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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Goals: Tenacious Ten

This weekend Alex and I are heading to Seattle to run the Tenacious Ten and tour the city for the first time) We booked the race last year and flights were cheaper (and direct) from Bozeman so we decided to stick with it.

Unfortunately, for about a million reasons this trip comes at an inconvenient time. For instance, we haven't moved into our house and most of our stuff is still in storage –including my luggage, cute shoes, and my bathing suit. It's also inconvenient because we don't have any close friends in Bozeman so we have to board Tobias while we're gone; something we've never done. He had a trial night last week and seemed fine, but now he's got the sniffles and I'm running through all of the worst case scenarios.

Most importantly (running wise), our move in March interrupted my training and I've had a hard time figuring out my speed with altitude and elevation. I did the last 6 weeks of a combination of Hal Higdon's 10k Advanced and Intermediate plans, but some runs were a struggle. I killed a 10x400 speedwork session, then bombed a fun run 5k a week later. I have some speed, but in short bursts. I know I'll have this all figured out in a few months for the Missoula Half Marathon, but right now I'm really confused about my pace and expectations.

I thought I'd list my goals since this is my first race in a while and I feel like I've forgotten how to approach it.

A: This is a perfect day where we assume cool temps, low humidity, and extra air from being at sea level. Let's pretend my "altitude training" was worth it. 54:00 or an 8:40 pace.

B: New PR. The old one was set in the middle of another race because I haven't raced a non-trail 10k. 55:06 or an 8:55-ish pace.

C: Under an hour. 9:35 pace.

I'm super bummed because a fit me from 2016 would have killed at least an 8:30 pace. But I've got to be realistic. No burnout! No DNF! Just treat it as a nice tempo training run... Start slow, get faster.

(By the way, even with all my whining, I love Bozeman and I've been enjoying my runs.)

Anyone else heading to Seattle? 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Weekly Review: Getting Settled

Mountains everywhere!
Hola! I'm a day late for my Weekly Review linkup with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin, but what can I say? Weekends are full of food and hikes and blogging takes a backseat.

March 20–26
Monday: 3 mi run
Tuesday: 3.5 mi run 
Wednesday: 3.1 mi run
Thursday: 2.6 mi run
Friday: rest
Saturday: 2 mi hike Story Mill Spur; 2.2 mi hike Triple Tree Trail
Sunday: 3.3 mi hike Triple Tree Trail loop, 3 mi run

Running Miles / Elevation: 15.4 miles / 98 ft
Hiking Miles / Elevation: 7.5 mi / 1031 ft

New Plan
Work helper
We're settling into Bozeman and a new routine, so I decided to start a new training plan. I chose Hal Higdon's advanced 10k plan to focus on April 22's Tenacious Ten in Seattle. Of course, I don't have 8 weeks, so I had to start on week 4. Even with my pathetic previous month of training I knew I could pick it up in the middle without too much issue.

My only "failed" workout came on Wednesday when I did 4 x 400 instead of 9 x 400. I did a mile warm up and cool down (unheard of for me!), but ran my 400s way too fast (7:00-7:15 pace) so I was spent by #4. I really could have run more, but I called it quits. Lazy!

Overall, my runs were too fast and I paid the price when my IT band started to act up by Thursday. I broke out pigeon pose and my foam roller and made sure to take the two prescribed rest days.

New Job
I planned to spend last week doing our taxes and running errands. That didn't happen because I got a job. It was serendipitous... or something. I've been working with the same freelance client for a few years and when I turned in a project on Monday they asked if I'd be interested in a steady job. I love working with them so it was a no brainer. I may get a job here in Bozeman someday, but for now I'm enjoying the illustration work and semi-flexible schedule.

View from Triple Tree
New Trails
On Saturday we ran bunch of errands, went to a brewery for lunch, then tackled the very easy Story Mill Spur Trail. It was only a mile one way but lead to another brewery, so we stopped for a drink and turned around. We still had energy so we went to the Triple Tree Trail. We went a mile through prairie and mud until we hit a second entry point. Alex and I didn't feel like doing the remaining 3 mile loop so we turned around and went to the grocery.

Triple Tree before we got to the top
On Sunday we went to brunch, lazed around, then went back to Triple Tree to finish the 3.3 mile loop. It was a decent climb full of switchbacks and we had another great view of Bozeman. Besides the periodic muddy parts it was an excellent trail. It's also right next to a neighborhood of giant houses with an amazing paved street that would be perfect for hill work. I will be back!

As seen along Saturday's walk
I still haven't joined a running group. I need to get my bike out of storage so I can get around town (free bus system seems cool, but it takes a while to get anywhere if you need to switch buses). I'll figure it out.

Until next week...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Weekly Review: Bozeman

View from our temporary rental parking lot
I'm back for the Weekly Review linkup with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin and I thought I'd do a GIANT recap of our first 8 days in a new city to help me remember what we've done so far.

March 11–19
Saturday: 2.8 mile run 
Sunday: 2 mile run
Monday: Hike (College M Trail)
Tuesday: 3.14 mile run
Wednesday: Hike (Hyalite Canyon), 2 mile run
Thursday: rest
Friday: Hike (Sourdough Canyon Trail), 3 mile run
Saturday: Hike (Drinking Horse Trail)
Sunday: rest

2017 Total (Running): 163.6 miles

Elevation, Acclimation, and Weather
The elevation is about 4,800 ft. Our neighborhood in Columbus was 700 ft, so getting used to the higher altitude took a little while. Besides having to stop during runs, we both took naps in the first half of the week, and got a bit dehydrated. Luckily, we didn't have headaches. Also: the weather has been fantastic! We've been so spoiled with temps in the upper 40s to upper 60s. It's nuts!

First brewery stop
Activities by day
We kicked off our first non-moving day in Bozeman (Saturday) exploring Main Street for brunch (Jam!) and shopping (we found the running store). Afterwards we went on a 3 mile run around our hotel and a nearby pond. We both needed to stop for air and after two miles Alex bailed and I ran back to the hotel alone. Later that night we went to our first brewery for dinner and drinks (Bridger Brewing).

On Sunday we moved into our temporary rental, then went out for shopping and lunch (the Pour House). Later, I explored the neighborhood on foot for 2 miles. What's weird about running here is my paces are exactly the same, but I have to take breaks. One positive: Bozeman itself is very flat. If I want hill training I have to go up in the mountains.

Halfway up the College M Trail
Speaking of mountains, we did our first hike on Monday with the dog. The College M Trail was a steep climb (about 900-1000 ft gain over a mile) and took us to a fantastic view of Bozeman. Before that we went to the bank to get pre-approved for a home loan and try another brunch place (Nova Cafe). That night we went to Montana Ale Works for happy hour.

The pond in our neighborhood park
On Tuesday we finally met our realtor in real life (I've been exchanging emails with her for about a month) and saw 6 condos and houses. We found one we loved and drafted an offer later than afternoon. (We got it, but can't move in until the end of April.) Afterwards I ran 3.14 Pi Day miles. I had to stop a few times to catch my breath, but it was a decent run.

The frozen water at Hyalite Canyon
On Wednesday we went to Hyalite Canyon to check out the frozen reservoir. We took the dog and did a mini hike until the snow got too deep and he refused to go on. I don't think he enjoyed that hike as much as Monday's because when we got back to our apartment he refused to go outside! Alex and I went for a run to check out a nearby neighborhood (and the giant houses). It was hard to maintain a faster pace with him but at least it was only two miles. Luckily, he was exhausted after. ;)

Thursday was overcast so I worked on my current freelance project. In the afternoon we checked out a fro-yo place and another brewery (White Dog). Alex went to the running store to scope out the run group while I continued to do work. Glad I didn't go because he said it was a bunch of guys faster than him and one fast girl. Ugh. I wanted low key! The runners said it was abnormally empty because of spring break, so I guess we'll see. I hope it turns out to be a group I can join...

Sourdough Canyon Trail was a bit slushy
On Friday we went back to Main Street to buy postcards, explore book stores, and check out Bagels, Etc for lunch (so good). We also went to the library and got library cards and checked out a few books. I'm currently enjoying Big Little Lies -- the first book I've read in eons! (This move really interrupted my normal reading schedule.) That afternoon we went on another short hike on the Sourdough Canyon Trail, then celebrated St. Patrick's Day at Bozeman Taproom.

Close to the top of Drinking Horse
Saturday kicked off with more freelance work while Alex ran to the storage unit to find stuff. We spent the afternoon hiking Drinking Horse Trail, which was another short but steep climb with a great view of Bozeman. I think it was my favorite trail so far. I can't really imagine running it yet, but at least it was only 2.5 miles. Since we had nature time, we had to follow it up with beer at MAP Brewing.

Yesterday (Sunday) I put the finishing touches on my freelance project while Alex ran errands to prepare for his first day of work. Minus work, it was a lazy day.

Besides freelance, I'll spend this week filing our taxes and spending a lot of time doing boring transition stuff from our old house and setting up new accounts here. I'm really hoping it all calms down soon so I can veg out and soul search before I get another full time job.

All-in-all, it was a very eventful first 8 eight days. I'm so thankful for the great weather and I'm happy to report Bozeman is even better than I expected. I'm happy I agreed to move here. I miss my friends, but I do not miss Columbus. I think this area of Montana is the perfect fit for Alex and I. Every trail mentioned above was less than 30 minutes away (and most only a 10- 15 minute drive). I can't really believe we live in a completely different state, but at the same time it feels like it was meant to be.

Have you ever been to Montana?
Did it snow in your neck of the woods this week?
Unseasonably warm like here?  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Weekly Review: Wahoo! The house sold!

This week's sky shot -- Friday in Cincinnati
After a few crazy weeks preparing our house for sale (and being SICK), I'm back for the Weekly Review linkup with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin. I'm not really training for anything because of our upcoming move, but I had a solid week.

Week February 20–26
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 2 miles
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: rest
Saturday: 10 miles
Sunday: 3.2 miles

Total: 22.2 miles
Elevation gain: 289 ft
2017 Total: 140.1 miles

The past two weeks were all about prepping our house and unfortunately I was sick for 9 days straight (and ran 5 miles total!) On Monday the photographer came to take photos for the listing - which marked a big milestone for us. Afterwards, we went to trivia with our old group and while we didn't win, it reminded me why we used to go every week!

On Tuesday we ran a ton of errands and even though I was still a little sick, I got in a solid 3 miles.

Brewdog on Wednesday
I was also able to run in the middle of the day Wednesday, but unfortunately my running shoes were DONE (~320 miles) and I felt like I was running with about 20 extra pounds, so it was a good run to cut short. That night we tried a new brewery with a friend (we're trying to hit a bunch before we move and that one opened this week).

New shoes are dog approved.

Luckily, my new shoes arrived Thursday so I took them out for a 4 miler. It was a solid progression: 9:18, 8:50, 8:41, 8:14. I think Thursday was my laziest house day of the week -- and much needed!

Our house was listed Thursday at midnight, so I woke up Friday to our first showing request. We hit the road for IKEA to get a replacement faucet for the bathroom and during our drive to Cincinnati I received at least 10 requests for showings between Friday and Sunday. When we got back to Columbus we got a call from our realtor. We had our first offer! The offer came with a tight deadline (because 7 other people were drafting offers and they wanted us to accept theirs first). It was a fantastic offer including a 30 day closing and no repairs! We have an inspection this week, then we'll move forward. It's not 100% final, but barring any complications the house sold in less than a day!

Part of my group! (I'm holding the yellow water bottle.) 
After two weekends of sickness, I was finally able to get back to my training group Saturday! It was 78º on Friday and the temps plummeted overnight. Our run started in the low 40s. It was sunny and I wondered if I'd overdressed, but by mile 5 the sun was gone and we were caught in a hail storm! After the tiny hail balls stopped the wind picked up and the last 5 miles were in the upper 30s. Brr!

Another brewery on Saturday (Sideswipe)

We still had a few showings on Saturday (just in case), so Alex and I had to stay out of the house for most of the day. Luckily the showings after 4pm were canceled when our agent marked the house as "in contract," so we were able to relax a bit before going to a party at our neighbor's house. Saturday was a long and exhausting - but fun - day! It's funny how much we wanted to go home and relax!

Sunday runday funday
I woke to a migraine Sunday (I blame the constantly shifting weather), but managed to get out to breakfast with our neighbors while Alex did a full day of tree work. Post-breakfast I felt pretty icky so I hung out in bed most of the day, finally going outside around 4pm for a short run. I'm so glad I did. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Only 44º, but that's perfect running weather for me! Post-run I made dinner, did a bit of packing/organizing, and watched Twister in memory of Bill Paxton. 

Did your area have a crazy heatwave? 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Books of January 2017

Oh shoot. I almost forgot my January book round up! Our move is under way and we're currently decluttering, donating, and prepping our house for sale (we don't move for a few weeks). My brain is fried and I'm exhausted. But back to January...

It was my final month of work (11 years at the same place yada yada) and it was mostly filled with backing up files and going away bar outings. Luckily, I got out of town a few times: Athens, OH for a trail ultra documentary (with Devon Yanko) and DC for...things. Alex also went out of town- and got his upcoming job in Bozeman. Beyond travel and work, I ran a few races and somehow managed to keep up on my reading (/audiobook-ing). Without further ado...

- - - - - - - - - -

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Rating: 4 / 5
I ended up listening to most of this on audiobook instead of reading and I'm glad I did. First, it's divided into five parts and is overly long. And second, the narrator had different voices for each character, which is always impressive.

Part one was really fun and did a great job setting the scene for friendship and romance. I dug Bex's time at Oxford, even if it's a little unrealistic she'd magically find herself in such an exclusive circle. And if you haven't heard, this is obvious Kate/William fanfic (names changed, characters edited). Some similarities were striking, but I think the authors handled the intersection of real and fake pretty well. Unfortunately, each part got a little slower and less interesting. Luckily Freddie (Harry) was there to liven things up while Nick was away.

I eye rolled the few obvious reveals (view spoiler) and Lacey. Move back to America and get your own life, grrrrl. The final section was also infuriating because it felt so manufactured. After 8 (?) years of being together (minus a break) we're supposed to believe there would be doubt the day before? Blah. I would have liked more about Bex finding her footing. She got pretty boring by the end.

Despite anything negative in the review above, I'll continue to read any book the Fug Girls release. They're funny ladies.

I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb
Rating: 4 / 5
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.
I have a few Wally Lamb books on my to-read shelf at home, but kept avoiding them because they are really long, so I was relieved to see this book wasn't. I got into the story immediately - probably because the main character's daughter is roughly my age. I liked the set up, the setting, and Felix's memories.

I wasn't wild about the "supernatural" element. In fact, I think it could have been omitted altogether. Felix could have taken a trip down memory lane prompted by his daughter's assignment. The trip could have veered slightly and covered Verna's story (via diary?) and I think he could have come across Lois Weber during his film school research. Oh well.

Despite my complaint, I enjoyed reading this and I appreciated the intention. Sometimes it's hard for me to read women-centric lit written by a man, but Wally Lamb did a great job. And many of the women's issues he discussed are, once again, timely (which I can't believe I'm saying in 2017!).

You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
Rating: 4 / 5
I ended up listening to most of this, but it'd be fine to read, too. The audiobook is read by the author, which is my preference in a memoir / essay collection.

I enjoyed the intersection of feminism, pop culture, race, and humor. I'd recommend to anyone who's read and enjoyed Roxane Gay or comedienne memories. Standout sections include "Uppity," "Casting Calls...," and "The Angry Black Woman Myth." She breaks down some infuriating situations with class.

I'll ding it one star for the "Letters to Olivia" section. It didn't seem as polished as the rest.

Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy #2) by Stephen King
Rating: 4 / 5I flew through this book when I had time to read, but it's not as good as the first one. Probably because Hodges isn't in it for over half of the book. I did enjoy the stories of Peter and Morris and that ending (very, very end / last page) was kind of.... interesting. I jumped into the next one (halfway finished as of today).

Casanova, Volume 1: Luxuria by Matt Fraction
Rating: 3.5 / 5I liked it... then I didn't... then I liked it again. Honestly, I think it bugged me early on how sexual the sister was with her brother. Beyond that, the art was great and the story was bizarre (which I enjoyed). I feel like this would make a good cartoon like Æon Flux (NOT the movie).

Casanova, Volume 2: Gula by Matt Fraction
Rating: 4 / 5
Lordy, I almost wanted to make a chart, diagram, or SOMETHING to make the timelines more tangible (before and during this set). And, gosh golly, I think you need a Masters in Comics to really GET THIS on a deeper level. This is a pretty good review, especially re: the art and references to other works.
- - - - - - - - - -

As always, these reviews were taken from my Goodreads. For past months, click here.

What's the last book you read?
What are you looking forward to reading? 
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