Hale Freezes Over 10K Recap

After a pretty long break from racing I jumped back in the saddle with my first race of the 2013 season over the weekend.  The Hale Freezes Over 10k/5k is such a laid back and fun race that has become a tradition for me and I look forward to it every year.  This was my third year participating in this event and the Hale Center Theatre continues to put on a great race.  You can read my recap from 2011 here and 2012 here.

This race for me was a building block in preparation for my upcoming half marathons.  I will be racing the IMS Arizona Half marathon in Phoenix, AZ this Sunday February 17th and the Dogtown Half marathon in St. George on February 23rd.  One of these races I will actually race and the other I will use as a marathon paced tempo (or just jog depending on how I feel) since they are so close together.  I clearly just need a break from the winter weather and planned both of these races solely in an attempt to escape to a warmer climate.

Now back to the 10k race.  As I already knew from running this race twice before the 10k course is hilly and tough.  The first half is downhill and the second half is uphill.  My main goal (besides not slipping, messing up my hairdo, or losing my lucky headband) was to run a consistent effort and not fall apart in the final miles.

Mother nature so kindly blessed us with yet another snowstorm Friday night making conditions for the race a little bit less than ideal.  I had a few people ask me if they would cancel the race because of the weather and I just had to laugh and remind them of the name of the race.  Conditions were truly living up to the name this year!  The roads were icy, snowy, and slick….so pretty much exactly what I’ve become accustomed to training in this winter.  Sadly we’ve had a pretty bad winter in Utah and running in these types of conditions has actually become quite normal.  After the race director announced over the mega phone “Don’t try to run your fastest race today” the gun shot and we were off.  My splits for the race were 6:05, 6:12, 6:10, 6:30, 6:44, 6:20.  The 10K course is short and my garmin measure 6.04 miles for a time of 38:10/6:20 pace.  Although my splits are inconsistent I feel that I ran a very even effort and held it together incredibly well throughout the hilly miles.  Most importantly I did not fall and my headband was still perfectly intact at the finish.  Weather aside I really enjoyed diving back into the racing scene and had an absolute blast!  Here are some pictures from the day. 

As much as I love improving my times and running well I think my favorite thing about racing is meeting new and aspiring runners and spending time with people that share the same passion.  It was a great day and I am really looking forward to what 2013 has in store for me. 

Embrace Healthy Living: Overcoming Seasonal Affective Disorder

I am very excited about an upcoming opportunity to present at the Kanab Women’s Forum on March 16th.  Me and my friend Carla will be speaking on embracing healthy living through positive life changes.  Click on the link for more information and to attend the conference.  Michael McLean is the keynote speaker at the event and I cannot wait to meet him and hear him speak.

Since I have been asked to present on embracing healthy living I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can be a better advocate and live a healthy and balanced life.  It has been freezing this winter in Utah and from what I’ve been following on the news it has been colder than normal all over the United States.

This time of year can be incredibly depressing and more than ever I think several people are suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Between the freezing temperatures and the inversion in Utah I’ve found I have to work a little bit harder to stay positive, happy, motivated and healthy.  Being stuck indoors, not seeing the sun or sky for days in a row, and trying to breathe with the inversion can become overwhelming, frustrating, and honestly kind of miserable!
Here are 10 things I’ve found beneficial in helping me wane off seasonal affective disorder and embrace healthy living.

1.  Healthy eating.  I am absolutely no perfectionist when it comes to nutrition and definitely believe in balance in all things.  But what I do know is that when I eat better I feel better.  Eating too much junk just makes me feel like a big piece of junk and leads to sadness.  I’ve been making a conscious effort to eat extra fruits, vegetables and high-quality protein.

2.  Smile.  Never underestimate the power of a smile.  How many times have you been having a terrible day and someone simply smiles at you and it completely turns it around?  Smiling is truly contagious and such a simple way to beat the blues!

3.  Plan indoor activities.  I have been trying really hard to plan at least one or two fun indoor activity each week.  Last week I took my nephew to a movie and this week my entire family went to the circus.  There are fun things to do indoors but sometimes it just takes a little more planning, research, and creativity. 

4.  Weekend Getaways.  Last weekend I was able to drive three hours south and pace the St. George Half Marathon.  It was a quick trip and the weather was in the 50’s!  48 hours in the sunshine was just what I needed and I came back reinvigorated, happy, and with a new sense of motivation.

5.  Exercise.  One of the best way to stay motivated during the winter months is signing up for a race.  I signed up for the IMS Arizona Marathon clear back in July and knowing I have this race coming up has really helped keep me on track.  Starting each day with a run makes facing the cold so much easier for some reason.

6.  Shopping.  Yes I am addicted to shopping and seeing a clearance rack with an extra 40% off coupon is incredibly euphoric to me.  Almost as great as crossing a finish line at a race…almost!  It might not be shopping for you, but re-explore a favorite hobby that you have been neglecting.  Not that I ever neglect shopping but you get my point right?

7.  Random acts of kindness.  It is simply amazing to me how great it makes me feel to help and appreciate others.  I’ve made it a personal goal to write at least two Thank you cards a week to friends and family and doing this has brought me so much joy.  It just feels so good to focus on others instead of myself.

8.  Spend less time alone.  I live alone and during the winter it is easy to get stuck in a rut of vegging out in front of the TV at night.  As fun as this sounds it is a major trigger of depression for me so I have tried to surround myself with others.  I love living alone but being with people makes me happy! 

9.  Planning vacations.  I have a couple of upcoming vacations planned for 2013 and having these to look forward to and plan has really helped my mood.  Having something fun to look forward to no matter what it is has really helped me stay focused and happy!

10.  Fuzzy socks, hot chocolate, snuggles, and fleece pants!  It really is the simple things like wearing fuzzy socks under my boots to work and snuggling up with my nephew that help me keep me sane when the weather outside is insane!

Any tips you would add to my list?

I think the bottom line is that it all comes down to attitude.  Our minds truly are powerful tools and if we stay positive and focus on the good rather than the bad we will all survive this chaos together right? 🙂  Have a great weekend everyone!

Treadmill Boredom Busters

It’s been far too long since I’ve actually blogged about “running” on Running For Trevor but I have actually been logging quite a few miles this Winter.  In my opinion this is the hardest time of year to stay motivated as far as running goes.  Races are few and far between, temperatures are below freezing, and well sometimes sipping on hot cocoa and watching the biggest loser in fluffy fleece pants just seems like the cool thing to do.

Fortunately I’ve been able to resume most of my running outside with the proper clothing, lots of caution, and a few really crazy great running friends.  Last Saturday I even ran my coldest run yet in -6 degree weather.  That was a whole new level of insanity even for me but when properly dressed anything under 10 degrees feels about the same.  Cold is cold!

Running outside all year long is absolutely possible and many of my amazingly talented running friends never set foot on a treadmill.  But for those days when you just want to wuss out or don’t feel like putting on 12 layers of clothing here are my top five treadmill boredom busters.  Because lets face it, unless your EMZ running on the treadmill is just complete torture.  Here’s my attempt at keeping it Interesting.  As always everything that I post on this blog is simply my opinion and what has worked for me.  I am definitely no expert.

1: 1 minute on/off intervals:  Warm up easy and then alternate 1 min sprinting followed by 1 min easy recovery, cool down.Why I like it?  I like this workout because it is simple yet effective and works those fast twitch muscle fibers that so often get neglected with emphasis on distance running.  Mostly I like it because I am dumb and this workout takes very little brain function.  Just run fast for 1 minute and then slow for 1 minute.  Anyone can handle that right?

2:  1 mile repeats:  Warm up easy and then alternate 1 mile fast followed by quarter mile up to a full mile easy, repeat.  Try to increase your speed a notch with each repeat.  I usually end up doing 4 miles fast in a 60 min time period.Why I like it?   I like any sort of interval workout on the treadmill because it breaks up monotony.  1 mile repeats are a good alternative to tempo runs and help build stamina without fatiguing the legs as much.

3:  Hill Intervals:  Warm up at 1% and then gradually increase the incline every quarter to half mile until you have reached 3.5-4.5%, then go back down with the same method.  Keep your speed steady throughout.Why I like it?  Keeps things interesting and your mind constantly thinking and builds lower body strength.  One of the few beauties of the treadmill is that you can manipulate it.  You can basically mimic the elevation of any course by utilizing the incline on the treadmill.

4:  Progressive Tempo Warm up and then start a steady state tempo beginning at marathon pace and finishing at 10k-5k pace.  Just increase the speed a notch or two every mile to mimic the pace you are aiming for.  Depending on what I am training for I will do this for 4-8 miles.Why I like it?  The treadmill is utilized as a tool in this sort of workout and in a sense is teaching you how to pace yourself.  It is often hard to mimic paces outside because you are in control and terrain varies so why not let the machine do the work? All you have to do is keep up with the belt. 😉  Not feeling it?  Slow it down and just run at marathon pace.  That is the beauty of the treadmill…it will spin at whatever pace you tell it to.  Always listen to your body.

5:  Fartlek:  Bored to tears on the treadmill?  One of my favorite ways to bust boredom is to throw in a 5-40 minute fartlek effort.  Warm up for 10-30 min (or however long you feel like really) and then run at a steady fast pace for as long as you want and follow it up with a cool down.  This is one of those workouts that I never focus on distance but rather time intervals and effort. Why I like it?  I like this workout because it can be completely impromptu and can be as short or long as I want depending on the day.  Also because I don’t really like to follow a way specific training plan and rather try to be intuitive and listen to my body.  Again mostly I like this workout because I am dumb and don’t like to think and this is a great way to increase lactate threshold and improve speed.  I think fartleks are a great go to when you are feeling good but don’t know how to channel that positive energy.

Cliff notes:

  • I base all of my paces for different workouts off of the McMillan Running Calculator.  This does not work for everyone but for me I have found it to be incredibly accurate and very beneficial.  I am not way strict about following it but rather use it as a guide.
  • I base my workouts towards whatever I am training for and where I am at in my training cycle.  For example since I am training for a half marathon right now I would do my 1 mile repeats at half marathon pace or a little faster and my 1 min intervals at 5k pace.  Make sense?  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Just leave an e-mail in your comment and I will reply.
  • Always follow up a hard treadmill workout with an easy recovery day or cross-training.  Your recovery pace should be a good 45-90 seconds (or more) slower than your marathon pace give or take.  Everyone is different.  My friend Jake just wrote a great post on recovery.
  • Music, TV, Ipad (not that I have one but they seem to be all the rage), Magazines, books, people watching, singing out loud, and dancing (why not?) all contribute to busting boredom on the treadmill!

So as much as I despise Satan’s Sidewalk, the dreadmill, deathmill, or whatever you want to call it.  The treadmill really can be a great tool for consistency on those crappy days when you just don’t want to face the elements outside.  Just try to resist the urge to bang your head against the screen!

I Resolve To

Thank you for the incredibly kind, supportive, uplifting, and understanding comments on my last post.  I feel very fortunate to have such a great support system and it is so reassuring to feel love and comfort on so many levels and from so many people.

2013 is officially upon us and it is a great time to reset, re-asses, re-prioritize, and move forward with passion, love, and a clearer perspective.  There is just something incredibly freeing and refreshing about starting a new year.  No matter where you are at in your life you can always start over and move forward right?  I’ve made countless mistakes in my past but fortunetely these mistakes do not define me and it is how I respond and move forward that truly matters.  I cannot go back and change or re-write my history but I do have the power to pave the way for my future.  Here is a short list of 13 things I resolve to do in 2013:

  • I resolve to laugh more and stress less.
  • I resolve to study more and shop less.
  • I resolve to indulge more and feel guilty about indulging less.
  • I resolve to appreciate more and complain less.
  • I resolve to forgive myself for mistakes I have made in my past more and feel guilty less.
  • I resolve to serve and help others more and think about myself less.
  • I resolve to run for fun and enjoy my surroudings more and run fast less.
  • I resolve to slow down, have fun, enjoy more and worry less.
  • I resolve to connect with friends in real life more and waste time on social media less.
  • I resolve to love myself more and criticize my imperfections less.
  • I resolve to be a positive example to those around me more and gossip less.
  • I resolve to spend time with loved ones more and watch TV less.
  • I resolve to open my heart, trust more and fear less. 

I resolve to always progress forward without looking back and to be the very best me that I can be in 2013.  The best runner, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, supervisor and person I am capable of being.  I cannot go back and re-write my past but I can control my future.  I can dream big, live boldly with passion, embrace love and write my own story.

What do you resolve to do in 2013?

Holidays Can be Hard

I don’t want this to be a Debbie Downer post but I feel the need to be honest and admit that Holiday’s and especially Christmas are hard for me since my brother passed away.  I am a very positive person and annoyingly happy 99.9% of the time but I am also human and I have real emotions and moments of weakness.  I like to act like I have it all together all the time but the truth is my life is far from perfect.

Christmas often brings added stress for me because I am the Manager of a 24/7 department at the Hospital and since Trevor passed away I have always worked Christmas morning.  Yes I was helping out my department but in hindsight I think it was my way of coping, escaping and not actually facing Christmas?  This year I did not have to work on Christmas and for the first time I think I allowed myself to be sad.  Sad that I deeply missed my brother Trevor, sad that I wouldn’t be able to see my older brother and his family, sad that I didn’t have a family of my own like my siblings do, and sad that there is so much hype about this Holiday that so many people suffer through and have no family or gifts at all to look forward to.  And then even more sad that I was feeling sorry for myself when so many people were in such worse situations than me! 

I am not an emotional person at all so it was weird and humbling to me to feel and actually express real sadness.  I always play the role of the listener, the fixer, the shoulder to cry on, the strong one that people go to for advice and comfort.  I think I can fix anyone or anything but never really slow down enough from helping others to listen and reflect on my own feelings.  I have never been good at expressing emotions and for the first time in a very long time I actually allowed myself to break down a little bit.  I am not really sure where I’m going with this post and I know it’s getting overly wordy but I guess my point is that I learned that it is okay to be sad and that I should not feel guilty for expressing sadness.  I only expressed to one person on Christmas Eve that I was feeling down (my sister through a text message) and then I felt incredibly guilty for bothering her with my silly problems.  The last thing I wanted was for her to be concerned about me on what was one of the greatest days of the year for her and her family.  I felt so much guilt for telling her how I was feeling.  I went to bed on Christmas Eve feeling numb, empty, and sad.  I missed my brother so much and wanted more than anything just to talk to him about how I was feeling.

Christmas morning came as it always does and although I was still feeling empty I woke up to a pup that licked my face and showered me with love.  A Dad that hugged me and told me he loved me for no particular reason at all other than I think he could sense that I was feeling down and a Mom that was laughing and full of joy and Christmas spirit.  The day I was dreading so much was so simple and yet so perfect and just what I needed.  I was able to go running with a very good friend Christmas morning and I actually opened up to her about how I was feeling.  This is something I never do so it felt good to actually just talk to someone I trusted.  It was a perfect run and left me feeling thankful.  By the end of Christmas day I was feeling overwhelmed with gratitude, happiness, and most importantly love.  My family and friends went out of there way to make Christmas special for me and I felt so much comfort and love.  It was so good for me to realize that so many people love and care about me.  As I laid in bed Christmas night I realized that it is okay to feel sadness and that I am not always as independent as I think.  It is okay to seek help, comfort, and advice from others and not always depend on myself for everything.  I am definitely a work in progress as far as not feeling guilty about burdening others with my sorrows but I am making progress.

As the year draws to a close I am feeling grateful, thankful, and just so incredibly blessed in so many ways.  I have an incredible family, a great job that I love, wonderful friends, and a healthy body that allows me to run each day.  I am blessed!

Thank you to my many readers and friends (virtual & real) for following me throughout my crazy life and running journey and I hope you all had a Very Merry Christmas!  The new year is upon us and I am wishing everyone good health, good fortune, a new PR, and most importantly lots of shiny new race medals. 🙂

Positive Affirmations – 5 Things I Like About Winter

As I was driving through a blizzard last night, getting stuck multiple times with my car high centered and wind gusts up to 50mph I was cursing Utah’s winters.  It literally took me 25 minutes to drive 2.5 miles…..I could have ran faster!  I really, really, really dislike winter and cold weather and it has been freezing in Utah all week.  I could go on and on about all the things I dislike about winter but since I’m an optimist in every sense of the word I’m trying to convince myself that I’ll somehow survive this bone chilling season. 

I am a firm believer that our minds are incredibly powerful and we can talk ourselves into anything with enough positive affirmations right?

I will like winterI will like winterI will like winter

At least humor me if you will. 😉  5 things I like about winter.

Happy 1st day of winter.  What do you like about winter?

The Best Christmas Gifts Are Free

I truly love the spirit and the energy of the Holiday season.  I love the Christmas music, the parties, the yummy treats, staying up until midnight playing games with my siblings, laughing until the wee hours of the morning, and most importantly just spending time with the people I love.

As I flipped through my recent photos on my phone it really resonated with me that the best things in life truly are free.  When I think back on my childhood my favorite Christmas memories have nothing to do with gifts.  My fondest memories are all from quality time spent with my loved ones.  Just being together and spending time with people you love is what Christmas is all about.  Thanks Mrs. Cotter for the free inspiration today.

Free snuggles with my nephew after a cold and snowy winter run.

 Free trip to Scheels with the family.  Free entertainment that the kids would have believed was Disneyland if we didn’t tell them any different. 😉

The best things in life truly are free.  As the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season approaches keep in mind that the things we often remember are time spent together and moments that are free of cost and free of worry.

What free things are you enjoying this Holiday Season?

For the Love of Running

I love running.  LOVE IT!

After TOU Marathon I was injured and it was utterly miserable.  I cried, I whined, I complained, I completely over reacted and thought my world was crashing down!  When I saw someone running I was jealous, when my friends were racing I was envious.

For two years much of my life was dedicated to running and becoming a strong athlete and suddenly I was stripped of what I felt like had become part of my identity.  It took me far too long to put my feet up and actually accept the injury, but once I did I realized it was truly a blessing in disguise.

My body was screaming for a break and mentally I was burnt out on hard training.  I was also in need of a great life lesson.  There is truly something to be gained from every good and bad situation and experience in life if only we stop, slow down, open our eyes and seek the opportunity to learn and grow.  What I learned was a great sense of gratitude for my body.  Gratitude that it allows me to run, to compete, and to be strong and healthy.  More so what I learned is that I am much more than a runner.  Running is a wonderful part of my life but it is only a small fraction of who I am.  I am a runner but I am also a friend, an Aunt, a daughter, a sister, a Supervisor, a shopaholic, and a lover of life and adventure!

I have been back to running for awhile now but it is with a new perspective, a deeper level of appreciation, and a greater sense of gratitude.  I am truly running for the pure love of running!  And boy does it feel good to run my old routes and genuinely appreciate my surroundings.

No training plan, no pressure, just loving my ability to run as far or as fast as I feel like running.  Running to build relationships with my running friends and enjoying and loving the amazing outdoors that comes with it! 

So will I refocus my training and go after my goals in 2013?  Absolutely!  But it will be with a new perspective and deeper sense of gratitude.  For right now I am perfectly content with just running for the love of running.

Happiness Is…

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed.  Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” 

Denis Waitley

As I was scrolling through the pictures on my iphone last night I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear as every single photo sparked a memory and made me beam with joy, happiness, and most importantly gratitude.  Happiness to me is not defined by money, accomplishments, or material goods.  Happiness can be found every single day in the most simple things in life.  Happiness is not an action or a monetary good, rather it is a choice.  Life is incredibly simple if we allow it to be and happiness is a choice that we get to make each day. 

Since I blogged last I have not been on any big vacations, won any major races, or seen any incredible things.  Life has been perfectly simple and I have been incredibly happy!

 Life is so incredibly simple if we open our hearts, stress less, serve others and just enjoy more.  Life is not always easy but happiness is always a choice and life is too short to not be happy.

Wordless Wednesday – Moab Vacation

Over the weekend I took a little trip to Moab with some friends for some hiking, relaxing, dancing, and even a little bit of running.  It was a much needed getaway and I had an absolute blast!  Sometimes when life gets a little crazy it is just good to escape the confines of reality and go on a little adventure. 🙂 

Here are a few highlights and you can check out even more on Jake & Andrea’s blog.