Announcing a Blog Partnership with The North Face Endurance Challenge Series

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In late June, I was approached by a representative from The North Face Endurance Challenge Series inquiring about a blog partnership as a result of my race reports for their D.C event (2012 50k report, 2013 50M report).  If you're not familiar the North Face Endurance Challenge Series is a race series comprised of six locations (New York, Washington DC, Missouri (cancelled), Wisconsin, Georgia, and California) offering seven race distances at each location (50 mile, 50k, marathon and relay option, half-marathon, 10k, and 5k) which are predominately trail running events with the exception of Missouri.

Proudly showing off my DC North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler shirt!

I was pretty flattered and really excited about the opportunity of participating in additional events because I had great experiences, both performance and atmosphere wise, at their D.C race the past two years.  However, the logistics of traveling to their remaining events (Wisconsin, Georgia, and the championship in San Francisco) would be difficult because of previous commitments around some of those dates.  The Wisconsin race, September 14-15th, happens to fall on the day of my sister's wedding and is out of the question for obvious reasons although I wish she would have considered the ECS race calendar when picking her date (kidding).  The Georgia race is only two weeks after, September 28-29, but would be difficult to travel to as I'll be missing the Friday just two weeks prior and I begin my student teaching observation this fall with a mandatory 150 hours to be completed on Mondays and Fridays during the semester.  The inability to participate at Wisconsin and Georgia meant the championship race was my only option, which actually works out best because it falls at the end of the semester but not in the middle of exams.  Further, I had a stack of frequent flier miles remaining from when I worked at Siemens that needed to be used, and I will able to fly round trip for free, well aside from the $25 processing fee and taxes.  Not a bad deal.

All signed up for the championship race in San Francisco!

I mentioned in my last Where's Waldo Wednesday that I signed up for the North Face Endurance Challenge Series Championship in San Francisco and would explain the details further in another post.  Well here they are!

Now as part of the partnership, there are some perks for you guys!
  • Free registration code (Qty: 1) - I get to give away a registration code to a follower who posts pictures via Instragram using the race hashtag (i.e #ECSWisconsin or #ECSGeorgia) of their training leading up to a race, either Wisconsin or Georgia.  The details will be in a separate post (August 10th).
  • 15% registration discount (Qty: UNLIMITED!) - Want a discount on your race entry to either the Wisconsin on Georgia North Face ECS race?  Well look no further, enter the promo code: BSHER13 case sensitive at registration, and you'll receive 15% off!
  • Interview with a North Face Athlete -  You might be saying to yourself, "how does that benefit me?" and I know how much you guys love to hear what I have to say but sometimes it's good to mix it up, so I hope to do a separate post race blog about the interview experience.
  • Awesome pre and post race blog entries! Well, I suppose you would probably get these regardless of whether or not there was a partnership.
I'm really looking forward to my first destination race and all of the preparation and training leading up to it.  I opted to race the 50k because I want to enjoy my first destination race and not worry about distance.  My fall schedule has Iron Mountain (30 miler) at the end of August, THE Marine Corps marathon at the end of October, and then this race in December, which I think will be a nice build.

If you're considering racing either in Wisconsin or Georgia, check out my past race reports from the DC event to get a feel of the series.  If you do decide to register, make sure to use the promo codes above to save yourself 15% and check back in the second week of August for details about a free entry (actually you'll be refunded your entry fee if you win so you have to be planning on racing one of the two events).


Where's Waldo Wednesday - 7/4/2013-7/15/2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Where's Waldo Wednesday - The point of the week where more is behind than ahead and the weekend, and thus playtime, is the bright light at the end of the tunnel.  Why did I call it Where's Waldo Wednesday?  No particular reason really...other than I like alliteration and it is fun to say.  Try saying it five times fast!

A weekly (more like biweekly) series of what's new around here and other ramblings like things I found interesting on the internet this week or cool runs I did, kind of like a weekly synopsis.  Originally, I was going to do this on Sunday and call it Sunday Synopsis but then I couldn't decide between Sunday Synopsis and Sunday I did the only logical thing and decided to write it on Wednesday?

Apparently not.  Can it be?  A Where's Waldo Wednesday that is actually published on Wednesday?  This week's edition encompasses the first-ish week of July!  While I fully intended to publish this post last Wednesday, I didn't get around to, which makes this version of Where's Waldo Wednesday like most others: a two-fer.

The Week's Happenings

Last Tuesday marked the beginning of the second summer session and with it an increased strain on my time training and blogging.  I suppose it was going to happen eventually.  Last Two Wednesdays ago was a rough evening with the end of my MacBook Pro via a glass of Airborne.  When it rains it pours I suppose (pun intended).  The night did end on a high note when I was notified that I won a pair of Recon Jet glasses.  The unfortunate spillage meant we were headed north on I-81 bright and early Thursday morning with the Tyson's Apple Store as our destination.  Unfortunately, they told me what I already knew which was that the cost of repairing my current MacBook Pro (including the MB, RAM, and HD) was equivalent to purchasing a new computer.  My real problem is that I wasn't ready to part with my MacBook Pro.  Although it was slowing down, it was still a phenomenal computer that I planned on using for the next 2+ years.  When I was discussing my options with Michelle, I arrived at the conclusion that I have an issue viewing computers as disposable objects that are traded up every 2-4 years.  I guess I look around at other electronics I own, aside from my phone, and compare their lives and wonder why do we replace computers so often?  For instance, my Canon Digital Rebel XT I've had since 2005 and it works like a champ!  Additionally, I think the move to digital media, specifically digital photos compared to printed photos, in combination with this trading-up of computers causes a loss of valuable media.  I digress.

1. Quality Family Time!  I try to look for the bright side in situations and this particular computer *incident* meant I would be home for my dad's birthday.  A bonus was that I was able to see both my Nanny (mom's Mom) and my grandmother and grandfather (dad's parents).  To say that I'm fortunate is a massive understatement.  I have been privileged to live near both sets of grandparents for most of my life but relocating after graduation and eventually moving back to Blacksburg means I don't see them as often.  I try to make the most of every opportunity I have to spend time with them.  They're all such an inspiration.  On Saturday evening, we all headed out to dinner at Tyson's to celebrate my dad's birthday.  The company and food were both phenomenal!

Michelle and I at Tysons.

My Dad's sisters called him to sing Happy Birthday via FaceTime!  Pretty awesome that FaceTime now works over cell network.

My dad and grandma.

My Nanny and Grandpa.

My mom and dad.

2. Paddleboarding on Claytor Lake!  Last Monday was my last "free" day and I wanted to get out on the paddleboard while I had the opportunity.  I packed up my car early Monday morning and made the short jaunt down I-81 to Claytor Lake.  During our trip back to Blacksburg on Sunday afternoon, Michelle checked out the weather for the following morning, which didn't look promising after 10AM but I figured I Could squeeze in a quick paddle. I figured wrong.  I arrived at Claytor Lake a little before 9 and was out on water about 10 minutes after arriving but within a half hour the clouds over the lake turned dark and I decided being the tallest object on a calm lake was NOT a good idea and bailed.  It was nice to be out on the water but the 30 minutes on the water hardly justified the hour drive (total).  However, the park attendant allowed me to use my day entry fee ($3) toward the annual pass for the park, which is good for a year from the purchase date.  We now have incentive to get down there as often as possible!

The paddleboard with the TS4 and Gorillapod setup.

I brought the TS4 and Gorillapod with me to put together a little film and was happy with what I ended up with considering I only paddled for a half hour:

I used a piece of rope to secure the camera and Gorillapod to the paddleboard in case I took a spill, which almost happened as you can see in the video.  The Gorillapod's legs fit perfectly into the paddleboard carrying handle and provided a really secure setup but I eventually moved it further forward on the board for a different perspective, which worked out better because I wasn't straddling the assembly.  It would be interesting to compare the quality of video that I was able to capture vs. a GoPro, I'm not sure a GoPro would do anything more for me aside from being a more condensed package.

Panasonic TS4 on a Gorillapod on the paddleboard.

3. Running in Jefferson National Forest  I've mentioned in several earlier posts that this spring I fell in love with running in Jefferson National Park, specifically the Pandapas Pond day use area just down the road on 460.  I took my camera with me on a run last week and stopped every so often when I came across a neat mushroom.  I was playing with getting closeup shots and was happy with how some of them came out.

Poverty Creek trail (left) is my favorite trail to run on (because it's flat) and is by far where I do the most miles in Pandapas.  These yellow guys (right) were somewhere along the Royale trail on my way up to the forest road (see the run details below).

I try to avoid the fire road (left) because...well...there are tons of awesome trails to use instead but sometimes it's nice to use it to connect trails. The entrance to the Queen Anne trail (right).

This guy was really neat.  I have no idea whether any of them are poisonous but they were pretty.

This one was really massive as you can see in comparison to my hand...and I don't have carny hands.

Possibly my favorite of the bunch.

This is my usual turn around spot on Poverty Creek, which is exactly 3 miles from the upper parking lot and is usually about mid-shin to knee an ideal place to turn around.  Unfortunately, I got some moisture on the lens of the camera between this photo and the next couple. 

Pandapas Pond.

Run Details:

4.  Back to NoVA  On Friday morning after class, Michelle and I headed north toward Sterling...again...but this time for my sister's Bridal shower...well Michelle was headed north for the bridal shower and I was driving.  Shortly after arriving we knocked out a quick 4 mile run in Algonkian Park.  We've been on a streak of running together and it's been awesome!  It was like all of sudden something clicked and we figured out how to run comfortably together.  I think she's gotten a lot stronger since she began training for the Hokie Half with her friend Shannon...and maybe I've become more patient...maybe.  

I realized on the drive there that I had left my Garmin but we were able to use my phone, until it died, to keep track of our run.  We did the first few miles of the North Face 50 course.  It's amazing how much you miss when you run it in the dark.  Michelle and I ran into this guy (or gal) within the first half mile of our run.  We approached apprehensively, especially with the start of the DC 50 miler, where a runner was taken out by a deer within the first few hundred feet of the race, fresh in my mind.

Michelle is pointing to a deer just over her shoulder.

I think this face is becoming a standard Michelle "this better not go on the blog" face.

When we ran the course it was ~15 miles to Great Falls but our route included a lollipop that I think accounts for the discrepancy with this sign.

Notice the gate in the left of the photo above and the concrete that at one point was in the ground keeping it up.

Thankfully there was a bridge across this section of the creek because it would not be crossable (safely) without it.

My phone died just before the end of the run.  It's interesting to compare the accuracy of the phone vs. the Garmin data from early June.  The phone appears to be more accurate or at least have less noise.

Garmin 310XT data from the North Face 50 miler in June.

5.  Registered for North Face ECS 50k San Francisco, CA  On Sunday evening, I registered for the North Face Endurance Challenge Championship Race in San Francisco on December 7, specifically the 50k.  I'm really excited about running this race and think it'll help me find motivation when I'm having a difficult time getting out the door for a run.  Look for a post in the next week or so with more details about the run!

Interesting Internet Findings

Not too much this week in terms of videos but I did mention this video to a few folks so here it is:
  1. Impala Antelope vs. Car  This video is pretty wild.  I'm not sure what I would do if I were the folks in the car when the impala jumped in.
  2. Is Chris Froome racing clean?  I thought this was an interesting read about the likelihood that he is comparing past times on a climbs and his this year as well as residual levels compared to other elite riders.  Read it HERE
  3. Tragedy at Great Falls  When Michelle and I returned from our run on Friday afternoon, my mom let us know about this.  Really sad.  Link to rescue effort and story via Outside Magazine HERE

That's all for this edition of Where's Waldo Wednesday.  Michelle and I will finally have a weekend here in Blacksburg this upcoming weekend, which will nice to relax and not travel.


Where's Waldo Wednesday - 6/20/13-7/3/13

Friday, July 5, 2013

Where's Waldo Wednesday - The point of the week where more is behind than ahead and the weekend, and thus playtime, is the bright light at the end of the tunnel.  Why did I call it Where's Waldo Wednesday?  No particular reason really...other than I like alliteration and it is fun to say.  Try saying it five times fast!

A weekly (more like biweekly) series of what's new around here and other ramblings like things I found interesting on the internet this week or cool runs I did, kind of like a weekly synopsis.  Originally, I was going to do this on Sunday and call it Sunday Synopsis but then I couldn't decide between Sunday Synopsis and Sunday I did the only logical thing and decided to write it on Wednesday?

This week's edition includes the latter half of June and first few days of July and while it may not be an all encompassing post like some of the more recent Where's Waldo Wednesdays it's still a pretty good recap of what's been happening around here!

The Week's Happenings

Last Wednesday marked the end of the first summer session, well at least for the physical class meeting, and aside from a paper on my philosophy of teaching that is due on Wednesday the class is done!  It's pretty awesome to finish an entire class in four weeks.  Yup!  Just 12 three-hour class meetings (we only met Mon.-Wed. and the last week of classes was cancelled).  Despite the abbreviated schedule the quality of the class did not decrease.  We managed to go through four books in a month.  Quick like a Band-aid!  Michelle and I have been enjoying the relaxed school schedule and taking in all that Blacksburg summer has to offer including the Summer Solstice Fest that was put on by Downtown Blacksburg.  Blacksburg summers are the best!  Hands down.

1. SUPing (Paddleboarding) Claytor Lake - Two Thursdays ago, I made the short trip down the interstate to Claytor Lake State Park to take out the paddleboard and do some recon on a possible camping trip that Michelle and I are planning.  The previous Saturday, we had gone down to check out places to put-in the kayaks and paddleboard but there was a big festival at the park and we wanted to avoid the crowds and more importantly all of the boats.  We opted to use the public boat launch, where the Virginia Tech crew team launches their boats, located immediately before the gate to enter the park, which was free and provided a nice area to put in the kayak and paddleboard.  However, on this particular occasion I opted to pay the three dollar fee and go inside the park to explore the other end of the lake.

The trip also served as an excellent opportunity to test out an E-case that arrived on Wednesday that I had won from the Cascade Design weekly Facebook contest a few weeks earlier.  After driving around the park, I decided a little cove near the public beach was a good place to put-in and got all ready to go.  The great thing about paddleboarding, aside from the amazing workout, is that you really only need a board, paddle, and PFD (well maybe you don't need the last one but a smart person does).

The E-case keeping my iPhone and car key safe (and dry)!

I didn't paddle the whole time I was out on the lake. The board is a great place to relax and enjoy that day.

Nor did I stay on the board the whole time.  One thing that is really nice about paddleboarding compared to kayaking is the ability to get in and out of the water with ease. I brought the Panasonic P&S with me, which I used to take most of the photos for this post.

I went out for a little under two hours and managed to paddle 3.5 miles, which felt pretty comfortable but toward the end I noticed I was a little fatigued and that my form degraded a lot.

2. PIZZA PIE! - Michelle and I love making pizza...well more like I lOVE pizza and thus we eat it pretty often but Michelle doesn't seem to mind.  I was fortunate enough to receive a KitchenAid Artisan mixer for Christmas from my parents, which makes dough making a breeze.  Pizza is definitely my favorite pre-race meal, pasta is usually my big race safe choice meal, but with the Downtown Sundown not until the following evening I felt okay eating it the night before and didn't worry about it bothering my stomach during the race.  I decided to film the making of the pizza now that I have made it enough and can put it together pretty quickly (minus the hour required to proof the dough).  Unfortunately my battery died twice during the filming so I wasn't able to get a few shots I wanted including adding the flour to the mixer and a shot of the final product.  I did manage to grab a (blurry) photo before we dug in though.

Feta, tomato, and basil pizza.

3. Downtown Sundown 5k - Every summer downtown Blacksburg puts on the Summer Solstice Fest, part of which is an evening race, the Downtown Sundown 5k.  I wrote a whole race report about the event, which you can find HERE or by simply scrolling down on the page because it's the next post after this one.

4.  Gnocchi! - I had never heard of gnocchi until I came across an interesting post on a blog a few years ago that made me want to try them.  The first time I tried to make was a disaster.  As were numerous following attempts (including a particularly embarrassing attempt at making sweet potato gnocchi) and I had nearly given up on them, even after I had my mom buy a potato ricer but then a video was posted that inspired me to give them another try.

The finished product.

Similar to the pizza video I made, I put together a quick film of me making gnocchi.  You can tell that there is a large influence from the above posted video from Fast Boy.

5. Downtown Blacksburg - In case you can't tell, we LOVE Downtown Blacksburg.  The sense of community is unparalleled and is most evident during the summer with a plethora of festivals and activities.  Last Friday, after an amazing dinner at THE townie bar: The London Underground, we stumbled upon a concert going on in downtown on Henderson Lawn and decided to enjoy the live music.

Henderson Hall.

Music on the Henderson Lawn.

The cupcake craze came to Blacksburg last year, via Gobble Cakes on College Ave., but Michelle and I had yet to stop in and enjoy one.  However, Michelle was kind enough to buy me one we while enjoyed live music.  I was disappointed that they didn't have an espresso or cappuccino flavor but the chocolate peanut butter was pretty delicious, at least the cream cheese icing was.  The actual cupcake left a little to be desired.  

6. Hokie Wedding - On Saturday, Michelle and I had the privilege of watching two of our friends get married.  This was our first Blacksburg wedding and it was done in true Hokie fashion including an appearance by the Hokie Bird!  The ceremony was beautiful and took place in War Memorial Chapel.  Afterward, we headed over to the Merryman Athletic Facility, which in all of my years at Tech I had not been in, for the reception.

Michelle and I, pre-wedding, in front of the War Memorial Chapel.

The view of the Virginia Tech practice field and lane stadium from the Merryman Facility.

Michelle and I with the Hokie Bird at the Reception.

7. Rest In Peace MacBook Pro :-( -  During the writing of this post, my MacBook Pro met its untimely demise via a healthy does of Airborne, which while apparently is good for people trying to prevent getting sick is not so good for computers.  Believe it or not, I was actually going to publish this post on Wednesday...alas it was not to be.  The "incident" as it will hence forth be referred to caused an impromptu trip to Northern Virginia Thursday morning, which although not terribly productive from a computer standpoint (the Mac guy told me what I already knew, it was toast) I do get to spend the next few days with my family, including my dad's birthday on Saturday.

8. I WON I WON I WON - After a terribly depressing evening because of the demise of my computer, and a few choice words, my night had a glimmer of hope when I received the following mention on Twitter:

I managed to win their daily giveaway, which landed me a pair of these:

Hopefully I'll receive them sometime in early December when the first deliveries are scheduled to begin, or at least according to their site.  The fact that I wanted these so bad but were obviously way outside of my budget...given that I'm a student makes it that much more exciting! CAN'T WAIT!

Interesting Internet Findings

I found the below videos pretty awesome so I decided they needed to be shared.  
  1. The video quality isn't that great but I thought this was pretty neat, particularly the way he changed from location to location and throwing the camera.
  2. This is just a super awesome video of people kitesurfing with some cool color added to the water.
  3. During the summer of 2009, I had the privilege of meeting some incredible individuals with disabilities and this video only exemplifies what I learned.  The only important part of disABILITY is the ABILITY part.
  4. This guy is out of his mind.  Only three professional cyclists have ever completed what this guys is attempting, cycling all three grand tours in the same calendar year.  If he finishes it, he'll be the first recreational cyclist to do it.
  5. I tweeted this earlier in the week but for me, running is community.  Regardless of distance or type of running, we're a family.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP