The Joy of the Open Road

For the majority of us, our cars are used to get us from A to B. Unfortunately, or realistically I should say is that A to B for most is from home to work, home to the supermarket or home to some other destination which proves of no real excitement.

The beauty of road tripping is turning B into a destination far away and while it may be time-consuming and have its ups and downs, like car insurance renewal, flat tires and maybe breakdowns- its is better to look at it optimistically and come to the realization that you will begin an experience like no other. This Volvo commercial pictures it so beautifully:

Don’t get me wrong, flying obviously has its many and obvious benefits but with them come the hassles of being there on time, breathing recirculated air with 100 other people, being told to sit when and where you have to (I always feel like a child again), security hassles, baggage restrictions and unless you get lucky, soaring prices.

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How to Travel 50 Days a Year With a Full Time Job

A couple of days ago, I was interviewed by the Bestgedclasses website on how to how to be successful, without a degree and be able to travel even with a full-time job. When the interviewer asked me how many vacation days I have taken in 2017, including weekends and any days the office was closed for holidays, I realized it was 50 and I did all my running as well!

50 days! In one year I traveled 50 days while holding down a full-time job, freelance projects as a travel writer, running all the runs I run, and still had a social life at the same time. Had someone presented this idea to me, I would have thought it was impossible in regards to both time and money. But I did it. Take also a look at this great video about how to be smart and work full-time and still find the time to travel the world:

Here’s how the days broke out:

  • 3 days in January to see my in-laws (well, actually my fiance’s parents) in Cleveland over Martin Luther King Day weekend and running there. No time off work needed.
  • 3 day weekend in April for our engagement anniversary in Lake Placid, 1 vacation day taken.
  • 3 day weekend in April to go to Boston, 1 personal day taken.
  • 11 days at the end of May and beginning of June for Iceland and Norway to participate in the great run-off. I used 6 days vacation days and received 1 day off for Memorial Day Weekend, plus 4 weekend days.
  • 2 day weekend in June to Alaska with my dad for a fishing trip. No time taken off from work.

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Snow Rollers, Compromises, and an Ultra Reboot

I know, I know… technically I’ve had about 9 “week ones” so far. And although for the past month-ish, I’ve been getting my groove back after blowing out my ankle at skiing in Utah, this week is the first week I’ve started getting seriously serious about the 50 k I committed to back in August when I was in the best running shape in my life. Check out this Kim Ingleby video with triathlon running tips:

So while the wheels fell off for a moment and I was hanging out in a purgatory of self-misery/I don’t give a dam, and training willy-nilly at the gym and such…

This week I actually sat down and planned my next move, or more so, the series of moves that will occur over the next 12 weeks. One of my biggest “issues” with training, in general, isn’t the act of training itself. I love being active. I would run/bike/ski/lift whatever around the clock if time allowed for it.

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The Snow Sports Industry Association Trade Show

Last week I attended the SIA show in Denver. I’ve been to several “Outdoor Retailer” sporting goods trade shows, but this was my first SIA show. About 1/5th the size of the OR show, the SIA show focused only on winter sporting goods; Snowboarding, Skiing, Backcountry gear, Nordic gear.

The trade show follows a similar format to the OR show, several days of trade show expo, followed by a couple days of “on the snow demo” at Winter Park Resort. About 900 brands were present at the show, displaying all their new gear for this season, and while the sheer quantity of gear was overwhelming, when I broke the expo floor into market segments (snowboarding, skiing, backcountry, etc…), it was much more manageable to make my way around from booth to booth to learn about all the new gear that interested me most (mainly downhill and backcountry ski gear).

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Desert Road Trip

December 26th, one day after Christmas, we hopped into the car at 4:30 a.m. and started driving south on what was to be a 3,000+ mile desert road trip. The road trip was initially planned for 2 reasons, 1-because we needed a vacation and 2-to visit my grandma in Phoenix.

Although driving from Helena to Phoenix and back is long enough in itself, we decided to extend the trip a few days and add a few stops in the Utah desert. Below is our day to day itinerary and an account of memories that will last us a lifetime.

Dec. 26th Day 1 was by far the longest day in the car. 13+ hours, 900+ miles from Helena Montana to Las Vegas, NV. We stayed at the Hilton, “just off” the strip. Apparently “Just off” the strip to someone from Vegas is WAY different then what I was expecting.

Never having been to the strip, I had no idea of the massive size of everything and how far apart everything really is. We explored the strip this night, and even managed to win a couple bucks in a penny slot! (more…)

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Tips for Running While Traveling

With the temperature falling and snowflakes flying, winter has come early to Minnesota. It’s hard to believe that just six short weeks ago we had temperatures in the 80s. Doesn’t summer seem like it was ages ago? So read on to learn more about Tips for Running while Traveling.

Like so many people, you’re probably already thinking about a winter vacation to a warmer climate. Winter vacations are a great way to escape the frozen tundra and frigid temperatures in favor of a warm beach or desert oasis. Sometimes we need to get away from the snow and ice just to keep our sanity. We’ve all been there…

If you’re like me, however, you aren’t willing to give up running…even for a few days while on vacation. Not only am I not willing to give up running temporarily, but I actually get excited about running in new places. I love exploring parts of cities that I’ve never seen before, running trails that I didn’t know existed, and spending time really getting to know a city on my feet.

Running is a part of every trip I take. I have to plan for it. I have to pack for it. It’s not always black and white – so I thought I would share some tips on how to make the whole process go a little smoother. You’ll be able to enjoy your travels, and even better – enjoy your run!

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Maine Bucket List

Maine is the northeasternmost state in the U.S. Maine is known for the state’s beautiful and spectacular rocky coastline, its nature, maritime history, lighthouses, and Acadia National Park. You can find plenty of moose in Maine’s Baxter State Park where also Mount Katahdin is foud, the Appalachian Trail’s endpoint. This post offers you some beautiful destinations to cross off your Maine Bucket list The following video shows you 30 of Maine’s more than overall 60 lighthouses.

Beautiful lighthouses are spread out along the state’s coastline, so check out, for example, Cape Neddick Lighthouse, one of America’s most photographed lighthouses, or Portland Headlight Lighthouse built in 1791. It is situated on the south entrance of Portland Harbor in Cape Elizabeth. Visiting Portland Head Light is a must when you’re visiting Maine. The lighthouse has a very rich history going back all the way to George Washington. The following are on my Maine Bucket list. See if they’re also on yours!

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TransRockies Run – the Six-Day Run

As the sixth and last stage of the TransRockies Run (TRR) came to a close today I thought about what I wanted to close my coverage with. LOTS of cool topics came to my mind, such as what “camp life” is like for an event like this; or what is it that brings some competitors back year after year while others are content to run it once and move on to other challenges and other adventures.

There are certainly dozens of inspirational personal stories I could tell, such as the couple celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary by running a 125 miles race together after the doctor said he would be lucky to walk again a few years ago after getting T-boned in his car.

But, as the race draws to a close I’d like to reflect on just three quick questions I’ve been asked recently:
1.)  What’s with all the stuffed animals on peoples packs?  Do they really need the extra weight?
2.)  A tow rope, really? Couldn’t you find a partner that was equal to your athleticism?
3.)  Why on earth would someone pay any amount of money to get their ass kicked for a week?

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GrizzlyMan & Black Bear Challenge Adventure Race

Last April, roughly 100 racers assembled in Greenough, MT at the Paws Up Resort to compete in the annual GrizzlyMan and Black Bear Challenge Adventure Race. This year’s race proved to be MUCH harder than any previous version. The race includes trail running, orienteering, mountain biking, and for the GrizzyMan, whitewater navigation.

Racers are given a sheet of coordinates, a map, and a “passport” the night before the race. During the pre-race meeting, organizers stressed the rules, shared the course safety info, and explained the open format of the race. Racers had the evening to plot their points on their maps, and plan their route. At 5:00 a.m. the GrizzlyMan racers started out in the pre-dawn light, and at 9:00 a.m. the Black Bear Racers headed out on their course.

This year I competed in the Black Bear Challenge with my cousin Adam, on team “Just Cuz”. We drove up together Friday afternoon, got registered, and staged our bikes at the bike “Transition Area”. We had just very little clue what to expect. We were told there would be running and biking, but beyond that, we had absolutely no idea what to expect.

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Triathlon Training Week 2–What am I doing here??!!

In the middle of the timed two-mile test I was running for the Triathlon clinic, a girl next to me asks, “So are you a mountain biker or a road biker?” Taken aback by the fact that she was able to think of anything other than the burning in her legs AND could muster up enough oxygen to utter a complete sentence, I shook myself out of my running trance and answered, “Not really either.” Then I thought to myself,  ”Actually, I don’t bike, I never learned how to swim and I’ve never been a distance runner…what am I doing here!”

One week later, as the “Adaptation Phase” of our training comes to a close and we’re finally getting the hang of things, I feel much less out of my element.

You see, the beautiful thing about a multi-event sport like a triathlon is that everyone has a component they are confident with and everyone has a component they struggle with. For example, someone can be holding their own in the pool workouts, fall behind and hate the run days, but then when you see them in the spin room…they are in their element, in the zone. Personally, I come out of swim class like a drowned rat, am so-so in a bike workout, and am (to my own surprise) loving the run workouts.

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