BEYOND Clothing and Sonja

I have some great news!

I have been selected for Beyond Clothing’s 2008 Technical and Tactical Clothing Sponsorship Campaign .

I feel honored that Beyond Clothing has decided to support me this year as I race in the snow and mud. I have so many adventures on tap for this coming year, and knowing that I get to stomp around the country wearing some of the best technical clothing on the market makes me absolutely giddy!

I just put in my first order for several technical pieces of clothing and you would be amazed at how many questions they ask you. Every piece of clothing that Beyond makes is totally custom! So I had to put in all my measurements, and they ask you wild questions like “How far down your zipper do you want the bottom of your jacket to go”. Crazy…in a totally awesome way.

We are planning on ordering Troy a jacket soooooon. Being 6 foot 4 inches tall makes it tough to find anything that fits. While I was ordering my clothes…Troy was drooling!

The first three pieces that I ordered are:

Cold Fusion X Jacket
Steel Action Shirt
Cold Play Shock Pant

I ordered the Cold Fusion X Jacket in Lilac, and I can’t wait to see it.

A big Thanks to Dan and everyone at Beyond for thinking I’m cool…I think you guys are way cool too!

Thanksgiving in Pueblo

We had such a wonderful time spending this holiday with Ron and Michelle in Pueblo. Sam an Annie just tickled us pink as they played so well together. When they get together they become the two most polite two year olds you have ever met.

On Wednesday, we got a late start out of town. It was nice to sleep in though. I had a timed mile in the pool to measure progress so we hit the Greenwood Athletic Club on the way out of town to get that in. My time was 31:15, which is about 2 minutes faster than my last timed mile. So, slowly, and surely, I am getting better little bits at a time.

The drive to Pueblo was quick, we stopped on the way at the YMCA in Colorado Springs to sign up Michelle and I for the Turkey Trot the next day. We had a mellow evening and were able to visit and catch up with each other.

Thursday Michelle and I got up early, left the kiddos with their daddies, and drove up to the springs for the race. It was a BIG race! The course was great, lots of hills through a residential neighborhood and many twists and turns. I took it out strong but felt a bit cold and sluggish the first mile. I came through mile one as 10th overall woman in about 6:35. Then we hit the hills. The second mile my arms felt very sore and tired from the swim the day before. I ran the hills steady, but nothing super impressive. I missed the mile 2 marker. Somewhere around mile 2-2.5 I reeled in and passed one lady, and beat it home to the finish in case she decided to try to pass me back. About one minute after I finished I saw Troy and Annie! They had tried to surprise us by bringing the kids to the race, but got there ONE minute too late! I guess I was just a little to quick for them that day!

I got 9th overall woman (664 total women in the race), and 3rd in my age group. My time was 21:22, which felt great given the cold temperature and stiffness. There were some awesome fast ladies there and it was great to get to run with them!

Back home we went, and in went the turkey. We had a few mishaps there, but all in all Thanksgiving Dinner went beautifully. The hit of the evening was the Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing from Eating Well. It was to die for! I do think a big part of it was that I made it with the cornbread from Trader Joes, it was so tasty!

Friday was a mellow day, we woke up to a totally WHITE post-Thanksgiving Day. It was snowing in Pueblo. I hit the local YMCA for an early morning swim and afterwards Michelle and I did a little Christmas shopping at KOHLs. We headed home after that, renewed, refreshed and happy to have spent the day of Thanks with our closest friends.

Gobbler Chase Snowshoe Race

9News aired a piece and an article on the Gobbler Chase Snowshoe 5K Race and I “made the news”. Click on the link at the bottom of the post to be taken to the webpage with the footage.
Photos curtsey of 9News.
I’m not sure how long this footage will be up!

I can’t even begin to explain how fun today was! We had a big group of Practical Coaching athletes travel up to Copper Mountain for the annual Gobbler Chase 5K Snowshoe Race. It’s a great first season race. Good for getting the cobwebs off the snowshoes and for a test run before the intense Beaver Creek Snowshoe Series begins in three weeks. We traveled up as a group which means lots of banter and smack talk.

This was my first race on my new direct mounted snowshoes. 9News did little interview with me before the race (I happened to be talking a little smack about my orange shoelaces). We did a warm up as a group, checked out the course a little…it was thin, and that’s an overstatement (WE NEED SNOW…BAD).

With strict instructions from the man not to go out too hard, we were off. The course was a bit of a short 5K, with all the uphill in the first 1.5 miles. I was sooo happy to be with my teammates and friends, and so excited about being on my snowshoes, that I just WENT. I felt good. AND…I only fell down twice. I have a bad habit of eating it in my snowshoes, but only twice is pretty good for me, it means I was pushing it. I was the lead woman out of the shoot, and I just managed to stay in the lead the entire race. My new snowshoes are really awesome and so light on my feet. And for my win today, RedFeather Snowshoes gifted me a new pair of snowshoes of my choosing. I felt very lucky!

My friends and teammates did really well too! In the women’s race we took 1, 4, 7, 9 and 20. If we were a cross country team we would have rocked the house! The boys did well too. Steve was 2nd overall, and Tyler came in right on my tail with Bryan on his tail. I’m so proud of everyone. I think when you have fun together, you race well together!

I had a fun little interview with 9News after the race, and the Summit Daily News also asked me a few questions. This evening 9News aired a piece that was really cute, you can watch it at any of the links below. BEWARE: they don’t get my name right and they call me “Sophie”. I’m not going to even share with you Steve’s comment on that one! Oooh, and I love that it ends with Steve and I running off together in our Practical Coaching jackets! Too Fun!

Happy Gobble Gobble Weekend!

Warning: New Snowshoe Bling Ahead

Want your own pair? Order them binding free from NORTHERN LITES and have Steve or some other handyman mount them for you!

Okay, so I’ll be the first to admit it. Snowshoe racing is sort of an underground subculture sort of thing. So few people live in locations where it snows regularly enough to run around on your snowshoes all the time. And lets face it, if you are lucky enough to live in one of these locations you are probably skiing.

If you get into the sport you find out pretty quickly that the people in the lead pack have snowshoes that don’t look like yours. They are snowshoes on steroids. Namely, the top athletes have their running shoes, or racing flats bolted straight onto their snowshoes.

Where do I buy those was my first thought?? Here’s the thing…you can’t! You have to buy a snowshoe directly from the manufacturer “without bindings” and then you have to find some crafty man who knows what he is doing to have your shoes mounted on them. Or, if you are a crafty man, you can use yourself :)!

Well, I’ve been drooling over a set of direct mounted snowshoes, and yes-sir-ee-bob, I am now the new owner of a pair. AREN’T THEY PRETTY!

I opted for the Northern Lites Elite Racer. This is the lightest snowshoe on the market that still meets the 120 cubic rule for snowshoe racing with the USSSA. I have mounted a pair of Super Light Mizuno Wave Precision 8’s on them (these are one step stiffer than the Mizuno racing flat). Lastly I added some orange shoelaces for extra bling-bling. Donate $ to Run For Something Better and you too can have a set.

Now, even though I am clearly a snowshoe racing junkie, you don’t need to be to participate in the sport. It’s a very “newbie friendly” sport. Many people who enter their first race have only walked in snowshoes and have NEVER run in them. Most races are sponsored by a snowshoe company and they will have complementary snowshoes for you to use. I did my first two races in 2004 before I owned snowshoes.

Most of the racers walk all the uphills, some walk the flats, and almost everyone tries to jog the downhills (because it’s fun). It’s a sport for anyone, so don’t let my bling scare you away. If you live near snow look up one in your area and give it a try.

Runnin’ Up Highgrade

Yesterday was epic. My COACH designed it to be that way. Friends and teammates were invited, cars were shuttled to the top, Troy was assigned SAG support, an entire box of Hammer Gel was brought, an aid station was set up…yes my friends…this is a focus that we bring to few training sessions.

Yesterday we endeavored to run up Highgrade. For those of you unfamiliar with the territory, this is where we triathletes in Denver do our hill training…ON.OUR.BIKES. Yesterday we decided to run up the biggest and baddest hill we have in Denver. UH-HUH, we were to put the smack-down on the highgrade.

Miles: 11 all up
Elevation gain: 2,912 ft.

The goal was to start in control, calm, strong, and patient. I achieved that goal. Miles 1-3 were easy and fun. Troy was there at mile 3 with the car so we could shed layers. From 3 – 5.5 Beth and I ran together and chatted, controlling heart rate and pace. We hit up the aid station, said hi-de-ho to Troy again and hit the crazy switchbacks from mile 5.5 – 7 with focus and strength. At 7, towards the top of the switchbacks, I was feeling strong and ready to charge. Beth and I said our goodbyes and I love yous and I took off to catch those ahead. I felt so good, so controlled. There is a confidence that you gain in a workout when you know you are playing your cards right. There’s no way you can be defeated. You are on. The last 4 miles were as strong and hard as they come.

Getting to the top was wonderful, but not as wonderful as the process.

We hopped in cars, and drove back down to pick up people along the way. It’s an awesome way to do a group run because everyone ends up running about the same amount of time. For some, the goal is to make it to the top, but for others it’s just to get as far as they can. Either way it feels like a win-win situation.

Great job to everyone who ponied up today and ran (about 20 of us). Thanks to Steve and Andrea for organizing and providing aid. Thanks to Troy for SAG support.

Happy Birthday Miss Annabelle


This is Annie the day she was born:

This is Annie when she turned one year old:

This is Annie when she turned two years old:

My little girl turned two yesterday. It’s amazing what a difference a year makes! Here are some of the funny things she is doing lately, along with a few milestones:

-She likes to pretend that she is about to start a race. So she lines up on her imaginary starting line and stands there until we say “Ready, Set, Go”. At that point she races off. Sometimes she jumps the gun on it, but we have time to work on that before track season. I really wonder who she picked this up from?
-She is pretending now. So this morning she found my swim bag and piled several stuffed animals on it and laid her blanket over them and said “Night-Night”.
-As you can see above she pretends to brush my hair. When I brush her hair she screams bloody murder, joke is on me I guess.
-She runs, and jumps and pretends to scare people a lot. So if we are out and about and she sees someone she likes that is ignoring her she will go up to them and say “Doo” (her word for Boo) and strikes a flashy pose. This just cracks people up big time.
-Favorite words: Oooh-Wow and Uh-Oh, but a close third is Shoe.
-She gives kisses a lot now…to her dad…not her mom. She also knows when dad is going to work and gives him a kiss without any prompting.
-She LOVES to dance and always asks me to “Pin Me”, which means “Spin Me”.
-She can kick a soccer ball like no other. I am not kidding, she is REALLY good and super accurate. I should try to get some video of it b/c it’s pretty crazy.
-She went skiing for the first time last weekend. I need to get some pictures of her on her skis, it’s pretty sweet. She went up the magic carpet with dad and they skied down together several times. She is still getting used to putting her weight on her skis, but her first time was VERY successful! Just for the record – first time on skis: 5 days shy of 2 and was at A-Basin (I tend to forget these sorts of things)
-She is talking more, still not a huge vocab, but she speaks sentences. We just can’t understand all the words yet, but she does repeat her exact sentence when we say “What” so at least she knows what she is saying. Helpful!

I love this age. She is quite a hoot. She is still riding in the backpack and the Chariot like a champ so we still do lots and lots of exercising together during the day. She is active and independent and very strong willed. She is impenetrable to negotiation. She eats very little, unless you count sand, dirt, chalk, and cat food. She is still very attached to her bottle, but we did quit cold turkey with her pacifier.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

2007 Denver Marathon

2007 Denver Marathon
Official Chip Time: 3:32:55

Conditions were wet, cold and rainy…which beats hot and miserable like the week before for the Chicago Marathon..


I never get a good night of sleep before races, but Saturday night before the marathon, I slept like a log…dead to the world. The whole family woke up around 4am and it was raining, and cold outside. The previous night I had decided to run in my Practical Coaching uniform, but that morning I changed my mind. Actually, I wore the uniform, but I also wore a Patagonia base layer long sleeve top, arm warmers, gloves, warm hat and tights.

Chris arrived and we were off. The plan was for the boys to ride along the course, cheering for me at intervals of their choosing, and Troy was to pull Annie in the Chariot. Thank goodness the Chariot is water proof b/c it was really raining! We arrived too early as usual, got a great parking spot and waited. I did a light warm up and thought to myself how crazy it was that I was warming up for a 26.2 mile race. After a warm up and some stretching I lined up in the starting area next to the 8 min/mile pace guy. Steve found me and gave me some hot balm for my legs…sooo helpful!

Before I knew it the gun was off. The first 4 miles were through downtown Denver, and were very congested with people starting out too fast. There was a lot of elbowing and jostling around the pace guy so I sped up to about 2 minutes in front of him by mile 2 and then maintained 8 min pace. There were lots of puddles and my feet were already soaked. I saw Steve and Troy and Chris at mile 4.5 and threw my very wet gloves and sunglasses at them. We then headed out to City Park where I knew Michelle and Ron would be if they could brave the cold and rain. I saw them around mile 8 and had a nice little conversation with them as I ran past. I was then off to Clement park where I saw Troy again, and almost missed my friend Gaye who was there with a sign and everything! She thought I missed her, but ooh no, I saw her! After Clement park Steve and Andrea caught up to me on their bikes and Steve gave me some kind words. I was at mile 11 and he told me this was where the race started, and that I looked really strong. I felt strong, and I knew that I had run a patient race up to this point. I was still about 2 minutes in front of 8 min pace guy, and I was holding 8 minute pace really well.

We then went down a slight hill as we headed to Cherry Creek North and the 1/2 marathoners split off. Most all of the people around me were now gone! I didn’t really realize that there were that many 1/2 marathon finishers. We had this crazy out and back section in Cherry Creek North that was pretty boring. It was becoming tougher to keep on my 8 minute pace, but I was doing it. Things like elbows and knees were starting to feel creaky due to the cold and rain, and the liquid in the aid stations kept feeling colder. After the out and back section I saw Troy and Chris again, very good cheering on their part, and I was off to Washington Park. This is where things really started to hurt. At about mile 18 I just got sooooo cold. I started to slow after that, and at mile 20 the 8 min pace guy passed me. I was still so cold and the aid station water was so cold that every time I drank it I got the chills. At mile 20.5 I saw Troy and Chris again and I wanted to tell them I was cold, but there were cheering so loud I couldn’t get a word in edgewise…I did manage to give them the “Help me” look, but there was nothing they could do. They themselves were freezing at that point.

That’s when my thoughts turned to my coach. I kept hoping I would see Steve and Andrea, and at mile 22 my thoughts became reality. Andrea pulled up next to me running. I told her “Annie, I’m just so cold” and I started crying. Being the stellar coach that she is she immediately diagnosed my emotional state, gave me a great pep-talk, all the while handing me hand warmers…the type you use skiing. She did all this running next to me, and in the span of about 2 minutes. By the time she left I was a whole new woman, I was warm and back on pace.

At mile 24 I saw someone that looked familiar go by. I thought it was Amy (see my Rattlesnake Tri Post) and so I picked up the pace (b/c she literally FLEW by me…and nobody really flies at mile 24 of a marathon). I pulled up next to her and looked at her and she said “Oooh my god, your doing this too?” Catching up to her took all I had, so I dropped back from her, and she said “Let’s go”, and I said “No thanks”. I just needed to run my race, and she needed to run hers. But it was a great pick-me-up to see her out there. Before I knew it I was coming through the final stretch and my first Marathon was over.

The minute I stopped I was in pain, and the minute that the official put the medal around my neck I was in tears. Troy and Chris and Steve and Andrea were there and lots of hugs went around. I have never felt so proud of myself, it felt like an amazing accomplishment. I was instantly stiff and could barely walk. Troy and Chris got around the barricades to help me and within 10 minutes my tears of joy morphed into tears of pain. My legs and body just hurt so badly and I was really cold. The changing tent looked miles away but we eventually got there, although Troy and Chris basically carried me. It took me 25 minutes to change my clothes, I could barely move and everything hurt, and didn’t really work. I thought Troy was going to have to come in after me! They should totally make “family” changing tents.

After the changing tent I learned that our car battery had died so the boys wanted me to get to a Starbucks and warm up. I was shivering very badly, still very cold even though I was now in dry clothes, and I was getting pretty hypothermic. The Starbucks at 16th street felt a very long ways away but I made it there and they pumped me full of Hot Apple Cider. In the middle of our stay at Starbucks Annie pulled over…and broke…an entire shelf of porcelain Starbucks mugs. That was delightful…I just sat there, could even move to help clean up or anything.

Eventually I warmed up at bit, AAA came and jumped the car and we headed home. I wore my medal all day. I laid on the couch re-hashing the day with Troy and Chris. What a success, but boy was it cold!

My official Chip Time was: 3:32:55 (8:07 pace).
This qualifies me for the Boston Marathon.
I was the 31st overall woman out of 683
I was the 11th woman in the 25-29 age group, out of 155


The fall is such an interesting time for me. It’s always the time between a jam-packed summer and the anticipation of ski and snowshoe season. Making the transition in weather and daylight is always difficult for me and seems to force me into a reclusive mood. Let’s just say I end up baking a lot of cookies and forgetting to bring my coat when I leave the house.

It’s been a time of reflections, ahh-hah moments, and building excitement for what is to come. This last year has been a momentous build of many small successes. I have settled into my place as a mother, a wife, an athlete, and a skinny girl. Whew…tiring, but oh so much fun.

I have made some plans for the future in my time away from blogland, but they aren’t quite hammered down, so you will have to wait for the great reveal.

My season this year culminated with the Denver Marathon…my first time taking the 26.2 mile challenge.

On 11/6/2006 I ran my first 5K in a long time in 26:50…that’s 8:39min/mi pace.
On 10/14/2007 I ran my first marathon in 3:32:55…that’s 8:07 min/mi. pace.

I am now wondering who is ready to take on the challenge to make a drastic change this year? The better question is…how can I help you make a change…or even a series of small baby changes? This is a great time for change, no need to wait for the new year.

Again, how can I help? Transition Clinics? Snowshoe Clinics? Running Clinics? Join you at the gym? Nutrition support? Recipe advice? Accountability? What can I help with?

I know of a certain someone who is ready …we stayed up late talking about it. Who else? How can I help?

Posts that are coming soon:
Denver Marathon race report – I wrote this yesterday and as I finished the power in the house went out and I lost my post…maybe it was a sign?
Very Exciting News – a press release will be involved, and let me just preface it by saying WOWzer!
Annie’s 2nd Birthday – including some of the funny stuff she is doing lately.