Thursday, May 31, 2012

{May} Foodie Penpals

Last month I heard about this amazing program called Foodie Penpals {FPP}, and just as it sounds, instead of sending letters you send FOOD! How fun is that!? I signed up, and after receiving my first package I am already loving it!!! My FPP, who sent a package to me {I sent a package to Kim, in NY} is from St. Louis Missouri and is the founder of Eat Local, which offers savings at several independent, locally owned restaurants in the St. Louis area {Such a great idea}.  I think its safe to say that I totally scored with my first FPP! When my FPP emailed me asking my what I like/don't like/any allegies, etc, I told him him I was open to anything, but am always looking for yummy, health on-the-go snacks, I love chocolate, and one of my favorite snacks is chips & salsa! After May 15th, I anxiously checked my porch daily in anticipation of receiving my package!! And as luck would have it, it arrived on a weekend when I was out of town, so I was SO excited to get home and open it! Being that St. Louis is definitely a beer & meat town, I was excited to see what he would come up with, and here is what he sent me {and of course everything is a St. Louis local product}...

A delicious Mound City Shelled Nut Company Plaza Mix...the perfect healthy, yummy, on-the-go snack! As you can see, I even ate some before I was able to take pictures for my blog!

My favorite!!! Hacienda Mexican Restaurant {a local Mexican Restuarant established in 1968} House Salsa & Billy Goat Chip Company {gluten free, artisan} Spicey Kicker Chips! Umm....the chips are AMAZING...great flavor, not super greasy! I WILL be ordering more of these! I haven't opened the salsa yet, but can't wait to try it! I should probably order more chips first, because I am sure they are the PERFECT combo! 

How amazing are these!? A bottle of "ski"!? LOVE!!!  My FPP isn't aware of this, but I love waterskiing, which makes these even more fantastic! And the bottles are so cute...I almost feel like I can't drink them! A product of the Double Cola Company, Ski was born in 1956 by combining the natural flavors of real lemon and real orange juices, with a {caffeine} kick. In 2009, Ski introduced the famous slogan, "Real Lemon, Real Orange, Real Good."  I'm looking forward to enjoying these while skiing this weekend!

And last, but NOT least {a package from St. Louis, MO wouldn't be complete without it} is a Bissinger's {handcrafted} Peppermint Chocolate Bar! Bissinger's {which started in a small kitchen in Missouri} has been making fine confections for more than 350 years and takes pride in the fact that it has not sacrificed quality ingredients, taste, or craftsmanship to produce more confections at a lower cost. I love peppermint bark, but lots of time is can be too "pepperminty"...not this one! Its delicious, melt-in-your-mouth good! 

I might be {just a little} bias, but I think I had the best FPP; and I can't wait to see who I am paired with for June.  I love to not only receive packages, but I also love sending packages...and now I love Foodie Penpals too! 

And now it's time for some details about Foodie Penpals:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 

-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 
If you’re interested in participating for June, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 
You must submit your information by June 4th as pairings will be emailed on June 5th!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Portland Rock N Roll

Two of my favorite things: A Rock n Roll event AND Portland, OR...YES PLEASE!!! After doing the Country RnR in Nashville a couple of years ago, I had a goal to do all of the RnR events {but that is going to be a little difficult now because they continue to add more events every year}; so, you can only imagine my excitement when I heard they would be doing one in PORTLAND!!!  I know RnR receives quite a bit of criticism, especially due to the fact that they are pretty expensive; but I love them because they are extremely well organized, have LOTS of people {I am not a fan of small races}, are high energy, offer great course support, are in fabulous cities, and are always tons of fun.  

I am training for a marathon {surprise, surprise, its another RnR event}, so I viewed this as a training run {still with the goal in mind to finish with a good time}, and while I didn't officially taper for it, I did take is easier-than-normal the week before. So without further adieu here is a photographic journey through the  Portland RnR!

The expo!

He loves the blue!


Saturday I hung out with Caitlin {the pic of the two of us didn't turn out} at the NUUN booth & we had a hydration partay! {ugh, this pic is from my phone so its a lil blurry}

The Best Sherpa and Cow Bell Ringer! We love her!

I LOVE the character of Portland!

Only in Portland will you find a life-size game of Chess

We took a trip to Huber's for their famous Spanish Coffee

My mom never passes up a photo opportunity

 And we're off..

My dear friend Nicki, who I convinced to sign up for the race over a year ago! As I was going to meet her she text me that she just met two girls in Team-Sparkle skirts with NUUN tattoos...

...well those two girls just happened to be my new running friends Cass and Tasha! Tasha & I are teammates {AND Vanmates} for the NUUN Ragnar relay! It was so nice to meet both of them! 

Showing off our new "ink"!

And he's off, with the 1:45 pacer

Finishing...right around a 1:44! He's my inspiration!!!

Nicki finishing strong

I have yet to take a good running picture...

Post-race smiles 

He was one PROUD runner, and I was one proud daughter! 

I've never done a run {race or just for fun} in Portland that I didn't love, and the same was true for this one! Despite it being hillier than I anticipated, and raining {par for the course for Portland} it was a beautiful course and fun event.  I was hoping to go sub-2, and last minute decided to start with the 2:00 pacers {I figured I just needed to go for it}, and I held on until mile 7, then backed off a little! Despite not quite getting the sub-2, I was happy with my time {within a minute of my PR, which was on a FLAT course} and am pumped for the Seattle RnR marathon.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

You Too Can Be A Runner!

On Sunday, following my long run of the week, I ran into a friend at the coffee shop and she said, "I've been trying for 3 years to do the Couch To 5K program"....which inspired this post.  People are always asking me, "How do you do it!? I could never run that far!" And my response is always the same, "You CAN run that far {If I can do it, anyone can}, you just have to start slow, and build up." No one {or at least most people} is going to be able to run 10 miles on their first run.  And I couldn't either...

But, what motivates me the most is having a race {that I am signed up for!!} to look forward to! For me personally, the energy and excitement of a race is so inspiring & motivating, and keeps me going back for more.

Here are a few things I enrouage everyone who is thinking about running to do:

  • Find a race that looks FUN {There are a lot of holiday & themed runs like the Turkey Trot, Couple Truffle Shuffle, Monster Dash, Shamrock Run, Pints to Pasta, etc}! The run that I think looks the most fun, and is bringing in a lot of new/first time runners is The Color Run!
  • SIGN-UP: with no race on the schedule, you have all the excuses in the world to not train. 
  •  Find someone {friend, family member, work colleague} who will train and run with you {or at least do one of two}.  A lot of times, the best part of my day is running with all of my running friends. 
  • Use a training plan: A great plan for first time runners is the Couch To 5K

  • Trust the process and believe in yourself!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

NUUN is running RAGNAR, and I'm on the team!!!

One of my favorite ways to celebrate my birthday every year is to do a triathlon {most people think I'm a lil crazy!} .  The past several years I have done the Deschutes Dash in Bend:

Rockin the birthday shades {if you look closely, you'll see I still have my sunglasses on underneath from the bike, oops!}

Well, I couldn't be more excited to celebrate my birthday {2 days later}, with 12 bloggers from the PNW, as we run the  RAGNAR Northwest Passage with Team NUUN {Not only my FAVORITE electrolyte drink, but also a truly amazing company, with what appears to be even more amazing employees! I can't wait to meet all of them!} 

On May 3rd, I received an email from Mason {Chief Hydration Officer for NUUN...umm I want a title like that!} with the subject of Come Run With Nuun. I don't want you to think I'm totally weird, but I kind of freaked out a lil {OK, maybe a lot!}.  I can't think of a better privilege, opportunity, honor,  experience, etc than to run my heart out for NUUN, spread the NUUN love, & have a blast while making 11 new friends {and hopefully many more throughout our 190 mile adventure}!!! 

Here are the 9 other bloggers that I am so excited to have as teammates {soon to be friends!}:

Jenny: A fellow Oregonian @jennypennysue


I guarantee this is going to be an EPIC adventure and one you won't want to miss, so make sure you are following our blogs and all of us on twitter!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

First 20 miler {of this training}

The Seattle Rock N Roll marathon is 49 days away!!!! And on Saturday I ran my first {of 3} 20 mile runs! I have been so fortunate & have always had people to run with {or sherpa} on my long runs.  Well this week, none of my usual training partners were available, so I joined two girls {who I have never ran with} for a 20 mile run. All I knew was that I was meeting them at 5:30am...they had the route planned out, made arrangements for someone to drop off water at the 10 mile point, etc.  Well little did I know, {and it was probably better that way} one of the girls is quite a bit {ok, A LOT} faster that I am {3:20 marathon} and LOVES {and I mean LOVES} hills.  So we started off on our run and Ann asked, "So what's our route!?" Krissy said, "Well we're going to start by going up Coal Mine and over to Barnett {panic mode kicked in for me} and then we'll head over to Cherry Lane and run up Cloud Crest etc {now I'm completely freaking out}  These are the two major hills in Medford, that most people run for a hill workout, NOT as part of their 20 mile run {I aim to find the flattest route for my long runs, and work in the hills during the week}!! And they're the kind of hills, that at some points, it feels like you can walk faster than you are running.  I knew I was going to have to dig deep and just get it done... and that is exactly what I did! I stayed with the girls until mile 16, and at that point I told them to go ahead...I walked it out for a minute, got my music set up, and refocused for the last 4 miles of the run.  At mile 18 I ran by a friends house...she was out working in the yard, so I  recruited her to throw on her running shoes and run the last 2 miles with me! Overall is was A GREAT RUN, and I surprised myself with how well I did.

WHAT I LEARNED {or was reiterated} FROM THIS RUN:
    • I love running with a fuel belt {as opposed to a hand-held water bottle}
    • Hills make you a stronger/faster runner & I need to do more of them!!!
    • Consistent, encouraging, and supportive running partners are PRICELESS
    • I am capable of more than I realize
I hydrated with NUUN and fueled with SportBeans.  I had taken other things to fuel on, but felt as if I wouldn't be able to keep anything down if I ate it.  AND I didn't feel like I needed to eat. I felt hydrated the entire time



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sisterhood of The Traveling Skirt

For those of you who know me, you know I have a new favorite running accessory, a Team-Sparkle skirt! When I was perusing their site, I noticed that they have a traveling team-sparkle skirt {the skirt is sent to women all over the country to race in!}so I quickly contacted the girls of Team-Sparkle and let them know my race schedule.  The skirt was available on April 14th, and I couldn't of been more excited to wear it for a local race, the Pear Blossom.  

The Pear Blossom truly is a community wide event {with a 1 mile fun run, 5k, 10 mile & a parade}and is a race that I look forward to every year.  I ran it for the first time in 2006, and have participated every year since.  I love how everyone comes out to support, encourage and cheer on one another one.

Nicki: Such an inspiration to me! And we meet before the race every year :)

It's a tradition for us to take a picture together every year!

My dad: The reason I started running

"The Group"

I went into this race feeling confident, and was aiming for a PR, which would mean beating my time from 2 years ago {which I was really proud of!!!}

Megan & I: 1:29:35 in 2010

Heidi, Lindsey and I all smiles and excited for the race!

I started off the race with Heidi & Lindsey, and told them my goal was to negative split, so we were going to   go out at about a 9:15/9:30 pace and eventually be right under a 9:00 min pace. We were holding that pace and I felt great!! At the 5 mile turn around, I was definitely feeling tired, so I took some sport beans, drank some water, and hoped that once I went back up and over the only hill in the race I would feel good again.  Well that never happened! At this point, I was going to keep the same pace, and wait to kick it in until about mile 7, but I completely hit a wall...legs were tired and I had nothing left! I continued to push, and remembered that I was wearing the travel team-sparkle skirt and didn't want to disappoint.  While I do believe sparkle = speed :), on April 14th sparkle = stamina {power to endure fatigue}

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement {I was fighting back the tears}, but I never gave up and another Pear Blossom is in the books! I can sit here and list several excuses {I ran 35 miles the week before, had an extremely busy/stressful week, etc} but bottom line is that not every race is going to be a PR and some days just aren't made out for it.

Love his expressions!!!

Dana passed him at the very end...just like she said she would!

So happy to see the finish line! 

The BAD: I have managed to add almost 6 minutes to my Pear Blossom time in 2 years
The GOOD: In those same 2 years, I have taken 8 minutes off of my half marathon time & I loved hearing people yell "Nice Skirt" as I pushed through those 10 miles.
The BEST: After the race I received a call from a friend to thank me for encouraging, challenging {after dragging her feet for quite a while, she finally gave in and started doing speed work!} motivating & helping her to reach her goal of finishing in the top 100 females.  

I WILL redeem myself at the Portland Rock N Roll Half Marathon!!!