Posts tagged Columbia Sportswear
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 =)
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 =)
As I traveled home from NYC last week I couldn’t help but think, “I’m a lucky gal….” I don’t say this in a boastful way but simply with a heart full of gratitude. I’ve already discussed how over the past several years my simple blog has transformed in just as many ways as I have as an individual. I have had many opportunities I never dreamed I would ever have and have been lucky to partner with some awesome brands, while I focus on remaining true to my promise to myself (and you!).
I’ve already laid out my generalized criteria on how and why I work with brands but as I looked back I noticed a pattern has unfolded…
I tend to like the underdogs. Most of the brands I have worked with have proven track records, along with having proven themselves in their field of expertise, and possibly even been the front runner at some time. However, at this point they tend to be in the mode of reinventing themselves, proving that they are once again relevant in their field. Although I have never been a front runner I can totally identify with this. The idea of making your move, hoping you’ll get your time to shine, yet not knowing if it’s going to happen, but still continuously moving forward. Yep, my life, in a nutshell.
(Edit: Since posting there were a few people who had took issue with me categorizing these brands as ”underdogs”, given their revenues. Point taken. Thanks to Heather for appropriately categorizing these brands I speak of as ”comeback kids” In her words, “boomed and quasi-busted before reinventing themselves.” I dig it. I may be a blogger but no one has ever said I’m good with words).
I love brands that are personable and get personal. These brands have a real person behind their social media accounts and general aren’t afraid to let it be known. They don’t just spread the word of their products but interact with their followers, fans, users, and critics. After getting to know my brand partners (Hello Adam and Jason!) I like to ask them, “Why me?” and every time I’m told, “I’ve been following you, reading your blog, love your content, and appreciate your interaction with others.” They rarely follow some weird equation to fill their partnership needs and actually pay attention to what I’m doing and saying. In addition, not only have I had the opportunity to meet their employees but CEOs, Presidents, VPs of companies etc. Even better? These individuals are unpretentious, down to earth, real people. So much that one time it wasn’t until after the experience that I realized who I was speaking with. True story. Shooting the shit with Tim Boyle, President and CEO of Columbia Sportswear, not even realizing it.
I don’t worry about stats and neither do they. Straight up, I’m a numbers person. However, I’ve made it a point to NOT pay attention to stats when it comes to my social media platforms. I’ll be honest, I did at one point, which is when things went astray and my authentic voice went out the window. In return my numbers came to a standstill and even worsened. (Proof, that I need to keep it real.) I understand why most brands want/need these numbers, as it allows them to measure their reach, growth, etc., and” proves” to the higher ups social media is worth it. I’m grateful for brands that respect quality over quantity and prefer organic growth.
They are willing to take a chance on me. Continuing with the point above, since they are basing their choice simply by my previous actions shows that they are willing to take a chance on me. At the same time they’re also asking for me to take a chance on them. Sure it’s awesome to be invited to events across the US. Most events are filled with fun, but I still see these as business trips. Often the schedules are jam packed leaving little to no time for other activities outside the planned itinerary. In addition, even though my travel and lodging are covered it still requires that I take unpaid days off of my regular work. Rarely do I know what to expect or if it will be worth the trip, hence why I’m taking the chance. Ultimately my instincts have been proven right and each trip has been worth it.
They ask for nothing in return. It’s no secret that by working with brands oftentimes product and/or money is exchanged. I’ve had some brands contact me and say, “We’ll give you this if you tweet about us 3 times a week, post a photo to instagram once a month, write 2 blog posts…..” Yikes. Once again, I get why some brands want this. It’s a “guarantee”. However, these are the brands I try to steer clear of. Once you get into the situation of things being required then it becomes forced, less genuine, and my authentic voice is lost. Instead the brands I’ve chosen to partner with say nothing. Originally I found myself saying, “What do you want from me? I know you have to expect something…” Their simple answer, “No. Nothing is expected.” What?! Weird. But what I’ve come to learn is that this allows everyone to share their thoughts and experiences their own way.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
I’ve basically already talked about this a couple weeks ago, but just the other day I realized I glossed over something that deserves more attention. Being chosen as one of Columbia Sportswear Inaugural #Omniten. (What’s #omniten? Find out here.)
Back in late 2011 I won a jacket and base layers from Columbia through twitter. I always want to share my views on products and brands I believe in so I went ahead and did a few blog posts about what was sent to me. Columbia never asked me to do this nor did I expect anything in return for sharing my thoughts. In early 2012 I received an email from Columbia asking to speak with me via phone. I was stoked but had absolutely no idea why they’d want to speak with me. It was during this conversation that the idea of #Omniten was discussed. They explained that it was in the early stages of planning, gave me a few vague details, but wanted to know if I would be interested if it came to fruition. I couldn’t say, “Yes!” fast enough. Knowing that there was a 50/50 chance of it actually occuring, I didn’t get my hopes up. And then it happened.
In early March 2012 I received my first box of goodies and accepted my place among Columbia’s Inaugural #Omniten.
Over the next 6 months I acquired some amazing gear (including a GoPro), was whisked off to Sedona for their 2013 Spring Preview, was present when they revealed Project Z as their new technology Omni-Freeze Zero, rubbed elbows with some of Columbia’s head honchos (and didn’t even know it until I was well into my conversation….ha!), sat among some of the best magazine editors, practiced a little vortex yoga, and hiked into the Grand Canyon with 20 people I had met only 48 hours before.
To say the whole experience with Columbia has been life changing is an understatement. The gear has been absolutely rad, but in reality it comes down the experience and the people. I was told by one of our Grand Canyon guides that my life would be forever changed. Little did I know he would be right. It was out there in the Arizona heat that I realized there was so much more to life. I literally went home and told D, “We have to move.” And so we did.
The inaugural #omniten season officially wrapped in mid-late 2012 signaling it was time to make room for a new crew. However, it wasn’t the end, only the beginning. New adventures await and I can’t wait to see where they take us.
Photo Credit Will Rochfort
I have no idea why I was chosen to be part of the #Omniten. No idea whatsoever. What I do know, is that it happened for a reason. The experience brought out of me something I never knew existed and lit a fire in my life. And for that I am truly grateful. If you would’ve told me in during my initial phone conversation with Columbia, just a year ago, that I’d be where I am, doing what I’m doing, I’d say you were crazy. And yet, look where I am.
Columbia took a chance on something that they didn’t know would be successful. In the end it has proven to be successful, and it’s pretty kick ass to say that I was part of the inaugural #Omniten crew. Thank you Columbia for choosing me and proving that some of the best results come from taking a chance.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
The first Omniten Reunion was pretty darn fantastic! As usual, I’m having a hard time putting into words the experience. After our Sedona/Havasu trip in June we had hoped to reunite in the future. I’m not unsure if anyone really thought it’d happen. Thankfully we were able to personally come together and make a reunion happen, even though some could not attend. (No worries! I’m sure there will be more.)
Upon my arrival I was greeted at baggage claim by Heather and Katie. We then headed over the neighboring terminal to grab Jon. Gotta love when flight schedules coincide. After a few quick hugs we ventured out into the COLD weather (Holy crap, did I really ever live in this sort of climate?!) to be met by Will, ready to start our short road trip to Park City.
Will was volunteered for the task of organizing this adventure and to say he delivered is an understatement. Our lodging alone spoke for itself. I’ve always hoped to vacation in a lodge such as Timber Wolf Lodge and it finally happened.
Fireplace? Check. Hot tub? Check. Classic wood/cabin furniture? Check. Warm and welcoming? Check. Kick butt entertainment set up? Check. Pots, pans, dishes, and other kitchen utensils? Check. It was all that I had hoped. You better believe I chose to sleep on the couch and fell asleep by the light of the fireplace each night.
Once settled in we made our way to the market to grab all of our food necessities for our time in Park City. We kicked off our first evening with a gourmet meal from Will and called it an early night.
We woke up early the next morning in hopes of hitting the slopes at opening. After Jon and I grabbed our rentals at Park City Sport (High five to them. We almost didn’t acquire rentals for our lack of planning. They were super nice and understanding. Not to mention, they didn’t make me feel like a tool for my lack of knowledge.) we headed to Alta.
That would be the look of fear captured by Katie
I knew this, but wow, ski resorts out west are nothing like Ohio. Those aren’t just hills. Those are mountains. There are no words to describe the beauty.
Photo Courtesy of Heather
After taking a brief moment to take it all (brief, because it was flippin’ cold! I don’t know if I’m meant for cold weather anymore…), it was time to face the challenge I set before myself well over a year ago. That’s when the nerves kicked in. How in the world was I going to survive on these little toothpicks? Alas, I did it. First run of the day + no crashes = success. Woohoo!
Photo courtesy of Katie
Another photo from Heather
After several hours of runs we took a brief lunch and then headed back for a few more runs before calling it a day. The second half of the day was filled with even more beauty as we were surrounded by falling snow. So peaceful.
Alta is a pretty sweet mountain. The slopes were perfect for my lack of experience and I really fell in love with all it had to offer. Unfortunately those that are looking to snowboard must head to another mountain since it’s only open to skiing. However, the variety of green, blue, black runs provided enjoyment for the varying skill levels in our group.
We finished up the day with a quiet night in the lodge since the next day called for more skiing!
Day 2 of skiing lead us to meeting up with another member of the Omniten, Steve, and took us to Solitude. A bit quieter than most mountains, Solitude lives up to it’s name. With the sun shining and the snow falling consistently throughout the day, it was as though diamonds were falling from the sky. Can’t beat that. Unfortunately for me day 2 didn’t go as well as day 1 (more on that in the future). Even so, it was another beautiful day on the mountain.
That evening we had several Blends (blog +friends) come to our lodge to celebrate New Years and have dinner.
I love meeting blends in real-life. Heck, these are some of my best friends, so it’s always great when the opportunity arises. After dinner we hit downtown Park City to ring in the New Year.
The next day called for sleeping in, eating lots, checking out more of Park City, playing cards, and even some dancing. Before we knew it, nighttime had once again come and it was time to call it a day.
As expected, our final morning together was filled with cleaning, packing, and goodbyes. As always, time flew by faster than we imagined. Could it really be time to head home?
2012 was filled with adventures and experiences that were out of this world for me. 2 life-changing experiences included my Omniten family. In our short times together they’ve seen me at my highest and also at my lowest. They’ve provided inspiration to pursue my adventures and kind words or a shoulder to cry on when I’ve stumbled (both literally and figuratively) through these adventures. I really couldn’t imagine my life without them.
To friends and future adventures!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
You may remember back to when I received a GoPro from Columbia Sportswear and also my trip to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. I have finally gotten around to figuring out how to edit my GoPro footage. Of course I wish I had more, but that just means I have to go on some more adventures, right?
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Finally took the time to learn how to edit GoPro footage. This is where our adventure took us this weekend. Many more adventurous videos to come….
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Watch on to see my review of Columbia Sportswear’s Omni-FreezeZERO. Have you entered my giveaway yet?
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)