February 27, 2015

Must have winter run gear.

I know it seems crazy that I am doing a post about winter gear but yes we do have a winter here in Northern Arizona. Yes really! Sure it's pretty mild (compared to the rest of the country) but we DO get snow. In fact snow is in our forecast for this entire weekend. When I do run or cycle outside here is a list of my favorite winter gear:

  • Running or Cycling tights. A must have is a decent pair of running or cycling tights. You can wear these under other clothes or alone as I do since I typically don't need more than one layer.  
  • A skull cap for cycling or a hat for running. One thing I love to wear when it's cold is a skull cap underneath my helmet. It traps all the warm air and keeps me toasty. It's also thin so you won't feel it under your helmet. Yes it looks geeky without the helmet but let me tell you at least I stay warm and my hubby doesn't need to hear me complain when we mountain bike together! If you don't have a skull cap and you cycle outside you need to order one. If you click on the Headsweats link and use the code TRIMOM25 you will save 25% . 

  • A warm vest. I find that often times I burn up when I wear winter running jackets. I prefer to wear a vest. For some reason my arms stay a little cooler but the heat is still trapped inside my torso. I prefer to wear this Columbia vest I found on clearance years ago. It's nothing fancy but it does the job and it's not extremely bulky like some of the other puffer vests made.

  • Lightweight running gloves. If it's cold enough I will turn to my running gloves. I prefer these Pearl Izumi gloves because they are lightweight and wick sweat which is really important to stay warm. 
  • Toes covers (for the bike). If you bike outside when it's chilly I highly suggest wearing toe covers. They are spandex like covers that slip right over your cycling shoes. They have a hole on the bottom for your cleats as well. They make a big difference when I do remember to wear them.

What are some of your cold weather gear favorites?

This was not a sponsored post. However I am a product ambassador for Headsweats. I don't receive compensation from them. I just love the products. While it looks like I am affiliated with Pearl Izumi, I am not. I just love to shop at their outlet store!

I liked up this "Friday 5" post with Cynthia From You Signed Up for What and Mar From Mar on The Run and Courtney From Eat Pray Run DC. Go check them out!

February 23, 2015

Running through the desert. (A Ragnar recap)

203 miles across the desert? Are you CRAZY? Yes.
Yes. You can always use more pink.

This past weekend I had a chance to run Ragnar Del Sol with some amazing people! Our team consisted mainly of women who are part of the Sweat Pink online fitness community. We did have a few men on the team who bravely accepted the challenge of  being surrounded by pink and sparkle for several days.

My friend Hilary (who I recruited to do this crazy adventure with me) and I started out the weekend on Thursday afternoon with a 2 hour drive down to Phoenix. We met the team in a parking lot and loaded up the two vans. We had six runners in one van and six runners in the other. We were also lucky to have a designated driver who was my husband. I'm so glad we were able to get a 15 passenger van because we had a lot of stuff. An entire row of the van was just for all of our stuff!

We finally got the vans loaded and headed over to pick up our race packets and receive all our safety instructions. By doing this the day before the race we could save time at the start and not have to show up as early. We also had some time to kill as my husband's plane was running late that afternoon so it all worked out to stick around Tempe a little longer. It also gave a us a chance to decorate our vans which is tradition in relay races! A benefit to decorating your van is to be able to spot it from far away in a sea of white rental vans.

After we were all finished with the race instructions we drove to our hotel out in Surprise, AZ. We decided to stay there so it would put us a little closer to the start. But in all reality our start time was pretty late so it really didn't matter that much. We got to the hotel, met the rest of the team, enjoyed dinner and went to bed to early since we knew a decent's night sleep was nothing something we were going to get for awhile.

I even ran into my Nuun/Hood to Coast '14 buddy Sean. He was running on an ultra team (only 6 runners doing the entire thing). You can go ahead and call him crazy!

The next morning we woke and had a leisurely breakfast and loaded up our vans. Our start time wasn't until 10:00 am so it was nice to not have to be in a rush. Van 1 (my assigned van) was the only van allowed to go to the start. My teammates and runner order of Van 1 were Hilary, Briana, Rosi, myself, Emily and Meredith. We arrived in plenty of time at the start and I was a little surprised at how few people were there. I assume that is the benefit of having a later start time.  Before we knew it Hilary was at the start and the gun went off and she was running!

Van 1: Rosie, Briana, Meredith, Hilary, me, Emily (and our vanpilot Paul)


Ragnar Relay had officially begun for us and now it was all about following the runner and driving to each exchange to meet them. The exchanges at the beginning of the race were pretty empty, again another benefit to a later start time. We were so lucky to have great weather during the race. The high during the day was 83 so it was warm. It was finally my turn to run. My first leg was 6.5 miles and was labeled as "hard." It was primarily a flat run. It was in the middle of the desert so there wasn't much shade and it got nice and warm but I felt good on this run and it seemed to fly by so fast. Before I knew it our six runners had finished and we were on our way to meet van 2. Once you meet the other van this is your chance for a little down time. But don't expect to be lounging around reading magazines and getting 8 hours of sleep.

This so called "down time" consists of driving around finding a place to eat, getting gas, stocking up on supplies and eventually trying to get in a nap. After we fueled our bodies and van we headed over to the next exchange where we would eventually meet the final runner from van 2. It was at this high school that we could set up our little camp and attempt to sleep. What a joke that was! It was only 7:00 pm and the sleeping area was the middle of a high school football field...yes on the ground. We only had a few hours there and I think I got about 30 minutes of actual sleep. My body was pretty wired and with all the excitement going on around and it was impossible to sleep.

Before I knew it, we were back in the van again ready to run our six legs. This leg had me a little worried. I would be running almost 7 miles in complete darkness at 2:00 am on parts of a trail. Thankfully my husband (our van driver) was allowed to run any of the night legs. He ran one leg with my friend Hilary then took a break for a few hours and ran my leg with me. My run wasn't too bad at first, I was pretty tired and my legs felt heavy but I was running in a residential neighborhood with plenty of street lights. That changed around mile 4 when we ended up on a trail. There was no moon and my headlight could only see so far. I was nervous about animals and tripping on rocks. Naturally my pace slowed way down as it always does with trail running. The trail didn't have as many runners on it as I thought it would. There were times when we were all alone out there and I was so relieved that Paul was running with me.

We finally finished up all the legs in our van and it was time to meet the other van at the next major exchange. Again it would mean trying to get a quick shower, food and an hour or two of sleep. I opted to sleep in the van at this exchange in hopes that it would be quieter. It wasn't that much quieter as people are always coming and going in the vans around you and door slamming is really tough to tune out. After our break we would all be set to run our final legs. Our team was dragging and I think everyone was ready for their legs to be finished. My final run was only 4 1/2 miles and by this time it was in the mid 80's so another warm run. I felt ok on this despite slicing open my finger on the Ragnar slap bracelet and not being able to get it to stop bleeding. Tired legs, bloody hands, and stomach issues were certainly not going to stop this team! We managed to push on and before we knew it we were passing off the baton to Van 2 in Fountain Hills. We were officially done!
Ready to run my final leg!
Emily handing off to Meredith.

We spent the rest of the time waiting for Van 2 to finish and enjoyed the warm late afternoon sun and early evening of Riverview Park in Tempe. We welcomed our last runner as a team and all ran the finish chute together. 32 hours, 38 minutes and 7 seconds later we had officially clocked out! Thank you Ragnar for an amazing experience. I am also thankful for the awesome ladies in my van that I got to meet and hang out with. You never really know what to expect when you put a bunch of strangers together in a van for 30+ hours. But this experience is something that will always stick with me.

You ladies and gentlemen are awesome...keep on Sweating Pink!

Have you ever done a Ragnar? Tell me about your experience.

February 17, 2015

Long weekend recap.

Did you all have a nice Valentine's Day and weekend?

Since the kids were off school Monday we celebrated with a camping trip. We ventured out to one of our favorite places to stay in the winter early spring months. It just is too hot later on in the year. The campground is called Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Great name, huh? Anyways it's a hit because of the miles and miles of hiking and mountain bike trails that surrounds it. I also like it because of the highway I can ride my road bike on, that takes you up to Sedona. It's a wide bike lane and round trip can put in around 20-30 miles.

This was the first time I have had a chance to ride my road bike outside since last fall. Lately I have taken to mountain biking. So this was a bit of an adjustment to get used to. I'm breaking in a new saddle so I was a little uncomfortable. I also wasn't used to riding along the highway so I admit the buzzing of the cars really made me nervous. I wasn't enjoying myself those first 5 miles and thought about quitting multiple times. After about 10 miles I finally started to relax a bit. But I couldn't help but feel frustrated with myself. I wondered if road biking will ever be comfortable again and will I be able to put in the hours and hours on end that Ironman training calls for. Perhaps now that the weather has turned nice, I need to pull my road bike off the trainer and really ride outside again.

P and I really don't celebrate Valentine's day but we did manage to get a ride in together. It was very relaxing and I enjoyed the new trails he showed me. We may not celebrate Valentine's Day in a grand way but the one thing I love the most about him is that he waits for me at every major trail-head crossing. True, love I tell ya!

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day?