23. August 2014 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 36: The Color Fun Fest in Colorado Springs · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Color Fun Fest: Before and After. Like other runs of this type, the Color Fun Fest brings the elements of the ancient Hindu spring festival of Holi. Photo credit: Herb Keyser.

Last weekend I had the chance to participate in my first “color run.”

“Oh! Which one? The Color Run? Run or Dye? Color Me Rad? The Graffiti Run?”

No, none of those. I had the chance to participate in the Color Fun Fest 5K on its stop in Colorado Springs.

The event markets itself as a family-friendly combination of the ancient Hindu Holi festival with heavy electronica music. During Holi, which is traditionally celebrated near the vernal equinox, friends and families celebrate love and good friendship. One of the Holi traditions is tossing of colored powders.

You will feel this energy during the Color Fun Fest. Participants run a 5K race while having colored cornstarch tossed at them approximately every mile. It’s a relatively new event making its way around the U.S., and I think once it works out some growing pains, it has the potential to be a successful running event series. Read on for details about my family’s experience. More »

I’ve decided it’s time for me to get my list in writing. I turn 40 later this year and I figure that’s half of my life complete (based on U.S. census tables), so it’s time to set some goals for the latter half of my life. I see and hear about things all the time that prompt me to say to myself, “I should do that before I die!” And then I tend to forget about it.

These are the big-ticket things I’d like to do one day. Most of it is traveling, but I’ve alway felt that there’s so much of the world to see and learn about.

No, I don’t have the money or time to do a lot of these things. But that’s what I have the rest of my life for, right? And it appears that much of it is visiting stuff.

Disclaimers about this list:

  • There is no timeline on most of these, except somewhat for Obergammerau
  • These are presented in no particular order
  • I am not suggesting I have the money to do all these things
  • This list will change constantly and I will bump it periodically

Leave a comment if you think there’s something else I should try, or if you have tips about something on the list, or if you want to share your own bucket list items!

Yes, I would like to do this one day: Cruise to Antarctica.

  1. Visit Antarctica
  2. Visit the Grand Canyon
  3. Climb Mount Rainer
  4. Run the Marine Corps Marathon
  5. Do the Goofy Challenge at Disney World
  6. Visit Banff/Whistler
  7. See the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
  8. Visit Yellowstone National Park
  9. Take an African safari, hopefully with the kids
  10. View the polar bears in Manitoba or Norway
  11. Go to San Diego ComiCon
  12. Visit Paris
  13. Ski in the French Alps
  14. Ski in New Zealand in July
  15. Learn to snowboard (Note: I tried to learn, twice. I’m too old for this crap).
  16. Visit Alaska, perhaps on a cruise
  17. Visit Beijing
  18. Visit Times Square on New Year’s Eve to see the ball drop
  19. See the Passion Play in Obergammerau, Germany in 2020. Take the kids.
  20. Plant a garden that will provide the sole source of produce for my family all season
  21. See Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade live.
26. March 2013 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 40: The McGuire’s St. Patrick’s Day Run · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,
Just before race time!

Just before race time!

A couple weeks ago we took part in another Florida Panhandle tradition: the McGuire’s St. Patrick’s Day 5K Prediction Run on March 9th.

This is a race that rewards not how fast you can run, but how close you finish to a time you predict at registration time. It happens to be considered the nation’s largest prediction run. It’s also a race that welcomes crazy costumes and serves Irish stew, beer and the restaurant’s signature drink, the Irish Wake, for 3 hours after the first person crosses the finish line.

Our whole family was registered to do the race, but Timmy was sick the week before, so his baseball coach offered to take him to the Navarre Baseball opening ceremonies and we were able to meet him in time for his game. Jacob was excited to take part in the run!

More »

Our take from last weekend -- not bad!

Our take from last weekend — not bad!

This past weekend our family made yet one more trip to Orlando, so I could run my 2nd Disney Princess Half Marathon, and the boys could experience the early mornings and fun people watching with me. We stayed at Walt Disney World’s newest hotel, a value resort called The Art of Animation Resort, and we visited Sea World with our dear friends the McNabb family.

We repurposed the Incredibles costumes we wore last September, which was our plan all along. Unfortunately, my plan was for temperatures to be in the 50s like it had been most of the previous 5 years of this race. Instead it was quite warm. More »

16. February 2013 · Comments Off on What Does it Take for a Successful Long Training Run? · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,
Just before the Gulf Coast Half Marathon, April 2011. There are many things I had to do before I was ready to take this run.

Just before the Gulf Coast Half Marathon, Pensacola Beach, FL, April 2011. There are many things I had to do before I was ready to take this run.

I’ve discussed before how my brain goes through some pretty funky thought exercises when I’m taking long training runs (as well as long drives by myself).

On Friday I took my last training run before the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon next weekend.  This last run was somewhat delayed because the week prior I threw out my back somehow and I had to rest it for a week.

For this last run, I had to turn around after about 1/3 of a mile because I had forgotten something. This got me thinking about everything I have to do before taking a long run.*** I tend to get a bit Princess-and-the-Pea-ish about making sure everything is perfect, otherwise I could get miserable in a hurry.

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06. February 2013 · Comments Off on Pensacola Double Bridge Run, Take Three! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,
Bright shirts, bright sky! This year I ran the 15K in my fastest time!

Bright shirts, bright sky! This year I ran the 15K in my fastest time!

This past Saturday I ran my third and final Pensacola Double Bridge Run. This year the route was slightly different, and there were medals for the 15K finishers for the first time. This is also the first year the 15K race sold out (I believe they capped it at 2500 runners).

As always, I have to be on the buses before 6am to be transported to the race start, which this year was at the new Pensacola Maritime Park (where the minor league baseball team plays).

A lovely sunrise over my right shoulder (on the left in the picture) before the race started.

A lovely sunrise over my right shoulder (on the left in the picture) before the race started.

The first year I ran this in 2011, the weather was chilly and it was overcast the entire time.  There was a brisk north wind that seemingly propelled me across the two bridges. In 2012, the wind was from the south, still overcast, but about 30 degrees warmer. You could wring out my shirt after finishing that one.  And a south wind means it felt like I was running in place when on the bridges.

For 2013, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was in the mid-30s at race start, and around 50 degrees by the time we finished. The sun was in our faces, and I even had a little bit of a sunburn!

The run was in my face during the entire race. I don't like running with sunglasses, so I was essentially squinting the whole time.

The sun was in my face during the entire race. With temperatures in the 30s and 40s, it was a welcome addition. I don’t like running with sunglasses, so I was essentially squinting the whole time.

I am testing the MapMyFitness iPhone app for GeekMom; the app mapped my route well, but it seemed to pace me pretty fast: 1:28 hours for the 15K (a little more actually, which is something I’m working out with the company), which is much faster than I usually run. My official race time is around 1:30 hours, which is more realistic.

I’ll say more about the app in my official review.

I also took many pictures on the route, and the pictures geolocate along the route in the app, which is also pretty cool.

One of the 22 pictures I took along the route.  Most of them look like this, to be honest. In this case, I'm ascending the Pensacola Beach Bridge (the 2nd bridge of the two).

One of the 22 pictures I took along the route. Most of them look like this, to be honest. In this case, I’m ascending the Pensacola Beach Bridge (the 2nd bridge of the two). On the entire route, the outermost of the northbound lanes were blocked off for us.

The finish is very inspiring, and the after party is a lot of fun. We finish the race near the Boardwalk section of Pensacola Beach, and the numerous businesses there work together to provide free food and beer to the finishers.

I love my medal!

I love my medal!  It’s designed in the spirit of my favorite gaudy sign (linked photo courtesy of Fotomom)!

04. January 2013 · Comments Off on To Those Who Use the Multi-Use Trail on East Bay Blvd. · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,


When I take long training runs, I think about a LOT of stuff. Here are some of the wacky things that crossed my mind on today’s 8 mile training run, which took me on to County Route 399 near the airfield. Take it or leave it.

  1. If you let your dogs poop on the sidewalk and don’t clean up — YOU ARE WRONG. It’s bad enough when they’re aren’t cleaned up from the grass on the sides, but the SIDEWALK? On the 2 mile stretch of trail between Hidden Creek Golf Course and the Holley NOLF airstrip, I saw at least 4 piles from assorted sized pets, one of which had been stepped in…not by me, thankfully! Do the right thing and clean up after your pet.
  2. Just east of the PGA Blvd. intersection with East Bay Blvd. is a bridge that crosses over a creek. What died near that bridge? It smells AWFUL!
  3. Girl running this morning with the red gloves, do I really look that terrible? That face you gave me…in both directions…was pretty telling. Other people smile and say hello, even when drenched in sweat.
  4. Is it apropos that the last song that played on my Pandora at the very end of my run was “Misery” by Maroon 5?
  5. Is it in poor form to run down the very center of the street if the traffic is light enough? By the time you’ve run 4-5 miles, the slope on the roads starts to fatigue my ankles. I long for sidewalks in Holley by the Sea…
  6. Why did I run so slowly this morning? I average 9:15-9:20 miles but today they were 9:35-9:45 miles. Maybe I need to look into that jog.fm app that gives you music that matches your desired pace.

Okay…time for lunch!



20. May 2012 · Comments Off on Nebraska Discoveries 21*: The Keystone Trail in Bellevue · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , ,

* I plan to renumber/redesignate my Nebraska-sightseeing-related blog posts into something more mangeable for search engines. Stay tuned, if you subscribe via RSS you might get inundated with updates. I’m not changing the text of the posts, just the titles and tagging.

The Keystone Trail parallels Papio Creek in Bellevue.

On Friday I took a short run on one of eastern Nebraska’s awesome running trails: The Keystone Trail.  I used to run on this trail a LOT when we were living in Nebraska, and I’ve written previously about the great views it gave us of the Offutt Air Show in 2008.  This is how I did my 10K and 1/2 marathon training when I lived in the area.

From where I’m staying in Bellevue for my reserve work right now, it was about a 1/2 mile run to a trailhead off Capehart Rd.  It was so easy.  So I set my Nike+ for a 5K run and ran out 1.5 miles or so on the trail.  On the return trip, once my Nike+ told me I had run 5K, I stopped to enjoy the views.  I could take some pictures too.

The markers are approximately every tenth of a mile. They are a bit misleading on this marker: the "K" is for "Keystone" and not "kilometer". The numbers posted are miles.

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08. March 2012 · Comments Off on Runner Girl Plays Dress Up — Part 2 · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

As you read in Part 1, Steph and I had to try to sleep the night before the big race, except we were too excited to sleep and we each probably got 3-4 hours of sleep total.

We got up at 2am — YAWN! — and was ready to meet the first bus from our hotel to the race venue.


Once we were dropped off, we had a long walk to the bag check.  A girl who was sitting near us on the bus was chatting with us.  And wouldn’t you know it?  Her brother is a weatherman in the Air Force!  And was traveling down to Dave’s squadron for some training!

Where’s Kevin Bacon???

I won’t bore you with the details of waiting to wait for the start of the race.
But here are some cute costumes to put smiles on your faces:

The start of the race is impressive.  Fairy Godmother comes out and says “Bibbity Bobbity Boo!” and fireworks are shot off!

I was in Corral A — so I had a great view of the start of the race!

During the race there are many opportunities to take pictures with the Disney characters.  I didn’t start doing this till the castle at about mile 5, when it was clear that most of the girls in my corral didn’t care about the pictures and there were no waits for most of the pictures.

So even though I didn’t plan to, I bought the digital copies of the race pictures.  There were so many, it was worth it!

Enjoy some of the professional pictures taken during the race:

That Prince Charming was — WOW!

The girl in the Snow White costume is Lisa from Houston.  She paced with me for miles 2-10! 
I wish the castle wasn’t so dark behind me.  We were there right at sunrise….
Flynn Rider — it’s remarkable how Disney finds such likenesses!

Mulan was the LAST Princess on the race route, at mile 12.  It was TOUGH getting back on the route after visiting with her.


The girl on my left is Stephanie (a different Stephanie than the one I traveled with).  She and I work together in the AF Reserves.  We paced each other to the finish!

Best. Finish Line. Picture. Ever.  Usually I look like death.

The medals are very substantial.  Downright heavy around my neck.

It was Stephanie’s birthday.

Stephanie and I had quite the adventure after our race trying to get lunch and then take the monorail and buses back to our room.  Our legs are like jello!

After we got back to the hotel, Stephanie D. and I took it easy for the rest of the day.  We enjoyed the hotel’s hot tub (along with about 10 other racers) and then enjoyed some Cajun food for dinner at the hotel’s food court.  We enjoyed the Oscars and fell asleep nice and early.

We drove home on Monday and that was that!

I’m trying to convince Dave to run the race with me next year.  I’d like to dress like Mr. and Mrs. Incredible!

But we’ll need some help w/ the kids to do that…we’ll see.

08. March 2012 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

I’m so excited to finally have time to sit down and share my experience with my first runDisney race a couple weeks ago!

Last fall I signed up to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon, whose route covers Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.  The race was on February 26th.  A neighborhood friend, Stephanie, and I made the trip together over a long weekend.  We had a wonderful trip and it was fun to be part of such a magical weekend.  There were nearly 20,000 runners.  While men are allowed to take part, they cannot win race awards.  There were about 1000 male runners.

Can you see me?  I am towards the right, just past the finish line.  Do you see the man in the light blue tutu to my right?

The training for this race was very similar to the program I did for the Gulf Coast Half Marathon last spring.  Like last year I was able to take advantage of the Pensacola Double Bridge Run as a good mid-point for training — and it was smart to incorporate the hills because the Disney course isn’t flat at all!

It’s tradition to dress in a costume for this race.  Needless to say, most of the women racing dressed as their favorite princesses.  Many of the men dressed up, also.  I chose to run as Mulan, due to her military and Asian backgrounds.

After ditching the tulle tutu option after a test run (I don’t know HOW all those other women did it), I opted to just stick to modern running clothing with a couple of additions.  I bought a pink running skirt, and I had several lighter pink running shirts to choose from already.

I had this old Susie Wong-style dress that I had bought in China years ago.  I outgrew the dress and the silk was looking worn out in spots.  I cut off the top and bottom to make a corset-style belt.

This could fit over my head and then zip into place w/ the original dress zipper.

This was the flower for my hair.

I after hot glue not holding the flower onto this comb during a run, I used floral tape to really bind it on.  It held up for all 13.1 miles!
A friend gave me this pretty lace scarf that served well as a gold sash and bow in the back.

Now that I had a costume ready to go, let’s talk about the race experience itself!

Stephanie and I arrived at Walt Disney World around 5pm Friday.  We headed straight over to the “Fit for a Princess” Expo, which featured numerous fitness vendors selling all the typical goodies.  We enjoyed samples of Clif Gel, Luna bars and got to test iPod armbands, headbands and other gadgets and gizmos.

I had wanted to look at the Dooney & Bourke commemorative handbags Disney had commissioned for the race.  They were sold out.  An employee said they had all sold out in two hours.  Gee, I wonder why they sold so quickly?  I wasn’t necessarily planning to buy one — I’m not a super Princess-ey kind of girl — but I still wanted to see them in person.

Forget the Princess race bag, this is the one I want!

We stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter hotel on the Walt Disney World property.  This helped getting to/from the race venues more easily.

The landscaping and ambiance of this hotel is so beautiful!

We enjoyed a fun evening at the Boardwalk Resort.  We visited a piano bar called Jellyrolls and met up Debbie, with an Air Force friend who lives in Tampa now, as well as fellow blogger Rosalind of Girls Are Geeks.

Rosalind and me.

On Saturday, many runners who had their families at the resort with them took part in the Tangled Family 5K race.  I didn’t go to see the race, but I could see that being a nice warmup for the biggie the following day.

Steph, Debbie and I enjoyed a leisurely day at Magic Kingdom.  For the first time, I could spend the day at Magic Kingdom doing GIRLIE things!**

We browsed all the stores we wanted…slowly!  The lines weren’t bad at all, and we could manage our Fast Passes well enough to go on any rides we wanted to.  For the most part, we stuck to leisurely rides, but we didn’t let a trip on Splash Mountain escape us!

**On my 30th birthday my Mom and I spent the day at EPCOT…similarly doing girlie things and it was great!

Because we were wearing our race t-shirts, many cast members wished us “Good Luck tomorrow”.

This was about 30′ from the big drop at the end of the Splash Mountain ride.  The ride STOPPED for about 2 minutes.  Which is why I got this picture.

Enjoying some shopping!

We had dinner at Downtown Disney Saturday night, said goodbye to Debbie, and then Steph and I attempted to go to bed early — we had a 2am alarm set for Sunday morning!  But I was too excited — I hadn’t been this excited in YEARS about anything.  I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve!  I probably got about 3 hours of sleep before the race.

Stay tuned for Part 2…the race itself!