Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back in the Saddle!

We took the summer off, but now we're BACK!  Stay tuned for more posts...good things ahead!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

One Tip: Choosing a fitness top

Stonewear Designs
Dryflex Double Cross Top in black
 I've been a runner about ten years now, and as my fitness level changes and my body changes, I've noticed a few things.  I used to be able to pick any fitness top or running bra off the shelf or out of a catalog and it would work for me.  I selected mostly for looks.

That's no longer the case.

Here's what I've learned:  when I sweat my skin doesn't like latex or elastic much.  If I don't pull off my running clothes and head to the shower right away, the next day I get red patches where the top offers support...where all the elastic is sewn in.

The summer months are the worst.  At times, the red patches would get sore, and it became uncomfortable to wear even regular clothes, let alone snug running gear.
Inside a "Hot Stripe" Double Cross top,
notice the elastic is fully covered,

About a year ago, I had the good fortune to be selected as a Grassroots Ambassador for Stonewear Designs, an outdoor/adventure clothing company with products just for women. It was my delight to discover in the first shipment of clothes, their Dryflex Double Cross Top.  It fit all my criteria:

1)  Looks great (love the double straps on the back!)
2)  Made of moisture wicking material
3)  All the elastic was covered with soft, breathable fabric...so none of it rubbed against my skin.

Take a look inside at the inner bra...no elastic!

After months of running in the Double Cross, I can tell you it solved my problem.  I have three of them, they're at the top of my running clothes pile, and they're my "go to" faves. Shortly, my "year" as an ambassador will come to a close, but because of the comfort they give me, I'll be ordering more Double Cross tops from Stonewear this summer!

Oh, and one more thing...unlike many attractive running tops with an interesting design, the Double Cross is actually EASY to get on and take off!  I hate having to twist around like a pretzel to get dressed and undressed, don't you? 
Stonewear Designs' "Cool Stripe" Dryflex
Double Cross Top

Friday, May 31, 2013

Afraid of the Summer Heat?

Yesterday, we headed to Guadalupe Mountains National Park to log some more miles in the Peak Fitness Challenge, our free hiking program organized by the Texas Mountain Trail and lots of partners and volunteers.  Sure, it was HOT when we started out about 10:30 in the morning, but we knew that the Smith Spring trail offered something very special for summer hikers.

**Stay tuned, because right here late next week we'll announce some special guided hikes in the park, including the Smith Spring trail, for Sunday, June 23.  Details to come!** 
Agave blooming in the desert
At the middle of this 2.6 mile hike, there's a natural spring which means water and shade trees, and hummingbirds and dragonflies, all of which we saw yesterday.  The spring is the desert's best kept secret as it is "hidden" between two peaks, into the fold of the mountains atop a dry arroyo.  We spent almost an hour in the cool, dark spring area before we headed out into the sun, fully refreshed.

Getting there is a gradual climb of 400 or so feet....there's no "climbing" or scrambling over boulders, just a gentle rise on a dirt or rocky path.  This is rated as a moderate hike, but many beginning hikers may be ready to tackle it. 

Not only do you get to visit this cool, green, shaded oasis, but the trail also takes you by Manzanita Spring, a pond, and a frequent stop for birds and wildlife.  The trail begins and ends at the historic Frijole Ranch house, now a small museum showing early life in the Guadalupe Mountains. That's why this trail is designated as a "Texas Mountain Trail Heritage Hike."

More photos from the trail from yesterday! 
Closeup of the agave blooms

Pools of water from Smith Spring
Outdoor Tip!

Our friends at Clif MOJO sent us some bars to sample along with some "Adventure Tips for the Great Outdoors!"  

Here's one they offer:  "Packing snacks is a no brainer.  It's better to err on the side of having too much versus too little.  Consider factors such as weight, bulk, nutritional value and taste.  Try packing a few Clif Mojo Sweet and Salty Trail Mix Bars to cover your snacking needs, and plenty of water to stay hydrated during your day outdoors."

Friday, March 8, 2013

Great food for thought....

Big Thanks to Doctor Mike Evans for this (and other) great videos on health.  His YouTube Channel is here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Date Night Fun

Our recent adventure in Big Bend Ranch State Park
was featured in Stonewear Design's Valentine's Date Night
Our friends at Stonewear Designs continue to encourage us all to bring outdoor adventure into our lives.  They asked their Grassroots Ambassadors to suggest Date Night ideas for their Valentine's Day feature.

Our suggestion?  "Spread the topo maps out on the floor, open up a bottle of wine and plan your next adventure together. We like to visualize each hiking trail from the map first, then hop on Google Earth and see the satellite view of the area. This is what we did on our most recent adventure to Big Bend Ranch State Park near the Rio Grande. -Beth Nobles, Stonewear Designs Ambassador and blogger at One Foot In Front of the Other"

Here's a link to the others! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Guadalupe Peak Trail

Sarah Clark
Community Outreach
SCA AmeriCorps Intern
Guadalupe Mountains
 National Park
Guadalupe Peak Trail by Sarah Clark
Mountain tops seem to hold a special place in men’s minds. Moses came down from the mountain top with the moral code that has shaped the lives of millions of people for thousands of years. Native Americans seek their visions among the mountain tops, while Buddhist monks remain to find nirvana. The mountain top is a symbol of clarity, knowledge, and enlightenment. The effort and struggles of gaining the peak are integral to the significance of gaining the summit. No one would say they had conquered a mountain by flying to the top in a helicopter. No, each step on the way to the top has its own place and meaning.

The hike to the top of Guadalupe Peak is no different. As you work your way up the trail the desert floor falls away; the sounds of the highway gradually fade. Valleys and hills unfold before you, curving away to join ridge upon ridge, knitted together by rock and tree. Rounding a corner opens new worlds, as barren hillsides and sheer cliff faces become mountain slopes covered in pines, only to give way to the grassy shoulders of the peak. The air, thin enough to give pause as you switchback your way through the steepest sections of the trail, fills with the scent of pine. Even with your eyes closed, the air near the peak would tell you that you are far from the rest of the world. The last scramble to the summit, full of white fossil rich rocks of a long vanished reef, brings you face to face with the goal of your long climb. The mountain top is yours. Away below is the work-a-day world. But here, on the top, the press of everyday affairs is far away. Whether the first or the hundredth time to the top, the summit brings its own sense of time and scale to your perspective. As you gradually make your way back down the trail the headiness of the summit will remain. Distances seem changed, perspectives reframed. The memory of the view from the top is contrasted with where you are. Once returned to the base, the moments of clarity on the mountain top, with only the sky above you, the winds around you, and all the world below, remain.
We are so excited to have Sarah Clark, a Community Outreach Student Conservation Association AmeriCorps Intern with Guadalupe Mountains National Park helping with our Peak Fitness Challenge
JOIN the Peak Fitness Challenge! 
This is a free, fun challenge designed to help you set goals by trying new trails in Far West Texas:  Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Franklin Mountains State Park!  When you hike a trail, you log your miles on the website AND your name is entered into a monthly drawing!  Free stuff, fun and adventure!  Try it now:  www.geobetty.com/peak
The Guadalupe Peak Trail IS part of the Challenge!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Big Bend Ultra!

All bundled up at the starting line!
Insulated tights, Stonewear Rockin Jacket,
hat, headband...but it warmed up quickly
in the desert climate of Big Bend
National Park!
If' you're relatively new to a fitness practice, and you're looking for a challenge for next year, may we suggest the Big Bend Ultra Run in Big Bend National Park?

And ULTRA, you say?  Not a crazy-long trail run???  The nice folks organizing this race (Friends of Big Bend National Park) know a long trail run might not be for everyone, so they offer a manageable 10K as well as a 25K and 50K lengths.

Truth be told: I've run the 10K twice now and so far, it is my favorite race.  The scenery of Big Bend National Park is jaw-droppingly beautiful and the race is extremely well run.  The race organizers take VERY good care of you!

By mid-race it warmed up significantly!
We had a ball at the water station on the
Rio Grande!  The other side of the river
is Mexico!
This year, following my New Year's Resolutions, I invited a friend of mine to run with me.  The last time I ran this race, it was for speed.  I ended up placing first among the female Masters....I had something to prove.  This year, I wanted to run with my friend, Mary, and help her through her first 10K.  She didn't need my help.  She got through it just fine, and we had a ball visiting throughout the run, noting the beauty of our surroundings and the quiet of the park.  We even stopped at the water station mid-way through the race to have our pictures taken at the Rio Grande, and visit with the volunteers and other runners.  We had a pokey approach to the entire race...our goal was to have fun.  And fun we had!  The opposite bank in the photo?  Yes, that's Mexico!

There's nothing like setting a goal and working hard to WIN something, but there's also joy in sharing it all with a friend.  This year, it wasn't about placing or time, or goal-setting.  It was all about helping a friend discover fun, accomplishment and the appreciating the beauty of the wilderness.

BIG thanks to our friends at Stonewear Designs!  I wore their stylish Rockin Jacket at the beginning of the race.  It was perfectly cozy at the very cold start, and as it warmed up (more than 20 degrees in an hour!) it was easy to tie the arms around my waist and complete the race, hassle free! I love the paisley cuffs!