Monday, June 22, 2015

What's Going On and SweatPink 1MillionMinutes Challenge

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for stopping by my blog, as always!

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be really, really busy, so I may not be posting much. We'll see.
Alfalfa and Yellow Sweet Clover, blooming right now in our ditch.
I always love the colors and the smell--so sweet and lovely!
There's not a ton going on around here, anyway. Some of my long-time readers may have noticed I haven't been writing much about the farm lately. That's because I'm not sure what to say. We have hardly had any rain in calendar year 2015. Less than two inches total since January 1, and less than 1 inch during the growing season.  Our crops and pastures are drying up and it's not pretty. Finding anywhere with decent hay to cut is a struggle. We're already moving our cows around to different pastures to try to keep good grass in front of them, but the time is likely to come very soon when we'll have to be a little creative.

It's hard to write about the dry situation here. I keep writing a sentence, then deleting it because I think it somehow may come off as snarky or sarcastic and I don't in any way want anyone to think I'm making light of a poopy situation. It just kinda stinks.

So, this summer you may see more non-farming posts on my blog and more posts related to fitness and recreation. Which leads me into the next topic of this post...

I signed up (for FREE!) to take part in the FitApproach 1MillionMinutes fitness challenge! They are going for one million minutes of activity total, logged by all the people who are registered with their site. I think it's pretty cool. All I have do to is go to their website and log how many minutes of exercise I do each day.

I don't have to do one million minutes myself, but I did set a goal for myself of 2000 minutes. The challenge runs from June 21 to August 21. I have no idea if 2000 minutes is reasonable, unattainable, or too easy, it just seemed like a goal. I thought if I did 30 minutes of activity each day, that would be about 1800 minutes, and then just rounded up to 2000. Everything I log goes toward the overall challenge goal of one million minutes, from users all around the world. Plus, I think they're doing giveaways and contests for people who are signed, so maybe I'll get some cool freebies. :)

The first contest they are running is to complete the Mad Lib below, so I'm doing that in this post! I'll be using my blog and Instagram throughout the 1MillionMinutes challenge to share my progress. 
I am so excited to join #1MillionMinutes with #sweatpink! This summer my goal is to do _2000_ (number) minutes of running, walking, and yoga (mostly) (activity), while wearing my favorite _hot pink__ (color) _Oiselle Distance Shorts (noun).
I predict that we’ll _annihilate_ (Verb) the goal of #1MillionMinutes – we’ll actually hit _1,500,000_ (number) of minutes this summer! I predict that _running_ (activity) will be the top-logged movement.
I’ll get extra minutes in by _mountain biking_ (verb) to Lost River Ranch (place)!
My favorite way to get extra minutes in is by doing online workouts (verb) with FitSugar! (person). My dog Harvey_(person) is my BEST activity partner because he/she is so hyper and always ready to run! (adjective). Our favorite way to relax post-workout is to lay out in front of the fan.
I tag Christy  ( people) to help us reach #1MillionMInutes… or more!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dawson's Run Race Recap

Sometimes the best races are the ones with the most familiar faces. That's what Dawson's Run in Joplin, MT has become for me, Jeff, and our family. This community fun run was began four years ago to honor the memory of a local child named Dawson who had tragically passed away. Proceeds from the race each year go to a memorial scholarship in his honor and to the Joplin Memorial Park. This is the third year I have run in this race and it has been really cool to see how it has grown in the past few years. The best thing about this race is how many community members, friends, and families come together. The atmosphere is always festive, even when the weather hasn't been.

If you're a racing elitist with no sense of community, this may not be the run for you. They don't use race numbers, sign up is sort of done via Facebook just to reserve a t-shirt (then you pay and register on race day), and this year there was no timer for the event. So, if you need to have a race bib, advanced online registration and chip timing or fancy things like that, this is probably not your run. I think the absence of those things just brings it all back to making the community, the people, and Dawson, who is the REASON for the race, the stars of the show. I love this race and I hope they keep it true to its Joplin roots for as long as they want!  While it is really fun to do big races like Governor's Cup or the like, there's always going to be a place in my racing itinerary and my heart for small town gems like Dawson's Run.

This year, the Bangs contingency had a large presence: Jeff and I were there along with Tom, Carol, Josh, Katie and Brandon. Standing around before the race is always fun because it feels like a community reunion of sorts. People from up and down the Hi-Line and all around gather for Dawson's Run. It's always fun to say hello and catch up with people you haven't seen in a while. This year felt like the biggest turnout for the event that I have seen in the three years I've done it. There were a lot of people there, and everyone seemed happy and excited!  Katie and I were remarking before the race about how many people where there and just how cool of an event it is.
Josh, Katie, and Brandon were in town this year for the race and accompanying weekend festivities. 
The race itself includes your choice between running or walking either a 1 mile or 5K course. They do a great job measuring out the distance for the 5K--it is excactly 3.1 miles! Sometimes when you do a small-town run, they're close but not quite. Not so for Dawson's Run! Getting the distance correct meant they have to take the course around some silly around-the-block loops here and there, which can get confusing for some if they don't follow the arrows. I spotted a few people going the wrong direction- I met one of our family friends coming towards me and he said he had gotten confused about which way to go!  A few people later told me, too, that they were surprised at their quick times and that the race felt shorter than normal to them. In discussing the course, it turned out they missed the loop-de-loop altogether and ended up doing 2.7 instead of 3.1! No worries, though, as this event is just about getting outside and moving in memory of someone special. The course is overall very flat and fast, with mixed surface of in-town pavement and gravel and some dirt road through farm fields.

Again this year I tried to run the race with Harvey. (This meant that my hands were tied up with his leash, so I left my camera in the car... thus, not many photos in this post!) Harvey used to love running races with me but something switched for him in about the past year. He's not in love with the idea anymore. When the race began, I had to do a little bit of bribery with some string cheese to get him started. Once we got going, he did pretty good overall. After about a mile into the race when the crowd had started to thin out, Harvey showed his competitive nature. Overall, he and I kept a pretty even pace, but once we'd start getting close to someone ahead of us, Harvey would speed up and pull ahead on the leash to pass, and I'd stay with him. About as soon as we'd pass someone, he'd level pace back off again. Darn dog just has to be first! (**Harvey was the First Place Dog again this year, by virtue of being the only dog in the competition. He's not too proud to claim the victory, however! To read more about what Harvey loves, check out this post he wrote about what he's thankful for: http://www.prairieponderingsmt.blogspot.com/2015/06/thankful-thursday-vizsla-perspective.html)

For some reason, even with the flat and fast course I'd run before and was used to, the run felt really difficult to me. I really felt like I was laboring throughout the entire 5K. Maybe it's because Harvey and I had a slow start and felt like we had to surge in the first mile to get ahead, or maybe it was the heat and sun, or maybe because my legs were still tired from the previous weeks' Governor's Cup race. Who knows. I'm still pretty happy with my time of 27:06 (timed with my trusty Timex Ironman watch). I'm only about thirty seconds away from my 5K PR and feeling really good about being able to beat my time sometime this summer or fall. Jeff said he felt like he was struggling a bit during the race, too, but he still finished right around his recent PR, with a time of 30:13. Not too shabby!

After the race we stuck around Joplin for quite a while. The race is held on the same day as Joplin's annual Art in the Park and Car Show event, so there were tons of people in town for that. We spent the rest of the morning checking out artist booths, catching up with friends, and snagging a delicious home-cooked barbecue lunch.

The weather was PERFECT on race day, too. If anything, slightly warm to run in, but overall very nice. It was about 70 or a little warmer outside, with clear, sunny skies, and NO WIND! Much better than last year when it was about 45, windy and rainy. The warm weather really brought the crowds out to run and walk and to the rest of the festivities in Joplin.

One other thing that's always great about Dawson's Run is the race tshirts. They are always a plain cotton or cotton blend t-shirt, my fave!, and always feature a really fun graphic. Here's a photo of this year's tshirt design:
Everyone has a smile on their face and a big heart on the day of Dawson's Run. The positive energy is always astounding. To me, participating in Dawson's Run, even just being there at all, feels like a celebration. It might seem odd to be celebratory at an event to honor a kid who is no longer with us, but I think it's good, and maybe even healing, for people to come together to celebrate a life and celebrate community, family, and friendship. That's what this race is all about. It's not about worrying what your time was, or how cool the tshirt is (although they're always pretty cool!), it's about people coming together to celebrate life. Special thanks to everyone who helps put on the race. It's definitely a tradition in my family! Already can't wait for next year!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thankful Thursday ~ The Vizsla Perspective

Today's post is "guest written" by my dog, a Hungarian Vizsla named Harvey. He is nearly five years old now, and has lived his entire life on the farm. After his recent altercation with a rattlesnake he felt pretty sorry for himself for a few days, but now he has regained his focus and wanted to share with you some of what he is thankful for here on the farm! Enjoy Harvey's perspective!
Harvey used to be a puppy!
Hey everyone! I'm Harvey and I'm a handsome, good, Vizsla. Actually, my parents say that I'm a Vizsla, but they don't realize that I'm actually a person, just like them. See, guys? I belong in the front seat.

Anyway, not too long ago I was out for a run with my Dad (Jeff) and I began to smell something in the grass that smelled familiar but I couldn't quite place it. I decided to point it like a bird, like when I'm hunting--I love to hunt!--but I couldn't wait for Dad to come over to me, I just had to know, so I got closer and then the thing bit me! Then my parents were pretty worried, and that made me worried, and we had to get in the car and I had to ride in the back seat (!!) the whole way to see my friends at the vet, where they poked me with more sharp things. My face felt really weird. Mom said I was bit by a snake. So that's what that thing was! I felt so awful but everyone was giving me lots of pets and sympathy so that was nice. I even got a Get Well card from Jeff's Aunt Linda!
Guys, I don't know if you know this, but I'm kind of a big deal.
I felt really special to get some mail of my own!
When I was feeling sick I had lots of time to think about what I love about being a Vizsla, I mean person, living in the country, and my mom (Katie) thought I should help her with her blog and write it out for you all to read. I have lots of things I'm thankful for about living here. I love it here. This is my home. I'm a country dog. Mom says there are lots of things I get to do because I live in the country that dogs who live in the city don't get to do.

Like roam naked all the time. I have a collar but I don't wear it unless I'm in town. I hate my collar and I always scratch at it with my back foot to show my mom and dad that I'd rather not be wearing my collar. I'd rather be just in my own skin and fur, not wearing a collar. I'm thankful that I can run around naked and collar-free when I'm at my home in the country.
I have a long and handsome neck! Doesn't it look great without an itchy, scratchy, noisy, jangly collar? My parents say that since I'm the only Vizsla around (I don't know why they still call me a Vizsla-- I'm a person!), I don't have to wear my collar because everyone knows who I am. I don't ever, ever want to leave my people, so I don't run away from  my home and my yard, either. I just stay with my people. I'm thankful for my people.
Ok, this isn't a picture of me with my people. My mom is always always taking pictures of me and usually I don't like to hold still for very long, but sometimes she gets me in a moment of weakness. This is one of my rugs. I like rugs. Mom says she doesn't like that rug but I don't think she's ever tried laying on it. I like this rug. I can see the whole kitchen and watch for when my people drop food. They have thumbs, but they're still clumsy. I like this rug. I'm a Vizsla/Person, and I don't belong laying on the cold ground. I'm thankful for soft rugs and furniture. At my parents' house I go on most of the same furnitures that they do, even the bed. I love, love, love the bed! I'm so thankful and happy when I get to snuggle under the covers with my people!
Inside stuff is good and I like to be inside but I really love to be outside. At my house, I have so much room to run and explore! I love to hunt and run and chase bunnies and jackrabbits, and get the bird! Sometimes I try to chase those big things my mom calls antelope but only if I have a lot of energy. Those things are fast. I love to run in the grass and fields by my house. My people take me for lots of walks and runs and I usually just get to roam around free. I only wear my collar and leash...ugh...when I'm in town, so not that often. I'm so glad I have so much room to run and play!
I get to go with my Dad wherever he goes to work, too. Really, I'm working with him. He doens't like to be alone and neither do I so we're a good team. I help him in the tractor or in the combine or whatever big machine he's driving. I look out for birds when we're driving in the field. I could get 'em.
Guys, I don't know if you know this, but I'm a good hunter! There's nothing I love more than hunting, and my people. I love my people too. But hunting is what I was made for! I love to hunt the birds so much! I get so excited when my mom or dad say we're going to get the bird! I do a happy dance and hop around and tell them how excited I am. But when we get to the field, I don't want to be distracted. I just hunt. My people have to keep up to me. I'm so glad I live somewhere where there's so many birds I can get!
I got this bird for my dad. I use my nose to hunt the bird along the ground, then I do a special point to show my dad where it is. Then when he tells me it's Ok, I get the bird and it flies into the air and my dad shoots it! I am so proud when we get a bird! So is my dad. 
I also hunt for gophers. My people didn't know I was so good at this until recently but I showed them. I can get gophers right out of their holes in the ground. I can smell them and hear them and I pounce on them and dig them up. Then I like to show everyone what I caught for them by casually strolling around the yard with the gopher in my mouth! Do city dogs have gophers? Here's me going after a gopher in the snow-
Sometimes when I have a lot of energy and my parents are really busy I get to have a date with my girlfriend Bella. Bella has even more energy than I do! She can run and play forever and ever. I like to wrestle and play with Bella. When mom and dad say her name, my ears perk up because me and Bella always have so much fun! Bella lives at someplace called "Uncle Mert's." That's what my dad calls it, anyway. 
Sometimes I get tired before Bella does and then I'm ready for a nap and some people-snuggles and to have my tummy scratched. I'm so, so thankful for my people when they scratch my tummy! This is how I show them that they can scratch my chest and my tummy. Also, see how I get to be on the couch with my people? That's because I'm a person too and I don't belong on the floor.
There's lots of other things I'm thankful for. I just love my people so much. All of my people. I love mom and dad, and Mr. Tom and Miss Carol, and Miss Stennie, and Mr. Josh and Auntie Toad (Mom says I shouldn't call her that on the blog because that's not her real name. Mom says her real name is Auntie Katie, but I just know her as Auntie Toad. I don't understand why I can't call her the name that I know), and I love Mr. John and Miss Penny and Mr. Ryan... I just love all of my people! I wish I could have them all together in one place all the time! Why would any of you ever want to be away from me? I'm the best! And I love you guys! 
 I also wanted to tell you guys that sometimes I get to do races with my mom. She's not as fast as me so I have to slow down for her, and I have to wear my leash and collar and sometimes my harness. I really, really don't like my harness, but if it means I get to run with my mom and do a race I can usually put up with it. Me and my mom have done four races together and I have been the First Place Dog in each race we did! Mom says to be sure to tell you guys that's because I was the only dog, but I wanted to leave that detail out. I like to run and I like to be first! Here's a picture of me and my mom after we did her race in some place called Choteau last summer:
So, everyone, I hope you liked hearing about some of what I love and what I'm thankful for on the farm! As a Vizsla/person on the farm, I have so many things to be happy about, even if I have to put up with a few snakes. I'll try to stay away from those. Just so you know, since that happened, my people are making me run with my leash and collar with them now. Or we run at Tom and Carol's house where there aren't so many snakes. As long as I get to run and be outside, I'm happy.

Mom says this is the part where I'm supposed to ask you: What are you thankful for this week?! But what I also want to hear from any other dogs out there. Are there any dogs that read my mom's blog? What are you other dogs thankful for, too? 

This is Harvey T. Dog, signing out! Until next time, everyone!