Racing Through The Rest of 2015

Hi everyone!  This week I’ve been busy doing my favorite thing ever:  signing up for races.  You all know what I mean, right?  You get the excitement of looking for fun races and can do it all without even having to put on your running shoes  :)  In fact, I wrote a post about it last summer and it definitely still rings true today (also, how cute is it that I was trying to decided if I should do Zion in that post?  That was the best race trip ever!).

RunAllTheRacesSeriously, this will never change.

Anyways, I realized recently that I haven’t even shared the news of my next big run on here, even though I’ve been hinting about it in blog posts and all over Instagram!  A few weeks ago, I made a rash decision to get out of Alaska one last time before winter sets in.  I’d heard from a few of my coworkers that Hood River, OR is gorgeous in the fall, and then I found out that they had a half marathon there.  Gorgeous views, fall leaves, and a new state to check off my list?  It didn’t take me much time to decide to sign up, especially when I found the flight deal of a lifetime!  So in less than 3 weeks, I’ll be running the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon!  I’ve been training with my coworker who is also running the race with me for the last few weeks, and we had an awesome 9 miler last weekend.  I may not be speedy, but I feel like we’ll be ready for race day even though this is all happening last minute.  Today I booked our accommodations and did some research into stuff to do while we’re down there, and I’m getting really excited.  Most of my itinerary revolves around Chipotle and donuts.  And yes, I’m aware that I’m doing a whole eating challenge.  But it’s not like I can get Voodoo Donuts every day, you know?  If you have suggestions on things to do in Portland and in the Columbia Gorge, let me know!

cm half

As I was doing some research on my trip to Portland, I realized that there’s another big trip coming up – my trip home to Philly for Christmas!  I’m looking forward to hanging out with my family and in-laws the whole time, but I also need to do some running while I’m there.  And there’s no better way to get those miles done than in races, right?  I’ll be home for 2 weeks and I found the following races that I’m 99% likely to be running while I’m home:

  • Kris Kringle 5 miler – I’ve run this twice and loved it both times, and it’s right in my hometown.  The post-race food situation is crazy with all sorts of real food items like pizza and Godiva chocolate, and that alone is worth the race fee!
  • Peepsfest 5k – This race has been on my bucket list for years, but since it’s during the day on NYE it’s kind of hard to make it happen.  This year we don’t have any New Years plans yet, so I’m hoping I can finally run it!  The race is in Bethlehem which is where Peeps are made, so you get free Peeps at this race!
  • Surfin’ Snowman 5 miler – This race is in Bethany Beach, DE.  I’ve already crossed Delaware off my list but I know I’ll be down there shopping at the outlets anyways so I might as well get another race done!  Plus it’s a late afternoon race and you run on the boardwalk.  Can’t say no to that!

And between my trips to Portland and Philly I’ve got a few more races to run here in Anchorage as well!  I’m running both the Frightening 4k on Halloween and the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis 5k with a group of my coworkers, and I’m also running the Turkey Trot because it’s not Thanksgiving without a 5k!  I really like that I have one big race in a few weeks and then a bunch of fun, short runs to finish out the rest of my year.  I want to make sure that I keep running fun in the winter, so I’m looking forward to a lot of costumes, fun routes, and new running buddies!

How do you choose which races you want to run?  What does your fall and winter race schedule look like?  Will you be running any of those races on the East Coast?  I’d love to run with some fellow bloggers while I’m back home!

Whole Life Challenge: Week 2 Recap

Hi everyone!  It’s Monday again, and it’s the perfect time to recap my latest week of the Whole Life Challenge!  I can officially say that I’ve gone 2 whole weeks without any added sugar in anything I ate!  Plus no dairy, bread, pasta, and ingredients that I can’t pronounce.  And it has been getting easier each day!


This week, I could see a serious difference in my routine.  I was more comfortable spending time in the kitchen, especially in the mornings.  I realized that eating a large breakfast meant that I wouldn’t get hungry for hours, even with my busy mornings teaching.  For lunches I had leftovers, and we even tried a few more new things for dinner!  I learned that the excitement of trying something new had me looking forward to eating instead of thinking of all the things I couldn’t have (although to be honest, I was craving pizza really bad by the end of the week!).  For food, I used some simple recipes, some recipes from last week, and a few new ones too.  This week I actually took pictures of my food before I devoured it!  We made sure to have at least one veggie with each dinner and fruit with each breakfast.  The new and healthy recipes are:


Oatmeal Cake – This is the easiest recipe ever, and it’s soooo good!  It’s like a super moist oatmeal cake made with only 3 healthy ingredients.  It’s probably my favorite recipe so far and was so filling!


Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies – My coworker suggested this recipe as a quick, filling, grab-and-go breakfast option.  It’s basically the same recipe as the Oatmeal Cake, but with a few more ingredients and a more solid form.  They were a lifesaver after my long run this weekend so I highly recommend them!



Spaghetti Squash – I used this recipe to make the spaghetti and then used sugar free canned tomato sauce and compliant italian sausage on top.  Soooo good!

Tacos – I usually use tortillas, packets of seasoning, and lots of cheese.  This time I used lettuce, homemade seasoning, and just beans and rice.  These were so much healthier and tasted so much better!  My husband was totally blown away and asked why we’ve been using the packet seasonings for so long!


“Pizza” – I’m really craving pizza, so we tried to make our own.  I really liked the crust, and bought the pizza sauce at the store and just topped it with sausage.  When I make this after the challenge I’ll probably add a little cheese, but it was pretty yummy without it!



Chocolate Peanut Butter “Ice Cream” – I would never have believed it before this week, but it turns out that frozen bananas + a blender = soft serve ice cream!  Chocolate peanut butter is my favorite ice cream flavor so this was perfect – so rich and sweet without any added sugar!


This week the food wasn’t the biggest focus for me – it was the workouts!  I recently joined the biggest gym in Alaska, and have been trying out classes all week.  I always get nervous trying new classes, but I started out easy this week with spin and Barre Fit (which kicked my butt!).  I also did two short runs and not only was I faster than usual, I had so much more endurance!  I love that I’m feeling stronger out there.  For this week’s long run, I did 9 miles with my coworker and I was really conflicted about how to fuel for it.  I tried the past two weeks to use Larabars as fuel, but my body just wasn’t able to handle it.  After doing lots of research and talking to some whole food runners, I determined that my body needs the sugar from my Sport Beans and won’t be able to adjust to whole foods mid-run in time for my next half marathon in 3 weeks.  So I used them on Sunday, and I had so much more energy than last week!  They were just what I needed and I was able to finish strong.

I’ve been doing lots of research into running on a paleo diet because my diet on the WLC is pretty close to that – except for the oatmeal, rice, beans, and peanuts, which I really appreciate for fueling!  It turns out that many sources, including this Runner’s World article, suggest eating slightly off-paleo on long run days because our bodies need a bit more carbs and sugar after that much effort.  It’s been making me think about what I want to get out of this challenge and how I want to eat in 6 weeks when the challenge is over.  I’m thinking that after the challenge I’m going to be very conscious about all the ingredients in everything I eat, but I might allow some sugar and carbs back into my life, especially on long run and race days when my body needs the extra help.  For now, I’m going to focus on making it through the next 6 weeks feeling great and eating as compliant as possible in order to stay healthy during training.

running fuel

This week’s lifestyle challenge is to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.  I’m actually pretty good at this, so I gave myself an extra challenge to go tech-free for 15 minutes before bed.  This means I can read, stretch, or meditate before falling asleep.  It sounds so much more relaxing than scrolling through Facebook!

Do you eat paleo and run?  How do you fuel mid and post run, and how long did it take your body to adjust to it?  What new recipes did you try this week?

Why Rainy Runs Are Secretly Awesome

Hi everyone!  Today’s post comes to you courtesy of my post work run on Monday.  See, on Monday it was raining…again.  Just like it was on my long run on Saturday.  And as I drove home from work and told my husband I was going to go out for a quick run before dinner, he said what most people would probably say in this situation – “You’re going to run in the rain?”.  Of course, I could head over to the gym and run there.  Or I could just skip my run and lay around wishing I was out running.  But instead, I laced up my shoes and threw on my rain jacket for a 3 miler along the coastal trail.

IMG_6712Rain in Anchorage = awesome low clouds below the mountains

As I ran down the trail I saw some friends from my running group, passed a bunch of adorable puppies out for a walk, and successfully avoided all moose.  And I did it all while it was pouring!  I was far from the only person out there, and it seemed like most people didn’t even mind the rain.  And it made me wonder about why runners are so willing to skip running when it’s rainy out – because honestly, it’s secretly awesome!  If you’ve never tried it, here’s what you’re missing:

  • First of all, you’re probably going to get wet and sweaty while running anyways.  Why not just get wet sooner to get it over with?
  • The hardest part is getting out the door.  Once you’re a few minutes into the run you’ll want to keep on going.
  • You get to be “that crazy runner” who’s out there in the rain, getting those miles done no matter what.
  • Rain helps keep your body temperature down, so you feel more comfortable when it’s hot out.
  • You don’t have to worry about getting off track on your training plan just because of weather.
  • Chances are, you’re eventually going to have a rainy race day.  Now you’ll be prepared and know how to dress to avoid any race day mishaps.  In fact, my current half marathon PR happened in the pouring rain!
  • You totally earn that post-run hot shower.
  • If you’re a road runner, your shoes will get a little shower too!
  • And if you’re a trail runner, you’ll get nice and muddy, which totally adds to the character of your trail shoes.
  • It’s really, really fun to splash through puddles like a little kid!


If you’re not a fan of rainy running, you might just need the right gear!  I always wear a rain jacket – even though I usually end up getting wet and sweaty underneath anyways, it’s nice to have a barrier against wind so I don’t get too cold.  If you’re not a fan of rain jackets, just make sure to wear something that won’t chafe when you get wet.  Body Glide is the best for preventing this!  I also make sure to wear absolutely no cotton anything (which is a great rule anyways with running).  It’s easy to overlook socks, but you definitely need some non-cotton socks if your feet are going to get soaked.  And make sure to keep your phone and any other non-waterproof electronics in plastic baggies to keep them safe!  If you’ve never tried it before, I challenge you to run outside on your next rainy day!

running in the rain

Do you like running in the rain?  What tips do you have for people who have never tried it before?

Whole Life Challenge: Week 1 Recap

Hi everyone!  I’m super excited about today’s post, because I have  A LOT to talk about!  Week 1 of the Whole Life Challenge is complete and I feel like a totally different person than I was a week ago.  For those of you wonder what on earth I’m talking about, I decided to do an 8 week healthy lifestyle challenge (more details here) and last week I spent a lot of time prepping mentally and physically for life without cheese, milk, bread, pasta, and sugar.  My first two days on the challenge were rough (catch up on how they went here), but things have been going so well since then!


The biggest change is how much I’ve been cooking!  When you’re eating only whole foods, almost everything needs to be made from scratch.  While this can get annoying at times (like when you’re starving AND JUST WANT A PIZZA), it’s actually not as bad as I thought it would be.  My husband and I have been splitting up each meal – one of us preps the meat portion while the other preps the sides.  It makes things go really quickly and I’ve been learning lots of new cooking techniques.  I think my favorite thing so far was spaghetti squash – it’s so much easier than I thought, and I swear it’s exactly like real pasta!  I never cook and I’m the worst at trying new things, so this has helped me get out of my boring food rut.  That being said, I’ve been sticking to some main staples that I know and trust – like banana to sweeten things at breakfast and new chicken dishes for dinner.  I’ve been searching blogs for paleo recipes and just cutting out all of the honey and maple sugar because I can’t eat those.  I’ve also been making sure that at least half of my plate is made up of veggies at each meal – even breakfast!  I plan on sharing the new recipes I try each week with all of you in case you want to try something healthy and new!  Here’s a list of some of my favorite recipes from this week:


5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats – These were awesome and very sweet just from the bananas!

Applesauce Overnight Oatmeal – I ended up heating these up in the morning.  Pretty yummy and fueled me for my long run!

Paleo Pancakes – Oh my god guys.  These were AMAZING!  I almost fell over when I tried them.  I swear to you, they don’t need any syrup and they’re still super sweet and filling.  These are happening every weekend from now on!


Almost 5 ingredient Spaghetti Pizza Pie – This was absolutely amazing!  It was my first time cutting and cooking a spaghetti squash so I was really worried, but it turned out great!  I might eat this once a week!

Simple Sausage Butternut Squash Soup – I made this without the bacon because I can’t find sugar free bacon anywhere here  :(  But it was still really delicious!

Chicken Basil Meatloaf – We also couldn’t find ground chicken, so we made this with turkey instead.  It was awesome with some avocado on top and some spinach on the side!

Crispy Chicken Dippers – This was my favorite dinner so far!  These are better than real chicken fingers and were so easy to make!

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries – I’m a big sweet potato fan so I love that I can use these to carb load the night before my long runs.  Mine never get crispy, so I need to work on that!

best people quote

One thing I was really afraid of was the sugar withdrawal, but honestly it has not been too bad.  I think Sunday and Monday were the worst for me, but since then I’ve been feeling so much better than I usually do.  I don’t feel that typical mid-afternoon crash that I used to get (and used to “fix” with candy), and I actually stopped drinking coffee during the week!  I have also learned to enjoy black coffee and doubt I’ll go back to sugary coffee unless it’s a special occasion.  I’m honestly so happy to be off added sugar, especially since my husband and I watched Fed Up, which is available on Netflix streaming.  It was really eye opening and made me realize just how much sugar is in everything we eat.  I’m thinking I’ll stay as close to sugar free as possible after the WLC ends!  But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up sweets.  In fact, this week I found quite a few recipes that were really yummy and sweet – and all using fruit as the only sweetener!  I won’t be eating a ton of these every day since they’re high in natural sugar, but if I’m truly preparing for a healthier lifestyle after the challenge I’m going to need some delicious desserts in my life.  I highly recommend you try these out, even if you’re not doing the challenge – they’re healthy and delicious!

2 Minute Baked Brownie Balls – these were my first WLC compliant desserts, and OH MY GOD.  So good.  If you didn’t tell me these were made without sugar I’d have no idea!

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites – I made these last night, and they’re delish!  They remind me of the Peanut Butter Cookie Larabars, but with cocoa powder.  Once again, they taste like they have tons of added sugar but they don’t!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Milkshake – This literally tasted like a milkshake.  I was in shock!  I might never have a real milkshake again because this was so much better than the ones made with ice cream and I didn’t want to die after eating the whole thing!

sugar quote

Other than food, I had my work cut out for me this week with meditation.  That’s still a work in progress, but I think it’s a practice that I’ll keep up on a regular basis.  I’m also doing well with my Vitamin D supplements (I’m super deficient), water intake, and stretching and exercising daily.  And believe it or not, I’ve already lost 4 pounds!  I think it’s from cutting out processed foods and all that sodium and bloat, but I’ll take it!  I’m also feeling better than I’ve felt in a while, and never feel gross or tired after a meal.

Next week, my goal is to get better at having food prepped before I even need it.  This week there were a few times where it was time to eat but I didn’t have anything prepped, so I got a little hangry.  I’m also hoping to have some easier breakfast options because right now I’m really missing cereal.  I’ve got a few new recipes that I’m going to try this week, and I’m hoping to have tons of leftovers for easy lunches at work!  I’m still looking for some awesome recipe suggestions, so if you have a favorite paleo blog/website let me know!

Have you ever tried to give up sugar?  What food item would you miss most if you were eating clean?  If it’s pizza, you may be my new BFF  :)

Friday Five: Five Favorite Fall Activities

Hi everyone!  Happy first Friday of fall!  In case you’ve missed all my Instagram pictures this week, it’s peak leaf time right now in Anchorage and I can’t get enough of it.  The leaves only turn yellow here, which is kind of fascinating to me given that I grew up on the East Coast where leaves are lots of different colors.  I’ve spent some time outside every day this week just taking it all in because it’s so beautiful.  And so when I saw that today’s Friday Five Linkup with Courtney, Cynthia, and Mar was themed “Five Favorite Fall Activities” I was so excited!  Fall is my favorite time of year and I’ve got so many things I look forward to doing every year:


1. Running:  Of course this is #1!  Fall running brings cooler temps, gorgeous views, and crunchy leaves on the trails.  Plus it’s the last snow and ice free time to run and race outside and I can’t get enough of it before winter comes.  Here’s some views from my run on Thursday night:


IMG_6703The Coastal Trail is the best for awesome fall views of mountains and downtown Anchorage!

2. Hiking:  Our mountains get snowy pretty quickly, but there’s so many trails at sea level that we can do before needing studded shoes!  My favorites include Eklutna Lake and Kincaid Park.

IMG_6630Eklutna Lake was looking awesome with some new snow on the mountains last weekend!

IMG_6680Sunset in Kincaid Park – you can see Mt. Susitna in the background and you can even spot a plane coming in for a landing!

IMG_6690A moose we met in Kincaid on Wednesday!

3.  Eating all the pumpkin things:  Yeah, so on the WLC I can’t have any added sugar.  But I’ve been trying really hard to sneak some pumpkin flavored things into my meals that are sugar, dairy, and gluten free!  This week I made a pumpkin pie smoothie and pumpkin muffins, both using bananas as a natural sweetener.  They weren’t too bad, but I do miss my sugar – pumpkin is not a sugary fruit at all!

IMG_6601Oh PSLs, I miss you  <3

4.  Planning a Halloween costume:  Last year I was so focused on trying to move into our new place that Halloween totally got pushed to the side.  I did, however, come up with a terrifying costume  :)  This year I’m hoping to have more time to plan out something great – and plan an additional costume to wear while running the Frightening 4k too!

IMG_3359Throwback to last year’s terrifying costume:  A moose that chases runners!

5.  Getting cozy:  This is the time of year where I can start wearing boots and sweatshirts, curling up on the sofa with a book and a giant blanket, and making lots of soups and crockpot meals to warm me up.  Oh, and there are lots of pumpkin candles to burn.  I’m excited for the drop in temperatures and all the fun that goes with it!


What are your favorite fall activities?  Is it looking and feeling like fall where you live yet?

Let the Whole Life Challenge Begin!

Hi everyone!  You may remember this post I wrote a few weeks ago about the Whole Life Challenge, an 8 week healthy lifestyle challenge that incorporates healthy eating, exercising, water and supplement consumption, stretching, and completing a new lifestyle challenge each week.  If you want more details, go here!  I decided to do it because I’m terrible at eating healthy, stretching every day, drinking enough water, and taking my vitamin D!  I knew I needed more than just a few simple food swaps to make a difference in my crappy diet, so I decided to go all in and sign up for the challenge.  I’m doing the “Lifestyle” level, which is the middle level of food – it’s not too restrictive (not like Whole30 or anything) but is still going to be a big challenge for me.  For a list of foods I can eat, go here.  It started on Saturday, and I already am noticing a few things in my first few days:


I’m tired and I have a headache. This actually might be my new state for the next week as I detox my body from sugar – I’m actually going through withdrawal. I’ve been dreading this part of the challenge ever since I signed up, and I’m still scared of what the next few days has in store for me.

Long runs are going to feel a lot different on the WLC.  I started the challenge on Saturday morning, which was the exact same time that I was scheduled to do a long run with my coworker (who is also doing the challenge with me).  It was ROUGH.  First of all, my pre-run cinnamon oatmeal is super gross without brown sugar, so I made a last minute breakfast change to a banana bread Larabar.  I ate half, then cut up the rest into tiny pieces to eat during our 7ish mile long run instead of my usual Sport Beans.  I was starving right away, and noticed that while the Larabars were super yummy, the nuts made them hard to chew quickly and I couldn’t really notice a boost in energy even though they include tons of natural sugar from the dates.  I’m hoping to experiment with different foods over the next few weeks until I find something that will work for me.

IMG_6615Getting ready for the first long run of the WLC

Food commercials suck.  I need to get better at controlling my drooling during Pizza Hut commercials.  I don’t even like Pizza Hut!  But that cheese though…

Costco is amazing!  I went there on Saturday and found so many awesome bulk food items that I can eat – chicken, sausage, veggies, fruits, coconut flour, seeds, nuts, and eggs.  Our refrigerator is packed full of lots of fresh, yummy stuff.  My favorite item so far is the giant container of Fresh Food Concepts Organic Hummus.  It’s sooooo good with carrots!


Coffee might not be as bad as I thought.  Yeah, PSLs are out of the running for the next 2 months, but it turns out that a little bit of coconut milk (from the can) isn’t too bad in my coffee.  My goal is to eventually be able to drink it black, but we’re taking baby steps here.

You really need to plan out your meals in advance.  I knew I had to do this, but somehow this challenge snuck up on me (maybe because I spent half of last week super sick and recovering from the Klondike Road Relay?) and we were crunched for prep time this weekend.  I thought my husband was going to have a meltdown trying to plan and prep for Sunday night’s dinner (which was italian chicken, cauliflower “mashed potatoes”, and crunchy green beans – so good!).  We’ve got a plan for the rest of the week and hopefully we won’t have any more food meltdowns for a while.


Week one’s lifestyle challenge is meditating for 10 minutes each day, which is interesting because I’ve never tried it before!  During the first week of the WLC I hope to break through this crappy sugar withdrawal phase, learn to meditate, and not get too stressed about cooking.  I’m also hoping to find a pumpkin recipe that I can eat, so send those over here if you have one!

Have you ever done the Whole Life Challenge?  Do you know any recipes that I can make using these foods?  Any tips for meditation?

The Best Kind of Mail: Bulu Box Review

Hi everyone!  I’m coming to you with an extra special  weekend post today.  In case you forgot, I live in Alaska.  I’m thousands of miles away from the closest state, and it’s hard to get new things up here sometimes – especially things that are healthy.  And once they do get here, they’re super expensive to buy and I don’t really know if I want to drop lots of money on them before I know that they’re worth it.  What’s an Alaskan girl to do?


Last month I learned about Bulu Box, a monthly subscription box that delivers samples of new, healthy items to your door for only $10!  They sent me a free box to try it out and report back to all of you.  Here’s a short excerpt from their website:

“Bulu Box is the first health, nutrition and weight loss discovery box designed to help you feel your best. Each month, you’ll get a custom box filled with a new mix of 4 to 5 premium samples from top brands to try. Every sample is sufficient enough to decide if the product is right for you. Of course, shipping is always free and you can cancel anytime. Share your thoughts about each product in our sample surveys and you can earn 50+ Rewards Points (that’s $5!) each month! Use your points to purchase your new favorites in full size at!”

I was really excited to get my box and see what was inside!  I received the following items:


  • RUNA Tea:  This has the same caffeine as a cup of coffee!  Sold!
  • Simple Being Simple Diet:  This is a weight loss supplement that actually sounds pretty healthy.  I’d never buy this on my own, but I was excited to be able to try it out to see if I’d like it enough to buy it again!
  • Movit Engery Gummies:  I’m always looking for new types of running fuel, so I was really excited about this!  I’m bummed I got the orange flavor (I hate orange!) but I’ll let you all know how this goes on my next long run!
  • Fusion Jerky:  This package was full sized and amazing!  I love jerky and was really happy to get such a yummy and healthy chicken jerky.  It’s the best when you’re hiking!
  • Earth’s Care Anti-Itch Cream:  I love the small size and plan on packing this with me next time I go camping.

The biggest draw to me is that each product is a small sample size so that you can try things out before dropping a ton of money on products and shipping.  And I love that the website has links to the full-sized items if you’d like to order after trying them out!  My one criticism is that you can’t really choose what you get, and that means that you might get some flavors that are not so great.  But for the price I definitely think it’s worth it!  Plus, who doesn’t like a box full of surprises in their mail every month?  Are you interested in trying Bulu Box out for yourself?  Use the code SWEATPINK for 50% off a 3 month subscription!  And let me know if you fall in love with any healthy new products from your Bulu Box  :)

Do you have any box subscriptions?  Which one is your favorite?

Friday Five: Five Fav Running Songs

Hi everyone!  It’s the last day of the longest week of my life, AKA the week after the Klondike Road Relay where I’m still sleep deprived and exhausted a week later.  Missed my recap of that insanely difficult and beautiful international road relay from Alaska to the Yukon?  Check it out here!  Anyways, today is finally Friday and it’s time for the Friday Five Linkup with Courtney, Cynthia, and Mar!


This week’s theme is music, and originally I thought I’d have nothing to say about this because *gasp* I don’t run with music!  I love running outside where I can hear nature, and if I run on a treadmill I either watch TV or listen to a podcast.  But this is actually perfect timing for this post, because last weekend at the Klondike Road Relay our team had a fanny pack with speakers in it (AKA a Jammy Pack!) and I spent a long time perfecting a running playlist that I thought would pump up me and the runners around me.  The Jammy Pack ended up dying and there weren’t any runners around me anyways so it didn’t work out.  But if I could have used it, these would have been my top five song choices to play during my run:

1. Turn Down For What by Lil Jon:  I literally don’t think you can have a workout mix without this song!  No matter what I’m doing, when I hear this song I get really hyped up.  I should play this while doing data entry tasks at work  :)

2. Work B*tch by Britney Spears:  This song is pretty stupid (sorry Britney fans!) but it’s got a great beat and is perfect for working out just a little bit harder.

3. Happy by Pharrell:  I feel like this needs to strategically play when I’m starting to feel less than happy.  Like in mile 8 of every half marathon.

4. Gettin’ Jigggy Wit It by Will Smith:  This is my JAM!  You might actually catch me rapping this while running  :)

5. Work it by Missy Elliot:  Anything by Missy is perfect for working out.

Honorable Mentions:  Bring Em Out by T.I., and anything by Flo Rida

I don’t know if I’ll have an opportunity to run with music again soon, especially since I feel really unsafe running with headphones in Alaska due to our sneaky moose and bears on the running trails.  But if I do I’m going to make sure these songs are on my playlist to pump me up until the end!

Do you run with music?  What’s your favorite song/artist to run to?

Race Recap: Klondike Road Relay

Hi everyone!  Sorry for the delay in blogging, but I’ve been pretty busy the last week prepping, running, and recovering from the craziest race on earth – the Klondike Road Relay!

klondike rr

There’s a lot you need to understand about this race before I can even do this recap.  It’s a 109 mile/175 km  road relay that runs from Skagway, AK to Whitehorse, YT in Canada.  10 people run legs that vary in distance from an incredibly steep 5 miler through White Pass at night to a 16 miler over rolling hills at dawn.  It can take an entire day to finish the race, and you have to cross over an international border in the middle of it!  And if all of that doesn’t sound difficult, here’s the hardest part – Skagway is in a pretty remote area of Alaska.  If you want to get there you’ve only got a few options:  fly or take the ferry from Juneau, or drive there.  Coming from Anchorage, the easiest and cheapest way for us to get there and have an RV to use during the race was to drive there using the Alcan highway.  Yes, this is the same highway that we drove last year to move up here (you may remember my stories about crashing into a snowbank and blowing out a tire).


A few months ago my coworker casually asked me if I wanted to run this race with her team, and I said “Of course!” not knowing anything about it.  The planning period got a little crazy at times, but when we finalized everything I ended up with leg #7, an 8.8 mile portion that starts around daylight on Saturday morning.

Klondike leg 7

I was a little worried about running on little sleep, but figured that Ragnar had prepared me for it, right?  So last Thursday night I showed up in a parking lot in Anchorage to meet the rest of my team and the RV that would be my home for 72 hours!  Our team name was “The Fanny Pack” and we had a fanny pack that played music out loud that we could wear while running!


IMG_6532Clearly this is a fanny pack on the back of our RV   :)

The first thing I realized about this race is that the initial excitement wore off pretty quickly.  Driving in the dark through remote areas of Alaska was terrifying because of all the moose we almost hit on the road, and it was pretty much impossible to sleep the first night due to crazy bumpy road conditions and a super early morning border crossing that required all of us to be awake and coherent when talking to the border agent.  The excitement started to pick up again once we were in Canada, especially because we saw a bear right on the side of the road!



By the time we got to Skagway we’d been driving for 20 hours nonstop.  I’d never been there before and was so excited to check the town out.  We had just enough time to do some sight seeing and get dinner before our first runner started the relay at 7:00 pm!

IMG_6538Downtown Skagway was actually pretty cute!

IMG_6545The start line of our wave at 7:00

Since we were so pumped up about actually running the race and it was still pretty early in the night, we had way too much fun cheering runner #1 on.  She had to go up a giant hill that lasted for a few miles and we made sure to blast music out of our RV and give out lots of high fives to her and the other runners around her to keep them from getting too discouraged.  Runner #2 got similar cheers, but it eventually started to rain and I became too tired and cold to leave the RV.  By the time runner #3 was finished, I was so deliriously tired that I have no idea how I held an actual conversation as I spoke to the border agent at the crossing into Canada.  I decided to go to bed so that I’d be able to get a few hours of sleep for my early morning leg.



I woke up around 6:00 and had an hour to try to drink water and eat a little bit of food before my leg started.  The runner for leg #6 was super fast, and before I knew it I was out in the chilly dawn starting my very first international race in Carcross, YT!  The good news was that my leg was gorgeous and I had some really great weather.  The bad news is that within 2 miles I realized that not sleeping, eating, or drinking enough water in the last 24 hours was going to make this a really tough run.  It was one of the hardest races of my life, especially because of the very last hill (which let’s be honest, was more like a mountain) where I totally lost all desire to keep going.  But at the top I got a great view from the scenic overlook and it was just enough to keep me going for one more mile.


IMG_6555This is the Carcross Desert – the smallest desert in the world at only 1 square mile.  It was so cool and I really wanted to explore it!



IMG_6560I couldn’t get enough of these views!

As soon as I passed off the lanyard to runner #8 I had to rush over to the side of the road because I honestly thought I was going to puke.  I ended up keeping it together, but I couldn’t stop shaking and couldn’t really stomach eating food for a while (chocolate milk luckily saved the day!).  Once I changed into warm and dry clothes I felt much better, and I was able to refuel properly just in time to be able to cheer on our final runners.  Around 4:00 pm we met our last runner in Whitehorse and cheered her on to the finish in 20:25:21!


I was so excited to be done, but just because the race was finished didn’t mean things got any easier!  We spent the next few hours showering at an athletic center in town, eating crazy amounts of pasta at Boston Pizza, and taking a nap before hitting up the after party at a hotel in downtown Whitehorse.  I didn’t stay too late, but it was really cool seeing everyone who had finished such a crazy hard race together in one room.  After another mostly sleepless night, me and my two coworkers woke up early and hit up a Tim Horton’s for tons of coffee and donuts before driving 14 hours back home to Anchorage.  We got in at midnight on Sunday and I literally had to take a sick day on Monday to recover.

IMG_6579Our drive was brutally long, but the views made up for it.  Notice that this Canadian road sign is in French!

If I had to sum this race experience up in one word, it would be:  hard.  While the running part of the race was extremely difficult because of my lack of proper self care due to living on an RV for 30 hours before I ran, it was honestly the best part because I got the opportunity to run alone through the mountains in the Yukon.  It’s an experience that few people will ever get, and I’m really glad I got the chance to do it.  But it’s extremely hard living in a tiny space with mostly strangers for such a long period of time, and next time I think I’ll try to do it with people that I know instead.  I thought this race would be like Ragnar but it was so different – and sooooo much harder.  There’s no way to train for the physical and mental exhaustion that happens before running your leg, and it’s hard to have to keep living in an RV for so long after the race is over.  But if you’re looking for an incredibly beautiful, challenging, and unique relay and can get up to Skagway at the end of the tourist season I recommend signing up!  I might sound crazy, but I think I’ll be there next year…

Have you ever run an international race?  What is the longest amount of time you’ve traveled to get to a race?  Will I see you here next year?  :)

It’s Finally Fall!

Hi everyone!  I’m so excited about today’s blog post because it comes with some pretty big news:


Yay!  Now that Labor Day has come and gone, summer is over and it’s time to start getting in the fall spirit.  If you aren’t aware, I’m OBSESSED with fall.  It’s my favorite season and when it rolls around you can find me doing one of two things:

1. Eating pumpkin flavored food/coffee
2. Spending time outside with the changing leaves

Now, I know what you’re thinking:  it’s not actually fall.  The leaves are green and the PSLs just got released nationwide today, right?  But up here in Anchorage that’s not true!  It’s getting dark at night now, and it has been a bit colder than usual – I’ve had to start wearing my jacket to work in the mornings and I’ve even pulled my boots out of the back of my closet.  Also, I had my very first PSL on Friday and it was awesome!  I guess there’s pumpkin in there now, but it tastes just like it did last year.  I’m ready to drink these as much as I can before the Whole Life Challenge starts on September 19th!


The biggest clue that fall is here in Anchorage is that our leaves started changing colors last week!   So on Saturday a nice long hike at Eklutna Lake was absolutely necessary!




IMG_6454We also found this cool shelter that someone built on the beach!  I used to make these when I was a little kid  :)

I spent the rest of my weekend running, hiking, and playing disc golf with my husband, all while staring at the beautiful fall leaves.  It was the perfect start to our short fall season in Alaska, and I’m hoping I can keep this up until the end of September before we lose all of our leaves.  Last year I totally missed fall in Alaska because I spent a month back home in Philadelphia, but I get to be here this year and I’m so excited!  Fall is a bit different here in Alaska than it is in the Lower 48, so I can’t do all of the things that I usually love doing.  But there’s still some pretty cool things that I can do, so I decided to make a fall bucket list!  In the next few months, I want to do the following things:

fall bucket list

I’m looking forward to enjoying my first fall in Alaska and making the most out of every second before winter comes!

What’s on your fall bucket list?  Are you excited about fall or wishing it was still summer?