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Race Recap: Not such a love letter when it comes to @SeattleMarathon

What is the opposite of a love letter?

A Dear John Letter..

A few years ago I wrote a love letter to the Seattle Marathon. Those words at the time had been true. This year…. Well I will let the letter explain it.

Dear Seattle Marathon:

This weekend did me in.

You actually got me to question my love for running.

This year you announced a new course change and the words keep hearing are brutal, awful and relentless. From the second you make the turn off fifth avenue it feels like either you are dealing with a constant uphill climb or a violent sharp up hill. There had been a few downhills but there was no way to find your pace or your stride. The old course would give you chances to recover and get into a stride.

The time on the trails in Sam Smith had been heart breaking. So many runners on a wet path, it was congested and dangerous. I was going at a pretty good clip but got a couple shoves from behind because the path was so crowded. It was heartbreaking and frustrating all at the same time

I never thought I would say this. I miss #whathill. You could pace yourself and be ready for that beast.

I am glad you had such a dedicated crew of volunteers and medical crew. They made that race. They had been encouraging when it seemed like it was time to throw the race away.

I am really proud of how hard I fought through it and finished strong even though mentally I was just shot. But I left the race not excited. I left it flat and not loving running so much.

Your bling left me feeling uninspired and the white shirt is just not something that I would wear on a normal basis. The expo seemed smaller this year as well.

I love you Seattle but this is the first time I have come out of a race wanting to rethink my love of running. I still kept within my goal time frame but it was because of the first three and the last two miles and I was on the super slower end of my window.

I don’t know if I am coming back to you next year. We will see. It will take a lot of rethinking of training and running to convince me to come back in 2018.

– Its not you.. Its me.

Post Script: I really do love the Seattle Marathon and will always consider it a major part of my journey. this year was rough. I know this race is capable of being an amazing crown jewel of the city of Seattle. I was just very disappointment this year and am rethinking my next year plan.

Race Review: Race to Remember Veterans Day: 11K might be fun?

I hate 10K’s.

I have been pretty clear before, its my least favorite distance on the planet.

So I have to admit, the idea of a 11K was not totally exciting to me. But I do love Race to Remember and I love what they do to support our local veterans so when the opportunity came up to join them I was not going to turn it down.

Race to Remembers mission: (From their website)
The purpose of our “Race to Remember” is to make sure that our communities Never Forget the sacrifice(s) that our brave men and women of the military make to protect our Freedom. We currently organize three races, Race to Remember for Veterans Day, Race to Remember for Memorial Day and United We Stand for 9/11. In addition to racing we organize and participate in other events that honor and support our Veterans like Military care package drives, Honor Flight flag escorts, Honor the Fallen Events, Veteran moving assistance, as well as providing opportunities for our local youth to better understand the true meaning behind the Veteran and Memorial Day Holidays. Our ultimate goal is to build partnerships with other organizations in our communities and throughout the nation to help us honor and support our past and present Veterans. As a long term goal we are also working towards establishing a scholarship for the children and spouses of fallen veterans.

Part of this is their two major races along with a few smaller community runs through out the year including the Veterans Day Run.

The event was the kick off to the annual Veterans Day Parade at Fort Vancouver. It featured an early half-marathon and a 11K and 5K that started closer to the kickoff.

All three courses took you through the best parts of Vancouver, Washington going down through the historical Fort

The course was peaceful and amazing.
and down on the Columbia River (other then the climb exiting the Fort which zero people really enjoy especially in the rain as it gets slick and the combination of slick and climb. Yeah not really). Its scenic and shows off some of the best parts of the Pacific NW.

Now something to be aware of. This race is super small, super well supported and improves every year. (Its actually quickly becoming one of my highlights of the year.) But that being said, there had been some little glitches but its stuff every race faces (Note to self: Bring safety pins for bib next year). But one thing I love about Claudia as a race director is she wants to know how to get better and does every year.

I went out too fast at the start and I knew it later, but I was feeling strong. My first three miles had been well above my averages but it was raining and I was cold and I wanted to get going.

And I paid for it right at about mile 3.5 I was just dead and slowed down. The turn around could not come soon enough. Despite the rain they had a great group running the water stations and just enough to make the distance berable without having to bring my own.

I picked it back up in the last mile and a half and pull an 11:45 mile off for that race which is great for me and

Finish Line
faster then the 10K from a few weeks ago.

The post race was small but had everything you needed to replenish and get your energy back (including beer).

Race to Remember is defiantly a smaller race that has the potential to continue to grow and get better every year. I am excited to see where the next few years take them and I will be supporting their next steps.

Note: I receive a free entry to the race in trade for some extra social media love. These opnions are that of my own (I would be running it anyhow).

Race Recap- Run Like Hell 10K: The Story of Two Races

I hate the 10K distance.

I think I have actually said it before in my blog. The 10K is the vein of my existence. I always feel clunky and horrible on the distance.

The opportunity popped up to run the Run Like Hell 10K. I have ran this 10K before, before the course changed and came out of it wet, cold but determined. I was curious about how the new course played out.

And it is literally the story of two races.

The first I would say three miles of the course is rough. It feels like you are in constant climb mode. I struggled with the first three miles as I had not been racing since SF. I just was not ready for that kind of climb. I was actually on the rougher end of my personal worst for mile times.

I have never been the biggest fan of any of the events Terrapin has done, but this course was very well supported.

Run Like Hell 10K
There was water and electrolytes ever mile and a half or so which was placed perfectly. They also worked hand and hand with Tri-Met to keep the mass transit interruptions down to a minimum.

It was an out and back course which means the constant climb up was rewarded with a great down climb.

I was down mentally after the first three miles but found someone who was at a pace that I felt like I could hold for awhile so I reset my goal and decided to pace with him. And I found that as long as I didnt push myself to go faster I was actually picking up speed every mile.

It defiantly felt like two races for me. The first half was not fun, but the second half felt like my rebound.

The post race is excellent. You get your medal and have a chance to pick up your clothes and a free loaf of bread and grilled cheese bites (thank you Franz that was excellent) and head to the beer garden to enjoy your two free beers and the music. Everything flowed so beautifully and nothing was congested.

Despite the rough start I really enjoyed the race. Its a good challenging course with having some easy stretches, you can challenge your pace but its also challenging to find that pace. Its really well supported and has everything you need.

I might be coming back to Terrapin next year.

Preview: AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk

On October 7, walkers will take to the streets of Portland for the Out of the Darkness 5K Walk. This walk is a special event of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide.

This is the largest fundraiser for AFSP every year. To quote them because they can explain it better then I ever can.

“The Out of the Darkness Walks are proof that when people work together they can make big changes in the world. They are AFSP’s largest fundraiser – they produce millions for suicide prevention programs, unite those who have been affected by suicide, and create communities that are smart about mental health”

There has been a lot of talk about suicide in the last few months and a lot of mis-conceptions about it. There are many faces, many stories behind suicide.

The walk will start at Veterans Memorial Colosseum and take the waterfront loop from the Eastbank Esplanade, out to the Hawthorne Bridge and then across the river to the west side, through Waterfront Park and back to the Steel Bridge and across.

You can find out here more: AFSP Portland

A little thank you to my favorite “Addiction”

WARNING: This is not a running blog entry. If you are looking for the running blog fun cycle down. (Remember this is my blog and I don’t always do run)

It isnt a secret, the other passion I have outside of running is wrestling.

And two of the biggest reasons for that have been a very certain tag team; The Addiction, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian.

When I was going through the last few years of finding myself, dealing with the family health issues, and trying to hold it all together. I could watch those two and break out laughing despite myself. There would be some nights I would be laughing so hard that I was crying.

If you watch them you get it. They are just very good at what they do.

But also watching these guys keep going at the level that they do and the fact they keep getting better has inspired me. There are many times that people around me have been pretty clear that I should give up those crazy dreams and goals that I am shooting for. I am too old, I am too washed up, I should be focusing on family, ya know those things you hear.

They defiantly helped to show me that not fitting in the “box” is okay that I can embrace the inner nerd.

I always wanted the chance to meet them to say thank you for inspiring me to continue to push to be better. And I got that chance. (Not without almost tripping over my own two feet. But alas if you know me, if I get nervous I do.)

These two made it a point to make sure this photo happened before I had to bail for my trip back to Portland and could not of been nicer.

I just want to say thank you again to them both for not only inspiring me, just always being awesome towards me, but giving me so many good memories out of my first trip to Vegas.

Why I Run? We Race to Remember

Why do we race?

We Race to Remember.

On November 11, 2017 Race to Remember will be hosting their annual 11K/5K/1K in Vancouver Washington as the kick off the the annual Ft Vancouver Veterans Day Parade. If you are not in Vancouver you can join them honor your veterans virtually. Instead of giving you a traditional preview you can read last years recap Race to Remember: Veterans Day here. The specifics of this years race can be found here: Race to Remember

As I have been more involved in these groups, I have heard more stories then I have space to recount. I have found my why.

I have been lucky.

I have a few close friends that I consider brothers that have served our country. I have seen these brothers share their stories, share the trials and tribulations of being in a war zone, they bring the same strength to their civilian life that they had in the service. They battle demons with a smile and an inspirational outlook. They have also watched helplessly as friends that they served with lose those battles.

I Race to Remember them on this Veterans Day.

Through my work, I have witnessed first hands as service members who have lost limbs in the service found the

The shirt says it all
strength in themselves to be adaptive athletes taking on races some of us only imagine and turn around and serve as an inspiration to other athletes to show what is possible. I also witnessed first hand as that same inspiration helped me face fears I never thought possible to conquer.

I Race to Remember them on this Veterans Day.

I Race to Remember my grandfather who served with the Army in WWII. He never shared many stories of his time, as he helped at interment camps. But he was always fiercely proud of being veteran. My uncle carried on this tradition with his service in the Navy.

I Race to Remember them on this Veterans Day.

Even if you can’t join us, I encourage you to run for the veterans in your life this Veterans Day.

I race to help Race to Remember push their mission forward.

“Race to Remember” is a nonprofit organization “Race to Remember” is the name of our nonprofit, formed in Vancouver Washington 2009 after our founder Claudia Cardenas lost her fiancé Jason Vinyard a 20yr Army Veteran serving at Ft. Vancouver at the time of his passing. “Race to Remember” mission is to support and honor our past and present military heroes. We host several events throughout the year including three races. During every event we host or participate in we remember and honor those who fought for our freedom. Outside of racing we organize military care packages; and engage with the community by coordinating such projects as “Soldier in the Classroom”, “Thank You Cards” and “Books for Soldiers”. Our immediate goal is to form partnerships with local business and other veteran organizations to help us best serve veterans in our communities. Our long term goal is to establish a college scholarship for the Fallen Heroes children and spouses.

Disclaimer: Race to Remember comps my registration in trade for my social media outreach. My opinions are that of my own

Recap: Old Glory Relay

For the second year Oregon has played host to the Old Glory Relay. The short explanation, one single American Flag will travel close to 4,600 miles across the US by veterans, members of Team RWB, family and friends via running, walking and bikes. It is to raise funds and awareness for Team RWB to be able to help veterans find support and strength in their community.

I had the honor of being able to run for the second year. This year I was given the opportunity to take part of my long run training route which had me excited, at the last second I also learned that I would not be tackling the course alone as I had two other lovely ladies who had been around my pace that they needed to bring together.

Our trek started right off of N. Vancouver in Hayden Meadows. Due to the nature of the event, we ended up taking the flag considerably later then originally planned which made for a lot of pent up energy (and a lot of giving our team leader his share of heck).

N. Vancouver can be a bit of a highway for trucks and carrying the flag, plus I had brought my own flag with me (which made it really hard for people to ignore us). It was amazing to hear the honks, cheers and support, You are carrying something that brings people together. Your carrying what represents the best of us. It also had the case of the never ending hills. (Seriously, most of our two miles was UPHILL) Our run was more like a march, but we took the time to cherish every second of it.

It also brings us together. There will be more then 6,000 hands on that flag to get it to its final destination in

New friends after the handoff.
Tampa on Veterans day. You make friends with people you never met who are cheering for you as we are working on the same goal, honoring our veterans and the flag.

If you ever get the opportunity to participate or witness it, this is something that will change your perspective on the world.

You can find out more about Old Glory Relay and get involved remotely: Old Glory Relay.

Race Recap: Dreaming in Rainbow: Why you should do The Color Run every year?

How do you take Portland’s iconic Portland International Raceway and turn it into a dreamland?

Ask the folks behind the scenes at the Color Run. They have that magic. And that magic gets better every year.

Ill say it early this year. This is not the run for you if you want to be fast and serious. But you need to do one once in your life time. You will understand it. This is the time for you to be a kid and just have fun. It is best said on their website.

Less about your 10-minute-mile and more about having the time of your life, The Color Run is a five-kilometer, un-timed event in which thousands of participants, or “Color Runners”, are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer. With only two rules, the idea is easy to follow:

1 Wear white at the starting line!
2 Finish plastered in color!

Before I go any further, I need to give The Color Run a lot of kudos. There have been huge issues with races and communication in the local area and a week before is when the Eagle Creek fire hit the Pacific NW and Portland was a mess of smoke, haze, soot ect. They stayed in constant communication with participants about their plans.

I was a little worried this year as I was not able to do an early packet pick-up. But we got to packet pick up on Saturday morning and it was super easy and manned by some of the happiest volunteers I have seen at races. Our group changed into our white shirts and headed straight for the start line.

I have said this several times before in talking about The Color Run. They have the start line down to a science.

How many times can you be proud of being a unicorn?
They let groups of runners out ever 5 or so mins. You are never feeling crowded, rushed or clogged. The DJ knows how to keep your energy up and entertained. The weather unlike last year was amazing.

This years first color was not a color at all. It was foam! Two blue unicorns greeted you and Foam machines turning the road way into a pile of fun suds. Seriously you felt like you had been walking on clouds, and the foam was everywhere.

I might of been acting like a kid here.

The common theme with the Color Run is they get better EVERY year. This year was the first year they actually had mile markers out on the course. Also music was spaced at random places where you could get your groove on. Also water station was placed right at the half way point. The only issue I had and I think I say this every year.

More porta-johns.

We continued on through the color stations. Every station was a mini party that this year had its fair share of dancing color throwers. This year they introduced a new color, purple. Also they introduced with Cricket a Cricket color zone which would dump green on you from above.

Its a medal… and its a Unicorn WIN WIN!!
The finish line you got your UNICORN MEDAL (you heard me, I said UNICORN) your color packet and post run water. Lays had their new popables for your post race snack.

Then you could enjoy your post race party with limbo lines, dancing and of course the famous color throw.

I will do this EVERY year. It is fun to see families out together enjoying getting active, its fun to go dancing through the color zones. It is seriously the most fun I have being active all year.

You can find out more about The Color Run: It is an affiliate link, be warned

Old Glory Relay Returns

62 teams.
Over 4,000 miles ran.
One flag.

This is not your normal relay. The is the Old Glory relay.

From the Team RWB Media Kit:
Old Glory stands for much, in a world with much need: freedom, opportunity, safety, expression, pride, belonging and diversity. The last two, never mutually exclusive, always mutually supportive. This year, as we fly Old Glory across 4600 miles of America the beautiful, we not only look at our colors above, but celebrate our colors within. The colors of Old Glory knit together a fabric of America that is unlike any other, a fabric of diversity and difference bound in strength and unity.

The Old Glory Relay course starts in the beautiful Pacific Northwest in iconic Seattle and will pass through the shadows of majestic Mount Rainier and Mount Hood as it traverses the forests and then the high deserts of Oregon. Old Glory will then cross through the big tree forests of Northern California before heading into the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. Next, we cross through the second largest city in the United States. . . Los Angeles. Team RWB Eagles will connect our two largest West Coast chapters as they run along the Pacific Ocean passing through Camp Pendleton and into San Diego. With one last glimpse of the Pacific Ocean, Old Glory will head east into Arizona, through areas around Yuma, Phoenix, and Tucson; rich with wild west and southwestern history. Next up Old Glory will pass into Texas at El Paso and make the long journey across the full width of the Lone Star State with stops at the Alamo in San Antonio, and Houston, among others. With the Gulf of Mexico to the south, the course will cross the “Mighty Mississippi” River at Baton Rouge and then drop into the Crescent City before mirroring the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast, notably passing by the famed World War II battleship, the USS Alabama. Crossing into Florida, Old Glory will follow the Emerald Coast and the “prettiest beaches in the world,” before passing through the Big Bend region and turning south for the last time. Finally, Old Glory will make her way into the hometown of the Team RWB National Firebase, Tampa.

This will be the second year that I will have the honor of being part of the Old Glory Relay. I will help escort the flag through No-Po (my neighborhood of all things) on September 13th in honor of the people in my life who have served.

I stated in some of my previous blogs how much of an honor it is to run with the flag. Your a small part of something bigger then you can imagine. But a snip-it from my blog from last year.

Me taking the handoff.

The two miles are insignificant at this point. So many cars honked, applauded, yelled their support. I was on one of the less crowded roads in terms of traffic but I think it gave me a chance to take in the entire experience more. The flag that I was holding is on a journey of 4,200 plus miles and will be in the hands of 62 teams that have come together for the same common cause.

This also serves as a fundraiser for Team RWB’s mission.
“Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.”

One of the neatest things is you do not have to be near the route to get involved with this amazing event.

You can sign up as a virtual runner: Old Glory Relay and for 35.00 you will get the event shirt.

You can donate to the Team at Team RWB Portland’s effort to fundraise: Day 3