Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lake Samish Runs

What better way to kick off the New Year than by running a local race?! The cold, wet winter can send runners to the warm gym, or even cause them lay low in their homes until springtime appears. Cross training is very popular during the off season, but for some, there is no such thing as an ‘off season’. This is the first year I started running in the ice and snow while wearing cleats on my shoes and it was one of the most liberating experiences. I grew up in Colorado thinking that snow was only meant for skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or days off school…never once did I think anyone would choose to go run in it!

Scenic Lake Samish
By running in weather far below freezing or pouring rain with wind, showing up to race day with clouds and temps in the high 30’s sounded ideal! Earlier this month was the 41st Annual Lake Samish Runs, offering 6.5 or 13.1 mile options. I hadn’t run more than 8 miles since September, so going for the half marathon didn’t seem like a smart idea. We had two parking lot areas to choose from, and then had to wait for a shuttle to take us to the start area. Packet pickup was same day of the race for our bibs and chips. The chip timing was done by BuDu Racing which is VERY cool because they have results printed out as the event goes on. It is nice not to have to stay late afterwards (especially when waiting for a shuttle to take you to your vehicle) or sometimes wait a few days to see the official results.

The half marathoners kicked it off at 10:00am and the rest of us started at 10:15am. My only goal was to run a steady race and enjoy the scenery. I hadn't been training and wasn't about to push myself to the point of struggling and wanting the race to be over. The first mile was a nice little warmup and I'm surprised at how close each split was. The course was on low-traffic roads going around the lake and had some rolling hills, with patches of ice that still hadn't melted. I finished with an official time of 53:01, being 23rd out of only 90 racers and 4th in my age group. Our post-race goodies were in a beautiful lodge with a giant wood fireplace. I enjoyed some coffee and a cookie, snagged my ribbon, and waited for the shuttle to take us back. Next year, if you are open to the thought of running in Washington's unpredictable January weather, I highly recommend running the GBRC's Lake Samish Runs!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Grain-Free Banana Pancakes

Breakfast is a pretty big deal in our household. Mornings can be hectic trying to get the little one fed after waking up with just a little bit of time to cook food for my hubby, before he leaves for work! I seriously love these Grain-Free Banana Pancakes because they are healthy and SUPER fast to make.

Having a child typically means bananas and eggs are always on deck in the kitchen. They are both great beginner foods that are nutritious and easy to eat. Since Eisley doesn't eat meat (and lately is refusing beans), eggs, in addition to nuts and seeds, are important for her protein intake. Instead of flour, these pancakes use almond meal and hemp seeds!

Yummy pancakes = happy toddler!

Banana Pancakes
·         1 large banana
·         2 eggs
·         1 tbs hemp seed
·         ¼ c almond meal
·         ½ tsp cinnamon
·         1 tbs coconut oil
1. Place all ingredients in food processor except for the coconut oil. Blend until smooth.
2. Heat pan over medium and melt coconut oil.
3. Scoop a little less than ¼ c of batter out per pancake. Cook for 1 ½-2 minutes, flip, and cook for another 45 seconds.
*Yields 6 (4 inch) pancakes

 Top with your favorite goodies such as blueberries, hemp seed, raw honey, or pure maple syrup!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

December Miles + Running Away from Home

We are only a few days into the New Year, but reflecting back on December seems SO long ago! Did you find yourself struggling to find motivation (or time) to workout during the holiday season? Waking up to snow covered ground and 22 degree weather makes drinking hot tea in your pjs by the fireplace sound like a much better idea. Traveling away from home can also put a kink in your running plans. Are you comfortable running in an area you are unfamiliar with, or do you view it as a new adventurous opportunity? I personally enjoy the change of scenery!

Possession Beach in Washington
Wk 1: 1-3: 5.15 miles (including Fairhaven Frosty 5k)
Wk 2: 4-10: 7.24 miles
Wk 3: 11-17: 21.87 miles
Wk 4: 18-24: 10.91 miles (on Whidbey Island)
Wk 5: 25-31: 19.03 miles (on Whidbey Island)
Total miles for December: 64.20

Our December was a time spent sitting…literally. First we puppy sat for a week, and then we spent two weeks homestead sitting out on Whidbey Island. It was a nice and untraditional change to spend Christmas at someone else’s house while on an island! Not only did we get a couple days of snow, but we were also able to visit the beach! Eisley got to help feed the free range chickens and rabbits each morning, followed by playing and exploring in the woods. 

Searching the land for free range chicken eggs!
Majority of our days called for rainy afternoons. As a runner living in the Pacific Northwest, you have to accept the fact that it rains a lot and learn to embrace running in it (At least, that was my method of adapting!). Luckily I was able to go on five runs while we were out there. The area was somewhat rural which was nice, so I was able to run constantly without any stoplights or much traffic. The roads all seemed to be hilly and winding, moving through woods and farmland. One hill was an exact 400m which made for an awesome hill repeat workout! Afterwards I was able to warm up by the fire! We returned home in time for New Year's Eve, my birthday on New Year's Day, and snowy trail runs! Head over here if you missed the recent post telling 2016 to hit the road! Are you as excited as I am to plan out 2017's races?!? Wahoo!!!

Fireside story reading

Saturday, December 31, 2016

See Ya LATER 2016!!!

Sorry for the slight delay in communication…we were just homestead-sitting on an island for the last two weeks. I debated on bringing my laptop and whatnot along with us, but declined in preference to lying low and living in the present. Anywho…RAISE your hand if you are ready to say goodbye (adios, peace out, later, screw you) to 2016 and start a new year! I cannot believe how much has happened throughout this year and how fast it flew by. The entire world is going through some major changes, our country here has started shifting in an unknown direction, and our baby girl grew up into a full-fledged toddler (that’s equally important, right?!?).

When Eisley was a tiny baby boo!
I logged a total of 1,120.27 miles in the year 2016!!!

My 2016 New Year’s resolution was to learn more about running, try out different types of running, join a local running community, etc…basically, I wanted to take my running experience to the “next level”. Until that point, I had only done four little races without any sort of training or even really knowing what a pace was. This year, I completed 11 races over a wide variety of distances. They included 2 half marathons, a 10.35 miles solo trail relay, a 7 mile race, a 10k trail race, an 8k, a 6 mile trail race, a 5 mile race while pushing Eisley in the stroller, a fun 4.81 mile race, and two local 5ks. I joined a local non-profit running group and made some new running friends. My terrain included pretty much anything, such as road, trail, mud, ice, snow, and of course the treadmill. 

For 2017, I hope to further this journey as a wife, mother, and runner. I want to connect with other female athletes in hopes of learning, inspiration, and companionship. This New Year is a time to de-clutter our lives, establish healthy habits, practice mindfulness, and try new things. I wish to inspire and influence other mother runners to step out of their comfort zone, explore more with their children, and to practice self-love.

Cheers to spending 2016 together and THANK YOU for taking the time to continue reading this blog. You are the BEST!!!

PS+New Year’s Day is my birthday, wahoo! My other BIG resolution is to quit drinking for the next 6 months (for health, happiness, financial savings, etc)…who’s with me?!?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Fairhaven Frosty 5k

The Fairhaven Frosty 5k /10k was the final race of the year hosted by the Greater Bellingham Running Club, which also happened to be my final race of 2016! Can you believe that the year is nearly over?!?

Image courtesy of GBRC website
The race started and ended in historic Fairhaven Park. Runners headed South on Chuckanut Drive for the first mile, which was a gradual hill climb followed by a nice little downhill. Volunteer flaggers directed us North onto the Interurban Trail. We ran up through a few curves, and then it was a straight shot. At mile 2 we got off the trail and back onto the road, heading West on Old Fairhaven Parkway. The race course was open, so we had to pay attention to the vehicle traffic and try not to get ran over! At mile 3 everyone was kicking it up a notch and we were lucky to be gliding downhill.

We returned to the Fairhaven Park entrance and raced down through the finish line! My official time was 24:08 (7:46min/mi pace) which is a 5k PR for me (24:32 was my previous PR)! Even though it was cold outside, runners were able to warm up in the Community Building with coffee, hot tea, bananas, baked goodies, and other treats! Awards were given for 1st-4th place finishers in each of the age groups. I ended up in 5th place for Female 19-29 age group and one of my friends placed 4th! It's a great experience to participate in events with your friends and fellow runners.

I was greeted by our little family at the finish line. Eisley now runs around saying, "I run fast" or "I race too". What more motivation does a mother need than to see her little one smiling as she finishes a run?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

November Miles and New Mojo

Do you ever feel like you've lost your mojo? Taking a big break from anything physical (running/spin class/yoga/hiking/etc) after doing it 5-6 days a week can be a shock to your system. Words cannot even describe the happiness brought to me through the simple act of running! Last month I said, “November, I WILL RUN YOU” and I did just that. October only had 5 runs and November went up to 13 runs, including 4 workouts at the YMCA and 1 race. 

Perfect view on a trail run!

Week 1: 1-5: 5.2 miles
Week 2: 5-12: 5.45 miles
Week 3: 13-19: 8.87 miles (Turkey Trot 5k)
Week 4: 20-26: 14.76 miles
Week 5: 27-30: 17.07 miles
Total miles for November: 51.35

The first few weeks were slow. My body was still confused as to why I was making it move and running took major effort. It can be frustrating to put all of your energy into a certain pace or distance that used to be easy. Luckily, I knew it wouldn’t take long to return to my previous level of fitness. After simply focusing on building endurance again, I decided to try some interval speed work. (What’s the worst that could happen? Fly off the treadmill? Pass out with exhaustion?) Following a 10 minute warm up, I repeated 2min fast/1min slow, for a total of 6.4 miles! I couldn’t believe how amazing it felt! My legs seemed stronger and my breathing was under control. I wanted to run on and on…forever! That was the moment I got my mojo back.

Flagging those Turkey Trotters!
As part of my membership through the Greater Bellingham Running Club (GBRC), I had to volunteer at a race, which happened to be the Annual Turkey Trot 5k! The race was held at Squalicum Creek Park in Bellingham and all (100%) of the proceeds go to the Bellingham Food Bank. The day before the race, I found out that I would be a flagger and help direct parking. I also found out that the weather called to be cold, windy, and rainy. After helping set up the registration tables, I got a sweet neon vest with a big flag to wave around at people. Good news: it was cold, but not raining! Bad news: I dressed for rain and was still extremely cold! At 9:58 (two minutes before the race was supposed to start) the race director came and said my job was done! I could run in the race if I wanted to…but I didn’t have time to go to my car and change. I had on my “light” snowboarding jacket with a huge beanie. I thought, “Oh, it’s only a 5k. It won’t bother me too much…” BAD IDEA! Not even half a mile in and I was already wishing it was over. The official results haven’t been posted yet, but my watch read a slow 27:08 which is 8:44min/mi pace. This was the only 5k I had done in 2016 and I wanted to give it a shot! 

She's not as light as she used to be!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide for LADY Runners

Holiday shopping doesn't have to be your Achilles heel! This guide has everything you need to give the lady runners in your life! Some gift items are pretty useful, others simply make you look good, and the rest may be a little random…but isn’t that how most runners are? (Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with any of these businesses or products.)

1. I love to stay hydrated by popping a Nuun Active formula tablet in my water bottle after a run! There are nine flavors to choose from: Lemon+lime, tri-berry, strawberry lemonade, orange, fruit punch, grape, watermelon, tropical, and citrus fruit (my FAVORITE is strawberry lemonade!).  Each tube has 10 tabs and costs $7 on the Nuun website.

2. Keep track of personal records while displaying your race bibs and favorite race medals! This chalkboard display is handmade and available for $43 on Etsy by five1fivesigns. 
3. Get ready for your next (or FIRST) half marathon by following the ‘Train Like a Mother’ 13.1 mile training program. The package includes flexible training plans, exclusive podcasts, strength training videos, online support groups, and awesome goodies! Another Mother Runner is a running community full of resources for moms…who run! Available for purchase starting early December for $65.00 at the Train Like a Mother website.  

4. This phenomenal running calendar was originally created as a fundraiser for the Washington Trails Association (WTA). Runner and photographer Glenn Tachiyama captures the essence of running in the Pacific Northwest. In the past 11 years, the fundraiser has donated $174,000 to WTA which is a non-profit organization that preserves and builds our Washington trails! Available for purchase online at Seattle's Seven Hills Running Shop  for $25. Time to lace up your shoes and hit the trails!

5. Olympian Shalane Flanagan and Chef Elyse Kopecky came together to create this amazing cookbook for athletes, Run Fast. Eat Slow. There are over 100 recipes for drinks, snacks, meals, and even desserts! Order online for $16.97 at Amazon  or check out your local book store!

6. Running doesn’t have to limit your fashionista attire to shorts, sweats, or leggings. Shine on with this Red Sparkle Running Skirt by Sparkle Athletic and join #teamsparkle ! MANY other colors and patterns to choose from for $25. Available online on the Sparkle Athletic website.

7. Whether early in the morning, late at night, or in the PNW when it is always dark, runners need a good headlamp to guide them during their run! This Foxelli LED Headlamp is waterproof and rechargeable, with 100 hours of light from a full charge! Price ranges from $19.97-$29.97 depending on your color preference and are available on Amazon.

8. Keep those footsies warm with a pair of over the calf compression socks by Crazy Compression. I’m in love with this snowflake design, $30! Purchase online here!

9. This Emerald Green trucker hat by Dirtbag Runners will look mighty fine while you’re getting lost on the mountain tops. Also available in Red or Royal Blue, costing $22 and can be purchased directly from the Dirtbag Runners website(make sure to check out their other goodies!). 

10. We all need a little humor in our life, and this “Slow runners make fast runners look good” tank is just that! Available on Etsy for $24 + shipping.   

I hope this guide helps you ease your way through the holiday gift giving chaos! What other types of gifts do you think fellow female runners enjoy? What are you hoping for this year?