Little Missouri State Park

Over Labor Day weekend this year I knew I wanted to go on a little adventure. I was hoping for a fun ladies weekend but that didn’t come together. Instead, I decided I would just adventure on my own. I wanted to head for the hills and hit some trails. I’ve really fallen in love with trail running. Well, if you can call it that. In ND, we don’t have much for trails or hills. However, the western part of the state boasts the most elevation change. I’ve been to the southern part of the Badlands many times and have hiked and ran the Maah Daah Hey trail in that area. I decided to go more north and visit Little Missouri State Park on Saturday morning right around sunrise.

LMSP

Hazen is in central time while LMSP is on mountain time. With the time change and sunrise a bit earlier there, I was able to sleep in and I left home about 6 a.m. to arrive at the park at 7:30, or 6:30 MT, just after the sun was peeking over the hills. I am ashamed to say I haven’t visited LMSP after living here for several years. I was really missing out!

This is a public recreation area north of Killdeer about 20 miles. The park is over 4,500 acres along the Little Missouri River and the river’s confluence with our state’s great lake – Lake Sakakawea. The park has over 45 miles of trails!! These trails are specifically for hikers, runners, bird watchers and horses. No motorbikes, ATVs or even pedal bikes are allowed. I entered the trail system at the State Campground which was marked and easy to find. There is plenty of room for guests to park their campers and put up their horses. There were a lot of horses there and it looks like you could easily go on a trail ride if you didn’t have your own horse.

Since I was alone, my Mom was very worried about me. I was sure to take along a map and my cell phone and let her know when I started and promised to text or call upon my return. I was surprised to have cell service and even wifi at the campground. There were a few spots on the trail I could get service, but mostly I couldn’t and that was OK. I recommend just enjoying nature. To be honest, I can’t really read a map. I took off and just tried to remember landmarks and take photos along the way. The nice thing about hiking in ND is that every trail will lead somewhere, you aren’t too likely to get totally lost. With 45+ miles of trails though, I still wanted to be careful. Also – I loved seeing the different plants like those cool cactus’s below.

I set out thinking I’d do some double digit mileage in the 2 hour time frame I allotted myself. I ended up covering 8 miles in those two hours and that includes running, hiking up hills and stopping for some photos of course. I saw deer and birds but nothing else in the way of wild game. Plenty of horses were at the campground but I didn’t encounter any horse or horse rider while I was out there. I did get to see the leaves just beginning to change, I imagine in a few weeks it’ll be so pretty there.

When I got out on the trails and started running, my heart rate MUST have been high. I was so happy to be there in such a beautiful wide open space. The hills are stunning and the views incredible. It is hard to believe this is the same flat ND most people think of. There was a bit of haze in the air due to Montana wildfires but not too bad.

During the oil boom, I heard there was some impact on the park due to oil drilling in the Killdeer area. That has since died down but I did see signs on the very edge of the park leading towards drilling activity. There was no traffic or any other trouble I encountered.

I worked up quite the sweat – I went down twice and up three times covering quite a bit of hills. For sure I needed a shower and I was happy to see the campground had showers. $0.50 for a 4 minute shower or $1.00 for 8 minutes. I was hesitant but the showers were well kept and clean. I splurged for the $1 fee and that was more than enough time. I sat in the sun awhile to bug off some free wifi and drink water and have a snack before I headed out to do some more exploring in Dickinson. 10/10 would go back to the park to explore more areas. Maybe with someone who is more familiar with a map than I am. The park operates April 1 – Oct 31.

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If anything, this was a great chance to see my state, get in some outdoor fun and check something off the bucket list.

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Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living | 1 Comment

Mexican Skillet with Ground Beef, Sweet Potato and Pinto Beans

I didn’t really know what to call this recipe. As with a lot of my recipes, I found inspiration online, this time from Recipe Runner and her recipe that has chicken and black beans featured. I really think this is customizable to your preferences and feel free to mix it up. Mine ended up being quite heavy on peppers and tomatoes as that is what is exploding out of our garden. I’m still loving on my Instant Pot and have been making dried beans in it. I had made a big batch of pintos so used some from that mix, but you can surely use canned beans of your preference in this recipe.

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I always try to chop the veggies in advance if possible because that takes me the longest. You’d think with how long I’ve been cooking, I’d be better with my knife skills but I am pretty slow. Another shortcut is to make your sweet potato in advance. I simply nuked mine in the microwave and let it cool overnight so I could chop it easily.

For this dish, I prefer it served atop a bed of greens. The dish already has some good carbs from the sweet potato and beans so you don’t want it to be too heavy. Although, this would make a great pizza topper if you used taco sauce as the sauce I bet!

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I like the mix of cold lettuce topped with the warm skillet, it wilts the greens a bit and I topped mine with a bit of cheese, some avocado and fresh onion, tomato and pepper. Delicious.

Mexican Skillet with Ground Beef, Sweet Potato and Pinto Beans, serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced – I used red 
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 4 grilling (any mild) peppers, diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon ground cumin
  • heaping Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • sweet potato, peeled, par-cooked and diced 
  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups or 1-15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

Garnish: Salsa, pico, diced onion/tomato/pepper, cheese, avocado, cilantro, lettuce, sour cream, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat a large (10-12 inch) cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook/crumble until done. Set aside or drain if needed. Leave a bit of grease in your skillet.
  2. Add onion and all peppers and saute until just starting to brown, about 5 minutes or so. If the veggies are sticking, just add a dash of water to loosen things up. Add in garlic and saute another minute.
  3. Add in all spices. Return beef to skillet. Add in anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and still everything together until thickened. About 2-3 minutes.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and add in sweet potato, tomatoes, beans and lime juice.
  5. Stir together and cook until the mixture is heated through, approximately 5 minutes.
  6. Garnish with your favorite taco toppings and serve.

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This is what my skillet looked like as it was done cooking. Your house will be filled with wonderful aromas!

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The sweet potato adds a nice bite when mixed with the spices and peppers. Try this dish to switch up your taco night just a bit. Enjoy!

Posted in Dinner, Dinner idea, Main Dish, Salad, Veggie | Leave a comment

Jalapeno Popper Pizza

I know she drives some people crazy, but I really like Rachael Ray. She is probably one of the first Food Network hosts I really took interest in and started watching. I loved her 30 minute meal ideas even though I really wouldn’t make a lot of them, sometimes I HAD to cook what she was cooking. I have a few of her cookbooks. Actually hers and Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, are staples on my nightstand. I enjoy her monthly magazine, Rachael Ray, Every Day. The photos are bright and vibrants, I enjoy the layout, the lack of dessert recipes, her inclusion of a little bit of clothing/décor/jewelry, dogs and most of the recipes are relatable or easy enough to make at home. When I saw her feature the Jalapeno Popper Pizza, I knew this would be something we’d like at my house and I bookmarked it to make soon.

JalapenoPopperPizza

It is the season of peppers and we have been getting some BIG jalapenos in our CSA basket and in our garden. I decided to change up the recipe to suite my needs and what I had on hand for veggies. I changed it quite a bit but the peppers and sweet corn still shine through.

Jalapeno Popper Pizza, serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into half rings
  • 2 large jalapeno peppers, cut into ringed slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup, packed Swiss chard (or other hearty greens), sliced
  • 4 whole grain tortillas
  • 4 servings Laughing Cow Cheese wedges, flavor of your choice
  • 2 ears of corn, cut from the cob
  • 8 oz. chicken breast, cooked and sliced
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella

To garnish, jarred, pickled jalapeno slices and grated Parmesan-Romano cheese blend

Preparation

  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 450°. Preheat a large skillet on your stovetop over medium-high heat.
  2. Put oil in the skillet and place onion in to saute for about 3 minutes, until it gets some color. Add in jalapeno and cook another 2 minutes. Finally, add in garlic and greens and saute another minute. If you find your food sticking to your skillet, just add another splash of oil or some water.
  3. While food is sauteing, arrange 4 tortillas and smear with one Laughing Cow Wedge each.
  4. Add your corn and cooked chicken breast to the skillet and heat on medium until warmed through.
  5. Roughly divide your skillet contents onto the four tortillas and spread food to the edges. Top each tortilla with about a cup of mozzarella cheese. Place in pre-heated oven and bake 5 minutes or until crisp and starting to brown. Cut into 6-8 wedges and serve with a salad or veggie. Top with jarred jalapenos and grated cheese.

An excellent alternative would be to make these into wraps and reheat later for lunches or even freeze for lunches at another time.

Make sure you spread the ingredients out so you have at least some corn, onion, jalapenos and chicken on each slice.

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Rach’s magazine recipe with my creation. Pretty close!

One little tip for you. We eat dinner at home generally every night during the week. I don’t always COOK every night though. In the summer we grill at least once a week, often on a Monday or Tuesday. On that night, I make sure to plan ahead to take meat out to thaw for dinner and for future meals. Cook extra chicken breast, venison, or other meats that reheat well. If the grill is on, I will also grill additional veggies, potatoes, onions, etc. While all that food is grilling, take time to prep your veggies. Cut everything up – jalapenos, tomatoes, lettuce, green beans, etc. This just makes it easier for you to grab another night to go along with your main dish. Total time saver!

I did make the other two servings into wraps so we could have for lunch the same week.

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Serve with a garden salad and you have a fresh, filling, healthy meal. We loved these – we enjoy spicy foods. I could eat these over and over!

You can totally customize these to other veggies you have on hand, cheese you prefer, meat or no meat and use the crust of your choice. These would be great on the grill over the long holiday weekend. Enjoy!

Posted in Appetizer, Dinner, Dinner idea, Healthy Living, Main Dish | 1 Comment

Whole Wheat Flax Oatmeal Banana Bread

I posted a similar recipe to this a while back but I have tweaked it a bit to my preferences and thought I’d share again since I deleted those photos. On accident. Oof. Oh well, we are here for fun anyway. I took a little break from posting because life is busy this summer and I don’t always feel like what I have to say is worth sharing to be honest. But, I keep coming back!

WWFOBB

This banana bread has been a staple of my weekly breakfast for the past several months. I enjoy it crumbled into yogurt, smeared with peanut butter or just a quick slice to grab out the door. I usually double the recipe, let it fully cool, slice it and store in the freezer. Each loaf makes 12 pieces so a double makes me through about 2 months. (On the weekends I try to eat something different or I am gone traveling.) When I freeze it, each package has 5 slices in it so I take it out Sunday evening, put it in the fridge to thaw and eat through the week. Fun fact – my husband likes the butt end pieces so he gets those. But, when it comes to bread, I LOVE the butt ends and he never eats them. He also likes the butt ends of crusty bread and sausage and I don’t so we are basically a match made in heaven. Haha.

This bread is packed full of good for you ingredients to start your day. I use super ripe bananas, unsweetened applesauce, almond milk and a splash of vinegar to keep the bread moist. The whole wheat flour, ground flax and oats give it a nice chew. Sure, this is “healthy” banana bread but it is slightly sweet between the fruit and a bit of added honey.

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Over the past few years I have really changed my way of eating and cooking. I used to look at recipes with ingredients like whole wheat flour and flaxseed as over the top and ingredients that were not pantry staples for me. Dates, chia seeds? Forget it! But, over time, I considered just trying a few recipes with items here and there. Come to find out, I like these ingredients and they are all now staples in my pantry. I haven’t ventured out too far yet but as long as something isn’t too $$$, I consider at least trying the item. I mean, it is food we ingest – it is worth our money. I like to think this recipe is a great starting point for trying out some of those maybe newer-to-you ingredients. I also like to think this is a great recipe that showcases some foods found here in ND like the honey, whole wheat flour and flax.

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Here’s my take on the bread!

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Whole Wheat Flax Oatmeal Banana Bread, 12 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 heaping cup mashed ripe banana, about 3
  • 1/3 cup honey (could sub brown sugar)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (I use a 4 oz. single serve cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or skim, coconut, etc.)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In large bowl combine mashed banana, honey, applesauce, vanilla, egg, vinegar and milk until well combined. In separate medium bowl whisk together whole wheat flour, flax, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. I prefer mine on the more “rare” side and take out at 60 minutes. If you prefer more “well-done” continue to 70 minutes.

Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 12 slices and enjoy. Wrap or cover bread to keep it fresh. Stores great in the fridges and for months in the freezer.

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If you are anything like me, you need to cut this and store so you don’t find yourself easily dipping into another piece. It is a “healthier” take on banana bread but moderation! Something I am definitely still working on! Enjoy.

Posted in Baking, Breakfast, Healthy Living, Sides | Leave a comment

Maah Daah Hey trail half marathon, 2017

Saturday, July 29, 2017 was the Maah Daah Hey trail races. I did the half marathon. Other distance options are 5k, 10k, marathon, 50 mile, 75 mile and 100 mile! All the races end in Medora, ND.

I did this run last year and it was very challenging for me. I still consider myself a “new” runner and quite honestly, I feel a bit like a fraud or faker when I show up to these events. I don’t have the typical gear – the hydration vests, neat/new gear, trail shoes, etc. It’s just me and my favorite shoes and I’m ready to run and be my usual, awkward self. I get a bit nervous before a “race” since you never know how it will go or how you might feel. BUT, the great thing, is all the trail runners are so nice. I have never had a negative encounter from the few trails I have run.

Running can be pretty lonely but trail running really takes that up a notch. You can easily go several miles in a half marathon without seeing another soul. I cannot wrap my brain around a marathon, 50, 75 or 100 miles! Crazy and awesome.

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We went to Medora on Friday to take in some dinner and then the musical. If you are familiar with Medora, you know the musical is similar every year. I thought this year it was really nicely done and I liked the jokes and costumes. It is truly a MUST if you are a North Dakotan. We went to the hotel right after and were in bed shortly after the show ended. We had the most beautiful night of weather – just a breeze and quite warm with no need for sleeves.

The race started at Buffalo Gap Ranch a few miles from Medora at 8 am Mountain Time. My Mom was kind enough to drive me so I didn’t have to take the shuttle and wait around for 45 minutes. The #1 thing I would change about this event would be for it to start earlier at 7 or even 6 am. July is usually hot and the sunrises early. The forecast was calling for mid-90’s and it was nearly 70 degrees when we started.

The Badlands are hilly and the trail is primarily gravel, soil, crushed rock and is pretty compact. The Badlands themselves are beautiful but this year we are in a severe drought so everything was extremely dry. In fact, a fire happened a few weeks earlier closing part of the trail until up to the race event. There is hardly a tree to be found on the trail and no shade. At all. The sun beats on the canyons and reflects heat back up. You won’t find anyplace to cool off unless you count a creek. Sadly, most of those are also dried up this year.

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I have ran a LOT (for me) this summer and have really found a passion for getting outside and getting in longer miles on a trail or gravel road. I don’t always have the time or a chance to do this, but it has become my favorite. I started running in 2015 and it was mostly on a treadmill, inside, a few times a week. I never ran if it was windy and never in the rain. In 2016, I got a little bolder and ran outside more and in the rain often, but still only a few times a week. This summer, I committed to running more outside and in any weather condition. So for 2017 that has meant mostly in the wind and no rain. Definitely have had some humidity though! I can’t say I have ran much in the direct sun. Mostly of my runs take place at 4:15-6:30 a.m. hours. On the weekend I can sleep in and usually go at daybreak. I have been putting in 50ish miles a week since April except for the week of July 4th when I was sick – much more important to rest and get healthy. I have honestly surprised myself with how much I enjoy getting up and running before going to work. It’s been a pleasant surprise though!

My goal for this event was to improve on my time ran last year. I was very nervous for the sunny, hot forecast. I had a talk with my running buddy, Robin, about paces and letting go of that. I know runners sometimes say that the numbers don’t matter, but we always track them and note them, right? What I have found liberating is just trying to stay within myself. I want to improve my times but I can’t focus or care what others do. I can only try to improve myself. I try not to be too hard on myself and realize that crappy runs happens. I’m not here to win, place or qualify for anything. I run because I love how it makes me feel and to enjoy the camaraderie of other runners. I am still learning and still new to the sport. With that, I knew I wanted to beat 2 hours and 30 minutes (my time last year) and was hoping for 2 hours and 15 minutes.

We start from Buffalo Gap Ranch up a gravel road where we then get right onto the Maah Daah Hey trail. The first few miles were good, I was trying to find my pace, my place in the pack and find a comfort level. The first and only checkpoint for the half is at about 5.5 miles. I stopped here as I wasn’t carrying any hydration. They handed me one Dixie cup of warm water. I was not thrilled but I kept a smile on my face as I appreciate the volunteers so much. They asked if I wanted any fruit but I asked for another cup of water. I really wanted about two more cups but didn’t want to be a hog especially in case the supply was limited.

Shortly after continuing we came to the only creek (this year anyway) and I ended up totally stepping in it and soaking my feet. Ugh, crap. I was worried about blisters but also hopeful the dry heat and hot sun would dry them out quickly. After the creek we get to the 10k start area and into more serious (for me) hills. There is a lot more walking at this section and I also got the opportunity to talk with a few people starting here. The downside, it was only getting warmer and brighter by the minute. As mentioned, there is no break from the sun, no plants large enough to make substantial shade. I did come across a bush that cast a shadow and in my mind if I squatted there a bit it would be quite lovely but I continued on.

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(I forgot my hat! But Dad let me use one of his thank goodness!)

Eventually, the trail starts going downhill as we make our way into Medora. The last mile is paved and into town. It is blacktop so again, quite warm. I was hoping to run this last mile as it is all flat but the heat was a bit much for more. I instead did a walk/run and chatted with a kid from Fargo and another man who was just walking after he thought there was a second aid station but there wasn’t. The kid from Fargo said his feet were pretty painful as he also got wet and was certain he had blisters. Luckily, my feet held up just fine (thank you, calluses) and were basically dry by this point.

As I got closer, I could see and hear my mom cheering for me. She is such a supporter for me and I appreciate it more than words. I was sure to run at the end and finish strong. My shirt felt like it weight 10 lbs. from sweat and once I stopped running, the sweat poured out of me. I crushed a cold bottle of water and had mom snap some pics. She remarked how crazy it was that some people crossing the line looked like they were out on an afternoon stroll. I was dirty, feet caked and so sweaty! I had a few more waters and we had to hightail it out of there before too long as we were not granted a late check-out and I needed a shower in the worst way so we could explore and eat in Medora before going home.

My finish time was 2:18:41 – not quite to my goal but I finished healthy and happy!

Afterwards, I met up with Robin (she did the 10k) for an iced coffee and also ran into a few friends that did the 10k. I love that I have been able to make friends by seeing familiar faces at events. I also love catching up with Robin. We were really good buddies back in high school and we’ve reconnected over fitness.

A few things I *think* have helped me with running this year and falling for it would be:

  • Letting go of some of the pressure and expectations
  • More (just slightly though) confidence in my abilities
  • Get off the treadmill (running in other weather conditions and road surfaces, relying on finding my pace naturally)
  • Doing hills on the treadmill (I definitely could have done more though and they are pretty non-existent since the Black Hills 30k – whoops)
  • Run in places you aren’t familiar with (new areas, run on a gravel road, different town, whatever)
  • Cycling / strength (cross train)
  • Stretching (keeping my calves and feet loose in particular)

A few things I *think* could help me more and make me better

  • Some heat training – do a few long runs later on in the day
  • More elevation running – difficult but not impossible for this flatlander
  • Prescribed training/paces – I generally try to run a few days of the week on a treadmill to increase intervals on the days I teach spin. I really don’t know what I’m doing. I imagine I could benefit from reading some specific training plans or websites?
  • Experience more trails, different surfaces. I was so intimidated by the MDH but after I ran the Black Hills, I had a new outlook. I cannot imagine running where there is real elevation. Maybe one day?

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Not every race has to be an all-out balls to the wall for me. I like the event atmosphere, making it a vacation, time with friends and family. Of course, I’d be lying if I said numbers didn’t matter. They do. To every runner. I want to do well but at the same time, it IS recreational fun. I hope to look back at this time in my life and remember running a lot and having fun. I doubt I’ll remember every race pace time but I will remember every race due to experiences. Thanks for reading this LONG run recap!

 

Quick side note: The female winner of the half was a musical performer and sang our national anthem before we ran. How awesome is that!?!

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living | 1 Comment

Spearfish Canyon Half Marathon, 2017

The Spearfish (SD) Canyon Half Marathon was held on Saturday, July 8, 2017. This was my second year in a row running this event. It is an absolutely beautiful course, a small race (275 half marathoners) and well organized. Spearfish is one of my favorite places to visit and it coincided with my mother-in-laws 70th birthday. That’s all it took for us to make it a long weekend of running and celebrating – myself, my husband and in-laws.

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This road half marathon was two weekends after the Black Hills 30k. After the finish of the 30k and being pleased overall with that run, I felt really good about the half marathon prospects. BUT, that was short lived. I got sick after the 30k. The tingle in my throat turned into a full blown summer cold. Nothing major, but it really wiped me out. I missed work for three days even. Which has never happened to me. I slept about 12-17 hours each those three days. I was wiped out. Obviously, health is the most important. I was signed up for the half and figured I’d do it with no time expectations – but just finish vertical.

We left bright and early Friday morning so we could get to Spearfish for lunch, grab my packet and head over to Deadwood for the evening. My MIL likes to gamble so we wanted to get there in case she was feeling lucky!

We ate at our favorite Spearfish restaurant, Dough Traders for pizza. A great pre-run meal. Their pizza is thin crust and they don’t go too crazy with the toppings or too much cheese. It took me approximately 20 seconds to get my packet and we were off.

Once we got checked into the hotel, we went out and about for some drinks and so I could try to find a healthy place for dinner. I try to eat fairly healthy before a run and thought I might have trouble finding something light in Deadwood. We did find a salad place kind of like Subway where I got a great salad. HOWEVER, I might have went a little too hard on the beers. The weather was just fantastic and we were having a great time. It’s hard for me to say no. In retrospect, I think sometimes I can kind of self sabotage my performance by doing things like this but whatever, life is short. Have fun.

Regardless, I was home and to bed early. I had an early wake up call. The bus left for the 7am start at 6 am from Spearfish park. The streets of Deadwood are very quiet at 5:30 a.m. I felt pretty good, at this point my cold was gone but I did have a lingering cough. I was concerned a bit about that, and more so about the 95 degree forecast.

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Once I boarded the bus, we took off for the 30 minute or so drive up Spearfish Canyon. I sat with a lovely woman named Priscilla from Spearfish. She had a hip replaced and still runs. She was nice to visit with and gave me a spot to check out in Deadwood.

Once to the start line (it is no fuss – literally just a white spot sprayed painted on the road saying start) we had 30 minutes to wait. A lot of people felt cold and I had some goosebumps but knew I’d be wishing for that cool weather shortly!

After a 3-2-1 air horn start, we were off. I started out conservative and just tried to find my pace and place in the pack. Everyone quickly spread out. The road is still open to traffic but at the early hour, there aren’t many cars or motorcycles out yet. The first 4 or so miles I felt great. I thought to myself I was going to really crush this race. I should know better to ever think things like that so early in the run. In fact, I should have been suspicious as my best miles are usually the middle ones. Around mile 5 I started to get a pit in my stomach. Like the one where you need to go to the bathroom. I had PLENTY of time before the run so I thought I wouldn’t have this issue. It felt serious and like I needed a bathroom. I tried to wish the feeling away and think about anything else other than my gut. At one point I had to stop dead still in fear I would have an accident in my pants. BUT, when I started back up, I felt pretty good.

I rushed along quickly and tried to focus on the scenery but quickly that tummy ache came back. Worse. I tried to think about anything else but all my thoughts went to poo. Sorry for the crude talk, but runners know. I thought of my dog. But then I just thought of how much he poos. I thought of the lovely trees but it made me think of their leaves and if I could use them as toilet paper if needed. I had to do another stop and actually CROSS MY LEGS in fear. FINALLY, around mile 6 I spotted some porta potties. This was the first time in a run I’ve had to use a porta. I said a quick thank you to God and was in and out in no time.

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I shot out of that porta quickly trying to make up for lost time. I don’t know if my cadence was off or what but I got the WORST side stitch. I get them on occasion and I don’t know why it happens. My liver was probably crying mercy from the night prior. Haha. But it was pretty bad pain on my right side and I was forced to walk. I kept trying to run but it was bad – walk/run, walk/run, walk/run. I didn’t know what to do or how long it would last. It was horrible getting passed by people and I felt my hopefully awesome time go out the window.

At the next aid station, I completely stopped and drank two glasses of water. I decided to run again and just like that, the side stitch was gone. I was apprehensive at first but kept running until I found my stride again. After a small pity party, I decided I would just have fun. There aren’t many spots for spectators but they are people dotted along the route. I made sure to visit with them and took my time getting water and thanking volunteers at the other aid stations. You can paint a stroke on a piece of artwork at one aid station and I did that. I decided I knew I wasn’t probably at my physical best coming into this run so just let it go and have fun. And I did.

My toughest mile actually ended up being at the end. We were in the full on sun, it was heating up and we were on cement. I told myself after all my little mishaps to not stop and walk to run to the finish and I did. I am proud of a strong finish! It was awesome to see my in-laws at the finish and have my hubby cheering for me. The race starts and ends early so after I got some water in me, we were off back to Deadwood so I could shower, refuel and party with the fam!

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Results:

1:51:17 | 8:29/mile | Countless smiles (at least for the 2nd half)
And I am still super happy with that time. I’ve come a long way from my first half marathon in 2015 where I had a 2:08+ finish and no idea what I was doing. Not that I am much better having a clue now, but I know my body cues much better!

If you ever find yourself in the Deadwood area, I have a few recommendations and not to miss places. We love this area and I seriously would love to live here. Maybe one day!

I know how to refuel from a run!! Seriously though, a salty Bloody Mary is a great refuel option. Hit. The. Spot.

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I hope he isn’t mad I put him in the blog but here I am with my honey. I appreciate his support and encouragement in all of my fitness endeavors. It was a wonderful weekend with him! Let’s go running!

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living, Misc | 4 Comments

Cauli-Rice Taco in a Bowl

Hi – I’m back with another “non-recipe” post for you. This is just an idea you can take and customize to your preferences or dietary needs. This was really tasty and both my husband I gobbled this up. Leftovers kept great in the fridge.

Cauli-RiceTacoinaBowl

Included in our bowls:

  • Cilantro lime cauliflower rice
  • Charred corn Mexican blend (frozen veggie packet nuked in the microwave)
  • Refried beans
  • Homemade salsa
  • Ground beef with taco seasoning, onion and peppers
  • Cilantro

Prepare all the foods and place in a bowl. Mix together and eat or sop up with a tortilla. Some obvious additions might be rice, other beans, grilled veggies, sour cream, cheese and whatever you can think of.

Enjoy!

Posted in Dinner, Dinner idea, Healthy Living, Main Dish, Veggie | Leave a comment