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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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#yum

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.

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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!

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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”?

Coffee Talk: Life Lately

I’m going to be unoriginal today and copy the “Coffee Talk” posts that I see all the cool bloggers doing. Lots has happened since I was last blogging regularly, and since it’s summer now, I can drink coffee and blog at 9:15 a.m. Try not to be too jealous.

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that getting a house ready to sell is stressful. This is the first day of summer break that we’ve been able to do the coffee-at-9:15 thing because all the other days, we were up early and working like crazy to get our to-do list done. It worked, though: we had all of one showing, and we’re under contract! Now, to find a new house near our new jobs…

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that I’m SO EXCITED for this move. Yes, I’m a little sad about leaving “my kids” (my teacher friends will understand that one) and the friends we have here, but I’m really excited for new opportunities, new friends (and being closer to old ones), a new group of “my kids,” and, of course, being so much closer to the mountains!

If we were having coffee, you’d probably ask how my running is going. And I’d tell you: not great. I’m running the Skirt Sports 13er this Sunday, and when I signed up, I thought I’d train hard and try for a PR, since I haven’t raced a half in several years. And then, the job hunt and house prep/hunt came along, and training fell farther and farther down on my priority list. I’ve been doing the bare minimum to stay in kind-of okay shape, so the 13er will now be treated as just a normal long run. I don’t really like to not race races, but that’s okay. I’ll just focus on having fun. And by the way, if you want to run the 13er, too, it’s not too late! Use the code SkirtBrand15 for a discount!
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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m also super excited for the rest of this weekend. We’re house-hunting; I’m meeting Logan for a hike/trail run; I’ll be meeting lots of my fellow Skirt Sports ambassadors at a couple of pre-race events; and after the race, I’m meeting my girlfriends for a badly-needed pedicure and even more badly-needed catch-up time.

Now, I think you’re fairly up to date on my doings lately. If we were having coffee, what would you tell me?