I Tri and Craft

thoughts from a mother of boys, a marathoner, a triathlete, a crafter, a wife, and a scientist

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It’s Virtually the Best Kind of Race

Imagine running a race with more than 300 other participants all by yourself, wherever you are, at whatever time of day fits your schedule.

That is basically what a virtual race is.

You sign up for the race, which give a portion of the proceeds to charity, they give you a 2-5 day window for you do run/bike/walk your distance.  You choose the location, the time, and the date.  You submit your time to them online and boom you are done.  You still get the swag, a shirt, medal and race bib (depending on the organization).

The beauty is the flexibility and it helps bring people from all over the country together for the event.  This past summer I participated in a Nuun Ambassador Virtual race and we had a Facebook group page where we got to connect online with other participants.  It made it possible for locals to actually meet up and run their races together, and do other runs together as well. Instant running friends!

If you are an avid racer like me you have probably already heard of FitFam (Formally Gametiime).  A great social media platform for racers & runners.  FitFam has helped many organizations put on their virtual races and decided to kick off 2016 with a race of their own!

The FitFam Challenge in January


And they have partnered with Nuun Hydration again for the Nuun Year Dash in February


And in the spirit of Cyber Monday you can save 20% off either, or both, races today!

Just use the code CYBERMONDAY20


Register for the FitFam Challenge Virtual race click here

Register for the Nuun Year Dash Virtual race click here

Missed out on the Cyber Monday deal?

No worries, you can still get 10% off both races by using the code MOVETHEMISSION10

Just. Keep. Running.

runnerboxFor my loyal readers RunnerBox is offering 10% your purchase by using the code RUNMSRUN so go start your subscription today, or go buy one for that runner in your life.

Want to find out what is on my race calendar?  Check out my list.

Dawn Marie

This year my running club and I will be participating in the Hood to Coast Relay Race as a fundraising team. We will be raising money for Providence Cancer Center to help #FINISHCANCER. Click on the picture below (or here) to donate today.

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Race Recap ~ Mustache Dace 2015

Mustache Dache


OK, so if you read my recap from last year I said I wouldn’t run this race again because of THE hill.

Do you want to hear about the hill?

The course is a 3.1 mile loop with over 400 feet (435 ft gain, to be exact) of elevation gain in the first 1.7 miles (aprox.).  That is about a 5% pitch for this race. When I ran the Wine Country Half Marathon there was only 328 foot elevation gain over the whole 13.1 miles.  The last hill though, that one was the killer.  At mile 0.91 were were at an elevation of 372 ft; at mile 1.73 we were at 660 ft.  That is 288 ft in less than a mile!

Yep, you read that right.

But the race is fun. The costumes are fun. The atmosphere is fun. I just couldn’t help but register again.  I called my friends and convinced them it would be a good idea to race it again too.  This year I also wanted Ian to enjoy the fun.  So I signed him up for the kids 1k race.  Because of when I signed up we also got a special ‘party pack.’ Ian rocked his and Sid stole mine.



The plan was to have my husband come and wait with Ian while I ran the 5k. Then Ian and I would do his race and we would all hang out together after.

Best laid plans…right?

So Hubby ended up having to work that day and while my mom was able to keep Sid, she couldn’t come out to the race.  Some of the races put on by Energy Events had a Kids Zone where they had paid child care for runners, but this race didn’t have that option.

It’s ok, I thought, I’ll just push Ian in the stroller. I’ve done it before, I can do it again.

(uh…remember THE hill!)

I came to terms with the fact that I will be walking up the first 1.5 miles of hill and that this will be no 35 min 5k.  My stroller is not a fancy jogging stroller, it is not even a good jogging stroller, but it is a stroller I bought used so that when I needed to I could run if I only had one kid.  It is a heavy stroller, and my kids are now heavy, well heavy for me.  Instead of me running slowly up this horrific hill, I will be walking slowly up this horrific hill while pushing 60 pounds of stroller + 5 year-old.

OK. OK. No big deal, I will just push the stroller, I’m not the only one who has to do this.

It had been raining, no pouring all week and the forecast called for inches of rain that Saturday. I was going to feel real bad for Ian if it rained on him the whole time.  I packed blankets, made him snacks packed us all up and dropped Sid off at my moms.  A couple of times on the way to the race our car got hit by rain but I didn’t use my wipers, so it wouldn’t last.

We got to Big Al’s, the race location, got the stroller all set up and Ian changed out of his jammies.  Ian asked if the cobwebs on the stroller’s wheels would be wiped off during the race.  Turns out, I haven’t used the stroller in a while and the two back tires were both flat.  One more than the other.  Also, the stroller has a fixed front wheel, but the alignment is off.  So it is extremely difficult to make small turns and it pulls to the left.  Oh well, we gotta roll with the punches.


Ian getting ready for the race, not really ready for pictures

We meet up with our friends and enjoyed the fun atmosphere until the race started.  I tried to take some pictures with Ian, but he wasn’t quite in the mood.  We hit the lucky streak with the weather and while it was a little windy there was no rain! And to be honest, that was just fine.  It was time to get in the staring line and my Super Fast Friend head out to the front of the line while I stayed in the back with my stroller.  Out other two friends, The Couple, hung out with me till the race started, but I knew I’d be making this slow hike without them.


Since the start is flat and the first hill isn’t that bad, I started at a slow jog off to the side, allowing runners to fly by me.  When we got to the hills I slowed down to a walk, I tried to walk fast, but that stroller was heavy!  I would run on the short downhills and any flats between the hills, but never uphill.  I just couldn’t do it.


I would show him the views from the top of the hill and he’d say ‘yep, ok, let’s go.’

up the hill

up the first hill

The course wove mostly through residential areas where there was not a lot of high traffic and in one spot I was outside the cones.  Ian was concerned, but with me pushing uphill and the fixed front wheel of the misaligned stroller, it was too hard to steer back to the right.  I told him he had to get out and walk for me to get back on course.  So he walked for a little bit up that hill, on the sidewalk.


He’d do quick little runs, so I’d have to run to catch up with him. After about a quarter of a mile he got back in the stroller.  When we got to the biggest, steepest hill I made him get out and walk after we were about half way.  He walked to the top, which was about the 1.5 or 1.7 mile spot and the start of the downhill portion of the race.

start of the downhill

start of the downhill

He had to take a water break at the aid station.  Because sitting in a stroller (with your own snacks and drinks available to you) is such thirsty work!

At this point the hardest part was steering the stroller.  While running downhill he kept telling me to ‘go! go! go!’ which didn’t necessarily mean go faster, it just meant don’t stop. Thanks kid.

I kept teasing him that I was going to just let go of the stroller and would meet him at the bottom, or that I would hop in and we would both ride down.

The last mile was pretty quick, as it was mostly downhill with some flat areas and at this point I could run them.  However I am still not that fast while pushing that damn stroller, but at least I wasn’t walking.  The very last portion of the race, before you get back to the parking lot and the finish line, goes along a running path with a little playground.  Ian wanted to stop and play, but I said no way, or we would be there all day.  I did let him get out and climb on the statues for a minute, then told him we had a race to finish!


A lot of times in order to turn a corner I would have to pop the front wheel up and this is how I came around the corner to the finish line. With the stroller doing a wheelie!

Pictures from Game Face Photo (free from the race!)

Pictures from GameFace Media (free from the race!)


I crossed the finish line in 48 minutes, pretty slow for a 5k, by my standards, but good under the circumstances.  We had sometime to kill before his race started, but I didn’t want my free beer yet, cause I still had to run with him for his 1k.  I tried to get him to take a picture with me and my friends in the PEMCO insurance booth, but he still wasn’t having it.

PEMCO Picture

As we go to the starting line for his race he is not feeling it. He hadn’t eaten any of his food, and now he is tired and hungry. Perfect mix for a race.


At least his age group goes first.  His race distance is 1k (0.6 miles) and is a loop that goes out and along the running path behind the restaurant.  We walk/run for the first half and then he is on my back.  I give him a piggie back ride up until we get back to the parking lot and tell him he has to run through the finish line.


picture taken by Energy Events, and it is my FAV!

At the finish line the racers and our friends are standing there giving high-fives to the kids as they run past.  The little kids loved it!


He crossed the finish line and got a medal just like mine, with a spinning mustache.


We promptly meet up with my friends went inside the restaurant to warm-up get food and our free booze.



Will I do this race again next year?  Who knows….It is still fun, even the horrible hill. OK maybe not the hill, but the whole event is fun.


To recap on the history of this event (also found on my race recap last year)

The Mustache Dache takes place in November (mostly), because it is also Movember.

 But what is Movemeber you might ask?  Don’t worry, I’ll tell you.

About a decade ago some Bros in Australia decided to challenge other men to a Mo* contest.

*A MO is a mustache, short for the English spelling of Moustache.

The Bros decided that during the month of November they would grow their mustaches for a cause, after some research they decide their cause would be prostate and testicular cancer, as well as depression.  After a couple of years donating their proceeds to local charities they ended up creating a charitable organization of their own.

Fast Forward to now:  Movember is a world-wide charity raising money and bringing awareness for men’s health.  You can go to the Movember website and donate, or participate in the Mo growing contest during the month of November.  You can also find tons of information on men’s health issues and look at pictures of men with awesome Mos.  You can also read the whole story behind the campaign.

Us women have October as breast cancer awareness month, and the men now have Movember because these guys wanted to change the face of men’s health.

picture from race site, click image for link

Last year the race was put together as one of the ways to raise money for the above mentioned charity.  It is a fun 5k, there are lots of costumes, booze, fun prizes, kids race, humor, awareness and mustaches everywhere; the real ones and fake.  This race is held in various location across the country.  It is a fun good time.

This year the Mustache Dache race is  partnered with the charity Zero, to help end prostate cancer.  Not sure why the change, but either way the money is going to help men’s health.


Just. Keep. Running.

runnerboxFor my loyal readers RunnerBox is offering 10% your purchase by using the code RUNMSRUN so go start your subscription today, or go buy one for that runner in your life.

Want to find out what is on my race calendar?  Check out my list.

Dawn Marie

This year my running club and I will be participating in the Hood to Coast Relay Race as a fundraising team. We will be raising money for Providence Cancer Center to help #FINISHCANCER. Click on the picture below (or here) to donate today.

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Running Log ~Oct 1st

Fall is in the air, well almost.  Mother nature is a little confused in my neck of the woods.  We are waking up to crisp fall mornings but enjoying summer afternoons.  This is also confusing to what we should be wearing, especially for my kids, the think it is still shorts and flip-flop season.  Which is fine during the day, but not in the evening.

The reason I bring this up is because last weekend one of my cousins got married.  She was having an outdoor garden wedding, which admittedly, this late in Sept in the Pacific Northwest is a real gamble.  But this year has been really dry (too dry in fact) and extremely warm.  The wedding was in the evening with the reception going on in to the night.  So the question comes up, what to wear? The day will be warm, but it will get cold at night….

I didn’t want to wear a skirt, because I didn’t want to get cold, and because I didn’t like any of the tops that I owned.  I could have gone and bought a new top, but I always have something in mind and then get super upset when I don’t find it.  Plus I have this pair of super cute shoes with matching bag that my sis gave me that I wanted to wear and none of my skirts would work.

OK. Pants it is. {Don’t worry folks, there is a running side to this story 😉 }

I have lots of short pants (capris) but only two pairs of nice dress pants, one brown-ish and one black.

If I wear the brown ones I have a top to go with it and I can wear the shoes and purse.

If I wear the black ones I don’t have a top that would go with the shoes, but I could just wear a different pair of shoes.

The black pants fit. I know they fit. I wear them often.

The brown pants have not been worn in at least 4 years. The last time I tried to wear them they were too tight on my thighs and my waist gushed out over the top of the pants.

What do I do? Do I leave the brown pants in storage? Do I try them on again and get all depressed because they still don’t fit? Do I just go buy a new top to wear with my black pants and not even think about the brown pants again? What do I do? What do I do?

I pull out the bin from under my bed, unfold the brown pants. Look at them, love them all over again, sigh.  Try them on.

They fit. Not only do they fit, but they fit like when I bought them.

I am going say that I have not seen a change in my body after all this running (so that 4 week thing is BS).  I feel like I am the same size as when I started running almost two years ago (this month will be 2yrs).

I am not diligent in my other training habits, I don’t strength train like I should (I know I should). Some weeks I don’t get as many miles in as I would like. I don’t eat well, I don’t like food, fruits and veggies are like torture to me, just give me carbs all day long.

But there has been a change.

I didn’t start running just to lose a bunch of weight.  Yes, I wanted to lose some weight, but really I just wanted to be healthier.  I started run to find myself, to find my sanity.  I run for me.  Because I like to run.  I did it so that I can take the stairs without having to pause for breath after one flight. I started to run so that I can chase my kids around the play ground, and keep up with them.  I did it so I could have an hour alone every once in a while.

So while I look in the mirror and my eyes see me as the same size I was, my pants are telling me that I am changing on more than just the inside.

So remember don’t give up.

Just. Keep. Running.

runnerboxFor my loyal readers RunnerBox is offering 10% your purchase by using the code RUNMSRUN so go start your subscription today, or go buy one for that runner in your life.

Want to find out what is on my race calendar?  Check out my list.

Dawn Marie

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Just a reminder that with my running I am raising money for St. Jude’s Hospital, click on the picture below to donate.

Click to Donate now

Be a HERO by clicking picture and donating today.

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Race Recap ~ Pints to Pasta 2015

This was one of those races that I have wanted to do for a while, even before I was racing.  I love both of the sponsors for this race; The Old Spaghetti Factory and Widmer Brothers Brewing Company.  I am also a fan of the company that puts on this race and others, The Hood to Coast Race Series.  (This might be a bit of a “in their defense” write-up)

In the past this race has been ran by another company and the only distance you could run was 10k.  The 10k course was a point to point course, meaning to start at a different location than you end.  So you need to ride a shuttle bus to the starting point, and you run to the finish line.  People liked the course because it was mostly downhill.  I never ran it in the past, so I can say for sure how completely downhill it was, but I heard it was a downhill course.

This year the new directors of the race (this is not their first year running it by the way) decided to add a half marathon option, which I was thrilled about.  They also changed the course of the 10k, which added some uphill climb to the route.  Now, I don’t know if you have ever planned a race before, but you don’t get to just go out and put some cones down and tell the city the roads will be closed for runners.  I don’t know why the changed the course, but I am guessing it had to do with permits and matching the 10k course up with the half marathon course.  The city gets mad enough as it is when the roads are closed for runners, but to close of two different courses would have been a logistical nightmare.

So runners were mad.  But get over it. Courses change. Enjoy the change, see new parts of the city, challenge yourself. Check the map of the course before you sign up for the race.  You don’t have to do it.  I mean look at the elevation I had to run for the half marathon, a steep hill at the end, not fun, but at least I get to finish coming downhill.

HTCRS set a time for the 10k to start after the half marathon, it was on the website, everyone knew about it.  Then the city decided the roads needed to be cleared before the time originally set. So HTCRS had to move the start time up by 30 min.  They sent out an email, and during packet pick-up (where you pick up your racing bib and shirt) each person was told about the change.  I know, I was there telling people.  They had two packet pick ups during the week, in two locations and also the morning of race day.


I volunteer at packet pick up for races.  Races couldn’t happen without volunteers, so I like to do my part and give back.  I really enjoy packet pick up because I get to see the diverse people who run races and chat with them (when there is time). It’s fun, people are excited for the events.  At this packet pick up we informed each 10k racer about the time change.  There was some confusion because they changed the website, but the time was on there in a few locations, and I guess one spot was missed, an understandable mistake.  But when the city changes plans on you, you must adapt.

I don’t know how many people who ran this race came from out-of-town or how many people were from here.  I don’t know how many people are familiar with the area or not.  I just know my knowledge and my race day strategies.  I know the area and I know there is limited parking, I also know on the race website they suggested parking on the other side of the river and taking the newly opened pedestrian bridge or riding the train over, both deposit you right by the event area.  They did say there would be volunteers directing people where to park.  I arrived early because I wanted to park, and I wanted to meet a friend who was coming from farther away and was leaving early.  Both of had no problems finding the parking volunteers and were directed to park. Other racers were complaining about parking, but I feel like they should have known better, especially the ones that have done this race before;  or came earlier, if they had never been there.

However, some people left early but got stuck in traffic because a major highway was closed.  Which the event staff didn’t know about, which I didn’t know about and apparently the people who were stuck in traffic didn’t know about.  But the people complaining about the all the issues with the race, they knew about the closure.

So this closure lead to probably the main issue everyone had at the race.  There were 7 buses there to take the 10k participants from venue/finishing line party area to the start of the 10k race.  They were to have been filled up taken across the river, emptied, returned to be filled again and take more runners to the start of the 10k.  The issue was that the closure of the highway caused rerouting and delays and the buses couldn’t get back to get more runners in a timely fashion.  This delayed everything, both races started late, and they had to do a rolling start for the rest of the 10k runners.  So basically as you got off the bus, you went through the starting line and began your race.  Was it ideal? No, but they were trying to make the best of a bad situation they could not control.

Someone asked a race director if she could drive to the start of the race because she didn’t have time to wait for the buses (I was there during this conversation) the race director told her of course, or if she didn’t want to do that the runner could start with half marathon runners, go 3.1 miles out, turn around and come back to the finish line.  Ideal? No, but again, I feel this was a good compromise and they were trying to make the best of a bad situation.

I understand why people are upset, but at the same time, some things are out of control of the race directors hands.  One person actually complained about the smells of the city, don’t get me wrong that area was bad, I almost lost it a couple of times, but that has to do with the fact that people who live on the streets are using the streets as a toilets.  Not really something a race company can control.  Could they have chosen a different route? Maybe, maybe not. The city has to approve of the road closures, so maybe this was the only route we could take.  There is so much that goes in to planning an event like this, I just don’t think people see it.  Which is why I think more people should volunteer for events, it is important to see what goes on to get a race up and going.


Now that I have talked about what other people have complained about, let’s talk about my running, which I will make quick.

I love preparing for my race the night before, getting all the gear set up and ready to go. I of course went to sleep a little later than I wanted to the night before, and 4 a.m. comes mighty early.  Because this was the first year of the half marathon the first 400 people to sign up for the half also received a hat, pint glass and a bottle of bubbly.


Two of my friends ran the 10k event and I ran the half marathon.  For one friend this was the farthest race she has done, which is awesome!  My other friend ran her fastest 10k!  Kudos to both of them.  And I was super happy to have been there with them and to celebrate after.


I love the half marathon.  It is my favorite race distance.

We typically try to do a long 8-10 miles on the weekend, so having a race that is a few miles longer is great. It gives me something to push for.  Recently I haven’t done more than 8 miles though, since I hurt my knee. So I was a little nervous about this race.


I have been going to the treadmill at night and running to keep my pace around 11 min/mile and the all the downhill and mostly flatness of this course really helped with my time.  Don’t get me wrong those steep hill at the beginning and the end were a bitch, but I was able to maintain a good pace for this race and make up time coming down.


The starting hill wasn’t too bad, because it was just out of the gate, so you were all revved up and ready to go. But the end was hard because, well it was the end and I was exhausted, and my feet were exhausted.  But the downhills I made up some great time.  There was a hill in the middle, but it was a gradual hill, so it wasn’t really that bad, and again, what goes up must come down.



I of course snapped some quick pictures along the way, and at one point stopped to change music.  Which is when (I think) I forgot to restart my MapMyRun app, so my numbers are off. There were some streets were the odor from the homeless was so bad, but it just kind of made you run faster to get away from it.  I love my city, and I love running races through it.  I love running across the bridges spanning the water.


The after party for this was super fun.  There was beer and pasta. It was glorious.



I am sorry so many people had such a bad experience with this race.  But I also feel like you kind of get out what you put in, and you can choose your attitude.  I have also seen many people who had a good time like I did.

I had a good time and I think the ladies I was with had a good time too.  And, yes, I will be back again next year.



Just. Keep. Running.

Just a reminder that with my running I am raising money for St. Jude’s Hospital, click on the picture below to donate.

Click to Donate now

Be a HERO by clicking picture and donating today.

runnerboxFor my loyal readers RunnerBox is offering 10% your purchase by using the code RUNMSRUN so go start your subscription today, or go buy one for that runner in your life.

Want to find out what races I’ll be doing this year?  Check out my list.

Dawn Marie

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