Tuesday, November 21, 2017

GUEST POST: Impacting Those Around You by Jeremy

The running community is pretty FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC if you ask me! I have been BEYOND BLESSED to have connected with so many amazing people since starting my running journey (back in 2012). One such ROCKSTAR is Jeremy! He lives in Arizona but I have been fortunate to hang out IRL on multiple occasions and it's always a BLAST! His HUGE HEART always makes me smile from ear-to-ear, so when he offered to write a guest post on impacting those around you I knew we'd all be in for a treat! The world needs more of us trying to spread kindness! #PayItForward

Paying it Forward with Positive Energy


Our social feeds are saturated with snapshots of our friends’ watches, boosting fast splits and new PRs. We see friends podium, place in their age group, or tackle mind-blowing challenges. While all of this is inspiring on it’s own, I encourage you to take a step back for a moment and remember what it was like when you first started running. All of those personal achievements can seem intimidating to the running newbie or someone struggling to find their inner runner.


Now don’t get me wrong, when I reach a new PR or finish a big endurance adventure, I’m singing loud and proud on social. Keep that up, it’s all good! My point here is this: the online running community is an amazing thing. It connects us with runners from all over the world, creating new friendships and an endless resource for both advice and motivation. And I feel that sometimes we might forget about the latter.


I fall victim to it myself from time to time. I get so swept up in talking about my accomplishments that I forget there are people there that need some positive energy to keep running. No, I’m not talking about posting an inspirational quote. Instead, I challenge you to reach out and engage with your followers. Take some time to scroll and find some runners you might not normally interact with.


Don’t just give them a “like”. Tell them they’re doing a great job. Ask how they’re training is going. Is someone injured and struggling during recovery? Help lift them out of the slump like only another runner can. A virtual high-five, if you will, can do so much. Just a small amount of positive energy can go a long way. It can revive a struggling runner. Help another achieve their personal goals. Or just simply put a smile on someone’s face.


And speaking of high-fives, don’t forget about your fellow runner in person! While running a race, I always try to spread some good vibes. Those out-and-back courses may seem like a pain, but it’s a great chance to give others some high-fives and encouragement. Tell someone you pass “good job”, “looking good”, or “keep it up”. And don’t forget all the runners still crossing the finish line after you’ve gotten your medal. Stick around or return later to keep the crowd’s energy high. Or loosen up those tight muscles by going out on the course to cheer runners in.


There are so many ways we can spread positive energy to our fellow runners. The possibilities are endless! I highly encourage you to take one of those opportunities every now and again to spread a smile. After all, it’s contagious and may come back to YOU when you need it most.

Um... can you say AWESOMESAUCE?! This post is right up my alley! So much so that when I was running with friends at the Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon a couple weeks ago I may have been "harassed" by friends because I try my darnedest to spread a little love to my fellow runners. Often times we can get stuck in our own bubble, but I am so thankful to Jeremy for reminding us to take a minute to step outside of ourselves and give to those around us! If you would like to follow Jeremy, you can find him on Instagram, Twitter and on his personal blog.

Can you think of a time someone helped to inspire or motivate you?

Monday, November 20, 2017

GUEST POST: Winter Motivation Tips by Tanya

The hubby and I decided to pack up the Adventure Mobile and head into the great outdoors for the Thanksgiving holiday (we are camping in Zion for the week), but I wanted to make sure you had something for your reading pleasure while we were gone. I lined up a pretty rad group of guest bloggers and I hope you find their posts beneficial!

First up is Tanya. She's a runner from Minnesota who knows a thing or two about cold weather running and tips on staying motivated to get in your miles during the cold months. Although winter doesn't technically begin for another month, I know temperatures are quickly dropping across the country and asked Tanya to offer some advice with you.

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Let's be real, I paid my dues while living in Michigan... but now I'm a winter wuss
and enjoy watching winter from the beach in sunny San Diego 

Tips on Staying Motivated Through Winter


Ah, winter. A time for the holidays, building snowmen, and endless mugs of hot cocoa. But for runners, winter can also mean subzero temperatures, less sunlight, and a severe lack of motivation to lace up your shoes and go for a run.



As a tried and true Minnesota runner, I know all too well the effects a long, cold winter can have on training. Motivation can be nonexistent, even on those bright, sunny days where the sun glistens off the snow and everything looks truly beautiful... because once you step outside you realize your eyeballs instantly freeze over. There’s always the treadmill, teasing you with its warmth indoors, but if you’ve ever spent more than, oh, five minutes on one, as most of us have, you know we’d almost rather brave the single digit temps than spend a significant amount of time on the hamster wheel.



So, what do we do? Rather than hibernate until spring, I’ve learned over time that there are a few ways to keep myself motivated. After all, in Minnesota, if we waited for perfect weather, we’d probably only run two months out of the year!



Probably my favorite way to keep myself motivated is to simply register for a winter race. For me, I typically plan the majority of my annual races during the fall. I make it a point to put races on the calendar during the winter months. For the last 8 years, I’ve ran a race on New Year’s Day, with the temperature ranging everywhere from 10 below to a balmy 32 above. Knowing that I’ve invested money into registering for a race helps keep me accountable with my training.



Something else I try and do during the winter months is to run during the midday, if possible. Going to work when it’s still dark and getting home after the sun goes down can definitely put a damper on my running spirit. A few years ago I started running during my lunch break at work. This has helped avoid the treadmill and get in some of my weekday miles. Being a mother with a younger child at home, it can be a struggle to get in the miles at times, so putting in the effort to get in a run while I'm already away from my family helps me get it done. Temperatures are generally warmer midday and even a mile or two outside in the fresh air always seems to brighten my mood.



Lastly, another great motivator? Fellow runners! The running community is fantastic for being uber supportive, regardless of your pace, age, or how long you've been a runner. I find a good way to seek advice or renew my running passion, especially via social media, is to simply reach out to others. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who ISN’T experiencing the same things you are at that moment. Social media is also a great way to get advice on winter running necessities, like YakTraks or how many layers is truly enough. Trust me, you are certainly not alone! The amazing accomplishments of other runners always inspires me to get out and tackle whatever Mother Nature throws at us.


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I hope you find some of these tips helpful! Winter doesn’t have to mean spending months bundled up at home under a warm blanket when your motivation becomes nonexistent. Remember that no matter the season, every mile counts!



Let's give Tanya a BIG THANKS for the great tips! And if you'd like to follow her (because adding great running friends to your social media feed is an awesome way to stay motivated, right?!) add her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook!

What is your favorite way to help you stay motivated when the weather is less than cooperative?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 46

Sunday, November 12th – Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon 


Monday, November 13th – 30 minutes on the stationary bike, 30 minutes on the stair climber, 1 mile run to start my #WeavStreak, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Tuesday, November 14th – 8 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Wednesday, November 15th – 60 minutes on the stationary bike & 4 mile with the hubby



Thursday, November 16th – 12 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Friday, November 17th – 4 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Saturday, November 18th – 7.77 mile trail run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


HECK TO THE YES! I got in 50 miles this week and they were all AMAZING! Ran the #StripAtNight, got in some miles with the hubby and even tackled the trails to celebrate a friend's birthday. I would say this was a HUGE success!

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Favorites

Another week down and it's Friday again! And, guess what.... Not only will the hubby and I be going on our weekly chips and salsa date today, but WE ARE PUTTING UP THE CHRISTMAS TREE! I know, I know, most folks wait till AFTER Thanksgiving, but since we will be leaving at the beginning of next week I wanted to get it up before we left. Twinkle lights are my FAVORITE (and not just this week or on Fridays, but EVERY day)! But now to share new favorites with you... So, let's get this party started (and make sure to crank up the Christmas jams while you read today's post ;)).


#OptOutside


Can you believe Black Friday is next week?! The holidays are sprinting at us in full speed, so I figured now was as good a time as any to share one of my FAVE campaigns. Two years ago REI decided to #OptOutside on Black Friday. They closed their stores, paid all 12,000 of their employees to head outdoors and started a new tradition. Seven million people joined in, and what started as a moment became a movement. If you know the hubby and I, then you know this is RIGHT up our alley! Last year we were camping in Yosemite for Thanksgiving, and this year we will be in Zion! Whatever you love, wherever you are, REI will help you find a great way to #OptOutside with your family and friends.



Virtual Sock Out 50 Challenge


I was contacted by Kelly (@moremilesmorefun) a couple weeks ago about this AWESOME virtual challenge and I knew I had to tell you all about it! After their Run For Texas virtual race which raised over $50,000 for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, they wanted a fun way where runners can still give back and be active through the holidays.


From November 20 - December 31, they are hosting the "Sock Out 50 Challenge". The challenge is to run a minimum of 50 miles over that timeframe. There is a $5 entry fee to join. A portion of the proceeds from the event will be used to purchase socks from Bombas which are specifically designed to be donated to homeless shelters across the United States. For every pair of socks purchased and donated through the challenge, Bombas will donate another pair. Everyone who successfully completes this challenge will automatically be entered to win a $100 Visa Gift Card!

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To go alongside of this, they are setting up a social media campaign, where you can use the hashtag #runkindchallenge to post your Acts of Kindness. This can be picking up trash on your run, paying for someone's coffee after your run, or running to the local fire station to say thank you - they want runners to get creative, be kind and give back!


Unlock Hope Tees


I was lucky enough to win a $25 gift certificate from Unlock Hope a couple weeks back. I already have about 10 of their tees, but I can always add a few more to my closet. This go-around I grabbed the Love Is Why We Are Here and Make Light Out Of The Darkness t-shirts (I also wanted the Focus On The Good tee but it doesn't come in my size).


And in case you don't know about Unlock Hope, let me give you some info. In Uganda, girls aren't given the same chances as boys. Without access to education they often marry young, have large families that they are unable to care for, and are forced to work difficult jobs for very little pay. Since 2008, Unlock Hope has partnered with Think Humanity, an organization that runs a hostel in Hoima, Uganda for young refugee girls from all across Africa, many of whom are orphaned. Solely through the sale of their products they are able to fully fund the hostel and provide everything necessary for these girls to receive an education. Health care, food, tuition, utilities, transportation, support staff, school fees, clothing, uniforms, toiletries, school supplies, books and more are completely paid for - all thanks to their sales!



I saw an ad about this program on my Instagram (normally I hate ads on IG, but you know I have a heart for giving back and LOVE puppies) and had to find out more. This year, when you buy any bag of dog or cat food from PetSmart, they give a meal to a pet in need. They are hoping to donate more than 60 million meals! That's 320 trucks and over 6,380 tons of dog and cat food to 122+ donation locations serving pet shelters and food banks across the US and Canada. Seeing as you have to buy pet food anyway, you might as well help out some shelter animals at the same time, right?!



New Parks Project Vintage Posters


Parks Project released 23 new products last week and a few of them are their new Parks Posters. Let me just say that I think these are going on my Christmas list! I normally don't like "things", but these would be an AWESOME way to commemorate going to National Parks! They come in three sizes and are here in time for the holidays - SCORE! 

These are the four I see us needing almost immediately ;) 

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Race Recap

Often Las Vegas is about the slots, nightlife and debauchery.... but, for me, Vegas is about miles, smiles and memories!

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If you haven't read my recap of the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas 5K race yet, make sure you pop over HERE and see my bad impersonation of Elvis ;) [And check to see if anyone #BeatTheWig.]

Costume complete with wig, cape and "blue suede shoes".

And, now, onto part two of my #RnRLV Remix Challenge - the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon!


This is the only private event that closes down the strip and allows runners to take over the city... Can you say AWESOMESAUCE?! Night races always throw me off a bit (I struggle with how to fuel throughout the day, conserving energy before the race, etc), but that doesn't mean I would ever consider passing up on the celebration that is #RnRLV!

This #FlatCarlee was all about the reflectiveness and glow power ;)
Neon Jailbreak PROs, black Handful bra, reflective Sparkle Athletic skirt, tank from
Sketchers Performance, #WeRunSocial trucker, #WeRunSocial thingamajig, white and
blue QALO silicone wedding bands
, gray and black Momentum Jewelry wraps,
black RoadID, my Garmin Forerunner 735XT, Remix bracelet (so I could
claim my extra medal), cash and ID for adult "hydration" and Brooks Levitate
with reflective Shwings.

The picture on the left has NO FLASH, while the picture on the right HAS FLASH.

Similar to before the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas 5K race, #WeRunSocial was having another meet-up pre-race. The crew definitely turned out and fun was had by all! Even if not everyone has a chance to run together, it is still a BLAST to be able to chat and selfie with awesome runners! (And I love meeting everyone IRL!)


Unlike for the 5K, there appeared to be very little security pre-race. I asked a few folks (both at the "Solutions" tent and officers I saw in the area) to see if there were metal detectors or any additional screening points that we would need to account for... In response, the officer asked "Why? Are you carrying a gun?". This is not to say I felt unsafe or nervous at all, I was just very surprised that for the 5K with less than 7,000 runners we had to have our bags screened, couldn't bring liquids into the area and had officers wand us with metal detectors and yet at the 10K/ Half/ Full with upwards of 25,000 runners there was nothing of the sort. I guess it was more of an observation, that's all.

Even without the extra security, getting to the corrals was a bit of a cluster. Similar to last year, there were multiple colored wave starts. Last year they were UBER strict with the waves and corrals. Let's just say this year was a bit of a free-for-all. Since we were in the first corrals, we had to walk through other waves, and then had to weave through hoards of runners to try and get to our corral. I am thinking they were trying to keep the corrals secure and contained, but having some way to walk to faster corrals instead of having to squeeze through people (like a walk-way or sidewalk on the edge) would have been much appreciated. Starting at the back of the wave and having to "excuse me" through 10,000 runners took a good 20 minutes (especially since we had a decent sized crew trying to stick together).

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Where we were for the WRS meet-up (near the Geico Tattoos), we had to walk through all of the yellow wave and then through all of the blue wave.

Once we finally all got to our spot in the second corral, we snapped a couple pictures, observed a moment of silence for those killed in the tragic event on October 1st, sang the National Anthem and got ready to run the #StripAtNight.

No, in fact I am NOT licking Brian's ear... 

MAJOR SHOUT OUT to Richard for so many AWESOME GoPro shots from the course!

There were 10 of us in our crew. The only goal we had was to try to stick together as much as possible and have as much fun as we could. (Dani had a goal of going over 3 hours, but we found that out later in the race.)

Source@FitFam6's Instagram Feed

The first three miles of the course did not have any bands on it, in respect of those killed and injured at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. The hubby and I had gone to the memorial on Saturday morning (as part of a shake-out run we participated in with lululemon) and the reminders were weighing heavy on my heart. {Seeing signs on crosses written in children's handwriting that said things like "We love you mommy. We miss you mommy." remind you that there are 58 families [and many more friends and communities] missing their loved ones.}


We took the first few miles to remember, to offer encouragement and to thank the officers on the course doing their best to keep us safe {although pre-race security seemed lax, the police presence on the course was definitely ramped up}.


With 10 of us in toe, we decided we all needed a number so we could count off (think of us like a kindergarten field trip) as to not lose anyone. Surprisingly we were able to keep everyone with us the ENTIRE race! We grabbed up a couple different 11s, 12s and 13s, but they seemed to rotate frequently and didn't hang on for more than a mile or two. #IAm3

We stopped for any "character stop" we could find... Star Wars creatures, stuffed bears, light up shoes, you name it!

Let me just say, if you have never run Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas, you are definitely missing out! It is legit a party for the entire race! There are spectators everywhere (some drunk folks are definitely confused as to what is going on) and running down the middle of the strip is unlike anything you've probably ever done. I'm not into gambling nor am I a big drinker, but the environment that is Vegas can definitely be intoxication.

I gave my beer (since I don't drink it) to a couple who got married at the beginning of the race and had met one year previously!

This is the third year in a row that I have run the RnRLV Half Marathon and this was by far the best. Not only was the weather perfect (in past years it has been rainy, windy and cold), but the friends I ran with were amazing! We sang, we helped volunteers hand out water at aid stations, we gave out high fives and we didn't want the party to end.

The aid stations seemed a little short staffed, so why not jump in and help out?!

Don't forget to thank the volunteers and spectators for being out on the course!

With all of our shenanigans, we noticed that our finishing time would probably be slightly under 3 hours. Dani mentioned that it was a goal of hers to go over 3 hours (she actually attempted to do it at runDisney's Wine & Dine Half last week, even waiting to cross the finish line until her watch said 3:00, but her official time was 2:59) so we all agreed to help her meet her "A Goal". Walking it in to the finish line allowed us extra time to enjoy one another's company... which is ALWAYS more important than a race clock. We may not have had a PR {personal record}, but this was definitely the most fun I have had in a race for quite a while (I might just consider it a PR in FUN!).

The Neon Jailbreak PROs glowed in the black light around the course - pretty awesome!

There will always be races that you can run for time, but Vegas will never be one of those for me. RnRLV is always a chance for me to spend time with friends who I don't get to see nearly enough and celebrate what running has given to me. I am forever grateful for the passion, but even more importantly, for the people it has brought into my life.

BOOM! And look at the "glow" of my skirt and shwings! 

Well, and the bling isn't too bad either... The medals for the 10K, Half and Full were probably my favorite Rock 'n' Roll medal I've seen yet. Not only does the die spin, but so does the middle ring (and they spin so smoothly too... I found myself playing with it without realizing it for hours after the race finished). Good work Team RnR!

The Remix medal is for running the 5K on Saturday and either the Half or Full on Sunday

I realize that nothing I can ever say or do will bring any solace or peace to those families and friends who lost loved ones in the shooting earlier this fall, but I hope the race was a tiny light into the Vegas community and helped show people who commit these heinous acts that you CAN'T and WON'T keep us down! #VegasStrong

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Are you able to ignore a time on the finishing clock in exchange for fun?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...

WALT WEDNESDAY!


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas 5K Race Recap

Saturday night I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas 5K as part one of the RnRLV Remix Challenge.

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If you remember last year, this was the race I ran dressed as the "Welcome to Vegas" landmark sign (complete with battery powered lights). So, as you can imagine, this race is never about a time on the clock, but more about loosening our legs for the following day's race and spending time with friends (oh yeah, and wearing something outrageous).


I hadn't put much thought into a costume, but realized I had a lot of white pieces and might be able to pull off a decent Elvis. I went in search of a wig but they were either bookoo bucks or had terrible reviews. I remembered that the girls from Sparkle Athletic had rocked a wig at a past RnRLV Expo so sent some text messages. The ladies all said they hadn't seen it in years but would keep their eyes peeled. There must have been some hunka hunka burnin' love in the air because a few days later I got a text "I FOUND THE WIG!" If you've seen past costumes of mine you probably know that I tend to wear the same base items (PRO Compression socks, Sparkle Athletic skirt, Handful bra, etc) but it's the accessories that MAKE an outfit! Let's just say I knew the hairpiece would make or break the ensemble.

My #FlatCarlee included: white PRO socks, white Handful bra, white Sparkle Athletic skirt, Graced by Grit delicious half zip, black Road ID,
white and blue QALO silicone wedding bands, blue and yellow Momentum Jewelry wraps, my Garmin Forerunner 735XT, and Brooks
Levitate
with reflective Shwings (they were as close to blue suede shoes as I could find).

To complete the look I went to the Dollar Store and grabbed some sequence stickers (I didn't want to ruin my Graced by Grit top by hot gluing things onto it like I normally do, so went with something that would be easily removable), snagged a red Sparkle Athletic cape while working at the Avengers Expo and finally had use for my gold Brooks sunnies!

Might as well snag a picture while waiting about 20 minutes for the monorail, right?!

We were having a #WeRunSocial {donut} meet-up prior to the 5K. The game plan was to meet near gear check by 5pm, snag a picture of the crew at 5:27pm and then head to the corrals for the start of the race at 6pm. Well, let's just say the lines for the monorail and security to get into the race area were insanely long and we were a bit late. Thankfully it seemed like a lot of folks got caught in the crowds so our fashionably late entrance wasn't too noticeable.

I may not love donuts as much as the hubby, but I have a hard time passing up a yummy glazed donut hole!

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On the way to the corrals I found my good friend Henry and we HAD to snap a picture together! He dresses as Elvis at all of the Rock 'n' Roll events (and at other races), but this was the first time we were actually TWINNING!

Not only does he dress up like Elvis, he runs BAREFOOT!

Apparently the runners in our corral were a little NUTS because we found a squirrel and had our first "character stop".


The game plan was simple - HAVE FUN! And I am super happy to report, we exceeding our goal. Not only that, I would venture to say there were MAJOR improvements on the 5K this year. The course was changed and I greatly appreciated it. The course is an out-and-back which most runners get bored with but I love because you have the chance to cheer on other runners easier. Everything also seemed much better lit than last year and even some of the potholes were filled in (I wasn't worried as much this year about tripping even though I ran the entire night race wearing sunnies!). I wouldn't say it's an amazing race (you are on a dark side street off the end of the Vegas Strip), but the improvements did not go unnoticed in my book! #ThankYouThankYouVeryMuch

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Last year I ran the 5K with Brian (of Pavement Runner fame) and Dave (the father of the FitFam6 crew). They joked about making the race about "beating the sign" (little did we know apparently word among participants was they ALSO wanted to #BeatTheSign) but in the end I squeaked out a win (I think the official results had me faster by one second). Well, this year Brian wanted to #BeatTheWig. Around Mile 2.5 he looked at me very serious and asked "So, what are the rules?". We decided at the Mile 3 marker we'd take off and see who could win. Although I had been running perfectly fine with the wig up until this point, when we started sprinting the wig started slipping and blowing off my head. Thankfully the big sideburns gave me something to grab onto so I wouldn't lose the hairpiece... or the footrace!

Our first 3 miles averaged like 10 minute mile pace, but when we sprinted towards the finish we hit 6:15/mile pace!

Official results show he did NOT #BeatTheWig. In fact, we tied! (But, between you and me, I'm pretty sure he threw the race and was holding back because he didn't want to embarrass a dearly departed celebrity. #ChivalryIsNotDead)


Due to the tragic events on October 1st, Rock 'n' Roll changed the weekend a bit and instead of the concert being prior to the race on Sunday, they moved it to after the 5K on Saturday night. The band playing was the Goo Goo Dolls (hello 1990). We didn't stay for the whole show (we were hungry and getting chilly), but what we heard "took us back".


If there could be additional improvements for next year I'd suggest adjustments with the monorail (maybe having "runner only" trains from specific stops {i.e. have empty trains start from each stop at designated times and go directly to the race drop-off}) and with security (don't get me wrong, I appreciated the additional security due to the shooting in October, but have more stations rather than trying to funnel all 7,000 runners plus spectators through three gates).

All-in-all, I definitely enjoyed myself and if I'm not registered for another race elsewhere during this time (in the past we have run a second half marathon on the morning of RnRLV so haven't been in town for the 5K and there's talk of something even crazier for next year), it is one I'd totally run for a third time... the only question is what would I wear?!

These two guys are ROCKSTARS and I'm honored to be their +1 

What is your favorite Elvis song?