As I began sharing in my previous post, it has been an active and fun Spring competing in races. Now, I’m in the final month of training prior to my first marathon (June 11). The weight of covering 26.2 miles in under four hours is beginning to weigh on me. But I’ve been aiming for this goal for a year. I know I can do this. I have almost 550 miles on my running shoes so far this year, so I know I am capable. Here’s how May is shaping up so far.

Don’t Fence Me In Trail Run 12k – Helena

helena prickly pear land trust 12k trail runDoes it get much better than a race in your backyard, sunny and late-morning temps near 70 degrees? This is my third time to complete the DFMI run benefiting the Prickly Pear Land Trust. This is PPLT’s biggest fundraiser to support their efforts to maintain a trail system of over 75 miles of trails in the immediate Helena area, which includes on of the largest city parks in the country. In 2014, I finished the 5k first in my division. And in 2015, I completed the 12k.

This year, my goal was to improve upon last year’s effort. Knowing that I’m so close to a marathon, I didn’t want to kill myself, but give a consistent strong effort on the trails I travel regularly during training runs. As I said after last year’s race, It’s Alright to Hate the Hills. This year, I owned them! Early in the race, I stepped hard on a sharp rock that left my right heel bruised. That slowed me down a bit. Then there was congestion on the narrow single-tracks, but I pushed hard on the hills I’d been training for.

The course has about 1,600 foot of elevation climb, much of which comes during the sixth mile. Last year, I cursed it. This year, I knew what to expect, worked on a short stride and pushed up it, passing our Governor (how cool is it that he’s a Boston Marathon finisher and competes with us in trail runs?!?) along the way. I definitely made several kills on that hill and felt a big sigh of relief to make it to the top with finish line in sight. Another race with a great finish-line atmosphere I plan to do each year. Maybe next year I’ll run the 30k with some awesome mountain runners, which is part of the La Sportiva Mountain Trail Race Series. I finished the 12k in 1:13:44 (9:53/mi)

Counting down to my first Marathon

Team Beef MontanaReady or not. It’s only a month out. I have promised myself no more runs outside of the training plan. I have to zero in on this last month of training and taper. On June 11, I will run the Governor’s Cup Marathon here in Helena. Then, July 10, I will run the Missoula Marathon. My goal is to finish these races in under four hours and get to know the 26.2 mile distance. I’ll then take a couple of months to refocus before heading completing the 200-mile Ragnar Relay in Hawaii with my Running Ranchers team, followed by representing Team Beef in my ‘A’ race this year – the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C.

Lofty goals, and I’m pushing it a bit, but it gives me something in the advocacy world to invest in with dedication. By the way, if you want to learn more about Team Beef, visit the national Team Beef Facebook page or contact your state’s Beef Council office. Of course, we’d love to have you as part of Team Beef Montana. And you can follow our Montana Running Ranchers relay team on Facebook.

Wish me luck! (but I’d rather not break a leg…)

The Team Beef is funded by the Beef Checkoff. My expenses for the Marine Corps Marathon and related Team Beef activities in D.C. are covered as part of the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative. As always, my thoughts are my own and I’m proud to be supported by programs I strongly believe in. #TeamBeef #BeefFuelsMCM

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