Queen of Trades; Travel and Photography- Category [Running Thoughts/Ideas/Lessons]

Well, here it is. The verdict you have been waiting for. Let me first say that the profile for the Tetons Half Marathon from Vacation Races will be almost 100% correct. Give or take a few things it was pretty damn close to being exactly what we were expecting. The distance (as you know) Is a half marathon, so a total of 13.2 miles, and as always those races, no matter the location can be ball busters just from the idea of having to run the 13 miles alone, and I never ever recommend running that distance cold. 

So with that being said the Tetons half marathon was probably one of my favorite half marathons I've done. The race itself had a small section that was gradual with the rise in elevation and it was mostly a flat paved road. They do say that there is a section that's gravel but it's only the last two and a half miles and really it doesn't affect the running much if at all. Really what affects the running is the fact that you are running at 6000 - 6500 feet of elevation and if you are dehydrated or have the runs or something then that could impact the run itself which I, unfortunately, had the effects of dehydration against me. 

See before every race I drink a lot of coffee and this morning was no exception. With getting up at 3 a.m and having to walk lylah around to let her do her business and also be race-ready I was definitely in need of a pick me up. I slept really well by going to bed around 5-6 p.m just to make sure I didn't get dicked with the sleeping situation at hand. Now the race itself doesn't start until 6:30 but the problem is that they close the parking lot (where the race line starts) and 5 a.m and if you are not there then you have to go to Teton village which is pretty far away to just park the car. Once you start the race you are going to the finish 13 miles away and will then be shuttled back to the parking lot or parking area you ended up at. It's quite the spectacle and we wanted it to be as easy as possible. The solution? Be up at 3 a.m to have the first pot of coffee and then make a second pot (to go) in the truck with us and we sit in the parking lot until 20 before. 


At this time we're waiting we are drinking coffee but guess what I forgot to drink a bottle of as well? Water. good old-fashioned water and with that decision being made I dicked myself. When the race started it was not only beautiful but the perfect area to push myself. Sadly that was not the case. with any long-distance run, I always pull back a lot. the first half of it I try to stay in the 9- 10 range just to get a feeling for my body and to know what I'm up against. Staying in that time zone is also staying in the orange threshold on my watch (which means I'm pushing but not overexerting myself) but when the 2nd mile went off with a time of 9:40 and in the red zone and max heart rate I knew I had to pull back immediately. I was surprised by this realization of how slow I would have to be but I also knew that it was necessary. 2 miles in and already maxing out is not ideal and you would not make it far if you kept that up. 

So pulling back I kept onward slowly but surely. The time range predicted for me was between 2 hours and 2 hours and 15 minutes with the wave I was in and it was not far off in the end. With the fact that I was running slower than normal (due to dehydration) and the fact that by the last leg I had a stitch that was making it painful to run and breathe at mile 12 I still managed to run a pace good enough to get my time at 2 hours and 16 minutes. I placed 61 out of over 200 women in my age group and I loved the views every second of the run. Not only that but I got to experience it with my father. I know that it's not easy to run halves and I know that he did one with me last year but I'm glad he did another one with me. Making memories and running together means a lot and I got to experience such a beautiful course with him. we even ran into each other on the course a few times (he had a few poop experiences, hehehe)  and I was glad to see him (for the most part) enjoying the course. 

All in all, if you plan to do a half marathon for the first time I recommend this course. It's flat, it's beautiful and it is just an experience so rewarding to cross that finish line in such a miraculous place. 

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Tomorrow morning is the day. The race will begin and we will be finally done with our long-awaited adventure. When we signed up for this race there were many unknowns and many thought about how bad this may be. Nonetheless, we decided to sign up for it anyway. The reason? I mean if you have ever laid your eyes on the Tetons you can't help but want to go back. This is my third time in the Tetons and I can't get enough. The way that they draw you in, the peaks calling out to the adventurer inside. I just want to stare at them all day and never leave. Of course, I also want to climb them. I can imagine being up there and just climbing away at this unimaginable height but with feelings of contempt and of course fear. Because what is an adventure like that without some fear inside. 

Our day tomorrow begins at 3 a.m and will end somewhere between 8 to 10 depending on speed. The race itself doesn't start till 6 but I am ready to face the course. We heard from another person that the race is actually pretty nice and not too difficult. Of course, this was from a racer who was told this by her friend, and of course, said friend is not here. So we don't know about how fit she is, or if she likes the harder races in general. We have no idea but we are taking her word for it. 


I'm hopeful and I feel as ready as I can be. I don't know how fast I will be in the end but who knows. I may surprise myself in the end and if I do well I will take it. After all, I did what I could to get ready and I definitely pushed myself to be mentally ready to go forward and take on the challenge. Physically I don't know. I gave up alcohol for three whole weeks and for two months I've been keeping the carbs as low as possible to not only manage my body but my weight as well. I even managed to lose a few pounds which sounds weird to point out but not only was it necessary to do but it was comforting to know that my hard work was paying off and gave me a little extra confidence boost. 

Once the race is over I do plan to consume alcohol and get my drink on. After all, doing thirteen miles can do that to you. Make you realize that you are an amazing human being and that you are capable of pushing your limits but it's also a reminder that you can have fun once you have done the hard work. Wish us luck on this adventure and hope that nobody (in our group anyway) has any **** stories occur...even if would be funny to tell later on. 

Stay tuned for tomorrow's update on the course. 

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I don't know if anybody on here does any kind of trail running but I recently did a trial run for the first time in years. The last time I attempted to do any kind of trail running I almost landed flat on my face due to not paying attention to what was going on around me (this doesn't include Yellowstone which we all know how that went from my post about it) and after a mile, I gave up and have stuck to concrete roads ever since. 

The downside to that is that of course it's more impact on my knees and I'm sure in another ten years or less I will have side effects of some kind from it. How bad will it be? Who knows but I signed up for it so here we are. 

In any case, I decided to switch things up and attempt to go to a state park that Lylah and I have been to a few times. It's technically a bird island state park but it's quite beautiful and it's quiet which is perfect for running with your pup. For Lylah it was a little confusing since we go there for her to run around all wild and freestyle and she couldn't do that while we were running so she was looking around and at me all confused while we ran and I have to say I think we both enjoyed the change. Not only was I a little slower due to the terrain but it was nice to be on the ground that wasn't so rough. In this particular park, I didn't find the trail running to be too terrible since they seem to maintain the park well enough that you can see the roots before you get to them which is helpful and we cruised through the park just enjoying the weather and passing people we saw with little to no problem. We even saw a park ranger and he nodded to us and didn't seem bothered by what we were doing.

But what I didn't think about was the route I took. We came to the state park in September and there is a part of the trail by the parking lot where you go uphill for quite a ways and then it levels out and can add on about a mile and a half to your trail. It's nice because it's all grasslands up there and it seems a lot of people avoid that part of the trails so it's secluded and Lylah loves romping around up there. Here's what I forgot about that part of the trail. 

I forgot that to get down to the main trail you have to take this little dirt path that has super exposed roots sticking up and it's slick. So good ol me forgot about this and turned to go up to the grasslands trying to add on the extra mileage to try to get somewhere between 4 to 5 miles in total since that was the plan. 

So we turn and were going up and Lylahs pumped up, ready to go and instantly I realize I made an error but I was slowly running up it and trying to push through and I almost died in the first 30 seconds of that decision. It was not only covered in exposed roots but slick from the fallen leaves. I decided, sadly, to walk up the little path and it killed my time. Absolutely destroyed it and once I hit the four-mile marker at the parking lot I stopped. I couldn't believe I forgot about that part. The trail run was enjoyable and I see why most people prefer it but the man did I question myself for that last mile. I do plan to go back there just to change things up and pick different routes to run on so we can explore and change it from the normal runs we do since it not only helps my recovery but is good for lylah and distractions. 

How do you guys feel about trail running? Do you hate it or prefer it? Let me know. 

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With moving here I am almost always out doing something. It could be walking, climbing, hiking, anything really and it has been amazing the changes that have happened. I'm running in the morning these days which if you knew me, almost never happened. You only got me out of bed (in the early mornings) for races and that was only on Saturdays. Any other time that I wanted to run was later in the day or in the evenings and that was my routine. If I got done working late and had planned to run I would go out and run. Even if it was late in the night. 

When I was doing my first half marathon I worked at Kilwins. At Kilwins I mostly worked night shifts so we would get done around 10 p.m sometimes 11 p.m and I wouldn't get home till 11:30 or at the latest 12. Those nights were hard when I had to go run because I wasn't just running, I was training and I honestly didn't have a choice then. I would get home, change, have a glass of water, and go out and do the distance. It was hard but I did it and my half marathon was a success. I did the race in 2 hours and 6 minutes and I felt so proud of myself for making it happen. 


My second go at a half marathon I did mixed training but it was more of the same. I did a mix of nights and afternoon training but I really had wished I had gotten up early enough to get it done first thing. I just never could get myself to commit and with Florida weather it was hard to know when it was ok to go. Some days you get ok humidity and other days you were drenched in the first half-mile. You could never really win in that state. 

Now that I live in Tennessee and I have a friend who has been running mornings with me I have the motivation to actually get up and run before the start of the day. It's been so nice here. 50 degrees in the morning and by the time I'm done it's around the low 60s which is fantastic and makes the mornings so much better. Not only do I get my run done early but I also get to actually enjoy the fall weather and not die from humidity or heat waves. 

The plus side to this is that Lylah also gets to enjoy the run because it's cooler and this way she can get some exercise first thing in the morning and get to enjoy the fall time with me. With this change of pace and lifestyle, I'm hoping that training will go smoothly. I've been slowly increasing the milage with Lylah so that I can acclimate her to the milage and also be better prepared this time around. I feel like in my last two training sessions I was able to really accomplish a lot and I learned what I do and don't like when training for a distance as long as thirteen miles. This time I feel like I have a better handle on my abilities and where I need to be by the time I get to the race. 

I'm nervous, excited, and feeling good. Three Half Marathons in my 20's isn't so bad. In honesty, I never thought I would be someone who would do more than a one-half marathon but here I am, signed up for my third and really pushing my limits not only as a person but as a runner as well. 

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Recently I decided to up the number of miles that I run. For a couple of years now I have been keeping up with a regular schedule of doing 5k distances. Once a month I do a 10k so that I can keep up the cardio and test myself and see if I can continue to do the six miles that I once dreaded. Now here I am three and a half years in and I have decided to change it up for the month of December to see if I can do more than normal. I decided to go ahead and do three and a half to four miles on a regular instead of just three and three alone. 

Let me say this right now, it hurts. Like really hurts. My body has gotten so used to doing three miles that doing four is a chore. Three and a half is hard work but four is a drag. When I first started training for the half marathon I did a lot of four-mile runs so that I could get the distance up and get ready for this crazy thirteen-mile race that I hell-bent on doing. At that time it was necessary but right now, it's just a test and a way to get rid of the small muffin top I have acquired. Of course, there is a lot going on in my life as it is and running in the middle of the day is probably not best but that's ok. Pushing yourself is what sports are all about and I am happy to take on my own challenge. 

I'm hoping that by the end of the year that the four miles will be normal and that it won't be too hard to keep up with. Four miles is a lot yes but its better than sitting on your couch eating a bag of potato chips while binge-watching all four seasons of Lucifer. I rather exercise than get big and fat wondering where my life has gone. 

By the time I get to my anniversary, I hope that I have gotten faster and stronger than the year before. After all, no matter how small the progress is, progress is still good. 

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