Friday, August 22, 2014

I came, I saw, I got lost and I made it home!

My day at the OR Show!

Nope, it’s not in Oregon. OR stands for “Outdoor Retailer”.  I had heard about it because a friend of ours was attending and he was staying at our house as the show was in Salt Lake City. He had flown in from Boulder and was spending all day meeting potential clients and collecting cards.  I had heard of the OR show but I had no idea how big it was….and that curiosity is what fueled my fire.  “I should write a blog about it. For Deer Valley. I could show all the new ski and snow stuff!” Great idea, right?  Hmmm, maybe not.

I arrived at registration and found it was extremely difficult to get in without some REAL clout…or previous registration (aka advanced planning).  I brought with me a piece of paper with my Deer Valley blogging bio and handed them my ID. That wasn’t going to cut it. I tried to pull my blog up on my computer. That didn’t work. This was tougher than I thought. Now my curiosity was off the charts…what was behind those convention center walls? I had to find out. Thank goodness, my blog popped up just in time and I was cleared. I had my badge and was ready to depart.  But, I paused and asked them where the ski and snow toys were….(rookie mistake) “No, this is the Summer OR show…the winter OR show is in Feb.” I couldn’t play it off…the cat was out of the bag.

All of registration knew I had NO CLUE what I was doing. And away I went, with a smile.


First stop, the comfiest neck pillows in the world. Well, in the moment, that is what I felt their name should be.  But, Cocoon makes sense. They are furry and compact and if I hadn’t felt the need to regain some sort of pride, I would have walked around the rest of the day with this sucker cuddling my neck region.  See that little pouch I am holding? That’s how small they are when deflated!

 I turned around from Cocoon and found myself  looking straight at my husband’s pants. Well, more specifically, his favorite pant company. Kuhl. Erik, in true ski racer form, has a little extra muscle in the trunk and these pants make it okay for him to move with some freedom! He loves them. While writing this, I needed to confirm my story so I shouted down, "Honey, why do you love Kuhl pants?" And he said, "Cause I have a big ass!" There you go!

All this OR’ing was making me quite hungry so I stopped by Clif Bar for some Before, During, After and On-The-Go fueling.

This could be my favorite gadget.  It caught my eye right away because, I LOVE coffee. But I REALLY LOVE coffee when I am camping. I don’t know why it tastes better.  Maybe it’s all the extra effort it takes to get a perfect cup at camp that makes me appreciate it more.  Bottom line is, this gadget is sweet and cute and looks like it could pull off a mean cup ‘o joe! Mama Like!

Remember Croakies? I don’t have to think back that far as I was in search of them for our white water rafting trip last summer.  I found them and I was flooded with memories from my youth. Who didn’t have croakies attached to their fake Vuarnet’s? Ok, maybe it was just a Nor Cal thing. But, these belts caught my eye. So cool. The colors they are coming up with for men’s socks and belts is blowing my mind. I love it. And guess who makes these babies? That’s right…Croakies!

Nothing is truly complete without Zombies. Check. Honestly, I had no clue what company they were representing or what they were selling, but I love me some Zombies. Plus, it's a great opportunity for me to make THAT face. Excellent.

Naturally, I was feeling tense from hanging out with Zombies, therefore, I felt I needed/deserved a 10 minute loosen up. No wonder it was so difficult to get into this place! Lot’s of hidden treasures.

They basically featured a blow-up version of almost every water vessel except for a speedboat. Now, you are not limited by the size of your car! You can fit a large tandem kayak in your mini-cooper! This absolutely amazed me. These are from Innova.

I had to show you SUP boards as they make me happy and they were everywhere. I love everything about these boards and now, I am loving these beautiful colors. When’s the last time you SUP’d?  If you never have, here is a great link to get you started!

I voted LIFE IS GOOD as best booth. So homey and cute. And, frankly, I strongly believe you cannot spread their positive messages enough. Life IS good!

Ok, WAIT…my favorite, for biased and obvious reasons, was……SPEEDO.
And, ahem, we just happened to win “Gear of the Show” with these awesomely elegant flippers. I put my “flippers” into the awarding winning flippers and it was quite a scene. And then I wore them for the rest of the day.........just kidding.

And speaking of flippers, thank you FEETURES for upping the sock game! My feet are thrilled with your vibrant and exciting take on the under-footwear.


I stopped by this booth and asked the obvious question. Are you guys based in Chico, CA? Instant family. They ARE based in Chico which is very close to where I was born and raised. We had a moment and then I took a moment to understand their message. See all those plastic bags, people? The average person uses that many in a year….that’s 500! GULP. Let’s change our ways!

Cutest dog at the show. (wonder how he got thru registration? just saying.)

This product stopped me in my tracks. Yup, those are iPad’s in a fish tank. Loksak’s are the coolest zip-lock bags for your smart stuff. Phones, tablets, etc. They have got you covered up to 100 feet deep. And, it still senses your fingertips thru the plastic. There is some seriously cool technology behind these baggies that makes them incredibly different than the zip-locks you have in your kitchen.

Kayak’s were King at this show. They came in every size and every color. My kids are obsessed with kayaking and I understand why. They are just small enough to handle and just big enough to be great. The perfect vessel.

From what I saw at the show, I am sensing a serious shift in wheel size for everyday outdoor gear. People want to pull and lug their stuff onto and thru any terrain! Anything from off-road to deep sand, it looks like this guy has you covered.

This was, by far, my favorite activity at the show. This fella and his machine were on the back wall. And, by this point, I was so lost that I had no idea where the back wall, itself, was located. But it was AWESOME. I hit so many floating/levitating balls that I created a gallery. I finally caught myself having too much fun and gave up the bat. This ball is hanging out at the end of and strong stream of air. It's a bit expensive at $350, but it sure was FUN!

Cutest backpacks. These are from Hook & Tackle. I wanted to scoop up a ton of these packs for the little dudes in my world but I must wait. They come out next year!

Parting gifts were endless magazines from Shape to Outside. And I took a moment to say HI to Meb. Well, not the actual mega-star marathoner but his picture and that amazingly awesome moment when he won the Boston Marathon 1 ½ hours before I crossed that same finish line. This photo never gets old. Thanks Meb!

I survived and I loved it. My husband scored some new shoes out of the day and his feet have never been happier. Thanks Cushe!

And, thank you, OR, for letting me in. See you in Feb for the cold stuff.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

11 Races I Want To Try Before I am Done

Here they are, in no specific order.

Why do I do it? Always an easy answer for me, I love training for something and with someone. I love pushing myself and I LOVE crossing that finish line.  I knew it would be hard to top April’s Boston Marathon but there is plenty more to do and plenty of years to accomplish it. It’s a race “bucket list”.  They range from swims and triathlons to destination running races and 24-hour relay races.  And, the best part, I have 10 right now on my list but with all these amazing new races popping up every year, the list is really endless.

1.   Waikiki Rough Water Swim
    I was ready to swim this race when I was 9 years and 11 months old. I would have been the youngest at that time. My mom had done it many times and I was a bit apprehensive but proud of the number on my shoulder. Until, we went in for a warm up and swam over some scary kelp that looked exactly like snakes. That was it. My mom swam it anyway and I cheered from the sidelines. I need to face my fears, get back in there and bring my mom with me! I would actually love to do this with my kids someday but I don’t know if that will happen. It is a 2.348 mile swim and from what my mom tells me, you can see the bottom the entire way. Just as long as I don’t see much else! I am the “Jaws generation”…thanks Mr. Spielberg.

2.   The Other Half
I have heard so much about this half marathon set in the crazy, beautiful landscape that is Moab, UT. My friends ask me to do it almost every year but for the past few years I have been running marathons and it hasn’t fit into my life schedule. Now there is time! I think I need to make it happen.

3.   Malibu Triathlon
I need to get back into the triathlon phase of my life and this one seems friendly. Everyone thinks that since I run and swim, a tri would be a no brainer. Problem is, I like to enjoy my bike rides. I really do let the air blow my in face and whip up my hair.  I coast when I can and almost stop to smell the roses….which is not the triathlon attitude when 60% of your race is on two wheels. So, if you see me cruising along on my bike, remind me that there is, in fact, a finish line that I need to get reach!

4.   Cycle the Sierras
This is the way I want to ride, through the Sierras, which I consider my home.  I grew up in Northern California (Roseville, CA to be exact) and with a love of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Fresh air at it’s finest. But the best part about this “race” is the camping, food, drink and my teammate, my husband. He loves to bike and I would love to experience this with him.

“Ragnar is an overnight relay race that makes testing your limits a team sport.” Which is just scary enough for me to love it! I was supposed to race my first one last month but, unfortunately got sick and missed out. This race in not just about the mileage, it is about team spirit, team toughness and a whole lotta mess. The Wasatch back is a 200 mile course that traverses across the back of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains…hence the name “Wasatch Back”.
The entire experience from the van decoration party to the midnight running will be in my mental photo album forever and I cannot wait.

6.   The Paris Marathon and London Marathon

These 2 marathons just seem fabulous in every way.  Many of my non-running friends call me crazy and wonder why in the world I would go to such gorgeous and historical cities to run a marathon.  I do pause for a second and wonder myself but, there is just something about the connection you have to a city after pounding its streets. I have other friends who are in my camp and want to do it, which would make it absolutely perfect. The key would be to start the trip out with a marathon and then eat and drink our way through the sight-seeing! Sign me up!

7.   The Zombie Run
There is just something awesome about being chased and, yet a little bit scary.  My husband and I scare each other all the time. It has always been a part of our relationship. Serious scaring…where we either end up on the floor crying with laughter or in fear! Ok, I'm the only one ever crying in fear. But, back to the race.  It’s a 5K with locations all around the country and mostly set in the woods. I would definitely need some friends (I am not that brave) and would probably need a quick heart check-up before hand.  Then, I am off to the races, in the creepy forest with a bunch of bloody zombies!

8.   The West Highland Way
My husband and I discovered this race after walking a bit on the actual “way” in Scotland.  First of all, if you have never been to Scotland, do everything you can to get there.  It is as gorgeous and amazing as it looks in “Braveheart”! (One of our favorite movies and thus, we were annoying with quotes during our trip there in 2012) We stayed in Edinburgh for a few days and then rented a camper van and drove up towards the Isle of Skye.  We camped along the route and that is where we found the 95 mile race route which runs from Milngavie to Fort William. You can either race it or make it a race-cation. (One race is 95 miles while the other is 53) My husband has this grand plan of finding a few couples to do it with us and I am ALL IN. “This is my island!”(seemed like an appropriate time to throw in that line from Braveheart!)   or

9.   Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half-Marathon
Now this is the half I could get my non-running friends to do with me! After all the wine-to-mile ratios is 20-13.1…mama like! I grew up in Roseville, CA which is just outside of Sacramento on your way to Tahoe off of I-80.  Napa wine country is a short 1.45 hours from my dad’s front door. This would be sort of like a hometown race for me, plus, with all the post race activities, it could earn the title Best Weekend Ever! Let's not forget the best part, your finisher award is…..A Wine Glass. Hello!

10.                 Ironman
I might be that 80 year-old woman completing her first Ironman. But I have a hunch that at some point in my life I will conquer this race and I am actually quite freaked out by it. Here are my feelings: I don’t know if I can do it or really want to do it but because of it’s magnificent finish line, it has made its way onto my bucket list.  The strength for this race, for me, would have to come from somewhere besides within, in order for me to survive the 2.5 mile ocean swim, 124 mile bike ride and the marathon at the end.  I would need to do this for a reason beyond me soley crossing the finish line.  And, frankly, I believe that is why most people do it. At some point in my life, someone or some cause will move me to go through the pain of an Ironman for them. I just feel it in my bones.

11.                 Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon
Pretty much the scariest thing I could ever think of doing has made my bucket list. Even though open water swimming, particularly the SF Bay, runs in my blood, I have a HUGE fear of what lurks below the surface. My mom used to belong to The Dolphin Club and was one of those crazy ladies swimming in 50 degree water without a wetsuit. What I LOVE about this race is that there are 2 finish lines, one when you finish the swim and one when you finish the race. It is a 1.5 mile swim from Alcatraz to shore, an 18 mile bike through the streets of SF and an 8 mile run some of which is through sand and up a gnarly sand/log hill. What an adventure!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Don't Let Summer Fun Pass You By. 5 Simple Ways to Enjoy My Favorite Season Right Now!

5 Simple Ways to Start Enjoying the Summer Right Now

Don’t let the summer slip away before you’ve gotten a chance to enjoy it! No one needs more stress in their lives, especially in the summer time. Summer should be about BBQ’s and block parties. It’s about hearing the joy of children laughing throughout the neighborhood way past their bedtime. And it’s about friendship, friends finally coming together after declaring all winter long that, “We have to have you over for dinner.” It is time to make it happen. Don’t wait. As my dad always says, “Life’s a party, only most damn fools don’t know they’re invited.”
So here are 5 simple ways to enjoy the summer before it’s gone:

Host a Spontaneous Get-Together.

If the idea of having a big party is too daunting, stress no more. This is simply a spontaneous get-together. That means, ask people to stop by after dinner for a drink. The kids are fed so no need to worry about corralling them for food. Serve them popsicles and after that, let them run. For the adults, encourage a BYOB and have extras on-hand and on ice. Set out a few appetizers or maybe casually mention, “bring whatever’s in your fridge or nothing at all.” Grab some cheese and crackers, chips and salsa and let the party begin.

Go on a Picnic.

My kids LIVE for this. They think it is such a special night when we eat out on a blanket. And it’s easy! In our town, we have SO many outdoor concerts … so check out yours. It doesn’t have to be fancy at all. If there isn’t an outdoor music option, find a park or just your own backyard. I usually pack a roasted chicken, some potato salad/pasta salad, cheese and crackers and a roller cooler with beverages. When the meal is done and you have a chance to lay back on the blanket and see the first star of the night, you know that your summer has officially arrived.

Take a Bike Ride into Town.

Nothing says summertime like hopping on your bike.  We do this, but not often enough. You could cruise into town for dinner or just for some dessert. And if “town” is too far, make it an evening adventure around the neighborhood. With the streets lit up by the setting sun until 9pm, don’t waste the daylight at your computer or in front of the TV, now is the time. The wind on your face actually makes you feel like a kid again, it is the fountain of youth!

Take the Party to the Park.

If the thought of hosting a party at your house gives you the hives, take the party elsewhere. Nobody needs to break the bank and rent out a restaurant. Go to a park or a lake … use the resources at your fingertips. My friends do this often. Meet us at the “Leech Lake” (that’s our nickname for it). It is a full BYO everything situation. And, you would be surprised how many people want to get out, drink a cold one, grill up something yummy, and enjoy the summer together. The kids run around and the adults get to catch up on life. But be prepared to play. This is the time to bust out the baseball bats and gloves, frisbees, footballs, cornholes and anything else that has been collecting dust in your garage! You will leave that party feeling like the entire summer was a success. So, choose a spot, send the email, and enjoy.

Spend a Day at the Pool

Nothing says “summertime,” to this California girl, like the swimming pool! We used to have many a party around the awesome chlorinated body of water. I remember my parents grabbing the family meal at KFC and literally pulling me out of the water to come eat. It was summer perfection. Sadly these days we don’t have a ton of pools in Park City, Utah but we have enough — and unfortunately a lot of pools don’t allow food on the pool deck anymore. But you can still have fun by bringing whatever toys you have or buying some cheap ones at the Dollar Store! The only other items you need are sunblock, a swim suit, towel and your best ever cannonball!
We have all been there.  August rolls around and you wake up one morning wondering where the summer went. It flew by with SO much left to do. Now is the time. Enjoy your family, your time and the extra sunlight now. I am writing this as much for me as for everyone else. My philosophy? Once you write it down you are more likely to do it. So, here’s hoping!

Let's Get Running! Here are 8 of My Favorite US Races

8 of My Favorite Races to Run Around the U.S.

I’ve been running for 22 years. I truly love it. The entire experience … the scenery, the community, the sweat … brings me back for more. And although nothing can compare to competing in the Olympic Games, many of my dry-land finish-line moments have come pretty damn close. Here are my top 8 running races I LOVE the most.

1. The NYC Marathon

The city, the crowd, the neighborhoods, and the finish! I lived in NYC for eight years, and I love going back. There is an electricity that you feel every day in the city but on marathon day, it is AWESOME. And it certainly fuels you while you are running. When it comes to the finish, nothing will force you to dig deeper than a true New Yorker yelling for you to RUNNNNN!
NYC Marathon '99 pic

2. The Boston Marathon

Because it’s Boston and you qualified. It is a bucket list race for sure. To experience the love and support from everyone along the 26.2 course from Hopkinton to Boyston St. is truly remarkable and one of the kind. You are literally running just outside their front door, and they love and support you for it. Many open up their homes at the start for bathroom breaks, sunscreen, water, snacks, or just a needed good luck hug.
Boston Marathon '13 pic

3. The Runner’s World Festival (the hat trick)

I must admit, I had my doubts I could finish all three races last year but I did, and I loved it. In two days, you will run a 5K, a 10K, and a half marathon. (The first two happening on the first day). It is a true celebration of running and the running community all in the perfectly hilly town of Bethlehem, PA. Kids have races, dogs have races, there is celebrating and dancing and yoga … basically everything you could want in a wonderfully competitive yet relaxed environment. And now, there is another Festival in Boston at “Heartbreak Hill” in June.

4. The Color Run

Because it’s beautiful. Beautiful in color and spirit. My kids are still talking about the “paint run” as they call it. And, their shoes continue to remind them of that awesome day with the never ending tie-dye that imprints their socks. This un-timed, non-competitive 5K is tagged “The Happiest 5K on the Planet” and, so far, I agree. The goal is to fill you blank canvas, you body, with splashes and splashes of powdered color until the big finish when every 15 minutes they have a giant color release by the packed crowds near the stage. It’s a 5K event. Tips though, if you have color treated hair (especially blond) wear a hat as a precaution. Plan to throw away most of your clothes … washing does work but only for another color run. Find one of the many blowers they have at the finish to blow the paint off of you before getting in your car. Close your mouth through the color shoots and let your inner child shine bright! Kids are in love with this race so make it for the whole family.

5. Bay to Breakers

Bay to Breakers is the oldest consecutively run foot race in the world.” Everyone should experience this 102-year-old race at least once. I used to do this with my dad and his friends for his gym, Kangaroo Courts. We would dress up and run the 12 kilometers with a guy in a Kangaroo outift. I have seen runners dressed up as almost everything from babies and super heroes to Presidents and streakers. Yes, when you are in San Francisco, you must embrace the awesome variety of the city … and that is what makes me LOVE this race. It also brings me back home. My heart really does love all the Bay Area and SF in particular.

6. Running with Ed

This race is near and dear to my heart, because it is our local relay race and public school education fundraiser. The race was started by a Park City fella who loves running, has kids in public school, and runs a business in town. Running With Ed is now in it’s 5th year. Last year, we raised over $220,000 for the Park City Education Foundation, which helps with the cost of physical fitness, science, and art programs in public schools. (Learn more here.) This race is a mini-Ragnar that cruises 38 miles through Park City’s streets and trails linking all the public schools. The longest leg is 6.8 miles and toughest takes you from the base all the way to the top of Olympic Park!

7. Disney Kids!

The options are endless when it comes to the RunDisney family of events. My son and I did the Disney Epcot 5K, and then the next day I ran the Disney Princess Half. All the park to yourself and your fellow runners?! I think that is almost everyone’s childhood dream! There are a couple great things that stand out with these races. First, they always start early to help beat the heat and to finish before the park opens. Secondly, you truly get to see the parks differently. Imagine, no crowds, no lines, just the awesome sound of pounding feet and some cheering as you run by. Plus, there is so much to look at during the run that your attention is easily diverted from the pain, distance, heat, or whatever ailment could be overtaking your mind. I even got a picture with a few characters just before the finish of my half! And because my race started so early, I finished and was back at the hotel before my son woke up. We then enjoyed a day at the park! Fun for everyone.

8. Nike Women’s Half-Marathon in San Francisco

October in San Francisco people … that should be enough to sell you on this race. But just in case you are still on the fence, how bout a Tiffany’s necklace as your finishers medal awarded to you by a firefighter dressed in a tuxedo. I am not making this up, ladies! This is your reality if you are one of the 25,000 women and 1,000 men to make it into this fabulous race! I ran this in 2012 one day after my 40th birthday. And according to 1984 Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit-Samuelson, I need to get my butt back! You shouldn’t mess with your heroes!

Which one of these races would you want to race? Tell me in the comments!