During the Fall of 2014, I ran three legs of a 200-mile relay with the Montana Running Ranchers team. Running through the night in Napa Valley left an impression on me and lit a spark. The next month I set a goal to run a half marathon distance by the end of March 2015. I accomplished that and then some during the year.
- 1,011 miles recorded
- 9 races covering 94.3 miles from late-April to early-October
- One 27-hour relay covering 18.5 miles of a 200 mile team effort
- Racing from 6,500 ft elevation in the Castle Mountains to sea level on the Washington coast near the Canadian border
- My first three half marathons, each of which were new PRs (personal records)
- PRs in every distance and time span from a 3km to 13.1 miles
I had been running on occasion before 2015, but something changed during the course of a year. I discovered the trails and the community that comes along with that. Now, my Instagram feed might contain more photos from running than anything related to agriculture. That’s a big change for me.
Though the course of running more, both on the trails and pavement, I’ve learned a few lessons about commitment and setting goals. After all, a goal without a plan is only a wish. Additionally, don’t compare your time or distance to someone else. What matters most is that you give it your all and work toward the goals that work for you.
I’ve also learned more about the importance of nutrition. Consistent training and 30+ mile weeks don’t happen on a diet of fast food and Mountain Dew. Though, recovery meals may push that rule on occasion. One of the biggest lessons about nutrition is to make your food count. I’ve focused more on proteins, dairy and dark green vegetables, avoiding sweets and empty calories. In turn, I have seen consistent improvement in my ability to accomplish goals. Obviously, beef has been a big part of this, making up the largest portion of my proteins.
And after going through three pairs of trail shoes, I’ve learned to take advantage of Fall clearance sales as the old year models are pushed off shelves.
Running on the trails, plowing through the snow and reaching each new hilltop ends up in some amazing views and time for reflection. Had you told me this time last year that 13 mile training runs wouldn’t be so bad, you’d have been called crazy. Now, it’s not so bad.
Travel with work should lend itself to spending a bit more training time on new trails across the Northwest. I’m on track to have a race almost every month this year. Hopefully, not setting myself up for failure or injury.
- January – BEEFit 5k, Cattle Industry Convention, San Diego
- February – Snow Joke Half Marathon, Seeley Lake
- March – Run to the Pub Half Marathon, Bozeman
- May – Don’t Fence Me In Trail Run 12k, Helena
- June – Governor’s Cup Marathon, Helena
- July – Missoula Marathon, Missoula
- September – CattleWomen’s Ranch Run Relay, Lennup
- October – 200-mile Ragnar Relay Hawaii
There are several other races on my short-list to fill in the gaps – mostly trail runs. With my marathon training, half marathons will be easy to fit in the training plans. My goal is to obtain my first 50k distance by January 2017 when there are several Fat Ass 50k opportunities in the area.
Keep an eye on my Instagram account (@AgProudRyan) for more photos from my adventures on the road and trails!
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