*Weekly mileage ~ Feb. 15-21*

Mileage for the week of February 15th – February 21st

Total weekly mileage: 13.5

Total February mileage (to-date): 81

Total year-to-date (2016) mileage: 241.75

Run review:

2/15          35:06 min./4.25 mi./8:16 pace

2/16          29:00 min./3.25 mi./8:56 pace

2/17          No run/travel day

2/18         3 miles on hotel dreadmill

2/19         25:30 min./3 mi./8:20 pace

2/20         No run/travel day

2/21         No run/recovery day

As far as running is concerned, I don’t even want to talk about last week. Yuck!

While I may have had a low mileage week, I sacrificed my training for a really, really good reason. I feel so fortunate that I could travel to San Antonio to see my daughter graduate her Army Advanced Individual Training as a combat medic. The girl has done me proud! Not only did she graduate as one of the top soldiers in her company, she was also the guidon for her company and received recognition for Junior Leader of the Cycle, which is a huge honor!

The trip was a whirlwind and there wasn’t a lot of downtime or rest. I knew flying home on Saturday that there was no way in hell I was going to come out unscathed, as far as illness was concerned. Lo and behold, a slightly scratchy throat manifested Sunday and hung around on Monday. Today, slightly scratchy became moderately scratchy, swollen, and sore, accompanied by sinus pressure, a headache, some chills… ugh. My attempt to take it easy over the weekend failed me and now I’m battling a full-on bug.

I’m trying to get back into the rhythm but I’ve just had so much going on – on top of not feeling well.

One day at a time. One day at a time. One day at a time.

I hope you don’t feel abandoned… I promise I’m not going anywhere! I haven’t been super active on social media lately either but feel free to connect with me there too. Have a great final week of February!!

*Thoughts on why I’m not running Boston*

It was about this time, roughly, three years ago that I set my sights on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. At the time, I needed something to focus on. I needed something that would challenge me, help me reconnect to the athlete that was living somewhat dormant inside of me, and give me a sense of purpose (beyond wife/mother/employee/etc.). Boy did it ever!

Where it all starts. Just 26 miles and 385 yards to go!

Where it all starts. Just 26 miles and 385 yards to go!

My quest to qualify began in the spring of 2013. The entire journey has been chronicled here on Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking. In fact, the purpose of starting this online journal was to share the trials and triumphs of the experience. In a nutshell, what I thought would be a year-long trip took me two. I learned so much along the way and it truly was one of my greatest personal accomplishments of my lifetime. Publishing a book is next. ; )

After qualifying for the Boston Marathon on my fourth try, in April of 2014, I had two options considering that my original intention was to qualify for Boston, run Boston, and be done with marathons. I could either slack off and go to Boston to enjoy a really long run for fun. OR, I could prove that I deserved to be there, and, if all the stars aligned on that Patriots’ Day in 2015, maybe qualify for 2016.

Even then, I didn’t intend to go back this year. Just knowing that I had potentially earned a spot was enough. With my time of 3:33:06, I’m fairly certain that I would have made the window had I decided I wanted to go for another round.

Truthfully, that decision is a little bittersweet as I watch so many runners prepare for the April race. Every time I come across an Instagram image, read a blog, or see a post come up on my Facebook feed regarding training for Boston, my heart sinks just a tiny bit. That could be me.

However, I chose not to enter the race and while those reminders sting just a bit, I’m glad I decided to not go this year for a number of reasons.

  • I’m still basking in the experience from last year. The magic that is your first Boston Marathon is one that I want to fully marinate in for quite some time. Sometimes I feel like I need to pinch myself. Did that REALLY happen?! It is not necessarily a once-in-a-lifetime experience but at this point, for me, it is. I’d like to hold onto that for a while longer.
  • I once heard someone explain their reason for not running Boston every year that they qualified and it really hit home for me. The wise one explained that she was creating space for someone who had never run the race before (like me) to experience it. There are only so many spots available, after all. I thought that was a really awesome perspective and I hope that my absence allows a first-timer their own magical Boston Marathon.
  • As I’ve been eluding to, there are some changes on the horizon for my family. If all goes according to plan (which I don’t expect it to because this move has been three years in the making) I don’t know where I’ll be in April. Or how I would manage to train through the relocation process. The thought makes me cringe so I know it would stress me out. As if moving isn’t stressful enough!
  • Let’s be real. It costs a ton. Between race registration, shoes (because training alone requires a few replacement pairs as mileage creeps higher and higher), airplane tickets, a hotel room, car rental, meals and snacks (and if I’m being real, WINE), souvenirs, commemorative marathon apparel and tchotchke, and so on, it is not a cheap trip and I just can’t swing it two years in a row.
  • On that note, I’d rather put whatever travel dollars I can swing this year to attend my daughters Army AIT graduation in Texas coming up next month. Plus, a trip to SoCal to search for a place. And, Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking and I have a BIG anniversary coming up this spring. Hawaii, maybe?
  • Not training is really nice. I mean I’m running and all, but not having some big hairy goal looming over me, eating up every single spare minute or requiring 5 AM wake-up calls on Sunday mornings is rather lovely.
  • Finally, I want to earn it. Again. I worked really hard to prove myself when I ran Boston last year. I’m proud of my PR and qualifying for 2016. Perhaps I could have used that momentum to repeat the cycle. But for some strange reason, I think I’ll ultimately find more satisfaction in stepping away, and if I so choose at some later date to try to qualify again (like when I hit the next age division), diving back into it for the fresh challenge. I think it will mean more to have to bust my butt for it again.

This by no means is intended to downplay the accomplishments of those repeating Boston year after year. It is a very personal journey and we each have our own reasons for wanting to run the Boston Marathon.

So with that I say GOOD LUCK to everyone working their asses off training for this year’s event and to those of you that have yet to qualify but are working your asses off too, keep at it! It is soooooo worth it!

*September didn’t suck*

September Review:

Total miles: 132.5

Longest run: 20

Total days running: 23

YTD mileage: 1,517

Some of my favorite September moments included:

  • Soaking up all things cross-country! Practices, meets, sunny fall days, rainy fall days, energetic middle school kids, lots and lots of running… All good!
  • Spending time with family members that live out of the area and celebrating my nephews 2nd birthday.
  • Being treated to an afternoon of pampering thanks to the gift of a massage and facial.
  • Embracing new, lighter locks! (Though still a work in progress.)
  • Starting a fresh new school year.
  • Hanging out with my little dude.
  • Harvesting homegrown produce from a garden I helped plant.
  • Traveling around Oregon for work-related training.
  • Running along the Deschutes River in Central Oregon (on said trip).
  • Kayaking the Deschutes River (also on said trip).
  • Stomping grapes and wine tasting (yet again, on same trip… we did actually work too).
  • Meeting some great new people.
  • Kicking off the start of what I hope to be a fun (and profitable) business venture.
  • Waiting, patiently, for the arrival of Autumn, followed by the arrival of my favorite month. (October, baby!!)

 

*Weekly mileage ~ Sept. 28-Oct. 4*

Mileage for the week of September 28th – October 4th

Total weekly mileage: 41.5

Total September mileage: 132.5

Total October mileage (to-date): 31.25

XC mileage (part of weekly total): 6.25

Total year-to-date (2015) mileage: 1,548.25

Run review:

9/28            XC only (3.25 miles)

9/29            32:51 min./4 mi./8:13 pace   +XC (3 miles)

9/30           No run/travel day

10/1           18:28 min./2 mi./9:14 pace

10/2           27:24 min./3.12 mi./8:43 pace

10/3           No run/rest day

10/4           5:01:11 hr.-min./26.2 mi./11:30 pace (*there was some walking mixed in)

Between coaching cross-country, a three-day trip for work, volunteering time at the Portland Marathon expo booth, and running the marathon itself, it was a wild week! I’m grateful for every single mile I logged!

This week is off to a rough start but I’m trying to stay positive. I was supposed to travel to South Carolina this week to see my daughter graduate from basic training but due to the hurricane, the Army has cancelled the graduation ceremony. While I’m heartbroken that I won’t see my daughter until Christmas, my thoughts are with those affected by the storm and I know that officials made the tough decision with everyone’s safety in mind. My post-marathon recovery last night consisted of frantically cancelling flights, lodging, etc.

On top of that change in plans, within hours of finishing the marathon yesterday, a slightly scratchy throat manifested into a full-blown head cold.

Oh. And it’s my birthday tomorrow.

There may be some sorrow drowning in the form of wine consumption.

Kidding aside, I truly hope you have a wonderful week and please give the people in your tribe an extra hug to let them know you love and care about them!!

*No running, no blogging*

Ha!

That’s a joke. It was not my intention to skip out on posting this week. Especially after I specifically said I’d still post regardless of my “break” from running. Life just got busy, ya know?

There has actually been a ton going on both in my personal world and my running world. Let me bring you up to speed.

First and foremost, this happened…

PVT Ridenour

Private Ridenour

My baby is at basic training. Across the country. It’s been quite a week adjusting to her absence but I’m beyond proud and excited to see what the future has in store for her!

I’m currently on day number 7 of my running break. It’s the longest number of consecutive days I’ve taken off in more than two-and-a-half years! I’ve been as active as possible but with two early morning trips to the airport (I also had family in town this week), a heat wave, and some travel, I didn’t get as much in as I had hoped. I’ve got two hikes planned for this weekend though and plan to resume running on Sunday. And boy, am I ready. It amazes me how dependent I’ve become on running. For so many reasons!

The “travel” I mentioned is somewhat running related. I’m currently in Central Oregon, home of the Cascade Lakes Relay. I’m not running it, nor have I run it in the past, but I hear it is a really great event! Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking actually got hired to come out and provide music overnight at one of the leg exchanges. So if you happen to be running the relay, I’ll be at the leg 18 exchange from 10 PM to 5 AM. Just look for the disco ball!

One of the perks of being a running writer is the opportunity to, well, run! As a writer for Run Oregon, team members are often offered race entries to events in which they write about their experience to share with Run Oregon readers. I recently wrote a race preview for the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon, which I ran two years ago, and LOVED! (You can read that preview HERE.) So I was super excited when I was contacted to see if I was interested in running it this year. Um, heck YEAH!

Hopefully, my break from running this week won’t hinder my ability to run the half marathon… which just so happens to be a week from tomorrow! I’m optimistic that it will be a great race no matter what and it comes at the perfect time to restart my marathon training because it’s coming up quick!

ragnarfinish3

Representin’!!

Speaking of, I mentioned a while back that I’m an ambassador for the Portland Marathon. This is the first year in its history that they’ve had an ambassador program so I’m honored to be a part of it as it kicks off! And, I’m pleased to be able to share a $10 discount with you should you be looking for the perfect autumn marathon. It’s filling up fast (and usually sells out about mid-August) so don’t wait to much longer to register. Plus, there will be a price increase soon. You can register HERE and use the discount code: HYLA10 to save you $10 bucks!

All for now. I’m hittin’ the trails for a hike I’ve been fantasizing about doing for about a year. Woo hoo!

*Weekly mileage ~ July 6-12*

Mileage for the week of July 6th – 12th

Total weekly mileage: 39.75

Total July mileage (to-date): 60

Total year-to-date (2015) mileage: 1,183.5

Run review:

7/6           52:09 min./6.25 mi./8:21 pace

7/7           33:39 min./4 mi./8:25 pace

7/8            33:52 min./4 mi./8:28 pace

7/9            1:05:44 min./8 mi./8:13 pace

7/10          53:42 min./6 mi./8:56 pace

7/11          35:56 min./4.25 mi./8:27 pace

7/12          1:00:26 min./7.25 mi./8:20 pace

One of the great joys of being a runner is the opportunity to explore new places on foot whenever you travel. I love running when I travel. It provides such a great way to get familiar with an unfamiliar area, check out local sights, and perhaps even offer new challenges.

For the second time in just a few weeks, I got to spend a few days in one of my favorite areas in all of Oregon. Central Oregon, made up of the communities of Sunriver, Bend, Redmond, and Crooked River Ranch (among others) is my dream playground and I always look forward to spending time there.

I was able to get in a few challenging runs in while I was visiting. The dry climate, heat, and elevation (about 4,000 feet) are quite different from what I’m accustom to running in. But it’s always a nice, and much welcome, change of pace.

A must-visit destination, if you ever happen to be in the area, is Smith Rock State Park. I took my son and his buddy there for a hike on Friday morning. We did the most difficult of all of the trails that takes you up and over the “rock”, past the famous “Monkey Face”, and along the Crooked River. We saw a rattle snake, a bald eagle, and lots of rock climbers scaling the famous walls that draw climbers from all over the world. Such a great place to experience the gift nature has given us!

At any rate, it was a great weekend with great friends and some fun little adventures. Plus, we celebrated another trip around the sun for Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking.

*Zaniness at Zion*

The laughs generated by the awesome comments I received after yesterday’s post were much-needed. I wasn’t soliciting an outpouring of support but you guys sure know how to make a girl feel loved!! Thank you!!

Onward!

I’ve been eager to share what went down at Ragnar Trail Zion! I was really blessed to be able to travel down early, get acclimated to the higher elevation, enjoy some sunshine and dry weather, and spend time with my dear friend and her sister. St. George, Utah, is really beautiful and I was so grateful to have a fantastic place to stay so close to the relay site. I was very well cared for!!

On Friday morning I drove from St. George to the Zion Ponderosa Ranch. The drive forces you to literally drive 11 miles through Zion. I was really bummed about that. NOT! It is unbelievably gorgeous!! I took my time and made sure to stop for a few pics en route.

Driving through Zion to Ragnar.

The drive through Zion.

The drive through Zion to Ragnar.

Such a gorgeous trip!

Just after you exit the park, you turn off the highway and travel about 6 or so miles up into the hills basically overlooking Zion. My original plan was to pull into the off-site parking and just take my bags with me on the shuttle to the site but I missed the turn and drove right to the ranch. They were asking people to unload and then drive 4 miles back down to park for the weekend.

When I parked to unload, I realized I had no idea where to look for my team… how would I find a group of 7 people I’d never met before among approximately 3000 people and what seemed like about 3000 campsites too? To compound that, I had no cell service where I was at.  I had no choice but to get out, leave the car, and wander around until I *hopefully* found my team.

As far as the eye can see...

Camp at Ragnar Trail Zion!

I started down the road and got maybe 20 feet when I noticed a group of people unloading a car. One of the guys caught my eye. Now I’ve spent weeks interacting with my fellow Nuun Ambassador, George, but I’d never met him in person. From the pictures I’d seen on-line, the guy unloading camping gear seemed to fit George’s likeness. I asked “you’re not George, are you”? To which he replied yes!! What are the odds that we’d arrive at the same time and park within just a few short feet of each other?!?

After introductions, we carried the gear to where another team member had already set up camp complete with two tents, a canopy, a heater to stay warm when temps dropped overnight, chairs, coolers, you name it! But it gets better! Shortly after we arrived, a couple drove up on a golf cart. Another team member and her husband. As it turns out, they had rented a cabin on-site so that her husband could stay there with their 6-year-old grandson, whose dad was also on the team.

Immediately, they offered to allow us to park our cars at the cabin so that we wouldn’t have to bother with the shuttle. Sweet! They also then offered to allow us to use the cabin to shower, sleep, cook/eat or do laundry. What??? Here I was thinking I’d be “roughing it” all weekend. When we got there, which was maybe a quarter of a mile from our campsite, I realized the “cabin” is actually a log house with 3.5 baths, 3 bedrooms and sleeps 11. We were hooked up!!!!

Our first runner started at 2 PM. The camp “village” was buzzing with people and energy. Teams gathered there to send off their runners or hang out while waiting until a runner returned and it was time to switch. That is one of the unique things I really loved about the event. All team members start and finish at the same spot and run loops. It is very different from a traditional relay where you are in a van and drive point-to-point to exchange runners. It was fun to be able to hang out with all members of the team as opposed to just the teammates in your van.

The trail map.

The trail map.

This pattern would continue through the night and wrap up sometime early afternoon on Saturday. At least a week before the event, I started hearing reports that the weather forecast was not looking favorable for the weekend. On Friday afternoon, while it was overcast with some sun breaks, there was a nasty wind and a threat of thunder and lightning. The wind gusts were wicked! Since it is essentially a desert-like climate, it is very dry. Every time the wind would pick up you’d have to turn your back and bury your head in your shirt to avoid getting a mouthful of dirt. Had that been the worst of it, the event would have carried on flawlessly.

I ran my first leg in the early evening and it was a lot of fun! Very treacherous terrain though. The trails are mainly used by equestrians although some were wider to accommodate ATV’s. Either way, a little tricky to navigate. I was sucking air and felt parched but was overall pleased with my time on the 3.1 mile loop which was rated easy. Our estimated pace, as a team, was 11 minute miles. I ran the “green” loop in 30:22, averaging a 9:48 pace.

The calm before the storm.

The calm before the storm.

Running aside, what was most concerning was the 100% chance of rain forecasted to reach us around 2 AM. Right around the time I’d be on the trail again. Good times. I believe I started running around 1:45 AM on the “red” loop. This loop, rated the hardest of all three, is 8.6 miles with steep hilly sections and what I heard where fantastic views… none of which I got to enjoy because it was pitch black!

As I was waiting for the runner ahead of me to return, the sprinkles started. Over the course of the hour and 43 minutes I was on the course, the rain steadily increased until it was pretty much dumping buckets. Just before mile four I rolled my ankle. Another mile or two later I fell. A mile after that I fell again. It was brutal out there!!! Despite using the headlamp and a small flashlight, my depth perception was way off. I felt like I was drunk. Not the greatest run ever. Bruised and sore, I got back before the weather took another turn for the worse finishing with a 12:20 average pace.

I was freezing the minute I finished, as was the teammate who finished before me, so we hightailed it over to the cabin to shower, get warm, eat, and hopefully catch a nap before we’d be up for round three. We were absolutely soaked, muddy, and miserable and SUPER grateful that we had solution. My heart truly felt for the thousands of people stuck with no option but to wait it out inside a tent!

Around 5 AM we laid down to grab a couple of hours of sleep. When we awoke just a few short hours later, we couldn’t believe the news we were hearing!!! While I was laying there half awake, I decided to check out updates on my Instagram and Facebook accounts. What I discovered was quite a shock. The ambassador rep from Nuun Hydration was at the event and had just posted a group picture of her team in big puffy winter jackets surrounded by SNOW! Lots and lots of it!! I jumped up out of bed and sure enough, a good two inches had fallen in the 2.5 hours I had been asleep. Her caption with the picture read: “SNOW just canceled Ragnar Trail Zion!”

This was NOT in the forecast!

This was NOT in the forecast!

Not sure what was happening back at camp, we didn’t know what to think! Finally our team members began to filter back over to the cabin to relayed the news that indeed, the event had been called due to the snow.

Canceled. Over. Done.

Our final runner on the course was on the same loop I had finished a few hours earlier. While it was light outside, the snow made it nearly impossible to see the trail or the markers meant to help guide us. The poor girl was out there for about 2.5 hours and frozen when she got back!! While it was disappointing that we couldn’t finish what we set off to do, I think the Ragnar team made a good call in cancelling the remainder of the race.

Before and after.

Before and after.

My plan all along was to stay the night after the event was over and camp out with my team. I was a little concerned about traveling back if the conditions worsened but I really wanted to stay. Plus, we had a toasty warm and cozy cabin to stay in complete with a few bottles of wine. I’m a sucker for wine, you know? ; )

And a sucker for the front porch!

And a sucker for the front porch!

I’m so glad I waited it out. The snow melted off later in the afternoon with some mild flurries off and on all evening. I had such a fantastic time bonding with my team while sitting around a propane heater watching it snow. We made the very best of the situation and I think that memory will stay with me longer than the one of the cancelled event.

Team bonding post-relay.

Team bonding post-relay.

Sunday morning we woke to blue sky! I began making my way back to St. George but took my time, again stopping several times for pictures and little walks along the Virgin River.

The Virgin River in Zion.

The Virgin River in Zion.

That view is awe inspiring!

That view is awe-inspiring!

I fell in love with the sweet little town at the entrance to the park, Sringdale, Utah. It’s a quaint tourist town with lots of cute shops, restaurants, and kindred nature-loving spirits. I had to stop for a snack and took a short walk around town before the final stretch of the drive back.

Such a great group of people!!

Such a great group of people!!

Team Captain George and I before departing.

Team Captain George and I before departing.

I would not change a single thing about my journey, the race, or my time there. Everything happens for a reason and I feel so very blessed to have been extended the invite and the opportunity to actually go. I met some fantastic people whom I hope to cross paths with again in the future. I got to spend time with a my friend and I got to experience the vast beauty of Zion. It was such a wonderful trip!!!

Rumor has it that the cabin has already been reserved for next year…