Big Life Update!

It’s official. We’re moving.

When Clay left for MOS school, we knew that the likelihood of us staying in the DMV was slim – we thought maybe there was a chance he could get assigned to Quantico, but we weren’t counting on it. Truthfully, though, we were excited about the opportunity to go somewhere new.

And now? We’ll be packing up our little home in Virginia and making our way across the country to Camp Pendleton in Southern California just in time to ring in 2019!
We have two months to get all of our things in order before we hit the road and our schedule is already packed. The next couple of months are full of fun and fitness and packing. Lots of packing. And then lots of driving.

The last time I moved cross-country, I had no furniture, one car, Alaska plates, and way less STUFF.

This is the first PCS for both of us, so there’s a pretty steep learning curve involved. I’ve moved myself across the country three times, but never on military orders (and all that goes with them) and never with a pet. Or with actual furniture for that matter. This time is definitely going to be a bit of an adventure.

My life has become focused on getting over one hurdle at a time. This week is work travel and once I get through that, it’s just two more weeks until Clay gets home, and then we’re taking it week by week, going over our lists, making new ones, checking things off.

Until Clay gets home, though, what I’m mostly doing is purging junk from our house and making LOTS of lists. It’s soothing. Keeps my brain from getting cluttered and helps me remember all the little random tasks that cross my mind when I’m trying to fall asleep at night – lists also help keep me out of the Panic Spiral. Most of the time anyways.

All I can say is thank goodness for FaceTime and regular calls with my PIC, because otherwise I’d be going a little nuts.

Boyfriend, husband. Same same.

Here’s to new adventures!!

Back to reality after #birdcamp

You may already know I spent last week on the west coast – first in California visiting a few wonderful friends – then in Oregon for Oiselle team camp.

I had planned to create a big, long post for today sharing photos of my adventures, but I ran out of time — so instead you’ll get a few fun pics and a teaser. You’ll get the full post next week – or you can check out my work blog post.

ccBeachcombing at crystal cove in the OC

cc2Celebrating life with two of my loves – Linz and Kelly

camp18at Mt. Hood with Kelly!

camps6One of my fave pics from #birdcamp, hiking with the pros (Lauren and Kate)

camp4LOTS of birds before a 5k race

Catching up:

You may recall that last week Bec asked me to take on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Welp – I did it Monday with a few colleagues. Click HERE to watch the video:

iceFrom left, Neeti, Sarah and I get doused

And speaking of work:

In January – just before my last trip west – I was interviewed on a local murder case for the true crime show Snapped, which airs weekly on the Oxygen channel.

You may recall Rose Chase, an Ontario County woman convicted of killing her husband in 2012, hiding, then dismembering and burning his body and lying about his whereabouts for six months.

rose chase 2Rose Chase at her sentencing in January; Photo by Tina MacIntyre-Yee of the Democrat and Chronicle

Long story short – her story will be on Snapped Sunday night. And I’ll be on it. Check out the promo video HERE:

Tell me about your fave spot on the west coast. Have you done the Ice Bucket Challenge? Do you watch true crime shows like Snapped?

Time to Break Away From This Day to Day

People, I’m going insane over here. We just wrapped up an entire week of Little being sick.

Pooks was sick with the same thing at the beginning of the month but at age nine, he’s a much easier sick.When Pooks is sick, he stays in his room, relaxes, plays on his 3DS, and watches Netflix (you know, in between the vomiting and whatnot).

When five year old Little is sick, he’s on the couch with me. He wants to watch the same show twenty times in a row. He wants a drink. But not medicine. Never medicine. He wants to cuddle. He’s hot. He’s cold and wants a blanket. Gemma is allowed to lie with him, but only on his feet.

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With all this time around the house, I’ve been getting a lot done… so there’s a positive, I suppose. I’m at the point where ALL the laundry is clean. That will last two seconds but I’m going to enjoy this moment. All the dishes are also clean and in their spots. Straightening and chucking things that have been sitting around for far too long has also occurred.

What’s not getting done? Food shopping. Meal planning. Running. Playing. Breathing fresh air.

Although, being at home with kiddo hasn’t been all bad. I’m reading my third book of the week. I finally wrote an overdue letter to Victoria. And I’m planning trips for the summer! Getting in the summer mindset isn’t really too difficult because Little is constantly asking, “Is it summer yet? NOW is it summer?” Kids are always ready for the next big thing before this one is even over.

As of two weeks ago, my only solid plans were heading to California at the end of August to visit bestie Kelly -and her adorable family- and then meet up with my Chicks, Jess and Cam, for the Disneyland half weekend and shenanigans.

Now, more solid plans have fallen into place.

  1. We’ve joined a local swim club.
  2. Little is signed up for five weeks of camp for the mornings.
  3. Pooks is heading to Florida with Grandpa on the auto train. (shhhh, it’s a surprise!)
  4. We’re going to Florida too! We’ll be meeting them down there for a week of Beach, Pool, Ice Cream. I think that’s basically my version of GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry for those who have never seen Jersey Shore). Oh, and FAMILY. We’ve got a slew of family down in Florida and I want to see them all.
  5. California!

Throw in a couple of races, the ever-constant training – running and weights, our Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a Sweet 16, Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, and a wedding and we’ve got quite a full schedule!

With all the plans, there are still a couple of things that I’d like to focus on.

1.  Focus on swimming. Since we’ve joined the swim club, I would like my five year old to learn how to swim. Additionally, I’d like to get back into the pool and add that into my workout routine. I was on the swim team for years as a child but haven’t used it as exercise since my young teen years.

2.  Cook dinners, order out less, and focus on healthier food decisions. Why is this so challenging? Seriously. I feel like it shouldn’t be and yet, the planning of meals is something that has never come easy for me. Sometimes I’m REALLY on with things. And then there are times like this week/month/few months. Maybe I’ll see if What’s For Dinner? errrr, I mean BEC can come up with a meal plan for us.

3.  Be present in the moment. So much of my time seems to be spread out between things I want to do and things I feel obligated to do. However, with all of the moments, I would like to try to be more present. It might mean leaving my phone at home more but do I really need to be in constant contact with everyone all the time? No. I do not.

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Although look at the gorgeous pic I took just a few blocks down from my house while taking the pooch for a walk!

What do you have planned for the summer months? Do you leave your cell phone at home to disconnect for awhile? Any recipes or meal plans you can recommend?

 

 

Guest Post: Mermaid Run in San Francisco

Last fall, I participated in my fourth Mermaid Run in San Francisco, which is hands-down my favorite event of the year for many reasons.

First off, the 2010 Mermaid Run was my first-ever 10k. The race takes place in my favorite American city, the course is stunning and the weather is perfect for running. The event has a small(ish) participant field and is one of the most organized runs I’ve participated in, the energy is amazing and swag is awesome!

Participant shirt, Finisher Necklace and my bibMy participant shirt, finisher necklace and race bib

2013 was an exciting year for the Mermaid Run San Francisco, as race organizers added a new distance, a 10-mile race dubbed The Sirena 10.

But even better than the new race length was its course, which would include an out-and-back trek on the Golden Gate Bridge. I could not pass up an opportunity to run across the bridge, so Sirena 10 it was!

Registration opened up right around my birthday so my son gave me one of the best gifts ever, registration for this run… thank you Rob!

before the race

before the race

The 2013 race was held on Sunday morning so I arrived in San Francisco early Saturday afternoon and headed straight to the Sports Basement Presidio to retrieve my race packet which consisted of my bib, participant shirt and a Mermaid Run headband.  Packet pick-up for this race is always well organized and efficient, so I was in and out in 15 minutes leaving me with plenty of time to enjoy the city before grabbing some Korean hot pot for dinner and turning in early to ensure I would be well rested for my run in the morning.

Sirena 10 Runners lined up at the start

Sirena 10 Runners lined up at the start

My hotel was a little more than a mile from the start at the Marina so getting there in plenty  of time for the 7:30 am start was a breeze for me – a 15 minute walk on Divisadero Street and I was there. It was chilly and windy waiting for the race to start but runners and spectators were having a great time chatting, snapping photos and enjoying the stunning vistas the Marina has to offer.

The three event distances (10m, 10k & 5k) had staggered start times to account for the difference in the course for each distance, right at 7:30 the Sirena 10 runners set off.

We headed out Yacht Road and on to Mason Street towards Crissy Field, right away I noticed  that there wasn’t any crowding on the course and was extremely thankful for those staggered start times. Before I knew it, I passed the first mile marker and we veered left on Crissy Field Avenue toward the Presidio.

I’ll admit it. This is the part of the course I had been dreading. While the next two miles would get me to the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, it also meant one thing, running uphill.

I wasn’t excited.

Once I made my way up to Fort Point Historic Site and caught my first glimpse of the iconic bridge, those rotten hills were forgotten.

first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge from Bay Trail

first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge from Bay Trail

Many runners stopped mid-stride to capture the amazing view of the bridge before continuing on to mile 3 and our run across the Golden Gate Bridge.

I’m not going to lie, this is what I had been waiting months to do.  

I walked across the bridge years ago. Last summer my son Rob, boyfriend Tony and I rented bikes and rode across the bridge, from San Francisco to Sausalito.

And of course I’ve driven across the great Golden Gate countless times.

But I wanted to run across it. And I was about to…. well, after I took in the absolutely AMAZING view, snapped a handful of pictures which included a shameless selfie or two.

The view right before mile 4 was breathtaking.

The view right before mile 4 was breathtaking.

I found my happy pace around mile 4 and headed for my happy place as I started to make my across the bridge.

I was in awe of not only the view but of all the amazing women who were already making their way back across the bridge toward the finish.  I happily clapped and cheered on the lead runner and several of  the others behind her as I made my way to the end of the bridge, Vista Point and mile 5, the halfway point and turn around.

The view from Vista Point.

The view from Vista Point.

Running back to San Francisco we were running toward traffic. Quite a drivers waved and honked as they passed by. And I got rather excited when the Bacon Bacon truck passed me, which, in turn, made me start planning my post-race bacon-centered meal.

The run back felt effortless. I was truly swept up in the moment and loved taking it all in. Before I knew it I reached the end of the bridge and mile 7.

One fabulous perk of having to run hills at the start of the race is that those same hills become your best friend on the return route. DOWNHILL!

I ran back down Bay Trail and Long Avenue before we merged with those running the 10k on Marine Drive, we made our final turn at the Warming House at Fort Point and ran those last two miles to the finish.

I am a Mermaid Athlete.

I am a Mermaid Athlete.

2013 was by far was my favorite Mermaid Run!  The course was stunning, and I kept thinking to myself while I was running is how lucky I am to get the opportunity to run in such an amazing city with such magnificent views and have perfect running weather in early November.

With the hills, I was concerned I would fall off pace and slow way down, but much to my surprise that didn’t really happen. I was only 5 minutes off my normal 10 mile time. And I paused more than once to snap some photos!

I definitely rode my runner’s high well into the day.  The Mermaid Run San Francisco remains my favorite event of 2013 and you can bet I’ll be back next year! I hope the Sirena 10 will be as well.

2014 race info

Are you interested in running the 2014 Mermaid Run? Registration is underway for the Nov. 9 event.

Early registration fees end May 31 and range from $40 to $70 (depends on which distance you pick!)

Can’t make it to the San Francisco run? There’s also a Mermaid Run in East Bay on May 10. That weekend series includes a 5k, 10k, half-marathon and 18-miler. Registration is between $45 and $75 through May 8.

Oh and in case you were wondering, I did have that bacon after the race. Like the run, it was perfect.

Heather is a mom, runner, crossfitter and contract administrator. She blogs at Heather in the Middle and can be found on Twitter at @hsb0372.

Do you have a favorite annual road race? Have your ever run across an incredibly large bridge? (That’s a hill in itself!) 

Adventures in Anaheim: Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend

I flew across the country, then I flew 13.1 miles through Anaheim!

A whirlwind weekend of food, fun and running brought me to the Happiest Place on Earth for the second time in a year. I planned to visit with friends, cheer my dear Heather as she tackled runDisney’s inaugural Tinker Bell 10K and run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon.

My time in LA zipped by in a flash. Rather than share my traditional race recap just now, here’s a few of my favorite photos from the weekend. And be sure to tune in Friday, when Heather shares her adventures running the Tink 10K for Team Lemon!

heathervicHeather and I wandered through the expo!

20140120-131602.jpgThen we drank our lunch at the Disneyland Hotel

20140120-131733.jpgI worked at the Sparkle Athletic booth on Friday with Kelly (Tink!)

20140120-125454.jpg We watched the sun set at the pier at Huntington Beach Friday night. Then we inhaled a delicious dinner.

20140120-125412.jpgHere I pose with Tara at the start of the Tinker Bell 10K. Congrats to Tara for finishing third in her age group, while still stopping for a photo!

20140120-131708.jpgPal Mindy prepares three of her students to run their first-ever 10K. They ROCKED it! Great job girls!

julieJulie (aka Donald) tackles some runner’s yoga!

20140120-125522.jpgCheering Tinker Bell

20140120-134516.jpgFreezing Minnie Mouse

20140120-125303.jpgTinker Bells cheer for 10K runners.

20140120-131537.jpgHeather and Tony race to the finish. I chased her down to get this pic.

Before I knew it, it was Sunday morning and time to race 13.1 miles. I ran with Kelly and we laughed our way through the course, stopping to pose with all of the characters and finishing in under two hours. I’ll share more about my own race experience later this week.

Editor’s note: Click here for Vic’s race review!

Have you run the Tinker Bell half marathon or 10K? Have you run a race at Disneyland? Did you see me cheering for you? Tell us about your Anaheim race experiences in the comments!

It’s About to Get Ridiculous Up in Here

Belly Flop Drop.  Tarzan Swing.  40 Bounces to Freedom.  No, these are the latest dance crazes.  They’re obstacles, just 3 of the many from the Ridiculous Obstacle Course 5K I participated in the race this past Saturday.  I’ve ran in mud.  I’ve climbed hills.  I’ve ran tires.  But I’ve never ran a muck like this before.

When I signed up for the race, all I knew was there were trampolines.  I don’t know about you, but I love trampolines.  And anything that incorporates day-glo wear with trampolines is my kind of activity.  My friend Amy signed up with me and enthusiastically sported our vibrant tie-dye in an effort to stand out.

the girls

Unfortunately, we were ill-prepared.  There were teams of minions, brides, prom dresses, zombies; pretty much any and every costume you could think of.  I was shocked to see so many runners looking so, well, ridiculous.  Had I known, I’m sure my propensity for ridiculousness would have reigned supreme.  Next time, ROC, next time…

The race was located at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego.  We were signed up for the 11 am start time and were herded into the starting gate.  Yep, the very gates used for the horse races.  We had to wait a bit, they were letting runners go in small groups to lessen the wait time at the obstacles.  Even though I had thoroughly sunblocked, I was already feeling the heat on my shoulders.  It was dusty and hot and I was looking forward to those water obstacles.

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The Wrecking Ball, the Inflatable Water Slide and the Moon Bounce.

The first obstacle we hit was Tunnel Vision, which is exactly what it sounds like, a tunnel.  Out of the tunnel, we came to 40 Bounces to Freedom,  a series of trampolines that escalated in height.  You had to jump down and across the tramp to a high platform, getting higher and higher until you came to the end.  The only way to get down was to slide down a pole, which I had never done before.  And kind of freaked me out.  But it was either down or back through the traffic and there was no going back now.

We ran on.  Amy, my ridiculously fast friend, sprinted off ahead but I hung back with the group.  We hopped some hurdles and scaled a gigantic mountain of dirt and then it was time to slide.  For the obstacle named Cool Runnings, we had to grab an inner tube and run it up a hill, then proceed to slide down a water slide.

After the refreshing little dip, we had to run some more.  We climbed more walls.  I attempted to cross some monkey bars and cross a muddy pool on a rope swing.  I failed at both.  I was ready for more water by the time I got to the Aqua Drag.  Basically, it’s a four-way slip and slide.  You run as fast as you can and then dive onto this inflatable water slide, hoping to make it to the end.  I neglected to build up enough speed and I hesitated, which resulted in a less than spectacular display.  I got stuck on the slide about halfway down and had to inchworm my way to the end.  Thankfully, I destroyed any documented evidence of this fiasco.

It seemed like we ran a lot in the beginning, but about halfway, the obstacles started piling up.  And we started having to wait.  After the longest tire run of my life, we ran up a ramp over the race track and into the Moon Bounce.  It’s a bouncer for adults.  The world’s largest, in fact.  After bouncing across, we had to stand in line for the Wrecking Ball.  The obstacle consisted of barrels strung across a pool of water.  You had to cross the barrel bridge and avoid the two huge rubber balls that were flying around your head.  I made it about halfway before I bailed.  The last obstacle was the World’s Largest Inflatable Water Slide.  I climbed to the top, where they scanned my timing chip before sending me down the slide.  Best way to cross a finish line ever.

Not only was the race itself totally epic, but the after-party was amazing.  Lots of vendors, with all kinds of food and drinks.  Many products available for sample. And a soapy hose down for those who needed it.

The Salmon Ladder.  These two were trying to win a free race entry.

Alpha Warrior: The Salmon Ladder.

We met up with Amy at the Alpha Warrior exhibit and then it was time to get our free beer and do a little dancing.  Amy had placed 3rd in the women’s division for our time slot and had to pick up her awesome medal.  We people watched some more, ate a delicious artichoke on a stick, and were able to see all the best costume winners.  My vote goes to the couple who dressed up as Indiana Jones and the Boulder.  484805_10151379989246481_888811857_n

after party

Registration for the Orange County race opens on May 15th and I’m seriously considering running this again.  It was a blast, like being on a giant playground.  And I want another shot at that ridiculous costume contest!

Would you participate in a race like the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge? What would your costume be?

The Color Kinda-Run

Here’s a confession: running is not always fun for me. In fact, a lot (okay, FINE, most) of the time I consider it work. Sure, I love that it makes me feel strong and healthy and accomplished. But it also makes me feel sweaty and wheezy and tired.

So why do I do it? Aside from the whole good-for-you thing, which is admittedly pretty important, I love that so many of my friends run, too.  It’s the reason I got into it in the first place, proving that, yes, I’d jump if everyone else did. Sorry, Mom.

And what’s so great about having so many runner friends, you ask? It means that we make plans to run awesome races together. It means traveling to other cities and states to run said awesome races together. But best of all, it means that they travel to MY city to run said awesome races with ME. I hate to fly, so this is understandably my favorite scenario, one that happened last July when Chicks Meri and Cam flew to the City by the Bay to run the happiest race on the planet.

Yes, that’s right. A happy race! And not just any happy race, The Color Run!  Doesn’t it just sound so fun? Because it was. So. Fun.

This is the gist: the 5K race douses runners with a splash of colored corn starch at every kilometer, so that by the time you cross the finish line you look like a super-colorful Rorschach. The race is untimed, so there’s no talk of personal records or “hey, I beat you by 0.05 seconds, suck it.” The point of The Color Run is simply to enjoy, get colored up, then party it up after you cross the finish line. This was our mission and we accepted.

Hey, if you tell me to take it easy and enjoy myself, I’m not going to argue with you. Plus, I was 18 weeks pregnant with my little Bug at the time, so I was more than okay being the tortoise for this one.

Meri flew in first and we palled around the city while we waited for Cam to join us.

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Welcome to San Francisco in July. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Once Cam was with us, it was basically about preparing for the 5K – outfit planning and packet pick-ups, which included t-shirts, a headband, and a packet of color to use after the race – and eating. Oh yes, there was eating.

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Cuteness with a crepe sundae.

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Stuffing my pregnant face like a lady.

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Getting pumped! Please note our t-shirts. Clear eyes, full hearts, free Tim!

With our bellies full  – really, really full – and our race day duds ready to go, we hit the hay. We needed to save our energy for all the happiness and color to come!

July 14th dawned bright and foggy and we woke early to get the party started. Fun fact: Cam is kick-ass at hair braiding, which means she is the Official Hair Braider™ at any and all races she attends with the Chicks.

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Mmhmm, that’s right.

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Meri is dreaming about freeing Tim Riggins here.

We made our way to Candlestick Park (go 49ers with your crappy old stadium!) and joined the bazillion other people who were braving the very chilly weather to run/walk/dance their asses to color nirvana.

Literally, there were a bazillion people there.

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We were pretty far back from the start line and with the race starting in waves, we had to wait for a while to get going. But they were pumping awesome music through the speakers and the people-watching was pretty excellent, so we busied ourselves with jumping up and down to stave off the cold, pointing out some great costumes, and dodging the rule-breakers who were throwing their packets of color up in the air (hello, that’s for after the race!).

Oh, and we took some pictures, too.

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We had the raddest socks there.

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We love each other!

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Showing off our impressive guns. And cuteness.

And then it was our turn! We began our trek around the stadium, starting off slow and steady with a brisk walk.

Well, there was some pretend-running.

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And then? Then it was time for the color. Let me paint this picture (get it? Paint? Because of the color): you’re skipping along with your friends and fellow runners and then all of a sudden right ahead is a cloud of bright color. Truly the coolest thing. And when you see color, what do you do?

Why, you RUN, my friends. You run to the color and roll around in it (seriously) and stand in front of the color-dousers and make them douse you extra-good. And you cover your mouth because hello, it’s a cloud of color, but it gets into your mouth anyway. You don’t care! This is so fun! Wee, color!

They call it mellow yellowwwww.

Color Run volunteers happy to pose for a photo op.

You high five people as they run by!

Slap me some skin!

You stop for water, because all that frolicking and high-fiving and color-getting works up a thirst.

99.9% parched.

Note to future Color Runners: don’t park your car next to a color station.

Sorry not sorry.

We got through all of the color stations at a nice clip considering we were walking, and then there it was. The finish line and the beginning of the par-tay! As you can see, people were in no rush to PR.

As you can see, people were in no rush to PR.

We were done!

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Cel-e-brate good times, come on!

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Blue Sunglasses wanted to be a part of our cute crew. Sorry, dude, only room for three.

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Livin’ la vida color.

We were also insanely thirsty. There were stations set up after the finish line with juice and coconut water and snacks, all of which had pretty extensive lines. But no water water. We just wanted water water! Hopefully they’ve remedied the water water situation since last July.

There was a Color Festival just past the finish line, which we moseyed over to.

Party time, excellent!

This is where the color packets came into play. Thousands of us gathered round a DJ set up at the front of the crowd, dancing and celebrating and taking pictures of our manginess. And then the DJ told us to open up our packets and we all counted down. 5-4-3-2-1…

The hills were alive with a color ‘splosion (ah ah ah ahhhhh). In the interest of protecting my phone, I didn’t take pictures as it was happening, but this was the aftermath.

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Meri got it on her teeth…

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Cam got a mustache…

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I got it everywhere!

After some more dancing and celebrating, we decided we were both parched and starving (surprised? Didn’t think so), so we packed it up and packed it in and took ourselves over the Golden Gate Bridge to a magical place called In N Out. Sure, it was 10:30 in the morning. Sure, we were completely covered in colored corn starch. But Meri had never had the pleasure of stuffing an In N Out burger into her mouth, so off we went! We definitely got some looks from the other early-risers at In N Out, and I got my hair petted by some high dude who must have thought I was one big acid trip, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.

Meri especially.

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All in all, this was a pretty stellar race experience. And now that The Color Run is a total phenomenon, with similar races like Color Me Rad and Run or Dye,  there’s really no excuse not to do it again. Who knows, maybe it’ll be my first post-Bug race. There’s really no better – or more colorful – way to ease myself back into running.

What’s the most fun race experience you’ve had? We want to hear about it in the comments!