Tuesday, July 4, 2017

IM Coeur d’Alene 70.3 race report:

The heat from the sun was intense on my skin. Sweat was dripping from every inch of my body. As I rounded the corner, the next aid station was just ahead. I sauntered up to the generous volunteers and grabbed three paper cups of ice cold water and dumped them over my head, neck and back. The rush of icy water was invigorating. I took a swig of Gatorade and I was off i went. I ran away from the aid station feeling strong, but anything could happen over the next 12 miles. 

Sometimes after months of practice and diligent training things just go right. On Sunday June 25th the stars aligned and I had what I could consider a perfect race. Amy and I drove over to Coeur d’Alene (CDA) Saturday morning. We left Missoula early and were at the race expo by 10am. We checked in, browsed the expo and then it was time for lunch. I like to eat a bigger meal around lunch time before race day to have time to fully digest everything. And then just have a few snacks throughout the evening. We found a cute local restaurant and enjoyed the buzz of the town surrounding race weekend. The town of CDA is so amazing and there is so much positive energy with the influx of athletes.
After lunch we headed back to our AirBnB to get organized and get to bed. It’s an early night because we are up so early the next morning, I think I was asleep by 8pm (working night shift I’m well adapted to sleeping whenever I get the chance).
3:05am my alarm goes off race morning. This gives me a solid 10 minutes to snooze before I HAVE to be up. Priority Number ONE….COFFEE, Number two, Breakfast. My newest breakfast tradition before races or big training days is skillet potatoes (2potatoes), 4 eggs and half an avocado. Yumm. I used to have a hard time eating race morning, but I learned to make something I enjoy and then it is easier to eat.
By 4:30 we were leaving the house and driving to the race start. It was only a 10 minute drive from where we were staying but I’m a nervous nelly about parking so I want to give us plenty of time. This is usually when I start to get the nervous stomach, but I was cool, calm and collected that morning. I had my headphones on while setting up my transition and was able to get myself in the most positive and relaxed headspace before the chaos of the race start began.
6:20 the gun goes off and the age group triathletes start the rolling wave swim start. This is my favorite kind of swim start, as I find it easier to quickly find my groove. By the first buoy I was feeling strong and smooth, I was sighting well and passing people left and right. When I darted out of the water and finally looked at my watch, I was right on my time goal for a strong but relaxed swim, 37:00.
T1 – Gosh I love when the races have wetsuit strippers. This is such a treat. I ran right to my bike, slipped my shoes on, scarfed down a Cliff food pouch, threw my helmet on and off I went.
Bike- This bike course is great. Enough climbing to be challenging but also be cruise on the downhill’s. My goals for this bike were to just keep a steady power output that I knew I could sustain and run well after. I didn’t let myself get concerned with people passing me on the flats because I know my strength is in the climbing so I would end up catching them. I started off easier than planned to catch my breath and settle into the rhythm of the bike. I have had a lot of saddle time this year and it has helped hone in my position and comfort on the bike. I enjoyed the ride, and was able to maintain and stick with to my race plan. I ate when I was supposed to eat, I drank plenty of fluids and I kept my wattage right where I wanted. But I had a watch malfunction mid-bike. I had to reset my watch and start the clock over, so I had no idea my total race time, I just kept track of power and cadence. I suppose that’s all that matters. I cruised back in to town after what felt like a long bike but I was still feeling strong. I had a quick transition and off onto the run I went
Run- I tend to fire out of T2 a little hot on my feet, and end up crashing and burning. I mentally prepared for this and tried to rein it in from the start. By the time I was on the run the sun and heat were intense. I could tell it was going to be a hot one, and I would need to take care of myself. I came into the first aid station at the 1 mile mark at 7:15…..oh boy.. too fast…I walked the aid station, grabbed some nutrition, doused myself in cold water and off I went, 12 more miles. This run course is fun. It is 2 loops and you get to see all the other athletes multiple times. For the first 1/3 of the race I concentrated on taking in calories as I planned, and keeping a comfortable pace. I also planned to walk all the aid stations to refuel and cool down. I took in one cliff block every mile, and drank Gatorade or Coke at every aid station. I would dump water on myself as often as possible and even run through sprinklers or hoses. I ran strong and was able to keep picking up the pace. The final 5K I kicked it into high gear and passed a few more people to finish in 5:17:35.
The race was over. I executed my plan perfectly and I finished with a 23 minute PR. I also had my best half marathon time to date including solo half marathons. My watch had been reset so I didn’t know my overall time right away. It didn’t matter. I felt strong, I followed my plan and the race was everything I hoped it would be.
The feeling you get as you cross the finsh line feeling amazing
Having fun on the run course!
When I signed up for this race back in January, I mentioned to Amy that I wanted to try and qualify for Worlds at this race, and I planned to RACE it rather than just use it as a training day. The last few months have just been tough on me working night shift, training for a Full Ironman and life just getting in the way. I pushed the goal to the back of my mind knowing it was a long shot and that everything would have to be absolutely perfect in order for that to even be a possibility.
But when my name was called at the roll down ceremony and I claimed my piece of paper, the high pitch girlish scream that came out of my mouth was just pure joy. All the hard work, all the sacrifices, all the missed outings with friends and time away from Josh was worth it. I had achieved a goal I had been working towards for years. I feel so lucky to be able to do this. And now I keep to keep doing it and set new goals.

Here we come Ironman Canada and Ironman 70.3 World championships.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

My Hammer Nutrition Top Picks!

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Hey Friends and family!

Well as most of you know I use Hammer Nutrition for all my training and racing needs, but did you know that no matter your activity level Hammer has a product that you will LOVE....Let me explain!

This time of year we all struggle trying to keep extra weight from the holidays off, Hammer makes two great products:

appestat - Both helping to keep unwanted weight off naturally. 

When December hits, and snow is flying the activities change from mountain biking and running to skiing and indoor bike-trainer riding. This requires new muscles to be engaged. For those days you are sore, just had a hard workout, or are recovering from an injury there is this:
Tissue Rejuvenator 

I love snacks! I get food stress if I don't always have something quick nearby. So I keep one (ok really more like 3) of these delicious bars on hand in the car, at work, at home, and in my backpack on all adventures. 
Hammer Bar - (coconut chocolate chip is my fav!)

We all know how important water is to our overall health. But I get sick of just plain water sometimes. I love to add a Fizz tab to my water bottle at least once a day. This gives me the extra electrolytes my body needs, and helping me drink more water. 
Hammer Endurolytes Fizz -  (Mango, Lemon-lime, grape, grapefruit..You cant go wrong)

Sometimes the stress of life just gets the best of us. we lay down to sleep and our mind just cant stop running through all the things we need to do/didn't do yet/ and maybe conversations that could have went better.... Sleep is key to recovery and success... to ensure a good night of sleep I take these babies most nights!
Hammer REM Caps

And finally...

..My daily go to supplement. 
Hammer Race Caps Supreme 
Helps fight fatigue, promotes efficient energy products and help aid recovery. No mater your activity, (walking, hiking, biking, running, swimming, ect) these will help you feel faster, stronger, healthier and confident. 

These are my go to top picks, but Hammer Makes hundreds of amazing products! Try one or them all! 

Right now They are offering a friends and family sale! 15-20% off all the products I mentioned.. plus get an extra discount if you mention my name and Customer number as a referral! (#213964)

If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them, or ask the experts at hammer.. they are so helpful! 

Enjoy and Hammer On!

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Truth about Trail Running

The truth about trail running is that you don’t have to run the entire time... 
                                                                                          (at least for us Mortals….)
Not running here... Just stopped to take a jumping selfie

Let me explain…

Many times when I’m out on a trail “RUN” my run looks more like a slow shuffle up the trail. My Strava even auto-pauses while I’m moving because I’m going so slow. This does not embarrass me, It’s the reality. If I run the whole time I would probably fall off the edge of the trail and end up hurt at the bottom of the ravine somewhere. So between sight seeing, enjoying the mountains and sometimes just terrain that is too steep to run… I walk.

My Dog Trapper

The fall is a beautiful time to be in the mountains. Colors are changing, the air is crisp and sometimes there is even a touch of snow to make the mountains really pop in the background.

The adventures are endless in the fall in the Mountains. It’s still great camping, backpacking, hiking and trail running weather…most days. Trail running is my preferred activity this time of year. 1 hour or 6 hours in the mountains is my favorite time of day. The smell of damp pine, silence except for my footstep, and the time alone with my pups.

I’ll tell you a secret about trail running… on the uphill’s, there is just as much or even more walking then running.
So many people tell me they are scared to try trail running because they aren’t the best or strongest or fastest runners. To these people I say… then trail running is perfect for you.
When I’m alone in the mountains I run as much or as little as I want. Some days I push myself and run steep sections, and others I walk and enjoy just being outside.

There is no one judging your pace, speed or how many miles you cover. Trail running is about being outside.  And the longer the run, the more I walk. Amazing how that works out. I run the flats, not-so-steep uphill sections and the downhill’s. I walk the steep sections.

Sounds like something you want to get involved with.  Here is my advice

Step 1: Go to your local running store and get fitted with a great Pair or Trail specific shoes. The extra plate on the sole and the increased tread will help you feel confident on varied terrain
what I really want to do when I get to the top
            (I wear Topo Atletic MT-2 Trail shoes and love them. They are a specific fit, so try them on first)

Step 2: Use the Internet to find good trails in your area. The Internet is an amazing resource… it has lot of information… check it out!

Step 3: Join a local trail running group. Most group runs are ALL abilities. And honestly people are just excited to see newbies out there giving it a try.
            (Run Wild Missoula locally, but most areas have some running group)

Step 4: Go on your first Run!  Just enjoy being outside and off roads, and away from traffic.  So as fast or slow as your desire. Just remember that if you are new to this, you may be sore the next day. Your using a lot of new muscle, don’t worry, this is normal.

Step 5: Bring some kind of fuel on runs longer then 1 hour, and always have a protein drink of some sort after your workout (chocolate milk is fine.. no need to fancy products).

Step 6: Go out and enjoy a beer and tell everyone how awesome your Trail run was.

Happy Trails
Summit of Stuart peak 9/23/16

Friday, February 5, 2016

winter time in Montana

The Montana Experience

My alarm goes off. It is still dark out. It must be early. All I know is that it feels too early to be doing this. The next thing that happens is the most important. I listen for the faint beep from the kitchen that tells me coffee is ready. I’m not leaving the comfort and warmth of my bed until the coffee is hot. Most of our tribe prefers French-press or pour over coffee. But between two of us and a heavy caffeine addiction, a 14-cup drip is just right, plus its ready by the time I have dragged myself out of bed.

El Nino typically unleashes its furry in the Southwest while we in Montana end up with dry warmer conditions for the winter months. That has not been the case so far this winter. We have had pretty spectacular conditions throughout the mountains of Montana. I live in Missoula, and there has been no shortage of powder this season, as long as you willing work a little for it.
The mountains here are not for the faint of heart. Lewis and Clark traveled these peaks, it nearly killed them then, and it hasn’t changed much since. The deep ravines filled with thick alder, creek crossings, and traveling up, over or around downed logs, fallen from age or fire, make for challenging travel to say the least. But if you are able to persevere and get past the route finding and up onto the ridgelines, you will be rewarded with beautiful rugged landscapes as far as the eye can see. And if you are lucky and the mountains allow, you might even get to ski your original objective.

Josh and I ski during most of our free time in the winter. We ski everything from resort groomers to steep remote couloir in the mountain of Montana. On one particular morning we set out with our good friend Julie to ski off the summit of Gash point. A prominent peak just west of a tiny town called Victor MT. The summit sits just below 9000’, giving way to an immense open tree-less bowl.

With the valley covered in white, we couldn’t drive all the way to the trailhead. This added a few extra miles of skinning on the roads. In Montana you can count on spending a lot of your time on forest service roads. After what felt like hours of contouring along the road, we reached the entrance to our ridge. We broke trail up the ridge. We got a glimpse of our Peak and it gives you an extra boost of energy to keep going.

We were breaking trail in knee-deep powder though low angle tress, assessing the snow pack. With recent snowfall we hoped to ski the main shoot off the summit, but these perfectly spaced tress with 12-16 inches of fresh cold smoke wouldn’t be a bad contingency plan.
 After 5 hours of climbing and never feeling like we were getting anywhere we made it. The snow was stable, the clouds cleared and we had a rare opportunity to see our line, knowing it was safe and we were able to rip down 2000’ vertical feet of open alpine bowl. The cold smoke blew into our faces and we giggled like schoolgirls as made out way down.

When skiing in the backcountry it is usually lower angle gladded areas that we are skiing due to avalanche danger. But the stars aligned for us today and we had one of the best ski days of the season.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Not Your Average 25K

            I’m not sure what a better title would be… maybe I survived the Rut, or even…don’t trust that step. Regardless of the title I DID survive the Rut.
layering Options - Outdoor Research
            In case you don’t live and breath trail running, The Rut is a weekend trail running festival put on by two world-class athletes and race directors Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe in connection with the best running shop in the West, The Runners Edge.  The race is held on the beautiful Big Sky Resort property in Big Sky Montana. There are multiple race distances for any ability. The Vertical Kilometer, the 25K, 50K, 11K and a Runt run for kids.  It was truly a wonderful mountain community gathering with lots of friends, trails, cool fall weather and of course beer.
            I did the 25K race. It started Saturday morning September 4th at 8:00am.  Over the course of the 18mile (a bit longer then most 25K) we climbed a total of 8,000 feet and two very steep and technical ridges along the ski area boundaries.
Now when I say steep I am not talking slow running steep, I’m talking some people were on their hands and knees, crawling up, where the rocks and dirt slid out from under your feet if you made a wrong step and in some places the ridge dropped off hundreds of feet to your right or left.
Coming down Headwaters ridge
Good Morning Big Sky!
            Not your average mountain run is an understatement. The first few miles provided a nice warm up for all us racers, we chatted with each other and had words of encouragement for some fellow runners who were running their first trail race ever… (This girl was awesome). Once we started climbing the chatter quickly turned into heavy breathing and we all realized the real race had begun. We climbed headwaters ridge, and then descended down 1200 feet, and began the climb back up to our aide station, then onto the 1.5 mile 2000 foot bone crusher ridge.
            I’m sure at this point, most people were dreading this climb, but this was the whole reason I signed up for the race. A long, steep, exposed ridgeline to the summit of Lone Peak 11,250’ is totally my cup of tea. I have skied off the summit of Lone Peak but I have never been up on a clear day like we had. I was excited for the views. Getting to the summit, like any mountain experience, was COLD. I didn’t hang out long.. Just long enough to through on a jacket (Thanks Outdoor Research- My Deviator hoody was perfect), Look around for a split second, and start heading downhill.
Wearing my Deviator Hoody coming off the Summit
            As a mountain guide part time I love climbing steep ridges and well, just climbing in general. Most of my training for The Rut came from my 3 weeks in Washington State climbing Mt Rainier 5 times and occasional trail runs on my days off.

A sunny day on Mt. Rainier

Race Selfie - 

            Since we had made our two huge climbs already, there was just 6 miles of fun rolling trails through the lower ski area left. My legs were still feeling pretty good, but all the downhill running had taken a toll on my IT bands. I slowed significantly the last few miles and really was able to enjoy the beauty of the trails and again chat with fellow racers.
            I finished in under 6 hours… 5:43 to be exact, 29th Women out of 110 starters and 11th in my age group. That counts for top 25% of ladies.. .and this was one heck of a competitive race! I was super excited. I am not a trail runner by trade, I didn’t train specifically for this race and so just finishing was am accomplishment.
            I finally nailed my nutrition in a race, this has been a work in progress, but I have to Thank Hammer Nutrition for their continued support. I started my day with coffee and a banana. Then one hour before the race I took 2 Race Caps Supreme (RCS), 2 anti fatigue (AF) and one scoop of Sustained Energy. During the race I took one Gel an hour (usually Espresso or Huckleberry). I also Sipped on a flask containing 3 scoops of Sustained Energy and one gel. Ever hour I also took 2 RCS, 2 AF and 1 Endurance Amino capsules. I was never hungry, never low on energy and always felt good on the GI front. After the race I took advantage of the Massages from Sapphire Physical Therapy, and then drank my Orange-Vanilla Recoverit. Thanks Hammer… I couldn’t have done it without you!
            The weekend as a whole was amazing. The venue, the weather, the course and of course the trail running community all combined to make a top notch race and event. I have to hand it to Mike and Mike for a job well done. If you are a trail runner, this is not and event to miss… and if you are not, there is always the 11k to try it out or just come to watch some of the best trail runners in the world take on the Montana version of trail running.
            I’m already looking forward to next year; maybe I’ll even try the 50K.

Thanks for reading… stay tuned for more adventure in the mountains.