Wednesday, October 26, 2016

5 Things I Won't Be Doing and a VLOG!

What I won't be doing over the next few days:

1. A Race I Thought I Wanted to Do. Remember I told you Ken and I signed up for the lottery for the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon? Well the good news is we both got in!! The bad news is I should have checked the cost beforehand. Do you know it costs $750 per person?? As in, you pay $750 to jump off of a ferryboat and swim 1.5 miles in freezing, shark infested waters with a current that can take you down to the depths of hell? Okay, I'm being dramatic. But, we won't be doing it. Which is a bummer cause I wanted to, but I kind of also want to buy groceries and pay my mortgage and go to Paris.

2. Voting on November 8th. Before you get all irritated that I am not doing my civic duty - in your face!! I already voted by mail! The only draw back is I won't get one of those I voted stickers, but I can live with that, because apparently there is a sticker for everything in this world.

Image result for i voted by mail sticker

3. Celebrating My Kid's Birthday. In 18 years I have never missed Sam's birthday and I have never missed the opportunity to remind him of the day he came out of my vagina, Well, now he's 900 miles, away, turning 19 and doing God knows what. His birthday is Thursday and he will be in Arizona. And, I will not. Boo. Unless I decide to surprise him (Sam, if you are reading, that is 100% a joke so don't start freaking out).

Because moms and babies should always have matching overalls

4. Running In Colorado This Weekend. That is because on Thursday I'm going to Virginia for JMU's homecoming! Ken and I have mapped out some stellar trail runs in the Shenandoah Valley, so follow along on Instagram or something.

5. Looking in Car Windows When I Run. I was severely traumatized yesterday on my run. Ken and I and were cruising along minding our own businesses on a street in our neighborhood. We came up to a parked car a with a guy sitting in it. I always am curious why people are sitting in parked cars, so I looked in. Ewww.......let's just say he was not the only person in the car. The other person was doing something that required them to be laying down, kind of in his lap. Get my drift? At 8:00 a.m. in broad daylight.


I had fun making this VLOG, although vlogs aren't exactly my thing. Anyway, sorry for the lack of audio quality. Just pretend I am sitting by a waterfall. I am just trying to figure this all out. But, if you care to watch, you will get the point. And, don't even ask why I am on the stairs. I really don't know. 

That's all I got.

Tell me one thing you will not be doing in the next few days.

Ever tried a subscription box service?


Disclosure: POPSUGAR sent me this Must Have Box to try.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I Signed Up for the Paris Marathon!

It's weird how stuff goes down.

Just last week I was lamenting about how I was not sure where/what my next race would be. I was actually quite okay with that, as I'd like to have a break from structured running and training. Plus, training in Colorado through the dead of winter means all kinds of frozen snot, slipping on ice and nightmares for my Raynauds-affected feet.

Can you even tell which one is me?

Then my friend Sylvie tells me she is running the Paris Marathon. And I was like...Mon Dieu! OMG. I got a wild hair and decided to check flights knowing a trip like that would be way out of our price range and not at all feasible. You know because I have a kid in college and am a social worker. This combination means one thing: Ramen (or at least organic whole wheat spaghetti noodles with Prego sauce).

That is the moment it all fell into place.

Tickets were only $450 round trip. Yes. You can barely go from Denver to some field in northern Wyoming for that. (My brother said, "WTH? Are you flying Spirit?" Hah!) Then I realized the race fell the day before Emma's 16th birthday. What teenage girl doesn't want to spend her sweet 16 in Paris? I believe I spent mine eating tacos and listening to Foreigner. Then I remembered, holy shit - holy merde (<Google translate = holy shit) - I turn 50 in February and everyone keeps asking what we are doing and this is what we are DOING.

For me, an epic and ideal birthday includes travel/racing/family/friends/wine. Voila.

Sure, the race falls almost a solid two months after my actual birthday, but when you are turning a half century old, you kind of get to celebrate for the whole year or that is what I am going with. Plus, I'll be in the 50+ age group and might actually have a chance at a 2nd BQ!

So, the flights are booked, the apartment is rented through VRBO (and it's called Chateaux Monmartre...really?) and I'm registered for the race.

Probably doesn't exactly get any more real than that.

Fun fact. 57,000 people sign up for this race. Here they are:

Image result for paris marathon

And, there is apparently a real lack of potties along the way so public urination is a thing! Peeing at the Arc de Triomphe! A dream come true for this 50 year old American tourist.

I've probably told you this before, so I'm sorry if I'm boring you - but Paris holds a special place for me. I spent a semester there in college and was a French major. I never guessed that life would make full circle in this way and that I'd be bringing my 16 year old daughter and husband of 21 years back with me to show them the city. And, that I'd be able to actually run a a marathon. 

Here I am 28 years ago, when I was 21, in Paris looking as foxy as ever.

Don't be jealous of my loafers. I'd like to say they were in fashion, but probably not.

So there you have it. My first race on the calendar for 2017 and it's the dream of a lifetime for this girl. 

What is your ideal way to celebrate a birthday milestone?

Have you ever done an international marathon? I did the Jerusalem Marathon in 2015


Hey, don't forget about my $100 giveaway. Get yourself some running stuff.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What's Good and What Sucks. Plus a $100 Giveaway!

It's never ALL good, is it?

Although you'd never know that by looking at social media. Geez. It's either Trump vs. Hillary doing a smack down and talking about pussies or everyone showing me their podium finishes, fancy vacations and cute pets.

Yeah, I do that too. I know.

So, this past week has been filled with the usual good vs. not so good stuff. Seems there is usually a down side to everything good, or if you are an optimist, a silver lining to anything sucky.

What's Good:

Guess who just got certified as a therapy dog? Yes, this adorable rescue pup. And, her handler (me). I've never had a title like "handler" before. My first name should be Chelsea.

Taken this weekend at Rabbit Mountain. Also known as Rattlesnake
Mountain. See the rattler to my left. JK. It's a stick

Isn't she something? If you are old, sick, depressed, dying - Heidi is your panacea. Your lifeline. I promise.

I am not sure where we will volunteer. I'm thinking pediatrics, nursing home or even hospice. The reason I really felt strongly about doing this is that when Emma was 4 (now she's almost 16!!) fell off a stool and shattered her elbow, we were in the hospital for three days. She had to have emergency surgery. She was so inconsolable with the trauma and the pain. Literally the only time I saw her smile in 36 hours was when a therapy dog came in the room. It's amazing the effects animals can have on people.

What Sucks:

When we did our team evaluation (after taking an online class and getting her health screening, stool sample and a million other things), the evaluators had no problems with Heidi, just with ME. Apparently, I wasn't advocating for Heidi correctly - meaning that I wasn't making proper eye contact with her and giving her enough reassurance. Waaahhhh. In the end, we did pass.

What's Good:

Look who came home for a long weekend from ASU?? This guy.

He loved being met at the airport with a fathead the size of the plane he flew in on. Moms are the best.

What Sucks:

He left yesterday. See you at Christmas.

What's Good:

Got out for a couple amazing runs this weekend.

What Sucks:

I am now sick with a cold and running makes me feel gross. It's not a snot rocket. It's a snot nuclear bomb coming out of me.

What's Good:

I have the best giveaway for you all.

Have you heard of Expertly Chosen ? This is such a cool website to find gifts specific to people's interests. Like, running, for example. When you go to the site, you can select a person's individual interests, how much you'd like to spend and other conditions such as if you want the gift to be eco-friendly, organic, educational, hand made, etc. Then the site produces a list of products for you. In running items alone, there are so many things to choose from: cookbooks, socks, hydration stuff, etc. Even Garmins!

Want a $100 gift card? Enter here (US only):

$100 Expertly Chosen Giveaway

What Sucks:

I can't win my own giveaway. Shucks.

What's a running gear item you need right now? I need new Salomon shoes. I love my Speed Cross 3s (see above picture with Heidi), but they are a half size too small.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

2016 Blue Sky Trail Marathon Race Report

I went into this race pretty laid back. Probably a bit too laid back. I wasn't in super crazy racing mode. But, I always have that competitive streak, so I get mad at myself when I start to get weak mentally. And, that's kind of what happened on this day.

If you haven't done trail races before, the kind that involve major climbing, then you may not realize just how different they are than a regular road race. Walking is simply part of the equation on the really steep and rocky parts. It's not a sign of weakness, but a sign that you are a smart runner who knows how to conserve and how to stay in your zones.

I often think of the expression, "trail races are won on the downs" because it is a skill to know how to hold back going up (so as not to totally burn out) and a skill to know how to run downhill like a bat out of hell.

Or, a cheetah out of Longmont.

I always clench my right hand when I run. I don't
even know I'm doing it. Clearly ready to
punch someone in the nuts
Anyway, all of this to say - sometimes for me because I know walking is "allowed" I use it as a crutch. I will walk things that I should really be running, if that makes sense. I did some of that on Sunday.

But, Sunday was a weird day with a few glitches for me.

Side note to other 40+ women: WTH is up with peri menopause (PM)  and all of its unexpected starts and stops? I have a calendar and I mark it every 28 days. But, PM doesn't seem to know or respect this and just shows up whenever she damn pleases even if that is on race day. So, that's how the day started anyway.

Julie and I got to the start with her family (mine was sleeping in. Go SUAR family!) at 6:15 a.m. to check in. This was a pretty small race with about 200 people, so it was very chill. The kind of chill where you have a start line drawn on the trail with white chalk and a volunteer who counts down from 5 to signal the start.

I dropped some kids at the pool aka pooped (well it was more like dropping an entire extended family at the pool) and we hung in the warm car until about 6:57 a.m. then headed to the start. Read my blue lips below: I am f'ing freezing.

We started out running a gorgeous and chilly 9 mile loop. Views from the top were stunning.

Julie is a really competitive runner who competes nationally and internationally in duathlons. I knew she would smoke me, so at about 2 miles I let her go and didn't see her again until the finish.

I felt those 9 miles were strong for me and I came into the first aid station in about 1:35 (about a 10:30 min/mile pace, which is good for me on trails, especially since there was about 1,700 feet of climbing involved). Typically with long distance races I rely on gels and supplement with snacks from the aid station like potato chips when I want a crunch and some extra salt. Then I just drink water and take Saltstick tabs when it's hot. I had brought two GUs with me but planned to use the VFuel gels on the course.

When I got the first aid station, I couldn't find the gels. I asked and they pointed to large bottles full of gelish liquid.  I know VFuel has individual gel packs so this surprised me.  I am guessing people put that stuff in their water. They also had some of the gel stuff in cups, so I took one of those. Unfortunately it was such a thick consistency I couldn't get it out of the cup. I kind of panicked because I only had one GU of my own left and I quickly realized my fueling was going to be jacked up.

Racing is all about problem solving, so I decided I'd just have to make due with other stuff at the aid stations. From then on, I stuffed my face with chips and gummi bears. Fueling for champions.

But, this glitch did throw me off a bit and reminded me of a lesson you think I would know by now. Always be prepared.

I headed out, knowing the next aid station was at 13 miles. The trails for the remainder of the race were mostly like this:

Single track. Open. No shade. Up and down. There were a few miles of really rocky sections that were hell to run on. I got to the half in 2:25.

Very pretty, but in my opinion not quintessential Colorado. The terrain was arid and almost desert-like with cactus, red rock and sage brush. Maybe I was in Arizona.

I trucked along, doing okay, but it started to get really hot. At mile 22.7 the guy at the aid station told me that I had exactly four miles to go as the course was about a half mile longer than marathon distance.


The last three miles I was pissed. I was mentally off of my game and just wanting to be done. I was hot. My tampon had fallen out (ewww...sorry folks but it's true. At least it wasn't my uterus). I was ready for a beer. I started counting my steps because that's how much I needed some distraction.

Finally, the finish. 5 hours, 29 minutes. In case you don't know, that's a long ass time to be running.

I'm looking around - "Where's the beer?" And why
are we finishing on a hill? Still clenching that fist.


She came in second in our age group. I was 9th out of 25 in the 40-49 group and 24th out of 97 women. I guess I wasn't thrilled with that, but it's still a win any day you finish a marathon.

Then it it was beer and burger time. Fat Tire FTW!! What a beautiful sight.

We always learn from marathons. Here's what this one taught me:

  • Always bring your own fuel, if only for backup
  • Trail races are not an exact science and the course may run short or long. I knew this, but this race was a good reminder. I like it when they run shorter.
  • A good pre-race poop is everything.
  • Some races you are going to be off your game, and that's okay. Learn from it and move on.
Thanks for reading!

What's a weird thing you do with your body while running? Clenched fist. Open mouth.  

What did you learn from your last race?

Favorite post race treat? Beer. Burger