Holiday Night Hike

All my life, one of my favorite Christmas memories has been seeing the Boulder Star light up the side of Flagstaff Mountain. The Star was first lit in 1947 as a gift from the City to the people of Boulder. What I didn’t know until recently is you can hike to the Star, too! You can also drive to the bottom and climb up, but where is the fun in that? I asked my sister, Carla, to join me, and it was on.

We’d never done a night hike before, so we had to prep a bit by picking up some headlamps. I was also super excited to try out my brand new Skirt Sports Toasty Tights (review coming soon), vest, and new beanie. We started out at about five-o’clock and it was already around forty-seven degrees. We parked near the base of Flagstaff Trail to start the 2.3 mile round trip hike.

The hike wasn’t easy. It was steep and technical in many places, and the directions I pulled off the web were not very clear. It was tricky to navigate in the dark when the directions said to look for the “junction after the popular bouldering spot”. We passed no less than five popular bouldering spots with junctions after them so thought we might have missed the right one. Luckily the road winds in the hear distance and made a good navigation point for us. The views on the way up were worth every foot we climbed in elevation.

As we came up to the Star from the south and we spotted two deer bucks grazing. No one else noticed them, and Carla and I squatted down at a safe distance and watched them for a few minutes. They started to spar, and we could hear the knocking of their antlers as they butted heads. It was so awesome to see them, and for my sister and I to be the only people who saw the deer. This is why I love Colorado!

The climb to the top of the Star was SO STEEP. It was fun to reach the top with my sister and create a new tradition together. This is such a uniquely Boulder holiday experience and I’m so glad I finally did it. Getting down was tricky both of us fell on our butts and took it super slow from that point on. We found the trail back no problem with the help of our headlamps. I’m not sure what happened with my GPS watch but we did make a loop of sorts, and I was surprised by the elevation we gained on this hike! I’m already excited to do it again next year, and maybe take some adult cocoa next time!

What holiday traditions do you have? Have you ever hiked at night? Share with me!

Road Tested: Weav Run – Music for Running

Disclaimer: The Weav Run app is currently free but I will be receiving a lifetime subscription in January 2018 as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Now that my racing season is over for a few months, one of the main goals I’ve set for myself is improving my speed on shorter distances.

I feel like I’ve made great strides in my longer runs recently and for that, I’m really proud! However, when it comes to shorter distances, I don’t know how to kick and keep my pace in a higher gear.

Last month I decided that each day I’d get out in my neighborhood and run “the loop” with my faithful pup, Gemma. She automatically makes me go faster and I can push myself for short distances.

In addition to Gemma pushing the pace, I’ve been using the Weav Run app, which is a music app on my phone with pre-set songs that speed up and slow down according to cadence. Say what? 

YES. Check this out!

I was skeptical at first because I think we’ve all heard the mixes where a song is sped up without taking in account the fact that the singer will then sound like a chipmunk. That’s not the case with the Weav Run app, rather the Beats Per Minute accelerate and decelerate while the singers voices are not, making the transition smooth.

Currently the Weav Run app is available on Apple devices. It’s fairly straightforward to use.

You’re able to have the app detect your tempo as you run or you can input your own tempo.

After trying both options, I’ve found that I’m partial to entering my own tempo when I’m running with Gemma. She takes short “marking her territory” breaks I don’t want to have a break in the tempo of the music.

Also, when I enter my own tempo, I’m able to put it for slightly faster that I am naturally able to go and that helps me push my own pace.

The Weav Run app will connect to the Health app so you’re able to record your runs. However, one of the things I’ve been trying to do lately is keep things as simple as possible when it comes to my running and I want all of my runs to be in one place (my Garmin). I’m primarily using the Weav Run app for the music aspect and it’s fantastic. It’s like taking a personal DJ on my run with me – I feel like I’m in the club!

There are currently 25 songs on the playlist and I’ve been jamming to each and every single one of them. Some are old school: “It’s Tricky” by RUN-DMC. Many are more current: “Believer” by Imagine Dragons, “Cheerleader” by OMI, “Broccoli” by D.R.A.M ft Lil Yachty to name a few.

From what I understand the app’s creative team are in talks with music labels to get more songs on the playlist.

What I love most about this app is that it takes listening to music on a run to another level for me. I’ve fluctuated between needing music to run (when I first started out) to more recently only listening to music on during longer mileage runs or on solo runs.

The Weav Run app makes me excited to listen to music again during shorter runs because of the potential it has to push me along. And run-dance-sing… don’t forget that, too.

Weav Run is constantly evolving – there’s currently beta testing for intervals. I know that they have plans to add more songs on the horizon and I look forward to that because I plan to run further and hopefully faster.

Co-founders, Lars Rasmussen and Elomida Visviki took the time to conference call with BibRave Pros yesterday afternoon to answer questions and share company background; it was very enlightening and much appreciated by the BRPs.

Weav Run has a great presence on social media, which is always a plus in my eyes. At this very moment, the #weavrunstreak is happening – a mile a day for 30 days. I was going strong until I got benched by colonoscopy prep and a tenacious cough but I’m hoping to jump back in because my body needs to move!

Want to learn even more about the Weav Run app? Make sure to join the Twitter #bibchat happening on December 26th at 9pm est.

Do you run with music? What are some of your favorite power tunes? Have you tried the Weav Run app?

2017 Rewind in Races – part two

And I’m back! July through December were slightly less eventful than the first half of the year – mainly because summer racing isn’t that much of a *thing* around here. Or maybe, more accurately, it’s not much of a *thing* for ME.

July 2017 – Firecracker 5k

Remember in part one of this, I mentioned that my son Lucas occasionally likes to run with me? He decided that this was a good time to run again. Even though he had not run a 5k since… probably February when we last ran together.

This was more about running together with my kiddo than breaking any records. I was happy to be out there with him and he was, well, he was happy when it was over.

September 2017 – Vacation Races Shenandoah Half Marathon

Shenandoah Half Expo - Vacation Races

Oh my gosh, this was such a fun weekend from start to finish. My buddy Rachel and I took a road trip to Virginia for the inaugural Shenandoah half marathon. We knew that it would be a tough course but we also knew that we always have a lot of fun wherever we go, so we decided to just embrace the hills and roll with it.

This experience was exactly what a non-racing half marathon should be! Though we weren’t going particularly fast, the miles just flew by. The scenery was incredible, we chatted the entire way, and waved to the locals watching from their porches.

I’m registered for Vacation Races Elk Double with Jenn next year and I know that if it’s anything like this one, I won’t be disappointed!

Shenandoah Half Marathon finishers medals

We did it!

September 2017 – Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia

This was my first race representing BibRave and I was so excited to meet many of my fellow BibRave Pros before the race began. I knew going in that this race would be more about having fun than anything else and as I started running how was I was feeling just solidified my plan to enjoy the run.

I loved this run because of the crowd during the first half of the race and then runners I met along the course the second half of the race. Philly is always a good place to run and this was no exception!

October 2017 – Run the Vineyards Destination Enoteca 5k

Running through a vineyard. Finishing with wine and music. What could be better? Nothing! This race and all the races that Run the Vineyards offers have been A+.

I ran this one with my friend, Erin, and we had a great time running but an even better time enjoying a cheese plate and wine afterward. Yeah, that’s right. I’m not ashamed to admit it!

October 2017 – Run Inspired 10k

Another BibRave race, another opportunity to meet a BibRave Pro friend, Ryan!

This race took place in the hills of Delaware and benefited Operation Warm, which provides winter coats for children living in poverty. It was a beast of a course but one that was so beautiful, I was happy and grateful for every step I took.

My family came with me to cheer me on and it was a great way to wrap my 2017 races.

I swore that was going to be it and that I’d be focusing on training for the winter months. I skipped the Philadelphia half marathon this year and I’m actually glad that I did because I was having some leg issues for a few weeks after this race.

I’m back in working order now and I had a friend that was interested in signing up for a local, non-timed 5k – The Light Run. It’s a fun run that supports a couple of local non-profits and I’m happy to be taking part!

Ornaments from last year’s run

Here’s to a happy, healthy, injury free 2018!

2017 Rewind in Races – part one

2017 has been a good and busy year for me, as far as races go! I hit a couple PRs, spent a lot of time with great friends, and was able to run my first Ragnar.

Now that we’re in December and I only have one fun run of the year left, happening next week, I’ve gotten nostalgic for the races of 2017. Let’s look back over the first six months, shall we?

January 2017 – The Chili Run

It’s difficult to find races in the colder months here in New Jersey. For the most part the ones, the winter months are used to get base miles in and prepare for the spring.

However, the Chili Run is a 2 mile jaunt through the town next to mine. Highlights of this race include seeing lots of familiar local faces (including running with my friend, Rachel), chili, really cute swag, and oh yes – running, of course!

I’m already signed up for the 2018 event and this year my husband will be joining in the fun!

February 2017 – Mad Eye Moody Virtual 5k

Jenn told me about the Mad Eye Moody Virtual 5k from Hogwarts Running Club and I decided to join her in running this one. After I told my older son, Lucas, about it, he wanted in on the action and decided to run with me for this 3.1 mile run.

Occasionally he gets run-inspired and that was the case this time – I think because it was Superbowl weekend. As always, we took the first mile too quickly and then we toughed out the second and third miles together. Even still, it was nice to have company and I was so proud of him, when we got the medal in the mail soon after, I gave it to him.

February 2017 – Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon

This race was a destination race for me – my parents live in Florida and the timing worked out so that I could run the race and have a visit with them.

It sticks out in my mind for several reasons.

  1. There was a train that went through the course about a quarter mile in and we had to turn around and start the race again. (It was a really, really long train.)
  2. Despite the train, I had so much fun running this race. I realized early on that it was going to be super warm. It wasn’t anywhere close to my fastest race but I pet dogs, drank beer on the course, saw my mom multiple times, and just had a really nice time.
  3. After the race, the 2nd place finisher was called out as cutting the course. Even my non-running friends were talking about it and it just goes to show that cheaters never win… especially when social media is involved.

April 2017 – Hot Chocolate 15k

Two 40 year olds!

The Philly Hot Chocolate race was on my 40th birthday and I could think of no better way to celebrate than meeting up with Christina and running 15k (which is 9.3 miles, in case you don’t want to do the math).

We had such a fun race together and of course, after we celebrated with adding Bailey’s to our hot chocolate. Nothing better!

April 2017 – AC April Fools Half Marathon

This was my big PR – I shaved 8 minutes off my half marathon time to come in at 2:40! I was really proud because I put in the effort and the training that I needed to do it, plus I trained consistently on the course.

I’m already registered for the 2018 race and I’m hoping to once again be able to hit my best yet. I’m fairly certain that if I continue with my training and remain injury free (knock on wood), I’ll be able to do it!

April 2017 – Run for Rowan 5k

I was full steam ahead in April – running a race nearly every weekend! This one was at our alma mater, just minutes away from our home. We ran together and got to see all the changes that happened to the campus (that we can’t see from the road).

The weather wasn’t fantastic but it was a nice little 5k and the price couldn’t be beat at $20.

If they have this run again, I’ll be registering for it. Hopefully I can convince Jay to run again too!

April 2017 – Run the Vineyards Heritage 5 Miler

Kate, Brandi, and myself! We’ve been friends since our kids were in strollers.

I was able to hit a PR on this course too! With hills, sand, dirt, and road, I was really hoping that I would be able to come in at under an hour and thankfully, I was able to accomplish that.

The Run the Vineyards folks always put on stellar events, I enjoy running and volunteering with them. I’m already registered for the 2018 race; it will be my 3rd time running this race and again, I’d like to beat my time from this year.

June 2017 – Ragnar Relay PA

There are so, so many things to be said about Ragnar. It was 6 months ago and I’m still trying to process the event! I am so grateful that I was finally able to run a Ragnar and be with my teammates. I honestly don’t think if I’d ever do another one but I’m so glad that I ran this one with these people.

Can you believe that was only the first half of 2017?! I’ll be back tomorrow with the rest of the year.

December Travel Workouts

This weekend was rough. I don’t know about you people, but there was a lot of football disappointment this weekend in my house. Between the Badgers losing to Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship – for those curious, Clay and I are still speaking, even though he cheers for the Buckeyes – and Clay’s Cleveland Browns losing another heartbreaker (and Ohio State not making it into the College Football Playoff), there’s been a lot of frustrated sighing.

This time of year may be the most wonderful, but it’s also the most stressful when it comes to sports. Uff da.

I guess it’s also stressful because somehow my schedule for the next two weeks is non-stop. Between work travel and personal travel, I’m going to be spending just as many days away from home as I will be at home. Consequently, I know I’m going to be tired and it’s going to be difficult to get to my gym. Or any gym. That is, unless I make it happen. Typically, when I travel, I try to figure out ahead of time if there will be a gym of some kind available to me where I’m staying. My first trip this week will be to Las Vegas and I’m certain there will be a hotel gym – but there’s no guarantee I’ll have a variety of equipment to use.

In situations like this, I try to put together workouts that are simple body-weight movements that can be adapted to use weights or other equipment if available, but can easily be completed with nothing extra.

Thursday evening, after my meeting, I’ll probably try to find a half an hour to get this little burner in:

In 20 Minutes, do as many reps as possible of:

5 Pull Ups

10 Push Ups

15 Air Squats

If there isn’t a pull-up bar available, I’ll probably change this to 5 sit ups, 10 push ups, 15 air squats.It’s a pretty straightforward workout, no special or high skill movements… just straight conditioning and going balls out for 20 minutes. Similarly, this weekend, we’ll be in Cleveland to watch football (Go Pack Go!), and will have to see what the hotel gym has to offer and see if I can hit this one:

As many reps as possible in 15 Minutes:

50 DB Snatches (50/35)

40 Burpees

30 Pull Ups

20 Hand Release Push Ups

10 Jumping Air Squats

The following weekend, we’ll be in Florida visiting family. One of the cool things about CrossFit is that we can drop in at pretty much any gym anywhere. That’s our plan while we’re in Orlando… drop in to a couple gyms in the area, join in a WOD and call it a day. The CrossFit community is really awesome like that – and certainly makes some travel easier if you’re trying to get workouts in. For some folks, vacation means no workouts – and sometimes that’s me, too. When I’m on vacation, I try to listen to my body and do what feels right… workouts or not.

While this month may be starting out a little crazy, I am looking forward to some travel, getting to see my favorite football team play, and enjoying some warmer weather… and finding the gym when things allow. December might be stressful, but I’m not stressing about working out – I’ll do what I can, when I can, and the rest is whatever.

Do you workout when you travel? What are some of your preferred methods of breaking a sweat while on the road?

December Hydration Challenge Kick-Off

Today is day one of the 21 day hydration challenge, and we are all in on this one! I’m excited to commit to this goal and make it happen. I’m not the best at consistency or discipline so accountability is a good thing. I hope we can be that for you, too, if you join us for the challenge. It’s tough to stay healthy and fit as we struggle to meet commitments and are tempted by the rich foods and treats of the holidays, but this goal is maybe more easy to achieve for some of us (me) than sticking to a diet. In prep, I hopped on the internet and did a wee bit of research to find a few tips that might help us navigate this a bit more easily, and track how awesome we are as we slay this. I said SLAY.

Intake Tips

Measure Up! This one is a tad obvious, but make sure you’re using a bottle or jar with units of measure clearly marked on it somewhere, somehow. Most plastic bottles have this, but now is a good time to make sure yours haven’t worn off over time.

Set a timer It might help to set a timer to remind you to drink water. Especially at first until you establish a few days of consistency, and even more especially if you’re the type of person who keeps you moving all day. When time is flying by and you’re being pulled in every direction, it’s helpful to have a reminder to take a water break.

Form a Small Habit First Try drinking eight ounces before you eat meals or snacks. Or swap out one cup of coffee for hot water with lemon or green tea. Find an easy way to work hydrating into your schedule and life, one that you think you can stick with permanently.

Make Time for Bathroom Breaks Expect to spend more time in the restroom and that it might be annoying. I mean, what else can I say? Just remember that every time you’re in there, you’re getting rid of toxins. I plan on tapering my intake after 4 pm so I’m not up a lot in the night, and I plan to stock up on toilet paper. Good things to keep in mind!

Green Tea I’m addicted to Earl Grey tea like many people are addicted to coffee or soda. I’m still allowing myself to have it once a day, but when I can I’m going to swap it out for green teas and hot water with lemon. Green tea is a super food. If you find yourself needing a little flavor or variety, consider herbal and green teas. You won’t have to feel like you’ve cheated.

Alternate Beverages Alternating between water and your other drinks of choice is one way to up the hydration game. Try mixing it up by switching between water to whatever else you enjoy. If you’re me, that means one glass water, one glass chocolate milk, one glass water. If you find yourself struggling, this might be a good way to fight it.

Fruit and Veg Infused Water I’m excited to try this because fruit is one of my favorite things, and this should be a great way to add some flavor and variety. I like plain water just fine, but something tells me it will get old quickly. The great thing is that there are so many flavor combinations out there, Pinterest is full of recipes. I’m dying to try this Raspberry Rose Vanilla water!

Tracking Methods I plan to track my daily intake as well as how I’m feeling so I can get a better idea of my progress as time passes. For me, being able to see on paper how the challenge has changed my health will motivate me to continue good habits. While I plan on using my bullet journal, there are lots of ways you can track your water intake.

Fitbit or other device I have a Fitbit, but I’m guessing most fancy fitness trackers have some way to record your daily water intake. There are also a multitude of apps out there for this purpose. The Fitbit makes it easy to not only track, but set intake goals. I’ve used it in the past and liked it.

Journal If you have any kind of journal or paper planner, you can track your hydration there. If you’re into bullet journaling like me, make a graph layout and be sure to include your goal in your daily tracker, too. Set reminders and intentions for intake each morning, and ground yourself in your goal before you tackle your day.

Calendar This is probably the most simple way to record of your intake for each day. Whether electronic or paper, all that matters is that final daily total.

 

Finally, be sure to choose methods for intake and tracking that work for you and your lifestyle. Maybe you’ve tried this in the past and weren’t successful. It helps to be honest with yourself about your habits and personality, and reflect on what you need to succeed. We’re all here to support each other, and together, we can do it!

 

Next week, we’ll have giveaway news to share. Until then, remember these tips as you set out on your first weekend drinking crisp cool water and taking many trips to the bathroom. And please share your comments or struggles with us below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

December Hydration Challenge

If you need a bit of help maintaining healthy habits this holiday season, join our Hydration Challenge! I’m kicking it off on Friday with a goal of drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day. Check back Friday for the kick-off and giveaway news, as well as some tips on how to track your intake and be successful.  Maybe we can’t stay off sugar this time of year, but at least we can make sure we stay hydrated (because champagne)!