Friday, November 13, 2015

Practice is Paramount to Success

In this month's Runners Edge article that I wrote, find out why according to Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, natural Talent is not as important as practice. How many hours of practice does it take to reach your potential in running or any endeavor? If you want to become your best in anything continue to believe in yourself, and know that practice is paramount to success.

Photo Credit: National Geographic "The Golden Road"

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Collapsing at the Finish at Pengelly Double Dip and Lesson Learned

I am feeling so fortunate to be running injury free and getting a little faster every year since having my twins 3 years ago. In the last month, I have set 2 course records and won a tough hilly 5k course at 5000ft altitude in 18:23 (Governors Cup) which was 30 sec’s faster compared to 2014. One of the biggest reasons I feel I am running faster is that I am able to run on mountain trails, feeling happy and free and truly enjoying every run outside and race.
In early June, I ran the Pengelly Double Dip. Pengelly race is a “tall half marathon” that climbs 3000+ feet and has some very steep climbs and descents. Below is a photo of the course map. Since I never ran the Pengelly course before, I wanted to practice on the course a few times. The first time I ran it easy and it took me 3 hours. The second time I just ran part of the course and did a 50 min half marathon effort after a local 5k race. The 3rd time I ran it hard and broke it up into sections and ran it in 2 hours and 15 min. After that workout, I became  a little skeptical that I could possibly break the record set by Kelly Webster 1:53:57.  I needed to run 21 min faster than ever before on race day. To talk myself into trying, I thought to myself that anything is possible and knowing that if I believed it was possible that I had a chance.

Pengelly Double Dip Course Map.
Race day was warm for Missoula standards in early June and breezy. I warmed up a little and I already felt warm. The gun went off and I bolted down the Kim Williams trail to take advantage of trying to draft off the men and run fast on the flat section. About mid-way up to the M, there was a small blonde haired girl, catching me quickly. I recognized her right away as the girl who ran a 38:30 10k at the River Bank Run a few weeks prior and I saw her training on Mt Sentinel when I was also training there too. She is fast and only 14 years old. I knew that I would need to work hard to try to win the race. She overtook me and I decided to run behind her to keep her close.
14 yr old  Ella DeGrandpre ran the 3rd fastest time ever on this course and finished only 2 min behind me. She ran the 3rd fastest time ever on the course for women. Incredible! Photo Credit: Pengelly Double Dip / Myke Hermsmeyer
She and I ran together a few minutes on the fire road and then I surged a little ahead and saw her not far behind me during most of the race. When I got to the top of Mt Sentinel I knew from my training workout what I time I thought I needed to have a chance of breaking the course record. I was off by 7 minutes!! I ran scared down the Smoke Jumpers trail knowing that every step counted. When I got toward the finish line and saw in the far distance that there was 30 sec’s to go to make it under the course record, I ran as hard as I could and collapsed at the finish line besting the record by only 5 sec’s. The only other time I have collapsed in a race was during a track 10k which was grueling. Pengelly is a true test of fitness and so glad that I gave it my all to get that course record.

Lesson learned- keep believing that you can meet your goals even if your brain tells you its not gonna happen.  Erase the doubt, tell yourself you can do it and just give it your darn best! You won't regret that you did not give up.
Running on the Fire Road Pengelly Double Dip. Photo Credit: Pengelly Double Dip / Myke Hermsmeyer
After the race, Runners Edge and Run Wild Missoula partnered up to stage a fantastic post-race party, and awards ceremony. They had free food, running vendors and even had renown Coach Jason Koop share his knowledge. The best part was seeing and talking to all the friendly and energetic runners. Everyone there is so supportive and kind. I feel so lucky to be part of this growing running community of compassionate runners and leaders of the sport.
Awards Ceremony at the Marshall Mountain Trail Festival. Kevin Twidwell on right did a fantastic job of race directing and Tony Banovich did a fine job of announcing. These guys are top-notch. Photo Credit: Vo Von Sehlen/Runners Edge
A few weeks after Pengelly, I raced Wulfman CDT 14k. My goal was to try to break my masters course record of 2013 and I ran 1:05:44 which was nearly 3 min faster than my time before and ran my second fastest time on the course (1:04:10 set in 2009).
In my happy place. Ran the second half by myself trying to push myself to run sub 1:05. ..
Photo Credit: Jon Wick
My next goal race is National Mountain Running Championships in Bend July 25th. This year (odd years) is an up down year. I qualified for the National Mountain Team 2x prior but the courses were all uphill which I consider my strength. I don’t want to pass up this opportunity though to test my fitness against the fastest USA mountain runners. Top 4 open women will earn an all expense trip to Wales for the World Mountain Running Championships.
Check out this short 22 sec video to see why I really want to try out for the World Mtn Running Team again. Cow bells, intensity and beautiful scenery.
Trying on their new hats.

Blue flox blooming around our house. Returning from my mountain run. Miles and Miles of meadow and forested trails behind our house.

In other news, I am enjoying my summer by running in the mountains every weekend and at least 1 x during the week. My boys love playing outside in the dirt, running down our driveway to get the mail.  My husband planted 500+ trees over the spring and he is also started training again after an 18 month hiatus.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Keep on Believing!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Follow Your Heart

I am a big believer of following your heart. I make decisions based on where my heart guides me. I am so glad I followed my heart back in 2006 when I tried out for the USA Mountain Running Team and then with my win at Nationals (Mt Washington Road Race) qualified me for the USA World Mountain Running Team held in Turkey. My life forever changed; I became a trail mountain runner and I never looked back. My love is now training and racing in the mountains. I still have so much to learn and have yet to run further than 20 miles in the mountains. I do feel like I still have a lot of potential because in my mind I am still a beginner to the mountain sport. I am excited to continue racing and testing my fitness in a variety of terrain.

Below are some pictures of 11 miles to Paradise. Its one of my all-time favorite races because its such a beautiful trail, so well organized and a party like atmosphere post race.
I ran 45 sec's faster than last year and set the course record.  I was 45 sec's faster at the halfway point so maintained the same pace as last year but it felt easier than last year. So happy to be able to run faster! (Photo Credit: Vo Von Sehlan)

The start of 11 miles to Paradise

Nearing the finish.
Feeling happy after getting to talk to all my friends
The awards ceremony and BBQ at Quinns Hot Springs
Here is an awesome video of the Paradise race which really captures the beauty of the trail and the energy of the event. The video is made my Bobby Jahrig of Jahrig Media

Below are some photos of Wilderness Camp I organized for homeschool children. It was a lot of work organizing it but so worth it. I want children to experience the natural world and all its wonder and beauty.
Watching a camp leader making a fire with a fire bow inside a shelter

Making a fire bowl
And lastly I am racing Pengelly Double Dip this Saturday. I have never raced Pengelly before and I am excited to test my fitness. Here is some info on that race.

Can't get enough of these yellow flowers.
Cheers to Following Your Heart, ...may your dreams come true.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Never Give Up

Running Mamas (and Fathers), Never Give Up!
Ran 1 minute faster, compared to last year, at Icebreaker Road 5 mile race (29:48).
My best on that course about 10 years ago is 27:40 but my masters best is 29:30 set in 2010 so excited about getting faster!

What do I attribute to getting a little faster:
1. Sleeping better- the boys have been sleeping through the night now for about 6 months
2. Less stress in my life- a year ago, I was nursing, changing diapers every few hours and chasing toddlers everywhere.
3. Being Happy

Keep believing in your goals!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Faster than Fast

In April Runners Edge Newsletter "Faster than Fast" find out what lab values I suggest to test for optimal racing performance and when/how often to test. My hope is to help and inspire you to be the best runner you can be

“Faster than fast” says Lightening McQueen. How do runners become faster than fast? We run at our best when we train smart, decrease stress, eat for speed, sleep soundly and have optimal blood values.
I encourage all my athletes to get blood work when they are feeling really good while running which gives a helpful reference point for their future running years or when they are not feeling so good. Test, minimally, one time per year and retest any abnormal values after recommendations implemented shortly thereafter.

Please click on link below for the entire article:

In other news, I raced the Lewis and Clark Caverns 12k trail race last weekend. An accomplished biathlete and very strong trail racer,  23 year old Corrine Malcom, and I dueled it out to the finish. I finished first by only about 10 sec's. (photo credit: Eileen Robbins). Below I was told to lift the trophy. Mine was heavy - at least 20lbs!

Next race is IceBreaker and Bloomsday. My goal is to run my fastest since having my little boys. I am feeling healthy and so thankful to be running injury free. My 3 boys are so much fun to play with and now that they are easier I have more time to train and run in the mountains where I am most happy. I feel blessed.
I will be updating my website and blog in the next few months so expect some big changes!! My hope is to inspire you somehow. Thank you all for visiting my blog.
Best wishes,

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Get Your Strong On

Hope this inspires you to be the best runner you can be.

March Runners Edge Newsletter

Get Your Strong On – Coaching Tips by Nicole Hunt

Last month I wrote about believing in your dreams, the power of your mind, and how your thoughts affect every single cell in your body. In this article and subsequent articles I will discuss the training modalities that will help manifest your running goals and dreams.
In the beginning of every season a runner is told to do “base training”. Most runners when they hear base training think run lots of miles moderate over hills training. This kind of running is important but instead of just running moderate hard, I coach my athletes (and practice myself too) is what I will call “Get Strong Training”.

Read on in this link below:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Believe Train Celebrate

I am writing monthly articles for Runners Edge in Missoula Montana titled,
Believe Train Celebrate.

Believe, Train, Celebrate: Coaching Tips from Nicole Hunt

Click on link above to read more