Thursday, September 26, 2013

DIY Race Bib and Medal display (cost about $17.00)

Outrunning The Rain's bling
 In a couple hours, I knocked this out and found it pretty easy and cost efficient.  There are some really beautiful, but pretty expensive race bib holders and medal displays...  So I decided to make my own.

This is how I did it:

Supplies and relative cost
Supplies needed:
  • Wood for the medals and bibs to be on display.  I got a 11x12 inch MDF scrap of wood for $0.51 at Home Depot (in the scrap lumber section) as well as a long plank of wood (2X4?) for the medals and cut it down to about 18 inches long.   
  • Knobs for the medals to be hung from on the plank of wood.  If you have the patience, you can find some fantastic vintage and rustic distressed knobs that aren't matchy-matchy at places like the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  Otherwise, you can get basic wooden ones at the hardware store for about a dollar each.  If you're really lucky, the previous homeowner left all sorts of goodies like this in your garage when you moved in.  
  • Picture hanger hooks to nail on the back of each display so you can easily hang it on the wall.  This was $2.97 at my Home Depot.  
  • Cup Hooks or the like to hang race bibs on.  Another option would be to line the bottom of the race bib display with the cup hooks to hang medals from there too.  Cost $3.48.
  •  Acrylic paint to paint the endges of the wood.  Unless you are talented at folding the scrapbook paper over the edges and make it look clean and nice.  Paint might want to be a complentary color to the scrapbook paper colors.
  • Scrap book paper.  This will be mod-podged on the wood surface.  You could also just paint it or leave it with wood grain.  This would be especially nice with a rustic piece of distressed drift wood or old wood from a weathered barn.  You could also use an old map instead of scrap book paper.  The options are endless.  Request samples of wall paper from a designer store and collage that on there?  Whatever you heart is content with. 
  • A "paper friendly glue" to put on your background paper.  Mod Podge is generally the go-to glue for this, but I actually had issues with my paper wrinkling.  This is probably because my mod podge had been sitting in the craft closet for ages and settled a bit.  I ended up using rubber cement and it's working great.  
  • Exacto knife
  • Ruler
  • Drill
I think that covers the basic supplies.  I did need a drill, so a drill would be good and a stencil for my mantra... but hopefully this DIY will make sense and not be too difficult to follow with more and more supplies being added on.

For the medal display, the first thing I did was layout my knobs and evenly space them apart.  After marking where I wanted them, I had my husband drill a hole for the screw to be placed in the plank of wood and into the knob.  He drilled the base of the hole larger than needed so that the head of the screw would be recessed into the wood and the wood could sit flush against the wall.

I then painted the knobs and set them aside to dry and then coated them with a coat of mod podge so that they'd have a slight gloss and be a little protected from knicks and scratches on my craft paint coat.

While that's all drying, lay the plank of wood over the scrapbook paper and trace out a section of your plank of wood.  If your paper has a specific design (like mine), you'll want to cut out that rectangle and glue it on the paper again so that the designs match up and that the paper is long enough to cover your plank of wood. 

 I glued on my paper onto the wood and stacked lots and lots of heavy books onto it and left it to dry.  (While it's drying you can go work on the bib display.)

After it's dry, I cut off the edges of the paper hanging over the edges of the wood with an exacto knife.  Then nail on the picture hanging hooks on each corner.

For the bib display, I had two sizes of bibs.  The standard size for races like "Color Me Rad" or the huge ones like my "Run Like Hell" bib.  I laid each size down and marked where the upper holes on the bib were.

The smaller bib will be places a little bit higher and the larger bib a little bit lower.

The larger bib is placed below the smaller ones and placed a little bit lower to make flipping through the bibs a bit easier.  I suppose you could just punch new holes into any funky shaped bibs, but I can't bare the thought!

You can also run an iron on nylon setting over your really wrinkled bibs, but beware that resting the iron for the briefest of moments may result in a brown spot on your bib.  

Before displaying your bibs, you'll also want to tear away the "Do Not Tear" foam bits for your timing chips. 

Anyway, after marking the bib places on the board, whip out the drill and put some holes in your board.  Your cup hooks might be the kind you can drill in by hand, but save your hand some work.... especially if you have MDF.  

Place the hooks in and make sure your bibs hang the way you wanted.... or that you didn't mis-measure something.  

Then I removed the hooks, measured where the holes were on my board and marked the "top" on the back of my board.  Glue on the scrapbook paper, pile books on and wait to dry.  This could be where you iron or rip timing chips off your bibs.  

When the glue is dry, cut excess paper off with the exacto knife and stencil on a mantra if you desire.  

I stenciled first on scratch paper so I could get an idea of which details on letters might shift and which letters needed to be adjusted for height.  

I then traced my stencils (purchased for $0.10 at Scrap PDX) and painted my letters on.

Bugaboo used my extra paint to paint some letters of her own. 

After it's done, you can coat with a layer of mod podge and replace hooks and display!

I placed bibs on some rings left over from my college flashcard days, but decided to just leave the bibs on the hook.  

I might replace these small hooks with larger hooks or just split the growing pile of small bibs for each flash card ring and hang each ring on the hook.  We'll see.  

So, easy enough?  I really hope I explained that well enough to understand.

How do you display your medals and/or bibs?  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Race Recap: The Happy Girls Run Forest Grove. (I'm not exactly a "happy girl", but I am a half marathoner!)


I was fortunate enough to run the Happy Girls Run at Hagg Lake for free (minus state park parking fees) after winning a contest they had on their facebook page!
Packet pickup swag
At packet pick up in downtown Portland, I got my tech shirt (also free for half marathon participants) and my free Sock Guy socks!  (I can't wait to try those out!)  The swag is your typical fare, with ads for other races, a protein bar and such... but I feel like I'm in the big times now that a tech shirt comes FREE with registration!  Yeah!  (It's the little things that make me happy.)

Extra swag bag!
 Then I won another contest on their facebook page for submitting a picture of my outfit for the race.  Part of the spoils' description was a "race and lifestyle" goodies bag (with an LE Bandz headband... but I didn't get the headband.  It was a free prize so I'm not going to go complain to them about it.  Maybe they'll find it and pass it along to another lucky gal.)  Some of the prizes are a little silly, like a kazoo with one of the sponsor's logo on it.  Also, a pretty neat tech shirt... in size "Women's small".  I'm very happily plugging along on my weight loss journey, but that isn't a fat issue, that's a frame issue!  I don't think I'll ever be a "small".  Oh well, my daughter can have a new running shirt when she rides around in the jogging stroller.

The half Marathoners starting their race

We got a bit turned around on our way to the race, but we definitely got there before the start!  Woo Hoo!  The website said that "Happy Girls" are known for their pre and post race festivities.  I guess getting there 40 minutes before start was too late to party with the Happy Girls?  Or maybe the party was just not festive with all the rain?

We're all from Oregon, we don't rust.   What's a little rain?  No big deal!  But, I just let the pre race party roll off like water on a duck's back.  No big deal.  Maybe a little disappointment, but I needed to stretch and enjoy my family before my first half marathon anyway.  :)  

After the start, we ran on the road for 4 miles.  The first mile was a pretty steep incline and I was impressed!  That was a tough way to start out a half marathon, but I was ready and excited for the challenge.  

The race venue is a small, intimate one.  The 5K had around 87 participants, the 10K had 76 participants and the half had 203 participants.  I stayed with the same group of ladies ahead and behind me for the beginning of the race, and it made me feel like I was figuring out this whole pace thing.  

At mile 4 we got to hit the trail!  This was what I had been looking forward to.  The canopy from the trees was lush enough that I could flip my hat backwards and enjoy the view without the rain pelting me.

Rain and mud and seeing where I was going was the least of my worries....


After plugging away on the trail for about a mile I start to hear what I thought were cheers.  Maybe the next aid station was getting pretty excited?  I got further on the trail and heard for sure screams of terror.  Someone screamed to me to "RUN!" and I was so confused.   My thoughts were "I am... running.  Run back for help?  Keep running and get away from you.  What the....  OUCH!  What the hell!?!"  My bum was hurting.  I was going to keep forward and get the hell out of there!  OUCH!  What the hell was going on?

And then I saw one of the women screaming.  She was no longer on the path... in fact she was quite a ways from it and screaming and tearing her clothes off.  Bees.

I heard more screaming and came to another group of girls.  They were screaming and instructing me to get out of there.  We all needed to get out of there!  As I passed by one of the girls, she screamed "oh my god!" and started swatting at my back and legs.  I overheard her later tell another runner that I had "hundreds" of them on my back.  Yea.

That fun fiasco was around mile 5.  I trotted ahead with the woman who rescued me from all the hornets clinging to me.  I'm not sure where the other six or seven ladies were, but we needed to get out of there fast.  
As we made a bend in the trail we saw a young woman wondering in the path.  She seemed drunk.  This race was only getting "better".   

I called out to her, "Are you okay?"
"No.  I don't know..."
As I got closer I asked if she had been stung.
"Yes!  All over!"  And the poor thing started to weep.  It became clear fast that she had been in a daze from shock.  We all were taken by surprise by it.  Then she started screaming, "My mom!  We have to go back for my mom!  She's allergic!"


Me or my new running friend said something like, "I think the best thing for us is to move forward so we don't get stung anymore and go get help."

I lead the way while my rescuer explained very soothingly to the young girl that her stings looked very small "like mosquito bites" and she was going to be okay.  I told her we were just going to take this one mile at a time and hope for an aid station at mile 6.

It honestly seemed to take forever, but I started to hear cars again on the road aove us and started screaming at the top of my lungs for help.  No answer.  "Can you hear me?"  And I got an answer! "Yes!"

At mile 5.5 we had finished that bit of trail and were on a wide shoulder of the road.  Two race volunteers or officials were parked there greeting us with big smiles on their faces.  I wanted to smack them!  Did they not hear me saying "help" not, "Hi, how are you?" ?  They were just sitting in their trucks with the doors open with ear-to-ear grins.

"Bees.  Yeah we know."  He cut me off.
"There's people injured!  They need help!  They are still back there!  Her mother is allergic to bees and still back there!"
Then my poor little friend went frantic again.
One of the men asked his coworker, "Should we call 911?"
A pause of thought and then "Yeah."  and he pulled out his walkie talkie and called for help.

If they knew there was an issue of bees from other runners passing through, why on earth did they not send an official down there to see if they could see any runners down or injured or in need of assistance?  

With my backside inflamed, I ran on and hoped that the young lady was going to be okay and that her mom and her would be reunited (safely) very soon.

The race continued again back on the trail and I watched the ground, looking for holes that might be hornet nests.  I was a bundle of nerves.  I started to settle into a peace of mind and calmer demeanor when I noticed some garbage in the bushes bearing the Xterra logo from my last race in August.  Bummer!  Just as I was reaching for it to minimize the footprint racing in the area is causing, I heard screaming.

Mile 7 was un passable and another woman was covered in stings... or bites.... or whatever it is these tough yellow and black fighters do.  It hurts bad!  She instructed me that no one should under any circumstances attempt to get past mile 7 on this path.

So, I turned around and told every runner I passed to do the same.
"Turn around!  Bees on mile 7!  We can't get past.  Go to mile 5.5 and take the raod!"

When I got back to mile 5.5 where the guys had so chivalrously called 911, there were paramedics and firetrucks on the scene checking the runners over.   They asked me "Are you stung?"
"Yes, but there are more bees at mile 7!  We can't get past them and more runners have been stung down there!  We need to take the road past this section."  So, with that, the race had been rerouted.

We ran on the road again until mile... well, according to my garmin, I had gone 12 miles.  Someone ahead of me stopped during a torrential downpour to put on her jacket.  She turned around and saw me and exclaimed, "It's so good to see you still smiling!"  I think I might have been gritting my teeth with the pouring rain and the chills setting in, but I'm glad she thought it was a smile.

Smile, because you never know who you are inspiring.

We got back on the trail at mile 12, I think mile 10 of the race course and stayed there for 2 miles.  It's amazing how much can happen in a little space of distance.  I was getting very turned around with the poor marked trail.  There were some places where the trail forked in three directions and I had no idea which path to choose.  Remembering my 10k race, I tried to hug the paths closest to the lake.  I remember the Xterra race mentioning to stay away from the stream.  The stream meant we had gone the wrong way.  Well, another three part fork and I look over to see the stream.  I cursed out loud and was feeling completely lost and angry since I had already done more than 13 miles and looking forward to some warm clothes and someone to check over these damn bee stings.  What was i supposed to do?

"Are we lost?"  We?  What?  I turned around.  A group of women had been following me.  Crap.
"Yup!  Which way do you think we should go?"  What was I going to do?  I didn't want to lead anymore.  I was tired and cold and getting disheartened.  Someone looked to the steep monster of a path on the far left and we saw a small white sign on the top.  I ran up it and could see the happy girl logo.   "Mile 12".

We weren't going to freeze to death at Hagg Lake!

We entered back out onto the road and finished our race...

I hurt so bad, but I gave it my all at the end.
 The icing on the cake for this race was when I crossed the finish line, I asked the gal running the packet pickup from the day before where the "first aid tent" was.  "Oh.  Are you stung?"  I replied I was and would like some help.
"Well, if you go down there, someone will get you an ice pack."
I go "down there" where the awards assembly was held earlier and where the vendors used to be.  Everyone was packing up to go.  The brewery who was a sponsor had cosmos and cocktails lining his card table, so i asked him, "Do you know where to get an ice pack for injuries down here?"
He had no idea.  He was clearly the only one in the area with any ice at all, so he gave me a cup of ice.

A cup of ice.  Lovely.  Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but that was a little more awkward and hard to deal with for icing injuries on the back of me.  The website stated this would be a "fully supported race."  I guess they define that by having water tables, porta potties and booze at the end.  I'd think it meant having a cooler full of ice packs... if not an actual first aid station.

It's a race on a trail, for goodness sake!  Apparently no other sport has as many injuries as running does, and on a muddy, wet trail nonetheless.  It would be very beneficial to have a first aid station for those sprained ankles, sore IT bands... and god forbid, attacks from hornets or other wildlife.  

I didn't finish with a stellar time, 14+ miles in 3 1/2 hours, but wasn't the race cut off 4 hours with the finish line open for 5?  Where was everyone?  I guess if you're slow and have to back track to avoid being attacked, you miss out on the after party.  So, I took my ice, that the bartender kindly dumped into a soggy cocktail napkin and snapped a few pictures before going home to recoup there.

If you sign up for a race for the "bling", you can pass on this one.  It is poorly made, with pockmarks on it's surface from the mold it was made with.  It's on a cotton thread of a cord and the words are too small to read.  The letters run together.  

Which is bigger?  My finisher's medal or the welts from my adventure?

This is a poor picture, but you can take my word for it that the welts are bigger.

If this race has you interested for the view, just go run Hagg Lake on a weekend and save the registration fee for another race.   If this race has you interested for their festive environment, there is none.

But to be fair, everyone's spirits were pretty damp with the rain and the hornets... which are two things that are not the race director's fault.

One girl crossed the finish line with a hornet still in her shoe!  Ewww!

As we pulled out, a runner called out in general "I'm NOT a 'Happy Girl'!"
That pretty much sums it up.

At least this race was free?

Have any race horror stories or mishaps to make me feel better about this one?
What do you think about races not having medical staff, basic first aid or anything like that?  Is that fair to the participants?  Or is it a silly request that races have that?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

It's the final countdown! I'll be running a half marathon in the morning...

This is it!  All my hard training, pounding the pavement (despite sun allergies or soggy feet from the rain) and long runs while pushing a jogging stroller... it's time to test that dedication and see how it works out for me on a hilly trail tomorrow.  13 miles of hills and mud from all our rain and then more hills.  I think I should have done more hill work?  It's the final countdown.... can you guess what's going on in my head?  Well, besides sheer panic.

You're welcome.  :)
Happy Girls Run hosted yet another giveaway and announced their winner yesterday. (The first giveaway you can read about here.)  They asked that race participants post on their facebook page pictures of their race outfits and gear for Sunday.  "Our favorite submission will win a prize pack filled with race and lifestyle goodies.  They will also receive a custom LE Bandz headband for the 2013 race!" 

Since one of the race is hosted at Henry Hagg Lake, the second largest habitat for the Fenders Blue Butterfly, it made sense to wear my favorite running shirt and add a butterfly to my water pack.  The Fenders Blue is an endangered butterfly only found in the Willamette Valley.  (However, the race beneficiaries are Raphael House of Portland and Girls Inc.)

Well, I won again.

I'm off now to the expo and to check out the fantastic goodies.  More to come later... but for now, I need to get my stuff together and my nerves under control for the race!

Here's my packing list:
  • Running Shoes
  • Socks
  • Capris
  •  Arm Sleeves/Arm Warmers
  • Jacket for post race warm up
  • Change of clothes post race
  • Garmin
  • Hat
  • Phone with Charity Miles app running in the background
  • Bodyglide
  • Flipbelt full of my homemade fuel (recipe to be posted soon!)
  • Hydration pack with water and Nuun tablets
  • Road ID
  • My fantastic family
  • And finally my Race bib and any other paperwork
 Wish me luck!!!

What items are on your packing list for race day? Most importantly, what am I forgetting?  (Don't freak out... Don't freak out....)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Gearing up for my first half marathon.... this weekend. Wait? WHAT!?!

I know....  I started this blog as a sounding board and community to vent some of my fears and hopes as I started running again and started to prepare for my first half marathon.  Which was "Run Like Hell" in October.  Well, one thing lead to another... and when I see a giveaway I have to enter it.

This giveaway was that each entry was to nominate someone who was deserving of a free race entry.  I nominated a good friend, and the one who introduced me to the idea of running and a training plan that gave me hope that it was doable.  We won!  Well, Happy Girls Run couldn't pick just one fabulous lady who deserved a free race entry, so they ALL won!  One thing lead to another, and my buddy couldn't race, so she gave me the free entry back to me.  (Insert huge smiley face here.  I was beyond excited.)  

When I wanted to "jog" in high school to attempt to get my weight problem under control, I gave up right away.  My high school sweet heart drove to my house every morning at the crack of dawn for three days.  Every morning I heaved and gasped for breath and hoped I wouldn't die of a heart attack while he kept a pace with me similar to speed walking.  It was too humiliating and I gave up.

Speed up the clock 15 years later, and I still had that weight problem and still wanted to do "something" about it.  more than anything, I wanted to prove that I could do this.  I CAN run.  I can!  Well, week one of couch to 5k just about killed me.  It certainly killed my pride.  In a group of 5 other lovely ladies, I limped and lamented and when my 30 seconds of running was done, I cried at the idea of the walk times getting shorter and the run times getting longer.  I'm not even kidding.  You can ask them, but I'm too embarrassed about it to give you their contact info.  ;-)

Well, they didn't give up on me and I didn't give up on myself this time.... so now I'm running a free race on Sunday!  Why not go for the sweet swag and run a half?

Sneak Peak of the sterling silver bling awaiting half marathon finishers

I'll let you know on Monday how much I regret that decision.  I am full of hope though, because I am trained for a half right now with Hal Higdon's training plan.  I did great on my 10 miler last weekend.  The question is... How I'll do for 13 miles on a trail.  The very same trail I did a 10k on last month.  

This will be interesting.  Hopefully I don't face plant it too bad!

Any advice or anecdotes for a first half marathon?
Trail running?

Have a fatastic weekend and I'll keep you posted!  By the way, I hung out with SBS and Dimity of Another Mother Runner today.... that'll be a post for another day.  ;-)  Stay tuned!