It seems like it’s been forever since I last went out for a hike. So long ago, I can’t even remember the last time. Crazy! Due to my injury it’s been over a month since I even hit the trails for a run. Recently there’s has been some recent rumblings on twitter between local adventurers (who also just so happen to be #omniten…yes!), so this past weekend we finally hit the trails.
One thing I was told last year was that winter in Phoenix is usually signified by a large storm system. Since we rarely have rain here in the desert when it hits you know it. Beginning on Thursday a storm system made it’s way into the valley and voila, “winter” was here. Even with the rain we weren’t going to let that hinder our plans. We’re just now heading into prime hiking season here in Arizona.
I made my way over to meet up with David of Wilderness Dave and then we hit the road to meet Adam of Hiking The Trail. I’ve hiked with David before but this was my first experience with Adam. This was also Adam’s inaugural hike since moving to Arizona. Yes, another Omniten that moved to Arizona. (See, I’m not the only one that made the move!) It’s cool seeing the Arizona Omniten family growing. Having hiked with David I knew to go in and expect the unexpected…and it happened again. Within minutes of meeting Adam he went back his vehicle and found that it had locked itself. Yep, keys locked in a running Jeep.
Thankfully, with the assistance of a friendly ranger and the guys’ MacGuyver-like skills they had it unlocked within 15 minutes time. And now Adam has a creatively shaped antenna that will always remind him of the experience.
By the time we made it to the First Water Trailhead in the Superstition Wilderness the rain had let up. While I didn’t want windy rain conditions I think we were all a bit bummed when the rain stopped. Alas we still got to play in the puddles and mud. I quickly decided to just soak my feet and trudge through the creeks that were created with rainfall runoff. There was no way I was going to avoid it so why not just leap head, er feet, first, right? I’m not an in-between type of girl. I either want to stay clean or go all out and get dirty.
After the initial creek crossing we continued to trek an additional 4 miles through varying terrain. It was amazing to see how green the desert had become with the cooler weather and rain. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed so much water in the desert. Then we made it to Boulder Creek. Per David the creek rarely has much water but when we arrived it was flowing steady.
Our initial plan was to stop there and turn around, until we saw a cascading waterfall on the other side….then we just had to cross. So I hiked up my pants as far as they would go and slowly made my way across. I found the cool creek water rose well above my knees and the current was moving faster than I had anticipated. My only goal? Stay upright and not fall in. Success!
We then made our way to the beautiful cascading waterfall and settled at the bottom of the falls, taking it all in and enjoying the sun as it was trying to make an appearance. After a quick bite to eat and hot cider thanks to David and his JetBoil it was time to climb the falls.
I’ll admit, if it weren’t for David I wouldn’t have done it. I didn’t trust my strength but with his assistance and encouragement I made my way up to an amazing sight. It was the perfect opportunity to test how well my Columbia Millennium Blur Jacket kept me dry. It worked like a charm and I was very happy that I had listened to David and made the climb.
Photo Credit – Wilderness Dave
At that point it was time to traverse Boulder Creek one more time. Thankfully no one fell in and we began to make our way back to the trailhead.
What a great day. I’m continually reminded that I’m not only lucky to live in such a beautiful location filled with adventurous opportunities, but also that I have some of the raddest people to share it with.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Whoa. It’s been just a few days since I’ve say down to post a little something here. It seems as though I didn’t have much of anything to say. If I’ve learned anything while blogging it’s that I shouldn’t force writing a post when I have nothing to say or just don’t feel like writing. I know, I know, that makes me an unpredictable blogger but given so much of my actions are predictable give me a break. =)
Where to start??
This past weekend was the inaugural event for Southwest Strides and it went off without a hitch. We had a better turn out than expected and we received nothing but positive feedback. Most importantly we raised almost $8000 for the Colon Cancer Alliance! We learned a lot from the event and look forward to continue to grow by hosting other events in hopes of continuing to bring the community together.
This Saturday I’ll be volunteering at the official CCA Undy 5K event. And Sunday? Well, there’s this little thing call Ironman AZ. Heck no, I’m not racing…but I make a darn good spectator. You can bet I’ll be out there rocking the Banana suit, cheering on my racing friends. If you’re at IMAZ be on the lookout for me!
Speaking of running….after being patient for 21 days I went out for a run and felt pretty darn good. I have since gone on 2 more runs and still have no significant pain in my foot. I went ahead and switched up my shoes and busted out some Mizuno Wave Riders I stashed away to be used for a special time and have worked on a bit of a gait/cadence change. Doing so means that I feel like a newbie runner once again. Oof. Who knows if the changes I’m playing with will be long-term but I think it’s worth a look. Once again, this doesn’t mean that my problems are gone but saying I’m thrilled would be an understatement. So ready to get back to running regularly and hitting the trails.
Remember when I told you about the #Omniten #Omnigames? Well, slowly details are emerging. The funny thing is, while we have more information we also are left with more questions at what this experience will entail. Through hints we’ve determined that we’ll be heading to Park City, Utah in early January and it looks like all #Omniten seasons (including the current season) will be involved! Other than the other information provided previously, that’s all we really know. After having a blast in Park City for our mini-#Omniten Reunion last NYE I’m pretty stoked to head back. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll take another stab at skiing that mountain. Heck, I may not have an option but to ski the mountain if the #omnigames calls for it!
What else…..hmmmm. Ah yes, one more update. This past week DH ordered and submitted payment for Unlocking The Truth’s custom SJC drum kit. It will take several months to be built but seeing yet another goal met is awesome and exciting!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
It’s crazy to think that our Ragnar and Disneyland adventures have come and gone, and last week our Indiegogo campaign concluded (with our goal being met!). Next up is the Southwest Strides’ inaugural run, our Undy 5k event, this upcoming weekend. While I’m very excited for the event I’ve once again found myself asking, “What now?” You know I always have to have something cooking in the pot!
Awesomely enough there was no time for the dust to settle before an opportunity presented itself. Just a couple of weeks ago I received an email from Columbia Sportswear inviting me to the first ever #omniten omnigames. Yes! (Not sure what this “#omniten” stuff is about? I explain it here.)
So….What does that mean? What does it entail? Where am I going? Will we be teamed up or competing as individuals? Not a clue!
Here’s what I do know…all #omniten alumni have been invited to take part in the challenge that will be held in early January. I also know that Columbia is the master of creating suspense and super rad adventures. In the past they’ve always managed to surprise us even if we’ve managed to uncover bits and pieces. In fact, while it’s fun to make guesses we have learned not to take any of our guesses seriously because we’ll be blindsided and blown away anyway.
As the date gets closer I’m sure we’ll pick up more details, like what location we’ll be flying into, but that doesn’t mean that’s where we’ll be staying of course. Columbia always seems to have something up their sleeves and they never show all of their cards until the time is just right. Mind boggling to us? Yes. But that’s how they roll.
What’s at stake? Of course pride. But we’ve also been challenged to make sure our passport is up-to-date. Per their communication, we won’t need it in January, but if we play our cards right we may need it soon thereafter. See?! Suspense!
I don’t think there are any #omniten who aren’t excited for this adventure. Who doesn’t like a challenge? But more importantly, it means another much needed reunion for our inaugural crew and the chance to meet members of the other seasons.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
If you happen to follow me on Instagram you’ll know this past weekend was our trip to Disneyland. DH and I decided to take Friday off of work, cash in on our Best Western Rewards points and head to Disneyland for the weekend.
Our 5.5 hour road trip from Phoenix was uneventful…that is, until we ran out of gas. What?! Yes, you read that right. We.Ran.Out.Of.Gas. ”How does that happen?” you may ask. Well, while my Chevrolet Spark is excellent on gas mileage it only has a 9 gallon tank. Heading into California we had just under a half of a tank and thought we were good. Little did we know there would be no gas stations for that long of a stretch. Put those things together and you’ve got a wee bit of a problem. Thanks to a friendly state trooper who happened to stop to check on us, we were on our way sooner than later. Lesson learned, don’t let the tank get that low in my Spark and when traveling from PHX to California, get gas before entering California!
We still made it to Disneyland with plenty of time before heading to Mickey’s Halloween Party. Our Disney World experiences were always at Christmas or spring time, so going during the fall to see the parks all decked out for Halloween was a big draw. Mickey’s Halloween Party is a special event that’s hosted throughout the season that requires separate admission.
Basically the park closes early to general admission visitors and remains open for a limited amount of visitors who have tickets to the party. It was perfect for us because we basically had a half day at the park, got to have “special” experiences that only occur during the party (in addition to all the regular attractions), and didn’t have to pay the full day price. It was awesome to see the Nightmare Before Christmas themed Haunted Mansion along with other changes they made to the park/attractions to make everything match the season. We tried our best to make it to the midnight closing time but must admit we had to call it a night and head back to our hotel by 11:30p.
The next day we chose single day park hopper passes and started out at the Disney California Adventure. Coming from the hometown of Cedar Point it’s hard to live up to awesome amusement park rides so we stuck with themed attractions such as Tower of Terror and Cars Land versus California Screamin’. We hopped between the parks throughout the day and ended up finishing our stay in the Magic Kingdom.
I’ve already been asked, “How does Disneyland compare to Disney World??” I have to admit, this was my biggest concern. After our experience the best I can say is that there’s pros and cons to each. I’ll do my best to explain….
Both parks had many of the same rides but we found them to be slightly different and actually preferred some of them over the WDW versions. We’re not sure if it was our timing but Disneyland seemed much more congested than the WDW parks. We’re figuring WDW has WAY more visitors but are they spread out throughout the parks making the individual parks seem not so busy? Maybe.
If you stay on site at WDW you’re submersed in Disney everything. It’s almost as though you’re in a different world. Everything seems, well, magical. We didn’t have that feeling at Disneyland. However, it was cool to experience the location where it all began and we still fully enjoyed ourselves.
If you want to see more photos you can visit my Flickr account.
I remember becoming fascinated with Walt Disney at a young age and wanted to learn everything I could. Like many, I’ve always seen him as an inspiration….even to this day. Heck, I even quoted him in my senior high school yearbook. Ha!
Although I see Disney World and Disneyland as fun places to go, I also see them as so much more. Something that came from a person that dreamed big, believed in those dreams, went after them, and succeeded. That’s not to say Walt didn’t have his share of setbacks. In fact, due to a disastrous opening day pretty much every press organization that attended predicated the park would fail within a year. And that is just a start.
But every time I walked through those gates it’s as though nothing else matters and when I leave I’m even more inspired to live my dreams.
So as we steer away from the “all inclusive” type of vacations DH and I were once accustomed to, we will always have time for Disney and it will always hold a very special place in our hearts.
Speaking of going after your dreams. You may remember our Indiegogo campaign to raise money to purchase a new drum kit for Unlocking The Truth. DH and I never gave up hope, even when we’d have days with no donations. However, thanks to friends, family, and strangers who also believed, the fund kept slowly increasing. Coincidentally enough, with a little faith, trust, & pixie dust, it’s happened. During our time at Disney we not only met our goal but exceeded it with time to spare.
There’s only one way to dream, and that’s to dream big.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Ooh wee! What an adventure this weekend has been.
I’ve read Ragnar recap after Ragnar recap. I really love reading them all but quite honestly I don’t think that many of you really care about a play by play of each run. Chances are I’ll be speaking about my Ragnar experience in upcoming posts but for now I’m going to hit some of the highlights (and some lowlights) of my experience.
It all started with an early morning wake up on Friday to head out to set up our site for Ragnar Trail Arizona, which would be our home for the next 24 hours.
- Getting there early allowed us to scope out the area and drive right to the site to drop off our gear. We expected long delays and to use a shuttle to haul our gear in, so I was amazed at how smoothly this went. See? It’s good to be an early bird!
-It seemed to take us forever to setup the tents (Why are they always so hard to figure out?!) but our site began to take shape and the remainder of our teammates started rolling in.
-By noon it was time to get into the spirit of what Ragnar, donning our costumes, and hit up the starting line for our safety briefing. Double Team and Double Team Too were ready!
Leg 1 – Green Loop – 4.6 miles
-Being captain and first runner of Double Team Too meant my first leg began at 2pm.
-Within minutes I thought to myself, “Holy hell, it’s hot! What did I get myself into?!”
-Needless to say that first leg of 4.6 miles was rough but I got it done and my Ragnar experience was underway.
Leg 2 – Red Loop – 7.6 miles
-Not too many of my teammates were keen to the idea of the long run during the dark hours of the night, but I love running in the dark. Running in the dark on trails? Right on! This was my first experience doing so.
-Instead of fearing the idea of running in the dark my “fear” was the distance. Had I prepared for it well enough?
-With the full moon above my head my leg started around 10:30p and I was off!
-Although the temperature was beginning to drop it was was absolutely perfect to me.
-People warned me of the “Blair Witch” type of movements and lack of vision I would experience with my headlamp but I had absolutely no issues. Within seconds my vision adjusted and I was set.
-Hands down my most favorite trail of the event. Even though there was a ton of sand the overall trail was easily traversed and not very technical.
-There’s nothing quite like being out there under a full moon with just you, the trail, and the sound of your breathing and feet hitting the ground. Felt like I was the only one on the planet.
Leg 3 – Yellow Loop – 4.3 miles
-Having 2 runs in the bag and knowing this was the shortest, I thought, “I’ve got this!” But, those were slashed when I heard everyone saying, “The yellow loop is a bear.”
-They were right. The yellow loop was a bear and by far the most technical loop of the event. The first half was like a roller coaster going up and down, followed by a pretty serious climb over the ridge.
-Even though it was tough I didn’t care since my leg happened to begin just as the sun was rising. Cool at the start, slowly warming during my leg, with views of both the moon setting and the sun rising.
-When I hit the timing pad with only a quarter mile left I verbally said, “Hell yeah!”
-Each leg ended with a short but steep climb. The first 2 legs I hiked the climb. The last leg, I said, “You’re mine!” and ran that sucker.
-At just after 7a I handed off the bib to my teammate and realized I was officially a Ragnarian.
Other things worth noting -
-I survived on 3 PB&J sandwiches, pretzel rods, an orange. a handful or bite-sized Oreos, and too many Clif Bars to count. I was wondering if I’d be famished by the end, but was absolutely fine…and I may go through Clif Bar withdrawal.
-The ecocommodes aka porta potties were AMAZING. I’ve never had a better porta potty experience. Eco-friendly, kept spotless, no shortage of TP, and dare I say clean smelling. They even had candles for light and more odor control. My appreciation may sound crazy, but fellow runners will definitely understand.
-I was anxious to try out my Goal Zero Solar gear and it worked like a charm. 24+ hrs away from electricity and we all had a fully charged cell phones.
-It’s hard to believe that after having 80-90* days the nights would get cold but the big ol’ bonfire Ragnar had was a godsend when we were waiting for our legs to start. Taking my Columbia omniheat gear was definitely a smart choice.
-While it’s important to calculate how long a teammate would be out on the trail, the screen that let you know your teammate was 1/4 mile out was a HUGE help too.
-I didn’t know how well the trails would be marked but none of us had issues finding our way.
-Although I didn’t take advantage of the free dinner, s’mores, hot chocolate, coffee, or the chance to try out Salomon shoes, I know that all of it was a big hit among the runners.
-Running and recovering in my ProCompression socks and sleeves kept my legs not only fresh from fatigue but clean from all of the dust along the trails.
-Hands down, one of the most organized races I’ve ever experienced.
Like I’ve said after so many experiences, it’s hard to put something like this into words. As I alluded earlier, after I digest the adventure maybe I’ll post a bit more. Time will tell. What I do know is that when I registered for Ragnar I had no expectations other than simply wanting to run my first Ragnar event. In the end I unexpectedly received so much more. The experience, friendships, and love that happened throughout the journey. Just amazing.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Do you know what week it is?! It’s Ragnar Week!!! The highly anticipated event is just days away. And yes, I’m pretty stoked. Have I trained enough? Who knows? Am I scared? No. Not yet, at least. That may hit me when I’m on the trail, in the dead of night, under the full moon, all by myself. The super cool thing is that my team is all about fun. So, fast or slow, we’re just out there to have a good time. And right now I’m excited to see all of our planning come together for the event.
Something we hear over and over is, “Do not over pack!” While I’ve never been known to over pack for anything I’m also the type to be prepared for anything that may come my way. Because, let’s keep it real, who knows what’s going to happen out there! Of course we’ve got to do up our campsite with decorations, but my plan is to keep things as simple and basic as possible. So here are some items that are topping my list….
**Want a printable checklist for yourself? Check out my Ragnar Packing List Google Document.
Fall has finally arrived in Phoenix. That means highs in the 80s (and even 90s still) and lows in the 50s to 60s. How in the world do you dress for that? One thing’s for sure, I’ll be bringing both Columbia Omnifreeze Zero AND Omniheat. My Women’s Freeze Degree 1/2 Zip, Millennium Flash Shell Jacket, and Women’s Mighty Lite Vest III will all be coming with me.
Long runs also call for longer shorts so I’ll definitely be sporting my Road Runner Sports 8″ Compression Shorts.
I’ve also recently upgraded my headlamp to the 90 Lumen Black Diamond Spot to light up the night.
Making the switch to my Pearl Izumi EM Trail N2 shoes was a perfect choice a couple months ago. Just last week Salomon sent my a pair of their Sense Mantra trail shoes to test out. Since I’ve already put some miles in on the Sense Mantras, and it’s never a bad idea to have 2 pair of shoes, I’ll be bringing both along.
Being on the trail, it’s always important to protect your legs, but even more so here in Arizona. Why? Because we have jumping cholla cactus. If you get close enough they will latch on and it’s not pretty. Because of that, and in an attempt to keep my legs as fresh as possible, my Pro Compression socks and sleeves are on the list.
When it comes to food I tend to eat the same things day in and day out….and I like to keep things as simple as possible. The same will go for race day. Simple PB & J, my “camp version” of overnight oats, along with ClifBars and Clif Fuel will be my staples.
We’ll have a tent for changing, a table for food, chairs, and a canopy for shade, but otherwise that’s pretty much it. Like I said, I know some teammates plan to bring a a few other camping items, but not me. I’m hoping to fit everything (other than decorations) in my Columbia Endura 35 Pack, and plan on catching whatever sleep I can in my Columbia Reactor 35 Mummy II Sleeping Bag. Since we’ll be sleeping under the stars on packed dirt/sand I’ll also be bringing along a pool float for padding. Hey, it’s cheap, quick, easy, packable, and disposable if need be. (Shout out to Heidi for giving me the tip).
I pride myself on disconnecting when I’m out hiking and enjoying the outdoors, but when it comes to this event things will be a little different. Due to the length of time and need for safety we definitely have to stay connected. Not to mention, we want to share it live with all of you through social media, right?! Unfortunately electric power will not be available to runners so we’re trying something else. We’re going solar powered! Using Goal Zero Switch 8 Recharger, Guide 10 Plus Battery Pack, and the Nomad 7 Solar Panel we should all be powered throughout the entire race. This will be my first experience trying out Goal Zero gear, but from the amount of time I’ve played around with it at home I’m impressed. Way cool.
Of course I can’t forget my Garmin, Body Glide, cowbell, and other odds and ends, but this should have me covered. If you’re not already following me on Twitter and Instagram, you better update your feeds because I have no doubt in my mind, this is going to be one heck of an experience. Is it race day yet?!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Wow. Tomorrow is Monday already and I have yet to even stop to take a break for the weekend. I’ve already said this but it’s been a bit insane here in our world the past month.
From organizing Ragnar teams (only 1 month away), to raising money for our Unlocking The Truth Indiegogo campaign (DONATE HERE!), and planning a quick trip to Disneyland, I’ve slowly been revealing all of the projects I’ve been working on. Although there are several more (which are not quite ready to be made public), I can let you in on one more. And it’s a big one!
After almost a year in a contractor position at my workplace, and having multiple internal interviews over the past month, I have been hired on full-time. As ya’ll know this part of my life I like to keep private, so I won’t say where I’m working, but to say I’m stoked is an understatement. What I will say is that I’ll be working in a totally different capacity than I have ever before. I have been looking for an opportunity like this for several years. Even at long lengths in confusion of direction (which I’m sure will come again….) I’m thankful to say that my diligence and patience paid off. And this is a fantastic jumping off point.
With all of this going I was doing what I do best, keeping on top of things, but this weekend has kicked my butt. After receiving word last week that I got the job DH hit the road for a gig in Texas with Corvus. In the meantime I came home to find a mess of cat and dog vomit/diarrhea Friday evening. Given our kiddos health issues that’s often what is to be expected. Thankfully having tile floors and a TON of experience with cleaning I’m pretty good at cleanups. I was hoping it would be a short bout but haven’t been so lucky.
I hit the trails early Saturday morning with some of my Ragnar Teammates. No trail run is complete without some fun, getting lost, and at least one of us taking a spill. This week it was my turn and now I have some war wounds to show for my efforts. With my love of trail running this will not be my last.
Unfortunately following the run I came home to yet another mess. The remainder of the day was spent cleaning and monitoring Spencer, our greyhound. What I had hoped would be a restful night’s sleep ended up with me being awoken every half hour for long bathroom breaks and foot baths due to him stepping in his own feces. In other words, a LONG night. Needless to say both Spencer and I are ready for his bowel issues to get better and for DH to come home too.
With all that has been going and this added to the mix I’m a wee bit spent. But it’s time to get Spencer on the mend and reload because if what’s on the calendar for the next month is any sign, things are not slowing down. Xterra, Ragnar, Disney, developments with Corvus, along with other projects (to be revealed soon!)…We’re just getting started.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
After DH served his time in the Marines we moved to Michigan. During that time we found ourselves adjusting to civilian living, specifically when it came to our income and lack of medical benefits. We were able to pay our bills but anything “extra” wasn’t possible. At that point we had been married 2 years and had never had a honeymoon or a true vacation for that matter. We somehow found ourselves roped into visiting a timeshare presentation. Don’t ask. I have no idea why we did it other than maybe an evening of entertainment instead of starting at walls like we were used to doing? We were no where near close to having money to even consider going on vacation let alone buying a timeshare (not that we ever would), alas, we went.
For those that have had the experience of a timeshare presentation you’ll know what I’m talking about. They start all nice, get you believing that they are right…and then sit you down and start hard selling. Normally when it comes to negotiating I’m a hard baller. (I learned from the best…my mama). But in this case it wasn’t about hard balling because there was no deal to be made. When you truly have no money (and not just saying that you don’t have money) it’s a different story. I remember them asking point blank, “What is your dream vacation?” Of course their point was to get the ball rolling. And while DH and I have always had locations in the back of our mind at that that very moment in time travel and vacation wasn’t on our radar….at all. Given our situation we couldn’t even wrap our head around the idea. When it comes to timeshare presentations, if the first person can’t get through your barrier then they send another person, and another if need be. In our case, they must have seen that clearly we were in no position to purchase, probably felt pretty bad for us, and we were let off the hook.
Since that experience our finances have been up and down but we’ve had the opportunity to do some traveling.
Unfortunately even with my quick trip to Park City and DH’s tour, our last true vacation was Italy, prior to moving to Arizona. While we’ve had enough to cover bills we’ve once again found ourselves leaving out the “extras” that would put us in the negative. If you compound that with having to secure pet care for the kiddos if we do want to travel (which has recently been fixed!), so much uncertainty when it comes to our jobs, no unpaid time off, opposite schedules (meaning we never had the same days off…ever), or the uncertain future when it comes to DH’s band, we’ve once again found that traveling/vacation hasn’t been in the cards. For the longest time we stopped thinking about it and began to have the mindset we had in Michigan because basically we had to.
DH and I LOVE to travel. We love adventure. We love to try new things and go places we’ve never been before. It’s a lifeline. Now that we’ve had the experiences, we want more. So Even though we can’t really afford a vacation we recently started doing some research as to what we can do to make this happen. To some this may not be smart. I know this is going to sound like a first world problem but we NEED this. We’re not looking for anything big. Just a quickie weekend here or there. Luckily for us we have many options within driving distance. The downside? So many options it’s hard to choose! After going back and forth between an outdoorsy type of adventure or a “typical all American” vacation ideas we have finally made our choice….Disneyland!
This may surprise some of ya’ll since you probably never pegged us as a Disney fans, but we are. In true Heidi fashion we weighed all of the pros and cons of our options. What it came down to is that Disney is not too far away and with saved points our accommodations are paid. In addition, although I love outdoor adventure DH is a little more hesitant. While he’s open to the idea I can’t just expect to throw him out in the wilderness and have him not only survive but enjoy it. Gotta ease into that sort of stuff.
So Disney it is. Funny enough, Disney World was our first true vacation we took together. Kind of apropos that this will be our first true vacation here in the west. Here’s hoping that just like before, this will lead to many more adventures!
What is your dream vacation?
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
This Saturday I woke up early to head to the trails with some of my Ragnar Trail teammates. While Ragnar is a month away it was the perfect opportunity to do a little training, familiarize ourselves with the trail, and once again get to know each other. It was a great run.
As I drove home I had one of those, “I love Phoenix moments.” We’ve been here a little over a year and chances are you won’t ever hear us say that we will never move, but we love Phoenix. While there are many reasons to love it here, mine personally stem from the ability to be outside, explore, and run. This got me thinking about running in Phoenix….
Weather - This is a no brainer. The weather here is gorgeous, allowing for year-round outdoor running. Many locals opt for the treadmill in the hot summer months but I’ve found it easy to adjust my schedule to fit it in during the “cooler” hours. I just choose to get up before the crack of dawn. Sure, it’s still warm, but I love the heat. It’s way easier to plan for the warm weather than unexpected weather that may bring ice and snow. Thankfully there’s no snow in the Phoenix area but trust me when I say, it still does get chilly. Last winter I was surprised by how cold it got. (I will admit that I didn’t take advantage of the cooler months last year since I went through a bit of an anti-running funk. But, this year will be different…) Every so often I’ve had the random day when I’ve gone out to run in the daytime 100* temps. While not pretty, it’s still possible. So really, dealing with the heat vs ice/snow is a pretty decent trade-off.
Location - Someday I would love to live in the heart of a downtown but DH and I currently live in a suburb of Phoenix. It allows easy access to the city but is still far enough away. Since our area has been built up over the past 10 years the development of our city is very symmetrical. This makes for easy route planning and for the most part I know how many miles I’ve run simply by the amount of blocks I’ve covered. Some may say that my routes aren’t all that exciting, to which I am inclined to say that I somewhat agree. But it allows me to get the job done and I feel relatively safe at all times. And although my routes may not be all that technical or exciting, every way I look I am surrounded by the beautiful site of mountains and that never gets old.
Trails or Road - We have never lived in a location with the choice of so many trails. In fact, I had never really done any trail running until we moved here. Now I absolutely love it! What’s even better is that we live within 15 minutes of some of favorite trails. Unfortunately my schedule doesn’t allow me to hit up the trails each day but it’s awesome knowing that I have the option, and I try to take advantage of it at least once a week. Trails will always be humbling but they are also cleansing to the soul.
Community - This is the absolute best part of running in Phoenix. Seriously.
I took a chance last year by venturing by myself to a Road Runner Sports Adventure Run. I caught up with a couple girls running, started a conversation, and we found we had a lot in common. After the run we exchanged contact information. A year later, we now work for the same company, see each other daily, and even hit up an Adventure Run again this year.
Upon making the announcement of our move I was quickly connected via twitter with a group of ladies called the Cholla Chicks. Once I arrived they welcomed me with open arms and have really become my family out here. It’s a bit hard to explain the group because there’s no formal organization per se. The best way I can explain is that a few ladies started running together, created a “group”, and it’s continued from there. Anyone can “join” but I love how close knit yet open we are. Some train together (sadly I live on the opposite side of the valley so it’s impossible to make the daily runs), we run races, we hike, we yoga, we have happy hours, we cheer each other on, we live life, and quite simply, we just run. I love these ladies.
Considering she is a Cholla Chick, I’ve also met the amazing RunEMZ. Yes, the woman that ran over 100 miles within 24 hours on a treadmill this weekend, all in the name of raising money for education in India. (They’re still collecting donations!) Absolutely incredible. She has a heart of gold.
Photo Credit – IKUNA Apparel
Since meeting the Cholla Chicks I’ve quickly learned that the entire Phoenix running community fits the 6 degrees of separation model….
At the run I even met people who are now some of my team mates for the upcoming Ragnar Trail. Funny enough, some of my teammates know the coworkers I met at last year’s Adventure Run. See! 6 degrees of separation. Everyone is connected in some way.
So….as I drove away Saturday morning having run 8 miles with some old friends and some new, my heart was bursting with gratitude. I love Phoenix. I love running in Phoenix. I love my Phoenix running family.
I know I have been a bit lackadaisical with my blog post these past couple of weeks. Last year I was posting daily. I then went down to 3 times a week. These past 2 weeks I think I’ve had maybe 2 posts a week. Maybe I’m wrong. Honestly, I haven’t taken time to count….because, who cares?! Right?!
A saying that irks me is, “I don’t have time.” There’s no doubt about it, there will come a point in your life when you truly don’t have time. However, 9 times out of 10 that’s just not the case. Instead, it’s not that you don’t have time, it’s just not of importance to you. So while I could sit here and say I haven’t had time to blog, I’d be lying. It’s a fact, I’m pretty darn busy and I’ve been on the go, but when am I not? It’s not that blogging has become unimportant to me. It’s just that it’s not in the forefront of my brain and there are other things that have taken importance over it in recent weeks.
Things were no different this past weekend.
It started with a 4a wake up call to cheer on my Cholla Chicks through a triathlon. While they knew I’d be out there cheering them on, they had no idea what I had planned for them. If you’re going to cheer someone on, you gotta cheer them on. Clapping and hollering at people while they’re racing is just not enough. A sign, cowbell, and yes, even a banana costume is a must.
Then I hung up the banana costume and transformed once again into Rock Star Wife mode for a Corvus concert. So many things happening behind the scenes of Corvus right now. So much that it makes my head spin. Right now I can’t share, because nothing is set in stone (when is anything ever set in stone?) but the past several months I’ve found myself saying, “PLOT TWIST!” quite often.
I had plans to wake up super early to avoid the heat and hit the trails early this morning to continue training for Ragnar Trail Relay PHX. While I wasn’t up as early as planned the weather proved to be in my favor as it was overcast skies and scattered rain showers. ”Flat Dig and Mary” came along with me on my run as well so I could take a few photos for my friend’s project she’s working on.
After such as crazy 24 hours I took this afternoon “off” by catching up on things around the eyes and attempting to take a quick nap. And now I’m taking the last few free moments of the weekend to write down just a few words here.
As you can see, there’s no denying that we’re busy. But, am I too busy for blogging? No. Simply put, blogging should be about life. Life shouldn’t be about blogging.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)