March 31, 2012

Newly Found Motivation

After Ironman Arizona, I told myself that this season was going to be all about FUN!  I didn't want to do anything huge where I had to follow a strict training plan, and I wanted to take up trail running because it is something I've always wanted to do.  The problem lately though is that I just haven't been having very much fun.

For some reason, I decided to sign up for a 50k on June 1st.  The race is called the Golden Gate Dirty Thirty.  I saw the race, and thought, "This sounds like fun," so I signed up for it!  But, I don't know what I was thinking!  Take a look at the elevation profile..YIKES!:

While I am excited about doing the race, the problem is that I have REALLY been struggling with finding my motivation to get out there and run.  I don't have a problem with the short runs, but the long runs are KILLING me!  I find myself dreading the run, putting it off until the last minute, and sometimes even bailing out before I even put in the full distance.  For something like a 50k, this is NOT an option.

I am a firm believer that the mental aspect of training/racing is just as important as the physical.  When I start a run with negative thoughts, it is doomed from the start.  I KNOW this, yet I can't seem to shake it.  I'm NOT having fun with my running, and it is really bothering me.
So, when I found out that Scott Jurek was giving a talk at REI about motivation and what it takes to do ultras I signed up as fast as I could!  For those of you who don't know who Scott Jurek is, he is one of the top ultrarunners in the country...he is AMAZING!  You can read all about him HERE.   

He didn't talk about training or nutrition, but he did talk about the one thing that I really needed: motivation.  His presentation really went into the mental aspect of what it takes to go long and it was awesome!  A lot of what he talked about could be applied to all sports as well as all aspects of life.  It was just what I needed to kick my butt into gear, stop making excuses, stop having all the NEGATIVE thoughts, and get out there and RUN!!!

 This is a picture of him in front of a slide of his new book coming out in June.  He said he wanted to write a book not only about aspects of training for ultras, but as a vegan, he wanted to incorporate the nutrition side of it too!  As a vegetarian/almost vegan, I am really excited for this book to come out!  You can be sure I will be one of the first to order it! :)

At the end of the presentation he sat down to sign posters for whoever wanted one.  I stood in line for about 10min. to get one of those!  :)  I have to admit I felt really small  next to him...look how tall he is! Ha ha!

Not only did I leave there with a bunch of awesome goodies, but I left there with a new sense of motivation...which is just what I needed!

Oh..and if you're wondering about the "chop wood" comment on the poster, he talked about it in his presentation.  There is a saying that goes, "If you're going to chop wood, chop wood."  Basically it means that no matter what you're doing, weather you're running long, training for a tri, or working on a huge presentation, you need to focus and put all your energy into what you're doing at that moment and don't let any other outside forces (negative thoughts, life stresses, etc..) get in your way.  LOVE IT!

March 22, 2012

Thursday Trio - Spring Edition

I cannot believe it's been so long since my last post.  Things just seem to be really crazy right now, and I'm having a hard time keeping it all together!  Anyways, I thought I'd do a quick post about why I'm happy that it's FINALLY spring!

I LOVE, love, love this picture!!  Now that our boys are getting older, it's so much fun going on long bike rides together! :)

Playing baseball/catch in our backyard is something that we love to do as a family, so we ditched the cheapo Target mitts they had that were falling apart and bought our boys their first Louisville Slugger mitts!  They are both starting T-ball/coach's pitch next month and are so excited about it!  I just hope the warm weather we've been having stays b/c there's no way I'm going to be sitting outside in 30degrees watching them practice/play...brrr!!!

I'm soooo tired of having to bundle up to run outside!  The weather is going to be in the 70s this weekend throughout next week and I'm so excited about being able to run in shorts and short sleeved shirts!  Woohoo!!  BRING ON THE WARM WEATHER!! :)


March 14, 2012

REVIEW - PureFIt Nutrition Bars

PureFit Nutrition Bars
I was contacted by PureFit to see if I would be interested in trying out their nutrition bars, and after doing a little bit of research about the bars, I jumped on the opportunity!  I have to admit that I had not really heard of PureFit nutrition bars so I was excited about trying them out.

Here is the low down on the bars from their website: [HERE]
Kosher-certified and vegan-approved PureFit bars do not contain dairy, wheat, or gluten, and will not melt in their packaging. PureFit works diligently to provide high-quality, award-winning nutrition bars without artificial ingredients, sugar alcohols or common allergens, including milk, wheat or gluten.
100% All-Natural Ingredients, 18 Grams of Soy Protein, Non-GMO Soy, Unprecedented Great Taste. This low glycemic, nondairy bar is based on over 20 years of research and was not practical to manufacture until now. It offers:
  • NO Hydrogenated Oils
  • NO Animal Products - Vegan
  • NO Cholesterol or Trans Fatty Acids
  • NO Wheat or Gluten
  • NO Artificial Sweeteners
  • NO Hidden Carbohydrates
  • NO Sugar Alcohol

So, they sound great, BUT how do they taste???  We all know that you can have the healthiest bar out there, but if it doesn't taste good, no one is going to eat it!

I received 5 bars, Almond Crunch, Berry Almond Crunch, Chocolate Brownie, Granola Crunch, and Peanut Butter Crunch.
 I wanted to actually try the bars out in a way that I would use them, so I ate them after runs, during bike rides, and as a snack in between workouts.  I even enlisted the help of my husband to rate the bars on taste. :)

Here's what I thought about the taste.  I really liked the Berry Almond Crunch.  It reminded me of a Wildberry Powerbar, which I may or may not have been addicted to in college...ha ha!  It was definitely my favorite flavor.  As far as the others go, here's how I would rate them:

1. Berry Almond Crunch
2.  Chocolate Brownie
3.  Peanut Butter Crunch
4.  Granola Crunch
5.  Almond Crunch

*Note: Unfortunately,  I really didn't care for the taste of the Granola Crunch or Almond Crunch.  For me, and my husband, they both just seemed to be missing something, and just weren't very good.  

Overall, I liked the bars.  I thought they had a great consistency and could really see eating them on a long bike ride or after workouts.  But, at a price of $34.35 for 15 bars ($2.29/bar), they are a little pricey.  Plus, if you have been following my blog for awhile, you know how much I like to make my own energy bars.  That being said, if I was looking for a healthy bar in a store, I would definitely consider these bars.

*Note: Although I was given these bars to try out for free, these are my own thoughts and opinions.    

March 7, 2012

Humpastry Day - Brown Rice Krispie Treats

Brown Rice Krispie Treats
So, one day when I was running late and had nothing in the fridge for dinner, we decided to head to Noodles right down the street for dinner.  As many of you probably know, they always have a huge basket of Rice Krispie Treats right at the counter, which I'm sure they know will grab the attention of EVERY child that enters the place.  Normally, I don't cave in, but for whatever reason, that night I decided to get one of those gigantic treats for all of us to share.

I'm not going to lie, I was looking forward to it.  Making homemade Rice Krispie treats is a fond memory that I have of growing up.  I can remember making them with my mom, watching the marshmallows melt into gooey yumminess, then pouring it all over the Rice Krispies.  BUT, when I bit into that Noodle's treat, all I could taste was OIL.  YUCK!  It was greasy, flavorless, and just made me sick thinking about what we were eating.  After that, I vowed to find a better way to make these treats.  I wanted my boys to have the same fond memories of making these fun treats that I had with my mom.  So, when I got home I scoured the internet and actually found some great recipes!  Woohoo!!

This recipe is from a great site called Weelicious [HERE].  There are some awesome recipes on there, so go check it out!  Anyways, these Rice Krispie treats are a healthified version of the original.  Yes, it tastes different, but in a good way!  Plus, it packs some great protein power so I wouldn't hesitate giving one of these to my boys as a fun snack!  I made these as Valentine's day treats, hence the heart shape, but they are just as great cut into squares! :)

*Note: I know there have been studies on the news lately about how Organic Brown Rice Syrup has levels of arsenic in it.  While I do think this is just one more reason to be aware of what we're putting into our bodies, I'm not sure how I really feel about this study.  For one, in order to be effected by the arsenic you would literally have to eat a TON of this.  Also, I don't even buy organic brown rice syrup, so these aren't effected by it.  But, even if I did use the organic syrup, in a world full of fast food, highly processed foods, soda, dyes and chemicals, etc..that people put in their bodies EVERY day, a small Rice Krispie treat with a little brown rice syrup in it is far better to eat then any of that other crap in my opinion.

Now, onto the recipe! :)

Makes 16 treats

*  1/3C almond butter
*  1/3C peanut butter
*  2/3C brown rice syrup
*  3 1/2C Brown Rice Crisp cereal

1.  In a sauce pan, combine the peanut butter, almond butter, and brown rice syrup.
Over low heat, mix together until well combined, 2-5 minutes.
2)  Remove from heat and pour over Rice Kripies in a large bowl.  Mix until well combined.
3)  Pour into a lightly greased or parchment lined 8x8 pan.  Press the mixture down and into the corners.  I used the advice on the site and used a plastic tip ever!!!

4)  Cool in the fridge for ~5 minutes before cutting into bars...or hearts! :)

5)  Enjoy! Yum, yum, yum!!

March 1, 2012

Thursday Trio

This is my very first "Three Things Thursday" post, but I thought I'd name it something a little different!  :)  This has been one crazy week, hence the lack of blog posts.  But, I thought I'd share some of the highlights with you!

1)  Painting Fun:

Yes, I am STILL painting!  These are my painting jeans, and they have definitely seen better days!  Painting is taking forever, and I have no clue when we'll be done!

2.  Great Runs:
This week I've had 2 really great runs!   My first was on Sunday where I did a 10.5M trail run with the Denver Trail Runners.  It was a cold 25 degrees, but the sun was out and it was beautiful.  You would think that because it was below freezing, the ground would be frozen, but because the sun is so powerful here, there was A LOT of mud on the trails.  I had to keep stopping every so often to scrape the mud off my shoes because they would get so bogged down with it.  BUT, it was a blast and I loved every second of it!

The second great run was on Wednesday.  We had a sunny, warm, beautiful day here and I was lucky to get to run outside.  I started my 7M run in a SHORT SLEEVE SHIRT...Woohoo!  I couldn't even believe how nice it was.  BUT, 4M into my run, the winds picked up and it got COLD!  I was freezing.  I HATE the wind...absolutely hate it.  It just ruins everything.  :(

3.  Yummy Balls:
O-kay, I have seriously found a little slice of heaven in these things!  They are soooo good!  I've seen a lot of different versions of these and finally decided to make them.  I got the recipe from a new blog I found called Chocolate Covered Katie [HERE].  I modified it a little bit by rolling the balls in different things like coconut, sesame seeds, and chopped almonds.  Seriously, go check out her is full of AMAZING recipes!
I honestly think I have found the perfect thing to satisfy my crazy late night sweet tooth.   :)

February 24, 2012

A week in review and other things too

On Wednesday, the weather was absolutely beautiful here!  We had high temps in the upper 50s, which is pretty crazy for Feb. in CO.  So, the minute I had some time, I jumped on the opportunity to get outside.  It was the first time I've been able to run outside for weeks.  I got 9miles in before having to call it quits, and it was AWESOME!
I'm so glad I got outside because the next morning we woke up to 5inches of SNOW!!!  WHAT??  What is going on with the weather this has been sooo crazy!

* Biking:

So, my husband and I decided to download all of the Sufferfest videos because it was such a great deal, and I have to say I LOVE THEM!  My husband has done more than me, but I've done about 3 of them now and they are all great workouts!  Plus, I like how they throw in humor to make you suffer even more!  Although I like the spinerval videos, I have to say, I like the Sufferfest ones better.  Having the live scenes just makes it so much more interesting then watching people on trainers, and the music just rocks!  Sorry Coach Troy!!

Other Things Too:

*  I saw these in the grocery store the other day and thought I'd give them a try!  OMG...they are sooo good!  Have any of you tried them??

AND, check out the ingredients!  Simple, and healthy!  They are so good that my husband and I practically polished off an entire bag in one sitting.  They're not huge bags, but still....oops! :)

*  I won a FB contest through the Naked Foot 5k and won a pair of Altra shoes!  Woohoo!!  I hadn't really heard a lot about the company or their shoes, but once I started researching them, I couldn't believe how many great reviews they have gotten!  I decided to get their trail shoe, the Lone Peak, and can't wait to get it! Hopefully it will come soon!  I'll have a full review of the shoe once I get it and try it out!  Do any of you have any Altra shoes??

I hope you all have a great weekend! :)

February 20, 2012

Out of Practice

Guess what I did today?
I went to the pool to swim!!!  Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but I have NOT been back in the pool since IMAZ, which was in November!  YIKES!

I just haven't had any desire to get back into the pool, even though I KNOW I need to keep swimming. I am not the best swimmer, so taking lots of time off is a bad thing for me.  BUT, thanks to Jason's Virtual triathlon challenge [HERE], I found the motivation to get back into the pool!  Thanks Jason! :)

So, I got all of my stuff ready and headed to the gym.  After dropping my boys off at Kids' Club, I got ready to swim.  Going to the pool used to be so automatic, but I felt like I was forgetting something the entire time, and it just felt kind of weird to be back in the pool.

I had no idea how it was going to go.  I had visions of gasping for air every 25m, and not being able to swim for very long.  BUT, I was pleasantly surprised!!  After about 300m, I found my swimming groove and it felt great!!!  Woohoo!! :)  I ended up only swimming about 1000m, but it was more than enough for my first time back in the pool.  I can already tell my arms and back will be sore pathetic is that!!  But, at least I got back out there again, even if I am way out of practice! :)

On another note, I know I have been MIA from blogland recently.  The main reason is this:
Yes, I've been painting.  The previous owners of our house had all the walls primed with white paint.  White paint that is entirely NOT cleanable.  With 2 boys, you can only imagine what our walls look like!!  Anyways, I couldn't take the gross walls any longer, so I went to Home Depot, grabbed some paint, and have been painting pretty much nonstop for weeks now!  It's sooo much work, but sooo worth it!

Check out what I've been doing:

The previous owners also painted all of the trim and doors a cream color that basically looks yellow whenever you put any color on the walls.  So, I have to repaint all of the trim and doors, which is a total PAIN!  But, having white trim and doors just makes everything look so fresh and clean, and it makes it totally worth it!

I also repainted my boys' rooms!  To the left is my oldest son's room painted brown with a camping theme.  To the right is my youngest son's room painted green with a dinosaur theme.  And I painted a fun growth chart in between their rooms!  I also painted their bathroom a fun blue color!  It's so nice to have fresh paint on the walls!  AND, the best part is that our house is finally starting to feel like our HOME which makes me very, very happy! :)

February 11, 2012

Running for Sherry

Today is the day of the "Running for Sherry" event.  I have heard that running/walking/hiking/skiing events are taking place all over the world today, and that is just amazing!

It's only 18 degrees outside right now, so I decided to do my run in my basement on my treadmill.
  While my boys played around in front of me, I couldn't help but think about how Sherry's children must be feeling right now.  It is just heartbreaking, and I will never understand what drives people to do such horrible things.

As Beth put it, "This run symbolizes the beginning of healing and honors a woman who was courageous, strong and loved by so many."  

I am glad I was able to run for Sherry.  My thoughts are definitely with her and her family today, and I can only hope that they are able to feel the strength, energy, and support through all of us out there honoring and remembering her today! 

February 3, 2012

A week in review and other things too


What is up with the weather this year?  We have had some BEAUTIFUL days here in CO and I have tried to get outside and enjoy them as much as I can!  I went for a 5M trail run this week and I actually got HOT during my run!  Here I am, in all my sweaty happiness!

I am so glad I got out when I did, because today, we are in the middle of a BLIZZARD!  We are predicted to get around 18" of snow..YIKES!!  Check out our poor chairs and picnic table:

One thing I've been trying to figure out is how to carry all the stuff I need on my short runs.  I used to carry the Nathan Handheld, but when I only go out for a run 30min-1hr., I don't need anything that big. So, I've been using a small 8oz Fuel Belt handheld that I LOVE!
BUT, the little pouch is REALLY small.  It is barely big enough to hold 1 gel...ugh!!  So, I don't have anywhere to put my phone, which I carry with me on every run. BUT, I found the perfect solution!

This is a Sprigs wrist wallet [HERE] that I actually got it as a gift from my friend years ago, but have never used it.  So, while I was rummaging through my stuff, I found it and decided to give it a try.

It worked perfectly!  It stretches, so I was able to stick my phone and key in it, and pull it up my arm.  I thought it would really bother me, but it didn't at all.  It didn't bounce or slide down, and after awhile, I didn't even notice it on my arm.  The only problem is that it's a little tricky to get my phone out with one hand, but it wasn't a big enough issue to be a deal breaker for me.

This is a picture of it on my forearm.  It was comfortable there, and further up on my bicep.

Anyways, I just thought I'd share this product with you in case anyone else was having issues with how to carry stuff! :)

While I haven't been able to ride outside recently, I have gotten on my trainer a couple of times.  My husband and I have actually started riding together after we put our boys to bed.  BUT, we're getting really tired of our Spinervals and want to try something else.  SO, I was reading a lot about Sufferfest
These videos look really tough, but every review I have read about them says they are great training videos.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?  Have any of you used them before?

I'm sure most of you already know about this, but if you don't, please go read this post on Beth's blog, Shut up and Run [HERE].  I will be running for Sherry on Feb. 11th and hope that you will too.

My dad is a HUGE Giants fan, so of course, I grew up routing for them too!  I am so excited that they are in the Super Bowl and think it will be a great game!  GO GIANTS!!!

I hope you all have a great weekend! :)

January 29, 2012

What More Could I Ask For...

..then to be able to run on the trails around these...
the beautiful red rock formations near Morrison, CO.   Seriously, it is sooo beautiful out there.

I met up with the Denver Trail Runners this morning at 8A for a trail run.  I am embarrassed to say that I have never actually run on any of the trails around Red Rocks.  But, I will say that after my run today, I will definitely be going back!

The run was awesome!  The trails had everything...hills, downhills, technical parts, and nice flat sections where you could really fly.
And, because it IS winter, there were actually parts that were completely iced over.  In fact, at one point, we had to slide down a hill on our butts so we wouldn't slip and fall!
Source This isn't the actual trail, but it was really similar to this, only A LOT steeper! 
 Although this is technically only my 4th trail run this year, I felt like I had been running trails my whole life.  I loved it!  Trail running is just so much more technical than road running and you constantly have to be aware of your surroundings.  Sometimes on long training runs I get so bored because, let's face it, it IS sometimes pretty boring on those longs runs.  BUT, today, having things to concentrate on, running through the trees, grasses, and rocks just made the miles and time fly by.  

But, one thing that I am learning that I need to do is LET GO of the numbers.  Keeping track of your pace, time, and distance is just so DIFFERENT.  You cannot compare your road running pace to your trail just can't.  In fact, I stopped looking at my pace on my Garmin completely because it just wasn't useful information for me.  So, from now on, I'm going to stop focusing so much on the numbers (which is kind of hard coming off of IMAZ training where it's ALL about the numbers), and just focus on enjoying myself out there.  :)
Happy shoes...Dirty Floor! :)

You have NO idea what kind of images pop up when you type "happy trails" into Google...YIKES..ha ha! :)

January 27, 2012


Yay!!  I was tagged by Joy [HERE] and Christi [HERE] to do the fun random things post that seems to be taking over the blog world at the moment!  I always think these posts are so fun because I get to learn a little bit more about all of you out there that I stalk follow!  :)

Anyways, here are the rules:
1. Post these rules
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people!

So, here are 11 random things about me!
1.  My favorite holiday is Christmas.  I think the reason I love it is because it's more of a "season" than a 1 day event.  I love the lights, decorations, the excitement in my boys' eyes, and the family time together.  I just love it all!

2.  I REALLY REALLY want to hike the Appalachian Trail someday.  It is on my bucket list and I WILL do it!!

3.  I have a major sweet tooth and could NEVER give up sugar...nor do I really want to! :)

4.  I used to snowboard before I had kids, but now, thinking about flying down the slopes makes me freak out a little bit.  I don't know why I have this fear, but it's there.  Maybe I'll take up cross-country skiing this year! :)

5.  I hate shopping!  I just never seem to find things that fit me right, especially jeans, and I end up getting frustrated and irritated.  Ugh!

6.  I am COLD all the time and can usually be found wearing a sweatshirt/fleece jacket throughout the day!

7.  I can't wait until spring so we can plant our garden

8.  My head is so SMALL that I have a really hard time finding hats that fit me.  In fact, I've resorted to raiding the kids' section to find one that fits! Ha ha!

9.  I love being an elementary school teacher, but I would LOVE to be a high school cross country coach someday.  

10.  I need a new hair style.  Wearing my hair back in a ponytail everyday is getting a little old!

11.  If I could, I would wear my workout clothes every day!

Alright, here are my answers to Joy's questions:
  1. What are your go-to excuses? It's too cold/windy/rainy/snowy to run outside.
  2. What’s your favorite WOD or running workout (distance/tempo/speedwork)? I love tempo runs
  3. Do you track your dietary intake? No
  4. What’s your favorite healthy meal? This is a tough one because honestly, I try to make all of our meals as healthy as possible.  But, I really like this vegetable pot pie I is sooo yummy!
  5. What’s your favorite cheat meal? Probably a pastry from Starbucks
  6. Any nagging injuries that worry you? Not at the moment, but I'm always afraid my ITband injury will come back
  7. What book would you recommend? Born to Run
  8. Have you ever been hospitalized?  If so, how were your nurses? Only when I was giving birth to my boys.  The nurses were amazing!
  9. What look is more appealing to you? Designer well put together chic or a fit body dressed in workout clothes? Definitely a fit body dressed in workout clothes
  10. What’s your resting heart rate? Have no idea
  11. If you had no financial/physical limitations whatsoever, what would you do? Hike the entire Appalachian Trail

AND, Christi's questions:
1. Which actor played James Bond the best? I'm kindof embarrassed to admit this, but I don't think I've ever seen an entire James Bond movie!
2. Are you a cat person or a dog person? Dog
3. What is your favorite race to date? Ironman Arizona
4. Do you prefer beer or wine? Wine
5. What is the first race that you ever completed? My first tri was Tri For The Cure and it was awesome!
6. Do you have a coach to help you with your training? No
7. If you could compete in any long distance triathlon and race fees were not a factor would you choose IM or Rev 3 races? Probably an IM race b/c I could do a destination race
8. How many blogging friends have you met in person? Only a handfull
9. Who is going to win the Superbowl, New England Patriots or New York Giants? GIANTS!!
10. If you could meet one person alive or dead, who would it be? I would love to meet Chrissy Wellington and just talk with her over a good cup of coffee
11. And finally the big question, do you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars

O-kay, I know I'm supposed to tag 11 people, but honestly, I think most of you have already done it!  So, I'm going to skip that part...sorry!!

It's FRIDAY everyone!!  Woohoo!!!  I hope you all have a great weekend! :)

January 22, 2012

Two Months Too Long

I have a confession to make...I have not been on my bike since Ironman Arizona!  It's not that I didn't WANT to ride it, it's just that between our schedules and the winter weather, there haven't really been any opportunities to ride outside.  And, the thought of riding on my trainer just didn't seem appealing to me in the least bit!  BUT, last week, I got a notice that a group of girls, including Julie and Kathleen, were going to meet up for a computrainer ride at Peak to Peak Training on Saturday morning.

I've never used a computrainer before, but I heard that it is pretty cool.  So, I decided to break my 2 month streak and sign up for the session.  The only problem was that it started at 5:30AM, which meant I had to get up at 4:30 to be there on time to get set up and going.  I have not woken up that early since IMAZ!  With IMAZ training, I was always getting up at the "butt-crack of dawn," but since my race, I have to admit it's been nice sleeping in till 6:45ish every morning.

My 4:30 alarm totally woke me up from a deep sleep, but I crawled out of bed, got dressed, ate a PureFit bar (review coming soon), and headed to the session.  There were 7 of us total, and we all looked like we just crawled out of bed, but none of us was awesome!
All of our bikes set up!  How awesome are the fans?!
One of the owners of Peak to Peak Training got all of our bikes hooked up and set up to do the Ironman St. George course.  Now, not having ridden my bike in 2 months, I didn't know what to expect of my body/legs and knowing we were doing IMSG, one of the hardest IM bike courses, kind of scared me!

BUT, once we started, I was surprised at how good I felt.  It seriously felt like I hadn't taken 2 months off from riding at all.  I felt strong and although there were some hills I had to get up out of my saddle to power up, my legs responded pretty good to the crazy hills.  :)

Here is what I thought was really cool about the computrainer:
1) The resistance automatically changes depending on whether you're going uphill, flat, or downhill so it is almost like you're riding outside.
2)  You can track your progress throughout the course and see when a hill is coming up
3)  It gives you tons of data including speed, avg. speed, watts, avg. watts, distance, etc.  I actually really liked watching the data and can definitely see why people buy these over a regular trainer to train with.
Drenched with sweat after the ride
Overall, I REALLY liked the session.  I liked it so much that as soon as I got home, I got online to see how much they cost!  WOW...they are expensive!  I don't think I'll be getting one anytime soon, but I WILL definitely do another session with the girls!  It was challenging, but fun, and the setting was WAY better than riding my trainer by myself at home.  I got to chat with Kathleen and Julie throughout the session, and it made the time fly by.  I am so glad I decided to do it because I think this was just what I needed to kick my butt into gear and get back on my bike.  Woohoo! :)