Disclaimer: I received free entry to HC15KSF race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
As of today, there are only 8 days left until the Hot Chocolate 15K in San Francisco. There is still time to register for the race. Keep in mind that the race benefits the Make a Wish Foundation. You can both have an impact on a child’s life and start the New Year with healthy exercise habits.
Click here to register. Use code”BRHCSF18″ for a bonus HC Cap!
“Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Sedona Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
As of today, there are 36 days, 15 hours, 7 minutes and 10 seconds left for the Sedona Marathon. How do I know this? Simple. I downloaded the Race Joy app. It has a built-in Race Countdown.
It looks like the Race Joy app allows you to track the progress of other participants and send them both generic and custom cheers. I look forward to testing these features out on race day and cheer on my fellow BibRave Pros.
In preparation for the Sedona Marathon, I jumped onto Athlinks and added my name to the start list. It’s a really cool feature that allows you to check out other runners who will be running the same race and you can totally scout out your competition!
I booked the airline tickets, hotel, and car. Jim and I are flying to Phoenix, renting a car and driving to Sedona.
I chose a pet-friendly hotel in Sedona since I’ll be taking my new doggie with me. No, she won’t be running, but she’ll give me emotional support before and after the race. Besides, she’s a chihuahua, they don’t run anyway.
I also started to look at what my sightseeing options are in Sedona. I found a website called Visit Sedona, which seems to have a lot of good information. I’ve heard that the area of Sedona is known for having Vortex’s similar to those in other parts of the world like in Macchu Picchu and Stonehenge. I’ve been to both of those places already so it will be interesting to see if I feel anything different there. Of course, Sedona looks like a natural beauty, so I’m excited to get out there and take lots of photos.
I always invite my followers to run with me. If you run in a race that I’m in, feel free to approach me and say hi. I love meeting my followers in person.
If you haven’t registered for the Sedona Marathon yet, hurry! Prices increase on January 2, 2018. Use code “18BibRave” for 20% off.
I’ve been asking Jim to let me have a dog literally for years. He didn’t grow up with animals like I did and he had never owned a dog. Everyone he talked to told him that having a dog was a lot of work, so that didn’t help my argument. My birthday is the day before Christmas. On my birthday, Jim gave me a birthday card that had a dog tag inside of it. He said he had thought long and hard about it and we could get a dog. I was shocked! I was convinced we would never get a dog.
We discussed what kind of dog we wanted in both breed and personality. We wanted something sweet and easy going and not high maintenance. The day before Christmas, I decided to search online and see what dogs were available at the local animal shelter. I saw an ad for a 4-year-old chihuahua named Chiquita.
The description was perfect. We both read the add and wondered if she was truly as good as she was being described or if they were playing it up in order to convince someone to adopt her. We rushed over to the animal shelter to see her.
We were greeted at the entrance of the animal shelter and shown where to find Chiquita. She was sitting with a caretaker. She was in a large clean room and seem to have plenty of warm blankets and toys. When Chiquita first saw me, her first reaction was to come to the glass window and wag her tail. She had never seen me. I expected her to bark at me, but she didn’t.
We then put our name on a list and waited for one of the attendants to show us the dog. Once inside the room, we sat on the floor and listened to the caretaker explain some of the dog’s history and medical records. Chiquita had been at the animal shelter for 3 months before our visit. I was amazed with how friendly and affectionate she was. Jim asked me what I thought and I told him she was a keeper.
As we signed the paperwork I could see families coming in looking for puppies. I was the only weirdo that wanted a grown-up dog. The truth is that we wanted a dog with a set personality and we didn’t want to deal with the chaos and needs of a small puppy.
I’ve owned chihuahuas before, so I’m very familiar with their particular needs. Jim’s learning to care for a small dog, but he’s also enjoying every bit of it.
Moral of the story, give adult dogs at the shelter a chance. You might be surprised to find exactly what you needed.
For our day stop in Cartagena, Colombia we decided not to take any official tour that day. Last minute we opted for a smaller tour with the onboard shopping coordinator. The cost was cheap, only $15 per person roundtrip, payable to the driver before returning.
To leave the cruise ship port we were walked through a small zoo area. We didn’t have time to look at the animals, we were told, but we were promised sufficient time at the end of the tour to see the animals. Being an animal lover, passing by the animals and not stopping was a little hard, but I had shopping ahead of me, so that was okay.
We were handed complimentary bottles of water. The weather in November was very humid and hot. It reminded me of Florida weather.
We were quickly loaded into three buses. We were told there would 2 stops. All 3 buses were going to the same 2 stops, but we would rotate around the destinations. Our first stop was a building that had a small museum on the second floor with samples of emeralds from around the world, how the emeralds are minded, and towards the back, there were some workers hand polishing the stones in their factory.
See the green pieces in this huge rock? They’re natural Colombian emeralds!!!
The lower part of this building was a store where you could buy, yes, you guessed it, emeralds. I bought some small earrings. I knew what I wanted so once I saw them, it was a done deal.
Next, we went to what the call Old Cartajena. It’s the historic and older part of town. The buildings are beautiful! You can see the European influence in their structures.
We were told that it was safe to walk the streets in town, but we were closely watched by a group of security guards that were hired by the shopping expert. It makes you wonder.
We were supposed to be at a jewelry store, but since I had already bought the emeralds I wanted, I ventured out into the square to see what I would see. I stumbled across a vendor selling arepas. As a small child, I lived in New Jersey where my mom had a Colombian friend who made arepas for me. I immediately jumped at the chance. Eating street is always a risk, but I thought it was worth it.
What’s an arepa? It’s fried dough that has cheese inside. I’m holding a half eaten one in the picture below. It’s served for breakfast or as a snack. It’s kind of like the Colombian version of a grilled cheese sandwich.
The tour turned out to be very disorganized. One person told us to meet up at the bus. Another told us to wait in front of the jewelry store and another that we wouldn’t leave until 30 minutes later than we did. We wasted a lot of time trying to not get left behind and trying to find out where we actually had to meet our group.
Once back on the bus we headed back to the port where we were free to explore the small animal zoo and of course, buy souvenirs on our ways back to the ship. We were told there was a sloth somewhere up on a tree, but we never saw it. We did see monkeys, anteaters, toucans, and macaws. I even got a chance to hand feed one of the toucans.
I wished I had more time in Cartajena. Until next time.
Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Sedona Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
Sedona is one of those places that I’ve heard is so beautiful that I wanted to visit it one day. The red rock mountains in Sedona are just breathtaking.
When I was told of the opportunity to run it as a BibRave Pro, I jumped on the opportunity. I signed up to do the 10K. I have other BibRave Pros joining me for the marathon weekend, so I’m looking forward to meeting them and cheering them on.
Use code “18BibRave” for 20% off.
For the cost of registration, you get a t-shirt, medal, and Cliff Bar products at each of the aid stations.
I love technology. I was excited to hear that the Sedona Marathon uses a free app called Race Joy. It allows you to track yourself and other runners on the course and send either custom or generic cheers. Another feature is that it alerts you when the runner you are tracking is close by, so you can get ready for to take that perfect running photo.
I’ll be using the built-in race countdown to keep track of how many days I have until the race and to plan my daily workouts.
Join me in Sedona on February 3, 2018. I’ll be wearing my bright orange BibRave Pro shirt. Make sure to say hi.
Our first stop onboard the Coral Princess was the Island of Aruba. I knew very little about the island, except for that Beach Boys song. Oranjestad, the capital of Aruba was our first port of call. I was determined to have it be a beach day. It was a very short stop. We were only there for 4 hours. Some people took the warning about coming back to the ship on time too lightly. We took off and left a couple behind. I don’t know if they caught up with us at the next port or not. I do know that when a cruise says to be on the ship by a certain time, they mean it!
We had asked someone from concierge which beach to visit on our short stay and already had a name in mind when we hailed a taxi and headed over there. Once at the beach, we encountered what the locals call a “beach bum”. That’s the person that rents you a lounge chair and umbrella. It wasn’t cheap, but we got a couple of chairs and some umbrellas.
The sand is a powdery white. The water was a little cool when you got in, but definitely nice. We were there the day after Thanksgiving. I don’t know if during other times of the year the water is warmer or if it’s always this way.
I was sad to leave this beautiful beach, but we wanted to do a little local shopping before we returned to the ship. I’ve learned throughout my travels that taxi drivers know a lot about their country. I asked the taxi driver about their currency and the languages they speak and he was happy to answer my questions. Turns out they have a square coin. I have a relative that collects foreign currency so when I visit a new country I pick up for him usually a bill, but these coins were unusual enough that I needed one. The taxi driver said they were worth something like $0.30 US.
Shopping in Aruba on Black Friday was interesting. I didn’t realize that any other country would have Black Friday deals, but they do. We were in immediate need of a selfie-stick since I was pretty disappointed that the one I brought on the trip had broke.
On the image above you can see the contents of a vendors booth. Notice that there are a lot white and blue Dutch looking items. That’s because Aruba is a Dutch Island. They even have their own windmill in town.
After visiting several stores, I did buy a selfie stick, but unfortunately, it didn’t work. Oh well, we were on our way to the next port. There was no way to exchange it.
New Years is a big time for us. I met Jim on a New Year’s Eve. This year we’re doing something different. We’ll be running on both New Year’s Eve and New Years Day. Why would you do that you ask?
Well, there are these local races by Brazen Racing that seemed interesting. They’re New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day races allow you to get an additional third medal and create a Mega Metal! A Mega Medal is where the pieces interlock like a puzzle to create one big metal. Isn’t that cool!!?
You can do any combination of distances in order to qualify for the Mega Medal. Normally, you would have to do a 10K and a Full Marathon or something like that where the distances are pre-set, but not for these races. I signed up for the 5K on New Year’s Eve and the Half Marathon on New Year’s Day. The New Year’s Eve race is in Fremont and the New Year’s Day race is in Castro Valley so I will be able to run in different places. The course includes trails on Quarry Lake in Fremont and trails starting at Lake Chabot Marina with both paved and dirt trails.
I’m running the Hot Chocolate 15 SF on 1/7/18 so these two races will help me prep for the HC race. The HC Race will require more endurance and tolerance to elevation changes. Every race I can get in before January 7 will help me to do better for that race.