A Miserable Reality Check

Just a heads up – this post is going to be whiney. I had a rough run this weekend and I want to talk about it. However, there is a pretty good chance you don’t actually care about the running part…so I’ll give you a little mountain eye candy.

On Saturday morning we headed west to Buena Vista to run a chunk of the Collegiate Peaks Trail Run 25M course that Chris will be running on next month. He wanted to get a feel for what he would be racing on and I needed hilly miles on single track…done and done! Turns out I was also about to get a miserable dose of reality…and, now that it’s all over, I’m incredibly glad that Saturday’s run sucked. Because I needed a bad run to make me appreciate the good ones…and I needed this craptastic run to go down before race day on a different course.

Collegiate Peaks Trail Run Race Course - Buena Vista - Trail RunningCollegiate Peaks Trail Run Race Course - Buena Vista - Trail Running

A few weekends ago I pulled off a solid 48 miles in just over 36 hours. I was feeling good about my body’s ability to run and got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t completely hate life at the Quad Rock 50M. I was still prepared to chase cutoffs but got a little boost in my confidence to finish with at least half of a smile. Then Saturday happened.

It turns out that running is about more than just the miles you put on your favorite shoes. Who knew?! When you have numbers staring at you, especially when comparison is an option [ahem, thanks Strava], it’s really easy to think everything else will fall into place. If you’re a skilled wizard, it might. If you’re a boring human, it probably won’t.

Collegiate Peaks Trail Run Race Course - Buena Vista - Trail RunningCollegiate Peaks Trail Run Race Course - Buena Vista - Trail Running

On Saturday I realized just how miserable an “easy, attainable” 20 mile run can become. Looking back I did a LOT of things wrong…and 90% of those things went wrong during the week, not on Saturday. Apparently things like nutrition and hydration and sleep and stretching and fun stuff like that are important to pay attention to BEFORE you go running.

Yea, yea. Of course. Duh. We all know this. But sometimes we forget to actually practice what we preach. Sometimes the tap water in Cheyenne gets rusty and unappealing. Sometimes work gets really busy and lunches become all-day-snacking-kinda-sorta-meals. Sometimes sleep is skipped while bags gather under your eyes the important duffle bags never get packed properly and long run nutrition is left behind.

Collegiate Peaks Trail Run Race Course - Buena Vista - Trail RunningCollegiate Peaks Trail Run Race Course - Buena Vista - Trail Running

Sometimes all of that happens in the same week…and then your long run that was supposed to be the easy half of a double-long-run-weekend becomes 20 miles of painful whining and thoughts of why-am-I-doing-this-to-myself and how-the-heck-am-I-going-to-cover-twice-the-miles.

That pretty much sums up the latter half of my week + last Saturday. I made a lot of stupid mistakes leading up to the weekend. Mistakes I probably wouldn’t have made years, or even months ago. Mistakes that I let happen because I was feeling confident about my ability to knock out miles…and totally forgot about the prep work required to keep my body happy.

Collegiate Peaks Trail Run Race Course - Buena Vista - Trail RunningCollegiate Peaks Trail Run Race Course - Buena Vista - Trail Running

It kind of sucked to be out on unfamiliar trails miles away from the car [and real food + cold water] but I’ve decided I’m okay with that. I really did need a bad run. I needed the reminder that drinking water all the time is important and that eating actual nutritional food makes a big difference when it comes to energy and that not thinking through on-the-trail food is just plain stupid.

I’m glad I survived Saturday’s run, I’m glad I’m forcing myself to learn from it and most importantly I’m glad I was able to get out of my own head and enjoy the area I was in. I mean, look at the photo! It was gorgeous. The weather was perfect, the mountains were incredible models and the trails were all runnable.

Collegiate Peaks Trail Run Race Course - Buena Vista - Trail Running

However, I’m not glad I let that run suck the confidence out of my Sunday run…my Sunday run that never happened because of [insert lame excuse such as weather, brunch, unpacking, or I-am-scared-it-will-suck-again syndrome]. Actually, I haven’t run since Saturday’s bad run… I just realized that and that needs to change! I also need to go drink a bottle of water and find a pudding cup [still working on my definition of “nutritional food”] before I completely sabotage this coming weekend’s long run!

Trying New Things [giveaway]

Disclaimer: At the end of this post I’m giving stuff away. The giveaway is paid for by fairlife and I am receiving no monetary compensation for hosting this giveaway or for doling out my opinions. The things I say about fairlife, yoga and milk snobbery are my opinions. While I probably wouldn’t have given this company a shot without this opportunity my “review” is honest.

Everyone has that comfort zone that just feels…safe. It’s dependable, it’s easy, it doesn’t require much thought and it’s always there just waiting for you. It’s a nice place to have. But that comfort zone can also get boring. If you spent too much time hanging out in that comfy little bubble things get mundane and you get restless.

We all have two options – hang out in that comfort zone until we go stir crazy or regularly make an effort to get uncomfortable and try new things. I have done both but I have a definite preference for venturing out into the unknown. Sure, it might be awkward but awkward only lasts so long and you just might learn a thing or two about yourself. And usually learning about yourself eventually leads to actually liking yourself.

In a small way this was exactly my mindset when I jumped at the opportunity to attend a recent fairlife event in Denver. They sent me an email about meeting up with other bloggers to learn about the “better for you milk”, try a new kind of yoga and taste test a few smoothies made with fairlife milk. I’m not much of a foodie and I rarely do anything stretchy like yoga but I did know a lot of bloggers going and the farm girl in me is always happy to support legit dairy so I was on board!

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Full Disclosure: Until I received the email I had no idea what fairlife was. After I got the email I started seeing ads all over the place. In case you’re an out-of-the-loop person like me fairlife is milk. Only it’s more than plain, old, regular milk…it does come from real cows but goes through fancy pants filters that allow the milk to keep all of its protein and calcium while striping out sugar and fat. You can get all the details on how that happens on the fairlife website.

Going into the fairlife event a The River Yoga Studio on Saturday afternoon I had no idea what I was in for but I was met with familiar faces and even got a few are-you-runaroundaroo’s. The toasty yoga room we walked into had me worried but I knew I was with the right people – regardless of what they had us doing it would be a blast. Few of us were yogis and we all knew how to laugh at our own crazy!

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It took us a while to settle down and actually pay attention but once we shut up the fairlife crew did a quick run down of what fairlife is and how it’s different from the regular milk you get in stores. Turns out they created a process that takes real cow’s milk and changes a few components – namely the protein (goes up) and sugar (goes down) levels. They promised to give us a taste…but not until after we all gave yoga a try. And not just plain, old, boring yoga – partner yoga.

See how the “plain, old, boring” keeps getting ditched?! In the milk, in the yoga…and in day to day life. If you’re feeling philosophical.

Boom. Instant excitement in the land of Heidi. I tend to end up in rather boring yoga classes where my withering attention span is tested and my desire to either nap or punch people is dramatically elevated. That was not going to happen today! I’ve seen some awesome partner yoga poses courtesy of Patrick and his girlfriend…I wanted to at least pretend to be as cool as they are.

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So many bloggers! And pushy, shovey Kait and me!

Things started out easy with some basic exercises that had us practicing weight transfer/distribution – this gave us a chance to figure out how to lean into each other and get friendly, er, make new friends. After a few variations of push/pull moves we got to try out some more challenging poses. Now, I warned you I wasn’t even kind of a yogi so I have no idea what these poses are called and I’m fairly certain my posture is whack, but bear with me, I was having fun!

The first pose we did was something similar to a flying bird of sorts. I partnered up with Lauren and we took on the pose, which we made into an awkward version of a trust fall – I was trusting her to hold me up, she was trusting me to keep my balance and we were both hoping we wouldn’t end up in a weird, tangled pile of sweat. It took a try or three but…

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I’m a bird! A wobbly, dying bird!

There may have been lots of giggles during the first pose – it was a lot harder than it looked. It didn’t require a lot of strength but you really needed to trust your partner’s sense of balance. I trust Lauren…but it’s hard to keep your balance with your laughing at how ridiculous you’re certain you look! We may never win any “best form ever” prizes but we just might be the happiest crazies out there!

After we all mastered the flying-bird-like pose to varying degrees we moved on to the partner plank pose. Oh, planks. I will never, ever understand the appeal of planks. You’ll never see me timing my planks on a daily basis – mostly because I don’t do planks. I was a tiny bit worried I wouldn’t be able to hold a plank long enough to pull off this pose. Turns out planks aren’t *that* bad when you don’t have a timer staring at you. It also turns out that my interpretation of a plank may lead you to believe I was doing the downward dog. Oops.

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Partner planks – with a perfect photo bomb from Tiffany!

The afternoon ended with lots of taste testing, more blogger talk and a bag full of goodies. I’m kind of a milk snob so I was surprised to find out that I actually LOVE the chocolate fairlife milk! As in, I bought it on my next trip to the grocery store and had to fight Chris for it. That’s not normal…not in Colorado. I love this state but I’m pretty sure no one here knows how to make proper chocolate milk, until fairlife.

As for the skim and 2% fairlife…not my thing. But I’m not a fan of skim or 2% any kind of milk. I’m all about whole milk – that’s just what happens when you grow up drinking un-pasteurized, cream laden milk directly from the bulk tank in the barn. So, while I’m not loving the regular fairlife nearly as much as the chocolate it’s probably not fairlife’s fault, I’m just snobby!

Magic Bullet Giveaway

But enough of my embarrassing attempts at yoga and milk snobbery. You’re here because you read [giveaway] in the title, I can only hope you got at least one chuckle on your way down to the important details on how to win…and what you’re winning!

Thanks to fairlife I have a handy dandy Magic Bullet mixer up for grabs! If I was the one making decisions you’d get a big ol’ bottle of chocolate fairlife…but shipping milk can get a little dicey so you’ll have to settle for the machine that will whip up your smoothies. Or grind down your hummus if that’s more your style. Or, crush up the Oreos and Nilla Wafers for dirt cake. I’m not here to judge….

All you need to do is tell me what you have done in the recent past to break out of your comfort zone. It can be about fitness, or food, or work, or ice cream, or toothpaste. For an extra entry share this giveaway how ever your little heart desires — just let me know in the comments how you spammed your friends and it’ll get your name in the hat again.

The winner will be picked by random.org but my life can also use a smile…don’t let me down with the comments! The number generator of the interwebz will pick a winner on April 19th and I’ll shoot you an email — so be sure to use a legit email that you actually check!

You can also check fairlife out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest…but no extra entries, all I really want is your it-scared-me-but-I’m-glad-I-did-it stories! If you do get to try out fairlife and want to brag about their awesome online use the #BelieveInBetter hashtag, their social team is awesome about responding and re-sharing!