Be Smart and Be Brave – Be Brilliant

Disclaimer: I received Brilliant Reflect Stick-on and Iron-on Strips to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

BibRave is in the process of looking for more pros! They have opened up mid-year applications! If you want to apply, click HERE!


Safety is super important to me. I’m probably a safety nazi (is that politically correct to say!?). Seriously though; I am pretty good about following “the rules” when it comes to safety…

-Bright colors on night runs….

-Run facing traffic….

-Always tell someone when/where I’m going….

-Blah, Blah, Blah, Etc, Etc, Etc…

I don’t mean to downplay safety; in fact, I want to do a whole post on safety. It’s just that I know YOU know what you need to do to be safe. Everyone knows, but nobody does. Just the other day, I saw two women running two abreast going WITH traffic on the skinny road where I live that has no sidewalk. Seriously!?

The fact of the matter is a lot of people just don’t take the time to be a little bit more safe on their runs. On the flip side, I also think that a lot of people restrict themselves because they don’t feel brave enough to run at night, not having the right gear.

That’s where Brilliant Reflective comes in; they make being safe SO MUCH EASIER.

Before getting the opportunity to test their product by being a BibRave pro, I had just recently heard of them and was so glad I was selected. This product is ingenious and way more people need to utilize it. Already, I feel a lot more confident and safe, even for me and my already safety-conscious ways. I like that I can feel a little bit better about running at dusk or dawn or after the sun has gone down. This helps a lot during the summer when it’s just too hot to run during the day.

Brilliant Reflective is a company that sells iron-on and stick-on reflective strips that you can add to just about anything! Their mission is to reduce automobile-based injuries to children, runners, walkers, and cyclists.  Mostly geared to runners and bikers, you can put the strips on clothing, helmets, and items you take with you for a run or bike ride. However, there are so many more places they could be used!

Brilliant Reflective uses 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material which is retroreflective. “This means when the light shines at the reflective strip, the light will reflect off and go directly back to the source” (source). This is the highest brightness of reflective that you can find. You can be seen up to 300+ meters!

The best part about it is that they take this technology and put it on individual stips. That means you can keep using your normal gear and add reflection to it! You can use the pre-cut strips, or do what I do and get crafty! You can cut them into shapes or designs and make everything unique.

Oh yeah! That’s a reflective frog I made for my Amphipod hydration vest!

They are super easy to use, even the iron-ons. You just position and stick! The iron-ons require 60 seconds of heat and that’s it! I may have had a teenie, tiny…ok, ok, a huge pile of stuff I put brilliant reflective on. I went a little crazy!

It’s not just great for running and biking things. Start pulling out your hiking packs, climbing gear, helmets, water bottles, dog leashes, trekking poles, camping gear…you get the point.

My Brilliant Reflective sticking party

Seriously. The possibilities are endless! The next thing I’m about to put Brilliant Reflective on is my tent! Just think about it…. You get out in the middle of the night for a bathroom break and it’s so hard to find your campsite in the pitch black. One strip of brilliant reflective and your nightly troubles are gone!


One pack of Brilliant Reflective is $14.95. Get them online HERE!

#60HikesDenverChallenge – Meyer Ranch Open Space

(For 2017, I had a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver”  While I didn’t make it through all 60 that year, I have carried this goal into 2018.  All the specific trail details can be found in the book or online, but I’ll highlight some things about each trail in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail here. The numbers below are associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #23 – Meyer Ranch Open Space – Lodgepole Loop
Completed: 5/30/18 | Number Completed: 21/60
Mode: Trail Run
Location:  Conifer
Distance: 2 miles (I probably did ~3 with two laps around the loop)
Difficulty: Easy
Type of trail: Hard packed dirt, balloon configuration
Exposure: Lots of shade!
Facilities: Pit toilets and picnic tables. No water

My Experience:
With a free Wednesday (finally!) I decided to get another hike from my book done. With an easy 20 minute drive from my house, I reached the Meyer Ranch Open Space. This small park is right off the highway and offers a few miles of trail (about 5 miles in total). I have been working on building my fitness back up and after the Bolder Boulder,  I was feeling pretty sore so I wanted to hike/run. The trail from the book is 2 miles in a balloon configuration. After I finished the first loop, I was feeling pretty good so I decided to do another loop and then head back to the car, doing 3 miles total.

The trail starts just be the highway and you hike by open meadows before entering a lush forest. The trail winds around and up as you pass through open clearings every so often. The trail is hard packed dirt with very minimal rocks or roots. I did encounter some people on horseback that I had to wait while for them to find a spot to pull over so I could go around without spooking the horses or going off trail. The whole time I could hear the highway noise and the trail kept winding under giant power lines; not very serene if you ask me. A friend of mine said if you add the Old Ski Run Trail, you lose some of the noise, but I didn’t take that trail this time.

Pros:
-Great for a trail run; there are some fun, small, rolling hills and it’s hard packed dirt with minimal large rocks or roots.
-Lots of shade!
-Close to town.

Cons
-Too easy for an actual hike.
-Short; not many miles.
-Not very serene; the highway noise is constant and there are power lines that run right through the middle.
-Pretty busy, even in the middle of the day on a weekday.
-Multi-use with bikers and horseback riders.

Tips:
-Bring water; there is no potable water here.
-If visiting from out of town, you’re not far from Tiny Town, a fun little tourist spot in Morrison.

Overall:
I’m sure this place is great for really, close living, local people, offering a great place to run some trails, however, I wouldn’t recommend coming all this way for a hike here. The trails are short and not serene, plus the views aren’t that great. Would I have included this trail in the book? No, probably not. I feel like there are way better trails to be included. Now, would I come back and get an easier trail run in? Probably! It’s a great place to do some laps.


Park info

Get the book! 

Running in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Me running in Arkansas, circa 2013

You wouldn’t think that a farm country, southern state city like Fayetteville, Arkansas would be all that runner friendly, but you’d be wrong. It hasn’t always been runner friendly, but It has come a long way! I even think there’s been a Runner’s World “rave run” article from the area (but I couldn’t find it by google-ing it; so maybe not).

I’ve been to Fayetteville my fair share of times. My extended family lives there, my Dad lived there for awhile a couple years ago. Recently I had to go back for a funeral, 😥 , so I brought my running shoes with me hit the familiar trails.

As I grew up and became a runner, I watched the city (and surrounding areas) expand and change. One year, I ran the winding country roads near my Grandparent’s farm as huge pickup trucks weaved around me, looking shocked to see a tiny girl running along the road.

Another year, I ran a Turkey Trot 5k in a suburb of Fayetteville! I never ended up publishing my race recap for whatever reason (I probably got busy and blogging got pushed to the back burner and when I finally came back, I thought it was overdue and irrelevant) but it was a fun race and a PR at the time.

NWA (North West Arkansas) Turkey Trot

If you live there or are ever visiting, check out these awesome places to run!

1.The University
Located in the heart of Fayetteville, I think the University of Arkansas has a beautiful campus. There are plenty of sidewalks and a lot of shade trees. I recommend running over to Senior Walk where every graduate’s name is carved into the cement.

2. Meadow Valley Trail
Running east and west, I could access this easily from where my Dad lived and my Grandma currently lives. This section of trail runs behind the Agriculture centers of the University and is surrounded by fields of greenhouses and cows. Doesn’t sound appealing? It’s actually pretty relaxing to look at. The best part about this section of trail is that it connects to the main Razorback Greenway that runs north and south to even more places to run.

3. Scull Creek Trail
This trail is part of the Razorback Greenway (basically it IS The Razorback Greenway). This north and south running trail is a safe and scenic as it follows the creek. If you run north, you eventually connect to Lake Fayetteville and if you run south, you can get to the University. I remember running this trail and discovering where the cross country meets take place (as a newbie coach at the time, I was enthralled and thought it was so cool!)

4. Lake Fayetteville
I have not actually run here but it looks amazing! There are concrete and dirt trails for runners and bikers to use and runners for the area rave about it!

——————————————————

Whether you plan on running in Fayetteville or not, you HAVE to check out this awesome video made by the City!


Races in/near Fayetteville, AR by RunningInTheUSA.com

City of Fayetteville Parks Website – they have an awesome interactive map of all the areas trails and bike paths.

Trail Running Near Fayetteville, AR

2017 In Review

Looking back on 2017

2017 has probably been one of the worst and one of the best years I’ve ever had in my entire life.

It was most definitely one of the busiest years I have ever experienced. But it had a lot of fun moments.

It was definitely the most stressful year. But it was rewarding.

Grand Teton National Park

There were a lot of tears. And a lot of smiles.

There were times I wanted to quit everything and give up. And times that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

It was one of those years.

A lot of the bad included losing a step-grandparent, stressful home/work life balance, a tragedy within our cross country team, hail damage with a shifty, unethical car repair shop, loss of two pets, and probably more that I have repressed.

The good included a lot of travel, realizing love sees no bounds, a successful second year for Golden Mountain Guides, being part of five weddings and lots of time with family and friends.

I really am ready for a new year, carrying lessons from this year.

Here are some highlights from the past year…

January… started off slow. I started training to be a race director, track pre-season started, I started my #60HikesDenverChallenge (trying to hike/run all 60 trails in the 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver Book), we did a little bit of snowboarding and I did yoga challenge.

Walden Ponds, Boulder. Start of my #60HikesDenverChallenge

February…I did my first race as the sole Race Director (the Heart Throb 5k in Longmont), track season really starts, and we went to see the Mummies exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

See me in the background?? Literally holding back the flag from the wind as the race started. Sometimes race directors do some random tasks.

March…Ran the Erin Go Braugh 7.77k (my favorite of all the races the company I work for produces), and went to a Bridal Shower for Ben’s sister (which means wedding madness for the year starts).

Oh yeah, my outfit was AWESOME!

April… lots of work between all my jobs and my birthday month (wooo… 30 – that’s sarcasm in case you’re curious). But 30 did come with a zombie-themed escape room (we didn’t escape, for the record).

May… was full of the State Track & Field meet (one of my jumpers missed state by just a few inches – literally), running of the Bolder Boulder, and got hired for my first freelance writing job (10Hikes.com)

June…a ton of hiking (for my #60HikesChallenge and 10Hikes.com), a typical bachelorette party, and the first wedding of the year (Ben’s youngest sister) gets married. I also got a spot on a Ragnar Trail Snowmass team at the last second.

July… brought wedding #2 (Ben’s Cousin), a trip to Pennsylvania, lots of work (finished up my first 10Hikes project which reviewed the 10 best hikes in the Denver Region), and another Bridal shower (for my friend this time).

August...included another bridal shower (Ben’s other sister), a Trip to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, a bachelorette Pary in New Orleans, and Cross Country season starts.

September… Held wedding #3 (my friend), I race directed my biggest race yet (a 500 person 5k), and two trips to Moab with Ben (one for scouting and back again for guiding a 12-women group).

October…was wedding #4 (Ben’s other sister), I finished up my second freelance writing project (reviewing the 10 best hikes for Rocky Mountain Nation Park which is not live online yet), we did another Moab trip, we travelled to Florida and on a cruise for wedding #5 and I ran the Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon.

November…Cross Country season had ended but work with the running company picked up for our biggest race of the year (Broomfield Turkey Day 5k/10k). Then Thanksgiving brings some nice time in Estes Park as we prepare for the holiday season.

Relaxing in Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Sprague Lake

December…here we are, in December. This is when we try and play catch up with all of our jobs. Christmas was busy travelling between all of our families and we travelled up to North Dakota to see my friend and her new baby (baby #2 for her) and on to Dakota, IL for New Years and to visit Ben’s Grandparents. We even hit up TWO National Monuments on the way!


In the beginning of 2017, I set a few goals to focus on for the year. Let’s see how I did….

Running Goals –
1. To love running again (I do enjoy the sport again, but I’m not on a meticulous plan; I’ve going a week or more between runs sometimes.)
2. And work my way through hiking/running all 60 trails in the “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles” Denver Edition (I got 17 of the 60 done. I did take on a freelance writing job involving hiking for 10hikes.com which involved hikes that are not in this book. I hiked 50+ different hikes this year. Maybe 60 was pushing it, but not bad for how busy the year was.

Other fitness –
I like to be active in general and play in the great outdoors, but I have one specific goal in mind:
3. Climb 5.10s consistently (I got ONE 5.10 done!)
3a. I guess that means I better start strength training regularly again…too. (Well, I definitely worked out more than I did the previous year, but not as much as I had hoped. I did climb a 5.10 in the gym just a few weeks ago, which felt pretty good.)

Career –
4. I would like to see more clients with Golden Mountain Guides than last year
5. Learn more about the tourism industry, in particular, marketing. (We did see more clients than last year! It’s pretty awesome to see your own company grow! And I did learn  a little bit more about tourism, mostly through our own company.)

Other –
6. Travel to FIVE new places, in or out of Colorado. (Check X5! See above and all the travel we did this year! We even made it to at least 8 National Parks of Monuments).
7.  Learn about a new topic every month. (This gets 1/4 green. We started out strong, learning about Egyptian History, oceans, and I took a month to study Jumps Coaching (track and field). But as our business got busier, we put this one hold, only to pick it up in November, studying Mayan History)

Overall, I am truly glad this year is coming to a close. I’m ready for a “new start” of sorts in 2018.

Chasm Lake – One of my favorite photos from 2017.