Oh crap, I did it again.

I wish I could pass this off as one of those middle-of-the-night race registration decisions, but it’s not.  Last night, at a fully-coherent 8pm, I registered for the Ute 100 mile run in August 2018.  I’ve been eyeballing this race for a couple months now, and it seemed like time to go for it.  I’m defending my Ph.D. this spring, so what better way to celebrate then going and torturing myself in the Utah desert for 38 hours?

 

Sounds FABULOUS!

 

So with that, focused training kicks off in 3… 2…1…

Training Log: Week of 10/16

Not much running-related stuff to report this week since I was out in Utah doing some fieldwork pretending to be a Mars rover.  Fun times, great people, and lots of hiking!  I covered at least 6 miles each day, with a decent bit of climbing since we were scrambling up and down outcrops.

Now that I’m back to my normal schedule, I’m looking forward to getting back at it this coming week!

Training Log: Week of 10/9

Monday: Monday morning dawned (metaphorically, since it was still dark out) delightfully snowy.  We got about 4″ of snow overnight, and it was still falling when my alarm went off at 5 am.  I felt pretty perky this morning and grabbed my running gear to get onto the treadmill and knock out a couple solid miles before work.  Unfortunately, my legs had other plans.  I felt like total crap.  It was one of those runs where every step was a struggle.  So I slogged through for a grand total of 1.5 miles and then walked a bit, and headed to the kitchen for breakfast.  Not the best start to my day, but it was better than nothing.  After a ridiculous drive to work (as we live in the mountains, we have to drive down one of the canyons to get to work, and the drive that normally takes 25 minutes took us 2.5 hours because we got stuck waiting for a vehicle that was blocking the road to get moved, and everything was an epic shitshow of slipping and sliding), and a crappy morning run, it would have been pretty easy to just retreat to our mountain hermitage, put on some PJs and curl under a blanket for the evening.  But rather than throwing in the towel, I managed to hop back in the treadmill later that night and knock out another 3.5 miles that felt really strong, so I was pretty pleased with that.  My ankle was sore from when I rolled it and faceplanted in the driveway the day before, but it wasn’t anything that was going to keep me from running.  Mostly I just need to make sure I don’t sit funny and bend it weird.  All in all, what started out as a pretty crummy day turned out to be a semi-decent 5 miles with a bit of a push for the last mile or two to increase my pace and get things moving.  So not bad.  Today’s treadmill movies (all Ginger Runner): Training for TransRockies 2016 Episode 1 and Episode 2 (my favorite, as they were in Boulder for this one and on some of my favorite local trails), GNGRBTS # 14: Trail Running of Orcas Island, 2014 Sean O’Brien 50 mi/50 k/26.2 race, Chasing Western: The 2015 Gorge Waterfalls 100k (featuring a win by the awesome Michele Yates!), and Training for Squamish – Episode 1

Tuesday: Rest day!

Wednesday: I resisted the 5 am desire to just crawl back into bed (I think I’m getting better at this!) and quickly grabbed my running clothes.  This morning was a quick 3.1 miles on the treadmill, trying to increase my pace each mile.  I’ve gotten comfortable with the moderate jog pace of trail ultras, and I’m trying to use the treadmill to push myself for some speed again.  It’s a slow evolution, but I’m seeing improvement.  After work, I busted my new Milestone Pod out of the box and got it set up.  I ordered this a couple days ago after hearing some friends rave about the metrics and biomechanics feedback.  Of course, there was no way I was waiting until the next morning to try this thing out, so it was back to the treadmill for another 3.1 miles.  The pod was spot on with my garmin distance, so that was pretty good.  And I really liked the metrics.  It will be interesting to see the feedback from these over the next few weeks.  I’ll write up a full review once I’ve had a chance to use it for a bit.  Today’s treadmill viewing (all Ginger Runner again… I’m sensing a theme here): Training for Squamish – Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, and Episode 5, Running 100k – the 2013 Cuyamaca 100k, and The 2014 Gorge 50k & 100k Behind the Scenes.

Thursday: Running with Kaitlyn day!  We like to meet up some morning each week and do a run around Boulder, and today was the day.  Kaitlyn has been ready to start pushing her distance a bit more, so we ended up doing 5 miles along the Boulder Creek Bike path before work at a comfortable pace.  Originally, I was going to run on my own and do some speedwork afterwards, but it was way hotter out than I anticipated and I was feeling pretty wiped by the end, so I left it at a nice 5 miles for the day.

Friday: Rest/fieldwork prep day!

Saturday: Kaitlyn and I made a game time decision Saturday morning to scrap our high mountain run near my house (8400″, where it was 30*, windy, and snowing) for a fantastic 10 miler in the Boulder front range.  We had a great day knocking out Kaitlyn’s first double-digit run up Bear Canyon to Green Mt. and then back down.  2000″ of climbing in 5 miles and then bombing back down to the trailhead.  The weather was perfect, and we finished up right as the winds were picking up and getting crazy.  Kaitlyn did awesome and I had a fantastic time too!  Then it was home to pack for fieldwork and get myself situated for the week ahead.

Sunday: This is completely a guess, since I’m writing it ahead of time.  I’m going to try to wake up early enough to get at least 3 miles in on the treadmill before having to head out to Utah for fieldwork.  I’ll be out in the field for most of this coming week, pretending to be a Mars rover (more information on my work page), so I’ll get lots of hiking in at least.  Hopefully some post-field day runs too.

What worked well: I think I’ve got my food pretty on point now, and I’m feeling strong in my workouts.  Focusing on consistency has been working well, even if it’s just a couple miles on the treadmill to squeeze something in.  Also, running with Kaitlyn has been great and I really look forward to it each week.

What I struggled with: My ankle is hurting quite a bit from when I bit it in the driveway last weekend, so that’s annoying.  But it’s not debilitating.  Overall, it was a pretty good week.

What I will do to improve next week: Continue with consistency, and get more time on trails (yay!) since I’ll be out in Utah for fieldwork (double yay)!

Total weekly mileage: 29.3 mi, assuming I get in the 3 mi on Sunday morning before fieldwork.

Training Log: Week of 10/2

To go along with my effort to train more consistently, I’ve also been trying to write more often.  So it’s time to get back to the weekly training recaps.  They aren’t super exciting, but they help keep me accountable and on track, so here we go:

Monday: Early morning treadmill run, just getting in the miles.  I HATE dragging myself out of bed any earlier than I have to, but I know that I’ll feel great afterwards and that it gets easier every time I do it, so when my alarm went off this morning, I forced myself to grab my clothes and run into the bright light of the bathroom rather than crawl back into my warm comfortable bed.  A moderate 3.3 miles while enjoying some Ginger Runner videos, and I was on my way to work with my morning off to a good start.

Tuesday: Day 2 of getting those morning workouts in!  This morning was a little harder to get going than it should have been, due to a late bedtime the night before, but I managed.  Another 3 miles on the treadmill and I was feeling pretty accomplished.  I would much rather run on the trails right outside my door, but it’s still pitch black out this early in the morning and we live in the Rockies, with bears, mountain lions, and moose in our neighboorhood.  Best not to tempt the wildlife with a tasty snack.  So it’s the treadmill for me in the mornings.  If I want to get in some trail time, I can always take a run break during the day while I’m at work.  Or save those for the weekends.

Wednesday: Another late night on Tuesday finally caught up to me and I was unable to overcome the black-hole-like gravitational pull of our bed when the alarm went off.  So instead, I managed a brisk 4 miles in the evening, still on the treadmill.  I spent my time enjoying the National Geographic documentary about Nike’s Breaking2 project with Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese.  These guys are incredible.  And I was so impressed with Eliud’s response to the final result (no spoilers here).

Thursday: Rest day!

Friday: No morning workout again!  I’ve been terrible this week about getting to bed early enough to make me not hate the 5 am alarm.  If I’m not in bed by 10 at the latest, there’s just no way it’s happening.  So it was another 3 miles on the treadmill that evening, enjoying Jamil’s Western States recap from this year.

Saturday: Today’s workout consisted of super fun yardwork!  (Known in our house as Jake’s Gym.  “You get buff.  We get firewood” is our motto.  Amazingly, friends actually volunteer to do this.  I think they mostly like the part with the chainsaws and four wheeler.) We had a ton of slash (CO-mountain-speak for brush) to haul up the hill and out of our yard, which took a few hours.  Then it was pie-making time (I made the Oh She Glows pumpkin pie brownie and it came out INCREDIBLE) for Canadian Thanksgiving at a friend’s house that night.  Not a running day, but still a good workout and lots of fun.

Sunday: Time for a fun trail day with one of my favorite running partners, Kaitlyn! (Jake’s former housemate who I totally stole for myself when she moved in.)  We took the pups out for a nice 3 miles around the neighborhood (mountainous dirt roads with amazing views), then dropped them off, I rolled my ankle and faceplanted in the driveway of all places, and then we did another 3 miles on the trails.  Kaitlyn is just getting into trail running and is doing totally awesome.  I’m super impressed and proud of her.  After Kaitlyn headed home, it was time for some more Jake’s Gym, hauling and stacking cut firewood.  Out of curiosity, I wore my garmin and HRM this time and discovered that I burned the same amount of calories per hour as I do running.  It helps that we live on the side of a mountain, so nothing is flat, and any time you haul firewood, you’re basically doing weighted hill climbs.  It’s a solid workout.

What worked well:  Focusing on consistency!  Also, food-wise, I’ve been playing around with the Renaissance Periodization vegan template and while the beginning was really bumpy and frustrating, I think I’ve finally figured out a good routine and system for myself and it’s starting to feel more like something I can do long-term without too much planning or thought.  I’m one of those people who has no problem eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch(es) every day, so all I really need to do is figure out my dinners.  Initially, I was trying to make my dinners fit all the macros in my template and that was causing me a lot of stress.  I really enjoy cooking family dinners and have no intention of stopping that, and this was just making that really difficult.  Not impossible, but not something that I saw myself realistically doing and sticking with.  So after a couple weeks of struggling with it and getting frustrated and discouraged, I started changing my approach.  I stick to my template for the rest of the day, but for dinner, I just make something for both of us that’s light, veggie-heavy, and low-carb (as I generally workout in the morning, most of my carbs are eaten earlier in the day per my RP template) and just keep it within moderation.  It’s been working really well this week and I can see myself continuing with that.  Also, I really like my bedtime protein cookie. 🙂

What I struggled with:  Getting to bed early enough for those 5 am runs.

What I will do to improve next week:  Continue to work on my consistency, and getting to bed early enough to drag my butt out of it at 5 am each morning.  Once I have that pretty solid, I’ll start incorporating more regular strength training.  As of now, I do it occasionally, but never very often or regularly.  And I know that’s a good and important thing to do.

Total weekly mileage: 19.3 miles running, plus two sessions of Jake’s Gym

Things you should know when you inevitably get sucked in to ultrarunning

This post goes out to my friend Elise, who I just recently runabled into signing up for her first 50k.  Congratulations!  Welcome to one of your best bad decisions!

Ultras are awesome.  They are also terrible.  You’ll hurt.  You’ll end up in some pretty dark places, mentally.  But you’ll also be completely exhilarated, see beautiful landscapes, and feel like a total badass.  Also, finish line beer is the best beer you’ll ever have.  You’re going to totally hate it and me sometime around mile 18 on race day, but you’re also going to love it (and by extension, me)!

Things you should know/do/get when getting into ultras:

Running packs aren’t cheap, but they’re worth every penny for the miles and hours you’ll spend out on the trail.  Get one you love and that fits well, because you’re going to spend a LOT of time together.  I particularly love the Ultimate Direction Jenny Ultra Vesta (more lightweight) and Wink  (my go-to pack of choice).  The Jenny Adventure Vesta is also great.  Those are the go-to ones for tons of the female ultrarunners around here, and they don’t disappoint.

Put together a small trail med kit with bandaids and blister stuff.  Keep it in your pack at all times.

Do the same for a bio bag.  “What’s a bio bag?” you ask.  Why, it’s a little sandwich baggie covered in duct tape (so you can’t see into it) for you to pack out any used tp, etc. for when nature inevitably calls on the trail.  Trailrunners are big supporters of Leave No Trace.

If you haven’t already, get fitted for a pair of trail shoes at your local running store.  Trail shoes have stiffer soles and more aggressive treads than road shoes, which makes a big difference with how you’ll feel after those long miles.

Don’t expect to run everything.  Ultrarunners power hike a lot.  Embrace power hiking and do a lot of fast hiking with a lot of gain to increase your speed while still walking.  If you try to run up every uphill, you’re going to burn out pretty early in the day and have nothing left for later when you really need it.

For good ultrarunning inspiration check out Ginger Runner and Billy Yang on YouTube.  They are two of my favorites for great ultrarunning films.  Some of the ones I watch regularly when I’m on the treadmill:

  • Life In A Day (Billy Yang) – Documentary about some incredible female ultrarunners competing at Western States
  • Amongst The Evergreens (Ginger Runner) – The story of Ethan’s (Ginger Runner) own experience with his first 100 mile ultra, the Cascade Crest 100
  • Run My Race (Bryce Boron) – 2 hour documentary about Bob Fargo, a typical ultrarunner (i.e. NOT an elite racer) as he finally realizes his dream of racing the Hardrock 100 miler
  • The Unknown (Billy Yang) – Coverage of Tim Olsen’s comeback 2016 Hardrock 100 race
  • Wonderland (Ginger Runner) – The story of Gary Robbins’ FKT (fastest known time) attempt circumnavigating Mt. Rainier (93 miles)
  • Altering Expectations (Ginger Runner) – The story of Kim’s (his wife and a badass trailrunner in her own right) first 50k
  • The Squamish 50/50 (Ginger Runner) – Ethan’s attempt at the 50 mile/50k back to back races
  • A Decade On (Ginger Runner) – The story of Brian Morrison’s redemption at Western States
  • Western Time (Billy Yang) – Sally McRae’s story of the Western States 100
  • My Fourth Hardrock 100 Run (Run Steep Get High) – Jamil’s story of his 4th Hardrock 100.  I particularly enjoyed when he got caught in the hailstorm.
  • Mont Blanc (Billy Yang) – Coverage of the Nike Trail Running team at the CCC UTMB

That’s probably good for starters. 🙂  More to come!

Lost and Found: My Running Mojo

For two racing seasons now, I just haven’t been able to get my butt in gear or complete a race.  To be fair, the local 50k I like to do each year (Dirty 30) was going to be a solid day and a pretty big PR for me last summer, but my running partner was seriously ill, and it was unsafe to leave her on the course, so we ended up with DNFs for both of us.  I was pissed at first, but proud of her for recognizing that it was unsafe to continue.  I just wish she hadn’t tried to run in the first place that day, since this was not an out-of-the-blue problem.  That one was out of my hands.  But it seemed to start a downward spiral in training and racing that I have only just started to climb out of, and it’s frustrating.  Also, to be fair, I’m in the final stages of my Ph.D. (defending this spring!), and that takes quite a toll on the physical and mental energy reserves.  But working out is also fabulous for my physical and mental health, and I needed to stop making excuses and just get it done.  I don’t have to be fast, or go super far (although I DO love that).  I just needed to do SOMETHING.

 

Things have changed quite a lot in the past few years – mostly for the better.  I’ve made great progress on my dissertation research and am preparing for my Ph.D. defense this spring.  I actually ENJOY research now and think I do a pretty good job of it, which I never thought I would be able to say several years ago.  I’m living in a place I absolutely adore, with a person I adore.  And speaking of that person I adore, I’ve also gotten engaged and am getting married next summer.  It’s been pretty good!  So now it’s time to get myself back on track with my racing and training.

 

I’ve always struggled with consistency.  It’s been my biggest obstacle when it comes to training, and it’s one of the most important things.  So my main focus for the time being is just that – consistency.  I don’t seem to do well when I try to workout at the end of the day, because once I get home from work I go into lazy mode and there’s a slim chance I’ll actually stick to my training plan that day.  So morning workouts it is!  This is easier said than done, of course.  Often, when my alarm goes off at 5 am, I run to the other side of the room to shut it off, so I don’t wake up J, and then I immediately turn around and get back in bed.  IT’S JUST SO WARM AND COZY!  But once I get just ONE morning workout under my belt, it gets easier.  I feel so much more accomplished getting that done first thing in the morning, and I find that I get more work done throughout the course of the day too, because it puts me in a better place to be productive.  Funny how that works.

 

To go along with the consistency theme, I’m also hoping to get back into writing posts more often.  I enjoy writing as a creative outlet, and it also gives me some accountability on those days when I just don’t want to do anything.  It also helps me think out loud about what’s going well and not so well, and figure out ways to fix problems.  So that’s about it for now.  Until next time, internet!

Change of Plans!

It’s pretty funny how plans can change so quickly.

Earlier this year I registered for the Colorado 200 50 mile solo race that my awesome coach puts on through her company Rugged Running.  Unfortunately Michele and Wyatt had to cancel the race this year due to logistical issues, which was  a huge bummer but totally understandable.  I was left with no races on the calendar for 2017 and for a brief moment thought, okay, I’m not racing this year.  That’s fine.  But of course, that never happens.  Instead, within the next week, I found myself getting antsy and thinking about all the possibilities for 2017 races and asking around within my group of runner friends for some beautiful and fun local(ish) races.

A bit overwhelmed with a huge list of awesome possibilities, I was at a loss for which ones to go for.  But then the question was answered for me.  Turns out the Never Summer 100k, which I’ve wanted to do for a couple years now and have heard nothing but raves about, is on my birthday this year.

So that was easy.

The new race calendar for 2017:

And tentatively for 2018, depending on how this year’s races and my Ph.D. stuff go (I will hopefully be finishing up this time next year):

I’ve been enjoying the beautiful spring weather here in Boulder and getting out for more trail time.  I always seem to have a hard time getting out in the winter, no matter how much I say it’s going to happen.  You know what?  I just don’t like to be cold, dammit.  But once the gorgeous spring weather rolls around, those trails start calling my name.  Last weekend I took Rocket out for a loop of North Table Mesa in Golden and we had a ball.  I also enjoyed the part where he slept for the entire rest of the day/evening once we got home. 🙂  It takes a lot to wear that dog out.

In addition to ramping up my training, I’m also conducting a bit of an experiment with my nutrition.  I’ve wanted to try to fat-adapt for a couple years now but never actually dove in and tried it.  But for the past week and a half, I’ve been sticking to a low carb high fat (LCHF) diet (yes, you can do this as a vegetarian!) and am really loving it so far.  For that first couple days, my run energy was pretty low as my body started to make the switch (it usually takes a few weeks for your body to fully adapt, but some people – myself included – start to feel better within a few days).  But after about 5 days or so, I was feeling much more energetic, no longer had swings in my blood sugar, had lost all my carby/sugar cravings, and was feeling constantly satiated.  I also had an amazing run around North Table Mesa and felt a dramatic improvement from how I felt on previous laps of the same location when I was supposedly in better shape and better trained.  So that’s been good inspiration to continue with this experiment!  I’ll write more about it and in more detail in a couple weeks when I have more of the story to tell.  So far, so good.

Creamy Vegan Aloo Gobi

Here in the mountains just outside of Boulder, we have a fabulous Nepalese restaurant called Kathmandu (I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself in this area).  Pretty much everyone around here is obsessed with this place, and their food is amazing.  My personal favorite is the aloo gobi.  No matter how many other menu items I try, I always go back to my first love.

I started trying to re-create Kathmandu’s creamy and ever so slightly sweet aloo gobi a while ago and never got it quite right until today.  But finally, everything came together.  This is definitely not a “throw it together super quick” kind of recipe, but man it is worth the prep time!

Creamy Vegan Aloo Gobi – Kathmandu style

Makes roughly 6-8 servings (We cook in bulk in our house so we have leftovers for lunches.)

I’ll take a better picture next time I make this. I wasn’t expecting to inhale it so fast!

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower – washed and chopped into florets
  • 4-6 russet potatoes (depending on your desired veggie:sauce ratio – I used 6) – washed, peeled, and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion – peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves – peeled
  • 1.5-2″ ginger root – peeled and chopped into chunks about the same size as the garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews – soaked in hot water for ~30 minutes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil (or whatever other oil you prefer)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Soak the cashews in hot water for ~30 minutes to soften.  While the cashews are soaking, chop the (peeled) potatoes, cauliflower, and onion.  Place the potatoes in a large stockpot, cover with water, and bring to a boil until just tender (they will cook a bit more later so they don’t need to be completely tender yet).  Drain and set aside.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling and cashews are soaking, place the peeled ginger and garlic into a food processor or blender and add 1 tbsp water.  Blend the ginger and garlic to form a paste and set aside into another dish (you’ll need the food processor/blender again in a minute).
  3. When the cashews are done soaking, place those in the food processor/blender with the remaining 2 tbsp water and blend into a paste.  Set aside.
  4. Heat the oil on medium heat in the stockpot (you might be able to get away with a skillet, but it likely won’t be big enough – I would recommend re-using the big stockpot), and add the garam masala.  Cook for a minute or two until fragrant.  Then add the onion and sauté until golden.
  5. Add the garlic and ginger paste and sauté for another minute.  Then add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate (stir regularly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom – depending on your stove, you may also want to turn the heat down just a bit here to make sure it doesn’t burn or stick).
  6. Lower the temperature a bit (if you haven’t already), and add the cashew paste, chili powder, coriander, and turmeric to form a masala paste, and cook until fat begins to come out the sides of the paste (you’ll see it, trust me).  Stir continuously to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan or burn.
  7. Add the cooked potatoes, cauliflower, coconut milk, vegetable broth, and salt to taste.  Mix well.  Cover and let simmer for ~20 minutes (or longer if you want thicker sauce).  Stir occasionally while simmering to mix the veggies in and make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.
  8. Serve as is, or with rice, naan, etc.
  9. Try not to eat it all at once. 🙂

NOTE: If you want to reduce your cooking time on the day of, try making the garlic-ginger and cashew pastes ahead of time.

I can’t wait to have my leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

UPDATE: Leftovers were delicious!  This reheats wonderfully.

2017: Goals and getting started

For better or for worse, 2017 is upon us.  I have never liked the idea of New Year’s resolutions, and refuse to make them.  However, I do find the beginning of a new year to be an excellent time to reflect on the previous year, and use that information to formulate a plan of attack for the upcoming one.

Things I didn’t do enough of in 2016:

  • Being kind to myself
  • Training consistently
  • Stretching and strength training
  • Eating in a way that is satisfying, and still provides quality fuel for my body
  • Saving for future plans
  • Exploring beautiful nearby places in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona through hiking, backpacking, backcountry skiing, etc.
  • Cooking actual MEALS
  • Reading for pleasure/personal growth

Things I did too much of in 2016:

  • Eating too much, and/or eating junk (not junk food, per se, but definitely not eating healthily)
  • Getting down on myself when things didn’t go as planned
  • Spending money on things I didn’t NEED
  • Stressing about things I don’t need to stress about
  • Wasting time

I would like to improve upon each of these in the upcoming year, but trying to do everything at once never works out well.  It’s a rare person who can overhaul every single thing all at once and stick with it, so instead, I’m going with baby steps – one week at a time.  This week, my focus was meal planning and cooking meals for my family, and only spending money on “needs” and not “wants.”  The meal planning and dinners went over wonderfully, and every single thing I made was voted to be a “definitely make again” recipe, and will be going into the “tried and true” family recipe binder.

The meal plan for this week:

Every single one of these was delicious.  I would highly recommend them all.

The other thing I was working on this week was getting back into the habit of tracking all my spending.  I used to be meticulous about this, but I’ve let it slide over the last couple years, and I want to get my good habits back.  Especially since we have some pretty big plans for the future that will require careful saving and planning.  So I got the old excel budget tracker file out (I am a HUGE excel nerd) and dusted it off, and have been logging all my expenses for the week.  This helps so much when it comes to curbing my spending, because I actually see it laid out in front of me, instead of just being some nebulous thing out there that I don’t really have quantified.  I’ve also put my credit card away, so I can’t spend money I don’t have.  It’s still available in case of emergencies, but it’s not the first thing I reach for anymore.  And finally, I set up an automatic $5 daily transfer to my savings.  It’s $5 per day, which isn’t really noticeable by the day, or week.  But it adds up quickly.  That’s an extra $150/month to my savings, and $1,825 per year.  And once I’m done with school and am back to having a normal income (grad student incomes are notoriously low – often close to minimum wage when you break it down by hour), I can always increase that.

As far as running-related financial things go, I made my peace with only having one (totally awesome) race for this year – the Colorado 200 Mile Endurance Run – 50 mile solo race.  I’m really hoping to do the full 200 in 2018, but for 2017, the 50 miler was the perfect option for me.  It’s beautiful, challenging, incredibly well run, and full of awesome people.  Plus then I get to volunteer at aid stations for the rest of the week and help out all the fantastic runners that I got to share trails with for the first 50 miles.  There were many other races that I wanted to have on my calendar as well.  But financially, I really needed to pick one favorite and just go with that.  And the CO 200 was an easy choice since I loved it so much last year.

One other thing I’ve been doing a lot more of lately is reading for pleasure.  As a Ph.D. student, it’s so easy to find yourself only ever reading technical journal articles.  I have always been an avid reader, and missed reading things just because I wanted to.  So I tracked down a bunch of interesting and inspiring-looking books, and have been working my way through the stack of them one (or two) at a time.  There have already been a few that I’ve enjoyed and found extremely helpful:

I found those first two (The Power of Habit and The Slight Edge) particularly interesting and useful.  I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention:

I got that book for my best friend who is an incredible person, but often doubts herself.  It took her a while to actually pick it up and read it, but once she did, the absolutely loves it and now tells everyone else to read it.  So it comes with a glowing recommendation from her.

Now that this first week is nearly done, it’s time to look ahead to plans for the coming week.  I won’t add much, because that’s when things break down and fall apart.  So instead, my focus for week 2 is to continue with the habits that I have been establishing this week, and add in a short run each day (30 minutes/3 miles), and tracking my food intake.

I should also mention the app that I found this week for habit tracking – Strides.  It’s been excellent!  Definitely worth checking out if you’re trying to create new habits (also read that Power of Habit book!).

2016: Not as planned, but still some great races

Oh my, it’s been a while!  The writing fell by the wayside last spring as I managed to get myself back on top of things with my research, and I’m actually in a pretty good place with that right now!  Unfortunately, my 2016 race season didn’t go as I had hoped, but I still enjoyed myself anyway.

For the Dirty 30 50k, I was having a fantastic day and was on track for a great PR, but my running partner ended up dangerously sick and it wasn’t safe to leave her on the trail alone and continue on myself.  Fortunately she was okay and we got her back to medical safely.  After that, it was time for the Grand Circle Capitol Reef 50 M, which was beautiful and HARD, and had pretty aggressive cutoffs.  I made it to mile 30-something and felt fine but the course was almost entirely uphills and the few bits of downhill were extremely technical, so it was slow going and I missed the cutoff.  It was still a beautiful and fun day, nonetheless.  Shortly after that was my one victory of the season – the first leg of the Rugged Running relay team at the Colorado 200!  This race was an absolute blast.  I originally intended to just volunteer since my coach, Michele Yates, is the race director.  But at the last minute one of the relay runners had an injury, so I hopped in and took the 20 mile first leg.  It was beautiful!  My relay leg wasn’t too crazy – the more intense climbs and breathtaking views are later in the race.  But it was still fun and challenging, and I loved every minute of it.  Not to mention, my team was totally awesome and had some really incredible and inspiring women on it!  I’m honored to have run with them.  After my leg of the relay I resumed my volunteer duties at the aid stations, and had a blast there as well.  Everyone at this race was excellent – the runners and their crews, the medical team, and the volunteers.  I can’t wait to be back again in 2017.

The CO 200 course

The CO 200 course

And then it was time for the Run Rabbit Run 100.  And yet again, life got in the way.  In 2015, I injured my ankle the week before the race and was unable to go more than 10 or so miles on it by race day.  This year, I had just returned from fieldwork in Iceland and got miserably sick (totally blaming my adviser for this one, since he had the same thing while we were in Iceland) with some plague-flu hybrid, and spent two and a half weeks – including race day – absolutely miserable.  So that was that.

2016 – not what I had planned, but still a pretty good year overall when it comes to running.

Now it’s time to look ahead to 2017!