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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

The SF Marathon Recap: Finishing is the battle

Ever have a race go every which way but loose?

My 6th Full Marathon and my 4th year as an SF Marathon Ambassador was truly the race that had it all and then some.

The SF Marathon celebrated its 40th year. Its a race that takes you on a speculator tour through one of the most scenic places in America. Its been the point in my year I look forward to most every year. It is one of the best races in terms of organization.

I was supposed to run my 6th marathon two years ago and then my back started acting up. I backed down to the half and then life got in the way. And then I decided to finish my business with SF by signing up for my 6th this year. And then training fell apart. Two months ago I was debating on downgrading, hell I was contemplating downgrading at the expo. I honestly did not think I could do it. But after talking with friends I stepped back and decided to enjoy the run. My hope was to finish close to 2014’s time.

Looking back I am glad I pushed through and did it. I am still sore, but I am happy knowing I have made number 6 happen, and I proved to myself I could still dance.

Myself and the amazing fellow ambassador May before the race.
My race started off slightly strong. I have learned a lot in the past years about pacing myself and am finally starting to understand not going out to fast. I was enjoying the first miles on the SF waterfront and I was taking it into the point that I actually did not remember to take photos. I was enjoying it.

The first hill is right after mile 2 and some refer to it as the “Fort Mason Death March” its a straight up climb to the top of Fort Mason. I went in knowing that my hill training was never going to be enough to cover it so I did a slower jog to get up and walked the rest of it.

Marina Park and Chrissy Park are my second favorite miles of the course. Its just the runners out there and you have a great view of the water. I was actually almost faster then I should of been. I just caught my grove.

This is when the wheels started falling off.

The climb up to the Golden Gate Bridge is tough. There is no real way to train for this other then go for it. I walked it knowing I still had a huge chunk of climbing ahead of me after the bridge. Apparently the rule was changed this year that allowed for slower then 12:30 runners to make the bridge. They actually pushed us to the sidewalk which killed any pace I had. The sidewalk was slick and congested.

We made the turn on Vista point and headed back on the bridge. A kind worker unlocked the gate to allow us to climb back on to the roadway. The wind and the mist on the bridge was INTENSE. This is as bad as the bridge has been weather wise.

Then to my number one spot on the course. The Presido. First off this features some wicked downhills that you can relax on but the views are breath taking. I actually pulled a 10 min mile somewhere in here according to FitBit. I was back on pace and loving it.

Then there is that streach of miles everyone fears. The mile plus before you hit Golden Gate Park. Its all up down up. I walked the ups ran the downs, it was my plan all along. Needed to make the energy at Golden Gate Park last.

You know the song “This is the song that never ends”

That is Golden Gate Park.

The last mile before Golden Gate Park got to me mentally. I think it does a lot of people so I was wondering knowing that I had a lack of long mile training if I should of taken the half turn off and called it good as I was besting my time from last year as it was. I knew the next half was going to be tough.

I decided to continue and the park got to me. I did keep pretty well on pace for the first mile or two in the park and then about mile 17 I would say, I was worn down.

I wanted the park to end.

I wanted to burn down the park.

And I was regretting life decisions at this point. But hell bent on continuing. I found my friend and fellow four year ambassador Charles on the course and he encouraged me to continue. That was what I needed.

I got out to Ashbury and I cherished the down hills. This to me is the best part of the second half is the

I look happy. The truth is I might of been questioning my decision.
funkiness and all the love you get from the people heading out for brunch.

I probably should not of ran the down the hills as hard as I did. It came back to bite me in the dogpatch and Soma. I just had not energy and was was a great pace fell off the rails. I was still on track for my goal, but I just had nothing in the tank. Mile 20 to about 24 was awful. And then came the announcement. We had to hit the sidewalk, we where being swept.

Duh-Dum.

It took the wind out of the group of runners that had basically bunched up together in their own group at that point. Most of us had our clocks to the point that we had been on pace not to get swept, so it was confusing and heartbreaking for many. But we encouraged and pushed each other forward. People teamed up to make sure we all made it eventually to the finish. To the gent who grabbed me, I thank you. You helped me see I could finish it. I think this is what sets the race apart. The fact that the little clump of people became their own running team. I have never seen it at a race ever.

We got to AT&T Park on a Giants game day and the atmosphere was amazing. All the fans cheered us on and I was able to find it in me to run a bit more to the finish.

My final time was 6:03 but that being said, looking at my Fitbit numbers my distance was a crazy bit off. I was running close to a 6:00 pace which being 2014 I was 5:59. All thing considered it is a win.

This by far is my favorite race every year. I owe the SF Marathon so much love for taking a chance on me to represent when I was just getting my legs under me as a social media influencer.

I don’t know if I will be running another marathon again. Right now my legs are saying no, but we will see where it goes.

Now go read all my fellow ambassadors reports.

Erin
Charles

Ricky

Jeanne

Mizuno Wave Sky: A New Option in Netural Shoes #wavesky

Disclaimer: Thank you to a partnership with Mizuno and Fitfluential I was sent a pair of Wave Sky’s for my honest feedback. As always opinions here are of my own.

If you read back in my previous blogs, I learned the hard way the importance of good shoes. So when given the opportunity to test the newest in neutral trainers for Mizuno I was curious. Mizuno has stated that these are different then anything on the market so far, and I wanted to see what was so different.

First off, out of the box, these shoes are bright and colorful without being too much. They will go with everything in your running wardrobe.

When it comes to the moment the shoes are on your feet, they are different. Mizuno has introduced Cloudwave technology along with their SmoothRide engineering which is meant to give you the most supportive ride in the neutral shoe.

I first started testing these on the treadmill. If I am not wearing the right shoe on the treadmill, I can feel pain pretty quickly and I have never felt uncomfortable (unless I over did myself) in these shoes. You would expect to think that with the added cushion there would be bulk, but there is not. These did not feel clunky or akward in the slightest.

I also took these out on the road several times including the Race to Remember 10K. What I really like is how these shoes are equally supportive for running and walking. Sometimes I feel like shoes are not doing the job for those of us who run and walk. When I got tired because of carrying the flag and started heel striking they offered great support. I felt energized after the race which is something my feet have been missing.

I was a little anxious about trying these and now these are quickly becoming a staple of my running world. I have also taken these to weight lifting sessions and I feel like I have mobility which makes this shoe versatile for all your needs.

Two things to take note of. I have a wide toe box when I have ran a lot of the weather is hot and even sizing up the toe box was tight. Also, Mizuno’s quality speaks for itself. It is obvious that these shoes are going to last.

I will be picking up another pair of these soon. I am not certain I want to use them for the marathon without my inserts, but they are the perfect shoe for training runs and for gym time.

You can take a look here: Mizuno Wave Sky

Pacific Northwest Marathon Review (Half): 30, Paceaversary, and a reminder of why I run

Three years ago, I jumped into the world of being a race pacer with no clue of what I was doing or for that matter how much it would change me as a runner. But I will go into that more shortly. The race was the Pacific Northwest Marathon for their half marathon event. It is kind of ironic that my 30th half marathon and my pacing birthday.

I returned this year as a third year pacer. Being with them since day 1 has let me see how much this race has grown since the beginning.

If you read any of my previous reviews, you will understand this is not the typical race you will see in Oregon. This is more like a super supportive group running event that gives you a medal. It leads to this being an affordable more all abilities friendly race. Packet pick up was a small affair at Dicks Sporting Goods, allowing you to pick up your shirt where you got a choice of color and style and your packet. One thing that I will always love with this race is it is small enough the race directing team gets to know you and know what motivated you to be at this race.

My Saturday started super early. I was the pace team leader so I needed to be at the race in time for the early starters which gave people who had been slower then 12:00 miles a chance to be on the course. This is a rarity for any Oregon based race. Its a 7:00 hour course limit, which makes it one of the most inclusive races you will see.

I was pacing the 3:00 half but I was going out with the main start group. After Hot Chocolate in March I learned that the 1:1 interval was always going to be my best answer when pacing because it was the easiest intervals to adjust on the fly.

This is one of my favorite courses every year. You take to the streets and back country of Springfield. The only big challenge with this course is the race is small enough the streets are not closed and you need to be careful to watch out for traffic. That being said its a small downside.

I passed a small group I think it was at mile four and at this point I was on my own. One lady decided to tell her friends “I want to see if I can keep up.” I explained to her what I was doing for intervals and she was honest with me, she did not think she could make that pace but was going to stay with me as long as she could.

This is a well supported all volunteer effort for this race. All the water stations had been fully stocked with anything that you could of needed. And this is one of the few races I have ever seen where the elites take the time to cheer for the back of the pack as they pass (its an out and back.)

My favorite part of the course is through Armitage Park getting to run so close to the water is breathtaking. After the park you get back into the urban part of Springfield before making the half way turn.

My new friend, Kari was doing excellent. She was in pain but she wanted to keep pushing so I kept talking her through it. She explained to me she just wanted to prove to herself that she could do it.

The course started getting really wet after we made the turn but for me this was turning into the best effort I had pacing since I started this. I was running just a few seconds early all away through.

Now the one thing is going back some of the water stations had been left unmanned. Most of this was probably due to the weather. But there was enough stuff laid out at each that you had nothing to worry about.

When we got to the last mile I realized I did have a couple mins I could burn off and still be close to I told Kari to walk a little more and save her energy for the last push at the end. She was a little worried about the 5K’ers coming in so fast around us, but I told her just focus on what we are working on and she will be fine. She was almost in tears at this point. She was hurting but wanted her daughter to see her finish strong. I think we made the right call in the long run because just at the last quarter mile she felt like she was ready so I told her to go and I was screaming for dear life. She finished in 2:59.

The finish line was amazing. You get your medal and treated to a spread of community offered up food. And unlike a lot of races people will stay to support you. I stayed to collect signs and cheering for my fellow pacers.

Then the race director asked me to add a few miles on to my race.

We had some marathoners out on the course at mile 18. And this was close to 6 hours in from the early start. They drove me out and I walked with them for about three miles. It was inspiring see some of the dedication out there.

This race teaches me so much every year. This year it reminded me why I love running. It is about the people, the stories and the community that can encourage each other.

ZRP Random Musings: New Shoes, letting go, and not inspiring

Ready for another Appletini drinking session or to engage into some ZRP tickle butt?

(Yes I am engaging my wrestling loving side again.)

First things first. I have been dealing with tight hip issues lately and I found the bottom of the problem. It was shoes! I was kind of thinking it was shoes but was not certain but I took advantage of going to see my friends at Road Runner Sports and I was defiantly in the wrong shoes. The last couple runs since I got refitted have been my strongest in a long time. I really feel like it might be coming back together. I am in a pair of Brooks Adrenaline and they are my game changers. I feel like training for the marathon might be back on the right track.

And now for the more deep stuff.

A little look at my run from today.
Someone who for sake of this conversation can and should remain nameless called me an inspiration for working on my 6th marathon. I don’t do well with the word inspiration. Maybe I have never seen myself as one because I feel like the turtle that is calm and tranquil under water but I am just paddling. But after the last conversation said person also helped in their own way help me realize that I am chasing what scares me, what pushes me outside my comfort zone. Yes I have ran marathons before, but it feels like I am starting from scratch because its been so long since I have done it, and I for one know how hard SF is. And I have thoughts about what is next but I am not sure where its all going to go.

Call it chasing my unicorns if you will. If I inspire someone because of it that is amazing. Its never going to be a picture perfect journey. For me this is the continued chapters of me following my heart. I still don’t know if I will ever get used to being called an inspiration but it goes back to something that I do not

If you have followed me the last few months you have heard me talk about the fact that I have stepped back from most of my ambassadorships this year just keeping my hands on a couple where the work load was a lot more manageable. It has been a-ma-zing for me. I am so much happier and I don’t feel like I am chasing my tail so much. I am running less this year but I am more focused on running for me and getting back to my strong side. And I am still volunteering for things but I am taking on stuff that fills my bucket. But I went to my first group running event a few weeks ago and it was amazing. I actually got to be social and hang out.

I have had a lot of people talking to me about the last couple random musings blog. I just want to add this. The journey some of us are on is not about a healthy lifestyle. Some of us do not want to be skinny, some of us just want to be happy in our own bodies.

I have more going in my head that might have to be a second musings later. But there is a cat who needs me.

Race Preview: Race to Remember Presents Memorial Day

Disclosure: I am proud to help Race to Remember with their social media outreach efforts. In trade they offer me free race entries for my time. All opinions shared in this piece are my own.

Memorial Day is the kick off to summer. For some it means BBQ’s, vacations and the start of the warm weather season. But for others Memorial Day is a chance to remember the sacrifice of our military heroes.

Race to Remember is seeking to give people a chance to honor these brave men and women with our miles as they present their Memorial Day Run. They will offer a community one mile event, a 5K, a 10k and a half-marathon event that will take to the waterfront of the Columbia River. Personally this is one of my favorite places to run locally. The half course takes you through some of the most scenic parts of Vancouver. The 5K and 10K take you to the Columbia River waterfront.

I have ran races by the team at Race to Remember. They work hard for a family friendly, all ages and abilities friendly race.

These races will benefit Race to Remember which works in the community for projects that remember the sacrifice that our veterans have made. I have had the pleasure of working with them on welcoming the Honor Flights home and I truly love what they do.

The races also benefit PureKraze a military non profit based in Vancouver WA. who’s mission is to build homes for homeless veterans in our community. Veterans face many challenges after serving our country and fighting for OUR FREEDOM a safe place to live should not be one of the things they have to worry about. PureKraze is paving the way for providing homes for our veterans not just in our community but our nation.
Below are some statics on Homeless Veterans.
Homeless U.S. veterans (2012)
Estimated homeless veterans: 131,000
Estimated homeless women veterans: 13,100
Estimated post-9/11 veterans: 7,400
Estimated number of women post-9/11 veterans: 740
12 percent of homeless veterans younger than 34 are women
Jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans: 11.3 percent
Sources: Department of Veterans Affairs, Bureau of Labor Statistics

From their website:
Our “Race to Remember” Memorial Day Run is a timed event, which is open to the public on Memorial Day (Monday 5.29.17).  We want to honor all military fallen heroes, which is why the start/finish is at the Memorial Wall on Phil Arnold Way on the corner of Columbia Way in Vancouver, Washington. The Half marathon, 10K and 5K Route is an out and back course on the Columbia River trail. The first Half Mile is our Honor Mile, where we will line the pathway with the American Flags and pictures of military fallen heroes. The Honor Mile is a community walk and meant for us to slow down as a community and remember the sacrifice of our military heroes.  After the run enjoy Vendors & Meet Vancouver Veterans.

You can find out more details on their Facebook page Race to Remember: Memorial Day Run And you can register Register