My Blog Is Having an Identity Crisis, and I Need Your Help

I’ve had this little blog for 2.5 years now. Sometimes I post regularly, and sometimes, as in recent months, posts are few and far between. One thing has stayed consistent, though: the blog’s focus on running. I was happy with that focus for a long while. I like chronicling my training and writing race reviews and reflections. When I got injured, though, and had to scale back my running, my blogging scaled way back, too.

A large piece of my motivation to start this blog in the first place was my firmly-held belief that if I’m going to be a decent writing teacher, I need to also be a writer. And lately, I have not written much at all. In addition, as I’ve watched the political and ideological turmoil in our country lately, I’ve also wondered if writing only about running is really the best use my wee corner of the Internet machine. Running is just one aspect of my life, and while I fully intend to continue writing about it, I think I’d like to broaden my blogging to incorporate more of the things about which I’m passionate. However, according to my WordPress sidebar, 1176 people follow my blog, and the first thing I teach my students about writing is that you must consider your audience.

So, audience, I need your feedback. What would you be interested in reading about here at Rural Running Redhead? Please take 30 seconds to click through this survey, and/or comment with any feedback that you have. Thank you!

My 2017 Goal: Stability

As I’m sure you could tell by my sporadic-at-best blogging, 2016 was an exciting but tumultuous year. A year ago at this time, J and I had decided to pursue a major change in our lives, seeking new jobs and a new home on the Front Range. Of course, no teaching jobs are posted in January, and we didn’t want to tell anyone about our plans until we had definite plans, so we spent several months feeling anxious, unsure, and unstable.

Then came April and May, the big hiring months in education, with the juggling act of applying, interviewing, and still being decent teachers at our then-current jobs. After what seemed like endless interviews (but really wasn’t that many), we both got hired, and then came goodbyes, and guilt, and excitement as the school year ended and summer began.

Here’s a pic from our only camping trip this crazy summer, because what’s a blog post without any pictures?

Summer 2016 ushered in more instability, as Jordan’s new job sent him from training to training, we got our house on the market and started shopping for a new one, and I hung out in an odd place of mental limbo, wanting to do all I could to get ready for my new job, but not really knowing what to do, as I didn’t know anyone and had only a few resources. I also got injured for the first time in my running life, and, as I wrote about here and here, being injured only added to my already-turbulent mental state.

Although summer doesn’t technically end until mid-September, for us it ended in August. We moved into our new house in Milliken and started our new jobs, kicking off an exciting-but-stressful fall. For the last five months, our work-life balance has tipped almost entirely to the “work” side, as is to be expected when starting new jobs. I’m certainly not complaining — I love my new job and am grateful to have it — but that lack of balance has made settling into our new home and community happen much slower than we expected. In fact, we just this week have finally started hanging pictures, which has done wonders for making our house finally feel like home.

Being nearer the mountains also makes me feel more at home. 

2016 was a good year for us, but it was certainly a stressful one. As I look to 2017, I’ve realized that I don’t want to make resolutions, or set lofty goals. I’ve had enough big changes lately. Instead, I want 2017 to focus on one thing: stability. I want to work on continuing to make this house feel like our home, through painting and completing lots of the other projects that need done. I want to meet people and build friendships  in our new community. I want to finish out this school year and immediately start working on making next year better, now that I’ll know how things are done and what is expected at my new school. I just want to stabilize, and then, as ’17 goes on, maybe look at making changes or setting goals.

Pic from the Skirt Sports 13er in June, one of my last longer runs before getting injured.

That same concept applies to my running life, too.  I’m knocking on wood here, but I think I’m finally recovering from this injury. I’m still taking it slowly, as I’ve thrice set myself back again by pushing too hard, too soon, but hopefully, I’m on my way back to normal. I literally need to focus on stability: strengthening, stretching, and foam rolling my muscles to keep this injury healing and prevent others from popping up. Although I’m eyeing the Loveland Sweetheart Classic four-miler in February, and I’d love to do some trail runs/races this year, I’m not signing up for or committing to anything until I’m completely healthy –stable –again.

I’m certainly excited for 2017 and looking forward to what I’ll learn and experience this year. Once I have a stable foundation, in all parts of my life, who knows what will happen next?

Do you have any resolutions/goals/words for 2017? Share them in the comments!




The Never-Ending Injury Saga

Once again, I’ve disappeared from the blog world for a while. Getting settled into a new school is definitely time-consuming, and then add settling into a new house and buying a car, along with normal life stuff, and time for blogging has disappeared. But today, I’m on Thanksgiving break, and we’re not leaving to visit my parents yet, so I’ll ignore my giant bag o’ grading for a few minutes and catch up with you instead.

The other reason I haven’t been blogging is  that this is a running blog, and my running life has been mediocre at best. Way back in July, I strained my hamstring, and it’s refusing to return to normal. When I first did it, I took three torturous weeks off, and eased back into running. I’ve pretty much stayed in that “easing back in” stage, as every time I try to go fast, go uphill, or go longer than 6 miles, my hamstring flares right back up, and I’m back to taking several days off.

Pic from my last seven-miler, before my most recent flare-up

It’s intensely frustrating. I’m out of shape, and slow, and squishy, and my main form of stress relief has now become a form of stress in itself. As I wrote in this post, running is a huge part of my identity, and now, even more so than when I wrote that post, I feel like a part of me is missing.

HOWEVER. It’s almost Thanksgiving, and I’m well aware that I have plenty for which to be thankful. I have a wonderful family, including a dad who talked me through removing a dead mouse from my bathtub while J was out of town (that was traumatizing). I have an amazing husband who loves me and whom I love. When I can run, I have some pretty fantastic views.

from my Insta

I have a warm house, a new (to me) car that will be much more reliable than my old one, and a job I love. In the grand scheme of things, I’ve got it pretty darn good. And that’s what I need to remember.

I know that even though this injury seems to be dragging on forever, it is temporary, and eventually, I’ll get back into shape, lose the injury-induced fluffiness, and be able to race again. In the meantime, I’ll be more diligent about my rehab exercises, listen to my body when it says “too much!” and focus on all the good I’ve got going on. (When I start complaining, please remind me that I said this).

How about you? What’s going on in your life? What do you have to be thankful for?

Best of… Things Lately

Best book I’ve read: Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz. We went to Denver’s Lit Crawl a few weeks ago — a bunch of bars and bookstores on the same street held book and poetry readings and it was amazing — and Schantz was one of the authors we heard. I bought the book after the reading, and it’s fantastic. It won the Colorado Book Award in Young Adult books this year, and I can see why. It’s sad, but so good. Probably not a good choice when you have to be alert and teaching teenagers at 7:15 a.m., because it’s hard to put away, but well worth the read.

Image result for fig sarah elizabeth schantz

Best cookbook I’ve read: Paleo Takes 5 or Fewer by Cindy Sexton. I don’t really eat Paleo, but I like to use Paleo recipes because they’re so healthy, and this book has been my go-to for weeknight meals since I bought it about a month ago. It also has some not-for-weeknights (at least not for me) meals, but what I’ve made has been delicious and easy.

Image result for paleo takes 5 or fewer

Best (or at least most useful) way I’ve spent a Saturday: Refreshing my first aid and CPR skills. That’s how I spent yesterday, and although it made the weekend seem nonexistent, reading articles like this one remind me that it’s super important. I hadn’t gotten re-certified since high school, so it was definitely time.

Best husband: Pardon me if this one’s too sappy,  but my husband is the best. He cleaned the whole house while I was gone yesterday (including scrubbing under the stove. This new house is gross) AND painted more samples (we have a winner!), and today he finished controlling the jungle that was our yard. We now look like civilized people, from the outside at least. He’s the bomb.

Best vacation idea: Did you see that the Backtreet Boys are doing a residency in Vegas? I’ve never cared about Vegas before, but now I’m pretty sure I have to go and realize the biggest dream of 12-year-old Cassie’s life.

Best student quote: I’m teaching The Great Gatsby, and we’re watching the Leonardo DiCaprio movie as we read. During the scene when Gatsby comes in, dripping wet, from the rainstorm, one of my students blurted out, “Whoa! He’s moister than an oyster!” I feel like that might be some dirty thing kids say now, but I’m going to believe it’s innocent and hilarious.

Best season: It’s fall. I’m happy. Bring on the pumpkin, pretty leaves, and perfect running weather!

What’s your recent “best of”?

Long Overdue Coffee Talk

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? The last time I blogged was almost two months ago. Moving and starting a new job have meant that every recent spare moment was… well, nonexistent. This is a perfect chance for a “coffee talk” kind of post. When my real-life friends and I get together, we can pick right back up where we left off, even if it’s been weeks or months since we last talked. I’m hoping that my re-entry into the online world will work the same way. So, if we were having coffee…

I’d tell you that although our schedules have been packed, I haven’t regretted making this move for one minute. Being able to see the mountains on every run, every drive to work (or anywhere), and out the window of one of my classrooms makes me insanely happy. And the amenities and things to do here are fantastic. We’ve been going to a farmer’s market every week (ironic that there wasn’t one out in farm country where we used to live), we just signed up for delivery from a local dairy, we’ve been out to dinner a few times at decent restaurants, and once I’m 100%  over that injury I blogged about last time, we’ll be able to explore some of the much-closer-now trails.

Exploring Milliken

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that speaking of that injury, what an adventure that’s been. When we last talked, I told you I thought it was my piriformis, but a little more research made me suspect it was actually a hamstring strain. When I finally went to the doctor (for something else, but I figured I’d ask, as long as I was there), he confirmed my suspicions. And he told me no running for three weeks. THREE WEEKS.  I thought I’d go crazy, but it was right when we were moving, and my new job was starting, so I was busy enough that I didn’t feel TOO stabby.

Now, I’ve been slowwwly easing back into it. I can still feel little twinges if I run too fast, especially uphill, and certain strength exercises really bug it, so I’m just being very careful, running slowly and keeping up my stretching/foam-rolling routine. I’m loving running and exploring my new town. I’ve found a couple of “lakes” (more like ponds) and several parks, including a kick-butt fitness park that’s just 0.6 miles from my house. Bodyweight strength work in the great outdoors? I’ll take it.

I still love Skirt Sports, if you couldn’t tell 

I’m really hoping that my hammy gets back to 100% soon so that I can get on the trails. I also learned, right after we moved, that a trailhead for the Poudre River Trail (a popular multi-use trail here in NoCo) is a mere 10-minute drive from our new house, so once I build my mileage back up, I’ll have easy access to it for long runs.

If we were having coffee, you’d probably ask if you could come see my new house soon, and I’d tell you sure…  but don’t judge. We like the house a lot, but it needs some love. It was built in ’03, so it’s not old, but the previous owners neglected some maintenance, and we’re playing catch-up. Plus, we’d like to paint and get new carpets. “One thing at at time” has been our motto. If it wasn’t for this whole job-having thing, we’d get a lot more done.

All our walls look like this right now —  playing the “what color should we paint?” game. 

If we were having coffee, I’d also want to tell you all about my new job… but imaginary Internet coffee is not as detail-friendly as real-life coffee, so you’ll have to be content with vague answers. Suffice it to say that I really like it, but I feel like a first-year teacher again: always busy and more than a little confused. Part of the newness is that I’m travelling: the school has outgrown its building, so I get a cart, not a classroom. That’s been an adjustment, but I’m starting to get my feet under me again, so hopefully those feelings will dissipate soon and I’ll feel more like the 10th-year (!) teacher that I really am.

If we were having coffee, we’d probably try to set up a time to see each other again. I’m going to put in a real effort to blog at least once a week again now that we’re a little more settled, and if you want to see me in real life, here are some events that I’m going to try really hard to make it to (weeknights are hard):

  • Skirt Sports’ Women Run the World (second Tuesdays, next one October 11): Skirt Sports just started doing these this summer, and I haven’t made it to one yet, but I’m going to try. The Facebook page describes them as “fun, inspirational nights of fitness & networking with other cool chicks in the community, while listening to three powerful people give 10 minute TESS talks on a message they want to share with the world.” If you’re local (especially if you’re more local than I am), you should go!
  • Boulder Running Company and Skirt Sports Ladies’ Night (October 20): My goal is to make it to either this one or the WRTW event, and maybe, maaaaayybe both.
  • Sole Mates 5k and Brewfest (November 5). I can’t believe I’ve lived here a month and a half and haven’t yet made it to Shoes and Brews, the running store/brewery combo in Longmont. Although I won’t be in fast shape (no speedwork until the hamstring is at 100%), this would be a fun way to get to Shoes and Brews, meet some local runners (I live in Milliken but teach in Longmont), and support a good cause (Habitat for Humanity).
  • And, in the farther-out future, I’m thinking about running the Colfax Marathon again. Maybe.

If we were having real-life coffee, I’d apologize profusely for going on and on about my life and not hearing anything about yours, and I’d have to confess that I haven’t read a single blog since we moved the first of August. So please, tell me what you’ve been up to!

Anybody going to one of those events? And/or are you a member of a running club in Longmont, Loveland, or Greeley? I’d kinda like to join one, but going in without knowing anyone is intimidating.


Injury and Identity Crisis

I’m one of those lucky runners who, for whatever reason, can put in lots of miles without getting injured. I try to be smart about it — not building too quickly, strength training regularly, listening to my body if something hurts — and it works. At least that’s what I thought.


A few weeks ago, for no apparent reason, my left butt cheek started hurting in the middle of a fartlek run (insert butt-and-fartlek jokes here), and the pain didn’t stop, despite my stretching and slowing down. I have no idea why this would happen now, when I was running less than half the mileage I run when I’m training for a race, but the pain was there, and it was persistent.

Some Internet research told me I had hamstring tendinitis, and I found stretches, strength moves, and general advice on how to treat it. I’ve been doing it all religiously: stretching, strengthening, foam rolling and rolling on a tennis ball, taking short walks to keep it loose, taking several days off running and resuming with short and easy runs (no hills or speed), and even getting a massage, but still the pain persists. I can run 4-5 miles, but 5 is the most I’ve run in over a month. Frankly, it’s starting to mess with my head.

FullSizeRender (5)

I know I should be grateful that I can run at all, and that this happened when I don’t have any races on the calendar. Plus, I’ll be so busy soon with moving and starting a new job that running long shouldn’t be my priority anyway (but I will have this new town to explore…).

But there’s a huge part of my identity that is distance runner, and even though it’s been only a few weeks, I feel like that part of my identity is misplaced. Sometimes I toy with the idea of just moving on from that identity — becoming someone who works out purely for health reasons, with less cardio and more strength training and yoga — and for a minute, that seems like a great idea. After all, I’m certainly not a professional — it’s not like I’m paid to run long. There’s no logical reason for me to keep doing it. In fact, it would probably be healthier to go the other way.

photo 5 (8)

But then I see an ad for a race, or a post in a Facebook group about an epic trail run coming up, or my trail shoes sitting by the door, looking sad because I haven’t taken them out lately, or even the “4.00” on my watch at the end of yet another short, slow road run, and I think, “No, the just-for-health exerciser is not who I am.”

I realize this post is a complete pity party, and if you’ve made it through my word vomit thus far, thanks for sticking around. I feel like I should end this on a positive note, especially because I know, in the grand scheme of the world, that this is not that big of an issue and probably doesn’t even warrant its own blog post. But I feel grumpy and negative right now. Here:

Commiserate with me: Tell me about an injury and how you recovered/are recovering. Or give me a magic piriformis-healing bullet. 


Mountain Adventures Photo Dump

If you’ve read my blog long (or if you know me in real life), you know that I’m a mountain girl to the core. This summer, unfortunately, has had a serious dearth of mountain time — selling and buying houses and getting ready for new jobs is time-consuming — especially for Jordan. His new job is at a brand-new school, so his summer has been full of meetings and trainings. Finally, last week we got in some mountain time. I took a lot of pictures.

I need more quaky trees in my life. 

I went to the Western slope for Fourth of July weekend; J couldn’t come because of the aforementioned working, but I knew that if I didn’t go, I wouldn’t see my grandparents until Thanksgiving (my parents will come see me, but my grandparents don’t travel anymore). While I was there, the weather refused to cooperate, but we hiked a little anyway.

Super rainy, but super green!
The wildflowers were gorgeous!
The rain made a cute little waterfall. We were soaked by the time we finished, but it was fun! Thank goodness my mom had an extra pair of waterproof pants; all I packed were running skirts, and I would’ve been freeeeezing. 

The Thursday after the 4th, Jordan and I went camping in Rocky Mountain National Park. A few weeks prior, we had looked at the calendar and realized that if we wanted to camp at all this summer, it had to be that day. So we booked a campsite in RMNP’s Glacier Basin campground (the last site available!), and we headed up bright and early Thursday morning.

We started our day at Lumpy Ridge. It was really ugly.

Hello down there, Estes Park!


This is Gem Lake, not quite 2 miles up the trail. So pretty. So filled with tourists. We didn’t get a very early start on our hike, since we had to drive from Fort Morgan, so we got to hike with all the tourists who do things like sit in the middle of the trail to take breaks and feed the ground squirrels. Too bad there are no “Don’t feed the wildlife” signs in Rocky. Oh wait, yes there are. EVERYWHERE. 
Around 3 miles in, the tourists tend to disappear. Ah, peace!



We didn’t do the whole Lumpy Ridge loop because of our late start, but we loved the part we did. I’d like to run the whole loop (about 8.5 miles) sometime. (I didn’t do any trail running this trip, because I’ve been fighting piriformis syndrome, which is stupid. But at least I  could hike!)

After our hike, we headed down into town, ate the lunches we had packed, and did the tourist thing for a while — wandering into shops, stopping at a new-to-us brewery, etc.– before we headed back into the park to set up camp.


This pretty lady was our dinner entertainment. She obviously had a fawn somewhere, but the baby didn’t make an appearance. 


Not a bad view from the campground, right?

The next morning, we were able to start our hike earlier, of course, so it was quiet and peaceful most of the way. Our campground was just across the road from the first big park ‘n ride in the park, and a trail to Bierstadt Lake starts from that lot, so that’s where we began our day.

Beirstadt Lake. No, I’m not wearing white knee socks. That’s my natural skin tone. 
Mill Creek


We were walking along and heard a noise behind us on the trail, and here came this fat bird (grouse?) waddling down the trail, clucking softly. Pretty sure he was saying “Pardon me, humans. Just passing by.”



We went up to Bierstadt, along Mill Creek, and back down through Hollowell Park, where we caught the shuttle back up to the campground. We had originally planned to go up to Cub Lake, but were afraid that we wouldn’t make it back in time to break down camp before we had to be checked out of the campground. Sometime, when my butt is completely better, I’d like to start at Hollowell Park, run up to Cub Lake, and catch the shuttle back from Moraine Park. Any of my trail running friends want to come along?

Once we were back at camp, we cleaned up a bit (another baby-wipe bath. This seems to be a theme on my blog lately…), broke down camp, and headed back into town — just in time, as a typical Colorado afternoon thunderstorm rumbled through not long after we got to town. Before we knew it, our mini-vacation was over and we were driving back to the plains (and getting excited that soon, our drive will be less than half as long).

What’s your favorite hike/trail run? Bonus points if it’s close-ish to my new home.

When was your last mini-vacation?


Weird Places I’ve Changed Clothes Post-Run

Runners are a unique bunch. We’ll do almost anything to get our run in, and sometimes we finish a run with no time and/or place to properly shower and dress like civilized people. That means we have to get a little creative. Luckily for me, my teenage years in FFA taught me to subtly change clothes — once you can go from jeans and hoodie to full official dress (skirt, pantyhose, button-down shirt, scarf, jacket) in the back of a moving van without flashing the other occupants, you can do anything. Who knew my education would pay off so well.

Here are some strange places I’ve done the post-run baby-wipe bath and wardrobe change:

Decent public restrooms at:

  • Panera
  • Starbucks
  • McDonalds
  • A hotel lobby (of a hotel in which I wasn’t staying…)
  • Grocery stores
  • The school where I taught until last year
  • Jeffco Stadium
  • State park visitor centers

Sketchy public restrooms in:

  • Parks
  • Trailheads (outhouses, usually)
  • Gas stations
  • Campgrounds
  • A subway station in Boston

In my car:

  • At trailheads
  • In parking garages
  • In parking lots of race venues
  • On the side of the road (actually, I’ve never done this in my car. I did it once in Logan’s car, when I paced her at last year’s Hideaway 100, and once in my parents’ car, while they wandered up the road)

Other places:

  • In a tent on a high school soccer field (during Chase the Moon)
  • In a tent at a campground (not so weird)
  • Hiding behind a space blanket at a finish line
  • In the middle of the crowd moving from the Boston finish line to the family meeting area (not a full wardrobe change; I just had to get my sweaty shirt off and my jacket and sweats on because I was FREEZING)
  • On the side of the road, not in a car (this was also when I paced Logan, before my pacing shift. It was the middle of the night and really, really dark).

No matter how weird or awkward the post-run cleanup is, the run itself is always worth it!

What are some weird places you’ve changed post-workout?

What’s a weird “skill” you’ve learned?


Skirt Sports Ambassador Weekend, Part 2: The Race

Last week, I recapped all the Skirt Sports fun of Friday and Saturday of the ambassador retreat, but Sunday was, by far, my favorite day of the weekend. I mentioned once or twice on the blog that I was running the 13er, but since my training had been minimal, I’d decided to run it as a training run: nice and easy, soaking in the scenery and the camaraderie with my newfound buddies.

Early on, everything went according to plan. The race started at 6:30 (sounds early, but in June, I’ll take an early start any day), so I rolled out of bed at 5, ate a granola bar (one I’d never tried before, breaking the “nothing new on race day” rule because, training run), slathered on sunscreen, woke up Jordan, and drove the 20 minutes from our hotel to the start. Once there, I wandered around, chatted with some of the ambassadors I’d met earlier in the weekend, and of course, stood in the porta-john line.

This is my new friend Jenn. Photo borrowed from Skirt Sports’ Facebook page. 

Before long, I heard the “line up” announcement, so I filtered in somewhere in the mid-pack, trying to ensure that I’d treat this as a training run and not push, especially at the beginning. Soon, the gun went off, 125 watches beeped, and we started a long, easy downhill run. I kept my pace easy, but I realized that I’d taken this mid-pack thing too seriously and I couldn’t run comfortably, so I did a little bob-and-weave until the crowd thinned out and I settled in to my long-run pace — a little faster because of the downhill.

As I took in the beautiful scenery, I realized that I could see the lead bike, so I counted women in front of me. I was in sixth. I told myself to calm down. “This is not a race for you, self. You’re not in race shape. Start pushing it now, and you’ll die by the hill at mile 7.” Believe it or not, I actually listened to my own advice. I know. Maybe I’m learning something in my old age. So I kept cruising at a nice, easy pace, enjoying the view and the coolness of the morning, even taking a couple of pictures along the way.

Not a bad place for a run!

On the first hill, a pretty small one (even for flatlander me), I passed one woman and told myself not to think about how I was now in fifth. I kept running and kept smiling, waving to the cyclists passing on the other side of the road and telling myself to take it easy. I stopped and filled my handheld at the last aid station before the infamous hill, and then I started up.

This hill is nicknamed “The Bad Relationship,” because it hurts, but you’ve “just gotta get over it.” It’s not very steep, but it’s long, and by the time you get to the steep part (the last quarter mile or so), your legs are getting pretty tired. Last year, I think I walked part of the hill, so my goal this year was to just keep running. “Eat that elephant,” I told myself. “One bite… er, step… at a time.” And so I did. Up, up, up, past the fourth-place woman, up.

Free race photos are always a great race perk! Thanks, 3W Races!

Just after the crest of the hill, I also passed the third-place woman, but 0.1 miles later, I had to pull off and hit the porta-john. I reminded myself that it didn’t matter, because I’m not racing.  A mile or so after the hill, the course heads into some trails at an open space for a few miles, and at the entrance to the park was an aid station manned by high schoolers. When I turned down their water (my handheld was still half full), one girl said, “Oh, please take some water!” Since I wasn’t racing, I said, “I didn’t know it meant that much to you!” and I turned around, jogged back, and chugged her water. The kids all cheered, and it made us all laugh. That moment was well worth the few seconds I lost off my final (non-racing, remember?) time.

Shortly after that water stop. Again, photo cred is 3W Races.

At around mile 10, the race has a short out-and-back. I saw the lead bike and the lead woman coming back past me. I saw the second-place woman coming back past me. And then I reached the turnaround without seeing anyone else. Somehow, I’d gotten into third place! “Okay, self,” I thought. “You’ve got three miles left. You’re in third place. Let’s keep it that way.” I let myself pick it up, then, finding speed that I didn’t know my legs had after so many months of slow running. I cruised down the long, final downhill, watching the second-place woman and hoping I could catch her. I didn’t — she ended up finishing six seconds ahead of me — but I finished third, in 1:42:40. That’s more than ten minutes slower than my PR (from 2012, the last time I actually raced a half), but third place in a race in which I  expected to be mid-pack was pretty darn exciting!

When I crossed the line, Skirt Sports founder (and my hero) Nicole Deboom greeted me with “Are you freakin’ kidding me?!” and a big hug — despite my sweaty grossness– and then Nicole and the top three finishers posed for a picture.

skirt sports 1
Also taken from Skirt Sports’Facebook

Here’s an example of why I admire Nicole so much: she greeted almost every single person who crossed the line in the same way, from the first three to the Running Start participants to the final finisher. Take a minute to scroll through the pictures from the race, and you’ll see Nicole hugging, high-fiving, and celebrating each person. I know I said this in my last post, but this is why I love Skirt Sports so much. Yeah, the clothes are amazing (and they have pockets!). But the community? That’s what makes this company amazing.

Anyway, back to me. #narcissism. After I finished, I drank some chocolate milk and got my award (a champagne flute, a Skirt visor, and a box of Love Grown Power O’s. Not sure which part of the prize I liked best). I’ll admit it, I kiiiinda want to pick a race and actually train for and race it. That podium is addicting.


J had to take off to be on time for a meeting in Breckenridge, but I stayed and cheered for the rest of the race, alternating standing at the finish line and chatting with my new friends. And dancing in the sprinklers.

Borrowed this pic from Skirt Sports’ Facebook page.

I’m ashamed to admit this, but I’d never stayed until the very end of a race before. Now, I will whenever I can. Seeing those final finishers come in was inspiring. They put so much time and effort into their training and their race. They deserve to be cheered on just  as loudly as the pointy-enders, and, as I learned from this article, that doesn’t always happen.

This race was a perfect wrap-up to a weekend of inspiration, camaraderie, empowerment, and celebration. I’m prouder than ever to represent this company, and I’m already excited for next year!

Have you run any races lately? Tell me about them!

Any recommendations for a goal race later this summer/fall? I’m thinking a half or 10k. 

P.S. If you want in on the Skirt Sports love, use my 20% discount code: RRR20.



Skirt Sports Ambassador Weekend Recap, Part 1: The Retreat

Last weekend was one of the best I’ve had in recent history. I’d been looking forward to the Skirt Sports ambassador retreat and 13er (13er, not half marathon, because “it’s not half of anything”) for weeks, even though I wasn’t sure if I could make it to all the events due to house-hunting. I made it, though, and I came away refreshed, inspired, and proud that I get to represent this incredible company.

Quick disclaimer before I get into my recap: As a Skirt Sports ambassador, I get some free and discounted product, but I’m not compensated for posting about them. I’m not one of those bloggers that have 85 ambassadorships and rep a ton of companies; I’m a Skirt ambassador because I love the product and I believe in this company and everything it stands for — namely, empowering women and embracing those of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. All opinions here are truly my own.

My weekend kicked off early. Jordan had a meeting in Loveland on Friday morning, so we went up Thursday afternoon to house hunt; we stayed with a friend in Fort Collins that night. Since Logan lives in Fort Collins and is my kind of crazy, she and I decided that a 4-a.m. wake-up call and a sunrise hike/run at Horsetooth Rock would be a great idea. We were correct.


So excited to be moving closer to all of this!

Friday afternoon, we did some more (unsuccessful) house shopping, and then I headed up to Boulder and the new Skirt Sports store (on Pearl Street; if you’re ever in the area, hit it up!) for an ambassador cocktail reception. I have to admit that I was a bit nervous at first, as I’m a socially awkward penguin (as J says) and I didn’t really know anyone there — at least not in real life.

Of course, I had no reason to worry, because Skirt Sisters are as cool in person as online, and soon I was at ease. The tasty food (provided by Mad Greens and Kim and Jake’s Cakes) and beverages (provided by Ska Brewing and Bhakti Chai) also didn’t hurt.


After some time to shop, eat, and chat, Skirt Sports owner Nicole Deboom spoke. I first met Nicole (and fell in love with Skirt) before last year’s 13er; you can read about that here. The more I read Nicole’s articles, listen to her podcast, and spend time around her, the more I admire her. She is committed to inspiring and empowering women, and her passion shows through everything Skirt Sports does, from the #REALwomenmove campaign to using ordinary women as models to the Running Start  nonprofit.

Nicole firing us up, making us  laugh, and reminding us why we were there. Photo credit: My fellow ambassador Jessi Adler.

Nicole talked about finding your word: the one word that names your purpose and drives everything you do. Her word is “relationships.” I’m not sure yet what my word is, but I’ve been giving it a lot of thought since Friday night.

After Nicole spoke, we had a little  fashion show to preview the new stuff for this fall and next spring. I can’t post pictures yet, but I can tell you there’s a lot of cool stuff coming up. I’d better start saving money now. The night wrapped up with cake, which is, of course, the best way to end an event.

Saturday morning, we met at Skirt Sports community outreach manager Noelle Wilson’s house in Lyons for breakfast (provided by sponsors Justin’s, Two Moms in the Raw, Bhakti Chai, and Noosa… yum) and a beautiful hike… complete with a few unplanned hill repeats when we couldn’t find the trailhead.

“Which way do we go?” Photo courtesy of Amy Machael.


Also Amy’s picture.

After the hike, we split into two groups for breakout sessions. My group went with Nicole and brainstormed some outreach possibilities for the future.  These women are super smart; they had some great ideas that I’m excited to see come to fruition!

Not a bad brainstorming spot, right?

After the breakouts, we came back together as a group, and Kate and Amy led a  session on selfie-taking. Maybe now I can decent pictures while I run… but I probably won’t. Knowing how to do something and actually doing it aren’t always the same thing.

Pic borrowed from Skirt Sports’ Facebook page. I love this picture: Look at all the different body types rockin’ the Skirt!

I had to leave before the wrap-up because we were doing more house-hunting, but the morning was absolutely wonderful. I’m so thankful that I had this opportunity to spend a weekend with such smart, strong, and wicked-cool women!

The weekend culminated in Sunday’s race, which will have its own post later this week. Stay tuned!

What’s the most inspiring, empowering, or exciting thing you’ve done lately?

What’s your “word”?

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