Sunday, August 30, 2015

Oiselle Flight Friday ~ Set A Goal

Oiselle Flight Fridays!

First, the basics:

Who is Oiselle?
From their website:
Oiselle is a Seattle-based women's athletic apparel company that believes in the transformative power of sport and its ability to inspire strength, courage, and sisterhood. We live and breathe the sport of running, and we live and breathe the art of apparel design. In both, we seek quality and innovation. And to know that everything we do supports women who want to move, run, and fly.

I'm a recent joinee to the flock, running for the Oiselle Volee Team. This is a team made up of runners from all over the country, from your Average Jill like me all the way up to Olympians like Kara Goucher. Oiselle (pronounced Wa-Zell) is an athletic apparel company specializing in women's running gear that is designed by and for women. This stuff is the real deal and the company is not only committed to providing the best gear on the market: they are all about growing a culture of strong women. My kind of company! In my new series Oiselle Flight Fridays, I'll be bringing you one of the seven Principles of Flight from the Oiselle Volee Flight Manual each Friday. I'll also be reviewing a piece of Oiselle gear with each of the seven principles.
Oiselle Flight Manual. 
Last week was all about the first principle: Build The Sisterhood. You can read my overview of that one by CLICKING HERE, but I also wanted to share this little image that my Mother-In-Law had on Facebook this past week. I think it really fits with the message of building the sisterhood!

This week, I'm going over the 2nd Principle of Flight from the Flight Manual: Set A Goal, and also telling you all about my Embossed Roga Shorts!

So, without further ado, here's what the Flight Manual states:

2. Set A Goal
Athletic, personal, realistic, or wild and dreamy. We seek big accomplishments on significant stages and we define what those are for ourselves. No matter the speed or goal, the effort is marked by a willingness to see what's possible--to go fast, take chances. 
Photo taken of the Set A Goal page from the Oiselle Flight Manual.
I'll be honest and say that goal-setting is not the easiest thing for me. I have a history of not giving myself enough credit or not believing in myself enough to set very challenging goals. My goals tend to be centered on small measures of progress and are often only very loosely defined, maybe not even measurable. Typically, I have goals like: "I will be better in this race than my last race." Better how? Faster? Feel better? Have more fun? Wha...? 

Or, I'll make a quantifiable goal that's probably too easy for me to fail at. Like-- I will build up to being able to hold a plank for one minute. Ok. Nailed it. On like, day two of the thirty-day challenge. Did that really feel like something worth celebrating?

Last winter before the running and racing season really got going for me, my husband asked me what my goals were for my running and fitness for the summer. I think I said something vague like, "I don't know... I just want to do a lot of races." He said, "I think you should do a triathlon," which is something I've always had in the back of my mind to do, but instead of agreeing with him, I found reasons why I couldn't train for a tri. "We don't live near a pool..." and "I don't have a road bike..." Again, I let self-doubt get in the way of setting goals for myself. Others believe in me, but why do I struggle sometimes to believe in myself?

That is why it is so huge for me that I set a goal in the middle of February to hold 5K On the Farm. I made it official at our annual Montana Farmers Union Women's Conference by telling a room full of women that I would do it. Even as the words came out of my mouth, I wasn't sure if I believed myself. But, I kept it in my mind, and talked it over with Jeff several times. Then, in June we decided on a date and made it really, REALLY official.

We are now less than two weeks away from Race Day. We have 40 registrations for the race, as of this morning. You can sign up by clicking here:
My goal is to have at least 50 people and I think we'll hit that. I waffle back and forth between-- "Wow! I'm DOING this and it's REALLY HAPPENING!" and thoughts of... "Holy shit! What if something goes horribly wrong? Can I really do this?" Yes, there are A LOT of last-minute details to work out, and not everything has gone as planned already, but I already feel like we've accomplished a lot. I made a big goal of planning and holding this race with the secondary goal of a minimum of 50 sign-ups, and I know we're going to achieve it.

The thing is, I feel like goal-setting is one area where success breeds success. Once you set a good goal and achieve it, it gives you the confidence to set more goals and achieve them. One of my new goals is to set better goals that give myself the credit I deserve! Goals that are measurable, challenging, yet achievable with hard work. It does no good to say, "I will do better in my next 5K," when what I really want is to be under 25 minutes in a 5K. What I should say is, "My goal is to run under 25:00 in a 5K. I would like to do that within the year of 2015, and these are the steps I'm going to take to reach that goal." And: "In 2016 I am going to register for and complete a sprint-distance triathlon. The challenges I need to overcome to do this are ____" and go from there.

When I saw this post on the Oiselle Facebook page about not giving yourself a Plan B, I thought it tied in really well with goal-setting. Read it here: Run Like There's No Plan B . Yeah, it's about allowing yourself to run professionally if that's what you want, but I think the underlying theme is good for EVERYONE. Don't give yourself a Plan B or an easy out when it comes to reaching your goals or striving for your dreams. Do what you love and let that be your only plan. Live like there is no Plan B.

Now, this is where a crafty writing segue would be nice as I'm going to change subjects to review some of my favorite running shorts: Oiselle Embossed Roga Shorts! 

The Embossed Roga Shorts are the first and only thing I have paid full price for that I bought from Oiselle. This is not because I'm receiving anything from them, but because I'm a cheapskate and while I love running clothes, I do not have an unlimited budget. I almost always wait until things go on sale. But not for these! I wanted a pair of comfortable, neutral colored shorts I could wear with my Team Beef Jersey for racing. I surfed the Oiselle website for a while and weighed my different options. Ultimately, it was Jessie at The Right Fits and her constant praises of her Rogas that swayed me toward these. I went with the Embossed version because they're just a little jazzier than the plain ones.

Here they are on the Oiselle website: Oiselle Embossed Roga Shorts

They are $50 and they come in three colors: Deep Rose, Money, and Charcola. When I got mine, only Charcola and Money were available. I may have been very tempted to get the Deep Rose! Alas, I got the gray because I thought it would go with the most other items I already had.
Oiselle Embossed Roga Shorts in Charcola.
I wear these shorts A TON and they are in heavy rotation with my other running bottoms. I like the length- they have a 4" inseam. It's short enough that they still feel like running shorts, but long enough to have a little modesty. They don't have any extra poof in the crotch area like other brands do, which I also really love. Best of all, the inseam doesn't ride up and get stuck when I run, which is something else that happens to me a lot with other brands, and obviously leads to uncomfortable chafing. The leg openings stay where they are supposed to be, and ensure mile after mile is as comfortable as the first. 
Harvey and I are showing off the embossed fabric of these shorts.
These shorts also have a super comfy yoga-style waistband, which means no muffin top. Ever. And, they have an internal drawstring to ensure a perfect fit. This is great for girls like me who rock an athletic bubble butt. I can cinch up the drawstring to make sure the top of the waistband doesn't gape. 
The dogs were clearly very excited to help me model my shorts!
One thing that's important to note is that general consensus is that the Oiselle Distance Shorts run about a size smaller than the Rogas. For example, I buy a 6 in Distance but an 8 in Roga. The reason is that the leg opening of the Roga is a little more trim than in the Distance. For me, I size up to make sure I have enough material to comfortably cover my strong thighs. In the past, I made the mistake of ordering a 6 in the Rogas and they were just a little too tight through the leg to comfortably wear for me, even though the waistband was fine. Here's a photo collage of those too-small Rogas:
Oiselle Roga Shorts, which I sold on eBay for good money!
Because the original Roga short was so popular, Oiselle now offers many styles in the Roga spirit, using all types of fabrics embossed or regular, including the following:

  • Mac Roga - Shorter inseam
  • Long Roga- Longer inseam
  • Toolbelt Roga - pockets galore!
  • Roga Pant - it's a pant. Hence the name. ;)
There is definitely a Roga for every runner! 
Oiselle Roga Pants, image from

I think the Roga Pants might be a good item for me for Track Practice next season. They *may* be on my wishlist! Perhaps I should Set A Goal to own these pants? ;)

That's it for this week's installment of Oiselle Flight Fridays, this time brought to you on a Sunday! Ha! Maybe this next one will actually be posted on Friday??? Stay tuned for next week's post, when I'll be writing about the 3rd Principle of Flight: Own The Journey. 

In the meantime, please consider signing up for 5K On The Farm! We have a Virtual Run option, too! :)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thankful Thursday ~ National Dog Day

August 26 (yesterday) was National Dog Day, so today I thought I'd write my Thankful Thursday post about the dogs in my life!

Living on a farm in the wide open spaces of North-Central Montana, Jeff and I really do live in a dog's paradise! There are three dogs in our lives that we see regularly: Abby, Iggy, and of course, Harvey.
Harvey on a pasture walk. Happy National Dog Day, everyone!
Abby is a pretty Golden Retriever, and is Tom and Carol's family dog. She's starting to get on in age and is around ten years old. Abby is very loyal and loves love more than any dog I have ever met. She just insists on being petted! She always has a smile on her face. Don't be fooled by her kind-hearted demeanor toward people, though. She's probably the most ferocious "guard dog" we have when raccoons or other farm-yard pesky animals are in the yard! She has been known to attack small mammals, even porcupines, with great gusto! Abby also loves to tote around small, soft objects, especially work gloves, and often brings them up to the deck with her when she's laying in the sun. Abby can often be seen snuggling with the cats- Quincy and Peanut. She's a gentle and loving sweetheart of a dog!
Iggy is an old dog that came to us late last spring. He's a mixed-breed of some sort, but we're fairly sure he has some Saint Bernard in him.  Iggy still likes to go on walks with me and Harvey but he just goes at his own pace. He definitely has a strong nose as he's always right on the trail of birds and creatures, just like Harvey. Iggy is always the first to scent a coyote in the area and sound the alarm. Let me tell you, his bark will get your attention! Iggy doesn't need much, but he does like to be around people. If you're out working in the yard, he'll slowly amble over and lay down near where you are and keep an eye on you. He really loves his pets and especially loves hugs. If you scratch him behind the ears, he'll lean against your legs, which you have to kind of be prepared for so he doesn't make you lose your balance! He's a big old guy, but he's just a lover!
It can be a little tough to get pictures of Iggy because
whenever you get down on his level, he comes up and tries to lick your face. :)
Iggy likes to go for walks, but usually lopes along at his own pace. 
And then there's Harvey! Harvey is the youngest in the pack at five years old, a purebred Vizsla, but definitely has the most energy! Harvey really needs his daily walks and runs or he is just unsettled. Good thing we have lots of space for him to get his sprints in when we're out walking! I know I get more exercise by having Harvey than if I didn't have a dog. There are definitely days when I don't feel like going for an extended walk, but I know Harvey will need it, so of course we go anyway. Harvey is an excellent hunter and has a very good nose for birds. He also has greatly increased the number of mice, gophers, and rabbits he's killed this year, which sounds sort of gross, but on a farm, it's nice to get rid of pest animals like those. Yes, Harvey is a skilled and accomplished hunter, but he is also so very endearing. He loves to snuggle with you anywhere he can and is very sensitive. He really picks up on the emotions of his people and seems to know what you need, whether it's snuggles or space. Harvey always makes me feel better if I'm down or not feeling well!
Harvey on-scent for birds in the crop stubble.

Harvey stalking a cottontail rabbit.
Each of our dogs has different personalities and strengths, and we love them all! Dogs just love. It's what they're best at! I'm so thankful for our dogs and the joy they bring to us every day!

Do you have dogs? Did you celebrate National Dog Day? If so, how? If you didn't, it's probably not too late. Your dog won't know the difference anyway!  I love this list of 20 Ways to Celebrate National Dog Day, from
20 Ways to Celebrate  If you really can't think of any ways to celebrate, check that list out for some inspiration!

We celebrated by giving our dogs lots of love and scratches behind the ears, indulging a few incidents of rabbit-stalking, and going for walks! I'm so thankful for the dogs in my life!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Maroon and Gold Fun Run Race Review

Saturday morning I kicked off my Fall Racing Season with a strong showing at the Maroon and Gold Fun Run in Havre! I ran the 10K distance. This post is my official review/recap of race day.
The Maroon and Gold Fun Run was in its first year this year as a fundraising event supporting the new MSU-Northern Men's and Women's Cross Country teams. I am all about growing and promoting the sport of running, so as soon as I heard about this race and knew that I'd be free on August 22, I signed up. They offered 1-Mile, 5K, and 10K events. I trained for the 10K and I wanted a new PR, so that's what I decided to do!

The other extra-cool thing about this race is that a local girl who I know fairly well, a recent North Star graduate, Alissa, is running on the new Cross Country team. I was beyond thrilled, first of all, to hear that she was running for Northern, and extra excited to run the race, knowing I'd be supporting someone I know! :)

With an 8:00 a.m. start time in Havre for the race, and an approximate 60 minute drive time for me, it was an early morning on Saturday. I got up around 5:30 to make sure I'd have enough time to get dressed and have breakfast before making the drive to Havre. I had laid my outfit out the night before so I wouldn't wake Jeff and to expedite things. The weather was cool with temps in the 40s and windy with chances of rain, so I opted for long pants and a long-sleeve shirt with my Team Beef jersey.
It's a lot of bold colors and patterns... Pretty wild!
Race Day Outfit:
KC Tights from Oiselle-- first time wearing these for a run or race!
Purple Turtleneck from Columbia
Team Beef Jersey (My Oiselle singlet should arrive in September sometime)
I also wore an earband and a hat because my ears are SUPER sensitive to cold.

Race events were staged out of the MSUN gym. It was a perfect spot-- easy to find, great parking, plenty of space to warmup in the gym or run around campus, easy access to bathrooms. And, since it was cold and kind of crummy weather, it was nice to be inside some before the race started. I arrived at around 7:20 and picked up my t-shirt and race bib. I also received an Asics training journal for being an early sign-up for the race. Then I took a 10 minute jog around campus and did some form running and dynamic stretching. With the cool weather, I wanted to make sure I was extra warmed up.
First time I have been in the gym at Northern. Not bad!
People were still arriving and registering as 8:00 a.m. rolled around, so the race started just a little bit late. I didn't mind though. I was really excited for them that they had more people than expected! They had 130 participants in all three races in the end, and 50 volunteers. Pretty great turnout for a first-time race in a small town!

I lined up with some other women near the start line who I noticed were doing the 10K and made polite pre-race conversation. People in Montana are SO nice and friendly! When the race started, I went out with a little speed and left most of them behind. This actually really surprised me and even made me a bit nervous! Was I going too fast? No, I reassured myself that I was feeling strong and it was OK to go out a bit fast and feel a little uncomfortable. Most of the first mile was down hill and I got to the first mile marker and looked at my watch--7:22!! Probably my fastest first mile in a LONG time, maybe ever.
Race routes. 10K in yellow. 
Just after that, we turned a corner and faced a long, long, long uphill. I knew I'd have to back off the pace a bit, but I didn't let myself totally lose sight of my goal, and tried to keep it somewhat steady. I ended up passing two other girls on the uphill. Somewhere in mile 3, another woman about my age ran up ahead of me and passed me. After a little bit of back and forth, she ultimately stayed ahead of me, but I stayed with her for the rest of the race. There were many more hills to climb in this run and she ended up being stronger on the uphills than I was.
Maybe half-way through the longest uphill climb ever at this point. 
There's blue-shirt gal!
This part of the course was really exposed and it was WINDY!
The race course for the 10K was really nice, even despite all the hills and exposure. It included sections of gravel/trail, asphalt bike bath, and streets. I appreciated that it ran around the outskirts of town, rather than wholly on the city streets. I really enjoyed the views of the hills on the south side of town, even as the wind whipped in my face. Plus, now I know of some great trails I can use if I ever need to run, bike, or walk the dog in Havre! A few other big plusses were that the course was very well marked with orange spray-painted arrows and volunteers were stationed at every corner to make sure people were going the right way, and to cheer us all on. I tried to say thank you to each one that I passed. They also had each mile clearly marked with signs, which is handy for those of us without GPS watches. :)
Hey! It's blue-shirt gal again! :)
As I coasted downhill in mile five or so, looking at my watch I thought I would have a really great chance to get my PR, and really tried to stay strong. My best time in a 10K was actually during a virtual run I did at home, so I don't know if it counts, but it was 54:01. My best official 10K time came at Governor's Cup back in June: 54.54.24. My very first 10K ever was just about a year ago at Kickin' Asphault and was exactly 60 minutes. Either way, I was shooting for under 54, just to be sure I nailed a new PR.
Me and Blue-Shirt Gal, finally cruising down some downhill back into town.
The hardest part of the race was running back up a steep hill to the finish line on the quad of campus. It was the steepest hill of the whole course and came right in the last .2 miles. A real challenge! I was right with the same lady I'd been behind most of the race. She had a great kick at the end, too, and we finished very close-- me just behind her crossing the line. I gritted my teeth and thought of that PR dangling in front of me, ripe for the picking, and crossed the line with a finish of 52.97! Yay! I did it! I didn't just make a new PR-- I crushed it! A full minute off the Virtual Run time and about two minutes off Governor's Cup. No question about this one!

I found the lady I had ran with the whole race and we chatted a bit afterwards.  I congratulated her on a great race and complimented her for killing it on the hills. Maybe having her there in front of me kept me going strong to get that PR? :)
Race Bib from Maroon and Gold Fun Run.
Lucky number 13?
My Race Splits:
Mile 0-1 -- 7.22 Starting FAST and downhill!
Mile 1-2 -- 9:40 (I hit my split button a little late, so this one may be closer to 9:20 or so) BIG HILL!
Mile 2-3 -- 7.56 (Again, this one's probably actually more like 8:20) Slightly downhill.
Mile 3-4 -- 9.10 More hills, and WIND!
Mile 4-5 -- 8.12 Loooong downhill! yay!
Mile 5-6 -- 8.51 Flat, but with the killer steep hill right at the end.
Last .2 -- 1.44 Trying to finish strong...
Total: 52.59
Overall pace was 8.32 per mile. I'm happy with that!

I stuck around to watch the rest of the 5K and 10K finishers come in. Being a local race, I knew several people who were competing and it's always great to cheer on people you know. I think the best part of this race was the huge grin on Maria's (Alissa's Mom) face. Every time I looked at her she seemed so happy and proud. You could tell that she was just overjoyed about her daughter running cross country, for the support of the people who ran, and for the overall success of the day. She probably thanked me for coming five times or more, at least, as did Alissa. Pretty cool. This is what it means to "Grow the Sisterhood," people. :)
Photo credit: Melissa K.
L to R: Melissa, Alissa, Shayla, and me.
There were only 23 scored participants in the 10K and I was 11th. I have no idea where I finished among the women, but I *think* I was third. The Cross Country team itself was split into two groups- a Maroon Team and a Gold Team and they also had to run the 10K, competing as teams against each other, but they weren't included in the 23 scored participants. So, overall it was probably closer to 40 runners in the 10K. In case you're wondering, the Maroon Team won, with a lower average time of it's members. :) They did prizes for the first-place male and female finishers in each age group and each distance, I think. The prizes were vintage MSUN Track and Field apparel. I definitely coveted the throwback jerseys, but alas, it wasn't in the cards for me! I'm more than satisfied with a new PR though!
This was the race t-shirt everyone got. Not bad! 
If anyone's interested, I was really happy with how my Oiselle KC Tights performed in the race. I was exactly right temperature-wise and didn't even notice the pants as I ran. They were very, very comfortable. I was worried that with no drawstring, they might slide down a bit, but they didn't-- they stayed put. They are definitely a wacky, bold design and are a bit of a departure from my normal solid-color running apparel, but I got several compliments on them and one girl came up and asked me about where I got them. It was awesome to have the chance to brag up Oiselle!

Overall, the Maroon and Gold Fun Run was a challenging but fun event supporting a great cause. It was well-organized and well-run. I'll look forward to keeping this one on my calendar to do again in the future!
Alissa and me, post race. Big smiles! She's the sweetest. :)