Marathon Training Week 1, Day 1

December 17th, 2013

I’ve decided that I’m going to attempt to train for my first Marathon. I’ve run plenty of ½ Marathons over the last few years, but now it is time to try for a full. (And, finally earn the “Marathon” part of Mountain Mama Marathoner.) I’ve picked a race weekend in early June and have calculated that it is 24 weeks away. Yippee!!!

Since I’m the type of person who does best with a dedicated training schedule – I’ve re-discovered and bookmarked the link to Hal Higdon’s website. Using his training plan as a base, I’m going to combine the Novice 1, Novice 2, and Intermediate 1 plans and create my own weekly training schedule. Exciting!!!!

Beautiful day for a run!

Beautiful day for a run!

Today was an unseasonably warm day in Colorado, especially in mid-December. My pup and I headed out to a trail and ran 4 miles in 43:39 (pace 10:54 min/mi). It had a decent hill on the trail route giving me an elevation gain of 679.1 – not bad. The time is always a little “off” when I run with my dog. There are a few more stops and distractions, but it is worth it to have my best running pal on the trail with me!!

Taking a moment to "point" something out.

Taking a moment to "point" something out.

Now, on to yoga!

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My Mid-December Resolutions

December 16th, 2013

The great thing about life is that, in general, it gives you many chances. For about a year now, I’ve been wanting to get my blog up and going; but, it just never seemed to happen. I also wanted to make running a priority; but, it just wasn’t. Ever since I found yoga, I wanted to incorporate it into my daily life – without fail; yet, I didn’t. I know eating junk food is not good for you; however, I still get into a bag of chips or overindulge in sugary treats.

Quantity is a problem with this one!

Quantity is a problem with this one!

Luckily, I believe that life gives you many chances. Sometimes it just takes a bit more than a nudge to get back on track. For me that nudge came from looking at old pictures. I was shocked how just a mere five years ago, I looked younger and fitter. I have, once again, decided to grab hold of my priorities and move forward! It’s time to set new goals and new intentions.

Happy Me - Happy Dog!

Happy Me - Happy Dog!

For me these goals include up-keeping my blog and refocusing my writing career. I also want to focus my energy on running and yoga. I intend to create healthful meals and snacks for myself and my family. They say everything in moderation – but I have learned that there are some things that I just cannot do in moderation (like eating Doritos).

The view is always changing and always breathtaking!

I ran today on my favorite trail and it felt amazing!!!! Yes, it was only 4.25 miles; but I loved every minute of it!!! (As did my favorite 4-legged running partner!) I followed it up with a recovery yoga class that rejeuvenated my body and spirit. Life is good!!

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Here I Go - Again!!

July 31st, 2013

I’ve learned a few valuable things about myself in the last year. It was a year of minimal running, minimal blogging, and oh how I’ve missed it.

I’m a creature of habit. I like having a schedule and sticking to it. Last year, I decided not to run any races. My thoughts were that I would focus on increasing my pace and then, I’d improve my race times. While this, on its own, may be true, I discovered something quite the opposite. Without a race to train for, I ran less. In fact I was lucky to run 10 miles a week. Clearly, not enough to better my pace and race times – but at least it was better than nothing.

Along with my running, my blog was also put on the back burner. In fact, I think I have only written one or two posts in the last 12 months or so. I discovered that I had plenty of things to post about – I just didn’t make time in my day to take a few moments to blog and add a picture to my beloved blog.

Well, summer is almost over (according to the school calendar) and things are changing (for the better). I’m on my second week of training for a half-marathon at the end of October. While I still need to register for my race, I am dedicated to my runs. I’m also continuing to practice yoga and have added a few days where I attend a weight-lifting class. All this has made me stronger and even more dedicated to running.

Rainy day run - a rarity!

Rainy day run - a rarity!

I’m hoping to continue on this path and to write posts to both inspire me and others. Motivation is an important factor! Here’s to staying motivated!!!!

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Eat to Live: High Nutrients, Low Calories

September 17th, 2012

After a fun summer filled with ice cream, sangria, and smores, it became evident that it was time to buckle down, drop a few pounds, and focus more intently on our health.  After a friend had great success with Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s plan, Eat to Live, and my husband and I decided we’d give it a try.

We are doing a slightly motified version of the Eat to Live plan.  Since my husband and I both work out during the week, we are only doing 5 days of the “Aggressive” plan, instead of the recommended 7 days.  Under the “Aggressive” Eat to Live plan, all animal products are eliminated from the diet.  Under the more “Moderate” plan, lean fish is allowed a few times each week.  Diary, white sugars, and processed foods are supposed to be avoided under both plans.  We hope to follow this Moderate plan for the full six weeks!

After a breakfast of fruit and ground flaxseed, I felt like we were off to a stellar start.  Then, came lunch. It was delicious!  A bowl of romaine lettuce was topped with black beans, red bell peppers, green onions, strawberries, a variety of herbs and spices, and a squeeze of lime juice. 

Black Bean Salad

Black Bean Salad

The spices and lime juice gave it plenty of flavor.  The strawberries added some sweetness. The peas and red bell peppers gave it some crunch.  The black beans made it filling.  All in all, a delicious lunch!

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Summer Resolutions 2012

May 22nd, 2012

Summer's on its way!

Summer's on its way!

I haven’t posted anything new on Mountain Mama Marathoner for a while now. Life has just gotten busy. Most of it is self-inflicted. For example, I am a proud member of a community garden now. Gardening takes time and I gladly give it to this amazing project – stay tuned to hear more about it. I am trying to eat healthful, local foods, as often as I can. (And, of course, this means my family is also eating local foods).

So I’ve decided to come up with some Summer Resolutions for 2012. I intend to reflect back on these throughout the summer and I hope to have them carry on through upcoming Fall, Winter, and Spring.

1. Drink at least 8 cups of water each day – more if I work out or spend time outside.
2. Eat fresh, local, organic foods – preferably from the Farmer’s Market. Avoid all processed foods.
3. Run 5-6 days each week.
4. Choose healthier snacks.
5. Update this blog several times each week.
6. Yoga three times a week, if possible. (Even if I have to do it at home).

Although some of these resolutions will take time to achieve, others can be achieved immediately. Here’s to a summer full of health and productivity!!!

UPDATE: These summer resolutions will now be used for this Fall.  I give myself a D- for following these resolutions this Summer.  Motivated to Succeed!

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Vail: The Love Is In the Details a/k/a Cookie Cabin Service

February 8th, 2012

We were supposed to meet-up with my husband’s parents at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Vail and, as so often happens, we were running late. The gondola line was moving, but it also was fairly long. It seemed doubtful that we would reach everyone in time. I was about 15 feet ahead of my husband and kids and turned around just in time to see them – all smiles – beckoning me out of the line. “Alright…I wonder what this is all about?”

The next thing I know, we are escorted by two gentlemen in red Vail coats to the side entrance of the gondola, bypassing the line. I thought to myself, “This has got to be good!” And it was! We were the selected family of the day for Cookie Cabin Service!

The stocked cookie (picnic) basket.

The stocked cookie (picnic) basket.

Vail certainly knows that sometimes it’s the little things that mean a lot. My husband and I were reveling in the fact that we were able to avoid a lift line and get to the top of the mountain in time to meet up with his family. For my kids, the joy ran even deeper.

Nothing better than Vail's chocolate chip cookies!

Nothing better than Vail's chocolate chip cookies!

As we were getting on the gondola with our guides in red, they grabbed a picnic basket off a nearby bench. Once inside the gondola and heading up the mountain, they opened the basket and revealed to us that it was filled with delicious treats: giant oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies, fresh grapes, hot cocoa, marshmallows, and bottled water.

A little hot cocoa goes a long way...

A little hot cocoa goes a long way...

We got to eat and drink to our hearts’ content – and take the remainder of the items with us to refuel us throughout the day.

Relaxing on the gondola with cookies and hot cocoa.

Relaxing on the gondola with cookies and hot cocoa.

We felt like Vail royalty and were so thankful to have been selected for the fabulous Cookie Cabin Service. It will be a lasting memory for the kids, as well as, my husband and I. It’s the small things that make us love Vail more and more. Sure they have amazing terrain – and lots of it – but they also made the resort friendly to families, such as ours. We are already looking forward to our next ski weekend! Thank you, Vail!

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Winter Sun 10K – The Race I MUST blog about!

February 2nd, 2012

For years, it seems, I’ve been trying to run the Winter Sun 10k. Things always got in the way. Sometimes, my husband was out of town. Sometimes, the weather was too nasty to make the drive. Sometimes, I missed the registration deadline. But this year, this year was different. I finally made it to the Winter Sun 10K in Moab, Utah.

I finally made it to the Winter Sun 10K in Moab, Utah!

I finally made it to the Winter Sun 10K in Moab, Utah!

The race itself was a joy to run. It was cold, but there were plenty of fire pits and hot teas to help fight off the chill. While waiting for the race to start, one runner told me that the 20-30 degree temperatures were balmy, compared to the frigid temperatures the previous year. Once the race started, we descended from the plateau and the winds stopped. My body temperature rose and I felt like I could run forever.

I had injured my ankle and hadn’t run for well-over a month prior to the race. I was a little worried that my ankle would begin giving me troubles mid-race, but I pushed on. Luckily, the ankle didn’t bother me and I was able to maintain a decent pace.

Almost done! The final stretch!

Almost done! The final stretch!

I made a final push to the finish line. At that time, I knew I’d be pleased with my time. My family greeted me with cheers and coconut water. What more could I ask for?

Crossing the finish line at the Winter Sun 10K!

Crossing the finish line at the Winter Sun 10K!

After the race, we meandered through Arches National Park. The kids were mesmerized by the unique rock features. We managed to do quite a few mini-hikes and took tons of pictures.

A post-10K race hike with my kids and husband - beautiful!

A post-10K race hike with my kids and husband - beautiful!

We can’t wait to return to Moab again in the spring!! Until then…I’ll keep running.

Can't wait to come back in March!

Can

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I’m Back!!!

February 2nd, 2012

The Holidays are always a busy time. We did some travelling to visit family and friends. We also had family and friends come visit us. We did some skiing. We did some eating. We did some drinking. All in all, it was a multi-month period of general merriment.

Then, amid all the merry-making, I realized something…I hadn’t written a blog post since the end of October. Although I’m not even going to attempt to fill in the gaps, with the exception of one AMAZING race that I did, I have missed my time blogging.

The New Year is a time of making resolutions. For me, these resolutions generally involve exercising more, eating cleaner, and expanding my freelance writing client base. In a broader sense, I also plan to be better organized – this includes setting aside time every few days for this blog!

So stay tuned as I move forward into 2012!

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The Natural Candy Store: Organic Candy

October 31st, 2011

I am a firm believer that dyes, such as those used to color candy, wreak havoc on my kids’ health. At the very least, my kids seem crankier than they do when we “lay off” the candy. Unfortunately, most of the candy available at your typical grocery store are packed with those dyes. Welcome, the Natural Candy Store.

I had received a gift card for the Natural Candy Store, an online only store, and have been waiting for the perfect time to use it. Well, there’s no time like Halloween to get a fresh dose of candy, especially candy that is free from those nasty dyes and preservatives.

Organic candy!

Organic candy!

I love hard candy, so that is primarily what I bought. Although the Natural Candy Store does have a wide selection of candy choices, such as chocolates, gummy candy, and jelly beans. The candy comes numerous natural flavors, such as berry, cinnamon, ginger, coffee, tea, and wine. Really, there is something for everyone. The Natural Candy Store even breaks down their candy and shows consumers whether it falls in one of a few categories, such as organic or for special diets, like gluten-free, kosher, allergen-free.  There is even candy that is designated that it was made in the USA.

For my recent purchase, I bought two organic grape bat-shaped sucker, a bag of organic gummy worms, a bag of organic lollipops, and a bag of cinnamon-flavored hard candies. The kids really like the grape suckers, the lollipops, and the gummy worms. I felt better giving those candies to them because they were organic and made from organic sugar cane and organic grape flavoring. I enjoyed the spiciness of the cinnamon hard candies, as well. I’m looking forward to checking in to see what types of Christmas candy they offer to consumers – it’s only a matter of time!

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Estes Park Running of the Bulls – A Three Year Tradition

October 20th, 2011

For the third year in a row, I’ve run a 3.75 mile race in Estes Park, Colorado called the Estes Park Running of the Bulls. Although the name may conjure up images of chaos in the streets of Spain, it actually refers to the elk that seem to take over the lively mountain town. The elk can be seen everywhere – from grassy knolls along roads through town to Hole 5 on the golf course.

The elk call Estes Park home.  It's best not to get too close, though.

The elk call Estes Park home. It's best not to get too close, though.

The race route circles Lake Estes, a large lake within the city limits. It is a fun course, complete with beautiful views and a few decent hills. Since it is in altitude, it adds a special challenge for many people. The money raised by those running the Estes Park Running of the Bulls goes towards a wonderful organization, Partners Mentoring Youth. After the race, runners can venture into town and attend the annual Autumn Gold Festival – beer, brats, bands, and a 3.75 race – seems like a perfect day to me!
And we're off - with Longs Peak as inspiration.
This year, I managed to shave a few extra minutes off of my time from last year and many, many minutes off of my time from the year before that. Although I didn’t place in the top three in my age group, I did place in the top ten. I’m glad to see that I’m improving, even if it’s just a few minutes at a time!

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