Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Running with Baby

So yeah, I'm a horrible blogger and wildly distracted lately. I'm 5 months pregnant as of tomorrow and my energy has many peaks and valleys. I have gotten in several great trail runs- most notably a 12.5 miler at Centennial Cone with my bestie and her pup. It was a fabulous outing that was only marred by me stopping every few miles to piddle and the slow breathless uphills that I had to stop and power hike on. Thankfully she was very patient with me unlike Argos who gleefully ran ahead (traitor).

I have been getting several weight lifting sessions in too. Usually a 3 mile treadmill run followed by either a leg workout or an arm workout. I'm trying to balance them but I'm honestly a leg-workout kinda girl. I love me some burnin' legs. Squats and deadlifts have been my favorites lately. Baby Wildchild seems to enjoy the workouts with no complaints. Before everyone goes all "you're gonna kill your baby" on me just know that I am VERY attentive to my body. I listen and obey, especially with the little bump in there traveling along for the ride AND I've gotten an approving nod from my doc. I would never do anything to compromise her safety...I've gone through way too much to get to this point to jeopardize this. Plus I have Concerned Cowboy watching out for me and eyeballin' my weights. He's adorable. Seriously, he's so supportive and loving though I have been told I am not allowed to complain or whine about my pregnancy pains whilst I am able to still run 12.5 miles and squat 115+lbs. His compassion has athletic limitations I'm finding out;)

Oooh! I forgot to mention: Gabriella Belly Belt is amazing for running!!! It keeps the belly from bouncing while running and feels so good. I highly recommend it.

While I am working out I feel wonderful. A little breathless and have to alter my stance to make room for the slowly growing bump, but overall fabulous. However, the next day I'm usually more wiped out than I used to be. Recovery is a b***. I've had no major food aversions but I do love me some fruit. Particularly mangoes, peaches, strawberries, with apples and bananas coming in close second. I have found that whey protein powder tastes funky all of a sudden to me unless heavily disguised in a smoothie.

Other than that, just taking one day at a time, each week making a high-five point. Our anatomy scan is next week and I am beyond excited to see our baby girl. I'm anxious for my bump to actually turn into a pregnant belly.  I think I am finally starting to look a little more preggo than fat.

The other big thing happening: Nesting....it's addictive to my OCD personality. I have labels on everything!!! I'm purring right now thinking about it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Staunton State Park

Staunton State Park our route:
Mason Creek Trail- very nice, slightly difficult gradual uphill, some forested. All along a creek- complete water source

Old Mill Trail- from our direction ALL downhill, fun, slightly rocky

***Scout Line Trail was closed***

Staunton Ranch Trail- if you like hard dirt fire roads this is for you. Me? Meh....I could't wait to get off it. Overall nice though. All uphill climb, tons of people (most likely because this is the shortest route to the falls 10 mi out and back. I would rather run the extra miles on other trails than to take this one all the way up). Water source on left if you bushwack a few yards.

Climbing Access Trail from north-most point- FUN. there are a few branches off this we didn't take. big rocks

back up Staunton Ranch Trail- see above

Bugling Elk Trail- continuation of Staunton Ranch Trail. Fireroad. gets pretty near the big pond. We stopped here on the way back from Lions Back Trail and had a little snack, purified water, and soaked our feet for a few minutes. Freezing water felt amazing.



Lions Back Trail (out and back)- pretty decent climb to a waterfall overlook in the distance. They are working on getting a trail that meets at the bottom of the waterfall. That should be really cool.



Marmot Passage Trail- super nice forested trail, probably one of my favorites.

Border Line Trail- difficult, switchbacks

Mason Creek Trail- see above

David's Pond Trail: 1st loop Pookha Loop

Total was 20 miles. I wore my UltraSpire Spry pack with two handhelds that we purified along the way. I think we refilled three times as it was really hot. Water was always ice cold and delicious. A small handful of dogs and not too many people (though the park is only a month old so nearly brand new). Pit toilets were at the Mason Creek Trailhead as well as a water pump. Lower parking lot had two port-a-potties and the David's Pond Trail (hint: you have to cross the road to the left to get on the trail). We didn't go all the way to the pond but the trail loops were easy and this is where we saw a lot of people at.

Water was plentiful and the staff not real knowledgeable about this fact. I asked at the main (paying) entrance of water availability and she looked at me like a deer in headlights even after I rephrased it inserting the word "creek". Seems she wasn't aware that people (runners, bikers, etc) often purify their water so they don't have to carry a 5 gallon tank on their back for an all day outing.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Absence...

It's been too long I know...I have been so slack (life gets in the way sometimes) on keeping up with my blog and I've got a handful of new adventures to document!!!

Unfortunately, I'm away from my computer at the time and cannot give you a full breakdown of all my trail adventures but I will leave you with a quick update as to what's been going on.

1. I ran at the new Staunton State Park here in Pine, CO. 20 miles of beautiful trail. Will give you a review on that with the route we ran, and what to expect in terms of water sources for purifying etc.

2. I was able to cheer on one of my BFFs while she killed it at her first trail race: Leadville Marathon (holy crap what a choice to make for your very first trail race- that's what I call some serious BadAssery). Surprisingly, this was also my first ever time at a race where I wasn't the one racing! I was on the flip side of this show and lemme tell you, it was crazy fun. I had brought my chair, a book, and a few nibbles to keep me preoccupied as I knew I would have long stretches to wait before she would run into the aid stations. I sat in that chair for a combined amount of five minutes. I couldn't stop cheering for everyone. As I saw runners come in elated, crying, pissed, dancing, high-fiving, and getting hugs and refreshments from others all I could think was, "I have been there. I know every single emotion they are all going through" and I felt bonded with each and every one of them.

3. I have run two new-to-me fourteeners in the last two weeks, one of them being Colorado's highest peak Mt. Elbert. I'm about to run my third with my awesome running partner Stephanie and my running friend Karl. I love exploring more of my state and  pushing my body to new limits.

4. Tried some new gear (Zoot compression wear) and nutrition (locally owned Tailwind Nutrition) so will be giving you a run down on those goodies too.

So, be patient with me, the blog will happen in due time.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Apex Trail- Snowy Wonderland

Last week we got hit yet again with a load of snowy weather. Although most of us in Colorado are groaning over the ever rising false hope of summer followed by getting kicked in the balls with snowy weather in the 20s, I tend to rejoice in the little things. Things such as silent trails and breaking new trails (being the first to run through the snow). Here was my 9miler at Apex, I wore running pants and a t-shirt with Zoot sleeves. No need for a jacket, the sun was glaring so brightly off the snow I had to put my special snow lenses in my sunglass frames, and I only slid on my gloves for the first few miles to warm up.

 Not a footstep in sight





The "Enchanted Forest" trail was stunning. It was so silent and beautiful. Every few minutes some snow would be knocked loose from atop the trees and slowly cascade down in a billowy cloud. It was breathtaking and I had to stop many times to just stare and feel happiness in my soul.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Snowy Trail Run- A Bit of Bliss

Tuesday's trail run was with a good friend and her pup at Deer Creek Canyon. It was a perfect trail running day: 10.5 miles while the snow was gently falling around us in big fat flakes and licking our eyelashes. The run ended in a muddy downhill, as is usual for DCC this time of year. It was so much fun. The "kids" were happily running ahead then circling back to check on us. Argos dove in the snow a few times and Denali bounced around playfully. I got to share one of my favorite trails and we successfully avoided the park patrol officer who had been seen frequently at the bottom loop.

I felt winded a little too easily (very frustrating) but given my lack of intense exercise I had been so used to lately due to my IVF treatments and restrictions I had to allow myself a little slack.

We ended the perfect day at DaKind Soups to knock the chill that set over us post run. Hot tea, delicious soup, and a melty sammich!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gear Review: Hill People Gear Snubby Kit Bag

I have finally, and I mean FINALLY (said with exasperation because baby it's been a long road) found the perfect way to run my trail runs and still comfortably carry a firearm. No chafing, no bulk, and yet easily accessible with a relatively fast draw.

Introducing the Snubby Kit Bag by Hill People Gear, a local company here in Colorado (yay!).

 -stock photos from HPG website-



I have tried all sorts of different ways to carry while trail running and all of them failed miserably. Hip grips rubbed open wounds into all parts of my waist, a fanny pack bounced around and was too bulky, and the revolver cylinder poked out like a tumor with a belly band. I considered those 5.11 concealed carry shirts they just came out with but unfortunately they don't make them for women and they only make them down to a men's medium. I also sweated fiercely through my belly band which isn't real good for the working parts of the firearm. Through this I found out that it is important to frequently check your ammunition if you wear it while sweating. The salt and moisture of the sweat can cause your ammo to expand. The option I had been left with for running armed was to have the firearm in the back pocket of my running pack. Not easily accessible but still able to be armed nonetheless.

Enter the HPG kit bag: a while back my husband sent me the link to the HPG stating he would love to get one of these bags to try out. I went to their website and found they also had a community board discussing their products. I asked a few questions about running and whether it would be a good size for a female runner. I immediately got an email from the very guy who designed the runner's kit (the snubby bag is a smaller version of the runners kit) who stated he lived in my neck of the woods and would be happy to lend me his bag to try!! WOW!! Now that is some impressive customer service!

Long story short, he not only lent me the runner's kit bag but he also lent me his Tarahumara pack and eventually ordered a snubby bag which he passed on to me. I was impressed with all three products. They were very sturdy gear without a whole lot of bells and whistles; I did not want bells and whistles.

The first few days of borrowing the runner's kit (bigger sized) bag it rarely left my body. My husband got kicks out of seeing me walking around with the bag strapped to my chest. I cooked a mean breakfast scramble with the bag on:


I did yard work, folded laundry, took out the garbage, and many other daily activities with the bag attached (and loaded firearm...did I really need to say this?).

It was extremely comfortable. Extremely comfortable. I even tried my hand at "concealed carrying" it:

-unzipped slightly to show I have the bag still on-



Next was to try it running.  The halter system is fabulous- fully adjustable on each shoulder as well as around the sides of your chest. For running, there is an elastic adjustable cord (optional for runners kit bag, although comes standard on snubby kit bag) that attaches to the bottom of the bag and wraps around your rib cage area. This prevents the bag from bouncing and works great. The harness straps wrap around to meet in the back and attaches to a mesh panel for breathability.

The firearm is obtained rapidly by leaving a slight gap in the top left or right (depending on left or right handed draw) of the compartment. Quickly grasp the open flap with your opposite hand and tug hard while sliding in your draw hand and grasp your firearm. You could also grasp the pull tab strings to open the compartment but I found I didn't want to rely on strings and the flap grasp works really well for me.

For me (and this is specific to me and my body size) the runners kit bag was just too big and bulky to run with, plus my compact firearm that I only use for trail running bounced around inside the bag as there is no velcro holster in the main compartment. At first I was against not having a holster in the main compartment but after becoming more familiar with the bag I can see the benefits of not having one. This compartment is designated ONLY for the firearm. No extra mags, no lip balm, no keys, no credit cards etc. JUST THE FIREARM. Therefore, if there is nothing in the bag to enter the trigger, why is a holster really needed? This allows you to get a quick, firm, fighting grip on your firearm without fussing with a holster.
There is a full front zipper for things like an extra mag, keys, phone, or such.


A few weeks later when the loaned snubby bag was in my hot little hands I rushed out for a trail run. The snubby kit bag completely fit the bill. It wasn't too bulky, didn't bounce, and didn't chafe. I did 10 miles very comfortably once I adjusted the harness to my liking. I only needed a handheld water bottle for those 10 miles, so obviously if you need more water or a water bladder for a longer haul then you might need to consider other options. I was able to strap on my Ultraspire Spry over top of the HPG snubby kit bag. It was a little bulky and awkward but still was very successful in allowing me to have a good run and still remain armed. The Spry gave me the option of tucking in my jacket (it was cold weather and I was pretty sure I would need it at the summit of the mountain I was climbing) and giving me more pockets to carry my nutrition in for the longer run.

I handed the bag back and promptly ordered myself a snubby kit bag and a runner's kit bag for Cowboy which fit perfectly for his big burly frame. He currently runs with it and loves his. Now he is the one who rarely takes off the bag! Happy times for all.

The only improvements I would make on the bags would be to include a criss-cross elastic cord, similar to the anti-bounce running cord, on the back where the mesh panel is. This could be removable (for those who just want to bag to hike and have his backpack attached to the back) by having four or so fabric loops in each corner to thread the cord through. The cord would have a cinch toggle to allow the runner to cinch in a rain or wind jacket onto ones back for changing weather. As a runner this is very necessary, especially in Colorado's ever changing weather with multiple levels of elevation.

Another idea though not quite as important: The front pocket doesn't hold very much and it would be neat to be able to purchase optional removable mini ditty bag type of cinch pockets that would attach to the upper shoulder areas of the harness for GU packets, salt, etc.

I would still like to eventually purchase the runners kit bag for everything but running. I can see going camping, hiking, and other activities with the larger bag which would allow me to carry my daily carry fuller sized firearm in.

Through all this not only did I find an awesome running CCW pack but I also came out with a new very cool friend. Thanks HPG!!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Product Review: X-1 Momentum Headphones



Why am I so excited over these new in-ear sport headphones?

Ladies!!! Hear this:

Specifically designed for women, X-1's Momentum headphones have solved my long standing issue with headphones: small ears. Although there are a multitude of headphones/earbuds out there, and believe me I've tried them all, they are definitely engineered for the average male and haven't taken into account us ladies with much smaller ear canals.

Too often I would have to pull out my earbuds mid run and massage my throbbing ears from the pressure of the buds. It threw a wrench into my fun party on the trails. During my multi-day staged racing events I would sleep with my earbuds in to drown out the camp noises. I would wake up the next morning with my ears so sore I couldn't stand to touch them let alone listen to music the entire next day's staged run. Miserable.

Then, the makers of earbuds came out with the interchangeable rubber ear tip pieces. This was ingenious but still did not fix the fact that the main speaker part was still very large! Although it didn't fix the complete problem, the tips provided a much longer comfort period for me and this type has been the earphones I have been running with lately.

Introducing X-1, the makers of Women's weatherproof/sweatproof earbuds that are ultra-small, lightweight, and allows ambient noise for safety. They are also reflective and iPod/iPhone compatible with a small remote and microphone built in.

Pretty sweet packaging.


The earbuds have several interchangeable ear tips so you can customize your fit for the best comfort. I tried three different tips before I settled on the small foam buds. These are extremely comfortable, don't slip out when I sweat, and create a great seal without compromising the awareness of my surroundings.

I really like these earphones. They have an adjustable mini clip by the base of your neck so that you can clip the dangling wires to your shirt, bra, or pack. This way they don't bounce around in your face and if you need to remove a bud or two you can just pull them out of your ear and tuck them in your pack's chest pouch without having to make any further adjustments. When you want to put them back in, they are still clipped to you! No extra rummaging around (which is important while racing: efficiency).

I've sweated all over these buds and haven't had a single issue with them. No static, no slipping and sliding in my ears, and no waxy build-up. I also dig the cool subtle splash of color options: white, pink, purple, teal, or blue.

The cord is thin, soft, and flexible. My current headphones were also fabric bound but if anything touched the cord while running (like brushing up against my neck or shirt) I could hear it in my ears. Also, the fabric bound cord eventually loosened to where the inner rubber cord punched through like a hernia in several locations. The Momentum's cord is much softer and I do not anticipate these same issues.

I have one extremely minor complaint which really doesn't add up to much of a complaint: I wish the bass and volume was a little more intense (they rate an IP4). I love a good hard beat while I run and these buds are just slightly light on the beat. That said, the buds were designed to allow ambient noise so that the runner can still hear her surroundings and stay safe on the trail, road, wherever. I get this and actually think it is a genius idea. With my other buds, unless I was on the treadmill, I had to run with one bud out so that I wasn't tuned out to the world's alerting noises. Being on trails I have to keep an ear out for other runners coming up behind me and announcing their pass, bikers rounding the blind single-track corners in front of me, walkers, hunters, cougars, bears, and rattlesnakes (eek!). As much as I love to have that bass pounding in my ears supporting me up a hard climb, my safety and courtesy to others is more important. Come summer, rattlesnakes are usually heard before seen and being tuned out is just careless.

Overall awesome earphones: love them. They are now my permanent running earphones.

So ladies and fellas (X-1 has buds for you too) go check them out. They even have waterproof buds for swimming and triathletes.