Archive - July 2013

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A moment with Stitch and his ‘Littles’ as they do the Jr Spartan Race
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Midwest Super Spartan 2013. Lilo hits Insane Terrain!
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Midwest Super CFS Recap 2013
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Red, White, and Mud! Patriot Challenge July 6, 2013
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And the adventures begin….

A moment with Stitch and his ‘Littles’ as they do the Jr Spartan Race

I received a memo recently from Stitch who wanted to share his and his girl’s experience with the Jr Spartan Race.

His girls, Lillian and Jasmine, have watched as Daddy has went and played in the mud a few times now and admired his cool “bling” afterwards. Since the Spartan is one of the races that offers a kid’s course, he and his wife Michelle decided to let the girl’s check it out last Sunday! Here’s their story:

We arrived at the course at about 11am and headed to the registration. The heat for the .5 mile course was at 12:55 so we a little time to walk around and look at the different set ups. My ‘Littles’ Jasmine (5) and Lillian (4) were both attracted to my Spartan “bling” from the day before and wanted to confiscate my medal. They were told they would have to earn their medals before they could steal mine (although I couldn’t say no when they gave me their sad faces, what can I say….I’m a sucker for my girls). So I let them wear it and took pictures of my Corn Fed minis.

We wanna be like Daddy!

We wanna be like Daddy!

I asked them if they wanted their own and they excitedly shouted “Yea!”. So at 12:20 I did stretching warm ups with them and reminded them that Daddy and Mommy would make sure nothing happened to them and not to be scared. The obstacle course for the .5 mile was one lap. The obstacles were 3 back to back mud pits, 3 pyramid walls, 3 balance beams, an over under through (Lilo interjects to say this is Stitch’s favorite obstacle since the Spartan Sprint in April), a 3 foot wall, and a “barbed wire crawl” (instead of wire it was string), then a run up the hill to the finish line.

I ran with Lillian and Michelle with Jasmine. When we got to the first mud pit you could see the terror on their faces. Both of my Littles were crying and wanted to give up. I kept telling them they were ok, it was a little mud and it doesn’t hurt. I jumped in, Michelle jumped in, and they both just stood there for a moment. Jasmine was the first to come in, sliding in with Lillian following slowly. After the second mud pit you could tell the fear had subsided and the fun spilled out.

After that Jasmine ran almost the entire course and Lillian kept it nice and slow. The pyramid walls were tall for the adults but were a little challenging for the kids as well. I jumped over and tried to help Jasmine over but was told “No Daddy, I got this!” (Lilo interjects to say Go Jasmine!). As my pride swelled and as I helped Lillian over Jasmine was clearing the second wall. “Good job baby!” I yelled!

After clearing the second wall and helping Lillian over I looked to see Jasmine about to round the corner and had to yell for her to wait for us to catch up. You could tell she didn’t want to but did long enough for us to clear the last wall. After that I ran towards Jasmine which she thought was great and took off running again. When she came to the obstacles she did them by herself and when we reached the “barbed wire crawl” I tool the cue from her. Hands and feet all the way through then she waited for me on the other side and we finished side by side. Lillian and Michelle must have been hustling as well because they finished less than a minute behind us.

The Little's and their own bling!

The Little’s and their own bling!

 

I was, and am, so proud of them. I know they liked it because everyone they saw for the next few days heard their story of the “mud” run and saw their medals that they wear proudly. (Lilo interjecting to say….I’ve seen the girls twice since and both times I got a recap as they held their medals up to show me again! Hooray girls!).

Great job girls, Daddy is proud of you! You are both now Spartans……Arrooooo!!!!

Still proud of being Spartans! AROO!

Still proud of being Spartans! AROO!

Thanks Matt aka Stitch13!

Lilo’s last thought:

I adore both Jasmine and Lillian and I’m so proud of them for  being a part of the Spartan world! If you have Little’s take a moment and do something silly and fun with them. It doesn’t have to be a mud run but there’s lots of fun things you can get outside and have a blast doing together! Thank you Stitch for sharing the story of the girl’s first OCR and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing them at a Spartan race in 2014 and as future Corn Feds!

And thank you to the Spartan Race for creating a cool Jr Spartan course that I know was busy with future OCR junkies all weekend long!

Get muddy and have fun! Ohana!

Lilo88

 

Midwest Super Spartan 2013. Lilo hits Insane Terrain!

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The adventures of 3 begin again. It’s Friday night and the car is overflowing with camping gear, race gear, and 3 very excited Corn Feds! Lilo, Stitch, and Puppy are on the road again and heading to Marsailles, IL for the Midwest Super Spartan. 8+ miles of….we don’t know yet but it’s bound to be wicked!

The evening sky was perfect as we headed down the highway. Music was cranked up and we were all singing along and feeling the excitement in the air. This would be the 2nd Spartan race for Stitch and I and the first for Puppy. As much fun as I’ve had at all the races we’ve been in there’s something about a Spartan that takes it to a new level! You know that it’s going to challenge you and you know the intensity will be unlike all other races.

Heading down the highway ready for adventure!

Heading down the highway ready for adventure!

We arrive at the Four Star Campground under a full moon and in our own brand of “full moon fever”. Unable to find a spot in the midst of where our brothers and sisters have set up we find the perfect little hideaway area across the road and begin to set up camp. I admit to being clueless when it comes to setting up tents and the like so I leave that to the guys while playing greeter to the Corn Feds who stop over to visit (and share a sip of some “Apple Pie Potion”). We visited a while and headed into town for a few supplies. Many of the Corn Feds had participated in the Hurricane Heat that evening (a night exploration of the course) and the campground was quiet as everyone rested for the next day.

Bright and early Saturday morning arrives. It’s a perfect day. The weather is just what we want…not too hot not too chilly…and we head over to hang out with our fellow racers at the CFS campsite for a bit before the race.  Corn Fed tattoos are being placed on one another to represent, jerseys are all over with nicknames that fit the wearer, and we are all hyped and ready to go!

Tattoo application in progress!

Tattoo application in progress!Placement is always important!

Placement is always important!

 
Placement is always important!

And so it begins. After registration and visiting at our hospitality tent for a while the 3 of us wander and check things out. Stitch and I decide to be a little crazy and try out a mini ‘Wipeout’ style course that leaves us both winded (and wiped out!) a couple of times!

I think I can I think I can

I think I can I think I can

“Who am I?” “I am a Spartan!” Aroo Aroo Aroo! And we’re off. Within minutes we hit one of the first obstacles; a mud hill climb into mud pits up another hill and down into the mud again. THIS is what we’re here for. The mud, the teamwork as we all help one another, the challenge. This is why we’re all Obstacle Course Racers. This is why we’re Corn Fed Spartans! No matter if there are 10 of us at a race or over 100 as in this one, we are there as a team to help, support, and cheer one another on.

Puppy awaiting the AROOOOOO at the start!

Puppy awaiting the AROOOOOO at the start!

Lilo and Stitch representin'

Lilo and Stitch representin’

The course itself had some great challenges, not only with the built obstacles but also with some of the most wicked terrain I’ve encountered so far. There was muck that some of us sank in up to our hips. It was like quicksand and sucked you back down as you were trying to get out. Having a team with us saved getting stuck for long periods of time! The hills were steep and in come cases the only way to get up them was to dig in with your fingers and toes and just pull. I’m not going to lie, there were times when I was not sure how much I had left in me (after spraining my wrist that was even worse for a short bit) but just when I thought I’d reached that point I would hear someone yell out “Corn Fed” and then we’d all answer back “Corn Fed”. No matter where you were on the course you’d hear that now and then and it would just boost you right back up. Team, family.

Tackling the cargo net...as a TEAM, Corn Fed style!

Tackling the cargo net…as a TEAM, Corn Fed style!

The group we were with was part of the Corn Fed “sweepers” meaning we were there for an extra boost, our group had the cheerleaders and the helpers and carried the CFS flag (which our fabulous team member Dre aka Sweet Junk carried the entire course without the flag ever getting dirty or touching the ground. Kudos to her!). We had a few moments that were a bit nerve wracking including a couple of our team going under water in weighted vests, a few faceplants, and some serious quicksand like mud.  We also had the silly moments of stopping the creeks to lay down and play in the water, finding a random “bus stop” sign that we had to get a photo with, and having a mini picnic on a hill before tackling more of the course. We take the races seriously but we take ourselves with smiles and that’s more important.

Pausing for a group shot...that flag stayed clean!

Pausing for a group shot…that flag stayed clean!

And 7 hours later we linked arms, jumped the fire,  and faced the group of gladiators together as a team, as family and we crossed the finish together all smiling and high fiving as we felt the blue medals around our necks.  Corn Fed!

Gladiators beware we are Corn Fed!

Gladiators beware we are Corn Fed!

I could go on and on but in the usual Lilo sort of style but I’ll leave you with this thought for now…..find something you love to do and do it with people you love to do it with! I’ve been with Corn Fed Spartans for close to a year now and I’ve learned SO much about teamwork and being a family as a team. Kudos to everyone of you out there that is part of this group.  I can’t even begin to thank the individuals who do so much for this team, you know who you are, but I will thank Jonathan Nolan for finding me and adding me and for changing my life in so many ways because of it!

And an added kudos to Four Star Campgrounds for having the BEST campground showers I’ve seen lol! And to the Dirt Runner crew for some crazy terrain that I’ll never forget! (There are hills out there that have my blood, sweat, and tears all seeped in).

Lilo's celebration!

Lilo’s celebration!

Until then….get Muddy and much fun love. Ohana!

Midwest Super CFS Recap 2013

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Things happen in life that are not fair, that test your faith in people, maybe even give up on society.  We all have been there at some point or another so when you become a part of something so pure, whole, and unstoppable, you hold onto it and would die protecting it.  That is the Corn Fed Spartans OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand it was no different at the Spartan Super at Cliffs Insane Off-Road Park in Marseilles, Illinois on June 19-21.  With camping a half mile away and a weekend of Corn Fed, things always happen and it’s a perfect combination of the best medicine to get people back on track.   Personally, I took a different approach to it this year.  This race 2 years ago was a sprint, the first of many which catapulted the drive to bring a race to Indiana and, more importantly, create a team that holds the standard for pushing the envelope all the while keeping a family feel to it, the Corn Fed Spartans.  I did not participate in the Hurricane Heat but instead got another involved that I have a feeling will take Spartan Race by storm with his extreme motivational talent and drive to make his clients be the best they can be.  Coach Pain Dwayne has quickly became a friend and motivator for me and to see 1003321_10151739997808766_1695130555_nhis excitement while driving the HH group was exactly why all of us lean towards Spartan Race as being the best OCR out there.  From seeing the pictures from the HH, it looked to be one for the ages with the pain yet happiness in their faces.  Great job HH’ers.  You have earned your spot in this elite team of great individuals.

Saturday morning Candie and I promised Mike Morris, Head Race Director, that we would pre run the course to make sure to properly tag areas that may cause people to get lost.  Having done the first half and going backwards on the second half, it looked to be a rough, rugged course that reflected the very first race Spartan Race put on here….except twice as long!  Being the only one on the course and out in the middle of nowhere gave me time to think about what the last 1 1/2 years has meant to so many.  What these races mean to so many.  How the difficulty of mud, water, obstacles, and some running gets people out of the house and makes them accomplish things they never thought they would.  I love this stuff!

With the team heat getting closer, we were pleasantly surprised by Spartan Race.  We were not the biggest team on Saturday but they graciously gaveOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA us a team tent we all could meet in with a nice thank you letter on how much they appreciate teams like us that are so willing to give them our time to help them get set up. Thank you to all who volunteered and became a part of the Spartan Race family.  The buzz within our team is always pretty intense and motivating.  It gets you so caught up in the moment of like minded people who only know you through Facebook but share the passion of OCR’s and the team that things seem like they fly by when in all reality the time is going slow.  Team pictures went off a little early, missing some people from the picture.  Sorry to those who missed it.  We all try so hard to get everyone in and are bummed when we can’t.  Indiana was the same way.

The team heat started with Coach Pain giving a hell of a motivational speech that got us all pumped and ready for battle.  For the first time, I did not run elite and only did the CFS sweeper heat, something we officially started in Indiana with being the last of the Corn Fed members to cross to make sure all of our team would make it through.  Since we knew it would be a walk/jog pace, I decided to wear a 60 lb weight vest.  This later turned into a near disaster.  Along with me, Bret Byerly, Justin Lahrman, and Candie Bobick all wore OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAweight vests.  Honestly, I don’t remember seeing anyone else doing that, member or non-member.  Wonder why?  The heat got released and we were off to take on a brutal course that eats off-road vehicles for breakfast.

A certain mindset is needed when doing a race with a weight vest and being a part of the CFS Sweeper Team.  Obviously the weight vest the longer you wear it will cause joints and body to get more fatigued and eventually swelling will happen along with a little bit of muscle failure.  The best thing to do is get through the race as quickly as possible.  This contradicts the very reason the CFS Sweeper Team is out there. We will go slow and make sure everyone we come across, member or nonmember, get over obstacles, through barb wire, and across the finish line…..oh yeah, and get lots of pictures! Team is the word of the day because if we didn’t use each other to get OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAover and under obstacles, we wouldn’t have made it.  We rely on everyone in the group to make sure we are there when we need them.  I can’t remember the obstacles in order but over unders, barb wire, tire flips, tire drags, Hercules hoist, tractor pull w/ log carry, hobi hop, walls, cargo nets, and sandbag carry is most of them if not all.  Half way through we came upon a pond which was used for the rope climb the first year this race was here.  Instead now, its 18 foot deep in the center.  Till now, I had never went through water with a weight vest.  You always have to try and push the envelope, right?  I figured, hold onto the rope, pull myself across and its all good.  A few mistakes were made.  I picked a rope in the center instead of the outside (rope was looser in the middle).  I made it halfway out and when I knew I was going down, I should have taken a deep breath and just went and pulled

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myself along the rope until getting to the end.  Halfway out, I went down, and when I mean down, I went DOWN with no chance of getting back above water for air.  So many thoughts flashed before my eyes in the seconds I was inhaling water.  It makes me tear up just thinking about it.  My son, Ethan.  Candie, friends, family, CFS, and the memories to go with it.  I’ve not told anyone this since its happened because of the emotional feelings I have behind it.  I also only told one person that I teared up right after talking with Mike Morris on our way to the spear throw.  Lucky for me there were capable divers and lifeguards who brought me back up and allowed me to cough and puke water up so I could breath.  In her haste to get to me, Candie, who was also wearing a weight vest went down which prompted them to leave me with 1 girl to get her.  Yeah, I went back down but was brought back up quickly.  That was a scary experience and looking back at it, would cause a lot of people to quit or pack it in.  I am thankful that we did neither!

The 45 degree wall and rope climb were next.  The 45 wall was okay with getting lots of help from Jeff to get over and after heOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlping our team and a few others up, the rope climb was next.  A very difficult climb and being 3 feet away from the bell and not going any further was a big disappointment.  After a short jog we came upon the spear throw.  I believe I have learned a trick to the spear throw though.  Under handed throw works like a charm.  There is a video showing it here.  With half the race being completed, we knew that we would be out for another 3 1/2-4 hours.

A series of steep hills, muddy paths, and difficult obstacles are always made better when there is family with you in the trenches going through the same shit you’re going through.  Our crew was starting to get tired, sore, and weak and everyone, especially towards the end was ready for the race to be done.  Traverse wall, barbed wire, under a wall in water, and more barbed wire gave us the site we were looking for…..the gladiator pit.  In CFS fashion, we created a wall much like a kick return in football does and barreled through the center of them with our flag secured in the center and all of us crossing the finish line 7:18:58 after we took off from the finish line.  Medals around our necks, shirts in our hands, and another race where the Corn Fed Spartans used good old fashioned teamwork to get each other across the finish line.

There are always lessons learned from each and every race.  Anything is possible, you could die tomorrow, right now even.  Have you done everything OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAyou have wanted to do with your life?  Have you went to the places you want to go to?  Is there something you keep putting off because you think you have time?  What is stopping you?  Work?  School?  Home?  A lot of people say life gets in the way of doing the things they want to do.  I say this, life is not getting in the way of you, you are getting in the way of life.  Is it your purpose in life to hold yourself back, to create so much you “have” to do that you can’t slow down and daydream a bit?  My advice, which may not be worth much, is to see something new everyday, try something you haven’t tried, create a bucket list and actually do it.  Life is short, take it in your hands with a death grip because that is the only thing that should stop you from completing “your” life list.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red, White, and Mud! Patriot Challenge July 6, 2013

5am

The car is loaded, breakfast burritos are wrapped and ready to go (to be forgotten later), and 3 crazy friends set out on another muddy adventure!

It’s time for The Patriot Challenge. 3.5 miles at Lucas Motor Speedway. Mud and obstacles and my way of celebrating my birthday weekend (when you’re birthday is July 4th you can have an extension!).

Heading out we’re all excited. Stitch and I are ready to introduce our friend Chris aka Puppy to our addiction. He questions if he, too, will become addicted…we just laugh! How can you not?

Let's get muddy!

Let’s get muddy!

The sky was overcast and blah with some rain popping on and off as well but it didn’t dampen our spirits at all. For those of us who love to do OCRs rain just means better mud! We arrived excited and ready to meet up with our fellow Corn Fed Spartans and have some fun.

Stitch waits patiently for the lines to move.

Stitch waits patiently for the lines to move.

We made it through registration and hiked to the starting line which was set off with a drag strip light, kinda cool. Once again we were attempting to use the video camera to capture some of the fun. Once again we managed to “oops” that as I learned when viewing the amazing video of….get ready for this….the sky. Video camera, 2. Lilo & Stitch video adventures, 0. Sigh.

Moving along, and we were, there was a LOT of “empty space” aka running/walking in this one before you hit an obstacle. There was an interesting mix of obstacles as well including some “Crossfit” type things such as a weight push, a street hockey/cone set up to navigate through, and a “grenade toss” that if you made it in (I did!) you didn’t have to crawl under a net through a muddy path which I chose to do anyway. Speaking of mud, there wasn’t much. I know not all OCRs are muddy but once you’re used to that addiction you get bummed when there’s not enough.

But when we found mud...we loved it!

But when we found mud…we loved it!

 

Overall we had a great time because we were running with our team as well as enjoying sharing the experience with Puppy (who is yes, now addicted and a Corn Fed member as well). There were good and bad points which I’ll point out in a moment but just being part of the team and enjoying the camaraderie and silliness we managed to create made this a kick ass birthday event! After the race many of us went to a cookout at a local park and continued the fun and merrymaking.

We did it!

We did it!

A toast to Corn Fed family!

A toast to Corn Fed family!

I had “interviewed” Stitch for his opinion on this one as well and here’s the combo of our thoughts on The Patriot Challenge:

FUN things…

The Slide! I think this was by far almost everyone’s favorite. A cool and refreshing 20 foot (ish) drop through cold water into a pit of mucky mud! As soon as you stood you were faced with mud hills and mud crawl to shimmy under (except in Stitch’s case since he decided to belly flop into a slide and almost cleared the whole thing). As soon as you climbed a couple of mud hills there was a little balance beam area to walk over as well. (A pause to speak of earlier balancing acts. As we walked the track to get to the obstacles there were a group of us who, in true Corn Fed style, created our own obstacle by climbing onto the race walls and making it a balance beam trek!).

The tire flip was another well liked moment. The tire flip was sponsored by our team and was pretty cool. There were large tractor tires (Puppy is a bad ass, just saying!) and little tires that I was tempted with.

Go Puppy GO!

Go Puppy GO!

A couple of other interesting ones that we came across were the grenade toss (which if you hit your target you got to skip the mud crawl obstacle, I hit but did it anyway…Muddy Lilo style!) and the street hockey goal. Both were quick but a fun break.

From Pita’s thoughts on other good points “I liked how at some of the obstacles there was someone who explained how to do it. Like at the water slide, that guy took a few minutes to explain so you won’t get hurt.” I agree with that observation. The slide without explanation could have been a bit of a hazard. We also all agreed that having a fire hose at the end of the race to hose you down was awesome! Again from Stitch “It was refreshing watching the mud flow off yourself and run down the track. A sense of accomplishment was achieved.”.

The downsides were there and I’ll just give a quick thought on those. All races are different in their own way and this one was no exception. There was a lot of “empty space” with just getting to the next obstacle BUT the obstacles were good once you reached them. The course wasn’t marked well in spots (I didn’t realize we actually missed an area until I looked at photos other’s had taken that day) and some of the obstacles were a little shaky to navigate. (Case in point, climbing up steel drums that were stacked to the top of a cargo container and across a metal bar over more drums to another container and back down even more drums. Challenge and exciting, yes, but the slippery factor and the stacking made it a little questionable).

Also on the not as fun side but a challenge in a way…we climb up and over chain link fences I don’t know how many times. While I love climbing I felt that it was just set up kind of odd. There were a couple that had sharp edges and if you weren’t paying attention that might have been a little rough to scale.

My final not so loved part. They had timing chips on the bibs but out of the 3 of us the only one who showed a time was Stitch, and his was 23 hours! There were some photos, not many, and I appreciate that the Patriot shares those for free therefore I won’t complain at the lack of. We had people with cameras with us so that didn’t hinder really.

Overall however the race was fun and a challenge and it was a great part of my birthday weekend! We were thrilled to introduce yet another person to the OCR addiction as well as to our Corn Fed family! I added more bling to my wall (granted this was some tiny little bling but hey, it’s another one to hang) and great memories that I will smile about for ages!

Next up in the wonderfully muddy world of Lilo….the Super Spartan! Myself, Stitch, and the newly addicted Puppy are going to be tackling 8 plus miles of mud and obstacles on July 20th! I can’t wait!

Find your passion and embrace it! Get muddy! Have fun! Live Life!

Oh, and those breakfast burritos? Found those 2 days later in the trunk of the car! Typical!

Peace and Muddiness,

Lilo88

Corn Fed Love!

Corn Fed Love!

And the adventures begin….

Never in a million years would I have pictured myself as a runner, let alone an obstacle course enthusiast.  Although my adventures as a runner began 3 years ago, I’m now the person that my friends turn to for advice on running and obstacle course races.  That feels fucking FANTASTIC!

Let me start at the beginning, a few years ago I was married.  Like most marriages, it didn’t work out.  After 16 years of being with the same person I realized that I had no idea who I was.  Everything had been about us for so long that I lost myself in the process.  I couldn’t even remember what I was passionate about.  I had run for years on and off but it never felt like something I wanted to do.  It felt like something I had to do.  When my ex and I separated, I got focused on running; I didn’t want to end up drinking my way through that rough patch of my life.  All of a sudden it hit me.  I was and am the happiest when I’m running.  I’m elated when I have to climb a wall and go through an obstacle just to have that medal placed around my neck. There it was! My passion! It had always been there.  I just couldn’t see it.  Sometimes when you’re fighting just to be happy in your life you lose sight of what is important to you.

When all the drama of divorce was over I decided that I would do more for myself.  It may sound selfish but there comes a point in your life when it has to be about you.  That is the stage of my life that I’m in.  I’m taking full advantage of it.  I had done so many challenges here in the States that it was time to take it to the next level.  This is where the running abroad comes in. Last year was Scotland, Ireland, France and England.  I did a lot of running through those beautiful countries.  I ran my first marathon.  I also found out that I don’t really like full marathons.  A year later I now am looking forward to July 31st.  I arrive into Dublin on the 31st. I’ve registered to run the Dublin Rock `n’ Roll half marathon, because quite frankly I don’t think I ever want to do a full again.  Give me OCR’s anytime.  I will be in Ireland for 6 days; from there I hit Berlin, Brussels and Amsterdam.  I will be out of the country for a little under a month.  Although, I will only be running one official event, I will run daily taking in the beauty of each country and posting pictures to my facebook page.

Although divorce is not a positive thing, for me it helped me get to the journey I’m in today.  I have found myself again and am the happiest I’ve ever been.  Now the challenge is to find someone to travel with.   I’ve met some wonderful people in my travels but often find myself exploring on my own.   I would love to put together a tour with other runners (single ones are always a plus).  As I write this I’m thinking that I can’t wait until I figure out where I will go next year.  Maybe some of you may decide to join me.  That would be AWESOME!

Not sure if this will help anyone, if by chance it does.  I won’t feel so bad spilling my guts out to you all. Until next time.

Yoko the Fearless Runner

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