Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Getting My Secret Out

Hope everyone had a fabulous Memorial Weekend, no matter what you did! Even though part of me hopes your weekend included getting outdoors and enjoying nature.



HIKING

I did get out, went on a few hikes this week. Didn't take my camera on one of them (I know shocker) I felt nearly naked without it. Bummer too because it was sunset and fabulously beautiful. But my friend had her GoPro and I may have to borrow a few shots from her later on.



Got eaten alive by bugs this week. The biting horseflies are out, got me nearly every day out running LOL always came back with trickles of blood down my legs.
Then Sunday the mosquito's took a liking to me, I am seriously going crazy with bites all over my arms and face (lovely I know, LOL)



A friend and I did a little let's just call it a little rock climbing, we had a rope some of the way left by another but forgot to bring our own to get us up one obstacle. So we took a detour up a dried waterfall area, oh my gosh the views up on top were stunning. (All the outdoor pics on today's post are from this climb.)

But leave it to me to not wear my hiking pants, and if you saw my legs you'd cringe. I got pretty scraped up and even got stabbed by something sharp in my calf filling my shoe up with blood. Nasty, and the funny thing is I don't even remember it happening LOL
So now my legs just look like someone kicked the heck out of me, oh well, LOL (I'll spare you the images, LOL)


RUNNING

Saturday morning I went out to just see how close to 10 miles I could get. After all, I've been training to hike long distances not run them, LOL. I'd only run up to 5 miles before this. But my legs despite all their cuts, scrapes and major bruises wanted to run. I stopped myself at 12.5 miles because I've got something coming up that I need fresh legs for and felt I had pushed it enough.
I was even more surprised I wasn't even sore from it, just my lungs a little tired. Guess this means, I can pull off that half marathon in less than 2 weeks now!


Weightloss - I'm at officially 32.5 pounds lost! Not easy, but I'm doing it!
On a side note, I rarely post pictures of me, (or so everyone says, LOL) but I had to do a few Maybelline selfies for a campaign on Instagram.

But on the plus side, the weight loss is definitely showing up on my face, even if not much elsewhere! (Ignore my hair, I literally woke up, put the makeup on and didn't realize until after I hadn't even combed my hair that morning, LOL LOL. I have long straight hair, it doesn't tangle much LOL)




Now for the details on my secret, I am getting out.

I was going to write a whole post about this, but I've decided to just condense it down. In short, I am working on my thesis project to go with the paper for my degree.

I selected a project that brings my Digital Design, Recreation Management and my research study on Influencers together into one idea.

(The catch, I can only use influencers to promote this race as part of my research study.)

I'm hosting a virtual race this September, I'm in the beginning planning phases. The name:

Run Sea to Shining Sea Virtual Races - Half Marathon, 10k and 5k

Although I do have the website up, even though it's not fully finished.
You're more than welcome to check it out and give me your honest opinion!


Actually, I'd welcome some opinions!!
(But don't share the info of the race yet, I need another two weeks to finish the website and details)

If you want to register and you are an influencer, wait! Because I'm going to have some fun opportunities for discounts or free entries for those who would like to help me out and earn them.
I'll be rolling those out in a few weeks. But if you are interested, let me know and I'll make sure to reach out to you when the time comes!

T-shirt design, I am working on that now and designing it entirely myself. I've got a cute idea I am playing with, as well as a few others so I'll share the design with you in a few weeks when it's ready.

Medallion design, this is one I am having fun with. I am using a medal creator vendor who does a very nice higher quality job. I came up with the medal design before I even knew the exact name of the event, LOL
But I may tweak it a little after I get it done, after all right now the idea is only in my head, LOL

Logo, Still working on this!. It's not done, but this is the image I've put up so far on the social media pages I created quickly for them. But the official design will be similar but hopefully much better. I only had a few minutes in Illustrator with this one.




So I do have one more question for you:
I'm trying to set my Virtual Race apart from others and I'm kinda tempted to go after a more fun or unique t-shirt color(s).
What are your thoughts on that? If you could pick a race t-shirt color what would it be?


Monday, May 22, 2017

20-Miler Carrying 27 Pounds... Done!

UPDATES
I returned back from my trip just before the weekend, I had a great time seeing my friends and hanging out with my family. I do miss them all living so far away right now. But I'm looking forward to lots of visits this summer when I have time!



WEIGHTLOSS
As for my weight loss journey, I'm now down 28.5 pounds, I was actually surprised I didn't gain a ton on my trip because I ate out nearly every day and didn't even try to order low calorie, LOL. But I'm thinking maybe all the hard work and muscle I am building helped burn off some of those restaurant calories I took in since I still lost weight.



HIKING
I've done a lot of hiking to get reading for Grand Canyon R2R2R. I have put my body through a tremendous amount of pain from lots of huge climbs. I don't even remember what it's like to not be sore, but this is the good kind of workout sore so it's all good! I actually love it!

Last weekend was no exception, I went out and hiked a 20-miler. I selected specific trails ahead of time that would force me to hike the highest in elevation climbs and losses. Overall it was over 12,000 feet in gain and loss, and those are just the numbers I could pull off the trail guides and not counting some of the trails I didn't look into.

I carried 27 pounds to start on that hike and ended with around 15 pounds because most of it was water drank. It was 90 degree's out and I purposely chose places with very little shade. I did it in about 9 hours. It was a little slow, but I didn't push it on the last 2,000-foot climb of the day because it was at 17 miles and to be honest I was tired!!

I don't tell ya all that to say I'm turning into wonder woman, LOL But those are the types of things needed to be done so I can have an enjoyable R2R2R hike and not have my legs screaming in pain for the return trip, LOL



FYI: These pictures in this post today are the few I took while on the trip. And a first for me, I'm sharing here before I've even shared them on Instagram! If you love hiking and travel pictures and don't already definitely follow me on INSTAGRAM HERE. I try not to disappoint and only upload my best pics from any trip!




HALF MARATHON TRAINING or NOT
In Feb/Mar when I got sick for nearly a month (no joke) I lost all of my training. So if any of you read my previous R2R2R training plan, yeah very little of that actually happened as far as the running was concerned.
Since I was starting from near scratch in Mid March I realized I had no time to actually work on running, I needed to get my body ready for the hike. Oddly, you do utilize different muscle groups more than you'd think hiking vs. running. After all, I'm backpacking across the Grand Canyon not running, LOL

So yeah, although I have consistently gone out for 3-6 miles runs 3-4 days a week it's really not been much in regards to training for a half marathon to really get ready for it as I normally would for a race. I would prefer a little more than double that but...

So am I still going to do it?

I think so. I'm not too concerned with time on this one and although I haven't been running much I'm in pretty good shape otherwise. So I'll see what happens. I still have a little time, so maybe I can knock out a longer run if my legs can recover from the 20-mile hike soon!

Plus it's a great excuse to drive up north and visit my family and friends, LOL.

I am about 99% of the time an after the fact blogger. 
This next part is my 1% exception.

It seems there is an increasingly high amount of my blogger friends coming to Utah to run in June, which is pretty awesome!  It's funny because of all the races to come to Utah for, I never would have thought this particular one to be so popular with out-of-staters. But it's a pretty canyon run and it's one of the least steep canyon runs, so maybe that is why?
I won a free entry into it, so maybe others did too??

So that is why I wanted to talk about where I will be in advance so I don't miss an opportunity to meet some of you. So if you're doing Utah Valley Marathon or Half, hit me up. I'd love to meet you in person because as of right now I should be there doing the half.

And if you see this, and are coming I would love to find out why so many are coming for this race, I will probably ask ya when I see ya in June. But I'm super curious for sure what drew so many to this one instead of one of the more popular ones in Utah.



THESIS PROJECT

I'll share more with you on this hopefully later this week if I can find time to write the post. But I thought I'd quickly share what I received approval on and have decided to do for the project portion before I write the final paper.

And this will make more sense another day when I explain more.
But it's going to be a
Virtual Race - Half Marathon, 10k or 5k option.

I'm working hard right now to get things set up and get the business portion of it set up right. But I will say I am doing things a little unique on all fronts so it won't be like every other virtual race out there. (Well as different as it can be!)

So for those of you who are interested in racing for medals or want to help support me in this huge project this summer, keep an eye on my blog for both registration and (hint) Influencer opportunities around it soon!




Linking up with the lovely gals from the Weekly Wrap! Misssippiddlin and HoHoRuns this week!

If you don't already, check out their blogs and this fun weekly link up to meet new bloggers each week.



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hiking Lake Blanche during the Winter and early melts

I left the Redrocks for a while, I've been up north on vacation in Utah near the Wasatch Mountains, and there is one trail that I have done in the summer but always wanted to do in the winter and especially at the beginning of the winter melts.

I finally got to do it this past weekend and let me tell you it was an awesome adventure!! Beauty, Adventure, Rush & Thrills and a lot of Fun! Let me tell ya about it.



Lake Blanche is roughly 7 miles on an out and back trail in the Twin Peaks Wilderness area of Big Cottonwood Canyon. It's a very popular trail, especially in the summer.
According to AllTrails, they rate the hike as difficult, but for an experienced hiker, you'll likely find it more on the higher end of moderate.



You'll be starting at around 5,800 feet in elevation (estimate) and you'll hit the at lake 8,900 feet. So yes as you make your way up, it's climbing uphill from the very beginning and it really never lets up as you make your way up and climb nearly 3,000 feet.



It's a great trail for the legs!!! You'll feel them for sure!  You'll feel your lungs, even more, it's a great workout! Oh, and when you see the views, you'll see why this is one killer workout you won't mind, as they are stunning!!

The start of my hike in the lower mountains, so beautifully green and lush right now.



This is actually the stream which most times of year doesn't have very much water running down it at all. But right now the spring melts have been in full force and this stream, well it would give most whitewater rivers a challenge as you can see. Definitely not one you'll want to cool off at this time of year!



As you quickly make your way uphill as you climb, within a short distance you'll be presented with gorgeous views like above.



This time of year, it was mostly dry the first mile. But then it got a little wet and muddy in the 2nd mile as the snow run-off is basically turned the trail into a little bit of a stream. If your feet don't get wet then, they will later!

Eventually, I hit this snow probably at around 7,500 feet, at first, it wasn't too bad. But around 8,000 feet the snow got a bit deeper.



I had about a good solid mile of climbing through the snow. It was definitely passable and pretty slushy at points and I made it in a regular hiking shoe, but funny story. I've never hiked in deep snow like that before, at least not in distance.

I mean, I've done snowshoeing many times, but that is different and a little easier. Trudging through a heavier wetter snow in higher elevations, yup, it got my lungs working oh my it did!
I brought plenty of water, and I definitely went through a lot of it!

It was a perfect day though, I brought a long sleeve shirt and even a jacket, but didn't end up needing it. I was sweating bullets enough on the way up, I was comfortable in my t-shirt!



So this trail was a bit different than how I am used to it in the past.
In the past, the trail veers off to the left and goes up near the side of the mountain. Apparently not in the winter, everyone was going what looked like straight up over this pass.

I kid you not, the picture doesn't do it justice, this was one steep climb. A little slippery, but kicking my hiking boot in to make a more secure step, I won't lie and say I was fast, but boy was it cold! As I didn't bring gloves and at times yes I did need to stick my hands into the snow to brace myself from slipping back down.

Okay, here is the most awesome part of this, the waterfalls. They were everywhere, gushing in some places shooting out of the mountain and disappearing into the snow, coming out later again. Oh my gosh, it was stunning. Unfortunately, not many of my waterfall pictures turned out, I blame a cell phone camera on those. I only took out the nicer camera up on top, LOL



I climbed up this pass, which normally I am not sure I would do without the snow, the deep snow filled in the steep canyon granite cliffs. I could see down near some of the rocks where the water was melting and there was still a good 8-10 feet of snow under in places. Only the taller peaks were peeking out of the snow.

The waterfalls were running right underneath me, I could hear the water it was pretty cool to hear. Of course, in the back of my mind, I absolutely didn't want to fall through to the water flowing under the snow. I saw a few footprints of others who had stepped in the wrong place and broke through, and ya I didn't want any of that.



After, I finished what was nearly 100 feet of climbing nearly straight up, maybe even higher. I got up and realized, I still had quite a ways to climb to get over to the lake.
Yes, I was pretty tired at this point, but oh so close!



I shouldn't admit this, but yes I was hiking alone. But you're never really alone out on this trail like I said it's popular and there were people nearby me quite often on the trail.



The views, when I got there, absolutely worth the climb!!! Everything I had imagined and more! It was absolutely peaceful with the exception of the rushing waterfalls around. The lake still mostly frozen over, with a few pockets of the ice melting away. It was seriously picturesque.
Especially with Sundial Peak in the background!!!



Going up may have been exhausting but I'm going, to be honest, going down that steep snow was much harder. I had wished I had taken my hiking poles on this one!

At one point on the steepest part I slipped and let me tell you how fast you go with a 25-pound pack on your back when the snow is slushy and slippery, LOL  On my butt then back...
30 feet down, in less than 2 seconds. LOL LOL (25-pound pack only because I'm training for Grand Canyon and trying to get used to carrying heavy weight.)



In my t-shirt without gloves, I think you can imagine the freezer burn on my arms, my hands stung pretty bad after that. (You can totally see my body slip marks in this shot above, LOL)

But then I realized, it might just be easier to go a little slip and sliding. So I took my long sleeve shirt I bought, wrapped it around one of my hands so I could use that as an anchor to keep me from freezing too bad when I'd go to stop myself and avoid any rocks, deep holes or tree's near the bottom. I did slide my way down most of that 100+ feet and it was a rush and so fun!!!



The rest was back the way I came, and I decided to snap a few photo's along the way back.
In fact that first snow picture of the steep wall of snow to climb. I took that literally laying on my back as I did that first accidental slip LOL



Gorgeous hike, and the absolutely perfect day to do it! Couldn't have asked for anything better.
It took me about 4 hours for the entire round trip hike, I wasn't rushing. However, I'm in pretty good shape with my R2R2R training so it could take others 5-6 hours depending on how many breaks you take.

Here is one more of my favorite views of the lake! The one I only imagined how it would be til this day. Pictures never do the views justice, let me tell you it was just gorgeous!



If you visit northern Utah around the Salt Lake area or live here, I highly recommend this hike. Especially in the summer. But if you're a bit more of an adventure seeker, I'd recommend it in the winter or spring as well!

So tell me, do you have a hike or place you've always wanted to visit at different times of year to see how it looks?

Anyone who reads my blog hiked this before? What time of year is your favorite?




Thursday, May 11, 2017

How I tripled my blog readership while I wasn't able to write new blog posts

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Monday was my first week back to the blog in many months. While I did post once in March, I actually wrote it in December so technically I haven't blogged since February and even then it was only once.

But I'm going to let you all in on a secret, I actually tripled my blog readership monthly (February, March & April)  without writing a single post. In fact, I had my second highest month ever in March.


At first, I thought it would be dumb to share this, but then I realized others may get in a similar situation and find they aren't able to post as often so in case you ever find yourself fall into this category I will share a couple of things I did.

First, I went through and found some of my more popular blog posts on a range of topics.

Second, I took the date markers off my blog (and if you just looked, yes I put it back up this week.)

Third, I took about 1-2 minutes a week and shared them on social media during peak reading hours for the topic type.

Fourth, well that's it! I didn't have time for anything else. I just attempted to be diligent at this for at least once a week. (I don't need to tell you what topics I picked if you read my blog or my About Me page, you know what type of content I post!)

Hint, it helped to have a lot of shareable content to choose from. Of course, I have been blogging for officially 6 years as of last month (YAY) so that helped in the content factor.

To new eyes, if it's the first time seeing something it is new and it doesn't matter when it was posted as long as it didn't appear to be something dated, so that was how I chose my content. No personal story posts, or race recaps, I chose stuff that wouldn't matter when it was shared.

Will it work for everyone? I can't say, but if you have some quality content beyond the fun day in the life stuff that isn't as datable as when it was written then it's definitely a more likely possibility.

Are all those new page views new blog followers? Probably not, but maybe a few will stick around! I noticed page views on the specific topics I shared, other similar posts also increased in page views around that time.

(I use Google Analytics, if you don't I highly recommend it. It's fast and easy to see who is coming to your blog, what they are liking, how long they actually spend reading it and where they go after. Best part it is FREE!)

A funny thing happened 

While I did this, my Twitter followers passed the 9,000 mark. Which was really cool and very exciting to notice the other day. I didn't really do anything different there, so I can't say why I increased over 1,000 in followers in a couple months time. But I'm taking a wild guess it was some of those new visitors to my blog checking out the content I was sharing?? Beyond that, who knows! But I sure appreciate them and I hope they'll continue to enjoy what I share!

That's it!

Seriously, I literally only took 1-2 minutes a week to do this, and my page views are nearly triple now than what they were when I was blogging frequently.  Additionally, because of this, I have been able to take part in many social media campaigns which have helped provide me with enough income to cover my food while I have been here at college.

So if you ever find yourself in a blogging break that cannot be helped, I highly recommend taking a minute to share some of your older more informative popular posts!

Happy Blogging Friends!!!


Monday, May 8, 2017

When Something Had to Give

Opening up my blog writing portal for the first time in two months, it's exciting and reminds me of what I have missed. I am looking forward to the days ahead of getting back into it.



It wasn't supposed to be like this, I told myself I would never stop blogging or going more than two weeks without a post. But something had to give, and blogging was that. (Another reason I should have never said never!)



Being a returned college student, I talked them into letting me into my senior thesis class at the same time I was a full-time student already taking 16 credits, this is not something they normally do especially letting me in as a Junior.



The first few weeks I held it together, but eventually, there was just too much. I was barely hanging on. The thesis class was taking every bit of my spare bits of time, in fact, I had to do over 227 pages of research writing at academic standards (or an attempt at it.) Drowning in homework from my other classes which at times was taking all the patience I had. Keeping the blog up was way too much, so it was also the logical choice to let drop a bit.



Although I missed seeing what many of my favorite blogging friends were up to, and on occasion, I was able to stop by and visit a few, I did try to keep up with many of you on IG and FB. So I feel like I've still been a part even if not in the blogger world aspect of it all.
I also kept up on social media IG mostly, so if you follow me you likely saw some of my beautiful adventures. In fa, t all these pictures I am showing you today have been taken over hiking trips the past couple months.



Well my Spring semester is officially over, and lucky me Summer Semester starts today, LOL

But I survived and passed all my classes and officially passed my thesis class. Official grades haven't been released but I am pretty sure I did quite well.

Since my prospectus thesis passed, I am now onto the project portion of it. Which will be even more work, but it is the only thing I am doing this summer. I am doing it this way so next Fall and Spring I can concentrate on my degree classes and have this part completely out of the way!



UPCOMING PROJECT
My thesis turned into something entirely different than planned. In fact, I'll share more about it another time because I may even enlist some of your help if your willing for my project this summer. As it is running and influencer related, and that's all I will say about it until I get the ball rolling. Which should be this week, so I'll share soon!


One of my finals was to recreate in Illustrator something that looks like the original. Illustrator and I have had our ups and downs these past 4 months. It's been a love-hate relationship with more emphasis on the hate. But by the end, I was getting a little better. Above is my final project it took over 20 hours to complete. It's not perfect but its the best I can do.
ABOVE: It's probably obvious but the one on the left is mine, the one on the right is the original.




HIKING
Hiking has become one of my sanity savers this semester for sure. I attempted to fit in 2 hikes a week when I could. One was usually a shorter one that replaced my run, usually a hike of 6 or fewer miles that I could finish in under 2 hours.



The other was a hike where I could go out and get my body trained for my upcoming R2R2R (Grand Canyon). I already mentioned I am doing this, I am still an after the fact blogger so I won't say when exactly, but let's just say it will be here before I know it so I am really pushing my limits with hiking lately. I'll tell you more about what really went into training for it another time.



Living in a vacation town as most call it, it has been fun to spend time outdoors and meet others who enjoy the outdoors as much as me. I've met some great friends, even if I haven't had much time for hanging out. Most importantly, I've met some new hiking and backpacking friends and I am excited for many upcoming big backpacking trips to tell you about later this summer.



I've also had fun with friends and family who have come to visit, like one of my good friends who came up a few weeks ago and asked me to take her and her foreign exchange student friend up Angels Landing for the first time. I rarely like sweaty pictures of me, because I'm not one of those girls who sweat and glow, LOL. But this one (below) didn't turn out too bad.



WEIGHTLOSS
With all the hiking, adding a little running and walking into the mix, not to mention a very limited diet of calories to help aid in the weight loss. I've now dropped 26 pounds.
I still have a long way to go to my goal weight, but I am very happy with getting my body back even if weight loss, I swear is one of the hardest if not THE hardest thing I have ever done.




RUNNING
I do try to go a few times a week, but it's something I need to focus more on now. As I have officially signed up for a 13.1 this summer and a full marathon this fall.

So that's it, I see no point in boring you with any more details from the past few months of being blogger MIA. But I will say I am looking forward to getting back into blogging and catching up.