A Fall Slump

The post-race slump is real yo.

Plus it’s fall. Oh how I love seasons, especially fall! The sunny days have quite quickly turned to gray, sometimes rainy days. Sometimes that makes me want to run, sometimes that makes me want to hibernate – Netflix, books, sleep. Fall is awesome.

But, I’ve also been thinking ahead to spring and summer and race season.

First up, a travel run. Two things I love together = big love. Locale and race just about decided.

Next, an Orca Running race. The Iron Horse Half was such a great course and so well executed. I’m so excited to continue as a race ambassador for them for 2017 and run another one!

Registration for all of their 2017 races opened this week! I’m still trying to decide which one(s!) I’ll do because they all look like so much fun! Go check them out and use the code PRETTYACTIVE17 for 10% off your entry.

For fitness or beauty?

I like to hike. I think I kinda forgot this and didn’t get out to the mountains much this summer. Shame because Washington is such an amazing playground.

I decided to get back out there and kick off the long weekend with a hike that’s been on my list for a while – Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls.


It’s an eight mile out and back trek that ends at this wonderful little spot. We’ve had a few fall-like days recently, so the hike was overcast, cool, and slightly misty at times.

I realized while I was hiking that I’m not much for stopping and when the trail is rooty and rocky, you tend to focus down a lot. I wondered, am I here for the fitness or the outdoor experience? Then, as often happens when I think of the word fitness, I thought of this and laughed because it’s funny every time.


But, back to the larger question. When you really get climbing, the sweat feels just as cleansing as a hot yoga class and I love it. So, I think I’d say I hike for fitness, which seems gauche to admit. I should be all, “I’m here to absorb the beauty and connect with nature.” To be fair, if it was ALL about that sweat, I’d run in town or get the the gym v. driving 90 minutes to hike.

Also, I absolutely loved the falls.


I guess you have to love both to be a hiker! Since I took my first, nervous solo hike a little over a year ago, I’ve become much more comfortable with it. It also helps that I’m independent and stubborn and want to go where I want to go, when I want to go, and at my pace and throw in some running when the trail allows. (#thisiswhyimsingle)

Unfortunately, I’m not quite brave enough to hike snow-covered trails alone, so I’m hoping to get a few more fall hikes in before winter hits.

Aaaand today I’m sore and balancing the hike with some good, old-fashioned laziness. Yay for three day weekends!

Iron Horse Half Marathon Recap

I ran my first trail half marathon, the Iron Horse Half on Sunday and it was just a glorious day for it – overcast and cool. I loved the course! It was point-to-point, beautiful, and basically all downhill.

Participants parked at the finish line (in North Bend) and bused to the start (at Olallie State Park). There were porta-pottys, friendly volunteers, and great support throughout the course. The race was so smooth, especially considering it was its first year!

I loved the wave starts. They really helped ease congestion throughout. I had to brave the porta-potty line and ended up being a few minutes late for my wave, but was able to just start on my own before the next one and catch up.

Because of the perfect day and fast course, I was slightly disappointed I hadn’t trained more with longer or faster runs. Unfortunately, I also walked a bit because there was a crying, throat closing, couldn’t breathe, wheezing thing that was happening. You know, things that happen when your ex runs the same race. Let me tell you, a trail half is not the ideal place for that to happen, but I’m all about feeling your feelings and what not. Eventually I felt better, enjoyed the course, enjoyed the day, and enjoyed moving my body. I finished pretty strong in 1:58:32.

The finishers’ festival had hot dogs and beer and yummy cold brew coffee, which is what I was really after at that point! I sat down in the grass with the sun that was starting to come out and relaxed a little bit before heading back to Seattle. It was definitely worth the drive out there!

As always happens post-race, mentally I’m somewhere in between who thought that was a good idea? and when’s the next one?!

Iron Horse offers free race photos! Always smile when you see the photog (and when you’re finished running 13.1 miles):



Side note: I wore the same shoes that felt a little worn after my RnR Half because I haven’t found anything I like better since then. Any recommendations? I think I’m going to check out REI’s Labor Day sale to start!

Orca has two fall half marathons coming up and a fun, Halloween-themed 8K, check them out and use PRETTYACTIVE16 to get 10% off your entry!

Hey, how’s that Iron Horse Half training going?

I’ve been excited about the Iron Horse Half Marathon since I found out about it earlier this year. It’s in a new location for me and is my first trail run. Now that it’s less than a week away, I’ve discovered that excited does not always equal preparedness.

After the RnR Half, I wanted a bit of a break from training as always happens for me. Then I went through a break up, I moved, it got really hot, one time I went out for a long run and my Spotify playlist just kept playing all the sad songs (re: see first excuse).

Basically, life happened.

One of my resolutions this year was to work out through transitions. See, I’m aware of this particular weakness of mine, this tendency to let exercise be the first thing to fall away when things get busy or I’m feeling all the feelings. You know, precisely when I need the endorphins in my life.

And I have gotten better. This transition took me down to a few workouts a week but I was still getting some miles in, along with yoga, biking, and golf (okay, I played a par three course once, but it’s still active fun).

For my last pre-race long run, I did 10 miles yesterday! Not at a pace I loved, but at a decent pace for a Sunday run and I felt like I could have kept going. For not feeling prepared I’d say the ability to crank that one out deserves a big old, HEY THANKS BODY!


Want to run the Iron Horse? Get 10% off with PRETTYACTIVE16 at check out! Online registration is open for two more days or you can register at packet pick up or day of.

You gotta move or move on

Last last weekend, my AZ sister from another mister, Emily, came to visit me and go to Kenny Chesney’s Spread the Love concert. I was really excited to see Miranda Lambert and she was awesome. Sam Hunt also played…also amazing.


We did yoga at the sculpture park and ate all the delicious food. I love having visitors and showing off my awesome city.


Emily also helped me find a great new apartment! My lease was coming up real quick and while I had a plan A in place, things change and as Sam Hunt says, “you gotta move or move on.” Although Emily thinks it’s you gotta move TO move on. Thoughts?

Either way, I moved on Tuesday and I really like the new place! Err, at least what it WILL be once all the boxes are unpacked and Rigo has figured it out and calmed down a bit. He’s currently pretty sure I moved him and all our stuff there to leave him forever. My poor neighbors. Emily had a good idea to introduce him/alert the neighbors that he might be sad for a while in the new place and this is what I ended up with:

Rigo Intro


The new place is all of three miles away from where I was, but Seattle is full of unique neighborhoods so there’s a lot to explore. There are plenty of boring things that go along with moving, like packing and you know, moving, updating the DMV, blah blah blah. But there are fun things about moving too. My first month in the new place bucket list includes:

  1. Find my new running routes – easy 3-5 milers and longer loops for the weekends.
  2. Discover new restaurants. My new place is super walkable, so I have plenty of options for my new go-to sushi, burgers, coffee, Mexican, ice cream. Yum!
  3. Get to a November Project workout and running meetup. I’m much closer to their usual locations, so my typical excuse doesn’t work anymore.
  4. Find new walk routes for Rigo and check out the nearby dog park.
  5. Jump in a nearby body of water…I’m close to a few to choose from!
  6. Switch my holds to a closer library branch. I use the library ALL. THE. TIME. I used to just get ebooks, but I’m back on a hard copy kick and check out new release DVDs too. The new branch is walkable of course🙂

What fun things do you like to do to settle into a new place?


Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

Last month I ran the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, what I thought was my fifth half, but my race page told me it was my sixth! I think I blocked out that one where I walked a lot of it. Oops.

You know how half marathons always seem like a great idea? I have signed up for races on a post-race high. I have signed up as a way to stay motivated through my training. I have signed up because I got a good deal on the entry fee. Whatever the reason is, there are always a mix of emotions between sign up day and go time.

I had some good training runs, I had some bad training runs, I burnt out on training with just one week to go to the Seattle RnR Half, but overall, I felt pretty ready going into race day. My main concern for a June race (a June race! That’s not even a thing in Arizona!) was last year for the RnR, race day was actually pretty hot. This year Seattle weather has been bipolar, switching between spring and summer weekly. Fortunately race day was looking more like spring – overcast and cool with a chance of rain.

I woke up early and walked to the start line because I live somewhere awesome. I was disappointed to arrive and hear the race was being delayed 15 minutes. Mostly just because I had dressed to run and it was a little chilly just standing around and I was there alone with no one to chat with. I was in the 11th corral, so after the delay plus waiting for my corral to start I was finally off at about 7:30am.

The course: Decently flat and somewhat interesting but with a few “run up this street a ways then run back” to get the mileage in, which I don’t love. I liked that it was different from the Seattle Half, which stayed north of the 90, and that it was through areas I don’t spend much time in.

The RnR: Honestly, the bands were not a huge pull for me, but I’m such a slave to marketing that I really liked the sponsored zones from Toyota and Alaska Air, they just provided something interesting to focus on for those small spots. The beer ticket I got with my bib seemed like a great idea on packet pick up day, but at the end of the race, I never really want it.

My other concern about doing a RnR race is the crowd. These are well-attended races because they are well organized (great aid stations!), but I imagined craziness on the course. Yes, the start was a bit overwhelming but the course was totally fine and I had plenty of space. However, I’m really glad I didn’t have to use the port-a-potties! No patience for those lines🙂

I felt good throughout the race and knew I was maintaining a good pace, although my Nike Run app was slightly off in tracking the distance, so I wasn’t 100% certain. I got tired/bored around 10 miles, but the last two were great and super fast. I was able to book it the last quarter mile and came around the corner to see the finish line and also my awesome boyfriend with his daughter on his shoulders cheering me on. Clock time was off because of the corral, but I found out my official time later that day…1:56:40! I FINALLY got my sub-2:00!

I thought I was ready for it at the Seattle Half because I had been running some fast intervals and strength training. That got me close, but what pushed me under was the training I’ve been doing since the beginning of the year – just running consistently faster in my training runs. My standard 10-minute pace now fluctuates between 8- and 9-minute miles.

I took this picture at the finish line and think I look sups cute and like I barely worked out at all, so perhaps next time I push even harder?


My next time I actually signed up for before this race! It’s going to be the ORCA Running Iron Horse Half in North Bend in August. I joined the ORCA family this year as an ambassador and am excited for my first race with them! If you want to sign up for any of their great races – they just added one at Alki – use the code: PRETTYACTIVE16 to get 10% off!


Seattle Half Marathon 2015

Last Sunday, I ran my first race in Seattle! And my first COLD race!

I had my eye on the Seattle Half Marathon for a while…but the last weekend in November in Seattle?! I had my concerns. Also, it was Thanksgiving weekend and I wasn’t sure what my plans would be. When I decided to stay in town AND found a Groupon for the race, it seemed meant to be so I signed up.

I was feeling like I was in great shape from OTF and regular runs and then, as it usually does, life got in the way. I traveled and started a new job and my routine was knocked off kilter. I still got in my long training runs – a miserable 12-miler in the cold rain two weeks before and a much better 10-miler one week before – plus a few OTF-style sessions in November. My real concern was the weather.

The weather for race day turned out to be pretty great – cold (low 30s) and overcast, but no rain (or snow)! I wore one layer, gloves and an earwarmer plus a throwaway jacket I ditched after about two miles.

The course was great, basically a big loop around central Seattle – through downtown, on the freeway, through a freeway tunnel and on running trails so close to my place that I didn’t even know existed! Plus, minimal hills – score! I started off kind of slow, maybe a combination of needing to warm up, the crowd and awareness that I have a tendancy to start off too fast, so yeah, basically I did the opposite, but then I just kept picking up pace and it felt great.

My Nike app seemed to be running a little short distance-wise so I was not 100% sure where I was in terms of meeting my goal of under two hours, but I had an idea I was close. Spoiler alert, I didn’t make it, but I did beat my last PR by 5:30 and get pretty close to a sub-2:00! I finished in 2:02:15. I think I ran a great race and while I can maybe see a few opportunities where I lost those extra two minutes, I’m happy with that time!


Nearing the finish line at Memorial Stadium (in black and white).

At the end, I was happy to be done running and a little stiff. I didn’t immediately have the typically runner’s high reaction of signing up for my next one within 24 hours, but this week I started looking at options and training plans to break the barrier!



My Funemployment List…How’d I Do?

It’s with a bit of a heavy heart I have to announce that funemployment has come to an end. I’m pretty excited about my new opportunity (I started on Monday), but a little sad to be giving up my freedom. I think that’s what they call “being an adult” or something? Or, there’s always winning the lottery.

By the numbers, here are the good things that the last two months brought me:

8 trails hiked (including 3 alpine lake swims and one summit snowfall!): Oyster Dome, Lake Ingalls, Rattlesnake Ledge, Goat Lake, Margaret’s Way, Melakwa Lake, Annette Lake, Green Mountain


Rainy Sunday at Goat Lake

6 books read: Euphoria, Love with a Chance of Drowning, Swerve, My Drunk Kitchen, Black Eyed Susans, The Santangelos

4 cities traveled to (overnights): Nashville, Phoenix, Bellingham, Hansville

5 series watched: American Horror Story (liked the first season, didn’t like/watch 2 or 3 and still working on 4), Jane the Virgin, Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, Walking Dead Season 4 (still working on), Law and Order SVU (the handful of seasons available on Netflix)

127.5 miles run

11 items left on the bucket list! Too many, but they’re at least made their way back to my regular bucket list…it’s what nights and weekends are for!

Oh the Places You Will Go: Nashville

In a delightfully hasty decision, I booked a ticket to Phoenix by way of Nashville at the end of October.

First I had to drop off little Rigo at the boarders for the week. He was not as excited about his vacation as I was about mine.


Then, I flew on a red eye to Nashville. Especially for long distances, this is just the way to go. I was worried I’d be wiped and I didn’t sleep a ton on the flight, but I got to my destination ready to party.

Oh, and yes, I went alone – it’s kind of hard to find someone else who can travel during the week with a few days’ notice – yay unemployment.

Why Nashville? Because I’ve always wanted to visit. Spoiler alert, I was right, it was amazing! Here’s the somewhat quick and dirty of my four-day trip.


Breakfast: Puckett’s Grocery
Coffee, coffee, coffee and eggs and such to fuel my busy day.

Nerd alert: Tennessee State Museum and State CapitolIMG_0074[1]

IMG_0076[1]Get your cruise on: Country Music Hall of Fame MuseumIMG_0084[1]

IMG_0085[1]airbnb: East Nash Room
For the first time, I stayed in a “private room” airbnb, meaning sharing a home with the homeowners. It wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be, honestly. My hosts were, of course, super nice and the room was great and it was perfect for mostly just sleeping since that’s really all I needed it for. I was out and about most of the time anyway. (Also, a nice money saver when traveling alone!)

Nashville perk: Sam Hunt street concert
Is this real life? In Nashville it is! The concert was announced for Tuesday (the night before I got in) but moved to Wednesday due to weather! What a charmed life I lead!

Yeah, it was pretty crowded. I got close, but mostly got pictures of other people's pictures.

Yeah, it was pretty crowded. I got close, but mostly got pictures of other people’s pictures.

GNO round 2: John Corbett at City Winery
This was my original plan for the night. Yes, he sings. Yes, he sings country…kinda, it’s kinda like Southern rock. Yes, he’s still sexy. Yes, he’s actually pretty funny. I loved the intimate venue.

Dinner and bed…I was zonked.


My hosts made coffee and blueberry muffins, which totally saved me from the struggle bus so I could start my day.

Local culture: The Parthenon
Yes, a full-scale replica in the middle of a nice, little park with some history.IMG_0139[1]

Local flavor: Loveless Cafe
Just yum. Like holy shit, but yum.IMG_0160[1]

Nerd alert: Cheekwood Botanical Garden (and art museum)
One of my favorites!



I took a very important phone call here….couldn’t have asked for a better view!

IMG_0175[1] IMG_0176[1]


Pop culture must do: The Bluebird Cafe
Stood in line for a good chunk of the evening, but loved the intimate show – my favorite of the night was Michaela Anne.



Local flavor: The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden
I was (kinda) finally hungry again after breakfast and yum! Also, I met not one, but two, bartenders from Washington!

Nashvegas must do: hit the honky tonks, like Tootsies!



Small town charm: Franklin, Tennessee


History nerd alert: Carnton Plantation
Another highlight for me!

Get in my mouth: Red Bull Vodka slushy
Found on tap while afternoon honky tonkin’. Obviously another highlight.


Dinner #1: Five Points Pizza
Like a snack…don’t judge.

Classic Nashville: Grand Ole Opry
Friday night at the Grand Ole Opry! I saw, among others, Charlie Daniels playing the shit out of his fiddle and Brad Paisley. Brad Paisley! At the Grand Ole Opry!

IMG_0218[1] IMG_0225[1] IMG_0227[1]

Local flavor: Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Hot chicken is a Nashville thing and Hattie B’s is the place according to friendly locals I met. It was good, but after three days of Southern cooking, I should have just tapped out.


Run it off: Shelby Park
Another perk of staying with hosts…finding out about the local running trails!


IMG_0232[1]Breakfast: Noshville

See ya later from Bicentennial Park

I loved Nashville! Everyone’s friendly and there’s a great, creative energy all around. Fall is such a gorgeous time of year to be there and and there’s plenty to do no matter what you’re in the mood for. I’m not always big on vacation repeats, but I will definitely go back to Nashville! I’ve hopefully already talked it up enough to my friends that there may be a girls’ trip in the works!

As for traveling alone, I actually liked it a lot. I’m very comfortable on my own and have done business trips and quiet, recharging road trips solo, but this one was bigger and made me somewhat anxious, but yeah, it was great. I wouldn’t say I necessarily prefer it, but given the option to travel or not, I’ll take travel TYVM!