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Gaspin’ in the Aspens

Last Saturday was the final and sixth race of the Run Flagstaff trail running series. The race takes place at the Flagstaff Nordic Center, which is situated at 8,000 feet above sea level. The race is called “Gaspin’ in the Aspens”, because of the elevation and because parts of the race course goes through spectacular aspen groves. The race this year was organized and coordinated by Ian Torrence, a well know Flagstaff ultra runner. Ian also is the organizer for the Grand Canyon Stage Coach race, which is a 100 mile race that leaves Flagstaff and follows the old stage coach path to Grand Canyon National Park.

Gaspin’ in the Aspens features two different race distances. There is the 5K race which my daughter was running, and the 15K race which I was running. This is my third year of running this race, and it is always one of my favorites. It had rained the day before the race, and it was cool that morning. The trail was well packed with moisture and not dusty like it normally is when the race used to take place in July. There was even some puddles out on the course. The course is all dirt trails, that get covered in snow during the winter and are cross country ski trails during the winter months.

My daughter and I arrived a little early to the Nordic Center since we had not had time to pick up our race bibs the night before. The Flagstaff High School cross country team was volunteering to park vehicles in the parking lot. Each student would direct you to where you needed to park. Since the Nordic Center is leased U.S. Forest Service land, the race only allows 300 runners total. This race always fills up fast each year and registration closes quickly.

Pajama pants at the 2014 Gaspin' in the Aspens race

Dirk in his blue plaid fleece pajama pants at the 2014 Gaspin’ in the Aspens race.

Because it was cold outside that morning, I had put on my blue plaid fleece pajama pants. I use these pants just to stay warm before the race, and take them off before I run. I know I have written already about my infamous blue plaid running pants, but they are quite warm on cool mornings like this. Why do I wear these crazy pajama pants to races? Number one, they are inexpensive to purchase. One reason I always enjoyed trail running is that the only item you need to buy is a sturdy pair of running shoes. Lately, I have been running in Salomon trail running shoes. I love my Salomon shoes, but they are slowly inching towards the $200 price range for the S Lab series. The shoes I wear are in excess of $100. These funky blue plaid fleece pants I wear cost only $11.99. If you were to buy your typical running pants, they would be around $60. Second, the fleece pajama pants are easy to put on and take off with running shoes. The pants I wear are an XL, even though I’m a size L. They fit loose enough so that I can just slip then on and off right over my trail running shoes. No fancy zippers that seem to break, like the zippers that you find on the $60 running pants. The fleece pajama pants are very basic but practical technology. Third, the fleece pants are warm, soft, and comfortable to wear. Running pants are usually a form fitting spandex type material that is comfortable, but can be a little cool to put on first thing in the morning. Spandex will warm up eventually once you begin to move around. These soft, fuzzy fleece pajama pants are warm the first second that you slip them on in the morning. Lastly, trail runners by their nature are rough around the edges. A lot of ultra runners have beards, and look like mountain men. Fleece plaid clothing seems to me, to fit in more with the trail running mindset which is a little unorthodox. Fleece plaid pajama pants are definitely not expensive, sleek and designer type clothing. I’m not sure if trail runners even have a style per se, since every trail runner I ever met is pretty independent thinking and is happy running hours solo through the woods alone. I guess, fleece plaid pajama pants to me are more representative of the independent, unorthodox and rough nature of a trail runner.

Dirk bib from Gaspin in the Aspens 2014

Dirk bib from Gaspin in the Aspens 2014

In the end, I met my goals that morning. My goal was to finish the race without injuring myself more than I already was. I have been injured for the last couple of months and not able to run any serious training runs. My morning racing aspirations were therefore conservative. I did end up walking up some of the steeper parts of the course, and my foot did hurt a lot. Both of which, I had anticipated would happen. This did not stop me from enjoying myself, and soaking in the magnificence of the beautiful aspen covered sections of the trail. Just to be moving again through a high mountain forest was satisfying to me. It was a great race, and great people. All the local Flagstaff trail runners were there. It was great to say, “Hi” to old running friends and share a race together again. Overall, it was a wonderful race to cap the end of this year’s running series. Just like the first race of the running series, I felt quite at home in my funky blue plaid pajama pants!

Three Weekends of Running for the Pajama Family

Of course, I must exempt myself from this running business. I am have not been in shape for years as I spend too many hours in front of the computer and not enough exercising. But, I do provide a tremendous amount of moral support to the runners in our family.

On Independence Day both of the Murphy kids ran in the Downtown Mile here in Flagstaff. This race is organized by Team Run Flagstaff. Our company is happy to sponsor this organization.

How did we ever get involved with Team Run Flagstaff? My husband has been running for years and has always been interested in their activities. But, it was our son who really got us interested. Team Run Flagstaff has a kids group call Kids Run Flagstaff, which meets a few times a week. They get kids interested in running. They take kids who are beginners and kids who have a lot of experience and everything in between. When our son started he didn’t have a lot of experience with track or cross country. After just a few short months he is running six minute miles and really enjoying what he is doing.

My kids and I got up at the crack of dawn on July 4th and headed downtown for the race. Downtown Flagstaff is a beautiful place. The downtown is filled with buildings from the turn of the century and you can see the magnificent San Francisco Peaks in the distance.

The kids ran well. Our son ran a mile in 6 minutes and 11 seconds, which is one of his best times to date. Our daughter won the middle of the pack award. She joked that it could have been worse. She could have won the second to last award (if such a thing existed). The first weekend of running turned out well.

The second weekend of running took my husband to the Hearts 911 Run on Mount Elden just outside of Flagstaff. This eleven mile race benefits the Shadows Foundation’s “Heart’s Worth Saving” program. Amazingly, first responders (police, fire, and EMS) are 300% more likely to suffer from heart disease than the general population. My husband is about to retire from over 20 years of service doing just those things " law enforcement, structural and wild land fire, EMS, and search and rescue " with the National Park Service. As I am writing this, he has about a week left to work until his retirement. (Of course, he will become a full-time pajamaman after he leaves that job.)

So, on Saturday morning my hubby left the house in his flannel pajama pants (his warm up pants of choice) and headed for Mount Elden. The race is 5.5 miles up hill and then 5.5 miles down the other side of the mountain. Yikes. No wonder the rest of the Murphys stayed in bed. But, Mr. Murphy did us proud. He came in seventh overall, which is not too shabby for someone who is about to retire.

Next weekend we head to another crazy road race " the Snowbowl Hill Climb. I am sure that Mr. Murphy will wear yet another pair of funny pajama pants as warm up pants. My daughter and I are volunteering before the race at the bottom of the mountain. (We will be selling raffle tickets in support of the race.) My husband is running seven miles up the road that services our local ski resort. It is a steep, curvy, mountain road. (I am not sure that I could walk up that road. I don’t think that I could run up there even if a really scary wild animal was chasing me.) I am sure that he will run well for us. We will keep you posted as always.

Trail Runners and Pajama Pants

Trail runners are different. I like to think to think that this is a good kind of different rather than a bad or scary kind of different. We prefer not to run on pavement or roads. We often choose the steepest, rockiest, and most difficult routes to run. A typical run might result in a tumble, with some abrasions, bruising, and bleeding. Yet, we love running on the dirt, through the mountains, and immersing ourselves in the outdoors. I consider this the good kind of different, but then I am biased.

Part of being trail runner and being different is not wearing the sort of gear a typical road racer might wear. Some trail runners wear shoes with extra toe protection so that you dont break a toe when they inadvertently kick a rock in the trail. Other trail runners use trekking poles to get up and down mountains.

Being a trail runner, being different, and knowing that anything goes in trail running wear, I didnt think twice about wearing pajama pants to the 2013 Soulstice trail race. It was early morning, I was tired, and I thought, Hey, why not just wear some pajama pants for warm up pants? I trail run in compression tights or shorts, which enhance performance, but do not provide much warmth. It is cold up in the San Francisco Peaks, near Flagstaff, AZ. Flagstaff is at 7,000 feet elevation, and the race is about 8,000 to 9,000 feet in elevation. The race is held every October. It is not uncommon to find it snowing during this time of year. I knew I needed a second layer to stay warm pre-race. Why not wear my pajama pants as that second layer. They are fleece pajama pants that always keep me warm. So without further ado, I pulled on my compression tights, sweat-vac race shirt, and Salomon trail shoes, then threw on a polar fleece jacket and my blue plaid fleece pajama pants and left for the race. When I went to the registration area to pick up my race bib, my legs felt nice and warm, even though it was below freezing. No one gave me a second look even though I was wearing my pajama pants. We are trail runners and we are different, and anything pretty much goes with trail running apparel.

Fast forward to May, 2014, and the Flagstaff trail racing season has begun. Every year I sign up for the Flagstaff Summer Running Series. Neil Weintraub , who founded the Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association also created the Flagstaff Summer Running Series. Neil has worked hard in keeping the series going year after year. The first race of Flagstaff Summer Running Series is Run for the Mountain. The race benefits the Mountain Charter School. This is a race held at Fort Tuthill on the outskirts of Flagstaff. It is all dirt trails running and pine trees.

It was a little cold the morning of the Run for the Mountain race. The weather was definitely pajama pants weather. I walked up to the registration kiosk wearing pajama pants and got my race bib number. No one batted an eye at the guy wearing blue plaid fleece pajama pants. The pajama pants kept me nice and toasty until it was time to start the race.

This is my fourth year at the Run for the Mountain race. My son Max and my daughter Emma were running the 5K, while I would run my usual 10K. One year the announcer at the Imogene Pass Race coined the term The Running Nation of Flagstaff. (The iconic Imogene Pass Run is a 17 mile mountain race within the San Juan mountains of Colorado, you run along a route which connects the towns of Ouray (7810 ft.) and Telluride (8750 ft.) by way of 13,114 foot Imogene Pass). It looked like many citizens of the Running Nation of Flagstaff would be running the Run for the Mountain race. Some of these citizens were elite runners and they would run in the same 10K that I was running. One elite runner, Emily Harrison, of Flagstaff, finished the Caumsett State Park 50K this March at 3:15 setting the course record. She won the USATF 50K National Road Championship. She also ran the second fastest 50K in North American History. Nick Arciniaga, another Flagstaff resident, took 7th place in the Boston Marathon this year. Nick also would be running in the 10K with me.

Dirk Murphy in his prerace fleece pajama pants.

Dirk Murphy in his prerace fleece pajama pants.

Being in my 50s, I always hang back with other local old guys toward the middle of the pack at the start of a race. The Run for the Mountain race started out fast. Luckily I had warmed up ahead of time with my blue plaid flannel pajama pants and was ready for the quick start. I ended finishing 3rd in the mens 50 to 59 year old category. My son Max finished 5th in the mens 13 to 19 year old category for the 5K. My daughter Emma finished 9th out of the womens 1 to 12 year old category for the 5K.

Earlier I had seen a guy on a bicycle leading the kids 2K fun run part of the Run for the Mountain race. The bicyclist was wearing a neon orange afro wig, and a blue super hero cape. I realized that it was my neighbor, who also was a trail runner and regularly runs Imogene Pass Run. I thought, Wow! That is different. My neighbors attire reminded me of the crazy attire for the annual Kahtoola Uphill race. Kahtoola is held every February at the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort just north of Flagstaff, AZ. You start running at 9,200 feet and run straight up to 10,800 feet. The course is about 3.3 miles. The Kahtoola Uphill race could be described as a winter running Mardi Gras, with crazy runners and skiers racing straight up a ski slope.

When I reflected on some of the outlandish running attire that I have witnessed at trail races, my mens blue plaid fleece pajama pants seemed downright conservative in comparison. So, I will keep on wearing my plaid fleece pajama pants as warm up pants at the local trail races. I find them comfortable, warm, and easy to don on and off. They may not look like other runners warm up pants. But, what can I say? Im a trail runner. Im different, but it is a good kind of different.

Dirk Murphy enjoys trail running and the outdoors when he is not spending time with his family or helping with his family’s business.

Spoil Mom Throughout the Year

Mother’s Day has come and gone this year. It is always nice to take some time to thank our moms for all they do for us, but shouldn’t we be doing that throughout the year and not just on one special day? I think so. Being a mom is the most challenging and also the most rewarding job on Earth.

I have put together a few ideas on how you can spoil your mom throughout the year and not just on Mother’s Day. (It kind of reminds me of Alice and Wonderland. Remember how you have just one birthday and 364 un-birthdays? Well, remember that your mom has 364 days of the year that you should remember that she is special besides just Mother’s Day.) Here are my ideas for spoiling mom throughout the year.

I own a sleepwear company, so of course I have to start with pajamas. (It is a shameless promotion, I know. But, who doesn’t like pajamas?)

Laura Ashley Sleepwear for Women

Laura Ashley Sleepwear for Women

Moms will love any sleepwear by Laura Ashley. She will love the classic patterns. If your mom is my age (an extremely youthful mid-forties type), she will remember the beautiful Laura Ashley dresses of our youths. Now similar classic, floral patterns are brought to life on nightgowns and pajamas. They are beautiful and comfortable. She will love reading books in bed on weekend mornings in these delightful pjs.

She will love any sleepwear by Lazy One. If your mom has a great sense of humor and whimsical, animal prints are more of her thing, Lazy One is for her. They offer a huge selection of two-piece pajama sets and nightshirts in 100% cotton knit, which is super comfy. Favorites include the Out Cold penguin print, Bear Hug polar bear print. There are tons of prints to choose from.

She will love any thong-style slippers. These slippers are just perfect for this time of year. You can wear something comfortable around the house without having your feet be too hot. We have thong-style slippers from both Lazy One and Aerosole brands. What is the difference? Lazy One slippers feature fun animal prints and have moppy-style fabric on the uppers. The padding is very generous in these slippers, so they feel very cozy under your feet. Aerosole brand slippers are a bit more traditional. The fabric is more of a terry-style polyester. Available patterns include solids and animal prints. Both brands are great. They are just different. Just try to choose what your mom would like best.

Here are a few non-sleepwear ideas that are perfect for when you want to spoil mom. They will work well either in conjunction with a pair of pajamas or on their own.

A gift certificate to her local independent bookstore is always a fun idea. I know. I know. Everyone has electronic way to read books these day. I have an iPad and I do really like it. It is great to be able to go online and buy a book and start reading it right then and there. But, there is nothing like a real life bookstore. I love to look at books. I love to pick them up and read the dust jackets (or the back covers). It just seems to me that books should be a tactile thing that you experience, not just something on a screen. (I could argue this point with my teenage son for hours.) Plus, there is nothing like lounging in the bathtub with a good book. I would not take my iPad in the tub. That seems like a recipe for disaster.

My husband and I spend hours every weekend browsing through our local bookstores. We love the books and we love the coffee. Here in Flagstaff we have an amazing used bookstore named Bookmans. The Murphys spend a lot of time at Bookmans. It is like a treasure hunt. You never know what new inventory they are going to get in as it varies all the time. Plus, they make the best cappuccino in town and in comes in a real (not paper) cup.

My mom happens to have a great independent bookstore not too far from where she lives. Part of her gift this year was a gift certificate to this shop. I would not even attempt to purchase books for her. She has a lot of opinions when it comes to things like books and I would be sure to blunder if I attempted to choose for her on my own. It is better to leave her in control.

Once your mom has some great new books she can curl up in her pjs and read them undisturbed for hours. This would be the greatest gift you could give her " peace and tranquility.

A peaceful trip to your local coffee shop is always appreciated. What do I mean by this? I mean that if my family were to take me to a local coffee shop, I would want my children to leave their electronic devices at home. (I know that this is a lot to ask and is quite unreasonable, but I am the mom and once in a while I get to make the rules.) I would want my children to not fight with each other and to answer questions in complete sentences. I would want to hear about what they want to do for the summer. I would want just some uninterrupted family time.

Our family likes coffee shops. My husband and I love coffee. My daughter likes to order giant hot chocolates with heaping piles of whipped cream. My son is grumpy as we insist that he is too young for coffee and make him get something else. We recently discovered a jewel in our local area " the cafe Bohemian at Macy’s (the local coffee shop, not the big department store). It is a cafe latte with powdered chocolate and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Yum. You wouldn’t think that adding a dash of flavor to the top of a cup of coffee would make that much of a difference, but it does. I am not a fan of those super sweet syrups. This is a whole different thing.

Your mom may not be coffee fan. Maybe she likes ice cream, or smoothies, or something else. It doesn’t really matter. You don’t even need to go anywhere. You can just sit around your own kitchen table. The point is to have some uninterrupted family time. That is what moms really want. Trust me on this one.

A clean house is bliss. What mom doesn’t want a clean house? This is like a dream come true. If your mom is older, it might be harder for her to clean than it used to be. If this is for your wife and she is either a working mom and spends her days shuttling kids from activity to activity, the idea of a clean house may seem like heaven.

There are a few ways to approach this. The first way is to call a cleaning service. This is certainly easier, but much more expensive. If your mom lives far away, it might be your only option. If mom lives close by you have more options. If you truly don’t have time to do it yourself, you can call a cleaning service. In my experience, you can always get a national chain to come out on a one-time basis, but it is going to cost you a bundle. If you can find a local company based on the recommendation of a friend that may be the way to go. I would always check references and only let a bonded company into my home.

The other option is the old fashioned do it yourself option. Do you have tweens or teenagers? Remind them that you are attempting to pamper mom and it is time for them to pitch in.

Hopefully, this will give you some ideas for spoiling your mom. Or, you could put them all together for the ultimate mom package. 1. Take mom to a bookstore and let her pick out something new to read. 2. Next, bring her to her favorite coffee, ice cream, smoothie shop where she can enjoy an hour or so of uninterrupted family time with her favorite people on the planet. 3. Take her home to the house that you have somehow managed to clean while she was out. That make take some creative thinking to arrange the timing. 4. Let her spend the rest of the day lounging around in peace and quiet reading her new book in the new pair of pajamas you had waiting for her at home. Trust me. This is mom heaven.

Melissa

Greetings from Pajamaland!

Welcome to the CrazyforBargains.com blog. Crazyforbargains has been through a lot of changes over the years. In the beginning we started out wanting to be a general store, but found out that our best sellers were mens underwear. Working with that we decided to try other forms of underwear which eventually lead to trying pajamas.

When pajamas took off we knew we found what we love and what you all wanted to find when you would visit our store. Helping you find cool and comfy pjs and cool novelty boxers all at awesome prices became our passion. From there it lead to robes, slippers and everything else you can find within our site. Now were ready to have another addition and the next generation of our site, this blog.

Since our beginning in 1999, we gave small glances into our lives and into the day to day operations of this small mom owned business. What we realized is that we never really opened ourselves up to let you meet us. Because we want you to get to share some of the fun when we get new products, when someone has a baby or even adopts a new best friend, wed like to share it with you!

This blog will feature everything from fun pictures of our animal friends to showing you new products as they arrive and we unpack them in the warehouse. Well feature fun highlights from holidays and the craziness that is Christmas and what shipping really looks like to make sure your pajamas arrive in time for the holidays! Well run special blog only offers for a limited times and even share fun top product lists with you that will hopefully make you smile and laugh.

The CrazyforBargains.com blog is here to let you meet the Murphy family, our employees and see the fun and fuzzy (well fuzzy slippers) side of what its like to work with pajamas, animal slippers and robes and everything else. Subscribe to our rss feed, sign up for our blog newsletter (it is separate from our customer emails) and never miss another post, deal or new product flash sale again.

Thank you for visiting the CrazyforBargains.com blog and let us know what youd like to see us post. Were always opened to new ideas and topics and the only way to make it more interesting for you is to have you help. Tell us what you want to see and well do our best to deliver!

Thank you again for reading and come back soon,

Melissa and the CrazyforBargains.com team.