All About Angela

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I'm sorry for the brief hiatus.....this runner has been dealing with a serious case of the winter blues. I spent last week feeling on the brink of death and now our world is covered in a solid sheet of ice. But enough whining....

2014 has come to a close....I ran close to 1900 miles this year....this could explain why my husband grimaces when I ask him to do anything with my feet. I'm super proud of this number being that I just started running in August of 2013.

There is NO DOUBT that 2015 is going to be an amazing year (well...unless something catastrophic happens along the lines of a nationwide burrito ban).

So what happened this year? Here are some of my favorite moments.

I  tackled  my first road race where I was whooped / inspired by this woman

After restricting myself to road races / runs, I signed up for a trail 25k w/ over 3000' elevation gain.....I conquered a mountain...the hardest race of the year based on my level of inexperience 

I completed my first marathon (trail) - this was a feat that I never imagined that I could accomplish. 

Three weeks later, I completed another (harder) marathon and knocked 30 minutes off my time! 

I got this pup.... 

And he's the best running friend that one could ever wish for. 

On that note, I started a running group that allowed me to cross paths with some amazing individuals who have become close friends (not pictured but I swear they are real). 

I have decided not to set goals this year. I'm a super goal oriented person....and in theory, that sounds spectacular. In makes me miserable. I'm always setting these crazy ambitious goals and then beating myself up when I cannot reach them. Obviously, I still must be disciplined....I spent hours piecing together a training plan that I plan on following religiously (even if that often means running LESS). 

Do you have any 2015 goals? How do you feel about 2014 - anything that you're particularly proud of? 

Happy New Year, Friends! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December Goals

Well....I didn't reach all the ambitious goals that I had set for last month. The biggest disappointment is that I did not complete an ultra distance training run. Initially, it was planned for the day after Thanksgiving (carb load heaven). Well... delighting in a feast that required no less than 12 sticks of butter to create did not bode well with my sensitive stomach. After thirteen miles of stomach cramps, I called it quits. I made the decision that a second attempt would occur on Sunday - enough time for a short detox and some recovery. Instead of mapping out one long route, I figured that loops would be the safest bet. Home would serve as the aid station and the loops would be short enough that I could complete them with just a handheld water bottle. When Sunday came, I was determined and confident. The first ten mile loop was tackled with a friend. I was feeling strong at the end of that loop. I drank several ounces of Tailwind and set back out in the frigid weather with no doubt that I'd be reaching my goal. One thing that I want to make clear....I am not a fair weather runner. I will run in ALL weather conditions. However...running in the cold can be painful (for me). My muscles tend to ache and stiffen up when the temperature drops below freezing. About four miles into my second loop, the cold hit me and hard. The temperature was in the low 20's with winds gusting around 10 - 12 mph. I realized that I did not take in enough calories and began crashing. By mile 6, I was having to walk long stretches....this caused my body temperature to plummet. I quickly decided that I was going to have to finish my run on the treadmill. I knew the transition would have to be quick. Upon arriving home, I sucked down a glass of Coke and more Tailwind. My husband then rushed to help remove my clothes (which had actually frozen together). I started to shake violently. When I stepped on the treadmill, I was told to start running ASAP. I tried to run. I tried to walk. My legs threatened to buckle underneath me. I was shaking so hard that I was having to hold onto the sides of the machine. And I wasn't going to happen. Immediately, I jumped into a hot bath and sulked.

What could I have done differently? I'm positive that I should have taken in more calories between loops. I'm estimating that I ingested 100 calories for the three hours that I was running - that is not enough. I believe that I crashed due to inadequate nutrition and because I started walking, this allowed the frigid temperatures to take their toll.

The positive news? I did meet the monthly mileage goal of 250!!!! Actually, I exceeded the goal by 2 miles. Averaging out the total, I ran 8.5 miles / day.

What's the plan for December?

1.) Run 279 miles (Average 9 miles / day)
2.) COMPLETE an ultra distance run. At this point, I don't care if it's barely 27 miles....I need to do this
3.) Cross train 45 minutes 2x's a week
4.) Drink LESS beer + continue the process of cleaning up nutrition


Happy Belated Stuff Yo' Piehole (AKA Turkey) Day!!! 

I sincerely hope that everyone had an amazing holiday. I have a million reasons to be thankful. is such an amazing adventure. But I want to dedicate this post to someone that has impacted my world so profoundly....someone that has supported me unconditionally....someone that has made me a much better version of myself...someone that is the best friend that I've ever had.

Cue the vomiting.

Seriously though.... my husband is the raddest fella in the planet. I cannot express how grateful that I am that he's stuck with me. Marriage is no walk in the park. Change is inevitable - we all grow into different versions of ourselves. It can be a harsh reality to come to terms with - your spouse will never be the person that you fell in love with. This becomes more apparent with the passage of time. There are going to be life events that will change your entire mindset (like being a parent). You may stumble upon passions that could alter the course of your entire life. Marriage is a constant reconciliation of who we were then and who we are now. The "honeymoon" will end and intimacy will take on a whole new meaning.

Life is a constant rollercoaster. There will be exhilarating highs and depressing lows. I cannot imagine being on this ride with any other person. I cannot imagine another individual being more perfectly suited to deal with my eccentricities. When it comes to running, I cannot fathom a more supportive partner and better "crew member". Jeff has never complained about this passion that has engulfed me....and by extension, him.

Jeffrey - I love you more this day than ever before. I never felt lucky until the day that I met you.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Getting There

Last week went awesome in terms of training. My confidence (which has been on the shaky side) has been restored. I've been having to get creative in order to build mileage without spending hours running in the dark OR sacrificing too much precious sleep....the answer has been DOUBLES! Several months ago, I started implementing them into my routine. There's conflicting research about the benefits of doubles. Based on my experience, I would recommend them for ALL runners. I have seen a drastic improvement in recovery time....and who doesn't want to recover faster? Like me, you can also use doubles in order to break up large chunks of mileage on busier days. There have been days where I want to get in 14 miles but that distance is not feasible in one workout (due often to time constraints related to work hours). Therefore, I will run an indirect route to work and then run again on lunch. I want to add that doubles should never replace your "long run".  That long run allows for certain unique physical adaptations. 

Last week, I ran four consecutive doubles - a record for me. Here's the breakdown....

Sunday - Planned: 13 Actual: Rest (I was having ankle pain)
Monday - Planned: 5 Actual: 12.24 (6.01 / 6.23)
Tuesday - Planned: 7 Actual: 9.23 (3.66 / 5.57)
Wednesday - Planned: 7 Actual: 7.50 (5.26 / 2.24)
Thursday - Planned: 10 Actual: 9.81 (6.27 / 3.54)
Friday- Planned: Rest Actual: 6.05
Saturday- Planned: 20 Actual: 19.25

Total: 64.08

I've hit 200 miles for the month - highest that I've ever been! I have 50 more miles to reach my goal.

I'm getting there....

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Coping with Disappointment

This morning, I set out for my long run optimistic but depleted. My body is still rebelling about this mileage increase. During marathon training, my peak was about 62 miles....and that felt like A LOT. If I am being honest, I am still recovering from the racing season. My endurance isn't where it should be. One reason might be because I'm not as active (outside of running) as I was during the summer when we would hike up mountains every chance that we got and I would take regular 20 - 30 mile bike rides. Riding 20 miles on a ghetto stationary bike just isn't the same.

Back to my run...

I burnt out around mile 11. My ankle started hurting and I broke mentally. My husband picked me before I reached mile 16. I felt REALLY upset with myself.  Runs like these make my confidence explode and not in the awesome way. On the ride home, I almost started to cry. I'm not an emotional person, I just felt that disappointed. My husband kept telling me how proud he was of what I have been able to accomplish this week in spite of the horrid weather. He really helped me gain perspective. I've come so far in the past year. I have gone from never having run more than one mile to being a marathoner (and a decent one at that). And now I'm training to run ultra marathons...and that's a big deal. I have to accept that perfection is never going to be attainable. I'm not an elite runner....this is not my job, it's my passion and I should strive to enjoy each experience and be grateful that I am able to keep putting one foot in front of another.

My husband and I took our pup for a long walk this afternoon with a cold beverage intermission. I'm really pooped now and eager to pass out at an embarrassingly early hour. 

Here is my training recap from this week

Sunday - Planned: 10 Actual: 7.94
Monday - Planned: 7 Actual: 6
Tuesday - Planned: 15 Actual 13.35
Wednesday - Planned: 5 Actual: 6.87
Thursday - Planned: 10 Actual: 9.54
Friday - REST
Saturday - Planned: 18 (Bumped to 22 in order to make up mileage) Actual: 15.65

Total: 59.35

How did your week go? 

Did you meet whatever goals you set? 

How do you cope with disappointment? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday I'm in Love

I'm hesitant to say that I've been slacking on my daily mileage goals....I mean it's hard to say that you're slacking when you're out there every day when most are hunkering down around their fireplaces. I'm about 4 miles short of where I should be. 4 miles....For a long distance runner, this is relatively nothing...I often commute to work via running close to this distance several times a week. But when you're adding 4 miles onto your long run, it becomes a whole different story. I planned on running that 4 miles on my lunch break but ultimately decided that I needed a rest day. I woke up this morning feeling like I had the joints of someone ten times my age. So yeah....22 miles on tap for tomorrow morning , which promises to be frigid (tropical 16 degrees).

Each week, I'm focusing on implementing small changes into my regime - nutritionally and physically. This week, I cut down on my meat consumption. Once our freezer is cleared of our meat reserves, I plan on returning to a (mostly) plant-based diet. I don't intend to be super militant about it but rather start planning meals around whole grains, beans, get the idea. Next week, I'll be more strict about cross training....Lately, beer drinking has been replacing my cross training sessions. Bad Angela. Doesn't beer just taste better in the off season / winter?

After work, we patronized our favorite dive bar and now pizza is sizzlin' away in the oven. I LOVE Fridays! Happy weekend, friends!

My husband should take up running because he has the perfect "ultra beard" 

Carb Loading...the RIGHT way!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cold Bones

Before the winter darkness arrived, I would try to have at least one day where I'd run 13+ miles during the week (this did not replace my long run). It's become almost impossible to squeeze in a two hour run before OR after work. I just don't enjoy running in the dark for that long. I've had to be creative about building mileage. This means more commuting to work via running + double days + longer lunch runs. These are all great but still...nothing beats a continuous, long effort. So, today was a rare treat. Even though I was kept up half the night by howling winds and woke up to freezing temperatures, I was determined to get out there.

The cold zapped my motivation to spring out of bed so the run started hours after planned.

Headed into the bitter cold
I was surprised at how quickly I warmed up. I had to remove the face mask before I was two miles in. I didn't want to rush through this run. I wanted to enjoy being alone on what are otherwise populated trails. I can't lie...this run was a bit of a struggle. The cold caused every muscle to ache. The winds were gusting up to 30 mph. There were times that I would have to bury my face deep into my coat, breathing heavily just to warm up. My hydration pack's nozzle even froze shut. At about mile nine, I had the option of either running 1 mile home OR taking the extended 4 mile hilly route home...I am proud that I chose the latter. I didn't make my 15 mile goal but the fact that I managed a half marathon distance on a day where many would have holed up near a fireplace....well, that makes me feel good.

Pine Street Hill 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Heavy Legs

This week beat me up good. Because I have been racing almost every weekend for the past month, I haven't really been putting a lot of mileage on my legs (outside of the actual events). It's been a cycle of racing and tapering. I ALMOST hit my goal of 60 miles this week (less than 2 miles short). I'm not disappointed, though...I knew that building back up would be challenging. Here's how it went....

Sunday Planned: 7  Actual: 7.67
Monday Planned: 7 Actual: 6.68
Tuesday Planned: 9 Actual: 9.29
Wednesday Planned 5 Actual 8.04
Thursday Planned: Doubles (At least 10 miles) Actual: REST
Friday Planned: REST Actual: 11.38
Saturday Planned: 15 Actual 15.55

Total: 58.56

I'm becoming much better at toughing out harder runs. I'm determined to build up to 40 miles in this training cycle. I know that won't happen unless I'm disciplined. Also....I'm quite aware that running 50 miles is going to be the most difficult physical and mental challenge that I've ever tackled. I never pick "easy" races. My first 50 miler has over 7000' elevation gain AND the weather has contributed to a high DNF rate (think 40 mph winds in 30 degree weather with no foliage shield). I have to continue the process of learning to dig deep when I want to give up.

Aside from running, I had an uneventful weekend. Saturday looked like this...

This week, I'm hoping to bump up to 65 miles. Tomorrow, I am overjoyed because I have the day off work. I'm fortunate to work in an office that will close anytime the bank and/or post office is closed. The day off work is awesome enough but the fact that the kids have school....well, that is just freaking amazing. Working parents understand what a luxury this is. Of course, I started thinking of running routes immediately. 

Happy Monday! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November Goals

The beginning of a new month presents an opportunity for a fresh start....or maybe just recommitting to something that you've been working on. Because the hours of daylight are rather limited now, I know that my dedication to training may be tested. I tend to be a "snoozer"; I hit that button until I barely have enough time to throw myself together before pedaling furiously to the office. For about three weeks in the height of summer, I managed to squeeze in morning runs and it was glorious. I loved coming into work with a runner's high. I loved being able to eat during the day without fear of how it would interfere with my run. I fell off the wagon though and have not been able to get back on. Every night, I set my alarm and have the best of intentions but....when that alarm goes off, I can somehow rationalize staying under the covers. I convince myself that I NEED the extra sleep. When it's finally time to pull myself out of bed, I'm immediately angry with myself. It's a sick, vicious cycle. So training goals require that I actually well....stop being a lazy ass.

Last night, I had my first run guided by head lamp. The rain really hindered visibility - I could only see a few feet in front of me so I was quite slower than usual. Being my first night run, I jumped at every slight sound or shadow. Admittedly, I'm a wuss. I'm terrified of wildlife more than anything. I've avoided running in awesome locations because of the fear that I *might* encounter a bear. If a bush rustles while I'm out hiking, I will run toward the car - without warning and while pushing one of my loved ones in the direction of the sound. I may even throw the burrito that I've packed into the forest (because it's a known fact that bears love chicken asada) and then curl up in a fetal position until the perceived threat has passed. Google informed me that bears are hibernating now but I'm now concerned about moose. We live in rural North Idaho...moose are quite plentiful; I mean, there are even pictures of them utilizing our crosswalks. My fear has become even more ingrained since I almost touched noses with one during a run last winter (and this is not an exaggeration - our faces were inches apart).

One moose just chilling out our backyard

This brings me to the part where I discuss my goals....

1.) Stay healthy. I've had three different plagues in the last 2 months and it's been miserable. A childless vacation was ruined.  I cannot express how horrible it is to be in your favorite city and not be able to move from the hotel bed. Training can reduce immunity but this can be mitigated through a healthy diet and supplements. Also, through listening to your body which I can be terrible at. On the aforementioned "vacation", I had scheduled a marathon. Even though I had barely eaten in three days and I woke up the morning of the race still feeling sick, I still tried to run....I made it 21 miles (mostly on autopilot) before walking off the course.

You can visibly tell that I feel like death. It's a miracle I did not collapse or vomit on someone. 
2.) Organize a running event for the group that I started. I've had a really difficult time scheduling group runs - it seems that a lot of individuals tend to be fair weather runners or there is never a time that accommodates everyone (or anyone). I figure if I host a small event on the weekend that would be accessible to all ranges of runners and perhaps get a local establishment in town to offer discounts on food and/or beer after that more people might come out.

3.) Run a marathon+ distance the day after Thanksgiving (what better day to carb load?)

4.)Hit 250 miles for the month of November. Preferably, I would like all these miles to be outdoors. I know in the upcoming months that ice may impact the ability to run outside 100% of the time but I want to avoid the dreadmill as much as possible.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Broken Vag Muscle + Tunes

I laced up the new kicks and ran last night. I needed this run....I withdrew from my graduate program (a decision that I had been stressing over for a year) and pounding the pavement always helps clear my mind and keeps crippling anxiety at bay. The resistance of the wind coupled with light rain made for a perfect Fall adventure. My lungs burned for the first two miles but I was grateful for each step....I love how running can make me truly feel alive. I did not want to stop, I kept extending the run. It was perfect until mile 4.

For about three weeks, I have been dealing with random soreness in my glutes; this occurs especially on hilly routes. It's not incapacitating or painful but rather annoying because it does slow me down. I haven't really fixated upon it but last night the soreness moved into my groin. At first it was just irritating but then started to border on painful. I had to run on a patch of grass and for some reason the change in terrain caused my groin muscles to feel like they were lit on fire (wow that sounds kind of dirty).

After research, I believe that I might either have something called pirformis syndrome OR a grade one groin strain. The good news is that I can run through this. The bad news is that I may have to actually stretch occasionally and subject myself to the torture that is deep tissue massage. Furthermore, the aggressive mileage goal for November might need to be reevaluated depending upon recovery.

I decided to post a few of my favorite running tunes. I have a fairly eclectic taste in music and some of these are not the standard recommendations that you come across time and time again. I have to rotate music regularly out of my shuffle so please....share your favorites! 

Happy Halloween! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


I'm on day four of the week o' rest. Last night, I joined my husband for happy hour. We had a great time - we ate an obscene amount of cheese + grease, drank beer and watched the Royals whoop the Giants. Driven by guilt, I declared that I would run after work; this would cancel our second World Series happy hour date. Before leaving for work, I ensured that I had all my running gear packed.

I just got done having a heart-to-heart discussion with my boss (and friend) and realized that I should continue to rest (as planned). This leads me to my confession....

I have some disordered eating tendencies. I love to eat....but sometimes hate myself when I do. I'll never decline a cupcake (unless under extreme duress) and I am proud that I have a healthy amount of curves (thank you hooligans). However, I often exercise as punishment for indulging. I used to be 50 pounds heavier. I wore "mom jeans" to hide my love handles. Someone once solicited fashion advice from me stating, "You're a bigger girl and dress well." A doctor once told me that I should stay away from ice cream and start counting calories.

The closest thing that I have to a "before and after". 
People look at me now and think that I am ridiculous (and superficial) for having food / weight issues. Losing weight was a long journey. I'm still on the journey to become healthier, I could always improve upon that. I've never subscribed to radical diets or exercise regiments. I went my own pace and made gradual changes. I just cannot shake this irrational fear that indulging will lead to years of progress being reversed. It's not something that I panic about on a conscious level know, the fear is lurking there when I analyze my naked body in the mirror.

This past couple weeks I've been eating A LOT and I've been allowing myself more treats than usual. My boss brought in a pan of these caramel cookie bars and I could not stop shoving them in my face. Yes...I did just run 3 marathons + 1 half marathon in just over a month but still....I feel like I should be running. I would feel better about that giant breakfast burrito that I inhaled for lunch if I could rush out and bang out ten miles.

But what would those ten miles do? 

Yes, those ten miles might negate the burrito on a caloric level.

Yes, those ten miles might make me feel better (even on an unhealthy level).

But what would rest do? 

I could join my husband for happy hour. I've missed so many during the last few months of training. I'll miss countless more now that my training is going to get more aggressive.

Give my muscles a bit more rest - I know they need it.

I have a high mileage goal for November (250). Even if I do gain weight, I know that will become fuel for some of these intense training weeks. And I know that weight will fall off. Realistically, I know that the scale is climbing due to water retention more than anything (carbs are the love of my life).

I never want to be that person that cannot let exercise take a backseat to having fun EVER. I don't want to be that person who turns down the cupcake....I mean cupcakes are freaking delicious. And I've worked hard to have this break. So yes....I'm going to happy hour. I'm going to drink a couple beers and probably indulge in delightful goodies. And maybe tomorrow, I will try some easy miles....but because I want to and not because I feel that I have to.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Trail of Terror 1/2 Marathon Recap

Honestly, I was less than thrilled about this race. Obviously, I had some reason to fork out the dough for registration but the closer the event came....the less and less that I wanted to run. A week prior, I completed the Hayden Lake Marathon (third marathon in less than four weeks). I had given that race all that I had - it was a challenging course that left my muscles screaming in defeat. Every short run that I completed between the two events was like torture - slow and bordering on painful.

This was the first race that I've ever participated in that began in the afternoon (2 PM). Since I'm accustomed to a limited breakfast diet prior to racing, that is what I stuck to....I started my morning with a giant bowl of coco pebbles (I have the food desires of a toddler). Two hours before start,  I had a toasted waffle almond butter + jam sandwich. 

I was irritated by the fact that all participants were informed packets had to be picked up by 1 PM. It was clearly stated there would be no exceptions. You have to understand...this race began on someone's farm located in rural Idaho....there was absolutely nothing to do for an hour. To make matters worse, they had 2 bathrooms for the entire crowd. I spent almost 30 minutes lined up to use one.

Camera Face. 

Not sure what is happening here....

Now onto the race.... 

I had no goals coming into this race other than to finish (preferably with a smile). I started out strong but the wheels starting coming off around six miles. The adrenalin rush of racing wore off rather quickly. My entire body began to ache. I would not call this race "challenging" but it had some decent rolling hills. The course consisted of three out-and-back sections along country roads. Much to my delight, the most difficult section was repeated twice. 

I would never say that running a half marathon is easy BUT I am becoming quite comfortable with this distance; I have ran beyond it more times than I can remember. Therefore, I don't really have a special fueling strategy. Absent any unique circumstances, I just rely on whatever the aid stations have. The amount of aid stations on this course were perfect - about every two miles. I would have preferred Gatorade over Heed but no reason to get picky.

As always, the volunteers were amazing. How can you bitch about someone that is telling you how awesome you look and how great you're doing when you're hobbling by with an appearance that would cause nightmares in young children. 

The highlight of my race was a woman yelling, "I see you running around all the time. You are AWESOME!" That provided me the second wind that I needed to get through this race. I ended up finishing in 2 hours and 9 seconds. I was 29th overall and 10th female. I'm fairly proud of those numbers considering how I felt in the last half of the race. The amount of swag that participants received was impressive - a shirt + beer grunt + hoo rag + medal. I did not stick around for the post race festivities, I was anxious to get home and watch the World Series. I do not plan on doing this race next year unless the course is dramatically changed.

Still smiling 

My husband has mandated that I take a week off from running in order to recover from an intense year. I won't be resigning myself to couch potato status but I won't be taking any 30 mile bike rides either. I plan on gaining a couple pounds from inhaling every baked good that comes within my line of vision and drinking my weight in beer. Towards the end of this week, I'll begin the next cycle of training and this one I am quite excited about!