Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Totally [US Olympic Team] Trials 2016 Recap

To say I was exhausted Thursday morning would be an understatement. The day was spent in a haze that can only be described as a Totally Trials Hangover.

While there are a lot of questions and concerns surrounding the Rio Olympics, one thing is for certain: thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of athletes have spent years training and dreaming about those two weeks in August.

Wrapping up today has been a week of track and field events in Eugene, Oregon which have determined Team USA. A week that has seen all the emotions.

Tracktown USA 16 - Hayward Field

Matt and I were lucky enough to spend the start of the week in Eugene and attend 2 days of the Trials at Historic Hayward Field. This was our first trip to Eugene and our first time attending Trials - for any sport. And let me say, it was amazing.

Oiselle was out in force, and Matt and I were proud to be part of the crew! While we all know Nike is everywhere when it comes to USATF, I don't think I'm biased when I say Oiselle was in close second when it came to strength of presence in the crowd. We were loud. We were excited. We were certainly the best dressed.

[You may have seen some of the news coverage and social media posts about Oiselle's latest run in with the USOC. The situation is ridiculous, to say the least. While I could write an entire post on the topic, I'll point you to THIS solid article if you're interested in reading more.]

And we were there to support the 14 Oiselle athletes who showed incredible grace, strength, grit, power, and incredible talent!

Track and Field Trials 16 - Women's Steeple
Oiselle Birds Megan Rolland, Shalaya Kipp, and Mel Lawrence in the Steeple 3000M first round. Each of these 3 women achieved PRs!

US Track and Field Trials 2016 - Women's 800
Kate Grace (in the center) on the last lap!

US Track and Field Trials 2016 - Kate Grace Wins
That's MF Fast Kate talking victory, Rio and giving major props to her Tribe!
Two things I know for certain after our trip to Eugene:

US Track and Field Trials - Oiselle

1. My love for Oiselle - the people behind the brand and my teammates - is stronger than ever. These are amazing, strong, and inspirational women. Each with their own story and own goals. We come from all walks of life, cover all distances and speeds. We support and push each other to be better, even if we've only just met.

2. I need to go back to Oregon so we can get to the coast and spend more time exploring! What a cool state!

While in Eugene, we did some running of our own - including a Oiselle run on Pre's Trail and the Butte to Butte 10K. Matt got another PR and I had my fastest 10K time in more than 5 years, which I'll attribute to the warm-up led by Lauren Fleshman, and to my teammate Rebekah, who stuck with me to the finish line.

Oiselle runs Pre's Trail

Butte to Butte 10K

Butte to Butte 10K - Lauren Fleshman warmup

We were able to catch quite a few events over two days, including the women's high jump, Men's and Women's 100M and 400M, 2nd Day of the Men's Decathlon, Men's Pole Vault, Men's Javelin, and of course, the Men's & Women's first round 3000M Steeple Chase and the finals for the Men's and Women's 800M. It was just amazing watching these athletes - the best in the country - compete. All of them, whether they're going to Rio or not, are incredible. (And when I say "all", I really mean, all the clean athletes)

The decathlon guys had a little fun and took a dip after Ashton Eaton claimed another national championship.

US Track and Field Trials 2016 - Decathlon water pit

There were also some fast guys in Eugene - including Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp, who ran this heat for the 5000M first round on July 4. As you likely know, Lagat went on to win the 5000M finals at the age of 41. Pretty incredible.

US Track and Field Trials - 5000M men's - Bernard Lagat
Beyond running, I spent some good times connecting with Birds and we were sure to enjoy Oregon beer and wine (we may have brought some back with us), and visited the Rose Garden in Portland. Just enough time to know we need more time in Oregon!

US Track and Field Trials - Oiselle
King Estates Winery

Portland Oregon Rose Garden

Only one month till the Olympics begin! Let's hope for everyone's sake that Rio can get their act in gear and make it a great event for these incredible athletes!

What are your favorite Olympic events to watch?

Check out Oiselle's final wrap-up of Trials HERE.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

10 Things All Runners Should Do Before a Race

You've been training for weeks (maybe months) and your race is now just a few days away. Whether you're running a 5k or an ultra-marathon, chances are your stomach and mind are churning with a mix of excitement, anxiety, and anticipation.

About to run a race tomorrow morning, I know the feeling well. And based on my amateur participation in races over the past 6-ish years, here are the top 10 things runners should do before every race.

Week Before

  • Pay closer attention to your diet and H2O intake. Make sure you're fueling your body appropriately so you're getting all the nutrients you need to get across the finish line. Tips: carry a water bottle with you wherever you go (and drink water from it) and make your plates as colorful as possible.
  • Roll out each night. Do this catching up on Netflix, listening to a podcast or while your quinoa is cooking. A few minutes go a long way. 
  • Keep running and strength training, but not too much. You don't want sore legs from an epic set of squats holding you back on race day, but maintaining your plank-a-day streak is a-okay.
  • Get as much sleep as possible. Chances are you won't sleep well the night before the race, but as long as you get solid sleeps earlier in the week you should be okay.
Running gear ready for the race

Day Before
  • Make sure you know where you're going and what time the race it. This might sound obvious but it can be easy to overlook. If you can, pick up your race pack and ask questions like where to park and if there's a bag check.
  • Don't eat anything crazy. Everyone has different needs and preferences when it comes to pre-race meals but pretty much across the board it's best for runners not to try anything crazy or new the night before a race. Even the cleanest of Porta-Potties are not where you want to spend race morning.
  • Get ready for the morning. Walk through your pre-race routine and get as much of it out and set as possible. Clothes, breakfast, tea, race bib, keys, phone, watch, sunblock. Check the weather forecast. Write a list of everything else you need and put it where you'll be sure to see it when you're getting ready still half asleep. 
  • Trust in your training and preparation. You've worked hard for this, and you're ready for what comes. And in that off chance that training didn't go as well as you had planned because, well, life happens, then have Plan B and maybe Plan C in mind. 
Race Morning
  • Wake early and leave early. Sprinting to the start line is no way to start a race.
  • Follow your normal routine - don't try anything too different from what you know works. That's what training runs are for.
  • Get to the race location with plenty of time to do what you need to do - dynamic stretches, Porta-Potty stops, catch a satellite on your watch, get pumped up for the race.

Endurance Race Series Finish

Do all this and you'll get to the start line feeling ready for a great race. In my opinion, the most important thing is that I have fun when I'm racing, that I push myself and feel accomplished and proud at the finish. Even if a race doesn't go exactly how I'd hoped for (it happens to everyone now and then) at least I can say that I did my best on that day. 

What are your pre-race tips? * What races are on your calendar this year? * Do you race to win or race for fun? (or somewhere in the middle)

Monday, June 6, 2016

BirdCamp Colorado

As I sit on our back deck thankful for shade and a big glass of ice water on a crazy hot day, it seems like a particularly very cold and snowy weekend in April was years ago now. But, let's take a little trip back in time for this quick recap of the first Oiselle Volée running camp in Colorado, as it's long overdue.

As many of you know, I've been running for Oiselle for several years now. I first learned about the brand back in 2011 when Sarah Mac, their marketing director at the time, reached out about a giveaway (here's a good flashback) and later that year became an ambassador. The team structure has changed quite a bit as the company has grown. When I started, there were a few dozen ambassadors across the country, now there are more than 2,000 Volée members across the globe! Not to mention the Haute Volée and professional athletes on Oiselle's roster. It's been incredible to see the brand grow in such an extraordinary, inclusive way.

One thing many people don't know is that while there are so many of us running for Oiselle, wearing the singlet at races and attending meet-ups and group runs, the team in the Nest (Oiselle vernacular for headquarters) is still pretty small. So to manage the huge team, there are regions with Volée leaders organizing local events on a regular basis and this year, regional camps. I'm thankful to be one of the leaders for Colorado, along with another longtime Oiselle runner, Rebekah.

Back to BirdCamp.

In April, we hosted BirdCamp Colorado: three days and two nights of running, food, learning, bonding, food, yoga, food, and fun. (Did you catch the part about the food? Runners love their food!) April in Colorado can be gorgeous, sunny and warm, or biting blizzards. Unfortunately for us, we had the latter. But we didn't let that stop our energy or spirit. More than 20 women from Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Washington gathered in Colorado Springs for the weekend.

We had great sessions led by experts in their field including a sports nutrition talk by Nuwanne Kirihennedige from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and a physio therapy discussion led by Heather North. We proved that runners can do yoga during an incredible class at Yoga Studio Satya. A Q&A session with Oiselle Haute Volée runner Shaluinn Fullove gave us insight into the life of an Olympic Marathon Trials runner, and the whole weekend started off with an ask-anything session with Kristin, JJ, and Jenn from the Nest. 

Even with the feet of snow and runs that involved being pelted with ice, I loved getting to know more of my teammates. They are all incredible, kind-hearted and goal-oriented women with inspiring stories. Sometimes we get into our routines and feel like we're just getting by or just living life, when in reality, we all have something to offer others. We all have an opportunity to inspire something in someone else. It might be your easy-going attitude, cooking skills, dedication to running 13 miles on a treadmill while others are eating eggs and bacon upstairs, kindness, ability to juggle work, kids and training, or how you give back to others by volunteering for Girls on the Run. Everyone has their own story and I felt so blessed to learn more of those stories during BirdCamp Colorado.

Photo by Rebekah (The Blonde Runs)
Haute Volée runner Shaluinn Fullove and Kristin Metcalf

That's me, JJ, Kristin, Jenn, and Rebekah

I would be an awful camp organizer if I didn't thank our partners for supporting the weekend our. Of course, there's Oiselle, without which camp wouldn't exist. But we're also immensely lucky in Colorado to have countless fitness, outdoors, and running-focused companies who are generous and willing to support groups like ours. Go check out these great companies....

Colorado Runner Magazine
Celestial Seasonings
Erica Sara Designs
Hank Orange
Hope Foods
Justin's Nut Butters
Love Grown Foods
Momentum Jewelry
Noosa Yoghurt
One World Running
Picky Bars
Run Gum
Run Steep
Tailwind Nutrition