What: The BMO Harris Bank Mesa-Phoenix Marathon, aka The Phoenix Marathon, aka The Mesa-PHX Marathon. (There were approx 17 different hashtags associated with this race at various points — a little bit of an identity crisis, I think.) (Not to be confused with the Rock ‘N Roll Arizona race, also held in the Phoenix area.)
Where: Mesa, Arizona, just a few miles outside of Phoenix. Race started in Usery Mountain Regional Park and ended in the Mesa Riverview shopping center.
2016 has been a doozy — filled with epic highs (emotionally and in terms of altitude), big life questions, one terribly disappointing election, and many miles in the air and on my feet. You can check out my goals for 2016 here and my upcoming goals for 2017 here. Thanks a million to all of those who supported me and brought joy to my life this year.
I’ve been traveling a lot for the past few months, commuting between DC and Colorado each week for work. I’ve spent a lot of time in airports, and a lot of time hangry on airplanes. But I’ve figured out a few tricks for how to eat healthfully (and as a vegetarian or vegan) while on the road or in the air and avoiding that gross-I-just-ate-a-ton-of-junk-and-now-sit-the-rest-of-the-day-on-an-airplane feeling as well as the I-am-going-to-eat-my-luggage-because-I-am-so-hungry feeling. Here’s what I’ve learned.
As I was traveling out west and various other places this summer on my 50 state adventure, I noticed that when it would come up that I live in DC, I would get one of a few different reactions. One: the look of disgust and assumption that I worked in politics (aka was part of “the swamp” that needed “draining”). Two: shock that I lived in the city. You know, where there are people that don’t look like me. Three: the ever-classic, DC’s part of Maryland, right? Kind readers and countrymen, I’m here with a listicle to help clear up a few things about this place!
This summer, I developed a strong desire to spend some time in the wilderness. Real adventure that gets me out of my comfort zone. (For the record, I had done one real, adventurous, very legit camping trip in Alaska when I was in high school, but I was along for the ride with some camping experts and didn’t do any of the planning, so it didn’t feel like that counted.) So bought a bunch of stuff at REI, researched online, and planned a short, beginner backpacking trip for my husband and our dog in Shenandoah National Park. Of course it rained on the planned weekend and we had to cancel our adventure. A few weeks later, I did some camping in Wyoming at formal campsites and really loved sleeping outdoors, but I didn’t want winter to arrive without having done a real backpacking trip. So I somehow persuaded my wonderful husband to head out in much colder weather than originally anticipated (it was now October instead of August!) for a backpacking trip. We survived! Even with just one little weekend trip, I’ve already learned a ton, and I wanted to share it with other aspiring adventurers. Without further ado:
We don’t have bears in DC. We don’t have mountain lions. And we don’t have “curious coyotes.” But Colorado, my part-time home for the next few months, has all of the above. Oh, and rattlesnakes! Thus, I have sought running friends! Here’s where you can find some too if you live here or come to visit. (Please check these running groups’ FB pages and websites before showing up for a run; I will try to keep this current but make no guarantees about the continued accuracy of these schedules.)
As I reported earlier this week, I recently completed the Mesa Falls Marathon in Idaho (no, you da ho). But that was just the beginning of the fun. The race was conveniently located near Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, so of course I had to check them out. Especially because the National Park Service had just celebrated its centennial! Woohoo!
I LOVED these parks and they each had unique vibes and attractions. Here are some of my top tips for when to visit, where to stay, what to eat, and what to do in Yellowstone and GTNP. Oh, and a few notes on things to do in Jackson Hole, Wyoming during the summer.