Spartan Race Entry Giveaway

Twitter-Post_880x440_Memorial-DayHave you tried a Spartan race yet? Here’s your chance to win a free entry anywhere in the Continental US!

Here’s my video on why you should do a Spartan race and the ONE reason you might not want to.

Direct YouTube Link

Race Report from my very first Spartan.

PS: Spartan has just released a limited discount code, MEMORIAL, that will give up to $40 off of race registration.

To Win a Free Entry:

Simply leave a comment below telling me why you want to do a Spartan race. I will choose a winner at random on June 1. The entry will work one time for any open heat in any Spartan Race in the Continental US.

Good luck, buttercup!

Facebook-Sq-Post_Memorial-DayYou May Also Enjoy:

Spartan Race Report

The Burpee Challenge: 3 Things I Learned

10 Overlooked Rights Worth Fighting For


Check out my books:

Daughters of Distance 

The Summit Seeker

Funny Running Shirts Giveaway

You know that favorite shirt you love so much that you wear all day, then to bed, then again the next day… for weeks on end without washing? No?… That’s just me, you say?

Well anyway, I have a new favorite tank.

Here is your chance to also be the proud owner of my favorite tank… or another shirt of your choosing with the potential to be your favorite.

Enter Funny Running Shirts.

Made with a tri-blend fabric, they are extremely soft to the touch and super light. As in, I feel like I’m topless when I wear it. Yay, topless!

The ink is dyed into the fabric of the shirt so it doesn’t feel like bumper sticker on your chest, and mine sports a clever fact: Running Sucks. (Oh but we still love it, don’t we….)

These shirts are all hand printed by the company’s creator Matt Perret in his garage in New Orleans. They are made 100% in the USA and a portion of all profits is donated to the Good Goes Around Fund.

Here is a video with a little more info:

i Am – Not Your Average Shirt from i Am Brand on Vimeo.


Enter for your chance to win a free shirt. Any shirt, any design from Funny Running Shirts.

To enter, simply leave a comment below telling me about a time when running really sucked for you. We all have those miles, or days, or weeks….

The winner will be chose at random on October 20th and contacted directly. If you can’t wait that long for your  shirt, use the coupon code VANESSARUNS for a 20% discount on your purchase at Funny Running Shirts.

Good luck!


You May Also Enjoy:

4 Powerful Lessons From a Nomadic Life

9 Ultrarunning Norms You Can Break

Is Commercialization a Threat to the Purity of Trail Running?


Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

Spartan Race Entry Giveaway


This giveaway is to celebrate the upcoming December 7th airing of the World Championship Spartan Race on NBC Sports.

In this 90-minute special, NBC follows eight professional athletes and four everyday Spartans at the Spartan Race World Championships in Killington, Vermont.


This race entry is valid for any open heat in any 2013-2104 Spartan Race in the Continental US. Check out the Spartan schedule for a race near you.

To win, simply leave a comment on this post answering the question:

“What personal or athletic advances have you made in the past 12 months?”

If you share this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or any other form of social media, you get an additional entry. For example, if you share on Facebook AND Twitter, that’s two extra entries. (Leave a separate comment telling me where you shared.)

You can also use this URL to generate a 15% off code for any Spartan race:

The winner will be chosen randomly on November 25th, 2013 and contacted directly.

Don’t forget to watch on December 7th and good luck!


Direct YouTube link HERE

You May Also Enjoy:

Spartan Obstacle Race Report

10 Overlooked Rights Worth Fighting For

The Burpee Challenge: 3 Things I Learned and 2 Surprises


Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

National Book Lover’s Day Giveaway for The Summit Seeker


In celebration of National Book Lover’s Day, I am holding a one-day giveaway for my book, The Summit Seeker.

Check out the Amazon description and reviews HERE.

Check out the blog reviews and other coverage HERE.


To win a free copy, simply:

1. Follow The Summit Seeker on Facebook HERE if you don’t already.

2. A summit is a goal we aspire to. Leave a comment below telling me your main goal for the month of August. Running, athletic, recovery, mental… anything goes.

If you share this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, or any other social media, you get a free entry. Be sure to mention in the comments section where you shared.

The winner will be chosen at random tomorrow and contacted directly.

PS – It’s pouring rain in Anchorage, Alaska today–the perfect weather for curling up with a great book.

Read on and run free!


You May Also Enjoy:

10 Overlooked Rights Worth Fighting For

Happy Hoboversary! Stats From One Year Later

Answering the Call of the North


Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Silverton 1000 Race Entry Giveaway

Silverton-1000-Website-HeaderI am honored and excited to offer one free entry to the Silverton 1000 in Colorado at the end of August.

The winner will receive a free entry to the race option of their choice. Choose from: 24 Hours, 48 Hours, 72 Hours, or 6-Day Challenge. Value = $145 to $400.

This race takes place at Kendall Mountain Lodge in Silverton, Colorado where race director Mark Hellenthal is doing an amazing job at drumming up excitement for things to come.

Some perks include:

  • Quality shirts & beanies
  • Free Hokas to the winners
  • Trail Runner magazine subscriptions up for raffle
  • Mind-blowing 400- and 500-mile belt buckles for the truly insane!
  • … and don’t forget the automatic entry to the 1000 Mile Challenge for all 6-day runners (you’ll have 18 days to cover 1000 miles)!

Learn more on the UltraSignUp Registration page HERE.

Visit the race website HERE.

Visit the race Facebook page HERE.


Simply leave a comment below answering the following question:

“What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you during a race?” 

For additional entries, share this post on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or anywhere else online. Each additional share = one extra entry. For example, if you comment below as well as share on Facebook and Twitter, that’s 3 entries. Remember to mention where you shared in the comments below.

The winner will be chosen at random on July 19th and contacted directly.

Happy Trails!


You May Also Enjoy:

Unfair Advantages in Trial Racing and Don’t Be a Douche

Are You There, Running? It’s Me, Vanessa

Why I Run 100 Milers


Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Spartan Race Entry Giveaway

I first got excited about obstacle racing when I finished my first Spartan race, then again when I helped edit Margaret Schlachter’s soon-to-be-released book about obstacle racing.

Although I enjoy the diversity of obstacle racing, the target audience always intimidated me—big, burly guys with shaved heads who wanted to crush me. I didn’t want to crush anyone. I mostly just wanted to run a lot.

To my relief, I discovered at my first Spartan race that this was very much a trail runner’s world. I ran circles around the bigger guys, slipped under and over the obstacles, and finished strong despite my lack of veiny muscles. My confidence was restored.

Now the 2013-2014 Spartan season is kicking off all over the country, and I’m honored to offer one free race entry to a lucky reader.

This entry will get you into ANY open Spartan race in the Continental USA. There are events of varying distances all over the country. Check out the Spartan schedule HERE.

You can also use this URL to generate a 15% off code for any Spartan race.

If you’ve never tried an obstacle race before, I’d strongly recommend entering.


To win the free entry, simply leave a comment on this post answering the question: “What makes you a warrior?”

If you share this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or any other form of social media, you get an additional entry for each time you share. For example, if you share on Facebook AND Twitter, that’s two extra entries. (Leave a separate comment telling me where you shared.)

The winner will be chosen randomly on May 31, 2013.

Good luck!


Direct YouTube Link HERE

You May Also Enjoy:

Spartan Obstacle Race Report

The Burpee Challenge: 3 Things I Learned & 2 Surprises

8 Blogs that Rock my RSS Feed


Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Win a 100-Mile Race Entry

I am excited to announce a free giveaway for the inaugural Mogollon Monster 100 this year in Northern Arizona on September 28rd!

I have never seen a 100-miler giveaway before, and I’m stoked because:

1. It can be expensive to race 100s.

2. It’s intimidating to sign up for a 100-miler.

Why You Should Enter

I jumped straight from a 50K to finish a 100-miler, so don’t be intimidated if you haven’t run 100k or 50 miles. This distance is very much a mental challenge.

Many don’t sign up because they don’t believe the can finish. And many would be surprised. You still have time to train for this event.

I’m a passionate advocate for running ultra marathons because we are always stronger than we think we are. The ultra can bring about such a life-changing transformation, and you cannot attempt 100 miles without being changed.

No matter what you have done or will do in the future – this is a victory that nobody can undermine or take away from you. And it’s free! So go ahead and throw your name in. Maybe this is your time.

Read this post about 7 Lies You Believe About Ultra Running to ease some of your fears. You CAN do this!

If you’re still having doubts, read my race report for my first 100-miler. And my thoughts before the race.

If you’ve finished 100 before, here is a worthy buckle to add to your collection!

The Course

  • Arizona’s 2nd 100-miler and 1st mountain 100-miler
  • 4 Mont De Blanc points
  • Start at 5,500 feet, max at 7,400
  • Each climb and descent is anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 feet, usually done in under 2 miles
  • Climb through multiple ecosystems
  • Scale the first climb to the top of the Mogollon Rim in the first 9 miles of the race
  • Series of ascents and descents of the Mogollon Rim
  • Run from red rock high desert terrain to the largest contiguous Ponderosa Pine forest in the world (soldiers used to mark the Ponderosas high on the trees so they could still see them in high snow in the winter and today you can still see some of the markers)
  • Minimal dirt roads, and nearly all have a view
  • Dirt road sections are under 6 miles
  • 1 mile at the finish is pavement into town
  • Steep, rugged and extremely technical

Read more here.

The Race Director, Jeremy Dougherty, has spent years shadowing many RDs at ultra events, and can avoid the normal hang-ups of an inaugural race.

Here is a video of the upper region of the course called the Cabin Loop. This is right after the first snow break so the greenery hasn’t sprung up yet.

Visit the website for more course photos and videos.

If you really can’t make it…

Strongly consider being a volunteer or a pacer for this race. Both are tremendous learning experiences and will give you a chance to see what a 100-miler is all about. Shacky and I will be there with Ginger, volunteering.

If you’d like to get set up with a pacing gig but don’t know anyone who is running, email the Race Director at at

How to Enter

You must complete the following three things for one entry:

  1. “Like” the Mogollon Monster 100 Facebook fan page.
  2. Share a link to this giveaway via social media or your blog and mention that you’ve entered.
  3. Leave a comment and tell me why you want to win.

The winner will be chosen next Wednesday July 18th through a random draw and I will announced it here on the blog. You have five days to claim your entry before I pick another winner.

Good luck!

Eat & Run Giveaway Winner Plus More

We’ve got a winner for the Eat & Run book giveaway by Scott Jurek!

Congrats to “jeeweetje” who left the following comment:

I first saw him running in a tv commercial about a certain car brand. Then I read about him in Born to run.

When Cablo Blanco went missing, I was touched how he and others responded and reminded me of something important; although your (ultra) runs are a lone thing mostly, when needed you run for friends.

Please send me an email to with your mailing address so I can send the book out!

For the rest of you who didn’t win, there’s another giveaway going on at this site, so head on over.

Some other links to follow:

Ultra Running’s Top Stories

This is an online paper I manage and compile. The link is updated daily with links related to ultra running, pulled from all over the web. It really helps me stay on top of ultra running news and find relevant contacts to follow.


Shut Up and Just Run

My friend Carlos recently started this Facebook page where he posts race coverage videos and photos. He does interviews and covers the events really well. Below is his video on the San Diego 100 Endurance Run. Enjoy and Happy Friday!


FREE Race Entry Giveaway: SoCal Wine Country Women’s Half Marathon

There’s a new half marathon in town, and here’s your chance to win a FREE entry ($60 value)!

The Inaugural SoCal Wine Country Women’s Half Marathon takes place on June 23, 2012. This will be Southern California’s first and only trail half marathon for women. (YAY TRAIL!)

I will be running it, and the race director, Paul Jesse, has generously offered up a free entry for one lucky reader. You can view the race website HERE.

The race is only open to women, but if you’re a dude and want to enter this giveaway for your wife/sister/friend/girlfriend, you’re welcome to do so.

The girl in question can also enter for herself, and increase her chances of winning. Men can show their support by volunteering or dressing skimpy to impress the ladies.


Women: Leave a comment telling me what you most love about being a woman.

Men: Leave a comment telling me who you’re entering for and what you most love about her.

Both men and women: You may get additional giveaway entries and boost your chances of winning by:

  • Blogging about this giveaway (+1 giveaway entry)
  • Posting this giveaway Facebook (+1 giveaway entry)
  • Tweeting about this giveaway (+1 giveaway entry)

Make sure you leave a comment telling me how you spread the word, along with a link so I can verify.

A winner will be chosen at random and posted on Tuesday, March 20th.

Good luck!

Women in Running

In his newsletter, Dr. Victor Runco of the San Diego Running Institute recently mentioned the Sports Survey by

This study sheds some light on the growth of female runners in the United States. Here are some fascinating stats:

  • Women make up an astounding 59% of all half marathons in the United States.
  • Women made up the majority of 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons in 2010.
  • The marathon remains the only male-dominated event in running.

The average female runner has the following statistics:

  • Average Age: 38.5
  • 63.2% married
  • 78.2% college educated
  • 70.3% earn a household income of $75,000+
  • Average number of years running: 9.9 years
  • Average number of running events participated in during the last 12 months: 7.2 events
  • 51.8% have completed one marathon or more in their lifetime
  • 70.4% Run/Jog 4+ hours each week
  • 77.7% run 12 months a year
  • Average number of days run per week: 4.0
  • Average number of miles run per week: 21.9
  • 66.1% describe themselves as “Frequent/Fitness Runners”

I found these stats eye-opening and motivating. Women are running. And I will be at the Inaugural SoCal Wine Country Women’s Half Marathon to see them come together. See you there!


Mileage: 51.2 miles

Terrain: Technical trails

About a month ago I received a complimentary pair of Invisible Shoe huaraches offered to the Run Smiley Collective. I was excited because these were my first real pair of laced huaraches. Previously I had worn Unshoe sandals, which are adjusted with a clasp (no lacing), and I was still waiting for my first pair of Lunas.

I started using the Invisible Shoes on San Diego trail runs, which I soon discovered were extremely technical. In retrospect, I am amazed that these huaraches did so well with the terrain and the mileage I was using them on. I ran over 50 miles in about 3 weeks of exclusively rocky trails.

Here’s what I think of them:

Ground Feel

The ground feel was very high, as the 6mm sole was really quite thin. I liked the fact that this forced me to pay attention to my footing, but it would also start to tire out my feet as the miles started accumulating. They didn’t hurt, but I definitely felt every step.

Tying & Adjustability

I never had any trouble tying these and they only came untied once under very harsh trail conditions. The best part of these laces is that they are easy to adjust on the fly. So if the fit isn’t perfect, I can tug a little instead of having to sit down and re-lace from scratch. They also come in slip-on form, which simplifies the lacing process.

Technical Trail Performance

I love running trails, so I really need a sandal that holds up. The thing about trails is that each footfall is different, and always uneven. So it’s difficult to find a perfect huarache fit. If the lacing is too loose, the sandal falls off. If it’s too tight, it digs into your skin and gives you blisters. Plus the constant foot-shuffling tends to loosen the fit in a way that doesn’t happen with traditional shoes.

That said, this pair only fell off once after a particularly intense trail run, and I was only delayed for seconds since I could adjust them while they were still on my feet. And I had run over 50 miles before they started to blister. I think that’s impressive considering I didn’t take any anti-blister precautions. No socks, taping, or BodyGlide. Creek crossings are also really fun in these.

General Fit

One thing that would bother me with the Unshoes was that the front of the sandal would fold over and I’d step on them a lot, no matter how I adjusted my form. So I was concerned that would be the case again. But that never happened with the Invisible Shoes. Overall, it was a better fit. I never felt the lacing between my big toe and my second toe, whereas this was also a painful issue with the Unshoes.

Storage & Convenience

I like to throw these into my hydration bladder and head out for a barefoot run. If the trails get too rough, I know I can throw these on fairly easily. They give me the confidence to try new trails barefoot because I know these can get me through any rough sections. They help me run MORE barefoot miles, not less. I think that’s how a shoe should truly function.

Customer Service

I have to mention the great customer service and personalized attention from this company. It’s always refreshing to deal with someone who can answer all your questions and get back to you promptly. Great job guys!


I can’t race an entire ultra in these on a technical trail. I still need a bit of a thicker sole. I also hate them on concrete. They slap a little louder than I’d like and I find it tough to run in complete silence, no matter how I shift my form. I would also recommend some blister prevention, like BodyGlide. Because when they DO form blisters, it’s very demoralizing and tough to avoid rubbing in the exact same places.


I definitely have a place for these huaraches. I love that I can carry them around when I’m barefoot. I also love them on slightly rocky trails, or on anything less than 20 miles. I love they way they look on my feet and they do spark some conversation. For the average runner, these would be a fun sandal. For me, they were also a great transition to huarache running.

If you’re considering moving into huaraches, I would recommend these as a great “first” sandal. They’re easier to tie than other options, they’re very reasonable, and will really give you a good idea as to whether huarache running is for you.


Invisible Shoes is generously offering one lucky reader a free pair of huaraches!

To enter, do one or more of the following things. Leave a separate comment below for each thing you do, as I will count up the comments and choose a winner randomly using Every separate comment will count as an entry. The more you do, the higher your chances of winning.

The winner will be announced next Tuesday, October 4th. Come back and check because if you don’t claim your prize, I’ll choose another winner!

  • Leave a comment and tell me why you’d like to win these huaraches
  • “Like” Invisible Shoes on Facebook HERE
  • Follow Invisible Shoes on Twitter @InvisibleShoes
  • Post about this giveaway on any social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc). Each posting counts as one entry, so leave a separate comment for every one.
  • Blog about this giveaway.
  • Follow/subscribe to this blog (top left hand side). If you’ve already subscribed, that still counts as an entry. Just leave a comment and let me know.

Good luck!


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