Gear to Help You Run Longer Distances

So you have been running and you want to start kicking it up a notch in regard to distance. When you first start you may think you only need a good pair of shoes to run. Well, it is one of the cheaper sports out there and it really doesn’t require too much to get it done, but different kinds of running gear is available that will make you more comfortable and keep you motivated. I put together a list to get you started on increasing your mileage.

Clothes

-Get yourself a pair of comfy running shorts for your summer running plans.  I like Salomon, Under Armour, or Patagonia. and I almost always buy black, but they have them a bazillion different colors. I have started running in a few different running skirts too, which are a fun way to mix it up.


-Running shoes are really important for obvious reasons. You want a pair that is going to work for you. The Hoka One One, Brooks Adrenaline GTS, and ASICS Gel-Nimbus are all great road shoes. I personally have used them all. Hoka’s are my favorite, but everyone is different. One thing to know and keep in mind, running shoes have an expiration date of around 350-500 miles, depending on the quality of shoe. After that point, they can start to cause injury. Try to keep track of the miles you put on them. I have found I get more miles out of Hokas and Brooks.


-I personally have yet to find a really supportive sports bra, but I have found that I can double up nearly any kind of sports bra to be comfortable.

-Compression socks are great for recovery. I sometimes wear them while I run, but mostly after a race or a long run.

-I just started using arm compression sleeves and like them quite a bit. It is nice for when you need a little added warmth on a slightly chilly day. As you warm up, they are easy to take off.

-Wear clothing that is meant for sports. They are designed to wick away sweat, keeping you drier and less smelly.

Devices and Gadgets

-My Garmin Forerunner 235 is my favorite running gadget of all time. It tracks my run, connects to Strava and My Fitness Pal, keeps track of my steps, sleep patterns, heart rate, and a lot of other features that you can customize. There are different faces you can download to fit your style. You can even buy different bands if you get bored of the color.

-Foam rollers are a must for every runner. I have used mine to work out nearly every running injury that has come my way. You can YouTube different ways to use it for specific problem areas or just for loosening up your muscles.
-Body Glide or good old fashioned Vaseline to prevent chaffing. Body Glide lasts longer after application, meaning it does not need to be reapplied as frequently.

-My Nathan hydration pack is super comfortable and durable. I have had it for years and it is still in good shape. I only use it for longer trail runs.

-Pepper spray is worth it. While it might be slightly annoying to have one more thing on you when you are running, it is has come in handy on more than one occasion.

-I use cheap headphones, but there is a wide variety of headphones to choose from out there.

-Sometimes I don’t listen to anything, but often I listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and music when I run. I think it is smart to bring your phone even if you are a purist and don’t listen to anything.

-Running logs are available for purchase, but I personally just use free printable calendars online and write in details about my run each day. I also use Strava to help me track my progress.

Fuel and Hydration

-Gels are my go to for half marathons distances or longer. They are easy to carry, consume, and have mostly the right balance of nutrients. Personally, I like GU and Stinger gels.

-Tailwind helps keep you hydrated properly. Water seems to work fine for me until a certain point. Around 20 km or longer, I start to need something a little more and something like Tailwind works great. I just discovered Tailwind single packets, which make it much easier to take along with you on a race.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I definitely have more gear than this in my closet, but this feels like a good list of things to get you started.

Happy running and stay awesome!

Running Wakeups

It is the last few days before school is out, and every teacher has hit the wall. If I can pull my body out of bed for a run, you can too.

I need the standard doctrine of 8 hours sleep. I work pretty hard just making sure I get my butt into bed in time to get said needed sleep. It’s worth it. I have managed to make it a routine and now love the early hours before everyone else has gotten up.

This morning, I was facing lightning on my way out, but listen to those birds. By the time I was halfway through my 10 km run, it was a huge downpour. I loved it.

Run in the morning and the rest of your day will be more alive.

Running Log Rundown

Blue skies, bust out those thighs.

It has been gorgeous, sunny spring-like weather–optimal for running. My Vitamin D fix has been satiated. Every day I wake up and am grateful that I get to run without putting on layers and layers of fleece-lined spandex, nor facing such hot and humid conditions that slow me down and make me feel completely shattered.

Here is a rundown of the last week+.

Friday, June 1:

For my morning run, I ran a fairly easy pace, just enjoying the run. I started listening to the audiobook “Let Your Mind Run” by Deena Kastor, providing inspiration.

In the afternoon, I started an Elementary Running Club, so I got to run with my students on the track near our school. Spring showed its true colors when thunder, lightning, and a downpour started, so we headed to the indoor track nearby. My GPS was confused.

Saturday, June 2nd:

When I went on a field trip with my students to the cable cars, you could see there was a trail that followed beneath. I heard tales from a local assuring me there is a trail that one can take from the base of Trebević Mountain. I set off determined to find it. I gave it the good old college try, but to no avail. I did find some super aggressive stray dogs and some disgruntled waste collectors. Meh. Gives me something to hunt for in the future. The silver lining? I did get in some good elevation gain.

Sunday, June 3rd:

To Trebević Mountain I go. There is a fun park for the kids where they can play on a bouncy castle, giant trampoline, feed swans, and generally run around in a safe fenced off area with Mr. G, while I run the Sarajevska Climb into Bosnian countryside. There are fields, horses roaming the roads, and clean air. The small-town girl inside of me loves it.

After my run, we went on one of the many hikes in the area. Spending Sunday in nature is one of the ways our family reconnects to what is important to us.

Monday, June 4th:

Mondays are usually my day off, but since I do the Elementary Running Club on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, I did a short run with them. I started running with the kids for the first kilometer, but then decided I wanted to see if I could maintain a faster pace for the last 3 km. I was pretty pleased with this time, but I think I have the ability to improve.

Tuesday, June 5th:

This particular route offers some elevation gain, which is harder for me to get done during the usual Tuesday-Friday runs. Hills take more time, which I am always short on during a work day. I tried to run a little faster than usual on the hills this time to get the distance and pace in and still make it to work on time.

Wednesday, June 6th:

Running happy! This run just felt good. The sun was out, the park was green, the birds were awake.

Thursday, June 7th:

Work has been full-on lately and it took every ounce of mental strength to get my body out of bed, into running clothes, and out the door. I felt better for it. I have yet to come across a run I regretted. Feet first, feelings later.

Friday, June 8th:

Just was happy it Friday, the sun was out, and I felt alive. Purposefully chilled out pace.

Saturday, June 9th:

We took the kids down to the path by the river. They ran and played around while I took off down the path, over Goates Bridge, and into Trebević Mountain again from a different direction than previous runs. This is one of my favorite running routes. I ran past rock climbers, other runners, cyclists, a 16th century bridge, and on to some pretty impressive views. I threw in a few hill repeats for good measure.

I also got to run a kilometer with my son. My mama heart was happy.

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Sunday, June 10th:

We had a late night at our school’s staff party the night before–not going to lie, I was a tad bit hungover for this one. Running helps with that. I think running helps with everything though, so take that with a grain of salt. So, it was a late start for me and we had some activities planned to do with the kids. I would have run farther if I had started earlier, but the clock was ticking and I needed to get back to still get my much needed family time in. I went for elevation gain instead of distance.

Monday, June 11th:

Mondays are hard enough. They are my day off.

***

There is always room for improvement. I want to concentrate on getting faster, but I don’t want to increase my speed too quickly. No one has time for injuries. Hopefully over the course of the next few months I can improve my times.

Keep running and stay rad, my friends.

Sarajevo’s Abandoned Bobsled Track

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Nestled on Trebević mountain, winds an abandoned bobsleigh track built for the 1984 Winter Olympics. It has since been left to let nature and war reclaim it. It now shows its age and disrepair through graffiti, moss growth on the siding, bullet holes, and the crumbling concrete.

Our hike down from the cable cars. They are happy campers when they get to run free.

 

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It is not far from the city center of Sarajevo and to get to it you can either hike up the steep hills that surround the city, take a taxi, or enjoy going up the newly rebuilt cable cars and hiking back down. People often stop to check out the track when they are out exploring the paved paths through the mountain.

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It was cool to walk the track. This is B’s version of kick the can–kick the pine cone.

 

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Uh, wrong way Lady H.

 

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Back on track.

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After the Olympics, they continued to use the track during World Cup competitions. Unfortunately, its use came to an end during the Siege of Sarajevo. It is hard to imagine that during the 90’s the curving lanes were used for strategic artillery positions by Serb forces.

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View from the cable cars.

 

The loneliness of an abandoned bobsled track that has seen its glory days and has seen the ugly days of war, is a strange juxtaposition. The dark days that it has seen may be lifting. I have heard tales of reconstruction, but I did not see any evidence of that today. Time will tell. 

Getting Your Family Involved in Running

If you are interested in getting your family involved in your running life, here are some ideas of where to start.

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Family hikes and after dinner walks. I think this may be the key. It helps kids if they have a base-level of ability. It isn’t running, but it is activity on their feet. Hiking and walking allow them to build stamina, be familiar with what it feels like to be on their feet for some time, and what a certain distance feels like. We always try to have fun on our walks too, spotting a certain number of interesting things to discuss, or talking about their day. We try to make it a special time to talk and enjoy each other, while also taking in nature or observing the city.

Support each other. If only one of the parents is a runner, it is important that the non-runner is supportive and understands why they should foster a love of activity. My husband is not a runner, but he will lace up his shoes and do a 5k with the family because he wants to model a healthy lifestyle for them.

Encourage. It is important that children feel  like they have a voice and say in the matter, so ask them if they are interested in a fun run. If they aren’t sure, explain how fun it is, how it is good for their bodies, and that they don’t have to run the whole thing if they get tired. Keep it upbeat and positive. I would suggest not making jokes about how hard it is, or they may  miss the joking part.

Run with them. Sometimes I am doing a longer run and cannot run with them, but my husband always does. He will push our younger one in the stroller and our older one runs alongside. If the starting times are different or on a different day, I always love the opportunity to run with my kids. I also seek out fun runs that are meant just as family events, like the Zoo run in Boise, where we can focus on them completely as little runners. There are usually lots of fun activities before and after for kids too.

Celebrate and reward. Letting your child pick out new running shoes and clothes can be a little extra boost of excitement for them. Consider saving them for race day to make it feel special. When they complete their race, make them feel special. It is a big accomplishment when anyone finishes a race and even more impressive when your little one can do it. We celebrate by getting ice cream or cake, their choice.

Read children’s books about running.


Start young with short distances. I signed our son up for a 2.5 km trail run when he was 2.5  years old. He loved it! He was familiar with the area from our family hikes on the weekends. He ran, walked, and explored the 2.5 km.

Our daughter did her first race when she was 1.5 years old. She did a .25 mile last summer that the local zoo put on. She is the biggest animal lover, so she stopped to appreciate the bunnies, then continued on her way.

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B’s first 2.5 km race at Khao Mai Keow, Thailand

I loved that I got to run through the mangroves with B on this 3.5 km race. We even climbed to the top of a wooden lookout tower to get a better view of the ocean and mangroves. His decision.

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3 km race, again in Khao Mai Keow, Thailand
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Even got Nana involved! She carried Lady H in the Bjorn for the 5 km, while B walked and ran beside her. Mr. G and I did the 10 km wine run.
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Our school put on a Color Run for the Pre-K.

Run Wild at the Boise Zoo. Lady H’s first race (.25 mile). I got to run with B on his 1 mile run.

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Rayong, Thailand trail run.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 4km run with Mr. G. Pretty epic picture–Lady H in her chariot.

A little pre-workout warm up.

Split, Croatia 5 km race for Mr. G and B. Lady H got to snuggle in blankets and go along for the ride.

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Dubrovnik, Croatia 5 km run for Mr. G and B. Lady H ran some and was carried for some, while I did the Half Marathon.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina Spring 5 km run with B. I got to run with him and was super impressed with him finishing in 36 minutes!

It is good for your children to see you leading by example.

Stay rad and keep running!

10 Places to Visit in Southeast Asia

1. Krabi, Thailand

Krabi is truly a unique experience. You will get limestone formations, caves that are on the coastline and inland, beautiful sandy beaches, fresh seafood at an after sunset barbecue, mangroves, rock climbing, monkeys, island hopping, and a chill party scene.

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Long-tail boat
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Coastal caves reveal collapsed caverns also known as ‘hongs’ in Thai. There are many legends and folklore that surround these. 

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Candles lighting for the spirits.
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But, the beaches.
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The limestone formations are like no other.
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Take a long-tail boat ride or kayak around the Andaman Sea.

2. Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia

If you dig jungle and sea, this is your place. We spent most of our days in lush jungle, but spent our evenings on the beach. There are loads of national parks in the region, as well as ample opportunity to explore beautiful coastline.

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Sarawak cultural village
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Mee Kolok
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Bako National Park
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Mangroves
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Sunsets to die for.
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River boat ride

3. Luang Prabang, Laos

This is up there as one of my favorite places I have traveled. It is the definition of chill. Everything moves slow and easy. It is an ideal place to practice Buddhism, which is why you see monks nearly wherever you go. It is along the Mekong River, where you will mostly likely see elephants taking baths, along with local children and even orange-robed monks. It is part traditional Laos, part colonial, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is definitely worth a visit.

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Dinner in a tree house with my babe.
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Freshly cooked by Mr. G.
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The bridge into town.
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Buddha statues inside Pak Ou Caves.
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A hike to the top of Mount Phousi,  
 just in time to catch the sunset.
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Some homes in the countryside.
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Kuang Si Falls
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Kuang Si Falls
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Taking a bath with an elephant.
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Whiskey Village

4. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Wat is one of the Wonders of the World and with good reason. This is an absolute must. We loved it so much we went twice. I wouldn’t mind going again, actually. It is the largest religious monument in the world, packed full of ancient temples. Interesting fact, it was built during the Khmer Empire, starting as a Hindu monument and over time evolved into Buddhist monuments in the 12th century. It shows up on their flag and has been studied for centuries. It is sort of the ultimate SE Asian experience. If you go, pay attention to all the detailed carvings. You must also stick around for a sunset or two within Angkor Wat. You won’t regret it.

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“What?”
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Such cool detail–all hand carved.

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Pretty cool entrance.

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There is a lot to explore within Angkor Wat.

5. Koh Lipe, Thailand

If you like white sand beaches, scuba diving or snorkeling, and turquoise waters, this is your place. This was hands down my favorite place in Thailand. It was a bit of a trek to get to, but worth it. If you are coming from Bangkok, you fly to Hat Yai, bus a few hours to the ferry, and then catch a fairly short ferry ride to the island. Island life will await you. The food is spicy and flavorful, the sun is pretty much guaranteed, and there isn’t much to do beyond lay around on perfect sandy beaches–all things I look for in an island.

Nice side note, they are making an honest effort to be more environmentally friendly by having tourists buy a reusable water bottle and filling them up around different restaurants and shops instead of buying disposable plastic water bottles.

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Castaway Resort–I feel like this picture gets to the heart of Koh Lipe.
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Plenty of time to slow down and appreciate tree swings.
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Sunsets right in front of our bungalow.
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A traditional Thai omelette and coffee.  A good way to start a chill day.
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Kick back.

6. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

There is a lot to explore on Bali. It is a place you could visit over and over and still have more to see. Ubud is a great place to stay, but expect to explore other nearby towns. We rented a scooter and went around the island in a day. We took day trips to neighboring towns and islands to spend more time in each place. Ubud is great place to station yourself because of its focus on the arts, green location next to the mountains, and cultural history. On the main street, you find art galleries, art museums, craft shops, and art studios. Don’t miss the Ubud Monkey Forest, a natural forest sanctuary, the Tegallalang rice terraces, and the Pura Taman Saraswati temple.

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Bonsai trees are every where.
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Nusa Lembongan, an island off of Bali. The waves were intense, but check out that water color.
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When Anthony Bourdain was in Ubud, Bali he said that the babi guling, or roast pig, was the best that he’s ever had.

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Offerings

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Kopi Luwak coffee, or simply put, poo coffee. Some may say organic, but if we are being honest, it is partially digested coffee cherries by the Asian palm civet and then ground up and made into coffee. You should try it. Really.
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Scooter ride–puttering around the island.

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Ubud Art Market

7. Chiang Rai, Thailand

It is like Chiang Mai’s little sister, but arguably cooler and vastly overlooked. It is yet another chill place in Thailand with good food. Thailand tends to offer those attributes in most towns you will visit, but this one has fewer tourists, making you feel like you discovered one of the last few secret places in the country. One can plan some pretty cool trips from Chiang Rai to more remote areas. We did not get the chance travel outside of Chiang Rai (I was uber pregnant and just didn’t have it in me), but will go back someday and go into the mountainous jungles that are nearby. The White Temple is the main attraction, which is super cool, but don’t miss out seeing the Golden Triangle where Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos meet on the Mekong River. Save time for visiting tea plantations–they are a lesser known tour option, but ask your driver or hotel if they can arrange a visit for you. We learned about the process white, green, and black tea leaves go through and were able go pick some leaves ourselves. I was also really impressed with the Baan Dam Museum, or Black House. The teak wood structures were darkly weird and interesting.

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The White Temple, Wat Rong Khun
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Around the White Temple
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More White Temple statues
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The Black House
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The Black House
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Tea plantations!

8. HoiAn, Vietnam

Not to be confused with Hanoi, this is a riverfront town that offers some serious beauty. Rent a bicycle and tour around the temples and get yourself to a beach. Eat the local pho, fresh springrolls, or pretty much any of the street food. It is famous for its food–you would be hard-pressed to go wrong with anything you order. We took a boat ride along the river for a different perspective and to watch people fishing. You can even have a custom made pair of shoes made while you are there. They can make whatever you want.

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Brightly colored riverfront
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Fishing
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Beautiful lanterns line the streets.
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This is a common way to sell food on the streets.

9. Ayutthaya, Thailand

Ayutthaya is the second ancient capital of Thailand, north of Bangkok. Fighting for more power, Ayutthaya Kingdom seemed to be in constant war with the Burmese and the Khmer Kingdom in Cambodia. At one point in the 1700s, it was the largest city in the world. In 1767 the Burmese burned it to the ground. There are the remains of temples, palaces, and monasteries left that offer some insight into what it was like. Ayutthaya is UNESCO World Heritage Site with an interesting orientation–it is an island surrounded by the Chao Phraya River, the Lopburi River and the Pa Sak River. It is easy to get to by ferry.

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10. Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan is all about temples, hot-air balloon rides, and sunsets. It offers the densest concentration of pagodas, temples, and stupas built around the 11th and 12th century. When you are in any elevated area, you see these ruins for as far as you can see. Take the most impressive hot-air balloon ride in the world to see over 1,000 temples. We hired a driver and ended up seeing some really cool places. He had a key to some of the locked temples, showing us around and explaining the significance of each. Take some time to visit the Irrawaddy River while you are there.

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We started in Mandalay. This is a local market where B was very popular.

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Hot-air balloons at sunset.

There are so many places to see in Southeast Asia, but I tried to keep it down to my personal favorites. There are other places in Thailand that I love, like Khao Sok National Park, the whole Pattaya area, Hua Hin, Koh Samui, Khao Yai, Kanchanaburi, Koh Samet, and Rayong. In Vietnam, Hanoi and Saigon are both cool places to see. I only wrote about places I have personally been, but I wish I had visited Halong Bay and Sapa, both in Northern Vietnam. I never got to the Philippines, but heard really amazing things about Cebu and Palawan. Hopefully, some day in the future I can check out more. It is such a culturally diverse and interesting place. I think that one could live a lifetime there and still have more places to see.

I would love to hear what your top 10 places in Southeast Asia would be! Post in the comments what you think.

Happy travels!

A Year in Sarajevo

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.”

-Andre Gide

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One of the first pictures I took of the area. This is over Vogosca, outside of Sarajevo about 8 km.

Our first year is coming to a close in Sarajevo. We will be back for another, but I thought  it warranted reflection after having some time to take in our new home.

The year was full of celebrations, festivals and activities at our school, exploring new restaurants and foods, seeing ancient castles, fun runs, long runs, learning about Balkan history through people, books, and museums, experiencing a new culture, making new and interesting friends, and encountering ample travel opportunity. To keep it real, the year also brought some of my most stressful times. I had my first panic attacks. It is hard to move to a new place, figure out a new job, figure out where things are, learn how the country ticks, always be emerged in an unfamiliar language–all of that with two little people that take priority and need their well-being taken of, along with some normalcy. There are certainly trade-offs living overseas, but they are well worth it to us. I think we came out the other side stronger and more capable, so I am going to focus on the positives and be grateful for all that we have and get to do. We live in a strong and vibrant international community, have excellent teaching jobs and consequently, an excellent school for B, and get to travel the world.

Seasons are really how I experienced Sarajevo. After the endless summer that is Thailand, the changing seasons helped mark the time. I am going to break our experience into fall, winter, and spring. 

Fall

This is my absolute favorite time of the year. It was the first time we had experienced cooler temperatures in years, and we soaked it in. Sarajevo is a city packed with trees and foliage, which naturally is striking in the fall. The changing colors made me fall in love with this city.

We were introduced to much of Bosnia in this first season. I’ll start with the food–it is mostly meat, cheese, and bread. Ćevapi is the main dish, which is pita bread and a type of sausage.  There is burek, a flaky pastry with meat, cheese, or spinach inside. There are large meat platters that are popular. They have klepe and dolma. But, some of my favorites things are the Bosnian coffee and the baklava, preferably served together. Also, the wine and beer have been a pleasant improvement from previous places we lived. I should also mention that it is all really affordable. It is far cheaper than surrounding countries in Eastern Europe. One can buy a meal of burek for 3 km, or about a $1.70 usd.

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Yikes! That is a lot of meat.

I have observed that Bosnians seem to have found a good balance between being extremely friendly and strong-minded. Sarajevo is a small city with a population of about 275,000 and I think that adds to the small-town vibe where you see people stopped in the middle of the road, talking with their windows rolled down. You see people constantly running into people they know. I have had strangers help me, whether it was giving me their gloves in an unexpected snowstorm, or seeing if I needed help after twisting my ankle on a run. People generally seem to look out for each other more here.

Bosnians are predominately Muslim. One can hear the call to prayer five times a day here. It is currently Ramadan now, where most people are fasting for a month (they are able to eat and drink water before sunrise and after sunset). I think most would describe them as more liberal Muslims. There are few countries in Europe that are Muslim, so they are in a unique place.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina went through the longest siege in modern warfare during 1992-1995. The horrendous Siege of Sarajevo killed nearly 14,000. They are certainly still recovering from this.

Arriving to lush green space, great European coffee (albeit small), and our creatively decorated school. 

Finding new running spaces.

Landmines are a legit concern here. During the Siege of Sarajevo, landmines were placed all over the mountains and there is little chance of them all being cleared, ever.

I learned you have to stay on the path, pay attention to landmine warning signs, and know that they move with the seasons.

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Sarajevo Tunnel Museum

Fun run with the kids. NGO Marathon Sarajevo is a great running group that organizes lots of cool races in the city.

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“Lila” as Lady H calls her has taken such good care of our little girl while we are at school. This was, by far, the biggest stress of moving to a new place–making sure our daughter was cared for properly while we were away. “Lila” helped make this transition much smoother and are so grateful.

Birthday celebrations with new friends. Luckily, B made quick friendships with his classmates, as his birthday happened not long after arriving.

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Sarajevo is famously known as a foggy city.

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Going for a walk through zoo next to our house.
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We managed to find a bike for B before winter set in. We also found a great path by the river to ride it on!
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Exploring popular hiking trails.

Castles, archery practice, and fall colors. This is at Vranduk Castle near the town of Zenica, about 45 minutes from Sarajevo.

Fall Festival costumes and Halloween cookies. Baking in the fall is the best.

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Pumpkin carving!

If you know our family at all, you know we love Halloween. And by we, I mean me.

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Costumes, take two. They got to go trick or treating with the US Embassy families this year.
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A morning run in the dark, before everyone was bustling around the city. This is Pigeon Square, aptly named, as usually there are flocks of pigeons swarming.
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Playing in the leaves at Vrelo Bosne, the spring of the River Bosna at the foothills of Mount Igman. This is one of our favorite places to frequent on the weekends.
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More of Vrelo Bosne. You can see why we go there so much. There are paved and trail paths to run on, great restaurants, and carriage rides. It makes for a nice Sunday.

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A brisk hike with the family to the beautiful Skakavac Waterfalls before winter arrives. I was so proud of B that he made the whole 12 km hike.

Warming up with tea time after playing outside.

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Cheers to beer sampling and friends. 

Winter

Winter started off strong. We had a busy and productive first semester at our school, Lady H saw her first snowfall, and B reveled in snow forts and snowball fights. The house was cozy–there was baking, hot tea, wine, spices, and lots of good food. We snuggled under blankets and stayed inside more than we usually do. That meant movies, popcorn, museums, and having friends over to share in the holiday season. We did manage to defy the icy roads and dark days by getting out into the mountains for some snowy hikes and to escape the pollution that hangs over the city in winter. We traveled over our three week break. Everything is so close so we drove to Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia in that time. Around February I decided I had had enough of winter and it really started to get to get into my head. It seemed longer than I remembered from my Kazakhstan and Idaho winters, but maybe it wasn’t. Running in snow, ice, and pollution eventually got to me, too. At first it seemed novel and exciting, then it felt tedious and frustrating. Let’s just say, I was beyond thankful when temperatures slowly started to increase and the days started to get longer. My body soaked in every extra drop of Vitamin D until I felt normal again.

Lady H turned two this year! She loves Elmo, her brother, her new friends and nanny, and cake. She was happy little girl to have all of this in one place. 

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A family hike up to Bukovic.

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The night of the Christmas performance.

The staff Christmas party and the Goldfish Bar with new friends. 

The Gaines’ crew still gets outside, even in winter. Some are happier about it than others. I won’t name names.

We got to celebrate Christmas at home before heading out on our European vacation. Santa brought presents and sparklers.

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A small but mighty girl.
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Sarajevo has a small, lovely Christmas Market.
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Like I said earlier, food!
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Exploring old forts.
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Our school takes all the students on a literal ski week. B got to go to the mountains every day for a week and learn how to ski. He loved it! He said, “Now I know what the snow is for!”
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This girl had fun building snowmans with her nanny.

Spring

I don’t think I have ever felt more grateful for any other spring in the histories of springs. Hyperbole? No. Winter was rough, spring has been gorgeous. Everything is so green and the sun is blazing. Bosnians are emerging from their homes, the city seems alive and active, shops have reopened that were closed through winter, and the pollution has lifted. We have gotten outside every single opportunity possible.

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Technically, this was first day of spring. Winter lasted way toooo long.
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We had very special visitors! Nana and Grandpa Mike came to visit us in the spring. How lucky are we?!
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Goates Bridge in Sarajevo, a 16th century bridge that was used during the Ottoman Empire.
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Our school put on a really nice International Day. Lady H even got to join us!

Enjoying the sun on a hike above Hotel Cavljak. There is a cool little tea shop at the top that we always stop at to enjoy the view.

You know it is spring when you get the bubbles out. Playing with our lovely neighbor friends.
Watching the clouds go by with friends.

Beautiful, warm spring morning runs. The first picture is known as the Latin Bridge. This is where Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenburg were assassinated, starting World War One.

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Sarajevo has got it going on.

Vrelo Bosne in the spring–she’s a knockout.

B doing his 5k. We had a nice post run meal at Vucko, our favorite restaurant in Sarajevo.

I’m a lucky lady to have these people as my tribe. The spoiled me for Mother’s Day by taking me to Four Rooms.

And again, they spoiled me for my birthday. Mr. G made me a strawberry birthday cake and we went to another favorite restaurant, Blind Tiger.

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B learning some track skills by his amazing PE teacher.
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Orlovača Caves, a little outside of Sarajevo city center.

A solo run and then hike with the family around Trebević mountain.

I would highly recommend traveling to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. I think most would consider it is a little known place, but there is so much see and do here. We are looking forward to seeing new places next year, like Lukomir, Kravica Waterfalls, Štrbački Buk, seeing more of Jahorina, going to the National Theatre, maybe find a vineyard to visit, check out Tito’s bunker, do some Visočica hiking, possibly see Srebrenica if we can handle the heartbreaking recent history there, and Počitelj (an old Medieval castle and town outside of Mostar), and possibly check out Jajce (the old capital in the 14th century when it was the Kingdom of Bosnia. Cool factor–it has catacombs). There is so much to see and do, and we haven’t even scratched the surface. It takes time to become familiar with a new country and I would say we are still sussing out how it all works here. We are really happy we made the leap and decided to explore a new land, even if it did mean we lost sight of the familiarity from our previous homes. 

12 Tips for Running in the Heat

It is getting hot out there. Time to talk about how to survive the heat and still log your running miles. Here are some tips that I can offer after years of running in the heat and humidity. 

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1. Frozen water bottle. Carry a frozen water bottle and alternate hands. Even put it on your neck to help keep your core temperature down. When it starts to melt, pour it over your head. Your hands, head, and feet are where heat is trying to escape from, so these are the areas you want to concentrate on cooling down.

2. Ice cubes. Stuff ice cubes in your sports bra, pockets, or under your hat. This also helps keep your core temperature down.ice-2637363_1920.jpg

3. Run early in the morning. It is best to try to run before sunrise if possible, but that may not be feasible for everyone. Run as early as you can, and if that isn’t an option, run in shaded areas.

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Thailand in the morning.

4. Hydrate. Remember to drink some water before you leave, during your run, and when you get back. When temperatures rise, I weigh myself before and after a run to help keep track of the water weight lost. I will lose up to 7 pounds in water weight and that needs to be replaced. That’s a lot of water.water-bottle-2001912_1920

5. Extra electrolytes. It is important not to create an imbalance with your electrolytes. This can lead to all sorts of problems like lethargy, dizziness, and muscle issues. When you sweat, you aren’t just sweating water. Replace electrolytes with things like Nuun, electrolyte tablets, or coconut water. I always shoot for products that don’t have much sugar in them.

6. Wear fewer clothes. Adjust your wardrobe to tank tops or go shirtless. Always wear shorts instead of leggings. This may mean you need to throw on some Vaseline or other product to reduce chaffing. Ugh. ‘Tis the season for chaffing.

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7. Sunglasses. Wear UV protective sunglasses if you are running after sunrise. Everyone is talking about Goodr, which are designed for especially for running. They are on my wish-list.

8. Wear light colors. Never wear dark colored shirts when it gets really hot or if you are running during mid-day, as it absorbs more heat.

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9. Run by feel. Run by exertion rather than your watch. Accept that you will be slower.

10. Time to adapt. It takes about two weeks to adapt to warmer conditions, so give yourself time to get used to the heat. When summer starts, it can be hard to cope, but over time, it does get easier—your body can adjust and adapt to most conditions.

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11. Go inside. If you need to, go inside to the dreadmill. No runner wants to hear this, but sometimes it might be the best choice. Heat stroke is real.treadmill-3423613_1920.jpg

12. Cold shower. I even know people that will take a cold shower in their running clothes before heading out. I personally haven’t done this, but I look like I have when I am done.

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What tricks work for you to keep cool?

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Upcoming Races

I always like to have a line-up of races on the docket to look forward to. Spring to fall are prime race seasons, so there are a lot to choose from–it was hard to decide!

Idaho, USA 🇺🇸

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Hiking in the mountains of Idaho

Update: I accidentally signed up for two more races in Boise.

July 4th, Firecracker Frolic Half Marathon. It’s the first edition of this race and I wanted to get in on it.

August 4th, 10k Run for Your Life. I have been looking for a 10k race, as I want to try something different–it isn’t my usual race distance.

 

 

  1. July, Fit for Life Half Marathon (Idaho, USA)

This was the first race I ever did back in 2012. It was a few months after having my son and I remember being so nervous to do it; really unsure if I was capable of running a half.FitForLife.jpg

It is at a perfect time of year for us, as we have the summers off. Consequently, this will be my third time racing it.

  2. July, Idaho Falls Full Marathon (Idaho, USA)

I signed up for this one because although I have done a few marathons, only my first two were flat. The last race I did without big elevation gains were a few years ago in the Thailand heat. Between more years of experience running and not being in such a hot and humid environment, I would like to shoot for a PR. We’ll see…IdahoFalls.png

It is a ‘Christmas in July’ theme, so that should be fun. I will need to brush off my red and green compression socks and maybe find some candy canes instead of gels. I don’t know. I don’t Christmas well.

Bosnia and Herzegovina 🇧🇦

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Running the hills of Sarajevo

   3. September, Sarajevo Half Marathon (Bosnia and  Herzegovina)

This is a great event. I did it last year. Well-organized, fun, and really close to my house, so it is an easy one to get to.

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 4. September, Skakavac 32km (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

This is a tough race. I also did this one last year and it was nuts. I got lost (I will actually blog about this in the future) during a full-on blizzard. They moved it up a couple of weeks into September instead of October this year for weather reasons, I assume. It is in an absolutely gorgeous area–the mountains of Sarajevo and Vogosca. The after party skakavac-3-300x160.pnglooked really fun, but I was too out of it last year to fully enjoy it. Here’s to hoping this year I can enjoy the band, food, and drinks after the race a bit more.

Croatia 🇭🇷

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Croatian coast

   5. October, Dalmatia Ultra Trail, 53 km (Croatia)

Croatia is one of my favorite countries and this race follows the Dalmatian Coastline, so what wouldn’t be to love? It also lands over our school holiday, so I could enjoy it more without feeling too rushed to get back.

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The trail for the 53km Dalmatia Ultra

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6. November, Mandarine Half Marathon (Croatia)

23316673_273164346538840_2142668723357438451_n.jpgWe will be making this one into a mini-holiday as it is over a regular weekend. Luckily, it isn’t too far of a drive—four hours or so. It is in a little town we have yet to explore, so this will be our chance to see a new area. It looks like a fairly low-key race, which I love. I am not a huge fan of overpopulated races. I am looking forward to this one!

What are you signed up for? Share in the comments!

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