Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sitka Cross Trail Classic Marathon Race Recap

    Yes I know the race was over 2 months ago. Life has been busy. I figured I better post this before my Kansas City post though.

    On marathon morning we all woke up a little early but nothing crazy. It was nice to have the start line right out my front door. There was no worrying about the commute or parking. I felt surprisingly calm as far as marathons go. It was nice to have so many #runsitka friends there to run with. I was most excited for Susea as she would be running her 1st full marathon. Susea was full of energy and looked much more confident than I had before my 1st full.

    We lined up and I snapped a few photos. I didn't realize how close time was so I was busy chatting when the race officially began. It is not a chip timed race so I turned and quickly made my way to catch up with Jamie.

     Jamie and Mike had selected the dates of their trip based on this race. Originally we were all going to run the half but a few weeks out I decided to change to the full. I needed an Alaskan marathon and this one was obviously the most convenient.

    Since I didn't have a goal in mind, except to have fun, I knew to keep lap one slow. This is a 2 loop course for the full participants. We started a little fast but it felt good and it was during a flatter portion of the course. We chatted as we warmed up the first few miles. I snapped a few more photos. It just felt like any other day.

    Jamie originally had planned on running the first 9.5 miles with me (before she was forced to split with the half marathoners) and then the final 5-6 miles with me. In the first few miles though it became apparent to her that her body would not cooperate. She told me well in advance though so that I would be mentally able to prep for all my solo miles after 9.5.

     I was nervous about not having any water stops on the second loop so I made sure to drink at the stops for the first loop. I drank my own water, that I was carrying in my pack, as needed.

     We ran through Totem Park and then crossed the road and entered into the Sitka Cross Trail and that's where the real hills began. I run this this route all the time so it was familiar. I could almost close my eyes and still successfully run it. I only power walked one portion and that was planned. I tend to walk it faster than running it. It rained some during this portion. I was grateful for overcast skies and cool temperatures. I started feeling pretty good during the final decent uphill. I also knew that Jamie would be leaving me soon. I felt strong and confident.

    I said goodbye to Jamie and continued down the benchlands alone. I saw a few marathoners pass by me and I tried to determine how far ahead they were. I counted myself as 6th out of 10. It was something to occupy my mind. The benchlands always feel good to me because they are flatter than the Cross Trail. They make the transition from the Cross Trail to roads a bit easier too.

     I continued on and hit the roads feeling ready to start lap two. I had my watch set to only show my current lap so I had no idea of where I was pacing-wise. When I approached the 'finish' for the first time I was around mile 14. I think the large counter said 2:15ish. I realized that I had probably enjoyed lap one a little too much. Oh well, it was fun. I high-fived as many people as possible and started cruising into lap two. (We don't have to repeat Japonski Island which is why we run longer on the benchlands than the half marathoners.)

    When I hit the trails in Totem Park it immediately felt different from lap one. The park was almost entirely void of humans. The lack of people and energy had me worried about the Cross Trail. I started talking to myself a little and tried to motivate my body. I was bored so I started using my energy chews as bargaining chips, "Just make it over the bridge and you can have another chew."

     List things to be thankful for today:
- My best friends being in town.
- My #runsitka friends
- Cool weather and only light rain
- Strong legs
- My new comfy hat
- My supportive husband
- Susea's kids that keep popping up along the course to cheer
- No bear sightings

    This continued for awhile. When I needed to cross over Sawmill Creek Road there was no one manning traffic. I was over 16.5 miles in and I had to stop at the crosswalk and wait for cars to stop for me. I tried to not let this bring me down.

    I got back onto the Cross Trail and this was the only few minutes where I felt mentally down. I was past 17 miles and aching a little. Mostly though, I was lonely. Soon I spotted a glimpse of a female runner ahead. The thought of a companion brightened my spirits. I began gaining on her and realized that I had way too much gas in the tank.

    As I got within 15 yards of her we rounded a corner and started running down a hill. I knew that we went down and then up, uP, UP. I was so focused on building momentum that I didn't immediately notice Amanda at the base of the hill. She started jumping up and down and shouted up the hill to me, "I'M RUNNING THE BIG HILL WITH YOU!" I sped down the hill past the other runner and together Amanda and I began our run up the hill.

    Amanda ran a diagnostic check on me.

" The back of my legs hurt from all the uphills. I have been really lonely and bored. Wait, you're really running this stupid hill with me after you ran the half?!"

    I wanted to cry tears of joy but had promised myself "no crying" after my last 26.2.

    Amanda was unable to repair my tired legs but she fixed my broken spirit right away. She explained that she wanted to help me because I had helped her in the past. She gave me a brief recap of her race and our friends races. I smiled and chatted with her. I was so proud of everyone. As we ran and talked it began to feel like our usual training runs, just Amanda and me in the woods.

    Soon we approached Cascade Creek and she told me that she would be leaving me soon. I felt rejuvenated though and prepared to go back to my solitude. As we neared the waterfall I caught a glimpse of bright pink and knew that another #runsitka friend must be near. Sure enough, there stood Charmaine, Jamie, Mike, and Joe. They began cheering as we ran down the hill towards them. Charmaine jumped in on our traveling marathon party. I congratulated her on surpassing her race goal. She showed me the new trucker hat she'd purchased between her race finish and meeting me (ha!). We went up another hill and Amanda bid us farewell.

    Charmaine informed me that I'd have friends with me until the finish. This was all news to me and a nice and welcomed surprise. She continued to inform me of more details from her race. She also threw in compliments to me to keep me smiling.

    List things to be thankful for today:
- Friends that go above and beyond for me in my time of need.

    Charmaine continued to encourage me as we ran and soon we were exiting the Cross Trail and heading (back) into the benchlands. Jamie sprinted up behind us and joined the party. I snapped a few more photos. As we hit the final turnaround we passed by another marathoner. I remember having sore feet from the trail surface and I was so ready to be on roads. Soon we were popping back out of the benchlands and everyone began yelling for Mike that was supposed to be waiting for us. The girls said bye to me as Mike jumped out of the woods and caught up with me.

    Mike smiled and said,"When nature calls!" I started laughing and we continued down the road. Usually Mike is pretty quiet, especially on runs, but he was in rare form that day. He was chatting up a storm and I was super thankful for it. I had flat(ish) roads, entertainment, and only a few miles to go.

    My shoe came untied and I tried to ignore it but I had picked up the pace and it was annoying me. We stopped and Mike tied my shoe for me. We then continued on our way. Mike said that I was crushing the marathon. I replied that I just wanted to stop running. We were almost to the end and I was thinking I was around a 4:25 marathon because I had been running and enjoying my friends.

     We hit the final homestretch down by the harbor and when the race clock came into view I saw that I was faster than I had thought I was. My friends appeared and I ran through the finish at exactly 4:03:00. It was an awesome race.

    The post-race snacks were awesome with fruits, veggies, cookies, water, Gatorade, etc. I found out that I was 4th overall (out of 10) and 3rd female. Woot!! We all sat and anxiously awaited Susea's arrival. She ended up doing incredible and running through with a huge smile on her face. Overall it was a fantastic day for racing.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Five Weeks to Go

Here I sit so excited to finally type in my marathon recap post and I realize that I do not have my notebook. I like to hand write blog posts and then type them in. I enjoy the process more when I have a pen in my hand. So I guess it just wasn't meant to be today.

Instead I will check in and say HELLO! I have tried really hard to keep my social media up to date but unfortunately this website, the page that started it all, is often last on my mind. I find myself on-the-go with only a few minutes to spare and that time crunch works great for Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook posts but not so much for this blog. I am sorry.

I am currently 5 weeks out from the Kansas City Marathon. I am T-I-R-E-D. I am so tired in fact that I know that I need to pull back a little this week. I am back to working full time (stressful!), marathon training, and started CrossFit back up. In addition I have had some personal life stressors going on. My cup runneth over.

Overall though this training cycle has been going well. I've been able to hit the distances set before me and mostly been able to find the time for my workouts. My confidence level is currently at "Meh" but perhaps that is just because I am FIVE weeks out. My speed is not where I would like for it to be. I feel sluggish and slow. Yesterday I ran just over 11 miles at an 8:56 pace and it felt HARD. It felt really hard. Is this all my mind playing tricks on me? Perhaps. Is it due to a high volume of workouts and cumulative fatigue? Probably. Am I still going to freak out? YES!

As my trip to Kansas City approaches I find myself becoming homesick. I miss my family and friends there. I miss the area in general. I know that it will be a super quick trip and I'm already sad about not being able to see everyone. It is difficult to only have a few days with my loved ones here and there throughout the years. It's been almost 8 years since I moved away from the KC area and it never gets easier to say goodbye. I am trying to focus on the race though and the time with loved ones that I am gifted with.

If you happen to be in the Kansas City area on October 17th than come cheer on the runners! You know how much crowd support means on race day. I'd love to run by and give you a high five (or have you there to drag me to the finish....ha!).

I am running the race as part of a fundraiser for my friends charity. I am hoping to raise another $450 by race day. Please click on this LINK to read about the cause and to donate. It's one fundraising page for all the Village Racers so please write my name in the comments so that I now that you donated on my behalf.

Thank you for reading!  I hope that you're having a wonderful September so far. I'm just trying to enjoy this beautiful island as much as possible.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Alpine Adventure Run- Sitka, Alaska 2015

This was my second year running this incredible race.
You can read about my first experience HERE.

    This year I am settled into my home here in Sitka. I have friends and a wonderful running group. I have ran A LOT of trails over the last year. I even was able to practice on this race course on multiple occasions.
    In May I was dealing with an injury that set me back. I was unable to run for several weeks. The injury eventually led me to decide to NOT run in a 50k that I was planning on. It definitely messed with my fitness and overall confidence. I was able to start training back up in June. It slowed me down a bit but that's okay.

    The Alpine Adventure Run was not a "goal race" for me. It was just for fun. I mean really, what could possibly be more fun than running up one mountain and across the ridge to another?! The total elevation gain for the 7 mile course is 3,130 feet. HEY YO!

   Heading into the race I already had 40+ miles of running for the week. This was going to be a training run+fun with a goal of NOT getting hurt.

   On race morning I drove myself to the start and checked in with the race officials. I then found some friends to talk to. It had been raining hard for days. I was a bit nervous about the condition of the trails. I went out for a 1.5 mile warm up run to get rid of some nervous energy. I remembered that I didn't put on deodorant and ran to my car. I couldn't locate any deodorant but found TWO sticks of Body Glide. Oh well.

    Several #runsitka friends showed up to cheer on those of us that were running. It was wonderful to have such support. Joe was awesome and drove them all to the top of Harbor Mountain to cheer at the finish line too.

     The race started and we were off! I ran by my friend Wesley briefly and then decided to drop back a little before the single track portion. I didn't want to get caught up with all the folks that were going to bust their butts and hurry to the top. I hung back a little too far though because I ended up having to pass a few people on the planks before making it over the Cross Trail.

    Once I was past the Cross Trail then I stuck with a steady hike up Gavan Hill. The trail was flowing with water and more muddy than I have ever seen it. It was fun though. I was cursing myself for having forgotten to pack my GoPro. I must have been really tired because I forgot a lot of things that morning.

     I don't remember much that is note worthy besides the fog, rain, mud, and constant water flow on the trail. I made it to the "lookout" and was happy to know that I only had to conquer the "stairway to heaven" until the first Sitka Mountain Rescue checkpoint. There was one portion where I was walking across a slippery plank and completely face planted. The guy that was several yards behind me groaned loudly (for me I guess...ha!). I popped right back up though and kept on going.

     I made it to the checkpoint and was able to catch a guy from Anchorage. We chatted briefly. He was super encouraging. I liked him but it was about this time that I caught a glimpse of a kilt in the distance. [You need to read last years recap to understand this.]

     The weather resembled the weather from the year before. I remember seeing a hint of Dave's kilt and thinking, "NO WAY!! I caught him!!" I wanted to speed up but decided to just keep a steady pace. I experienced a little bit of a mind warp. I was suddenly running behind Mr. Kilt again in the same race, with the same weather. I was sneaking up on him when some random spectators appeared and shouted out,"She's going to pass him!" He looked over his left shoulder, smiled, and shook his head. Dave then shouted something about me passing him and I said that he'd probably catch up to me later. I passed him and ran on. IT FELT AWESOME!!! It didn't feel awesome because I passed him. It felt awesome that I was brave and experienced enough this year to run on ALONE! I no longer was scared of the mountainous terrain. I was definitely still scared of a bear encounter but I was counting on my lack of deodorant to help deter them. I am kidding, of course.

     I caught up to a few other runners. We chatted for a bit. One lady in particular was great to talk to. She was going a pace that worked for me so we stuck together for a mile or so. At each checkpoint the Sitka Mountain Rescue folks complimented my bright running shirt. At the checkpoint by the Alpine Hut I said goodbye to my new friend and ran onward.

     I was cruising down a hill and my foot slipped and I very briefly thought I might fly off the mountain. I was able to dig my left leg in though and regain control. Whew. I was pretty much alone out on the course from this point on.

    When I was running over the rock slide I felt really bad ass because last year I was SO SCARED and nervously walked across. I was a bit sad that no one was there to photograph the moment. Just close your eyes and envision me cruisin' though this in fog and rain.
This was a few weeks better weather.

        I finally was passing by the last checkpoint. My friend Ron asked me why I wasn't finished yet. I laughed and shook my head. He asked if I needed water. I responded,"Well OBVIOUSLY I'm moving too slow already and I don't have time to stop for water." I was pretty much smiling from this point to the end of the race.

       As I finished the final ridge portion I heard my friend Devin cheering for me in the distance. How she saw me through the fog and trees I do not know. I was so stoked to hit the big downhill portion. I passed by Devin and her friend and enjoyed the downhill ride. This part is really fun and you know the finish is near.
Photo Credit: Tasha Folsom

         My friend Charmaine captured this video of my finish. You can see me high five Wesley after I come through the finish. He totally ROCKED his race. Hailey and Charmaine cheered loudly, shot off confetti, and provided beverages. We all turned and anxiously awaited our friend Susea's finish.
She ended up CRUSHING the race too! We all celebrated!!

        The race was well organized. I felt cared for throughout the entire experience. There was plenty of food and drinks after. It is truly a special race. I encourage you to run it someday! It is challenging, technical, and INSANELY AWESOME!!! I had a blast running it again with all these adventurous runners.
Photo credit: Cassie Gillespie

My official time: 1:53:02

I am really proud of this time. Alaska has been good for me. It has taught me to care less about pushing myself to the max in every race and to just have fun. I am ready to get back to chasing a PR but I have REALLY enjoyed all of my summer runs. I have smiled, laughed, taken photos, and chatted with friends along the way. It's helped me to rediscover my love for running. Sometimes it's not about running faster, it's just about enjoying the ride.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Marathon Training

   A few weeks ago I decided that I may upgrade to the full marathon on August 8th. Since then I've been training as such. I know that some folks are worried that I could be in way over my head (and perhaps I am). I have looked back over the last few months of workouts though and I feel fairly confident that I can finish a marathon. Please take note that I mention nothing of a pace goal.
   Last week between running and mountain hiking I tackled over 60 miles.
At the top of Mt. Verstovia with some #runsitka friends.
This included a 21 mile long run
I may have borrowed this photo from Susea who completed her 1st ever 20-miler. Woot!
    My body is tired. That's okay, it should be. My mind is focused though. On Sunday (the day after my long run) my friend Amanda convinced me to go for a shakeout run. I was thankful for her encouragement. I jumped in and ran 2.6 miles with her. The legs felt surprisingly decent. I was half expecting to start running and then face plant a few strides in. It was nice to run, chat, and catch up with Amanda. I can hardly believe we'll be heading to Kansas City together in about 14 weeks to run a marathon. EEK!
   Yesterday I was downright exhausted. I have had a lot of house guests this summer and I think all the running and all the guests finally caught up to me. I will NOT do that to myself next summer. It has been fun but I realize now that it's hard on me and Joe to have to share our space for extended periods of time. I am happy we'll have the house to ourselves for three whole weeks. We should be well-rested for our final summer visitors. So yesterday..... I slept. I slept a lot.
    When I finally awoke from my slumber I complained of having no motivation to workout. I was a bit taken aback when Joe appeared downstairs in workout clothes and asked me to run with him. He is not a fan of running and it meant a lot to me. So off we ran together. I needed to run 5 miles and I ran just 3.....but at least I ran.
    Today I'm hoping to knock out 7-8 miles between running solo and the #runsitka group run. I am less than 4 weeks out from marathon day and I need to hunker down and get 'er done. I am also trying to be mindful though that I am running the Alpine Adventure Run on Saturday. It's a treacherous 7 mile mountain run that will take me at least 2 hours to complete. Last year I ran it on fresh legs. This year I'll be running it on very tired legs.  So we'll see what happens. I'm sure I'll be moving more slowly since it's not my goal race.
     My plan this week is to complete the rest of my scheduled workouts. To run the race and maybe do a few chill miles after. To mentally begin prepping for my 26.2 mile run. To begin to feel out what pace I should realistically shoot for on race day. The route is a two looper. I hope to not have flashbacks to the Hyannis Marathon. The goal is to FINISH but I don't want to start out too fast on I need to find a pace to stick with. I also need to figure out how I will be a good tour guide to my friends while still resting my legs for the marathon that weekend. Hmmm....
      It's been awhile since I ran a marathon....can I still do it? Will I be able to complete it? I sure hope so. No matter how much I run, I still respect the distance. A lot can happen in 26.2 miles and I hope I'm ready for it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


I have never had to DNS (that means "Did Not Start") a race.
I am sad to say that I will be DNS'ing my 50k in August. Gahhhh!
Excuse me if this post reads a bit disjointed, but here goes.

    Last month...
my lower right leg started hurting. I greatly feared it was a stress fracture. I ended up taking several weeks off of running. Thankfully it was not a stress fracture. However it was very painful and resting was necessary. Due to the injury I ended up missing far too many essential workouts. I feel I will not be prepared to tackle 31 miles in the mountains.  

So, now what?

    I started cranking my mileage back up when June hit. It's pretty crazy how quickly you can lose your running fitness. It felt kind of tough at first. At least I had awesome people to run with.
On June 6th I logged a hilly 9 miler.
The following week I ran an organized half marathon, The Medjevie Solstice Run.
Photo by Charmaine B.
I decided to run it and enjoy myself. That meant not going easy but not trying to prove anything either. My leg was still a little bothersome at times. I finished the 13.1 miles with Janell by my side in 1:59:39. That was much better than I expected, especially for a course with hilly and rugged terrain.
While Janell was in town she had me training like a beast. She wanted to see ALL THE THINGS and keep up with her triathlon training schedule. This meant long days of hiking, biking, running, and swimming. I developed a bit of a cold and missed out on 2 of her workouts but otherwise I managed to somewhat keep up.
On June 20th I ran 11 miles in the morning and then ran a 22:58 at the Midnight 5k. To give a little background, I did NOT plan on racing the 5k. We actually had a late salmon dinner and then drank 22oz of hard cider. For some reason though, we started running relatively quick and we just stuck with it.
Some #runsitka folks after the race
So that got me thinking.....
even though the 50k is out of the picture, maybe I can still train for the
Sitka Cross Trail Marathon. ????
 I'm currently registered to run the half marathon. Now IF I switch to the full this doesn't mean that I will be running it fast (which is a relative term). It just means that I will be hoping for a 26.2 finish. It could be my slowest marathon ever. That's okay. I will at least have completed an Alaskan marathon.
This past week....
I ran a 5 miler, a midweek 10 miler, went up and down a mountain, and on Saturday I unexpectedly ran 20 miles. I felt strong during it. It was 'slow' but I had a good time along the way. YAY!
Photo by Charmaine B.
Then yesterday....
I ran 6.2 miles and unexpectedly swam 2000 yards. That was my furthest swim to date.
I'm feeling fairly good lately.
My *New* Plan
Train Hard.
Act as if I'm running the marathon on August 8th.
Wait until late July to officially make a decision.
I don't know if my body is going to hold up through the training. I feel it's best to wait and see. I've still got an insane 7 mile mountain race to run in the meantime.
If nothing else this training is good prep work for the Kansas City Marathon in October.
Final Thoughts
I'm disappointed that the 50k won't be happening. It is a big goal of mine and maybe someday I will accomplish it. Until then, I will keep training and hope for some fun adventures along the way.
Have your goals ever been derailed? How did you deal with it?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Crazy Runner Girl

    I cannot believe we are fast approaching summer of 2015. I am calling it "Epic Summer of Awesomeness" [be searching that hashtag because it will contain epic, summery, and awesome things. ha!]. Are you ready for summertime? I know that I am.

    The other day someone said to me,"...of course they know you. You're the crazy runner girl around town." It made me giggle to myself. This town ahem, island is very small. I'm usually brightly dressed and have my hair in a long braid.

Exhibit A
It probably doesn't help that I am a bit eccentric and very energetic.
So I am sure these qualities help folks to identify me.
I was jumping in photos before it was even a thing....
    Anyways, I've been thinking about that a lot this week. I've also been thinking about the times people say they're 'afraid to join' me on a run. You see, they are under the false impression that I am speedy. Due to this they also fear that I'll leave them in my dust if a bear crosses our path. I try to silence those fears because I'm definitely a "middle of the pack" runner. Also because I am a chatty running partner, I am sure I scare the bears away. Add that to the list of perks! I am absolutely convinced that if a bear crosses my path I will accidentally sacrifice myself for them by passing out (having a heart attack, freezing in place, or having any other generally awful reaction)....and hence allowing those running with me to make a great escape. If this happens, please talk about my bravery in the re-telling of the story
    These last two weeks- ok, perhaps the last few months- have been ba-nay-nays. I have been working full-time, running, swimming, lifting, biking, hiking, and playing softball. Some days I have been leaving the house at 6 a.m. and not returning until past 8 p.m. It's been awesome, fun, stressful, and exhausting.
    I think back to just 4 years ago and I cannot believe the difference in my life. First of all, those that only recently know me probably would barely recognize me.
Mr. T and Me circa March 2011
   Secondly, I was just in an entirely different place in my life. During that time period I wrote about rarely going out and doing stuff. I spoke about lacking motivation. One of my goals was to celebrate life more.

      I am thankful to have this space to write. I am also thankful to have this space to reflect.

     I remember when I just wanted to lose weight. I wanted to be able to fit into my size 10 pants again. Oh what a glorious day that was when it finally happened. I cried when I swiftly pulled up those 10's and secured the button.

    I remember when I wanted to run my first 5k and then 10k. Those seemed like insurmountable distances. I did it though!!!
My first(ish) 5k circa March 2012
    Then I somehow was convinced I could run a half marathon. I did that too!!After that I somehow got tricked into training for a full marathon. Guess what? I did that too....during a freaking blizzard.

    I don't write all this to toot my own horn. I write all this because here I am four years later completely transformed due to all the small steps and goals that got me here. People know me now as the "crazy runner girl". Back then I was just a girl that looked in the mirror and disliked what looked back at her. I didn't envision ever living this active lifestyle. Somehow though, my healthy daily choices kept piling up. Each day I took another step towards better health and overall wellness.

    I love a good transformation photo. However, I'm here to tell you that the "after" is NEVER complete. I still have to wake up each day and make choices. Granted, it's slightly easier now that I know and have experienced the positive benefits. Back then I didn't know just how awful I felt, physically and mentally. Feeling tired, bloated, sad, and hopeless to lose weight was all that I knew. Now if I'm lacking motivation I am able to use that knowledge to kick my rear into gear.

Summer 2011
    I'm proud to be known as the "crazy runner girl". I'd just like you to be fully informed that just four years ago I HATED RUNNING. "Crystal-2011" would scoff if you told her the daily routines of "Crystal-2015". She would not even be able to wrap her head around running a marathon someday. In fact, she'd probably have to ask how far a marathon is. She would be eating Taco Bell, sipping on a Dr. Pepper, and be unable to correctly pronounce the word "quinoa". "Crystal-2011" would laugh in your face if you told her she'd someday be waking up at 5:30 a.m. willingly and paying for someone to train her with strength and endurance workouts.

    Take each day at a time. If you're not feeling motivated to workout then use the "10 Minute Rule". Force yourself to workout for 10 minutes. Most of the time, I find the motivation within that 10 minute timeframe to continue. Don't be afraid to workout with people! I have found strength, accountability, friendship, courage, and belief in myself due to others belief in me. If someone is encouraging you to join them, DO IT!!!Allow them to be your tour guide into a more active lifestyle. Who knows, maybe you'll soon be crazy like me.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Better Late Than Never

In January 2003 I married my amazing husband Joe. We were both 19 years old and money was not exactly abundant. We were married at the court house and spent the weekend in downtown Kansas City (our hometown area). We told each other that we'd go on a honeymoon when we had the money.

Life happened.
School happened.
The Coast Guard happened.

We celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary this January and a few short weeks ago we were walking, running, biking, hiking, swimming, and stand-up paddle boarding all over Oahu, Hawaii. Better late than never, aye?

I never thought it would take 12+ years to have a real honeymoon. It was worth the wait though. It came at a time that we would absolutely appreciate the sunshine, warmth, and relaxation. Our first Alaskan winter was a bit rough on us. Having this trip to look forward to greatly helped our moral.

Everyone we spoke with was friendly. The weather was spectacular. After living in a rain forest for 10+ months it was awesome to be in dry, warm, and sunny weather. We didn't want to be inside at all. One of our favorite parts was a bike tour we did with our guide Kelly. We had such a blast. Kelly knew more about the area than anything I could have researched online. If we return than we will definitely go on one of the other Pedal Bike Tours.

I am lucky to have been able to take this trip. I am thankful and overjoyed that it was with my ol' man. It's never too late to enjoy a honeymoon. Hawaii is gorgeous and rich in culture. I would love to live there someday. Until that day arrives (ha!) I will treasure the memories we made and the time we spent together.

Although 2015 has definitely had stressors, it's already showing promise of being one of my best years yet. 

p.s. scratch Hawaii off the "states I've ran in" list.