Tag Archives: running

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”?

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Why Do You Run So Much?

Why do you run so much? Ask my students, my family, my friends. I shrug and give the simple answer: I run so much because I love it.

But if I had time, every time someone asked, I could list so many reasons. If I had time, and if the questioner was willing to listen, I’d say…

I run so much because I love it. I love the challenge of a hard training run or race: the fire in my legs, the ache in my lungs, the bile in my throat, all telling me that I’m giving it my all, that no matter the outcome, when the run is over and I collapse, I can be satisfied, knowing that I stretched my limits as far as I could.

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I love the euphoria following a win, and in a strange way, I love the despair following a loss — because it’s the losses that teach me, that make me analyze my weaknesses, that inspire me to work harder and come back fitter, stronger, faster than before.

I love the hard efforts, but the easy runs also own a piece of my heart. Nothing brings me peace like the serenity of a quiet early-morning run, bathed by the light of the rising sun, serenaded by the first birds of morning. Evening runs are special, too: the day’s stress melts away with the sweat, and as the miles tick away,  my mental storm clouds clear. Running helps me put my world in perspective. In both a figurative and the most literal sense, running keeps me grounded.

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It doesn’t matter if I’m running trails, the mountains, the streams, the wildlife, the uneven terrain keeping me from obsessing about pace and holding me in the moment; or if I’m running roads, the pavement pressing against my feet, my lungs burning, the miles passing faster and faster; or even if I’m running on the treadmill, zoning out to mindless television and playing mental games. Wherever I am, running is my happy place, my stress-relief, my alone time, my self-awareness enhancer. And I love it.

That is why I run so much.

Why do you run/bike/swim/exercise/fill in the blank so much?

“You Smell Like Vacation”

Holy writer’s block tonight. I could not think of a thing to write about. So I started digging through some of my old writing and came across this little ditty. Last summer, I participated in Teachers Write, and online writing “camp” for teachers, and wrote this in response to one day’s prompt. Since we just got back from another vacation, I thought it would be appropriate to post this… plus, I have already have pictures to go with it. Of course, with the pictures, this post could also be titled, “Watch Jordan and Cassie age.” Ha. 

 

“You smell like vacation,” he mumbles, still 90 percent asleep but catching a whiff of my sunscreen as I gently kiss his cheek. As I lace up my shoes and ease out into the sunrise, his murmured words bring back a flood of memories, a jumble of the trips we’ve taken in the few short years we’ve been together.

As I start to run, I hear the roar of the ocean and feel the slap of its waves, and my mind recaptures the sense of awe from the first time I saw, smelled, and heard it – our first trip together, to Mazatlan, where we sweltered and sweat, escaping the heat with sugary drinks in the pool.
cassie_jordan by the ocean

I slow down for a stoplight.

A hot puff of steam from a Yellowstone geyser shoots up next to me, its sulfuric odor briefly overpowering.
Wife at Great Fountain Geyser

The light turns, and I keep moving.

Sweat trickles down my back as we hike through a bamboo forest, and I feel the cooling relief of a fully-clothed leap into a waterfall – a relic from our Hawaii honeymoon.
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A semi blows past me.

I pause to inhale the sweet scent of wildflowers and the tangy odor of pine, keeping my ears alert for the rustling of bushes, the sign of a nearby Yosemite deer – or a mama bear, protecting her two little cubs.

I reach the halfway point and turn around.

My shoulders tingle a bit, and I reach my left hand to my right shoulder, then flinch away in pain. Blisters. I knew I should have reapplied sunscreen after that last dip in a Playa del Carmen pool.
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I tip my handheld water bottle for a mid-run drink.

Instead of water, I taste the sweet musk of a good merlot, one far out of our budget, on our Napa tour.

I stop to tie my shoe.

A chilly, salty breeze blows across me, and though I briefly shiver, the soft lapping of Dungeness Bay waves at sunset stills me just in time to hear a bald eagle call from his post on the powerlines above my head.
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All too soon, I’m turning back onto our street, slipping back into reality as I slow into a cool-down. The sounds, smells, and tastes of vacations past fade away as a wayward sprinkler squirts me and my stomach rumbles.

As I untie my shoes, my now-awake husband drops a kiss on my forehead.

“Mmm,” he says. “You smell like vacation.”

Target Practice. Back on Sunday.

I am remarkably good at keeping a blogging schedule. I hope you’re not too jealous of my incredible time-management skills and ability to get out posts regularly.

But seriously. It’s Sunday, so let’s do some Target Practice and act like I always do it on Sundays, starting with checking in on last week’s targets.

(If you’re new around here: Target Practice is a weekly goal-setting post that I stole from Fit. Fun. Femme., whose blog is 87 times better than mine. But please don’t leave me, new reader.)

Target Practice

Last week’s LIFE goal was to do what I could to help flood victims. I feel weird talking about what I did/am going to do, so I’ll just tell local folks how they can help. The relief effort for Morgan County is really just getting organized and underway; for this first round, they’re requesting things like garbage bags, paper towels, safety masks, rubber gloves, etc. The full list of needed items is on Morgan County Disaster Relief’s Facebook. Caring Ministries in Fort Morgan is the drop-off location starting Monday. As far as I know, they’re not asking for manpower just yet.

My HEALTH goal last week was to continue eating clean and getting enough sleep. Overall, I did okay; I had a couple of unnecessary indulgences (I’m looking at you, concession stand popcorn), but otherwise did okay.

And my FITNESS goal was the same old: Follow my training plan. Strength train twice. Yoga once. Stretch and foam roll. This was a much-needed mileage cutback week. Here’s how it went:

Monday: AM:  7-mile fartlek run PM: Muscle Works class. So much soreness.

Tuesday: 6 miles slow (thanks to DOMS from Muscle Works) followed by core work and stretching

Wednesday: 10 Yasso 800s on the treadmill, 10.1 miles total, followed by core work. I don’t have easy access to a decent track (the one near where I live is locked up, and the one where I teach is a muddy mess…and it surrounds the football field where my students are practicing). I usually do speedwork at the park…

(from 9News)

Yep, that park. The one under the water. The water has receded, but the park is still closed and dangerous. And full of rattlesnakes who have been washed from their dens. So yeah, no speedwork there for me. I did my warm-up outside and then the Yassos on the treadmill, which worked out fine because right after I finished my warm-up, another thunderstorm rolled through.

Thursday: AM: 45 minutes bodyweight strength training. PM: 8 miles easy

Friday: Woke up suuper stiff. Ran 4.7 slow miles and then stretched and foam rolled for 15 minutes. I definitely needed more but had to go to work.

Saturday; 18-mile fast-finish long run. This is the exact workout that I did two weeks ago, and it felt easier this time. That’s a good sign. I also accidentally ran through a local 5k. Oops. I didn’t know it was there until it was too late.

Sunday: Rest.

Totals: 53.8 miles, 1:45 strength training plus some extra core stuff, and 2 stretching sessions. Again, no yoga. And given Friday’s stiffness, I probably should have done it.

Between Wednesday’s successful Yassos and Saturday’s better fast-finish, this week was a good confidence builder.  (For those who don’t speak Running, the theory behind Yasso 800s is that if you can hit 10 800m repeats in the same minute/second time that you’re hoping your hour/minute time will be in the marathon, you’re on track. My goal is 3:10:00, so I needed to run 10 800m repeats in 3:10 each. I’m not sure if they’re as effective on the treadmill, but I’m going to pretend that they are.) Two more weeks hard, and then it’s taper time. I can’t even believe it.

That was an unusually long workout recap. Are you still with me?

Good. Here are next week’s goals:

Life: J’s birthday is next weekend. He’s not a big celebrator, but I want to make him feel a little special all week.

Health: Keep up the clean eating and sleeping. Especially Friday night, when I’m working the gate at the football game and am going to be tempted to grab that concession stand popcorn when I’m done.

Fitness: See every week since I started Target Practicing.

And that’s a wrap. Or something. Have a great week, friends!

What’s your concession-stand weakness?

Ever accidentally interrupted a race?

Where do you do speedwork? 

Seven Simple Rules for Driving Where I Run

Today’s Run: 9 easy miles, crazy weather

When I started running this morning, the sun was shining. About four miles in, the wind started gusting, clouds came over, and it started pouring rain. Five minutes later, the sun said, “Haha, j/k,” popped back out, and kept shining for the rest of the run. Silly weather.

I don’t know if you noticed this yesterday, but it’s July now. I’m not sure what I did to offend June, but she sure left quickly. Guess I’d better make some progress on the summer to-do list that hasn’t yet made it out of my work bag.

Obviously, July is the middle of summer, which means there are a lot of people — runners, walkers, cyclists, kids playing — out and about on the roads. Lately, I’ve witnessed — or been part of — several close calls between these people and drivers. So I think it’s time for a few reminders:

Seven Simple Rules for Driving Where I Run

  1. Look both ways. This seems like common sense, no? But apparently, it is not. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve nearly been hit by a right-turning driver who only looked left. Swivel the ol’ head, please.
  2. Get. Off. The. Phone. A few mornings ago, a driver whipped into a gas station as I ran by, and he nearly wiped me out. He was texting and never even saw me. And that’s just one of a number of recent instances in which I’ve witnessed drivers doing something dangerous while on their phones. Seriously, folks, it’s illegal for good reason. Is your phone call more important than my life? (And who are you calling at 6 a.m., anyway?) Don’t talk and drive. Don’t text and drive. Just drive.
    Don't text and Drive Green Road Sign with Dramatic Sky, Clouds and Sun. Stock Photo - 10577222
  3. Take your right-of-way. I know you’re just being nice when you wave me across the intersection when it’s not my turn, and if you and I are the only ones there, that’s a cool thing to do. But if several other cars are there, too, just go ahead and take your right-of-way. Waving me across confuses the other drivers, who may not see me or may not see you wave, and that makes it dangerous for me.Once, a driver even stopped at a GREEN light and waved me across.

    I’ll wait my turn; you take yours.
  4. Make eye contact, and give me a little smile or wave. That’s the only way I know that you see me and aren’t going to smush me.
  5. Share the road. If a sidewalk is available, I’ll run on it. But in a little town like this, you run out of sidewalk sometimes. I run facing traffic, like I’m supposed to, and when I see you coming, I scoot over as far as I can without getting into a weedy mess and twisting my ankle.  All I’m asking is that you scoot your car (or semi) over just a smidge and try not to run me off the road completely. And if we’re on a dirt road, please slow down enough that I’m not choking on dust for the next five minutes. Will the 2.5 seconds for which you have to slow down really make you that much later?
  6. Don’t honk. This is more of an annoyance than a safety issue, but it’s worth mentioning just the same. Here’s why:
    Your thought process: “I know you! I will get your attention and wave to you! HONK HONK! Hi!”
    My thought process: “Do do do. Running running running. That’s a pretty flower. I love running. (HONK HONK) Aaaaiiiii !!!! *jumps three feet in air and poos a little*”
    Just tell me hello later. We’ll probably see each other at Wal-Mart anyway.
  7. Don’t get upset if I don’t trust you to do these things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve truly believed that a driver has seen me, so I started across the road, only to have the driver start pulling forward, then slam on the brakes when he actually sees me. So even if I think you see me, I’ll probably still be cautious about crossing in front of you. Please don’t make angry “hurry up” gestures at me; this caution was learned the hard way.

Those aren’t too hard to follow, right? But we’ve all been guilty of breaking them — me included. So let’s all be a little more careful for the rest of this summer, okay?

What “rules” would you add to the list?