September 17, 2014

Wonder Mom Wednesday- Mom Moments

Once again it's time for another Wonder Mom Wednesday link-up with my awesome hostesses Susan from Mom Swim Bike Run and Sue from This Mama Runs For Cupcakes. This week is all about bragging! So Mommies go ahead and brag about your kiddos. What are some of your favorite Mom moments from the last few weeks?

  •  "Mom please make those Breakfast Muffins again!" I love that fact that my youngest is begging for the zucchini carrot muffins I made a few weeks ago. If you missed the recipe you can find it here. We have a really hard time getting him to eat breakfast in the morning and I worry about him going to school hungry. One of these muffins fill him up and I happy that it is actually healthy for him. 

  •  "Did you see me on the knee-board mom?" Bragging that my son got up on the knee-board this weekend while we were at Lake Mead! I'm really impressed that he ever attempted this. He's not one to try new things and this shocked me. I'm so proud of him and can't wait to see him do it again! I love that he is really comfortable in the water.

  • "T currently has straight A's!" A progress report card that I received from his teacher this week. I told you it was bragging time! But really, I'm just so proud of my boy. He works so hard and always has his head in a book or is rattling off random facts to me. He studies hard and it's paying off for him at school. 
  • "I can write my name." D is in pre-kindergarten five days a week this year. It's early in the school year but he is already writing his name and answering questions correctly from the teacher such as: "What is it called when an animal is awake at night?" Raises hand and answers: nocturnal. His teacher let me know about this conversation and she was pleasantly surprised at how smart this little guy is. Total proud Mama!

What are some of your proud Mom moments from the last week? Link-up with us at the bottom of this post. If you have an old post bragging about your kids that's perfectly fine too!

And stay tuned for next week's topic: Favorite Family Recipe.


    An InLinkz Link-up

September 16, 2014

Words To Sweat By Giveaway

It's not very often that you see me dressed in regular clothes. The majority of the time I am wearing workout clothes. However when I do wear normal clothes I am still very much a jeans and T-shirt gal. I almost always dress up my look with a scarf. A scarf is such an easy accessory and in the fall in winter it keeps me warm. I'm always on the hunt for cute scarves. When Dana from Words To Sweat By contacted me about hosting a giveaway, I was immediately drawn to her running theme infinity scarf.

I also loved her triathlon T-shirt that reads "endure" across the front. She graciously sent me both and has allowed one lucky reader the chance to win both the infinity scarf and the T -shirt. She also has a lot of cute stuff in various themes from running, to cycling, and weight lifting. Be sure and check out the section under apparel and look at some of the cute T-shirt designs she offers.

Enter the giveaway below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: A benefit to keeping a blog about training for triathlons is a chance to receive various products to use and review for my readers. These products are often provided for free or at a significant discount to me. I don't receive additional compensation and I'm not under obligation to provide a positive review of the product. My opinions on the product are entirely my own. Some of the products I review may work for me, but they may not work for you. 

September 11, 2014

Nuun Hood to Coast Part 2

If you missed my post about arriving in Seattle and some of the cool things we did leading up to the Hood to Coast Relay, you can find it here.

The morning of the race I woke at a reasonable hour. The good thing about being in Van 2 of Team Wild Berry was that we didn't have to be at the start-line. We could go to the major exchange point (the point that van 1 would stop at for a little while). We started off in what we thought we would be about a 3 hour trip. An hour into the trip we hit traffic. The traffic never really let up and we crept along down to Sandy, OR at a slow pace. We finally arrived and had just barely enough time to get out. Our first runner Kevin was told to "gear up" because it would most likely be a dump and drop exchange! He jumped out of the van just as Team Wild Berry's Melissa was coming in. We had just enough time for a quick photo.
Nuun, Hood to Coast
Driving down to the Sandy exchange.
Nuun, Hood to Coast
I can't believe I am really doing this!
Team Wild Berry Van 2
Nuun, Hood to Coast
Team Wild Berry van 1 and 2 runners
Nuun, Hood to Coast
The bracelet hand-off with Melissa
Megan Fay making sure he's heading the right way!
Since I was runner 10 I had a couple legs to go before I was ready to race. I took this time to mentally prepare and fuel up. I was running 5.12 miles with a level difficulty of Moderate.

Nuun, Hood to Coast
Hip stretches. They really do help with my knee problems! I hope my Physical Therapist is proud.
It wasn't dark when I took off on the run and it was actually still light when I finished but per Hood to Coast rules you had to wear the headlamp and visibility vest. I wasn't used to wearing either one but they didn't seem to bug me during the run. I hardly noticed I had them on. My run was mostly flat along a river. I maintained a good pace for the entire 5 miles and even picked it up the last mile as I could hear someone right on my tail trying to "roadkill me." I was able to stay alive and didn't allow the roadkill to happen. I felt good when I finished and even saved a little energy for the next couple of legs I needed to run.

The next couple hours were spent driving and following our runners. We met our last runner Liz at the Hawthorne Bridge exchange (directly across from downtown Portland). At this time is was dark but the Hood to Coast party was in full force! This is when I really started to get excited and nervous as I knew my night leg was coming up. I took in every moment and enjoyed meeting up with van 1. Van 1 had taken their five hour break and they were ready to hit the road again. It was now our turn for a break. We would have about 5 hours to eat, rest and because one of the Nuun runners lived so close to this exchange we had access to her apartment. That meant she left us a key to shower and snooze for a little while. Heaven!
Rachel and Doug.

Nuun, Hood to Coast

Nuun, Hood to Coast
Van 1 and 2 major exchange Hawthorn Bridge

Nuun, Hood to Coast

Nuun, Hood to Coast

After we stuffed our bellies and napped for an hour, we were woken at midnight and jumped back into the van. It was during these next legs that Megan and Vishal (Nuun employees) warned us that traffic would start getting bad as the alternate routes were fewer and fewer towards Seaside. Little did we know how bad is was going to be. 

We found van 1 at the leg 18 exchange around 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. Kevin our first runner started out. It was about this time when the jelly beans, van snacks, running high and Nuun Energy really started to kick in! Here we are parked in the middle of a dirt field cracking each other up with funny stories and busting out the old school rap.

After Kevin, was Rachel's leg, then Doug and back to me. I was nervous. It was dark...really dark and I have never run that long in total darkness. I worried about how much I would hate those next 6.81 miles.

I started out freezing cold. It was damp and chilly that night and I didn't want to put on too many layers as I was afraid I'd regret it. I jumped out of the van and immediately hit a massive hill. My thoughts were "oh no what was this leg going to be like?" It was pitch black. Without a headlamp you couldn't even see your hand in front of your face. Thankfully everyone had headlamps so it brightened the way a little bit. I could hear rustling in the bushes but didn't dare slow down or point my light in that direction. I really didn't want to know what was staring at me. I felt a lot slower on this leg as I knew it was a long one. I got passed quite a bit. At one point I felt embarrassed as people passed me. I felt like they were judging me on how slow I was and why I even made the Nuun team. In the past the runners have all been extremely fast ladies (7:00 minute mile ladies). So my usual anxiety crept in I got nervous and ashamed. I snapped out of it when Jim from the Lemon Lime came up on me. Jim is one of those 7:00 minute milers so he was hauling butt! When he saw that it was me he actually stopped and came back and ran with me for a couple minutes. I'm sure it felt like a snail pace to him but I was thankful that he kept me company and didn't once make me feel ashamed of how slow I was going. Thanks Jim, it really meant a lot to me that night to have a familiar face to run with. He went on ahead and I still had another few miles to go.

My favorite part of the race was now: The sun was just barely starting to come up behind me over the tall pines. It was quiet and serene. I started tearing up thinking about my family and how lucky I was to have them support me. I couldn't believe that two years ago I had made a wish that someday I would have the chance to run on the Nuun team for Hood to Coast. I felt like I was in a dream and that I needed to be pinched. I thought about my oldest son and how, without him, I may have never even discovered my love of running and triathlons. I rubbed the special gemstones in my pocket that my boys gave me to carry with me on my run. I felt their joy and love when I rubbed those stones. This was my moment. This is why I run.

My moment. 
Done and the sun was up!
At this exchange I hopped in the van and Megan and Vishal (her pacer) headed off on their run. We pulled out of the parking lot and drove 5 feet and stopped. Dead stop. We rolled another 10 feet over the next 2 hours. It was horrible. Our runners finished and then ran back. Traffic was at a standstill and we were stuck. We heard reports that the police shut down the roads due to the fog up ahead in Mist. There wasn't anything we could do but wait. We were so disappointed as now our van was really behind. It bummed the team out as now we were going to finish much later than we anticipated.

Since we were so behind now there was never really another place to stop and eat or rest. It was sleeping in the van at this point. I was still on a major runner's high (even on one hour of sleep) so I offered to drive for a few hours while the rest of the van slept. Kevin stayed awake with me and became my navigator. We finally made it to the last major exchange and met up with Van 1. They were finished so those guys could now head straight to the party in Seaside! Those lucky ducks. We on the other hand, still had 6 legs to run.

Kevin and Rachel exchanging.

And more traffic.

Getting the perfect shot!

Doug and Vishal's shot.
My last and final leg was only 3.36 miles. I'm so glad my easy leg was this one. My legs were tired. I had asked Vishal if he could pace me on this leg but secretly hoped he would say no since now I was fading fast. Of course he said yes and help me push my limits. He's yet another really fast runner so  I know my pace was painful for him (even my faster pace). He gave me some great running tips and I was happy to have him run with me. We chatted the entire 3 miles and it made the run go really fast. Before I knew it, my Hood to Coast legs were done!
It was now time to sit back and watch Megan run and meet up with Liz at the beach. When we got to the beach our team was pretty grumpy as we were the last ones and got stuck in the worst of all the traffic.  We had just enough time to head to the condos, drop off our stuff and then meet Liz down on the beach. Thankfully our condos were just steps from where the race finished. Liz came in and Team Wild Berry all crossed the finish line together. After the race we celebrated on the beach with beers. Then later went back to the condos where the party lasted until very late. How we had that much energy to stay up late? I don't know.

Our view from the condos

Liz bringing it home for Team Wild Berry!

Team Wild Berry: Eric, Megan, Rachel, me, Sean, Elisabeth, Jenny, Melissa, Doug, Kevin, Vishal, Arielle, Casey & Liz

My buddy George (or Jorge).

 And then it was all over just like that. I can't express how grateful I am to Nuun for allowing me this opportunity to run on the team. They went above and beyond my expectations. It's clear to me why this company is beyond amazing.  It's a huge honor to be associated with them and I really feel like they are an extended part of my family now.

Thank you, thank you Nuun and ambassadors for making this my most epic event.

If you didn't get enough photos from this post you can enjoy the slideshow that Eric made:

Nuun Hood to Coast Video 2014