Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween!

Tonight we are having a few friends over to pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters. I always love seeing the little kid's costumes!

Since we are busy tonight, I fit in a run this morning. Just a quick 3.5 miler around the neighborhood. It was a gorgeous morning though! Colorful trees, nice weather, pretty sky.

Happy Halloween!

Do you have a favorite candy? I love peanut butter cups. My brother and I always used to trade candy when we got home from trick-or-treating. I would get his peanut butter cups and he would get the caramel-y stuff.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cheezy Halloween

Sorry for the lack of posts. I have been busy enjoying the nice fall weather here in Northern CA!

And last night instead of blogging I spent the night putting together my Halloween costume. I am going to be a Cheez-It box! Haha.

I didn't go to any Halloween parties over the weekend, so I didn't need it to be ready ahead of time. But today my the grad students in my department are putting together a lunch party, and everyone has to dress up, so I needed to find something.

Hope everyone on the East Coast is staying safe, warm, and dry today after Superstorm Sandy has passed through.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tough Twenty-Two

After getting home late last night, I set my alarm for an early wakeup to get on the trail. I usually don't mind the Saturday morning early run time, but after being away for most of the week, and not getting as much sleep as usual, I thought about sleeping in and saving the run for Sunday instead.

But... I decided I'd be able to enjoy the weekend more if I just got the run done and could relax the rest of the day. Ryan's also away for a guys trip so I can lounge and watch chick flicks tonight.

I made it out to the trail by 8am (yeah, yeah -- probably a little late, but the snooze button got me today... told you I was tired!), and got going right away. Right from the start I felt a little sluggish, but figured it was because of the lack of sleep and travel.

Usually when I run the American River Parkway trail, I sick with doing one out and back. Today I tried the route Ryan took last week -- 4 miles one way and back, then 7 miles the other direction and back. I think, for me, this made the run more mentally tiring with thinking about when to turn around and passing by the finish point with 14 miles left to go!

from Tumblr

At mile 18, I was really starting to hurt -- and by mile 20 I was seriously ready to be done running. It took all my willpower to keep going and I slowed way down. But... I finished! Longest training run for the R&R Las Vegas Marathon is officially in the books! Pace was overall quite a bit slower than last week's run, but I'm just proud of myself for covering that distance.

Distance: 22 miles
Time: 3:58 (phew! so much time running!)
Average Pace: 10:52/mi

One good thing though -- I didn't get any chafing today around my sports bra! I tried moving my heart rate monitor strap down just a bit, moved to the next set of clasps on the chest band, and used a bunch of Body Glide. Lots of changes at once -- but at least it seemed to work!

Only one more 20-mile run before the marathon. In two weeks I will be running the Clarksburg Country run historic 20 mile race (which has been going on since 1966!). My goal will be to try to maintain a good solid race pace to feel totally ready for Vegas.

Now that I have done lots of stretching, rested on the couch and watched the Project Runway Season Finale, and went for a walk with Raechel, I am feeling good! Love that the body can recover pretty quickly!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Sorry I have been a little MIA the past couple days. I'm in Dallas, TX for a conference, and have been keeping super busy.

I arrived late on Tuesday night, and have been going to all sorts of talks and exploring the exposition all day Wednesday and Thursday. It is fun, but also exhausting.

Although I have been busy with the conference, I have made sure to fit in some workouts this week. The hotel gym here is pretty small, but it has enough to get in a decent workout. I had some trouble motivating myself to run on the treadmill for too many miles, but squeezed in 2 workouts while I've been here.

Here's the breakdown...

Monday: At home yoga workout before finishing up my packing, and running to the mall for some last minute errands

Tuesday: travel day

Wednesday: hotel gym workout. 1 mi treadmill warmup, then chest and back exercises.

Thursday: 3 miles on treadmill, and some quick bicep, tricep, shoulders exercises

My plan for tomorrow is to take it easy and rest -- still plenty of walking around at the conference -- and I will be flying back to CA. I'll be ready to get my long run in on Saturday morning.

How do you get your workouts in when you are traveling?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Favorite running outfits

I think everyone has 'em....their favorite running outfits. I mean, how can you not?!? You're spending so many hours in an outfit that has to move with you (no chaffing, and not restricting!), and wick away sweat to help keep you from smelling too terrible later.

My favorite shorts are definitely these ones from Lululemon. I can't find them on their website anymore so they might be discontinued. But I hope they come back so I can buy five more pairs. They have been really great with marathon training, because there are lots of spaces for storage, including a size zipper pocket and two waistband slots.

I'm also totally digging these Hana Run Shorts from Athleta. They are super light and are perfect for those hot summer days.

On top, I usually stick with tech t's from races, or a tank. Although, I recently got this awesome new bright orange Reebok top that I'm loving. I wore it in both of my last two half marathons, it was super comfy, but bright and happy too.

My current favorite sports bra is from Moving Comfort, the Jubralee bra. It is really supportive and eliminates bounce. However, lately I have been getting some chafing from the band around the chest. I'm not sure if it is due to my heart rate monitor also touching the band, and moving it around, or if I'm not using a tight enough clasp. Any thoughts? I had to stop mid-run on Saturday to try to adjust it a bit because I was getting uncomfortable.

By the way, as I mentioned in this post, the Urban Cow Half was accidentally a bit too long by almost 2/3 of a mile for everyone in the first wave. The race management company felt so terrible about it they made 13.74 stickers, and gave everyone in that wave a $10 discount for next year's race. Way to make light of the situation! I give this company major props for doing their best to remedy the situation. My friends and I didn't mind so much about the extra distance, but I know there were definitely people out there who were upset.

What are your favorite running outfits?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Long Twenty Miles

This morning I officially accomplished the 20-mile marathon training run. Although it felt a little rough, I am so so proud of myself for finishing it.

I originally planned to go for 19 miles, but Ryan was struggling on his 22-mile run, so I circled back near the end to find him and help him make it to the finish.

I finished in 3:25 for an average pace of 10:17/mile. This is seriously exciting for me for a few reasons: 1) that I officially finished a 20-mile run. It really makes the marathon feel attainable to see that 2 in the beginning of the distance, and 2) This was a great pace for me for a long run. I even ended up with a negative split, and held a 10:05 pace for about 5 miles.

Ryan and I went out to the American River Parkway trail, and got going at about 7:30am. It was a perfect morning for running -- nice and cool with a slight breeze. But, I knew right away that it was going to be a little bit of a tough run for me because my hamstrings were super tight, right from the start. I think it is probably from a tough yoga session on Thursday night.

I didn't really try to push my pace at all, and really my goal was just to keep moving and finish the run. Maybe running those half marathons the last couple weekends helped me pick up the pace!

Even when the run feels difficult, I really try to focus on breathing, and thinking positively. I attribute this mental attitude to yoga. Janna, my yoga teacher, always says a few things that I think about on my runs:

"Where does your mind go when things get hard?"

"Who are you feeding, the Ego, or the Soul?"

Thinking about these quotes helps focus on not feeding your fears or seek external validation or wanting to quit (Ego), but try to be happy, loving, and positive (Soul). A bit more on Ego vs. Soul can be found here: from I also like to tell myself that I am looking great, and beautiful! Enjoy the moment I am in, and know that it is making me stronger every step. Helps with the positive thinking and attitude. 

photo credit:

By the time I found Ryan, we were both seriously ready to be done running! We finished up with some stretching and got a sandwich for lunch. We've both been hungry all day, but we are lounging and resting our tired legs. Tonight we're going to laying low and and watching The League, and doing some foam rolling/stretching.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Special Napa Getaway

After running the NWM, Ryan and I decided to take Monday off from work, and spend Sunday night and Monday in Napa as a little getaway.

We won a raffle in the spring, and were lucky enough to be able to stay a night at the Hotel Yountville. Wow -- what an amazing hotel! It is seriously beautiful. Check out these photos!

I loved the big tub and full wall mirror in the bathroom. And how about that fireplace? They also had a beautiful outdoor fireplace and water feature with tons of seating near the lobby.

photo credit:

Once we arrived in Yountville, we wandered around town for a little while and did a little wine tasting. Another benefit of staying at Hotel Yountville was we were able to get free or discount tastings at quite a few places within Napa Valley as a customer of the hotel, due to their connections with the wineries in the area. Our favorite winery we visited on Sunday night was Cornerstone Cellars. Then we stopped at Redd Wood for dinner. They are well known for their specialty thin crust pizzas. Ryan and I shared one of them (four cheese and argula), a salad, and an appetizer special of grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup.

Monday we started out with breakfast at Bouchon, then made a few more wine tasting stops. We took our time and enjoyed the beautiful day and Napa Valley scenery. Our favorite winery on Monday was Miner Family Winery. It had a great view of vineyards, and great reds as well.

 Finally, we had dinner at Bottega.  If you get the chance to eat here, I definitely recommend it. Delicious Italian food by Chef Michael Chiarello. We had an early seating (5:15pm) so we could make the drive back to Sacramento without getting too late. Ryan and I each chose different meals so we could share. Everything we had was fabulous, and the wait staff was welcoming and attentive.

This was a nice treat for us to have a little getaway, and to be able to use some of the gift certificates we had. If you are able to make it to Napa and visit any of these places, I would recommend them.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Recovery run

I did it. I did convince myself to go out on a run last night -- the motivation yesterday helped. So did the fact that Ryan and Matt were going out too. Even though I didn't run with them, just knowing they were going out running helped me get out the door. I made it just over 4 miles, but it was a struggle. My legs were still feeling pretty tight and tired from Sunday's race.

After running yesterday I tried to do a little extra stretching to help the recovery process.  This week I'm letting myself get a little extra rest too, by trying to get to bed a little earlier if possible. I also took off from working out on Monday and Tuesday.

This weekend I'm going to get back into my long-run schedule with an 18-19 miler on Saturday. Hopefully my legs are feeling more recovered by then. Tonight's yoga session should help though too. Next week I will try for about 21 miles. I think I should be able to get in three more longer runs in before the marathon -- only seven weeks away!

Next week I'm headed to a conference in Dallas, TX. I'm hoping I can get in a few runs on the hotel treadmill or around downtown during the week. I'm returning late Friday night, so hopefully I can drag myself out of bed


Anyone been to Dallas before? Have any good restaurant suggestions? I've never been there, so I'm looking forward to exploring a new area.

How long does it take you to recover after a hard race? Usually I feel pretty good after a couple days, but I think the San Francisco hills made my legs a bit more tired than usual.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Little Motivation

I need a little motivation boost today to get in a run. I don't have time to get out until I get home from work, but hopefully seeing some of these pictures will kick my butt out the door.

Hope you enjoy in case you need a little extra motivation today too!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Race Recap: Nike Women's (Half) Marathon

Sorry about the quick post yesterday. Hopefully I can make it up to you with some nice long recaps the next few days!

Sunday's NWM Half was pretty amazing. As my first race with 25,000 people between the half an full marathon distances it was incredible.

Not only was this my first race where Ryan wasn't also running, but with so many people I definitely had a few extra pre-race jitters! Since I was getting all nervous in the evening/morning of the race, I ended up not bringing my camera, like I had planned here. But, I did get a whole bunch of photos during the race and after with Ry waiting near the finish line!

Let me jump back a little before getting into the details of the race...packet pickup on Saturday was a little chaotic. The line to get in to the expo was wrapped around Union Square in downtown San Francisco almost twice! Luckly, it moved along pretty quickly, and the volunteers really were on top of things for the check-in process. Ryan came along with me. We didn't spend too much time inside, although it seemed like you could probably spend hours there if you wanted with giveaways, bra fittings, yurbuds headphones, Nuun samples and Neutrogena prettying people up. We did try out the Safeway trail mixes, and ran on the hamster wheel that was powering a cellphone charging station.

On the morning of the race, I got up just before 5 and headed over to the start around 6am. This was my first NWM experience, and overall I have to say that I think this year was pretty well organized. I had heard in the past that sometimes the pace corrals got a little crazy in the morning and some of the faster paced runners had to do a lot of weaving around slower paced runners. While there was a little of that going on, it wasn't anything too outrageous, and I didn't see any falls or injuries out of the starting gates.

The weather was also really nice this year -- the morning was overcast, not too warm or too cold. We had some fog along the beach so you couldn't see the Golden Gate Bridge, but it was still a beautiful day to be running.

With my training routine, I didn't fit in much time on hills, so I was a little nervous to see how I would fare. However, based on my performance at the Urban Cow Half last weekend, I was feeling generally positive about my training, and ready to race again this weekend! I ended up walking the water stations, and just a tiny bit of part of the hill at mile 6, but ran the rest of the race.Those hills are seriously tough!

My pace slowed down a bit near around mile 10, but I tried to keep my head in the game and keep pushing with a 5k left to the finish.

The best part was seeing Ry and Jesse with 0.25mi left to go! Sprinting it to the finish.

I finished in 2:00:36. Only 30 seconds slower than last week's race, which I think is pretty fantastic considering the difficulty of the course. My body definitely noticed a difference too, seeing as last week I wasn't that sore, and this week my quads are angry.

At the finish, I grabbed my swag including the beautiful Tiffany's necklace and t-shirt, then searched around for Ryan. We had a 3-mile walk back to our friend's place (and a shower, and post-race food), so I didn't spend too much time exploring the finisher's area.

Even though it was a tough race, I am proud of myself for a strong finish and staying in it. It was incredible to run with so many women!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Quick Monday Update!

This weekend was so wonderful! On Saturday we drove down to San Francisco for packet pickup for the Nike Women's Marathon. We met up with a friend for dinner and drinks Saturday night.

Sunday morning was a bright and early wake up for the race. Ry and I then traveled up to Napa for a night and for the day today. We had an absolutely wonderful time! Over the next few days I'll describe the details of the NWM run, and a review of our hotel and stay in Napa. Can't wait to tell you all about it!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Running races back to back weekends

This Sunday I'll be running my second half marathon in seven days (Urban Cow Half last weekend, and NWM Half this weekend). Racing on back-to-back weekends can be difficult on the body with the increased speed and intensity of the race environment.

In a previous post (here), I mentioned that I wanted to take the NWM Half easier and just enjoy the experience. Sometimes if you are planning to run two races back to back, it can help to plan to race harder at one over the other.

This article also sites a few other ideas of ways to be well rested and ready for a second race, including:
-massage (to flush out lactic acid, and aid recovery)
-keeping mid-week runs easy, shorter and more aerobi
-engage in other cross training (bicycling, walking, eliptical)
-listen to the body in the week between races to be sure you are adequately prepared for the second race (be flexible with your plans)
-continue to eat well (with familiar foods) and get lots of rest
-be sure to be adequately trained to run two consecutive race weekends (be mentally prepared)

Since I ran so well last weekend, I am considering really racing the Nike Women's race as well, but my key will still be to have FUN! I think my legs feel pretty fully recovered, but I will see how things go during my last easy run tomorrow morning. I'm working on staying hydrated, stretching, and keeping my runs easy. Hopefully I'll be ready to go Sunday morning!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Yesterday I got a pedicure with a friend, and it was fabulous. My little piggies feel rejuvenated. I think they need to be rewarded every once in a while for putting them through the pounding of run training!

2. I'm still pretty pumped about how well the Urban Cow Half went last weekend. I know it wasn't a PR, but I had been feeling a little unsure about how well my training would prepare me for a half marathon since so many of my runs were slow paced with a low heart rate.

3. The Nike Women's Half is only a few more days away. Training has been tricky to fit in this week with a busy work schedule. I'm planning to get in some light yoga on Friday, another short run on Saturday morning to stay loose. I'm really looking forward to the weekend, as well as the race. Two friends are running a new distance for them. I get to see a girl friend I haven't seen in almost 4 months! And Ryan and I will be relaxing in Napa on Sunday and Monday just for a little date getaway! Awesome.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Race Recap: Urban Cow Half Marathon

Race day morning is one of my favorite times. There's a nervous excitement in the air, like a special holiday.

This race morning was a typical one for me. Early alarm went off at 4am, where I stumbled out of bed to get something to eat, then fall back in bed for another hour or two. I do this because it really helps me to not have as many GI sort of issues on race day. I had my typical race day breakfast of a Mojo bar and a banana.

The race started on time. There were two waves to the race -- the first wave was runners with a finish time of 2 hours or less plus the relay runners, and the second wave was over 2 hours estimated finish time. I started in the first wave, hoping to finish in just about the 2 hour mark.

Immediately after leaving the starting gates, we ran around the park, and as we rounded the last corner of the park, we noticed the second wave was just starting... something strange was going on. As we merged in with the second wave of runners, we all realized our entire wave must have made a wrong turn!! We ended up running an additional 0.64 miles. Oops!

As one poster on facebook put it "Cowpies Happen"!

Overall though, it was a beautiful course and an amazing day. I didn't mind the extra mileage since I'm really just training toward the marathon in December. The course brought us through some of Downtown Sacramento and along the Sacramento River. The volunteers at the water stations were fantastic!

After the race, I found my husband and friends who ran their first half marathon relay, Matt & Raechel. With the extra mileage, Raechel extended her longest distance run by almost a mile, and crushed her pace goals too!!

The race directors ended up adjusting wave 1 runner times based on the long course, and with that update, my time came to 2:00:17 (my watch said my average pace was 9:09/mi for 13.86 miles). I'm pretty excited about this time, compared to my last half. It makes me so much more excited and confident for the marathon!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Better Than Steroids?

I read an article last week about this research being done at Stanford University about a cooling glove that will reduce your core body temperature and muscle fatigue. The work is being done by two biologists at the university, Dennis Grahn and Craig Heller. The work started with Heller and Grahn trying to understand the rapid cooling effect that takes place in a bear's paw, and realized that the human palm is also an area of fast heat exchange. Nearly all mammals, in fact, have these built-in networks of veins near the skin's surface dedicated to cooling the body.

After testing the device on a co-worker who was a gym rat, they found after doing several rounds of pullups, then using the cooling glove, he was able to return to his original number of reps during his next set. When they saw this, they started cooling after every other set. After using the glove for six weeks, his maximum pullups in a workout went from a total of 180 to over 620! That is an amazing improvement!!

Check out a video here:

The researchers now realize that when our muscles begin to fatigue, it is because as our core body temperature increases, some of the one of the enzymes we need for muscle performance begins to change shape and becomes unusable. By cooling down the core temperature we are able to keep these enzymes in their necessary shape for use by the muscles.

Not only could this technology be useful in enhancing athletic performance, but also for sports safety to reduce overheating (hyperthermia) and its associated deaths. To date, the researchers have not seen any negative effect of using the glove on the rest of the body -- making it effectively better than steroids.

I think this is very interesting technology and wonder what affect it might have on athletics in the future if it becomes widely available. I also find it interesting that just submerging your hand in ice doesn't have the same effect. The network of veins in the palm essentially shut off when they are too cold, making the cooling process a "delicate balance".

What do you think of this technology? How do you think it will impact sports?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The End of a Great Weekend

Of course the Urban Cow Half was part of the great weekend, but it also included a delicious dinner out on Friday, relaxing with my hubby on Saturday, a beautiful half marathon Sunday morning and an afternoon of post-race football and pizza.

Our favorite pizza place in Sacramento is Luigi's. We don't get it very often, but it is seriously SO GOOD. And if you like to ranch dressing, they seriously make the best. It was a perfect race day dinner after a morning of hard work.

Official recap of the race coming soon, but overall it was an awesome course with great volunteer support. Our friends had a great time completing their first half relay! Mooooo!

What is your favorite pizza? You know I like pizza from Luigi's. But some of my favorite toppings are pepperoni and black olives.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pre-race Day

Workout this morning:
3 miles, easy.

Just trying to stay loose with a short, easy 3 miles this morning. It's been a long and busy week getting back into the swing of the school year. I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow!

We did packet pickup for the race this weekend last night and it was a total breeze. No line, friendly volunteers.

Afterward we went out to dinner and then for drinks with Matt. For dinner we went to Zocalo's. Very tasty mexican food, with a trendy atmosphere. Then, we got drinks at The Porch. I had the Cosmic Cloud cocktail -- soo good!

sorry no photos tonight. lots in the next post, i promise! 

Tonight it's relaxing then early to bed to be ready for the race!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Three Things Thursday: 1st Week of School Edition

1. So this is officially the first full week back to classes of this academic year. And, while I'm no longer taking classes, I am still helping to teach them. So, we're out of summer and back to the busy season. While I really like my job as a teaching assistant, sometimes I wish I could only focus on my research. This quarter I am teaching students in the machine shop on campus so nobody cuts of their finger. Kids: Don't Touch Spinning Things!

2. A great benefit of school being back in session though is lots of friends are around and we can go out to lunch. Yesterday, I had a delicious lunch with a friend, and then we got cupcakes for dessert. Everyone do yourself a favor, and try Let Them Eat Cake. I had a Chocolate Stout cupcake with chocolate frosting. YUM!

3. Earlier this week we had a hot streak of days in the high 90s, but it looks like it is going to cool down for the weekend. I'm so so glad because I think this will really help during Sunday's race. Really looking forward to nice race morning temperatures.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Upcoming Races: A Plan

Today is a rest day. Mostly because I have to work late, and also because my legs are feeling pretty dead from Monday's leg day at the gym. Sometimes I forget how long it takes for the body to return to normal after a good hard workout. 

I'm looking forward to lunch with a friend today. After we eat, we're getting cupcakes for dessert at Let Them Eat Cake! YES! How can you say no to cupcakes?!?

<-- By the way, please again ignore the messy room behind me in this photo. I promise I will clean my house this weekend!

In running news, I've mentioned this a few times in the past week or so, but I will be running two half marathons in the next two weekends. I wanted to document some of my goals for these races here.

Urban Cow Half Marathon -- Sacramento
This weekend, on October 7, I'll be running the Urban Cow. The last half I ran in July didn't quite go as well as I hoped, likely due to a lack in training as well as high heat, and possibly the first run I've done at night. For the Urban Cow, I want to make sure I run a good, solid race. This will include consistent pacing, and ideally a negative split.

Nike Women's Half Marathon -- San Francisco
On October 14th, I'll also be running the Nike Women's half. As a student I was able to guarantee registration way back in April at a discounted rate. For this run, my goal is to just have fun and enjoy the atmosphere. I haven't had a chance to practice too many hills, besides on the treadmill so some areas of this race could be difficult.

I've noticed it seems like quite a few bloggers run with their camera or take photos with their phones on runs. I would like to use this race to try out taking photos while running, especially since I will be having fun and seeing SF at the same time. I've also never done a race of this distance with so many people! So, I'm interested to see what that's like -- especially on the hills!

Is anyone doing either of these races?

What's the biggest race you've done? For me, the Run to Feed the Hungry significantly tops the charts. This is such a huge race for Sacramento's Food Banks.

Anyone have tips on running with a camera or taking photos while running?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October Goals

First -- the workouts

Sunday I took as a rest day because I got home at almost dinner time from my weekend retreat, and it was EXHAUSTED!
Monday was a legs and abs day at the gym with Ryan and Matt.
This morning I ran 4 miles at a pretty easy pace. My legs were definitely feeling the workout last night!

Now onto the real post...

I've decided I want to start up some monthly goals / recap posts. They may or may not be workout related, but I always like to have goals. (My Dad always likes to say that I even had a goal for how tall I wanted to grow when I was a kid. Btw, it was 5'7"... I didn't make it. Haha!)

Miles ran: 79
Number of runs over my previous longest-ever distance: 3
Bike rides in new jerseys: 1
Workouts done at the gym: 10.. totally opposite from the previous few months where all were done at home

October Goals
Really enjoy the Nike Women's Half Marathon experience. Try carrying a camera to take photos!
Get in a 20-miler by the end of the month
Go on an trip with Ryan to Napa
Put a focus on networking on your Dallas trip. Get business cards! Bring your resume!
Do yoga once a week. Make it a priority in your schedule with new school year starting.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Challenge

This weekend I went away for a department retreat. We have a bunch of new students who just started the program, so I think it was a great way for them to get to know each other as well as some of the older students.

I was able to squeeze in a short jog on Saturday AM -- 3.5 miles with my friend Matt. We decided running at 5000 ft elevation is definitely harder than running at ~200 ft like in Sacramento! I don't have a photo, but it was a beautiful morning and the crisp air in the mountains was wonderful!

My favorite part of the weekend were the challenge courses that were run by the camp staff. We were split up into groups to work on team building, communication, and just general getting to know each other activities. Saturday's activities were used to prepare us for the more challenging ones on Sunday. The goal is to push your boundaries and to literally challenge yourself either emotionally or physically.

The two high ropes activities we did on Sunday were climbing this awesome tower, and a two person "multi-vine" high wire walk. Check out these photos!

For me, these activities were awesome! You have to trust your teammates to support you, and trust the mechanics of the ropes and wires to be stable. I was able to make it up the "Giant's Ladder" on the right side of the first photo. It was so exciting because the last rung was about 5.5' apart -- taller than me! The high multi-vine was 30 feet in the air. It was critical to work with your teammate to make it across.

I believe it is important to believe in yourself and push your limits. Try things you are afraid of and you just might surprise yourself.... whether that's learning a new language, trying to cook when you don't think you know how, or signing up & training for a new race distance.

Have you challenged yourself recently? Besides this physical challenge this weekend, for me starting this blog has been a challenge. Helps me to push my limits with writing and putting my thoughts on paper.
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