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

 

First adventure of 2016: COMPLETE.

Back to life, back to reality. I always repeat that song (in my head) when I get back from a vacation. Although, I have been back for two weeks and only now am finding time to finish this post.

We got back home last week, two weeks ago. It was 1am Monday morning, bed at 2am (a shower was a must after 10 days of camping), and back to the grind at 6am.

But what a wonderful adventure we had! Here’s a quick-ish view of our vacation! I would love to go in more detail on a few of our stops in some future posts.

New Years

We weren’t planning on starting our vacation until the first of the year but we decided to take an extra day and go up to Buena Vista, CO to the Mt. Princeton Resort. My friend is in a big swing band, William and the Romantics, and they were playing that night, New Year’s Eve! It was a blast! We rang in the new year by attempting to swing dance, soaking in the hot springs and hanging out with friends. It was lovely.

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Death Valley

Quickly after 2016 arrived, we headed straight to bed to get up the next morning and start the long drive to California. The plan: drive as long as we can before we needed to sleep.

We made it to Death Valley! We decided to camp there since neither of us had been before. Plus, it was free! We arrived way after sun had set and couldn’t see a thing out our car window in the dark park. We found our intended camp ground, set up the tent and went to bed. We woke up the next morning to some fantastic views!

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View from the campground

View from the campground

Since we were already there, we decided to venture around the park and check it out. We visited the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Artist’s Palate, and went for a short, shake out run to Darwin Falls. We even saw some coyotes!

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Mesquite flat sand dunes

 

Artist's Palate

Artist’s Palate

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Coyotes

Darwin Falls

Darwin Falls

Lone Pine/Mt. Whitney

With daylight still around, we decided to set up camp at our next destination in Lone Pine. The plan: to hike the mountaineer’s route of Mt. Whitney the next day.

After eating a fulfilling dinner (spaghetti before a big day, duh!), we went to bed to wake up at 2am to start the long hike.

We didn’t summit the 14er (the tallest one in the lower 58 states), but we got in a great hike and my first attempt at mountaineering. The route/hike was a little harder than I had anticipated (I’m sure Ben could have blazed up and down the thing, twice) and I was already feeling worn out with 2/3 of the hike left. Plus this my first time doing anything like this, wearing mountaineer’s boots and crampons. We turned around at the three-mile mark, Boy Scout Lake, which already had an elevation gain of 2,000 feet! I learned a lot and want to go back and try again…maybe during the summer months!

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Sleep was nice that night but it was another cold night in Lone Pine. They next day we checked out the Alabama Hills, where a ton of movies and commercials were filmed. We learned all about it with a stop at the Film History Museum of Lone Pine. A ton of Westerns, Ganga Din, parts of Django Unchained, a scene from Iron Man, Tremors, parts of Star Wars, and a TON more were all film here!

the Alabama hills..interesting rocks!

The Alabama hills..interesting rocks!

San Diego and the Zoo

After the museum…we got right back in the car and navigated our way to San Diego! Oh the traffic – oh the horrors! Both my boyfriend and I can’t stand traffic and boy was there a lot in that part of the world! But we made it to our campground, the San Diego Metro KOA, took advantage of the shower situation (there was one!), cooked dinner and decided to try a local brewery, Iron First Brewing!

That’s when the rain started….for the next three days.

The following morning, we packed up our tent and straight to the zoo!!! I have always wanted to visit the San Diego Zoo! I heard it’s one of the best, plus they have PANDAS! We spent most of the day wandering the huge zoo, in the rain, and tried to see every animal they had. The rain was sorta BEAR-able (pun intended) for most of the morning into the afternoon, but later it started pouring on us. We stuck it out, determined to make the most of the situation and see the zoo since we’re only there once!

Baby Bonobo!

Baby Bonobo!

 

It's a PANDA!

It’s a PANDA!

 

Bucket list item checked off!

Bucket list item checked off!

Joshua Tree

After drying off in the car, we made the trek to Joshua Tree National Park. We had a nail-biting drive over some mountain pass where the intense, once-a-year, rain washed microwave sized rocks into the road. On the end of our nerves, we set up camp in the short break between rain storms, cooked some quick dinner and fast to sleep.

The plan was to climb in Joshua Tree…while we did eventually accomplish this, there were a few struggles, both personal and environmental.

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Obstacle #1 while climbing Joshua Tree: Cold Weather. What I learned from our vacation is that I don’t like climbing in the cold. It hurts! With the morning free of rain, we attempted to find some climbing, but rain free does not equal cold free. I am now on a mission to make the best climbing glove.

Cholla cactus

Cholla cactus

Obstacle #2: Cracks: Oh geez. To my non-climber friends, it isn’t what it sounds like. If you are a climber you’ll understand: Crack climbing is HARD! At least I think so. I have not really done any of this, so this was a first attempt. It feels like you’re going to break your feet, hands and arms. If you are not a climber, picture this: You wedge your toes and hands in a crack between two rocks and pull, repeatedly, to get to the top. It was very uncomfortable. I was told I would learn to like it. We’ll see…

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Obstacle #3: (Me) Being a scaredy cat! As told to me by the Boyfriend: “Joshua Tree is a very old school type of climbing.” That being said, a lot of the routes felt way harder than they were rated and even getting down from a climb was an obstacle. One down climb in particular left me in tears.

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Triumph #1: On our last day in Joshua Tree, the sun finally came out. We got a few routes in. My ever so wonderful boyfriend sacrificed climbing a lot harder routes to put up a top rope for me so I could (painstakingly) practice. I also discovered that I kinda like slab climbing (where you use less upper body and more leg/feet placement and core). I practiced a little bit more of this crack climbing stuff and still am undecided on if I “like” it.

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The Hoover Dam and Lake Mead

Sadly, we packed up camp at Joshua Tree. I actually did really liked it there. I would love to go back (with more crack climbing practice under my belt) and give it another go, but it was time to make the journey back toward Colorado. The plan to was to see the Hoover Dam on Saturday and wake up Sunday morning and make the 12 mile drive back.

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However, as shown before, the only sure thing about a plan is it will change. We arrived at the Hoover Dam in the afternoon, thinking we could just get right in and take a tour. No, that is not the case. The full tour does, indeed, sell out (much to my dismay after searching the website intensively). Having our hearts set on the full tour, we decided to walk around the top of the dam, take pictures and come back the next morning to be the FIRST people in line to get on the FIRST tour.

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We camped nearby at Lake Mead National Recreation Center which was definitely beautiful despite being noisy (the National Recreation center campground was full of RV’s that liked to run their generators at night).

Lake Mead

Lake Mead

The next morning, with a belly full of pancakes, we packed up the tent, one last time, and arrived at the Hoover Dam, again. We did get on the very FIRST tour and we VERY impressed and glad we decided to come back. After getting our fill of the Hoover Dam, we hopped back in the car and proceeded to spend the next 21 hours driving.

Picture from INSIDE the Dam!

Picture from INSIDE the Dam!

Home

That brings us full circle, arriving back home Monday, 2am.