Split Rock Lighthouse

This week for Travel Tuesday I am going to take you to one of my favorite lighthouses I have visited, and it doesn't even have an ocean view.

Although, in some ways it may look like an ocean.  After all, Lake Superior is the largest of all the Great Lakes in North America.

Just drive north from Duluth, Minnesota along the beautiful and scenic HWY 61.  Its about a 50 minute to an hour drive depending on the day.

There is a visitors center you can stop in first, and yes they do charge to go up and visit the light house itself.  At the time I went it was $9 per adults, seniors and kids were less.
If you enjoy history like I do, then take your time and enjoy walking around the visitors center and check out all the exhibits.

After head out back and make your way up to the lighthouse.  Yes, you do actually get to climb the winding staircase and make your way to the top.

You can laugh, but as I did I couldn't help but think about the old Disney movie I saw as a child Pete's Dragon and the lighthouse in the movie.

The views from the top are stunning.  Depending on the day, and the time you go it may be a little foggy, or it could also be crystal blue.

I never would have imagined the shores along Lake Superior would be so beautiful and have such large cliffs.

When you are done, enjoy the surrounding grounds and take a little hike.  Just a quarter mile down, a trail and a lot of stairs will drop you down to some stunning views along the shorelines.

There is so much more to do and see in this area, lots of waterfalls and hiking nearby and along HWY 61.

If your a runner and you need an excuse to run a marathon and do a little hiking and exploring in this area.  Enter the Grandma's Marathon in/near Duluth, Minnesota.  It's an awesome and scenic marathon, great support and a great location for the adventure seeker!

Have you been to Split Rock Lighthouse before?
Have you run the Grandma's Marathon before?  If you did, did you take a few extra days before or after to checkout the sights?

Bitten, Progress, Weddings and Changes, Oh My...

This has been a busy past few weeks, which is why I haven't shared much on myself until now. With weddings and prep for them and just regular life. Additionally, like always I take on way too much in other things, that pretty much leave me always wondering, what the heck was I thinking.  Do you ever do that to yourself too?

I'm starting to sound like a broken record on the work injury so I am not going to bore you with details.  I will just leave you with one word for now, PROGRESS...

I hate to say this, but I will.  It's killing me just a little bit seeing my friends FB posts on their races they have been running, or their final training prep for their fall marathons in a few weeks.
Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled for them and couldn't be happier for them.  But I've been on the sidelines unable to do them far too long and it's hard to hear and watch when all I want to do is be doing them with them!

BITTEN, ya a week ago I was decorating for an outdoor wedding up on the side of a mountain and something bit me.  I got this huge welt on my leg, and it burned, itched (still does a little).  I was going to show you a picture, but then it occurred to me, it doesn't look so great so I will spare you the visual:)  Your Welcome!
Let's just say, it's been all sorts of shade of reds, purples.

I assumed I was bitten by a spider or possibly a scorpion, based on the information I found on google and where I was at. I ruled out anything dangerous on my own.  But will admit by day 4, when it started taking on some deeper colors I did break down and visit a Dr.
Granted, I went to an instacare, and the Doctor was less than helpful in some ways.  He was just one of those, get em out quick guys....  Well, he did exactly what I did.  He pulled up some pictures off the Internet and ruled out everything I had already done, and came up with the exact same diagnosis I already had assumed, LOL
Truthfully, I only went to the Dr. because it turned to a very dark color and to make sure I was right and I wasn't going to eventually have some flesh eating bite that I mis-diagnosed, because that would be bad! LOL

In short, who knows exactly what bit me.  But based on what we know and how it looks, both myself and the Dr, agreed it was probably a Black Widow.
Despite what people think about the spider, if you don't get the cramping and vomiting, you don't even have to go to the Doc if your bit by one.  You just get to suffer through the lighter reactions, in fact I was told no one has died from one in like 10 years:)  Yay for good medicine!

So ya, I was given some itch relief cream (which I don't really find works.)
I won't be wearing shorts or a skirt for a while.
I was told it will eventually go away (sooner would be better than later.)  Frankly, I just want it to quit itching!!!! I can't even say that enough!!!

So ya note to self, if I am climbing, crawling around in peoples backyards for weddings again.  I am so, duck taping my pant to my sock and I won't even care about the looks anyone gives me for doing it!
Just the thought that a spider crawled up my leg and bit me, and I didn't notice at the time just freaks me out a little more than you'll ever know!  (I hate spiders, always have!)


I wish I had more excitement to share.  But I will say, I am done with weddings for a few weeks, so I fully intend on playing.
I got to decorate one of my (what is becoming) my favorite backdrops.  It's also the one that takes me more hours than you want to know, to decorate.
Here is a before (above) and after (below).
It may not look like it takes much time, but getting all the greenery, floral and ribbon weaved into it takes hours and hours!  I actually LOVE this backdrop!

Wedding Backdrop AFTER

NEW BLOG HEADER, okay so you may have noticed or maybe not.  My new blog header.  I finally think I finished tweaking it the other day, and it is finished, YAY.
I actually made 8 versions of it, this was the one I decided I liked the best:)
Originally I hired someone to make one, but that was back in March and long story short, they dropped the ball.
I don't exactly have the graphic software I would love, but I took my time and did the best I could with the software I have, and what you see above (Okay here is a mini version below.) Is what I came up with.
I'd love your thoughts on it, good or bad all opinions are welcome!!

I wanted a header that was more ME, and what I blog about.
That shows what I do and plays off my true personality more!

Additionally I have made a few other BLOG CHANGES, that are less noticiable.  With font's, size, orientation, color.  On top of all that, I did a little blog clean up on the home page.
I have this huge list of things I want to do on this blog, so I put them on a priority list and I have been slowly working through them.
I could be wrong, but so far the flow is looking much better! If you noticed, what do you think?

One thing I understand HTML and some CSS so if I really want to, I can make even this simple free Blogger blog, do things that most only think can be done on self hosted blogs.
Although eventually I do want to go self hosted, but for now I will stick with this.
I am working (it takes time) on code to make other new changes, you may notice them over the next month as I finish working on them and set them live on the blog.

Last, I have finally chosen a new comment system.  It's been live for a few days.
I REALLY want to know what you think!

I went with Disqus, and it was not without a lot of contemplation.  It was actually between LiveFrye Disqus.
I hate the limited abilities the blogger comment system has, which is why I have been shopping for a new one again.  That and almost everyone I talk to hates using or commenting on the blogger system too!
I would love to go back to Intense Debate, I love that one best.  But they need to make it mobile friendly, and so far it is not!

The GREAT news is when I switched I was able to get ALL my comments back that I had lost when I switched from blogger to Intense Debate, and then back to Blogger again.  YAY, that made me SOOOO happy, you have no idea!
The bad part they are a little jumbled from the past, I am working on that!

Like all comment systems it has it's downfalls, but in case others are interested in switching I am working on a post that I will run soon that will explain why I picked what I did, and all the things I found out as I investigated all the different comment systems on the market.

So far, things seem to be running pretty good with it.  I am testing it for 1-2 months to see how others like or don't like it and how it all pans out.
So far, having the additional interaction with bloggers as they comment and see my replies in their IN box, has been fun and better than I thought, far more interactive and it's only been up since Thursday night! YAY!

Or, if you use another comment system that you love please share!  I am a blogger, which means I am always open to change and all thoughts and opinions and suggestions!

Leave you one more picture of the backdrop, just because I like this one so much!

I am linking up with HoHo Runs and Mississippididdlin today for their Weekly Wrap!

Have you ever been bit by a spider?  Did it creep you out as much as it has me?  

Do you have a blog comment system that is easy to use that you love and are willing to share the name of it with me?

What do you think of my blog changes and re-design?  Share even if you dislike, I really want honest opinions!

How to Make Sure You Don't Ruin a Race for Others

We all pay the same fee's to enter a race.  Generally those fee's are pretty high, so we are expecting and hoping to not only achieve our race day goals.  But to also have an enjoyable fun race that we can look back on and think highly of.

Unfortunately things can happen in a race that can ruin it for us.  I am not talking about weather or our own limitations, training or under-training or injuries.  I am talking about the occasional time that another runner or runners on a course do things that ruin it or ruin parts of our experience.

Earlier this year, I asked this question in a few different online running groups.  The response I received was overwhelming.
I asked runners who run half marathons or marathons what things they experienced in a race that ruined part of the race experience?  Or if they could remind other runners new and old what things they may be doing that they should consider stop and consider runners etiquette first.

I am not going to mention everything everyone brought up.  Just the ones that had the highest response. I should note, I polled many and had over 400 responses from different distance runners for this purpose.

What is it? Generally groups of 3+ runners, who are running side by side each other blocking the path for other runners to get around them.
The Fix:  It's an unwritten rule (although in some races even written in the rules.) 2 abreast is runner politeness. Runners should never run more than 2 side by side, and in some instances in very crowded courses possible even single file.  It's called use your head, and be courteous and don't let your group of friends ruin the race course for others by blocking it!

What are they? Although pace groups are great, some leaders in them may have a hard time reminding the group to not hog the road, or they forget all together.
The Fix: Help the pacer out, remind others in the group it is rude to block the road, half the road or more should be left for others to pass, especially early on.  It's okay to be a courteous leader and mention this to others, because common sense and courtesy to is always okay!

Who/what are they? Runners who are using a run/walk program.  Or runners who are stopping frequently and not paying attention that they are running with others who trained or plan to run the entire race, and don't know the person in front of them is about to stop.  Especially early on when the course is still very crowded.
The Fix: Take a quick glance behind you before you stop, and always slow to a stop to allow someone behind you to catch on to what your doing.  Mostly so they don't run into you.  It's also common courtesy in a race to make your way to the side before stopping especially in crowds and early on in a race.
(Although some race walk programs tell you to raise your hand before you stop, it's a pretty good guess that very few runners know what that means, because it only makes sense to those who do the programs, not the rest of the field, so NO a hand raise isn't always the only thing to do just before you stop!)

Who What?  Runners who ask other runners to stop on the course and take their picture...  This is just rude and wrong, they may say yes to be polite but no one wants to stop the groove they have gotten into and take your picture.  Also in this, are the runners who stop frequently to take selfies along the course and not look behind them as they do.
The Fix: Just don't do it! But if you must, have your family and friends watching take your picture, or purchase a course picture after.  If you absolutely have to have a course selfie, move to the side of the road (do not stop abruptly) make sure no one is behind you, and snap it yourself.  Never ask other runners to stop and take your picture, that is just rude!

Who What?  Those runners who have trained themselves to have to spit constantly and decide to never look at where that spit is going to fly.  Many times, hitting the person just behind or to the side of them.
The Fix: You can train yourself not to spit, but if you absolutely must do it; watch where you're spitting.  If it's a crowded course, consider running on the sideline so you can spit into non traffic of runners.  Or if it is supper crowded, use your shirt.  Use COURTESY and be KIND, remembering, you probably don't want someone elses stinky saliva or drippy boogers stuck to you either.

Who What?  You've seen them, they throw their gloves, energy packets or other items right on the ground in the middle of the course for others to have to dodge or step on or in some cases trip over. Some just assume the entire course is theirs and drop whatever garbage anywhere.
The Fix: Sweats, bags, unwanted gear, etc... Early on in the course when you discard these either place them off the course on the side of the road, or wait until you get to a water station.
Energy packets, if you use them make sure you're holding on to them, or throwing them in the garbage's at the aid stations.  It's just rude to litter and a lot of races are starting to add fines for anyone caught littering.
Proper etiquette: If your running, generally it's okay to throw things on the ground or to the side if you are at a water station, But if you're walking slower you should aim for the garbage cans, since you have the time.

Who What?  You're a 12 minute mile runner, and you line up with the 6 minute mile group for some reason or another.  All you're going to do is annoy everyone around you, and possibly cause injury to others.
The Fix: Line up where you're supposed to, in your target pace field.  Worst case scenario you have a great day and you get to pass a lot more people on the course!

Who What? You've heard them, their keys are in their pocket or packs or spare change or other things that jingle.  We have no idea how it doesn't annoy them, but it annoys everyone else around.
The Fix: If you think you might jingle, pack better so you don't!  If you're running next to a jingler, use this as time to pick up your pace and get away from them, who knows that annoying person may be the reason you PR. (Hint: If you must carry possible jingle items Tape your keys or change together!  You can thank me for that tip later!)

Who are they?  We've all seen them, they run right up to the water station grab their cup and come to an abrupt stop, ignoring that others around want to grab a cup and keep going.
The Fix:  If you must stop to drink your water, run by grab your cup(s) and keep on running until you are out of the traffic of others trying to get theirs.  Or grab your cup and move to the center or other side of the road before stopping to walk.
Additionally, it is possible to drink and run at the same time.  The trick is to bend your cup so you have a corner to drink from.
For runners who don't plan on stopping, your best bet are the volunteers further down the water station line.  Most the stopper and newbies will hit the first few volunteers.

Who are they?  Those who decided to skip the headphones and share their play list with everyone. Because they figure if it is awesome to them then it might be awesome for others to hear too.
Why is this wrong? Because some don't want to listen to music at all, and we can only listen to the Rocky theme song so many times....  Actually it's just rude, if you want to listen to music that is totally fine, but be courteous and kind to others and put headphones on.  If you can't run with headphones then music isn't for you!  Learn to love the sound of the pavement or nature and the casual fun runners chat, that's the best part anyway!

Who are they?  They finish their race and think nothing of others and fill their arms up, their bags up with as much food as they possibly can and some even give it to their families who watched and go back for more.
Why is this wrong? It's wrong because food hoarders are the rudest finishers at a race.  It's not fair if you take all the food early on and there is nothing left for those back of the pack runners.  Everyone pays the entrance fee's and everyone deserves to have food waiting for them at the finish, even if they are last.
The Fix: Only take 1, and only take your share.  Food is for runners not spectators, if you don't want it leave it for someone who ran who does.  If you see someone food hogging, it is okay to tell them politely that it is not appropriate.  If you volunteer at a race, this is definitely okay and your job to say something if you are manning the finish food area's.

Who are they?  Those who are doing the run/walk plans or who use GPS devices that use beeps to pace them and keep them on track.  We aren't talking about the ones that beep once a mile, but the ones that either have a constant beep that they run a stride too, or the ones that beep several times every 10-30 seconds if a runner is off pace.
Why are they rude?  Because others running your same pace didn't come to listen to a beep every few seconds or less.
The fix: If you can't stay on track to keep the beeping off, then just turn the device off.  If you have one that you can turn the beep notification off, turn it off if it become excessive.
It is possible to learn to run/walk at a certain pace without a machine beeping to tell you, you are on target, I promise.  Trust me, thousands of others do it every day, and if they can, so can you:)
If your near a beeper, while it is okay to politely ask them to turn it off, chances are since they thought it was okay to begin with, they probably won't listen to you unless you get the group of runners around you to all ask them at the same time.  Instead, if all else fails just run faster than them, and hopefully you can leave them and their beep in the dust and maybe even have PR:)

Who are they?  Sometimes these are spectators, other times they are runners who are passing you thinking you need someone to tell you "its okay, you are almost there."
Why is this annoying?  First everyone knows how far they have to go, and generally when someone says "your almost there" you probably aren't almost there.
While it might be fine to say to your family or friends jokingly, it's become one of the most annoying comments on the course runners get.
The fix: For spectators, instead come up with something less annoying to say or be more creative! Also if you are the runner passing someone while saying this, just don't.  Even though you may have the best of intentions, its actually more courteous not to say anything than the famously annoying "you can do it, you're almost there."
On that note, your "almost there" to the end of this post, LOL

Who are they?  They finished their race, and for some reason feel it is appropriate to get back on the course and run against you to either cheer or tell you that you're getting closer to the finish.  Because they think it is cool to let others know they finished, and before you, and now they are running even more???
Why is this annoying?  Duh... You had your race, why would you think it is appropriate to hop back on the course and run against the traffic?
The fix: Don't do it!  If you want to cheer, cheer on the sidelines!

Who are they?  Rude runners, who say rude comments or put others down.  This includes those who complain about the course or the officials or the volunteers.
If this is you: Quit your complaining, and never say rude comments to others.  Don't be a race bully. Be courteous, be kind!  Just like Cinderella would promote:)  It's also that thing they tried to teach you in kindergarten, but you ,may have forgotten.
Don't complain about the race or course, others are there to have a great time and have fun, they don't want to hear your whining.  If you must complain, save it after when you are back in your hotel room alone!
Never complain about the volunteers to the volunteers, they are volunteers if it wasn't for them, a race couldn't operate!  If you have an issue and something needs to be said, email the race director after, so they can fix things in the future.
What can you do?  If you hear others being rude, or putting others down, take a stand and stick up for it and stop it.  No one likes a bully, and others will take your side!
If you are around a complainer, the best way to deal with them is just to speed up and get away from them!

Although, those were the top responses I was given on this topic.  I would like to say, there are very few of these people out there, MOST RUNNERS ARE GREAT and AMAZING to run along with and meet, runners with KIND HEARTS who would never do anything intentionally to ruin someone else's race.

In the end, it just comes down to being KIND so that everyone can have their own most enjoyable race possible!

Have you witnessed rude sportsmanship before in a race?  Or have you seen something in races that you wish others would think twice before doing?

Or have you witnessed awesome things runners do on a race course that have made your race day?

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I knew the moment I saw the cover alone, I wanted to read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.  Then I read the synopsis and I had a feeling right then, it had potential to be one I would love.

I seriously couldn't put this one down, it grabbed my attention right from the start and I seriously loved it entirely.
In fact after I finished reading it, I went back to work at the library and told everyone in my opinion it's the new Hunger Games / Divergent.
I know, that is really saying a lot, but it is seriously that good.

Mare Barrow is a 17 year old girl who has grown up as a Red her entire life.  That means, her blood is red and she has grown up in The Stilts and will always be working in poverty and always under the Silvers control and is segregated against because of her blood color.

The Silvers, have silver blood.  They are like the God's, and along with that have their own kind of powers.  They rule over the Red's, they also make all the rules.

Mare Barrow, thought she knew her life was never going to change.  That was until the day she finds herself working in the Silver palace.  Then out of nowhere discovers she has a power of her own, a power that no Red is or should posses.  A power that could be greater than most Silvers, but also one that if found out could get her killed.

Thrust into a new life, that she is forced to hide deadly secrets, and pretend to be something she is not.  A secret that if found out, would surely be the end of her life as well as her families.

I know this review is probably not the most enticing, but I didn't want to accidentally ruin any of the plot twits with giving you too much information before you read it.  Nothing worst than reading a spoiler!

Red Queen, is power and destiny with plot twist after plot twist topped off with lots of lies, spies and betrayal.  Victoria Aveyard weaves an incredible story, with fabulous writing that if you find it to be anything like I did, you'll hardly be able to put this down!  I highly recommend this book!

FYI: I have read that the book was picked up by Universal and the movie rights have been bought.  It is in production, but no release date or other information is out on that yet.  YAY AWESOME!

Funny Questions Runners Ask

I belong to several online running pages, where runners ask questions seeking answers from other runners.  While most of them are interesting and deserve valid responses.
There are occasionally some really funny exceptions.
Sometimes runners ask some seriously crazy questions, and I will just say it also some very dumb questions.  At times I wondered if they should have drank a few more electrolytes after their run before asking them:)

With that said, for fun today I am going to throw out some questions that I have seen over the past year, odd, funny and give you my straight forward response.

Keep in mind, this is all supposed to be in fun.  Please take no offense if these questions have rolled through your brain before too:) Because knowing myself, I am sure I have asked some weird ones too.

I would like to mention, I have been saving this post for MONTHS, and I started working on it almost a year ago and just added to it as things came up.  I did this, so there was no way people would think I was talking about them in case the running pages I follow, also have runners who follow my blog:) I took these off Facebook entirely, not any blogs I follow or posts I have read.  After all, I do not want to intentionally hurt any one's feelings, it's all meant in fun! 

Q- The weather report lists rain for my race, I haven't been training in rain, how do you run in the rain?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; Same as you did when it was dry, but this time you get wet.

Q- I want to qualify for Boston in my next Marathon in 4 weeks.  I just ran a 4:49 marathon last weekend, what do I need to do to get down to 3:35 over the next month?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; Pray for a miracle, because unless the running God's have picked you as their next project, you have zero chance of accomplishing that in 4 weeks, maybe shoot for next year!

Q- This weekend the temps are going to be in the 90's for my race, what should I do during the race to stay hydrated?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; Umm drinking water usually helps:)

Q- Don't you all think that races should give a medal and podium finish to the last 3 to cross the finish line at a race?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; Um, No! I think you forget what the words "running a race" means.

Q- I just finished my 4th marathon, and each time I find it to be more and more difficult.  I know I don't train the best, and don't get in the long runs, but there has got to be a way to make these races easier.
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; I literally have no words for this one, *shaking my head* still don't!  I never understand why people want to do races, but don't want to do the training for them.

Q- I entered a race and I can't do it anymore.  The race says no bib transfers, but I don't want to be out the money I put into it, I am selling it for $$ who wants it?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; First of all, shame on the seller.  Second of all, shame on the person who bought it! Rules are rules, and races are cracking down.  They do check race forums, so I wouldn't be publicly selling bibs where runners and directors can so easily be reporting you.

Q- Is running a mostly uphill marathon hard on the legs?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; Not as hard as running a mostly downhill for 26.2!

Q- I want to run more races, but with race costs I am running out of enough money to do them.  Any tips on how to get free race entries?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; While some races do give free entries to Ambassadors and Pacers, generally they are not just handing out free entries, if they were we would all be after them.

Q- I just entered a race that has a 5:30 cut off time and I am worried I won't finish in time because I've never come under 6 hours before, any tips?  Should I email the race director and ask about an exception to the time?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; Not sure why someone would enter a race they knew they couldn't finish in the time frame in the first place.  But all emailing that race director will do, is give him or her a great laugh for the day.  Keeping a course open 30 min to 1 hour longer can cost a race director on average $1,000+ I am pretty sure that is one exception they will NOT make!

Q- How do I make a 5k or even a 10k run feel as easy like it looks on other runners?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; Training generally helps, LOL.  So does smiling when you run past other runners:)

Q- I have an injury in my hamstring, every time I run it gets worse and worse.  What can I do to make it stop hurting and heal, any tips?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; Stop running!  While this seems like a no brainer for most, I have to say I see a similar question to this at least once a month on the forums, so crazy how people just don't get the whole stop and let things heal bit!

Q- Help I am about to do my first marathon, I missed my 1 long run of 20 miles, and my marathon is in 6 days.  Should I run 20 tomorrow or would it be better to wait and do it the day before the race?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; First, what marathon training plan only calls for 1 long run? Second, I am thinking if this person thinks it's okay to run 20 miles the day before their first marathon, I could be wrong, but they probably need more help than any can give.  (One response did say, "sure run that 20 the day before, and let us know how that race goes for ya.") It's funny how they never come back and say how things went after, LOL

Q- The race I entered didn't give out finishers medals, do you think it would be bad if I had one designed for myself and had more made up for others who wanted to purchase one from me too?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; *shaking my head* If a medal is so important to a runner, then enter a race that hands them out (most do).  If not, it's probably not good race etiquette to create your own medal for a race, and it is even more NOT okay to sell them to others.

Q- I broke my foot the other day, and the doctor has me in a walking cast, told me no running. But I have a half I signed up for this weekend, what do you think should I do it?  Anyone else ever raced with a broken foot in a cast?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; Probably not, if they did they probably won't want to admit to it after.  A broken foot and 13.1 miles, ya that won't hurt it at all???

Q- I love running on the beach, but I get so tired so much faster than on the road, any ideas on what might be causing it?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; Do you ever just wonder what goes on in peoples minds, or in some cases what does NOT go on in peoples minds?

Q- I do all my long runs on Saturday's, but my race is on a Sunday.  I am worried my body will not be used to the day of the week change.  Any one else have problems with this, what did you end up doing that helped?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; If you're trained, a difference in day is only in your mind, your legs aren't going to care if its Sunday or Saturday.

Q- How does everyone here keep hitting a PR.  I've been running for years and never had a PR, what do you do to get it?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; While it isn't uncommon for someone to not know that PR stands for Personal Record, with that said, even if you've only run 1 race, that race was your PR.  I will say, this one was a fun one to read the comments they left in response.

Q- I just had my first baby last weekend, but I can't wait to get back to running again, do you think 2 weeks is too soon to sign up to run my first after baby half marathon?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; Um maybe just take it easy and enjoy being a new mother and let your doctor tell you when is or isn't too soon to start running again.

Q- I have been running with a fuel belt and it drives me crazy while I run, no matter what I do with it, it still annoys me.  What can I do with it to enjoy my runs better?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking;Taking it off, might help!

Q- I plan on entering a race that I will be mostly walking in.  The problem is, the one I want to do has a cut off time that doesn't allow for walkers.  What should I do?
What Myself and Others were likely thinking; Besides switching from walking to running it... Enter a different race that allows for walkers.

Click to Tweet: Funny things some #runners ask: http://ctt.ec/bsTcF+ @runwybridlplanr

While I am sure we have all had a few moments that weird questions or thoughts run through our minds.  One thing I always get from reading the funny questions people ask is; Always think something through before posting it publicly:)

We've all heard them or seen them.  What are some of the funniest questions you have heard runners ask?

Just Another Busy Week

I am a little off schedule this week.  Normally, I prefer to keep to a consistent blogging topic schedule, but with the GIVEAWAY hop that started Monday, I decided to save my weekly update post until today.

To give you a little update on the work injury flare up.  If you didn't hear, this one is pretty bad, almost more of a re-injury as for how it feels, but it's still related to the first that had never quite finished healing.

PROGRESS that is what I have been having with it, which has me still in good spirits.  The steroids they had me on, which I am finished taking.  Took a lot of the pain and swelling down.  The topical anti inflammatory medicine took the rest of the swelling down.
Yup, it's true.  It took about a week for it to all work, but I had virtually no swelling last week.

Additionally, there has been very little pain!
I am still in the boot, most of the day, and all night.  But I have been going a little less each day.
Once the swelling went down, my tendon loosened a little and gave me a little flexibility again.
Not much, but by mid week, I could walk in a normal sports shoe with only a 1 inch lift, as long as I kept the pace slow.
By the end of the week, I could put my foot flat on the ground barefoot, and stand and not feel like my tendon was tearing apart:)

I did a little slow walking each day, and PT started as I am working on building the stability muscles back up again.  My ankle is pretty weak, but it's been responding pretty well to the building exercises.
This coming week, I will be adding a little (minor) stretching into the PT routine.  I'd be lying if I wasn't a bit scared that this will bring the pain and inflammation back, but if I do this smartly and not really stretch as much as just feel a slight pull I should be okay.

I did play on the swings with the cute nephew and nieces though:)


I did take on a last minute event last week.  I don't know if I ever told you this before, but occasionally (3 times now) I get hired to decorate for a funeral.
I know, that sounds crazy.  But not all cultures embrace death with black and sorrow.
In the Tongan culture, the funeral brings everyone together to celebrate the deceased life. Sometimes party's are thrown, to support one another to celebrate with memories and joy.  In addition, the casket area is decorated with a pillar design and flowers and greenery, and items that reflect their culture.
So yes, I decorate the backdrop area that the casket will sit.  But before you get all creeped out, it's not that bad.  I arrive and do all my part before the casket arrives, and I return once it has been removed and taken to the grave site.

It's also the only time, I accept a rush request and waive my added "rush" fee.  But then again, when I do these, I generally do them mostly myself with only 1-2 others.
Because of my foot issues, I brought 2 others.  I have to thank my parents for that, they were awesome and came and helped this time.


My sister and her husband, who I am fairly certain don't even read my blog:) Kicked some but in a triathlon this weekend.  My sister took 1st in her age, PR'd over last year, and even took 12th place overall the other men and woman competitors!
Her husband, took 2nd in his division.
My Sis, has been through a lot this year.  She had a neck operation and in the process a dye they had to inject for an CT Scan was accidentally shot through a vein, which paralyzed one of her arms and she had to go through months of OT to gain use of it again.
In addition, she always battles with her allergy, yes she is actually allergic to exercise.  Not that she has ever let it stop her.  In fact, she just slowly pushes herself more and more, because she can, she loves it, and she isn't going to let anything keep her down!
Pretty amazing gal, so I am very proud of her and her accomplishment this weekend!


We had some fun family fun, it was a week filled with lot's of family birthdays.  So lots of fun parties with all my nieces and nephews.  I just have the cutest ones ever.

The kids were doing potato-sack races, and the horses all ran up at once from across the field to check out all the fun and laughter going on.  They just sat watching them over the fence the whole time, it was so cute.  (I love horses, I wish I could have my own:)


This week has reminded me, that life is always going to be filled with obstacles.  Things may or may not always go our way.  But we decide how we are going to handle it, and how it is going to affect us.  We may not be able to control what happens, but we can definitely control how we get passed it, and which voice and thoughts we are going to use in doing so!


Last, I am finally getting around to SHOPPING for a new comment system.  I loved Intense Debate, but when it wouldn't work with blogger mobile versions I had no choice but to drop it.
I do not want to stay on the blogger comment system, I don't like not having all the control options.

I also want a system that not only allows me to respond online, but at the same time returns a response to the visitor who commented and engages conversation more.
If you are on blogger I would love to hear which comment systems you prefer.
I am leaning towards Disqus, it seems to be one of the most popular blogging comment systems, not necessarily in the healthy living blogs, but overall.  It works with blogger well I hear, and if you switch you don't loose all your previous comments.  (Which is what happened to me when I removed Intense Debate.)

If you have an opinion on comment systems, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

Hope you all had a great past week everyone!  Tell me something you have going on right now.
How do you like to treat obstacles thrown your way? 

Devils Garden Hike

This week for Travel Tuesday I am going to take you on another adventure up in Arches National Park, Utah.  This is the Devils Garden Primitive Loop Trail.

This trail is about 7.2 miles, although depending on how many or how few of the points of interest you take it could be slightly longer or a bit shorter.
I recommend if it's your first time, doing the entire loop!

Click to Tweet: Today is #TravelTuesday come and check out this awesome #hike in #utah #archesnationalpark http://ctt.ec/b3o0E+

This trail will take you to 8 beautiful arches.
The first arch you will see is Landscape Arch, which if you want to catch my post on it you can HERE.  That first portion is a very well maintained trail, very little to no difficulties.

Once you get beyond Landscape Arch, the trail does get a little more difficult.  You will be doing some slickrock climbing on the sandstone rock.  This next picture, are the rock fins you will begin your climb up, to get up onto the next portion of the trail.

If you are unfamiliar with hiking in the desert, because rock doesn't always show signs of a trail.  Just watch for the stacks of rocks, those will keep you on track and show you where to go.

If you are afraid of heights, you may find some difficulties with this hike.  As their are a few spots where you will be walking along edges with drop offs on both sides of you.  As well as climbing up and down slickrock along edges with long drop offs, further down the trail.

However, with that said I hiked this as a young child.  If you are a parent or guardian who is okay with lifting and directing kids or carrying them down some cliff spots at times.  Especially if your kids are well behaved and used to hiking.  You can definitely take the whole family on this if you'd like.
If you don't think your kids are ready for it yet, save it for them when they get older!

You will definitely want a good pair of shoes.  There are a few very narrow area's, with ledges that can get very sandy at times and good sturdy hiking shoes are best!

There is very little shade on this trail.  I did this hike this year in 100 degree heat in the middle of the summer.  It was hot, but still fine because I carried plenty of water with me.
If you don't like hiking in the heat, I would recommend this as a spring or fall hike.
However, because in the winter with snow and ice, with the ledges and cliffs this may not be the best hike to take during icy times.

There is a point on the hike where you will come to a large bowl of water (usually there is water in it.)  It's just drainage from when it rains, and the rock holds the water in.  I'd say about 10-15 feet across on way and about 8ish feet across between the sandstone surrounding cliffs.
It's not deep you can wade across it.

Or, you can walk along the edge along the sandstone.  However, if a lot of people are on it, it can get muddy and sandy and be tricky, the worst you will just fall into the pool of water:)
Last, if you can climb a little you can take a running (well that's what I did) jump and run up a bit of the cliff reaching into the cracks as you slow and climb.  It's about a 25 foot climb, and I said take a running start just because the momentum helps you.  If you have good shoes, its a pretty easy climb I was up it in no time.  But if in bad shoes, like I saw others the day I did it, well lets just say you might just slide back down and not have the traction needed to make it up!
No matter which you choose, don't let the small pool of water discourage you from getting past!

It's a beautiful trail, lots to see and enjoy!  If you are ever in the park, I highly recommend this hike it is worth it!

Have you taken the Devils Garden Primitive Trail before?  Did you enjoy it?
If not, is this something you are going to add to your list of things to do if you visit Arches in Utah?

Fall Into Fitness Giveaway Hop

Welcome!  If you're stopping by my blog today, you are on the first stop to entering 14 awesome fitness related giveaways.
I really enjoy hosting these giveaway hops, there are always so many amazing bloggers participating with us.  Special thanks to my Co-Host HoHoRuns!

My giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY

What is a giveaway hop?  
At the end of this post, you'll find a list of other blogger names.  After you enter my giveaway, click on the next name on the list and visit their giveaway.
Each blog you visit, has the list posted at the bottom.  We make it easy to visit and quickly enter lots and lots of great giveaways, and give you a chance to come across some amazing blogs you might not have otherwise.

Click to Tweet: Giveaway Hops are a fun way to come across new blogs, and win awesome stuff! http://ctt.ec/qYSXB+ @runwybridlplanr #networking #giveaway

Love the new blog you stopped by to visit during the hop? Make sure to add them to your blog watch list so you can stop by and check out their future posts.

Okay, so now down to what you stopped by for today.  It's early Fall, and with Fall brings lots and lots of different sports and things to do. If you are a runner like me, it's also known as Marathon season:)

So I figured what better way, than to just give you a gift card and let you decide yourself what new workout equipment or supplies you need.  I also wanted it to be something almost anyone visiting my blog might be able to use.

So, since you can get almost anything on Amazon, I am giving away to 1 lucky winner a $25 gift card to Amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/.

How can you enter?

It's very simple.  Just below this you'll see a Rafflecopter form.  Pick your favorite option to enter.
You can enter once, or there are a couple of other ways to earn additional entries.  It's that simple!

Giveaway runs between September 14th and through midnight on September 20th.  You must be 18 or older to enter, and have a valid email address.  Winner will be posted on this blog post by September 22nd, and will be notified via the email provided.  Winner has 48 hours to respond, if no response winner forfeits winnings and another winner may be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now, hop on over to the next blog on the hop, and then the next...  Below if they say INT they are open to international entrants, U.S. are for United States residents only.

Click to Tweet: I just entered to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card, you should come enter too. http://ctt.ec/5CLZ6+ Thanks @runwybridlplanr #Giveaway

Enter as many awesome giveaways as you have time for between now and September 20th.  Feel free to share the all the giveaway's with your friends too!

Blogging Goals & Updates

I actually have been wanting to do this for a while, share my blogging goals and some totals with you.  Truthfully I didn't get the idea from myself, I saw Courtney over at Eat Pray Run DC doing it.  I don't like to copy other bloggers, but I really liked her idea of sharing.  She actually said she is okay with me kind of copying to share the numbers too.  I just wanted to put that out there:)

August was actually my worst monthly blogging stats (page views) in two years. Which was not surprising since I have cut down on posts and actually had my fewest posts month in a long time too.

Income earned: $203.52 for social media ad campaigns.  I didn't do any blog campaigns this month, I took summer off for these since I couldn't spend the time.

Twitter: I finally broke the 6,000 Twitter follower mark, I thought that was a cool milestone as I wasn't even working on growing in last month.

Instagram: Has turned into my hardest area to grow in, and what I am finding is the most important right now for advertisers.  About mid month I started working on it, and I finally hit 1,300.


Instagram: I am trying really hard to get this to grow and I am working on a few projects to help in this.  My goal is to hit 1,600 followers by month end.

Twitter: since it's growing at a slow but steady pace on its own I am going to put a little effort into it, and see if I can't hit 6,500 by month end.

I would like to have an ad campaign goal of $150.  I haven't been working on any blog campaigns, so I don't want to set goals for those because obviously they take time to organize.

I hope to make this a first Monday of the month routine and share my goals vs. my actual each month going forward.  Especially if my followers who are also bloggers find this kind of stuff interesting.


WORK INJURY - 2 years 8 months and fingers crossed not much more, but knowing me it might be!  If you are interested in reading about how this all started years ago, you can HERE. I don't want to keep going into the details and bore those of you who have been hearing about it for so long.

I am going to give a quick synopsis of what has recently been going on, and why I am more than a little bummed lately.

* About 2 weeks ago, something happened and it led to the point where I couldn't even walk. (No idea what brought on the onset of this flare up.  But lets just say the pain was close to or maybe worse than it was when the original injury was at its worst.  It brought me to tears, the pain was so intense.

* I could walk in a 3 inch heel, a little.  But I couldn't even put my foot flat on the ground without feeling like my Achilles was tearing apart.  If I took a step my foot/leg would give out from the pai and I would almost fall, because it was so much pain.

* A week ago Tuesday I visited a new Doctor, only a new one because the one I usually go to had a two month waiting list, and I wanted help now asap.  (I did my research and found a good one, who is also a runner.)

* We did an X-ray and Ultra Sound, which I assumed wouldn't show anything.  All they showed was a perfectly healthy tendon, at least as far as no serious damage.
Despite the fact that my ankle at the time was swollen double in size, you just gotta love life and how it works sometimes:)

* He ordered me to go get an MRI, he also thinks both my calves are really super tight right now, like crazy tight (I agree).  After going over my past medical history, he agree's there are really only 2 options.
One is surgery to cut the tendon to give it a little help to stretch out.  The other is a pretty invasive PT set of sessions that will eventually over time stretch out my tendon and calf.  But there is high risk to both of those.  (The PT could actually rupture the tendon completely if anything goes wrong.)

* He also prescribed me a highly effective steroid, and some anti inflammatory creams that absorb right through the skin. (Which let's just say worked so well, I noticed results only after the first 24 hours.)

* I was put back in the boot for nights, and most of the day for at least 2 weeks.

* The rest of last week went pretty good.  I followed Dr. orders, and followed a few of my own gut instincts.  To skip the heal/not healed part.
Let's just say, as of today things are fairly good, similar to what I hoped.  The swelling has gone down considerably, there is very little left.
The pain, has subsided for the most part.
My tendon is still quite tight, but it actually has a little give in it, I can walk carefully and slowly in 1-2 inch heel lift shoes.
Although I don't dare walk too much, I can at least get around now.  I am beyond terrified of hurting it more right now, so I am being even more cautious than normal.

I went ahead and cancelled the MRI and my Dr. Appt for today.  I think it would be a waste of money.  I am going to let things continue to heal, and then I will begin the original PT program I have already been through.
Once I can walk again, and the tendon is strengthened, which if my guess will be correct I should know in about 3-4 weeks how that all goes. I will meet with the specialist again in a few weeks, unless things take a turn for the worse.
At that time, I am going to proceed with the risky but non surgical option first, which is a very invasive PT program.
Then we shall see what happens.

I have no idea what the rest of the year has for me.  Cardio is mostly out right now at least for the near future, as walking/swimming/bike hurt things too much to do.  So I am really going to have to be diligent and careful with eating, so I don't gain even more weight than I already have.


Truthfully, the hardest part of all of this is one thing.  Previously to all this, training had been going good.  I even had that 23 mile step day and I actually had started believing my body was ready for marathon training.  I even got so excited I even went online and picked out two races, to consider, one I was leaning toward for late November of this year, the other was early December.  I actually got my heart actually believing one was going to happen, boy it hurt to know it's now completely out of the question.
It was one thing 2 years ago to have to cancel the 19 marathons I had planned when I got the original work injury.  But for some reason, this hurt even worse because I have gone so long, and had come so far only to go right back to what feels like square one.  Sometimes my life can be extremely frustrating, to say the least!

I wish I had some fun stuff to report, but lets face it when you can't walk much, you can't really do much.

I tried SWIMMING a week ago Monday, but my foot is so bad that just the pressure of the water as I kicked was so intense on the foot I couldn't stand more than a few seconds of it, so I stopped.

I got really bored not being able to get out and do anything.  So ya I colored my hair tips purple, LOL
Then of course, who could stop there, and I colored a front section as well.
It was all supposed to be temporary and wash out after a few days to a week, but so far it doesn't seem to be haha..  That's okay, I have always wanted purple/brown hair layers and ya now I have them.  I am going to enjoy it while it lasts, I mean it' only hair right:)
Don't laugh, I really like the purple, even at it's most dramatic, apparently purple is one of those colors in my skin pallet that go fairly well together, LOL LOL LOL

I have had a few woe is me moments this week.  But by mid week, I realized everything comes down to attitude so I can't let this set back get me either.  So all things considered, I know I will get past all of this eventually.
I may continue to get frustrated, I am only human.  But I am re evaluating my goals, and although I am not giving up on them.  I am pushing a few to the back burner and I am going to make new ones.
I'm also refocusing a few things in my life, planning a few things out and creating lists to get through some well needed projects that need taken care of.
Hopefully, this will help keep my mind positive and focused on other things instead of dwelling on the what sometimes feels like the never ending work injury.

If you haven't already, and you want to join us, you have a few days left to link up with us for the next giveaway hop HERE.