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?
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.
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!
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!
5K Outfit: Skirt Sports Race Magnet Skirt, Electric Tank, Injinji socks, NB Shoes
At the 5k Start
Spirit of the Rockies: Anglers, Canadian Geese, and runners share the natural beauty!
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!
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.
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!
Flat Me for the Half: Skirt Sports Eclipse top, Cougar (Lioness) skirt in Free Love print, two pairs of socks; Injinji toe and PROcompression.
I only smile this early in the morning on race days. Trust.
Mountain valley mist rising as the sun rises in Estes Park
The weather was perfect, and the course is so gorgeous!
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!
In the middle of the dreaded looooooong (3.5 miles-ish) low grade hill.
This view is worth the altitude.
The course takes you right past the most haunted hotel in America!
Coming up on the finish
Just a few more steps!
Team WTF? Where’s The Finish
That bling, tho!
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!
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.
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.)
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)
Meri and I played cat and mouse with these lovely people the whole race, then shared a beer afterward.
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)
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.
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.
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.
This might be my second favorite photo. Ever.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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…
And I’m off! I’m the one in purple (of course).
The first hill is in sight.
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 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.
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!
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.
Then I rounded a bend and saw this view. I stopped complaining.
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!
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!
The elk were not cheering for the runners, and moved on to the golf course.
The finish is in site and I CANNOT WAIT.
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!
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!!
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!
Then it was time for recovery. Pro Compression socks, Mexican food, and vintage Batman. Perfect ending to a prefect day!
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.
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