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Monday, October 09, 2017

Weekly Review: Fall Running

Fall feet!
I'm back with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin's Weekly Wrap linkup. Be sure to visit both of the host blogs if you haven't already! 

October 2–8
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 3.2 mi
Thursday: 3 mi
Friday: 4 mi
Saturday: 3 mi
Sunday: 5.1 mi

Total running: 21.4 mi
Total elevation: 1,168 ft

Another good week of "going with the flow," although I admit tracking friends at the Chicago Marathon kiiiiind of made me want to sign up and train for something big. But let's just get through the winter, shall we?

My current goal is to maintain my fitness over the winter. I like running in the snow/cold (hardest part is getting outside) and I hope to run a minimum of 20 miles per week. The windchill could send me to the gym with Alex, but I hope not because I hate treadmills.

I always take photos of this park...

Monday was a rest day and Tuesday's run was just an excuse to take mountain photos.

Wednesday's run was during rush hour, so I did loops to avoid traffic. Construction traffic is bad at the closest intersection and there aren't any walk signals out this way, so it's been hard to cross the street. It isn't normally an issue, so I'll be glad when construction is finished. Plus, I'll have two new sidewalks to run. A runner's bliss!

Lower Mt. Ellis looking towards the Bridger Mountains

On Thursday night Alex and I went to the Lower Mt. Ellis trail to run a mile up from the trailhead to the gate and back down. It's a 570 ft climb and I couldn't run the whole thing. Alex ran up ahead and my only goal was to keep him in my sights. He walked twice. I walked... a lot more. Running down was fast and fun, but since I only had 2.1 miles I ran a little bit further down the road to get to 3. My mile splits were telling: 14:35, 9:58, 7:50 (gravel road). Ideally, we'd come back to this trail for a weekly hill workout and go a bit farther past the gate each time. We'll see.

Friday's sunset - not during my run, but after dinner downtown

The only notable part of Friday's run was the number of texts I received. I swear no one texts me when I'm sitting at home.

Alex and I went to a small Oktoberfest at the local ski resort Saturday afternoon where I had a pumpkin beer, brat, and sauerkraut. We felt the need to do something nature-y, so after going home to change I took him to a nice neighborhood trail for a fall run. We were both dead after and I don't think we can blame the beer. Running in Bozeman is still hard. Maybe we're doing it wrong?

Sourdough Trail
Alex tried a new thing Saturday and Sunday. Since he's so much faster than me, he'll stop and do push ups, then catch up. I always feel pressured to run fast with him (before I'm fully warmed up), so it's a good balance.

I was lazy Sunday morning, but we eventually went to the Painted Hills trail. It's only 2 miles round trip, but a 185ft climb. I wanted a few more miles, so I went across the street to Highland Glen while Alex drove to meet me at the end. There were cows on part of the trail, so I turned around and added a mile. I know the cows don't care, but a few of them were directly on the trail and stared at me, so I didn't want to take any chances. ;) Despite the cows, this was (by far) my fastest run at Highland Glen. Success! Afterwards, we went to a local brewery and watched the snow fall. It didn't stick, but it was fun to watch.

No long run this week, but at least I got to explore a new in-town trail and hit my 20 mile goal.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

How to Win Books on Goodreads

Books I've won this year

I've been posting my Goodreads wins on Instagram and Twitter and keep getting the same question: "How do you win so many books?" It's true. I've won a lot of books in the second half of 2017. I've won 43 books since 2009, 12 of those since June 2017. So how do I do it?
  1. Join Goodreads. You must have an account to win. 
  2. Rate and review a bunch of books. Keep track of your reading throughout the year and make yourself a power user. You can't win books if you don't read. 
  3. Enter a TON of giveaways. You can find Giveaways by clicking "Browse" > "Giveaways" from the top menu. This is the most important step. I have entered 3,450 giveaways and won 43 books (.012%). So, no, I'm not lucky. I enter a ton. I took a long break from giveaways, but in the past 4 months I've done a good job entering giveaways while we watch TV on Sunday night. I enter at least 25-50 and it keeps me from mindlessly scrolling sites like Facebook. 
  4.  Enter giveaways of 25 copies or more. I enter one copy giveaways if I'm genuinely interested in reading a book, but lately I concentrate on the big giveaways. If there are 100 books your chances are obviously higher. I will say, I've stopped entering giveaways for books that look absolutely terrible (see #5). 
  5. Read and review the books you win. Kind of like #2, but my BRF (best reading friend) Tricia and I have a theory that you have a better chance of winning more books if you read and review the ones you've won. There have been a few times where I've hated the book and didn't make it all the way through. I still reviewed it.  
This is completely unscientific. These tricks may or may not work for you. If you want to be friends on Goodreads, here's my profile.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Weekly Review: Go with the Flow

Sunday's hike. This was a week of great photos!

Happy October! My past two posts have been race recaps, but I'm back today with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin's Weekly Wrap linkup and Courtney's training linkup. Be sure to visit the hosts if you haven't already! 

Septmber 25– October 1
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 3.5 mi
Thursday: 2.8 mi
Friday: 2.3 mi
Saturday: 2.2 mi hike (Kirk Hill, Snowfill Rec Area)
Sunday: 8 mi + 4.4 mi hike (Lower Mount Ellis)

Total running: 19.7 mi
Total elevation: 358 ft running / 1,930 ft hiking

At the beginning of the week I answered a Facebook post asking, "What are you working towards?" with, "I'm going with the flow and running for fun." I was a little bummed earlier this summer that I wasn't in PR shape, but it mattered less and less as I ran new routes with new people. There's always next year. And let's be real, if I ran a 5k or half marathon at sea level I'd probably PR.

Nice sunset clouds (looking east)

Anywho, this week started with a rest after my 16 mile weekend. I was back at it on Tuesday with 3 fast miles chasing the sunset.

Wednesday at the disc golf park

Wednesday was a midday run in beautiful weather. It was a little warm and I felt creaky, but I kept moving (after taking a break or two for photos, of course).

Friday afternoon

Thursday and Friday's runs were under 3 miles and the definition of going with the flow. I tried a new route Thursday, but cut it short because it was pretty warm. On Friday, I went out for a mid afternoon run and wasn't feeling it. Looking back, I was too hungry for a quality run.

A clearing atop Kirk Hill

Saturday was an unintentional day off running. Tobias had a mysterious pain, so we rushed to the vet. He now has some doggy aspirin and seems happy. After the dramatic start, we ran errands, brunched, then went for a short hike at Kirk Hill. We took the long loop, but it was only 1.8 miles. Kirk Hill is a short, steep climb with a nice view and fall colors. We came across an interesting "tree house" in a clearing, which groaned and squeaked in the wind. Kind of creepy.

Dramatic weather change at Snowfill

After Kirk Hill we went to Bozeman's newest brewery, Mountains Walking, for snacks and beer. We then went to Snowfill Rec Area (technically an off-leash dog park) to walk the looped trails, but the clouds rolled in, it started raining, and the temp dropped 20º, so we peaced out after a half mile. The rest of the day was spent by the fire in toasty PJs.

Saturday's run - only let myself stop once for photos

I slept in Sunday, but got out for 8 miles by 8:30am. I wasn't sure I'd run the whole thing, but around mile 3 it started to feel great. I felt like my old self! It was my longest solo run since August 13. The weather was lovely: cool, but sunny. I was pretty tired in the last mile, but finished strong. My ankle hurt after, so I iced and wrapped it.

Lower Mount Ellis was such a good trail with great views. Runnable, too!

Later that afternoon we hiked a new trail: Lower Mount Ellis. We had a rough idea of the route but ended up on a completely different path. (The barbed wire gate for the east fork looked like private property, but I guess it wasn't). I loved the trail, so we'll be back to do the correct fork!

All Trails map on left, ours on right. We went up the middle somehow?
Are the leaves turning in your neck of the woods? 
Do you ever go with the flow or do you need a training plan?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Race Recap: Opera Run 10 Miler

Age group awards
The Opera Run took place Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 9am in Bozeman. There were two distances to choose from: 5k and 10 mile. I ran the 10 mile as a long run replacement.

Pre Race
Last Friday I asked Montana Oiselle Volée what they were up to and Wendie (who I ran with during the Bozeman Half) said I should join her for the Opera Run. Online registration was closed, but I was able to sign up in person an hour before the race. The weather was cold and overcast (~35º), so Wendie and I were bundled up. It is SO much easier for me to run in cold weather and even though it's tough to get motivated to go outside, I love it once I get moving.  

I loved the hand-drawn map. Very well done!

The Race
We listened to the opera singer-led National Anthem and lined up in the back-ish of the pack. Within a few yards we were passed by pretty much everyone. (Bozeman runners! More about that later...)

Since this was in place of her long run, we weren't looking to break any PRs. Alex and I had visitors for two weeks straight, so it was my third run since the half and my only run over 3 miles. Nice to get back to it! We chatted the entire time - much like the half - and enjoyed each other's company. The first mile flew by and soon we were climbing a steady and steep hill.

444ft of climb during this race
After mile 3 we hopped on a trail. From mile 3.3 to 9.5 we were on gravel and dirt. There was a gradual climb from 3.5 to 5.5, but it wasn't too bad. We ate our gels near the first water stop at mile 5 (!! Glad I brought water!), stopped to take some photos of horses, then ran the rest of the way. There were more water stops on the back half of the race (part of the 5k course). At some water stops and intersections we were serenaded by the opera singers. I wish I would have stopped to take a video of the last woman on the Gallagator Trail. She was amazing!

New friends between mile 5 and 6
Between 6 and 7
We passed a few people in the last mile and when we turned into the park with the finish line Wendie told me to pick up the pace if I wanted to. I assumed the finish line was straight ahead (I mean it WAS) so I sped up, only to find we had to turn left and do a loop before we could finish. The last loop was uphill and felt pretty difficult on tired legs. I got close to the lady in front of me, but would've needed another tenth of a mile to catch up and pass her. Next time!

More fun with friends!

Stats and Final Thoughts 
Time: 1:47:30 (10:39 pace)
Overall: 38/45

Minus miles 5 and 6, which were slow due to our gel stop and the horse photo op (#priorities), we maintained a good long run pace. I cannot fathom finishing any Ohio race with a 10:40 pace and finishing almost last. Bozeman be crazy.

Bottom line: Wendie and I had so much more fun on this course than we did during the half. We will both be back next year. I don't mind finishing in the back (someone has to!), so I'd probably run it for fun again next year. It's probably not a PR course and it's a little lonely - no crowd support and very few water stops - but it is beautiful.

The race shirt

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Race Recap: Bozeman Half Marathon

(From a previous year, but it gives you an idea of the scenery.)
The Bozeman Half Marathon took place on Sunday, September 10 at 8:00am in Bozeman, Montana.

Before + Goals
As I mentioned two weeks ago, I hurt my ankle on a downhill run. At the same time, the wildfire smoke was thick in Bozeman, making even short runs difficult. My motivation to train for a PR went out the window. I wasn't completely honest with myself about how much I did not want to run this race until the Oiselle Volée meetup on Saturday. Someone asked about my ankle and even though I was wearing a wrap and it was still swollen, I knew it wouldn't be the reason I wouldn't PR on Sunday. I wasn't feeling it.

After Missoula, my goal was 1:55, but as I slogged through short runs and struggled to finish (or even plan!) my long runs, I did a bit of soul searching. Did I care about setting a new PR? Not really. Definitely not more than exploring new trails and running with new people. I tried to convince myself I could pull off a sub-2 run – which probably would have been doable if I was 100% and the air was clear – but my shakeout runs were pretty bad, so I set a new goal: just finish. It's been a long time since I set that goal! And if I'm honest, the only reason I went was to see my Oiselle teammates!

Near the start
Pre Race
We had to ride a shuttle to the start and it took about 10 or 15 minutes. Then we stood around at the start for almost an hour. If I'd been alone it would have been torture! I talked to teammates Wendie and Morgan about not being in the mood or ready and they agreed. Morgan was running the relay and had to wait for the leg 2 runner, so Wendie and I left her to line up. We chatted a bit more, then put on our headphones and said our good-byes and good lucks.

The race set off and Wendie was ahead of me. There weren't any pacers, which was kind of a bummer because I would have glommed onto any group. After a tenth of a mile I caught up to Wendie and asked if I could tag along. She said she didn't mind and that I should take off whenever I wanted to go faster. I told her I probably wouldn't leave and to let me know if I was bothering her.

Around mile 1. Thanks for the photo, Amber!
This is a short recap because guess what? We ran together the entire time. We spent the race chatting and ran without stopping until mile 6 when we stopped to take photos of the scenery.

The race was advertised as fast, flat, and downhill, but it was a lie. Yes, it was a net downhill, but there were several short climbs along the way. The sun was beating down by the halfway mark and I wish the race started at the same time as the marathon (7am). Montana Septembers are dicey, so I guess you can't predict the weather.
Technically downhill, but those hills = noooooope.
We kept chugging along but stopped at the remaining water stops so Wendie could fill her small handheld and I could grab Gatorade. It was hot! Wendie has asthma and had a hard time breathing on some of the climbs due to the hot sun and the haze. I don't have asthma, but I was also struggling to breathe at times. It wasn't terribly smokey like it has been, but it certainly wasn't clear. (Bummer because Saturday was lovely.)

Coming in to the finish
After mile 9 we both decided we were over it and ready to be done. Even though we felt that way, we were both having a good time and kept telling one another how terrible it would have been alone. After we crossed Kagy (major road) the race was mostly downhill so we were able to coast in. Afterwards we hung around to wait for more Oisellies (ha) to finish.

Free photos! The one on the right cracks me up.

Stats and Thoughts
This was my second slowest half (my slowest was an epic, sad disaster), but I had a ton of fun. We told stories, commiserated over a smokey summer, and socialized with volunteers and spectators. So thankful for good company!

Finish time: 2:24:47
Overall: ? / 447 (results divided by gender)
Gender: 210 / 319
Age: 38 / 48

The course itself was nice (even with the hills that weren't supposed to be there), but there wasn't much crowd support outside of the water stops. I don't usually care about that, but since it isn't a PR course I probably won't run the half again. I'd do the marathon relay.

...You know what? That opinion was formed during the race. Now that it's been a few days I've almost changed my mind about not doing it again. ;)

Oiselle Montana, represent!
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