2017 In Review

Looking back on 2017

2017 has probably been one of the worst and one of the best years I’ve ever had in my entire life.

It was most definitely one of the busiest years I have ever experienced. But it had a lot of fun moments.

It was definitely the most stressful year. But it was rewarding.

Grand Teton National Park

There were a lot of tears. And a lot of smiles.

There were times I wanted to quit everything and give up. And times that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

It was one of those years.

A lot of the bad included losing a step-grandparent, stressful home/work life balance, a tragedy within our cross country team, hail damage with a shifty, unethical car repair shop, loss of two pets, and probably more that I have repressed.

The good included a lot of travel, realizing love sees no bounds, a successful second year for Golden Mountain Guides, being part of five weddings and lots of time with family and friends.

I really am ready for a new year, carrying lessons from this year.

Here are some highlights from the past year…

January… started off slow. I started training to be a race director, track pre-season started, I started my #60HikesDenverChallenge (trying to hike/run all 60 trails in the 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver Book), we did a little bit of snowboarding and I did yoga challenge.

Walden Ponds, Boulder. Start of my #60HikesDenverChallenge

February…I did my first race as the sole Race Director (the Heart Throb 5k in Longmont), track season really starts, and we went to see the Mummies exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

See me in the background?? Literally holding back the flag from the wind as the race started. Sometimes race directors do some random tasks.

March…Ran the Erin Go Braugh 7.77k (my favorite of all the races the company I work for produces), and went to a Bridal Shower for Ben’s sister (which means wedding madness for the year starts).

Oh yeah, my outfit was AWESOME!

April… lots of work between all my jobs and my birthday month (wooo… 30 – that’s sarcasm in case you’re curious). But 30 did come with a zombie-themed escape room (we didn’t escape, for the record).

May… was full of the State Track & Field meet (one of my jumpers missed state by just a few inches – literally), running of the Bolder Boulder, and got hired for my first freelance writing job (10Hikes.com)

June…a ton of hiking (for my #60HikesChallenge and 10Hikes.com), a typical bachelorette party, and the first wedding of the year (Ben’s youngest sister) gets married. I also got a spot on a Ragnar Trail Snowmass team at the last second.

July… brought wedding #2 (Ben’s Cousin), a trip to Pennsylvania, lots of work (finished up my first 10Hikes project which reviewed the 10 best hikes in the Denver Region), and another Bridal shower (for my friend this time).

August...included another bridal shower (Ben’s other sister), a Trip to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, a bachelorette Pary in New Orleans, and Cross Country season starts.

September… Held wedding #3 (my friend), I race directed my biggest race yet (a 500 person 5k), and two trips to Moab with Ben (one for scouting and back again for guiding a 12-women group).

October…was wedding #4 (Ben’s other sister), I finished up my second freelance writing project (reviewing the 10 best hikes for Rocky Mountain Nation Park which is not live online yet), we did another Moab trip, we travelled to Florida and on a cruise for wedding #5 and I ran the Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon.

November…Cross Country season had ended but work with the running company picked up for our biggest race of the year (Broomfield Turkey Day 5k/10k). Then Thanksgiving brings some nice time in Estes Park as we prepare for the holiday season.

Relaxing in Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Sprague Lake

December…here we are, in December. This is when we try and play catch up with all of our jobs. Christmas was busy travelling between all of our families and we travelled up to North Dakota to see my friend and her new baby (baby #2 for her) and on to Dakota, IL for New Years and to visit Ben’s Grandparents. We even hit up TWO National Monuments on the way!


In the beginning of 2017, I set a few goals to focus on for the year. Let’s see how I did….

Running Goals –
1. To love running again (I do enjoy the sport again, but I’m not on a meticulous plan; I’ve going a week or more between runs sometimes.)
2. And work my way through hiking/running all 60 trails in the “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles” Denver Edition (I got 17 of the 60 done. I did take on a freelance writing job involving hiking for 10hikes.com which involved hikes that are not in this book. I hiked 50+ different hikes this year. Maybe 60 was pushing it, but not bad for how busy the year was.

Other fitness –
I like to be active in general and play in the great outdoors, but I have one specific goal in mind:
3. Climb 5.10s consistently (I got ONE 5.10 done!)
3a. I guess that means I better start strength training regularly again…too. (Well, I definitely worked out more than I did the previous year, but not as much as I had hoped. I did climb a 5.10 in the gym just a few weeks ago, which felt pretty good.)

Career –
4. I would like to see more clients with Golden Mountain Guides than last year
5. Learn more about the tourism industry, in particular, marketing. (We did see more clients than last year! It’s pretty awesome to see your own company grow! And I did learn  a little bit more about tourism, mostly through our own company.)

Other –
6. Travel to FIVE new places, in or out of Colorado. (Check X5! See above and all the travel we did this year! We even made it to at least 8 National Parks of Monuments).
7.  Learn about a new topic every month. (This gets 1/4 green. We started out strong, learning about Egyptian History, oceans, and I took a month to study Jumps Coaching (track and field). But as our business got busier, we put this one hold, only to pick it up in November, studying Mayan History)

Overall, I am truly glad this year is coming to a close. I’m ready for a “new start” of sorts in 2018.

Chasm Lake – One of my favorite photos from 2017.

Let me re-introduce myself….

Let me introduce myself...Hi! I'm Whitney!

Let me introduce myself…Hi! I’m Whitney!

Yes, I’m done with my National Park posts…for now….but in the process of talking about our wonderful parks, I have gained a bunch of new followers!

Welcome! Thanks for following along on my adventures; I hope you enjoy them!

Since a lot of you weren’t with me when I starting this blogging adventure about four years ago (woah. shock and disbelief!), I’d like to re-introduce myself to you all and share how I started, why I blog now and what you can expect to read from me.

Running Ragnar Road Relay 2015

Running Ragnar Road Relay 2015

Well, for starters, I’m Whitney! Currently in Golden, I have lived all over the Colorado front range growing up from Colorado Springs up to Fort Collins. While many people argue this fact, I am a Colorado-Native…Ish. I was indeed born in a different state (South Dakota) but moved here when I was measly 6-months old… So you can call me whatever you want, but I feel like a native because I have no memories of South Dakota and I was born on an Air-Force base which is like neutral territory, right? Anyway…

While I don’t believe peoples’ jobs define them, mine are pretty close to my identity which hasn’t always been the case in the past. I have always been a jack of all traits and have had many random jobs in the past (even dressing up as Mr. Peanut, true story), they have all lead me to my current careers (yes, plural). I own a mountain guiding business in Golden, CO called Golden Mountain Guides. I also do marketing and event production for a running company, 3W Races. Somewhere in there, I have found extra time and I also coach high school cross country and track & field.

My boyfriend and I, owners of Golden Mountain Guides

My boyfriend and I, owners of Golden Mountain Guides

That gives you a little bit of a back ground on me and you can understand why I believe, in my rare case, that my jobs may actually define me. Although, it is not all that defines me. I have a HUGE love for all most things outdoors including running and climbing, and probably an even bigger love for travel. All of those things led me to creating this blog.

Attempting Mt. Whitney

Attempting Mt. Whitney

Dang, I can’t believe it’s been a little over four years since I started this! You can see history in the making here, with my first post. After reading some old stuff, I feel that I have come a long way.

Originally this blog was made to document my goal of running a race in every state. While I still really want to accomplish this (I’m up to 13 states!), over the years my blog as become way more than that.

Running like the Wind, or at least trying to, in Washington.

Running like the Wind, or at least trying to, in Washington.

It became a place to vent, to challenge myself and others, a motivation outlet and seeker, and has been becoming a sort of lifestyle blog. Back in the beginning of the year, I “re-branded” Racing the States. While the web address still reads the same, I have come to title my blog “Racing and Wandering” and changed the look and feel completely.

Now, I’d like to think of this writing outlet as a “wanderer’s lifestyle” blog. I still run, a lot, but I have a stronger desire than ever to see very inch of this world. In the last couple of years or so, I have gotten more opportunities to do so by means of travel and have seen some incredible places (last year I got to go to London baby)!

My dad and I on a double-decker bus in London.

My dad and I on a double-decker bus in London.

I’d like to be able to share my adventures with my readers, in addition to my running. I’d like to motivate more people to seek out what makes them happy, and if it’s travel, offer up places to explore, ways to do it wisely (and cheaply) and hope that you never feel stuck in this world.

Death Valley!

Death Valley!

Follow along! Click that button to the right…

Instagram is my favorite! Or Facebook is ok too.

Re-Post – Gear Review: SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt (and giveaway!)

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(I was given a free Dual Pocket Running Belt in exchange for a blog post on my opinion and a gear review. All words and opinions are my own. Giveaway at the bottom.)

Lately I have been having a weird issue with low energy while in the middle of a run. I have started carrying peanut butter packs or a Bobo’s Oat Bar while running, just in case. The desire to carry my phone with me while training (so I can Instagram and tweet…oh yeah, and for safety), combined with the need for something to carry it all in (besides putting it all in my sports bra), left me looking for an accessory to fit my needs.

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So when I got an email to try the Dual Pocket Running Belt by SLS3, I jumped at the opportunity!

I’ve taken the belt out on many runs already and have loved it! The SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt will definitely be a part of the majority of my runs and races from here on out.

It is exactly as it sounds: a running belt with two pockets. Bonus: there are also a bunch of other wonderful features such as it’s water proof, adjustable, and “expandable” (it stretches to fit whatever you need to carry with you). It’s very lightweight and weighs as much as whatever I put in it. I tested the SLS3 Dual Pocket Belt by putting as much stuff in it that I might need in the future (maybe for a long run or a race). It was stuffed with two energy bars, a phone, car keys, and credit cards/ID  (fits my android that’s bigger than an iPhone) and probably could have fit more!

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The only other running belt I have, or even have tried, is a water carrier belt; I couldn’t even tell you what brand. When I run with that fully load with my belongings and water, it bounces around on my butt like crazy, and I can never get it adjusted just right to be comfortable. I end up with some sort of chaffing. This is not the case with this SLS3 belt. It didn’t bounce, ride up or down and stayed exactly where I put it on my waist.

20160123_131211The specifics:

  • Two zippered pockets (making it so I’m not worried stuff will fall out).
  • Fully adjustable waist band that’s easy to adjust (fits sizes 24″ to 32″).
  • Small and compact (1.5″ wide without anything in it).
  • Connects with a plastic buckle.
  • Fully washable.
  • Four colors to choose from: lime, purple, blue, and black. (Blue’s my favorite!)

Why I really liked it:

  • Very comfortable!
  • Didn’t bounce around while running.
  • Water resistant – even the zipper! (That means you can wear it in the rain and snow AND your sweat also doesn’t leak through.)
  • Lightweight – I barely noticed it was there and was only as heavy as the stuff I put in it.
  • Fashionable! It looks good, not like some that stick out when you run and look goofy.
  • Expandable (the pockets look small, but they fit a lot of things I want with me for a run).
Testing out the waterproof-ness in the muddy snow!

Testing out the waterproof-ness in the muddy snow!

Cons:

  • I can’t really think of any except the fact that it doesn’t have a place for water. Then again, if I needed a water belt, I would try SLS3’s Hydration Running Belt.

This running belt has been added to my running gear collection as a staple. I haven’t raced with it yet, but I look forward to having a secure, comfortable place to put my car key and phone for the next race I run!

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Right now SLS3 is running a limited time introductory price. The belt retails at $29.90 but their Amazon store has it listed for $16.90 (43% Off). Click HERE to look at it and get one for yourself!

Also, save 40% off the SLS3 Website with coupon code: BLOG40

GIVEAWAY: Enter to win your own! Click HERE to enter the raffle!

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Racing & Wandering: The Improved Racing the States

You may have noticed a few changes, and not just visually.

Right away you may have noticed a new layout and photo! Those are all photos I’ve taken on adventures around home and other places I’ve been to.

You may have also noticed I changed my blog’s name. It is now Racing & Wandering by Racing the States. Don’t worry, my website is still found via http://www.RacingTheStates.wordpress.com (some day I’ll buy my domain name).

Besides the name change, Racing the States is becoming more of a lifestyle blog, but not in the sense that you’re thinking. I’m not going to write about what color to paint your nails this spring or the cutest fall outfits to hit the town in… it’s more about my specific lifestyle. It’s about trying to balance my love for adventure, travel and the outdoors with the need to fund it all. It’s about how to do be active, adventurous, and explore the world and be able to pay for it all.

This means you’ll see more of my adventures including climbing, hiking, backpacking, camping and traveling in addition to my running. You’ll also see tips on how to balance all of that and do it cheaply, efficiently and still have fun…all the while maintaining a healthy life. I’d love to share more about things to do and what to see.

Never fret, I’ll still be writing about running…expect to see more post about places to run, running-related reviews, training and race recaps.

So, welcome back! Navigate around! You’ll find a menu about with info on who I am, my original project, Racing the States, a quick link to places to run, and a list of blogs I follow and love reading.

Stay awhile, read a bit and follow along as I take on the world while Racing and Wandering!

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Blog cover photo with sponsors

  1. Hanging Lakes, Colorado (2015)
  2. Oahu, Hawaii (2005)
  3. Costa Rica (2011)
  4. Breckenridge, Colorado (2014)
  5. Death Valley, California (2016)
  6. Oregon (2015)
  7. Joshua Tree National Park, California (2016)
  8. London (2015)
  9. Kuai, Hawaii (2005)

A. Runner’s Roost Mountain and Ultra Team Ambassador

B. Skirt Sports Ambassador

C. 3W Races, Marketing and Ambassador

D. Bobo’s Oat Bars Ambassador