Trails of Glory 12K | Race 13 of 14

This past Saturday Jason and I ran the Trails of Glory race put on by Desert Dash.  We also ran their Blood, Sweat, and Beers 10K trail race earlier this year and loved it.  Trails of Glory was also a great time!  We ran the 12K distance, but there were also 8K, half marathon, 30K, and full marathon distances.  Vegas is a small town and it was a local race, so we saw lots of familiar friendly faces and even saw one of our neighbors there!  For being a local race, there were lots of folks that came from all over the country and even Canada to run this race.  

The race started at 8:30am and it was sunny and warm!  We could not have asked for better weather mid-November!  The trail was just as advertised, not too technical, no steep inclines, and lots of fun.  The trail started with a bit of a decline, which was super nice and got me off to a fast start.  Jason took off ahead of me soon after the start.  He was never too far ahead, though.  At the first mile we ran by the famous "Duck Tree".  Apparently it got it's name because bikers would have to duck under it and yell "duck" to warn anyone coming behind them.  Eventually, people started putting ducks on the joshua tree for decoration and voila, Duck Tree was born.  I was having issues with my headphones and had to slow down or stop a few times to fix my music.  I seriously need a new phone!!! Anyhow, at some point around mile 3 or so I passed Jason.  At that point I started to get a little tired and the trail's elevation started to go up nice and steadily.  I slowed down some till I got to the aide station and then it was fast-going again and I had a strong finish.  I looked down at my Garmin I noticed it read 6.90 miles, not quite the 7.45 miles a 12K should be*(more on that later!).  I was sort of bummed, but didn't make a big deal about it.  I felt great and was able to take a few pictures of Jason coming through the finish line.  He came in about 10 minutes behind me.  He wasn't too happy with his time, but he hadn't been training for this race and was just happy to get out there and run a good trail.  We hung around a bit, took a quick pic with our pal, Lisa (she's awesome!) grabbed a banana and called it a day!  

We live about 12 minutes from that trail, so we stopped by our house to shower and change before picking up the kiddos at my sister's house.  When we got there we were greeted with mimosas!  I know, I say it all the time, but my sister really is the best!  Of course, we were starving after the race so after picking up the kiddos and enjoying our celebratory mimosas, we went to our usual breakfast spot, Egg Works!! 

*So, turns out some jerk (not anyone running the race) was seen removing some of the race flags and signs and most of us running the 12K missed a marker and turned too soon, cutting our race distance by half a mile or so.  Why someone would do this, is beyond me!! Grrrrrr.....

I've got one more race to run before 2015 to reach my goal! Woohoo!! How are you doing with your fitness goals this year?  

World's Toughest Mudder 2014

There are athletes and then there are tough mudders.  These men and women supreme.  This year World's Toughest Mudder was held in Lake Las Vegas and I had the privilege of being part of my friend, Eve's PIT crew.  She was part of the first ever all women's team to participate in World's Toughest Mudder! Yea, I was stoked to be a part of that team, even if I wasn't running it!    A few other folks and friends I knew from Camp Rhino were also participating in the event and I got to support and be there for them too!  It was such an amazing experience to be there among such badasses!  It really takes a different kind of person to participate in this 24 hour event.  Most of these people have been training and participating in Tough Mudder events all year to make it to this point.  To be at World's Toughest Mudder 2014.  

Would you jump?

Would you jump?

If you don't know, World's Toughest Mudder is a 24 hour obstacle challenge with double the obstacles per mile of any other Tough Mudder event.  This year, each 5 mile lap consisted of 23 obstacles with an elevation gain of 800 ft per lap!  Participants entered either in teams or individually and have 24 hours to complete as many laps of the course as possible.  If a mudder fails to complete an obstacle, they have to complete a penalty option.  I gotta say, I love the names of some of these obstacles, such as sewage outlet, ladder to hell, birth canal, and tight fit!  Of all the obstacles, the most terrifying for me would be the The Cliff, a 36 foot drop into the lake.  Yea, I'd most definitely be doing the penalty option for that one ;)

I spent my morning helping where I could with setting up the PIT/ Camp area.  It's amazing how much effort and time is spent into getting ready for something like this!  And not to mention how much stuff is needed!  From food, clothes, wetsuits, water, vaseline (don't ask!) medication, etc..  

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It was so exciting to watch them take off.  You could feel the buzz and the energy from the runners.  It almost made me want to put down my camera and go running with them..ALMOST! I stuck around until they got back from their first lap, but I had to go and work (shoot a wedding) for a few hours before coming back that evening. 

Only in Vegas do you see a limo at WTM! 

Only in Vegas do you see a limo at WTM! 

When I got back the team was in the middle of their fourth lap.  While I waited for them to come through, I got to help out another friend gather a few things from his tent before heading out to run another lap.  When my friend's team came back they were freezing cold but in good spirits and most of them went back out for another lap.  This is around the time it got ugly!  And by ugly, I mean windy.  Being out in the desert with 30+ mile per hour winds brings on some nasty dust storms and dropped the temperature down to nearly freezing after midnight!  We struggled to keep the canopy tent from blowing away, but once we brought it down it was a bit better.  Battling that wind/dust storm and cold during the night was truly another challenge to the course and I am so proud of these women for braving it out there all night.  Some ran, some rested, but nonetheless they all stuck it out and were there for each other.  That's what being a team is all about. 

The day after WTM we had family over for dinner (yup, I was totally sleep deprived!) and my nephew asked why? Why do they do it? Why do people sign up for this?  Good question.  Why do they do it?  {Stay tuned for a few interviews coming up in the next couple of weeks where I ask some of these athletes that same question.}  They aren't necessarily in it to win it.  No, the ladies on this team and all other Tough Mudders have their own personal reasons for participating in World's Toughest Mudder.  Yeah some do it for the prize money, the recognition, the sponsorship, the fame, but most...most do it for reasons way beyond that.  I think they do it because they want to see how far they can push themselves both mentally and physically.  Because they want to challenge themselves.  They do it to show how far they've come.  Because it's who they are.  Because coming out of something like this changes a person.  Because if you can do this, you can do anything.  They do it because they can.  

How about you?  Would you ever run a World's Toughest Mudder?  I'm not sure I have it in me for 24 hrs but I'm already registered for my 3rd Tough Mudder in 2015! You should join me :) 

 

 

Family Travels | Visiting Texas

As I mentioned yesterday on my little recap post, we just got back from our trip to Texas this past Thursday and it was definitely a much needed break.  Life has been so crammed with activities, appointments, work, and such that we've just been feeling very rushed and unable to catch up.  Thanks to a great friend, we got an awesome deal on airline tickets so we decided a getaway to visit family in Texas was just what we needed.  We didn't plan anything, as we were just going to relax and unwind.  It worked out perfectly. Way better than I imagined it would! I'm a planner, winging it is out of my comfort zone. 

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 We spent our first 3 days at my cousin's friend's lake house.  They'd been planning this getaway with a bunch of their friends too so we totally just crashed the party!! We didn't really know most the folks before this trip so I was kinda nervous about just spending 3 days with a bunch of peeps we didn't know.  But, I gotta say we totally just made some lifelong friends.  Everyone was so friendly and welcoming.  It truly felt like we'd all known each other forever by Sunday night!  And it was a total blast to see my kiddos playing in the lake where I spent so much of my own childhood playing and swimming in.  

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After the lake house weekend, we spent a day at my cousin's house playing farm! Jason and Diego got to do some target practice (Yes, I was freaking out!) They took a walk in the woods, fed the chickens and collected their eggs, and ended the day riding a horse.  By this point, we'd had enough of the country life and us adults went out for a nice date night in town about an hr away but it was worth the drive!  Don't worry, the kiddos were well taken care of and had plenty of fun catching up computer games and ipads! It'd been days since they played with their electronic devices!  We went to this awesome sushi spot that was so yummy and had a great time! 

The next morning, we left my cousin's place and headed to do some sight seeing.  We spent the day at Natural Bridge Caverns exploring the underground caverns, playing around the canopy challenge, and panning for gems.  It was a really great day (minus some whining & bickering from the kiddos)  I highly recommend checking it out if you're ever in the San Antonio area.  It ended up getting really cold that day and night, but we braved the chill and walked around San Antonio's River Walk on our way to dinner.  

The next day was even colder, so our trip to The Alamo was pretty short and we went ahead and made our drive to Austin early.  Once in Austin, we found the coolest movie theaters we've ever been to, Moviehouse & Eatery!  It's a big multiplex cinema with conventional theaters, IMAX, and dine-in theaters with awesome reclining seats!  We opted for the dine-in experience and munched on bottomless popcorn, fish and chips, gourmet pizza, and for Jason and I, a nice bottle of riesling.  Yea, watching Big Hero 6 and drinking wine was a fabulous way to end our trip!  

So, although this is most definitely not our typical vacation, jam packed with activities and sight seeing, it was most definitely an unforgettable time spent with family and friends.  It taught me that sometimes it's good to let go, relax, and go with the flow rather than having it all planned out.  Don't get me wrong, I still love my itinerary vacations, but I think we can add some of these trips into the mix too ;) 

How do you like to travel? Do you like to wing it, plan it all out, or somewhere in between?