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Browsing Tag: half marathon all 50 states

Conquer the Desert: Tucson Half Marathon Takes Running to New Heights

‘Runcation’s’ are the best vacations. You train for a half marathon for weeks in anticipation to fly across the states and compete. And then you’re rewarded crossing that finish line! You then get to spend the rest of the weekend tasting all the food and cocktails! And sightsee all the incredible wonder’s that America has to offer. So where else would we pick to visit in snowy December, but warm weather Arizona. The Tucson half marathon offered just that, a nice downhill race with a luxury resort to lounge at after. And that’s exactly what we did!

The Run

The Damascus Bakeries half marathon is a scenic downhill run through Tucson. The host hotel El Conquestador supplies a shuttle from the hotel to the starting line, as the run starts uphill and gives a gentle down slope almost the entire way, (there’s a slight upslope around mile 12 that really upset Katie so be prepared). Dress warm for the shuttle as the start of the race is cold. But we were able to run in tank tops for most of the race once the sun came up. Although the race is mostly scenic, you are running along a highway so be cautious of cars driving by. The race has several wave starts giving you a “gun time” and a “chip time”. But Thanks to the slight down slope, I got my PR at 2:09.


I generally stay at the race’s recommended host lodge for several reasons. First, they often have a prearranged shuttle service to the start line. Second, the hotels are Gorgeous! I mean look at this resort! With that being said, I let you down as I don’t have anything else to share about the surrounding Tucson area because we never left the hotel! I ran this Half marathon when my son was 5 months old; so lounging by the pool and sleeping through the night were the highlight of my trip. Also, although it would have been neat to explore Tucson, having a hand stand contest with my best friends in our hotel room was well worth the laughs to make this weekend getaway memorable.

Wondering which state to run your next Half Marathon? Check out all our recommendations!

Feel the Joy: Happy Girls Run downhill like the wind

Sisters, Oregon

It’s true, Happy girls DO run, And Oregon is a splendid place to do so! Are you looking for a weekend retreat? Come on, I know it sounds tempting. A getaway in a pine lodge, sitting beside a warm fire with a local brew in your hand with your hubby or best girl friends. Well if you said yes, Happy Girls run is for you! (even if you said no, believe me this run is worth it!)

The Run

The Happy Girls half marathon is an iconic trail run through the Peterson Ridge Trail System. It is literally DOWN HILL the entire way- I mean really, can I get an amen!! With saying that, I would encourage you to run how you trained! I had trained for a 10-minute mile putting me just more than 2 hours to completion. Well, I thought running downhill for 13.1 miles would be so much easier, so I followed the 9-minute mile pacer, hoping for a less than 2 hour completion. Well that was a Terrible choice! I ran the first 6 miles strong and splendidly, and walked the last 3 miles at a snail pace. (insert sad and shamed face here).

The weather was also a bit hindersome, so plan ahead! With the half marathon being in early November, average temperatures at start time are around 36 farenheit, burr! The weather warms up to around 60 F during the day, which is perfect to explore the town. But DRESS WARM for the run!

I hope this post helps guide you to a successful run! As I jogged past the finish line well over 2 hours later I thought to myself, I’m going to frown and pout to show everybody how achy and terrible my body feels! (which was my own ill-prepared fault). Well as I approached the finish line the announcer read my name. “Here comes Laura Orange… Orange you glad you came to beautiful Sisters!” The pure innocence of the joke, made me smile. And so here’s a picture of me crossing the finish line, appearing to be happy and comfortable, LOL.

The Lodging

If you have ever dreamed of a mountain escape, relaxing next to a large wood burning fire, then you have been dreaming of Five pine lodge. This lodge is the host for the Happy Girls run and it is absolutely gorgeous! I mean, there is a window from the bathtub to admire the fire while you relax soaking with a glass of wine, it can’t get much better than that!

The Food and Drinks

After running 13.1 miles in the cold, unprepared, I did not want to go anywhere but straight to bed! Lucky for me there is a local brewery at the hotel! Three Creeks Brewery has pizza, burgers, sandwiches and, say it with me now, GROWLERS of locally crafted BEER TO GO! Mmm… The town of Sisters also has quaint little cafes that serve delicious, carb-loaded, chocolate milkshakes.

My favorite part of this trip was definitely the road trip to get there with Jenn, singing 2000’s pop radio at the top of our lungs. And the relaxing weekend getaway made this Happy Girls half marathon well worth the Destination Run. Subscribe to continue our journey together across the states!

I only support running clothes that I actually use, but for complete transparency as an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.

Becoming Momstrong: Balancing your health with busy mom life

I’m the checklist type. You all know if you’re that type; everything has to be in order of priority. Go to work, check. Make dinner, check. Clean the house, well.. kinda check. Then there are things that consistently manage to be reprioritized to the bottom of my list every time. Go for a run… blog about your accomplishments… eat clean food… That leads us to the pressing question, how do we become Momstrong?

Now, to be completely fair, this is a mental checklist that I’ve created and held myself accountable for. It’s not my 2 year old’s fault that I didn’t lift weights today. It’s not my boss’s fault that I didn’t pack a lunch full of veggies. So why do I consistently put my health on the back burner, especially when I fully comprehend the significance of diet and exercise? No really, I’m not some insightful, all knowing blogger haha! I struggle with making healthy choices DAILY!

Why do WE as successful, hardworking mom’s tend to put our health last?

Because we are GOOD moms! Say it with me now, give yourself a little encouragement. You are a GOOD mom prioritizing your family, friends and work! So now let’s work on becoming momstrong.

Momstrong is a loose, kinda made up term to describe us women supporting each other to be better for ourselves and our children. It’s generally a close knit group of friends you can always count on. Or an online community offering support, even if you’ve never met in person. And especially the abundance of delicious kid friendly recipes bloggers have to offer. I cannot give enough appreciation to Skinnytaste and Clean Eating magazine for all the Incredible healthy recipes that even my kids adore! Wherever you find your Momstrong, pay it forward! Help that mom out in the grocery store pushing two carts and wrangling two kids. Ask your coworker if she wants to go for a run, even if you’ve never been on a run before! Or best Momstrong yet, Give your own mom a phone call!

Becoming Momstrong is encouraging eachother to be stronger for ourselves and our children.

I absolutely adore my two kiddos, and I hope to set an example in which they can grow up strong and balanced in this world pulling us all different directions. So Cheers to becoming Momstrong as a team!

I use these cookbooks daily, and I’m so excited to share them with you! But for complete transparency, As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.

Napa Valley Run: The wine, the run, and more wine!

I had you at wine, didn’t I? That’s usually what catches my attention! And it sure did when my new running friend mentioned she was signed up for the Napa Valley Run. Mercedes was traveling all the way from Texas, so I figured I could make the short three hour drive to Napa. Since the race was only a few short weeks a way, the half marathon was unfortunately sold out; but I WAS able to snag a spot in the Rose 5K!

Napa Valley Run

California boosts for it’s clement weather, thus making it a great place to run most parts of the year. Check out Avenue of the Giants California run also for perfect weather. This run did not disappoint. The event was held in mid-summer and the weather had a slight chill in the morning. But it turned out to be a beautiful day. The Rose 5K was scenic (as I expected from a Napa Valley Run!) and went by very quickly. Sebastiani winery hosted a rest stop close to mile 1 that poured hearty ‘tastings’ of sauvinon blanc that was surprisingly refreshing during the run.

Although we could have continued mingling for hours, we proceeded with the easy run. We were definitely excited to get to the next part of the day, the wine!

Destination Races, Napa Valley run sells out quickly each year, so plan ahead and book early!

The Wine

I never realized how close I live to Napa Valley! For as much as I enjoy wine, I hadn’t been to Napa in 8 years! (insert shamed face here) We visited Artesa for a tasting and the views were stunning! Although Napa valley was hosting a half marathon weekend, we were the only ones silly enough to wear our running clothes wine tasting. Attire is business casual-formal amongst most of the valley; so dress accordingly. There was even a bachelorette party in very formal prom dresses.

There are countless INCREDIBLE options of wine tasting in this region, all of which can be explored here:

When you make the trip to California to visit wine country, I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE a few extras stops. Take an extra few days to travel north to Lake County and stop by Gregory Graham wineries. Or head East 2 hours to Shenandoah valley. The wine is less expensive in these areas, but still produces the highest quality that the California sun has to nurture.

I fully anticipate more of my Destination runs to include wine tasting, and I can’t wait to share them with you here!

5 Unique gifts every Runner NEEDS!

I asked my 5 year old for her perspective this morning, “Sadie, what does mommy need to go on a run?” She replied, “Don’t forget to breathe mom, that’s all you need”. Did I mention I LOVE her?! I love the simplicity of a child’s mind, in her eyes all I need to remember to bring is my breath. 🙂 However, over the past seven years I’ve picked up a few items that have completely changed my running experience and now I never leave the house without them! Here are the 5 Unique things every Runner NEEDS:

1. Pepper Spray

No joke. If there’s any one thing I could use this running blog to promote, it’s safety! Truth be told, while running I’m just about as ignorant as they come when it comes to observing my surroundings. I definitely notice how tall the pine trees are around me, and how nice the wind feels blowing in my face as I enjoy my run at my pace…. but did I notice that bear track on my nature trail? or worse, that article in the news this morning of a woman gone missing on her morning jog? My husband has given me a whole new appreciation of safety, and along with increased observations, I sincerely hope you will bring pepper spray with you to protect yourself in any situation!

2. Smartphone photo lens

If you’re going to be running a lot of miles, you’re going to cover a lot of ground! That’s the blissful part of going on a run, to see the beauty in the world all around us! OK, maybe that was a bit too much, but not far from the truth. I always run with my phone (just in case of an emergency) so to have this protective case on allows me to capture some great photos as I run around the States. There are several case options, but this one includes a fisheye lens, wide eye angle lens, macro lens and CPL carbon fiber. Here are a few photos I’ve taken along the way using my Ztylus Revolver lens.

Monterey, CA
Hakone, Japan

3. Flip belt or Fanny Pack

Ok, so now I have you carrying your smartphone with a photo lens case, pepper spray, and of course your car key. I don’t know about you, but I like to be hands free on a run so I travel with either a Flip Belt, for my shorter runs or my Nike Fanny pack on a longer one so I can carry water. Both of them are lightweight and yes, Fanny Packs are perfectly acceptable in the running community, even if we’re not living in the 1980’s.

4. Bose headphones

Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if your run had a soundtrack? Meaning you watch a 3 minute time lapse video of you running a half marathon from an outside view but feel completely immersed in your environment. Of course I always imagine my run would have a really cool song like Midnight City from M83, but if you’re looking for a headphone to distract you from the aches and pains along your run- you have got to try Bose. These headphones were probably my biggest running investment, but I love every single run with them.

5. Hands Free dog leash

As soon as I put on my running shoes, my Golden Retriever Tucker knows what’s up. And as much as I love to let him run free, most places require your dog to be leashed at ALL times! (especially in California). This hands free dog leash has been a lifesaver because I hate, hate, hate holding onto a leash that’s being pulled on, but love, love, love having Tucker help speed up my pace from my waist, haha! This wonderful leash was the best solution for Tucker to run his very first half marathon with me last year 🙂

There you have it, 5 unique things every runner needs that I’ll bet you didn’t even consider before today. It doesn’t matter the distance, or how much time it takes you, but I encourage you to go outdoors and get moving! ….Go on. 🙂

These items are essentials for all of my runs, and I’m so excited to share them with you! But for complete transparency, As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases, now go out and enjoy!

Running Through the Neon lights of Las Vegas Half marathon

‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!’ Except when it comes to sharing all the deets on running a half marathon along the strip at night! Rock n’ Roll series is the only race that shuts down Las Vegas boulevard to put on a spectacular run to experience all the lights and magic that Sin city holds. 

 I made SOOOO many mistakes on this run, so I feel this Nevada run is my most informative blog. I hope that you can successfully complete your run and enjoy the night life after!

The Run- Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas

This race takes place in mid-November each year and hosts more than 40,000 runners! As naive as I am, I assumed that since the run was in the Nevada desert, it would therefore be HOT! So I came to the race in a cute tank top and little booty shorts. Well, long behold, it is (more often than I realized) cold in Las Vegas, and in November 2014 I stood outside in tiny little runner clothes while the clouds spit out snow (mistake #1). Luckily I found a long sleeve shirt.


Rock n’ Roll half marathon series holds true to it’s name and puts on quite a pre-run entertainment show! This year Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the start line on Las Vegas Blvd between Harmon and Park avenue. However, before we get to the main event, you have to actually GET to the venue (mistake #2). We stayed at Caesar’s Palace (as it was closest to the finish line) which is a 1.1 mile walk to the start. I learned after the fact that there is a monorail that can get you closer to the venue. However we heard this was also quite packed full of runners, so plan ahead.

We had also planned on eating a big, carb-loaded lunch at the venue once we got there, so we passed many opportunities to eat along the way (mistake #3). Well there is NO food at the venue. so we started our half marathon at 5 pm with only eating half a bagel for the entire day!


Again, duh, right?! But I had never practiced running a long run at night, despite signing up for “run the strip at night”! It never occurred to me that running 13.1 miles at 5pm would be any different than running 13.1 miles at 7am (mistake #4). Well it is a LOT different depending on the time of day, so train your body accordingly.

This brings us to the start of the race, the corrals. This was my least favorite part of this grand event. Hosting 40,000 people, I’ll admit the rock n roll series does a fantastic job organizing that many runners; but that will never take away the fact you honestly feel like cattle. It took 35 minutes shuffling along, just to START the race!! The only benefit of these corrals was the warmth that they provided in the surrounding freezing weather. To be completely honest, I was already physically and mentally drained before I even started the run.

The run itself was quite incredible; it truly is amazing to run the infamous Las Vegas strip with all the lights, with you being the main attraction.

But remember the strip is only a couple miles long, the rest of the run is through residential (slightly sketchy) neighborhoods. There were many times during this long run that I was ready to quit and call a taxi back to the hotel, but I was forced to finish due to the fact that no street traffic was allowed so I couldn’t get a car and Jenn would not let me quit.

It finally came time to cross the finish line. I was overwhelmed with feeling proud that I actually accomplished this run (5 months postpartum and still breastfeeding I may add), and joy that it was FINALLY over! My legs seriously ached and all I wanted to do was to sit down, yet as we crossed the finish line there was no exit for another half mile!! (1.1 + 13.1 + .5= at least a million miles that day). We were again corralled to where we could finally exit and I nearly wanted to cry as we limped back to our hotel and crawled into bed. Needless to say, we ordered room service dinner and did not get to experience the night life of Vegas. Our husband’s joked that next morning, that was the most sober they had ever left the Las Vegas airport!


Being that this was my husband and my first trip away from our 5 month old daughter, we had planned a fun ‘grown up only’ dinner, dancing and gambling in fabulous Las Vegas. Well I was quite disappointed when I couldn’t fathom getting out of the warm bed and went straight to sleep at 8.

The Lodging, Nightlife and Food

I.e. The REAL reason we came to Vegas!! Although I did not get to experience many of these on this trip, I have a few recommendations that are definitely worth mentioning.

Lodging: Stay on the strip! There are many off the main strip, discounted hotels that are worth the savings with a quick taxi away, however I recommend actually staying on the strip- it’s worth the experience.

Nightlife: The Foundation room on top of the Mandalay Bay. A cocktail, dancing and spectacular views! This lounge was nothing short of incredible.

Food: There are SOOO many great restaurants in Las Vegas, which I will share on my next adventure. But if you make the trip, there’s one stop you cannot miss. M&M world! FYI: Running a half marathon burns at least 337 M&M’s 🙂

Overall Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, Las Vegas is a once in a lifetime experience! And by once, I truly mean that will be the one and only time I will participate in a race that large! But hopefully you’ve learned from my mistakes and enjoy running the strip at night!

Top 5 reasons you haven’t Run a Half Marathon and how to overcome them!

1) You’re not a “Runner”

I’ll tell you my secret, I’m not a runner either. Whew! Glad we got that out of the way! I’ve completed 7 half marathons, one full marathon, many fundraiser 5K’s, and started a running blog, yet I still don’t consider myself a “runner”. I think I set my expectation of a runner too high. I see on social media these really fit icons, and hear my friends talk about how easy running a 9 minute mile is; well that’s not me.  I consider myself a ‘participation medal’ type of girl 🙂 I sign up for a race for the adventure and travel opportunity and keep a goal to cross that finish line!

2) There’s not enough Time

Well that’s true, there really isn’t enough time for all the tasks we have in a day! Between getting kids ready for school, trying to get them in their darn carseats, working full time, (maybe working a little overtime), picking kids up, making dinner, piano lessons, then there’s dishes, laundry, pajamas and bedtime routine, and if you’re lucky maybe a little bit of sleep! (That may have been a run on sentence) but hey, It seems the American dream is usually an over run life! So where is there time to run? I hear ya. Well there’s 1,440 minutes in a day, find 20 minutes for your health 🙂 done. (We’ll work up from 20 minutes a day).

3) Kids

yes, this deserves it’s own category. This section is similar to above, not having enough time, yet there’s also the dilemma ‘who will watch the kids while I take 20 minutes a day to myself’?? And here comes the solution that I still cringe at, wake up a bit earlier. If I am up and out the door by 6am then I can take one hour of uninterrupted time for myself on a run. Although getting out of bed early does not sound appealing lying under my cozy down comforter, the surge of energy I get after my run is well worth it. If you’re the only one home in the morning and evenings to watch your kids, I would definitely recommend a gym with a daycare or perhaps go for a run during school hours. Everybody needs “me time!”

4) You don’t have the energy

As you read above, my day is jam packed with errands, to do’s and work and by the end of the day I am TIRED! Why would I want to go for a run after work or set my alarm clock earlier for a morning run? But as you may have heard, exercising gives you more energy than you can imagine! Running releases the hormone endorphins which trigger a euphoric feeling as well as acting as an analgesic, thus diminishing your perception of pain. Hence, a 30 minute run literally rewards your brain and tells you that it didn’t hurt! (Notice that I increased your 20 minute run per day to a 30 minute run very slyly. I just added one mile to your long run to prepare you for that half marathon 🙂

Another way to increase your energy is to eat well. Use food to fuel your body. I struggle with good food choices daily also, but Skinnytaste and Clean Eating magazine have helped me make delicious recipes even my kids crave!

5) Money

Let me explain. I’ve made running a half marathon an extravagant event. I pick a new state for each run, book a flight and a hotel for the weekend; then there’s the half marathon entry fee, paying for the best food in town and the bill quickly adds up. But this adventure is worth every penny!! I would love to see every state in this beautiful country regardless, running just gives me the excuse to actually book it! Plus, what better way to see the country then to actually run across it! 🙂 Anyhow, yes you’re right, running is FREE! you can leave from your front porch and run 13.1 miles and not spend a dime, I just prefer the fancy medal. haha

There you have it, all my excuses for not running a half marathon. Make the  TIME for a FREE run that will give you the ENERGY to love on those KIDDOS who will be proud of their mama who (even though may be slow) is a RUNNER! (I suppose I could have just shortened this whole post with that one sentence haha)

Join our adventure as We Run the States, Subscribe now! We’d love to hear from you on your favorite runs and best US destinations to visit! Here’s a list of half marathon’s in each state for 2020.

I use these cookbooks daily, and I’m so excited to share them with you! But for complete transparency, As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.

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