A couple seeking a cure for the travel bug

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Ultimate Direction Dirty 30 (Golden Gate Dirty 30)



What: Golden Gate Dirty 30 50K (and 12-miler)
Where: Golden Gate Canyon State Park | Black Hawk, CO
When: Saturday, May 30
Vertical Gain: 7,250 ft. 
Elevation/Altitude: 7,750-9,500 ft.  
Start: 6 a.m. (9-10 hour finishers) and 7 a.m. with three waves (5-6 hour estimated finishers/elites, 6-7 then 7-8. If you thought you'd finish between 9-10 hours - if only I knew what I was in for - you could have participated in the early 6 a.m. start
Field size: 462 (only 135 women) 
Finishers: 387 (113 women)
DNS (Did Not Start): 40
DNF (Did Not Finish): 35 
Placement: 10:16.12 | 371 Overall/104 Female Overall (almost last place, ha!)

THE BACK STORY


I love Colorado. 

Back in 2009, I left my beloved sports gig in Chicago, gave my boyfriend an ultimatum (lucky for me he came with) and accepted a position/moved everything to a state I had never been to besides my interview. I had expressed to my brother that I was ready to move. That upon arrival in the Windy City, I knew my time limit was only two years. My brother having been on the road, traveling to every major city in the U.S. and the person that started us on this career path sent me a list of cities he thought best suited my interests. Denver was on that list of five cities and the one I immediately chose to target. 

Let's just say, it was love at first sight driving west on I-70 into my new home. Ever since Casey and I left Denver in 2011 to pursue life on the road, we always said we'd move back. To us, there is no question that Colorado is HOME. We purchased our first place in the mountains in January 2015, but we still live primarily on the road and will be living in hotels for the majority of this year like we have for the past four years. 

So, in late March when we saw our next event wasn't for another few weeks. We negotiated with our current company to let us return to our home in Colorado for the duration of those nearly three weeks. It's a win-win. We get to go home. They save on the hotel budget. 

Immediately, I began to scour Ultra Signup for any local races I may be able to fit in during the trip and stumbled across the Dirty 30. Having not run much since Zion and entertaining my mom and Casey's brother, Andy, in CO during our return trip to Winter Park - I thought it would be a "fun" way to spend my last day covering 32 miles in Golden Gate Canyon State Park in Black Hawk, CO. Making up for all the lost time running and playing tour guide (which I also love to do, so please come visit us!) and a place (GGCSP) that I had never been to. 


On May 9, just three weeks prior to race day, I pulled the trigger and registered. 

7,250 ft of climbing? That should be fun!
Wrong. 

Running between 7,500 ft-9,700 ft? I should be acclimated by then. 
Wrong

Ultrasignup has me finishing around 7:45, that seems about right. 
Wrong

Sure, Case. I'll be done around 3 p.m. We'll enjoy the post-race party, I'll soak in the stream, have a few brewskis and be at our hotel in Stapleton in plenty of time before the Blackhawks game starts at 6 p.m. 
Wrong. 
(I'm glad he puts up with me)

Riding in a vehicle for three days post race, crossing through three time zones, and eight states...
I should be fine. 
Wrong. 


This is NOT a race to sign up for 3-weeks out.
Not a race to go out and "wing it."
Not a race you sign up for because oh gee, it sounds like fun!
Rainbows and butterflies are not permitted on this course. 

All jokes aside, I DID have FUN and I'm still glad I did this race. It was brutal. It destroyed me. It chewed me up, spit me out, and only sick, sadistic, runners would understand wanting to do it all over again. But, next time I hope for a MUCH BETTER outcome...here's why...

Friday, April 17, 2015

Zion 50K: My First Ultra




What: Zion 50K [Ultra Adventures]
Where: Virgin, UT
When: Saturday, April 11, 2015
Start: 6 a.m. 
Vertical Gain: 3,100'
Elevation: 3,500'-5,500'
Field Size/Finishers: 114 
Time/OA Place: 7:19.12 (66th)

Spontaneity. The Spice of Life. 

If you know me personally, you know that "planning" is not in my vocabulary. I am more apt to jump on a plane last minute than I am to plan where I'm having dinner tomorrow night. I'm not sure if spontaneous is the best word to describe me, perhaps the following are a little more fitting: scatterbrained, stubborn, stupid and impulsive. 

And just like a cat, if you dangle a new adventure or a new thrill in front of me, I'll be quick to pounce on it. 

Originally, I had honed in on the Zion 50K after spending 2014 dabbling in trail running after feeling disconnected and frankly bored with road races and the marathon distance. After spending a year "naked" and watch-free; I wanted to get back to my roots so-to-speak and reconnect with the reasons why I love to run in the first place; all of which do not involve holding my watch up like simba when it's not connecting or discussing race times. Instead, I wanted to explore more which I have always found more fun on my feet, admire new scenery, take photographs and make new friends. And after a decade of pavement, I wanted something new. I had mentioned this race to my best friend but it wasn't until some others convinced her and her wife to register that I followed suit. 

Fast Forward to April 3, 2015. 

Things weren't looking so great for Zion. Although we have more time off than we've ever had before on this tour, our schedule (unlike any tour in our previous four years) has been pretty non-existent and very last minute. Therefore, I didn't know if an event was going to be added on the weekend of the race or what city we were even going to be in to browse flights. My friends and I both fell off the wagon, didn't train and just thought of Zion as an after thought so we started contemplating our options; should we scratch the race altogether, rollover our race funds to another upcoming race or drop down to the 25K distance? Amie and Savannah chose to rollover their race funds and race the Grand Canyon 25K in May instead while I scrolled through flights while sitting in my hotel room in Greenville, SC. Airfare was ranging from $500-$750 and I was seriously doubting my ability to fly from Atlanta (our next city) to Las Vegas while remaining responsible to my job and my finances. 

Finally, I posed the question I always ask myself in these kinds of situations: 
"What will you regret more: running Zion? Or NOT running Zion?" - 9.99 times out of 10, it's always the latter. 

I hadn't run over 10 miles since CIM on December 7, and I was very ill equipped to run this race but I made a commitment and I'll be damned if I don't stick to it. So, there it went...

Just a few moments later, I placed a bid/purchased a flight via Priceline and got a round trip ticket to Sin City that wouldn't crash my bank account. I was going to Zion. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's Been Awhile...

Sherine and John (picture right) have officially turned over the bus to us.
Fun fact: My brother was on tour with this EXACT vehicle (it was previously branded for another ed-tech company) before it was handed over to John and Sherine and now onto us.

The last time I blogged, I used a cheesy late 80s/early 90s song as the title. So, why not go for round two? It's Been Awhile (2001) since the last time we chatted and my taste for music still hasn't gotten any better.

Previously I was grappling with leaving our new home, but now I have to say it feels so good to be back on the road. You see, the road is home. It has been for the past four years, and as we go into our fifth year of hotel life - it feels like we opened the door and we're back in our humble abode in the nearest Marriott/Hilton hotel. We had been yearning for that constant movement again, so it feels great to have it back.

To catch you up to speed since my last post, we drove back to our parent's houses in the Midwest (St. Louis/Chicago burbs) so Casey could store his vehicle at his mom and dad's and we could unpack/repack anything necessary for the next 10-11 months on the road. From there we flew to Atlanta for training, took off on our new tour for our first event in Columbus, OH where I celebrated my 29th, traveled to Myrtle Beach for our next activation/Valentine's Day and back to Atlanta where we've been for about a week.

Here's a quick recap of what the past few weeks have looked like....


COLUMBUS, OH  | FIRST EVENT AND CELEBRATING 29


Kicking off our fifth year on the road at Lambert. Gotta love St. Louis.
It's a rare occasion to find a line at this airport. It usually takes me only 10-15 minutes to get a bag checked,  get through airport security and get in line at the one and only Southwest terminal Starbucks.

One of my favorite things about Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta. 

The Wine Bistro | Worthington
I don't know when my birthday and National Pizza Day starting sharing the same date, but it's one heck of a way to celebrate. Casey spoiled me rotten on my birthday, and then picked out this super cute place near our hotel where we treated ourselves to red wine flights of "Western Classics" and flatbread pizzas. I opted for the "Juliette" with brie, slices of pear, garlic cream, caramelized onions, Parmesan with white balsamic vinegar reduction - SO GOOD.



MYRTLE BEACH, SC | VALENTINE'S DAY


Spending Valentine's Day in Myrtle Beach, SC. 

We had the perfect Valentine's Day involving: running/exploring, wine, chocolate covered strawberries, a documentary and I even found my favorite pickles at the local Fresh Market!



ATLANTA | KENNESAW MOUNTAIN | ATHENS | WILD | VIRUNGA


KENNESAW MOUNTAIN NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD PARK
I hope to do a separate post on Kennesaw Mountain (I know...famous last words, right?) but this park is a GEM. Free to park, free to enter and such a great trail system. About 17 miles of trails total and views of Atlanta, Stone Mountain, and Kennesaw/Marietta. Definitely make it a priority on your next trip to ATL, and if you follow me on Instagram - you may find yourself making some new friends while you're at it. 

FOLEY FIELD | ATHENS, GA
We met up with one of our favorite friends and Georgia Bulldogs Alum, Mary Beth. She always shows us a good time and constantly takes us to the raddest restaurants and over the course of two trips to Athens, she didn't disappoint (because she never does). We checked out her cute new digs, got in some college baseball (FSU vs. Georgia), and frequented two places that you need to put on your "to-do" list the next time you're in Athens: THE GRIT and TRAPPEZE PUB.
Random side note: I love college towns. They're the best - for the atmosphere, the obscene amount of bars/restaurants and how cheap it is at said bars/restaurants.
Also: Finally tried New Belgium's new Slow Ride Session IPA. DELISH.


FINISHED: WILD | NEXT UP: A WALK IN THE WOODS
I would recommend Wild to anyone, but I think my adventure-seeking friends would especially love it. If you've never heard of the book or the blockbuster film, it's a memoir written by Cheryl Strayed chronicling her journey [solo thru-hike] on the Pacific Crest Trail. I really fell for this book because I can relate to losing a parent at a young age, the depression you often feel because of it, the thrills you seek to get away from it and the feeling of needing to be 'alone.' An epic novel that can appeal to all. WARNING: May cause a serious urge to sell everything you own, spend tremendous amounts of money at REI and walk 2,500+ miles on the PCT ASAP.

Next up on my reading list is A Walk in the Woods.
I had picked up this book numerous times in the bookstore, before I had even heard of Wild, and finally pulled the trigger and purchased it. You can say I wanted to stick with the trail theme as Bill Bryson's book follows his (and his quirky friend's) trek along the Appalachian Trail. So far, it's been neat to hear two different versions of two very different trails - similarities in thru-hiking mishaps and adventure, finding oneself, but the narrative is very different. Wild was more serious as Cheryl was at an impressionable age, trying to find herself and straighten out her life. Whereas Bill Bryson's story, thus far, has been very comical and light-hearted.
BONUS: While I was typing this and searching for links, I stumbled across an IMBD page for A Walk in the Woods! Apparently, there is a film adaptation and it will premiere in August 2015 starring Robert Redford!



DOC YOU SHOULD WATCH: VIRUNGA
This Academy Award nominated film for Best Documentary Feature is currently available on Netflix and is worth a watch. Synopsis: The documentary follows the story of four characters fighting to protect Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to the world's last mountain gorillas, against war, poaching, and the threat of oil exploration. 

This documentary left us both feeling disgusted by money and big business. If you're stripped of all of your belongings, the land is all we've got. It was truly inspiring to watch Emmanuel de Merode, the park rangers and a French journalist fight for the park, for justice and for what they believe. We live in such a beautiful country and we are so fortunate to have so much land protected. I was moved so much by this documentary that it compelled me to donate to the Virunga National Park and if you feel it in your heart, I suggest you do the same.
Note: My computer blocked the pop-up that allows you to insert your donation/cc information. So if you're having problems, open up the donation page on your smart phone (it allowed the pop up) and donate that way or turn off the pop-up blocker on your computer. Every little bit helps, even $8 buys a ranger a new pair of boots!

DO YOU HAVE ANY BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS? 
PREFERABLY NON-FICTION?

ANY DOCUMENTARY RECS? 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Back to Life, Back to Reality...


Well, it's been an amazing couple of weeks settling into our new humble abode. But all good things must come to an end, right? Or maybe that's just my salty attitude seeping through as we get ready to pack up in paradise and leave once again.


Sure we now have a homebase back in Colorado, but that doesn't make leaving any easier.

Next week, It's Back to Life, Back to Reality...
(Casey's not a fan of my throwback music selection)

On Wednesday, we'll embark on our fifth year on the road, living in hotels and traveling for about 300 days out of the year. I have always loved being on the road, I mean running and traveling are two of the best addictions one can ever have, but for some reason it's almost as if a switch has flipped. Leaving the road, planting roots and settling down has always terrified me. However, since we purchased our landing pad in our outdoor playground it's as if everything feels so right. As if it's everything I've actually been longing for and didn't know I truly wanted. For the first time in half a decade, I don't want to go. I want to stay. I want be a part of a community. I want to have friends that I get to see weekly. I want to volunteer in my new town and help with the local trail alliance. I want to belong to an actual running group. I want to register for my "hometown" races. I want to see the seasons change in one place. I want to watch the snow melt from the trails I've stumbled upon. I want to peel off the Yaktrax as the dirt starts to creep through, the wild flowers start to bloom, and Winter Park becomes a summer sanctuary.




But, I know my feelings are controlled by my thoughts. And this is very unlike me. After all, my sweet mom has always taught us to look at the bright side and that things could always be worse. So, it's time to channel one of our favorite quotes that I've mentioned in the past...


"If you don't like something, 
Change it. 
If you can't change it,
Change your attitude.
Don't complain." 
-Maya Angelou

So, thank you for letting me b**tch...but that's enough! It's time to change my cry baby-first-world-attitude. I need to focus on the positive and be grateful for everything this industry has given me. After all, if it weren't for touring this dream of living in the mountains would have never come true.




Hello, I GET to travel with my other half. How awesome is that? I get to spend more time with him than I would if I was working at a normal 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Most people spend more time with their co-workers than their own family members, and that's not the life I want to lead. At least not one I especially want to return to anytime soon.



We get to see our friends from all over the country - in Las Vegas, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, San Diego, Philly, Atlanta and the list goes on and on!

We never have to make our bed if we don't want to or cook breakfast (so many people tell us hotel life would get old for them, little do they know it's actually pretty stellar). We get to revisit our favorite cities, discover new adventures, try new restaurants (we're paid to eat for crying out loud) and cross off more MLB ballparks and craft breweries along the way. 

Plus, I LOVE PEOPLE. And our job basically pays us to talk to people. I get to meet so many amazing individuals and hear stories that you couldn't possibly make up. 

And yeah, I mentioned we're on the road for about 300 days of the year but because of that we usually take two months completely off. 



Life is pretty incredible and I have no reason to be a "Negative Nancy." If anything I should be eternally grateful I now have the best of both worlds - travel and a home in my favorite place in the country to spend my time off.



We now have a new goal - to live in Winter Park full-time for at least a year. If all goes well, we plan on touring for two more years and then living in our mountain home before settling into a larger "forever home" and full-time gigs. 



So although I'm sad to leave, I'm pretty effing lucky and I know it. We worked hard to get here and we're going to continue to love this life and live it to the absolute fullest.  After all, this industry...this career...is not going to last forever. It's something we can only do while we're young and childless, so we're going to soak up every ounce of it and I hope y'all continue to follow our travels across the country together.

And just remember, if there's something in your life you don't like and at this time you can't quite change it...


CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE. DON'T COMPLAIN. 


In the meantime, if anyone is interested in visiting Winter Park please e-mail me! I love this town and could talk your ear off about it. Want to find cool trails, sip on some brews and get some good grub? I'll do my best to point you in the right direction. ;) 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Our First Place!


For four years, Casey and I haven't rented or owned a home, nor have I owned a car. It doesn't make sense to the majority of those in our industry as we're on the road living in hotels for about 300 days of the year.

BUT, today one of those changed...

We are over the moon to announce that we are officially
MOVING BACK TO COLORADO
part-time! 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.

Hello, 2014!
Ringing in the New Year from Winter Park, Colorado. 

Well, 2014's end of the year Facebook trend couldn't quite capture our life on the road because I didn't really upload that many photos. And we all know if it's not posted on social media, it didn't happen (gosh, that's so true obnoxious). So cue the photo dump and cheesy reflections on another incredible year:

2014 HIGHLIGHTS


JANUARY 

We spent NYE and the first half of January in Winter Park, Colorado.
White out! 

On our way home we reunited with our friends in Denver!
Good times are always had with these folks.
We were supposed to drive this iconic Oikos vehicle from St. Louis to New Jersey for the Super Bowl.
Unfortunately, we only made it to Ohio where it broke down on us and had to be towed. Ha!
We drove back to St. Louis with a lunch stop in Indy. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Where to Start...


Vegas: the 6th edition of 2014

Seriously, I have no idea where to even start. Once again, I have abandoned this blog. I go back and forth whether to maintain this space or to bury it in an internet graveyard. I had this conversation with two friends not too long ago. On one hand, blogging is everything I've tried to escape in the last four years - sitting behind a computer. On the other hand, it's nice to have a record of our travels. Every once and awhile Casey and I can't think of the name of a restaurant in --insert city-- we've been to and want to revisit, or an experience that we had, and I can always turn to the blog to refresh our memories. 

Blogging can also feel really narcissistic. I mean who really gives a hoot where we are, what city we're in and what we're doing? It's a weird feeling. One I don't really like.

So between rotting behind a computer screen (instead of being outdoors or spending time with Case) and feeling a little slimy with a blog all about us, I'm just not sure what to do.

On the plus side, this little corner of the internet has provided me with so many great opportunities (i.e. Oiselle Team) and I've gotten to connect with fellow runner-friends from around the country that I may not have ever met. This online journal of sorts has kept a loose record of our travels, my race recaps, and photos from our adventures that our families can view online. And, if we can encourage one person to get into running, to travel, or to quit their job and follow their dream - then it's all totally worth it.

So, that's where I'm at.

Whether "Roaming" continues to be free or loses a signal - we'll see. But in the meantime, here's a little update...

Since September: we celebrated six stellar years together, the stars aligned and we actually got to run RNRLV with our friends, we wrapped up the Cupcake Truck Tour in late November driving from our last event in Auburn, CA to St. Louis in three days. Once we reunited with my mom, I left for Chicago to run a half marathon and spent some time with Casey's family before returning back to Southern Illinois. Not long after, I flew to Sacramento (Casey went to Nashville with his family) to run the California International Marathon with my good friend Amy. I was home for about a day before Casey drove down and we departed for a short weekend trip to Colorado. We had an agenda for this trip out west and we accomplished it. We hope to share some exciting news in regards to that trip and our upcoming 2015 tour in the next few weeks...

Time flies when you're having fun...
When Target only has one TMNT...
Presenting: Casey and the Leonardos. 
Hiking/Trail running at Red Rock Canyon!
Our last Cupcake Vineyards' event of 2014 - The Mountain Mandarin Festival!
CIM! 
Drinks with my bro - checking out a new brewery in town. 
Two big kids in our favorite place - 12/11/14 was a good day.

I hope to have some more posts headed your way (like Hiking Your First 14er, My Favorite Races of 2014, Red Rock Canyon, CIM + RNRLV Race Recaps, etc.) but until then I'd love for you all to weigh in on this topic:

TO BLOG? OR NOT TO BLOG? 

P.S. Casey's brother just moved to Los Angeles after spending 33 years (his entire life) in Chicagoland. Check out his new blog he created to keep us updated on his adventures while he adjusts to living the Pacific Coast life: Long Beach From Home.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Weekly Mileage: 9/22-9/28


Hermosa Valley Greenbelt

MONDAY 9/22 - 3.75 miles testing out the ankle at the nearby track + Bears on MNF. Since we work weekends, we've been DVR'ing the Bears games, ignoring social media, and watching them after work. So, it was awesome that the Bears were on Monday Night Football so we could actually watch it LIVE!

TUESDAY 9/23 - 7.5 miles on Veteran's Parkway/Hermosa Valley Greenbelt (it tends to go by both names). This wood chip trail is an urban gem. Take a break from city life and enjoy 3.5 miles of pure bliss. Want a longer run? Mix it up with trails and pavement - run oceanside afterward along The Strand (Redondo>Hermosa>Manhattan). Later that evening we went to one of our favorite places in Manhattan Beach, Fish Bar. The food never disappoints, plenty of TVs to watch sports and Taco Tuesday - what's not to love?

WEDNESDAY 9/24 - 5.5 miles and I got my hair done...FINALLY. I went to Evolution Hair Salon in Hermosa Beach and Vantha was so sweet and did such a great job! After 8 months, I finally chopped off about 5" and freshened up my locks. Plus, I picked up this killer mascara that uses adhesive gel and fibers to look like eyelash extensions without actually having extensions that cause damage. Even Casey noticed the difference it makes. It's basically a glorfied mascara that makes your lashes look longer and fuller, yet natural. I love it!



THURSDAY 9/25 - 3.5 miles + 30 minutes on the hotel bike + wine pick up + drive from LA to Pismo Beach, California.

Pismo Beach

FRIDAY 9/26 - Set up for our weekend event in Santa Margarita, California - Sunset: Savor the Central Coast.

We ate at this well-known San Luis Obispo spot - Firestone Grill

SATURDAY 9/27 - Worked Sunset: Savor the Central Coast. This was a beautiful event and a fun one to work.



SUNDAY 9/28 - Worked day two of Savor the Central Coast + event breakdown + 6 miles on the hotel dreadmill + reports/work stuff. I was hoping to get in 12 miles, but after six I started to feel a pain in my left ankle and my foot was tingling/falling asleep (the opposite ankle/foot as the bum ankle...what...the..??)

...I guess this is what happens when you get old...


My view last weekend. Not too shabby.


TOTAL: 26.25 miles + 30 minutes on the hotel bike

Obviously, I have A LOT of work to do. Luckily, I have 4-5 half marathons on the schedule prior to CIM to help hold me accountable in regards to balancing work, travel and the mileage needed for another marathon. I need a good race after two failed marathons. I need it more mentally than I do physically. 

Fortunately, I have some more time off this week before kicking off two family visits. Plus, we're heading down to one of our favorite cities for the next two weeks - San Diego. AND, we're working at the Miramar Air Show which means we're on the hunt for a good pair of aviators. ;)

(source)

A lot of miles and memories to look forward to this week...

WHAT'S SOMETHING YOU'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO? 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bum Ankle, Bakersfield, Bad Tattoos and Badass Women

Me - 1; bum ankle: 0.
Denver Trail Half - just three days after hearing a pop in the old ankle.
Not a smart idea.

BUM ANKLE 

So, I know I mentioned that I was going to revive my weekly mileage posts starting with the week of September 15-22, but the bum ankle/foot kept me off of it for one more week. I wanted to give it a little more time so once I finally started my CIM training cycle this week, I'd be in it for the long haul and wouldn't necessarily have to worry about this bad boy flaring up again. As of Monday, it's feeling a lot better especially when it's all wrapped up nice and tight in my shoe. I tested it out at the start of the week and was able to get in a little over 3 miles. Yesterday, I took it up a notch and knocked out 7.5 miles. It was a little sore after that run, but overall it looks like my body has given me the green light to start training!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hitting Reset


Well, it's been a while. In fact, it's been well over a month since I've even thought about touching this blog. To say we've been busy would be an understatement. Since early August, our schedule went from zero to sixty, we've had multiple visits from family members in South Dakota, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, we've celebrated Casey's 30th birthday and we've covered more miles than you can count. I wouldn't trade it for the world, but we're exhausted.

South Dakota

Hotel room birthday decor - a beer-day cake!

Casey's brother surprised him in LA for the big
3-0! Thanks, Andy! 

Casey's birthday celebration continues...
a quick stop in Vegas to meet up with his parents and see the show, Absinthe.
Thank you, T&C! 


CO adventures - follow along in real time on IG:
@jlcox6 or @cagarms

There are so many blogs I've wanted to write re: making the Oiselle Volée Team, adventures in S. Dakota, Colorado, Casey's birthday celebration in California, race recaps, #TourLife - What We Do For A Living, etc. (for a terribly outdated version click here) but the thought of using any ounce of potential "free time" sitting in front of a computer was quickly nixed without an ounce of guilt.

Now, we are back in Southern California and we only have three 2.5 months left on our current tour. In three months, we'll only bounce between three regions: Southern California, Northern California and Las Vegas (yes, I'm considering Sin City a region) which means we'll have less travel (less travel compared to our usual excursions across the country) and more free time. Our schedule is slowly winding down, and now it's time to hit reset after an adventurous, jam-packed, few months.

The CTRL + ALT + DELETE buttons of life have been pressed and it's time to buckle down and reorganize. Here's a few things I will be focusing on...

Training for CIM
I have come to realize that touring and training for a marathon is nearly impossible. But, now that we are going to have much more free time (I say that loosely) it's time to nail the bull's eye and prove myself wrong. I will be squeezing in as many half marathons as I can prior to work events (yes, I run a race, shower and then head off to work - not complaining, I actually thrive off of this) and focusing once again on building more muscle, all while following my curiosity of trail running. Also, being a part of a team makes you want to better yourself and inspire others. It puts a little bit of pressure on your shoulders, and that's exactly what I need right now to motivate myself on the road. As part of the Oiselle Team, I want to be a better, faster and most importantly a much stronger runner. I've had two bonked marathons due to injuries and dehydration overall poor planning - it's time to focus (which is always hard for me to do) and make this training cycle...this race...a good one. This train has fallen off the tracks and it's time to get back on for a smooth ride into my final destination...the California International Marathon.


Blogging
I have said many times that blogging is pretty much last on my list of priorities. You can probably tell, since I've been pretty terrible at it. Sometimes, I don't even know why I blog - who really cares what I have to say? Plus, I can't stand to waste any time in front of a computer. But, it is nice to have a record of our travels (when I can post them in a timely manner) and a record of my workouts. With that said, I hope to revive my weekly mileage posts starting with Sept. 15-22.

Cross Training | Training | Running in General
Every morning I wake up before Casey. I lie in bed usually for an hour or so because once he hears me stir, he's awake and there's no turning back. Therefore, I never get up early to workout because I feel guilty waking him up. He honestly doesn't care and he's told me he'd be able to fall back asleep, but I can't shake the guilt. We also share a vehicle on tour, and I feel bad if I take it for the day to go running or do something I want to do instead of something we want to do. Well, it's time to get over it. These next three months, I have to be somewhat selfish if I want to obtain the goals I want to achieve. I will be scheduling more races, I will be spending more time outside and I will be setting my alarm for morning workouts (sorry, Case!).

Nutrition - A New Discipline; 31 Days Alcohol Free
In 2013, I was injured for 7 months and shed many unnecessary tears because I couldn't run. I needed a challenge and something to take my mind off of not being able to lace up, so I tried to become a vegetarian for 31 days. After doing a lot of research, this BBQ-lovin' St. Louis gal not only made it 31 days but I extended it to a year. Now over a year later, I am still a vegetarian. It was a hard challenge - one that took a lot of discipline and now I'm ready for a new one. In a era of instant gratification, I think it's important to practice self-discipline/personal growth. To me, it's a practice of making better decisions, connecting with yourself, and remembering that YOU can choose to do whatever you want to do in this life. Our time on Earth is much too short, just remember that it's YOU who decides how you want to spend it and you can make anything happen if YOU put your mind to it (i.e. like quitting your full-time jobs and becoming contractors in order to travel). My next challenge (even harder than giving up meat) is giving up alcohol for 31 days. It sounds silly, but it's going to be really hard. We're social people and when we meet up with friends/family in the various cities we travel to, it's usually over a couple of cold ones or a glass of vino. Plus, we always love to try new craft brews during our travels. But, as mentioned I want to focus on running and this training cycle which is currently of most importance. My body feels ragged from our travels over the past two months and I just want to rid it of toxins and give it a fresh new start. From September 11-October 11, not an ounce of alcohol will be enjoyed. However, I can guarantee you this "discipline" will not last for a year.

Heal Sprained Ankle/Foot 
I sprained my ankle pretty bad on the way down from Mt. Bierstadt in Colorado (my first 14er!). It was kind of a freak accident with loose footing and I heard a pop which brought me to the ground and got my attention. In order to make sure I can accomplish a lot of my goals listed above, I need to make sure this puppy heals and heals quickly. I ran a trail half marathon and hiked Hanging Lake a couple days later which was a stupid decision, but it seems to be just a gnarly sprain. I'm able to put weight on it, it's just still a little swollen/bruised on the top right side of my ankle/foot. Injuries are frustrating to me, and most of the time I pretend like they're not there but this one, I have to be smart about and make sure it heals correctly. A lot of RICE is in my future this week...

For more day hikes like these, check out Aaron's website: Day Hikes Near Denver.

FYI, Hanging Lake is so beautiful...

And, so is the summit of Mt. Bierstadt

Photo cred: Matt_Farley


Post-Tour Travels
As our contract comes to an end, we'll be taking at least 2-3 months off to spend time with families during the holidays and for personal travel. We tossed around the idea of a New Zealand/Australia trip, but a winter wouldn't be complete without some skiing in the Rockies. So, we just need to nail down an international trip and when we're going to be hitting the slopes before airline prices are through the roof and we're forced to choose one or the other. This is on the top of the "To-Do List."

Well, that's all I've got for now. It feels refreshing just to write this, to list my goals (sometimes they're not real until you tell everybody about them) and to be working towards said goals for the latter half of the year. For now, I just have to learn how to stay focused and keep at it.

I have to hit reset.


WHAT'S ONE OF YOUR GOALS FOR THE REMAINDER OF 2014? 

TRAVEL SUGGESTIONS? WHERE SHOULD WE GO? 
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