How to Trail Run

Trail running is something I’ve been wanting to take up and do more of. For the last several years, I’ve lived a thirty to forty-five minute drive to the good trails in my nook of Colorado. It was a lot of effort that took way too much time; get up super early, dress, eat, drive forever, get at least an hour run in, drive home. That’s half the morning gone! I should have tried harder.

But now that I’m moving to a rural area of the mountains and will be doing all my training runs in my new neighborhood of hilly (understatement) dirt roads and U.S. Forest Service trails, I knew I needed to learn how run safely in the high country. It just so happened that my favorite local running store/brew pub (yes, you read that right), Shoes & Brews, was hosting a trail running clinic with Salomon Running. PERFECT. It was providence for sure!

My new neighbor, Mt. Meeker the Fourteener!

I’m so glad I went. It was helpful and informative, and it took some of the fear out of trail running for me. Here are some of the things I learned. Thanks, Salomon!

  1. Stay Upright Leaning forward constricts your airflow, so keep your torso upright and your head up despite the urge to lean into the hill.
  2. Stay on Your Toes Forget the heel strike. Staying on your toes makes you more agile through the rocks and other trail obstacles.
  3. Run on the Rocks If the trail is dry, go for solid surfaces over loose gravel when possible
  4. Run In The Water Don’t be afraid to run in the rivulets because there’s more loose sediment in wet conditions for your shoes to grip. In wet conditions, rocks can be slippery.
  5. Look Ahead Look 2-4 steps ahead of you to see where to step safely. Your brain can remember up to about 4 steps so stay safe by staying focused of your footfalls.
  6. Hip to Nip Move your arms like you normally would making sure they arc from your hip to your nip.
  7. Power Hike I didn’t know what this was until the clinic. It’s hard to explain, so go check out this great explanation from The Long Run
  8. Flail Like a Fool Flailing arms downhill is totally acceptable. No one will judge you for keeping your balance and not falling!
  9. Slow it Down Walking during trail running is a-okay! Even the pro who was with us, Courtney Dauwalter (who just broke a record for running 155 miles on a track in 24 hours) said so! It’s okay, really!
  10. What Goes Up On the downhill, lean forward a little to let gravity help you, but no so much you fall forward easily.
  11. Baby Steps Take smaller steps if you feel like you’re going too fast

Here’s Ester from Salomon with more tips

 

The trail we did was not for beginners, but it was a fun time and I met another Skirt Sports Ambassador, Becky! Making new friends is always fun, too.

Skirt Sisters!

The group at the top

It’s safe to say that I’m hooked. I’ve been posting gorgeous shots of my recent trail escapades on our Instagram all week. I cannot wait to get out there again this weekend and run where I play!

 

Do you run trails? Where do you run? What’s your biggest piece of advice for beginners? Share it all with me, I’m in desperate need of wisdom!

Make Your Future, Danny

At the beginning of 2015, I heard about the concept of a vision board, and I immediately loved the idea of visually framing your goals for the year in an inspirational and motivating artsy poster type thingy. I like visuals. And colors. And art. So I made one, and I loved it.

Throughout the year, I pulled it out and checked things off. I referred back to it as I set race goals and accomplished other milestones. It made me feel good and helped stay me on track! I was loving it! At first, I was feelin’ like

Early on I knew I’d not be able to accomplish it all. I’d set too many goals for myself and I ended up feeling like a bit of an overwhelmed failure as a result. I have history with this.

NOT THIS TIME, YO. This year, I kept it simple. Flow-y. Stress-free. And colorful, of course. Most people make a collage using magazine clippings and poster board, but because I’m lazy, easily annoyed by glue, and sans magazines in my house, I always draw my board. Meh, it works for me.

 

This idea isn’t new, it was only new to me because I’m not hip. Soooo, I won’t go into the details about how to make a vision board because you probably already know all about it. In case, though, this great blog post by Vanessa R Williams will tell you how to make the best vision board ever!

What I want to tell you is that I think it’s worth your time to do this exercise. Especially if you have a big year ahead full of lots of goals or milestones. A few pro-tips though. One, make sure to include stuff that renews your body, mind, and spirit on there. Don’t forget to refill your cup. Two, be realistic about what you can do. Be fierce, but gentle with yourself. Most of all, make YOUR 2017 happen!

If you made/make a vision board for this year, I’d love to see it! Tweet me your photo. @scootadoot

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Race Recap: Denver Broncos Back to Football 7K

Something weird happened over the last few years. I started wearing more orange. I began paying attention when my husband was watching our local NFL team games. I found myself yelling at the refs for making shit calls against our guys, and screaming for joy when they won. Somehow, I became a football fan. You may have heard of my team, they won the Superbowl last year.

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My new Broncos hat. I can’t wait until it’s cold enough to wear!

My family is just as mystified as I am at this development. It’s something I can’t explain or  make sense of myself. But, it’s happened, and so when I found out that the Broncos host a 7k (all hail John Elway) AND that the medal is pretty sweet, I invited a bunch of friends to join my team, the Happy Hoofers!

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We’ve got our bibs!

Waiting in our corral with a ton of other fans in the shadow of the storied Mile High Stadium was definitely a unique experience. We were #UnitedinOrange! It took a while for our corral to go as they were releasing waves every five minutes. We waited over an hour to start and were already pretty hot and thirsty by the time we got going at 9:30-ish. Still, we were excited to be part of the energy.start Collage

When we got the the first water station at mile 1, we were so happy! Until we were so sad. They had run out of cups, and we didn’t have bottles with us. We’d have to wait until mile 3.something for the next aid station. We really hoped they had cups! The course took us through the old Victorian neighborhood that surrounds Sports Authority Field (us natives will always and forever call it Mile High Stadium). I was too thirsty to get pictures. :-p Then we did a half circle along Sloans Lake before turning back toward the stadium to run onto the field!

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Running into the stadium through the Bronco head and being on the jumbotron was awesome but I wish they’d let us snap a few photos before they pushed us through. How often do I get to be on the 50 yard line of my teams home field. NEVER. That’s how often.

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Me and my sister on the JumboTron!

 

My goal with this race was to get some folks who might not ever consider “running” a race to try it out. I think for those who have never been to any kind of running race have preconceived notions about what level of fitness you need to participate, and how far a 5k (or 7k) really is. My friends where surprised that it wasn’t quite what they expected and they had more fun than they thought they would. Once folks realize they can do it at a pace they are comfortable with, they enjoy it. Not everyone has to be fast!

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They’re real!

I’m not sure I’ll do this one again. As much as I love my team, I felt the race organization could be better. The race didn’t start until 8:30 so it was pretty warm and it took quite a while for us to start. Not to mention, the water station ran out of cups before all the runners had left their corrals, and I saw far too many people cutting the course and cheating. It’s 4.3 miles for Pete’s sake, does one really need to cheat???  I call shenanigans!

It was a success, though, because my group tried something out of their comfort zone and they had fun! They are all so proud of their medals and of themselves! My sister-in-law had such a good time, she’s already signed up for a Christmas 5k, and I hope this is the start of a new hobby for her. I couldn’t be more proud of her! Kudos, Toni!! <3

All photos courtesy of my wonderful husband. Thanks, Honey!

 

What Fall races do you have planned? Who’s your team? I want to know below!

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Race Recap – Vacation Races Elk Double at Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park

I want to let you know that this will mostly be a picture post, because this race is just sooooo pretty. Also, I want to formally declare my love for Vacation Races, and this event in particular. VR, I LOVE YOU. If you’re reading this, pleeeeeeeease let me be an ambassador for your race series. Since I live within driving distance of  six out of nine of your events, I would make an excellent representative because I plan to run them all in the near future. But my first love for your race series will always be the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon.

This was the second year I’ve run the #RMHalf. They even added an extra special challenge this year, the Elk Double, which consisted of a 5k on Friday night, followed by the half marathon on Saturday morning. Three medals for two races means I. AM. IN. Many of my fellow Skirt Sports Ambassador Sisters were also running the races, and created a team. Team WTF? Where’s the Finish? I was so stoked to run with a team; I usually run races all by my lonesome.

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Packing for the big weekend and Coach Lily the Pug approves of my outfit selections.

In the interest of transparency, I want to state that in my (limited) half marathon experience, this group puts on the best races with the BEST Medals. Dare I say it, even better than runDisney.

I dared and said it. I retract nothing.

For proof, they had free smores and hammocks at the race expo. They had water, electrolyte drink, and Honey Stinger Gels at EVERY half marathon aid station, and at three of those stations, they also had bananas, orange slices, and porta potties.  VR really takes care of their runners!

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I was excited to try my new Skirt Sports skirt with bib magnets built in for the 5k. I was expecting to have to adjust my bib as I ran, but nope! The magnets kept it perfectly in place and I didn’t have to put safety pin holes in my new skirt. I was winning at life!

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5K Outfit: Skirt Sports Race Magnet Skirt, Electric Tank, Injinji socks, NB Shoes

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At the 5k Start

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Spirit of the Rockies: Anglers, Canadian Geese, and runners share the natural beauty!

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Even the geese were cheering for us!

Here in Colorado, they don’t give out medals for 5ks. They just don’t. Not sure why, but maybe it has something to do with the commonly seen “140” oval stickers on cars. I guess folks here don’t really get behind the 5k distance. So, I’m VERY proud of my first and only 5k medal!

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Ummm, so on a “related to the Rockies” note…my high school BFF lives a half a mile from the start line for the races, which was awesome, because I stayed at her house and walked to the 5k start. What wasn’t as fun was navigating the bear in the tree a few houses down from said friend’s house. I think he was sleeping, and he had the cutest bear butt. As long as that butt stayed in that tree.

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You can see a casually hanging paw and adorable tail.

I found out later that team WTF? finished in FIRST PLACE for the 5k!!!! No thanks to my slow arse which finished in 38 minutes, but yeah! So I got 2, 5k medals and I cannot even. I had to get the gold 1st place medal from my WTF? team mates the next day, but I was stoked!!  Then it was time to rest, fuel, sleep, and get up at 4:30 for the half marathon!

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Flat Me for the Half: Skirt Sports Eclipse top, Cougar (Lioness) skirt in Free Love print, two pairs of socks; Injinji toe and PROcompression.

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I only smile this early in the morning on race days. Trust.

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Mountain valley mist rising as the sun rises in Estes Park

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The weather was perfect, and the course is so gorgeous!

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I saw an Elk whilst doing the Elk Double! Life is complete!

I always love seeing mile marker 6 because it means I’m almost halfway done!

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In the middle of the dreaded looooooong (3.5 miles-ish) low grade hill.

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*heart eyes*

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This view is worth the altitude.

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The course takes you right past the most haunted hotel in America!

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Coming up on the finish

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The cutest!

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Just a few more steps!

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Team WTF? Where's The Finish

Team WTF? Where’s The Finish

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That bling, tho!

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This was my big event for the season and there was no doubt in my mind that I’d enjoy the race, but the fact is I came away with a lot more than I expected. My goal was to push myself and I did. I shaved five minutes off my time from last year. But the best part by far was I got to know my Skirt Sisters better, and together, we placed in the race. That’s because #REALwomenmove. Especially together.

What is/was your big race this season? Do you runs with a team at races? Did you visit a National Park this summer? Let’s discuss below!

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This One Time, At Space Camp…

I spent the Forth of July weekend at the best camp ever. There was no lake, or horses, or archery, or whatever they do at summer camp. The camp I went to had a Space Shuttle and Astronauts, and I even got to do science on the moon.  I finally got to fulfill my childhood dream of going to Space Camp, and it was WAY better than horseback riding.

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I wore Skirt Sports gear the whole weekend and it didn’t let me down in the Alabama heat! #psychedGGUforthewin

I had to fly to Huntsville, Alabama, the day before camp started, so of course I researched restaurants. It had been a long time since I’d had a po-boy and ettoufe, and I was on a mission. I wasn’t disappointed by the Yelp reviews for the Po-Boy Factory. So yumm!

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The next day, I got to Camp a little early and did some exploring and shopping. The Shuttle in the photo is the Pathfinder, and was an actual Shuttle program test vehicle.

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We got to do a Shuttle mission where we replicated Mission Control and Flight Crew duties. I got the be the “Guidance Systems & Navigational Controls Engineer” for the mission! We spent lots of time pretending we were astronauts, and we got to work in simulators that replicated the Shuttle, the ISS (International Space Station), and a lunar base.

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The second day of camp was jam-packed with activities. We toured the Rocket Center with our private tour guide; a retired NASA engineer who’d been with the rocket program since its inception.  He knew EVERYTHING.

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Saturn V Rocket. You can see tiny humans in the bottom left corner of the photo!

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The *actual* Apollo 16 Capsule. Imagine 3 men in that 6x6x6 foot space for DAYS!

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There were burn marks on the bottom from re-entry to the atmosphere from space. SO COOL.

Then we got to do the REALLY fun stuff, actual astronaut training! The first video shows me in the 1/6 Gravity Chair. It simulates the gravity felt on the moon. It was much harder to get going than you might think!

In this video, I’m in the MAT, Multi-Axis Trainer. This machine simulates a “tumble spin” that pilots can experience with loss of control of their vehicle. I was certain I would throw up. Megan, our team trainer, said she’s put over 700 people on this machine and no one has ever gotten sick. I’m happy to report that I didn’t feel nauseated at all! The chair keeps your tummy at the center of gravity, thereby avoiding nausea. It’s really true!

We built a model rocket and launched it (mine deployed perfectly, thank you very much). We also did a thermal shielding experiment that required me to put my faux engineering skills to the test. We learned TONS about NASA history and the legacy of our space program, I got to meet a real life space-walking astronaut, see an IMAX movie about the construction of the ISS, and learn about the next evolution of exploration with the Orion craft.

TEAM

Our team right before graduation

Astrobot helps astronauts on the ISS with tasks and space walks (EVAs)

Astrobot helps astronauts on the ISS with tasks and space walks (EVAs)

The other wonderful thing about my experience is that it brought a variety of people together who likely would not have interacted in their day-to-day lives. We came from all over North America, and we all shared a love of space and science that unified us. Ages ranged from early twenties to retirement, from married couples, to singles, to a mom and her daughter. All backgrounds were represented, too, from chemical engineers to artists. Our team had so much fun together and laughed constantly, so much so that we were made fun of for it at our graduation. I was so touched when a retired teacher from Maryland and a musician from Brooklyn busted out their instruments and improvised together. Camp was such a unifying experience, and I know each of us learned something about diversity during the course of the weekend.

In addition to the kids and adult camps, they have Family Camps, Educator camps for STEM teachers, and an Aviation Challenge for those who are more interested in learning how to fly an F-16 than a Shuttle Orbiter. My only advice if you’re going and you’re an adult, sleep at the Marriott next door. The beds and showers at the Camp facility were kid sized and not very comfy for us larger humans.

Not so comfy when you're 40.

Not so comfy when you’re 40.

I would go back to Space Camp in a less than twelve parsecs, and I REALLY want to stress that this is such a fantastic opportunity for kids. If your child is interested in STEM studies, SEND THEM TO SPACE CAMP. I am not exaggerating when I say that it could be life-defining experience for them, the moment where they decide what they want to be when they grow up. It was that impactful and influential. The environment is so supportive of encouraging each child’s ability and potential. When you’re there, you feel as though you really could be the first person on Mars, or the engineer to solve the complex problem of artificial gravity. This is such a better educational value for your dollar than the typical summer camp, which is great, but will they get to meet an astronaut and ask them questions?

Nope.

Or pilot the Shuttle?

Uh-uh.

Or make slime on the moon?

Ain’t gonna happen.

 

The only place you can do that is at Space Camp.

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I’m front row, second from the right.

Have you been to Space Camp? Is science your boyfriend/girlfriend? Are you sad that the Hubble will crash into the Pacific in 3 years? (FTR, I’m crying in my Cornflakes about it.)

Tell me all about it below!

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