September Updates

Oh, it’s been awhile…but all for good reason!

Let’s see if we can get organized here…

I last updated you in August, right before I headed off to Ragnar Relay.

10628490_726775990690791_5668219240384764260_nRunning Updates:

I completed Ragnar Relay – CO, you can check out Part I and Part II. After Ragnar, I have run a few races. I did the Skirt Chaser in Westminster. That was a BLAST, but I haven’t recapped that race yet. I will for sure!

At the end of August, I was the warm-up trainer for the Runapooloza, but didn’t get to run the actual race because I had to zip off to the Mutt Strut, the 5k that benefited the Arvada Cross country Team, whom I coach for.

That puts us into September, and as you saw, I did the Area 13.1.

Following that, I volunteered at the Patriot Day 5k and 10K for 3W Races. And finally, last weekend, I actually ran the Fall Priairie Dog Half with 3W and lets just say, it wasn’t a good race for me. The event was GREAT. My race was not. I will recap that soon.

imagesRunning – Training Updates:

I’m not sure if a lot of you know, but I WAS training for a marathon; pretty much for the whole year it feels like. It was a prolonged training plan for a few reasons. I was aiming for the Bismark Marathon which would have been last weekend but I had that crazy knee pain/injury stuff a few months ago. That combined with the fact that the friend I was also going to visit was having her family visit that same time – that just sounded too hectic to me. I then picked the Route 66 marathon, giving me some extra months to build up mileage again, but after running last weekend, I decided I am over it. I haven’t had a chance to collect all of my thoughts on this yet. But basically, I am NOT going to run the Route 66. This means I probably wont get any new states under my belt for 2014 nor marathon #2. I’m not really ok with this fact, but A) Finances have been extremely tight this year and B) my body is just too stressed from life that running wasn’t going well. Running was losing its fun. So, since I had won that Key West Half in January, I am going to shoot for a serious training plan and aim for getting a respectable time at that race! I like the idea of a short distance race right now. Training for that is much more manageable.

14923_10101713735157993_6153590363402329482_nCareer Updates:

A few new things to report here! I am still coaching Cross Country over at Arvada, and well, we wont get into that too much. Let’s just say the sports culture at that school is not what I would like it to be. But I do have a few kids that I’m rooting for – those that keep me coming back!

I am still doing a lot of promotional work. I did indeed work as Mr. Peanut at a Walmart convention…and it was a BLAST! I’m still waiting to receive those pictures. I picked up some regular gigs with Two Mom’s in the Raw (a local organic/granola company) as well as a ZumXR (an endurance athlete’s energy drink! You HAVE to try this stuff! You’ll understand where I get all my energy from). I want to tell you more about these companies in a future post!

10649440_10101761597291893_582227580228055102_nThe big thing to report: I have been hired as Personal Trainer and Running Coach at a new gym in Golden, CO called Novera Fitness. It literally just opened and is not a traditional gym. I can’t wait to actually start working there!

AND I have been working as a group exercise instructor at the City of Golden Rec center and have been officially hired as a personal trainer there as well!!! I’m really excited about this one – I really like working there! I already have a couple clients waiting for me!

In addition (yes, there’s MORE and yes, I am very busy but I like it and need the money), I started substitute teaching – as in at high schools! I have thought about using my Zoology degree to be a biology high school teacher, and I thought subbing would be a good way to see if I like it (plus, I make decent money doing it).

I think that’s all the jobs I have to report…It’s hard to keep track because I have so many! I would never survive without my planner. (oh yeah, I was also house/pet sitting a couple of weeks ago too)…

THE BEST UPDATE:

But the main reason I have been slacking a little in the blogging world is because….drum roll please…

golden.coloradoI MOVED!!! I MOVED!!! I MOVED!

Depending how long you have been following this lovely blog, it has been a goal of mine to move out for a few years now and I have made a new year’s resolution to do so for a while. However, this last weekend, I finally made it happen! I was living at my family’s house in Denver since, well, pretty much college graduation (I’m 27 – don’t judge me!). The original goal was to save some money and get my own place. Due to some unfortunate bad luck with jobs and then a career change and more bad luck with jobs, I wasn’t able to do that.

There’s many reason why I wanted to get out of the house, none of which I would like to recap here, but the gist is that I just knew I would be less stressed and more comfortable on my own!

So, I moved out and to Golden, CO! I’ve only been here a week and I LOVE it. I mean, I’ve been working here since the beginning of the year and I have a few friends that lived in the area already, so I was pretty much hanging out in downtown Golden every weekend. PLUS, it cuts about a half hour of my drive to the mountains…Hello snowboarding season made easier!  But seriously, Golden is so awesome. The town is adorable and the people are so nice!

I have two very nice new roommates that I get along with very well. The idea of non-family roommates scared me at first. Through college I had a series of different roommates. Most of which did not work out what-so-ever. My last year in college I roomed with four crazy boys and it was the best situation and super fun, but I had no idea what to expect with trying to do the roommate thing again! I’ll keep you updated! But I’m sure it’ll be fantastic. We’re all pretty similar – at least very active and on the same page socially.

And that’s about it!

Whew. Pretty exhausting listing it all out!

Yes, this is Lisa and I at the Skirt Chaser. Not the most flattering picture, but super hilarious!

Yes, this is Lisa and I at the Skirt Chaser. Not the most flattering picture, but super hilarious!

LAST NOTE! 

A very good friend of mine is running the Chicago Marathon in a few weeks. She is raising money for Girls on the Run. Here is here story:

“Girls On the Run is a non-profit that empowers every girl to embrace who she is, to define who she wants to be, to rise to any challenge, and to change the world.

Together, let’s support young ladies in the Chicagoland and Denver area to run toward positive esteem, a healthy lifestyle, and that natural runner’s high we are all addicted to! Money raised will go directly to the Girls On the Run program, and will allow me to run the Chicago Marathon 2014.  This is an incredibly important race for me in a town that embraces my spirit…this is why I run!

Everyone who donates $10.00 or more qualifies to win raffle prizes.  Please visit my public Facebook page to see photos/description of prizes.  Drawing will be held as soon as $1,000 is raised and names will be drawn at random for prizes.  If I don’t already know you, please include your name and contact information on the donation form so I can get your prize to you if you win.”imgLogo

The website to donate is HERE. And more information on Girls on the Run can be found HERE.

She only has a little bit left to reach her goal! She asked me to reach out to you, my lovely blog followers to help support her cause! If you do decide to donate and get entered into her raffle, make sure to provide your contact info so she knows where to sent the raffle items too, and let her know Racing The States sent you! 

Area 13.1 – Post Race Recap

10592740_251426281735079_2428616029007171562_nI almost had to write a “boycott the Area 13.1 race series” post, but luckily it didn’t come quite to that. Although, I do think this race wasn’t really that great anyway.

Let me try to explain how excited I was for this race first.

I’ve been wanting to this race for a really long time. Basically since last year when it first came to Colorado. I was dating a runner at the time and we saw this race and thought it would be really fun. Not going to lie, the glow in the dark alien medal was very appealing. Anyway, he is in the military and never knew in advance if he would have certain weekends off so we didn’t pre-register. As the weekend got closer, he did end up having to work but I thought I would just go and run it myself and register race day.

Race day came, and Colorado got hit with some serious rain storms (remember when all that flooding happened last year?). I decided I didn’t want to run in the crazy weather and opted out.

When this race started being advertised for the 2014 season, I swore up and down I was going to run it! As the year went on (and that boy no longer in the picture) I kinda lost track of the race. Then finally it crept up on me. With my finances being pretty low this year, I was kinda bummed at the price and started debating exactly how much DID I really want to run the race.

logo_Third_Thursday_Adventure_RunOver the last few months, I have been participating in the Road Runner Sports Adventure Runs. Back in July, I saw that they were raffling off a few race entries into the Area 13.1! I didn’t win in July, but I did pick up a $10 off code. I knew they would be raffling more at the August Adventure run, so I still didn’t register.

August came, and I didn’t win again, but I saw who did! I was pretty blunt and went right up to her and asked if she was really going to run it. I even offered to pay her a little bit (I figured giving her 20 bucks for the code was cheaper than registering at full price. Both people would win!). But she said she might actually run it. She knew we had a mutual friend and that if she decided not to run, she would look me up and let me have the free entry.

As the month wore on and the race approached, I decided I didn’t want to fork over the money and register, but about a week and a half before the race, I get a Facebook message. “Hey is this Whitney from the Adventure Run?? I can’t do that Alien run, do you want my code?”

Uh. YEAH!!!!!!!

10568959_251436661734041_4332272357467986242_nEcstatic, I asked her if she wanted any money for it. “Heck no,” she replied and I tried registering for the race.

The code didn’t work. 😦

I was bummed! Instant mood change.

I even registered before the price increase in case the code was only good for a monetary value. But no luck.

I emailed the race directors hoping for a response. Three days went by and I hadn’t heard back from anyone. Understanding that it was a holiday weekend, I sent another friendly email on Tuesday, the next work day, and still never got a response. On Wednesday, I wrote on the Facebook page (still very friendly, I swear!) and nothing. Thursday (two days before race day), I find another email address buried on the website. I sent a third email and finally heard back from someone in response to my original email that afternoon.

They wrote back, short and sweet, and said the code should now work.

It did. I registered and I was geared up to run come Saturday night.

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With a good friend of mine visiting from out-of-town, I loaded in his car and we drove down to Castle Rock race night. I was super excited and knowing it was a night race, purchased a package for glow sticks.

I grabbed my race packet, pinned on my bib and we began snapping and connecting glow sticks. I ended up attaching about 40 of them to myself.

As race time approached, I lined up in the coral next to a friend of mine that runs a lot of the 3W races and we got ready to run. Once the count down ended, we all took off running and since they didn’t post a course map, I just set off after everyone else. Probably the ONLY time I’ll ever be glad I’m not fast and leading the pack since I had no idea where to go.

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MY RACE – 4/5:

I started off kinda fast, knowing I wanted to finish in under two hours. The first mile took us around some soccer fields then spit us out on the East Plum Creek Trail. As soon I was there, I instantly recognized where we were. I had run on this same path just about a month or two before at the 3W Summer Prairie Dog Half. During that race, I did really well for the first half then developed a ton of knee pain (tight IT band). I remember that it was pretty hilly and instead of having most of the hills at the end, we would get them right in the middle since we were running the reverse out and back course.

At a mile and a half, we passed the only aid station we would see until the halfway mark. Not knowing that at the time, I passed up the water offer and continue with my strong steady pace. The first four and half miles were pretty flat so I had no troubles. About that time, a nice lady caught up with me and we ran together for quite a while. She was super nice and after telling her I was working the Broncos game the next day for my Cross Country team, she promised to come get beer from our booth! She kept true to her word, and now I have a running buddy in Fresno, CA!

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At the halfway mark, we had just conquered 1.5 miles of rolling hills (only to have to do them again in the opposite direction) and finally we saw water. They were in little tiny cups, so I gobbled two down and continued on my way trying to keep my under two-hour goal. The hills weren’t AS bad in the reverse direction, but they were still pretty challenging. I just kept running. I was getting pretty tired and because they didn’t have any mile markers, I had no idea what kind of pace I was keeping (I don’t have a fancy-schmancy garmin, just a regular ol’ stop watch I was wearing) and didn’t know how much longer I had. I kinda guessed, but it was now night and hard to see anything around us. It was pretty dark! I was covered in glow sticks and had a head lamp, but there were many runners without any sort of lighting. This might explain why I gained a few close-by followers – they must have been leaching off of my light.

When the aid station came into view, I stopped to drink water and asked the volunteer how much was left. That’s when I found out that it was a mile and a half from the end. I looked at my watch and I had about 12 or 13 minutes to reach the end! I would be cutting it pretty close! My calves were the most tight, but my legs were overall pretty tired. I really wanted to break two hours!

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I found the soccer fields that we initially ran around but didn’t know which one, the first or second, was the one to turn right. I made the wrong choice at first, but corrected my path. I looked behind me and saw I had some followers that I was leading astray as well. I apologized and noticed that my running friend had caught up to me (like he always does, check out the Father’s Day Classic). I looked again at my watch and with my wrong turn, I was getting really close to the two-hour mark. My friend said he wasn’t feeling well and I then took stock in myself. I wasn’t feel well either (lack of proper hydration!) but with 0.2 miles left, I left him and sprinted to the finish line. I finished in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 7 seconds!

The good: I reached my goal, no knee pain, and just minor soreness.

The bad: I am still far off from my PR set two years ago for the half, but these most recent halves have been pretty hilly courses. The other bad, I felt pretty sick after this race! Really nauseous to the point that I ALMOST didn’t drink my beer! Yes, almost. Of course I had to drink my free beer – pretty much the only good thing about this race!

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Overall – 2/5:

I really, REALLY, don’t like to just be bad-mouthing a racing company, especially since A) they know 3W Races but also B) Because being an ambassador for a different racing company, I get to see things from the other side, and I know it’s hard work putting together a race. But let’s just start out with this: I probably wont run this race again unless they get their act together. Judging by the comments on Facebook, I guess last year was a little better. HOWEVER, I really do like the idea of this race and think it has A LOT of potential. I mean, ALIENS!?! How awesome is that theme! Maybe the original one (the Roswell one) is bigger and better.

When I first saw the event and read through their description on their website, I was super excited! I mean, you can check it out HERE if you want to for yourself, but they made it sound super fun! Lot’s of alien themed things along the course, lots of fun lights, and a great post race party were all promised to us. None of which were delivered. And I could have sworn I saw somewhere that the medal was supposed to glow in the dark…but it does not. (And yes, I have left it under lights for HOURS, and still no luck. I tried looking on the website again, but I can’t find it anywhere that reads it glows in the dark. It IS possible that I made that part up in my head).

A few days after the race, we got an email with our results and where pictures were posted (those were free, thankfully!), and there was a little note in there: “We wanted to also take a moment to explain and apologize about some glitches along the course:  we had set up glow in the dark balloons and cones to mark the course in addition to a handful of stations with cool lighting and displays.  When our lead biker went out he let us know that most of what we had set up had been stolen or moved. This was an unfortunate and unforeseen incident, especially for you runners, and we are sorry that you did not have the experience that we had hoped to provide. We have taken notes and will have more organized event next year.”

No offense, but I don’t really believe that things were “stolen.” I could possible believe a thing or two was stolen, but EVERYTHING? And, this implies that they had more aid stations that were stolen as well. But why would they set up aid stations, with lights and everything, without anyone there to man them? I just think they didn’t have enough volunteers. If this teaches us one thing, it’s how important volunteers are, and next time you see a race advertising that they need volunteers, sign up! Speaking of which… we need volunteers at the 3W Fall Prairie Dog Race!

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Race Organization – 1/5:

In race organization I consider everything from pre-race, during the race and post-race.

Starting from the beginning –

1. From the time I send my first email to when I finally got a response back from a race director, it was close to a week which was two days before the race. When you’re getting that close to an event, you should be checking your email multiple times a day, in my opinion. I wasn’t too thrilled with not knowing if I was going to be able to run or not. And I swear, I was very polite in my emails. The code that I was given in the first place should have worked anyway. Somewhere a long the way, the line of communication was dropped, either from the technology person or the brand ambassador that was present at the Adventure Run where my friend won the race entry.

2. There was no course map on the website or at the race, which ended up causing problems for me at the end.

3. There wasn’t nearly as many course markers (or even ANY mile markers) on the course as there should have been. It wasn’t too bad of an issue for a majority of the course considering we were on a major trail that the only way to get lost would be to exit the main trail. It is ironic that this is the part of the course that had the most “markers”  which was just glows sticks thrown in the middle of the path. At the end is where I got lost. We started the race in the day light, and the first mile wound around some soccer fields. However, when we came back that way at night, the first soccer field was not lit up and I wasn’t sure if that was the one we ran around or not. I mean, we started in the day and now it’s dark.

I turned right (around the first soccer field) when I should have gone straight. I figured it out not long after and re-traced by steps. Then the main path continues on, but we were supposed to make a right (this time for real) around the second soccer field. It wasn’t until we kept running (there were two people right behind me, following me) that we looked to the upper path and saw some random glow sticks. Feeling bad for leading them astray, we cut through the dead shrubs to the correct path. From there we had to zig-zag on the sidewalks between the parking lot and the soccer fields, and being night-time, there was a couple of times I could not tell exactly where to run. And yes, I did have a head lamp! There was actually many people with out head lamps –  I don’t know how they fared along the course! I wouldn’t have been able to!

4. The website said there would be water stations (all lit up and alien themed) every 3 miles. We passed an aid station at 1.5 miles (where the 5K people would turn around) and didn’t see another one until the 6.5 mile mark! That’s half way! Because the website said there would be tons of aid stations, I didn’t run with my fuel belt and I was dying by the time I reached the teeny-tiny water cups. I gulped two down and prepared myself for the fact that I wouldn’t see more water until I had 1.5 miles left. I actually didn’t know how close that aid station was from/to the start/finish until the way back when I asked the volunteer. I went back to look at the website to see where it had info on the water stations and couldn’t find it – but I know I read that somewhere because I made the conscious decision to NOT run with water! That’s made what made me the most mad.

They did try to save their butts by having a random race director or volunteer riding his bike along the course to check on people and apparently had water in his bike trailer thing.

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Cost – 2/5:

Starting at $60 and up to $75 by race day, I do not think it was worth the cost. Yes, the medal and shirt are cool, but that’s about it. It was not organized well enough to be worth that cost. That is part of what you pay for.

Post Run – 1/5:

I think the 5K finishers got the best of the post-race “party.” I saw the pictures they posted, and it looks like most of the runners at this event were running the 5K and they must have all thrown the dance party then left by the time us half marathon finishers found the end.

Course – 3/5:

Minus the lack of markings, the course itself wasn’t that bad. For me, I had already run it with the Summer Prairie Dog Half I did, just backwards. (No, I haven’t recapped that race yet), but it is a pretty hilly course. Since it was night-time, it was perfect temperature for running. I really do wish they had mile markers though since I don’t own a GPS watch and don’t like running races with my phone.

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Take what you will from everything. Until they get a little more organized, I’ll probably avoid this race for a while. I’m just disappointed and let down from how excited I was to run this race! All my friends knew how much I wanted to run and were sad for me! Again, I think they are on the right path (no pun intended) and have great idea! I do know how hard and how much work it takes to put on an event like this, but that should be reflected in your cost. It disappoints me further that this race series is supposed to go to a good cause and wasn’t that well-organized. I wish they had done more to advertise the cause at the event itself; maybe I missed the announcements:

“The AREA 13.1 Half Marathon/5K race was created to honor the life of Matthew E. Russell, who passed away at the age of 22. Matthew had a passion to bring education and hope to the Zulu people of South Africa. His foundation supports the building of libraries and furthering higher education for children around the world.”

 

A little update and a timeline

After getting caught up with all the race reviews WAY after they happened (and in random order nevertheless), I started realizing that it might be a little confusing to you all when these events happened and where I am at now. Let’s start from the beginning….

January: I did the Resolute Run 5K, really got into my personal training school, and Marathon training BEGUN!

February: Virtual Heart Throb 5K, Tackle the Miles Virtual 5K, and I started working at Hell Bally’s (in addition to working at Dick’s Sporting Goods AND school).

March: The Erin Go Braugh 7.77K,  and I quit Dick’s to have more time for school

April: My B-Day Month, The Rave Run, and The Horsetooth Half

May: Started with the Dino Half and ended with a trip to the East Coast where I did the Sugarloaf 15K, went to a wedding and…dun-dun-dun: My FIRST Marathon!

June: Nearing towards the end of school (i.e. LOTS of work), I got hired on at Camp MissFits, this is when “the boy” first shows up and Tough Mudder

July: Graduated, quit Bally’s, did the Half on the 4th race.

At Garden of the Gods in CO Springs; one of the places we explored.

At Garden of the Gods in CO Springs; one of the places we explored.

Which brings us to August: I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off!! I’ve had a bazillion and a half interviews, trying to decide what kind of place/job would be a good fit for me. On the fun side of things, earlier this month, I conquered the Manitou Incline (if you don’t know what that is, I’ll tell you about it in my next post), explored what Colorado Springs has to offer (where the boy lives), climbed another 14er, volunteered at the Leadville 100 Trail Run, an Alumni Cross Country Race and other random antics.

Running Related Antics:

So, since all these races, I was left with feeling pretty over trained and potentially injured. I had some really bad hip pain when I would run, especially during those last few races, and started developing a lot of heel pain.

My hip pain is gone. I still get a little tight, but I’ve been working on stretching a lot more, on a more regular basis.

My heel pain is still there. Not nearly as bad. I’m still trying to figure out what it is, but I’m leaning towards it being plantar fascitis.

Since my marathon, I have been running in addition to those two races. I’ve been running quite a lot. I just haven’t been recording it. And let me tell you, it’s been liberating!

I used to be very into mapping my run with my various phone apps and posting it all over facebook and twitter. But since my marathon, I think I’ve posted a run maybe twice.

In fact, I barely even care about how far I’m going lately. I’ve been running to feel good, to get back to the basics of running and why I do it. I’ve been running for time rather. A lot of times, I can only squeeze in a 45 minute run, so I stopped caring about how far I get and caring about how I felt and the intensity level.

I’ve also been doing a lot more trail running. I’ve had some more time since being out of school, so I’m able to drive a few minutes toward the mountains to some beautiful, fun trails.

I’ve been loving running. And I love that I love running again!

In addition to getting back to my roots of running, I’ve been really working on strengthing and flexibilty as injury prevention. I plan on doing a more detailed post on each of these aspects, but I’m really hoping it will help for when I start training for my next race.

Besides that stuff….Professional Antics:

I’m still working at Camp MissFits as a coach. It’s an all women’s bootcamp that focuses on personal training in a group setting. So, while the workouts are in a group setting, we meet with the ladies one on one to give them additional support and other information to help them meet their goals. I also am the admin support for this company which I was “promoted” to after only working for them for a month.

arvada bulldogsI have also started coaching cross country for my old high school, the Arvada Bulldogs! That has been a blast, and even though I’m only three weeks in, It’s already rewarding. It’s my favorite part of my day. I am an assistant coach to the other two normal coaches and I’m leaning about how to be a coach so that in the future I can hopefully be the head coach for some other cross country team. The format that this team has been doing for a few years is incorporating a lot of cross fit fundamentals into the cross country practice. Since I do all the workouts with the girls, I definitely experiencing some new strength since I’ve never really done cross fit. It’s a blast, and I can’t wait to see how it correlates when the girls actually get to meets.

Most recently, I got hired at a gym called About Time Fitness where I will be teaching a few group classes in addition to personal training. It’s not a normal gym, like Bally’s or 24 Hour. It’s only group fitness with a studio in the back for “renting” out for Personal Training. I will be getting certified in a cycling class, which I never expected I would do in a million years. It is actually quite fun and my endurance from running is perfect for cycling. I will then also eventually get certified in Core, which is a 30 minute abs class.

The most important part about this job is that the personal training side could be under my own business name. I am in the process of developing a business plan and marketing strategy to see if this is really a good decision. I realize this is risky, to just immediately start my own business rather than gain experience in a gym setting, but after a handful of interviews and my experience at Bally’s, I realized that a gym setting is not right for me. I just don’t agree with the way the big box gyms view fitness. I know it will be a hard go in the beginning, but it will be more rewarding in the end. And it’s not completely unreasonable, considering that I do have some cash flow coming in from the group fitness stuff I do! So we’ll see! Any advice and expertise in the area is great appreciated!

Upcoming Antics:

are 13.1 logoThis last weekend, I ran in the 7th Annual Arvada High School Cross Country Alumni Race (quite the tongue twister, eh) and was the first girl to finish out of all the current cross country girls (the ones I coach), the community and alum!!! I mean, there wasn’t that many people running, but still, I can claim it, right!? I also am set to run an half marathon early in September, the Area 13.1. I’m actually super excited; it’s an alien themed race held at night and you get an alien medal!!! I honestly don’t quite know if I’m ready for an half, but what the heck, right?? But I’m not stupid, I have been running and training everyday with my cross country girls, so I’m not going to hurt myself, I promise.

Also, in other news, I’ve decided I’m ready to start training (not run, TRAINING) for my next marathon. I’m still looking for the right one…but I’m leaning towards the Sedona Marathon in Arizona. Has anyone done this one and have any opinions (positive or negative)??

Your Turn: What’s the most interesting newest development in your lives?? Could be personal, running related or business related!