This has certainly been one of the wettest springs in Wyoming in eight years that I’ve been around.  The past two weeks have had snowfalls measured in feet, and this weekend we’re forecasted for 2-4 inches of rain on top of that slushy melting snow and completely saturated soil.  Flood watches are up, as you’d probably expect.  I know this is all wonderful for the land, especially after seeing the devastation fires have been causing in Canada.  As for my own selfish desires, it makes for terrible spring trail running.  I’ve often been forced to run on pavement to avoid the shoe sucking mud.  Gross.  I do however highly recommend the precise grip and fit of the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 SG to handle slick, snowy, and water logged single track.  Oddly enough, even though the running on dry dirt has been a rare treat this season, I think I’m in the best shape of my life, and I credit that to finding a new sense of rhythm.
Last year was logistically pretty easy for training; Jenny was too pregnant to do much strenuous exercise and as teachers we have the summer off.  I could pretty much run whenever I wanted to.  Now things are a little bit different, I have two kids that deserve all the love and attention in the world and Jenny is signed up for El Vaquero Loco 50K, and we’re both working.  Yet, somehow I’ve found the rhythm to still fit in 60-80 mile weeks.  As a family, we’ve found our groove this spring.  Jenny and I still cook all of our meals from scratch, spend time with our kids, spend time together, get in our exercise, and still get a decent (at least 7 hours) amount of sleep. Here is what Monday through Sunday week often looks like for us:
Gabe: Rest Day
Jenny: 60 min run
Logistics and Dinner: Mondays are easy.  I’ve been staying home with the kids every Monday this spring as part of my FMLA leave.  Its unpaid of course, which is tough, but totally worth it.  I literally just play all day, its amazing.  Maybe I bake some cookies or muffins too.  After Jenny get’s home from school she’ll go out and run while I cook dinner with the kiddos.  This week we had quinoa/lentil pasta with red pepper cream/yogurt sauce.
Gabe: Track workout
Jenny: Strength training
Logistics and Dinner:  On a day like this I’ll go pick the kids up from daycare while Jenny goes straight to the gym.  I’ll start cooking dinner while still playing with the kids.  Jenny will walk in the door around 5:30, and I high tail it over to the track while Jenny finishes up dinner.  We’ll eat at 6:45ish and have kids in bed by 7:30-8.  8-10 is time for Jenny and I to relax together.  Dinner this week was sweet potato-quinoa waffles with fried eggs, bacon, avocado, and tomato.
Gabe: 90 minute run and strength training
Jenny: 60 min run
Logistics and Dinner:  I do my best to get up early once a week before the kids arise from there slumber and do 30 minutes of strength training.  Its not the highlight of my week, but I think its important for mountain running.  After school, I’ll go pick up the kids while Jenny gets her run in right away.  I’ll balancing playing with cooking dinner and we’ll eat at 5:45 when Jenny gets home.  This week I made some pesto (basil, sunflower seeds, peas, olive oil, garlic), and slotted it into griddled sandwiches with red peppers and fresh mozzarella.  We’ll spend some time together as a family after dinner and then I’ll be out the door a little after 7 for a sunset run that is usually a mix of trails and pavement.

Gabe: 70 min run with long intervals
Jenny: 45 min run
Logistics and Dinner: I’ll run right after school while Jenny gets the kids from daycare. Then she’ll make something ridiculously good like white bean-spinach artichoke dip that we will eat with red peppers, carrots, celery, and tortilla chips.  After some family time and getting the kids to bed, Jenny will go out to cruise around as the sun sets, or maybe head over to the gym.
Gabe: 60 min trail run
Jenny: Rest
Logistics and Dinner: I’ll drive straight to a trailhead right after school and enjoy some mud.  Jenny gets the kids and starts making pizza!  We’ll use our top secret GF pizza crust recipe with a tomato-yogurt cream sauce with zucchini, peppers, and spinach on top.  Left over bacon too if we’re lucky.  Family time the rest of the night.

Gabe: 20 mile trail run
Jenny: 7 mile trail run
Logistics and Meals: Saturday morning is waffle time.  Sometimes Jenny will go knock out her run for the day while I whip up some waffles. We’ll all hang out and stuff our faces the rest of the morning.  In the afternoon, I’ll head to the mountains to do my thing.  Dinner Saturday night is something like grilled salmon with oven sweet potato fries and roasted kale.  Family time Saturday night or have some friends over.
Gabe: 15 miles
Jenny: 5 miles
Logistics and Meals:  Sunday morning is also waffle time, of course.  We’ll make waffles as a family, drink coffee, and hang out.  After a trip to the grocery store its time for church in the mountains.  I’ll head out for a run and Jenny goes when I get back. Dinner is usually something like coconut curry with pineapple and a bunch of vegetables.  Somewhere in there one or both of us usually runs or bikes to the park with the kids as well.
One note on our training schedules: I’m working with Ty Draney again this year, which is great except for the the regular ass kicking, and it sure is nice to not waste time and energy coming up with effective workouts.  Ty’s certainly got me fitter and faster than I was 12-months ago at this time.  Jenny is working with Steve Bechtel at Elemental Training and she has never been more stoked about her ultra training.
A few other notes on food: After each workout we each have a bottle of First Endurance Ultragen recovery drink for chocolaty protein goodness.  Breakfast during the week is always oatmeal laced with chia seeds, berries, almond butter, and a berry/spinach/kale/flax/banana smoothie.  Lunch is always leftovers plus a huge spinach and kale salad that probably has some avocado, pumpkin seeds, peppers, carrots, feta cheese, and hummus.  Snacks throughout the day are usually fruit, nuts, or something delicious we baked.  I have celiac disease so we all stick to a strict gluten free diet.  If you want to know our secret waffle or pizza crust recipe just send me an email and I’ll give you an address for you to send $1 million dollars to.  Just kidding, sharing is caring.  My Mom taught me that.
Well that’s about it.  That’s our rhythm this spring.  It’ll probably all change soon, or be totally different next year, but at the moment everyone seems generally happy and healthy.  Our youngest is 9-months old now and Jenny’s getting back to pre-baby fitness, and I should be ready for Scout Mountain 100K in a month. I hope the trails in Pocatello are muddy… I’m exceptionally prepared for that.

Have you found your spring rhythm?  What works for you?  If you have a family, how have you worked ultra running around family and work?  Leave a comment below!

This is a photo from last year, but it really doesn’t make a difference: mud and Salomon S-Lab Sense SG
Family Time

Standard weekend breakfast
Family time in the backyard after a run
Highlight of the spring