Vacation Races, Here I Come!

Sometimes, begging actually works. I don’t recommend you use the tactic often, but I’m not above begging for something I really want, even if that something doesn’t exist. Believe it or not, begging can be a very effective tool. Case in point, after running the 2016 VR Rocky Mountain Half Marathon, a.k.a, my favorite race, I basically begged the Vacation Races race series to let me be an ambassador even though they didn’t have an ambassador program.

Pro Tip: When begging, bargain by making promises to spend money on their races. 😉

When I heard from the Race Director a few days later, I was ECSTATIC.  After applying and hoping, it’s official, I’m a VR Ambassador!! I can’t wait to represent the series at this year’s Yellowstone Half and the Rocky Mountain Half. Maybe (hopefully) a few more!

 

I wanted to be an ambassador for Vacation Races because I think they put on the best races in the country. The courses are spectacular, the race organization is top-notch, the medals are absolutely THE BEST, the aid stations are the best I’ve ever seen (water, energy drink, bananas and oranges), and I feel that you really get your money’s worth with a fantastic overall race experience. Honestly, I’d take a VR race over one at Disney any time. I can’t say enough good things about VR, and I can’t wait to share more stuff from my favorite race series with you. Details about the program are still coming out, so I’ll share any codes I get in a future post.

 

Have you ever done a VR race? How did it go for you?  Is one of their races on your bucket list? 

Summer Races…and Beyond – The 2017 Caldera Triple

A few weeks ago, I turned forty. Surprisingly, it wasn’t horrible. In fact, it was pretty flippin rad. First, my Subaru that served me well for 11 years decided it didn’t feel like driving anymore. Goodbye, rD magnets.

I loved this car so much.

I loved this car so much.

So I was forced to get a new car.

Hellllooooo, Lover.

Hellllooooo, Lover.

This really was a coincidence. Promise. No for real, though. But in a way, you could say I got a pony for my birthday. (I’ve always wanted to say that!) Since before I had a license, I’ve wanted a classic Mustang. I can’t afford a classic, but my husband agreed to this new one. Because he is the best. (And he liked it a lot, too, truth be told.)

THEN, as if that weren’t enough, my husband (being the absolute best husband on the planet (see above new car)), had arranged a gift for me long before my Subaru died. This was my face when I opened my itinerary to SPACECAMP, something I’ve wanted to do since I was eight.

spacecamp

They do have an adult program and I will have to get in the Multi-Axis Trainer. They claim it doesn’t make you sick. Ummmm-hmmmmm. Anyway, I work for an aerospace company and I’m a space/sci-fi fanatic, so yeah. I’m SO STOKED I CANNOT EVEN.

But birthdays tend to make me reflect on what I’ve accomplished and what I still want to achieve. My birthday did remind me that at 40, I need to focus on fitness. My biggest fitness goal is to not be frail in advanced age. To keep running, I need races to stay motivated. I’m registered for 3 races this summer that I’m excited for: The Skirt Sports 13er, and the Elk Double Challenge hosted by Vacation Races.

Last year I ran the Skirt Sports 10k at the 13er, but this year I wanted to represent with my fellow skirt sisters and do the half. It will be a whole weekend of strong women supporting each other, and that’s pretty hard to beat.

PR of 1:23:42 and I'm thrilled!

PR of 1:23:42 and I’m thrilled!

I loved the Rocky Mountain Half in Estes Park so much last year that I registered for their inaugural Elk Challenge this year. It’s a 5k on Friday afternoon and a half on Saturday morning. My oldest friend lives in Estes Park, so I’m staying with her that Friday night. SLEEPOVER! Seriously, though, last year’s half was my favorite race to date. Yes, even more than runDisney. I know, but it’s true! It’s still my favorite medal.

Poking around the Vacation Races website,  I made a discovery that will likely be the death of me and my pocket book. It’s called the Caldera Triple  because who wouldn’t want to run in view of the Grand Tetons one week, followed by Yellowstone the next? And a 5k in between?? I SAY BRING IT, NATIONAL PARKS.

caldera

Image Credit: Vacation Races

2 National Parks, 3 races, 4 UH-MAZING medals, and some of the prettiest land in the nation. Who’s with me?

Have you ever done a Vacation Races race? What races do you have planned for the summer, or beyond?

 

New Year Water Challenge

Many, many folks have done a 30 day water challenge wherein they commit to drinking the recommended 64 ounces a day for a month. But guess what? I’m doing the same thing! (Bazinga!)

IG

I drink a lot of water. A lot of flavored water. Flavored with leaves. Black leaves. Okay, Earl Grey. I drink a lot lot lot of hot Celestial Seasonings Earl Grey tea.  Somewhere in the neighborhood five, twenty ounce cups a day. That should count for my 64 ounces of water, honestly. HONESTLY. And really, it can’t be that bad because I sleep like a log all night, every night. Caffeine, schmaffeine.

It’s totally bad. I know.

The real problem with this  habit is the sugar. Basically, I’m consuming a small sugar cane plantation every month. A big can of white sugar sits beside the hot water dispenser at the office and I just pour it into my cup. It’s horrible, I know. Something needs to change or I will be diabetic in the very near future.

my addicition

I even have a cup (or stein, as you will) right before bed.

So why have I decided to be a follower? Great question! Well, aside from the aforementioned risk of diabetic shock descending at any moment, I’m curious to see the changes drinking 64 ounces a day will bring. If I can flush some toxins and get rid of the circles that have been under my eyes since childhood I will be so happy. I’m also hoping healthier skin will help fade my adolescent acne scars. Let’s not mention the laugh lines and crows feet entrenching themselves in my face. I turn forty this year and it’s starting to show. Water, nature’s cure-all, to the rescue!

The "Before"

The “Before”

The plan is to go from five or six cups of tea a day to two in the morning. Then I’ll divide the sixty-four ounce daily intake into eight ounce segments throughout the rest of the day. Using my favorite race sticker covered bottle, fruit infusions, and Nuun should help me say on track. In 30 days I’ll check in and let you know if my bags took a flight home. If you don’t hear from me, I’m laying on the kitchen floor in front of my electric teapot, slipping into a diabetic coma.

 

What’s your method for staying hydrated? Are you a water or sport drink person? Show us your water bottle on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

So long, 2015, You Were Pretty Awesome!

With the year drawing to a close and Thanksgiving later this week, I found myself reflecting on 2015. Since joining Scootadoot last November, I’ve gotten to do a lot of great things and meet some really wonderful people. I’d like to take a sec to just say I’ve had a great time being a Chick, and thought I’d share some of my favorite memories from my first year with Scoot.

Philly Stray Boots Tour – This self-guided walking tour was the kick-off to a great first half marathon weekend! Meri, Cam, and I saw the sites of historical downtown Philadelphia while looking for clues scavenger hunt style. The fact that it was self-guided meant that we weren’t part of a group crowded around a guide in period costume tell us stuff we earned in elementary school. Plus, we’re occasionally inappropriate, which likely would not have been appreciated by fellow tour goers with small children.

tour5

An up the nose (and crotch) shot with a statue on the tour. See, inappropriate.

An up the nose (and crotch) shot with a statue on the tour. See, inappropriate.

And the actual sites were pretty cool, like the first ever US Post Office! It’s still a working post office! (It had a creepy vibe, too, it you’re into that kind of thing.)

tour2

A few days later, I ran my first half with my fellow Chicks Mer, Cam, and Vic at the AC April Fool’s Half. There were so many things to love about this race! I hadn’t seen my girls for three years and a visit was long overdue! Plus, we had costumes, and they were cute, so there was that. I ran my half in 2:55 and was pretty darn pleased with myself!

Coming to the finish with a new friend. (Photo Credit: Ken Shelton Photography)

Coming to the finish with a new friend. (Photo Credit: Ken Shelton Photography)

My first medal ever and it's soooo purdy!

My first medal ever and it’s soooo purdy!

I met some great folks, including Bonnie, a.k.a ‘Cuse Runner Girl!

Bye, Bonnie! Until next time!

Bye, Bonnie! Until next time!

Meri and I played cat and mouse with these lovely people the whole race, then shared a beer afterward.

New Friends!

New Friends!

The best part was the end! Seriously, when I saw that finish line I was SO HAPPY. I grabbed Meri’s hand as we crossed because there wasn’t anyone else I would have rather finished my first half with.

Aaaaaand we're done! (Photo Credit, Ken Shelton Photography)

Aaaaaand we’re done! (Photo Credit, Ken Shelton Photography)

The other best part was the winning of the costume contest because we won stuff! After all the hard work Cam and I put into making our costumes and Vic and Meri put into looking cute in them, we celebrated with our favorite food group.

Mmmmmm, chocolate.

Mmmmmm, chocolate.

Then there was that time the Meridith came to visit me and we ran the BolderBOULDER! Before the race, we got to see Abdi and Meb and Pete at a press conference. It was certainly a highlight of the weekend.

IMG_7014

One of my favorite photos from this year, Meri and I at CU’s Folsom Field with the Flatirons behind us.

Ready for a nap. And beer. Maybe beer, then nap.

Ready for a nap. And beer. Maybe beer, then nap.

At what other race in this country do you see seriously talented belly dancers supporting and entertaining the runners? You will only see this in Boulder, folks.

Onlyinboulder

This might be my second favorite photo. Ever.

Run, Betty, run!!!

Run, Betty, run!!!

As the end of the summer came I focused on my second 1/2, the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon. This was by far my biggest race of the year as far as fitness and athleticism were concerned. It was also the prettiest course I ran in 2015. I have nothing but positive things to say about this race, and it will probably be an annual entry for me from now on.

longspeak

mile10

The elite runners (and my husband) got to see some elk on the course!

The elite runners (and my husband) got to see some elk on the course!

This was the hardest race I’ve run to date. The elevation in Estes Park is 7,522 and the course gains just under 500 feet over its thirteen miles. That’s why I’m so proud of this gorgeous medal, it represents all the things I was told I couldn’t do as a person with asthma.

medal

Throughout the year, I pulled out my 2015 achievement board to check my progress. My goals were many and ambitious. Most of them did not happen. Some, however did, and the ones that I succeeded at were some of the most important I’ve ever set for myself. I can’t wait to make my achievement board for 2016.

IMG_1307

Most of all, I’m grateful to the other Chicks and all of you for welcoming me into your community. You all amaze me, and inspire me to keep setting the bar high. Thanks for a fantastic 2015, Scootadoot!

 

What achievements are you most proud of this year? What are you setting your cap after in 2016? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Race Recap: Rocky Mountain Half Marathon

On Saturday, I participated in the 2015 Rocky Mountain Half Marathon presented by Vacation Races, who, in case you aren’t familiar, hosts races at various national park locales across the country. I was super excited to register for this one because the Rocky Mountain National Park is celebrating 100 years this year, and as a proud native of Colorado, I really wanted the commemorative medal!

Got my bib and my shirt!

Got my bib and my shirt!

I’ve been to the location of the race, Estes Park (pronounced Estis) many times, but I’d never gotten up at 3:45 on a Saturday morning to get there before. The race started promptly at 6:00 am, and we arrived at about 5:35 with plenty of time to park and walk to the start. My saint of a husband came with me and brought his camera. He’s a keeper for sure!

Not quite awake but I'm ready to run!

Not quite awake but I’m ready to run!

Sunrise over Lake Estes

Sunrise over Lake Estes

The race entry was limited to 1500, and 1329 raced. I felt this was a perfect number of people for the course. There was lots of room to move and maneuver, and I was never alone on the course even though I was running by myself.

Just keep waiting, just keep waiting...

Just keep waiting, just keep waiting…

And I'm off! I'm the one in purple (of course).

And I’m off! I’m the one in purple (of course).

The first hill is in sight.

The first hill is in sight.

People are walking a half a mile into the race. Altitude + hills = no bueno.

People are walking a half a mile into the race. Altitude + hills = no bueno.

I love when the mountains are pink from the sunrise!

I love when the mountains are pink from the sunrise!

I scoped a lot from the course, starting at mile 1. The course took us around the eastern edge of Lake Estes, and the views were pretty grand just like they were every mile of the course! Although the National Parks Service supports these races,  we didn’t run through Rocky Mountain National Park. Instead, the course runs along the paved streets of the town, but the scenery is still spectacular. Nestled in a small valley with the lake and surrounded by Longs Peak, Mount Meeker, and many other peaks, Estes made sure the Rocky Mountain Half lived up to its name!

The weather was perfect for running. It was 54 degrees Fahrenheit when we got to the race, and by mile three, I was stripping off my hoodie and tossing it to my husband as I ran by! They also had a gear check at mile three for you to leave your jacket and they’d bring it to the finish for you. Nifty!

Mile 3 and I'm feeling strong.

Mile 3 and I’m feeling strong.

mile3view

It’s so pretty!

A bit further along came the first long hill of the course. I ran/walked it and felt good at the top, only I knew what was coming ahead. A slow, gradual 4 mile uphill slog where most of the 490-ish feet of elevation on the course is gained. There was a lot of walking going on in this section, folks. At least it was pretty!

Mile5

mile5ish

The long, slow climb.

The long, slow climb.

This is about the time that Meri texted me to see how I was doing. I whined to her about the never-ending hill of little oxygen, and she reminded me of something very important.

I love this girl.

I love this girl.

Then I rounded a bend and saw this view. I stopped complaining.

longspeak

At mile 9, the hill ended! HOORAAYYYY! I stopped for a potty break, grabbed some Honey Stinger energy gels, half a banana, and some Nuun and was off again. I loved that the aid stations had water, Nuun, energy gels, bananas, and orange slices. Way to keep us hydrated and fueled, Vacation Races!

mile10

It seems that mile 10 is were my body starts to whine and get annoyed. My hips start to get tight and pinchy, and I’m ready to be done. I put my head down and slogged through the rest of the race. I didn’t take any photos or video.  My husband was down at the finish waiting for me and he got to see the elite runners come in. They were lucky enough to see some elk on the course!

Elk are a common site in Rocky Mountain National Park. That buck has HUGE antlers!

elk3

The elk were not cheering for the runners, and moved on to the golf course.

The finish is in site and I CANNOT WAIT.

The finish is in site and I CANNOT WAIT.

Aaaand DONE!!!

Aaaand DONE!!!

I finished with a time of 3:17:47, much slower than my 1st half marathon. It’s okay, the elevation at this course was just under 7500 feet, plus there were lots of hills and no cushy Boardwalk to run on. I expected that my time would be quite a bit slower than at the April Fools Half. All in all, I’m quite pleased with myself!

It's so pretty and special and I love it!

It’s so pretty and special and I love it!

The medal for this race is really fabulous. It’s huge and heavy and bronze plated and I can’t wait to get a medal rack!!

medal

medalback

I think I need to get this baby engraved.

I’m so proud that I ran this race and accomplished it. I knew going in that this would be the hardest thing I’d aver asked of my body, and I did it. It was hard and it hurt, but it wasn’t as hard or as painful as I expected it to be. This is something I’m super proud of, and will be for a long time. I conquered the Rocky Mountain Half!

soproud

Then it was time for recovery. Pro Compression socks, Mexican food, and vintage Batman. Perfect ending to a prefect day!

recovery

If you’re considering a Vacation Race, I would recommend you do it. I have nothing negative to say about the race. It was well organized, well sponsored, and well stocked. They fed us generously, gave us a pretty shirt and a GORGEOUS medal, and we got to run in a spectacular setting. Really, what more can a runner ask for?

What’s next on your race calendar? Have you done a Vacation Race Series race in the past?Do you like Mexican and/or classic sci-fi? Let’s chat in the comments!

*No compensation of any kind was given to me by Vacation Races for this race review/recap.