Spring in Montana

Oh this week has been a classic spring week in Montana.   We have had unseasonably warm days and now we have had snow and ice.

Taken Tuesday.   Things were starting to green up, though Mt. Fleecer will have snow until August or September.

Taken Tuesday. Things were starting to green up, though Mt. Fleecer will have snow until August or September.

Tuesday was absolutely a beautiful Montana spring day.    Friday we had rain all day and I could see the snow line slowly creep down as the day passed.   By dinner we were above the snow line.   Saturday we woke with overcast and by late afternoon we were back in the snow belt.   Sunday It was winter again no holes barred.

By Friday we had rain and then snow.   This was taken Saturday on my walk.

By Friday we had rain and then snow. This was taken Sunday on my walk.

Magic Words for Dogs

I was leaving for a meeting the other day when I came upon an elderly lady with a little Yorkie running wild on the road.  My mind is cranking away that this lady somehow thought it was alright to pull onto our dead-end road to let her dog do his duties.   In spite of it all those less than gracious thoughts running through my mind I was acutely aware that my dog loves to chase a car given a chance and I slowed down.  It was important for me to stop until she had her dog under control.

As I slowed and came to a stop, I felt sorry for this woman whose little rat was having the time of his life running in Montana open range.   Each time she approached the dog he got more excited then running as though playing a game.   He was a indoor city dog gone wild.

This little gray-haired lady approached my rig and sighed.   She told me a tale of woe how she was unable to capture her dog  after she let it out for just a second.   She was wondering if I would help her capture her little critter.  Lucky for her we always carry in our glove box some dog treats.  I got out of my rig and called the two words guarantee to bring any dog in.    Treats and want to go for a ride?   Before I had it out of my mouth that little critter had his feet on my running boards and begging for a bit of food.     I picked him up and handed him to his owner and was on my way.

One minute I was feeling frustrated because I was running late, then the anger because someone was letting a dog poo in on my road….the next a silly little dog in a tartan jacket was making me smile and I was happy I could help a stranger.  All a reminder that life is what we make of it.   It can be full of stress and anger or I can choose to change how I look at it and embrace it in a positive sort of way.

My Favorite Ankle Biter

Me training with my favorite ankle biter.

Me training with my favorite ankle biter.

I am training for a half marathon.   It means I must do more than just casual walking that I normally do.  I have a treadmill, but only use it as a necessary evil.  I prefer to walk outside.     I am careful when I walking, know that bad things can happen to good people.   Last year a Montana woman was nabbed when she was out running.  She was going much faster than I will ever be able to move.   It happened in a small town with an oil boom.   It doesn’t stop me from being out there trying to get ready for my race.   It means that I am conscious of the choices I make and try to make choices that lower my risk.

One of my risk reducing activities is walking with  my little Cairn Terrier.   He is not much to look at as far as a protector goes.     He does not strike fear in people the way a Rottweiler, German Shepard or other full-sized dog may.   In spite of that he is my guardian when I walk.   He keeps watch and lets me know what is going on long before I notice.   He was a rescue  dog and is not everyone’s friend.   He is unsure of men, folks with boots and folks who sneak up on him.   He has terrier energy and is glad to walk miles with me.

He is a perfect companion for me  as I train.   My dog and my favorite ankle biter.

Smart Training

Harley my  personal pacesetter.

Harley my personal pacesetter.

Once again this year I plan to walk a half marathon or two.   The first one is early in the season and it is time to get serious about my training schedule.   One of the hardest parts of getting ready is training smart.   Not only do you need to find the right training schedule to prepare you for race day.   On the other side of training smart involves safety.   I always think of a woman who was nabbed when running  in Northeastern Montana.   There is nothing you can do to prevent a nut who wants to nab a woman, but there are lots of things you can do to put yourself at the least amount of risk.  Some of the things I do to help my odds:

  • Don’t walk before the sun is fully up.   
  • Wear your reflective safety vest
  • If you must wear headphones, don’t wear them blasting.
  • Walking with a dog, even an ankle biter will can alert you to things you might miss before they are upon you.
  • Let someone know when you leave and should be back.
  • Don’t walk the same time and place every time.

Don’t let fear be your excuse not to get out there, but be smart.

Personal Pace Setter

Harley my personal pace setter.

I am walking daily, training to do a half marathon at the end of July.   My training partner is my dog.   Many people exercise with their dog, killing two birds with one stone, both getting in a little exercise.    The special part  is that my dog isn’t your standard lab or other breed you commonly see running along owners.  My dog is a Cairn Terrier, a little 15 pound wonder dog.

My husband drops us off miles from home.  From the minute we get out  of the car to the minute we get home, my dog is the pace setter.   He doesn’t pull at the leash, but he lets me know that we got places to go and keeps it up.   Unlike most male dogs, he wastes no time marking, he hoofs it the whole time.   When I slow down on the hills he takes up running to let me know I can’t fall behind.

This is the first year training with this dog and I am not sure what is fair and realistic for him to walk nonstop.  I know he can hike all day, but then I take breaks.   I do know when I leave him behind I will miss the joy that his driving spirit gives me.

My Favorite Training Plan

Every sport requires a training plan to perform at your  best. Distance walking is a sport and it too requires a training plan.   As  I plan for another summer walking  half marathons I have pulled out my training schedule from last year.  I choose this schedule because it works around the fact that I have a “real  job” that requires a significant part of my day Monday through Friday.  It comes from marathon walking website.  It is a site I have bookmarked  as a favorite, and come back to often for reference.  Distance walking and running have lots  but there are differences and this site helps with some of the nuances specific to walking.  

I am hoping that a second summer of distance walking will allow me to improve my personal best time, heck my only time.   Finishing in under four hours is my first goal, then we can pick a minutes per mile goal.   Maybe a by-product of this will be a  the loss of a few pounds and improvements in my overall health.  Let the training begin, it is the first step to walk a half-marathon

Training for My Half-Marathon in the Midwest

We are visiting family in the Midwest and my training for the half-marathon goes on.

It has been hard.   Finding time isn’t the issue, though that is hard on a day when you spend 13 hours in the car.  Humidity and heat have been the issue.   Those are two non-issues in Montana.  I haven’t been training as much as I would/should be, but you can find me out on the streets of Morrison getting a few miles in here and there.   Keep your fingers crossed that when I get to Minnesota I get back on track.

My half-marathon is fast approaching.