Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Syracuse Harvest Half 2012

 Heather and I decided sometime during the week that we would run a half marathon that is not too far away from home.  I haven't run long for over 6 weeks and I was starting to really crave it.  It was going to be a fun run with dressing up and slow times and a good chance to catch up.  Basically a long run like old times.  With costumes.  Good times.

I brought back my spider costume from last year hoping again that the extra legs would help me run faster.  Didn't work again! I don't know why.  My husband actually couldn't believe that I was going to wear that thing for 13 miles.  It didn't end up being that bad.

It was a really cold morning.  Like in the 20's.  We sat in her car until right before the start.  But as soon as the sun came out, it warmed right up and I even got a little too warm with nothing I could shed.  It was a pretty flat course with some little inclines and declines.  Overall though there was elevation gain in this course.  It is not a PR course for sure.  It really did feel like old times and running out west.  It was beautiful and much needed.

We took our time taking self portraits, then having some nice guy stop and take our picture, running across the bridge one at a time, and a very long potty break.

Overall, I shouldn't be surprised that our time was 2:26.  But I was a little disappointed.  We did pass 13 people in the last mile and no one passed us, so that was good.  But I didn't feel like I was taking it THAT easy!

They served root beer in a finishers mug and had lots of good after race snacks.  And the shirt was nice.  Overall, it was a good long run with my best friend and a great day.
Now if my calves were not sore it would be perfect.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Winner of Roo Sport Giveaway!

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Timestamp: 2012-10-29 14:11:16 UTC

Congratulation to Penny at Pink Hat Runner!  You are the winner of the Roo Sport!  Get me your info by e-mail and I'll get them to send it right out to you!  I know you're going to love it.
If you didn't win but still want to get one, go here to purchase.  It really is a great product!

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Change in the Seasons of Weather and Life

If you haven't already entered the Roo Sport giveaway...check it out here!

I always like a cold snap and even a little snow in October.  It is a gentle reminder that the sunny, bright  days of fall are not going to last forever and winter is coming.  And I've been looking forward to getting out on the trail when it snows to see what it looked like.  So this week before it snowed at the house (which it has now) it snowed in the mountains and it got pretty low so I decided to go check it out.

Even though the leaves are fading, the colors are still gorgeous.

On the plus side the lower part of the creek now had water running in it again.  I love the peaceful sound of running water, especially when it runs over rocks and logs and such.

We've been blessed with an extended fall it seems this year and I'm trying to soak it all in.

The leaves cushioned the trail's hard bits and though they're not crunchy because they were so wet, they were a joy to run on top of. 

It was about 1,000 ft. up to get to the snow.  I figured it would be before the 2 mile mark which was where I was planning on turning around.

Signs of snow started to appear along the sides of the trail.

These next two photos are my favorite and had me thinking for the rest of the day.  They show beautifully the transition of fall to winter.  A changing of the guard.  At first I just thought about how much I love living in a place where there are four distinct seasons.  Just when I get tired of the extreme heat of summer, fall comes to bring relief.  When I'm tired of the snow, the buds on the trees signify that a bright change is on it's way.  And I like this little warning of snow that change is again in the air.

I ran for a while in the snow, smiling and enjoying the peaceful quiet that seems to come with the snow.  It's as if it insulates the world for a time.  There were still birds chirping and small animals hurrying to get out of my way, but it was silent, alone and peaceful.  At the turnaround spot I stopped for a couple of minutes and closed my eyes and just listened.  It was almost magical.

This was another favorite spot where the tiniest breeze caused the snow in the trees to lose a bit of their dusting and it swirled through the air all around me.  Like I said, magical.

The sun peeking through the clouds was definitely another highlight.
On the way back down I couldn't help but think about seasons in our lives.  I'm in a really great season of life right now.  But like that part in the trail, I can catch a glimpse of another season just ahead.  My kids are still all at home.  They're all pretty independent.  They all sleep through the night.  They're all potty trained.  They're all in school.  Soon another season will come that will include letting go.  Not as much control, grandkids (although I know that one's a ways off ;) )  and expanding our family with in-laws.  While I'm sure that season will be great too, I'm just really trying to enjoy the awesome season that I am in right now.  Running really teaches me unexpected lessons and makes me think about things in a different light.  And it never ceases to amaze me either.  If someone would have told me even 10 years ago that I would be seeking out snow to run in, I would have called them crazy.  But here I am and loving every second of it.

Any lessons you want to share with me you've learned or thought about while running?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Roo Sport (The Perfect Runner's Pocket) Review and Giveaway

If you've been running for a while, I would bet that you have gadgets.  Whether it's a GPS watch or non cotton shirts or running tights or compression gear, I would bet that you have invested money into this sport beyond just shoes.  And I would bet that you carry your phone with you.  And if you don't, you wish that you easily could.  I use my phone as my camera, GPS tracker, and for music.  And just for safety reasons I like to have it with me.  Sure, some of my clothes have good pockets, the ones that are secured with a zipper and that don't bounce, but truthfully not many of them function very well.  I first got a Spi belt thinking that it would be great to store a bunch of stuff in.  And it really does expand to fit a lot.  However, it bounced.  It didn't matter how tight I tightened that thing, it bounced.  And it bugged me.  I moved to the i Fitness belt and found that I loved it.  No bouncing and it held everything nicely.  But it was still a belt and vainly I didn't like to wear it.  It made me look fat. And it made me sweat more all around it.  There was always the pain of trying to adjust it so that it fit nicely over my clothes and not under them and on just the right place.  I opted for not wearing it on daily runs and saved it for during races.  But it's really not smart to run without my phone.  And I'm usually wishing that I had it when I come upon some great scenery.  I bet you've been in a similar situation.   So, like in most inventive cases, someone had the same problem and solved it.  Meet Roo Sport.

Created by Brenda, a 25 time marathoner and super sewer.  She was approached by a friend who asked her to sew something up for an upcoming marathon to hold all the necessities.  A couple of years later and the real Roo Sport was born.  It really is brilliant.

You can see I'm wearing it during a 5K a couple weeks ago.
The inner pocket that is secured with velcro is made from a water resistant nylon.  It is the perfect size that fits my iPhone or any other smart phone.  It has a place to plug in my earphones and is easily accessible.  The back pocket is made of lycra and stretches to hold keys, money, gels or anything else and is secured with a zipper.

The whole little pocket then simply snaps in place with two really powerful magnets to the waistband of your shorts.  I've worn it both in front and in back and the really amazing thing is that it doesn't move and I forget it's even there.  Since I received the Roo Sport, I have worn it pretty much every single time I've been running.  And I love it.  Love it.

Here's my little secret.  I haven't worn it just for running.  I went to the store last week and didn't bring my purse.  I put my debit card in the zippered pocket and my phone in the other and left.  I did my shopping and didn't quite know what to do with my arm that is usually dragging with my big heavy purse.  There was no putting the purse in the cart and then not being able to walk away from it.  I felt free.  It was awesome.  And no one could tell that I had my money and my phone right there in that magical little pocket.  It got me thinking about traveling.  If I was going on a trip and especially out of the country, I'd be sure to take my Roo Sport.  What a great place to put all your important things and not worry about them being stolen.  Hey, it would even be great at a place like Disneyland.  Really, the possibilities are endless.

My only constructive criticism would be to make it more waterproof.  I know that it's water resistant, but there is still some condensation on my phone after a long run.  I know I could put it in a baggie, but I don't want to.  That makes it even harder for taking pictures.  And it really could be just a tad bigger.  It fits my new iPhone 5 with the headphone jack, but it takes some adjusting the cord.  Other than that, it's brilliant.  Just brilliant.

Now the great part.  Roo Sport is willing to give one to a lucky reader.  Here's the catch.  You have to report how you like it if you win; on your blog, Facebook, or twitter when you're done trying it out.  You get an entry for each task you do.  Please leave a separate comment back here for each one.

*Like Roo Sport on Facebook and leave them a comment saying that Jen sent you over to check them out.
*Follow them on Twitter
*Follow my blog or tell me if you already do.
*Leave a comment telling me if you carry your phone with you on your runs, why, and how you do it.
*Go to Roo Sport and enter your name and e-mail under the weekly contest on their header for another chance to win a Roo Sport pocket.
*Re-post on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter sending to them my blog for a chance to win.

Giveaway ends Saturday October 27th and the winner will be announced on Monday October 29th!  Good luck!

If you just can't wait to try it you can order one here  for $19.99  I would bet that it will be some of the best and possibly the least amount money you've spent on running gear.  They will also be at the Provo Halloween Half this weekend.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sharing what we love with those we love

I was reading in Kristen Armstrong's book "Mile Markers" this morning.  It became one of my favorite books after just reading the first chapter.  In fact I'm reading it slowly.  Savoring each chapter.  I felt like so much of what she was saying was an echo of things I've thought and said and written.  It rang so true and I felt like she was an old friend.  Weird.  I know.  But it's no different than when I feel like I "know" some of you so well through your blogs.  It's funny how when we share things with each other we become connected.  Which brings me back to what I read that got me thinking.  She had just finished writing about an experience with her kids when she says this, "I have a lump in my throat just sharing this with you.  I almost didn't want to write about it, because I thought that somehow putting it out there might diminish the intimacy of the experience.  Or that it might lose some sparkle if I tried to translate it.  Some personally significant things are best kept personal.  But in the end I decided that like crossing over the bridge together, the best memories of all are the ones you can share."  I can't count the times I have felt like this.  Times that I've felt like I've done a disservice to the memory because I can't put into words the extraordinary way it makes me feel. But in the end I'm always glad that I've taken time to document it and at least try to express myself.  Why do we do this?  Why do we feel the need to share?  Why do we Facebook, Blog, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or e-mail?  Is it some narcissistic need to leave a part of us behind with the rest of the world?  Is it to feel important?  To feel like we're winning the popularity contest with the most "likes" or comments?  Maybe part of it is, if we're honest.  But deep down, I like to think that when we share things with the world, with those we love and those we don't even know, that we're just trying to share a little of the joy that we feel.  Be it through nature or family or the freedom of running.  We are happy and want to share a bit of that joy with the world.  We hope to inspire them to feel the same joy.

A couple of days ago I took my kids to the trail that I've been running on so that they could see the autumn colors.  It was a little piece of heaven.  It made my heart fill to overflowing to watch them having as much fun on that trail as I do.

 They were skipping and running in the stop and go fashion that kids do on the roller coaster hills, hiking with hands on hips on the steep uphills, and literally flying on the downhills.  The giggling was contagious.

The youngest had his bag to collect leaves and we stopped by the running water to listen and watch it falls down the rocks and look for fish.

 It was the perfect afternoon.  And I realized that while running on that trail makes me smile and brings me joy, it's not until I share it that my joy overflows.

So I am thankful to Mel for showing me this trail and I'm thankful that I get to share it with those I love.  I think that's part of the reason I have loved running with my brother this year.  It's so great to see him enjoy running and trails.  It's something we have in common and something we can enjoy without having to explain it.  I think it's part of the reason this blogging community is so great.  We can share what we love without trying to hard to explain why, because we all just get it.  

I shared this trail with Heather a while ago and recently shared it with Jodi.  We had a great time marveling at all the vibrant colors that we really weren't paying attention to the steep inclines and slow paced miles.  It was a great morning.  It's great how those shared times with friends are the ones that stick in my mind so well.  I not only remember the sights ands sounds and smells better, but the feelings that accompany them are locked in place.  I love running alone, but I sure love running with friends and sharing in their joys as well.  Running really is such a raw and emotionally charged activity.  I think that's part of the reason I love it so much.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Color Vibe Ogden 2012

Sometimes you just gotta let loose, get together with some good friends, and have fun!  That was the whole point of this run for me.  I really wasn't sure what to expect going into a The Color Vibe Run.  When I was describing it to people I felt a little stupid by saying that you dress in white and then people throw colored cornstarch at you.  Doesn't that sound like fun?  We decided to make some tutus to make it even more fun.  Last minute Heather texted me and said that she had a blond wig she was thinking about wearing.  It sounded like a riot to me so I ran to Shop Ko about 8 the night before and picked one up.  Good thing it's Halloween time.  I texted the other girls and it was set.  

Cyn, Heather, me, Mel, Jodi, and Audrey

It was chilly Saturday morning, but not too bad.  The autumn leaves were gorgeous on the mountainside behind us.  We got our sunglasses that were included with our t-shirt and readied ourselves for the start.  We went in waves to space out the runners a bit.  We were in the first wave and although we said we were running for fun, it still felt like we were moving along at a good pace. Especially considering the hills.  Man were there some hills.  We came upon the color stations one at a time, spread throughout the 3.1 miles and got blasted with color at each one.

The real fun began after the race was over.  There was a DJ and some great music for the big dance party that was happening.  We were covered with color but because it was layered it didn't have a well balanced look anymore.  Not to worry. At the end each person got a small packet of color and gathered into the crowd and on the count of 3 everyone released their color packet.  There were also big boxes of color that you could grab a handful or two of and let go into the air.  

my wig started having wardrobe malfunctions at this point.  My roots were really showing.  Side note:  I do not look good as a blond.  But I see how they really do have more fun!

I am pretty sure that I burned just as many calories dancing around at the after party as I did during the run.  My kids would have died from embarrassment at the way their mother was acting.  Which was exactly what I needed.

We hung around dancing for about an hour afterwards and had a blast!

My favorite picture of the whole day!

I would do this again in a heart beat!  One great thing about the Color Vibe series is that they give you free photo downloads that they take at the race.  Of course we needed to have more pictures than just that, but still, I think it's a nice touch.  Also, all kids under 7 were allowed to run for free.  It also benefits a local charity.  In this case they were giving money to an elementary school for their physical education program!

So what are you waiting for?!!  Click on that link and find one near you!  Check out their Facebook page too for more photos!

My tips for doing a color run would be:

1.  As you go through the color stations get as close to the people throwing as possible.  It was surprising how much color blew off just by running.  A direct hit produced the best color.

2.  Hold your breath or at least close your mouth when they throw it at you.  I didn't do this once and had a colorful mouth for a bit.  It's just cornstarch so it won't hurt you, but it doesn't taste really good.

3.  The sunglasses that were included were a great idea.  Protected the eyes and just looked cool.

4.  I noticed that the parts of my shirt that were sweaty kept the color on longer.  So if it was warm and not October, I'd consider spraying down parts of my shirt right before the run so that it would stick better.

5.  Bring a towel to put on your seats for on the way home.

Not knowing what to expect, I would have to say that it was so much more fun than I thought it would be.  I had been looking forward to it, but I had no idea what a great time I would have.  I'm sure it had something to do with the company I was with, but the music and the vibrant colors and acting like a kid again had to be the best part!

Anyone else done a color run? 
TWhat tips would you add to mine?