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January 2017
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Feels Like The First Time… #TSFM2017

Let’s just get it out there. If you do not feel like jamming out with me just skim down just a little bit

I am back for a 4th year as an ambassador and part of the amazing team at The San Francisco Marathon. This is the one I could not give up. This is a special event to me, its the event that taught me so much about myself. It is the event that has always worked hard to put their runners and their ambassadors first. I can not thank them enough for letting me dance one more time.

On top of this it is the 40th year of The San Francisco Marathon

So why am I saying Feels Like the First Time?

I am running the full marathon which is how this adventure started, and I have not ran a full since three years ago when this started. I know what I am up against, I know what is involved and I know that I am in for a huge challenge.

I am changing my training. One of my biggest issues was getting in my strength training. I actually used my work connections to get myself started on a strength training plan (Thank you Yancy Camp) I am using some of the basics of some of the obstacle course world, adapting it for my ability levels and working with that. The first couple weeks I feel like I was making gains (we got hit with the worst winter storm Portland has had in 30 years which has killed my gym time)

Once the weather clears up I will be working a lot on my run training. The one thing the last year taught me is I was not where I want to be in terms of shape so I am putting my focus on that. I think giving up some of the things that have left me with not so fulfilled and happy are helping me

My goal is just to make the 40th Anniversary the return to the marathon. Will think time goals later on.

Expresso Ride of the Week: (@PDXGym): Lost Trail

Congratulations to all who finished the first ride of the week. Week 2 ROTW is:

Welcome to our second Ride of the Week (ROTW), where we pick one road every week for you to explore with the riders from your team and thousands of others from around the world.

This week is LOST TRAIL! Tropical trees and Mayan ruins await in the jungles of Central America, but don’t stop too long to take in the scenery!

Complete the ride to earn your badge. Every road has it’s own badge so make sure you don’t miss out or you will have to wait a long time for the ride to be featured again. Ride fast to climb the leaderboards and lay claim to the top spot in your age group and circle of friends! Ride as many times as you need to. Only your fastest will count.

You don’t need to sign up for the ROTW online. You just need to sign in on your Expresso Bike and finish your ride during the week! New rides will be announced each Sunday and you’ll have through the end of Saturday to finish them. The ride of the week starts and stops at midnight USA Eastern.

Expresso Bike News! New Features for 2017 (@PDXGym)

There is SO much news for riders of Expresso Bikes at West Coast Fitness.

First off, every week there will be a featured ride of the week. There will be a special leader board and a chance to win badges on your profile. I will post the information on the West Coast Facebook page as soon as time permits me once a week.

This weeks ride is Rolling Thunder (1 miler)

Second:


January Challenge is the traditional Titan Challenge. 5,000 Calories burned in a month gets you the special badge and a chance to win 100.00 dollars from Expresso.

Third:

There are TWO year long challenges this year.
One being Road Master which is actually THREE challenges.
1- Ride 2017 KM
2-Burn 50,000 Calories
3- Ride EVERY Road course they have to offer.

The second is Game Master (Hello, this has my name written all over it)
(Side note: This could be the hardest challenge. There are 12 different rides with 8 different time combos so each challenge is 96 rides)

1- Speed (Play every game board and every time combination in speed mode)
2- Tactics (Play every game board and time combo in tactics)
3- Power (Play every game board and time combo in Power Mode)

Everything I have talked about is listed on the Expresso Challenges page.

Feel free to reach out for questions and happy riding.

Dear Ambassadorships/Volunteer Programs: It is not you; its me.

Dear Ambassadorship Programs:

It’s not you, it’s me. We need to step back from each other for awhile.

Love

Me

I have been debating on writing this blog for awhile but I think it needs to be said and it goes back to my desire to be 110 percent honest.

I have had the pleasure of being an ambassador for some amazing programs. They have truly given me a chance to 43527891share my story and my platform with. When I started to do ambassadorships it was about using my running and my story to share and inspire people on hey, if I can do it so can you.

But it’s evolved a lot. And I am not certain for the good.

Personally I have been juggling too many and I know it and I have had a hard time telling myself that I am doing the best I can with what I have. I know one company I love that I didn’t give as much attention as I should. I own that, and I am hoping by taking the pressure off that I can start doing this for me again and start focusing the energies on the things I want to focus on.

But part of this to comes from burn out.

I volunteered a ton of hours for certain programs and I would leave events so frustrated that I would either be on a bus crying or in a friends car crying because I felt like I would give 150 percent but it just was not good enough. It’s not supposed to be like this.

Volunteering for me is about giving back and seeing smiles on the faces of the people who inspire me every day and have kept me going.

And I doubt I would be human if I did’t say sometimes the lack of thank you from some of the programs isn’t playing a lot into this. And I don’t need much, just someone saying “We appreciate your hard work.” We all want to feel appreciated and feel like our efforts are noticed.

I am keeping one program and possibly two. I think that will make me a lot happier. I will still get my volunteer time done but I am going to focus on more energy on making a difference again.

Seattle Marathon Half Recap: Forget time HAVE FUN

Note: As an ambassador I was able to get my entry for my 2016 event for free in trade for my work in 2015.

It has never been a secret that I love the Seattle Marathon event. It is one of my favorite courses every year. It is beautiful, challenging and a great example of how races should be ran in terms of organization.

And this year was no exception.

I knew going in and if you read my training blog about this, it was not going to be about making a fast strong time kind of thing, life was just to complicated this fall and not feeling 100 percent until the end of September had cost me a huge chunk of training time.

This weekend was going to be all about fun.

The expo this year actually seemed smaller then it had in previous years, which I don’t mind. The entire event is well organized and you go from getting your bib to getting your stacked goody bag rather quickly, which to me is always a key to a good expo.

Sunday morning started well.

I started on my intervals as I have been doing and I stuck to them. I was actually getting some great times in the first 4-5 miles and not feeling really bad at all.

The first couple miles of the course start in Downtown Seattle taking you through down to the International img_0197District. There are a couple climbs here, but you are rewarded with some nice downhills. Again I was trying to get some speed and work on my skills.

Then you hit the 1-90 stretch which is a batch of freeway on ramps which are small hills that take you past Safeco Field and gives you great views of Downtown Seattle. But and I think I said this before that if you are not careful and you don’t pace yourself through the early part you are going to regret it later.

I have said this a lot, my favorite part of the course is the stretch after I-90, the Lake Washington area The views are stunning and it is so peaceful and quiet. There are some minor rolling hills but nothing over taxing, is is a great place to settle into your pace.

Then you reach #whathill.

I have had a love hate relationship with that hill every year. You turn a corner and all of a sudden it hits you like a wall. The one real goal I had made for myself this year was to take that hill at a run and see what happens.

And I did it. I got all away up to the point before the turn before I knew I was going to be in serious trouble if I kept running up that hill. I paid for it later, taking it at a dead run spent my legs but I was happy.

img_0213I decided at this point I was going to take the rest as a true fun run, and I did. I enjoyed the views through Washington Arboretum,but I was indeed feeling the lack of full training and I was feeling that sprint up the hill.

The last of the race was about enjoying the ride. I literally just relaxed and enjoyed the run. I took my coaches advice and didnt stress about the pace.

This will always be my favorite race every year for so many reasons. But this year as it has seemed to do before, it reminded my that my first goal is to have fun when I race.

Because the rest comes naturally after that.

Giveaway Alert! @OregonZoo Zoo Lights Opening Coming Soon #zoolightspdx

It is not often I skip outside the running world, but this is such an amazing opportunity that I could not pass this up.

It wouldn’t be the holidays in Portland without a visit to the Oregon Zoo’s annual winter festival, ZooLights. As you walk around the zoo, you’ll see a dazzling display of a more than million and half lights, and experience your zoo in a whole new light. ZooLights runs from November 25, 2016 to January 1, 2017.

Scenes from the 25th Anniversary Oregon Zoo ZooLights, in 2012. ©Oregon Zoo/ photo by Shervin Hess

Scenes from the 25th Anniversary Oregon Zoo ZooLights, in 2012. ©Oregon Zoo/ photo by Shervin Hess

Zoolights to me is the holiday highlight of living in Portland. It is truly breath taking to be able to take in all the lights and see all the little kids get the holiday spirit. There is a chance to get traditional holiday food and drink and their will be local school groups performing.

And this year it is bigger and better then ever!:

ZooLights is bigger than ever, with a continuous loop drawing visitors on a glowing, kaleidoscopic walk through the zoo. A carousel has been added, and the train ride, a popular add-on attraction, will once again feature an interactive experience with some favorite seasonal characters near the Family Farm.

The only thing you really need to be aware of is its night time so there will not be a lot of animals viewable. But to me, every time I have been there it feels like a wonderland.

Things you need to know:
Special “value nights” during the first three weeks offer visitors a chance to experience ZooLights for less.
Timed train tickets, which reduce train wait times, can be purchased in advance online.
Parking lots tend to fill quickly during ZooLights, so all visitors are encouraged to ride the MAX to the zoo. Guests can show proof of fare at the gate to receive a discount on ZooLights admission (see table below for details), or save time at the gate by pre-purchasing tickets online.
Dates
November 25, 2016 through January 1, 2017. Closed December 24 & 25.
Member preview night is Wednesday, November 23.
Hours
Sunday through Thursday 5 – 8 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 5 – 9 p.m.
ZooLights tickets are valid for zoo admission after 4 p.m.
Guests may stay on-grounds for one hour after the gates close.
Trains begin running at 5 p.m., and will continue running as business dictates. Guests are encouraged to walk through ZooLights before riding the train – train lines are often busiest at the beginning of the evening.

You can check out all the details here: Oregon Zoo Zoo Lights

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Race Recap: Race to Remember Presents Veterans Day Race: A new MUST DO in my calendar.

Disclaimer: I was given the honor of a free entry in trade for social media promotion of this race. My opinions as always are my own.

I have had the pleasure of working with Race to Remember and get to know their founder Claudia through some of the work I have been doing through Honor Flight. When she asked me to take part in the Race to Remember event for veterans day I was excited.

The Race to Remember Veterans Day Race serves as the kickoff to the Fort Vancouver Veterans Day Parade.

A little back story on the parade:
The Veterans Parade at Fort Vancouver was started in 1986 by a group of volunteers led by Mike Harding, who recognized a need in our community for a way to honor Clark County veterans and knew that a Veterans Parade would fulfill that need. With assistance and support from then Vancouver Barracks Commander Royce Pollard and City of Vancouver Mayor Bruce Hagensen, the first Veterans Parade at Fort Vancouver took place in 1986. Jerry Bloss and Fred Robertson took over as co-chairs of the planning committee and led the production of the parade for nearly two decades. Through rain, sun and even snow, dedicated volunteers have been instrumental in ensuring the annual Veterans Parade.

img_7331Race to Remember: Race to Remember is a non-profit organizations formed to honor our past and present military heroes. Our main mission is to NEVER FORGET their sacrifice and with every race or event we participate in we honor all those that have so bravely fought for our freedom. Outside of racing we organize military care packages, “Thank you Cards”, “Books for Soldiers” and help coordinate “soldiers in the classrooms”. Our ultimate goal is to develop a college scholarship for those that have lost a parent during their military service.”

The race itself started at the Fort Vancouver Visitors Center. The weather was less then steller for the event but more then 100 people showed up sporting the Red, White and Blue. Several people brought their flags.

Packet pick up was quick and efficient. Due to the fact this is a complete non-profit race and all proceeds for this race went back to the cause, the shirts had been optional (I bought one because they had been amazing) but the race had all the must haves a racer would like. Bag check was easy and they brought your bag to the finish line (which was about half a mile away.

The race started with a spectacular shot of a historical cannon. The race which offered a 5K and 11K options tookimg_7334 you down through Fort Vancouver. And up through the spectacular Lands End Bridge (even though I really do not like this hill whatsoever) and down to the waterfront in Vancouver.

This race was was well organized and the water stop was at the turn around for the 5K.

The course was challenging but yet gorgeous. Getting the energy off the parade set off the mood the weather set in. I was not planning for anything particular on this race as this was a tune up for my Seattle trip over thanksgiving. I was able to settle into my usual run walk and it gave me a chance to reflect on how lucky I am to have so many people who are veterans in my life who have made such a positive difference.

This course was not quite an out and back, and you finished just as the Fort Vancouver Veterans Day Parade started to make it’s first turn. It was amazing to be running by some of the bands.

You received a finishers medal, great food and beer at the finish line.

This is small race ran by a group of people who truly care for service members and want to raise awareness through running events. This will be back on my calendar for 2017.

Product Review: Project Repat T-Shirt Blankets

Note: This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.

“I have too many t-shirts”

“Races can stop giving me shirts”

I hear it frequently from my runner friends the quandary of t-shirts. It happens to all of us who race. We have an over abundance of t-shirts.

And in my case there are a few shirts I just refuse to get rid of. They represent some of the landmark memories of some of the craziness that I have done while racing.

And I know a ton of people who are already thinking about the holidays ;). This might be the best holiday gift.

I actually did one from Project Repat a couple years ago and I love it. It actually ends up being the perfect wall

My two blankets together. All sorts of memories all in one

My two blankets together. All sorts of memories all in one

decoration. It represents some of the landmark races I have had (right before I went to San Francisco the first time) up to that point.

I had been debating doing a second one that was less race related and more me related. Not just running but some of the people who have left a smile on my face and just some of the general craziness that goes on in the life of me. So, when the opportunity to help Project Repat came out to do a review I jumped all over it.

The process once you start off on the Project Repat website and order the size you are looking for. Then you lay out the shirts the way you want them. My twin size blanket takes 24 shirts. If you purchase now, you have up to 90 days to put your blanket together which gives your giftee time to find all the shirts and plan the perfect blanket for them.

As I mentioned before, this for me was about me. I have some of my favorite races in there, along with some of my favorite wrestling people, and in general this was all about the things that make me me.

You will get directions from Project Repat on how the next part of the process works. You choose the color backing

You can look at some of the detail on how well it is stitched.

You can look at some of the detail on how well it is stitched.

(mine is red), layout your shirts the way you want them to be on your blanket and then you cut off the sides you do not need before shipping them off.

They have two locations in which you can send your blanket to (it depends on where you are located) they have two very distinct but intertwined missions.

PRECISION SPORTSWEAR, FALL RIVER, MA
lean manufacturing cut & sew company

While most of the textile jobs in Fall River have gone overseas as corporations sought cheap labor and lax regulation, Precision Sportswear has been able to succeed by specializing in custom work and smaller production runs for made-in-U.S.A. companies. Workers earn a fair and living wage, full benefits, and paid vacation and holidays.

and

OPPORTUNITY THREADS, VALDESE, NC
worker owned cut & sew company

With a great working environment and top quality workmanship, Opportunity Threads has “repat-riated” some textile jobs back to the United States. Each worker at Opportunity Threads is part of a collaborative working model, where each employee adds input to the production process and has the opportunity to earn an ownership stake in the company.

After you send it out, in a few weeks you get a package back with your blanket.

I was impressed with my first one. This one blew it out of the water. I knew it was going to be a challenge because some of these graphics exceeded the 12×12 dimensions they recommended. But everything was cut perfectly to fit my blanket.

I think what makes me a a loyal customer for Project Repat is the care they put into it. They understand they are

I could not even fit the full thing in.

I could not even fit the full thing in.

putting your memories together into something special. They are high quality blankets that will last you for a life time.

For me, this blanket represents all the positive in my life, races, people experiences. It is just me in every sense of the word.

Project Repat has given me a chance to share with the world what they do. Click Project Repat and you will save 15 percent on your blanket. If you are looking for something perfect for a holiday gift, this is a great pick.

Disclaimer: I received my blanket in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

Race Preview: Race to Remember Veterans Race at Fort Vancouver #runchat #bibchat

As part of Fort Vancouvers annual Veterans Parade, Race to Remember will be hosting their annual 5K and 11K race to help honor the those who have fought for our freedoms.

The parade is in its 30th year. The parade route is around the Fort Vancouver National Site. The parade begins at the east end of Officers Row at East Reserve Street. The route continues west along Evergreen Blvd, down Fort Vancouver Way, east on 5th street, ending past the Pearson Air Museum. Attendees are welcome to watch the parade from the sidewalks and grass areas all along the parade route. It will feature more then 120 entries and 2,500 participants.

14469696_1320258137984608_6173739107008941104_nThe race itself offers a 5K and 11k distance and will start on the parade route and then takes the land bridge before heading for the Columbia River (for those who know the area, yes this means you will be going down the infamous land bridge hill, but you will also be going up it as it is an up and back course). The 5K turns around on the waterfront while the 11K goes out to the industrial area before turning around and coming back to the water. Anyone who has ran courses in Vancouver will attest that these are amazing courses.

From Race to the Remember’s website: Race to Remember is a military nonprofit “Race to Remember” is the name of our nonprofit. Race to Remember was founded in 2009 after our founder unexpectedly lost her fiancé Jason Vinyard a 20 year Veteran serving at Ft Vancouver Base. The purpose of our organization is to make sure that our communities Never Forget the sacrifice that our brave men and women of the military made to protect our Freedom.  We currently organize three races, Race to Remember for Veterans Day and 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 e.g. military care package drives, Honor Flight flag escorts, veteran moving assistance, as well as providing opportunities for our local youth to better understand the true meaning behind the Veteran Day Holiday. Our ultimate goal is to build partnership with other organizations in our communities and throughout the nation to help us honor and support our past and present Military Heroes as well one day provide a scholarship to the children of the men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

I have had the pleasure of working with Race to Remember on several projects. I am excited that this will be my first race for them.

You can find out more about the race here: Veterans Day Race: Race to Remember

#OldGlory Relay: A Once in A Lifetime Experience to Support @TeamRWB

I think the best way to describe this experience is once in a life time.

Yesterday I had the honor of running 2 miles with the American Flag as part of the Old Glory Relay. Team RWB explains this best in their media kit.

From inspiration, strength, or freedom, each person who touches
this year’s Old Glory has their own story of CONNECTION to the symbol
of our great nation.
Throughout the 4,216-mile journey across the United States, the participants
and supporters of “America’s Relay” will come together to honor the sacrifice
of thousands of Americans who have fought for America’s freedom, and make
a public display of support for veterans as they return to their respective
communities. This amazing experience allows Team RWB to spread our mission
of enriching veterans’ lives, recruit new members into the organization,
and generate donations for our core programs focused on leadership
development and engaging veterans and civilians within their communities.

This is the first year the flag made an appearance in Oregon. The flag actually started on Sunday, September 11 at Microsoft headquarters in Seattle before making it to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and then Woodland Washington where my local Team RWB crew took charge.

Our smaller group of three runners picked up the responsibility at Ridgefield. Our group of three runners had decided to do the 6 miles in 2 mile solo increments with me taking the last handoff.

My handoff was at the top of a hill in the middle of farm land. I was really worried because I am on the slower side of running, and I am still getting my legs back under me a bit.

I took my handoff and I think it hit me at that point that this was not any ordinary running experience. I had said

Me taking the handoff, thanks to Team RWB for this amazing photo.

Me taking the handoff, thanks to Team RWB for this amazing photo.

before I was running for the people in my life who are veterans who especially in the last few years have been such a support system and helped me keep my head together when things did not seem possible. These people have done so much to support their country.

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.

Because I was dropping some of the social media coverage, I was able to get over to the Interstate Bridge and cover the runners crossing into their first state. Watching the flag come across the bridge up the hill on the interstate bridge was just truly an experience that I will not forget.

I have been trying to put into words what this whole thing means to me, but I don’t think words do it. I think the best way to talk about it is show the pictures. Thank you to my dad for getting some of these amazing moments.