Thursday Motivation

It’s almost 1 week post Oceanside 70.3 and I’m focused, determined, and motivated. Right now, I’m focused on getting stronger. And that starts with some strength training. We don’t always have to swim, bike, run to get stronger, fitter, and faster. Strength work boosts our workouts and also prevents injury, which is really important as I head into Ironman Whistler training here in a few short weeks!

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Who Gets Sore During Race Week?

This girl! Seriously.

Race week is supposed to be all about recovery, but nope, this girl was sooooo excited about making a video for Project Neon on lunges, that it couldn’t wait. I honestly, didn’t think I would make myself that sore, but apparently 20min of straight lunging, and no other kind of exercises, can really burn the quads. Funny thing, they didn’t hurt when I was making the video. And therefore, thought nothing of it. But, when I woke up yesterday morning, they hurt. I did my pre-race shake out run of the week anyway, which is mostly easy except for a few race pace intervals, and then woke up today, still sore. #oops I knew that that was going to be the case, but I needed to get that run workout in.

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I swam and biked today, and legs are starting to feel better. I’m sure a full day of rest tomorrow will make me feel ready to tackle the big event on Saturday, but seriously, I couldn’t believe it. I have been sick during race week, I have felt a tweak here or there, that I have gotten massaged out during race week, but just straight muscle soreness from strength work during race week? Never.

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Here’s to the most unconventional training plan and race prep week ever! :) All I know is I’m having a blast! And I can’t help but love the feeling of being sore, it makes me feel like I burned fat, and toned everything. haha!

I can’t wait to see soooo many people this weekend at Oceanside! It’s going to be soooo much fun! Love races for this reason. I get to see people who I normally don’t get to see, because they live in other cities or states!

Giveaway – The Ultimate New England Active Getaway

As some of you might know, I started a Lifestyle brand called, Project Neon. I would love to share with my KatieHartMorse readers the offer I have going on over on Project Neon!

I’m excited to offer an additional amazing giveaway with this month’s Project Neon Fitness Challenge!

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In addition to one lucky winner, winning a box of Bonk Breakers, another winner will win a free one night stay at the Riverside Farm in Vermont! Riverside farm is the perfect place for a getaway retreat, and you will be lucky to see all that they have to offer for FREE! The properties feature hundreds of acres and endless locations to hike, do yoga, and experience the Green Mountains. They have a variety of venues that can accommodate everything from a yoga retreat to a large corporate event.

Pittsfield, Vermont is an idyllic small New England town nestled on the edge of the Green Mountains.  The birth place of the Spartan Race, Pittsfield has become a mecca for athletes and health enthusiasts.  On any day you might find groups of visitors and neighbors visiting and exercising on the extensive  Green Mountain Trail system and the epic 1 mile Stone Steps.   Our guests stay in comfortable rooms at one of our local properties – The Amee Farm LodgeThe Trailside Inn or one of our private rental homes.  Local produce from Sweet Georgia P’s CSA at Amee Farm is a staple of many meals. Breathtaking fall foliage, snow covered pines, new growth in spring and a glorious summer…  we are Perfect Vermont.

Some of their programs include:

Hiking and Yoga: Perfect Vermont brings you a new way to enjoy the beauty of Riverside Farm in Pittsfield, Vermont. Get unplugged and experience true relaxation during a weekend of hiking, yoga and local organic food.  There is an expert staff who will ensure you leave feeling stronger, healthier and revitalized.

Elite Endurance: Train with Peak Races top athletes including previous Death Race winners, while improving knowledge of endurance training during this high tempo course.  Spend the weekend running, cycling or mountain biking the back country of Vermont’s Green Mountains.  Instructors will lead group discussions, tours and fitness sessions. This intensive course has been developed for dedicated endurance athletes.

Weight Loss: Equip yourself with the knowledge to live a healthier lifestyle.  Instructors will lead informational discussions, tours and fitness sessions.  This course has been designed to assist in planning your healthy weight loss.

Here are some beautiful photos of the land…

The Stonewell Barn.

Here are some beautiful views of the land!

The Red Barn.

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The White Horse Barn.

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The photo below shows the Amee Farm Lodge, which is where you would be staying! Absolutely beautiful.

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Amee Farm Lodge.

Possible activities/dining during your visit:
- 30+ miles of hiking and biking on the Green Mountain Trails,

- yoga classes

- snowshoeing right out our back door

- skiing at Killington and Pico

- Tubing on the Tweed River

- Kayaking and fishing at Kent Pond and Tweed River

- on-site massages

- tours of the Amee Farm with Sweet Georgia P’s

- And of course, just relaxing by the fire or on the porch at the lodge.

Side note: Killington offers great restaurants and nightlife, just 15 minutes up the road. Enjoy wonderful live music
during the winter months.

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The famous stone steps, that climb for 1 mile straight.

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The Giveaway includes:

1 night stay at Amee Farm Lodge based on availability.
Deluxe Continental Breakfast.

Submit photos on Instagram and Twitter using #projectneonmarch for a chance to win this amazing giveaway! Or post photos of your cardio workouts on The Project Neon Facebook page.

Examples of photos are….

The Upper Left is of a girl running on the treadmill, upper right is of a girl skiing, bottom left is of a girl running, bottom right is of a girl skiing.

The Upper Left is of a girl running on the treadmill, upper right is of a girl skiing, bottom left is of a girl running, bottom right is of a girl skiing.

Share a photo of you, or of your shoes, your bike, the treadmill, the stairmaster, etc.! I want to see how you get your cardio in!

The winner will be announced Monday, March 31st at 5pm PST.

A Balancing Act

Life this past week was a balancing act. A balance between doing what I should be doing, and doing what I want to be doing. But, truly, why can’t they be the same thing? Shouldn’t we be doing what we want to be doing? If you ask me, the answer is an obvious….YES!

So, I did do, what I wanted to be doing, because it is what I should be doing. :)

The beginning of the week started with some rest, because I was fighting a cold. Then, I hit my workouts hard. Then rested again, because my workouts wore me out. Then my best friend from college came to visit, and I spent every moment, focusing on spending time with her, catching up, and making memories.

I started out by letting my inner child out…

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I jumped off rocks for fun!

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Woohoo!

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There were lots of smiles :)

I got my butt kicked by a Sandstorm

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But at least I looked cute in my Coeur Team Kit and my Oakley Women’s Immerse sunglasses. :)

I got brunch with one of my old personal training clients from Chicago! I hadn’t seen Nikolina in 2 years, and it was sooooo much fun to catch up. Next time stay longer :)

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Nikolina and I at Honey’s, one of my fave brunch places.

Then Betsy came to town!!!!

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We started off with a lagoon loop run! Obviously :)

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Life really is a balancing act.

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Post run on the beach

We then hit up my absolute favorite café in all of San Diego….The Naked Café. Betsy and I ate brunch here 7 years ago, when we went on a 6 week road trip all around the U.S.

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We love this place!

We then made our way to Torrey Pines for some hiking!

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Besties <3

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Play time in the water!

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One of the best views in all of San Diego.

It was then girl’s night out. We met up with my friend Jené and Kelly at Bier Garden for some beers and dinner. And I got to wear out one of my new favorite StitchFix items, this tank. <3

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Ignore the evil eyes

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Always acting goofy

Since, Betsy is a foodie, it was time to introduce her to the famous Acai Bowl. So, brunch outside at Swami’s it was.

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One of the best meals, San Diego has to offer. Refreshing, filling, and delicious!

The last time I went perusing local shops was…????? It was so nice to just window shop, and/or purchase a few fun things. So, we strolled and just enjoyed some time post-brunch looking in stores.

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I bought this cute frame for my room. So…true!

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I love this!

And then after some fun strolling…we hit up the beach. Again, last time I just laid out and enjoyed the sun was in the BVI…it was time to do it at home! Enjoy all that San Diego has to offer!

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I love the beach!

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Jené joined us, and of course, we had to take the GoPro out for some action shots!

After a day in the sun, it was time to show Betsy our famous San Diegan sunsets, and of course celebrate with a little red wine. :)

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Sunset and wine. Yes please.

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Oh…forgot to mention….Miss Seal…she washed up on shore to do some Molting…which is shedding….and because of the latest storm, she somehow ended up being separated from her fellow seals, as they usually all molt together. Poor Seal. :(

Sunday morning, we went to brunch at Honey’s, and I indulged in an artichoke, chicken sausage omelette. YUM!

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Tasty!

After dropping Betsy off at the airport, I headed back to the beach, to top off the weekend of some fun in the sun! I couldn’t resist. Training was just going to have to wait til Monday.

 

 

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Although, I did get some beach running in, just a tad. :)

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In love with my new reversible bikini by Maaji Swimwear.

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My favorite purchases from the weekend.

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Last night’s sunset, reminded me of how in love with life I am.

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And this morning’s quote….was a great way to kick off this week!

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Cheers to last week, The Balancing Act. Ready to put in a hard week of training to continue my prep for Oceanside 70.3! Hope everyone had a great week!

The Sandstorm Workout

No no no, not a workout to the epic dance song, but I literally worked out in a sandstorm yesterday. On the schedule was a triple brick. 20k TT, 2 mile run, 20k TT, 2 mile run, 20k TT, 2 mile run. Obviously with a warm up and cool down too. This is a typical workout, Beth gives me when prepping for big races. And I love it. I usually head down to Fiesta island, where it’s about 4.1 miles around. There is a paved loop for cyclists and runners, and a lot of people use it for training. 3 loops around equals 20k. It’s perfect. Boring. But perfect. 

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The loop I do starts at point 5, and then you just keep going around and around and around.

So, I pack up my car, and drive the 25min down to Fiesta. I hop on my bike and start pedaling, and boom, there is a strong headwind. I thought it would let up at some point, but no, for 3/4 of the loop I had a ridiculous headwind.

Loop 1 – check

Loop 2 – “okay, I guess I’m just going to have to deal with this. This is going to be one mentally tough workout. grrrrr. I hate the wind”

Beginning of 20k TT #1

Loop 1 – “Seriously, I’m going nowhere. I’m pedaling, but not going anywhere.”

Loop 2 – “Wow, I’m really glad I’m not that couple on those beach cruisers, they look like they are about to fall over, they are moving so slow.”

Loop 3 – “Can the sand please stop hitting me? It kinda hurts.”

Beginning of 2 mile run

1st mile into headwind – “Just keep moving, just keeping moving”

2nd mile with tailwind – “I AM FLYING”

2nd 20k TT

Loop 1 – “Why am I doing this?”

Loop 2 – “Seriously, why am I doing this?”

Loop 3 – “I think I have eaten a pound of sand. This sucks. Why am I doing this?”

2nd 2 mile run

1st mile with headwind – “I’m not sure this is really that much fun”

2nd mile with tailwind – “I really don’t want to get on my bike again, and pedal into that f’ing headwind. I should do it. No, it sucks. I should do it. I feel like sh*t. I should do it. OMG, no, no, I’m not going to do it, I’m pretty sure I just saw a sand dune created in the middle of the road.”

And that was the end of the triple brick in a sand storm – that ended up being a double brick. I still was proud that I stuck it out as long as I did. I consulted with my roommate, Keith, who is a pro triathlete who had ridden down to Fiesta to do some efforts too, but after 2 loops, he was like this is ridiculous. He said he has never in all of his fiesta riding experience, EVER had wind like that. And when he was just as pissed off at the wind, if not more, than me, I instantly felt really good about my decision to leave the island, and call it a day after two bricks. :)

I may have bonked, I may have eaten a lb of sand, and I may have been pissed off at the wind, but at least I looked cute in my new Coeur Sports Team Kit and Oakley Women’s Immerse sunglasses ;)

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The Triathlon Training Guilt Trip

My new attitude towards training, has really changed things for me. And by my attitude, I mean, taking triathlon a bit more lightly, enjoying it for the lifestyle it is, and just having fun. When I miss a workout, or I choose to be active in a different way, I no longer feel that guilt trip that I sometimes carry around with me. For the first time in a long time, I feel free. 100% free. I feel like I am enjoying myself, doing what I love, and having fun. Do I like challenging workouts? Absolutely. I have been doing some pretty hard run and bike workouts, but when a workout goes wrong, or a workout is missed, I do NOT feel guilty. It is a freeing feeling. 

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The really sweaty, I had to cut this workout short workout, because it was sucking, and what I thought was allergies, was actually a cold.

I know how many of us out there try to make up for workouts that were missed, whether because life, work, kids, being sick, being injured, etc. got in the way, and we do this because we feel guilty for missing those workouts. But, I tell you right now, do NOT feel guilty. Every day is a day to live. Every day, is a day to prioritize, and re-prioritize, over and over again. Some days that’s a problem at work, that has to be solved, and cannot wait. Some days, that is taking care of a sick kid. Some days, that is nursing an injury. And some days, it’s simply because you wanted to go out and spend time with friends or family, or your significant other. Whatever the reason, this is life. Live it the way you want to. 

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My favorite dinner staple, Kale Salad, from Seaside Market.

Personally, I want to live a life full of fun and happiness. Hard work can be fun. But nobody, and I mean nobody, feels good, when they feel guilty. So, let go of the guilt. I can tell you from experience, it feels, oh, so good.

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Where it all started. My first triathlon. My first ever open water experience.

I haven’t been happier with my training since I started in endurance sports. I remember finding ways to get workouts in, by including my friends or family, etc. And then some times, it became more about hitting my target HR, or certain paces, and it became more about numbers, than the experience. I am soooo happy to have that feeling of just freedom, and doing this because I love it, not because of hitting numbers, or podiuming, although of course, that is always nice, but the goal, the mission, is all about the journey, and not about the result for me.

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Running the Chicago Rock N’ Roll Half with my mom and sister! LOVED this!

With that, 4 weeks til Oceanside 70.3. All I know, is I’m going to be smiling and having a blast the whole race. Because, I’m having fun.

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Having a blast, prepping for Oceanside!

Osmo Nutrition – What is it good for?

I rarely share other people’s posts on my blog, but I LOVED Erin’s Recap of Osmo Nutrition, and instead of trying to re-create my own, I thought, hey…I’ll first share my personal experience so far with Osmo, and then offer Erin’s summary of what Stacey Sims educated us on about women in training and the women’s line itself.

I first heard about Osmo Nutrition at Interbike in September last year. I loved listening to Stacey Sims talk about what makes women so different when it comes to endurance training, and why all of our nutrition should therefore be different. It was educational and fascinating.

I have been using it in training a lot lately, as I have been doing a lot of high intensity workouts, which means hydrating and nutrients are extremely important. The PreLoad is extremely salty, which is great for prepping for a big sweat fest, but I did ask what would help to break it up a bit, as the salt is a little much for me, so Stacey suggested adding crystal light to it. I have tried this and it works wonders! I know some people love the saltiness, but for me, it was a bit strong. But ever since adding Crystal Light, taste has been amazing, and I feel GREAT during training. The active has a light, mango flavor, and it’s delicious. My favorite so far is the Active Recovery which is a honey+spice flavor. I have been adding it to skim milk, and mixing in a banana with it as well, and the occasional scoop of greek yogurt. YUM!

“A couple weeks ago, Coeur Sports [which I am on the Elite Amateur Team for 2014] announced its partnership with Osmo for our team hydration. A super synergy between two fantastic companies powered by incredible women… heck yes! Honored to be part of both.

To kick off the partnership, Coeur hosted a team call featuring Stacy Sims, the brains behind Osmo. This woman is rad – and, she knows her stuff. A nutrition scientist and exercise physiologist, Sims created Osmo after becoming hypernatremic racing Kona. While training in New Zealand after, she started mixing in the lab and researching how hormones impacted athletic performance. Her teammates tested her mixes during training with good results, and as her PhD evolved, she began studying how women and men respond differently. Hence, #womenarenotsmallmen :)

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My post-workout beverage after today’s intense treadmill workout. (this is my photo, not Erin’s :)

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So stoked to be sponsored by Osmo for 2014! (my photo, not Erin’s)

Indeed, we aren’t small men, and every month have to deal with our period – and, the hormone changes that come with it. Our estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate, impacting plasma volume, breaking down muscle and reducing our recovery ability. In other words, our mojo suffers a bit.

Osmo’s women’s specific line is formulated to help counteract those hormonal changes. A bit about each mix:

  • PreLoad Hydration hyper-hydrates, crosses the blood-brain barrier and “counteracts hormone-induced drop in body water,” i.e. it helps you find that mojo
  • Active Hydration has a bit more glucose, sodium and potassium to increase power output and improve endurance
  • Acute Recovery has more protein and glucose. Women have a shorter acute recovery window – about 30 minutes – so it’s important to refuel shortly after training

Lucky us, we got to ask Stacy some questions after she explained the science behind Osmo. First up, how does Mirena, an IUD with a localized dose of progesterone that inhibits your monthly period, affect our bodies + hydration? (Thank you, Sonja, for asking my exact question!) Stacy’s recommendation: Use the women’s line throughout the month, and be sure to keep on top of your protein intake before and after training.

Sims also recommends adapting your triathlon training based on your cycle. In the days leading up to it, focus more on technique and train at a lower intensity (pushing through = higher heart rate). If you can, plan training blocks around it – focus on swim technique and not speed, for example. If you have a race in the days leading up to your period, she recommends taking magnesium and having a few more carbs in your pocket. And, if you use caffeine during a race in that higher hormone window, know that it clears the blood faster; follow up the caffeine with a glucose tablet or a salty ball (recipe here… they.are.so.good!).

Sims’ motto: Food in the pocket, hydration in the bottle. In general, you should drink 0.18 to 0.2 ounces per pound of body weight per hour. Calorie-wise, 4 calories/kilo per hour on the bike, and 3-3.5 calories/kilo per hour on the run. For example, I weigh 121 pounds (~55 kg), so should have between ~22 and ~24 ounces of fluid per hour; 220 calories per hour on the bike; and between 165 and 192 calories per hour on the run.

Sims’ other super helpful tips:

  • If you don’t like the salty goodness of PreLoad, drinking it icy cold helps it go down. Drink it the night prior to a big workout, race or if it’s hot as well as the morning of.
  • Don’t concentrate Osmo, as it’s specifically formulated. Concentrating it results in too much magnesium or potassium and the wrong osmolality (the body’s water-electrolyte balance).
  • Relying on something provided on the race course is never a good nutrition strategy because you don’t know how you’ll react.
  • What you do the first half of your race directly impacts the second half.
  • If the shit hits the fan on race day and you’re doing the porta-potty shuffle: Have some salty potato chips and plain water – easy carbs and a big hit of sodium. Definitely don’t add more sugar to your system! Also, avoid immodium; the best alternative is Pepto.
  • Take Tums toward the end of an IM bike. Because our bodies lose a lot of calcium and tightly holds on to magnesium, Tums helps keep them in closer balance, thus helping eliminate big muscle cramps, including the intestinal muscle. Sims recommends 1,000 mg Tums every 45 minutes starting the last hour of the bike and continuing on the run.
  • Gels aren’t what they’re cracked up to be. They’re concentrated carbs that go straight to the gut, and your body takes water from your blood to digest them, i.e. they’re an effective dehydrator.

Thank you, Osmo Nutrition, for keeping us Coeur Sports ladies hydrated this season!”

How amazing is Erin’s recap?!?! Please check out Erin’s blog – sweetsweatlife.com and follow along in her journey. She’s a dear friend of mine, and I thank her for letting me share her post with all of you!

FYI – to all the men out there, they also offer a men’s line! :)

The Story of the Cactus to Clouds Hike

The Epic Hike = Cactus to Clouds

Cactus to Clouds is a combination of two trails – The Museum Trailhead trail, and the San Jacinto Peak Trail. It totals 22 miles and 10,400 ft of climbing. They approximate that the whole hike takes 13hrs. The first trail, Museum Trailhead is a total of 11 miles and 8,100 ft of climbing. So pretty much the first bit is the absolute toughest, and takes the absolute longest.

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This hike was going to be no joke.

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A map of what we are doing.

This past Friday, my alarm goes off at 3:15am. I had been tossing and turning all night, probably due to feeling pretty anxious about doing this hike. I had no idea what was in store, but most of all, I HATE waking up that early. I’m a morning person, but anything before 6am sucks. I also had no idea if I would have enough water, as it clearly states that there is no water available anywhere on the hike. Also, was it going to be hot? Cold? Would we run into any rattlesnakes?

I hopped in the shower, still sleepy-eyed, as I always do before a race, as this was going to be just as long if not longer than most races I’ve done. And for some reason, I like being clean before I get dirty. Don’t ask. But, it makes me feel prepped and ready to go. I made sure I had my gatorade, my Camelbak filled with water, my warm clothes for when it’s cold at the top, my GoPro, and I was set.

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YUM!

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Making sandwiches! :)

Kelly, who’s idea this was, and you can read about that here, pulled in the driveaway at 4am, and we hit the road to Palm Springs, which is a 2hr 15min drive from Cardiff. We got there at 6:15, and started hiking at 6:30am. Unfortunately, neither one of us really ate breakfast, and 1hr into the hike we decided to stop and eat. We ran into a guy who was hiking while carrying his newborn baby boy. WHAT?!?! He looked at us, like we were in trouble, because we were already sitting down to eat. I’m sure he looked at us two girl’s with bouncy ponytails, and thought these girls have no idea what they are in for. He started giving us advice, which we appreciated, but practically started telling us that this was not a good idea for us to do. I usually never  drop the “Ironman” card, but I had to, this guy was looking at us like we just attend yoga class, and were out for a walk in the park. But then again from his perspective, he’s a dude carrying his newborn baby boy, and about to trudge up the mountain with him. He opted against it, as he decided it would be too hot for him and the baby. Good call, Dad. He was the last person we saw that day before we got to the top of museum trailhead.

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Kelly and I before our hike started.

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My new awesome Camelbak. Hiking outfit of choice – Saucony Ride running shoes (not much of a hiker shoe person, except when I’m canoeing or going to hike through mud), Oakley socks, lululemon wunder unders, lululemon push ur limits tank, oakley long sleeve long underwear, lululemon puffy vest, Oakley Women’s Immerse sunglasses. I was a happy camper in this outfit.

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Getting started just as the sun was rising. Beautiful.

So, there we were eating our bananas, eating a sandwich, and the total time we were stopped was 10min. We hopped back on our feet and kept on hiking. About 5min after that stop, we found ourselves at the famous rock that says…

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No water. Here we go!

Had to stop at the picnic tables and get some push ups in for the Project Neon February push up challenge!

Had to stop at the picnic tables and get some push ups in for the Project Neon February push up challenge!

Up, up, up, we went. I told, Kelly, early on that she should lead the whole thing, this is her day, and her bucket list item, and I wanted it to be all about her. I was just there for moral support, and to make sure we didn’t get lost ;) A few times, the trail seems to go in different directions, where people had made their own paths, only to find out it doesn’t go that way, come back down, and then hop on the real path. We got fooled a few times too. But fortunately, figured it out. The trail has no markings, just a somewhat clearly defined path, that you have to just trust is taking you in the right direction.

Perfect find along the way on the hike on Valentine's Day!

Perfect find along the way on the hike on Valentine’s Day!

We both sipped on water every 15min or so, just like I would during a race. And then every 2hrs we decided to stop and eat. So, 2hrs later, 3hrs total into the hike, we made our first “picnic” stop. I ate a Peter Rabbit fruit squeeze thing, and drank half a bottle of Powerade (Strawberry Lemonade flavor – the absolute best). It was just what I needed because the dry desert air was making my throat very dry. After our 5min pit stop, we continued on our way.

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The beautiful hike.

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One of the many magnificent views.

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We made it to the Rescue 1 button!

I thought Kelly and I would do a lot of talking on this hike, discuss life, sing songs, ya know, the usual of what I would do when I’m hiking, camping, etc. But this hike had so much climbing, that we were both speechless most of the way. About 90min after the last pit stop, Kelly stopped to reapply sunscreen, and we took a little bit of a break, and took in the scenery. We knew the next 3 miles were going to be the toughest. Only 3 miles left, but each mile had about 1,000ft of climbing in it.

Made it past Rescue #2!

Made it past Rescue #2! Last chance to be rescued! ;)

Prior to the hike, I had no idea, that Kelly hadn’t hiked all that much, and that this was a new hobby of hers. She had been talking to a guy at REI one day, and he mentioned this hike, and she decided that she just had to do it. What I love about Kelly, is she’s a lot like me, she loves a good challenge. So, when she said she wanted to do this, without having much hiking experience, I didn’t question it, because I do similar things. I love being spontaneous, and just making up my mind to do something, and jumping right in. Go Big or Go Home.

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Pulling out cactus that got stuck in my ankle.

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Showcasing my heart earrings, in honor of Vday.

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Dirt and Sand.

So, there we were, the toughest part of the hike, and 4 1/2 hrs into hiking, and Kelly starts dragging her feet. Literally. I got nervous. But, I admire that even with the breaks that we took every 5-10min for the next 2 1/2 hrs, she never complained, and she never gave up, or thought she couldn’t do it. She kept asking me how I was feeling, and it pained me to tell her I was feeling fine, and then I would always say, this isn’t about me, this is about you. I was soooo proud of her. I mean the suggested total time it takes to finish the museum trailhead portion is 10hrs, according to that rock, and she got us there in 7. Rockstar! Unfortunately, because it took 7hrs to the top, we stopped at the picnic tables, fueled up, and discussed about doing the San Jacinto Peak trail, which completes the Cactus to Clouds hike. The second portion takes 2hrs there and 2hrs back for a seasoned hiker, which means in this state, the whole thing could take 6hrs. Which would be the total 13hrs, that it says in the book. But, unfortunately this would put us hiking in the dark, and we thought it was best to call it a successful day and tackle the whole thing again, in the near future.

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This part of the hike was my absolute favorite! Stunningly beautiful.

7hrs and 8,100ft of climbing is something to be proud of, and we did the hardest part of the trail anyway. It wasn’t on my bucket list before, but I’m now inspired to do the whole thing sometime soon. It was beautiful, challenging, and fun! I forgot how much I love hiking. Thanks Kelly for including me in your hiking venture!

When you reach the top of The Museum Trailhead, it is touristy, and people can ride a tram up to go on short hikes, and enjoy the view and nature. So, after our picnic, we hopped the tram back down to the bottom. We failed to think about how we would get from where the tram drops us off, back to our car, but fortunately a very nice couple in their late 40′s, early 50′s offered to drive us back to our car. WOW. There seriously are still really nice people in this world. They were wonderful, and gave some pretty powerful advice to us young girls. The world is beautiful and full of beautiful souls and beautiful people. I am so thankful to be a part of it.

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Had to do a cartwheel to commemorate the hike!

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Kelly and I 4 1/2 hrs in to the hike, right before it got very steep.

Tackling an Unknown Challenge

Yesterday, I shared a photo with a quote on it…

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A couple weeks ago, my friend, Kelly, asked me if I would do this hike with her called, Cactus to Clouds. Of course, without asking any questions, I agreed. Silly me. I figured it was just some kind of fun day hike, where we would chit chat, and you know, come away with clear minds, and clear hearts. ;)

I ping her on Saturday and say, “When do you want to do that hike?”

Kelly replies, “Well, I was thinking maybe tomorrow, but probably like next Friday.”

My first thought, was, great! And, then my second thought was, so tell me more about this hike…

Well it turns out this trail, that we are going to hike, has the highest elevation gain out of any trail in the United States. What? I thought. Then I read on further, “Point to point this trail is 23 miles, approximately 12hrs”. WHAT?!?!

My mind started doing flips. Is this a good idea? Should I be doing this? Kelly said she’s going to do it no matter what, I can’t let her do this by herself. I’ve done Ironman’s, but I’ve never hiked quite like this before. I’ve gone on 14 day backpacking and canoeing trips in the middle of nowhere in Canada, but that was over a decade ago. AND then I read…

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Ummmm…I definitely can’t let Kelly do this by herself. AND….key…we must have WATER.

So, I don’t think I’ve ever hiked for 23 miles up a mountain. EVER. I have not trained for this. I have no idea what is going to happen. BUT, what I do know, is Kelly and I are going to do this together. And we are going to make it to the top, whatever it takes. And then enjoy PIZZA and a BEER or two, when it is all over. We are scheduled to depart Friday morning from San Diego early in the morning to drive to Palm Springs, and hopefully we will start the hike, just as the sun is rising. I hope we can do it in less than 12hrs, seeing as we are both pretty fit, but again, this is a totally different kind of exercise.

Oh man, what have I gotten myself into? At least it will be a good story…right?

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Hiking when I was a little girl. If I could do it then, I can do it now. :) I’m 11 in this picture.

3 Weeks Til Ironman Wisconsin

Wow…THREE WEEKS TO GO!!! I can’t believe it. It’s almost here. And time is gonna fly. I’m heading to Whistler this weekend to see one my favorite people in the world, Jay Demerit, get married! Jay has been like another brother to me. My brother Ty and him have been tied at the hip for the last 15ish years. I can’t say enough good things about Jay. He’s marrying, Ashleigh McIvor, a gold medalist in Ski Cross. Talk about an athletic couple. Ashleigh happens to be sponsored by Oakley, and so obviously we hit it off right away. These two LOVE to party, and I’m sure this weekend will not disappoint.

BUT, I still have a BIG race to focus on. So this past week was dedicated to some hard core training. It was Peak Week numero uno. I had a BIG BRICK – 5hr bike and a 1hr run. And a BIG run day – 2hr run in the AM and a 40min run in the PM. Needless to say I was pretty amped up on caffeine all weekend. I rarely have any caffeine and when I do, it’s like I’m in overdrive. I am super sensitive to caffeine, and even after all that working out, I still could barely keep my hands and legs still.

There was some beach time this past week, and some catch up girl time, in between all the working out. Fortunately, I got plenty of sleep in Wisconsin, so my body is feeling GREAT!

I’m actually pretty thankful for heading out of town this weekend, because it’s serving as a great distraction. On top of that, I will get some time here and there to spectate Ironman Canada in Whistler, which will serve as some awesome inspiration to carry me into Ironman Wisconsin.

Here are some fun photos from the week!

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Facetime with my favorite!

Facetime with my favorite!

Seriously...she just puts the biggest smile on my face.

Seriously…she just puts the biggest smile on my face.

Now I’m off to get a massage!!!