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Monday, June 26, 2017

Weekly Review: Montana continues to be awesome

Tuesday night's sunset.

My "no plan" plan: I'm still without a training plan and two weeks from the Missoula Half. I suppose my intention for this "no plan, but I'm running a race soon" thing is to just run those 13.1 miles, hope for the best, and use it as my base for fall. I have no idea what my race pace is these days, so my time will become my "Montana PR" and we'll take it from there.

June 19–June 25
Monday: RUN 3.1 mile
TuesdayRUN 4.3 mi
Wednesday: rest
ThursdayRUN 5 mi
Friday: rest
SaturdayRUN 4 mi + canoeing
SundayRUN 6 mi trail run + 3 mi at home

Total: 25.5 miles / 1,617 ft

This week I tried my new Hoka Clifton 3's from the REI garage sale. My legs hurt on the first two runs, but felt a little better later in the week. I don't think they'll replace my Saucony Omni's for racing, but they're a good option for shoe rotation. Not sure how they work on trails...

Flowers in my neighborhood
There were a few hot runs this week, but nothing like Ohio summers. Sure the sun is brighter (and hotter), but humidity is so much lower and it makes a huge difference. I tend to run close to sunset, so direct sunlight isn't an issue.

Hyalite on Saturday (we live here??!!)
Alex and I went canoeing on Saturday. We've had the canoe since our engagement (he bought it as a surprise, then proposed while we were in it) and moved it to Montana – which required a giant moving truck – so we had to bring it out at least once. It's heavy, so loading and unloading is a pain, but once we got it in the water it was lovely.

Reading spot
Alex fished from the canoe a bit, but my favorite part was when we pulled up to a nice little meadow and I read my book for a while as Alex fished from the shore. Unfortunately, the water was really high and moved too fast to catch anything.

Lone Peak as seen from Beehive Basin
I planed to run 10 miles on Sunday and heard from a new Oiselle friend, Hillary. She was in Big Sky (little over an hour from Bozeman) for the weekend and invited me for a run. Even though we'v been here since March, this was our first time in Big Sky (Alex came along and hiked). Hillary and I tackled the Beehive Basin trail. Or rather, Hillary did and I almost died on the way up.

So pretty

My legs felt like lead and running became almost impossible. At 1.3 I was really honest and told her to go up ahead and I'd keep going til she turned around and we'd run back together. I walked up the steep bits, running occasionally... and took lots of photos.

Last stop before losing the trail...

Just past a snowy pond, I lost the trail. Instead of continuing on what seemed to be the trail, I decided to go back to the pond and wait for Hillary. Luckily, she turned around, too. Running down was soooo easy. In the end, we only got 6 miles BUT when I uploaded my data it turned out we ran from 7,900ft to 9,100ft. My house is around 4,800ft so I felt a tiny bit better about how hard it was. Altitude sure is humbling!

Montana ladies
I'm trying something new this week: in addition to Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin's Weekly Wrap linkup, I thought I'd also join Courtney's since I always read her training recaps. Check out her post on getting faster. I know it's all true, but sometimes I need a little reminder.

Have you ever been to Big Sky? 
Have you tried Hokas? 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Bird Camp Idaho

Partial group shot from our first trail run
Welcome to another Weekly Review post with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin! I took off a few days from training then went to Birdcamp, so I thought I'd revisit what we did last week.

June 12–June 18
Total Run: 24 miles / 4,377 ft
Total Hike: 3.6 miles / 850 ft

What is Bird Camp? 
First things first, Bird Camp is a women-only running camp through Oiselle. Only current Volée members have access to Bird Camp. There are several across the United States with accommodations for 20 to 150 women. I went to Bird Camp Michigan last year where the focus was sand dunes and wine tours. It was beautiful and my Volée membership finally made sense. (In real life meetings are where it's at.) 

In our Bird Camp shirts
I figured I'd go to Michigan again, but when we decided to move to Bozeman I signed up for Idaho Bird Camp, which is unofficially known as the trail running camp. The run/hikes were steep and in high altitude, but I can confidently say that all levels are welcome. There was a race option as well. The River of No Return Endurance Run had a 25k, 50k, and 108k option. I chose to run the 25k and didn't know what to expect. 

Living Waters Ranch

When and Where
Idaho Bird Camp took place Wednesday, June 14 thru Sunday, June 18 at Living Waters Ranch in Challis, Idaho. Challis is pretty remote, so many folks flew into Salt Lake, Boise, or Sun Valley. From Bozeman it's about a 5.5 hour drive, but I ended up going to Missoula (3 hours away) to meet up with other Montana ladies to ride the rest of the way with them. It was really nice to have 3 friends right off the bat! 

Daily Activities
Check in, a light dinner, introductions, and a tour of the campgroups. Our camp swag bag included a high quality Oiselle backpack/tote, Lux layer Bird Camp shirt, Stance socks, Nuun, a trucker hat, Hank Orange headband, Blue Rub anti chafe stick, Picky Bars, and some things I'm probably forgetting. It was a great spread.    

Water crossing #1 on the Juliette Creek Trail
Breakfast was at 7, then most of us suited up for a trail run at Juliette Creek. (Four of the more advanced ladies went to mark and scout a snowy section of trail along the River of No Return 108k course.) The Juliette Creek trail was also part of the 108k course and included 4 or 5 river crossings over high water with a strong current. There were ropes to help us cross and the water was freeeeeezing. After 4.7 miles we went up and down 1,257 feet. 

Bayhorse Lake

Afterwards, we drove up to Bayhorse Lake for a photo stop. Last year, the lake wasn't snowy so they were able to run around and even jump in the water. Way too cold for that! My group took the downtime between the lake and lunch to stock up on groceries. 

Goldbug infinity pool
After lunch, we took a long ride out to Goldbug Hot Springs in Elk Bend. It was about 35 miles from Challis, but soooo worth the drive and steep-steep-steep hike. I don't think we were mentally prepared for a hot hike, but the view from the hot spring pool was amazing. The water felt fantastic and it was a great break before the hike down. 

Part of the pizza party

The night ended with dinner at a pizza place in Challis. I was beat by bedtime! 

Up the camp road

Another 7am breakfast and folks divided into groups for the morning's activities. I went on a shakeout run with about 8 or so others. We ran up the road closest to camp and it was deceptive. It looked flat, but it turned out to be a slight incline. We walked a bit and socialized in the middle, but it was a great workout and I began to appreciate my Bozeman training. I think it would have been very difficult to run this route with Ohio lungs. 

I watched as they did the work.
Before lunch, one of the Idaho Volée leaders led an hour-long yoga class. I considered joining, but decided to lay in the room and relax instead. The yoga class was fantastic and the music was amazing. (I would take her class in a heartbeat if I lived in Idaho.) Post yoga lunch was nice, then a nutritionist came to give a talk. She had us go around and introduce ourselves and ask one nutrition question, then she touched on the answers throughout her talk. It all came in handy during the race the next day. At 6pm we went to the race briefing and packet pickup. I was really starting to get nervous about the 25k, but at least our course was easier than the 108k. No snow or water crossings for us! 

Birdstike film: watch the trailer
After the race meeting (or was it before?) we got to watch the short film from Oiselle and Polartec called Birdstrike. I highly recommend it. It was great to get a bit of inside info from one of the crew members (and all-around awesome woman). I only wish the film was longer! Post-movie we were able to touch and try on some clothes and gear from Oiselle's latest line. I wish we could see fall and spring previews, but I'll take what I can get. ;) 

Almost all of the racers

I didn't get great sleep on Friday night, so waking up for the race on Saturday was a bit of a challenge. I was still very nervous, but at least my race morning went smoothly. I'll do a longer recap once race photos are up, but here's a spoiler: it was really hard from mile 4-7, but then I felt fantastic. I was afraid of not being able to handle it or taking too long, but now that I look back I wish I would have run faster. Ha! Isn't that always the case?
I think this was before... when I was still nervous. ;)

Post-race we hung around for the taco bar, beer, and age group awards then went back to camp for showers and lunch. Most of us went to the local brewery for a little while, then killed more time at camp before dinner. Around 10 or 11pm we went to the last aid station on the 108k course (right outside of our camp) to wait for one of our members to finish her race. It was really great to be there to cheer for her and a few other runners who came through. That aid station was 5 miles from the end, so anyone coming through knew they were going to finish. Very exciting! 

The Montana Volée memers
One last breakfast and then we said our goodbyes. I road with the other Montana ladies until Missoula, then rocked out to loud music on my way back to Bozeman. Until next year!

I'd go back to Idaho in a heartbeat. I loved Michigan Bird Camp (and would also go there again), but I'm not sure if it was the slightly smaller group, the extra half day, or the West Coast personalities (ha!), but I felt like I made more lasting connections with the ladies in Idaho. (Don't worry: I made a few magical friendships in Michigan!) In the end, the scenery was fantastic, the runs were confidence builders, and, ultimately, the company made Idaho Bird Camp amazing. 

Have you gone to camp as an adult?
Have you been to Idaho or run a race with crazy elevation?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Tobias update

As mentioned in my weekly review, Tobias fainted last Friday and we found out he has a significant heart murmur. This morning we went back to the vet for blood work and x-rays.

First things first, today's doctor was much more positive than Friday's. The vet on Friday kept telling me about his dead dog and how this could be the end for Tobias, while today's doctor had a much friendlier manner. She honestly might have meant all of the same things, but her attitude was not so bleak. 

The tests
Tobias's blood work was great (phew) and they showed me his x-rays. His heart is pretty big, as is his liver. Since his blood work is ok she said his liver was likely tied to the enlarged heart. His lungs were good and clear (phew!). He has a partially collapsed trachea, but that's pretty standard for toy breeds and it's only a big deal if it closes more. She said this was probably causing his cough. 

Meds and such
She sent us home with a daily heart med with instructions to monitor him for a week to see how he responds to the medicine before taking him for walks and such. As long as he stays the same or gets better, he'll keep taking the pill. If he gets worse, we'll try something else. The pills run out at the end of July so we have to go back for another visit before then. I like knowing we have another check point down the road. 

She added that the only way to be sure what's happening internally is an echocardiogram. Unfortunately he'd have to see a specialist in Helena or Billings. I guess that's a next step if the pills don't seem to work or if his next appointment doesn't go well. I may get one even if the pills work, just so we have a baseline comparison in the future. 

I suppose the original vet's statement of Tobias having 1 day to 10 years is still true. Just like a human with a heart problem, he could have a heart attack and suddenly die. But today's vet was hopeful we could keep him happy and relatively healthy with medicine and regular check ups. 

Even though we're still in the same boat, I feel better about things. I think the change of vet was good for me. Her positive spin made a huge difference. Plus, he seems back to his normal self today. 

Weekly Review: Good or Bad, Happy or Sad

Closest local park. Not too shabby.
I'm finally back with an official Weekly Review post with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin! (I posted last week, but was a bit late). It's good to be back! Also, I apologize in advance for slacking on blog comments. I've been reading posts on my phone, but not commenting.

June 5–June 11
Monday: RUN 2.5 mile
TuesdayRUN 5 mi
WednesdayRUN 2.5 mi
Thursday: RUN 2 mi
FridayRUN 4.1 mi
Saturday: Rest
SundayRUN 10.25 mi

Total: 26.5 miles / 1,145 ft

I'm training for a crazy 25k THIS weekend (ack!), but beyond that I'm just trying to have fun and enjoy Montana life. We're three months into this move and it's been pretty fantastic. We're lucky to have great mountain trails within 10-15 minutes. The neighborhood trails and locals parks are also excellent (see above).

2.5 trail miles for Global Running Day w/Alex
I ran pretty easy this week because my legs were super sore from last week's hilly hikes. I kept up my almost three week run streak until Saturday. Friday morning's run was a slow run/walk and I realized I needed a break. No need to maintain what started as an accidental streak.

From Sunday's long(er) run
After a bit of rest my (still tired) legs were better on Sunday's long run. I wanted 14-15 miles, but when I turned onto the single track trail around 4.5 the mud levels skyrocketed and my fear of being alone in the woods kicked in. Sure, I carry bear spray and yes, maybe there weren't bears nearby, but after I went 15-20 minutes without seeing anyone I decided to turn around. 10.25 was still tough. I walked a lot, but ended with an 11-something pace, which I was pretty happy to have with hills.

Pretty cool to see horses along the trails
On Sunday
I didn't have any hiking miles this week. Ugh. This is tough: On Friday, Tobias fainted. My friend came to get me for a hike and my dog Tobias got really excited to see her, started running around like he normally does, then all of the sudden he collapsed on the living room carpet. I started yelling and went to grab him. He was limp, but stuck in his position– if that makes sense. He wasn't having a seizure. After a short while he came to and shook it off. He didn't seem phased. He's 11 and this has never happened before (in my presence, at least).

My friend was amazing. She'd never met him and we've only know one another a month or so, but she immediately said, "lets go to the vet." I don't have a vet here (he got a check up before we left) so she drove me to hers and after a bit of a wait we got in. I described what happened, the vet asked questions, then listened to Tobias's heart. He knew what was wrong immediately. Tobias has a heart murmur. I texted my old vet (she was our neighbor and is awesome) who responded, "he didn't in Ohio!"

A sudden onset is not a good sign. The vet said it was a level 4.5 of 6 (also not good). We didn't run tests and have to go back Monday (he wanted Tobias to be calm), but of course I've been googling everything. The vet said he has 1 day to 10 years to live. Helpful. Of course, I'm freaking out. There's no "cure," just ways to delay an eventual heart failure. I hope so much they were mistaken. I hope it was all a fluke. But deep down I know it's probably true. He has displayed many of the symptoms in the last month (coughing, heavy breathing). What bugs me is he didn't before we moved here. Was the move stressful? (He seemed fine and enjoyed a few hikes.) Was it because we boarded him while we traveled last month (which we've never done before)? Untreated heartworms can cause a murmur. Were his heartworm meds not enough?

Anyway, we will know more tomorrow. Regardless, I've been very sad since Friday. Alex has been great trying to cheer me up and Tobias has been extra cuddly. I just thought we'd had many, many more years together. I hope we do.

Maybe it's stupid to share this here, but Tobias means a lot to me (and Alex). I really hope science prevails and we find something that can help him continue to lead a long, happy life.

I apologize for ending on such a sad note, but it's truly the only thing on my mind right now. [Update here]

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Weekly Review: These are my confessions*

*I don't actually like that Usher song (or really know any of the lyrics but that one line)
View from the M trail Saturday - Wildflowers in bloom
May 29–June 4
Monday: RUN 3.1 mile
TuesdayRUN 6.2 mi
WednesdayRUN 3.3 mi
Thursday: HIKE 5.6 mi Lava Lake (1,781 ft) + RUN 1.7 mi
FridayRUN 3.6 mi
SaturdayHIKE 8 mi M/Foothills/Sypes Canyon (3,074 ft) + RUN 1 mile
SundayRUN 5.4 mi

Total Run: 24.6 miles / 479 ft
Total Hike: 13.6 mi / 4,855 ft

After a billion weeks away, I've decided to resume training recaps. I've been running fairly consistently since April, but I'm not following a plan, so it may be a good idea to document what I'm doing in the off chance that this no-plan thing works. (It won't. But it's fun!) I didn't run too many miles and didn't fit in a long run, but I had a fantastic 10k on Tuesday and hiked two relatively challenging trails. I'm also two weeks into an accidental run streak that will, more than likely, stop after I've run the River of No Return 25k.

Sometimes I can't believe we live so close to these trails. This one is a 10 minute drive!
The RONR 25k (which I am so undertrained for it isn't funny) is June 17 and includes a 3,500ft hill (mountain). Since I didn't have time to adequately prepare during our move and trips to Seattle and Columbus, I've been trying to mix in trail runs, downhill training, and longer hikes. My game plan for the race: hike the uphill and make up for it by running the downhill at a fairly quick pace.

Water crossing on the way to Lava Lake Thursday
A few months back I wasn't able to find a good trail 25k training plan. If you have one, please send it my way. A big factor was time. I signed up for the race on a whim before or during our move (I can't exactly recall. I've blocked out a lot of March.) thinking I'd adapt to the elevation/altitude by April. Ha! We're almost three months into Bozeman life and I'm still unable to run more than 2 or 3 miles without stopping at least once. It's definitely getting better, but I don't feel completely acclimated.

I've loved running just to run. I'm not worried about time (I always go too fast) and I'm trying to use runs as a way to explore our new area, but the 25k is a dark cloud on the horizon. I know I can do it because I can hike 15 miles, but I'm mostly worried about taking forever and making my teammates wait. Oh, did I mention this all goes down during Birdcamp Idaho? (And if Birdcamp means nothing to you, come back in a few weeks and read my recap. Also, yes, it's a Oiselle thing.)

Lava Lake
Blah blah blah

Bottom line: I love running in Bozeman, but it's been difficult to go far without jumping on a crazy mountain trail due to a few factors: 1. breathing, 2. lack of long flat trafficless trails, and 3. oh Lordy, the people here are so fit. Someday I'll find a great running group, but until then I'll keep chugging away on my own. I've definitely seen progress, so perhaps this time next year I'll be a complete badass. (Or not.)

Saturday's hike
I want to document one thing because it will probably go away soon: Our Saturday hike up the M/Foothills/Sypes Canyon trail marked the first time in our 10 years together that I AM IN BETTER SHAPE than Alex. I'm not faster. He could still cream me in a 5 or 10k, but I can uphill hike faster and last longer. His desk job is paying off (for me). But alas, he signed up for a gym membership yesterday and has worked out since our hike, so this will be a very short-lived victory. Also, in case you don't know us in real life: I do not actually want him to fail or become unfit. This is more about stroking my own ego. ;)

Anyway, it's time for me to get back to work.
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