Las Vegas Spartan Super | Trifecta Tribe 2015

Woohoo!!! Saturday I completed my Spartan Trifecta for 2015 by finishing the Las Vegas Spartan Super.  The Trifecta is simply earned by completing each of the Spartan Race distances, the Sprint (3-5 miles | 20-23 obstacles), Super (8-10 miles | 24-29 obstacles), and Beast (12-14 miles | 30-35 obstacles) in one calendar year.  Gotta say it felt great to walk around afterwards with my 3 medals just clinking away!  

On Friday afternoon I picked up a teammate from TeamGrinderGlam from the airport who flew in from Austin, TX to run the Super with us!  We then drove over to Red Rock Canyon and met up with another teammate who had flown in from NY earlier in the week.  It was the first time we all met in person  and it was like we were instant friends, no longer just "instagram" friends ;) We had a blast hiking, climbing the rocks, and taking lots of selfies at Red Rock before it was time to meet up with the rest of TeamGrinderGlam for dinner at Bucca Di Beppo on Friday night to carb up! It was a fun evening with yummy food, drinks, lots of laughs, and conversation.  

Saturday morning came way too soon, but I had no problem waking up and getting ready!  I was full of nervous energy!  The venue was about 45 minutes outside of Las Vegas, almost at the California stateline in Jean, NV.  There was no on-site parking, so we had to park across the Gold Strike Casino Hotel and then be bussed to the actual location.  The lines were long but they moved quickly and the buses were constantly coming and going.  Once we got to the venue, it was crowded.  I'd already signed my waivers, so I went straight to my packet pickup line.  It was a long line and it moved slowly, but we arrived early and had plenty of time to grab my packet, get the kids race packets too, put our bags away, and chill for a bit before our start time.  

In my opinion the course was way better than last year's Spartan Super here in Vegas.  Aside from the first hilly incline and one other steep mountain side at the beginning of the race, the course was pretty flat and rocky.  I was so grateful for all the trail running I've been doing  because that rocky, uneven terrain is what I'm used to running on.  The obstacles were the same Spartan obstacles I know and love!  I felt really good out there on the course and got through most of the obstacles on my own and with a helpful boost over those high walls!  My calf cramped up on one of the first walls, which was not fun but after some mustard and a bit of stretching it, I was good to go.  I didn't try the rope climb or multi rig obstacles and I failed at the elevated spear throw.  Out of principle, I didn't even attempt the tarzan swing.  I mean, when your hubby breaks his ankle on that thing, I think it's ok to skip it ;) My goal for the next one is to train and practice a lot on the rope climb and face that fear and work on getting over those walls without help!   

The kiddos ran their races while I was still on the course, so I didn't get to see them run their Kid Spartan races.  I was kinda bummed about that, but  it was awesome to hear the excitement in their voices as they told me all about it.  I could tell they were proud of themselves for doing it and of course, I was proud of them too!  They rocked that kids' course and they're already asking when they'll do the next one.  

Huge shout out and thank you to my hubby!  The guy woke up early to drive us to out there, stayed and entertained the kids while I ran the race, took pictures of the kids racing, and of me and the team.  He even too pictures of my sister officiating the Spartan Wedding!!! Yes, a couple got married after running Spartan and my sister, who is a part-time officiant for Peachy Keen Unions, got to officiate the ceremony.  It was pretty cool and yea, my husband did all of this with his foot in a boot because his ankle is still healing from being broken in January.  Yup, the man is a trooper and I love him.  

I just can't explain how awesome it feels to run out there, face your fears, and get over those obstacles.  Seriously, if you've never done a Spartan Race or any kind of obstacle course race, I suggest you give it a try!  You may surprise yourself and love it, just like I did!  xo



Happy National Sibling Day!

Today, April 10th, is National Sibling Day! Who knew?!?  Well, now that you know go tell your sibling how much you love them.  My sibling is so lucky I blog and she gets to read all about herself via this blog post! LOL 

I've totally boasted about how awesome my sister is before on this blog.  She has truly been by my side my whole life (she's my older sister ;) ) But seriously, when I got into this whole crazy running and obstacle race thing she's been my biggest supporter.  She cheered for me during my first half marathon, bought me new sneakers when Jason forgot them at home before the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon, she's traveled with us, woken up early to not miss a race, watched my kids while I ran, and even ran a few races with me too!  

Aside from the support on the fitness front, she is always there for me when I need her.  Which, I'll admit, is quite often.  She's the person I vent to about life, the one I call when a problem arises, she can calm me down when I'm ready to explode, but she's the first person with good news too! We live about 3 miles from each other, but with life and work, sometimes a week can go by without seeing each other.  That makes me sad sometimes, but a day doesn't go by without us talking or texting!  

My sister is one of the strongest persons I know.  She's classy and has great fashion sense.  If it wasn't for her, I think I'd still think it was ok to wear black socks with white shoes.  Yea...I had an awkward stage in life.  Thank goodness for big sisters who can tell it to you like it is, huh?  

So, sis, this one's for you!  For sticking by me through my awkward years, through the rebellious stage, and every other crazy moment I've had, I thank you.  Thanks for being my best friend.  I love you to the moon and back.  

5 Tips to Enjoy Photographing Your Next Family Vacation

Traveling is my absolute favorite thing!  I love to go on any kind of trip, I'm not picky.  Long weekend getaways, day trips, road trips, family vacations, staycation, I love them all.  And, if you go on vacation and don't take pictures, did it really happen?  I think not!  

Seriously though, taking photos of your trips is part of the fun.  Photographs are our memory keepers, our heirlooms, our triggers.  Looking at a photo can help bring back all the emotions of that day, the whole vacation, or even that time in your life. Photographs can help us remember what we may have forgotten or overlooked.  Photographs are not only visual reminders of times past, but they bring back so much more.  They help us remember how we felt, how the grass smelled, what we ate, even how we felt when we woke up that day.  

Yes, photographs are powerful.  It's important to document life.  Not just the fun, beautiful moments, but the ordinary days too.  But, that's for another post.  Today, let's talk about how you can document your family vacations.  We work hard for that time off from work.  We plan, we save, we sacrifice, all so we can spend a week or so away from our routine.  To spend time with the ones we love and maybe show them something new or go back to a place you love.  Documenting family vacations through photographs can be tricky.  We don't want to spend our entire time behind the lens and miss out on the fun and/or not be in any of the pictures. But, we don't want to forget to take any pictures and get back home and regret not having taken photos to remember all the fun you had.  So, here are a few tips to help you balance out having awesome family pictures and enjoy your vacation too.  

1.  Have a Plan!  I'm big on planning and making itineraries, but I've come to learn that with kids we need to be flexible.  So have a loose plan of things to do and then figure out where picture-taking is going to be a must!  Obviously, if you're going sight seeing or to the zoo, you'll want to plan on taking your camera with you all day.  But, if you're going to be relaxing by the pool, then you won't need your camera there, at least not the entire time.  

2.  Use your timer setting!  This works great for those fun and cheezy family photo ops and ensures everyone gets in the shot!  We don't travel with a tripod, but there's usually a spot where we can set the camera up safely to get our photo.  

3.  It's about the people!  Here's a pet peeve of mine.  When people take tons of pictures of the Disney parade or the zoo animals, but hardly any photos of the family members.  I get it.  We all get caught up in the details and yes, the penguins are super cute, but at the end of the day, our family is what matters most.  Don't forget who is there with you.  Take tons of photos of your kids playing, interacting, and having fun.  A few scenery and animal shots are fine, but you want to capture your family in that space too.  A photo of the Golden Gate Bride is awesome, but a photo of your kiddos walking on the Golden Gate Bride is even cooler!  I'm sure you'll think so too years after the vacation is over. 

4.  Share the camera!  Don't be afraid to share the camera with your spouse, even if you are the better photographer ;) Depending on the age of your kiddos, you can even let them take a photo or two!  This will give you a different perspective and views from your trip, you'll actually get to be in some of the photos, and enjoy the day or activity without worrying about taking pictures.

5.  Know your camera! I can't stress this enough.  Even if you prefer to shoot on auto-mode (which is totally fine!) It's good to learn your camera settings.  Play around with the various settings and functions prior to your trip, so you aren't dealing with camera malfunctions or blurry photos due to "user error".   

BONUS:  Have Fun! Don't feel stressed our pressured into taking perfectly composed images during your family trip.  I used to do this and it took the joy out of it sometimes.  I had to learn to leave my "job" behind me and be a mom and enjoy my vacation.  So, now we don't even take our big DSLR cameras on most of our family trips.  I will take my DSLR for some trips, but 80% of the time we simply pack our Fuji X100s digital viewfinder camera and that's it!  The camera is small, lightweight, but does a great job for capturing our family vacation snapshots.  Of course, we also take tons of photos with our iPhones too!  Come follow along on Instagram ;)  

I sure hope these simple and easy tips help you when taking photos during next family vacation.  Do you have any tips you'd like to share with me too?  When's your next trip?