East Coast Beat the Blerch 10k

In the past I’ve talked about the differences between North and South Jersey. Besides sports team preferences (don’t tell anyone but I give not one iota about sports), city preferences, and the way you say water, there is also a very vast terrain difference.

Which normally is not a big deal. A non-issue really.

Except if you sign up for a run in North Jersey.

When you’re from South Jersey, you’re used to all smooth sailing with the occasional bump that we call a hill down here. But if you sign up for Beat the Blerch at Lewes Park in Morristown you can expect trails, hills, and rugged terrain.

Which I knew when I registered because my dear friend Sharon hosts the Phillips 5k/10k Trail Run/Walk there each year. I’d seen the pictures.

But um, I sorta forgot.

Until we were driving up a deep winding road to get to the parking and the reluctant runner, Jay, turned to me and asked, “So, what do you think the course will be like?”

Not wanting to lie, I said, “Well, I think we’re in for an adventure.”

It's like Jersey, only NORTH!

It’s like Jersey, only NORTH!

At that point we made our one and only race goal: don’t get hurt.


We want to LIVE.

Solid plan, right? We decided that we would run where we could and just try not to get hurt and/or hurt anyone else. We arrived early (because we are those people, always) and it’s a good thing that we did because there was a bit of a line for the buses to the race site.

This was the first time that Beat the Blerch came to the east coast, based on the popular comic by The Oatmeal (if you haven’t read it, stop reading this and go check it out. Seriously. Go. I’ll wait!) so we expected there to be a few snafus on the inaugural race. And there were, but we rolled with it. Because it’s so much easier and we were going to expend all energy on the course.

The 10k was slotted to start at 9:30 but from what I understand, there was an issue with many people getting there in time for the half marathon (which started at 9am) so they pushed the 10k start time back to 10am. A small wrinkle as a 10k runner, but one that if I were a half marathoner, I would have appreciated.

We used the extra time to hit the line of portapotties. Given the size of the event, they probably should have had twice the amount, at least.

Visiting with the Blerch was a must and he even offered us a seat on the couch. What a great guy!


All races should have free pictures! MAKE IT SO, UNIVERSE.

Just go. I'll catch up. Never.

“Just go. I’ll catch up. Never.”

We somewhat reluctantly made our way to the start (those couches were really comfy) and soon we were off to the sounds of the Lion King and an announcer in a bacon suit. Mmmm, bacon.

Me = optimist Jay = realist

Me = optimist
Jay = realist

Very, very quickly we realized it was survival mode. Game on. We ran when we were able to. We walked when it wasn’t possible (for us – I’m sure those who run trails regularly were just fine). I stuck to the right hand side, trying not to fall off any slopes and also making myself as small as possible as to not be in the way of those who were confident to run.

I watched the trail runners for tips, their toes pointed slightly out and their quick light feet, especially on the downhill. The trails I have run are compacted dirt and this one was filled with roots and rocks so the tripping potential was high.

The trail was gorgeous but I can’t really say that I got the full beauty feel of it because I was busy looking at the ground the majority of the time. It was also very narrow at certain points so unless you decided to run through the brush (some did, I did not), it was very single file.


How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?

While neither Jay or I got hurt, we saw people getting busted up left and right. We saw bloody knees, bloody elbows, sprained wrists, twisted ankles. There were emergency vehicles placed throughout the route and they were being fully utilized.


This was right around mile 3. After I took this pic I ran up the hill because Jay texted me that there was CAKE.

This was right around mile 3. After I took this pic I ran up the hill because Jay texted me that there was CAKE.

The day was gorgeous but I felt a bit dehydrated throughout. Thankfully it was cool enough and the tree coverage made it less of an issue, but the tiny cups at the water stations weren’t doing it for me. The volunteers were trying their hardest to keep everything filled but I don’t think they were prepared for the amount of people coming through.

CAKE, you complete me.

You complete me.

We took a selfie at the stop, hitched up our boot straps and prepared for the second half of the trail.

Note: while I have the earbuds in, there was no tunes. I needed all my senses out there.

Note: while I have the earbuds in, there was no tunes. I needed all my senses out there.

Here’s where things got a little (more) hairy, because the half marathon and 10k routes converged onto one path. I hugged the right as much as possible while walking and made sure to check behind me if I planned to hit the left to run.

I questioned my sanity multiple times. The miles dragged and while I was fine endurance wise, around mile 5 I was ready for the race to be over.

Soon enough, we came to a clearing and we had about a quarter mile to go. At least that’s what the volunteers told me at the bend. My watch lost signal while we were romping around in the mountains (I might be exaggerating slightly but it felt mountainous).


And the Blerch was there, right near the finish line! He quite obviously missed me.beattheblerch8

He tried to sideline me with the offer of a selfie, which I happily accepted. Because when you can take a selfie with the Blerch, even if the finish line is 300 feet away, YOU TAKE IT.


And then I politely said, “Excuse me, I have to go beat you now.”

Me = optim

And then I got my medal and my banana (which tastes really good with Nutella) and the aforementioned Nutella and cake and purple drink.

So the good? The medal, banana, Nutella, cake, and purple drink. And free race pictures! And the Blerch! Also the fact that I didn’t die, fall off a cliff, fall in any which way (and trust me, that was a real possibility for me, the girl who falls often).

The “needs improvement” category is basically just logistics. The Interwebs rumblings are that transportation company that was originally supposed to work the race backed out. There were 6 school buses that were making the rounds for a lot of runners to get to and from the parking lot to the race site.

The line to get to the race was a bit long but bearable.

The line to get from the race site back to the cars was much more tedious.

Additionally, there were just too many people out on the course for the size of the trails. If everyone were going the exact same speed, I don’t think it would have been a problem (or maybe less of a problem?) but it was tough with everyone at different skill levels – it felt very “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

But despite all that, I beat the Blerch. And for that I call it a win!


Have you Beat the Blerch? What do you prefer, roads or trails? North or South? East or West?

Changing it up: Vic’s cross-training chronicles

You may have noticed that I’m not running as much.

Yes, I’m still running, but given the demands of my work life and home life lately – and a somewhat bothersome knee – I’ve been cross training A LOT more.

That means more swimming, hiking, paddling and yes, it even means yoga.

A little HikYoga action with my pal Amy!

A little HikYoga action with my pal Amy!

I have to say guys, I’m loving exploring. Perhaps I was in a bit of a running rut and didn’t even know it. In the last week alone, I went paddleboarding in the bay with a friend, hiked a nearby nature preserve, swam 2,200 yards in the YMCA pool, practiced yoga in the woods then hiked a stunning gorge.

Enjoying the view in this small but mighty town park by my house.

Enjoying the view in this small but mighty town park by my house.

I’m not training for anything. I’m just living life. I’m exploring Rochester, which I have to say, is damn gorgeous.

I fell in love with SUP yoga and went repeatedly this summer.

I fell in love with SUP yoga and went repeatedly this summer.

Sure, I’ve been trying new activities for work – sailboarding, footgolf, SUP yoga. I even tried Taekwondo AND broke a board! You can read more of my articles here.

Hiking through the gorge in Stony Brook State Park near Dansville NY.

Hiking through the gorge in Stony Brook State Park near Dansville NY.

I just went on a HikYoga outing last week, and plan to go target shooting this coming weekend. Stay tuned kids! This could get interesting.

I’ve been enjoying the change of pace, and not being a slave to a marathon training schedule. I even branched out to try my hand at a monthlong yoga challenge, where through a local health club I am posting a daily yoga pose every day in September on my Instagram feed. It’s been interesting and definitely outside my comfort zone, but I am so glad I gave it a shot.

The 30-day #midtownyogachallenge. Day 22: Plank in a waterfall in Grimes Glen.

The 30-day #midtownyogachallenge. Day 22: Plank in a waterfall in Grimes Glen.

Sure, I’m still running. I tackled 4.5 miles last night and witnessed a stunning sunset with my trusty running partner Gary. I’ve been running 4-5 miles at least 3 times a week and even ran a 10-mile race with Oiselle teammate Beth. It was a stunning course through rural Orleans County (including a mile through a fruit farm), albeit I could have done without the 10 am start time on a hot, humid summer day No matter. We’ll be back for sure!

Best race pic ever. We are laughing our butts off since neither of us were well-trained for this race. But we finished.

Best race pic ever. We are laughing our butts off since neither of us were well-trained for this race. But we finished.

Stay tuned for more adventures as we head into the next season. Welcome fall! What activities should I try in the cooler weather?

Are you in an exercise rut? What do you do to change it up? How do you cross train? What activity should I try next? Tell me in the comments!

Marathon Training: Hiking Edition

So, sometimes, marathon training can get tedious. I mean, think about it, running miles on miles on miles, week in and week out, trying to find new routes, trying to avoid others, battling heat and humidity… It has a tendency to wear a runner down. Literally and figuratively.

How does one fix that kind of nonsense?

Find a fun way to cross train.

Typically, my cross training is cycling, but I usually do spin classes at my gym, and while that’s a great workout, it’s inside. Being inside all the time when it’s gorgeous outside is stupid. And I’m a little crunchy granola child who needs her trees and water and alive things to be happy.

Fortunately, my training partner Sarah feels the same way. Sarah is also the friend who will go backpacking with me for days on end, so it should be no surprise that the two of us decided that despite our very busy summer schedules, we needed to get at least one hike in before the fall.



Great Falls Park. Gorgeous.

Due to the aforementioned summer schedule craziness, an overnight backpacking trip wasn’t in the cards (poo), so we determined that a day hike would be the next best alternative. Living in Northern Virginia, we’re fortunate to have a lot of hiking trails relatively close – a fact that is a little surreal when you also consider the fact that the nation’s capital is also a stone’s throw away.

We got a date on the calendar, invited some friends and last weekend took a short jaunt up to Great Falls Park to get our hike on. Mind you, we did this the day after running a very hot and sweaty 9 miles. Sarah, myself and my friend Courtney are all training for the Baltimore Marathon in October – and we all needed a little bit of a break from the monotonous mileage.

Though the morning was very warm, it was a beautiful day to be outside. The park was pretty busy – lots of folks hit these trails because of their proximity to the city – and we saw everyone from families out for a walk in the woods, to people running with their dogs.

The trails in the park run along side the Potomac River and offer some beautiful vistas. It’s such a nice change of pace to surround oneself with nature after days on end of office buildings and city streets.


Sarah and the Hon Monster.

It’s also nice to get to play with Sarah’s dog, Honey, since I don’t have a pup. I’ll use any excuse to get puppy time – and hiking is always a good option!

While our hike wasn’t super long, we were all pretty beat by the time we stopped to eat the lunches we packed with us. It was a hot day and our legs we pretty tired from our run the day before. We tried (unsuccessfully) to map our mileage for the hike, but gave up after Courtney’s Garmin kept losing the satellite. Oops.


Training Partners. Hiking Partners.

Sarah and determined that we might be heading back up to the park to do a trail run or two before training season is over – the hills alone would be good for us, and the scenery can’t be beat. Mostly, it’d be something different than the bike paths and streets that we run on every other day.

Mostly, I just want another excuse to go run around in the woods and see things like this:



I seriously can never get enough. Give me all the nature. Always.

Take me back to Oiselle #birdcamp

I spent my big vacation this year with nearly dozens of women I’d never met before.

Sure, I’d chatted with a few fellow campers via social media and text. I’d even had the pleasure of meeting several Oiselle team members at recent races – like the New York City Marathon and Nike Women’s half. And I KNEW one of the ladies – the lovely Jen Bigham!

The first-ever team retreat, dubbed “bird camp” early in the planning process, was held by Oiselle, a small Seattle-based women’s running clothing company founded in 2007. The women who lead and run for the company shared their knowledge, home and dreams with 96 women from across North America.

Oiselle_-20Oiselle team at the Deschutes Twilight 5K. Pic by Thomas and Velo Photography 

We spent five days in Bend, Oregon, which sits at 3,623 feet near the Cascade mountains, about three hours southwest of Portland. Having never spent time in Oregon before, and having never attended an overnight camp as a kid, I had no clue what to expect.

I quickly fell in love with Bend and am already itching to go back.

We ran, (well duh) we hiked, we swam, we chatted, we ate, we drank, we raced, we meditated, we stretched. We experienced so much in such a few days.

Pro athletes Lauren Fleshman, Kate Grace, Stephanie Howe and (via skype) Kara Goucher shared advice, stories and fielded questions. They even hiked and worked out with us, along with the Oiselle’s CEO Sally Bergesen, team manager Kristin Metcalf and camp organizer/all around superwoman Sarah Lesko.

We talked about health, nutrition, training and goal setting. We spoke of our dreams – we admitted our challenges – and we leaned on each other for advice.

Oiselle_-17Stretching & meditating. Pic by Thomas and Velo Photography 

We hiked at nearby Smith Rock State Park and played in the picturesque town of Bend. We ate, we drank, and we floated in tubes on the Deschutes River.

For me, the experiences and the people made the trip.

I was finally able to meet Kelly in person after we’d first chatted online last fall. Hands down, she’s among my favorite people. We ran off, skipping a yoga session one afternoon and swam laps at a nearby outdoor pool.

camp11After the swim

It may not sound like much to others, but I loved our 3,200-meter workout. I hadn’t been in a pool in months and was thrilled to be able to hang in with Kelly for as long as I did. After more than a decade as a competitive swimmer, I loathe having to swim fast. (Been there, done that.) But its a whole different story when I want to do my best.

I’m also so thankful for my roommates Stacey and Suzie. I couldn’t have been with two more supportive, inspirational and fantastic women as you both.

stacsuzStacey, me and Suzie – a great trio!

And of course I loved spending time with my fun friends in our carpool van, dubbed the #vanbytheriver

camp1The Oiselle bird, drawn by me

camp2Decorating the van before our roadtrip

Oiselle_-31The whole gang: Front row (from left): Ashley, Kerry, Steph, Jessica. Back row: Becky, Kelly, me. Pic by  Thomas and Velo Photography

 I loved racing with such a large team at a smaller 5K race. We were literally about a fifth of the field of the evening 5K. I pushed myself a bit harder than I expected – especially since it was my second run of the day. I loved seen so many blue Oiselle singlets as I ran along the hilly course.

Even better was seeing a slew of ladies cheering one another on as I sprinted to the finish.

cheering birdsCheering birds! Pic by Kelly Burns Gallagher

DSC_3366Me, Kelly and Stacey at the 5K. Pic by Thomas and Velo Photography

Hiking with new friends at Smith Rock State Park was amazing. I love to hike, though I remain terrified of getting too close to the edge of a mountain and tumbling off a cliff. Smith Rock is stunning and I implore anyone in Bend to check it out.

camp5Stunning Smith Rock

camp12Up we go!

Oiselle_-59Hiking Misery Ridge Trail at Smith Rock. Pic by Thomas and Velo Photography 

camp10Near the summit with Kate

camphikeLoved the views (but not the snake!)

Also LOVED relaxing as we floated on tubes on the crystal clear Deschutes River. If I could do that every week, life would be perfect.

camp7With Jill and Kelly in Oiselle Rizzo before tubing

Much of what I loved about the experience was meeting so many incredible women, who find a way to balance work, their relationships, motherhood and running. These women reminded me that it’s good to dream big, and that it is possible to balance it all.

camp8With Lauren at the closing party

At a midweek session, Lauren spoke of goal-setting, and reminded us that it’s ok to let a dream go and focus on reality. But she also stressed the importance of setting meaningful goals – ones that mean something to YOU personally over an obvious goal, like running a best time or a specific distance.

“The best gift you can give yourself is to disregard what other people see as success and name it for yourself,” Lauren said. “You have to set your own definition for success.”

She couldn’t be more right.

Teamcheer~Oiselle_-2Team cheer Pic by Thomas and Velo Photography 

Have you ever been to Oregon? A sports team camp (as a kid or an adult?) Where’s your favorite hiking spot? And fellow birds – what was your favorite part of camp? Tell me in the comments!

Take a Hike

While I was recovering from my divorce, I read this book, Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  It’s a true story about a woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, an 1,100 mile trek completely alone.  It was a soul-searching journey, the heroine literally pushed herself to the brink of survival and she was surprised to find what she was capable of.  When I finished the book, I craved this journey.  I wanted to see what I was capable of.  I wanted to push myself to the brink to ignite that appreciation for life and self that this woman found on her trip.  I wanted to feel the exhaustion and muscle soreness and blisters and raw pain that she described.  I wanted the solitude and time spent in my own head in complete silence, free of distractions and petty worries and facebook and calorie counting.  I wanted to get back to my true self.  I had a list of people I wanted to forgive: my ex-husband and his girlfriend, my parents (for perceived injustices I sustained as a teenager), my friends who were no longer my friends, but most of all, myself.  It’s at the top of my things to to do before I die list.  (Both the hike and the forgiveness)

The Whole Pacific Crest Trail

The Whole Pacific Crest Trail

The part of the trail I may actually get to hike some day.

The part of the trail I may actually get to hike some day.

I’m a momma so taking off for three months to hike isn’t feasible.  But since reading, I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for the therapeutic benefits of communing with nature. It offers me the humble reminder that I am not the most important thing on this planet and that humans haven’t produced anything that can compare to magnanimous structures found in nature. The Pacific Crest Trail is sectioned off into smaller hikes that are more realistic for someone like me and I’ve got my eye on the John Muir Trail which runs from the Sequoias to the Redwoods.

I want to go to there.

I want to go to there.

In the meantime, I’m getting to spend some time on some other trails.  I recently hiked The Narrows at Zion National Park, with my kiddos and my extended family. Five and a half hours of rocky water trail through a canyon surrounded by walls of slate and sandstone.  It was magnificent, there’s just no other way to describe it.  Also, I’m a total Geology nerd so I was lost in striation heaven.

The Narrows

Look!  A Deer! 

We also spent some time in Bryce Canyon.  We hiked the Navajo Loop which connects to the Queens Garden trail.  The hike was a little over three miles, but there was a steep descent and a steep climb out of the canyon.  My little ones stuck it out for this too.  I had to literally push my son up the last few hills, but he did it!  I think I was more proud of his accomplishment than he was.

Bryce Canyon

I’m also very interested in doing some trail runs and overnight backpacking hikes.  Ragnar has an overnight trail relay series and I want in.  The only question is…who’s going with me?

Do you trail run?  Have you read this book?  Did you know they’re making it into a movie?  Do you want to hike the John Muir trail with me?  How do you get back to your true self?  Let us discuss! 


Memorial Day fun – and then some.

I cleaned lobster parts off the ceiling yesterday. I also scrubbed little bits of lobster off the front door, the sofa and our kitchen cabinets.

You see, my husband smashed our big holiday weekend dinner open using a typical hammer. It was hilarious at the time, but as we I cleaned up, I found more and more stray pieces. Choice words were spoken.

Oh, and the hammer? It’s a bit…fishy.

Typically, hubs and I spend Memorial Day weekend tackling a season’s worth of yard work and chores. We clear out the flower beds. We till and plant our vegetable garden. We decided to skip the big gardens this year and focus only on herbs. So with less yard work on the docket, we had more time for fun!

We spent Saturday showing my cousin Keith and his wife Laura around Rochester. Stops at the Public Market and Ontario Beach Park were no-brainers.

20140526-164540.jpgOntario Beach Park, from the pier. That’s right kids, that’s Lake Ontario.

We also visited Rochester’s Turning Point Park, and its impressive boardwalk over the Genesee River. This city park is one of my favorite hidden gems in the area. (It’s also one of my favorite running paths in the area.)

20140526-164835.jpgLaura and Keith loved the boardwalk

And of course we had to stop at the Genesee Brew House, where we had lunch, some beer and a brewery tour.

20140526-165133.jpgWe enjoyed $2 flights at the brewery. Proceeds go to charity.

highfallsThe view from Rochester’s High Falls, from the brewery, of course.

As hubs and I ran errands on Sunday, we found ourselves renting The Home Depot’s hourly pickup to bring home a new grill. (J loved his birthday gift this year!) I found myself in the bed of the truck holding onto the base of the grill as he rounded each corner. Yep, I was perched right next to the “no passengers in bed” sign. Oops.

Monday brought us to another lakeside park where we walked along Lake Ontario the second time in a weekend.

20140526-170422.jpgHubs enjoys the view

We wandered, without really any predetermined plans, and those who know me best know I’m not a good wanderer. Like, Meri, I’m a planner. It’s something I’m working on. But this weekend, I went with it more than usual.

I agreed when he suggested we drive along the shoreline without a destination in mind. I agreed when he changed course and headed for the Erie Canal path, where we enjoyed some ice cream. And I agreed when I jumped into the back of the pickup for a bumpy but fabulous 9-mile trek to our house.

I’m getting better about living in each moment and enjoying them for what they are.

But I can promise you, cleaning up lobster bits will never be among them. Ick.

How did you spend your holiday weekend? Are you a hiker or a beach-dweller? Have you ever had Genesee beer? Tell me all about it!

Celebrating Virginia

I’m blessed to be surrounded by a family of smart, strong and motivating women.

Typically, I chat about my fabulous mother. But last weekend, I headed downstate with my in-laws to celebrate my mama-in-law Virginia, for her 50th birthday.

V and I joined the Sebastiano family about the same time and have lots in common. We always enjoy baking together, shopping, hiking, chatting and visiting, even if we do absolutely nothing when we join forces. She is a joy and has a pure heart. Thank you for being you, dear Virginia! Happy 50th!

old sebFrom left, my father-in-law, sister-in-law and mama-in-law back in 2005.

Last weekend, my generous father-in-law treated Virginia and a few of her favorite family and friends to a weekend at Mohonk Mountain House, a stunning 150-year-old resort in New York’s Hudson Valley.  I had a fabulous time with my family, and the outing really reminded me how lucky I am to have such impressive and strong women in my life.

We ate, we hiked, we rowed on the lake. We toasted Virginia, and we celebrated one another. And of course, we were pampered at the spa, which is apparently the top spa resort in the country! (We do things right in our family.)

Mohonk is a stunning setting for any relaxing getaway. It reminded me of the resorts of yesteryear, when emphasis was placed on family activities and spending time together. There are no televisions in guest rooms, and I only saw one on property – which was playing a family friendly movie each evening. A high tea was offered each day. Nearly every activity is included – minus spa treatments and anything involving horses.

Here are a few images from my weekend. If you ever have the chance to visit Mohonk, even for the day, GO! It’s incredible.

mohonk7View from a hike around the resort. Wow, just wow!

mohonk6The gang’s all here to celebrate Virginia (center, front row) The candle might give her away!

mohonk1Me with my sister-in-law Lauren and Aunt Maria at dinner. We three shared a room and had a great time together!

mohonk9I love this side shot of V and her sister Dot. You can feel the love and joy

mohonk10Check out the view from our room/balcony.

mohonk8We spent a lot of time at the spa, and the gym, and we three also hiked a bit around the stunning property.

horseHorses! I need to stop laughing at this sign. I know I am misreading it, but I still find it hilarious. #imaybite

mohonk5Row, row row your boat! Lolly and I shared rowing duties. We loved it so much we went out twice!

mohonk11View from the water

mohonk12Group outing on our final morning

Tell me about your favorite family weekend getaway! Where do you go to relax? Would you hike, row or hit the spa? Have you been to Mohonk? Tell me in the comments!

All I want for Christmas…is a runcation.

Today’s the day.  People all over the United States are engaging in the frantic nocturnal scramble for commerce.  There will be some running involved, hopefully no running over.  Maybe a little kickboxing.  Some deep breathing exercises.  All in the effort to save a little cash.  And believe me, I need to save a little cash!  This year, I’ve spent more money on runcation and race entry fees than any other non-essential expense.  Quicken showed me this cute little pie chart and the category of “Race Expense” was the third biggest piece, right after “Mortgage” and “Household”.

I don’t how this happened, I had a race budget!  But you know, after SoCal Ragnar, I had to do Napa so I could get that double medal.  And all my friends were running in Washington, I couldn’t let them have fun without me.  And I had to do the Wine and Dine after Tink, because of that Coast to Coast medal.  And there was no way I was going to run in Disneyworld and not take my kids to other happiest place on earth.  Oh, and after experiencing the awesomeness of the ROC race in San Diego, I just had to do it again in Anaheim.  And so the story goes.  I have a hard time saying no to races and when I do say no, I’m green with envy when I see my running mates posting pics on facebook!

This year, I don’t want a lot for Christmas.  There is just one thing I need…are you hearing Mariah Carey yet?  All I want for Christmas is to race!  So here it is, my Runcation Christmas List.

1. Any East Coast Ragnar or any Trail – I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile now.  And I’m dying to get the Scoot Chicks in a van.  D.C., Cape Cod, and Ontario are high on my list, but really any of them would be amazing.  The trail race is a new series.  Instead of a van, you camp and the race trails loop out from the camp site.  It’s a different kind of relay but I’m anxious to take it on!

2. E.T. Full Moon Midnight Half-Marathon – Sci-Fi is kind of my thing.  Just ask my X-Files and Star Wars ringtones.  This course runs along Highway 375, which was named Extraterrestrial Highway by the federal government, in the Nevada desert in the middle of the night.  Oh, and did I mention it borders Area 51?  The whole idea of this race gives me chills.

3. Spartan Sprint – It seems like everyone I know loves these races.  And I love dirt and I love adventure so I think I might love this race.  Of course, I also think I’ll need to beef up before I attempt something like this.  My upper body strength sucks.  So push-ups, here I come.

4. Rock ‘n Roll Half-Marathon – It’s pretty simple…music is awesome, running is awesome, running to music is double awesome.  The best part about this race series is that it is EVERYWHERE.  Madrid, Scotland, Ireland…oh, how I dream of the day I can run in a foreign country!  I might have to settle for L.A. this year, but one of these days…

5. Challenge Nation – This is the Ultimate Urban Scavenger Hunt and like a lot of these races, it’s everywhere.  I can’t think of a better way to explore a city I’ve never been to before.  It’s part physical, part mental, and a whole lot of adventure.  The race part is a 5k and there’s prize money to be won. If I can’t be on Amazing Race, then I’ll gladly settle for this!

6. John Muir Trail –  This isn’t a race but it’s top on my list of things I must do before I die.  The trail is 211 miles long and runs from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney in California.  It’s a hike, you carry your stuff on your back and sleep in a tent.  No showers, no bathrooms, just me and the Sierra Nevada Mountains…and probably some other people because I can’t see myself doing this alone.