Health, Love & Fire: August 2013

Happy Friday-Eve

Thursday, August 29, 2013

This throwback Thursday is inspired by plans to possibly go back east in a couple months to visit friends and family. If you read my 6 things about me post yesterday, then you found out that I am originally from Upstate New York before becoming an Oregonian. Yesterday my birth mom texted me asking if I would be willing to meet her in New York at the end of October, so that’s something I am currently working out. Hopefully this trip will be something that Dan can join in on too, but for now we are just chatting about dates, times, tickets, and logistics.

Thinking about visiting my hometown and the place I spent the first 15 years of my life got me really excited! I miss so many things about where I grew up from the people, to the memories, and definitely the food! I already have my list of must go to places for my long weekend trip! Traveling back to New York will also let me spend time with not only my birth mom and her family, but also my birth dad who I have only had the opportunity to meet once. I think about them both often, and am thankful that I might get the opportunity to see them both.

I decided that since it’s throwback Thursday, I would share some pictures from one of my last trips to New York almost 5 years ago! This was the trip where I met my birth farther for the first time and was able to spend some great quality time with my mom’s side of the family. Here’s some of the reason’s I’m excited about the possibility of this trip coming to fruition! 

6 Things You Should Know

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I was excited when Ashley tagged me in the 6 things you should know about me post as I was sitting here trying to decide what to post for today. I love reading Ashley's Blog so if you haven’t checked it out yet, make sure to just over there and do that!  I also noticed after reading Ashley’s answers that she and I are a lot alike which makes it really fun to follow along on her blog.

1. What is something you never thought you would do or accomplish but have? Honestly, when I was younger I never thought I would find my birth parents and meet each of them and their families. It was something I have always dreamed of and hoped for, but never really let myself think it would come true.

2. If you could only take one thing to an uninhabited environment what would you take (think Naked and Afraid)? I would take my husband. I know I should probably take food or water or a blanket or something but I love traveling to new places with D. Whenever we plan a trip we try to go places neither of us has been before because we love to explore and learn new things together. Plus, he’s who I enjoy spending time with more than anyone, so I might as well go somewhere completely uninhabited with my favorite person.

3. Who is the most influential person in your life? This it tough because I have some amazing role models and people in my life but it would probably be my grandmother. She is no longer around, but I learned so much from her growing up. I used to have “take your granddaughter to work days” with her so I could spend more time with her and learn about her job. Even up until her last few days, I was learning new things from her. She was one of the toughest most passionate people I have ever met. Throughout her life she dealt with some big struggles, but her determination and passion was always overflowing.

4. Tell us something we don't know about you. I’m not sure if people know this or not, but I grew up in Upstate New York and moved to Oregon the summer before I started high school. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but something I definitely wouldn’t change. I can remember riding in the car with my mom on the first day of high school and just crying because I didn’t know a single person and I was so scared to be the new kid. After a few weeks I had a few new friends, after a year a had a bunch, and senior year I was crowned Homecoming Queen by my peers. That sad freshman in the car with her mom was suddenly not so alone. I found activities I liked, friends I grew close to, and a new place to call home.

5. If you could open your own business what kind of good or service would you provide?  What would you business be like? This is just like Ashley. I would want to open my own photography business. I have started a Facebook page, which I don’t update very often, but it’s a place to post some of the photo-shoots I have done. I would love to be able to do photography full time, but struggle with the confidence to put myself out there and really go for it. If you’re interested in checking it out take a look at

6. If you had to be stuck in one season for the rest of your life what would it be?  It would definitely be fall. While I love the sunshine, swimming, pumpkin patches and summer dresses, I love pumpkin spice, scarves, leaves, and sweaters even more! Plus, that means were getting closer to Christmas, but without all the rain!

Thanks for reading my 6 things you don’t know about me! Here are the six people I tag to learn a little more about them too if they’re interested!

1. Lauren
3. Lauren
4. Morgan
5. Hima
6. Tara

Catching The Running Bug - Hood To Coast Style!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What an amazing weekend. I am still trying to catch up on sleep, and probably won’t feel rested till at least next weekend, but I’ll take it. Before I tell you all about Hood To Coast, let me tell you that I am not the type of person who has ever liked running. I really still don’t like it. But I do love the feeling when I finish a race or just a run in general so that’s why I do it. The more I run, the easier it’s getting and I’m honestly starting to get addicted. My parents have always been runners since I can remember, but I always said I would never be that way. Well apparently I lied. After completing the relay this weekend, I was already looking for another one to do, and I even have another run this coming weekend to tackle! So here’s how it went!

If you haven’t read some of my other posts about Hood To Coast I’ll give you a little info on it. It’s a relay race starting on Mt Hood and going to the Oregon Coast. You form teams of 12 people who ride in two vans and take turns running 198 miles over about 30 hours. Our team started Friday morning at 10:30. I was the first runner in van 2 and I started running about 3:30 Friday afternoon.

This is Van 2 of our team who we spent about 36 hours in a 12 passenger van with! 
Waiting to get the baton from Katie and start my first run! 

My first leg was 6.3 miles. It was hot and there were at least 6 decent hills. I didn’t want to carry too much with me so I didn’t bring any water and I was so thirsty by the end of the run. The run was on mostly back roads so I ran by some farm fields, houses, and people sitting outside watching runners. A couple people even set up sprinklers for runners to run through which was a HUGE help! My van passed me at about a mile and a half in on their way to the next checkpoint which helped motivate me a bit to finish out my run. I was tired, and all I could think of was I still had to run two more times before the end of the race. I finished the run in a little over an hour, which I was really really happy with! I haven't run 6 miles straight in a while and felt good about how quickly I was able to complete that leg. I handed the baton off to dan and he was on his way! 

 This is me finishing my first leg and Dan in the  middle of his first. 
Dan handing off to Javi to start leg 9 of the race! 

My second leg was at 2 in the morning. I am terrified of the dark, so I was really nervous about this run. I had laid in bed worrying about this several times in the last month. This was my hardest leg. There were some huge hills, and it spanned over 5.89 miles. I had to try really hard to keep my mind from wandering during my run and just focus on getting done. It was sort of a surreal experience to be running nearly six miles in the middle of the night. Throughout the entire race, I was surprised how sparse the runners were. I am used to running events where there are always groups of runners around you, but this is definitely not the case with Hood To Coast. This was especially noticeable at night where I found myself running alone on a back road in the middle of the night. While I’m not sure I would ever make a habit of it, it was pretty cool to run with my reflective vest, blinking lights, and headlamp on a back road in the middle of nowhere. All I could hear was my footsteps and the crickets and all I could see was where my headlamp shone. Not being able to see the hills you were tackling and having the serene quietness was a neat experience that helped push me through those nearly six miles. 
That's me heading out on my second run with the headlamp so bright you can't see my face :) 

After I finished my second leg, I was pretty tired, but excited to cheer Dan on! It was fun because I got to hand off the baton to him after all my runs so I would run up and hand him the baton (bracelet) and give him a kiss and say, “Good luck, I love you” and watch him on his way. At everyone exchange I could hear people say “aww, that’s so cute”, but it was a fun way to end my leg and him his start his! I was so proud of how good he did on all of his runs! He motivates me to keep going and is by far my best cheerleader!

MY third leg was only 4 miles, and boy am I glad it wasn’t much longer! It was mostly downhill. I started at about 12:30 so it wasn’t too hot yet which was really nice. My last mile was all uphill which was pretty tough, but I was so excited to be done that I was able to push through! Finishing my third leg was awesome. Over three runs and less than 24 hours, I ran I felt such a sense of accomplishment and really appreciated how hard I had worked!
Dan finishing his final leg! 

Our van finished the race and met the rest of our team at the beach. Hearing our team name read and walking under the finish together was a cool experience. A couple years ago, I never would have thought of trying to complete Hood To Coast, much less raising $18,000 while doing it. I feel like I’ve caught the running bug and am excited to complete more running events. I will be running the Wine Country Half Marathon this Sunday with both my parents, and have started looking for other runs in our area coming up soon. If you ever get the chance to run a relay race, I would definitely recommend it. Even with no sleep, no showers and a lot of time in a van, it was still an awesome experience. 
This Finish Line!!! 

We did it!! 

Hood To Coast Packing Time!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ahh, it’s hard to believe that Hood To Coast starts in less than 48 hours. At 10:30 Friday morning, Van 1 of our team will start at Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood and start running towards the coast. There are 12 of us on our team and we will each take turn running 3 different legs over about a 30-hour period of time. There are two different vans, each with 6 runners in them. We have spent almost a year planning for this event, and its crazy to think that it’s almost here.

Like I have said before, our team was a fundraising team. Hood To Coast is the largest of all running relay races in the country. While the mileage is long, the number of people who run it is what makes it the largest. Because of the high demand to get a team entry, they installed a lottery system. So in order to get a spot in the race, your team name has to be pulled out of the lottery. Every year tons of teams don’t even get a chance to run this race. Because we signed up to be a fundraising team, we gained automatic entry in to this year and next year’s race for Hood To Coast.

Our team pledged to raise $18,000 for the American Cancer Society in order to gain entry. While this was definitely not easy to do, we have already surpassed that goal! It’s excited to be a part of such a huge event, and its even cooler to give back in the process! Our team name is Proud to be Roadkill, and we each have different names of different types of road kill. I am a chipmunk (since Chipper was my favorite baseball player, I figure I can be Chipper the Chipmunk), and Dan is a beaver (since we are Oregon Duck fans and NOT Oregon State Beaver Fans). We aren’t running to break any records or win any titles, but are all excited to be a part of such a big event & to help raise so much money.

I thought since this week is filled with the final prep for the event, I would share some of the things I plan on packing for the race. This will be my first time running Hood To Coast so I’m sure there will be things I learn from participating this year that I haven’t thought of yet, but here’s what I’ve packed so far.

-       Three Running Outfits each in its own zip lock bag so it’s easy to find, especially in the middle of the night. It’s also nice to be able to put your sweaty clothes back in a zip lock bag to keep the van smelling as good as possible.
-       Two pairs of running shoes, one to actually run in and one to wear in between legs. I have also heard it’s helpful to bring an extra set to run in incase it rains, but I don’t have an extra pair so one will have to do.
-       Sandals to wear in between legs or in showers if we get the opportunity to shower at all
-       Comfy clothes – sweatshirt & sweatpants to wear between legs in the van
-       Clothes to wear at the finish line and the after party at the beach – Our team made team t-shirts so that will be part of my finish line attire
-       Baby wipes & face wipes to help clean off a bit once I’m done running
-       Deodorant, tooth brush & toothpaste, and hair brush to help feel as normal as possible during the race
-       Shampoo, soap and a towel in case I get a chance to shower
-       Sunglasses, bandana, sunscreen, chap stick and hat to help deal with the elements while running
-       Reflective Vest & Headlamp for the night time runs – My legs are at 4 in the afternoon, 2:30 in the morning, and about Noon the next day so I have all sorts of different weather to prep for
-       A pillow, blanket, earplugs & tarp to use for trying to get as much sleep as possible. I will use the pillow and blanket in the van but have heard that it’s nice to have a tarp incase you stop in one of the sleeping fields to sleep so you don’t get all wet.
-       Fun stuff for the van – window paint, squirt gun, ipod player, phone charger, and other decorations to help make the event even more fun.
-       Food & Drinks: we are bringing water, Gatorade, protein shakes, recovery drinks, bananas, peanut butter, bagels, crackers, and protein bars. I have to be careful cause I can’t eat gluten so the bagels will be for other teammates and ill stick to the fruit and protein bars.
-       Bengay/Sombra, disposable ice packs and a leg roller to use when my muscles get tight from sitting in the van
-       A first aid kit just in case someone gets hurt (and my husband being the firefighter/paramedic he is bringing a first aid kit from the fire department along with an AED just in case)
-       And last but not least, toilet paper in case the port potties run out, which I’m sure they will.

This all sounds like a lot of stuff, but not every team member is bringing all of this. We went over the list at our last team meeting and have designated different teammates to bring different things. I will let you know after the race if there was anything we wished we had or anything we didn’t really need. I really can’t believe it’s in less than two days. I really hope I am ready and am pretty nervous about my run in the middle of the night (being that I am afraid of the dark). I will post pictures and updates along the way in Instagram if you follow me on there. If you’re a runner or have any suggestions please send them my way!!