Racing & Wandering: The Improved Racing the States

You may have noticed a few changes, and not just visually.

Right away you may have noticed a new layout and photo! Those are all photos I’ve taken on adventures around home and other places I’ve been to.

You may have also noticed I changed my blog’s name. It is now Racing & Wandering by Racing the States. Don’t worry, my website is still found via http://www.RacingTheStates.wordpress.com (some day I’ll buy my domain name).

Besides the name change, Racing the States is becoming more of a lifestyle blog, but not in the sense that you’re thinking. I’m not going to write about what color to paint your nails this spring or the cutest fall outfits to hit the town in… it’s more about my specific lifestyle. It’s about trying to balance my love for adventure, travel and the outdoors with the need to fund it all. It’s about how to do be active, adventurous, and explore the world and be able to pay for it all.

This means you’ll see more of my adventures including climbing, hiking, backpacking, camping and traveling in addition to my running. You’ll also see tips on how to balance all of that and do it cheaply, efficiently and still have fun…all the while maintaining a healthy life. I’d love to share more about things to do and what to see.

Never fret, I’ll still be writing about running…expect to see more post about places to run, running-related reviews, training and race recaps.

So, welcome back! Navigate around! You’ll find a menu about with info on who I am, my original project, Racing the States, a quick link to places to run, and a list of blogs I follow and love reading.

Stay awhile, read a bit and follow along as I take on the world while Racing and Wandering!

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Blog cover photo with sponsors

  1. Hanging Lakes, Colorado (2015)
  2. Oahu, Hawaii (2005)
  3. Costa Rica (2011)
  4. Breckenridge, Colorado (2014)
  5. Death Valley, California (2016)
  6. Oregon (2015)
  7. Joshua Tree National Park, California (2016)
  8. London (2015)
  9. Kuai, Hawaii (2005)

A. Runner’s Roost Mountain and Ultra Team Ambassador

B. Skirt Sports Ambassador

C. 3W Races, Marketing and Ambassador

D. Bobo’s Oat Bars Ambassador

 

First adventure of 2016: COMPLETE.

Back to life, back to reality. I always repeat that song (in my head) when I get back from a vacation. Although, I have been back for two weeks and only now am finding time to finish this post.

We got back home last week, two weeks ago. It was 1am Monday morning, bed at 2am (a shower was a must after 10 days of camping), and back to the grind at 6am.

But what a wonderful adventure we had! Here’s a quick-ish view of our vacation! I would love to go in more detail on a few of our stops in some future posts.

New Years

We weren’t planning on starting our vacation until the first of the year but we decided to take an extra day and go up to Buena Vista, CO to the Mt. Princeton Resort. My friend is in a big swing band, William and the Romantics, and they were playing that night, New Year’s Eve! It was a blast! We rang in the new year by attempting to swing dance, soaking in the hot springs and hanging out with friends. It was lovely.

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Death Valley

Quickly after 2016 arrived, we headed straight to bed to get up the next morning and start the long drive to California. The plan: drive as long as we can before we needed to sleep.

We made it to Death Valley! We decided to camp there since neither of us had been before. Plus, it was free! We arrived way after sun had set and couldn’t see a thing out our car window in the dark park. We found our intended camp ground, set up the tent and went to bed. We woke up the next morning to some fantastic views!

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View from the campground

View from the campground

Since we were already there, we decided to venture around the park and check it out. We visited the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Artist’s Palate, and went for a short, shake out run to Darwin Falls. We even saw some coyotes!

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Mesquite flat sand dunes

 

Artist's Palate

Artist’s Palate

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Coyotes

Darwin Falls

Darwin Falls

Lone Pine/Mt. Whitney

With daylight still around, we decided to set up camp at our next destination in Lone Pine. The plan: to hike the mountaineer’s route of Mt. Whitney the next day.

After eating a fulfilling dinner (spaghetti before a big day, duh!), we went to bed to wake up at 2am to start the long hike.

We didn’t summit the 14er (the tallest one in the lower 58 states), but we got in a great hike and my first attempt at mountaineering. The route/hike was a little harder than I had anticipated (I’m sure Ben could have blazed up and down the thing, twice) and I was already feeling worn out with 2/3 of the hike left. Plus this my first time doing anything like this, wearing mountaineer’s boots and crampons. We turned around at the three-mile mark, Boy Scout Lake, which already had an elevation gain of 2,000 feet! I learned a lot and want to go back and try again…maybe during the summer months!

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Sleep was nice that night but it was another cold night in Lone Pine. They next day we checked out the Alabama Hills, where a ton of movies and commercials were filmed. We learned all about it with a stop at the Film History Museum of Lone Pine. A ton of Westerns, Ganga Din, parts of Django Unchained, a scene from Iron Man, Tremors, parts of Star Wars, and a TON more were all film here!

the Alabama hills..interesting rocks!

The Alabama hills..interesting rocks!

San Diego and the Zoo

After the museum…we got right back in the car and navigated our way to San Diego! Oh the traffic – oh the horrors! Both my boyfriend and I can’t stand traffic and boy was there a lot in that part of the world! But we made it to our campground, the San Diego Metro KOA, took advantage of the shower situation (there was one!), cooked dinner and decided to try a local brewery, Iron First Brewing!

That’s when the rain started….for the next three days.

The following morning, we packed up our tent and straight to the zoo!!! I have always wanted to visit the San Diego Zoo! I heard it’s one of the best, plus they have PANDAS! We spent most of the day wandering the huge zoo, in the rain, and tried to see every animal they had. The rain was sorta BEAR-able (pun intended) for most of the morning into the afternoon, but later it started pouring on us. We stuck it out, determined to make the most of the situation and see the zoo since we’re only there once!

Baby Bonobo!

Baby Bonobo!

 

It's a PANDA!

It’s a PANDA!

 

Bucket list item checked off!

Bucket list item checked off!

Joshua Tree

After drying off in the car, we made the trek to Joshua Tree National Park. We had a nail-biting drive over some mountain pass where the intense, once-a-year, rain washed microwave sized rocks into the road. On the end of our nerves, we set up camp in the short break between rain storms, cooked some quick dinner and fast to sleep.

The plan was to climb in Joshua Tree…while we did eventually accomplish this, there were a few struggles, both personal and environmental.

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Obstacle #1 while climbing Joshua Tree: Cold Weather. What I learned from our vacation is that I don’t like climbing in the cold. It hurts! With the morning free of rain, we attempted to find some climbing, but rain free does not equal cold free. I am now on a mission to make the best climbing glove.

Cholla cactus

Cholla cactus

Obstacle #2: Cracks: Oh geez. To my non-climber friends, it isn’t what it sounds like. If you are a climber you’ll understand: Crack climbing is HARD! At least I think so. I have not really done any of this, so this was a first attempt. It feels like you’re going to break your feet, hands and arms. If you are not a climber, picture this: You wedge your toes and hands in a crack between two rocks and pull, repeatedly, to get to the top. It was very uncomfortable. I was told I would learn to like it. We’ll see…

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Obstacle #3: (Me) Being a scaredy cat! As told to me by the Boyfriend: “Joshua Tree is a very old school type of climbing.” That being said, a lot of the routes felt way harder than they were rated and even getting down from a climb was an obstacle. One down climb in particular left me in tears.

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Triumph #1: On our last day in Joshua Tree, the sun finally came out. We got a few routes in. My ever so wonderful boyfriend sacrificed climbing a lot harder routes to put up a top rope for me so I could (painstakingly) practice. I also discovered that I kinda like slab climbing (where you use less upper body and more leg/feet placement and core). I practiced a little bit more of this crack climbing stuff and still am undecided on if I “like” it.

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The Hoover Dam and Lake Mead

Sadly, we packed up camp at Joshua Tree. I actually did really liked it there. I would love to go back (with more crack climbing practice under my belt) and give it another go, but it was time to make the journey back toward Colorado. The plan to was to see the Hoover Dam on Saturday and wake up Sunday morning and make the 12 mile drive back.

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However, as shown before, the only sure thing about a plan is it will change. We arrived at the Hoover Dam in the afternoon, thinking we could just get right in and take a tour. No, that is not the case. The full tour does, indeed, sell out (much to my dismay after searching the website intensively). Having our hearts set on the full tour, we decided to walk around the top of the dam, take pictures and come back the next morning to be the FIRST people in line to get on the FIRST tour.

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We camped nearby at Lake Mead National Recreation Center which was definitely beautiful despite being noisy (the National Recreation center campground was full of RV’s that liked to run their generators at night).

Lake Mead

Lake Mead

The next morning, with a belly full of pancakes, we packed up the tent, one last time, and arrived at the Hoover Dam, again. We did get on the very FIRST tour and we VERY impressed and glad we decided to come back. After getting our fill of the Hoover Dam, we hopped back in the car and proceeded to spend the next 21 hours driving.

Picture from INSIDE the Dam!

Picture from INSIDE the Dam!

Home

That brings us full circle, arriving back home Monday, 2am.

 

 

That day I spent in Paris

What a dream come true! I crossed a HUGE item off my bucket list! Although, one day in Paris is not even close to being enough!

There is so much to do and see in that city, I wouldn’t even know where to start when I go back.

During my stay in London, we decided to take the train (through the Chunnel) to see Paris for one day.

We woke up super early that morning, to get on the first train out of London, so we could have the most possible time in Paris. Sleepily, we walked across the street to the train station, went through security and boarded the train to promptly fall back asleep.

I am not going to lie, my very first impression of Paris wasn’t positive! When we first got out of the train station, we were accosted by beggars asking us if we spoke english and if we could donate to whatever charity they had on their paper, claiming it was a petition at first…only to find out they wanted you to sign and write the amount you’re donating. Doubtful that it’s going to a real charity, but very clever!

Then one of the first neighborhoods we walked through after breakfast wasn’t that impressive and there was “naughty” shops all over. It is the city of Love, I supposed! ;0

But I found a cute dog to play fetch with on beautiful church steps and we had breakfast at a cute little cafe while we looked at a map to figure out where we needed to go. Once we made it to all of our stops, my impression of Paris changed quickly!

First Stop: Notre Dame Cathedral 

(Side note: I just re-watched the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Disney movie, and I pointed at the screen and yelled, “I’ve been there! I’ve been there!”)

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Amazing architecture and sculptures!

Amazing architecture and sculptures!

Inside! It's HUGE!

Inside! It’s HUGE!

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Second Stop: The Louvre

We didn’t go into the Louvre, but we did want to see the outside. There just wasn’t enough time to go in…and we knew we would want to see EVERYTHING and not leave! Ideally, I would want to get a COUPLE days inside the Louvre, ya know, next time I’m in Paris. 😉

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Third Stop: THE EIFFEL TOWER!!!!!

WOAH! I’ve always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower! I couldn’t actually believe it when I was standing in front of it. We took the tram-car up it of course, but only to the mid-level. With a storm potentially approaching, they closed the top for a moment. By the time we got through the line and to the mid-level, it was re-opened but we decided that we didn’t have enough time to wait in another line to get all the way to the top.

First sighting!

First sighting!

I came around a corner and BOOM! Eiffel tower!

I came around a corner and BOOM! Eiffel tower!

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Underneath the tower selfie

Underneath the tower selfie

And the view were incredible!

And the views were incredible!

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My current Facebook cover photo.

My current Facebook cover photo.

My Dad "walking the tight rope." Part of the floor is see through..a little creepy for me!

My Dad “walking the tight rope.” Part of the floor is see-through…a little creepy for me!

Forth Stop: The Arc de Triomphe  

Please don’t mind how SLEEPY I look in the rest of these pictures! I was getting pretty worn out! We made our way to the Arc but opted to not go to the top. It’s a pretty cool building/structure if I do say so myself! What was also super cool (yet crazy and scary) was the HUGE round-a-bout surrounding the Arc! It was as wide as about 10 car widths, no lane lines, no signs, no traffic lights… nothing and people would just drive into, around and exit! No way, no how, would I ever drive in this city! We walked through the tunnel under the super round-a-bout and come up inside the circle where the Arc stood.

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On the underside of the Arc.

On the underside of the Arc.

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Walking in between each stop:

We literally walked all of that city! I don’t even want to know how many miles we covered! (Note to self: wear my GPS watch next time I am traveling. But I did try to recreate our path on google maps…it said about 10 miles!) In between each stop, we walked along the path that follows the Seine River. I loved that area! There was lots of active people running, doing boot camps, and fun things to look at along the way and things “play on” (which may or may not have been for little kids). Here’s some other things we saw walking from place to place:

Cool buildings..

Cool buildings..

other arches...

Other arches…

weird graffiti, er... "Art"

weird graffiti, er… “Art”

Lots of locks on bridges...

Lots of locks on bridges…

Lots of pretty bridges...

Lots of pretty bridges…

Pretty gardens and parks

Pretty gardens and parks

Buildings with walls made out of plants

Buildings with walls made out of plants

And fun things to play on!

And fun things to play on! (That’s my tattoo sticking out, NOT my underwear).

Fifth, un-planned stop: Moulin Rouge 

We walked down a little part of the Champes-Elysees street (a huge shopping area) as we started heading toward the train station. We didn’t last long on that street due to there being a TON of people. While searching for food and after looking at a map to figure out which direction we needed to go, my Dad said we had one more stop and it was mostly on the way. We walked a few more blocks and va-la! The Moulin Rouge!

OH wow! I look EXHAUSTED!

OH wow! I look EXHAUSTED!

And that was a wrap! From the Moulin Rouge, we walked to the train station. With a little bit of time to spare, we finally found some crepes to eat (not that they aren’t EVERYWHERE, but by the time we were looking for them, we couldn’t find them ANYWHERE!), a french beer to drink and got back on the train and promptly fell asleep, again.

Updates, Races (Running and Working), and Crazy Life Antics

Oh dear! It’s been awhile! My last post was…….when!?! Holy crap, the beginning or March! And I’ve only posted six posts this whole year. The whole year? THE WHOLE YEAR!? Oh dear.

I really would like to call myself a blogger, but with that reputation, I don’t know if I can!

I am chalking it all up to my new(ish) job. I love, love, LOVE  my job (with 3W Races), but I am on the computer for most of of the day working, so when I get home, the last thing I want to do it sit on my computer again! That’s the only reason I haven’t blogged in awhile. Well, that and I have literally no free time.

But I miss blogging! I really do! It’s the creative part I miss and getting to tell my stories because lets face it, no one listens to them in real life!! 😉

I know I have few posts since the beginning of the year, but let’s just start from the beginning… It shouldn’t take too long…

…..Well, I have been pretty busy…

Silly games at the 3W Ambassador Party!

Silly games at the 3W Ambassador Party!

January

  • The First 3W Ambassador Meeting/Party to welcome all the 2015 ambassadors! I got to help work and participate since I’m both an 3W Ambassador and an employee!
  • 1st in my age group!

    1st in my age group!

    Resolute Runner 5k by 3W Races (I actually ran it, I didn’t have to work it!)

  • “Arctic” Prairie Dog Half Marathon and 10k – Worked as volunteer coordinator (my first time doing this!)
  • A Six Pack Series Race (5K) from 3W Races – Ran and got 1st in my age group! 15 seconds shy of my PR.
  • Frosty’s Frozen 10k – Worked at a 3W booth to promote our upcoming events.

IMG_20150210_140756February

  • Heart Throb 5k – Ran!
  • Silverstein Concert (my favorite band!)
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    Sledding in Boulder!

    Joined a volleyball team

  • Snowman Stampede – worked at a 3W booth again
  • Sledding with the 3W Crew!
  • Pre-Season track started (I’m an assistant coach and I coach the long jump and triple jump at Green Mountain High School)
Erin Go Braugh 7.77k

Erin Go Braugh 7.77k

March

  • The track real-season starts
  • Dream Catcher Half!
  • I helped create and start the 3W Run Club – The Brew Tour (first Tuesdays of every month!)
  • RRCA Coaching Class

    RRCA Coaching Class

    Erin Go Braugh 7.77k by 3W Races – RAN!

  • RRCA Coaching Certification Class!!!!!! (I passed my test in April and I’m now a certified run coach!!!)
  • Last snowboarding adventure for the season, the New Belgium Scavenger Hunt at Loveland Ski Resort
  • Became a SKIRTS SPORTS AMBASSADOR! Woot!

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We have a lot of fun at the ambassador parties!

We have a lot of fun at the ambassador parties!

April

  • Dan + Shay Concert – My first country concert
  • “Spring Fling” Prairie Dog Half, 10k and 5k – Worked as Volunteer Coordinator, again.
  • Bunches of track meets…
  • I MOVED! If you’ve been following me, I just moved to Golden back in September, but this time I just moved houses. I still live in Golden, just in a better, less-smelly/creepy roommate, kind of place (it’s a looooooonnng story).
  • Lots of trail running!
  • Another fun ambassador party/meeting!
  • Volbeat and Anthrax Concert

Woah. That’s a a lot. And to think, that’s just the highlights! What has May brought me so far? Glasses (just call me four eyes), 3rd place in my age group at the Women’s Classic 5k, Regional and State High School Track Meets, The Colfax Marathon Relay (today) and lots of work with 3W Races!

Colorado Women's Classic

Colorado Women’s Classic

Work Updates –

Yes, in recap, I’m still working full time for 3W Races doing a lot of marketing and a little bit of race production…. It’s great to be a part of the behind the scenes for a huge passion of mine!

Yes, I was still coaching track at Green Mountain. It just finished up yesterday and we have a banquet on Monday.

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Yes, I still work at the City of Golden Rec Center doing group fitness and personal training.

Yeah, I know, it’s a lot!

Other. Random, Stuff –

I’m now a Skirt Sports ambassador!

I am now a RRCA Certified Running Coach! Hooray!

Running Specific Stuff-

I have still been running. Although, I keep going through phases of hard-core training and feeling un-motivated. I got really sick right before I moved, so I had taken quite a bit of time off, but I’m back at it!

What’s next from Racing the States?

-I am making a vow (to my Dog, he’s sitting right next to me) to post more regularly! You’ll see race reviews/recaps (up next the Colfax and Women’s Classic), places to run, upcoming events (with discounts!), Skirt Sports #REALwomenmove campaign and more!

-Today, I ran the Colfax Marathon Relay again with the City of Golden, just like last year!

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-Bolder Boulder is NEXT week!

And that’s pretty much an update on my life. 🙂 I may not have been keeping an active blog, but I’m very active on Instagram! Follow me to see all my daily adventures!