Monthly Archives: August 2012

What’s-SUP?? – Stand Up Paddleboarding


I’ve wanted to try stand up paddleboarding for over a year now so I was ecstatic that I would be trying it at Kingston Adventures Women’s ReTreat in August.  I had an opportunity to try one other time this summer, however I was holding out for my time with the ladies.

Beth – our fearless leader and all around amazing woman – had us out on Puget Sound for a couple hours.  First we learned the basics which was easy and fun.  I loved being out on the water, controlling the board, having fun with this amazing group of women and feeling completely at peace.

View of us out on Puget Sound.  I could live with this as my back yard with no problem.

After about half an hour of paddling to the open water, Beth took us through a series of exercises on the board.  Not only were they great exercises in general, the boards instability lent a higher level of difficulty.  More bang for the buck so to speak.

Yes, that’s me in a plank on a paddleboard. It was an epic workout

Ab workout. Fantastic!!  That’s me (and my butt) front and center

The workout took about another half hour and enabled those of us who hadn’t tried paddleboarding a chance to see what the limitations of the board are.  I wouldn’t have probably thought to do an entire ab workout on one of these just for the heck of it, but I can guarantee every time I’m on one in the future I’ll add it.  Worst case?  You fall and get back on which several women in the group did.  (Nope, not me.  Either I have better balance or I didn’t push myself enough).

Beth was thoughtful enough to have a photographer stalking us all weekend.  Tom was everywhere we were – he was in a kayak taking these pictures.  All around nice guy and exceptional paparazzi, he told me to paddle a little over from where I was and he’d get a picture of me with Mt Rainer in the background.  We’d already been told that it was making a rare and beautiful appearance and had extended our paddleboarding trip to get to the area in Puget Sound where we could see it.  What an opportunity!!

Here I am with the often hidden Mt Rainer behind me

The next morning, at 6:30 am, my friend Susie and I were on the deck looking over the Sound when Beth showed up and told us she had paddleboarded over from her business, towing other paddleboards in case any of us wanted an early morning session.  Susie (owner of RecoFit Sports and wonderful human being) and I jumped at the chance and spent another hour and a half exploring together.  Absolute peace and serenity and best way to start a day.  Now about those paddleboard races I’ve heard about on Lake Tahoe….



Running With The Bears Half Marathon

Wow. I’ll say it again. Wow!! I’ve been to dozens of races and over time – once you’ve experienced a well run race – it’s very difficult to participate in a race that’s poorly run.  I suppose on that front I’ve become sort of a race snob.  It’s not about the expo, the swag bag or the carb-loading pre-race dinner.  Although I adore all of those things, what makes a great race for me is that it starts on time, there’s no possible chance of getting lost because it’s so well-marked, the volunteers actually seem enthusiastic to be there (I ran a race where the volunteers were fulfilling community service hours.  Not so fun), the mile markers are accurate and at the finish there’s something adequate to snack on, the water is cold and it’s so much fun you wish it could last just a few more hours.  Yes, I am a race snob.  I’ve had friends encourage me to start my own race.  Absolutely not.  As much as I want well run races, the very thought of being a race director is abhorrent to me.  I know how much work it takes and, quite honestly, I don’t want to do it.  This may seem hypocritical however I can tell you that I am so appreciative to those directors that put in the time and effort for a well run race.  Truly, truly appreciative because I KNOW how hard it is and I don’t want to do it myself….  They are amazing!

Running with the Bears has been on my radar since I heard about the inaugural race last year.  Shauna (one of the fearless leaders) and Josie (race director) were amazing at keeping us all informed (there were fires nearby and people were worried about smoke) and have one of the most organized, fun events I’ve been to. If you’re looking to qualify for Boston, the marathon is a qualifying race.  Altitude is 3500 feet (low for me), but otherwise it’s flat and relatively easy so an excellent choice for qualifying.  I’m spoiled blessed  to have my coach here in Reno also as the race director for most of the events I attend so I hold other races to a very high standard.  The mile markers were spot on, the course was very well-marked and I don’t know how they got so many volunteers who were absolutely ecstatic to be there cheering us on at aid stations (an aid station every 2.5 miles!) but it was amazing.  She did a competition with aid stations that the runners voted on to determine who’s was the best.  There were boas and hats, a team dressed as hillbillies, another like gypsies and at another there was a (really good) live band playing rock.  Every aid station had a porta-potty which, although I didn’t have to use, is a nice sight to see in the event you DO need one.  Half a mile before the end, I could hear something but couldn’t put my finger on it.  At .3 remaining and at the top of the biggest hill on the course, there was a woman playing the violin.  Just amazing.  There’s a picture of me and the violinist in the local paper.  Two great things about that.  One, it was such a pleasant surprise and really was a moment that “made my day”, two now I’m a celebrity in Greenville.  I can handle it.

The race itself is in the sleepy, beautiful town of Greenville, CA.  Farming community with rolling green hills and winding roads.  Parking was in a cow pasture (the gentleman helping us park apologized for the “mess” because the cows were there until that morning).  Everything about the race was seamless.  We drove the two hours that morning, getting up at 4 am to arrive on time.  For anyone wanting to make a weekend out of the event, Shauna had given us a plethora of ideas from motels, bed and breakfasts to camp sites and in the future, I’ll take her up on that.  There was a pre race dinner the night before and a Luau at 5 pm race evening that retrospectively I would have thoroughly enjoyed attending.

It’s cooler in Greenville than in Reno, so the temperatures were very bearable.  The first 3 miles of the half marathon were also the first half of the 10K out and back.  The course is all on roads (Shauna didn’t have to block the roads off.  They’re not heavily travelled in the small town and the townspeople were just polite when they drove by) with views of the surrounding mountains and pastures.  It had rained the night before and that morning so the fog (and some residual smoke) was nestled in the valleys creating an etherial view.  The sun tried to peek through off and on but for the first half of the run we experience thunder and lightning and at mile 5.5 about ten minutes of a light but steady rainfall.  We ran past goats, horses, cows and dogs lazily guarding their owners homes.  I waxed nostalgic for my grandmothers home in New Hampshire that I visited when I was a child as well as the years I lived in Vermont.  There was only one hill that could be deemed as such and the winding, rolling hills were a pleasure to run on.  In the early afternoon the sun finally won in its quest to appear, warming all of us.  The pigs for the Luau were being prepared as well as the area designated for the petting zoo for the families with children.  I hadn’t brought my own kids – just Chris and I came, however next year it will most assuredly be a family event – even though the shortest race is a 10K and most of my kids won’t participate in the run.  The volunteers all had walkie talkies and communicated who was coming to the finish line so as everyone came down the last section, the loudspeaker called you by first name (based on your race bib number), congratulating each finisher.  Crossing that finish line hearing my first name called out felt akin to coming home.

With staggered start times, I finished the half marathon and walked the 10K course to run Chris in which was a pleasant treat. He finished first in his age division for the 10K for the first time with a time of 1:04, and although he’s not a super people person, he really connected with several people there and enjoyed the event.

I finished 14th overall for the half marathon, 5th woman and 2nd in my age division.  My advice to anyone who wants to boast impressive stats like that – enter a race with only 20 participants!!  Kidding.  There were 146 entrants in the half marathon, 105 in the 10K and 53 in the marathon.  Small, quaint, beautiful and well executed in all ways.  A perfect race.

In The Zone

Yes, heart rate zone training. I’m still becoming intimate with what it all means. Sometimes being blonde is hard…. but I am learning. Zone 2 (aerobic zone) the cardiovascular zone, which burns fat, is the zone I’ve been staying in for some of my runs. At first backing off and going more slowly felt nearly painful. Perhaps more emotionally painful than actual physical pain but it was hard… Usually, I have a set number of miles and I go at a pace that feels comfortable or perhaps push it just a tad.  I’m in my own zone (Jenn zone) I suppose but it’s probably in zone 3-4 (anaerobic) which burns glycogen as well as utilizing fast twitch muscles, developing the lactic acid system and working on speed.  All zones are important.  They all do something different for your body so mentally challenging myself to embrace that – although initially difficult for me to do – is more fun now that I’m beginning to grasp it all.  Plus, changing up my workouts is never a bad thing.

Being in zone 2 is not about losing weight or fat necessarily – I’m watching my nutrition more carefully because I feel I’m at a good weight and body fat percentage.  It’s more about training your body to work more efficiently.  Less “bonking” or “hitting the wall” when on longer runs or when leaving it out there and going for that shiny, new PR.  I’m all about that!!!  Although I don’t struggle tremendously with getting bored while running, it’s been a delightful switch to watch my heart rate instead of my minute miles.

Women Gone Wild

This is what happens when you get 50 women together away from kids and husbands at an all womens ReTreat for 3 days and 2 nights…. Be afraid, be very afraid….

I approached the reTreat with some amount of trepidation.  50 women???  Yikes!!  Although I didn’t get to know every one of them, the women I connected with are remaining great friends.  With such varied and distinct individual lives, the reTreat brought us together and remains the glue that was the impitus of our new and developing relationships.  Being women, each with our own set of goals, struggles and strengths, mothers, wives, all with unique set of circumstances allows us to remain friends in spite of our differences. Maybe more so because of them.  We’ve begun to support each other, encourage, feel each others pain of disappointment and elate in each others euphoria of success.  Connecting with women at this level is new for me as I tend to be very outgoing while at the same time breasting my cards so to speak.  It’s wonderful…

Yoga On Puget Sound

Waking up at 6:30, going outside on a dream patio overlooking Puget Sound with nothing but the morning quiet, sounds from the ocean, an occassional ferry horn and Debbee’s voice guiding us through over an hour of yoga was a surreal experience.  Calm, beautiful, outgoing, contagiously bubbly and full of knowledge on all things yoga, this was most assuredly my favorite yoga class to date.

I’m on the left hand row 4th down. House to the right, Sound to the left, sunrise in full force!!  I’d wake up every morning for this….

The Kingston Women’s ReTreat the first weekend of August was hands down some of the best money I’ve spent to date.  The schedule was full of different opportunities for us to experience, lending itself to very fast paced, busy days but worth every second.  Morning yoga, however, was a perfect time to step back, stretch, relax and regroup.  After all, it’s not ONLY about running….

Just WOW!!! Nothing like a good stretch…. Or a great way to start out the day


Wrong Turns That Turn Out Right

I get lost. Not just a little. Hopelessly, desperately, completely lost. Often. I try to put it off as “endearing” – isn’t it cute, bless her heart, she’s so pretty sort of endearing – although I know it’s not. No matter what I’ve tried, I still get lost. Regularly.  In my own town.  On Sunday morning runs with a group we all seperate relatively quickly based on speed and distance and I have to be able to see someone even though I’m holding the directions in my hand and they are completely accurate. I’ve driven across country several times and I always make it, but honestly this fact astounds me. I’ve never allowed this brain dysfunction of mine to stop me from doing anything. I go. I do. I get lost. I find things. Most of the time.  I’m not stressed about it.  It’s just part of who I am.  One friend made a framed picture of a deserted road with the words, “It’s Okay.  I’ve been lost here before.”  Evidently I say that a lot.

Our fearless leader, Beth, giving us motivation and some exercises

Women’s ReTreat trail run.  Fabulous!!  In a group of approximately 50 women.  Beth (the reTreat director) said – and I quote – “It’s impossible to get lost”.  Yup.  Sure it is.  I beg to differ….  My Garmin wouldn’t load satellites but no biggie, we were all together.  2.5 miles in we met and waited in the woods to do some running exercises and have an awesome inspirational short pep talk.  I remained with the faster women and the 5 of us took off on a single track trail that was just breathtaking.  One mile loop.  At the end, we decided to do a second loop to make the run a total of 7 miles.  That’s when the group broke up.  Tanya and I (whom I adore) were together.  It appears that Tanya’s sense of direction is as good as mine is.  We passed people from the reTreat  and shortly thereafter we took a wrong turn.  Really wrong.  As in shoot us out on a logging road that (blessedly) turned into a paved road.  Not a familiar road, but a road none the less.

Some of the amazing women I was running with in Kingston.  I’m far right with terrible posture

At the first crossroads, Tanya literally flagged down (as in nearly molested….) a 40 something man in a mini-van.  Two nearly undressed, profusely sweating women throwing themselves in front of your mini-van is probably not commonplace for this gentleman but he told us which direction we needed to go.  (After Tanya got a little irritated intense with him.  Hee hee!)  I joked when he drove away, “Sir, excuse me but we’re really lost, no one knows where we are and we’re not from here….  Could you please help us??”  Tanya and I were getting to that ‘punchy, exhausted, please let us get back’ point in the run and couldn’t stop giggling.  It was awesome!!!  She at least had a phone on her (which I didn’t because it was impossible to get lost!  DUH!).

My legs are on the right… My backup plan is to be a calf model…

We started watching the streets we were passing to determine if ANYTHING was familiar and we literally (I’m not exaggerating here) passed the same street name 7 times!!  At one point we stopped dead, Tanya looked at me and said, “Is there a camera on us right now??  Are we becoming dilerious or hallucinating Seriously, is this a joke??”  It was a little Twilight Zone.  Eventually we got back to the house and immediately jumped in the pool.  Humidity is, well, humid.  My sweat evaporates here in dry Reno, NV.  In Washington it hangs out.  And drips.  We told our Tale of Woe and determined we ran somewhere between 9-10 miles.  The best news of all is that I got to know an amazing woman just a little better than I did before.  Sometimes, making a wrong turn isn’t so bad.

We made it back!!

Humane Society Field Trip

I’m a magnet. I’ve adopted a sick, emaciated dog that found me on a deserted beach in Hawaii, dogs from SPCA and the Humane Society, gotten pure breds, attempted cats (uh, not for me) not to mention the 7 kids I did not give birth to whom call me Mom as well as any stray family members that I adopt into our fold because I just end up loving them.

I’ve passed this on to AT LEAST one of my 13 children.  OK, probably most of them.  But Brianna – now 20 years old – has been “adopting” things from the time she was just a toddler barely talking.  From turtles, snakes, a rat, cats, dogs, a child walking home from Kindergarten (because “Mom where is his Mommy to pick him up?! We need to adopt him.), to horses and even sheep.  This child is a magnet for people and animals who are broken and need some love.  Hopefully I passed this down to her and hopefully she’ll be able to determine which ones to keep and which to send on their way.

Yesterday Bri was taking out the trash with one of our dogs and another dog jumped out of the bushes at her.  She was concerned about an impending dog fight but this little guy was starving, limping and exhausted and our dog wanted to love him as much as Bri did.  I got the phone call at work…   You know the call when your child – in this case an adult herself – uses the ‘I’m a little kid still and I really need you’ voice?   “Um, Mom?  Um there’s a stray dog here at the house that looks starving and somethings wrong with his back leg.  Can we give him some food and water??”  They fed him a little, gave him water, brushed the knots and dirt out of his fur and when I got home I brought him in the house with us where it was cooler and we fed him a little more.

Yes, he took over the living room…

The kids were told that we’re like a Motel 6 for one night and then we need to bring him to SPCA to see if he has a family looking for him.  He was awesome and (of course) we all completely fell in love with him.  But what if one of our dogs was lost and starving and we were looking for him???

In the car… “So stray doggie. We like you but we’re dropping you off at the shelter…”

We asked if he didn’t have a family could we come back and get him (Oh, yes, here we go…).  5 days.  He’d be clean, get a check up, have his leg fixed, get all his shots and a microship and get fixed for the low adoption price of $21….

The kids and I actually had a blast.  We toured the entire place visiting with older and recently operated on dogs so they could have some love.  Then we checked out all the dogs and cats for adoption and even went into the cat petting rooms.  Both of them.  Yes, I don’t really like cats….  But it was fun.

Visiting the dog infirmirary

9 kids lined up outside while we were looking at adoptable dogs

Taylor checking out a dog that one of the workers said would be the perfect running companion for me. She was nice but not for us

Like with all adoptions, sometimes it feels right and sometimes you just know it’s not the right one….  Maybe our little stray will be there next week and we’ll decide he’s the right fit for us.

At our van. 9 of the kids from oldest (20) to youngest (9)…. We were asked if we were on a fieldtrip. Nope, these are just some of my kids!!







It’s In The Bag

I have running “bags” in a couple of locations and I think hope I’ve gotten pretty good at bringing what I need and not a lot of extra.  At the salon I work at we each have quite a bit of storage. I’m so thankful for this. We have our work stations which are fantastic, but we also each have two lockers. The cabinets are about 7′ tall, so I’m able to store all my salon needs as well as a couple of shelves dedicated to other things.

Sigh…. Closet space….

My “work bag” includes a sports bra, tank top, t-shirt and long sleeve shirt, a pair of shorts, socks and running shoes.  It also has a spare handheld water bottle, a couple of plastic bags from the grocery store (for the post-run clothing).  When the temps start to plummet I add capris or running tights and a running jacket plus gloves and a hat.  I have a  red “medi-kit bag” there as well (from an old diaper bag).  It has deodorant, body and face wipes, band-aids, toothbrush and paste, Nuun, every kind of pain reliever known to man, Benadryl, gas-x, pepto, emergen-C, etc…  It’s a virtual pharmacy because I spend a lot of time at work and I want to be comfortable in the event something unexpected happens – minus a hospital visit I can handle nearly anything at work.  I also have a make-up bag with one of everything I use in it.  I generally use smaller sizes and refill them at home or shades I bought but don’t like as much.  Plus a mascara and eyeliner as well as a ziplock baggie with hair ties, bobby pins, etc…  I’m a hairdresser.  Looking good at work is kind of important.

Essentials for a woman on the Run!! Diaper bag medi-kit, make-up bag and “Life Is Good” running bag

At home I have a Nike backpack or my larger hydration backpack that I grab and go with.  If I’m not doing the race close to home, am hanging out for hours afterward or am at a hotel, I carry a bag to the race to stash with them or whoever I dragged kicking and screaming to take copious pictures of me came along.  In this I put a pair of shoes – flip-flops in summer or my fuzzy crocs if it’s chilly, a brush, a jacket/hoodie/sweatshirt, shirt to change into (hey that’s where I sweat the most!), body/face wipes, camera, phone, a mini medi-kit.  Most of the same things in the red case at work but in smaller bottles, smaller amounts.  No make-up, but a ziplock baggie with extra hair ties and bobby pins.

The Nike backpack has it going on for my roadtrips….

I also have a super mini medi-kit that I sometimes take on long trail runs or races.  I get a small bottle or baggie (the red mini first aid kit zipper pouches work well) and put 1-800mg ibuprofen, 1 Benadryl, 2 gas-x chewables, a travel sized spray neosporin, 1 hair tie, 2 bobby pins and a couple of band-aids.  It takes up very little space and has been needed on more than one occasion.  When you have it and don’t use it, you don’t notice but when you need it and don’t have it you become very aware that it’s missing.

My suitcase for travelling is another story altogether.  I take my make-up case from home, my favorite brush, my face wash, my travel sized shampoo, conditioner and body wash, every piece of running apparel I might need in triplicate, some other clothes for “non running” opportunities….  Then I go to the expo and buy something new to wear on race day.  Go figure!!

Me after a sweaty 5.4 mile run!! Yikes!! Try cleaning THIS up to look presentable!!

Post Race Eats

After the half marathon on Saturday and Chris running the 10K, since we hadn’t planned on staying for the race Luau we headed the two hours back home. As always I was ravenously hungry. Usually I joke about how I’d like to pull over, kill a small cow and go to town. This is the first race where there were fields FULL of cows…. More funny to me.  Not remotely a vegetarian, I generally crave two things post race.  Meat and salt.  Burger time!!!  As we wound our way back towards home, my stomach was growling so much I thought it was trying to eat itself.  There were plenty of snacks post-race.  Two tables of them in fact.  Lots of ice-cold water and Honest Tea however I was in the mood to completely stuff my face.  With so many small towns to drive through, we figured there would be a mom and pop type restaurant to sit down at.

We ended up finding a little roadside place in Quincy, CA.  Polka Dot Cafe.  No inside seating, but a really nice outdoor area.  One of those greasy food, burger, etc..  type of places.  Perfect for a post race meal.  I got a cheeseburger and sweet potato puffs (which were tater tots made from sweet potatoes) which was far better than I expected or I was so hungry I couldn’t accurately judge.  Chris got fries and a french dip that he said was good as well.  Take two starving, race crazed people and they’ll think nearly anything is fantastic – especially if they don’t have to cook it!  What I do know is that I got back into the car feeling much, much better.  I enjoyed sitting outside on a picnic table amongst the trees listening to the little river running by and feeling the gnawing hunger disappear.  It’s the little things….


Sensational Sunday!!

It’s early and I already know I have a busy day ahead of me which is not a complaint.  5.5 mile recovery run followed by a day at the lake with some family friends.  I participated in the Running with the Bears half marathon yesterday in Greenville, CA. Fantastic all the way around and I’m truly looking forward to writing all about it. I have several blogs in the making – most of which I write and then wait for pictures from the event or director – this is no exception.

Some highlights:
Greenville, CA is farming community and beautiful. Calm, peaceful and very welcoming.
I wasn’t planning for a PR – that’s getting saved for next year – so it was nice to just enjoy myself although I did have a moment when my rarely seen competitive nature was shining through….  but I got over it.
After leaving at 4:30 am to drive the 2 hours to Greenville, I was never so happy to see a line of porta-potties!! I heart porta-potties anyway, but this was a moment of near nirvana. Sure, I’d rather have a toilet in my room at the Ritz or 4 Seasons, but toilets are a relative thing and yesterday morning those looked wonderful.
Next time I do this race – and I plan on a next time – I’m bringing all the kids and making a weekend of it. SO family friendly and such fun.
The altitude was 3500 feet which is low for where I live and train (my house is 5000 and I train to over 8000). Other than that it’s a nice rolling hill, relatively flat course so if you wanted to quality for Boston, this would be a great marathon to run.

This post is simply dedicated to thanking some people who deserve it.  I didn’t used to be as  picky, however after running for years (and years) I’ve whittled down what products I just love and stick with.

BodyRock Sport has the only sports bras I ever use.  SUCH a difference in how I feel running because they work so well and look amazing!  I have a list of items from BRS from capris to shirts and I could dedicate entire posts to how fabulous this entire line is.  I have an actual list of “things to buy” from this site.  So worth every penny.

Recofit compression sleeves (among their other products) are hands down the best out there for compression that’s comfortable and actually does what it says it will.  I’m taking them on the boat today….  I ran with them, recovered all day in them, fell asleep and forgot to sleep in them….  I travel with them on.  It’s sexy.  I know.  I’m full of sexy little accessories like these!!

If I’m going to run in a skirt, my hands down favorite is from Running Skirts.  These ladies know how to make a skirt that rocks!!  I’ve had this one for years and it’s still taking the punishment.

So, thank you for these all women, smaller companies that actually identify the need, do their homework and get the job done!!

After the half marathon finish with my beautiful, shiny medal!!! BodyRock Sport bra, Running Skirts skirt and Recofit Sports compression sleeves helped get me through it comfortably