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April Expresso Bike Challenge: Dragon Hunter @PDXGym

Okay. I will selfishly admit it.

I am HAPPY to see this.

It is a simple challenge.

You ride Dragon Hunter to a million points. I know this seems hard but if you do it right you can actually accomplish this in one to two rides. (I can do it in one if done right). It is all about strategy.

Riders that earn 1 million points on the Dragon Fit games (or Proving Grounds on vintage chariots) will receive the Dragon Hunter Badge, unlock the special edition Dragon Hunter Jersey, and be entered into the Top 100 Lottery for a chance to win $100.

The fitness center – “team” – with the most points will win the official Dragon Hunter Trophy.

Hot Chocolate 15K Seattle Recap: AKA This Is The Hill That Never Ends

For the second year in a row I had the pleasure of serving as a pacer for the Hot Chocolate 15K in Seattle. The one thing I learned last year is that this course is tough.

And that has not changed.

The experience starts at the expo which takes place at the Seattle Center Exhibition Center. The one thing I have always enjoyed with this race series is how easy it is to get from bib pick up to goodie bag (your hoodie) and on your way. There is a small vendor area which includes a place to shop for all of your Hot Chocolate gear.

Last year it HAILED on the back of the pack. This year the weather threw it’s own challenges again. There was a

From the back of the pack race start.
cold wind and it was wet at points and the forecast actually had called for snow.

The start line is organized into corrals, being I was in the back of the pack, the corrals are not well maintained. And it does take some patience to make it to the start. But being able to see the space needle first thing in the morning is a breathtaking sight. You want to make sure you stay warm on this course.

I went into this with a 1-1 run walk plan, I knew from what I learned last year that this course is really scenically beautiful but it is tough. You get some gentle rolling up and down hills in the first two miles, going out under Pike Place Market and through the Alaskan Way Viaduct before you are hit with the hill that never ends.

The Aurora Avenue out and back gives you quite possibly some of the most scenic views of Seattle you will see but for the two miles it is almost a straight up hill climb, and if you do not know that it is coming it will hit you like a ton of bricks before you turn around right after the mile 6 point. The nice thing is it takes you downhill after.

The course is well supported and you get a chance to eat chocolate at a few of the water stops. You finish thorough the main concourse of Seattle Center which is fun. Especially as you are finishing almost next to the space needle.

After the race you get to cycle through to get your medal, water and the famous post race chocolate, where you get a cup full of snacks and chocolate to dip it in. They organize the lines so you are not waiting long for everything and this years medals continue to be one of my favorites. They look like small chocolate pieces.

I will be back, I keep learning every time I am working on this race how to think on the fly and be a pacer. This is a tough but well organized race well worth it in the end.

Those random kind of musings… When it needs to be fun again.

Ill do a full recap on the pacing adventures at the Seattle Hot Chocolate 15K adventures later.

Here is a confession:
Running stopped being fun, blogging stopped being fun, volunteering stopped being fun.

Part of it has to do with just being burnt out on volunteering, and the whole rushing around to try to advertise, market to brands, try to be an ambassador ect.

And as for volunteering, it got to the point it was dishearting to volunteer anymore. The events I was volunteering with just drained the fun out of me. And I honestly didnt feel like I was making a difference. I even gave up one of my absolute favorites this year.

It literally stopped being fun.

The other part, and I hate sounding this way. There are some bloggers who work really hard and deserve to get some amazing opportunities. They are true inspirations and they are the picture of health. And there are some people out there that literally you have to ask yourself if the company really understands what they are doing. Watching bloggers who their own readers are calling them out for eating disorders, or disordered view of exercise, but yet companies flock to them.

The second I started to say no, it felt like the pressure was off and I started to have fun again. I also started to take advantage of my work situation and I have been adding in some modified obstacle course racing workouts which have been a really big challenge, but also in its own way, it has been a lot of fun.

A friend of mine told me several months ago that if I was not having fun, was it worth doing.

What has become really fun to me has been getting more involved with the Hogwarts Running Club. The entire focus is about not only Harry Potter which is a win. But it is about using running to not only improve our lives but the lives of others less fortunate.
We do virtual events to raise funds and awareness for different charities. Each house has their own common room (though I hang out with the Faculty) and everyone motivates one another. We also use the Charity Miles app to continue to push for our running to give more.

Adding to that coming back to The SF Marathon. I did say yes to being an ambassador this year, because it has always been about partnering and working together for such an amazing event. And I really want to have a marathon this year. Its been two years and it is time to go down this road.

Things are starting to be fun again.

And I am ready to share the journey.

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.