Posts Tagged ‘twg’

Twelve 5ks in 2014 – Our Year of Racing

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

“I think exercise tests us in so many ways, our skills, our hearts, our ability to bounce back after setbacks. This is the inner beauty of sports and completion, and it can serve us all well as adult athletes.”

–Peggy Flemming

Early last year Jenny set a lofty goal for herself – she wanted to do twelve 5k races in 2014 (one per month). She kicked off the year colorfully by completing her second Color Run. In February she invited Christina to join her for the 36th Annual Runner’s Den Pancake Run. Always one for a challenge, Christina signed up for a handful of races too. By mid-year they were right on track, having finished half a dozen. Life got in the way for a few months but they dug in and crossed the finish line many times throughout November and December to end the year strong with a big stack of race bibs to prove it!

Below they share their thoughts on racing and chat about what they learned:

First, why? What made you want to race twelve 5ks in 2014?

Jenny: Exercise is always something I have not been good at keeping up with, so I wanted to do something that would keep me consistently working out. I have done a few races over the years, including two half marathons, and I find that my biggest motivator to stay moving is knowing that I have paid money to participate in an event. I am the one that suffers on race day if I don’t keep up with my walks, so the thought of losing money by not doing the race usually trumps my laziness on those days where I debate working out.

Christina: Honestly, at first it was just a way to spend more time with Jenny. But, I quickly discovered that I loved the feeling of crossing that finish line! Signing up for monthly races is also a great motivation for me to work out in between races.

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What was your favorite race and why?

Jenny: My two favorite races were The Color Run and The Hot Chocolate 5K, but they both will be better this year because I didn’t get to participate in them with Christina last year, and I always have more fun when she’s there. Both races are extremely organized, which appeals to the control freak in me, and both have really fun elements (color and dancing or a big mug of chocolate at the finish line).

Christina: That’s a really hard question! I loved them all! If I had to choose I would pick the 4 mile race that Jenny and I did on the 4th of July. It’s my favorite race because it was the hardest race I ran all year. It was terribly humid that day and well over 100 degrees. I woke up grumpy and exhausted. I was having such a terrible morning that I pouted when Jenny wanted me to wear my Sparkle Skirt! You can imagine how well the race went. I was a hot sticky mess the entire time and there were moments during the race where I had tears in my eyes because I was so frustrated and didn’t want to finish. I did finish though (in my Sparkle Skirt) because I refused to quit.

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What have you learned from this challenge?

Jenny: Racing has taught me to be more independent. Now, I don’t mean doing the races, as I love racing with Christina, but we often don’t actually race together. We will both go our own pace, push ourselves to do the best we can, and enjoy our time together before and after the race. We even have an unspoken agreement that whoever finishes first will be waiting at the finish line with a bottle of water for the other girl. Other than race day, I am on my own when it comes to keeping up with my routine, and have become comfortable with it, and making myself accountable for my workouts.

Christina: I’ve learned a ton. The biggest lesson so far? Squash the negative thoughts you have about yourself. In my opinion it’s the most self-destructive thing you can do. One of the things I love the most about running is all of the time you have to think. When I first started the challenge, there was definitely more walking and muscle cramps then running. I would hobble along beating myself up every step of the way – despite the fact that I pushed through the discomfort to finish each and every race! One day “Titanium” by David Guetta came on while I was running and with every verse I felt more and more powerful. I sang the chorus out loud and it was as if I was singing to myself – you shoot me down but I won’t fall I am titanium cut me down but it’s you who’ll have further to fall…raise your voice, sticks and stones may break my bones I’m talking loud not saying much…I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose fire away, fire away. I listen to that song on every run and it makes run faster. I am titanium. We can’t control what other people think or say about us. But, we are in FULL control of what we choose to say and think about ourselves. That’s real power.

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What are your racing plans for the future? Are you going to try for twelve 5ks in 2015?

Jenny: I will definitely be knocking out at least a dozen races in 2015! I am going to copy Christina in adding some longer races to my repertoire though (I have signed up for a 8K and 9K this Spring and a 15K in December). Christina and I are also planning on taking part in the Star Wars Half Marathon next January in Disneyland. That long-term goal will help me to stay motivated all year. Due to medical reasons, I was not allowed to run in 2014, but with those restrictions now lifted, I am looking forward to training to actually run my first 5K. It will be challenging, but I am excited to be “lightning on my feet,” like Taylor Swift.

Christina: I plan to keep running! I don’t have any major plans I just know I want to run a bit faster and a bit further. I absolutely want to run twelve 5ks in 2015! I also want to do a few 10k races too. I ran the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll 10k in January and it confirmed that 10ks are a good next step in my running journey. Once I have a few 10ks under my belt the next big step will be to register for my first half-marathon. Eek!

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Do you have any tips for new walkers/runners?

Jenny: I would say to be patient with yourself (and I will have to do that this year myself in working towards my running goals), and only compete with yourself. I have a friend, Matt, who has been running for years and if I compared my pace and progress to where he is, I would give up and never race again. Everyone who is a runner had to start somewhere, and those successful successful people you know who are successful all do the same thing – they run on a regular basis and they push themselves to always do a little better than they did before. So, on day one1, you may pace at a less than desirable (to you) rate, but each time you go out, push yourself to run a little further or up your pace a little. Your time reduction will be slow to start, but before you know it, you will be able to drive that time down and you will be amazed at what you did. Also, everyone has occasional bad days. Don’t let them get you down, and just get out there again and push it!

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I also want to note that if you aren’t a runner, or you don’t like running, walk! I have never run a race, including either of my half marathons. I know it’s intimidating when you go to the racing sites because of course, all the pictures are going to be people running. Don’t let that stop you from participating. In almost every race I have ever done, most of the people in it are walking at some point. Don’t be embarrassed if you are a walker. Be proud that you went out there and raced!

Christina: Yes – but I will warn you all of my tips are very basic! 1. First, invest in the right gear. Don’t go out and spend a ton of money! It will take you some time to figure out what you like. Start with running socks and a good pair of shoes, a supportive sports bra, a top made from wicking fabric and something to hold your phone/iPod. Second,2. Y you have to run a lot. It sounds so simple but most people (including me) think you can head out on day #1 and run comfortably. The truth is – at first it’s going to suck a little, you’ll be slow, you’ll be sore and you might not be able to go very far. Just know that each day will be a little easier then the last. The more you run, the more you’ll be able to run. Don’t be hard on yourself…just keep running. Finally,3. R remember to enjoy the journey! Don’t get me wrong, most days I have to push myself…really hard. But, I’m a big fan of fun too. I run in tutus, silly hats and covered in color. I pump my arms and sing out loud when an awesome song comes on during a run. Why not? Life isn’t always be about how quickly you reach the finish line, sometimes it’s about how much fun you had (and how good you looked) getting there.

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Ready to sign-up for a race? Check out these blog posts:

Green Beer, Wet Chalk and Raving: 5K Fun Runs
Fuel Your Fire: Coconut Almond Energy Bars
Racing in the Smartphone Age
You CAN Race a Half Marathon

Want to join us? Hashtag your 2015 race photos with #twelve5ksin2015 or #thewildernessgirls. We can’t wait to see your pics!

  

Wine Tasting Party: The Experiment Continues

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

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Earlier this year I hosted my first wine tasting party, and it was a learning experience, for sure. I don’t look at wine the same way, and after one get-together, I had a new sense of confidence when it came to talking about wine. But one wine tasting does not as sommelier make. As the saying goes “practice makes perfect,” so I took one for the team (aka you) and attended another wine tasting party with our newly formed group.

This time, our host was “Renaissance Woman” Laura Marlowe. Laura is a print production manager by day, and remodels house rentals, makes jewelry and cooks amazing food (including homemade bread) in her spare time. She is a superwoman and amazing friend.

In our second tasting party, Laura decided to focus on white wines, taking us through everything from Chardonnay to Marsanne. As with our previous tasting, none of us could agree on what we liked or didn’t like, and I am finding that is the point. It’s almost like looking at art – everyone will come away from the wine with a different view.

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I don’t like Chardonnay’s, and view them as buttery and blech, but they are a popular wine, and there were those at the tasting who disagreed with me. These tastings are teaching me that “taste is in the taste buds of the beholder” and it’s ok to not like what everyone else does, or dislike what everyone else spits out. It’s all about trying a variety of wines and finding what you like.

Here is what we learned from our second experiment:

Keep the tasting notes simple
We found a real winner in our second set of tasting notes, put together by Laura (you can download a PDF of our notes here), and designed by fellow taster, Pamela. We went from a very complex form to a four step process. We debated adding “suggested” words to it, but decided that it was best to let people come up with their own descriptor words, rather than be guided by someone else’s words. We have already reused the same note sheet again at a subsequent testing with one change – we have the host add the wine information in the “Wine Facts” section before the tasting. Writing all the information down was a struggle and made the pace a little sluggish, so we decided in the future that we wanted that information pre-printed (I am working on creating an interactive version of this PDF for a future post, so stay tuned!).

Eat up!
In our first tasting, we ate before we started tasting, because that’s what all the sites I read said to do. The idea was that you would eat to have something on your stomach, and then drink water to cleanse your palate so that you could truly taste the wine. I call poppycock on this one. For our white wine tasting, we drank while we ate, and we discovered something amazing – food pairings! It became a fun game to figure out what foods made each wine taste better or worse (sometimes a cookie paired best, and sometimes a spicy salami). Christina has become a true master of this game. Make sure that you have a good variety – salty, sweet, spicy, savory – so that you have lots of options in what you are pairing with each selection.

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There’s an App for That
Before the tasting, a couple of our participants had discovered a fantastic wine app called Vivino. This free app allows you to catalog and rate wines you have tasted, scan or search wines to see how others have rated them, and discover what wines your friends are drinking by connecting you with your Facebook network of friends who also have the app. All of this can be done by simply taking a picture of the label, which the app then uses to find the wine within its database. You simply rate, make any notes, and save. I have used it several times when I am buying wine as a way to ensure I am buying something that is rated well. As a side note, we aren’t being sponsored to promote this app, we just really love it.

Wine Guide
This was truly Laura’s contribution, and something that has proven to be a great addition to our wine tastings – a wine guide. You can customize the guide to include a variety of wines, or if you are focusing on one wine, you can expand on fun facts for that particular variety. It gives your guests a take-away guide to keep on hand so that they can continue their learning at home, and have something to reference the next time they want to try something new. You can see an example of the guide she created for her party here.

After just two tasting sessions, we have really started to hone in on what works for us as a group, from the format to the food to the tasting notes. The key has been assembling a group of people who are like-minded in our desire to learn more about wine, and agreement to allow an environment where people can be open and honest with their opinions.

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Before the end of the year, I will bring you a summary (including a list of what we tasted) for our most recent tasting on champagne/sparkling wines.

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Cheers!

How Is It November Already?

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Have you ever had time get away from you and then realize months have passed right before your eyes? We just totally had that happen.

In April we posted that we were going to take a few weeks off for vacations and other events taking up some time in our lives, and that few weeks quickly turned into a few months. After our latest annual Fall Foliage trip, we realized how much we missed sharing our stories, so we are happy to announce that we’re back! Starting next week we return with posts on what we have been up to while we were away, as well as sharing some of our favorite holiday tips for 2014.

We truly value all of you that come with us on this journey that is “The Wilderness Girls” blog and hope you will join us again as we strike out on more adventures in the coming year.

Welcome back! And seriously, how is it November already?

Meet the Wilderness Girls: Rachael

Friday, August 9th, 2013

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Rachael is the Wilderness Girls’ authority on sustainable home economics. She believes our families and our homes extend beyond our street address to include our communities and our planet. By day Rachael works in Energy Management & Sustainability for a Fortune 500 retailer. At home she is Mama, Wife, Sister and Daughter in a multigenerational household. She has been married to Jacob since 2001 and they have a young daughter who is the love of their life. Rachael serves her church social justice ministry and is an accomplished Toastmaster. She loves reading, knitting, movie dates with Jacob and hanging out with The Wilderness Girls.

 

The Wilderness Girls Q&A

Questions posed to each Wilderness Girl, from her fellow Wilderness Girls.

Question from Christie: If you could go anywhere in the world for a month with all expenses paid and be 100% assured that no harm would come to you where would you go and what would you see?

India! I would start with the golden triangle: Delhi, Agra (to see the Taj Mahal), and Jaipur. After that, I’d head for Mumbai and then round out the month on the beach in Goa.

Question from Christina: If you had the chance to interview someone (living or dead), who would you choose and what’s one question that you would ask them?

After much thought, Ben Franklin. I would ask him where he found the inspiration for his inventions and how he innovated the way he did. I’d be interested to see what he thinks of today’s technology and which of our everyday things he imagined in his time.

Question from Jenny: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I’m pretty nosy so invisibility and mind reading are attractive options, but I might be too tempted to use those powers for mischief instead of good. I think I’d have to go with time control in the end. If I could control time and do more than one thing at once I would be sure to use that power for good! I’d play with my daughter and do house chores and take classes online all at once without missing a thing.

Question from Rachael: It’s your birthday, you have a beautiful cake and you are surrounded by friends singing Happy Birthday. As you blow out the candles you think about how fortunate you are. Suddenly, a Fairy Godmother appears from the wispy candle smoke. “Congratulations!” she exclaims. “The Fairy Godmother High Council has decided to grant this birthday wish because it will bring joy to so many people.” What did you wish for? Why?

I wished for the girls of the world to be educated because research shows over and over that when we invest in the education of girls we reduce poverty and crime, increase the age of first childbirth and help the whole community to live healthier lives. Educating girls is a huge part of the solution to most of our global problems.

Photo taken by Bryan Babich Photography.

Meet the Wilderness Girls: Jenny

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

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Jenny is the Wilderness Girls’ gal about town, focusing on travel and lifestyle. She is a firm believer that you can find adventure anywhere, be it across the world or in your own backyard. Jenny’s day job as a production manager for the nation’s largest content marketing firm involves coordinating hundreds of print marketing pieces a year for dozens of healthcare and Fortune 500 company clients. Her OCD tendencies that she cultivated throughout her life make her a natural fit for this type of work, and she hopes to pass on some of those skills to her readers to use in their travel and everyday lives. At home, she spends time with her husband, Bryan, and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Penny Lane and Eleanor Rigby. She spends her free time remodeling their 1957 ranch, seeing as many movies as possible, and enjoying time with friends. She loves Disney, cupcakes and HGTV marathons.

 

The Wilderness Girls Q&A

Questions posed to each Wilderness Girl, from her fellow Wilderness Girls.

Question from Christie: If you could go anywhere in the world for a month with all expenses paid and be 100% assured that no harm would come to you where would you go and what would you see?

I know that safety wouldn’t really be a concern there, but I would do a trip through Europe as I would be able to travel to a large number of countries, see amazing architecture, and most importantly, eat a lot of amazing food!

Question from Christina: If you had the chance to interview someone (living or dead), who would you choose and what’s one question that you would ask them?

I would probably interview Abraham Lincoln as I would be incredibly curious to find out what his post-Civil War reconstruction plans would have been (since he was assassinated before reconstruction began)  and also to get his views on politics today.

Question from Jenny: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

It would be one of two things. I would either want to be able to stop time so that I could get more done during the day (my big goal would be to learn another language), or I would want to have super speed so that I could travel more quickly from coast to coast, or at least avoid the headache that is the airport.

Question from Rachael: It’s your birthday, you have a beautiful cake and you are surrounded by friends singing Happy Birthday. As you blow out the candles you think about how fortunate you are. Suddenly, a Fairy Godmother appears from the wispy candle smoke. “Congratulations!” she exclaims. “The Fairy Godmother High Council has decided to grant this birthday wish because it will bring joy to so many people.” What did you wish for? Why?

I would wish that no one would ever have to worry where their next healthy meal was coming from. Because of food insecurity (not knowing where your next meal is coming from), and hunger, there are many children who are not growing to their full potential, physically or mentally.

Photo taken by Bryan Babich Photography.

Meet the Wilderness Girls: Christina

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

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Christina is the Wilderness Girls’ resident craftaholic, focusing on home decor & party planning. She’s here to prove that you don’t need a big budget to make your house a home.  During the week, Christina works in Real Estate for a Fortune 500 retailer, is a member of her company’s Toastmasters club and attends school in the evenings. But, on the weekends you’ll most likely find her in flip flops, painting, playing with her dogs or sneaking out of the house to wander through a vintage shop or thrift store. She lives in Phoenix with her husband Rob and their two defiant chihuahuas Corbin Dallas & Frank Stein. She loves brass animals, gummy bears, spray paint and her Vitamix.

 

The Wilderness Girls Q&A

Questions posed to each Wilderness Girl, from her fellow Wilderness Girls.

Question from Christie: If you could go anywhere in the world for a month with all expenses paid and be 100% assured that no harm would come to you where would you go and what would you see?

In the 70’s my Nanny traveled through Italy with some friends, and when I was little, she used to tell me stories about her time there. One of my most prized possessions is a photography book from Venice that she brought home as a souvenir. While there are so many amazing places I would love to see, I think I would have to choose Italy. I’d drink lots of wine, eat pizza and visit the ruins of Pompeii, St. Peter’s Basilica & the Uffizi Gallery. It would be a unique experience to visit a foreign land and walk along the same streets that she walked along forty years ago.

Question from Christina: If you had the chance to interview someone (living or dead), who would you choose and what’s one question that you would ask them?

Katharine Hepburn has and will always be my most favorite actress. She was an amazingly talented actress and a fascinating woman. She was a bold, courageous, feminist who fell madly in love with a married alcoholic. I’d be thrilled to hear the story of her twenty seven year love affair with Spencer Tracy.

Question from Jenny: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I count myself a lucky girl for getting to grow up in Southern California. As a little girl, we were at the beach every weekend. So, I really enjoy being in the water – it’s my happy place.. I love to swim, play in the waves, snorkel and I could float around for days. I would choose to have gills like a fish, so that I could breathe underwater.

Question from Rachael: It’s your birthday, you have a beautiful cake and you are surrounded by friends singing Happy Birthday. As you blow out the candles you think about how fortunate you are. Suddenly, a Fairy Godmother appears from the wispy candle smoke. “Congratulations!” she exclaims. “The Fairy Godmother High Council has decided to grant this birthday wish because it will bring joy to so many people.” What did you wish for? Why?

While world peace has been overused by beauty queens around the world, I’d still choose it over any other wish out there. I’d wish for all our troops to come home.

Photo taken by Bryan Babich Photography.

We are the Wilderness Girls

Monday, August 5th, 2013

It all started with a trip to Flagstaff.

Christie invited Christina, Rachael & Jenny for a weekend road-trip north to admire the early autumn leaves. While planning the trip, Christie had intended to host a larger group of ladies, but when they set off early one Friday morning, they found themselves only four.

The trip started with breakfast at a small town diner, comfort food and coffee around the table with each girl agreeing that it was nice to have a few days away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Before checking in to their cabin, they stopped in town to stock-up on supplies. On the list were only the essentials – Honeycrisp apples, yarn, pistachios & matching Minnie Mouse pajama pants.

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Somewhere between the nature hikes and glasses of wine by the campfire, four women found true friendship and the Wilderness Girls were born.

Each girl contributed to the trip in her own unique way, Rachael gave lessons in knitting, Jenny simmered mulled wine, Christie ensured that each girl was prepared for their daily hikes and Christina served her chicken chili blanco. They laughed, they shared stories from their youth and there was (healthy) debate. It was clear that they were each very different from one another, yet still had so much in common.

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Christie, Christina, Jenny & Rachael. We are the Wilderness Girls.

We believe equally in the power of individuality and community; that while we may be on this road together, we’re each on our own journey.

Through this blog space we aim to feature thoughtful content from four unique voices; and we intend to portray a clear message to our readers: whether you’re a Partner, Teacher, Nerd, Foodie, Nurturer, Artist it’s ok to be you.

So join us, won’t you? Adventure is out there. And, all of this is wilderness.

P.S. We hope you’ll come back tomorrow! Each day this week we’ll introduce you to one of the Wilderness Girls.