Tag Archives: outdoors

The Night is Right….for Running

29 May

When I last spoke to you, I had made the hasty decision to run a trail race — in the dark — and was waiting on a confirmation of the results of my Diet Bet. I learned on Friday that I had indeed won my Diet Bet and the total amount I won was $57.11! The original buy in was $35, so I’d say that was definitely a worthwhile experiment. Shortly after claiming my winnings, a friend from High School invited me on Facebook to play another game for a $25 buy in. Since Diet Bet credits your account for your winnings, you can use them to play other games or request a Pay Pal payout. After I joined her bet and requested a pay out on Pay Pal, I ended up only being down $3 total. I’m pretty determined to win this next game too!

On to the night race! I’m sort of embarrassed about how naive I was about this race. When I heard “trail race” and “moonlight”, I assumed that we would be running on maybe gravel roads, but that ended up not being the case. This was a full-on trail race, with fallen trees that we had to climb over and duck under, narrow trails, steep uphill climbs and everything! I’ll attempt to recap the race without getting to rambly. Please note, most of the following photos were borrowed from the Kanawha Trace Trail Running Club‘s Facebook group, due to the fact it was PITCH BLACK and I couldn’t get many photos:

boy scout camp The race was held at Camp Arrowhead, which is  a local Boy Scout camp. I’d never been out there, but it’s just a lovely area. glow stick   The trail was marked by these orange flags and glow sticks. Leading up to the race, my thought was, “Well, it won’t be TOO dark, because it’s a full moon and there will be glow sticks!” — you guys, glow sticks aren’t that bright. I was straining my eyes to see them, mainly because once darkness fell and I was running, I was deathly afraid of getting lost. My worst fear was ending up away from the pack, which inevitably happened — at one point everyone who was in front of me was WAY in front of me and there was nobody behind me. That’s when I took this Vine video:

Click on the picture to go to the video!

Click on the picture to go to the video!

Oh, and the headlamp? Well, see, here’s where they naivete really comes into play. I didn’t even think of taking a light source with me until my friend Sarah tweeted that she was worried her headlamp would fall off. I immediately texted her and asked, “Should I get a headlamp!?” and she said, “DUH! of COURSE you should you big dummy!!!” — I”m totally kidding, she did not say that at all, but she really should have. Thank goodness I was headed to my friend Mandee’s house to do some wedding related things, and I’ve been camping with her enough to know she owns a headlamp, so I snagged that. Sarah never would have let me run without one, but thinking of running that race without one kind of cracks me up. It was SO dark! In fact, despite the headlamp, I downloaded a flashlight app for my phone while we were lined up waiting for the gun, just in case.

So, back to the race. I mentioned before that I’ve never run trails. The start of the race was on a gravel road much like the one I run on in the park so just after we started I was thinking “Oh, this isn’t bad. I can do this!” — and then we made a sharp left into the woods and immediately starting climbing a mountain! No joke. There was no choice at times but to walk (although I’m sure the 14 year old cross-country racers who won the race sprinted up the hill), but for those of us who are of normal fitness levels, walking was the only option. Not only were we running through uneven terrain, up steep hills and under giant fallen trees:

Imagine coming up on this guy in the dark!

Imagine coming up on this guy in the dark!

…..but there were also giant mud puddles, creeks, slick rocks and all the normal trail obstacles — with the added challenge of complete darkness. I fell twice — once was very minor, but the second time was right at the end of the race while we were running around that giant pond you see in the first photo on this post, and I swear I came pretty close to falling in. I was holding my phone at this point because I was checking our mileage (running in the dark was so disorienting, I wanted to see how close we were to finishing), and I fell directly on my thumb. It still really hurts! Once the finish line was in sight, I couldn’t imagine taking the 7 mile option (I did 3.5, so it would be like doing the whole thing again!) — I was wiped out!

I ended up finishing in 46:25 — about a 13 minute pace, and only about 4 minutes behind Sarah, who had just run a trail race the previous weekend, so I felt pretty good about that. I was the 8th female and 22nd overall, which is probably the first time I’ve ever been in the top ten (females) in a race, so there’s that! It was very cool after I finished watching the runners come down the trail — all you could see was headlamps and flashlights bobbing in the trees.

The overall verdict is: If you ever have a chance to run a trail race it the dark — DO IT! It was seriously scary, really, really hard, but one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had! Also, the organizers of the race did an amazing job setting everything up. For only a $5 entry fee ($20 if you wanted a t-shirt), we had a very well organized race. Furthermore, at the finish line we had music, a bonfire (complete with s’mores!):

The only decent photo I managed to take!

The only decent photo I managed to take!

…vegetarian chili, water, coffee, hot dogs and some pretty great prizes (although I didn’t win any!)

In fact, I was so inspired after the race that I woke up the next morning and was raring to go for a long run, so I did just that:

long run

I can’t tell you what a great time I had on Saturday night. I’ll definitely be participating in the moonlight race again in November, and I’m considering signing up for a 10k trail race that’s coming up. I’m even browsing trail running shoes in my spare time 🙂

For no reason at all, here’s a picture of Frank:

This is post-dog park, his favorite place on Earth.

This is post-dog park, his favorite place on Earth.

Question of the Day:
Would you ever run a race at night time?

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Photos From the Weekend

11 Mar

I’m really sick, and really busy at work, but I wanted to fill you in with photos from the weekend really quickly:

outburst

On Friday, we went to a friend’s house to play a few games. Every time we go over there, I discover a new game I love. First, it was Taboo, then Guesstures. This time, it was Outburst. Although the boys heartily beat us, I think we need a rematch because I feel like they got easier topics than we did.

After that, we went to another friends house to hang out:

thom

 

In true Kristy fashion, I only took pictures of the cat. But isn’t Thom regal?

Saturday was a busy day, and although the weather was perfect, I wasn’t able to get a run in. I had about a million things to do, including shopping for a dress for the Gala that was being held that evening as a fundraiser for the library where I work

try on

Have you been to JC Penney lately? They have really stepped up their game and have some seriously cute clothes. I did like the dress above, but settled on this:

gala outfit

 

The shoes and dress are from JC Penney and cost a total of $37! And I looove the dress. It’s lined, it has pockets, it’s adorable and very comfy. I’ll have a photo on here of me and Zach all dressed up soon, because his sister was kind enough to come outside and take some photos of us. It’s pretty nice having your professional photographer sister-in-law live right next door! 🙂 The sweater is clearly from Old Navy, and the earrings I bought first from Gabriel Brothers. The little orange rosettes were the inspiration behind the outfit because I liked them so much!

The Gala was very fun, but my throat started getting scratchy just before we got there.

gala

 

I wish I had taken a photo of every dish, because the food was so good! My favorites were the first course, which was a black bean stew with kale served over rice, and the salad, which was mixed greens, tomatoes, onions and hearts of palm with a mango/passion fruit dressing. Yum!

After the Gala, Zach and I went to a local bar to have a couple drinks in our fancy clothes and then headed home and had some folks over to watch Saturday Night Live with Justin Timberlake — which was SO good!

By the time I woke up on Sunday, I was definitely sick. I laid in bed well after Zach had already risen for the day, and that’s a certain sign that I’m not feeling well. I did manage to get out and do an errand that had to be done (begrudgingly), and I also was able to make it over to a friend’s porch to enjoy the balmy weather:

porchin

 

 

However, I was soon back on the couch. No run for me, which was a bummer because of the awesome weather, but I know there is more to come. I’m feeling pretty bad, but I hope to be back in action by tomorrow. Unfortunately, Zach and I have a tasting with a caterer this evening. It’s a bummer I feel bad for that, but it’s not something I can cancel.

Because of the spring-like weather, I’ve been able to open the windows and enjoy the breeze, which also pleases the cats:

spring

 

Hope you’re having some nice weather near you as well!

Question of the Day:
Has spring sprung where you live yet? 

 

 

I Can’t Control My Eyebrow!

8 Mar

Happy Friday!

I woke up at 6:00 this morning and truly thought it was Saturday. Whomp whomp: What a bummer, right?! But that means I still have a full weekend to look forward to!

Here are some random things I’d like to talk about:

The sun came out to play today!

sunshine

 

I just love these big, giant windows outside of my office! After two dreary, grey days, the sun has finally decided to grace us with its presence. It’s still pretty cold, but at least there is sunshine. Also, the weather forecast for the weekend looks like this:

weekend

 

…which means there is at least 1 outdoor run on my agenda this weekend!

In less exciting news, I think I may be coming down with a little cold. I’m definitely a little sniffly this morning. Hopefully it stops there!

Speaking of running, I’ve been really good about getting my miles in this week. I’ve done a 2 mile, 3 mile and 4 mile treadmill run so far this week. Yesterday’s four-miler is thanks to the ABC app on my phone and catching up with this week’s episode of The Bachelor: The Women Tell All.

tierra

Holy wow. Now, I just started watching The Bachelor this season, and I definitely see the appeal. It’s like a trainwreck! It’s so awkward to me. Sean will be on these intimate dates and the whole time I’m thinking, “He’s doing this with x other women….” — I just can’t see the appeal of being on that show! Watching it, however, now that’s a different story.

How about Tierra, huh? Could that girl be any more delusional? Before watching this episode, my favorite Tierra quote was:  “I can’t control my eyebrow! I can’t control everything on my face all the time!” – but now it’s, “I didn’t call you a liar, I said you lied to me.” and when someone explains to her that it’s the same thing, she says, “See? Everything I say is WRONG!” — oh man. I think it explained a lot when she said she was Little Miss Nevada when she was a child. Now we know what happens to Toddlers and Tiaras when they grow up!

I only watched through Tierra’s part and covered about 4 miles. I’m excited to finish it off, can’t wait to see what Ashlee has to say to Sean!

run walk

 

I noticed when I was walking back from the gym how bright it still was outside! It was almost 7 pm! After we turn our clocks forward this weekend, we will have so much daylight left in the evenings! Yay!

shade

 

My Shade order arrived this week and I’m loving what I got. For how inexpensive everything was, I’m loving the quality. I wore the top above to work yesterday (sorry for the awkward selfie, I’m still working on it) and I got a lot of compliments on it. I love the trendy chevron pattern.

Ok, that’s enough random for one day!

I hope you have some nice weather this weekend wherever you are!

Question of the Day:
What are you most looking forward to this weekend? 

 

It’s Almost That Time

19 Feb

I’m still not in the best of moods. I went to the dentist again today, and it appears my dental woes are still not over. Please learn from me, don’t put off going to the dentist! I plan on making regular 6 month appointments once I’m through all of this. Add to that, just feeling blah still like I discussed yesterday, and I’m just not feeling great.  I really wish I would perk up soon! Any ideas?

However, yesterday I did something that made me a little happier:

photo (7)

 

I got to run outside! Yes, a glorious 3.03 miles (at a 10:32 pace, which is faster than any recent treadmill run — I told you I was faster outside!), and it was a lovely evening for it, as you can see. I just had to stop and take that photo — as I ran West toward the setting sun, the sky just kept getting prettier and prettier. It really felt great to run outside! It was in the mid-50’s, so it was perfect running weather. We’re back to the 30’s today (stupid fickle weather), so it’s back to the treadmill tonight. But, I’ve got a taste of Spring and I’m ready for it! It’s almost that time!

Question of the day:
What’s your favorite Spring activity? 

Worrywart

11 Jan

I’m a worrywart:

worrywart

 

I worry about everything, and everyone, pretty much constantly. Usually, it doesn’t really interfere with my life, but sometimes things get a little out of control.

For the past few nights, my worrying has gotten out of control. I know that I sometimes have anxiety issues, and right now I’m trying to get things under control, because at the moment I have a huge knot in the pit of my stomach that won’t go away.

I’m not sure what triggers these bouts of extreme worry and anxiety, but I can tell you that it isn’t fun for anyone. Especially me. I’m constantly on the verge of tears and I’m very, very hard on myself. After not sleeping very well on Wednesday night, I was exhausted last night and I was sure I would fall right asleep. Not so much. Every time I drifted off, my anxiety woke me up and I started panicking. Thinking about things I need to get done, about bad things that could possibly happen, and worst of all: things that I’ve done poorly in the past. I know in my rational mind that focusing on these things isn’t helpful, but I somehow can’t stop it.

The reason I’m writing about this isn’t to get sympathy, but I need an outlet. If I try to discuss these issues with my loved ones, I end up feeling like I’m bothering them (I’m not, I know, but I still feel that way), or realizing how ridiculous I sound. Here I feel like I can let go because if you don’t want to read this, you don’t have to.

So, how can I handle these issues?

Well, I’m not sure, but I’m going to try reminding myself that my rational mind is the one that’s right, and my irrational mind is wrong.

As an effort to make myself happier, here are some things that make me happy.

IMAG0990Holy cow it’s a beautiful day today. I went outside this morning to take out the trash and it was already in the 50’s! Before 8 AM! In January! Zach didn’t wear a coat at all to work, and I just wore a light one. I took the above picture from my office at work (yes, I’m grateful to have those huge windows right outside my office door), the sky was just lovely. I guess there is some rain in the forecast, but I’m happy enough about the warm weather that I don’t really care.

IMG_0361

Friends! This photo was taken at my friend Mandee’s birthday dinner on Wednesday. I had a great time, but I’m anxious to spend more time with these folks this weekend. I’m already texting people seeing what their plans are tonight. I think some hangouts with friends would really take my mind off of some things.

run

 

Running. Since I’ve started running again without pain, I’ve been anxious to do more running. This unseasonably warm weather is making me anxious to get out there and pound the pavement! I think I might take Courtney’s doberman Margot on her first run tomorrow morning. That should be fun!

IMG_0362

 

Pizza! I don’t know if I’ll be eating any pizza this weekend, but this pizza I had on Wednesday sure was delicious.

See? I’m feeling better already 🙂

 

 

My Favorite Place to Run

10 Oct

I don’t talk much about Huntington on this blog, as was the intention when I started it. As you know, Huntington was named “America’s Unhealthiest City” in 2008, and since then the city has tried to outrun that embarrassing label. I can’t say we’ve completely turned ourselves around, but we have made significant strides:

  • The P.A.T.H. (Paul Ambrose Trail for Health), a 26-mile bike and pedestrian pathway that is being constructed, providing free health and recreation for Huntington and surrounding areas. In addition, an annual 5k, 10k and walk (dubbed “Fit Fest”) is held to raise money to continue construction on the trail.
  • Jamie Oliver came to our town to film his Health Revolution reality show, building us a state-of-the-art kitchen downtown which provides free healthy cooking classes for people of all ages.
  • In general, I see more and more people out walking, running and biking on a daily basis in town.

There is much more, but those are our largest accomplishments.

Surprisingly, Huntington may have one of the best areas I’ve ever seen for outdoor fitness: Ritter Park. I live exactly one block from the park, and it’s my very favorite place. I’ll attempt to give you a ‘virtual tour’ of our lovely park:

When you enter the park at 10th street, the first thing you see is the fountain:

Photo credit: This amazing blog post about Ritter Park.

The park is a wide, open grassy area with an awesome playground (trust me, my nephew will. not. leave. it. when he’s visiting) on the East end, and is surrounded by a wide gravel running/walking path that is (I’ve heard) 9/10ths of a mile. If you follow the path under the 8th street bridge:

This bridge was painted pink a few years ago for Breast Cancer Awareness and caused quite the uproar. It has since been repainted.

(There is a path underneath that bride so pedestrians don’t have to cross the road), you will be on the continued path which goes about 1.5 miles to the World War II Memorial Arch located at the intersection of where Ritter Park ends and Memorial Park begins:

A good photo of the path that you follow around to get under the bridge, again from the awesome blog post.

I actually took these photos!

On certain holidays, the GHPRD (Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District) hangs a giant flag on the arch. If I run from my front door to the arch and back, I have run exactly three miles. If I continue on the trail through Memorial Park (where my favorite water fountain is located) and back, I’ll have gone about 5 miles.

Backtracking back to the Ritter Park loop, if you don’t go under the bridge to follow the trail to the arch, but rather keep on the trail a bit, you’ll find a set of stone stairs that you can climb which will lead you to this gem:

The Ritter Park Rose Garden! The roses are in bloom Spring – Fall, and it’s seriously breathtaking. You can have your wedding there, and it’s quite cheap, but it doesn’t seat very many people, so it wasn’t an option for us. Perhaps some kind bridesmaid will read this and throw me a bridal shower there.

If you don’t climb the stairs to the Rose Garden, but continue on to the East End of the park again, you can make a right and you will see the tennis courts. There are 4 courts, I think, and they cover two of them for the winter. I don’t play tennis, so I’m not going to spend much time on those. However, after the tennis courts, there is a huge hill which is great for hill sprint repeats!

Tennis courts and the park building

If you climb the giant hill, at the top on the left is the brand new Huntington Pet Safe Dog Park. Huntington won a contest that was sponsored by Pet Safe which funded $100,000 towards our dog park, and it turned out great. It’s basically a large fenced in area where the dogs can run. There is a doggie drinking fountain, a small dog run, and that’s basically it, but man do the doggies love it.

On the right at the top of the hill is the Ritter Park Ampitheater:

 

Where outdoor concerts and outdoor theater are held.

And that’s about it! Ritter Park is about the best thing ever, in my opinion. I consider myself very lucky to live one block from such an awesome park where I can run, walk, and interact with other healthy residents of my town.

Recently, Ritter Park was named one of America’s Great Public Spaces by the American Planning Association, along with parks located in Denver, Chicago and Anaheim.  I don’t know if the residents of those cities are as pumped about the honor as the residents of Huntington were, but I’m guessing not. It’s great for our small town to be ranked up there with big cities. I truly think that Ritter Park deserves the honor. I run in that park most days of the year, and I never get sick of it.

Question of the Day:
What’s your favorite place to run? 

 

Good News!

4 Oct

Good news! Waking up earlier proved to work out for me making it to the gym. I really do think setting my alarm earlier is the answer, because I like having a little time before I head out the door.

This morning, I set my alarm for 5:25 AM (it has been going off at 5:45) and those extra 20 minutes really helped. I got up and got dressed, then I was able to drink a glass of water, have a banana, read some blogs and then search for a good strength routine in my old magazines before heading to the gym.

I hit the treadmill first thing. My goal was 3 miles at half-marathon pace (9:40/mile), and then weights. Well, for some reason I was just not feeling the running so I did 1.5 miles and then told myself I’d do the rest after I hit the weight room.

I know you guys love it when I post photos of my treadmill display. I’ m a little worried about not running outside very much lately, but I’m doing all my long runs outside, so that should be ok for the half.

After that little run, I headed down to the weight room to do this power-pairs dumbbell workout that I found in the December 2010 issue of Women’s Health. It was TOUGH. One of the trainers saw me doing it and came over to ask to have a look at the rest of the workout. He said (and I quote), “I like that! It looks hard!” — he was right. It was a toughie. I did three rounds of 12 reps of each exercise (it calls for 15 reps, but I used heavy weights — 10 lbs for most of the moves, 8 for the others). I was definitely sweaty and out of breath when I was done.

Ok, speaking of workouts from magazines. Sarah (of SarahFit.com) did a video once about magazine workouts and how there is always one move that is just impossible to do. This workout was no different.

If you click up there where I linked to the workout, there is a video showing a fitness model doing this exercise and she seems to have no problem, but I could NOT do it. I can do those hamstring curls on the ball, but I need my arms out for stability. Adding in the dumbbells, I was all over the place. If you have a minute and the equipment, give it a try and tell me in the comments below if you could do it. Maybe I’m just a mess!

After that, I did get back on the treadmill, but I cut it short about half a mile because it was getting late. Oh well!

Rewinding to yesterday, I don’t know if you remember a couple months back when I wrote about how I had to get my learner’s permit because my Pennsylvania license had expired before I switched to West Virginia. Well, yesterday I finally bit the bullet, left work a little early and went to take my driver’s test. I’m happy to say that I passed with flying colors! I’m a licensed driver again!

After Zach and I got back from the DMV, I was starving, so I ended up not getting in my run for yesterday. I made dinner, and then we walked over to the Dog Park, where Margot (Courtney’s doberman puppy) had her Dog Park debut. Puppies can’t really go outside or be socialized with other dogs until they are 16 weeks old and have had their final Parvo vaccination. Apparently Parvo can live in the ground for a very long time. I had no idea!

I felt a little creepy going to the Dog Park without a dog of my own to contribute, especially since I’m a HUGE dog lover and I knew I would be petting everyone’s dogs like crazy! I wish I had some photos to show of the dogs I met, but they all moved so fast it was hard to get a photo, but here’s a photo of my other friend Courtney’s dog when she was all worn out from chasing a ball:

Yes, I have two friends named Courtney who have Dobermans. No, it’s not really that confusing — unless I’m blogging about them! Here’s a photo of Courtney Bell’s dog Margot for comparison:

Photo courtesy of Courtney Bell

So, you see, it’s completely different! The dog park was so fun. I met: a Newfoundland named Fat Head (he was awesome and loved the other dogs, but all the other dogs were afraid of him), two bulldogs, a puppy named Miko who was the same age as Margot but a quarter of her size, three chihuahuas, a bunch of mutts and a black lab that carried a soccer ball around in his mouth. It. Was. Awesome. I left wanting a dog RIGHT AWAY!

The walk to the dog park was about a mile, uphill, and then we walked back so yesterday ended up not being completely sedentary. I’ll tell you what, the sunsets here have been amazing lately:

Red sky at night, Sailor’s Delight. Red sky in morning, Sailor take warning.

I’m so excited for date night tonight! Registering at Macy’s and dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s (can’t wait for that salad bar!)

Question of the Day:
Do you have a dog? What kind? Can I dog-sit him so I can go to the dog park without being that creepy dog-less lady?