Adventures of Oregon LauraAdventures of Oregon Lauraen-usThe Watch<a href="#Click_here_to_go_to_the_review_summary."><em>Click here to go to the review summary.</em></a><br /> <br /> Watches are addicting.&nbsp; You&rsquo;ll want it when you go out, miss it if you forget it, and constantly check it if you&rsquo;ve found a good one. After trying out a few Polar heart rate monitors, and also a High Gear, my pick is <a target="_blank" href="">Suunto</a>. The company &ldquo;<em>is a leading designer and manufacturer of sports precision instruments for diving, training, mountaineering, hiking, skiing and sailing. Prized for their intuitive design, accuracy and dependability, their precise instruments combine the aesthetics and functionality of watches with sport-specific computers that help athletes at all levels analyze and improve their performance.</em>&rdquo; That all sounded good, so I put them to the test for my biggest need: a comfortable, reliable, and functional heart rate monitor.<br /> <br /> Why should I even wear a heart rate monitor?&nbsp; Here are five great reasons: <br /> 1.<strong> Improve health</strong> - CDC recommends adults should exercise at 50-70% of max heart rate for 150 minutes per week<br /> 2. <strong>Lose weight</strong> - determine total calories burned and if you were burning in the &ldquo;fat zone&rdquo;<br /> 3. <strong>Make the most of your limited time</strong> - set your pace right away based on your heart rate<br /> 4. <strong>Exercise safely</strong><span style="font-weight: bold;"> -</span> heart rate higher than normal could mean you need a rest or are getting sick<br /> 5. <strong>Be your own coach</strong> - set your goals to match time in heart rate zones<br /> <br /> I got exactly what I wanted in my first Suunto, <a target="_blank" href="">the T3</a>.&nbsp; I bought this watch used (from Laura Granger (Hering) &ndash; who was upgrading to a <a target="_blank" href="">T4</a>) in 2008.&nbsp; I quickly upgraded to the new comfort belt heart rate strap.&nbsp; As a woman, I never really enjoyed wearing a heard rate monitor. The big, hard chunk of plastic under my jog bra was never comfortable.&nbsp; The comfort strap was a breath of fresh air with a small circular piece of plastic, the rest of the strap is elastic and bends with my body &ndash; I haven&rsquo;t lost transmission when doing sit ups, or yoga, and I forget it&rsquo;s on after a few minutes.&nbsp; For all you guys out there, both my husband and my dad use this heart rate strap as well and have said it&rsquo;s one of the only straps that hasn&rsquo;t slipped down mid-workout when sweating profusely.<br /> <br /> &nbsp; <img width="139" height="139" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Suunto%20t3.jpg" alt="" /><img width="139" height="139" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Suunto%20Hard%20belt.jpg" alt="" /><img width="213" height="139" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Suunto%20comfort%20belt.jpg" alt="" />&nbsp; <br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Suunto T3&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;old&quot; hard plastic monitor&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;new&quot; comfort belt<br /> <br /> I was hooked on the T3 and hated doing a workout without it.&nbsp; I quickly became interested in my stats, watching my progress or how hard I&rsquo;d worked in a month motivated me to keep going and push harder. I could now review my workout in so many different ways, real-time calorie burn, instant and average heart rate, and a training effect (Suunto&rsquo;s way of measuring how hard you&rsquo;re working) just by taking a peek at my watch.&nbsp; The T3 also became my everyday watch.&nbsp; I wore it everywhere and would catch myself reviewing the logs when I was bored or had a few minutes to wait in a line.&nbsp; I used this watch to train for the <a target="_blank" href="">Avenue of the Giants Marathon</a> and the <a target="_blank" href="">SOB 50K</a>, along with numerous other shorter races. It never failed me (only the battery did, which is user replaceable).&nbsp; <br /> <br /> The only time I noticed the watch getting a bit old, was in 2010 when Suunto came out with the dual comfort belt &ndash; compatible with gym cardio equipment and still coded (the regular comfort belt was only ANT coded so you wouldn&rsquo;t pick up your neighbor&rsquo;s hear rate, a common problem in spin classes, but also wouldn&rsquo;t display on the cardio equipment).&nbsp; The issue I had, for whatever reason, my older T3 wouldn&rsquo;t pair with the new strap, so I was no longer able to read my heart rate.&nbsp; Suunto had just come out with the <a target="_blank" href="">M series</a>, and I was anxious to try something new.&nbsp; I did not call the help desk, I bought a new watch instead &ndash; the <a target="_blank" href="">M4</a> (late summer, 2010).<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img width="122" height="150" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Suunto%20M4.jpg" /> &nbsp; &nbsp;<img width="117" height="150" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Suunto%20M4%20hr.jpg" />&nbsp;&nbsp; <img width="116" height="150" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Suunto%20M4%20wo.jpg" /><br /> <br /> Suunto M4 (black/turquoise)</div> <br /> I loved my T3, so the M4 had a lot to live up to.&nbsp; I liked a few features right away &ndash; the percentage completed on a specific workout has really motivated me to keep going at times.&nbsp; Who wants to stop running when your watch says you are only 98% complete?&nbsp; Other times, I feel like a rock star when it says 120% complete, although the motivational message on the watch simply tells me &ldquo;good workout&rdquo;.&nbsp; I expected more along the lines of &ldquo;you rocked that one&rdquo;.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> One feature of this watch I completely missed when reviewing the specs &ndash; there is no lap timer.&nbsp; This has been a major bummer for me, as I never realized how much I used that function until I didn&rsquo;t have the option.&nbsp; Now, I only have the option of stopping it.&nbsp; Not a huge deal, but then the time starts all over again same goes for the heart rate stats.&nbsp; If I stop the time for breaks or during rest periods on intervals, I come up with multiple workouts on the same day and a log full of funky times and heart rates that I have to sort through.&nbsp;&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Overall, if you have no use for the lap function this watch is excellent.&nbsp; Very easy to use and learn to use (the learning process can sometimes be very tricky, especially when exhausted while working out and trying to remember which button to push).&nbsp; The display is large and easy to read.&nbsp; The optional movestick is essential.&nbsp; If you want to use this watch for anything besides just checking out your heart rate during the workout, you need the <a target="_blank" href="">movestick</a> to connect to <a target="_blank" href=""></a> with your computer. Once connected, you can alter your training plans, review all your workouts, add notes, and join in on the movescount community for tips and motivation. The one big bummer I&rsquo;ve found on is that they have a mapping feature for runs or rides, but even after the route is mapped, it does not calculate distance travelled &ndash; I highly recommend using <a target="_blank" href=""></a> for that feature (and they also have a training log that I used to enter my T3 data).<br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img width="111" height="150" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Suunto%20movestick.jpg" />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; <img width="198" height="80" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/movescount.jpg" /><br /> <em>Movestick&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</div> <br /> <em>Quick summary</em>: both watches are good.&nbsp; If you are more in to stats, hit up the T3 (or the T4 to have a coaching feature).&nbsp; If you want something that will get the job done with a few extra features, go for the M4, but be sure to add on the movestick so you can use those features.&nbsp; Of course Suunto has other options as well, but these seem to get the most bang for your buck.<br /> <br /> <u>Suunto M4</u> <a name="Click_here_to_go_to_the_review_summary."></a><br /> <strong>Pros:</strong><br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Looks good as every day casual watch<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Three buttons, easy to understand and use, no degree in crazy watch functions required<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Large display is easy to read, even during 5am run and eyes are going blurry<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Little arrows fill up along the side of the display so you instantly know how hard you need to work to finish your targeted workout<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Optional movestick to connect to is a great feature to keep an exercise log and edit training plans<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Preset plans in the watch &ndash; weight loss, improve fitness, and free<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; It is motivational to see exactly how hard I need to work for the day when I wake up and look at my watch<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Seeing I&rsquo;ve only completed &ldquo;95%&rdquo; of my workout for the day has made me keep going when I would have otherwise stopped<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Nice wrist band<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Great watch for heart rate first timers, or those just wanting to follow heart rate and needing a bit of guidance<br /> <br /> <strong>Cons:</strong><br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; No split timer<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Did I mention no split timer? A real bummer on longer runs or at the gym when I stop for a snack or take a potty break - I have no way of pausing the workout or checking how long my rest period has been without doing the math (not so easy on a 3 hour run), I have to start a new session, also, this makes it very difficult to use for interval training<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I was expecting a bit more than &ldquo;good workout&rdquo; for a motivational message<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Can only view previous workout on watch, doesn&rsquo;t separate by days of the week or trend views (to be fair, you can view this online using the movestick &ndash; but I don&rsquo;t always have time to log on after workouts or while I&rsquo;m on vacation)<br /> <br /> <u>Suunto T3</u><br /> <strong>Pros:</strong><br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; More techy, but not too techy to wear as an everyday watch<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Can view real-time training effect &ndash; has helped me to push harder to hit a desired mark for the session<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Can use optional foot, bike, and GPS pods to track distance, speed, etc<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Good memory &ndash; stores specifics from previous 15 workouts, can also view overall for week, month, and up to six months<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Option timers &ndash; can set for interval training (rest and work periods), warm up, etc<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Great watch for the beginner or advanced enthusiast<br /> <strong><br /> Cons:</strong><br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The functions and five buttons can be a bit confusing (but once you get it down, it&rsquo;s a piece of cake)<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Big watch face, small display<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Have had two watch bands break<br /> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Foot pod has been temperamental, I&rsquo;ve recalibrated it numerous times, and it never seems to be as accurate as I&rsquo;d like<br /> <br /> <u><strong>Overall</strong></u> &ndash; I like the ease of using my M4, but miss the specifics of the T3.&nbsp; I like the ability to program a training plan in to my watch, so it will tell me how hard to work for the day (in case I forget to check my paper copy before I head to the gym).&nbsp; I also like the percentage completed on my M4 for each work out session.&nbsp; However, I very much miss the split timer on the T3 and reviewing my log for the week of what I&rsquo;ve accomplished (without having to sit in front of the computer).&nbsp; I am currently torn in going back to my T3 and ditching my M4.&nbsp; Not that the M4 is a bad watch, I just want it to do more.&nbsp; I have a feeling I will soon be investing in the <a target="_blank" href="">T6</a> as my new training watch &ndash; it seems to combine a few of my favorite T3 and M4 features, although quite a bit more techy (and most likely will need much more time to learn to use), along with adding some features I&rsquo;ve always wanted &ndash; such as an altimeter which would be super sweet to have on the trails and prove&hellip; it really was a killer climb.&nbsp; I am excited to think this will finally be &ldquo;the watch&rdquo;.<br /> StoriesMon, 28 Mar 2011 23:58:00 GMTLaura LuksichSchedules<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:RelyOnVML /> <o:AllowPNG /> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves /> <w:TrackFormatting /> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF /> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:SnapToGridInCell /> <w:WrapTextWithPunct /> <w:UseAsianBreakRules /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark /> <w:DontVertAlignCellWithSp /> <w:DontBreakConstrainedForcedTables /> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx /> <w:Word11KerningPairs /> <w:CachedColBalance /> </w:Compatibility> <m:mathPr> <m:mathFont m:val="Cambria Math" /> <m:brkBin m:val="before" /> <m:brkBinSub m:val="&#45;-" /> <m:smallFrac m:val="off" /> <m:dispDef /> <m:lMargin m:val="0" /> <m:rMargin m:val="0" /> <m:defJc m:val="centerGroup" /> <m:wrapIndent m:val="1440" /> <m:intLim m:val="subSup" /> <m:naryLim m:val="undOvr" /> </m:mathPr></w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" DefUnhideWhenUsed="true" DefSemiHidden="true" DefQFormat="false" DefPriority="99" LatentStyleCount="267"> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="0" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Normal" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="heading 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 7" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 8" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 9" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 7" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 8" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 9" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="35" QFormat="true" Name="caption" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="10" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Title" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" Name="Default Paragraph Font" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="11" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtitle" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="22" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Strong" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="20" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Emphasis" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="59" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Table Grid" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Placeholder Text" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="No Spacing" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Revision" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="34" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="List Paragraph" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="29" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Quote" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="30" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Quote" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="19" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Emphasis" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="21" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Emphasis" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="31" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Reference" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="32" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Reference" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading" /> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <p class="MsoNormal">I&rsquo;ve found that I am a person that thrives on schedules when it comes to running.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I really don&rsquo;t consider myself over the top Type A or anything, but I am definitely one to let the motivation slip on my running if it&rsquo;s not written down.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Don&rsquo;t get me wrong, I have a great friends that keep my motivation high every Sunday morning when we head out for our run, but that&rsquo;s been about it for me and running since March.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>The weekly motivation has been lacking.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Yikes, has it been that long?</p> <p class="MsoNormal">My last race was the first weekend of May.<span style="">&nbsp; </span><a href="" target="_blank">Tough As Nails </a>&ndash; a 10 mile trail race up and down Roxy Ann peak in Medford.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I was not prepared at all for this race and decided to just take it as a casual weekend (and very hilly) long run with my good friend Brooke, who was in the same boat as I was.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>It felt great, we finished the race, her with a much stronger kick, but we did it.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I thought my motivation would stay high, but again, it lagged during the week.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Here I am, towards the end of June, the fire is starting to burn again.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I have pulled out my credit card and check book, and registered for three, hopefully amazing, runs in the fall.</p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">August 26-27</p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">Hood to Coast Relay &ndash; 197 miles, 12 Runners, 3 legs each</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Did you watch the movie?<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Everything you always wanted to know about Hood to Coast, for runners and non-runners alike, it was a great movie.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>We are running as The Village Idiots again, and agree to have better costumes and decoration this year, and hopefully, no broken down van. (Registration is closed)</p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">September 3</p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">Rogue Valley Relay &ndash; 100K, Five Runners, 4 legs each</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I&rsquo;m super pumped about this one.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>It&rsquo;s a relay tour of the Rogue Valley, on bike path and the foothills all right in our back yard.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I&rsquo;ll be in a van with two of my friends and all of our sig others!<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I love local races - the start and finish line is about ten minutes from our house.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>This relay has peaked my interest in the last few years (my hubby ran last year) but was never able to run &ndash; the date always used to be the same as Clear Water Outdoor&rsquo;s Turkey Trot, which meant I was back in Wisconsin.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>No complaints about that, but now I can do both this year! (Registration is open!)</p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">September 25</p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">1<sup>st</sup> Annual Rogue Run</p> <p class="MsoNormal">This one is a half marathon on the bike path between Talent and Central Point, OR.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I&rsquo;m excited for this one for lots of reasons.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>It is a brand new race in the valley, it will be one of my friend&rsquo;s first half marathons, and there is a &ldquo;Table of Temptation&rdquo; aide station.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Did I mention the Harvest Festival at the end &ndash; oh yes, the race ends with live music, pumpkin tossing, grape stomping, chili eating, and micro brew drinking in the beer garden. (Registration is open!)</p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">November 5</p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">Lithia Loop Marathon</p> <p class="MsoNormal">A great trail marathon, 9200 feet of elevation change, only two miles of asphalt, and it&rsquo;s a loop.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Sponsored by Rogue Valley Runners, who puts out the most awesome aide stations, complete with sandwiches, baked potatoes, chips, soda, if you&rsquo;re craving it in the middle of a run, they most likely have it.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>This marathon is also the USA Track &amp; Field&rsquo;s Trail-Marathon Championship.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Start line is about 15 minutes from our driveway.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Sweet! (Registration is open!)</p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">May 20,2012</p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">Portland Rock N Roll Half Marathon</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Yes, it&rsquo;s all the way in 2012, but registration was cheap for a limited time and I&rsquo;ve always wanted to run a Rock N Roll race.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>It&rsquo;s on the schedule. (Registration is open!)</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Let the training begin!</p> StoriesThu, 23 Jun 2011 00:23:00 GMTLaura LuksichIn The Beginning....<p>I&rsquo;m back!&nbsp;&nbsp;Yes, it&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href=" ">Laura Luksich</a>, otherwise known as the &ldquo;other&rdquo; Laura&nbsp;that packed up and moved the family (husband &ndash; Aaron, twin boys: Gabriel and Evan born May 5, 2007) out to&nbsp;Medford, Oregon - down in the southwest corner of Oregon, about 2 &frac12; hours to the Pacific Ocean, 30 miles to the California border, and surrounded by mountains.</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="" width="300" height="152" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /></p> <p>I most recently had a super adrenaline rush (or momentary lapse in judgment) and signed up for the <a target="_blank" href="">Siskiyou Out Back 50K </a>on July 10 &ndash; the SOB.&nbsp; I must not have learned my lesson from running my first marathon last May &ndash; the <a target="_blank" href="">Ave of the Giants Marathon</a> in <a target="_blank" href="">Humboldt Redwoods State Park</a>, California &ndash; I lost my two big toenails for the summer, formed huge bubbling blisters that covered my feet, and couldn&rsquo;t really walk for a day or two afterwards.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="" width="300" height="200" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /></p> <p><br /> Or maybe I did learn my lesson:&nbsp; train smarter, go bigger. <br /> <br /> I&rsquo;m by no means a fast or hardcore runner.&nbsp; I just love being outside, taking in all the scenery, and enjoy that feeling of accomplishment when I finish something really challenging.&nbsp; Thankfully, I have two friends that have signed up for this race with me, and two others that will be running the 15K.&nbsp; We meet every Sunday for a long run on the trails around and outside of <a target="_blank" href="">Ashland</a>.&nbsp; We are all moms of two kids ranging in ages from eight down to two years old, have full time jobs, and have caught the ultra bug that seems to be very contagious out here.</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="" width="300" height="225" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /></p> <p style="text-align: center">Left to Right: Me, Kouba, Sara, Courtney, Brooke on a Sunday run<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>I mentioned go bigger, here are my plans for this year:<br /> 1. March 13: Tar N Trail 6 mile around Ashland, OR<br /> 2. June 27: <a target="_blank" href="">Pacific Crest Triathlon</a> &ndash; Olympic distance (my first triathlon!)<br /> 3. July 10: <a target="_blank" href="">Siskiyou Out Back</a> 50K outside of Ashland, OR<br /> 4. October 16: <a target="_blank" href="">San Francisco Nike Women&rsquo;s marathon</a> (in it for the Tiffany&rsquo;s)</p> <p>The point of this blog:<br /> 1. Find out what works and what doesn&rsquo;t with training, trails, and gear<br /> 2. Help others with training tips and relief from general boredom throughout the day<br /> 3. Well, just for the heck of it.</p> <p>So off I go, and I hope you'll join me.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m pulling on my <a target="_blank" href="">Smartwool </a>socks, lacing up my <a target="_blank" href="">Brooks ASRs</a>, and I&rsquo;m ready to head out the door.&nbsp; In the words of Foofa, from <a target="_blank" href="">Yo Gabba Gabba</a> (all you parents out there, you know what I&rsquo;m talking about): &ldquo;Run, run, run&hellip;. It&rsquo;s fun, fun, fun.&rdquo;<br /> &nbsp;</p> StoriesWed, 10 Mar 2010 23:26:00 GMTLaura LuksichRace day<div style="text-align: left; margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><input src="" width="100" height="119" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /><br /> <a target="_blank" href="">TNT 6 mile race&nbsp; </a><input src="" width="35" height="33" type="image" />&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt">I have not had to run in snow or too cold of temperatures (I think I ran when it was 29 degrees once) all winter.&nbsp;Last night, I read the forecast for today&rsquo;s race &ndash; &ldquo;90% chance of snow an hour before start time and lower 30s&rdquo;.&nbsp;What??&nbsp;Do I need to raid my closet for my old WI winter running gear?&nbsp;How do I dress for snow again?&nbsp;Moving to Oregon has quickly spoiled me with warmer winter temps and not much snow in the valley where we live.&nbsp;Ashland, just 15 minutes away, is a touch higher in elevation and quite often gets snow when we get rain.&nbsp;Not this winter.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s been mostly rain everywhere, except for the mountain tops.&nbsp;So now, the beginning of March, I am dressing to run in snow for the first time all winter.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt">Or not.&nbsp;I snapped out of my panic and remembered the weather forecast seems to change every hour around here.&nbsp;Dress smart, for the lower 30s, but I&rsquo;m not going to be plodding through feet of snow&hellip;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt">This morning brought sunshine.&nbsp;I grabbed my capris (I&rsquo;m very anti-pant running lately), my Smartwool short-sleeve, layered over it with a <a target="_blank" href="">Patagonia Capilene 2 zip neck</a>, confident I would be dressed perfectly.&nbsp;Wool is my go-to in just such an &ldquo;emergency&rdquo; as possible snow or any precipitation: <b>wool = warm when wet</b>.&nbsp;I pulled on my wool socks, laced up my <a target="_blank" href="">Brooks ASRs</a> &ndash; which are perfect for a soggy trail run- and off we (my husband, Aaron was running too) went.</div> <div style="text-align: center; margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><input src="" width="400" height="300" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /></div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt">The race was tough but felt great.&nbsp;Four miles up, two down. &nbsp;Wonderful volunteers, good trails, gorgeous scenery, and only a few miles of pavement.&nbsp; Thank you <a target="_blank" href="">Rogue Valley Runners </a>for an excellent morning!<br /> <input src="" width="617" height="350" type="image" /></div> <div style="text-align: center; margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><input src="" width="500" height="370" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /><input src="" width="300" height="410" type="image" /></div> <div style="text-align: center; margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><br /> Now, here&rsquo;s a question about race etiquette:</div> <div style="text-align: center; margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><i>&nbsp;If you are not finishing for a placing in your age group, <br /> do you charge the people ahead of you a foot away from that finish line?<br /> <input src="" width="50" height="64" type="image" /><br /> </i></div> <div style="text-align: left; margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><i><br /> </i>I was playing leap frog with another woman for quite a bit of the race.&nbsp;She would pass me on the ups, I would pass her on the flats and downs.&nbsp;We caught up with each other at the finish, we sped up, and we were about to cross together.&nbsp;&nbsp;A foot away from the line, a girl comes busting between us, elbows out, and crosses the line in front of us.&nbsp;I know, a race is a race.&nbsp;I can&rsquo;t really decide how I feel about it though.&nbsp;I got beat.&nbsp;Less than a second away from the finish, and I didn&rsquo;t even see it coming.&nbsp;Would I have done the same thing?&nbsp;I&rsquo;m not sure.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt">When it was all said and done, Aaron finished 6<sup>th</sup> overall and beat his time from last year (and wore shorts today).&nbsp;I&rsquo;m not even sure what place I got.&nbsp;I don&rsquo;t really consider myself a racer, I just like to run.&nbsp;I didn&rsquo;t meet my goal. &nbsp;I wanted to finish in an hour or less.&nbsp;I finished in 1:01.&nbsp;Normally, I&rsquo;d be pretty upset running six miles in an hour.&nbsp;Not this course.</div> <div style="text-align: center; margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Finish.jpg" width="300" height="224" type="image" /></div> <div style="text-align: center; margin: 0in 0in 10pt">Now, it&rsquo;s on to the long run tomorrow with the ladies &ndash; 16 miles.&nbsp;<br /> Weather, highs in the 60s and sunny &ndash; perfect!</div> StoriesSun, 14 Mar 2010 00:39:00 GMTLaura LuksichMy Nightlife<span style="font-family: Times New Roman"><span style="font-size: small"> <div align="justify"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman"><span style="font-size: small">Most people think of a night life as getting out, listening to great music, and having fun with your friends.&nbsp; Mine takes place on the trails and the roads, most often with all the aforementioned included.<br /> <br /> When I think of nightlife, I think of </span></span><a href="" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman"><span style="font-size: small">Brooks Nightlife.</span></span></a><span style="font-family: Times New Roman"><span style="font-size: small"><br /> <br /> I love Brooks Nightlife.&nbsp; Nightlife anything, especially through those dark mornings and evenings,&nbsp; I truly feel more confident running in my ultra-bright nightlife gear:<br /> </span></span> <ul> <li><span style="font-family: Times New Roman"><span style="font-size: small">Nightlife Podium &frac12; Zip (it&rsquo;s old &ndash; you can still find it on clearance on some sites) </span></span></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman">Nightlife Hat</span></a><span style="font-family: Times New Roman"> &ndash; <span style="font-size: small">with the bonus flashing red LED light on the back </span></span></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman">Nightlife Vest </span></a><span style="font-family: Times New Roman">&ndash;<span style="font-size: small"> this one is actually Aaron&rsquo;s, but if I&rsquo;m desperate on a dark and rainy night, I&rsquo;ll grab it.&nbsp; They do make a</span> </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman">women's version</span></a><span style="font-family: Times New Roman">&nbsp;I just <span style="font-size: small">haven't bought it yet. </span></span> <ul> <div style="text-align: center"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman">&nbsp;</span></div> </ul> </li> </ul> <span style="font-family: Times New Roman"><span style="font-size: small">My favorite, by far, is my Podium &frac12; Zip, even though it is about five years old, it has stood up well.&nbsp; The fabric is 100% moisture transfer polyester with a wicking finish &ndash; the Podium Waffle Mesh.&nbsp; When I&rsquo;m running with this shirt on (and my headlamp) I know I&rsquo;m seen.<br /> &nbsp; </span></span> <div style="text-align: center"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="text-align: center"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman"><span style="font-size: small"><input src="" width="300" height="398" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /><br /> An evening run with the ladies.</span></span><span style="font-family: Times New Roman">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="text-align: center"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="text-align: left"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman">If I&rsquo;m on the road, I&rsquo;m on the left side facing traffic (as runners should for safety reasons).&nbsp; Many of the roads here are winding, hilly, and don&rsquo;t have much of a shoulder.&nbsp; I definitely notice a difference on low light days, or in the dark, when the cars veer a bit further away from me when I&rsquo;m wearing my Nightlife.&nbsp; This shirt does all the screaming and waving for me at those drivers who think no one else would ever be out at 5:30am.<br /> <br /> Brooks has only made their nightlife line better over the years.&nbsp; My advice - invest in it as a form of cheap life insurance.&nbsp; <u>Runner + car = bad</u>.&nbsp; Once you invest, you&rsquo;ll be hooked.&nbsp; The bonus &ndash; it lasts for years!</span><span id="1268976167283E" style="display: none">&nbsp;</span></div> </div> </span></span> StoriesFri, 19 Mar 2010 01:15:00 GMTLaura LuksichCheck it outI found a fellow blogger that ran the SOB 50K last year.<br /> <br /> &quot;Siskiyou Out and Back 50k, you were a monster. A wicked, beautiful monster. A hungry monster who ate ultra runners for breakfast and then spat them out all over the mountainside.&quot;<br /> <br /> I started off thinking, oh crap, what did we get ourselves in to, but reading her entire story makes helps me remember why I love to do things like this.<br /> <br /> <a target="_blank" href=""></a><br /> <br /> Thanks for the great read Heather! StoriesThu, 15 Apr 2010 00:58:00 GMTLaura LuksichFAQ<p>This post is about questions I&rsquo;ve heard recently:<br /> <br /> <strong><em>How do you make your training plan?<br /> </em></strong>Training is all about scheduling and staying motivated.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m creative in training plans, but I usually like to check out a few &ldquo;I know this works&rdquo; training plan websites to be sure I&rsquo;m on the right track.&nbsp;&nbsp; I do a little web surfing and mesh the plans into one big schedule.&nbsp;&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a pretty hectic schedule, with a full time 8-5 job, twin boys that have the energy levels of little <a onclick=",'Justkeepgoingandgoingandgoing','resizable=yes,location=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=no,status=no,toolbar=no,fullscreen=no,dependent=no,status'); return false" href="">Energizer Bunnies</a>, my husband&rsquo;s training plan (Aaron - a teacher and track coach with his schedule full of practices and meets), all while making sure to fit in family dinners and plenty of play time.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> <em><strong>What mileage are you at?</strong></em><br /> Brooke and Kouba came up with our long run schedule back in January.&nbsp; We were sure to hover around 18-20 miles for a while for all those &ldquo;just in case&rdquo; weekends when we have sick kids, vacations, or unwilling legs.</p> <p><u>Long Run Schedule:</u><br /> Jan &ndash; March: built up to 14 miles<br /> March 28: 16<br /> April 11: 18<br /> April 25: 20<br /> May 9: 20<br /> May 23: 22<br /> June 6: 24<br /> June 20: 26<br /> June 27: <a target="_blank" href="">Olympic distance triathlon </a>(Brooke and Kouba are running a half marathon)<br /> July 10: <a target="_blank" href="">50K</a></p> <p><em><strong>How do you fit it all in?</strong></em><br /> Weekly Schedule:<br /> Sunday: Long trail run - 8am<br /> Monday: Recovery spinning class - 5:30am<br /> Tuesday: 50-70 min run &ndash; 6pm<br /> Wednesday: <a target="_blank" href="">Group Power </a>class &ndash; 5:45 am + 20-30 minutes of cardio<br /> Thursday: Off &ndash;or- 30-50 min run &ndash; 6pm<br /> Friday: Off &ndash; or- swim &ndash; 8:30pm (yes, it makes for very exciting Friday nights)<br /> Saturday: <a target="_blank" href="">Group Power or Centergy </a>(Pilates + Yoga) class &ndash; 10:15am &ndash; or long bike ride &ndash; or evening swim at 7pm</p> <p>I&rsquo;m also a sub for spinning classes at <a target="_blank" href="">Superior Athletic Club</a>.&nbsp; This week &ndash; I teach twice, three times next week, and once on April 5.&nbsp; I try not to alter my schedule when I&rsquo;m subbing, I look at it as added cardio time.</p> <p><em><strong>Do you ever get burned out?</strong></em><br /> There are many times where I&rsquo;d rather put my feet up and take a nap.&nbsp; My workout time is me time.&nbsp; I remind myself of how I feel after the first five minutes of getting warmed up.&nbsp; How great it clear my mind of work, crying children, and open my eyes and look at the <a target="_blank" href="">beautiful valley </a>I live in.&nbsp; That usually is enough to get me out the door.</p> <p>I know it really helps me to see my plan in writing.&nbsp; Feel free to share any training plans you may have &ndash; for any race.&nbsp; I love seeing how other people train for things and any tips on how to fit things in!<br /> &nbsp;</p> StoriesWed, 24 Mar 2010 16:02:00 GMTLaura LuksichBrooks Adrenaline ASR 6 –a disappointmentBrooks, what have you done to the ASR&rsquo;s?&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Don&rsquo;t get me wrong, the actual shoe is wonderful.&nbsp; I haven&rsquo;t slipped on the dusty, rugged trails, and I don&rsquo;t feel too clunky when I have to run a bit of pavement.&nbsp; The <a onclick=",'','resizable=no,location=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=no,status=no,toolbar=no,fullscreen=no,dependent=no,status'); return false" href="">BioMoGo</a> midsole cushioning is fantastic and my conscience&nbsp;has a little less guilt feeling knowing my shoes will biodegrade in 20 years instead of 1000 (yes, 1000 years for EVA midsoles in a landfill!!!). <div style="text-align: center"><input src="" width="200" height="95" type="image" /><input src="" width="200" height="95" type="image" /></div> In years past, I was proud to show off and brag about my, dry, white socks after a wet and muddy run in my Brooks ASRs.&nbsp; This also happened to be when I was helping out with coaching a cross-country team.&nbsp; The moms and the athletes themselves couldn&rsquo;t believe how my socks stayed clean and dry after numerous rainy, muddy trail runs.&nbsp; Soon after, half the girl&rsquo;s team was running in ASR&rsquo;s.&nbsp; I had no worry of side-stepping a puddle, running in dewy grass, or cold snow.&nbsp; My ASR&rsquo;s always kept my feet cozy and dry. <div style="text-align: center"><input src="" width="250" height="128" type="image" /><br /> My &quot;old&quot; ASRs</div> <br /> The ASR 6 &ndash; not so much.&nbsp; One of my first runs out with my new pair of shoes was an early morning run.&nbsp; I purposely picked a route that includes about a mile of grass and dirt trail.&nbsp; The grass was dewy, and within a few steps on the trail, my toes were cold and wet.&nbsp; I didn&rsquo;t want to believe it.&nbsp; I started thinking, <em>my toes must be cold, they get so cold so easily, there isn&rsquo;t any way they could be wet with a little bit of dew&nbsp;on my ASRs</em>.&nbsp; After my run, I pulled off my socks, and sure enough, they were wet.&nbsp; <em>Hmmm, maybe a fluke?</em>&nbsp; It just couldn&rsquo;t be true.&nbsp; I did not want to believe my new ASRs let any water in.&nbsp; I was so desperate to believe this wasn't happening,&nbsp; I actually convinced myself that maybe&hellip;<em>just maybe&hellip; they needed a &ldquo;test run&rdquo; and after getting wet once, they wouldn&rsquo;t let any more water come in.<br /> </em><br /> Yes, that is as silly as it sounds and, of course, didn&rsquo;t prove true.&nbsp; Brooke, Kouba, and I went running in the rain last night.&nbsp; We ran about five miles on pavement, trails, fields, and sidewalks.&nbsp; We started off with a mile or so of pavement and I was pleasantly surprised with my warm and dry toes in the rain.&nbsp; Then, we hit the trail.&nbsp; The trail was muddy, had puddles, and was lined with wet grass.&nbsp; <u>My socks were instantly soaked</u>.&nbsp; I even purposely stepped in a puddle to see how bad it could get with my supposed &ldquo;weather resistant&rdquo; shoes.&nbsp;&nbsp;After that,&nbsp;I really had wet socks for the rest of the run. <div style="text-align: center"><input src="" width="250" height="330" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /></div> So again, Brooks, <em>what have you done to your ASRs</em>?&nbsp; Why are my weather resistant shoes letting the weather come in?&nbsp; Please change them back to years past, when they truly were weather resistant.&nbsp; Unfortunately, unless a change is made, I will not be buying another pair of Brooks ASRs.&nbsp; I will miss the comfort, but I am looking for a weather resistant shoe for my rainy, full of puddles, possible snow, dewy morning runs &ndash; and this is not it.<br />–a_disappointment-20-64.htmlTrue StoriesTue, 11 May 2010 15:55:00 GMTLaura LuksichA Sneak Preview<p>Here it is - the possible running gear for the ladies for the <a target="_blank" href="">SOB 50K</a>.&nbsp; <a target="_blank" href="">Brooks Girl Power T</a> (sky), use your imagination a bit for the <a target="_blank" href="">Brooks Epiphany Skort </a>(Mediterranean), and the CWO HeadSweats Visor.</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input type="image" height="533" width="400" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Brooke%20and%20Laura%5B1%5DSKIRT.JPG" /><br /> Brooke and Laura</p> <p>Love the shirt.&nbsp; The sleeves are short, but they are a bit longer than the average short-sleeve women&rsquo;s running shirt.&nbsp; For me - a good thing.&nbsp; On long distance runs, I tend to get hot spots on my underarm&nbsp; where the seam hits my armpit/triceps, but with this shirt &ndash; no burn and it means a little more sun protection too.<br /> <br /> From<em><br /> <strong>Function:</strong> Run like a girl! Sleek new neckline adds feminine style, plus added comfort to our popular heathered T with fun &quot;girl power&quot; graphic. <br /> <strong>Fabric:</strong> EZ (100% stretch moisture-transfer polyester)<br /> <strong>Fit:</strong> Semi-fitted</em></p> <p><strong><em>Features &amp; Benefits: <br /> </em></strong><em>&bull;&nbsp; Moisture-moving EZ T fabric <br /> &bull;&nbsp; Super soft with just enough stretch <br /> &bull;&nbsp; Flat-lock seams prevent chafing <br /> &bull;&nbsp; Curved side seams create more feminine shape <br /> &bull;&nbsp; New minimal neck line increases style and comfort</em></p> <p>The skirt, I&rsquo;m excited and nervous about.&nbsp; I have to admit, I haven&rsquo;t actually run in a skirt yet.&nbsp; I have a biking skirt that I love &ndash; the <a target="_blank" href="">Cruiser Bike Girl from Skirt Sports</a>.&nbsp; I do have a running skirt, but it is short and it just hasn&rsquo;t been quite warm enough to test it out yet.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> From<br /> <strong><em>Function:</em></strong><em> Updated with a contrast rollover waistband and fresh, flattering design lines, this run skort combines style and substance. Internal short stays put, and outer stretch fabric moves with you.<br /> <strong>Fabric:</strong> Main Body: 86% polyester/14% spandex; Contrast Leg Panel: 100% polyester; Short Liner: 88% nylon/12% LYCRA&reg; spandex<br /> <strong>Fit: </strong>Relaxed</em></p> <p><strong><em>Features &amp; Benefits: </em></strong><em><br /> &bull;&nbsp; Contrast rollover waistband with drawstring <br /> &bull;&nbsp; Rear zip pocket for secure storage <br /> &bull;&nbsp; Mesh panel at front <br /> &bull;&nbsp; Interior short for modesty and comfort <br /> &bull;&nbsp; 14&quot; outseam: 4&quot; inner short inseam<br /> <br /> </em>The HeadSweats Visor rocks.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve been wearing it for almost every run I&rsquo;ve done the past few months.&nbsp; I got annoyed with my sweat collecting, always steaming up sunglasses a while back.&nbsp; This visor wicks the sweat away preventing it from dripping in my eyes, and is so comfortable with the soft elastic headband, I forget I have it on while I&rsquo;m running.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve also washed it about once a week &ndash; so maybe 10 washes now &ndash; and it still looks brand new (and smells like flowers).</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input type="image" height="267" width="200" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Visor%5B1%5D.JPG" /></p> <p><br /> Comfortable, stylish, and it all performs.&nbsp; <a target="_blank" href="">SOB 50K</a>, here come the ladies of CWO!!<br /> &nbsp;</p> StoriesFri, 07 May 2010 15:36:00 GMTLaura LuksichMore Water - Deuter review<p>The <a target="_blank" href="">Deuter </a>Hydro M3.&nbsp; I bought this pack back in &rsquo;06 for a mountain biking adventure with my husband in CO, UT, and AZ.&nbsp; I loved it then and love it now.&nbsp; Four years, and many adventures later, the pack and reservoir still work like new.&nbsp; I think this version has been discontinued, but it you&rsquo;re interested it looks like it has morphed into the <a target="_blank" href=";sub=hydration&amp;tert=compactEXP">Compact EXP 8</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Biking.jpg" width="350" height="263" type="image" /><br /> <span style="font-size: smaller"><em>Biking in <a target="_blank" href="">Fruita, CO</a>.&nbsp; Yeah, it's the best picture I have of the pack -&nbsp;red arrow.<br /> <br /> <img alt="" width="150" height="206" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Deuter%20Compact%20EXP8.jpg" />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <input src="" width="150" height="184" type="image" />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; <input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Deuter%20Streamer.jpg" width="150" height="211" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /><br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href=";sub=hydration&amp;tert=compactEXP">Deuter Compact EXP 8&nbsp;</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Deuter Hydro M3&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href=";sub=hydration&amp;tert=accessories">Deuter Streamer 3.0L Reservoir</a></em></span></p> <p>In over 100 years of experience, it&rsquo;s the features that make Deuter&rsquo;s packs top-notch.&nbsp; These are a few that carry over in to their current packs:</p> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="">Airstripes Back System</a>: 80% of my back gets free air flow when I wear this pack.&nbsp; Yes, an unbelievable 80%.&nbsp; This reduces heat build-up and perspiration, and also helps to keep the pack smelling a bit more fresh at the end of the day.&nbsp; There are mesh straps throughout (they may look uncomfortable, but they have a great feeling when it&rsquo;s on) that also help with air flow.&nbsp; Overall, this makes the pack much more comfortable to wear.</li> <li><a target="_blank" href=";sub=hydration&amp;tert=accessories">Streamer 3.0</a>: Deuter uses Source reservoir systems (yes, they are BPA free).&nbsp; This was actually the first FDA approved antimicrobial reservoir!&nbsp; They use a coating that is as smooth as glass to prevent bacteria build-up and is lined with a high-tech film that keeps your water tasting like water instead of a rubber tire.&nbsp; They also have a leak proof Helix Bite Valve (and still doesn&rsquo;t leak four years later) with a twist-on/twist off cap to prevent drainage (even if you happen to toss your pack down right on your bite valve).&nbsp; The cap also helps in keeping your mouthpiece clean &ndash; no more caked on dirt or grime when going for a drink of water.&nbsp; The reservoir has a channeled top seal with quick open/close = easy filling.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve used my reservoir in many packs hiking, backpacking, and biking &ndash; it is definitely my favorite.</li> <li>The pack has a helmet/jacket stuff pocket, compression straps, hip and sternum straps, and a nice sized main compartment.</li> </ol> <p>I highly recommend Deuter packs for biking.&nbsp; I love this one and we also have a Deuter Super Bike (new version is <a target="_blank" href=";sub=hydration&amp;tert=commuter">Cross Air EXP</a>) that my husband uses EVERY DAY for bike commuting.</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Deuter%20Cross%20Air%20EXP.jpg" width="150" height="170" type="image" /><br /> <em><a target="_blank" href=";sub=hydration&amp;tert=commuter">Deuter Cross Air EXP</a></em></p> <p>I don&rsquo;t recommend the Hydro M3 for running, especially if you are female.&nbsp; My husband uses it for running and does ok with it.&nbsp; He doesn&rsquo;t mind the size and is happy he can fill up the reservoir with water <em>and</em> have room for a water bottle filled with a replacement drink.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve only used the pack a few times running and my experiences have stayed the same.&nbsp; I can&rsquo;t quite get the adjustment right.&nbsp; In order to have the pack not bouncing side to side on my back, I have to have the sternum strap, um, well, in a very uncomfortable spot.&nbsp; So uncomfortable, after about 20 minutes of running, I decide to deal with the bouncing of the pack.&nbsp; I also think the pack itself is a little overkill for my size.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m not a tiny person, but I feel like it is too big and bulky to go running with.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> <strong>Bottom Line:<br /> </strong>To be fair, Deuter&rsquo;s intended purpose for this pack is biking.&nbsp; I have no complaints when I wear it on the trails with my mountain bike.&nbsp; My husband has few complaints when running with this pack &ndash; he even ran the <a target="_blank" href="">Grand Island Trail Marathon </a>with it on (you are required to carry your own water).&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve used it in a jam in searching for running hydration packs.&nbsp; If you&rsquo;re looking for a hydration pack for biking, definitely look in to <a target="_blank" href="">Deuter&rsquo;s</a> packs.<br /> &nbsp;</p> StoriesFri, 04 Jun 2010 01:17:00 GMTLaura LuksichGroup Ride Training<p>I&rsquo;ve had some pretty intense weekends.&nbsp; Anything from triple header soccer tourneys in years past to taking care of my newborn twins for the first time&hellip; by myself.&nbsp; This past weekend, I had <a target="_blank" href="">Group Ride</a> training.&nbsp; I really think it was one of the most intense weekends, physically and mentally, I&rsquo;ve had for a long time.&nbsp; I finished Sunday evening with a huge sense of accomplishment and feeling much more confident about being an indoor cycling (and future) Group Ride instructor.&nbsp; I have 90 days to <a target="_blank" href="">complete my training </a>which involves recording myself teaching the April &rsquo;10 release in front of, at least, five people &ndash; and doing everything perfectly.&nbsp; Piece of cake, right?&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Group%20Ride.jpg" width="200" height="70" type="image" /><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Body%20Training%20Systems%20logo.bmp" width="200" height="77" type="image" /></p> <p>Group Ride is a part of <a target="_blank" href="">Body&nbsp;Training Systems&nbsp;</a>which also has classes with <a target="_blank" href="">Group Groove</a>, <a target="_blank" href="">Group Power</a>, etc, etc.&nbsp; The Ride class is nine tracks - each song with a different set of movements and cardio goals.&nbsp; Everything is scripted and choreographed &ndash; every last beat of each song.&nbsp; I have to memorize, execute and entertain while on the bike coaching, trying not to run out of breath, and with that video camera staring at me!&nbsp;&nbsp; It really is pretty awesome once you get it all down and we all have a blast doing the Ride.&nbsp; If you happen to be in Medford, OR &ndash; join us at <a target="_blank" href="">Superior Athletic Club</a>&nbsp;for our <a target="_blank" href="">Group classes</a>.<br /> <br /> So what does this have to do with the <a target="_blank" href="">SOB 50K</a>?&nbsp; I really think it was the perfect cross-training weekend thrown in at a really crucial time in our training plan.&nbsp; We are in between long runs &ndash; next weekend we have 22-24 miles to run.&nbsp; Our bodies are starting to feel the extra mileage.&nbsp; When we are running together, we have started to talk about our shins, our feet, and our hips aching.&nbsp; For the Group Ride training, I was on and off the bikes for nine hours on Saturday and eight hours on Sunday.&nbsp; The training involved three full Ride classes each day plus the training exercises on the bikes.&nbsp; For an &ldquo;off&rdquo; weekend, it was super intense &ndash; but it was super intense on the bike, not on the pavement running.&nbsp; No aching shins or sprained ankles.&nbsp; I definitely feel like I did a &ldquo;body-shocking&rdquo; weekend to keep building my heart and lungs.&nbsp; If I was hitting a plateau at all &ndash; this definitely took things to a different level.&nbsp;</p> <p>The burning question in your mind&hellip;. How does your butt feel after sitting on that horrible indoor cycling bike seat for two days straight?&nbsp; I&rsquo;ll be honest, it hurts.&nbsp; Nothing like what I assume the other people were feeling Sunday morning when we hopped on those bikes.&nbsp; The moans, groans, and unhappy faces were plentiful on the first ride of the morning.&nbsp; I was sore, but not moaning and groaning sore.&nbsp; I owe it all to the <a target="_blank" href="">Skirt Sports Cruiser Bike Girl</a>.&nbsp; I love this skirt.&nbsp; I feel comfortable walking around even though it has a full women's specific chamois built in to the shorties underneath.&nbsp; I can head out for lunch, hit the store, or just walk around the gym without feeling self conscious or needing to change after getting off my bike, no one knows I have bike shorts on.&nbsp; The skirt definitely held up all day on Saturday.&nbsp; Of course places are going to start aching after sitting on a bike seat all day, but I really feel this skirt and its chamois underneath really saved me for the next day.&nbsp; Thank you Skirt Sports!</p> <p style="text-align: left"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Skirt%20Sports%20Cruiser%20Bike%20Girl.jpg" width="200" height="221" type="image" /><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Skirt%20Sports%20under%20the%20skirt.jpg" width="200" height="221" type="image" /><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Skirt%20Sports%20Chamois.jpg" width="100" height="111" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /><br /> Skirt Sports Cruiser Bike Girl&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Under the Skirt&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Women's Specific Chamois</p> <p>Between my goals for running and riding this week, I feel ready for our 22-24 miles we&rsquo;re headed into this weekend&nbsp; &hellip;and I&rsquo;m pretty pumped to hit the trails again after spending a full weekend inside, on a bike, in a small room, with a bunch of sweaty people.<br /> <input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Leah%20class.jpg" width="250" height="167" type="image" longdesc="undefined" />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;or.......&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;<input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/trails.jpg" width="225" height="169" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /><br /> &nbsp;<br /> Both good, but I'm looking forward to my run.</p> StoriesTue, 18 May 2010 00:00:00 GMTLaura LuksichDolly Parton, Body Glide, and Snow<div>Brooke, Kouba, and I did the &ldquo;Dolly Parton&rdquo; run today:&nbsp; 24 miles, five and a half hours, two monster climbs (one in to a snow storm at elevation), some moderate climbs, and a lot of fun running down.&nbsp;&nbsp; No, I did not come up with the name, but it does make me smile when I&rsquo;m running it.&nbsp; We started at <a target="_blank" href="">Lithia Park</a> in Ashland, ran 5 &frac12; miles up the Hit Trail &ndash; where we ran into a snow storm on May 23! &ndash; then back down Fire Road 2060 and into Lithia Park (sunny and in the 50s).&nbsp; There, we stopped for a potty break, refueled with bananas, goldfish crackers, and granola bars, and met Sara and Courtney (thank goodness for good friends, new conversation, and fresh legs to help motivate us to keep going strong for the second half).&nbsp; We then headed back up 5 &frac12; or so miles to the <a target="_blank" href="">Toothpick trailhead</a> &ndash; also a little higher in elevation, but thankfully not snowing, and back down again to Lithia Park.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m sure you can use your imagination for the namesake of this run.&nbsp; The absolute best part &ndash; 100% of it was on trails and fire roads.&nbsp; Our bodies were grateful and all of us walked away smiling, with only small limps and one very tiny blister on my big toe.<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: center">&nbsp;<input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Brooke%20and%20Laura%20in%20snow%20on%20Hit.JPG" width="275" height="367" type="image" />&nbsp;<input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Laura%20in%20snow%20up%20Hit%20Trail.JPG" width="300" height="400" type="image" /></div> <div style="text-align: center">Running in the snow at the top of Hit Trail on May 23!<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div><a target="_blank" href="">Bodyglide</a>: &ldquo;Prevention is better than a cure&rdquo;.&nbsp; If you&rsquo;ve never used it, and do any kind of athletic activity, go buy some.&nbsp; You&rsquo;ll become a quick fan.&nbsp; It seems to quite often be a &ldquo;hush, hush&rdquo; thing to talk about, but everyone has hot spot issues at one time or another no matter what your size.&nbsp; Last year, I was na&iuml;ve and used Vaseline during my long runs in training for my marathon.&nbsp; My clothes got stained, I felt all goopy, and it really didn&rsquo;t work that well.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m not really talking about crazy places to lube up either &ndash; for women, it&rsquo;s quite often around the jog bra.&nbsp; I get seam rub under my arms and in the back where my jog bras clasp.&nbsp; I used Bodyglide for the first time last summer and couldn&rsquo;t believe the difference - no stains, no goop.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m hooked.&nbsp; I use it all over &ndash; on my feet to prevent blisters all the way up to my neck if I start to get a weird seam rub while wearing a hydration pack.&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/BodyGlide%20reg.jpg" width="200" height="200" type="image" /></div> <div>It comes in a little deodorant style stick &ndash; I buy travel size and regular size &ndash; and just rubs right on.&nbsp; No getting your fingers all goopy in the process.&nbsp; It doesn&rsquo;t stain and just kind of absorbs in to my skin and has been wonderful in preventing hot spots.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; On our long runs, I carry the travel size in my pack.&nbsp; When I mention I have it, I quite often get the &ldquo;I&rsquo;m so happy you have some, I completely forgot about that&rdquo;.</div> <div><br /> Today, I pulled out a For Her Bodyglide travel size on our run.&nbsp; It looks the same, but comes with a pink cap and the lube is actually a light pink color (goes on clear).&nbsp; This morning, I decided to compare the regular Bodyglide and the For Her.&nbsp; On one side of my body, I used regular, the other For Her.&nbsp; Both felt smooth and protective, the For Her felt a little thicker, but not in a bad way.&nbsp; More of <em>this feels even better than the regular stuff </em>kind of feeling.<br /> <br /> From <a target="_blank" href=""></a>:</div> <div style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Body%20Glide.jpg" width="625" height="239" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /></div> <div><br /> After our run, I inspected my body.&nbsp; No difference on either side.&nbsp; They both worked and felt the same while I was running = no chafing or hot spot issues.&nbsp; I liked the For Her Glide.&nbsp; Even if it works the same, for me it&rsquo;s worth buying to have the comfort knowing when my husband and I are headed out the door for our long runs, he&rsquo;ll reach for his regular Bodyglide and my pink capped For Her will only be used by me.<br /> &nbsp;</div>,_body_glide,_and_snow-20-66.htmlTrue StoriesSun, 23 May 2010 23:58:00 GMTLaura LuksichWater, please.<p style="text-align: left">Hydrate - one of the most important things to do while exercising.&nbsp; One of my biggest challenges has been finding a comfortable hydration system.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve tried four, very different, options recently: Nathan Trail Mix (belt), Nathan Thermal Quickdraw (handheld), Deuter M3 (3L pack), and the Camelbak Annadel (1.5L pack).&nbsp; I&rsquo;ll post about them all in the next week or two.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="" width="150" height="132" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /><input src="" width="150" height="132" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /><a target="_blank" href=""><input src="" width="100" height="126" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /></a><a target="_blank" href=""><input src="" width="100" height="126" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center"><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Nathan Trail Mix&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Nathan Quickdraw&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Deuter M3&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Camelbak Annadel</em><br /> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left">Last year, I had a dehydration episode after a long run.&nbsp; I didn&rsquo;t carry water while I was running and ended up in the ER at 2am to get rehydrated by IV with anti-nausea meds mixed in.&nbsp; Overall, it took about 12 hours to stop vomiting after the dehydration set in, and another 12 to recover after the ER visit.&nbsp; Now, I will always carry water for any exercise that I plan to do for an extended period of time.</p> <p>The trick is finding the way to carry it that is functional and comfortable.&nbsp; Anything that is uncomfortable to start a run with just becomes torturous after hours of running.&nbsp; Comfort is key.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ll start with the <a target="_blank" href="">Nathan Trail Mix</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Nathan%20Trail%20Mix%20i(1).jpg" width="200" height="124" type="image" />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Nathan%20Speed%202%20(1).jpg" width="200" height="117" type="image" /></p> <p style="text-align: center">Nathan Trail Mix&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; Nathan Speed 2</p> <p>We are the Nathan Clan.&nbsp; We should be an advertisement for this company.&nbsp; Everyone has one &ndash; all five of us, and if you glance back at the pictures I've posted, you can spot them in almost every one.&nbsp; Somehow, I missed the part of buying one with a Velcro strap that goes around your waist &ndash; the <a target="_blank" href="">Speed 2</a>.&nbsp; Mine has a clasp &ndash; the Trail Mix (the others all have the Speed 2).&nbsp; It&rsquo;s not uncomfortable, but the Velcro looks like much more fun.&nbsp; The belt works great:</p> <ul> <li>Molds right into my lower back</li> <li>I can run with one or both of the 10oz water bottles &ndash; which I can pull out, take a swig, and put back with one hand while I&rsquo;m running</li> <li>The little zipper pouch fits a cell phone and energy bloks perfectly</li> </ul> <div style="text-align: center"><input src="" width="400" height="299" type="image" /><br /> <em>Courtney and Brooke with their Speed 2 belts on.</em></div> <p>I have three issues with the Trail Mix&nbsp;belt:</p> <ol> <li>When it&rsquo;s empty.&nbsp; No matter how much I tighten or loosen my belt, when all the water and bloks have been used, the belt rides up over my hips and bounces all around, especially when I&rsquo;m headed downhill.&nbsp; I love the downhill, but with my belt bouncing all around, well it just takes away from the loving.</li> <li>My guts.&nbsp; For me, there&rsquo;s just something uncomfortable about wearing a belt cinched around&nbsp;my belly and running for hours.&nbsp; My stomach starts to cramp and feel nasty.&nbsp; On shorter runs, I didn't notice it, but when I started upping the time to 2-3 hour runs, I really noticed my stomach was unhappy.</li> <li>I need more water.&nbsp; 20oz doesn&rsquo;t cut it on a longer run, especially if it&rsquo;s hot.&nbsp; Not for me.&nbsp; I need an option that will hold more if I don&rsquo;t have a place to fill up during my run.</li> </ol> <p><strong>Bottom Line:<br /> </strong>The Nathan Trail Mix is a great option for shorter runs.&nbsp; It holds a fair amount of water and it really is surprising how much I can stuff into the little pocket between the bottles.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve found I&rsquo;m not a fan of belt hydration systems, but the other women I run with don&rsquo;t seem to have many complaints.<br /> &nbsp;</p>,_please-20-67.htmlTrue StoriesTue, 01 Jun 2010 15:24:00 GMTLaura LuksichAnd So It Begins.... Again.After a much needed rest from planning daily schedules around workouts, running, and cross-training between my husband and myself around our twin 3 year old boys, I&rsquo;m back at it again.&nbsp; This time, quite a bit more relaxed.&nbsp; The phrase, <em>only a marathon</em>, is something I would have uttered sarcastically amongst friends discussing races.&nbsp; Now, <em>only a marathon</em> is actually popping up in my thoughts with a little more sincerity.<br /> <br /> October 17.&nbsp; The <a target="_blank" href="">San Francisco Nike Women&rsquo;s Marathon</a> - the one where you get the <a href="" target="_blank">Tiffany&rsquo;s</a> necklace handed to you by firemen dressed in tuxedos as you cross the finish line.&nbsp; That is our next goal (Brooke, Kouba, and Courtney are all signed up too).&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a marathon - a road marathon.&nbsp; There are no trails, no rocky and uneven surfaces, no snow banks to hop over and slide down, no mountains to climb, no gasping thin air at elevation, no herding cattle, no wandering bear cubs, no mountain lion trails, and the best part, it is 4.87 fewer miles than a 50K.&nbsp; So, it&rsquo;s <em>only a marathon</em>.&nbsp; I can do that.&nbsp; Did I mention the Tiffany&rsquo;s?<br /> <br /> Since July 10th, the day of the <a href="" target="_blank">SOB 50K</a> race, I have taught two spin classes, ran 3 miles on vacation in Wisconsin, and then ran a 5K in Utah at the <a href="" target="_blank">Outdoor Retailer</a> show.&nbsp; Four work outs in the course of four weeks.&nbsp; Not very impressive, but I justify it as a much needed recovery time.&nbsp; Last week, I started running again.&nbsp; Brooke called, the girls were meeting up, and headed out to the trails.&nbsp; Perfect.&nbsp; I was surprised of how good I still felt.&nbsp; I have &ldquo;lost&rdquo; some endurance and strength of course, but not as much as I thought.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m back up to two hour runs again and have another one scheduled for this weekend.&nbsp; Time to dive into training again - if for <em>only a marathon</em>.<br /> <br /> Oh, and things to look forward to on this blog!&nbsp; I&rsquo;ll be reviewing everything from socks, trail shoes, road shoes, skirts, jog bras, the list goes on!&nbsp; I&rsquo;m trying it all, and already have a few blisters to talk about.&nbsp; If there is anything you&rsquo;ve been dying to try out, but a little nervous to try something new &ndash; let me know, and I can be your guinea pig.<br /> <br /> <strong>Coming Next:</strong> Food Review (finally, I know, I&rsquo;ve been talking about this for over a month)!&nbsp; What worked and tasted good and what didn&rsquo;t in training and on race day.<br /> <br /> StoriesSat, 21 Aug 2010 00:16:00 GMTLaura Luksich1000 Teams. 197 Miles. 36 Legs. 12 Runners. 2 Vans.1000 Teams. 197 Miles.&nbsp; 36 Legs.&nbsp; 12 Runners.&nbsp; 2 Vans.<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="429" width="539" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Hood%20to%20Coast%20-%20Race%20map.jpg" /></div> <br /> The 29th Annual Hood to Coast Relay.<br /> <br /> The Mother of All Relays.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Check out the preview to <a target="_blank" href="">Hood to Coast - the Movie.</a><br /> <br /> The <a href="" target="_blank">Hood to Coast Relay</a> is one of the oldest and longest point-to-point running relays in North America and one of the largest in terms of total participation out there.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve heard of it &ndash; <a href="" target="_blank">Sarah</a>, our mighty Clear Water Outdoor CEO has run it &ndash; and I have always wanted to see what this &ldquo;running Woodstock&rdquo; hype is all about.<br /> <br /> Kouba, Brooke, and I were out for our regular Sunday run two weeks ago.&nbsp; Kouba mentioned they were short two runners on her Hood to Coast Relay team (she&rsquo;s run it 9 times).&nbsp; It didn&rsquo;t sink in right away, but later that morning, Brooke and I were anxiously waiting to hear if the spots were still empty.<br /> <br /> Friday &ndash; August 27<br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="333" width="250" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Hood%20to%20Coast%20-%20Laura%20start.JPG" longdesc="undefined" /><br /> <em>Laura at the Start</em><br /> &nbsp;</div> The Start Line - I drew the number for <a href="" target="_blank">Leg 1</a>.&nbsp; I get to start the Hood to Coast Relay for our team &ndash; the Village Idiots.&nbsp; Start time &ndash; 3pm.&nbsp; Leg 1 &ndash; a killer quad buster straight downhill, 5.64 miles and 2000 feet of elevation drop on asphalt.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve heard mostly horror stories of runners going all out and blowing out their legs for the remainder of the race, so I go slow and steady.&nbsp; The vans were in non-stop motion going up and down the mountain (the first teams started at 6:30am and start every 15 minutes until 6:30pm), brakes and engines were stinking, but the views down Mt. Hood were amazing, and almost every van going by had me smiling.&nbsp; Soon enough, the exchange point was right ahead of me and Brooke was waiting to grab my bracelet to start her leg.&nbsp;&nbsp; Leg 1 &ndash; done.&nbsp; Hop in the VW van and on to the next exchange.<br /> <br /> Each van has six runners.&nbsp; Each runner runs <a href="" target="_blank">one leg</a> (average about 5 miles), hands off the bracelet, and hops in the van and off to the next exchange.&nbsp; After all six runners have completed their legs, we meet the second van at a major exchange point, hand off to them, and we have about four or five hours to eat, sleep, and drive to the next major exchange point.&nbsp; We do this three times and it goes on for the next 27 hours - leapfrogging runners and leapfrogging vans until all <a href="" target="_blank">36 legs</a> of the relay have been completed. <br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="387" width="290" type="image" longdesc="undefined" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Hood%20to%20Coast%20-%20van%20line.JPG" />&nbsp;&nbsp; <input height="387" width="290" type="image" longdesc="undefined" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Hood%20to%20Coast%20-%20sleeping.JPG" /></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><em>The line up of vans at an exchange point.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Trying to get some sleep in the van.<br /> <br /> <input height="324" width="432" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Hood%20to%20Coast%20-%20night%20run.jpg" /><br /> A middle-of-the-night exchange - volunteers yell out team numbers as <br /> runners are finishing so you can find your team mate.<br /> </em></div> <br /> The three legs I ran:<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="337" width="450" type="image" longdesc="undefined" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Hood%20to%20Coast%20-%20Leg%201(1).jpg" />&nbsp; <br /> <em>Leg 1</em><br /> <input height="69" width="450" type="image" longdesc="undefined" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Hood%20to%20Coast%20-%20Leg%2012.jpg" /><br /> <em>Leg 13</em><em> (1am in downtown Portland)</em></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="132" width="450" type="image" longdesc="undefined" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Hood%20to%20Coast%20-%20leg%2027.jpg" /><br /> <em>Leg 27 (out of order because of the broken down van)</em></div> <br /> The Village Idoits made it to Seaside 27 hours later, around 6:30pm on Saturday.&nbsp; The twelve of us finished <a href="" target="_blank">302nd overall</a>, even with a broken down van that had to be ditched on the side of the road (yes, the trusty VW broke down).<br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img height="180" width="320" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Hood%20to%20Coast%20-%20Finish%20banner.jpg" /><input height="333" width="250" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Hood%20to%20Coast%20-%20klb.JPG" longdesc="undefined" /></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><em>The Finish Line at Seaside &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Kouba, Laura, Brooke</em></div> <br /> Overall &ndash; Hood to Coast rocked.&nbsp; Of course, there are those dark moments when you think, why the heck am I doing this?&nbsp; (when your van breaks down, and you&rsquo;re stuck for four hours in the middle of nowhere = no bathroom, or when you realize you&rsquo;ve maybe had 45 minutes of sleep in 24 hours, or when the stomach and leg cramps hit, or dreading that 7 hour drive back to Southern Oregon with stiff and sore legs).&nbsp; But then the bright and shiny moments outweigh any thoughts of doubt.&nbsp; The goofy conversations people have on no sleep, the crazy vans and costumes (Go-Nads, Red Dress Express, Buns of Glory, just to name a few), the feeling of accomplishing something crazy, and of course, that glorious pint of ale waiting at the finish line on the beach.&nbsp; And super bonus &ndash; this year, Hood to Coast raised $500,000 for the American Cancer Society.<br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="366" width="550" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/The%20Village%20Idiots.jpg" longdesc="undefined" /></div> <br /> Now, back to those long runs gearing up for the San Francisco Marathon.<br /> <br /> StoriesThu, 02 Sep 2010 15:03:00 GMTLaura LuksichThe almost perfect hydration pack - The Camelbak Annadel.<p>Brooke, Kouba, and I went for a 28 mile trail run on Sunday.&nbsp;&nbsp; Slow and steady, we finished in about six hours with some aches and pains, but all of us feeling we&rsquo;ll be able to finish the <a target="_blank" href="">SOB 50K </a>(31.07 miles) with smiles on our faces next month.&nbsp; Six hours?&nbsp; Yes, it was a monster route.&nbsp; We did the <a target="_blank" href="">Lithia Loop Marathon </a>route with an added few miles of the Mine trail and the trails in Lithia Park.&nbsp; This route isn&rsquo;t your typical marathon route.&nbsp; It has <a target="_blank" href="">9200 feet of elevation change </a>with almost zero pavement running, plus we added on mileage.&nbsp; So yes, we were happy with six hours.</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Lithia%20Loop%20elevation%20change.jpg" width="500" height="148" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /></p> <p style="text-align: center"><em>Lithia Loop Marathon Route Elevation Change</em></p> <p>Because the route we chose was a loop, and we don&rsquo;t have endless time to stash water and food along 28 miles of fire road and trail, we needed to carry everything with us.&nbsp; Brooke opted for her Camelbak most similar to the <a target="_blank" href="">Hydrobak</a> &ndash; just water with a few zippers.&nbsp; She also strapped on her <a target="_blank" href="">Nathan Speed 2</a> belt for added water and places to store food and the essential cell phone.&nbsp; Kouba borrowed a friend&rsquo;s Camelbak <a target="_blank" href="">Snoangel</a>: very cute and feminine.&nbsp; She also carried my <a target="_blank" href="">Nathan Thermal Quickdraw</a> for half of the way filled with a replacement drink (I carried it for the second half).&nbsp; I went for my Camelbak <a target="_blank" href="">Annadel</a>.&nbsp; I was silly in thinking 1.5L would last me on a humid day.&nbsp; I thought I&rsquo;d make it to mile 20 before I ran out of water, but only made it to about mile 13 &ndash; the first 10 miles are all uphill.&nbsp; Thankfully, my friends were a little smarter than I was and had extra water that we all shared.</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Camelbak%20Annadel.bmp" width="150" height="189" type="image" longdesc="undefined" />&nbsp;&nbsp; <input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Camelbak%20Hydrobak.jpg" width="150" height="189" type="image" />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Camelbak%20Snoangel.jpg" width="150" height="189" type="image" /><br /> Annadel&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Hydrobak&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Snoangel</p> <p>This was only the second run I&rsquo;ve done in my new women&rsquo;s specific Camelbak Annadel.&nbsp; The first one was a few weeks ago when we did 24 miles.&nbsp; I was really happy with it then and ended happy with it on Sunday.&nbsp; My twins also gave a thumbs up in testing out the Annadel.</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Happy%20boys%20in%20backpacks.JPG" width="195" height="146" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Modeling%20backpacks.JPG" width="195" height="146" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Evan%20testing%20Camelbak.JPG" width="195" height="146" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /></p> <p style="text-align: center"><em>Gabriel and Evan giving the Deuter and Camelbak packs a try.<br /> </em></p> <p><em><br /> </em>The pack has enough room to stuff in my camera, a half of a bagel, granola bar, goldfish crackers, <a target="_blank" href="">Clif Bloks</a>, and my vest just in case it decided to rain on us.&nbsp; The pack was stuffed full and felt heavy before the start of our run, but after a few miles, my body adjusted (and drank quite a bit of water out) and it molded right into my back and I didn&rsquo;t give it much thought - until about mile 13 when I ran out of water, and then again at mile 17 when my underarms started chafing.&nbsp; We took a break to stretch and eat, and when I took off my pack I felt the burn on my underarms.&nbsp; Bummer, I didn&rsquo;t notice it happening until it was too late.&nbsp; The buckles from the strap adjustments on the Annadel had been rubbing on my underarms.&nbsp; Not much I could do at that point but add some <a target="_blank" href="">Bodyglide</a> and continue on.&nbsp; That was my biggest frustration with my Annadel pack.&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Cons:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li>Can sometimes rub the lower back area with the curve of the pack</li> <li>On my frame, the buckles rubbed my underarms when adjusted properly</li> <li>I had to keep tucking the tube for the reservoir back in to the pack</li> </ul> <p><br /> <strong><em>Pros:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li>Women&rsquo;s specific design &ndash; can actually cinch down the sternum strap without sacrificing comfort</li> <li>Not too big or bulky, but can still carry enough food and water for a long run</li> <li>Bite valve didn&rsquo;t leak and was easy to drink from</li> </ul> The reservoir worked well too.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m still a bigger fan of <a target="_blank" href=";sub=hydration&amp;tert=accessories">Deuter&rsquo;s reservoirs </a>(see previous post), but Camelbak definitely has some good features:<br /> <ol> <li>Durable and leak proof with Lifetime Warranty</li> <li>Treated with Hydroguard to inhibit bacteria growth</li> <li>Large opening for filling and cleaning and easy bite valve for drinking</li> </ol> Camelbak also claims there won&rsquo;t be any plastic taste to the water, but I don&rsquo;t think it tastes like just water either.&nbsp; There is some kind of rubbery/plastic flavor that I&rsquo;m still getting in my water after a few washes of the reservoir &ndash; although it is drinkable and not really that bothersome.<br /> <p>Brooke and Kouba weren&rsquo;t so fond of their packs.&nbsp; Brooke prefers her belt, but needed more than 20oz of water along the way so had to wear out of necessity.&nbsp; Kouba became a quick fan of the handheld Quickdraw &ndash; more to come on the next post for the handheld.<em><br /> </em></p> <p><strong>Bottom Line:</strong><br /> The <a target="_blank" href="">Camelbak Annadel </a>is a great running hydration pack.&nbsp; It has enough room to store the essentials and can carry enough water for a few hours of running.&nbsp; It is comfortable and can be adjusted that it could fit numerous body types.&nbsp; Once I got going, I hardly remembered I had it on.</p> <p style="text-align: center">&nbsp;<input src="" width="300" height="225" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /><br /> <em>Myself, Brooke, Kouba on our 28 mile run</em></p> StoriesTue, 08 Jun 2010 19:18:00 GMTLaura LuksichThe most favorite of them all...The <a target="_blank" href="">Nathan Thermal Quickdraw</a> (handheld) &ndash; with 22oz bottle. I&rsquo;ve never run with a handheld water bottle, and remember in years past thinking&hellip; <em>why would you ever want to carry an extra water bottle in your hand, who buys these things?</em>&nbsp;Those were the days when I thought five miles was a long run. No need to carry water, back to the house in less than an hour. Now I&rsquo;m training for my first <a target="_blank" href="">50K</a> and five miles is my shortest run of the week.<br /> <div style="text-align: center; "><input type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Nathan%20Thermal%20Quickdraw.jpg" width="200" height="177" /><br /> Nathan Thermal Quickdraw</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>I read in&nbsp;<em><a target="_blank" href="">Born to Run</a></em>&nbsp;about ultra runners carrying handheld bottles in training runs and on race day. I&rsquo;ve also read articles in <em><a target="_blank" href="">Runner&rsquo;s World</a></em> how it&rsquo;s good for long distance runners to stay hydrated between aid stations during races. Runners have said, <em>I don&rsquo;t forget to drink while carrying a hand held bottle</em>.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>From <a target="_blank" href=""></a>:</div> <ul> <li>Insulated carrier keeps fluids warm or cool</li> <li>Wall Mesh moisture-wicking hand strap with adjustable-tension buckle</li> <li>Zippered pocket with Key Clip</li> <li>22 oz. (650 mL) Hydration Bottle with Clipless Cap</li> </ul> <div>OK, I told myself, time to give one a try. I don&rsquo;t care for my waist belt (<a target="_blank" href="">Nathan Trail Mix</a>: holds 20oz) and don&rsquo;t always want to be carrying a pack (<a target="_blank" href="">Camelbak Annadel</a>: holds 50oz) on hotter days or for race day. A few weeks ago I gave my Quickdraw its first test run. About an hour and half on the trails: sunny, but not too hot; hilly, but not too steep - an average training run. To my surprise, it didn&rsquo;t feel heavy or cumbersome, and I remembered to sip my water the entire run. I&rsquo;m not sure if it&rsquo;s from the years of running with a dog leash in my hand, but holding this bottle felt almost natural. &nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>My take:</div> <ul> <li>I haven&rsquo;t tried to keep any liquid warm. I honestly don&rsquo;t care for ice water &ndash; I have sensitive teeth. I like chilled water, and I felt the insulation was enough to keep a slight chill in the water for the first 20 minutes of my run and I couldn&rsquo;t feel the cold against my hand.</li> <li>Sweaty hands are something I can&rsquo;t stand (I rarely run in gloves). This was something I was worried about, but proves to be a non-issue with the moisture-wicking strap. The buckle stays in place after adjustment and I don&rsquo;t have to think about holding on to my bottle.</li> <li>The zippered pocket fits my car key and a Gu or a few Shot Bloks perfectly.</li> <li>22oz &ndash; a good amount to carry that isn&rsquo;t too heavy and will last for over an hour on the trails.</li> </ul> <div>The bottle itself has a wide mouth that is easy to fill with water and dump some sports drink powder in to. It is easy to squeeze and the valve is soft on the teeth to pull open. I&rsquo;ve finally found my ideal way to stay hydrated while training &ndash; and I will be carrying this bottle on race day for the <a target="_blank" href="">SOB 50K</a>.</div> <div style="text-align: center; ">&nbsp;<input type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Kouba%20and%20Laura%20with%20handheld.jpg" width="200" height="134" /><br /> Running with the Nathan Thermal Quickdraw</div> <div><strong>Bottom Line:</strong></div> <div>Love it. Handhelds are perfect for people who don&rsquo;t like the feeling of a belt or a pack and need some sort of hydration while training. The <a target="_blank" href="">Nathan Thermal Quickdraw</a> is comfortable to carry and easy to sip from while running. <em>Bonus: We have it in stock at Clear Water Outdoor!</em></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> StoriesSat, 19 Jun 2010 16:04:00 GMTLaura LuksichSchedulesI&rsquo;ve found that I am a person that thrives on schedules when it comes to running.&nbsp; I really don&rsquo;t consider myself over the top Type A or anything, but I am definitely one to let the motivation slip on my running if it&rsquo;s not written down.&nbsp; Don&rsquo;t get me wrong, I have a great friends that keep my motivation high every Sunday morning when we head out for our run, but that&rsquo;s been about it for me and running since March.&nbsp; The weekly motivation has been lacking.&nbsp; Yikes, has it been that long?<br /> <br /> My last race was the first weekend of May.&nbsp; <a href="" target="_blank">Tough As Nails</a> &ndash; a 10 mile trail race up and down Roxy Ann peak in Medford.&nbsp; I was not prepared at all for this race and decided to just take it as a casual weekend (and very hilly) long run with my good friend Brooke, who was in the same boat as I was.&nbsp; It felt great, we finished the race, her with a much stronger kick, but we did it.&nbsp; I thought my motivation would stay high, but again, it lagged during the week.&nbsp; <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img width="400" height="241" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Roxy%20Ann%20TAN(1).jpg" alt="" /><br /> &nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img width="200" height="273" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Brooke%20and%20Laura%20TAN%20-%202011.jpg" alt="" />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; <img width="200" height="279" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Adam%20TAN.jpg" alt="" /><br /> Laura and Brooke&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; Adam (fellow CWO SOB 50K'er)<br /> <br /> &nbsp; <img width="300" height="196" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Aaron%20TAN.jpg" alt="" />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Aaron, Laura's husband, rockin' a 10th place overall finish!</div> <br /> Here I am, towards the end of June, the fire is starting to burn again.&nbsp; I have pulled out my credit card and check book, and registered for four, hopefully amazing, runs in the fall.<br /> <br /> August 26-27<br /> <img width="101" height="69" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/H2C%20logo.jpg" alt="" /><br /> <a target="_blank" href="">Hood to Coast</a> &ndash; 197 miles, 12 Runners, 3 legs each<br /> Did you watch the <a target="_blank" href="">movie</a>?&nbsp; Everything you always wanted to know about Hood to Coast, for runners and non-runners alike, it was a great movie.&nbsp; We are running as The Village Idiots again, and agree to have better costumes and decoration this year, and hopefully, no broken down van. (Registration is closed)<br /> <br /> September 3<br /> <img width="300" height="96" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/RVC%20logo.jpg" /><br /> <a target="_blank" href="">Rogue Valley Challenge 100K Relay</a> &ndash; Five Runners, 4 legs each<br /> I&rsquo;m super pumped about this one.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a relay tour of the <a target="_blank" href="">Rogue Valley</a>, on bike path and the foothills all right in our back yard.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ll be in a van with two of my friends and all of our sig others!&nbsp; I love local races - the start and finish line is about ten minutes from our house.&nbsp; This relay has peaked my interest in the last few years (my hubby ran last year) but was never able to run &ndash; the date always used to be the same as Clear Water Outdoor&rsquo;s Turkey Trot, which meant I was back in Wisconsin.&nbsp; No complaints about that, but now I can do both this year! (Registration is open!)<br /> <br /> September 25<br /> <img width="150" height="150" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/The%20Rogue%20Run.gif" alt="" /><br /> <a target="_blank" href="">1st Annual Rogue Run</a><br /> This one is a half marathon on the bike path between Talent and Central Point, OR.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m excited for this one for lots of reasons.&nbsp; It is a brand new race in the valley, it will be one of my friend&rsquo;s first half marathons, and there is a &ldquo;Table of Temptation&rdquo; aide station.&nbsp; Did I mention the <a target="_blank" href="">Harvest Festival </a>at the end &ndash; oh yes, the race ends with live music, pumpkin tossing, grape stomping, chili eating, and micro brew drinking in the beer garden. (Registration is open!)<br /> <br /> November 5<br /> <a target="_blank" href="">Lithia Loop Marathon</a><br /> <img width="150" height="150" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Lithia%20Loop%20logo.gif" alt="" /><br /> A great trail marathon, 9200 feet of elevation change, only two miles of asphalt, and it&rsquo;s a loop.&nbsp; Sponsored by <a target="_blank" href="">Rogue Valley Runners</a>, who puts out the most awesome aide stations, complete with sandwiches, baked potatoes, chips, soda, if you&rsquo;re craving it in the middle of a run, they most likely have it.&nbsp; This marathon is also the USA Track &amp; Field&rsquo;s Trail-Marathon Championship.&nbsp; Start line is about 15 minutes from our driveway.&nbsp; Sweet! (Registration is open!)<br /> <br /> May 20,2012<br /> <img width="150" height="72" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Portland%20RnR%20logo.jpg" alt="" /><br /> <a target="_blank" href="">Portland Rock N Roll Half Marathon</a><br /> Yes, it&rsquo;s all the way in 2012, but registration was cheap for a limited time and I&rsquo;ve always wanted to run a Rock N Roll race.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s on the schedule. (Registration is open!)<br /> <br /> Let the training begin!<br /> <br /> StoriesThu, 23 Jun 2011 00:53:00 GMTLaura LuksichSummer Work<strong><em>Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life</em>.</strong> - Confucius<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s that time of year again.&nbsp; School supply lists, back-to-school sales, I&rsquo;ve even seen Halloween, and not to be outdone, yes, Christmas decorations at a few stores already.&nbsp; One more flip of the calendar and it&rsquo;ll be August.&nbsp; I know my family has been enjoying summer with grass stained knees, dirty feet, sun bleached hair, and that ever present coco-nutty smell of sun tan lotion.&nbsp; We&rsquo;ve made one adventure to the north woods of Wisconsin to visit family and put in some much needed relaxing time.&nbsp; But it always seems that August is the prime month to fit it all in before school starts again.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s how our family is feeling and we are attempting one more push to make it the &ldquo;best summer on the whole Earth&rdquo;.&nbsp; (as Gabriel and Evan, our 4-year-old twins, would say)<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img width="470" height="252" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Trip%20Map.jpg" alt="" /></div> <br /> This year, we are deciding to wrap up summer with our first big road trip as a family.&nbsp; Aaron and I have hit the highway together in the past, but never with the kiddos.&nbsp; Our plan is to drive our trusty Jeep from Medford, OR to <a href="" target="_blank">Yellowstone National Park</a> for a few nights, do some tent camping at a <a target="_blank" href="">KOA</a>, hit the touristy sites, and then head to more of a back country site in <a href="" target="_blank">Grand Teton National Park</a> for one night.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ll be sure to give you some hands-on true-tested feedback of what works and what doesn&rsquo;t when camping and hiking with little ones.<br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input width="200" height="200" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Roasting%20Marshmallows.JPG" /></div> After four nights in a tent, we will head to J<a href="" target="_blank">ordanelle State Park in Utah</a> for the <a href="" target="_blank">Open Air Demo Day</a> with <a href="" target="_blank">Outdoor Retailer</a>.&nbsp; This is where we&rsquo;ll meet up with CWO's trusty leaders, David and Sarah Schuster, and our paddle guru Luke.&nbsp; We plan to check out the latest in paddle sports and anything you dream of to play with outside.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a hands-on day for us to be sure what we are bringing to you, in store, performs and is as much fun as it should be.&nbsp; From shoes and sunglasses to SUP&rsquo;s and canoes, they&rsquo;ll have it, and we&rsquo;ll be sure to try it &ndash; no need to ask me twice!&nbsp; Amongst the demos, there will be a 5K trail race, a Paddle Pedal Challenge, Treasure Hunts, Orienteering, and not to be outdone, did I mention there will be a world record attempt?&nbsp; Oh yes, SUPzilla will be in attendance to have more than 30 Standup Paddlers on top headed across the lake to claim the World Record.<br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img width="225" height="150" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/open%20air%20ii.jpg" alt="" />&nbsp; <img width="225" height="150" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/open%20air%20iii.jpg" alt="" />&nbsp; <br /> <em>Open Air Demo Day - 2010</em><br /> <br /> <img width="300" height="199" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/OR.jpg" alt="" /></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><em>A glimpse down one ailse of the Salt Palace Convention Center<br /> (Pictures courtesy of Outdoor Retailer/Facebook)<br /> <br /> </em></div> The following three days we&rsquo;ll spend in the <a href="" target="_blank">Salt Palace Convention Center</a> in Salt Lake City.&nbsp; Here&rsquo;s where the entire CWO buying team (Sarah, Dave, Kellie, Luke, Brian Waspi, and myself) will divide and conquer to find the best new gear and apparel to bring you for next summer.&nbsp; This is no small adventure.&nbsp; The Outdoor Retailer Show is the largest event to come to the Salt Palace &ndash; the winter show this past January brought in more people and tourists than the 2002 Olympics*.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a 350,000 square foot (yes, that&rsquo;s big) maze of vendors, buyers, and retailers, spanning the entire convention center and even spilling out on to the street.<br /> <br /> After the show is over, we&rsquo;ll pack up our family and make the trek home.&nbsp; All in all, it&rsquo;ll be about 12 Days, 36 some hours of driving, and 2000+ miles of adventure.&nbsp; Hoping to end it all as the best summer on Earth!<br /> <br /> Now it&rsquo;s your turn &ndash; <br /> <br /> What do you want to see more of at CWO?&nbsp; Post here, or on Facebook, and we&rsquo;ll be sure to find it for you at the show.<br /> <br /> Do you have favorite meals to make while camping with kids?&nbsp; Road trip games?&nbsp; Traveling and camping advice with kids is definitely welcome!<br /> <br /> Happy Summer!<br /> <br /> *Source:<br /> <br /> StoriesTue, 26 Jul 2011 04:40:00 GMTLaura Luksich3 1/2 hours and only 16 miles?I swear it feels like 20.&nbsp; Kouba, Brooke, and I went for an amazing 16 mile run today.&nbsp; We met and started in <a onclick=",'','resizable=no,location=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=no,status=no,toolbar=no,fullscreen=no,dependent=no,status'); return false" href="">Lithia Park </a>in Ashland.&nbsp; We ran through the <a onclick=",'','resizable=no,location=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=no,status=no,toolbar=no,fullscreen=no,dependent=no,status'); return false" href="">park</a> (uphill) and then up gravel and dirt fire roads for another FIVE miles (the same start to the <a target="_blank" href="">Lithia Loop Marathon</a>).&nbsp; Yes, about six miles total up, up, up, up to start our run.&nbsp; (the Lithia Loop veers left and keeps going up)&nbsp; We took it easy, even received a phone call, in the middle of the woods, from our friend Sarah who was trying to meet us at about mile 10 of our run.&nbsp; An hour and a half passed by, and we were finally at the top.&nbsp; <div style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Brooke%20Kouba%20pointing.jpg" width="500" height="375" type="image" /><br /> <br /> Brooke and Kouba finding the trails we ran up.</div> <br /> What a great feeling.&nbsp; The views were beautiful and it was a great sense of accomplishment to come around a turn and see the buildings in the city of Ashland as little specs six miles below. <div style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/We%20are%20Here.jpg" width="487" height="375" type="image" /></div> Coming down the Hit Trail, we saw Jen Sallee (who is also on the CWO <a target="_blank" href="">SOB 50K </a>team) running up with a friend and their dogs.&nbsp; Hugs were exchanged and off we went.&nbsp; Our legs were feeling tired, but gravity was a blessing helping us come down.<br /> <br /> We met our friend Sara at Strawberry Lane for the last six miles.&nbsp; It was wonderful having her join us.&nbsp; Not that conversation gets dull between Kouba, Brooke, and I, but it&rsquo;s a great thing to have someone new and fresh to help you finish up a long run.<br /> <br /> This was a great learning experience for me today.&nbsp; I had about four <a target="_blank" href="">Clif Shot Bloks </a>and half of a <a target="_blank" href="">Power Bar Gel </a>(which are definitely not my favorite), and close to 40 oz of water over the entire run.&nbsp; I think my body definitely needed more.&nbsp; I had lost my motivation to keep going at about mile 12.&nbsp; That was tough to break through, but good practice for when it hits in the 50K (hopefully at more like mile 29).&nbsp;&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve never had a leg cramp on a run and my right calf was almost rock hard by the time were finished.&nbsp; My face was crusty with salt, and I wasn&rsquo;t really sweating much by the time we hit mile 15.&nbsp; This was a good lesson to learn on a cool, cloudy day.&nbsp; I couldn&rsquo;t imagine how I would have been feeling on a sunny, 80 degree day.&nbsp; Next time, more fuel, and a bigger water pack&nbsp; (mine only holds about 20oz at a time) &ndash; we had to refill when we came back through Lithia Park at about mile 12, thank goodness for water fountains.<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;m also a bit worried about my shoes and feet.&nbsp; The shoes felt ok &ndash; <a target="_blank" href="">Brooks ASRs</a>.&nbsp; They are older and I have a new pair on the way.&nbsp; My worry is that my arches were hurting and I got a few small blisters.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve never had that issue before with my arches, so I&rsquo;m hoping with a new pair of shoes, it won&rsquo;t happen again.&nbsp; I am reading <a target="_blank" href="">Born to Run </a>which is starting to intrigue me about barefoot running, but that&rsquo;s a whole other story.<br /> <br /> Three and a half hours after we started, we finally came to a stop.&nbsp; Yes, three and a half hours - we ran slow and steady.&nbsp; It was crazy hilly, but we all made it, together.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> 16 mile hilly, trail run &ndash; <input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/check.jpg" width="35" height="33" type="image" /><br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/The%20three%20of%20us.jpg" width="500" height="375" type="image" /><br /> Brooke, Myself, Kouba</div> StoriesMon, 29 Mar 2010 01:11:00 GMTLaura LuksichDon't forget about The Pear!<p>This weekend was the <a target="_blank" href="http://Pear Blossom Festival ">Pear Blossom Festival </a>in Medford.&nbsp; I forgot to add it to my check list of races I am doing this year.&nbsp; How could I forget??&nbsp; It&rsquo;s THE race of Medford.&nbsp; 10 miles, out and back, fast, flat, one tiny hill.&nbsp; This year, there were 1580 finishers for the 10 mile race and 1118 finishers for the 5K (<a target="_blank" href="">results</a>).&nbsp; Add two more races with the Mayor&rsquo;s 1 and 2 mile.&nbsp; Literally, thousands of runners, their families and friends cheering them on, line the streets in Medford.</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Pear%20Blossom%20Run%20stone.jpg" width="336" height="221" type="image" /></p> <p>I registered for the run thinking of it as a training run.&nbsp; I didn&rsquo;t want to do a &ldquo;race&rdquo;.&nbsp; If I started aching, I&rsquo;d back off, after all, I&rsquo;ve mainly been training on trails and this was 10 miles of pavement.&nbsp; The morning started off ok, but the last ten minutes before the race didn&rsquo;t go so well.&nbsp; I stood in line for the women&rsquo;s bathroom, but it was too long and I had to dart off to the start line.&nbsp; Then, my headphones weren&rsquo;t working with my ipod.&nbsp; Great.&nbsp; Is this a sign of things to come?&nbsp; I scanned the crowd after the guns (yes, real guns from the cavalry) went off and found Tim and Sue Tecmire (who were kind enough to offer to watch our boys while both Aaron and I ran) and handed off the ipod.&nbsp;</p> <p>Now, time to calm down and run.</p> <p>Run, I did.&nbsp; I felt great.&nbsp; Better than great.&nbsp; Just after three miles, I was already at a 5K PR (26 minutes or so).&nbsp; I couldn&rsquo;t believe my eyes when I saw 25 minutes on my watch.&nbsp; Slow for many, but that&rsquo;s fast for me.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m a 9-10 minute pace person, not an 8-9 minute pace.&nbsp; The fun part was I still felt great.</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Pear%20map.jpg" width="500" height="381" type="image" longdesc="undefined" /></p> <p>I&rsquo;ve come to love out and back races.&nbsp; I think is very inspiring to watch the top placing runners battle it out in the middle of a race, watch their form, look at their faces, and cheer them on, all while I&rsquo;m running too.&nbsp; First place was still a battle when I saw the men, Aron Rono (a 27 year-old Kenyan who is a 21 time NAIA All American in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field) turned up the heat to win with a time of 49:49.&nbsp; A cheer for Ashland local <a target="_blank" href="">Hal Koerner</a> of&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="">Rogue Valley Runners</a>&nbsp;(winner of the <a target="_blank" href="">2009 Western States 100</a>&nbsp;- who recently announced he was <a onclick=",'','resizable=no,location=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=no,status=no,toolbar=no,fullscreen=no,dependent=no,status'); return false" href="">running for mayor</a>!).&nbsp;&nbsp;Ashland's <a target="_blank" href="">Jen Shelton </a>(you can read about her in <a target="_blank" href="">Born to Run</a> &ndash; perfect timing for me that I&rsquo;m almost at the end of the book) won it for the women, decked out in a Pear swim suit, in 59:50.&nbsp; A high-five to my husband, Aaron, who finished in the top 30 with a time of 1:01.50, and I was almost at the turn-around.&nbsp; The way back was hard.&nbsp; I was tired, but I still felt overall ok and pushed it out to the end to finish with a time of 1:25.59.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s an 8:36 mile pace and an almost four minute PR over last year!&nbsp; 163rd out of over 800 women running the race, it was a good day.</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Pear%20Rono.jpg" width="388" height="196" type="image" /><br /> Rono at the finish (courtesy of <a href=""></a>)<br /> <input src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Pear%20Jen.jpg" width="370" height="187" type="image" /><br /> Jen taking the lead for the women (courtesy of <a href=""></a>)<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left">The day after the race &ndash; today &ndash; my legs are stiff and a bit sore, but overall ok.&nbsp; Thank goodness for friends.&nbsp; We were scheduled to do an 18 mile run today in training for our 50K.&nbsp; Brooke, Kouba and I all had child duty as our husbands were all in different places.&nbsp; Brooke and Kouba both did 11 and 13.5 miles respectively on the treadmill, and I met up with them for the last six miles on the roads.&nbsp; The wind was strong and my legs felt like tree trunks, but it was nice to get them going again.&nbsp; I had planned to do another 10 miles today, but life happens.&nbsp; The golf tournament that Aaron (and Brooke&rsquo;s husband, Jason) were at went hours longer than they thought.&nbsp; I had an hour to run (Kouba had only 45 minutes left and cut out after four miles) and we did six.&nbsp; That works for me.&nbsp; Tomorrow is a day off to rest the legs and then, back to the training plan (see previous <a target="_blank" href="">FAQ post</a>).&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center"><input src="" width="297" height="199" type="image" /><br /> Pear blossoms and runners (courtesy of <a target="_blank" href="http://Pear Blossom Festival ">Pear Blossom Run</a>)</p>!-20-58.htmlTrue StoriesMon, 12 Apr 2010 01:48:00 GMTLaura LuksichThe Big Weeks are Coming!<div>And so it begins.&nbsp;No more <em>just-go-out-for-a-half-hour</em> runs.&nbsp;&nbsp;Starting this week, my shortest runs will now be about six miles long.&nbsp;This part of any training plan always makes me question, &ldquo;Why am I doing this again?&rdquo;&nbsp;My spare time becomes consumed with training.&nbsp;What used to be a few 30-60 minute workouts a week turns in to a few 60-120 minute runs plus the weekend long runs.&nbsp;I get up even earlier in the morning to fit it in (pre-5am at times) and skip family dinners so I can hit the road at 7pm for a long evening run if needed.&nbsp;Add in a swim in the pool and a bike ride or two, and the hours and minutes of the weeks soon become over-scheduled (especially with a running husband that is training for the same <a target="_blank" href="">50K</a> race). &nbsp;I start to stress about fitting it all in.&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: center"><img width="100" height="96" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/clock.gif" /></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>So again, why do I WANT to do this?</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>For fun.&nbsp;Crazy, I know.&nbsp;For all the stressing I do trying to fit things in, the moment I listen to my rhythmic footsteps and breathing, I forget about all the stress.&nbsp;All of it just kind of takes a back seat in my brain, and I fall in to the moment, the now, the present.&nbsp;I still think about it, but it doesn&rsquo;t stress me the same way as it would while my children are pulling at my pant legs arguing about dump trucks and rocks.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> My rhythmic footsteps and breathing moves my mind in to a sort of meditative state and I finally open my eyes and enjoy all the beauty around me.&nbsp;When I run with my friends, it&rsquo;s even better.&nbsp;We talk, we laugh, we worry, we complain, and we always have fun.&nbsp;I run for the moments like when we were headed down a steep, rocky, drop off on one side, <a target="_blank" href="">cougar infested </a>(yes, <a onclick=",'','resizable=no,location=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=no,status=no,toolbar=no,fullscreen=no,dependent=no,status'); return false" href="">cougar</a> sightings on our favorite trails) trail, Kouba decided to braid her hair and didn&rsquo;t miss a step - talented and hilarious.&nbsp;Signing up for the 50K just forces us to spend more time together doing all those things.&nbsp;Oh, and of course, there are all those <a target="_blank" href="">health benefits</a> of running too.</div> <div style="text-align: center"><img alt="" width="200" height="150" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Kouba%20with%20her%20braids.JPG" /><br /> <span style="font-size: smaller">Kouba and her braids</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>My point&hellip; even if you aren&rsquo;t a runner, or only can run a mile, just go.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Go outside.&nbsp;Open your eyes and look around.&nbsp;Get lost in the moment and enjoy.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Happy Earth Day.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>20 trail miles this weekend, here we come.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Coming soon &ndash; gear reviews:&nbsp;Shoes, GUs, and Body Glide!</div>!-20-60.htmlTrue StoriesFri, 23 Apr 2010 01:32:00 GMTLaura LuksichBear Cub + Snow = Exciting Day!I have heard coming between a bear and her cub is one of the most dangerous wildlife experiences a person can have out on the trails.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve read, and have common sense enough, to never go near cubs if you see them, so I think to myself, how can a hiker/runner just happen to separate a bear and her cubs?&nbsp; Answer: while running the fire roads to the <a href="" target="_blank">Pacific Crest Trail</a>.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Brooke, Kouba, and I were out for our usual Sunday long run.&nbsp; Two weeks out from the <a target="_blank" href="">SOB 50K</a>, we decided to head up to <a target="_blank" href="">Mt. Ashland</a> and do some training on the course.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We may have been a bit quieter than usual and a little more out of breath at the higher elevation, but we weren&rsquo;t silent.&nbsp; Just over a mile in to our planned 10 mile run, I heard some leaves rustling on the mountainside above us.&nbsp; Something was coming.&nbsp; I assumed it was a deer or even a squirrel can seem to get quite loud when running around in the brush.&nbsp; I glanced over my shoulder.&nbsp; Something was coming &ndash; was right.&nbsp; My first thought &ndash; <em>it&rsquo;s not a cougar</em>.&nbsp; My second thought &ndash; <em>that&rsquo;s a weird looking dog.</em>&nbsp; I heard Kouba yell &ndash; <em>BABY&nbsp;BEAR!</em>&nbsp; and watched her take off in a sprint.&nbsp; Finally, it registered, baby bear!&nbsp; It was probably only two seconds, but it seemed like that glance over my shoulder lasted minutes as I watched the cub sliding down the hillside trying to do a u-turn.&nbsp; The fuzzy, little &ldquo;beast&rdquo; came within about 30 feet of us and scrambled back up.&nbsp; The biologist in me wanted to stand there and watch, observe, and see what it did next.&nbsp; Reality kicked in and I didn&rsquo;t look back &ndash; we all just ran.&nbsp; We never saw mama bear, but I&rsquo;m sure she was watching.&nbsp; Our thought was we had separated them &ndash; and that&rsquo;s why baby bear was running down the mountain side.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m glad we never saw mama bear. <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="151" type="image" width="200" longdesc="undefined" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Baby%20Bear.jpg" /></div> <br /> So now what?&nbsp; We were only a mile in to our run, and the trail had a switch back to the direction of the bear.&nbsp; We re-grouped a bit, had some nervous laughs, and decided to press on &ndash; talking overly loud, clapping, and making noise the whole way.&nbsp; We didn&rsquo;t see any other wildlife the rest of the run.<br /> <br /> After our bear cub encounter, it took us close to two hours to run about 10 miles.&nbsp; There is still a ton of snow up on Mt. Ashland and the Pacific Crest Trail.&nbsp; We hiked over huge snow banks, lost the trail, and decided to stay on the fire roads for the rest of our run.&nbsp; We made it to the 15K&nbsp; turn-around <a href="">(click here for the map)</a> &ndash; played in the snow, took in the view of <a href="" target="_blank">Mt. Shasta</a>, and headed back to the car.&nbsp; We didn&rsquo;t push too hard, just enjoyed being on the mountain, learning how our lungs felt and breathing changed in the higher elevation, gaining the confidence we needed to know we&rsquo;ll be able to finish the 31.07 miles of the <a target="_blank" href="">SOB</a> race in two weeks.&nbsp; I think we all agreed &ndash; we&rsquo;re ready.<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="150" type="image" width="200" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/15K%20Turn%20around.jpg" /> <input height="150" type="image" width="200" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/building%20snowman.jpg" /><br /> <span style="font-size: smaller;"><em>Kouba, Brooke, Laura at the 15K Turnaround &amp; Brooke and Laura building a snowman</em></span></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="448" type="image" width="336" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/snowman.jpg" /><br /> <em>The official CWO snow-woman of the SOB 50K<br /> (Mt. Shasta in the background)</em></div> <br /> All pictures this run taken with Kouba's <a href="" target="_blank">AT&amp;T Motorola Backflip</a> - which had service most of the run too!<br /> <br /> Coming up: Reviews on Gu and Shot Bloks!<br /> <br /> For more information on what to do if you see a bear: <a target="_blank" href="">click here</a>.<br />!-20-76.htmlTrue StoriesTue, 29 Jun 2010 14:19:00 GMTLaura LuksichCows and taperingCows and tapering, hmmm, I agree, don&rsquo;t really go hand in hand.&nbsp; Brooke, Kouba, and I decided to make one last trip to Mt. Ashland on the 3rd, a week before the big race day.&nbsp; The previous week, in the first few miles of our run, we saw a baby bear.&nbsp; This time, we hear a strange clanking sound.&nbsp; A cow bell?&nbsp; Really?&nbsp; It was early &ndash; we were running before 7am &ndash; and we thought it was most likely another person out for a hike trying to scare off the chances of seeing some of the more dangerous wildlife.<br /> <br /> Nope, it was free range cattle - an entire herd of them.&nbsp; They saw us and started running.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="600" width="450" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/running%20with%20the%20cows.jpg" /></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><em>Really, cows?&nbsp; Trying to contain my laughter on the trail.</em></div> <br /> Thankfully, they were running away from us and not towards us.&nbsp; On the other hand, they decided to run down the trail.&nbsp; I hope to never experience running behind a herd of cattle with clanking cow bells (on every single cow) again.&nbsp; The smell was slightly overpowering and I finally gave up on dodging the &ldquo;little&rdquo; cow pies left behind.&nbsp; They aren&rsquo;t really that fast either.&nbsp; We were walking for a good portion, afraid of getting too close and really scaring them in to stampeding us.&nbsp; I started craving a juicy free-range hamburger for dinner that night.&nbsp; And then, right as it seemed we were doomed to be following the herd for miles, the cattle took a right turn up the mountain and we all went our separate ways.&nbsp; The clanking cow bells and distinct cow smell soon became non-existent as we pressed on.<br /> <br /> Another mile had passed on the trail and we lost it in the snow.&nbsp; We hiked up the mountain side to the fire roads, and continued on to the 15K turn around (our snow-woman from the previous week had melted).&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve heard the <a target="_blank" href="">15K course</a> has now been plowed and shoveled free of snow &ndash; thank you to all the volunteers &ndash; and the 50K course is looking pretty good too.&nbsp; I wish I had more time to help, but summer schedules have quickly become full.&nbsp; So full, in fact, that I&rsquo;ve barely made it for a run since that last trip up to the mountain.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m holding on to the theory that &quot;tapering is good for you&quot; trying to rest my uneasy mind that I&rsquo;m quickly losing my endurance (it&rsquo;s not working very well).&nbsp; I guess we&rsquo;ll find out on Saturday.<br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="336" width="250" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/grouse%20gap%20trail.jpg" longdesc="undefined" />&nbsp; <input height="200" width="300" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/fireroad%20plowed.jpg" longdesc="undefined" /></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><em>A snowy section of the trail after Grouse Gap. &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; A fireroad had to be plowed for access.</em><br /> (<a href="!/pages/Siskiyou-Out-Back-Trail-Run/194158786698" target="_blank">from Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run Facebook Page</a>)</div> <br /> I truly am looking forward to race day.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m looking forward to putting my foot on the start line at 6am &ndash; but not so much the waking up at 4am part.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m looking forward to spending almost seven hours on the beautiful Pacific Crest Trail with good friends from near and far.&nbsp; Most of all, I&rsquo;m looking forward to crossing the finish line - the endorphins and hugs and smiles of completing something awesome.&nbsp; And then&hellip;to be done.&nbsp; To be done with the huge time commitment of training and stressing if I&rsquo;m really ready for this.&nbsp; Although, I have a feeling I&rsquo;ll be going in to a slight withdrawal of not having to get together with my good friends to go for a run.&nbsp; I know we still will.&nbsp; After all, we have the <a href="" target="_blank">Nike Women&rsquo;s San Francisco Marathon</a> coming up in October.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m hoping &ldquo;just running a marathon&rdquo; will feel easy after doing the <a href="" target="_blank">SOB 50K</a>.&nbsp; Who knows, maybe somewhere deep down I did really enjoy scheduling my time around hours of trail running in the mountains&hellip; maybe there will be another ultra in my future&hellip;. but first, I have to finish this one.<br /> <br /> <input height="382" width="793" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/50K%20course.jpg" /><br /> <br /> Coming up:<br /> Out-of-towners become in-towners: Dave, Katie, Julie, and Steve arrive!<br /> Gu Reviews (yes, still planning to write about all the different flavors I&rsquo;ve tried)<br /> The drama (good and bad) of putting together a team to run an out of state race.<br /> <br /> StoriesWed, 07 Jul 2010 18:44:00 GMTLaura LuksichThrough rain, through darkness, through spiders, through bears, 26.2 here I come!With less than two weeks to go before the <a href="" target="_blank">San Francisco Nike Women&rsquo;s Marathon</a>, our long runs are finally done!&nbsp; Even though we had a month off between the <a href="" target="_blank">SOB 50K</a> and starting training again for this marathon, I feel like I haven&rsquo;t been able to go out for a quick 3 mile run in quite a while.&nbsp; <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input width="300" height="191" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Nike%20Women%20Marathon.jpg" /></div> <br /> Don&rsquo;t get me wrong.&nbsp; I love the accomplishment of running for hours and covering double digit miles.&nbsp; The part I don&rsquo;t like is planning my life around the hours and miles I need to fit in.&nbsp; No, I am not giving up running, and yes, I am looking forward to a casual 10 miler on Sundays here and there, but only if we all have time.&nbsp; I look forward to testing out new foods, clothing, and shoes on short runs so I don&rsquo;t have to pay the price of quarter sized blisters on a long run if the shoes don&rsquo;t fit correctly (oh yes, I made that mistake!) <br /> <br /> In training for this marathon, Brooke, Kouba, and I have done three long runs (15+ miles).&nbsp; Courtney is an all star and has done many more than that.&nbsp; The four of our schedules have been conflicting.&nbsp; Courtney has had to do many of her longer runs on her own, but the strong woman she is, powered through every single one of them.<br /> <br /> In the beginning of September, Brooke, Kouba, and I headed out for our first long run of 18 miles.&nbsp; I don&rsquo;t think we&rsquo;ve ever complained so much in the course of three hours.&nbsp; It was the weekend after <a href="" target="_blank">Hood to Coast</a>, and I think that race took a lot more out of us than we thought.&nbsp; We purposely chose a route that had about 10 miles of mostly flat fire road and then the remaining eight miles were downhill on the trails &ndash; the first 18 miles of the <a href="" target="_blank">Lithia Loop</a> marathon, run backwards.&nbsp; We were all aching, stiff, and just couldn&rsquo;t get going.&nbsp; Deep down, I was worried.&nbsp; I was thinking this was supposed to be an &ldquo;easy&rdquo; 18 miles, mostly downhill, and I am having serious issues.<br /> <br /> Two more weeks passed, and Brooke and I were back at it for another long run.&nbsp; Kouba had since been diagnosed with <a href="" target="_blank">Achilles Tendinitis</a> and advised to not run &ndash; that wasn&rsquo;t going to stop her, but she wasn&rsquo;t going to do the long distances anymore.&nbsp; The morning of our 20 miler, I woke up to pouring rain.&nbsp; Brooke and I met, drove up to the Toothpick trailhead only to find it doesn&rsquo;t get light outside until after 6:20am.&nbsp; Between the two of us, we probably own ten headlamps &ndash; none of them were in our cars.&nbsp; We started out that run in the dark and quiet.&nbsp; It was a&nbsp; little nerve racking when I let my mind wander &hellip; what other animals are out in the predawn hours (especially after seeing the sign for a cougar sighting on the trailhead)&hellip; but we were sure to keep the conversation going.&nbsp; After an hour, the rain let up and we paused to watch the gorgeous sunrise before us &ndash; and not even five minutes later, the down pour hit.&nbsp; We ran for two and a half more hours in a complete down pour.&nbsp; (Sara, Kouba, and Courtney met us for part of it.)&nbsp; When we got back to the car, we were both soaking wet, cold, and mentally drained, but we agreed, we felt great running.&nbsp; Maybe it was the rain, a distraction from the running, I&rsquo;m not sure, but I know I was happy again to be running (and rejoicing that non-cotton running apparel was invented).<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img width="290" height="218" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Laura%20in%20rain.JPG" alt="" />&nbsp; <br /> <em>Soaking wet, but enjoying the sunrise.</em></div> <br /> The following week (September 26), Brooke went camping.&nbsp; Courtney, Kouba, Sara and I meet for our Sunday run.&nbsp; Another blow to Kouba &ndash; besides being advised to not run, she was leading the four of us on the trails when she was bit, we think, by a spider.&nbsp; None of us saw it.&nbsp; She said it was big enough that when she pulled it off her leg she felt its body. (yuck!)&nbsp; Kouba had some pretty thick tights on that morning, and she had two fang marks on her inner thigh above her knee.&nbsp; In Oregon, we are in the land of Black Widow and Brown Recluse spiders.&nbsp; <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input width="300" height="204" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/black_vs_brown_spiders_s1.jpg" /></div> We start going over <a target="_blank" href="">symptoms</a> (increased heart rate, heavy breathing, sweating&hellip; oh wait, that&rsquo;s running) and carry on our run.&nbsp; The bite proceeds to swell and we check it every five minutes.&nbsp; Thankfully, the swelling started to go down and Kouba and Sara decided to cut their run short, just in case.&nbsp; I carried on with Courtney for another hour and then she went off to finish up her last long run totaling 23 miles.<br /> <br /> Last week, I had a 23 miler on the schedule for myself.&nbsp; I knew I was going to be out of town for the weekend, so my only option was to run back to back 10-12 milers during the week.&nbsp; Wednesday, I headed to the trails around Ashland.&nbsp; My plan: run 11 hilly trail miles just outside of town.&nbsp; In the first hour, I saw a large brown/black mass shuffle across the trail about 30 feet in front of me.&nbsp; It took me a minute, and I think it took the large black mass a minute too, but I realized it was a <a target="_blank" href="">bear</a> and he scurried off into a dead tree.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img width="450" height="299" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Bear%20in%20a%20tree.jpg" alt="" /><br /> <em>(not my picture, but this sure is what it looked like!)</em><br /> &nbsp;</div> I turned around, walked in the opposite direction, and tried to calm my breathing down.&nbsp; I wasn&rsquo;t way up on the mountain this time and this was no bear cub.&nbsp; I was probably less than 50 yards from a house &ndash; on a ditch trail on the edge of town.&nbsp; After I calmed down a bit, I got angry at the bear (even though he has more right to be there than I do).&nbsp; I had my entire run planned out and wasn&rsquo;t even half way done yet.&nbsp; The tree he was hiding in was right on the trail.&nbsp; I decided to be brave and stubborn &ndash; I headed back on the trails clapping and yelling, walking slow.&nbsp; I scared up a few deer and kept going.&nbsp; Then, I saw him again - staring at me from the tree, not too high off the ground.&nbsp; Arrrrghhh!&nbsp; He hadn&rsquo;t run off yet.&nbsp; My bravery turned to &ndash; I want to see my family again and not get mauled by a bear &ndash; so I had to adjust my route a bit and carry on.&nbsp; My new route involved one full mile of steep hill that feels like it just keeps going forever.&nbsp; I usually do everything I can to avoid this climb, and if I have to complete it, I promise myself walk breaks.&nbsp;&nbsp; My adrenaline must have been pumping, I was sure to be loud, clapping my hands and singing the entire way to the top (of course fearing every noise and grasshopper that flew in front of me) but before I knew it, I had conquered the hill.&nbsp; So, in the end, I thank the bear for being there.&nbsp; That was a great hill to climb, and I worked my butt off to get to the top &ndash; and the animal lover I am thinks it&rsquo;s pretty cool to see a bear in the wild.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> The next day, I ran about 12 miles of hilly highway just outside of Medford.&nbsp; It was a hot 80+ degrees.&nbsp; I ran out of water.&nbsp; No shade.&nbsp; I was aching.&nbsp; I was by myself and not happy.&nbsp; I kept saying &ndash; this is it.&nbsp; This is the last long run for a while.&nbsp; Soon I will be crossing that finish line at 26.2 miles.&nbsp; Saying a mantra over and over again in the midst of a miserable run really does work (even if the cars going past me think I&rsquo;m crazy talking to myself).&nbsp; I made it, without stopping, the full 12 hilly miles.<br /> <br /> On the schedule are a few five milers and one more 10 miler this weekend.&nbsp; Hopefully no more rain, cougars, bears, or spider bites.&nbsp; I am really looking forward to the 26.2 finish line with the firemen holding my Tiffany&rsquo;s necklace&hellip;<br /> <br /> Coming up:<br /> Shoes! -&nbsp; Brooks, Montrail, Columbia, TrekSta <br /> The versatile Chariot Jogging Strollers!<br /> Taking care of blisters.<br /> San Francisco &ndash; 26.2<br />,_through_darkness,_through_spiders,_through_bears,_262_h-20-102.htmlTrue StoriesThu, 07 Oct 2010 15:08:00 GMTLaura LuksichA San Francisco Treat<a href=";skin_id=1603&amp;utm_source=otm&amp;utm_medium=text_url" onclick=",'','resizable=yes,location=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=no,status=no,toolbar=no,fullscreen=no,dependent=no,status'); return false">Ever wonder what it's like to run a marathon?&nbsp; Click here to check out the pictures and video!<br /> </a> <br /> April 2010: Our group registration entry was drawn in the <a target="_blank" href="">San Francisco Nike Women&rsquo;s Marathon</a> Lottery &ndash; Brooke, Kouba, Courtney, and I are in!<br /> <br /> July 2010: Brooke, Kouba and I ran the <a target="_blank" href="">SOB 50K</a> and took the rest of the month off.<br /> <br /> August 2010: Brooke, Kouba, and I ran <a href="" target="_blank">Hood to Coast</a> as a training run (well, and for tons of fun too) for the marathon.<br /> <br /> September 2010: It was hard to get back in to it, but the long runs are finally starting to feel better, and I&rsquo;m finally feeling ready for this marathon.&nbsp; Kouba gets diagnosed with an Achilles injury.&nbsp; Courtney&rsquo;s knee is giving her problems.<br /> <br /> October 15: Road trip to <a href="" target="_blank">San Francisco</a>!&nbsp; Seven hours later (and a great dinner) we arrive in the city.&nbsp; My first non-airplane view of the city was coming across the <a href="" target="_blank">Bay Bridge</a> at night.&nbsp; I was mesmerized by the city lights and nervous about the hills I was starting to notice.&nbsp; Actually, I think it would be better described <em>as-steep-as-you-can-pave-a-street-and-not-have-your-car-flip-over-backwards-hills</em>.&nbsp; After a few wrong turns, my <a href="|2203897&amp;cid=AOS-US-AFFC-GEN" target="_blank">iphone</a> finally led us to the house we were staying at &ndash; a friend of Brooke &ndash; a cute row house across from the San Francisco Zoo, about two miles from the finish line.<br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="358" type="image" width="260" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/San%20Fran%20Bay%20Bridge.jpg" /><br /> <em>San Francisco Bay Bridge (from</em></div> October 16: Play day!&nbsp; When I woke up in the morning I stretched and thought, <em>oh this isn&rsquo;t so bad, I&rsquo;m not nearly as stiff as I thought I would be.</em>&nbsp; I had a dream I had already run the marathon.&nbsp; That bubble burst pretty quickly and it was time to be a tourist.&nbsp; After our visit to the <a href="" target="_blank">Expo</a> and the four story <a href="" target="_blank">Niketown</a> (the start line), we headed out for some shopping, a trip down <a href="" target="_blank">Lombard St</a>, and bought some souvenirs from <a href="" target="_blank">Chinatown</a>.&nbsp; We talked about our goals: Brooke &ndash; have fun and finish, Kouba &ndash; run as long as she can (with her Achilles injury) and finish, Courtney &ndash; finish under 5:45, Myself &ndash; Finish under 5:00 with no injury.<br /> <em><br /> (not my pictures)</em><br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="150" type="image" width="200" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/San%20Fran%20Nike%20Town.jpg" /> <input height="294" type="image" width="220" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/San%20Fran%20Lombard%20St.jpg" /><br /> <em>Niketown&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Lombard Street</em><br /> <br /> <input height="129" type="image" width="400" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/China%20Town.jpg" /></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><em>Chinatown</em></div> October 17 - the day of the race.<br /> <br /> 4:50am &ndash; Alarm.&nbsp; Cab is picking us up at 5:30 to head to the start line.<br /> <br /> 5:35am &ndash; No cab.&nbsp; Courtney and I start pacing outside considering our back up plan.&nbsp; We can drive her van, but then have to find a parking spot (it took about 20 minutes to find a spot the day before, after a 30 minute drive to the parking garages), pay for it (probably around $50), and figure out how to get back to pick it up after the race is done.&nbsp; I call the cab company.&nbsp; They let me know we are on a &ldquo;wait list&rdquo;.&nbsp; Our order is the system and we have to wait our turn &ndash; no guarantees, the system is overloaded. <br /> <br /> 5:40am &ndash; Nervous stomachs are turning.&nbsp; It is cold outside, it&rsquo;s too quiet inside.&nbsp; We don&rsquo;t have a ride to the start line.&nbsp; Supposedly traffic is a mess with 20,000 runners (half marathoners and marathoners start at the same time) trying to get to Union Square and all cabs are booked.<br /> <br /> 5:45am &ndash; I call another cab company and after my polite words of understanding and a few &ldquo;sorry to hear that sir&rdquo; with the stressed out dispatcher, we have a guaranteed cab coming within 15 minutes.<br /> <br /> 6:03am &ndash; The cab arrives.&nbsp; We are on our way.<br /> <br /> 6:40am &ndash; The cab drops us off and we walk to the start.&nbsp; It was amazing.&nbsp; Thousands of people have taken to the streets in a one mile radius of Union Square.&nbsp; Condo and apartment residents were staring down from their high rise windows at the chaos that had woken them up.&nbsp; There is a main stage with a DJ near the start line and speakers on every corner blasting out &ldquo;Nike Power Songs&rdquo; which were voted on the day before.<br /> <br /> 6:55am - A 16 year old high school student sings the National Anthem.<br /> <br /> 7:00am &ndash; Go time!&nbsp; Well, kind of.&nbsp; We were in the midst of the 4:05/4:15 pacers around the corner from the start line.&nbsp; We didn&rsquo;t move.<br /> <br /> 7:05am &ndash; Finally, we begin to move forward.<br /> <br /> 7:07am &ndash; We cross the start line, 26.2, here we come.<br /> <br /> I won&rsquo;t go over every mile of the race, I always feel like it is so much of a blur when I look back on it.&nbsp; Honestly, the first 10 miles did go very fast.&nbsp; I felt good, the hills were minimal, and the views were gorgeous.&nbsp; Brooke, Kouba, and I stayed together until the Half Marathon split.&nbsp; Kouba needed to walk and I couldn&rsquo;t keep up with Brooke anymore.&nbsp; Courtney began the race at a slower pace, although we happened to see her at one of the first aid stations, we knew she was behind us.<br /> <br /> My good friend, and fellow <a target="_blank" href="">SOB&rsquo;er</a>, Julie Nor was running with a group of her friends too.&nbsp; I was able to give her a hug across the divider on an out and back section of the course, and then carried on (she finished in 3:43:36).<br /> <br /> 11:42am &ndash; I am done.<br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="386" type="image" width="500" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/San%20Fran%20course.jpg" /><br /> &nbsp;</div> Around 1pm&nbsp; &ndash; we had to walk back to the house we were staying at.&nbsp; Yes, walk two + miles in the pouring rain after running a marathon.&nbsp; I would say this was the hardest part of the day.&nbsp; They had run out of <a href="" target="_blank">emergency blankets</a> by the time I finished (which means Kouba and Courtney didn&rsquo;t get one either).&nbsp; We were freezing, tired, hungry, and cold.&nbsp; Thankfully, people were generous and gave us their blankets after they were changed.&nbsp; We all felt dizzy and it seemed as though I would never see another hot shower again.&nbsp; Looking back, it was probably the best thing we could have done for our weary legs.&nbsp; With a six hour car ride ahead of us, that two mile walk probably prevented a lot of soreness and cramping.<br /> <br /> I do remember the rain.&nbsp; It started around mile 13 and wasn&rsquo;t a constant downpour, but enough to soak my clothes:<br /> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Headsweats</a> Clear Water Outdoor visor: it was raining hard enough the water was dripping off the front.&nbsp;</li> <li><a href=",default,pd.html?start=5&amp;cgid=womens-apparel-tops" target="_blank">Brooks Podium Tee</a>: bad choice for a rainy day.&nbsp; After it got wet, it felt heavy and the fat seams combined with the rain rubbed my inner arms raw.&nbsp;</li> <li><a href=",default,pd.html" target="_blank">Mountain Hardwear Pacer Run Skort</a>: I had worn this for the <a href="" target="_blank">SOB 50K</a> as well.&nbsp; I had changed at Mile 20 of that race because it traps heat.&nbsp; I figured for this race, the heat may feel good (high of 60 and we started at 7am when it was in the 50s), and it was the only thing I could find that had a good pocket for my iphone.&nbsp; The phone didn&rsquo;t fit in the pocket all the way, but it was enough that it didn&rsquo;t bounce out, wasn&rsquo;t against my skin, and I still had easy access.&nbsp; Nothing fancy about keeping the phone dry &ndash; a Ziploc baggy.&nbsp; It did its job, but wasn&rsquo;t easy to use the phone with for video and pictures.&nbsp; I tested out the <a href="" target="_blank">Dry Cases</a> at the <a href="" target="_blank">Outdoor Retailer</a> show this summer, and I will definitely be investing in one of those for future outdoor excursions.&nbsp;</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="">Swiftwick Socks</a> <a target="_blank" href=";cPath=2&amp;products_id=8&amp;zenid=rv7s4oq15b3n18plieb4oukoe6">Zero Merino Socks</a>:&nbsp; I am in love.&nbsp; These socks are really amazing.&nbsp; From <em>Swiftwick Merino Wool fibers are so fine that five strands equal the width of a human hair with one pound of wool spinning into 20 miles of fine yarn.</em>&nbsp; Nice!&nbsp; I got my first pair a few months ago and they are definitely in the wash (usually after two wears because I cannot be without them) every week.&nbsp; No, I don&rsquo;t run in them every time, but I have been running in them more often than not.&nbsp; They are the perfect height on my ankle, feel great around my foot, don&rsquo;t slip, no extra fabric in the toes, a perfect amount of fabric against my heel, and best yet, don&rsquo;t feel bogged down when wet.&nbsp; After running for over four hours, two hours plus in the rain, I only had two very small blisters &ndash; which I blame more on my shoes than my socks.&nbsp; Keep your eye out, they just might show up at Clear Water Outdoor in the near future (the socks, not the blisters).</li> <li><a target="_blank" href=",default,pd.html?start=5&amp;q=glycerin">Brooks Glycerin 8</a>: my distance road shoes.&nbsp; This is the first time I have ever owned a pair of neutral shoes.&nbsp; I had gone to <a target="_blank" href="">Rogue Valley Runners</a>, got my gait analyzed and found I am a truly neutral runner.&nbsp; (hhmmm, might make me an excellent candidate to test out barefoot running in the future)&nbsp; I have a very slight pronation on my toe off, but not enough to justify any kind of guidance in my shoe.&nbsp; I had done a few training runs (including a long run of 12 miles) in my new shoes and they felt great.&nbsp; I always have an issue with shoes in the toe box and that&rsquo;s why I blame them for my blisters.&nbsp; Most running shoe toe boxes are very narrow.&nbsp; I have a narrow ankle and don&rsquo;t size up in my shoes &ndash; too many issues with the heel cup then &ndash; so my toes suffer instead.&nbsp; I have long toes, not fat toes, just long toes that always seem to find their way to the edges of the toe boxes on long runs, giving me little, sometimes big, annoying blisters and missing toenails.&nbsp; Finding the right pair of socks has definitely cut down on this, but it hasn&rsquo;t solved the problem.&nbsp; Overall, I like the shoes.&nbsp; They felt cushy, light, responsive, and protected my feet enough so they weren&rsquo;t sore.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ll write more about them in my shoe reviews to come.</li> </ul> 4:00pm &ndash; Pizza, lots and lots of PIZZA! and an ice cold Coke.&nbsp; Sooo good after such a long day.<br /> <br /> 5:00pm &ndash; Drive back to Medford.<br /> <br /> 12:30am &ndash; Home and to bed.&nbsp; Done.<br /> <br /> <a href="" target="_blank">Results:</a><br /> Brooke: 4:19:42<br /> Laura: 4:35:09<br /> Kouba: 4:56:52<br /> Courtney: 5:31:06<br /> StoriesThu, 04 Nov 2010 00:29:00 GMTLaura LuksichHunting Trees<a href="#Tree_Hunt_Gear_Review"><em>Click here to go straight to the gear review.</em></a><br /> <br /> In Wisconsin, the annual Christmas tree hunt usually involved visiting a local tree farm, marching around the rows of perfect trees, deciding if this is the year we&rsquo;ll pay extra for a <a target="_blank" href="">Balsam</a>, and then trying to spot one that will fit and look the best in our living room.&nbsp; Snap a quick picture in front of the tree, and then watch Aaron take charge with his saw.&nbsp; Sometimes a sleigh ride and hot chocolate would be involved and, if the weather cooperated, maybe a few snowflakes.&nbsp; It was always a fun day that I looked forward to.&nbsp; For me, it marks the start of the Christmas season.<br /> <br /> Now we live in Oregon.&nbsp; The annual Christmas tree hunt has taken on an entirely new meaning.&nbsp; Sure, we still have the usual vendors in parking lots selling trees, but the one big difference, I don&rsquo;t know of any tree farms to cut down a fresh tree.&nbsp; Instead, we head to the mountains, and truly hunt for our tree.&nbsp; For just a $5 permit, you can find a &ldquo;wild&rdquo; tree.&nbsp; We&rsquo;ve joined in on a tradition with our friends (there were 28 of us this year) of tree hunting which always involves a picnic lunch of hot chili to warm up after the trees are found.<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="333" type="image" width="500" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Tree%20Hunt.jpg" longdesc="undefined" /></div> <br /> The hunt, for our family, is for a <a target="_blank" href="">Noble Fir</a> - a tree that grows above 5000ft (websites claim they grow as low as 3000ft, but we haven&rsquo;t seen any).&nbsp; <a target="_blank" href=""></a> says &ldquo;&hellip;nothing beats the majesty and grandeur of a real noble fir tree.&rdquo;&nbsp; In the past, these trees were only found in Oregon, but have since populated the western slopes of the Cascades.&nbsp; Soft needles that seem to never fall off the tree, good spacing between branches, and a silvery colored trunk &ndash; it looks like it was made for Christmas.&nbsp; The catch this year: there have already been feet upon feet of snow above 5000ft in the Cascades.<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img height="225" width="300" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Jason.JPG" alt="" />&nbsp; <input height="225" type="image" width="300" longdesc="undefined" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Pete%20and%20gina.JPG" /></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: smaller;"><em>Jason with his tree &nbsp; &nbsp; </em></span>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<span style="font-size: smaller;"><em>&nbsp; Pete and Gina hauling in their tree</em></span><br /> &nbsp;</div> Because of the snow, we had to venture down a new access road this year, as our usual spot was not accessible.&nbsp; Somehow we fit seven vehicles in a tight turnaround, unloaded four dogs, 11 kids, and 17 adults.<br /> <br /> After a few hours of sledding, snowshoeing, and snowballs, the trees had been found and everyone had found their way back.&nbsp; A fire was being tended, the chili was cooking, the cookies were plentiful, and smiles by all.&nbsp; The hunt was successful.<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img height="225" width="300" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/IMG_0304.JPG" /> <img height="225" width="300" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Laura%20and%20Gabe%20Sled.JPG" /><br /> <span style="font-size: smaller;"><em>Pulling the boys along in the tire tracks. </em></span>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; <em><span style="font-size: smaller;">&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; Sledding with Gabriel.</span></em></div> <br /> <u><strong>GEAR REVIEW</strong></u><a name="Tree_Hunt_Gear_Review"></a><br /> <br /> THE BOYS (twin 3 year olds):<br /> <br /> The lesson was definitely learned this year how quality gear for kids is a must for playing in the snow.&nbsp; How I wished I had planned ahead and done my shopping at CWO for the boys!&nbsp; I was in a panic the week before our hunt trying to find base layers, snow pants, mittens, and a sled for the boys.&nbsp; I feel the temperature in the 30s gave us a huge break in them staying warm.<br /> <br /> Coats - Old Navy coats and generic snow pants didn&rsquo;t cut it.&nbsp; After only a few hours of playing in the snow, the zippers were broken, and the coats were soaking wet.&nbsp; Thankfully they did their job in keeping the boys warm, but that was about it.&nbsp; Next year, I&rsquo;ll be stepping up to <a href="" target="_blank">Obermeyer or Patagonia</a> where I know the boys will stay dry, comfortable, and have quality components in zippers, pockets, and hoods.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="293" type="image" width="220" longdesc="undefined" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Gabe%20wet%20coat.JPG" /></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: smaller;"><em>Just an hour in, and you can already see the coat getting wet.</em></span></div> <br /> Snow Boots &ndash; A cheap, generic purchase again, and we ended up with wet feet.&nbsp; I know <a href="" target="_blank">Sorel</a> makes high quality children&rsquo;s boots for a great price that will keep their little toes dry and warm.<br /> <br /> Socks &ndash; I already knew I didn&rsquo;t have good quality snow boots for the kids.&nbsp; Anticipating their feet getting wet, cotton socks weren&rsquo;t going to cut it.&nbsp; I had them wear my SmartWool hiking socks which turned in to giant tube socks on the boys.&nbsp; They served their purpose.&nbsp; The socks were damp at the end of the day because of the boots, but their toes were warm.&nbsp; However, since the socks did not properly fit, Gabe still has a nasty blister on his ankle almost a week later.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve already ordered the proper size <a href="" target="_blank">SmartWool</a> socks for them.<br /> <br /> Sled &ndash; Have you ever been sledding on a Mountain Boy sled?&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve been on the <a href="" target="_blank">Ultimate Flyer</a>.&nbsp; The inexpensive plastic sled we bought served its purpose, but in the back of my mind, all I could think of was how much MORE fun we could be having on a Mountain Boy.&nbsp; Speed (Mountain Boy describes it as &ldquo;greased lightening&rdquo; on the bottom of the sled) on any kind of snow along with the ability to turn like no other would have made our shoveled out sled run (thank you Jason!) even more amazing.<br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="384" type="image" width="200" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Mountain%20Boy%20Ultimate%20Flyer.jpg" longdesc="undefined" />&nbsp; <input height="384" type="image" width="132" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Mountain%20Boy%20Ultimate%20Flyer%20bottom.jpg" longdesc="undefined" /></div> <br /> MYSELF:<br /> <br /> <a href="" target="_blank">Base layers</a> &ndash; a combination of Smartwool as my next to skin, on both top and bottom, layered with Patagonia Capilene as a mid-layer on top was perfect.&nbsp; I worked up a sweat, several times, pulling the boys around on their sled in the knee-deep snow.&nbsp; When I stopped, I never felt damp or cold thanks to the merino against my skin.<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img height="220" width="164" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Smartwool%20Base%20Layer.jpg" /> <img height="220" width="220" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Patagonia%20Cap%202.jpg" /><img height="220" width="134" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Smartwool%20Bottom%20Base%20Layer.jpg" /><br /> <em>SmartWool Layers with Patagonia Capilene = Warm and Happy</em></div> <br /> <a href="" target="_blank">Patagonia Down Sweater</a> &ndash; I love, love, love this.&nbsp; I have only had my new Down Sweater in hand for a few weeks, but I have not worn any other jacket since.&nbsp; My other jackets have a hard time competing against the minimal weight with 800 fill goose down, DWR (durable water repellent) tear resistant and windproof shell made from 100% recycled polyester, and to top it off, it makes an easy travel jacket by zipping in to its inner chest pocket.<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="200" type="image" width="200" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Patagonia%20Down%20Sweater.jpg" />&nbsp; <input height="200" type="image" width="200" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Patagonia%20Down%20Sweater%20zipped.jpg" /><br /> <span style="font-size: smaller;"><em>Patagonia Down Sweater zips into its chest pocket.</em></span></div> <br /> <a href="" target="_blank">SkHoop Short Down Skirt</a> &ndash; Another new love - a down insulated over skirt.&nbsp; As I zipped on my new skirt, over my Mountain Hardwear fleece pants, I instantly felt the warmth come over my legs.&nbsp; The skirt sat on my true waist &ndash; that one right below the rib cage &ndash; which felt awkward at first, but was quickly grateful for.&nbsp; I never had a draft up my back when I would bend over to help the boys, and never had snow come in when sitting or sledding.&nbsp; I loved the zippers on both sides of the skirt.&nbsp; When standing and watching the kids play, or eating my chili, I had them zipped all the way down to keep the warmth in.&nbsp; While pulling the boys around on the sled, I had them both zipped about &frac34; of the way down and still had great warmth and good mobility.&nbsp; The biggest reason I loved this - sledding.&nbsp; I simply zipped the skirt up most of the way on the side, sat down on the sled, had enough give in the skirt to place the kids between my legs, and off we went.&nbsp; No more cold and snowy butts while sledding!&nbsp; I can&rsquo;t wait to wear this skirt again playing in the snow, or sitting on bleachers watching those late season football games.<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img height="333" width="250" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/IMG_0306.JPG" alt="" /></div> <br /> <a href="" target="_blank">Sorel Joan of Arctic Boots</a> &ndash; There have only been a few occasions when I&rsquo;ve worn these boots.&nbsp; I bought them during my last winter spent in Wisconsin and wore them only a few times.&nbsp; I haven&rsquo;t had much of a need to wear them here, as daytime lows in the winter are rarely below 30 and the snow that does fall on the valley floor, quickly melts away.&nbsp; The need has returned as the boys are a bit older and ready to venture into the mountain snow.&nbsp; My feet stayed warm and dry (thanks also to my <a href="" target="_blank">Darn Tough</a> socks).&nbsp; I had no fear of trekking through the deep snow banks knowing the faux fur snow cuff would stop the snow from creeping in.&nbsp; I had debated giving these away last year, as they were collecting dust in the closet.&nbsp; It is no longer a debate, they have re-earned their spot.&nbsp; I had forgotten how essential good boots are in the snow and will look forward to dry, warm feet for years to come.<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img height="193" width="150" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Sorel%20Joan%20of%20Arctic.jpg" alt="" /><br /> <span style="font-size: smaller;"><em>Dry and warm feet with Sorel's Joan of Arctic</em></span><br /> &nbsp;</div> <a href="" target="_blank">Yaktrax Pro</a> &ndash; Aaron wore these.&nbsp; He has already put numerous miles on them running on the icy roads during Wisconsin winters, but again with no icy roads here, we haven&rsquo;t had much of a use for them since we moved.&nbsp; He put them on over his boots and had excellent traction walking on the packed snow of the access roads where most of us were slipping and sliding around.&nbsp; These are a definite must if you live where the ice sticks around on the sidewalks, if you are a runner and don&rsquo;t want to be confined to the treadmill because of icy roads, or find the need to go walking on a slippery and snow packed road or trail where snow shoes would feel bulky.&nbsp; These would make a great gift or stocking stuffer at only $30 for the Pro and $20 for the Walker.<br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img height="188" width="250" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Yaktrax%20%20pro.jpg" alt="" />&nbsp; <img height="188" width="250" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Yaktrax%20walker.jpg" alt="" /></div> Are you saying&hellip;. <em>I need that</em>!&nbsp; Use the code HOHOHO for 10% off your online purchase!<br /> <br /> Hope you all stay dry and warm as you venture outside this winter!<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img height="333" width="500" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Fun%20tree%20pic.jpg" /></div> <br /> StoriesThu, 09 Dec 2010 15:02:00 GMTLaura LuksichSOB 50K<em>December 2009.</em>&nbsp; Brooke and Kouba, &ldquo;So, we were thinking of running the <a target="_blank" href="">SOB 50K</a> in July.&rdquo;&nbsp; Laura casually replies, &ldquo;Ok.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> <em>February 2010.</em> Laura emails Clear Water Outdoor about the <a target="_blank" href="">SOB 50K</a>.<br /> <br /> <em>March 2010.</em>&nbsp; Everyone is registered for the race.<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="167" width="250" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/24%20SOB%20Run%20100.JPG" longdesc="undefined" /></div> <em>July 10, 2010.&nbsp;&nbsp;</em> <br /> <strong>3:45am. </strong><br /> Time to wake up.&nbsp; Just another long run on a weekend right?&nbsp; Don&rsquo;t get nervous.&nbsp; Don&rsquo;t think about spending the next seven hours running.&nbsp; I could drive to San Francisco in that time.&nbsp; What am I thinking?&nbsp; Running for seven hours?&nbsp; Too late to turn back now.&nbsp; Get dressed.&nbsp; Stuff in a bagel, a couple of slices of turkey, a cup of coffee.&nbsp; Hit the bathroom.&nbsp; Lace up the shoes.&nbsp; Time to go.<br /> <br /> Thankfully, I was not alone in my delirium.&nbsp; My husband, Aaron, was running the <a target="_blank" href="">SOB 50K</a> and Julie Nor, from Lake Geneva, was staying at our house and a part of the CWO team we had put together to run this race.&nbsp; Our boys had spent the night at a friend&rsquo;s house (thank you Wittmers family!!!), the dog was at the kennel.&nbsp; It was just the three of us mumbling and fidgeting around the house, gathering our things.<br /> <br /> <strong>4:40 am.</strong> We pull up in the Bauer family&rsquo;s driveway.&nbsp; The sky is getting lighter, it&rsquo;s a bit more bearable to be awake.&nbsp; Julie and I hop in Brooke&rsquo;s car, Aaron takes off to pick up Adam.<br /> <strong><br /> 4:55 am.</strong> We wait outside at Kouba&rsquo;s house.&nbsp; Brooke heads in to make sure she knows we are waiting.&nbsp; The house is dark.<br /> <strong><br /> 5:05 am.</strong> Brooke, Kouba, Julie, and I are off to the race start.&nbsp; Kouba had set her alarm to NPR.&nbsp; We now know NPR is not on before 6am.&nbsp; She woke up&hellip;<em>oh the birds are singing&hellip;.oh crap, the birds are singing, I&rsquo;m late</em>.&nbsp; Kouba tried to take a bite of her egg sandwich on the curvy road up to the race start&hellip; but that early in the morning, not hungry, nervous, on a curvy mountain road, still panicked about not waking up in time, it just didn&rsquo;t go in well, or at all for that matter.<br /> <br /> <strong>5:40 am.</strong> We arrive.&nbsp; There is a low murmur around us of nervous runners walking around to the porta-potties, picking up packets, pinning numbers on, and wondering how hot it will really get while we are running.<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><strong><input height="263" width="350" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Start%20of%20race%20-%20ladies.jpg" longdesc="undefined" /><br /> </strong><em>Kouba, Brooke, Laura, Julie</em><strong><br /> <br /> </strong></div> <strong> 6:00 am.</strong> The most bizarre race start I have ever been a part of.&nbsp; We are doing the early start for the 50K.&nbsp; The &ldquo;true race&rdquo; doesn&rsquo;t start until 7am.&nbsp; The best time that you can get when doing the early start is six hours.&nbsp; Meaning, if you felt great and finished at 5:50, your official time would still read six hours.&nbsp; The race directors are announcing the start.&nbsp; We line up between a few cones and everyone is moving backwards from the start line.&nbsp; No one wants to be in the front of the pack.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s quite amusing actually, people saying &ldquo;no you go in front, I don&rsquo;t want to&rdquo;.&nbsp; Soon, we hear the countdown and the word &ldquo;go&rdquo; and we are off.&nbsp; It ended up Brooke, Kouba, Julie, and I led the race.&nbsp; It was fun to take off and have no one in front of us &ndash; a first for me.&nbsp; Our pace was a bit faster than needed, but we led until the first aid station, just under three miles in to the race.&nbsp; We stopped, made Kouba grab a few snacks to get something in her stomach and then carried on.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> I&rsquo;m not going to describe the entire race or each aid station.&nbsp; Looking back, it&rsquo;s actually quite a blur for me.&nbsp; I remember we ran quite a bit of the race on our own.&nbsp; Julie had gone ahead, and Kouba, Brooke and I were just out for another weekend long run.&nbsp; We were just thinking of when the 7am start guys would start passing us, and soon enough Eric Skaggs seemed to float right by us (who then won the race in 3:43).&nbsp; Soon after Steve Harding (part of the CWO team) come running by strong.&nbsp; Adam Cortell and Aaron Luksich came running past us just before the half way aid station.&nbsp; The aid station was actually over half way at around 16 miles.&nbsp; At that point, there was a rush of runners.&nbsp; The early starters mixed in with the 7am starters.&nbsp; We were getting passed, and occasionally, would pass a few others.<br /> <br /> At this point, Kouba was turning in to a super hero.&nbsp; Brooke and I were feeling strong, no pain that we couldn&rsquo;t manage (even with both of Brooke's ankles in braces and recovering from plantar fasciitis - I think she has the pain tolerance of, well, someone that has an extremely high level of pain tolerance), and we were smiling and chatting knowing we were over half way.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> A little history on Kouba &ndash; she had been suffering from a cold the week and a half before the race.&nbsp; She saw her doctor on Wednesday before the race and got diagnosed with a bacterial chest and sinus infection and some antibiotics to go along with it.&nbsp; Dehydrated from antibiotics, exhausted from her cold, rushing to the start without anything to eat, she was somewhat miserable before the half way point even came.&nbsp; But, she was still running.&nbsp; As we ran, we would separate and re-group at the aid stations.&nbsp; Kouba was struggling, but always right there with us.&nbsp; I honestly, don&rsquo;t know how she did it.&nbsp; I don&rsquo;t know many that would have been able to push through everything I imagine she was feeling that day.&nbsp; By the last aid station &ndash; less than three miles to go, Brooke and I took off and started running to the finish.&nbsp; We knew she&rsquo;d make it.&nbsp; We all wanted to cross together, but Kouba had told us she&rsquo;d most likely be walking the rest of the way and to go ahead.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> There it was.&nbsp; The trail ended and the last 0.8 miles of the race was in front of us.&nbsp; It was all uphill.&nbsp; Really, it was.&nbsp; It was the hardest 0.8 miles I have ever run in my life.&nbsp; Brooke was awesome.&nbsp; I told her I needed some help to not start walking up the last hill and she motivated me to the finish.&nbsp; Julie, Steve, Adam, and Aaron were waiting and cheering us in.&nbsp; And then, it was done.&nbsp; 31.07 miles.&nbsp; Seven hours and fifteen minutes of trails, slippery snow, rocky downhills, a forever-long FOUR MILE uphill (at mile 22), crazy-fun aid-stations, the scorching mountain sun&hellip; it was all behind us.&nbsp; We did it!&nbsp; Kouba finished just five minutes later.&nbsp; We really did it.<br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="289" width="600" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/50K%20course.jpg" longdesc="undefined" /><br /> <em>SOB 50K Course</em></div> <br /> We ate ice cream sandwiches, burritos, watermelon, cookies, and whatever else was in sight.<br /> <br /> We were able to cheer Dave in to the finish &ndash; and then we were all done.&nbsp; The entire CWO team that started the race, finished it.<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;d have to say, that weekend was definitely a highlight of my life.&nbsp; Of course, the accomplishment for me of running a 50K, but we also had a blast the entire weekend &ndash; a trip to <a href="" target="_blank">Crater Lake National Park</a>, the pre-race dinner party, the actual race, the post-race dinner party, a trip to the Redwoods and the coast&hellip; I couldn&rsquo;t have asked for more.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s amazing what a &ldquo;little&rdquo; race can do to bring a group of fun-loving runners, families, and friends together.<br /> <br /> Thank you Clear Water Outdoor.<br /> <br /> Thank you SOB 50K.<br /> <br /> Overall <a href="" target="_blank">Results</a> for Team CWO:<br /> 11th - Steve Harding: 4:46<br /> 18th - Adam Cortell: 4:57:03<br /> 20th - Aaron Luksich: 4:57:38<br /> 77th - Julie Nor: 6:11<br /> 104th - David Schuster: 6:43<br /> 128th - Laura Luksich: 7:15<br /> 129th - Brooke Bauer: 7:15<br /> 130th - Kouba Sayre: 7:21<br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input height="333" width="500" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Team%20CWO.jpg" /><br /> <em>Team CWO</em><br /> <input height="150" width="200" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/All%20the%20kids.jpg" /> <input height="150" width="200" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Crater%20Lake.jpg" /><br /> <em>The kids at a pre-race party.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Crater Lake National Park.<br /> </em><br /> <input height="225" width="300" type="image" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/The%20boys.jpg" /><br /> <em>Adam, Dave, Aaron, and Steve at the start.</em><br /> &nbsp;<input height="133" width="200" type="image" longdesc="undefined" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/The%20view.jpg" /> <input height="233" width="175" type="image" longdesc="undefined" src="../../userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/Snow%20covered.jpg" /> <input height="150" width="200" type="image" longdesc="undefined" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Pics%20of%20Me/The%20race.jpg" />&nbsp;<br /> <em>The view from the start.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; A snowy section of the course.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Runners on trail.</em></div> <br /> Coming Up:<br /> Yes, still planning to review the many flavors of gels, gu&rsquo;s, bloks, and fun running foods.<br /> The drama of a team registration.<br /> More gear reviews.<br /> Training for the Nike Women&rsquo;s San Francisco Marathon &ndash; October 17, 2010.<br /> StoriesMon, 19 Jul 2010 01:21:00 GMTLaura LuksichFood Review: Gels and Chews<!--2748f02157b3446ebdf9e129949ffb10--> On-the-go-nutrition.&nbsp; <em>Please remember to pick up your trash after consuming gels and chews!</em><br /> <br /> I feel I&rsquo;ve tried a bit of everything over the last year when it comes to taking in calories while on extended runs.&nbsp; Some things have worked, some things have not, and some things were downright nasty.&nbsp; Of course, nothing beats a handful of potato chips, a banana, a bite of bagel, or a baked potato (yes, they had potatoes as an option at the <a href="" target="_blank">SOB 50K</a>&rsquo;s aid stations &ndash;mmmm, so good), but most often, those choices are a little too bulky to carry in a hand-held water bottle pouch or small hydration backpack.&nbsp; So, we turn to finding how we can get the calories our body needs in the smallest package available.&nbsp; Thus, the great minds invented Gels and Energy Chews.&nbsp; I haven&rsquo;t tried every flavor, but I&rsquo;ve tried quite a few.&nbsp; (I&rsquo;ll be sure to add when I do try new flavors.)&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Overall, <a target="_blank" href="">Hammer Nutrition</a> wins my vote in the Gel category.&nbsp; Gels aren&rsquo;t my favorite calorie source by any means, but at times, it is my only option.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m falling a bit more in love on every run with Hammer Nutrition Gels.&nbsp; The popular phrase in the running community &ndash; <em>the more you Gu the more you poo </em>comes to mind, but this hasn&rsquo;t been the case with Hammer.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I feel their low sugar content is easy on the GI track over an extended period of time.&nbsp; Even with the low sugar, they won for least artificial tasting &ndash; meaning I was able to finish an entire gel before continuing on my run.&nbsp; Best flavor &ndash; ohhh, that plain old Chocolate.&nbsp; Someone had said <em>it tastes like brownie batter</em>.&nbsp; I said, <em>yeah right</em>.&nbsp; Last Sunday, I felt as though I was eating brownie batter in the middle of a 20 mile run.&nbsp; I may have been a bit delirious, and I would not recommend eating a chocolate gel to replace your brownie batter addiction, but it was a small dose of happiness from Hammer.&nbsp; <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img width="233" height="315" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Hammer%20Chocolate.jpg" alt="" /></div> <br /> I&rsquo;ve always preferred Chews over Gels.&nbsp; I like the option of not having to finish the entire package at once.&nbsp; Quite often, I&rsquo;ll just pop one or two every 30 minutes or so.&nbsp; I haven&rsquo;t ever had stomach issues with Chews, and that may be the reason why, despite their high sugar content.&nbsp; In the Chew category, I felt <a target="_blank" href="">Honey Stinger</a> had the best flavor.&nbsp; <a target="_blank" href="">Clif</a> wins on packaging, overall flavor selection, and for their popular <a target="_blank" href="">Margarita</a> flavor with added sodium &ndash; great on a hot and sweaty run.&nbsp; The downside is that Clif Bloks are large &ndash; I find myself stopping to chew and swallow them as opposed to popping one in my mouth mid-stride.&nbsp; <a target="_blank" href="">Gu Chomps</a> wins my vote overall for ease of consuming without stopping, choking, and minimal issues of being stuck on my teeth.<br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><img width="300" height="87" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Gu%20Chomps.jpg" />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; <img width="167" height="101" alt="" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Clif%20Shot%20Blok.jpg" /><br /> <em>Gu Chomps&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Clif Shot Blok Margarita</em></div> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"><input type="image" width="900" height="351" src="/userfiles/image/Laura/image/Other___/Gels%20and%20Chewy%20Stuff.jpg" longdesc="undefined" /></div> <br /> <br /> <strong>Coming up:</strong><br /> Thank goodness for technical fabrics!<br /> Review of Electrolyte replacement drinks.<br /> StoriesTue, 21 Sep 2010 15:18:00 GMTLaura Luksich