Friday, November 28, 2014

Gobble! Gobble! Dragging the family out for local Turkey Trots (Hillsboro 19th annual Turkey Trot and Hood To Coast Series Turkey Trot)

On Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014 The kiddos participated in the Hillsboro Turkey Trot.  

I ran with Squeakers for her 200 meter dash and she needed/wanted to be carried for half of it.  I think she just wasn't "in the mood' to run because she did great at a 400 meter kids dash last summer.  

Poor Bugaboo was caught in a rush of kids and was knocked down on her face.  She had a bloody nose, scraped up hands and knees with slight abrasions/track rash on her nose and forehead, but she got up and finished the race crying.  What else could she do?  I was behind her with Squeakers and she didn't know that and Dad was at the finish line... so she ran to her Dadda and I was oblivious to the whole ordeal until we got there.  Poor kiddo.  We talked a lot about getting up and trying again and next time I might have my mother hen instincts on mega alert and won't let her out of my eye sight...  

After some hugs and kisses she was over it, but I know she was still pretty sore the next day.  Her first bloody race bib...

Thursday, Thanksgiving day, we headed out to West Linn to participate in the Hood To Coast Series Turkey Trot Run/Walk.  

This is Hood To Coast's first year hosting smaller race events other than "The Mother Of All Relays".  As a first year event, it went off pretty well!  The event is capped at 500 and was free for everyone.  I don't think all 500 registered participants showed up and would gauge it more like 30 runners in the first wave of 8 minute mile or faster and about 200 or so in the second wave of runners and walkers.  

I wish they gave the runners and joggers a little bit more of a head start from those that intended to only walk, as the trail did seem a little narrow in some areas.... but people gladly moved to the right to let me pass, so what can i complain about?  Besides, which group would I have "ran" with?  I ended up walking half of it with my kiddos and running half of it by myself.  

The kids dash left me carrying Squeakers again for half of it and Bugaboo had no reservations or fear about running, despite her fall a couple days before.  Dad ran on the side lines just behind her so that he could keep an eye on her but she felt by herself. I was a little worried if she'd like to run again, because nearly one year to the date I had biffed it and wasn't excited about running again.

  When the second wave started, we all got into "herd mentality" and followed each other off the course and around the parking lot for a quick 0.5 mile loop.  There was no denying the announcer's annoyance as he announced we were all off course and need to stay on the path.  Follow the path and do not cross traffic cones.  I was annoyed because I never left the path, or crossed any cones... the path just sorta turned into a parking lot...  but on my next trip past the start line, I saw the fork in the road and knew which way to go.

 The course was supposed to be "short of 3 miles" but after the half mile mistake, I did 3.2 miles.  While starting my second and final loop through the park, I ran into my family again.  I had left them after our half mile "warm up" (mistake loop) and figured the kiddos wanted to stay at the start.... but they saw a family friend walking the event and decided to walk with them.

When I reached them, Bugaboo would not leave me... so I trotted ahead and she stayed close behind.  We stopped for a few selfies and I kept encouraging her forward.  This is the first time she hasn't been carried at all for a race this size.  Although she didn't complete the full 5K, she has a new distance PR of walking and running 1.8 miles.  So proud of my Bugaboo.

We finished the race, claimed our goodie bags and enjoyed the race atmosphere.  There were warm fires to sit by and warm up, vendors with lots of samples, hot and tasty coffee and a finisher's mug for everyone.

Goodie bags contained an entire pumpkin pie, bag of dinner rolls, jerky, chocolate milk, chips, and a coupon for $10 off a $10 purchase at Dicks Sporting Goods.  I spent mine on some yak trax socks and will give you a detailed review of them, I'm sure!  ;)  The kiddos wanted (pretty) Polar Water bottles.  With holiday sales going on, my $12 socks were buy-one-get-one-free so $24 worth of cushy socks for $2 and the kids fancy water bottles were $0.99.

Thanks Hood To Coast!!!!   

They also had too many treats left over after the event so they piled the extra goodie bags on several of us "back of the packers" hanging out after the event.

It was so much fun and I am so glad we went.  The girls adore their finisher's mugs and we used them during our Thanksgiving Dinner.

I'd say that was a fantastic deal for a free race.

Did you do a "Turkey Trot"?  (Thanksgiving is the most popular day for Road Races.)

Holiday Gift Guide! Wondering what to buy the runner in your life?

Okay, Thanksgiving is over and I am perhaps a bit behind on my holiday shopping.  Well, at least that's what it seems like.

Do you get a gift for your running partner?  For a friend, spouse, family member who likes to run?  What do you get them?!  Well, fret no more... let me tell you about the things I either absolutely love or wish someone would get for me.  (**This is a perfect hint for someone to email this post to my husband**)

1.  Noxgear

The Tracer 360 is my absolute favorite piece of running gear.  I use this when running in the twilight hours, in low visibility conditions or out at night.  I used it while out trick-or-treating with the kids and I was stopped by other families out on the candy adventures or by the residents who we went begging for candy from.  Everyone wanted it either for cycling or some other activity hat required being more visible to increase your safety.  It is light weight, easy to use and super rad.  Check out my review here and hurry over to their website (linked above) to see if the fall sale is still going on.

2.  Road ID 

You never know when something could happen that leaves you unable to explain important medical information or emergency contact info.  I haven't had to use my Road ID, but I wear my wrist ID slim at all times and have my young children wear theirs too.  They are too young to have my cell phone and my husband's cell memorized, so they know to ask someone to call mom or dad and show them the ID.  My ID states my name; husbands phone number; friend's phone number; medication allergies; year of birth and blood type.

With this handy dandy silicone strap, turn any bottle into a hand held water bottle.  Genius!  ...And, the perfect size for a stocking stuffer item.

4.  Electrolytes

There are two favorites that I enjoy.  The first is not as well known, but very tasty.  Check out Cocogo and try the Raspberry Passion Fruit!  You can use code  OUTRUNNINGTHERAIN for 10% off your order.  This product is a blend of coconut water and real fruit.  Natural ingredients.  No extra chemicals, coloring and all that unnecessary stuff.  

My second favorite electrolyte option is Nuun.  This is a fizzy tablet that you need to make sure is done dissolving before putting the cap back on your bottle.  Trust me.  :)  I enjoy the Cherry Limeade flavor but really like Watermelon... but that is a seasonal flavor.  

This belt is perfect for carrying your phone and a little fuel while also keeping track of your race bib.  I prefer this method than poking holes in my tech clothes (that are sometimes rather expensive).  This belt is also perfect for relay racing.  I can unsnap it, change my clothes and snap the belt back on without losing track of it between legs or in the shuffle of gear in the back of the team van.  

Need more ideas?  
Check out:


    • Pay for a race entry or help buy the next pair of running shoes.
    Not sure what races are on their wish list?  A little money could help your runner find a race to help keep their training momentum going.  A little money might also help invest toward the next pair of shoes to help keep your runner injury free. If I do more than 350 miles on one pair, my toenails let me know...

    What are you hoping for this gift-giving season?  Or what items *might* you be planning to gift?

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    Race Recap: Silver Falls Half Marathon. Emerging from the trails and waterfalls new.

    November 2nd, 2014 

    I've delayed doing a recap of this because it felt so epic and had such a profound impact on me that I didn't want to dumb down the experience with my lack of eloquence to really explain what is in my heart.

    I first heard of this race last year and how it typically sells out in minutes.  It has been voted the best trail race in Oregon and touted as the most beautiful race in the Northwest.  That had me interested, and then I saw the beautiful race photos Nine22 captures and I wanted in.  Silly reasons.  Certainly naive.  I loaded myself in the car last year (despite some anxiety to travel so far alone) and I volunteered at last year's race for a chance to run this year.  

    My anxiety was no less in check than last year for the drive to Silverton, Oregon.  I arrived two hours early (because that's how I roll with nerves on race day) with PLENTY of time to gather my packet and use the porta potties.  Even in the higher density times before race, there would have been no lines.

    There were just over 760 participants for this event.  The 50K, Full Marathon and 7 miler were on the day before.  This was the first time an ultra race and a 7 miler were events available and the half was moved to it's own day because of it's popularity.

    Anyway, I was anxious.  Not just the drive and being a couple hours from home... but I've been running a lot lately, and my knee ached after my last relay a couple weeks ago and then I had a half marathon last weekend.

    I really contemplated my sanity, but I wasn't going to NOT do this event.  It was so hard to get into and I had already volunteered to "earn" my spot.  I wasn't going to no show.  If I had to, I would "Did Not Finish" (DNF) but I would at least start.  I would try.  But I was fighting back tears.

    I ran into a friend doing the race and we said our hellos and she lead me around introducing me to everyone.  She knows EVERYONE.  I sunk into my shell and tried to hide my negative feelings about running.  She caught on to me and asked if she could run with me.  This is charitable because she is faster than me and was willing to "take it easy" for awhile.

    She saved my attitude, because her cheerful disposition helped me through the first mile of park road where my hips and IT band were already hurting.  I was going to DNF in the first mile!  Soon after the first mile marker we hit single track trail and I was instantly feeling the softer cushion of squishy trail, wet from Oregon rain.

    I don't remember all the mile markers and my garmin lost satellite, but this is the first of many waterfalls we saw.

    Actually, I heard it before we saw it.  And hearing that loud rush of fast moving water did something to me.  I perked up.  My soul was energized.  This was amazing.

    There are two waterfalls you can "run" behind.  I say "run" in quotes because the natural erosion of the rock/wall behind the waterfall makes more for a tunnel you have to stoop through and bend over to crawl out so as to not hit your head.

    It took some parring down, but I worked hard to limit the photos for this blog post.  It was so beautiful.  Like the water washing over these cliffs, the negative feelings, self doubt and fear was washed away and I was feeling the adrenaline, energy, determination, and excitement as we continued on the course.  I stopped several times to take photos and to stop for a moment to soak in my surroundings.

     It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.  ~ Henry David Thoreau

    The course is technical in many areas and my friend was glad to have trail shoes.  I used my road shoes and I think if I do this again (and I really hope to) that I will invest in trail shoes.  There are some rocks that jut out of the trail and take some careful navigating.  There is plenty of mud and some very slick areas.  With he time of year this event takes place in, you can be garunteed it will rain or at the very least be wet out.

    I know that a participant was stung by bee(s) and returned to the start/finish area shortly after we began our race and after mile 6, a participant had fallen on the stairs and hit her knee pretty badly.  It is important to use caution on some of the areas of the trail.  I haven't figured out yet how a trail runner should avoid hibernating bees who nest in the ground.

      There are two sets of stairs on the course.  You will go down some stairs at mile 6 or so and you will have a whole heck of a lot of climbing to do around mile 9 with stairs that are never ending.


    When they do end, you will face "Nut Cracker Hill" at about mile 12.  The climb up is not so bad if it isn't too muddy, but the climb down is awful.  I'm not sure how people run it. And I'm pretty sure it is steeper than the 14% grade I trained on over the summer.  ...That could also be a tainted bias as the summer runs were on dry concrete and this was all mud.  Somehow I didn't land on my face and slide down the hill (but that might have been easier).

    Once that hill is conquered, you are in for the home stretch.


    The race gives you 4 hours to complete the half marathon, course support with three aid stations and first aid available at the start/finish as well.  Hot coffee and cocoa before the race start and hot (non vegetarian) chili is available along with bread, peanut butter, candy, apples, pretzels and beer.  Did I mention a fire? There is a warm, welcoming, amazing fire in the park rest area at the finish and everyone huddles together to get to know each other and cheerfully talk about the adventures they just faced.  The course is well marked with flour poured on the trail.  As a "back of the pack" runner, the arrows were still visible (but a little smudged) after the foot traffic and rain.  Course support remained out until the last runner (and then the course sweeper-runners) had passed.

    I think I went into this race expecting the worst and at least not expecting very much out of myself... and I came out of it a different person and with some perspective on attitude and how it can affect a race.  Not just attitude, but believing in yourself, your ability and how much of an impact positive people around you can have on your mood.

    It is definitely not a good idea to run with an injury (or multiple injuries) but most of my issue was my pessimism.  Once I was in the race and surrounded by others on their journey to complete this adventure, I started to see the beauty around me, my own strength and how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful area ONLY a few hours from me... no longer seeing it as a chore that I had a distance to drive to but that it is a trip worth taking and that I should do more often.

    I hope this makes sense and that my review can do some justice to this amazing race.  I hope you will check it out if you are given the opportunity. Their website is HERE.

    I also earned my first wooden finishers medal.
    I love it.

    Do you run trail races?  (Any advice or pieces of trail gear you can't live without?)