Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I love to Rock AND Roll

In 2008 my friend Erin did the Walt Disney World marathon with Team In Training, and while she was paroozing all of the booths at the expo she came across the Rock N Roll booth, noticing the Country Music Rock N Roll Marathon. Country music every mile, yes please!!  I was running my first race that same April {10 miles} and thought, "what's 3 more miles!?" so we signed up, and started planning our runcation.  This would be more than just a race, it would be a girls weekend filled with site-seeing, touring, cowgirl boots and hats, AND running! 

A trip to Nashville isn't complete without cruising on the General Jackson,

 taking a trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame

and of course running! {the pose in an inside joke from out trip on the General Jackson!}

 After running the Country Music Rock N Roll half marathon, I had a goal to run all of the races in the Rock N Roll series.  As so my tour began...

NEXT STOP: Arizona

A girls trip to Scottsdale isn't complete until you've dined with The Brioni Brothers 

NEXT UP: Denver

I went to college in Boulder and love any excuse to go back! I saw Denver was having a Rock N Roll event and was one of the first 100 {or something; they offered a BIG discount for the first people to sign up} to sign-up! And of course, I convinced friends to join the tour with me {Heather was actually a cheerleader for this race and her husband ran with me}

I loved spending time with college friends!

This was a family trip, so we took a trip to the Denver Zoo.

THIRD STOP: Portland 

I love making new running friends! 

I love running with girl friends, but nothing beats running with my dad!

Even though we are Native Oregonians, and grew up in Portland, its still a treat to visit Hubers and enjoy their signature drink, a Spanish Coffee

UP NEXT: Seattle

I knew the only way to convince my Mid-West friends to run a marathon was if it was part a trip to the beautiful PNW! 

Joining my friends AND my dad for their first marathons...priceless! 

The Space needle tends to make its way into most pictures taken while in Seattle

In case you haven't noticed, my dad is just as addicted to running Rock N Roll races and the bling 

 Of course, while in San Antonio you can't help but enjoy great sites, sounds, food & drinks along the Riverwalk.  And we always love a good zoo. 

NEXT STOP: A trip back to Portland and San Diego

Now, I can' forget one of the best parts about running a Rock N Roll event: The BLING!!!

Location, location, location!!! Rock N Roll events are about more than just the race itself.  Held in fabulous places throughout the US {and now international too} they are perfect for runcations where site seeing, great food, entertainment, friends, etc are included.  

I will be running the Portland Rock N Roll again this year {May 19th} and will be blogging about ways to make it a fabulous runcation. What would YOU like me to highlight that are essential for a perfect runcation? Hotels? Restaurants {of course you have to hit up one of the infamous food trucks}? Site-seeing? Attractions? 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Luck of the Irish: Shamrock Run 15K

4 years ago I ran the Portland Shamrock Run, without knowing exactly what I was getting myself into {its a rather challenging course} and it instantly became my favorite race {and my favorite route to run while I am in Portland}... 35,000 people {3 different races} in tutus, green body paint, beer hats, green wigs, etc fill the waterfront, to raise money for Doernbecher Children's Hospital.  The last two years I  ran the 15K solo {well with 9,000 other people, but no one I actually knew} and loved every mile of it! This year my race didn't exactly start out with the luck of the Irish! The night before, not sure why, but I had a small piece of pizza, which didn't quite agree with my stomach! So the night before I was dealing with stomach issues, but thankfully I woke up feeling ok. In the morning, I headed to the Lloyd Center, where I caught the Max to the waterfront, and as I was in the car putting on my number {note: this is THE FIRST time I haven't laid everything out the night before} I realized I didn't have a timing chip!!!! {ha! it actually appeared when I was unpacking my car, oops!} I frantically jumped out of my car and ran to catch the Max so that I would have time to head to the solutions tent. Luckily, it took less that 2 minutes for me to get in line and receive a new bib and timing chip {extremely well organized race}. I had time to use the porta potty and meet up with my friend {who was running the 8K} before the start of the race. 

It was GO time...I headed to the start, where they had people  line up by their projected pace, and did a "release and hold" start.  There were so many people that I couldn't make it back to the 9-10min pace {my goal was 9:30avg}, so I started with the 8-9min group.  My goal was to negative split the race, even with the hill climb, so I knew I had to start off conservatively {both pace and feel} so I could push the pace on the hill. I felt great the first two miles{flat} and was averaging around a 9:20, which was perfect. Mile 3 was a steady climb to the base of Terwilliger, and I brought my average pace down to a 9:15 and was feeling strong.  I hit the base of Terwilliger around mile 3.5, put in my headphones and powered up the hill. I started playing some mind games with my music...I would push the pace for a song, then back off for a little. I did this the entire way up.  I could tell that I was definitely  running among strong runners...they were all powering up the hill like it was nothing, and no one was walking {I have never walked the hill, but I am used to being surrounded by walk-runners,actually walk-sprinters, which is my biggest pet peeve}...and I was holding my own with them. I peaked the hill just past mile 6 and my average pace was a 9:25. It was game on! I was feeling great and ready to push the pace to the finish! This is when I knew I was running among faster runners...they all took off! ha! I spotted a girl in the distance who had pulled away from me on the hill, and I was determined to catch her. And I did! Then I had my eye on another runner, and I caught and passed her too! My average pace continued to drop and my current pace was in the mid to high 8:00s...I knew I had crushed my goal! 

2010-10:05 avg

2012-9:59 avg


To be honest, I didn't believe it at first, and waited for the official results to be posted! With a 7 minute PR, I was on the biggest runners high ever! 

Following the race I met up with my cousins to Celebrate Good Times, Come On with a margarita and some mexican food {its a post race tradition!}

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, The Shamrock Run is one of my favorite races, and here are some reasons why:
-I love the course {challenging and beautiful}
-The shirts and 15K finishers bottle opener medal are always great
-It is by far the most organized and well ran race...35,000 people, 3 different races plus a fun mile for the kiddos, and it is a flawless event {I didn't even have to wait in line for a porta potty!!}
-They are very accommodating to the runners...its extremely easy to transfer your registration to another runner or switch events {even the day of the race!} 
-Everyone gets in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day
-Nothing beats running in Portland, especially on a beautiful day 

Already looking forward to 2014, and running sub-9s! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

{almost} Half Way to Eugene

One of my running rule of thumbs is that {other than local races} I don't run the same race twice, because there are so many that I want to do! Well, I am making an exception to that rule this year, and running the Eugene {half} marathon again this year {I ran it in 2011}.  I was on the verge of signing up after my two running partners signed up, and then when I heard that Beth Moore was going to be in Eugene the same weekend, I was sold.  I already had my mind set on a sub-2 half in 2013, and I couldn't think of a better place to achieve that goal than in Track Town USA. I hired a coach and am on a journey to achieving my goal. For some reason, I always had it in my mind that I was on a 12-week training plan, so when I saw Jess' week-#6 email, I was excited but also a little nervous that I was half way there. Then I realized 6 weeks wouldn't put me at Eugene, so I took a closer look at my training schedule {I prefer to take it week-by-week} and saw that it is in fact a 14-week plan, and I have 8-weeks to chase down my goal.

My road to Eugene has re sparked my passion for running! I look forward to every run and finish each run with an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment, as my average pace is now about :30 faster {and some of my runs have several miles in the low-8's}! In addition to increasing my mileage and training intensity, I am focusing on my mental strength and BELIEVING that I WILL finish in less than two hours.  I like to journal, and have really enjoyed journaling about my goals and progress in my Believe I Am journal. 

I recently made the switch to Saucony, and my feet are IN LOVE with the Suacony Kinvara 3s. After my marathon I was ready for a new pair, and these are the ones I decided on; don't they look fast!? 

As part of my decision to hire a coach, I was committed to give it my all throughout the entire 12 14-weeks, and I have been very diligent about sticking to the plan and doing all of the workouts as prescribed! I am so thankful and blessed to have running partners who are on this journey with me and are willing to do the dreaded  speed workouts, push the pace at the end of a 12-mile run, and meet me at 4:30am for a run before work because I am unable to run on the weekend. A huge part of the reason I run is because of the social aspect; and nothing compares to the friendships that develop throughout the miles. 

Our Saturday running group has grow and now includes runners training for their third marathon, last marathon, 10 miler, half marathon, or just out for the fun {therapy} of it. We all run at a different pace, and even do varying distance, but the one thing we all have in common is a love for running, which forms a special bond between people. 

As I approach the half-way mark on my journey to Eugene, I am overflowing with a passion and gratitude for the sport of running and those in my life because of it! I am also tapping into and realizing my TRUE potential, and am looking forward to not only reaching it, but exceeding it!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Everybody Loves "Chewie"

In the summer my family spends most of our time at the lake, and in the winter we head to the dunes to ride our quads {ATV, 4-wheeler...whatever you choose to call them!}. Unfortunately, I don't make it on as many trips as I would like, but I was able to go last weekend {and I already have another trip planned!} and it was an all around perfect weekend! I'm really focusing on my training for the Eugene {half} marathon, so my dad and I started the weekend with an 8-mile run; I love every opportunity that I have to run with him! Then it was time to hit the dunes. Weather is always hit and miss this time of the year, but it perfect for us this weekend! 


"Chewie" is along for the ride!

My cousin started this tradition when she showed up at the coast with Spike, a giraffe backpack her grandma had given her years ago. I spent hours searching for the perfect backpack and finally came across Chewie.  Not only does Chewie   carry water, cameras, & bags for seashells collected at the ocean, he always brings a smile to all riders! I can't tell you how many "thumbs up" I get!  This weekend Chewie brought a smile to one rider who needed one more than most! While riding through some trails, my mom witnessed a lady roll her quad and rushed over to help her and make sure she was ok.  She was on the ground, in extreme pain, until she looked up and saw I was wearing Chewie.  She instantly had a huge smile and said, "I love your backpack, I've never seen anything like it!" I, of course, showed Chewie off a little bit, and it was the perfect, light heartedness fun that she needed to distract herself from the pain and scare of the accident.  Once we realized she was ok, and had someone to help her back to camp {she was riding with someone} we went on our way.

We spend time with family:
My cousin Jordyn and I

A couple that rides the dunes together, stays together! 

We overcome our fears:

Ready to go up: The hill might not seem that big in the picture, but trust me, when you're going up it, it seems HUGE! 

And I'm off!

 I made it! And what if I wouldn't of!? Well I would of had to roll back to the bottom...and try it again! I have an extended swing arm on my bike, so it is basically impossible for me to flip my back over backwards, which gives me a little boost of confidence when climbing hills!

We end up in the trees:

Side hilling {in soft sand} is not easy, and usually results in someone in the trees...{when I turned the corner and saw what I was up against I got a little nervous, but luckily I pulled up my big girl pants and made it}

Heidi went off course, but we were able to get her out!

Jordyn wasn't able to ride her quad up the hill, so James hopped on and did it for her {rider error}!

We have fun:

To cross or not to cross, that is the question!

Lil James took a ride on the back of Ryan's bike...he was in heaven!

After a long ride we are ready for fire...Jordyn does her best to get some kindling for the fire!

The best part of camping is sitting around the campfire!

I mustache you a question, why does this perfect weekend have to come to an end?