Blog Love: The Liebster Award!

I’ve bliebsterblogawardeen seeing this going around the blog world lately, and I finally have time to join in. Thanks to Lisa, Raechel, and Erin for nominating me — I had fun learning more about you through your responses! Starting my blog has been a fun experience and I am so thankful for all the incredible people I have met. I apologize for my delayed reaction on this since life has kept me busy lately… but I hope you enjoy reading! 🙂

Here’s a how it works: the nominator asks you 11 questions. You answer the questions, then nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions so the fun can continue!

Since I had a few nominators, I had a lot of questions. I’m going to try to answer a bunch of them but probably not all so this post doesn’t get too crazy long!

Why did you start blogging & How did you choose your blog name? I started blogging because I had read blogs for a long time and wanted to start writing too. I also thought it would be fun to document some of my training for my first marathon. I chose my blog name as something that sounded motivating but a little different than other blog names out there. Blog names are a tough choice!!

What is your favorite thing to write about? I mostly write about training for running and triathlon races. I love all workouts though!

What kind of workout makes you feel best after its over? I always feel so good after a track workout or a long run. Love the runner’s high after pushing myself!

What has been your proudest racing memory/moment? I think finishing my first half marathon was my proudest moment so far.

Why did you start running/triathlons? I started running after my husband ran his first race. It just seemed like such an amazing environment! Then I got into triathlon because I just always wanted to do one. And now I love it! It is fun to stay busy with multiple sports.

What is your A race or biggest fitness goal for 2014? At the moment, my big goal is to have a strong race at my June triathlon. (By the way, I decided on the Olympic distance race! Time to go for a PR!) I haven’t figured out race plans for later in the year yet.

What is your favorite race and why? My favorite race was the Shamrock’n half marathon. It is always so well organized with good spectators and volunteers. I haven’t done too many triathlons, but I have done the Tri for Fun sprint tri in Sacramento, CA a few times, and while especially the run can be hot, it is a really great triathlon for first timers!

If you could give your 16 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Do what makes you happy. Love without hesitation. Travel as much as you can. Keep dreaming big and smile every day.

Do you have any pets? If not, what would your ideal pet be? No pets now…. but I would some day love to get a dog! Maybe one that would want to go running with me!

Compression socks or sleeves? I have never tried compression sleeves, but I LOVE my compression socks! So comfy!

What is your favorite piece of running gear? With my recent move to Oregon, I have been loving my Oiselle Flyer jacket. It is so lightweight, but I love that it is water resistant! It has been perfect for the weather around here! I am also mildly obsessed with my Oiselle Roga shorts since I got them for Christmas. It has been a little chilly for shorts here recently, but this week it is supposed to warm up, and I’m ready to break them out!

Which race has had the best medal? I like so many of my race medals because they bring back memories of each specific race, so this was a tough choice for me. Right now, I think my favorite though is from the Outer Banks marathon 2013! I love the gold color and the ribbon is really nice and soft. The lighthouse reminds me of the ocean and the beautiful views.

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What is your favorite leisure activity? Besides workout out?!?! I love reading. And going for a walk is always nice too.

What is your favorite dessert? Man, this is a tough question! I like all desserts. Some of my favorites include: Canoli’s, cheesecake, and dark chocolate.

Which vegetable do you hate eating? I like most veggies, but I really don’t like mushrooms or lima beans…do either of those even count as vegetables?!

What keeps you motivated? The fun of the sport usually keeps me motivated when I don’t have a race on the schedule. But if I do, then thinking about the excitement of race day and being proud of all the hard effort I’ve put into training at that point keeps me going!

What is your go-to dinner? Some of my go-to dinners are: salmon or steak with rice or sweet potatoes and veggies, or tacos.

Are you going to pass the torch and nominate other bloggers?!
YES! Definitely! I’m nominating:
1. Welcome to Karadise
2. GottaRunNow
3. Triathlete Treats
4. Run Write Hike
5. Run With Holly
6. Reason To Play
7. Samantha Cycles
8. I Am A Runner
9. Rowdy Running
10. Read Eat Write Run
11. Mountains & Miles

**note: if you’ve already received a Liebster, you don’t have to fill it out again! 🙂

My questions:
1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What was the inspiration for your blog & its name?
3. What is your “A” race or biggest goal for this year?
4. What is one of your most memorable race experiences?
5. What is your favorite post workout meal?
6. What is your favorite quote?
7. What is your favorite outfit in your closet?
8. What workout makes you feel the best when its over?
9.  What is your favorite way to celebrate a big race?
10. Do you prefer morning or evening workouts and why?
11. Are you going to pass the torch and nominate 11 other bloggers?!

The rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers (generally with the same number of followers, though it can be tough to tell; ideally less than 500).
  • Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Comment on your nominees’ blogs to let them know you nominated them.
  • Have fun spreading the blogging love!

Settling In

So I’m finally getting settled into my new place. I started my job last week, which was exciting! So far I am enjoying it and learning lots of new things.

Outside of work I have been settling into town and into a workout schedule (finally!) I joined a pool in town, and have gone swimming twice before work. It has worked out really well, and I think that will be something I continue to do. It is SO nice to feel accomplished with a workout before even getting in to work in the morning!

I have also been doing some exploring by running around my neighborhood. This week the weather is supposed to be awesome, so I expect much more exploration to be had! 🙂 I’m looking forward to getting out on the bike soon too!

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This weekend I volunteered for a local triathlon, the Beaver Freezer, hosted by the Oregon State University triathlon club. I directed the bikes out of transition. It was really fun!! This race had 10 waves because it was a pool swim, so there was a lot of activity for a long time in the transition area. So interesting to be on the other side of it rather than competing!

Another exciting piece of news is that I finally signed up for my first race of 2014! I’ll be completing the Hippie Chic half marathon (part of the Better Series races) on May 10th. I may be a bit undertrained, but I’m thinking having a race actually on the schedule will help me to focus for the next month.

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I’ve been trying to focus on some triathlon specific training for the last few weeks, with the potential of an early June race. Initially I had been thinking a half iron distance, but I am now thinking maybe the olympic would be a better choice based on my training lately. It could be fun to see how much better I can be than last year on the same course. I’m still wavering a bit though, but hopefully I can decide in the next week or so and officially sign up!

Sorry this post was a little all over the place, but I felt like I had so much to catch up on with you!

When is your next race?
Have you volunteered for a race? Did you have fun??

Crazy

Looks like I’m still on the minimal blogging for a bit, but it’s just because life has been a bit wild and crazy around here with the move and planning living in a new location.

I have been exercising most days of the week, but my schedule has been a little all over the place, and mostly dependent on my mood that day as to what type of workout I do. I have been ramping up my biking mileage though, since I’m getting excited about doing some summer triathlons! Last weekend I biked for 2 hours on both Saturday and Sunday — it was great! Plus, I couldn’t leave Sacramento without enjoying my favorite bike path at least one more time. Lots of great memories there since training for my very first half marathon in 2011!

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It’s pretty strange to leave a place that you have lived for a while. I think this is the longest I have lived in one home and town since high school. It is fun to think back on all the fun times we have had with friends here. But on the plus side, I’m also looking forward to new beginnings.

For my last night in town we had to get Luigi’s pizza. Seriously, if you live in Sacramento — go get Luigi’s! And make sure you get some ranch dressing to go along with it. I also hit some of my favorite local breweries to bring home some beer along with the pizza. At least Oregon has some good beer too, so hopefully I’ll be able to find some new favorites. 🙂

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Anyway…. at the moment, my whole life is in boxes and packed up in a truck. I have some more posts in the works, so hopefully I’ll get back onto a regular schedule here soon {thank goodness!} Thanks for sticking with me through the sporadic posting.

Do you ever not have a race on the schedule? How do you keep yourself motivated when you’re just working out for fun?

Big Changes!

I have some BIG news to share!!

Ryan and I will be moving soon to Corvallis, Oregon!

Why I Love Oregon

I found a job there, and am so excited to be getting my career started. I think my new position is going to really be a great jumping off point for many good things to come. I will be moving in just a few weeks, and Ryan will follow shortly after. Even though it’s hard to move away from the wonderful friends we have made in Sacramento, we are excited to explore a new area.

The only time I have visited Corvallis is for my interview (although we’ve been to Portland for a few trips, and I had my HTC experience last summer)! It might take us a bit to get used to the winter rain, but I know we are going to love all the great outdoor activity! I know the area is great for running and triathlon, and I’m also looking forward to giving trail running a try.

Have ave you ever been to Corvallis, OR? Any favorite races in the area? Favorite trails to run? What about outside of training — what are the best things to do in Oregon? Where should we go and what should we do?

Playing Catch-up

OK, I know, I know. I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I last posted either. Life has just been so busy lately! By the time I get home and squeeze in a workout there seems to be barely enough time to relax before going to bed.

I have been really trying to focus back on my running and start to slowly build up my mileage. A couple weeks ago I ran a very strong 10.7 mile long run. Finally having a nice double digit run has made me really start to get excited to start training for something again. It was nice to take a short break and to make sure my legs were feeling good, but I’m looking forward to getting back on a more thought out and consistent schedule.

I’m still trying to decide what my next goal race should be. I’m aiming to do a half marathon for fun in mid-April. But for a goal race, I will either train for a half iron in early June or a marathon in late July. Decisions, decisions…..

On another note, this past Sunday I spectated the Napa Valley Marathon because Ryan was running. I did lots of cheering, and was able to see him 3 times along the course. It was so motivating to watch people finish the race. You could see how emotional finishing a marathon can be! Ryan ended up running a big 13 minute PR! I am so proud of him! He’s still working on trying to improve his marathon time, and is looking forward to another race, but I thought he did really well on this one.

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Promise to write again soon — lots of things to update you all on!

How do you choose your goal races? What race is next on your list?What was the last race that you spectated?

Ragnar FL Keys Recap: NUUNaritaville

I can’t believe my Ragnar FL Keys experience is already over. I felt like I had been working on planning it and looking forward to it for so long!

We arrived late Wednesday night so we could have time to decorate the vans and buy van snacks on Thursday — two key components to a good relay. Not everyone had arrived yet, but we weren’t going to have time the next day to get those things done. I think we did a pretty good job! Lots of Jimmy Buffet quotes to go with our theme: NUUNaritaville.

vans

Friday morning, our start time was 11:30am. As van 1, we got to the start area early to go through the safety checks, put on our temporary tattoos, and get excited!

start

I spent most of my time in the van as the navigator — luckily I only got us lost once, and we ended up just BARELY making it to the exchange before Jack finished his leg…phew! I wanted to make sure everyone else was having a good time, and didn’t have to worry about where were going.

As Leslie mentioned in her recap, we had team members from all over the country, and many people didn’t know each other. Sometimes that can be a little nerve wracking because you don’t know how everyone will get along, but  it didn’t seem like we had any isssues. In van 1 we definitely had a great time, and I’m sure van 2 did as well!

Onto the running… I was runner #2, which was scheduled for 18 miles. However, two of my legs ended up being longer than scheduled, so I actually ran 19.

My first leg started around 12:30pm on Friday — in the heat of the day. Luckily I only had a 4.5 miler on tap. I was so excited to be running and felt really good even though it was hot! This run was through Miami with quite a few traffic lights to deal with. At one point I had to go up on a walkway over the road. I was glad the signs were accurate, because there seemed to be way more turns than I remembered from the maps! I was able to keep my pace up, and even with all the traffic light stops, I averaged 8:44/mi. I was SO thankful when my teammates stopped to give me some water and a power arch boost about 3 miles in.

leg1

My second leg was at 10:15pm in the dark along a canal path. At the safety meeting, we were told to be careful not to go off the road in this area because of the alligators! Yikes! Nervous in the night!! The road here was dirt and rocks, and made for very difficult running — near the end of the run when my legs were tired, I almost rolled my ankles several times. The good news was this leg was shorter than most of my van mates in the overnight hours, with my mileage being 5.25 miles — average pace of 8:55/mi. It was also cooler overnight so that was a bonus too. Another fun thing about the overnight leg was that it really seemed like we were catching up to the other teams more. With an 11:30am start time we got a later in the day start than many other teams!

night

My last leg was by far the most beautiful, but also the hottest. I started running around 10:30am. My last leg was the longest, scheduled for 9 miles, with most being along the 7 mile bridge. There was no van support allowed on this run, and the only Ragnar water station was at 2 miles due to traffic on the bridge. I was really nervous about this run because I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to be feeling. Plus, the heat was definitely an issue. When Leslie handed off the slap bracelet to me, she said “take it easy, that heat is no joke!” — and she only ran 2.4 miles!!

I actually ended up feeling pretty good through mile 6. After that though, I was really feeling the heat and getting tired. With ZERO shade out on the bridge, it was pretty intense. This run also ended up being long, and by the last 0.5 miles, I could not wait to be finished. My vanmates took good care of me after this leg, and let me wait in the shade (of the portopotties, HA!) while they got the van. It definitely took me a while to cool down after that one. I ended up averaging 10:11/mi for the 9.5 miles, which I was very happy with given the heat. I passed a lot of people on this leg because so many others were feeling the heat.

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After van 1 finished our running, we headed to the finish line after a tasty lunch stop. Van 2 rocked their final legs and Matt brought team Nuunaritaville into the finish line just before sunset on Saturday. We were all so proud of our finish — our final time was 30 hours 43 minutes. Good enough for 89th place out of 478 teams!!

finish

I wish we had planned for an extra day in the Keys following the relay. Next time we do one we will be sure to leave some time for fun afterward. At least we made a quick stop at the beach on our way out of town.

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We had many newbie relayers, and I think everyone on our team had a great time! For more fun recaps on our excitement in the Keys, check out Leslie, Heather, and Raechel‘s blogs! Thanks to Nuun Hydration for keeping us hydrated in the intense FL heat, and to Naawk for preventing our sunburns. Thanks also to Beko for so many fantastic photos of our van & the team! I had so much fun making many new friends hang spending time with old friends on this trip. I can’t wait until the next adventure. 🙂

Quick Post – Giveaway winner!

Hi friends!

I don’t have much time to post today, but I wanted to announce my giveaway winner! Congratulations to Aubrey!

I’ll be posting again soon about my wonderful experience running Ragnar FL Keys last weekend with team NUUNaritaville. We really had a blast, but let me tell you… it was HOT! I promise to write more about it soon, ….for now though, here’s one of my favorite team photos:

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What did you do this weekend? Anyone run a race??

NUUNaritaville {a giveaway!}

If you hadn’t seen in my last few posts, TOMORROW I will be running Ragnar FL Keys with some wonderful friends as team NUUNaritaville. I have been pretty excited about doing another relay since I ran Hood to Coast last summer. It was just such a fun experience — the running is great, but more than that you get to spend some close time with good friends (or make new ones!). I’m really looking forward to another great relay with all the jimmy buffet references you can think of {Wastin’ away again in NUUNaritaville}!

With a long distance relay, staying hydrated and well-fueled are very important! In addition, you may have to run in the middle of the day with hot sun beating down on you. Nuun is a great drink to keep you hydrated by increasing your electrolyte intake during those hot sweaty runs. Plus, it will help you be ready for the next leg of your adventure.

At Hood to Coast, we were given some skin products from Naawk, and they were nice enough to provide my Ragnar FL Keys team with some samples as well. Naawk has created some great products — my favorites are the sunscreen and the lip balm. The sunscreen comes in SPF 30 and 50, and smells amazing. Good smelling sunscreen may have helped our van stay a little less stinky by the third leg at HTC!

So, in honor of my second relay, and first event of 2014, Naawk and Nuun have been generous to provide me with some items for a giveaway so you can be prepared for your next outdoor adventure!! If you win this giveaway, you will win a race day kit from Naawk (pictured below), and your choice of a Nuun Active Hydration 4-pack. Enter on the widget here!

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We’ve been doing some last minute shuffling of runners due to an unexpected injury from one team member, so I’m not totally sure what leg I will be running. But if you’re interested in following along and seeing some of the FL Keys beauty, find our team on twitter using #NUUNaritaville

Bay Area Running Adventures

Thank you so much for all your comments on my last post & joining me for a virtual long run! I loved hearing more about what is on your minds and hope we really can have the chance to do a long run together some day!

The last few days I have been visiting San Francisco to visit a friend, then see my Dad who was in town on business. While visiting my friend, I was lucky enough to get in some amazing bay area running.

Saturday afternoon, I ran just under 5 miles in the Marin Headlands — just north of SF. My friend had been raving about running in that area, but I had never been there. Our route was the perfect distance to fit in the afternoon just before the sun set. As a flat-land runner from Sacramento it was SO much fun to mix things up a little more both by running trails, and by running some steep hills. The bonus for getting up to the top of a steep hill… an amazing view! I mean, check this out!

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Sunday morning I woke up to the (much needed!) rain coming down. We had talked about a longer run the night before, but I wasn’t really prepared for a chilly and rainy run. Luckily I was able to borrow a jacket and hat, and ended up having another incredible run! While I don’t have any photos because I didn’t want to ruin my phone by getting it wet, we ran around the Presidio and along the bay. It was beautiful to see just a glimpse of the Golden Gate bridge within the fog. Again it’s hard to avoid hills when running in SF, so we found ourselves running a few stairs and a hill to get back home. In the end, I think we ran almost 6 miles!

It was such a great weekend! It reminded me how much fun it is to run in new places and also with running buddies!

Where was the last new place you went for a run?

The Virtual Long run

I’ve seen a few other bloggers (like Megan and Christine) write about what they would discuss if they were out on a long run or a coffee date… and I just had some random things on my mind, so I thought I’d play along.

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If we were on a long run today, I’d share with you that my leg is slowly getting better. In fact, I ran my longest run in a couple months last weekend (8 miles!), and felt like I could just keep going forever that day (Isn’t that the best feeling ever?!). And that’s why today’s long run is still staying about 90 minutes long — I need to slowly and steadily keep my distance increasing. But I’m feeling pretty optimistic that I’m on the mend. I still don’t know what exactly the issue is, but I’m thinking it’s something to do with hip stability.

I’d also tell you how I have been doing some workouts from RunSmart Online — I won a 3 month subscription from #runchat a couple weeks ago. I think they may be improving my core and leg strength. I particularly like the strength days for after an easy run. It’s not just doing squats and lunges like other strengthening programs. I’m enjoying trying some new stuff. If you’re dealing with a running injury, could be worth trying for a little while.

If we were on a long run, I’d probably also mention how I’m starting to work on the job hunt. How strange it is to think about moving somewhere else in the country. Even though I’m excited about the adventure of it, its also kind of scary to be looking for a real job and think about staying somewhere for more long-term. How will I know if it’s the right job or the right location?! There just seems to be so many things to take into account. But, I’m trying to network with lots of people, and just take it one day at a time.

If we were on a long run, I’d also have to talk about the Biggest Loser — it’s one of my favorite TV shows. Did you watch the triathlon last night?! I thought it was so inspiring. I loved how all them talked about how they could never have done this however many weeks ago. It reminds me that we can all do something new if we put our minds to it. And also how emotional it can be to cross a finish line. This is part of why I love racing.

And before our run finished up, I’d share that I’m getting seriously excited about Ragnar FL Keys. I can’t believe its only a week and a half away! Now that I’m feeling more confident about my running, I feel like I can be more excited about it. I’m so thankful to have this opportunity to represent Nuun for this race too. And really, more than the running, I think I’m just excited to get to have a fun weekend with friends that I don’t get to see very often. Relays are just a moving slumber party with a little running thrown in there, right?

What would you tell me if we were out on a long run?!