Friday, December 22, 2017

Moab Winter Sun 10K Weekend

The Moab Winter Sun 10K has become my December tradition - it's a fun speedy course and a great way to end my racing year. 2017 marked Year #5 for me and I was excited to also make a weekend out of it this year, as opposed to just driving over for the day. December is also a fun time to be in Moab because the fall crowds have disappeared but the weather is still usually fairly nice.

I drove over on Saturday morning and we arrived into Moab with a nice amount of time to get our race packets and get ready for the 10am start. This was my first race since joining the Moose Herd - which is the Mad Moose Events Ambassador Program, so I had to change into my new Mad Moose Jersey that I received that morning (Winter Sun 10K is now put on by Mad Moose Events).

As we got off the bus that took us to the start line, I was surprised at how warm it was! I did a quick warm-up, said hello to a few people and then it was time to line up at the start. In all honesty I wasn't sure how this was going to go this year. Ever since my 100, I've been spending my time without any structured training and some very low mileage weeks. This race is downhill and pretty speedy, so I was hoping I could still pull off a sub-50 minute 10K, but I knew it was going to be some work!

Mile 1 started off okay, but I could tell from the get-go that I had been taking time off from running, and specifically any form of speedwork. The first mile is mostly flat and I ran it in 7:53 but it wasn't easy... going sub-50:00 was going to be tougher than I thought. Mile two is where the downhill starts and I was able to pick up a little bit of speed, running this one in 7:47.

Right after Mile 2 is the biggest hill of the course - about 1/4 mile long and is always the hardest part of the race - but I always tell myself I just have to get over the hill and then it's smooth sailing downhill until the end. With the hill slowing me down, Mile 3 was an 8:29, but as expected, the nice gentle downhill began after that and I was able to pick up miles 4 and 5 running 7:46 and 7:45.

Right around Mile 5 you turn into a neighborhood and then onto a bike path until exiting near the Moab High School, where you run a short section across the grass (this is always though when you're tying to keep your speed up), and then onto the high school track for the last 400 meters. I always tell myself to pick it up on this section but my legs don't ever seem to want to listen... I finally finished in 48:38 - my second slowest time on this course, but still pretty good for me, especially given my lack of training lately!

Race: Moab Winter Sun 10K
Distance: 10K (6.2 Miles)
Date: December 2, 2017
Bib Number: 4
Weather: Warm - 50's and sunny
Official Time:48:38
Average Pace: 7:50
Overall Rank: 51 of 287
Gender Rank: 20 of 194
Age Division Rank (F25-29): 1 of 10 (this was a HUGE surprise!)
Splits: 7:53, 7:47, 8:29, 7:46, 7:45, 7:53

Age Group Award!

All of the Grand Junction runners!

Photo by Rick Ahern

After the race, we went and had lunch at Zak's (one of my favorite restaurants in Moab), and then went for a hike on Slickrock Trail. This trail is a well known mountain bike trail that I had never been on, and it was awesome! Right from the get-go you are on this vast expanse of slick rock with great views of the La Sal Mountains. We hiked about 3 miles just enjoying our incredible surroundings before heading back to our hotel.

The next day we enjoyed an incredible sunrise, went for a short run, and then made our way to Fisher Towers for a great final hike before heading back. This was my third time hiking Fisher Towers and it remains one of my absolute favorite hikes:

Incredible Moab Sunrise from our hotel!

So overall, this was a great weekend in Moab! I just love living so close to this incredible place - it makes for some AMAZING weekends. I'm also super excited to be a Mad Moose Ambassador this year because that means I'll be heading there more than usual, starting with their newest race, Arches Ultra in January (I'll actually be volunteering at this one!), and then following it up with some road running for my 5th time running Canyonlands Half Marathon in March. If you want to enjoy some epic running in Moab, definitely check out their events!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Skirt Sports Fall 2017 Photo Shoot

This past summer I had the AWESOME privilege to participate in the Skirt Sports Fall 2017 photo shoot! If you have ever read my blog, I'm sure you've heard me rave about Skirt Sports. Not only do they have great clothing (I fell in love with them when I first started wearing their Gym Girl Ultra skirts back in 2014 - in addition to their clothes being super comfortable, they are also practical - what sold me was that they have leg pockets to carry your phone, so I no longer had to worry about how to bring it with me on a run), but what's even better, is that this company is founded on the idea to encourage ALL women of all sizes, ages, and abilities, in all walks of life, to lead a healthy and active life. They work hard to spread this message with their #REALwomenmove campaign! This is just so cool to me, because I know when I first started running, it was pretty intimidating! I truly feel that Skirt Sports does a great job providing a genuine, real, inclusive environment for anyone, whether they are just starting to get into fitness, have been an athlete their whole lives, or are even elite level (after all, the founder, Nicole DeBoom is a former Pro-Triathlete). Everyone I have met at Skirt Sports and within their ambassador program is so nice, it creates a real sense of community.

So, when I had an opportunity to participate in their photoshoot (because they always use "real", every day people for their models), I just knew I had to do it! The shoot was two days long with Day 1 in an urban setting in downtown Denver, and Day 2 in a mountain setting up in the mountains above Boulder. As is every event I go to with Skirt Sports, it was a ton of fun and I met some great new people in the process! Below are some of the fantastic photo's by photographer Kim Cook with some descriptions of their clothing.

And as always, if you want to try out Skirt Sports - you can use my ambassador discount code for 20% off: FALL20WIN (this code changes every so often, so feel free to reach out if it doesn't work so I can hook you up!). And please note that while I do receive some incentives for being an ambassador, I do not make any commission from "selling" their clothes. I truly just believe in the product and want to share my love for it! And if you want to be a part of this awesome community, the application for 2018 Ambassador's is currently open until December 20th - APPLY HERE.

DAY 1 Photo Shoot: Downtown Denver

As mentioned before, Day 1 was shot in downtown Denver. We mostly wore more of their warmer weather clothing - the skirts (Gym Girl Ultra, Lioness, Jette, Hover, Happy Girl), Capris (Pocketopia Capri, Lotta Breeze Capri, Hover Capri), and Tank Tops (Wondergirl Tank, Take Five Tank). We did mix in a little of their new Wonder Wool Collection with the Wonder Wool Tee and Wonder Wool Long Sleeve.

Can you find my butt? ;)

I still kind of suck at jumping shots, but that doesn't make them any less fun!

Selfie time!

Their Happy Girl skirt (pictured) is their most popular selling skirt!

DAY 2 Photo Shoot: Gold Hill, Colorado

Day two was shot in the mountains above Boulder - mostly in a small town I had never been to before - Gold Hill. We had a great time shooting more of the "winter" line of clothing with their tights and pants (triple pocket tight, wonder wool tight), long sleeves (tough chick top, wonder wool long sleeve), the press play collection (sanita's pant, dakota capri, and magnolia skirt) and their new, fabulous lounge collection (hangout hoodie and hangout pants).

This is one of my favorite shots!

Just frolicking in the woods in my ever so soft Hangout Hoodie!

The Sanita's Pant are my favorite hiking pants!

This is their "Gotta Go" Collection...see why it's called that HERE.

That backdrop though...?!?

Overall, I had a blast at this... and again, if you have any questions about Skirt Sports - be it their clothing, their ambassador program, or the awesome 13er/10K/5K women's only race they put on every June, please reach out!


Friday, December 1, 2017

Rim Rock Run 2017

Rim Rock is my absolute favorite local race, so I was of course, in for another year. I had hoped to do the full marathon again, but recovery from my 100 was taking a lot longer than I had anticipated so I decided about a week before to drop to the Half Marathon. Not only is the Half Marathon half the distance, but it also takes out the hardest part of the course (over 2000' of elevation gain), and instead gives you the easiest and BEST part of the race (2000' of elevation loss!). If you like downhill racing, this Half Marathon is seriously, for you. It's SO. MUCH. FUN. If you just like scenic road racing in general, either the half or full is also for you (the full is great - but it is really hard).

Last year was the first year they added the Half Marathon, and I think it was a great idea. I ran it in a super speedy (for me) 1:41:44 - which goes to show how fast this course is (I couldn't run this time on flat ground without months of dedicated speed work). As mentioned previously, I was still recovering from the 100, so I wasn't really sure how this would go. I had only done one run over 7 miles in the past 6 weeks. I personally LOVE downhill running, so I knew I would enjoy it and run fast (for me), but I also had a feeling I wouldn't be able to beat my time from last year... so I decided to just have fun with it and run fast but also to still enjoy it and take pictures. I love taking pictures on beautiful courses, and that was one thing I didn't do last year, so I figured, I might as well!

I headed to Fruita around 6:45 on Saturday Morning, making it in time for the short pre-race briefing before we all loaded up on the buses that took us to the start. They dropped us off at the Highland View pull out right around 8:00am, giving us just shy of an an hour before the start. At 9:00am we were off. I started out at a hard but sustainable pace, but right away started stopping for quick pictures. In fact, I took SO many that I'll mostly let those tell the rest of the race for me. The first 6 miles are downhill, but not too steep, with the occasional short uphill sections, as you make your way from the start line to the visitor's center.

Passing by the visitor's center marks the start of the steepest (and for me, most fun) section of the course. I would guess the gradient is about 4-6% and you can just fly down it. This accounts for Miles 6-10, and has a lot of switchbacks as well as the two tunnels which are super fun to go through, especially since it's the only day of the year that pedestrians are allowed through the tunnels.

Around mile 10 you exit the Colorado National Monument and have 3 miles to go along the highway shoulder as you make your way to downtown Fruita. I find the first mile of this doesn't bother me because you still have some steep downhill, but the last 2 miles can be tough mentally. The course flattens out and you're tired as you're finishing up your final miles. But nevertheless, you make your way to the I-70 over pass, run up and over it, turn the corner and finish in Circle Park! Since the scenery dissipates as you get into town, I put my phone away for these last miles and concentrated on making up some time I had lost for pictures, and finished in 1:45:54 - not too shabby considering the amount of photos I took!

Independence Monument - the most well known rock formation in the Colorado National Monument.

Race Photo - ignore my terrible running form ;) !

Beginning the steepest section of the course as you make your way down and out of the Monument!

Overlooking the switchbacks and eventually onto Fruita!

Entering Tunnel #1

Tunnel #2

Race: Rim Rock Half Marathon
Date: November 4, 2017
Distance: Half Marathon / 13.1 Miles (although this course has run short the past 2 years, closer to 12.8)
Weather: 50's (PERFECT)
Official Time: 1:45:54
Average Pace: 8:05/mile
Overall Place: 63 of 358
Gender Place: Unknown (I can't figure out a way to sort results)
Division Place (F 29 & Under): Unknown
Splits: Unknown - I ran without a watch again this year - and honestly, I kind of love it on this course!
Swag: Race shirt, finisher's medal, pint glass with free beer, free photos

After the race I stuck around cheering on local friends finishing up while enjoying some free beer, and then went over to Hot Tomato for some post-race lunch (they have THE BEST pizza if you are ever in Fruita!).

They had a free photo booth after the race!

Finisher's Medal!

Post Race Beers with the Half Winner (in the dark blue jacket - he finished in 1:11 and change!

The best way to top off this race is with Pizza at Hot Tomato!

Flattop Mountain & Hallett Peak

I've been wanting to hike to the top of Hallett Peak ever since I found out it was the gorgeous mountain towering above Dream and Emera...