Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Orange Mud Transition Towel Giveaway

Have you ever gone for a run on a trail, or spent some time at the beach and wished you had the opportunity to change on the go without having to worry about exposing your "zip code" to all of the world? How about this...after a run we all know how we can feel yucky having being covered in awesome. The sweat. The dirt. The grime. The last thing you want is to do is track that onto your seats or make connection with your leather on a hot day. Wouldn't it be amazing if there was a lovely doo-dad that was available in the marketplace that catered to these needs? Wouldn't it be awesome if it came in a variety of different colors, and utilized a wonderfully soft fabric? Lucky for you...such a magic doo-dad exists. Introducing the Orange Mud Transition Towel.

The whole idea of the transition towel is a functional towel that allows you to change out of your gear into another set of clothes with ease...without having to worry about if your towel will fall and expose your "biscuits and gravy". The towel secures around your waist using a really comfortable and easy to use belt clip that is integrated right into the towel. So wrap it around your waist. clip into place and change with ease (yes I just made that up).

Now, you still may be sweaty and gross and the last thing you want to do is get your car all funky, right? Simple. use the integrated zipper and transition your towel into a hoodie and slide it over your car seat. You can now sit on your car seat with peace of mind, knowing that you won't have to rush to the cash wash to get that vacuum out. Simply remove the towel from the seat when you get home and toss it in the washing machine.

The best part is, it comes in 14 great colors, one of which is sure to match your personality. I have three of these beauties and my favorite color is purple! The colors are vivid and bold!

This is certainly a product every runner should own, especially if you love the trails and the ultra lifestyle. If you head to the beach for surfing or other marine activities, this is an amazing item as well. Towel to hoodie in seconds!

Don't forget to check out Orange Mud and their awesome line of HydraQuiver hydration systems! I run with mine all the time. Orange Mud prides themselves in producing products with the highest quality materials right here in the USA. No bouncing, no chafing, no problems! I own a single barrel and a double and feel so sad when I can't or don't run with it. It really is one of my favorite things.

If you use discount code ABLINZROCKS you can save 15% on anything on their website! want one? I am giving one anyway! One transition towel to one lucky US resident. You even get to pick the color! A $39.95 value yours free! So let's go!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My Personal Thoughts About runDisney

So, this post is a pretty difficult one to write. For the most part, I have kept my opinions and thoughts about runDisney and their recent changes to myself or shared them with people that are close to me. I haven’t really come out and taken a position one way or another. I’ve played this out in my mind for weeks and came to the conclusion that I owe it not only to myself but I owe it to you to share my thoughts openly and honestly. These are my opinions and this is my space…so I am going to try to frame these thoughts the best that I can.

Before we even dive into this, I am going to provide you all with my runDisney race resume. I am sharing this so you know that I have been doing this for quite some time…so maybe some of my thoughts will have some context against them when I talk about the changes I have seen over the years.

-Disneyland Half Marathon 2012
-Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2012
-Walt Disney World Marathon (Goofy Finisher) 2013
-Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2013
-Disneyland Half Marathon (Dumbo Double Dare Finisher) 2013
-Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2013
-Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (Dopey Challenge Finisher) 2014
-Tinker Bell 10K AND Half Marathon 2014
-Avenger’s Super Heroes Half Marathon 2014 (Coming Soon)
-3X Coast to Coast medal recipient

Ok, now that I have that out of the way let’s get right into this post.

I discovered runDisney by accident. I began running in 2012 and found out that Disney had their own race series. I, being the huge Disney fanatic that I am was very excited and signed up for the Disneyland Half Marathon without hesitation. It was my third half marathon and it was A LOT of fun. I am local to Disneyland so travel wasn't an issue and in 2012 I don't remember the course or the expo being too crowded. I had the time of my life. I was moved and inspired and didn't want this to end. Upon returning from vacation to Alaska (on the Disney Cruise Line no less...I left the next day haha), I signed up for the Wine and Dine half marathon. Food and wine and running...who says no to that. I went to that event alone. I was fortunate enough to secure a place in the Disney Parks Blog meet up group where I was formally introduced to Team #runDisney. I had been chatting and conversing with many of these people online for a couple months. The group was small, yet welcoming. I continue to keep in touch with A LOT of these folks to this day. After finishing that weekend, I walked away with so many new friends. Again, I didn't want that to end.

I have said it before and I will say it again, runDisney race weekends aren't so much about the's about the people! The people are what make these racecations what they are. Hands down. Period. I like to think of it as a family reunion when we all get together. I mean, we run races that aren't Disney and make it a point to meet up with one another just to say hi and steal hugs. THAT is what makes this special. I hang on to those memories and look forward to creating more both on Disney property and off. 

As of the past year, runDisney has seen some major administrative changes in how they operate. The changes are not subtle and the changes in MY personal opinion are quite disheartening. Let me be perfectly clear. I was a cast member at Disneyland. One of my roles was a guest control/special events cast member. They are part of the team that runDisney leverages for race weekend logistics. So, I understand what it is like to be a cast member and the stress that comes with it. I am not blaming ONE single person for ANYTHING. These are my personal feelings and observations. You have every right to agree or disagree. I also welcome alternative perspectives as well. This is meant to generate conversation, not bash anyone.

Let's talk about what runDisney does VERY well. runDisney knows their audience. One of the reasons they exist is to encourage families to get off the couch and be active together. They do that by holding races at their vacation destinations and hoping all will participate. BRILLIANT. I love that families can run/walk/play together. runDisney is also a great place to run if you are new to running and want to give it a try. I have always found runDisney races to be a safe haven and space for all skill levels. I find for the most part their races and expos are very organized. They have their moments when they aren't so smooth...but so does everyone else. They really leverage their runners in their campaigns. This forms a sense of community and inclusion. I also find they are always on the hunt for continuous improvement. Not every race (Disney or non) is perfect. There is always something that can be done better. I find they address the big things and get them corrected. Jeff Galloway & Tara Gidus are wonderful resources that are warm, open, and available for the participants! I love that so much. The list of what they do well is much longer but these are just some of the things I really do appreciate.'s where it's gonna get dicey. In today's technical age social media presence is important. Lots of us turn to Facebook or Twitter for news and customer service...they miss the mark on this hardcore. I find the accounts go nuts during race weekends and then are pretty quiet there after. New participants have legitimate questions that only runDisney can answer and those vehicles would be a great way to close the gap. I know the staff is limited. I know they have a lot on their plate. But client engagement and loyalty is important. For most inquiries I will direct you to the Team #runDisney blog/forum/Facebook group because they are an amazing resource with seasoned runDisney participants...myself included. I always wondered why they don't have a formal race ambassador program to help with this...then it hit me. Why do they need it? Bloggers like me do the work for free. We recap our experiences and answer questions for free. They don't need to create or leverage a program for that because the need is already addressed. Makes sense to me. Although it would be a nice idea.

The prices are now out of bounds. Yes, we can discuss the "value" you get for the races. Yes, the tech shirts are usually awesome (and have improved drastically in both design and materials that are used), yes the medals are usually awesome (I'll come back to this), and the on course entertainment is usually spot on. I still have a hard time justifying $195 for a half marathon. Some high profile marathons don't cost that much. When you factor in travel, housing accommodations, food, and swag at the adds up. Fast. Especially for someone coming from Southern California to Orlando. Now, no one is forcing any of us to make these commitments and sign up and everyone has an individual circumstance. For me, I've done these races find a better value in using those available funds to explore and experience other races. It's not cost effective for me to repeat these races at the high price point...that continues to climb. That's just me.

I was REAL disappointed with the 2015 Goofy medal. Why? Because it looks EXACTLY like the ING Miami Marathon medal from 2012!!!!!!! The only thing missing were the palm trees. I am all for leveraging ideas for inspiration and such but this is THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY! You are known for creativity, innovation, and for using your imaginations to bring ideas, concepts, and stories to life. You bombed that one guys...sorry 'bout it. Normally the medals are breathtaking. I have some that just make me say WOW that rocks to this day! Even the 2014 Goofy medal is stellar! The Marathon medal this year as simple as it is, still has charm and appeal. I don't know what happened, but I want to see that flare come back. Racing isn't all about medals...but having one that you can fall in love with is always nice. Now, everyone has the same taste in design so this opinion is completely most of this post but you get what I mean.

runDisney has realized it is officially a cash cow. They sell out races in record times at high prices (which is their prerogative), the merchandise isn't the cheapest (and sells out quickly), New Balance shoes are a hot item (I waited for my pair), and everyone wants to sign up for what's next. Why wouldn't they as a business play to these strengths? And they do. And why shouldn't they? It's about the bottom line at the end of the day. A business exists to make a profit. And they have found new and "creative" ways to do that. Introducing new challenges for one (Dopey, Glass Slipper, whatever is going on on Castaway Cay).

For me, it's exhausting to go to these events. I literally need a vacation after the racecation. Dopey about killed me. The mileage wasn't the issue. It was the constant 3 am wake up calls, hardly any park time, and early bed times. It starts messing with your head. I hung out and met old and new friends that weekend and I will forever be grateful for that, but it's just too much mental stress for me. I love the concept of runDisney, but I think since they have made their changes they primarily focus on the bottom line instead of the runner. The runner will always be there because let's face it...y'all are still stalking the website and social media grasping at those registration dates and links. The demand is there. I don't see that changing. This post isn't trying to steer you away, do what you love! I am here sharing my perspective because I have seen a shift and it makes me sad.

Wine and Dine will always be my favorite event, and I plan on returning to that in 2015. This isn't goodbye by any means, but this is I need to reduce my participation. runDisney has give me SO SO SOOOO MUCH!!!! Memories, friends, and magic. I want that to continue and I wish all participants find the same happiness that I have been fortunate enough to experience in their own races and trips.

This has been on my spirit for a while. So there it is. Now you know. It's not the bubbly funny post that you usually get from me, but it is honest and from my heart. And it's taken me some time to get here and put it down on paper screen. Whew. It sure isn't what it used to be...and sadly it's pretty obvious.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Pro Compression Giveaway

It's been some time since I have given something away here, so let's get back into the swing of things shall we? As you have probably heard, I have recently joined the Pro Compression Ambassador team! This is truly exciting. If you haven't heard much about Pro Compression, let me give you some quick highlights. Pro makes compression socks and sleeves. The benefits of owning and using compression products range anywhere from increased blood flow, stability, comfort, and they even aid in speedy recovery after those long runs. Yesterday I climbed Mt. Baldy here in Southern California and wore my socks up and down 10,000 feet of elevation. My calves were on fire from the hard work, but my Pro Compression socks kept me safe and the recovery time after such a hard day was really fast. Pro socks and sleeves come in a variety of colors and styles to match exactly what you are looking for. So, as my welcome to the team, Pro has graciously offered to giveaway one pair of marathon socks OR sleeves to one lucky US winner. All you have to do is utilize the RaffleCopter below. This contest will run until Friday May 23rd. In the meantime, I want to encourage you to go over to Pro Compression's website and use discount code 'SSR' and take advantage of the 40% off offer I have going on NOW! This deal is only available until the end of the day on Friday May 23rd, so don't delay! Let's get the party started! Good luck and don't forget to #KeepItTight!

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

You Had ONE Job! Don't Die! The Mt. Baldy Climb with Leslie

Today was pretty awesome I must say.  A week ago I solidified plans to climb a mountain that sits in my backyard. One of the highest mountains in Southern California, Mt. Baldy...also known to some as Mt. San Antonio (but no one calls it that).  Anywho, you may recall that the lovely Leslie offered to come along for the ride. I being the happy guy I am said the more the merrier. Since I have never attempted anything like this before, it would be good to have an ultra runner who has scaled this beast numerous times come with me.

She got to my house at 6:30 this morning. I hopped in her cute car and we zipped 15 minutes down the freeway and headed up 3000 feet to the parking area in from of the San Antonio trail that would take us up to above 10,000 feet above sea level...the summit of Mt. Baldy.  So let me tell you right now, Leslie and I hit it off immediately. She's funny! She's totally adventurous! Her smile is infectious, and she was very easy to talk to. I definitely made a new friend today. Especially since she surprised me and wore her INKnBURN Flutter tech tee! Yes we were the talk of the trail.

At the trail head beginning our day
After we suited up, he began our climb at the trail head. The first thing we saw in the shadows were the San Antonio falls...we will get back to those in a bit. We continued our climb and our great conversation. Now, there are two ways  up this mountain. There is The Devil's Backbone trail (which is how we descended) and the Ski Hut route. We walked up through the trees, and the bushes, and the rocks, and past the lizards and made our way up toward the Ski Hut. This climb took us about an hour. Along this portion of the climb we encountered some narrow paths and loose rocks. So, if you aren't experienced on trails that are this technical I want to caution you to be careful, be aware of your surroundings, and bring a guide with you if possible. That's where the fun title of this blog came from. We promised one another neither one of us would plummet to the rocky basin below us...and trust me on parts of the trail it's easy to do. So every time one of us would loose our footing and recover we would yell ' YOU HAD ONE JOB!" and we would just burst into laughter...that was funny for 5 hours!! It also served as a reminder to be careful. No one wants to see anyone get hurt. Now, don't get the idea that we were up there being reckless, we were slow and VERY careful but even when you're the most careful things happen. So heads up! But any who. You definitely feel the climb and the elevation change. It happens pretty quickly. But the views are absolutely magnificent. The weather today was also PERFECTION! The skies were clear, we were in the low to mid 70s with a delightful breeze. We couldn't have asked for better conditions out there. Finally we reached the Ski Hut. Yes this is where you can rent skies during snow season lol.

One of the great views from Ski Hut
Ski Hut Panorama 
After our brief break at the Ski Hut we continued upward. The next leg of this journey would take about an hour and twenty minutes. We weren't in any big rush. We were just enjoying one another and the beautiful scenery. After we passed a stream of fresh running water (which had us in a state of awe), we made our way to the court of large boulders and things (yes that's what I named it). I loved seeing all of the rocks and decided this would be the perfect place for a photo shoot. Leslie totally agreed.

After our brief but always fun photo shoot we noticed that some other fun hikers in the near vicinity...but they were just standing still. We turned our heads and saw a DEER! WILDLIFE! It was a curious little thing, and Leslie and I were totally jealous at it's ability to maneuver the hillside with not a problem at all. I issued an immediate side eye. But let's be was SO COOL and SO CUTE!

Do! A Deer! A Female Deer! I think anyway?
The remainder of the climb was pretty routine. We continued our steady climb very happy with our pace and communication. We were having so much fun up there. I think people around us wanted to join us, and at one point some did. We routinely stopped for breaks as needed because as you know the higher in elevation you go the thinner the air gets. So it's important to be aware of your body and your breathing. The very last climb was probably the hardest thing of the day. It literally feels like you are scaling a wall. As you approach the summit you see lots of other hikers sitting, eating, chatting, and enjoying the view from above 10,000 feet above sea level. WE MADE IT! It took us about 3 hours (which was pretty fast for me) and celebrated at the summit! Lots of hugs smiles and of course singing haha.

The views from the top were insane! It was so beautiful you could literally see for MILES! If the sky had been clear of haze and the smoke from the fires in San Diego you would probably be able to see the ocean, the Los Angeles skyline, and other great points of interest. It was INCREDIBLE! Reaching the top was worth the hurt and struggle for sure. Nothing that awesome comes without hard work!


Before we began our descent, Leslie saw SNOW! So of course she had to go play in it LOL! I saw a big rock and had to serve an awesome photo. I took inspiration from one of my faves Holly. She took this photo a while back and it blew my mind. So this was my attempt. Don't mind the poor form, there was no oxygen up there in that layer of the atmosphere...I was also on a cliff. LOL

@Holly_Fitness #MyFav

After that we made our way to Devil's Backbone. This trail drops pretty fast from the summit so we were coming back to civilization pretty rapidly. Before we continued to drop to the trail we noticed more snow can guess what happened next. I looked right at Leslie and sang 'Do you want to build a snowman" from Frozen. Naturally we exploded into laughter and started to build a snowman. I mean who wouldn't. 

Hang in there, Joan!
After we brought our masterpiece to life by the power of Elsa (which no one still understands) we continued to laugh. Yes his name is Olaf, and yes he does like warm hugs and pancakes!


After that random event we continued our trek down. Again, lots of rocks and dirt here so it's important to be VERY careful. More so on this trail. Wanna know WHY they call it Devil's Backbone? Because the trail is narrow and you have nothing to save you on either side. The trail has to be at max 5 feet wide, so PAY ATTENTION! It's totally safe but not really the place to cartwheel. I got nervous a couple times. We made our way down to the Mt. Baldy Lodge and used the facilities and refilled on water and lemonade. I was thirsty and it was free. This is about where the event comes to a close. Now if you've had enough the ski lifts run on the weekends and you can catch a ride down to the trail head. Ain't nobody got time for that. We enjoyed the 4 mile walk to our car and just continued to talk and chat and look up. We kept saying "WE WERE UP THERE!" It's really a marvel. We made our way back to San Antonio falls and enjoyed the splendor. The water is fresh, cool, calming, and tasty....yeah I tasted it. 

Leslie cooled her feet in the water while I played photographer. And of course we took a selfie.

After our fun at the falls it was time to go find some food and refuel. I totally made a new friend today! Leslie is pretty damn awesome. We had SUCH a good time. We already planned a couple more trails we want to go explore! And whenever she comes up to take on Baldy I'll probably be there. Leslie came two hours north from San Diego to play on the trails with me today! I couldn't be more grateful and happy that she came to hang out. She's a jewel! Thanks again Les! You rock the party! And she did her job very well...she didn't die and neither did I! Fantastic!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Power to the Blends

One thing that keeps me going are the crazy and unexpected friendships I have made and continue to nurture with fellow runners and bloggers. Once they become friends (like we text and chat pretty much every day in some form) they take on the term "Blends". I have lots of people I want to name so there will be multiple parts of this series but I have to start somewhere. So let's just dive right on in! And before they even start these are in no particular order (uhhum KAT LOL)

I just love Dani! I met Dani at Rock N Roll Los Angeles last year. She was coordinating a social media meet up at Yard House at LA Live the day before the race. Of course, I made my presence known. I am so glad that I did. I met a ton of new people some I had been following via social media and others were new introductions. Now the minute I met Dani I knew we were going to get along. She is full of energy, so positive, and just a joy to be around. You can’t help but smile when you are around her. Later that day, I would head to Paramount Ranch to participate in Keira Henninger’s Haunted Trails of the Night 10K. I was walking back to my car and I ran into Dani…totally surprising. She was there to support a friend of hers and Keira being as awesome as she is allowed Dani to participate...but there was a hitch. It’s a night time race in the Malibu hills and the only light out was the beautiful moon. I offered to pace and run with Dani since I had my new fancy Black Mountain headlamp. That was an amazing choice we made. We chatted the entire time about who we were, where we came from, our goals, our dreams, Dani’s Boston experience. I instantly bonded with her. Dani really is an inspiring person. Her weight loss journey is just astounding. I’ve kept in contact with Dani over the past year, hosted social media tweet ups, shared blogging ideas, and partied like rockstars in Disney World and Boston together. She’s truly gem and I am happy to be part of her circle. You should definitely follow Dani’s blog Weight Off My Shoulders and on social media. She always knows how to make me smile...and she is also a great listener.

Kat is my sister from another mister. She is a ton of laughs and fun! I was first introduced to Kat as her, Brian from Pavement Runner (we will get to him), and I coordinated the #DumboTweetUp last year at Disneyland. We instantly clicked. Kat is all about fitness and is an amazing coach! Kat is just as sarcastic as I am…which is always an adventure haha. She roomed with me during Dopey weekend for a few days and we hung out, laughed, ate Quest Bars, and enjoyed the half marathon with social media walk breaks. I probably talk to Kat at least once a day. She is one of the people that helps me stay on track and accountable with my fitness goals. She’s a hoot. She also has an amazing fitness and weight loss journey that you can follow at Katrina Elle. I KNOW I talk to Kat at least once a day and it’s usually just a barrel of laughs. If you are interested in pursuing some fitness goals in any sense, definitely reach out to Kat. She’s a personal trainer, Shakeology advocate, and all around a positive person. I love me some Kat.

Brian is just a cool cat! If you haven’t visited or followed Brian on Pavement then I’m not quite sure where you have been. Brian is such an inspiring guy. I met in him person for the first time at last year’s San Francisco marathon expo. I was REALLY nervous about that. Brian is highly respected runner and blogger. What I like most about him is that he is just a laid back soul. We clicked immediately. He is really kind, really open, really fast, and quite the inspiring runner. He has had my back throughout my personal blogging journey from the beginning. He is always helpful, and supports his friends and other runners. Anyone that has met him knows that he is totally approachable and hilarious! We have hosted meet-ups and coordinated a few social media events together. We always support one another in our many adventures. It’s great having this guy in my corner. It’s probably best that he lives in Nor Cal and I live in So Cal…I’m not sure the Interwebs could handle the two of us in the same space for too long. We always have a blast. I can’t wait to hang out in San Diego in a couple weeks. Should be a ton of fun!

Let’s talk about Michael. I met this fun guy also during Rock N Roll Los Angeles. Pavey ran with Lisa (@runwiki) who is just a love, and I crashed the party! We also had Michael come along from the fun 13.1 mile ride through Los Angeles. Michael is from Texas and this guy is a machine. Michael and I have stayed in touch over the months and I have been cheering him on as he takes on running allllll the races. I mean, I thought I ran all the races…this guy hasn’t stopped. He has some goals, and he is going for it. I couldn’t be prouder. Michael has started his blog at and you can read all about what he has going on. What I like most about Michael is he is just a great spirit. He travels all over and everywhere he goes he just smiles and meets someone new. I can’t wait to run with him in San Diego. Pavey, Michael, and I are gonna have a boys run that weekend. Maybe we will break the Interwebs…or at least prepare it for #Disney2LV. Certainly follow Michael and all his adventures. This guy pretty much rocks the party.

This is a really fun post to actually write. I have many other people I want to highlight and share with all of you. Who are some of your favorite bloggers? I would love to meet some new people and make some more friends?