Just Tried The Brooks National Park Collection Cascadias

Recently, Brooks Running partnered with REI to celebrate national parks across the U.S. The national parks collection features Brooks Cascadia shoes and Brooks t-shirts highlighting specific national parks – Great Smoky Mountains, Mt. Rainier, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. Brooks is donating 5% of the wholesale cost of each piece in their national parks collection to the National Park Foundation, up to $50,000.

I love Yosemite National Park. Last year, I did the Yosemite Half Marathon! So, bought a pair of Yosemite Cascadias. This is my first pair of Brooks trail shoes (I’m on my third pair of Brooks running shoes). I have worn them several times on walks to break them in… Finally, I did my first trail run in these shoes. While they are comfortable and I didn’t have any issues during my break-in walks, my right sock kept getting unceremoniously pulled down into my shoe. 5 times. 2 within the first half mile. These weren’t new socks or anything like that. Completely annoying. Otherwise, the shoes felt good – not as grippy feeling as my Saucony Peregrine 6’s though.

The Brooks Cascadias have a 10mm heal-to-toe drop, and are made of synthetic mesh. Midsole is EVA and outsole is carbon/blown rubber. These shoes also feature something called a ballistic rock shield. What is it? It’s a thermoplastic sheath used in the forefoot area to disperse the pressure of landing on loose objects. Certainly doesn’t seem to add bulk or weight and will come in handy on my rockier trail runs. Overall, I’d say these are solid trail shoes.

I’m going to try again this weekend to see if this sock issue gets any better. I really like these shoes and this gives me a great opportunity to talk to anyone and everyone about Yosemite National Park – Did I mention that I love it? I might re-lace my shoes to see if that will help. Stopping so many times on a run is frustrating. Anyone out there have a fix for falling socks? If so, please leave a comment. 🙂

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Stress + Training = Exhaustion

It’s hard to separate the stress and the training… Part of the stress was my training, or lack thereof. I’ve been in physical therapy for my right knee and had a half marathon coming up.

While I wasn’t able to do much running, I did a lot of cycling. That definitely helped me keep up with my cardio training, but… It doesn’t help with the actual running part. Finally, 1 week before my half marathon, with the help of my physical therapist, I was able to do a couple of 5-mile runs with no pain. But, I had a 13.1-mile run in a week. And, I hadn’t been able to do any trail running since July. Only paved. Yikes!

On top of that, I was the auction chair for a non-profit fundraiser and the auction was a week after the half marathon. That means, I was neck deep in trying to secure donations and either collect those donations or make sure someone on my team collected them and brought them to the event. I have never done a silent auction before. That probably showed. But, the good news is that we raised a fair amount of money despite my bumbling and fumbling.

The Yosemite Half Marathon

On October 7, I did a short 3-mile trail run.


All good. Later that day, we headed up to Bass Lake, CA. That’s where the race ended. It started up in the mountains, not far from the Yosemite National Park entrance.

On October 8, the day of the race, we had to take shuttle buses up to the start, which was the best way to handle getting that many people up through windy mountain roads.

That being said, there was a major traffic jam in the small town of Bass Lake at 4:30am the morning of the race. Everyone was trying to get to the buses. The buses that were supposed to leave at 5am sharp.


My husband was dropping me off and about half a mile from the bus pick-up spot, we decided it would be faster for me to get out and walk. That was probably around 4:45am. And, it was faster. I also managed to get myself onto a bus from a closer location (I didn’t have to walk the full half mile. I totally lucked out) – Not sure how that even happened because when I got there, there were only a few people standing around. By the time my bus left, around 5am, there was a HUGE line… And, no more buses. I am sure the returning buses were going back to the pick-up locations to get the remaining folks, but it looked dire.

Here’s what the course looked like:

Yosemite Half Marathon 2016

Yosemite Half Marathon 2016

I  spent about an hour freezing. It was dark and in the upper 30s F. So maybe I wasn’t LITERALLY freezing, but it felt pretty darn close. I had on 4 layers of tops. 2 tank tops, 1 long-sleeve running shirt, and 1 jacket. I also wore gloves and long running tights. About 30 minutes prior to the start, I went to bag check and reluctantly took off my jacket. While that seemed like the right thing to do, I wish I had known their process better. There was a truck collecting all the bags right at the start line, so I could have thrown my bag in as my wave was getting closer to the start. I would have been a little warmer a little longer. I know now. 😉

I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes for the first 3 miles or so. Oh well. It was worth it. I did manage a couple of pictures:

Before:

During:

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And after:

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Later that night!

The Silent Auction

We came home and I turned all of my focus to the charity event and the silent auction, which was this past Sunday. I was a little manic as I secured items and then organized bid sheets and worked on the checkout process.

I spent all of my spare time last week on the auction, including all day Saturday. My 3 1/2 year old son told me I was working too much and I had to agree with him, but I had no choice! People were depending on me. The day of the event went pretty well despite a downpour and rain off/on the rest of the day.


We raised a fair amount of money, which made me feel good. I was riding high on adrenaline through the remainder of Sunday. Yesterday was a decidedly different story. I was exhausted. So much so I had trouble focusing on work and actually had to take a nap – Good thing I was working from home. I’ve learned a lot about running a silent auction, so if I do this again next year, I will kick some serious butt! And, will procrastinate less. Wish I could say I wouldn’t procrastinate at all, but I know me pretty well! Bid sheets, displays, checkout… It’s a crazy amount of work.

Glad it’s all over though and I can get back normal. Loved spending time with my son last night – with no distractions. 🙂

And, I’ll leave you with this… The face of exhaustion (from yesterday):


Stay healthy!