Friday, August 29, 2014

Labor Day Fun

Though it was 100 degrees yesterday and it's still technically summer, I feel like there's signs of fall rolling in... slowly, but surely. Namely because this goodness started yesterday - college, high school, pro's under way. You pick your league, and it's back.

Heck yes, it's football season!
Doug's back at coaching at the high school and their first game is tomorrow night. I'm looking forward to it, as it was a great routine last fall and I love cheering them on. 

On Saturday, I'm heading down to San Diego to watch BOTH my alma maters -- heck yes! NAU is playing at SDSU for SDSU's home opener. Never in a million years did I think NAU would be playing SDSU, but I guess that's what pre-season fun is for, right? Right. 

Beyond excited. So Saturday I'm taking the train down early to join in the NAU alumni tailgate while Doug's at Saturday football. He'll drive down in time for the game, where I get to legitimately cheer for both teams (can't lose!), and then we're in San Diego until Monday morning for a little Labor Day weekend fun + getaway. After these last few weeks, I am super duper looking forward to it, also knowing that this begins the season where Doug gets 1-day weekends through December, so... this kicks off football season officially! 

Y'all know I love to travel and do so any time I get to. I'm lucky currently, in that getting away for the weekend means leaving Molly with the 'rents and enough food and I get to walk out without thinking about too much, but I remember every time I left my apartment for a weekend or a week, I'd stress and worry and worry about forgetting something. Did I set the timer on the lamp? Did I turn off everything? Is someone prepared to watch Molly?

My friends at Dropcam created this sweet little quick-reference sheet on basic things to remember when you're out for a weekend, traveling somewhere exciting too. 

So when I walk away this weekend, while I don't need to look at everything - it definitely caps off with have fun! San Diego, here I come!

What are you doing this Labor Day weekend? What else is on your pre-trip checklist?

Monday, August 25, 2014


November 15, 1935 - August 24, 2014

Yesterday morning, my Papa lost his battle to cancer. It's unreal that just 51 weeks ago, he was in the hospital over Labor Day weekend for some irregular heartbeats (a-fib), that in turn became internal bleeding, that in turn led to have his kidney removed, that in turn led to a cancer diagnosis in mid-October. In January he started chemotherapy, his first of three rounds. But all that medical nonsense aside, cancer is a bitch and I'm angry and sad and heartbroken that it's taken away my grandfather. 

My grandfather was the first one to jump when I was moving - he moved my stuff home out of my freshman year residence hall and drove me (and his full truck) home. He and Nana moved me back after Christmas into my new on-campus aparment sophomore year. He moved me out of San Diego. And to Texas (literally at the drop of a hat, maybe 15 hours' notice). Without missing a beat. 

When I was in first grade, I learned to skip a bar on the monkey bars. That's a BIG deal, if you recall. Papa was picking us up from school that day, for whatever reason, and I was so excited to go home and show him on the bars in our backyard. Well, I was so excited, I swung and missed the bar and fell on my arm... and thus breaking my arm at the elbow. Naturally, he freaked out, and after the parademics wrapped me up and mom got home and took me to urgent care... he went to my aunt's and had a total meltdown. To this day, he blamed himself. 

He eagerly jumped on stage with me on our family cruise (after chemo round 2) and took disco lessons with me for half an hour. The video is pretty priceless. He laughed at himself the whole time, and had a ball.

When we were learning to crawl, he'd follow us around on his hands and knees too. My mom would ask him what on earth he was doing and he'd reply, "I don't want them to hit their heads!" and continue to follow us around, wherever we went. 

My sister and I would spend hours playing in his garage - Legos, box tunnels... no matter what he was trying to work on or file or project to complete, he'd stop to add boxes to make sure our tunnel and box-fort was big enough, or that our Lego house was sturdy. 

For my senior prom, Doug and I and about 3 or 4 other couples all met at my house for appetizers and photos before heading off. It started to rain, just slightly, and we were trying to get to the limo as dry as possible. My grandpa, being the organizer that he was, marched us all out - couple by couple - with the big umbrella, aiming to get us to the car with the least amount of rain as possible. Other parents wanted to help, but didn't dare when Papa was in charge!

Papa, we love and miss you so much already. I'm in peace knowing that you aren't hurting anymore and that your days are now with your mom, playing the drums, and seeing all those we love. Thank you for a lifetime of memories in your garage, on the soccer field, in the trailer up in Buellton and on our family cruise this spring. Play your drums proud, loud for us to hear, and know that we'll see you again! 

We love you, Papa!
Keep heaven in order for us. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rave Run: Big Bear Lake

Rave Run | Big Bear Lake, California

Last night, my mom and I came up to Big Bear for a one-day retreat with her local Soroptimist organization. I'm jumping in on the fundraising committee, and (in the near future), may be a 5K race director (woo!). All that aside, my aunt now owns a fabulous little cabin up here that overlooks the side of one of the ski resorts up here and is nothing but forest from her deck. It's glorious.

For all the times I've never been up here in the summer, I'm going to have to make this a regular thing. 

From my aunt's deck, yesterday evening.
 This morning, mom and I got up early this morning (really, like everyone was awake already) and headed down to the North Shore of the lake where there's a fantastic bike/hike path that runs along the shore and gives you views that make you just want to stop and take it all in (I did a few times, needless to say). From start to finish, the path is 2.5 miles out and if you opt to come all the way back, you've got a nice 5-mile out-and-back with views you'll never forget.

From our starting point. 
 After the week I and my family have had, despite getting in some solid miles, it was nice for a (literal) change of scenery and get out of my typical zone for a change. Mom walked behind me and I ran ahead, running along the lake, watching fishermen out early in the morning, and through a campground, smelling everyone's morning campfires. Heavenly. Seriously.

Elevation got to me a little bit, considering we're up at 7400' feet and our house is down near 700'. But I managed to maintain a pretty solid pace, despite walking some and enjoying the scenery for some photos. In all, I did about 4.8 miles today (we didn't park at the exact start of the trail), which also included some laps around the parking lot while I waited for mom to catch up at the end.

For more on Big Bear Trails (as there's a ton!), check here! The path we were on this morning was the first one listed, Alpine Pedal Path. I'm excited to come back up, visit my aunt's place, and get in some good runs up here. There's a 5/10K run here in a few weeks before Oktoberfest, so I might have to make that a thing too!

Happy Saturday! Where did you run today?

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?