mobility

  • Attend the Airrosti Mobility Seminar – we’ll be attending this seminar next week and I’m looking forward to hearing what tips and tricks there are to helping my body move and recover better.
  • Complete a ROMWOD session at least three times this week – ROMWOD, or Range OMotion WOD, is a company that provides mobility and recovery workouts daily to subscribers. I haven’t ponied up for a subscription to this in the past, but I’m looking forward to using the free week-long trial to test it out.
  • Sleep a minimum of 8 hours per night for one week – this goes hand in hand with my goal for the year of prioritizing sleep overall. I can’t guarantee that I will actually stay asleep for 8 hours every night, but I can ensure that I am in bed with plenty of time to settle down with a book and fall asleep and *hopefully* sleep through the night. Unless it’s a night like last night, where I have choir rehearsal and I don’t even get home until an hour and half after my bedtime. Uff da.
  • Choose one day this week for active recovery – I don’t do enough active recovery. Typically, my rest days result in couch time after work. Which, while important, really only serve to help my muscles get stiff. This week, I’m going to get some yoga in – one of my favorite ways to recover.

There you have it. Week three. On its way. Thank goodness for Melatonin.

Holiday Night Hike

All my life, one of my favorite Christmas memories has been seeing the Boulder Star light up the side of Flagstaff Mountain. The Star was first lit in 1947 as a gift from the City to the people of Boulder. What I didn’t know until recently is you can hike to the Star, too! You can also drive to the bottom and climb up, but where is the fun in that? I asked my sister, Carla, to join me, and it was on.

We’d never done a night hike before, so we had to prep a bit by picking up some headlamps. I was also super excited to try out my brand new Skirt Sports Toasty Tights (review coming soon), vest, and new beanie. We started out at about five-o’clock and it was already around forty-seven degrees. We parked near the base of Flagstaff Trail to start the 2.3 mile round trip hike.

The hike wasn’t easy. It was steep and technical in many places, and the directions I pulled off the web were not very clear. It was tricky to navigate in the dark when the directions said to look for the “junction after the popular bouldering spot”. We passed no less than five popular bouldering spots with junctions after them so thought we might have missed the right one. Luckily the road winds in the hear distance and made a good navigation point for us. The views on the way up were worth every foot we climbed in elevation.

As we came up to the Star from the south and we spotted two deer bucks grazing. No one else noticed them, and Carla and I squatted down at a safe distance and watched them for a few minutes. They started to spar, and we could hear the knocking of their antlers as they butted heads. It was so awesome to see them, and for my sister and I to be the only people who saw the deer. This is why I love Colorado!

The climb to the top of the Star was SO STEEP. It was fun to reach the top with my sister and create a new tradition together. This is such a uniquely Boulder holiday experience and I’m so glad I finally did it. Getting down was tricky both of us fell on our butts and took it super slow from that point on. We found the trail back no problem with the help of our headlamps. I’m not sure what happened with my GPS watch but we did make a loop of sorts, and I was surprised by the elevation we gained on this hike! I’m already excited to do it again next year, and maybe take some adult cocoa next time!

What holiday traditions do you have? Have you ever hiked at night? Share with me!