Monday, July 31, 2017

Xterra Magnolia Hill Off Road Trail Run

I came across this trail race and I wanted to sign up right away. I've been dealing with this RA flare and other health issues and wasn't sure it was a great idea, but I really needed to get out there. And the trails have a way of clearing my head and healing my heart! So I signed up. And I decided going into this race that it was just going to be for fun!

I chose to do the 11.5k race. I haven't been running much or running far. I broke my foot in November. I took off 6 weeks completely from everything. I took off running for 10 weeks and then had to start back super slow. I went to months of  PT! And I was in the heart of Ironman training. My longest training run before my full Ironman was 10 miles!! And let me tell you the marathon in the Ironman hurt!! But I did it!! And then there was that recovery. And so I am finally after many months running without pain!!
Race morning I headed out early. It was a little over an hour drive. It was a gorgeous morning! But temps and humidity were on the rise! The venue was gorgeous. Apparently it is private property that they open up to Xterra every year for their off road triathlon and trail race.The course was absolutely beautiful! It was a single track trail and very hilly compared to what I am used to running. I'm lucky to push 100ft  close to home.

But it was really pretty! And the race was very well organized! The course was well marked. The race handled the extreme temperatures by having aid stations set up every mile. And at the end there were ice cold towels and cold water and cold Gatorade! I was very impressed!
When we started I was in a group of girls for about 2 miles. I kept reminding myself to run my own race and not get caught up in the start. I know typically there are many who start too fast and I didn't want to get wrapped up in that. And one by one the girls started falling back. And I started catching up with the half marathoners who went out ahead of us. And I was getting hopeful, but I couldn't really believe it either. I actually started to worry I was off course. Lol!There were some rolling hills that were so close together I tried leaping them rather than going up and down but that didn't work out so well. Haha. And there some parts of the course where you left the forest and were out in the open and let me tell you that sun was blazing! And while I wasn't pushing really hard, the conditions had my heart rate in the red zone from start to finish!

My watch was showing I was nearing the 7 mile mark which should be near the end. But as I passed the aid station the guy called out 1 more mile!! Ok I think I can, I think I can! And that last mile was no joke. I literally came to a hill and stopped and looked at it before I even climbed it! Ha! And then when I saw the finish line I tried to pick up the pace but it was all uphill! I pushed up and crossed!! My watch had the course at 8 miles. I checked right away and I was told I was the 1st in my age group and  3rd overall female! I couldn't believe it!! I podiumed!! Woohoo!!
Going out there without expectations or pressure was amazing! I had a blast and I did remarkably well!! I started all this with trail running and I am so happy to be back at it!! Looking forward to beginning training for Rocky Raccoon 50 Miles!!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Envision It and You Can Do It

"What you think you become. What you feel you attract. What you imagine you create." - Buddha

This is one of my favorite places to run! Before Ironman Texas I would come out here over and over, sometimes to train and sometimes to sit, and I would visualize racing and becoming an Ironman. Now I come out here to relive and celebrate making that dream come true.

Visualization is such an important and productive tool. No matter how hard you work, if you don't have the proper mindset you're going to be held back. Just like you train your body you have to train your mind. 
Visualization is an excellent tool to use in training and also in recovery. 
Here are some tips that help me with visualization.
1. Think about your time leading up to the race/event/goal. Be specific with the details. What are you wearing? How are you preparing? What emotions are you feeling?
2. Imagine yourself at the start line. Showing up is sometimes half the battle. Think of the sounds, the feelings, the electricity of the start line.
3. Imagine yourself at very specific times throughout the course. What are you doing? How do you feel? What are you doing to ensure success?
4. Cross that finish line! Every time you visual make sure you see yourself at the finish line. Look at the expression on your face. Hear the crowd. How are you crossing the finish?
5. NEVER envision failure! Don't ever make this an option. Wipe any of these thoughts from your head and replace them immediately with images of success.   
6. Plan your celebration! Imagine how you will celebrate with your friends and family!
Visualize it, train for it, do it! It CAN be done!!

Seriously love this skirt!! 
And July 15-31 Enso Sports Skirts is having their Midsummer sale - 25% off and free shipping!

Friday, July 14, 2017

My Favorite Orange Mud Packs

We are a family of hikers and I am an endurance athlete who loves running trails. I used my Orange Mud packs training for Ironman and I am training for my first Ultra in February. I am by no means an expert, but I get asked often about my Orange Mud packs. So I thought I'd give you a little review on each of the packs I have. There are more reviews on the Orange Mud site, so be sure to read those as well. I've included stock photos and personal photos to help. There are so many great packs, I hope this helps you find the right one for you. Be sure to use the code AB151-104 for 10% off and save yourself some $$$!

1. Handheld Hydration Pack $29.95
The handheld is really great for those short runs or track workouts or even just on the go. It has a pocket for your phone, gels, keys, etc. It holds a 21 ounce bottle. It's very comfortable to carry. I personally don't love carrying anything when I run so I never take this on long runs. But it's great for a grab and go for me!

2. Sling Bag $32.95
I love a good sling bag and this one is super nice. It's very well made. Lots of sling bags are super thin. This one is really durable and good quality. It has an interior pocket so no digging for keys. It also has three front pouches which are great! I use the center one to hold my drink. It holds a water bottle perfectly!

3. Hydraquiver Vest Pack 1 - $119.95

My Hydraquiver Vest Pack 1 gets a lot of use. It is so hot and humid here in Houston I even take it on my shorter runs. It's super important to get the fit right when you're wearing it. I have read some people have issues with chafing under the arms. I have not had this problem. Orange Mud has a video on the proper way to wear your vest and it is super helpful. It holds a 25 ounce bottle. It has two shoulder accessory pockets and two chest pockets to hold gels or your phone. I also use it to carry my GoPro. I don't have movement from the vest or sloshing when I'm running and that is important to me. My only problem with the single barrel is my ponytail. I can't braid my own hair, so sometimes my ponytail gets in the way. It doesn't stop me from using it, but I want to give full disclosure. Just another reason I need to learn to braid my own hair. But I have 4 boys, so I doubt that's ever going to happen. Ha!

4. Hydraquiver Vest Pack 2 $134.95

The Hydraquiver Vest Pack 2 is another one you'll see me wearing a lot. It is the same footprint as the Vest Pack 1, but holds two 25 ounce water bottles. It has the two chest pockets and two shoulder pockets. Great for carrying everything you need.  I wear this on the majority of my runs and while hiking with the family. There is no bounce and it is very light. Again proper fit is very important, so watch the video Orange Mud provides. I find this pack very comfortable and convenient. And the pony tail issue is resolved. I love both vest packs because they are water bottles and so easy and convenient to throw in the dishwasher to get clean. This is great for both road and trail running!

5. Endurance Pack Version 1.0 **On Sale $119.95

The Endurance Pack Version 1.0 is perfect for running or biking any distance. It weighs only 11.4oz. It holds a 2L bladder. It has 3 compartments - the bladder compartment, main cargo, and a zippered elastic pocket with a key clip. It is stretchy and fits perfectly to your body. I notice when I run with it there is no movement which is very important to me. I have never experienced chafing from this pack. It is light. It is easy. 
Also it is the best fitting pack I have found for my kiddos to wear if you are looking for a pack for a kid or young adult.

6. **NEW** Endurance Pack Version 2.0 Coyote Brown with Trekking Pole Upgrade $149.95

The difference between version 1 and version 2 of the Endurance pack includes a longer chest harness, additional trash pockets, adjustable sternum sliders, and taller chest pockets for 450ml/600ml soft flasks. Oh and don't forget this NEW color Coyote Brown which I am loving! It is the same weight and has the same compartments as version 1. I say this about every pack I know but this may be my new favorite! The larger pockets give more carrying space but without all the extra room of the Adventure Pack. It is light and comfortable and can be used for any distance of running and biking!

7. Adventure Pack, 12L $139.95

The Adventure Pack has become my go to pack for long family hikes because it is a backpack and I can carry more gear and snacks for the kids. I was initially hesitant because it is has a bladder and I have never been a fan of bladders. But the Orange Mud bladder is so great. The top opens completely with a fold and slide system that makes it very easy to fill and super easy to clean. And this pack is awesome for my long runs as well. The bladder it comes with is 2L but it can even fit up to 3L. I also have the flasks listed below that hold 15 ounces each and fit in the front pockets of the vest for extra hydration. I typically put water in the bladder and an endurance drink in the flasks. You can carry trekking poles using the nylon cords on the back. I have folding poles and they fit perfectly inside the bag. This pack is extremely comfortable and it amazed me how light it felt even when I had it packed to the brim and filled with fluids. I am excited to use this pack for ultra training. This pack is the 12L. The 20L pack has the same footprint, chest harness, and materials. So you have options for sizes. The 12L is perfect for me.
**Update - I used this pack during my 50 mile Ultra and I loved it! I had all the fluids and nutrition I needed. Plus the weather changed several times throughout the day with temperature and precipitation and I had a place to hold my layers. I may have even been overly prepared, but there wasn't anything I needed out there!

8. Ultraflask - Hydrapak 15 ounce $18.95
These are great for extra hydration!!

I hope you find my reviews helpful. If you have any questions feel free to ask me, but also be sure to check out the Orange Mud website at for more information, reviews, and helpful videos. I also want to mention that Orange Mud has some of the best customer service and quality products there are. They are great to work with for any questions or concerns about their products. Use discount code AB151-104.