Hi there! How are you? With the Summer Olympics in Rio I’m even more endurance-sports obsessed than normal, so today I want to think out loud and share some things I’ve been loving lately – from the Olympics themselves to gear to life!
Michael Phelp’s Under Armour Commercial
Ryan and I watched Michael Phelps “Rule Yourself” commercial for Under Armour repeatedly during last week’s swimming races. It gives me goosebumps every time – the grit, the perseverance, the patience. One of the many aspects of running and individual sports such as triathlons, swimming, and gymnastics that I love so much is the hours upon hours of hard work that culminates in just a few moments.
Did you watch Emma Coburn’s bronze medal win and American Record in the 3000m steeplechase? What an incredible race! Along with marathons, 100m, and 10K, the steeplechase had been the race I was most anticipating in this year’s Olympics.
The steeplechase is just such a fascinating event to me. In some aspects, it’s almost similar trail running on the track. You leap over obstacles and jump through water all while running as fast as you can. Through the 18th and 19th centuries, the steeplechase had been raced on horseback in Ireland. It’s called the steeplechase because the riders would race from one steeple of a church to the next (approximately 2 miles). Interesting history, right?
Trailheads Racing Cap
I mentioned this Trailheads hat previously, but I have to rave to you again about it. I develop obsessions with certain articles of clothing – I prefer to have a few key pieces that perform well for their purpose than to have a bunch of clothes. Examples: that salmon colored REI shirt I wear all the time for running, my Saucony bullet shorts, and my Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece.
This Trailheads cap has already ascended to the ranks of those items. Its mesh fabric breathes and wicks away sweat and the wide brim protects my face and eyes from the sun (because the sun actually shines in Seattle in summer!)
Except I’m not loving all that summer heat and the sweaty, sweaty mess I am in after a run.
Run Fast, Eat Slow
I ordered Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky’s Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook on Amazon the day it was published. This book does not fail to meet the hype that surrounded it for over a year now.
I appreciate Flanagan’s simple, holistic approach to food – and her flavor palate as well. Tahini, garlic, olive oil, sea salt, and other spices like ras el hanout give vibrant flavors to her whole grain salads, meat and fish dishes, and soups. I can’t wait to try the bison meatballs, double chocolate teff cookies, and race day oatmeal!
Osprey Kyte 46
I recently exchange my Deuter daypack for an Osprey Kyte 46 backpack. I’m so happy with my new Osprey pack and understand now why everyone raves about them. (46 stands for the number of liters it holds – so this pack is on the larger end of daypack, smaller end of overnight pack). The pack fits comfortably on my hips and back and is actually long enough for my torso. It’s so comfortable that I didn’t cry like a baby with 23 pounds of gear loaded up into it on our last backpacking trip.
The quality of Osprey packs is unbeatable: each bag comes with a lifetime guarantee. Osprey is a small company based in Colorado and they know what they are doing with hiking packs.
If you’re shopping for a backpack for hiking and camping, I strongly recommend that you get fitted at a retailer such as REI. I didn’t get fitted when I selected my Deuter, but I did for my Osprey. As with running shoes, it makes a world of difference to be in a properly fitting backpack.
Okay, so this isn’t anything new – I do fartlek runs often in my training – but returning to hard, fast running after time off to heal my sprained foot and mild hamstring strain feels so good. The first fartlek run was rough, but my fartlek ladder yesterday felt glorious challenging and good. My body finally remembered how to run fast again and I’m so grateful for it – and excited about it.
Or, at least, the Pacific Northwest version of it – alpine lake life. After hiking up to the summit and setting up our tent, most of camping is spent leisurely relaxing by whatever alpine lake we hiked to. The weather is chilly, the lakes are sparkling, and there’s no cell phone reception – in short, perfect summer mini-vacation.
And yes, we do strap lightweight camp chairs to our hiking packs so we can sit by the lake and drink whiskey. How else do you do camping?
What races/events have stood out the most to you in this summer’s Olympics?
If you could take a vacation right now, where would you go?