Thursday, January 28, 2016

Such Great Heights

My blog posts of 2015 have been sporadic and I have neglected to write an entry since November 16, 2015. That is not too bad I suppose. While I love writing and enjoy interacting electronically with amazing people I would otherwise never have crossed paths with, I feel that the blog, specifically my blog is getting a tad stale. Like bread that sits in the refrigerator. A bread that you love and couldn’t possibly throw out, but it might be time as the green spots say such.
I am not saying that this is the end of my blog as we speak, but I do think that there will be a few tweaks in the coming months. Changes perhaps? We shall see.

On that note, I have started 2016 out with a bang. By now it is no secret that I work for the El Dorado Arts Council. I am fortunate enough to combine my passion for art as well as leading a healthy, active lifestyle in our current gallery show; Such Great Heights--The Art of Endurance. This particular show means a lot to me for obvious reasons as it portrays that art is truly everywhere! Not only are we featuring some amazing local talent on our walls, but I had the honor of hosting the one and only Ann Trason at our Ultra Running Unplugged event. Ann Trason is a true ultra running badass and really an inspiration. The event also featured locals Rick Simonsen and Bruce La Belle. It was an evening filled with laughter, stories, and overall bonding with the running community. It was a wonderful treat! Bonus: We also had delicious beer thanks to the good folks at Jack Russell Brewery (who are opening a second location right on Main Street here in Placerville).
In a time when not too many women were running long distances, Ann Trason was out there getting it done, setting world records, and being an overall ambassador for the sport. And she is just so bloody humble about it all. Ann would much rather turn the tables around and talk about me and my running experiences than herself. I am so humbled that she gave her time to speak at our little organization event!
Doing what we love to do - Run and then drink beer!
Ann Trason, her adorable dog, and me!

Another amazing women who I would like to highlight quickly in this post is Margie Lopez Read. Margie was an ultra runner completing the Western States 100 a few times, as well as starting the Run on the Sly race back in the day. In a addition to being an overall awesome gal, Margie is also a very talented artist.

Run Sly by Margie Lopez Read

Rucky Chucky by Margie Lopez Read 

These are a couple of my favorite pieces currently featured in the show created by Margie. While the originals are not for sale, I do have a couple of limited edition prints for sale. Interested? Contact me for details. Margie has a program called Donation Art.

“I believe that art is at its best when it teaches, records a memory, tells a story, or provokes thought. For this reason, almost all of my pieces are accompanied with a story. My goal is to use art as a means to raise funds for programs that improve the condition of our world.”
- Margie Lopez Read

It is a wonderful program where the proceeds of her sales go to good causes. If nothing else, check out her work and support the artist community.

Here are a few other artworks featured in the show:

Solitary Gratitude by fellow runner and friend Charito Bartlett

Rafting by Joyce Martin
It is pure magic when art and endurance meet. For without them both, what would we ever have to write about!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Eat All The Cake

Eat all the Cake during the Beat the Blerch Half Marathon in Sacramento is what I did not do. Cake on the stick and Nutella stuffed something or others were offered at the aid stations during the race and while I have the biggest sweet tooth known to man, I did not indulge.
I did however meet The Oatmeal himself in person and got a rabbit, ghost thing drawn for me in one of my books.

I did see many friends and even had the opportunity to meet a few more.
 I did for the first time in my running history throw up on the course. I wish that I could tell you the cause of getting sick was due to pushing myself to an ultimate speed, but this is sadly not the case. I was running comfortably and taking it easy. I have no idea what went wrong as I felt fine before and after the race. The only conclusion that I can think of is that I worked an event the night before. I did not properly hydrate nor fuel as I should have. Could this be an excuse?  Perhaps! But really, I am still learning how to balance work, running and racing, and find it to be all a bit of a challenge. C'est la vie!

I did have fun! Despite not feeling up to par, how could I have not enjoyed this race! Smiling faces, running blerches, couches, and the offerings of cake made this a race to remember! I hope Beat the Blerch returns back to the Sacramento area as I would love to run it again!


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Launch of FitFam

One of my favorite running companies previously known as Gametiime has launched FitFam! Same great folks behind the website, just a different look, and a more empowering mission!
That being said, I am really excited to announce that I have been accepted to the FitFam as an ambassador. I am truly excited to be apart of this truly inspiring team and can't wait to #movethemission.

More #FitFamAmbassador information to come, but for now, check out all the fabulous FitFam launch details below. And, come join me and participate in the FitFam Challenge! We can motivate each other to become the best runners we can be in 2016! Who's with me? Use "MOVETHEMISSION10" for a 10% discount!
FitFam launches virtual event platform, to help people be healthy and active

FitFam, a Seattle-based startup building an online, turnkey platform for brands to host engaging virtual events. The service will officially launch on 11/10/15. People will be able to sign up for FitFam’s first official event, the FitFam Challenge, and brands can learn more about how to host an event of their own.
FitFam creates and hosts virtual event experiences that inspire people — of all ages and athletic abilties — to live healthy and active. Participants commit to a fitness goal, connect with hundreds of others in a nationwide online community, get exclusive event merchandise, win awards and prizes, and benefit worthy causes.
In addition, FitFam virtual events allow brands to build brand loyalty through a unique experience, and increase their customer reach and engagement by empowering their fans to become vocal and passionate brand ambassadors.
A virtual event is like your local 5K or marathon, but much more flexible — participants can do on the event on their own time, with a gathering of friends or solo, and at a location of their choice.
Put another way, it’s a fun and easy, low-stress way to participate in a race — not having to be at a specific location at 7am, while also connecting participants in a supportive, nationwide event community.
The experience has been popular with solo runners, friends, families (including kids and dogs!), and organizational groups alike — proving to be a great way to get together, get out the door, and be active.

Participants pay around $35 to register for a themed, fitness-related virtual event — often related to a fun holiday, pop culture favorite, and/or marketing campaign associated with a partner brand.
With this registration, participants get:
  • invited to a participant-only website and social media community, where they can learn about and meet fellow participants nationwide
  • exclusive swag in the mail to recognize their efforts and remember the experience
  • the chance to win awards and prizes through photo contests and merit-based categories (e.g. fastest 5K finisher)
  • lots of “feel-goods”, knowing they: committed to and accomplished a goal, were part of a supportive and encouraging community of go-getters, and contributed to benefitting an non-profit cause related to the event’s theme.
Once the event weekend arrives, participants complete their activity (e.g. running, walking, or biking), submit their results online — verified by their tracking app data — and share their experience through photos and videos on social media.
Photo contest and merit-based award winners are also selected, winning prizes in the mail on top of merchandise given to all event participants.

FitFam works closely with organizations to design and execute a virtual event from start to finish, providing insightful guidance along the way and a thorough post-event summary about the event community.
Partner companies pay a per-event setup fee to initiate the project, then receive a split of registration and sponsorship dollars (if applicable) at the conclusion of the event.
And, lastly, FitFam and its partners make a collective donation with proceeds to a theme-related cause.

FitFam’s mission is, “To empower people to live a more healthy and active lifestyle.”
FitFam’s slogan is, “Achieve your impossible.”

The name FitFam is a combination of the words “fitness” and (global) “family”. It’s an inspiring, inclusive community of people helping one another improve one day at a time, with running and fitness as a vehicle.
The idea of FitFam came when, after building and running Gametiime, Jon and Don kept asking themselves, “What would be a better way to help people to be healthy and active, and create an innovative win-win for customers and brands alike?” After talking with a number of existing users and companies, they landed on the idea of hosting their own virtual event in early 2015.
After hosting their first four pilot events and receiving stellar feedback from participants, it was clear the opportunity was worth pursuing further. Additionally, they discovered that brands in the market were seeking new ways to engage with existing customers and find new ones. Similarly great feedback from brands validated the offering as an unique and valuable brand marketing tool.

Official hashtags:
  • #FitFamLaunch
  • #movethemission
  • #FitFamAmbassador



Friday, October 16, 2015

Only a Half

“After the race, we can go to the lake, go on a hike, and perhaps check out the Fall Festival. Oh, and maybe stop at a winery or two” I said to my bff on Friday when I arrived at her house in Mariposa.
“After all, I am only running a half.” Famous last words.

I participated in the inaugural Yosemite Half Marathon. I hadn’t ran a half marathon since April and was excited to not only run this inaugural race that was primarily downhill, but also spend some time with my best friend who had just bought a house an hour away from the start line.

BFF's since 6th grade!
My alarm woke me up at 2:30 am and I was out the door by 3:15. Since there was no runner drop off at the starting line, I had to catch a shuttle by 5 am. I allowed some extra time on the chance that I got lost which in my case, is always possible. This time however, I did not get lost and I got to the shuttle pickup point by 4:15, and boarded at 4:30. It took an hour for the bus to get to the start line up a windy road and I tried to take a little nap but failed.

Disclosure  - The whole waking up in the middle of the night to catch the shuttle was the worst. This will be my only negative comment about the race. I understand why the race organizers did not allow drop-off’s at the start as there was only a single lane on the drive uphill. Traffic would get pretty congested, but still, it was too much middle of the night madness for this non-morning person.

I had an hour before the start where I helped myself to the offerings of hot chocolate, coffee, and porta-potties. Then, just like that - it was time to toe the start line. I was really excited to run! I love running downhill and thought I would be in heaven running downhill for ten miles straight.

The first three miles were fast! Actually, I was running at my 5k speed. I kept telling myself to slow down, but of course I didn’t listen. I was enjoying the pull of gravity. It felt amazing to feel the ease of the speed and I kept going. By mile four I started to feel a bit of pain in my quads, reduced my speed (slightly) and took in the beauty of the trees surrounding the course. For those ten miles that is what I saw--runners, trees, and steep downhill pavement. At mile six, I really started to feel the pain. I stopped at the aid station to stretch and chatted with other runners doing the same. At one point, I saw someone stop in the middle of the course, turn around, and get herself into a downward dog position. I did not think this was strange, other than it occurring in the middle of the road. It was smart. Those ten miles of steep downhill were no joke.

The last three miles took me around Bass Lake. A beautiful lake (low water levels of course) surrounded by a cute lake community (with a few houses for sale, I might add). While the hills were gentle rollers, it felt intense coming off all that downhill and my legs were toast. It was at this point that I wogged (walked and jogged) to the finish. With only a half mile left, I was walking. A gal coming up from behind me told me to run with her. And, of course I did. Thank you Ellen for the push and the small conversation we had as we headed towards the finish. I really appreciated the motivation. After I crossed the finish line and hobbled around, I noticed EVERYONE was in the same condition. I started laughing, I couldn’t help it. Another runner caught my eye and without having to say a word, we both started laughing. We chatted about how we both felt like we ran a marathon and that this was suppose to be “only a half.”

Needless to say, I was pretty sore and happy that I was not alone. Seriously, I could barely walk. I don’t think I have ever experienced pain in my legs to that degree. No, really! My friend and I did not accomplish everything on our activity list. We did take a dip in the lake, and went to one winery. We ended up taking a short nap and a soak in the jacuzzi. She, also being the amazing friend that she is, made me homemade ramen. And it was delicious!

Bass Lake
This Breaks my heart!
Homemade amazingness!
Overall, I liked this race a lot! I really liked the shirt. The medal is huge and fun. No complaints on the pre and post run food and the organization and communication was on par. The course was beautiful and challenging. More challenging than I anticipated. Would I run it again? Perhaps. I just hope that if I do, that I am more conditioned for the hills and that maybe, just maybe I could get an extra hour or two of sleep.Otherwise, well played #yosmitehalf, well played.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Back At It

I woke up in the middle of the night with a jolt. It wasn’t because I had had a bad dream. No, not this time, but it was from the realization that I had not blogged in quite some time.

So here I am, back at it! And I return with the excitement of running the inaugural Yosemite Half Marathon on Saturday. I can’t wait to tackle this mostly downhill course. I will be staying with my friend in Mariposa and while I have been very impressed with the race details and instructions thus far, I am not looking forward to waking up at 3 am to leave the house by 3:45 am and catch the last shuttle that leaves by 5 am, only to wait around until the race starts at 7 am. It is certainly asking a lot of me in those wee hours of the morning. Regardless, I am looking forward to running this half. Hard to believe I have not ran an official half marathon since April. Back at it!

Love the Yosemite Half race shirt that just arrived the mail!
I am thrilled to announce that I am a part of the Oiselle Volée Team. I have always been a fan of the clothing brand. The opportunity presented itself and I took it, bait line and sinker. I have already connected to a wonderful online community of women who like to lead a healthy lifestyle all while looking fabulous. I can’t wait to meet some of these birda in person!

Oiselle Singlet Love!
As mentioned in a past post, the inaugural Pony Express Marathon (half, and relay) is coming to Sacramento. While this race is not until May, get it on your calendars and come run with me! Register with code: Agularte$PEM2016 for $10 off.

Have an instagram account? Play the #PEM2016 October Photo A Day Challenge. It is only a few days into the game and plenty of pictures left to be taken.

Stay healthy my friends!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Running, Exploring, & Dancing

I participated in yet another virtual race organized by Gametiime who also partnered with Nuun. This virtual run was open to the Nuun community that included #teamnuun, nuun employees, and #nuunbassadors.

It was pretty much the same type of deal as The Puppy Run. It was called #RunRideHydrate and you could race the 5k, 10k, or 15 mile bike ride.

Because this virtual race fell on a holiday weekend (4th of July), I was off the grid camping at a beautiful place just an hour away from Placerville. I had no cell service. I was camping but a ½ mile away from a gorgeous trail called Caples Creek trail. I signed up for the 5k, but the trail was so wonderful to run on that I ended up running the 10k and then added two miles for a total of eight. This was my first time on the trail and it was a real treat! Not too much climbing, but elevation was just high enough to feel my lungs clutching for air. It was an amazing morning out on the trails and overall a fabulous weekend camping at the river and exploring a nearby lake.

Shanon & Mark with puppy dogs in tow

Me--A shadow running in the meadow

Swoon worthy picture

One more swoon worthy pic
This upcoming weekend is The San Francisco Marathon and the first time in three years that I will not be running the race. While I am a bit sad to miss out on running in a gorgeous city with some fabulous friends, I have been keeping myself busy organizing an event for my community.

Shameless promotion...Why yes, I think it is! I, on behalf of the El Dorado Arts Council, have worked very hard on a festival in celebration of National Dance Day on July 25. There will be dance performances, dance lessons, vendors, live entertainment from a swing/jazz style band, the Tepid Club of Cool, food trucks, and beer from Old Hangtown Beer Works (Yum, my favorite) and wine from Madroña Vineyards. I am super excited for this event. And while, it certainly has nothing to do with running, it does celebrate health and fitness through another type of endurance sport; dance!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Cuddling Up to my Running Journal + Giveaway

Confession time - I still write in a calendar that lives in my purse and travels everywhere I go. And yes, I do also use a digital calendar. You would think double dipping would get to be a bit repetitive, but I suppose I am old fashion in the sense that I like putting a pen to paper. I feel like this caveman motion helps me to remember things better. And frankly, I could use all the help I can get in the memory department.

Completely stocked that JournalMENU approached me and asked to review their running journal! While I do keep digital logs on all my run adventures and workouts, I do not write them down. There is something magical about writing your goals out on paper versus just inputting them into a boring old spreadsheet. I’d like to think that years from now, I mean thousands of years from now, lying underneath a pile of rubble, someone just might discover my journal and get inspired to keep a running/workout journal of their very own.

Back to the present, I was able to customize my very own journal! There are many color and theme choices as well as different workout journals to choose from such as yoga, weight lifting, everyday workouts, the list goes on!
Inside, the journal holds pages beyond pages of awesome information such as pace charts and training plans. 

I am able to log my personal records, all my training runs, and can even write a review on each race I participate in. Bonus, there is a motivational quote on each page!

Why I love this journal -
It is customized just for me
I can geek out on my training with noone to judge
If I put it in writing, it has to be achieved
I can look back to review progress or lack of, and adjust my training accordingly
I can cuddle with it in bed all while dreaming sweet running dreams

I am very impressed by JournalMENU and highly recommend you give this whole pencil to paper thing a try. In fact, I have the opportunity to present one winner with their very own Customized Journal. You know the drill. Enter below to win. One winner will be announced on Friday, June 26.

Disclosure: JournalMENU gifted me this Running Journal in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Use caution when cuddling up with JournalMENU in bed. JournalMENU is not a proper cuddling companion.  

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