We packed as much as possible into this Wild West Adventure…

It all started with a, “would you like to come out to California for my graduation?”

My boyfriend was graduating from the Coast Guard Chief’s Academy and he thought it would be fun for me to come out and celebrate. From there, he looked on the www.spartan.com website to see if there were going to be any races nearby and saw one in Phoenix that same weekend so he booked my ticket from Charleston to San Francisco for a Thursday, we attended his graduation on Friday, flew from San Francisco to Phoenix on Saturday so we could do the Spartan Race on Sunday!

Keep scrolling to see what happened next…


Coast Guard Chief’s Academy Graduation, Petaluma, California


Coast Guard Chief’s Academy Graduation, Petaluma, California


Desert Racing

We live in the very humid and sea-level “lowcountry” in South Carolina. No kidding… our elevation is 3 meters or 10 feet above sea level here. We didn’t really know what to expect with this desert race other than DRY.

The course was challenging and for me, the obstacles even more challenging. If you are not familiar with Spartan Races, there is a penalty of 30 burpees for each obstacle you cannot successfully complete and on this particular day, I missed/couldn’t complete 5 of them… that’s 150 burpees in addition to the 4.8 miles on the desert mountain.

In the past, Stephen and I have completed the races together the whole way but this time I could tell he was on fire and I was holding back a bit because I was afraid of overheating. Within the first mile I had goosebumps from being so hot so I backed off a bit and went at a pace that would keep me from keeling over. My best furry friend, Cozmo almost died from heat stroke several years ago so I take the heat very seriously.

Stephen did amazing, placing in the top 10% of the entire field of over 3,000 athletes. I placed 26th out of 187 in my age group which I was very happy with considering I have scaled my training back significantly in order to heal my tired adrenals.

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Turning Misfortune into Fun!

When we checked into our hotel on Saturday night, it smelled like someone had left the door open and a mountain lion had marked his territory. It was terrible… We got a different room for the night and decided to cancel the rest of the reservation and change our plans of hanging out in Phoenix.

Stephen asked me how far we were from the Grand Canyon so we started looking at the map and decided to use the outdoor showers at the Spartan race to shower off (yes, I even brought shampoo and conditioner and used the garden hose) prior to heading north.

After looking at the map, we booked a hotel in Flagstaff, stopping by Sedona for a gorgeous dinner view of the sun setting against the red rocks.


Grand Canyon

We made the remaining 1:45 drive from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon where we checked out the visitor’s center, and then took the 25 mile Desert View drive stopping at nearly all of the vista points.

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You can do this too!

People frequently ask me about my travels so I thought I would share this trip! As you can see, we didn’t have many plans… we hit a couple road blocks but used them to find something else to experience.

People also ask me about affording such trips so I will add some of our travel details:

  • Stephen’s round trip tickets were already paid for through his work.
  • Stephen hooked us both up with Annual Passes for Spartan races in 2015 so we only have to pay the $14 insurance fee for each race.
  • We used discounted rates at hotels and rental cars.
  • 1-2 of our meals each day were Isagenix IsaLean Meal Replacement Shakes.
  • The only alcohol we consumed was at the graduation and then one drink each while we waited for our flight to Phoenix. (This saves a ton of $$$ if you have never added it up!)

 Life is what happens while you’re making plans…

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