*Don’t go breaking my heart*

The greatest part of racing tomorrow is that I don’t have to feel guilty about being lazy today! I did run an easy three (very wet!) miles with my running group this morning. Afterwards, I came home, took a hot shower to warm up, and put pajamas on. That is happiness right there!

Now about that race… tomorrow I’m running my first race of 2014 and my first since the Seattle Marathon which was on December 1st. The break between Seattle and the race tomorrow, the Heart Breaker Half, is the longest I’ve had in a about a year. I’m not sure if it’s the span of time between events, feeling an overall lack of fitness, or just a case of pre-race nerves, but my confidence is waning.

What I’d really like is a new half marathon PR! I ran three half marathons in 2013, finishing all three within 9 seconds of each other. My fastest, and current PR, was 1:43:53. 

This morning I sheepishly shared with a running friend that I will often look at the past results from a race I’m about to run to figure out where I might finished. I was relieved when he told me that he does the same thing. I find it comforting to know that I’m not the only person that does this! Anyone else out there want to confess too?

Anyway, based on the results from last year, I’m figuring I’ll at least place in the top 10 for my age division. Being the wishful dreamer that I am, I’d really, really, really like to place in the top five… but there are a lot of factors at play, including “Heart Break Hill” (a mile-long hill with a 150+ ft. elevation gain beginning at mile 2.98), so we’ll just have to see how it goes. I just hope that I don’t get my heart broken!!

As far as the rest of the day today goes, my agenda includes lots of rest (and possibly a nap since I likely won’t sleep well tonight!), watching some track and field, fueling up with plenty of carbs, hydrating like mad (with Nuun, of course!) to make up for the Valentine’s Day wine consumption, getting my gear ready (including the shirt shown below rockin’ my sponsor’s logo), and enjoying a rainy Saturday snuggled up at home.

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So grateful for the support from Z.P. Transport, Inc.!!!

Even when I’m not physically running, I’m submerged in something running related!

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It’s all running, all the time around here!

Now for that nap! Have a great day!

*Diving in deep*

Do you ever have moments that make you wonder if your life is for real? A “pinch me I must be dreaming” kind of day? I do! And I’ve been feeling like that all day!

Earlier, while I was out for a run (a combo of some hill repeats and a few easy miles) I couldn’t help but think about how blessed I am. The sun was shining down on me, I was feeling pretty great, and excited that I would get to finally put some races on my calendar this afternoon.

A huge part of that is because a couple of angels came into my life and have been helping make things possible for me that I would not be able to do on my own. I sometimes struggle with believing that I deserve it. I’m just an average runner. I’m not heading to the Olympics anytime soon. I suspect I’ll never win a race or be featured in a major running publication. There really isn’t anything that special about me or what I do. I’m often left to wonder why I’ve been gifted so much support in chasing these silly little dreams.

I realize that I need to stop over analyzing and questioning my worth. It is simple: people believe in me and they want to see me succeed. They help because they can and want to. Knowing this keeps the fight in me alive. It gives me permission to dream big and it is magical! No need to pinch me. I know how blessed I am and man, do I feel loved.

An email correspondence a couple of weeks ago from my sponsor ended with this:

“Here is to a Boston qualifier this year!!”

YES! So let’s get to it!!

I’m in the process of getting registered for five upcoming races, including two marathons between now and June. I’m hungry and so ready to dive in deep. It is time to start making some epic shit happen. Seriously? Is this my life?? ; )

In that light, if I have inspired you, in any way, I’d appreciate your vote in the ZOOMA Women’s Race Series Run to Napa Fueled by Wine contest. (I mean COME ON! Fueled by wine!?!?) One inspirational blogger will win an entry for themselves and one other blogger to participate in the Napa Valley Women’s Half Marathon. You can follow this link to vote for me: https://www.facebook.com/ZOOMARun/app_451684954848385

 

*New year, new goals*

The start of a new year brings such a sense of renewal. I’m not huge on resolutions… I’d rather use this time to recommit to the things that started building momentum in the previous year, making a few tweeks here and there, of course. Planning, strategizing, and organizing, to better the odds that I will accomplish what I hope to, is how I like to jump into January. There sure is a lot of promise though and it is fun to fantasize about what is in store!

I took time on New Year’s day to reflect on my past accomplishments in an effort to begin creating a plan. I began by writing out a list of some of my hopes, dreams, and goals for 2014:

  • Run at least 2,014 miles
  • Run four marathons
  • Qualify for the 2015 Boston Marathon
  • Get RRCA coaching certification
  • Find part-time work at a running specialty store
  • Continue to grow website and social media outlets
  • Seek out ambassador and sponsorship opportunities
  • Make the Oiselle team
  • Run Hood to Coast with a Nuun team
  • Be an awesome Nuun Ambassador and deepen my relationship with the company
  • Get *invited* to the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival
  • Continue to become a faster and stronger runner

One of my first agenda items is getting some races on my calendar! After a lot of thought, I’ve come up with a list of events I’d like to run. Like last year, I’ve chosen to focus on the first half of the year. Ideally, I’d like to have one race to look forward to each month, including two full marathons in the first 6-month period. (However, it is hard to find races in January to get excited about!)

Also, for fun, I decided to look for races that I’ve not run before. Except for the Shamrock Run (and technically the Vernonia Marathon since I ran the half last year) I’ve not run any of these events before. I’m not committed to any of them but this is sort of my race wish list. (I’ve also purposely chosen races near home to minimize travel expenses.)

2/16/13   Heartbreak Half Marathon   Hillsboro, Oregon

3/16/13   Shamrock Run 15k   Portland, Oregon

4/13/13   Vernonia Marathon   Vernonia, Oregon

5/18/13   Rock n Roll Half Marathon   Portland, Oregon

6/15/13   Vancouver Marathon   Vancouver, Washington

I’m looking forward to seeing how things begin to unfold and I’m ready to dive in! I hope your New Year is off to a great start!

*A look back at 2013*

Never in a million years would I have believed how this year would unfold for me. This time a year ago, there was no plan to run a marathon (or three!). No grand dream of running the Boston Marathon. No idea what a Ragnar Relay was. No sponsor offering support. No goals bigger than running a couple of races for fun. No website…

Crazy how things change and how our goals and dreams evolve over time.

It has certainly been one heck of a ride and I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, the people I’ve met along the way, the things I’ve achieved… and even the things that didn’t go quite right because I’ve learned a lot this year.

My races in 2013 included:

3/17/13   Shamrock Run, Portland, Oregon   15k   1:13:47   7:55 pace

4/14/13   Vernonia Half Marathon, Vernonia, Oregon   13.1   1:43:55   7:56 pace

5/11/13   Hippie Chick Half Marathon, Hillsboro, Oregon 13.1   1:44:05   7:56 pace

7/4/13   Foot Traffic Flat Marathon, Sauvie Island, Oregon   26.2   3:49:04   8:44 pace

8/23-24/13   Hood to Coast, Oregon

9/1/13   Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon, Dundee, Oregon   13.1   1:43:58   7:56 pace

9/7/13   The Color Run, Portland Oregon   5k (no time or pace, just a heck of a lot of fun with my daughter!)

10/6/13   Portland Marathon, Portland, Oregon   26.2   3:42:42   8:30 pace

11/8-9/13   Ragnar Relay Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada

12/1/13   Seattle Marathon, Seattle, Washington   26.2   3:41:33   8:28 pace

Besides the racing (or relaying as the case may be), I was honored with some great opportunities throughout the year. Some of the highlights include:

  • Being featured on Oregon Live’s Run Oregon blog as their featured runner of the week.
  • Getting invited to be a VIP at the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon in September, which of course means that I got to drink more wine! That race also provided me the chance to meet one of my idols, Olympian Kara Goucher, which was beyond awesome!
  • Winning a race entry giveaway on Run Danielle Run, which allowed my daughter and I to run the Color Run. It was a totally new experience and my daughter and I had a blast. I have to tell you, almost four months later, I still have orange dyed powder in my left ear!!
  • Volunteering time to help Fit Right NW with set-up for their fashion show which yielded free passes to the event. It was such a great production and evening. I was really impressed with the whole experience and look forward to next years show.
  • Receiving one of the highlights of my year which was an invite to run a Ragnar Relay with Nuun Hydration and Pro Compression in November. I did not even know what Ragnar was before then. I had never traveled outside of Oregon for a run. It is hard to describe what an amazing weekend it was. I met so many wonderful people and loved representing two fantastic companies. Without a doubt, one of my favorite running adventures EVER!
  • Being gifted on of the most generous gifts ever: sponsorship. Nearly all of the races I ran after July were made possible by Z.P. Transport Inc. and two wonderful people who I am so grateful to have in my orbit. They have changed my life and given me the opportunity to take chances and reminded me that I can believe that dreams do come true.
  • Loving my first coaching gig. I had such a great time as an assistant cross-country coach for a local middle school team and I’m fairly certain that there will be more coaching in my future.
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So many great memories!

Besides those highlights, I also marvel at discovering what I, and my body, is capable of. I run faster in my mid-thirties than I did in my 20’s! I ran three marathons in five months and my time improved with each one. I’ve discovered things about myself… things I didn’t know I wanted, or could do… until I dove into my training and began to follow my heart.

More so, I found so much joy in witnessing both of my children discover running this year. My daughter ran her first half-marathon in July and my son ran his first season of cross-country. As a parent, when your children begin to follow your lead, you can’t help but feel like you’ve done something right!

I ran my final run of the year this morning bringing my yearly total to 1,510. (125 miles for the month of December.) While I didn’t track the first two months of 2012, I roughly finished the previous year with around 800 miles. That increase shows how much of myself I have dedicated to running this year. It also reflects a passion that sometimes surprises me but continues to grow. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Then there are the people who have support me this year. And there are so many! But I just want to thank a few here. From the bottom of my heart, please know how thankful I am for you Ron, Makenna, Russell, Mom, Dad, Omma, Papa, Trudi, Allison, Meredith, Woody, and Linda! Thank you for believing in me, encouraging me, cheering for me, driving me, funding me, holding me up when my legs wanted to fail… whatever your role, please know how grateful I am!

I’m super excited about what is to come. Without a doubt, 2014 is going to be a great year and I look forward to sharing my vision with you soon!

Until then, have a wonderful New Year’s Eve. Make time today to reflect and take stock while you celebrate the passing year and all that you have to look forward to in the coming one. Above all, please be safe!

Cheers!! xo

*PRO Compression giveaway WINNER*

It has been such an honor and privilege to work with the great people at PRO Compression! Super great guys and I love their compression socks! I’m a true believer in the power of compression. 

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Representin’ in my PRO Compression swag!

I’m excited to share some PRO Compression love with one lucky winner! Congratulations to Meridith D.!!!! You have won your choice of a pair of either marathon socks or sleeves! Please email me your selection (color, size, etc.) at hylaridenour@yahoo.com and I will get them shipped off to you.

Thanks to all who played and a HUGE thanks to PRO Compression for sponsoring the giveaway! Keep it tight, friends! ; )

*Ragnar Relay recap, part 1*

After what can only be described as a whirlwind weekend, I’m starting to feel human again. It has taken the last couple of days to process everything that went down in Vegas, catch up on sleep, and figure out how to tell my tale of Ragnar Las Vegas. Which, by the way, will be shared in two parts. I’ll start my recap by saying this:

It was freakin’ AWWWEEEEESSSSSSSOMMMMMMMEEEE!

What an honor to run as a member of team Nuun Hydration and Pro Compression! Great people, great products! I am so grateful and want to thank these two great companies for allowing me the opportunity to represent them. And while I’m at it, a super huge thanks to Allison, Trudi, and Z.P. Transport Inc., for their support and financial contribution to making all of this possible for me. (I love you guys!)

Oh, and my teammates? Amazing! Meet them:

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Team Nuun Hydration/Pro Compression

Sandy, me, Zoe, Vanessa, Nicole, Carol, Kelsey, Jenny, Sarah, Matt, Brie, and Brennen.

Van 1 consisted of Sandy, Zoe, Vanessa, Carol, Nicole, and Carol. In van #2: me, Jenny, Sarah, Brennen, Matt and Brie. The ONLY downside of relays, unless you already know everyone, is that you don’t get much time with the members of your team in the other van. I really would have loved more time to connect with the great girls in Van 1 but time just didn’t allow it. I’m desperately hoping that our paths will cross again and I can continue to get to know these awesome ladies!

Oh, and did you notice we had a dude? Wouldn’t have had it any other way though. Matt, AKA Siggy, was awesome and the perfect addition to our team! He wears Oiselle (women’s running apparel) with pride and is probably one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met.

I arrived in Vegas late-ish Wednesday night. My husband drove 4-plus hours from Los Angeles that afternoon just so he could be there when I arrived. In return, what did I do? I threw him under the van, so to speak, and volunteered him to be our van 2 driver for the duration of the relay. ; )

The following day we had some time to kill before we had to meet Megan and Zoe from Nuun to pick up the van. We roamed the strip in search of Starbucks (not hard to find) and took in the sights. Though having once lived there, it doesn’t have the same appeal as it might otherwise.

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Pretending I’m a tourist.

Later, we met up with the lovely girls from Nuun and picked up this bad boy. Soon to be home for 30 hours.

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Captain Ron and van 2.

After picking up the van, we headed to the hotel to meet up with the rest of the team arriving that night. Slowly they began to trickle in. Fortunately, our start time wasn’t incredibly early, especially for van 2, so fun ensued. You know what they say… what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. ; )

Oh it wasn’t that crazy. Van 1 had to head to the start at Mt. Charleston around 9 AM for our 12:30 PM start time. Van 2 had a few hours to kill so we hung around the hotel, fueled up at Whole Foods, and eventually we were on the road to our first exchange. I was runner number 7, the first runner for our van, and wasn’t scheduled to take off on my first leg until around 5:30 PM. Once we arrived and checked in, we killed time by decorating the van and goofing off.

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Serious contemplation about our van decor.

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Brennen is super smart, funny, and a talented artist!

We couldn’t miss an opportunity to show off our super sweet Pro Compression socks made especially for our team!

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Pro Compression love! Keepin’ it tight!

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These babies created some serious envy! Source: Nuun Hydration

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Van 2 ready to ROCK! Source: Nuun Hydration

Just as it was getting dark, it was time to run! More to come tomorrow in part 2 as I recap my relay experience at Ragnar Las Vegas! In the meantime, don’t forget that I’m sharing the Nuun and Pro Compression love by passing along these discounts from both companies with you!

Nuun is offering %20 off your order with the discount code: ragnarvegas. It is good through the end of the year and now through Thursday,November 14th, they are offering free shipping!

Pro Compression is offering 40% off and free shipping! Order before 12/31/13 and you’ll save 40% and they’ll ship your order free! Use discount code: nuunpc when you place your order.

*Ready or not, here I come*

Almost 7 months ago, I submitted a video application to a contest by Nuun Hydration. The prize? A chance to run as a member of a Hood to Coast team sponsored by Nuun. I was pretty sad that I didn’t win a coveted spot to run HTC. However, a week or two later, I was contacted to see if I’d be interested in running a Ragnar Relay with Nuun.

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Ready to rock Ragnar with Nuun!

Of course I said yes!!! And I’ve been thinking about it, planning it, and preparing for it, ever since.

Then, Pro Compression sweetened the deal and they are co-sponsoring our team! How cool is that?

Today (tonight) is the day I make my way to Las Vegas, Nevada. In just two days, I will be running a 200-mile relay through the Nevada desert with 11 women I’ve never met before.

I’m super excited to meet everyone and experience what I hear is a fantastic relay. Postings here may be limited over the next few days but you can find me on Twitter and Instagram!

Also, I’m stoked to get to pass along two super deals from Nuun and Pro Compression! Treat yourself or get a head start on holiday gift giving!

Nuun is offering %20 off your order with the discount code: ragnarvegas. It is good through the end of the year and right now, through November 14th, they are offering free shipping! BONUS!

Pro Compression for 40% off and free shipping? You’ve got it! Order before 12/31/13 and you’ll save 40% and they’ll ship your order free! Use discount code: nuunpc when you place your order.

Okay, I’m off and running. I suppose packing would be a good idea. This is as far as I’ve gotten:

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Fuel for the road!