Sunday: I absolutely love running out here at Vrelo Bosna. It is beautiful no matter the season. Today it was foggy and damp, making it look like the fall in August. There are always lots of runners making their way on the paths. It is a bit of a drive so we make a morning out of it. The kids run and bike while I get my run in, then we have coffee, pizza, and pasta post run for a family brunch.
Monday: I am back to making Monday my day off. I know most people say if you miss Monday, your running week is shot, but it works for me. With it being the first day of the school work week, I always like to sleep in a little after getting that luxury over the weekend.
Tuesday: Two runs today. My normal morning run and the first practice for the cross country team. They did awesome! 4.5km. We even did hills and they rocked it.
Wednesday: Early at it this morning. I am still getting used to this. It always wakes me up to get my morning run done though.
Thursday: I am sort of failing on the photo front, but it was a beautiful, foggy morning. Fall is starting. Effort wise–I think I need to start doing some speed work to get ready for a few races coming up.
Friday: I was getting a little bored of my usual running spots, so I went around some new streets today. Hopefully this weekend I can get work on my pace. I have five races coming up soon!
Saturday: Croatia consistently impressed me. It is one of the most beautiful countries I have seen. Old ruins, mountains that bump up against the Mediterranean Sea, and trails for days. That last 1.5 km up to our place offered plenty of challenge for my hill work I have been needing.
I was stoked when I saw this race come around on my Facebook suggested events. It was set up pretty last minute–about a month before race day on July 4th. I think because of that, it had very few people sign up. I suspected it would be a small event because about two weeks before the race, the participants received an email saying they moved the location from downtown Boise, to the tiny town of Melba (I had to look up where Melba was), combining with the Olde Tyme fun runs that they have done for years on the 4th. I didn’t realize just how few racers had signed up until about half an hour before the race started and I asked a fellow runner picking up his race packet. He said the race director told him about 20. Turns out it was 22, to be exact.
Melba is about an hour drive from Boise, so I rallied my kids at 4:30 am by scooping them out of bed, still in their jams, my husband putting them in their car seats. They always view these early morning wake ups as adventures, so they were pretty excited. Fingers crossed that attitude doesn’t change in the foreseeable future. They also knew there was going to be a fun 4th of July parade after the race, so they were willing to comply.
We got there at 5:30 for the race packet pick up. It was at the Tower Theater, a tiny little old theater on a quintessential small town main street. Melba looks like a town out of an Old West-style movie. It even had people riding horses and tumbleweeds to make it legit Old West–not staged, I kid you not.
As I processed the size of the race, I was also grateful for the cooler morning. It isn’t usually lower degrees on the Forth of July, but because of the early start, Melba delivered perfect running temperatures. At the 6 am start time, we had a simple countdown from three to start us off.
I started off in second place, following a pretty fast guy in the lead. I held second for most of it, with a lady that trailed right behind me a majority of the time.
I was still feeling pretty strong and holding second place. I was starting to feel it at 18 kilometers, and the lady that was behind me overtook me. She was super sweet, offering me encouragement and telling me to stay with her.
I had failed to eat anything before the race and only had two gels with me, which is what I usually carry with me for a half, but without having my banana breakfast, I felt the loss in calories. The race did have a roaming aid station, which worked pretty well. She drove her van to three different locations, providing water, Gatorade, and oranges. She drove to the person in the lead and waited until the last runner had passed through her aid station before moving on. I know they were short on volunteers because of the later festivities in the town, so this was pretty clever.
After the last aid station, where I grabbed some Gatorade, I felt much better, regaining a lot of my strength. I finished right behind the lady that had passed me. I also finished third overall and second female (you know, out of 22). My only complaint about the race was that the results were all screwed up. They also said they would hand deliver our medals to our houses, and I have not heard word on that yet. I guess things like that are to be expected in a race that was new this year and wasn’t maybe as planned out as it could be in the future. They did a good job with getting us our packets, the course, pictures, the roaming aid station, and of course, I dug the location because of the parade that was to follow. I would do this race again…if I get my medal, that is.
Evaluating the calorie situation, I should have had my 100 calorie banana in the morning (but, duh, I know) and I should have had my second gel one kilometer earlier, before I felt tired. It was hard to get back my speed after that.
At the end of the day, I only race against myself, and thinking about it from that angle, I did get my second best half marathon time. I was happy with that.
1 hour, 44 minutes
Red, white, and blue festivities
With the combination of the Olde Tyme fun run, it felt pretty festive afterward. Lots of families out and about with some good after race food. We set up our blankets and sat for a bit, snacking on some of the foods. It was still pretty chilly though, so we grabbed our change of clothes and found the nearest diner with hot coffee and American-style breakfast.
We killed time until 10:30, which was the start of the parade. It was the first parade our kids had seen, as that is not a thing that happens overseas…at least not the places we have lived abroad.
We stayed and watched the parade until past noon. Sun-soaked and post candy saturated crash, the kids both passed out on the car ride back.
The day flowed from race, to parade, to cookies, to fireworks well. We were all so tired at the end of the day though, everyone went to bed two hours earlier than usual. It was awesome.
Every summer, we do a family hike into the Foothills behind our house. We have done this since we first built our house and it was vast open space. It was once on the edge of town, but now it has started to blend into the rest of Boise. We have watched houses be built in our neighborhood, then the next neighborhood over, and so on. We sit at the top of the hill and contemplate what it will look like in ten years time.
Our annual tradition involves cheatgrass and local beers. We always go in the afternoon, after naps and early dinner. The wind is always blowing and the hot sun beats down. As the years have gone by, B has gotten stronger and more capable of hiking longer portions on his own. It is now Lady H’s turn to go through the slow release of independence as she goes in and out of the pack, taking turns with running and running out of energy.
Nestled on Trebević mountain, winds an abandoned bobsleigh track built for the 1984 Winter Olympics. It has since been left to let nature and war reclaim it. It now shows its age and disrepair through graffiti, moss growth on the siding, bullet holes, and the crumbling concrete.
Our hike down from the cable cars. They are happy camperswhen they get to run free.
It is not far from the city center of Sarajevo and to get to it you can either hike up the steep hills that surround the city, take a taxi, or enjoy going up the newly rebuilt cable cars and hiking back down. People often stop to check out the track when they are out exploring the paved paths through the mountain.
It was cool to walk the track. This is B’s version of kick the can–kick the pine cone.
After the Olympics, they continued to use the track during World Cup competitions. Unfortunately, its use came to an end during the Siege of Sarajevo. It is hard to imagine that during the 90’s the curving lanes were used for strategic artillery positions by Serb forces.
The loneliness of an abandoned bobsled track that has seen its glory days and has seen the ugly days of war, is a strange juxtaposition. The dark days that it has seen may be lifting. I have heard tales of reconstruction, but I did not see any evidence of that today. Time will tell.
If you are interested in getting your family involved in your running life, here are some ideas of where to start.
Family hikes and after dinner walks. I think this may be the key. It helps kids if they have a base-level of ability. It isn’t running, but it is activity on their feet. Hiking and walking allow them to build stamina, be familiar with what it feels like to be on their feet for some time, and what a certain distance feels like. We always try to have fun on our walks too, spotting a certain number of interesting things to discuss, or talking about their day. We try to make it a special time to talk and enjoy each other, while also taking in nature or observing the city.
Support each other. If only one of the parents is a runner, it is important that the non-runner is supportive and understands why they should foster a love of activity. My husband is not a runner, but he will lace up his shoes and do a 5k with the family because he wants to model a healthy lifestyle for them.
Encourage. It is important that children feel like they have a voice and say in the matter, so ask them if they are interested in a fun run. If they aren’t sure, explain how fun it is, how it is good for their bodies, and that they don’t have to run the whole thing if they get tired. Keep it upbeat and positive. I would suggest not making jokes about how hard it is, or they may miss the joking part.
Run with them. Sometimes I am doing a longer run and cannot run with them, but my husband always does. He will push our younger one in the stroller and our older one runs alongside. If the starting times are different or on a different day, I always love the opportunity to run with my kids. I also seek out fun runs that are meant just as family events, like the Zoo run in Boise, where we can focus on them completely as little runners. There are usually lots of fun activities before and after for kids too.
Celebrate and reward. Letting your child pick out new running shoes and clothes can be a little extra boost of excitement for them. Consider saving them for race day to make it feel special. When they complete their race, make them feel special. It is a big accomplishment when anyone finishes a race and even more impressive when your little one can do it. We celebrate by getting ice cream or cake, their choice.
Read children’s books about running.
Start young with short distances. I signed our son up for a 2.5 km trail run when he was 2.5 years old. He loved it! He was familiar with the area from our family hikes on the weekends. He ran, walked, and explored the 2.5 km.
Our daughter did her first race when she was 1.5 years old. She did a .25 mile last summer that the local zoo put on. She is the biggest animal lover, so she stopped to appreciate the bunnies, then continued on her way.
I loved that I got to run through the mangroves with B on this 3.5 km race. We even climbed to the top of a wooden lookout tower to get a better view of the ocean and mangroves. His decision.
Run Wild at the Boise Zoo. Lady H’s first race (.25 mile). I got to run with B on his 1 mile run.
Rayong, Thailand trail run.
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 4km run with Mr. G. Pretty epic picture–Lady H in her chariot.
A little pre-workout warm up.
Split, Croatia 5 km race for Mr. G and B. Lady H got to snuggle in blankets and go along for the ride.
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina Spring 5 km run with B. I got to run with him and was super impressed with him finishing in 36 minutes!
It is good for your children to see you leading by example.
My mom and her husband were visiting us in Bosnia and Herzegovina for our spring break. They had been hanging out and touring Sarajevo for a week prior to our holiday while we worked. Then to kick off spring break, we took off to Mostar, a town in the Herzegovina region of Bosnia and Herzegovina, famous for Stari Most (Old Bridge) over the Neretva River. It was built in the 16th century by the Ottomans. In 1993, the bridge was destroyed in the war, but has been completely rebuilt. They recovered many of the original stones from the river to reconstruct it. It is probably the most recognizable structure in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Reasons to Visit Mostar
Somehow, Mostar still manages to be off most people’s travel radar. If you have the chance, you should work your way over to it. It is so worth it.
Here are some highlights about the small town:
Apparently people have been bridge diving since 1664. In recent history, Red Bull now puts on a festival where people continue this tradition.
2. Pose on the bridge for some pretty sweet pictures.
3. They also have incredible street art and metal art work for sale. I sadly did not get any pictures of the street art. Guess I will have to go back!
We also did not see the famous Kravice Waterfalls, and I am sucker for waterfalls, so we really will be making a trip back soon.
After all that touring around the town, I got to see another, more rural perspective on foot the next day.
Half Marathon Day
I was a nervous wreck before the race. I knew I wanted a PR, but I wasn’t sure I was capable of it. I also didn’t voice this to anyone for fear I would somehow jinx it. Whenever I am going into new territory, I get nervous. It is okay though. I am not scared of being scared. It means you care, and when you care, the outcome is better.
I did all the things you are supposed to do. I trained. I ran far. I ran faster in my training. I did hill repeats. I ate better. I slept more. I even tapered, albeit a small amount because one doesn’t need to cut back too much for a half. Usually I don’t at all, but tried it out for this race. It really isn’t that complicated when it comes to knowing what one should do to improve their running. If you want to improve your speed, run faster during training. If you want to improve your endurance, run farther. Running is a simple and resourceful sport, direct in the fact that it is about putting one foot in front of the other, effective in its purpose, and a deeply innate part of being human.
The thing that I think helped me the most though, was that I just pretended to be someone that could make a sub 1:45 half marathon. I just told myself if I can’t be the person that gets that time, just pretend to. It worked. I ran a 1:43. Fake it ’til you make it.
I know on the grand scale of amazing runners out there, running a 1:43 isn’t anything special, but it was to me. I had been stuck at 1:47 as my personal best prior to this race, but most halfs had been 1:52-1:55. Granted, those were all in Thailand, so really hot and humid conditions, which hurt most people’s race times.
I had slept well the night before. I carb loaded correctly. The weather was perfect–mid-50s, clear skies. The course was mostly flat and lots of beautiful scenery. I had my mom, her husband, my kids, and my husband all there to support me. Really, it was a perfect combination of conditions to do a PR.
Between good conditions and self-delusion, I did it.
I truly have a runners’ mind though–now I want a 1:40. 😆