Saturday, August 16, 2014

BlogFest + RunGo

You'd think with all this excitement in my life, I'd be dying to tell you all everything... < / sarcasm > But seriously! Despite the not-working-40-hours-a-week thing, I'm finding myself running around and staying quite busy. Between sorority commitments and aiding my mom and aunt's local Soroptimist chapter with some fundraising ideas (hint: I might be an RD soon!), somehow these days are just flying by... but I digress.

The one perk to not having a 9-to-5 right now is that I can kind of jump on whatever running group, celebration, fun run, party that I want. And that's what I did! Wednesday afternoon I got a Facebook message from a friend who wanted to know if I was interested in joining in on the BlogFest fun run - coordinated by none other than Pavement Runner and Sweat Pink and all things that I love. No sooner had I said yes than Sandy texted asking if I was participating too! So many cool people all in one place? Count me in.

Me + Nicole.. and Woody!
Sandy and I met up at the bright, shining hour of 5 am to drive down to Anaheim, park a hotel (for free) and run the mile to the Convention Center where the run started. We were at the Center by 5:45, just in time to see runners coming out of the woodworks and ready for the morning ahead - it was SO awesome getting to put some faces to Instagram handles and some blogs that I follow! < / fan girl >

The run was laid out to head out towards Downtown Disney and turn around at the park gates for both Disneyland and California Adventure. Most of the women I ran with and talked to had either never been to Disney (at least on this side of the country), so I enjoyed sharing some fun facts and the like about the original Disney. :) AND had the realiziation that despite living here and growing up here (but really only running the last three years), I'd never run near/through/by/to Disney, so that was some nerdy excitement for me too!

So the other cool nerdy fun with this is checking out a new running app - RunGo - that allows you to chart your miles and/or pre-map your run. I know, I know, this is very much like RunKeeper and every one out there. BUT - much like a GPS - this one TALKS to you. "Your turn is in 300 feet. Turn left." That way, you're not playing with your map while you're on the go, all you need to do is listen to her and she'll tell you where you're headed. If you veer of course, it'll notify you too! As the app is quite new, it's only in select cities (Seattle, San Francisco, New York), but I cannot wait to give this app some more playtime!

While my blog is far from a key point of my life, I love sharing stories and race experiences here and hope that someone, somewhere, finds a race recap or comment helpful - but man! After checking more of these womens' blogs out and reading more upon the conference... this really is a huge, inspiring community! Had I only known more about this conference sooner. Maybe next year. :)

All in all, a super 5 miles (3 with the group, the extras to/from our cars) to start my morning! Thankfully, we were also done early enough that I didn't have to fight traffic on the way home and made it home in just over half an hour and before it got too hot, so I leashed up Molly and added two more miles on to the day! Amazing morning, great meeting such amazing bloggers and fitspirations!

Have you ever attended a blogging conference? 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Race Report: Renegade Trail Race Series #3

Renegade Summer Trail Series #3
August 7 | Tustin, CA

The series has come to an end... I finally completed the last trail run in the Renegade Dirty Series, having completed all 4 trail races (one each in May, June, July and August)! I'm still not certain trail racing is quite my jam, but it was a good time trying something new.

Race #1 was 54:25, Race #2 was 54:36 and my goal for the final one was just to break that 54 minute window! I wasn't sure if I'd get to it, but I feel like I'm finally back on my A-game lately and thought if at all, this race was finally going to show it off. After all, I knew the course now, and I knew what it would take to carefully and smartly run this course! It was a gorgeous evening (after July's race being steamy and humid and hot and gross), so maybe there were some things in my favor...

Some things. My Garmin died in mid-satellite search! Well - I started the series without a watch, so may as well finish it that way too, right? Whatever will be, will be, and we'll just see how this goes!

The hard part about not having a watch is relying on others' time - did they start before me or after me? Even still, did they start their watch on time? Even the race volunteers could only tell me the time on their phones, but did that mean that we started AT 6:15 pm?

I decided I'd run this race smarter than I had the other two. I now knew the course, knew that the direction we were running today was more difficult and technical, as the first 2.5 miles are the uphill, switchback, downhill, uphill, types of running fun. I ran smart. I ran the hills up as much as I could and walked down. I didn't push it in the first half so that maybe - just maybe - I could push it in the second half.

Mile 3-ish?
At the mid-point, I asked the race team if they had the time so far - he said not really, but gave me a time that led me to math where I think I got to needing to do 2 miles in 20 minutes to hit my 54-minute market. Easy peasy, I got this. The next guy (at what point, I couldn't tell you) told me some time that gave me 7 minutes to do (what I now figure) is just under a mile. Maybe?

There was this sweet little boy - who turned out to be just 10 - who was rocking his second Renegade race ever. Every time I complimented him or told him he was doing amazing, it was this super sweet, grateful "Thank you!" He turns 11 at the end of August and - get this - is doing a sprint tri just 3 days before that. Um, rockstar?! He wants to run cross country and well... he's going places.

And me...? Mission accomplished.

Renegade Race Trail #3
3rd in AG (too bad they don't keep track of that)

Heck freaking yes! I didn't think I had pushed it that much but damn... apparently I ran REAL smart and booked the last 2-ish miles! So unbelievably happy. Maybe there's something to these trail races after alll...?

Trail races: for the birds or worth the effort?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

July Recap


July was far from the month I planned on it being - I think the weight of unemployment finally hit me, along with the stress, as I ended up developing a nasty cold that stuck with me (and my lungs) for nearly three weeks. Add a trip to Indianapolis in there, more applications, and the month just really got away from me. So much for #july100miles... but oh well! Life happens, doesn't it?

Total run mileage: 37.. wowwww... so sad. 
Highest weekly run mileage: 
# Runs: 13
# Rest days: 16 - that's what a summertime cold will get ya! 
# Cross-training workouts:  4 - lots of hikes with mom and Molly! 
# Races: 1
     - Renegade Race Trail Series #2 (I don't think I ever got around to my recap!)
Favorite run: The only run I really did do that stands out - conquering trail race #2 of the Renegade Race Trail series! 
Trail racing: where I look more serious than normal.
Most hardcore run: It feels cheesy, but honestly that trail race. I wasn't feeling super well (turns out I had a cold that knocked me out for the next three weeks afterward), it was HOTTER than you-know-what, and my head just wasn't in it. BUT I finished only 11 seconds slower than the first go-round at this race, so I'm determined to make the August one (and last one) freaking awesome. 

Current obsession: Job hunting? Is that an obsession?

Current song: .I absolutely adore this song. And they're Canadian, so all the better. If you dig 'em, go checking out their other single, "Don't Kill the Magic." It's wonderful. They're actually playing locally on Thursday night as well, and I'm kind of contemplating how to make that happen right after this trail race... the temptation! 

Current need:A job, please! A paycheck, please! There are so many races around here in the fall that I'd really like to jump on but I'm actually being really good on this no-income budget of mine and resisting all temptation... as tough as it is, and as much as I'd rather not. You gotta do whatcha gotta do... right?

Current triumph: Finally got my first unemployment check! It's the little things. And having been unemployed for six weeks now, it's unreal how ridiculous the system is and how long it takes to get things processed. I know there are so many people who surely work the system, but man! Shenanigans. 

Current goal: You know the answer to this one. :) A jobby job, por favor! 

What are your biggest accomplishments from this month? Goals for August?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Race Recap: Irvine Like Mud Run {Summer of Mud}

Irvine, CA

I love mud runs. I really do - though I've only done Warrior Dash prior, I think they're a blast. I don't take them seriously (because I know I'd get hurt if I did), but they're a great opportunity to just have some fun and laught at yourself in the process. Doug and I (and a friend of ours) signed up for this a few months ago, but in the end it was just Doug and I than ran it. That's okay - all the fun for us! 

Pre-mud fun!
Our wave time was 10:12 am, since we were signed up as a team. The whole race wave system is set up for timed individuals, then timed teams, then untimed individuals and finally untimed teams. There were a ton of people signed up for this and I wasn't sure how the waves would actually work, given how specific the times were. But to my surprise, there were two people at the entry to the start corral to check that you were actually entering the start corral. We realized that, especially for the timed teams, the waves were quite small so you could actually get in and through pretty easily. 

The whole park is pretty awesome - the race starts and finishes into the same plaza that's outlined in trees and shade (and consequently completely taken over!). There are a dozen food trucks, booths, and tables and vendors to go check out. It was quite the race party! 

We didn't look at the race map at all until we saw a large, blown-up version at the start plaza. The course is sold at "approximately a 5K," but the board with this map noted that it was 3.93 miles - and check out those obstacles! 32! Even if they're all small little obstacles, I think I'd count that as a deal! 

Because I cannot obviously remember all 32 in order, I'll tell you this: of 32, I'd say 85% of them were mud, mud pits, or at least muddy water pools to crawl, walk, or swim through. The first three were all mud pits of nearly waist-deep mud water (at least on me, it's waist deep!). By far, the best obstacle was at the top of a hill, where three slides were waiting. These slides are probaby 50 feet long, and the bottom third of the slide drops even more, so you pick up a ton of speed toward the end and are promptly thrusted into a POOL of mud and mud water. Under water, like you've gotta come up gasping for breath... they had volunteers in the pool with inflatables just to help people get out. SO AWESOME.

The lake provides a great background, as the course follows all these off-road trails that are probably super awesome to ride on. However, being that it was June, the lake was rather taunting, as all I wanted to do was jump on. Several reminders told us we weren't allowed. Good thing there were other mud pits to cool off in! 

Second to last obstacle(s). 
Our posted finish time was 1:23:40, and we figure we spent at least 5 minutes in line at the slides, and another net-climbing obstacle towards the finish. So we probably could have done the course in 1:10 even had it not been for all those pesky lines!

Coming through the last mud pit! 
This company does 2 or 3 mud runs down at Irvine Lake throughout the year. I'd love to do one of theirs again, as they were super awesome and a pretty good deal. Apparently, they ran out of race shirts, so if you hadn't picked up your race bib and packets prior, there was a chance you got a shirt from a previous race (that sucks). They also didn't have enough of this race's medals, so there was a secondary version they were giving out instead. We got lots of offers to trade... um, no thanks. 

All in all, a great day! I had just gotten the news about my job the day before, so this was the perfect distraction for me and a great time with Doug! 

Are you a mud run fan? What's your favorite been?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Race Recap: Renegade Trail Race Series #1

Renegade Summer Trail Series #1
June 19 | Tustin, CA

I am so far behind on things (and to think, I'd actually mapped out these next few weeks!), it ain't even funny. But I'm finally catching up and will get back ahead of schedule and where I'm supposed to be. More on that soon. At any rate... trail race #2 finally came and went. If you remember, the race in San Dimas was my first ever trail race - and it was tough. I wasn't totally sold on this trail racing thing.

Spoiler: I'm still not sold.

This race (and the two following in July and August) are all at a regional park down in Orange County. The park has trails, fitness stations and all kinds of things and I could easily tell why its parking lots were insanely crowded - not just for the race! After a little parking chaos, I finally found a spot and made my way to haul butt to check in.

They didn't print our bibs for those of us that had signed up for the entire 4-part series, so we were required to do another paper form and get a non-assigned bib. Better though, for the "inconvience," we were given both a BBQ ticket and a shirt (registration fees came with one or the other). Win!

In the parking frenzy, I left my watch in the trunk of my car. Ah well, no better way than to do a new race (and only my second trail race) than without any idea of what kinda time you're running, right? right.

I really wasn't sure what to expect then, so I just went with it. This June loop and August loop are the same; July's course (this week) is the same loop, just in reverse. It's nice at least get a feel of what you're running!

The first two miles are pretty much staright up - rocky trails though unlike San Dimas, it's not single-track, so I appreciated that fact. I did manage to pass some folks, so it was a nice little confidence boost that I was still moving forward and making progress.

Being that this is a city park and full of trails, trees and is huge, there were tons of people outt riding bikes, walking dogs, and apparently there are some popular horse trails in and around here too. Fun park!

These hills suck. Seriously though. I knew, though, that the last of the hills came at the turnaround, and the last 2.5 home were all flat, if not rolling downwards a little bit. Once I hit the volunteer at the top, and knew that my hills were done, I booked home as much as I was able without pushing too hard.

At the end, you're greeted with a BBQ and a great park environment. Tons of families came to cheer on their runners, and they were camped out with blankets, towels, and were clearly here just to hang! Hopefully for the next one I can convince someone to come hang out in the park while I run and be my cheerleader too. :)

Not too bad of a finish - something like 7th or 8th in my age group out of 13. I'll take it! Bring on the second race of this series - it's this Thursday! Hopefully this hill hiking I've been doing with mom and Molly so much lately will pay off and I can hill the hills this time around!

Are you a trail fan? Why or why not?