Sunday Runday

Had a fantastic 9 mile ‘long’ run today. Many of my favorite trails are heavily overgrown and teeming with ticks so I decided to do a little road running and see if I could find any new dirt/rock trails along the way. I got lucky and found a new little gem of a trail, tucked some 3.5 miles into my usual route. It was perfect for getting in a little more technical trail running during my run. After about a half mile it became fairly steep switchbacks- perfect!

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It was gorgeous and followed a little creek that was happily gurgling and full of chirping critters. As always, I’m excited to have found a new, beautiful and serene place to run. Nothing better! Cheers to exploring, tiny adventures and happy discoveries!

Happy Running!

Simple Joys!

I think one of my favorite things about running lately has been the way the evenings have become this very special time for me to reconnect with myself and with the natural beauty around me. Just having a moment to crest the hills near my home and feel the crisp evening air and smell the sun baked grass feels so tremendously restorative.

I’m busy! And so are you I bet. We all are. When you’re a mother it can be especially hard because oftentimes even ‘downtime’ includes caring for someone else- putting their needs first, fetching juice, changing a diaper, wiping away tears. But running….that’s just for me. That’s MY time, and boy does it do me good. Running isn’t just exercise for me: it’s my time to dream, to think, to listen to nature (or music!) and to connect with others and most importantly, to connect with myself.

I’m very lucky to have running in my life. Catching the sunset, feeling my legs burn, getting calves speckled with mud as I fly (or sometimes creep) through the lush hills around me- this is icing on an already joy filled (and busy!) cake.

Ultra Quest: Part 1

Next week I will be approaching the start of my 18 week long training program for the Skyline 50k. This will be my first attempt at an Ultra distance race and I am very excited. Very, very excited. Stupid excited.

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Check out how excited I am! Derp!

When I felt ready to try a 50k I purchased an excellent array of books on Ultra Running so I could start getting an idea of how to prepare. Unfortunately, there is no replacement for experience and as an Ultra newbie (ha! bad pun!) I really am going in blind. Attempting to use information gathered from a number of sources, I came up with a plan that I hope will get me to my goals. If not, I’ll see what works for me, and learn.

Because I am a busy mom with limited time, one of the greatest challenges I found when trying to understand how to train for my race is that very few 50k training plans fit into my schedule. Fortunately I found one that did, and combined it with a marathon training schedule that I like. My primary considerations are as follows:

  1. My number one goal is to finish strong, meet some great people and have a good time. That is all.
  2. I’m still recovering from a bad hip injury and I seem to fare best on 4 runs a week. I don’t want to overdo it and find myself hobbled by an injury again but I also don’t want to be under-prepared. So I am trying to train as best I can, on as few miles as I can.
  3. Some of my runs will be with a 90lb dual stroller on road. This cannot be avoided. If I want to get in all of my miles, I have to log some of them with my toddler sons.
  4. Cross-training consists on some short cycling workouts on a trainer and some light weight training to compliment my running.

And so, this is the plan I am using: 18 Week 50K Training.

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I’ll be posting weekly updates about how training is going up till the Skyline 50k and we’ll see just how this goes! Share your thoughts? Any input or advice for a first time 50k?

Happy running!

Review: Nathan Firecatcher Hydration Vest

smallrunLast year I made it a goal to run Brazen Racing’s Summit Stomp Half Marathon. In 13.47 miles, there is approximately 2,492′ of elevation gain which makes for gorgeous views and a fun challenge. As I prepared, I realized I really needed a better way to stay hydrated and my Nathan handheld just wasn’t cutting it on some of my longer runs. Unlike with road races, there was a real risk of getting lost and finding myself far from an aid station asking a ground squirrel for directions to the nearest watering hole. Not my idea of fun. Enter the Nathan Firecatcher Hydration vest. She’s a beauty.

Vests rarely fit me well- usually there’s lots of bounce, uncomfortable chafing poor fit across my chest. It seems many runners with anything from a large B to D cup size (and greater) has felt my pain here: It’s HARD to find hydration packs that accommodate breasts. I have breasts. Not only do I have them, but at the time of the Summit Stomp, I was nursing my littlest son my chest was as ample as ever. I asked around and did a fair amount or research before purchasing the Firecatcher. I will admit I was swayed by the bright colors in my purchase, but I have no regrets.

This vest is fantastic. I’ll start with the pros:

  • Slide adjustable chest strap- you can move the strap up and down, over, or under your chest. With some play, I have learned I prefer the strap to ride over my chest and this vest allows for the perfect placement of YOUR choice.
  • Highly breathable and durable mesh.
  • Three nice pockets. There is a little velcro sealed ‘pill’ pocket, and an expandable zippered pocket that is perfect for a few Gu’s, tissues etc. When not in use, it lays totally flat. There is also a small additional pocket in front of water bottle on the left.
  • Gorgeous bold, fun colors in two options- both with reflective trim. The colors are Purple Cactus Flower/Tangerine Tango for those drawn to brighter colors and the more subdued but lovely Nathan Blue option for people who prefer it.
  • Decent storage capacity: 335 cu/in – 5.5 liters. Compatible with a 1.5L bladder.
  • Two 10oz flasks fit the front pockets perfectly and are a great place to stash your Tailwind or other drinkable fuel. (It’s often best to just use water in the bladder.) These flasks are a soft, squeezable plastic that is great for getting a good drink, quickly. If you’d prefer larger bottles, I have found my standard Nathan Quickdraw bottles fit the adjustable front drink holders just fine.
  • No problems with chafing, bounce, shifting or any niggling spots. Very comfortable overall.

And for the downsides:

  • When I ordered the vest it came with the two front bottles (those cute little yellow flasks) and both were extremely leaky no matter how hard I tried to get them to seal. I contacted Nathan and they have offered to replace the bottles. Great customer service. Easy fix.
  • The chest strap does tend to slip and loosen a little. It has a band to hold excess strap in place but this really just doesn’t work over long distances. My solution was to tie the excess strap in a knot. Works great, stays put. Problem solved.

Overall I think this vest is great for slightly chestier (is that a word?) runners. I’ve had no problems with it over the course of the last year and it’s held up really well through numerous adventures and a fair amount of abuse. I would absolutely recommend this vest and the price is nice as well- I got mine on Amazon for around $50 and it’s my favorite vest to date.

Happy running!

Welcome!

Hi! And welcome! I’m a runner, aspiring ultra-runner, mother and freckle faced trail lover. My hopes in starting this blog is that I’ll connect with other runners, share reviews, experiences, beautiful sights and adventures as I make my way, slowly, towards my running goals! Say hi, take a look around, lace up: let’s go for a run!