Little Rock Half Marathon – Little Rock, AR (2017)

We had quite a wait for dinner Saturday night at a little Italian place downtown, but we got seated around 7:30 and all had a great dinner with fresh baked bread. Since we all kept ourselves busy after our 10k Saturday morning, we were all ready for an early bedtime Saturday night and planned to leave the hotel at a similar time Sunday morning to make our way down to the start line for the half marathon. The weather on Sunday did a 180 from Saturday, a bit cooler and rainy. Luckily I had packed a lightweight jacket for the race – it’s more of a windbreaker than a rain jacket, but since it was in the 40’s I figured that would be enough to keep me warm. I actually ended up taking off my jacket for a few miles until the wind kicked up and then I kept it on the rest of the race.

There were a lot of people who were dressed up for the race, some with outfits that matched what they wore the day before, so I recognized some folks. This year’s theme for the races was candy, so there were a lot of bright colors and one guy was wearing an ice cream cone on his head (I tried to keep up with him, but he was definitely faster than me!). We took a quick pre-race selfie before heading out to the hills of Little Rock.

Me, Sarah and Jennifer

The beginning of the race followed the same course that the 10k did, so we passed by some of my favorite signs from Saturday a second time and I was able to get some pictures of them the second time around. This group also had a booth at the expo where you could pet a llama and some pigmy goats. They were certainly a very popular group!

The hills in the second half of the race were rough, though I’m sure that may have had something to do with the 24 miles I did the day before, but it was certainly tougher than the first half. I was struggling a bit in the second half, but that’s when the spectators stepped up their game!

At mile 10, I was heading up a hill and I could see a Steelers banner at the top, so when I finally reached the top of the hill, I had to ask for a selfie! We spent a few minutes talking about how crazy it is to find Steelers fans truly all over the country, but I thanked him for his support and headed back to finish up my race.

Around mile 12, as we came up a big hill, there were tons of candy decorations lining the street and volunteers were handing out Skittles which were awesome! Though I will have to caution, if you’re going to try to eat cold Skittles, be careful, they’re a little hard to chew.

At some point on the course, there was the famous lipstick booth where volunteers were handing out tubes of lipstick to all runners. I actually took this picture from the marathon course where the booth was near mile 26. As I was there, a woman who was coming up to the finish stopped to pick out a color and said “I gotta look good for my finish line pictures!” and put some on before heading to finish off her last .2 miles. It’s the little things that brighten a runner’s day!

After I finished the half marathon, I walked back to my hotel which was actually right along the marathon course, so I got to cheer on some finishers. After I rested for a bit, I headed back out to wander around downtown and there were still marathoners coming in to the finish line – with an 8 hour cutoff, this race is walker-friendly and I have a ton of respect for the people who were out on the course for that long – 26.2 miles is a really long way to go and spending 8+ hours in the rain and wind to cross that finish line absolutely deserves the same respect as those who can finish in under 3.

I won’t lie, after seeing the finisher medals for the marathon (easily as big as a dinner plate), I was really jealous of those who completed the full. The bling I got for the 10k, half and challenge were awesome and since this race changes themes every year, I may keep this one on my list to come back to. Each race had its own t-shirt color (green, blue, white and purple) and while I didn’t see the 5k medal, the 10k medal (top left medal) was as big as most half marathon medals, the half marathon medal spins (bottom right) and as I mentioned, the full medals are absolutely huge! So, if you run for the bling, this is definitely a race you should check out.

Caveat: the challenge shirts are only available for purchase, so I totally cheated and just took a picture of one at the expo (picture at the top of this post) – I liked the shirt, but I didn’t want to spend $20 for another shirt that was very similar to the other two. 

Little Rock 10k – Little Rock, AR (2017)

I flew into Little Rock on a Friday morning so that I would have plenty of time to go to the expo and then get out an explore a bit before I had to get settled at the hotel. In good social media fashion, I had connected with someone I met at the Yellowstone half marathon in 2015 who was also going to be running the race and she offered to let me split a hotel room with her and her friend, so three of us found a room just a few blocks from the start line of the races which was amazing since we were all running the challenge – 10k on Saturday and half on Sunday.

In the few weeks leading up to this race, I was kicking myself for not moving up to the marathon distance since I had to run 24 miles that weekend, but by the time I had thought about it, all of the races were sold out. I headed to the expo on Friday and it was really easy to pick up my packet with different lines for those running the individual races and a separate area for those running the challenge. Overall, the expo was a fairly good size and had all the standards, but I didn’t find anything that I just had to have (with the exception of some more Bondi Band headbands). Since Sarah and Jennifer were driving in from Missouri, I had the hotel room to myself until around 8:30 pm when Jennifer arrived and then Sarah didn’t get in until almost 1:00 am.

Saturday morning we left our hotel room about 30 minutes before the race started which gave us plenty of time to catch the elevator downstairs and walk the couple of blocks to get to the start line. There was a 5k and 10k on Saturday, so there were a lot of people milling about in the morning, but we were able to get into the starting corral and settled ourselves for our start. Since I was adding a bunch of other miles onto my race day, we decided we would all just meet up for dinner later so that they weren’t waiting on me to go to lunch and I didn’t feel like I was keeping them from enjoying the rest of their day. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a race this short, so I just tried to keep in mind that even though everyone around me was running 6.2 miles, I was going to be adding on an extra 18-ish to that, so I didn’t want to go out too fast.

There was a lot of course support with spectators spread out across the course which was nice. The course itself wasn’t very scenic, so it was nice to have people around as a distraction. I ended up finishing the 10k in 1:09:19 and after making my way through the finisher’s chute, I headed down to the Arkansas River Trail where I would spend the rest of my miles. After getting down to the water, I made a quick stop at the Junction Bridge to take a photo with my medal and then headed west towards the Clinton Library and Museum before crossing over the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge to the other side of the river.

Obligatory post-race medal picture! There were several of these “post card” type setups around town which were pretty cool.

Heading over the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge
From the bridge looking back towards downtown Little Rock

Once I got to the other side, I was in a really industrial area and was virtually the only person on the road (definitely on the sidewalk and for most of the time I didn’t even see any drivers either). I had a general idea of how far I wanted to go and knew that I would pretty much be able to stay on this “trail” – it’s a paved path near the water – through some industrial, residential and park areas before crossing back over the Arkansas River and head back towards downtown. When I got into Emerald Park, I tried to follow an actual trail that looked like it went to a quarry or potentially just through the woods to the other side of the park before re-connecting to the River Trail.

After spending some time going in circles, I got to see some fun scenery, but couldn’t find my way through the trails, so I headed back to the main trail and got to run beside the water for a bit.

Soon I made my way through Burns Park, made a pit stop (yay real bathrooms!) and re-filled my waters. Then I was off again towards the Big Dam Bridge where I would make my turnaround. It ended up being a really popular spot where I finally saw other people walking and biking.


The little blip of a mountain in the middle is Pinnacle Mountain where I did some hiking on Friday

After the bridge, I got back on the Arkansas River Trail and headed towards downtown, eventually running into the end of the marathon course, finding mile markers 21-24 before veering off course again.

Folks were setting up signs for the marathoners early on Saturday

When I got to about mile 18 or 19, I realized that it had gotten quite warm out, there was no shade and I had no sunscreen… so I had a nice farmer’s tan and a line across my forehead from my headband for dinner that night. I guess I had expected to have more shade on my route and didn’t even think to pack sunscreen for my early March trip. Lesson learned on that one!

As I was getting to mile 22, I realized I didn’t want to continue following the trail since I was only trying to get 24 miles and I still had to make my way back to my hotel. I ended up finishing downtown at the expo with exactly 24 miles which was really awesome. I hit up the expo to grab a few more gels for the half marathon on Sunday and then headed back to the hotel for a much-needed nap.

Blue Ridge Marathon – 1 month to go!

As of my last update post, I was working on two upcoming race weekends (Indiana and the yet-to-be-written Arkansas races) and was working through some tough training weeks. Now we’re only 1 month out from race day and I still have 2 more races on my horizon, though these are much closer to home – this weekend’s race at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte and the following weekend’s race in Raleigh. This month has certainly flown by and a lot of that could be due to the fact that I was traveling 3 of the last 4 weekends, including a trip up to Asheville to work at the expo for the Biltmore half & full answering runner questions and sharing my experience with the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge from 2016.

My running totals have been increasing each week and while I’m still doing a terrible job at including strength training / core exercises and stretching into my weekly routine, the miles do seem to be getting easier. I’ve been averaging 40-50 miles each week, and while mentally that doesn’t seem like enough considering I’ll be doing over 50 in one day in one month, I can definitely feel myself getting stronger.

I had my first real deviation from the training plan this past weekend – it called for a 50k on Sunday, but after looking at some local races and deciding it wasn’t fiscally responsible to fly out to Utah to do the Antelope Island 50k (someday!) – I ended up just splitting the mileage between Saturday and Sunday instead. Sunday’s trail run was tough near the end and I started feeling myself wander into the “how am I going to do 52.4 miles in one day” territory, so I slowed down, ate some more food and kept going. My legs were tired when I finished and I absolutely took a nap, but I felt pretty good when I woke up and haven’t really been sore after my runs which has been a really amazing transformation from my previous marathon training cycles. The next two weeks are big mileage weekends calling for marathon distances both weekends and then I’ll start to officially taper!

It’s crazy to think that the double marathon is coming up so quickly. I’ve got my hotel secured and I know about when I want to leave in order to do the 4 hour drive to Richmond, get to the expo and then get to the hotel to rest, so now it’s all about finalizing those details – fueling, race strategy (something more than ‘don’t die’), pacing, how to get enough rest for a 1:00 am start time and then stay awake and moving through the second marathon that starts at 7:30 am… all the fun stuff. We’ve started getting some emails about the double marathon, asking us for our official start times and estimated paces. The goal will be to attempt to pair us up so that no one is running alone overnight, but with only 60 participants and two start times it will certainly be a quiet night.

15 weeks in:
  • Total mileage: 474.4


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Snow day!

Real snow (as opposed to just ice) doesn’t happen very much in Charlotte, so when the forecast was calling for a snowstorm this weekend, I wasn’t sure what we would actually get. Fast forward to this morning and it was the perfect snowstorm – because it’s been so warm, none of the snow was sticking to the roads, but we still got lots of snow sticking to the grass. So, I headed off to the Anne Springs Close Greenway to hit the trails for some miles in the snow!

 I started off near the dog park and did a lap around Lake Crandall
  The new bridge is looking good!

It was a really quiet, peaceful morning on the trails. In fact, I only saw one other person out for a run with his dog. The snow is already gone now, but it was certainly a beautiful morning on the trails!

Winter Trail Frosty half marathon – Indianapolis, IN (2017)

 I signed up for this race after seeing the medal in an ad on my Facebook account. Last year I did the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot half marathon in North Carolina and I loved my big red WTF 13.1 sweatshirt, so adding another WTF race this year sounded like a good plan, especially after I realized it would let me check off state #25. This weekend called for a 22 mile run, so originally I was planning to run from my hotel to the race venue and then back to the hotel, but with the drastic weather changes (and after I saw the roads I’d have to run on), I decided to forgo that plan and just head to the venue early to get some miles in before the race started at 10:00 am.

When I picked up my rental car, I laughed a little when I saw they had included an ice scraper in the back seat. Race morning came and now it wasn’t so funny… the high 60’s from Friday had turned into some nasty thunderstorms followed by an extreme temperature drop and some overnight snow / ice accumulation on the car. The roads ended up being fine, but it took me several minutes to get the car ready to go. It was snowing as I got to the venue but being there 2 hours before the race started allowed me to get an amazing parking spot near the finish line and gave me plenty of time to get out on the trails before the race actually started.

The race was held at Eagle Creek State Park which has a lot of different trails. My goal was to get 9 miles in before the race, so I headed out to take the trail on the farthest perimeter, following the Red loop to the Blue loop back to the Red loop, then back to the Blue loop, more Red loop and then a detour onto the Orange loop before finishing up on the Red loop back to the starting line. I ended up seeing mile markers 3, 2, 6 and 1, as well as the guy who was marking the trails with orange ribbon, on my way to getting 8.5 miles in before the race. I had started to run out of time, especially since I wanted to hit the porta-potties before the actual race started, so instead of getting that last .5 in before the race, I just added it onto the end (definitely not the way to go!).

Here comes the snow!

Snow caught in a spider web

The race itself was capped at 600 participants and they did sell out. This was only the second year for this race, but the turnout was impressive – the super awesome finisher medals may have something to do with that… I know I signed up after seeing the medal and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one! I got a little cold waiting around for the start, but it wasn’t too bad until I got back to the land bridge around the bird sanctuary where there was very little to break up the wind. I was glad I ran the loop the opposite way the first time, keeping the wind at my back instead of running into the wind 3 times.
Views from around the Eagle Creek Reservoir bird sanctuary

After we got to the land bridge, the race spread out quite a bit as the trail was a little wider and allowed more people to pass and get into their own running pace. I had run through most of the race course before the race actually started, but one of the sections that was new to me was around the Ornithology Center where they had a plaque where you could test your wingspan against the various birds that call Eagle Creek Park home.

As I was doing my first lap around the bird sanctuary, I actually saw a bald eagle flying across the lake. Unfortunately it was flying away from me and by the time I realized what it was it was too far away to get a picture, but it was really cool to see in person!

This was somewhere in the first lap – you can see the snow whipping through the trees!

Even though thunderstorms had come through the day before and it was snowing on and off throughout the race, most of the trails were hard packed and there were only two sections that were really muddy, like running through peanut butter muddy. For my second race lap (third lap total through that section), I just walked through it trying not to fall!

Overall, I think this was a very good race. The trails weren’t very technical, and I actually ended up with my fastest trail half time (2:28:54) which was pretty awesome considering I did an 8.5 mile “warm-up” prior to starting.

The not-so-good
Too many people starting at the same time. There are pseudo-wave starts with the announcer letting a group of people go, then stopping and waiting for 30-45 seconds before letting another group of 30-ish people go. In theory this would work, but in reality, the first half of the trail (at least the full first two miles) was really congested. Since there is a half and a quarter marathon and it seemed like most of the people were running the quarter marathon (though I did hear the announcer say there were still about 70 people left on the half course when I finished), I think it would be great to split the start times for these races to allow the half marathoners to get 2-3 miles in before letting the quarter marathoners start. There’s a lot more room to get around people from miles 2-5, so that would theoretically spread out the field a bit more.

The only other “complaint” is really more of just a trail hazard that can’t be avoided – there are several sets of wooden stairs on the course which turn nice and slick with snow and mud covering them, so they were a bottleneck at the beginning of the race and certainly an area where most people slowed to a walk to stay upright. I heard a few people went down on these sections and that will certainly be a hazard in future races (it is February in Indiana after all), so that’s certain something to be aware of when checking out these (and any) trails.

The stairs don’t actually look as steep from the bottom, but they were very steep and slippery!

The good
The trail was extremely well marked. It’s a two-loop course for the half marathon, coming through the finish line area around the halfway point before heading back out again and even when I was running backwards on some of the course before the race started, it was really easy to tell which was the race was going to go. I think you would have to actually try to get lost on this course.

There were several times where the course crossed the road within the park and there was always at least one volunteer flagging traffic and making sure runners had the right-of-way. I was cold while running, so I really appreciate those volunteers staying out there for several hours to keep us safe.

The awesome
Cake! They had tons of cake for runners at the end of the event, and I’m not going to lie, it was definitely a motivator for me in those last few miles. It was delicious!

Free race photos! Who doesn’t love free race photos? It’s actually kind of funny scrolling through the pictures because you can see how much the weather changes and how heavy the snow got at some points.

As I’ve mentioned a few times already, I did this race for the bling. The shirt and medal for this race were really nice. The shirt is actually a long-sleeve thermal shirt that’s more like long-john material which is really appropriate considering the likelihood of cold temperatures.


Blue Ridge Marathon – 2 months to go!

Last month’s update was about everything new – I had just officially registered to run the double marathon, so I was finalizing my training plan and getting energized with the prospect of running over 50 miles in one day. This month has a bit more about really getting into the rhythm of training, and the highs and lows that come along with that.

Last week was a rough week for me. I felt pretty good finishing the Fellowship of the Idiot run, but I didn’t do those extra few miles to get up to my planned 22 miles for my long run and then had a lot of trouble getting back into the swing of things Sunday and Monday. I’ve been trying out some new shoes, trying to break them in to use in the second marathon, but it’s a new brand and a new drop (with a ton more cushion), so it’s taking a little longer than I hoped it would to transition into these shoes and it’s more painful that I was expecting.

My calves have been tight when I first start running and usually give me some pain, but these new shoes seem to be exacerbating that issue. So after the major elevation on Saturday’s run, I took it really easy Sunday, only going out for a mile and a half and then following up with some yoga. I felt better on Monday, so I headed out around the neighborhood again and did another 2-ish miles. My legs still felt really tight and after some pretty good 800 repeats on Tuesday morning, my Wednesday night was another flop coming in at 3 mostly painful miles. Thursday started a turnaround as I was able to get almost 8 miles in with my running group followed by another rest day on Friday. Saturday was the last of my taper week and only called for 10 miles, but since I had skipped quite a few miles throughout the week, I decided to do the full group run and hit 11.6 and felt really good throughout. It still fells really funny to say that my “easy run” is in double digits.
Having gone through this process multiple times, I know that there will inevitably be highs and lows throughout the training cycle and it’s just a matter of getting through them to the other side. Having a group to meet multiple times a week has helped with that accountability – even when I don’t feel like getting out of bed or running loops, I know I need to go and at least give it a try and then once I’m out there, it’s a lot easier to keep going when you’re with a group of people!

The next few weeks will be busy with races the next two weekends which will then take me to another taper week, before the final big push at the end of March. I’m excited about the next two races – I’ll be checking off two new states, Indiana and Arkansas – and since I’ve got to add 10+ miles onto each race, I’ll definitely have some exploring to do. I still need to add in weekly yoga / additional stretching and core exercises, so I’m going to work on making those a priority over the next few weeks to really get into a routine as my mileage continues to increase. I’m also thinking of adding in a sports massage or two to really help loosen everything back up – sitting at a desk all day certainly doesn’t help my sore muscles.

10 weeks in:

  • Total mileage: 262.1
  • Expected mileage: 292



Fellowship of the Idiot – Albemarle, NC (2017)

In hearing about this race, I thought the “idiot” part was because it was a 19.7 mile race going up to the top of Morrow Mountain and back down again… turns out that wasn’t the whole story. The race started at 5:30am at the YMCA in Albemarle. I was supposed to go with a few other people from the running group, but that fell through on Thursday night, so I hit the road from my house just after 4:00am. This was a race, but in name only, really – there were no bibs, no timing and minimal course support. There were 4 water stations – 2 that you passed twice – which also had Gatorade and GU at some of the stops.

I heard from someone that there were over 230 people who showed up to do the race and since there wasn’t any official timing, it was really just like a big group run. The start was the RD coming over a loudspeaker, saying a few words and saying “Go!” Being out in the middle of the country in North Carolina, it was really dark to start the race, so I was glad I had my knuckle light with me. There was a fairly steep hill near the beginning of the race which was really just a preview of what would be coming, so I took it slow and the runners spread out pretty quickly into a long line heading down the road.

I did a race up to the top of Morrow Mountain in 2014, so I knew what I was getting myself into with this race, and I wasn’t really surprised by the terrain too much, though we did start / end in a different part of town, so the beginning and end felt very different than my first race, but once we got to the State Park, it was all familiar territory.

The climb up Morrow Mountain was brutal – in about 3/4 of a mile you go up about 330′ – but it’s good training for my upcoming double marathon in Richmond. The entire course had 2437′ of elevation change, so about a third of what I can expect in each of the marathons… hmm, I may be starting to have some doubts about this… but, back to the current race!

As I was heading up the mountain, I could see the sun coming up through the trees and knew I would miss the official sunrise at the top of the mountain, but even so, it was very pretty!


When I made it to the top of the mountain, I was greeted by lots of volunteers, music and my favorite sign of the day.

There’s an overlook where you can go out and see across the mountains and I may have been a little later in getting there than my compatriots, but it was a beautiful morning in the mountains!

Heading back down the mountain, the sky had lightened up considerably and you could see for miles across the countryside.

Finally at the bottom of the mountain, we got back onto the rolling countryside, complete with ponds and cows enjoying their early morning.

And now for the rest of the race…
By this point, the runners were really spread out and while I could see people every now and then, we were all pretty much running on our own. I actually felt really good in the second half of the race and was able to pick up some speed (yay downhills!). We stay on the country roads for awhile, but soon ended up on a 4 lane highway. As it turns out, running on this type of road at 5:30am doesn’t make much of an impression – 8:30am is a little different story. There were directional signs to let us know where to turn, which was really helpful at this point since there were very few people around. When we got onto the 4 lane highway, I could still see someone a bit ahead of me and they had crossed over to run with traffic. At first I thought there may have been a sidewalk over there, but not seeing anything definitive, I stayed running against traffic.


I thought the idiot part had to do with climbing a mountain before sunrise… at least there wasn’t much traffic to dodge, but 55mph cars aren’t much fun to run around

Eventually I had to cross all 5 lanes to make a right turn onto Main Street which was another fun adventure because there was no crosswalk to get to the correct side of the street, so I had to walk with traffic up a hill until I could see far enough in both directions to cross and get on the sidewalk.  The rest of the course I was able to either run on a sidewalk or against traffic and only had one other minor issue where I had to wait for traffic before getting onto the correct street.

By the time I finished the race, there were only a few people left at the “finish line” but I was able to get my official certificate of completion and my shirt for completing my very first Fellowship of the Idiot race. There was also a table with some snacks and the all-so-important chocolate milk! When I got my certificate, the person told me to make sure to take it with me if I ever leave the country as it will be much easier to get back in if I have that document with me – they were certainly having fun with handing out the certificates to all the newbies.

Overall, I think this is a fun concept, but the logistics of it (especially with how big this race has become) is a little too sketchy for me to fully endorse it. The other race I did up to the top of Morrow Mountain was put on by the same company but I think the route they chose for that one had less traffic to contend with. Maybe I’m getting picky after having done so many races – based on the Facebook comments, everyone else seemed to love everything about the race – so take this review as you will and just know what you’re getting into if you decide you too want the official title of “idiot”!

Tourist Time: Vicksburg, MS

In researching Jackson, MS for my trip at the beginning of January, I found some cool places to visit in Vicksburg, which was just under an hour west of the city. Since the weather wasn’t great for doing too much exploring in the woods, I decided to head to Vicksburg after my expo visit.

My first stop was a cute little art store above a coffee shop that had all kinds of knick knacks, paintings, ceramics and everything else you could think of. This picture was from the stairway leading up to the store.

From there I attempted to find the Biedenharn Candy Company so that I could pick up a smashed penny from Mississippi, but after walking up and down the street a few times, I still couldn’t see to find it, so I did one last lap up to the Vicksburg hotel. 

Of course, as I came back down the other side of the street, I saw the building I was looking for… unfortunately it was closed, but the building still looked pretty cool.

After that, I headed down a few blocks to the river. The highest flood mark on the wall was from 1927 if the levees had held at 62.2 feet and the second mark down was from 2011 when the flood waters hit 57.1 feet.

Next to the river is the Old Depot Museum (also closed while I was there) and they have a few old train cars on abandoned tracks next to the river.

From the museum looking down Levee street towards Catfish Row Art Park.
The murals were really cool and walked you through the history of the city.

Most of the murals were images of the city, but a few were a bit more abstract.

I also found the catfish of the Catfish Row Art Park.

Just past the catfish, there was a section of artwork built into the walls of the walking path and included work from local schools.

As well as cutouts where you could look down towards the murals, and in my case, check out the mini-icicles that came with the changing weather.

The part also include a replica of the Sprague sternwheeler, including parts of the original ship, like the leats, vents, and capstans.

My final stop for the day was to check out the Vicksburg Bridge. Most of the best views of the bridge (at least from the Mississippi side) appeared to come from the casinos and eventually I was able to find a parking lot to sneak into for a few minutes to steal the picture below.

As you can see from the picture, the weather had started to turn a bit at this point wit ice balls starting to collect on the path and I since I was down next to the river, that meant I had to head up a quite steep hill to get back onto the main road. It was a little nerve-racking as the cars in front of me were spinning trying to get up the hill and another person was coming up from behind me, but luckily my little rental car was up to the challenge and I made it safely back on the road and on my way to my hotel to rest up for my race.

February is here!?!

I can’t believe we’re already into February! January was packed full of activity and I didn’t realize just how much until I completed my calendar for the 30-day Ragnar Training challenge. Ragnar provided a calendar and asked everyone in the challenge to submit a picture of their completed calendar for a sticker touting their accomplishment. I’ve been playing with a lot of digital pictures lately on another project and decided to fill out my calendar digitally as well.

I definitely had fun looking for pictures to differentiate the things I did in January, especially the tongue-in-cheek nature of the 50’s woman cleaning to highlight all of my January Cure work. I ended the month having completed 9 of the 20 January Cure assignments, so that will certainly roll over into February before I can completely check that off my list, but it’s going to get done! I’ve also really ramped up my training as I count down the days (77) until the Blue Ridge double marathon. I ended up running just over 136 miles in January which is 50 miles more than I ran in any month in 2016. I’m still feeling really good on my runs, though the early mornings are a little bit of a struggle.

My biggest time suck over the last week was completely re-building the Charlotte Women’s Soccer League website. We’ve used a few different platforms over the past few years and had moved to a system that allowed us to handle all of our registration, team building and basically all of the league management electronically which was great for me and the team captains, but the website user experience wasn’t very good, especially for anyone trying to access the site via a mobile device. So, last weekend I started building a new website based off of WordPress and as of the wee hours of Friday morning, the site went live and is so much more aesthetically pleasing and easier to navigate for all of our existing and prospective players. It was definitely a love-hate relationship building that site. It reminded why I got into playing with computers in the first place and also why I decided that a career in IT was not how I wanted to spend 8+ hours every day.

Today kicks off my first long run of February with 20 miles on the schedule. Here’s to another great month of getting outside and getting stronger!

Tourist time: Neon Museum, Las Vegas, NV

Back in November, I convinced 5 people to do half marathons in back-to-back days, starting in Charlotte and ending in Las Vegas, but with the Las Vegas race not starting until early evening, I had a lot of time to kill Sunday morning, so I booked a tour of the Neon Museum. Any time I go to a new place, I try to look for unique or at least interesting things to do while I’m there and what’s more “Las Vegas” than looking at old neon signs? The guided tour lasted about 45 minutes and the tour guide had great stories about the history of Las Vegas, the lore of the Vegas mob and how Vegas came to be what it is today.





Really, the only negative with this setup is how close together the signs are – it’s awesome to see them up close, but sometimes it’s hard to get a good perspective because they’re so big!







Apparently this is shown on an episode of Property Brothers and originally didn’t have painted clothes – it was made to be all one color and at some point someone painted clothes on this one.



This was the biggest sign in the park and I couldn’t back up far enough to get even an entire side of the face in frame, but, if you look up the Neon Museum on Google maps and look at the satellite view, you can see the giant skull!

The most famous sign at the museum. In order to get this picture I had to do a panorama. You can also see our tour guide on the left who shared great stories about each of the signs.





The sun wasn’t always my friend when trying to get these pictures, but it was a beautiful morning to spend wandering around the park.