Training for the Honolulu Marathon

by Beth Whitman (December 11th, 2015)

Beth Whitman Honolulu MarathonI’ve been training for the Honolulu Marathon for about eight months now and the time has come to finally run this baby! The race is on December 13. Two days from now.

I know some of you have been following my training runs and races via Facebook. But if you haven’t seen my updates there (why not? please friend me if we aren’t already), here’s a bit of a rundown on how I’ve trained for the past eight months or so after I made the decision to run a marathon.

First thing’s first

I hired a running coach. I’m sure I could have prepared for the race without someone providing me with a weekly running schedule and suggested paces, but the truth is that Coach Michele did much more than that for me. In her quiet way, she held me accountable for my runs and guided me through the times I shouldn’t run because I was injured or tired. She set my weekly running mileage, my paces and through track workouts and tempo runs, has me running faster and farther than I would have had I not had her gentle hand pushing me.


As most of you know already, when I make a decision to do something, I go all in. I figure go big or go home. So training for a marathon wasn’t just about the running for me.

I now subscribe to running magazines (Runner’s World and Running Times), read books about nutrition for runners, listen to podcasts (mainly, Rich Roll) about optimizing my body and mind and talk to lots of other runners and athletes who are on the same wavelength as myself.

While I think my actual running was important to getting to this point, learning about running Honolulu Marathon Logoand tuning into my body before, during and after runs was equally as important. By doing so, it allowed me to understand what was working for me. This included consuming recovery drinks post-run, eating Gu gels every 30 minutes during a long run and making sure I am hydrated enough throughout a run, no matter the distance.

I also learned what didn’t work. This included running the following day after a long run (I needed that time to recover) and doing a P90X legs workout the same day I had a difficult track workout scheduled.

I took notes, mentally and literally, and tried to do more of what worked and less of what didn’t. For anyone who is thinking, “Duh, of course you should do that!” This strategy is easier said than done. Just think of all the times you started and abandoned a diet – LOL.

All the right stuff

You don’t need fancy gear to be a runner. But I discovered that treating myself to some fun new running tops and accessories (such as a running belt for water bottles and loading up my iPod with some awesome music) made the medicine go down a bit easier. :-)

I also played around a bit with finding the right running shoes. I started out with Vibram Five Fingers, which I really did/do love for shorter runs. But when I got into doing longer runs, I found that my feet were getting tired. I then moved over to Pearl Izumi’s and have stuck with them ever since. These are zero-drop/neutral shoes which are pretty much the next step up from the barefoot/five finger shoes which seem to have fallen out of favor for many people. I have to say that I am intrigued by Luna Sandals created by Seattleite, Barefoot Ted. I will get to his store at some point to try these on and check them out. Perhaps for my shorter runs.

As far as what goes into my ears during a run, I usually listen to podcasts on shorter runs, either Rich Roll or Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. I know a lot of people run without listening to anything and say that ideas come to them during these quiet moments. For me, I always glean insight from these two podcasters which spurs on my own creativity.

For long runs, I must listen to music. I’m a big music nut and love to dance so listening to fast-paced tunes during a run just makes me feel like I’m dancing. (I’ll share my playlist post-race.)

Recovering from runs

Earlier this year, I was running into all sorts of issues including ITB Syndrome, plantar fasciitis and and some MCL pain. I won’t go into the details of what these are but suffice it to say that at some point, I thought these were going to sideline me from running. Not only the Honolulu Marathon but running in general.

I managed to get through these issues with some aspirin and rest and am happy to say that I haven’t felt any aches or pains in the past six weeks or so.

But I should note that I started doing a number of things that I think helped limber me up and aid in recovering from these issues. Now, before I head out on a run, I do some PT exercises that help strengthen my glutes. I also foam roll my IT band (the exterior of my upper legs), my thighs and my calves. I also do yoga about once a week to help loosen things up.

Oh, and I regularly get massages. At first it was every other week but now I’m down to once a month.

A friend (thank you, Jan!) also introduced me to the MELT Method balls which I use for my feet and which, I swear did away with my plantar fasciitis.

After my runs, I drink a recovery drink to help replenish my body with needed carbs and protein. Specifically, I drink a shake that includes almond milk, a half of a banana, strawberries, protein powder, spinach, maca powder, turmeric, cinnamon and, sometimes, a dash of cloves.

After a long run, while drinking my shake, I put my feet up and put ice on my knees to help keep the inflammation down.

There were a few times when my knees were sore enough that I needed to take some aspirin during or after a run, but in the more recent months that hasn’t been an issue (I attribute my lack of pain to the foam rolling and massages).

The reality of running


While I admit that I put a more money into my running habit this year than I anticipated I would, it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to prepare yourself for a marathon by reading books and websites and following one of the many formulas out there for weekly mileage.

Massages are not a requirement but helpful. My insurance does not cover massages so I joined a membership club in my neighborhood where I pay a monthly fee of $60 which gets me one massage and additional massages (for both me and Jon) at $50/each).

No runner should be without a foam roller. This is the singular item that really saved my legs, feet and knees this year.

As for the clothes? I have found some great deals for items on sale in stores and find that consignment shops can be a great place for tops and shorts.

It takes a village


Despite his slight jealousy that I can run and he can’t due to some bad knees, I would not be as avid about this sport without Jon’s support. He wishes me well when I walk out the door, he picks me up at the end of a long run (and I buy him coffee!) and rubs my feet and legs when Beth Whitman and Carmyn HonoluluI get home. He also came to Hawaii with me (poor guy!) to crew for me here at the Honolulu Marathon.

Having his support as well as a coach and a group of runners that I train with each Tuesday night, has made this a really fun time for me.

And, I get to run this race with Carmyn who has taken several WanderTours with me and is now a dear friend. So glad you made it, Carmyn!

I can’t wait to find out what next year has in store. That is, beyond the Tokyo Marathon which I’ll be doing in February. :-)


By the way, if you’ve made it this far in the post and it’s before December 13, you can follow me during the marathon on the Honolulu Marathon app. My bib number is: 12788.

Be Bold,


Want to stay up-to-date on all things Wanderlust? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

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Favorite Photo Editing Apps

by Beth Whitman (December 4th, 2015)

I work from home and spend a lot of time by myself (except when I’m talking to others in my head – HA HA!)

As a result, I’m not surrounded by the same osmosis that a lot of people get from an office environment. That can be a good great thing but I miss it for the little bits of knowledge I would otherwise pick up. Case in point: the latest apps that all the kids are using.

Fortunately, I have the chance to hear about (and share) some tips during our tours. This is when I’m spending a lot of time with people from a variety of backgrounds over an extended period of time. Sometimes we have lots of time on our hands (think: long bus or train ride), making it a great time to chat and learn.

It was on my most recent Bali tour that our group took a lot of photos on their iPhones (surprise surprise). They had asked me to share what apps I use and I was able to learn from them, too! Here’s a list of what I use most often:

Kauai Palm Tree . Kauai Palm Tree

PS Express – This app from Photoshop is by far my favorite and the one I use most frequently. Unlike Photoshop on your desktop, this app is actually easy to use. There are dozens of options for enhancing images – from simple cropping and rotating to bringing up the light in shadows to darkening clouds. I often send myself images from my laptop (taken on a digital camera or even scanned from old slides) to my iPhone so that I can play around with them a bit in PS Express. The basic version is free in iTunes app store.


Volcano Bali








Touch/Retouch – This app allows you to easily remove unwanted content from your photos–like a telephone pole from someone’s shoulder or a puff of steam from a volcano. Just a couple of swipes and the offending distraction is gone. It’s actually crazy easy to get the hang of this app. $1.99 in the iTunes app store.


Lotus Waterlogue







Waterlogue – This app is so much fun. It turns your photos into paintings! It works particularly well with flowers. $2.99 in the iTunes app store.

Long Expo – This allows you to take long exposures of moving objects like a waterfall, runners during a race or traffic on the roadway. The result is a blurred image (sorry I don’t have an example). You really need a tripod (even a mini one will do) with this app. Otherwise, you’ll get an image where everything is blurry, not sure the moving objects. Free in the iTunes app store.

Photo Wonder

Photo Wonder – You can do a number of fun things with Photo Wonder. You can get rid of red eye, thin your face, add cleavage and even add thought bubbles. You’re probably not going to do something too fancy with this app but it is fun. Free in the iTunes app store.

SantaFe Moldiv

NOLA Moldiv








Moldiv – My niece turned me on to this app (thank you, Nicole!). Moldiv allows you to create photo collages, plugging in two or more images and arranging them using several options. These images are from our Santa Fe Culinary Tour (left) and New Orleans Culinary Tour (right). Fun – eh?

What are your favorite photo editing apps?

Be Bold,


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Goal Zero Flip 20 Recharger ~ WanderGear Wednesday

by Beth Whitman (November 18th, 2015)

Goal Zero Flip 20

Ever find yourself on a train, plane or bus and your cell phone is nearly dead? On top of it all, there are no outlets to be found and your significant other is waiting to find out what time you arrive.

It’s a terrible feeling. And completely avoidable when you’ve got a power source like the Goal Zero Flip 20 Recharger!

Unlike most rechargers that require a USB cord to power it up, the Flip 20 has its own USB connector that “flips” open and plugs into a USB source. It’ll take about four hours for a full charge and you can see how much charge there is via the battery indicator lights.

Once completely full, Goal Zero Flip 20 USByou use the Flip 20 with a USB cable to charge your phone or other device. The unit will give you about two full charges on your phone and slightly more for other devices such as a fitness tracker, watch, headlamp, etc.).

Alternately, you can charge the Flip 20 using one of Goal Zero’s portable solar panels!

I’m pretty good about keeping an eye on the power level of my cell phone and try not to leave the house (or hotel) without it being fully charged. I have, however, been out for the day during my travels taking a lot of photos and video, only to discover that I have very little battery left. At least not enough battery power to continue with liberally taking photos. That’s when the Goal Zero Flip 20 has come in really handy!

Available on Amazon in Charcoal Gray and Blue. Available in Green on the Goal Zero site.

Be Bold,


Want to stay up-to-date on all things Wanderlust? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

Disclosure: Goal Zero provided this to me for review. Regardless, everything I have said in the post reflects my honest opinions.

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Why Turning 50 Doesn’t Have to Suck

by Beth Whitman (November 10th, 2015)

Beth Whitman MarathonWhen I was in my early 40’s, I always thought of myself as still 40, not any older than that. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to be “in” my 40’s. I just didn’t FEEL (or look, hopefully) like I was “in” my 40’s. So for a few years, I enjoyed being just 40.

This month, I’m turning 50. It’s not like I’m trying to rush the process, but for awhile now when someone has asked how old I am, I proudly say I’m turning 50 this year. After all, 49 seems like I’m lying. Like the old joke about being 29.

I’ve given this quite a bit of thought. After all, a lot of people get depressed when they hit a milestone birthday year. But me? All I can think is, “Whoo hoo, I’m half way there!

So why do I care so little about turning 50?

I met someone on a plane once who told me he had completed eight marathons. At the time (just a few years ago), that was unthinkable to me. How could someone possibly do ONE marathon let alone eight in one lifetime. Shortly after that I read a quote from Richard Branson about how he always has a goal he works towards in order to stay physically fit. At the time I was training for the Snowman Trek in Bhutan and that quote made total sense to me. I was working out at least six days a week with the goal of being able to complete that trek.

But after completing the Snowman, I knew that, like Richard Branson, I needed another goal to work toward in order to maintain (or exceed) my fitness level. I wanted that big goal but knew that it was going to take a lot of small steps (no pun intended) to get there.

When you’re working toward something big, you’ve got both incremental and larger goals you have to complete.

Right now, I’m training for my first marathon in December. It will be exactly one month after I’ve turned 50. And how absolutely cool is it that I can say I’m doing my first marathon at 50? I’m really proud of that.

I’m mainly so proud of that because I only started running about five years ago. Even then I did it in fits and starts and could barely push myself to do five miles.

And now 26.2 miles.

I knew this goal would require daily attention to my workouts and my diet. Every day gets Beth Whitman Half Marathonme in better shape than the day before. Which makes me feel better. Which makes me want to do more of the same the following day.

So where am I going with all this?

I’ve come to the conclusion that I might have felt differently about turning 50 if I didn’t have the marathon as a goal. A goal that I once thought was unattainable.

A marathon? Me? No way. But now I run “long” every weekend with my longest (so far) being 20 miles. I consider this to be a minor miracle.

Some people mark their milestone birthdays with a big trip or adventure–and I’m grateful for that because many of them come on our WanderTours to mark such occasions. But this physical goal of training for a marathon has me certain I’m turning back my body’s physical clock.

So, truly, when I think about turning 50, I think of it as 50-years-young. :-)

Be Bold,


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This Month Win a Mystic Cardi Sweater from Royal Robbins

by Beth Whitman (November 1st, 2015)

Mystic Cardi

Congratulations to Whitney G. from Gainesboro, TN, a new subscriber to the Wanderlust and Lipstick Newsletter, for winning this month’s prize!


There’s a word that comes to my mind when I think about clothing from Royal Robbins. It’s “soft.” Well, more specifically, “snuggly soft.” I mentioned this when I wrote about their Mission Knit Long Sleeve Shirt and these are the words that come to mind to describe their Mystic Cardi.

This is the kind of sweater you want to curl up with on the couch in the dead of winter by the fireplace with a good book. True that it’s not going to be the easiest item to pack for a faraway retreat–one in which you’ll need to fly–but it is great for a getaway in which you’ll be driving, like a ski weekend (different fireplace, same book) or a cabin near a stormy coast.

This long button-down sweater is made of acrylic and wool (just 15%, so it’s not itchy) and has a hood for extra warmth.

The Mystic Cardi is available in Charcoal (pictured above), Oatmeal  and Deep Blue (pictured below).

This month you could win your own–just in time for the cold weather and the holidays!

About Royal Robbins

Royal Robbins produces practical outdoor travel clothing that utilizes performance fabrics, making their clothes not only comfortable but excellent for packing and for adventure activities.

Wanna win your own Mystic Cardi Sweater?

Mystic Cardi - Deep BlueDuring the month of November, you can enter to win a Mystic Cardi Sweater from Royal Robbins. One winner will be chosen on December 1, 2015.


1) Sign up for the Wanderlust and Lipstick newsletter. This goes out just once a month and your information is never shared.

2) Sign up for the RSS email feed (see the “subscribe me” box in the upper right) to receive an email each time I post to this blog (usually no more than 3x per week).

3) NEW for 2015! If you’re already a newsletter and RSS email feed subscriber, leave a comment below and let me know where you would wear your Mission Knit Shirt from Royal Robbins. I’ll then include you in the random drawing.

If you’re new to the site or this blog, do all three and you’ll have three chances to win!

Oh, and get some good karma by forwarding this to friends whom you think might like to enter to win their own Mystic Cardi Sweater from Royal Robbins.

Value: $85

The Deets
This contest closes at 11:59 pm PST on November 30, 2015 and the lucky winner will be chosen on December 1, 2015. Royal Robbins will ship to the U.S. only for this contest (sorry!).

The winner will have three days to respond before another winner is chosen.

Be Bold,


Want to stay up-to-date on all things Wanderlust? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

Disclosure: Royal Robbins provided the Mystic Cardi sweater to me for review. Regardless, everything I have said in the post reflects my honest opinions.

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Halloween Fun Facts

by Beth Whitman (October 30th, 2015)

I used to really get into Halloween. I would spend months working on my costume. While I can’t say I ever created anything too fancy, I did have fun with the process.

I’ve been traveling out of the country for the past couple of Halloweens and have missed seeing our neighborhood kids dressed up. Sadly, my own costumes have been in a box in the garage for years!

Still, I like Halloween. For me, it represents a change in season and, this weekend, a change in the clocks.

No costume for me this year. Not even a carved pumpkin on our doorstep. But that’s OK, I have the internet to bring Halloween to me.

Here’s what I found out when I was doing a bit of research on the topic…

Pumpkins Truck

The top pumpkin producing state is Illinois. Actually, 90% of all
pumpkins grown are within 90 miles of Peoria!

Libby’s pumpkin plant (also located in Illinois) process 85% of the world’s pumpkins.

Halloween Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkins in the 10 – 25 pound range are usually used for carving while pie pumpkins are usually in the 5 – 10 pound range.

Pumpkin Peeps

OK – I was surprised to discover that there are only 130 calories in EIGHT of these peeps. And only 29 grams of sugar. I mean, in the scheme of things that’s not bad.

But how many of these can you really eat? My teeth literally hurt just thinking about it.

Halloween Pumpkin Fuji

Though it hasn’t exactly caught on across the country, Halloween is celebrated in some areas of Japan including Osaka and Kobe.

Halloween Pumpkin

Halloween begins a three-day festival for remembering the dead.

Halloween Pumpkin Door

Samhain is a Gaelic festival in which spirits roamed the streets. It’s believed that by trick-or-treating, you can placate these spirits!

Halloween Pumpkin Ghost

It’s believed that ghosts come back to the earthly world on Halloween.

Halloween Pumpkin Seeds

100 grams of pumpkin seeds contain about 30 grams of protein!

Black Cat

In the middle ages, it was believed that witches could turn
themselves into black cats in order to avoid detection,
hence our obsession with avoiding them.

Other interesting facts about Halloween:

  • The Celts believed that if they could disguise themselves, they would go unnoticed by the spirits that wandered the streets during Samhain.
  • Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween. (Makes sense now that you know
    about Samhain – eh?)
  • Considered the best Halloween event in the world, the Village Halloween Parade in New York City attracts about 60,000 costumed participants and two million spectators.

Are you dressing up this Halloween?

Be Bold,


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Photo credits
Pumpkins in Truck – Don Hankins
Pumpkin Carving – Kenny Louie
Pumpkin Peeps – Crystal
Pumpkin Mt. Fuji – bernard_in_va
Halloween Pumpkin – bernard_in_va
Pumpkin at door – Rich Bowen
Pumpkin Ghost – stewart
Pumpkin Puking – JD Hancock
Black cat – Adhi Rachdian

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LOWA Innox GTX Lo Boots ~ WanderGear Wednesday

by Beth Whitman (October 14th, 2015)

Lowa Innox GTX BootsEven though I live in one of the most hiking-friendly areas of the country, I haven’t been that into hiking until recently. For the longest time I had one old pair of hiking boots that I wore for all sorts of weather and trails. Now, when I open my shoe closet, I have lots of options to choose from.

Often, my go-to hiking boots are LOWA Boots. Why? Well, most importantly, the construction is solid. I have a couple of pairs that I’ve worn on long treks in the Himalayas and never once had an issue or concern as to whether they would make it through the entire trip. They’ve been a little worse for wear (read: muddy as all get out) but I survived the hike with no issues–not even blisters!

My most recent find is the Innox GTX Lo Boots. These are great trail shoes since the sole is LOWA Innoxquite stiff. That’s a great thing for trails around Mt. Rainier where you’re going to find yourself on lots of rocky and tree-rooted terrain.

The Innox GTX Lo’s are protected with GORE-TEX. While I wouldn’t want to get caught in a heavy rainstorm in these low-cut shoes, the protection from water is a great feature if you’re going to be hiking in dew, you get caught in a downpour or, as often happens in the Pacific Northwest, you find yourself in muddy conditions.

LOWA Innox Sole

The bottoms have a very good grip so, again, on those rough trails you’re not going to run into any problems in terms of slipping.

I’m usually a pretty solid size 8 in most shoes but wear an 8.5 in these. Perhaps it’s due to slightly thicker socks or the need to have some wiggle room for those downhill hikes, but it’s something to be aware of when ordering.

The Innox GTX Lo Boots come in two colors: Berry/Grey and Black/Sky Blue (pictured). These run $190 on the LOWA website.

If you’re trying to figure out what to hike in this fall, these sturdy boots are going to serve you well!

Be Bold,


Want to stay up-to-date on all things Wanderlust? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

Disclosure: LOWA provided these boots to me for review. Regardless, everything I have said in the post reflects my honest opinions.

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WanderWorld Foundation

by Beth Whitman (September 14th, 2015)

Beth Whitman IndiaFor nearly as long as WanderTours has been offering tours, we’ve been donating to organizations located in the countries where our tours run.

The donations have all been made on behalf of our tour groups but they come directly from WanderTours.

I am so excited to announce that we (myself and a small board of directors), have just received word that we’ve been granted non-profit 501(c)(3) status for the WanderWorld Foundation. The WWF will be the non-profit arm of WanderTours and Wanderlust and Lipstick.

With the establishment of the WanderWorld Foundation, our goal is to make donating to charities we support abroad not only easier for our tour participants but also tax-deductible!

Over the past six years, we’ve donated to charities where our tour groups can visit the program so that we can learn about their work first-hand and so that we’re able to talk directly to those who oversee and also benefit from those programs.

When we visit these charities, our tour participants are usually so moved by the experience that they have a desire to make additional donations but often times don’t have enough cash in-country to do so.

Now, when someone on one of our tours visits a charity and likes what they see, they can return home, make a donation via the WanderWorld Foundation, and designate that their funds go directly to RENEW (minus PayPal and/or wire transfer fees). Neither I nor our board members take any salary from our work with the WWF and all costs (mailing, non-profit status filing fees, etc.) come out of our own pockets. That means that most funds will go directly to the charity of choice from the donor and, if none is designated, into a general fund to be distributed at the board’s discretion.

Helping Women and Children

Our overall goal is to raise funds for causes that help women and children. We identify organizations that have a long-term plan to make a difference in their quality of life and help them improve their economic standing in their community. In other words, to provide these women and children with some independence and confidence.

To date, we’ve donated to:

  • Amnesty International’s Women Not Witches program which supports women of domestic violence in Papua New Guinea
  • RENEW Bhutan, an organization that helps women and children of domestic violence in Bhutan
  • Lifestart Foundation in Vietnam which helps families in Vietnam
  • Sambhali Trust in India which helps women and children in Rajasthan, India
  • OneDegreeForward in Cambodia helping orphans in Cambodia
  • WEAVE which supports refugee hill tribe women in Northern Thailand
  • Nunneries in Myanmar and Bhutan

This month we’re visiting ROLE Foundation in Bali. This organization provides skills and education for women and children to help them break out of poverty.

While initially the funds raised will come directly through WanderTours and our tour participants, our goal is to hold on and/or offline fundraising events for these (and other) designated charities and to broaden our reach in terms of donors.

We can accept donations PayPal, check and cash. The funds, minus any financial transaction fees, go directly to the organization of our Board’s choice if not specifically designated by the donor.

We are in the process of working on a website and should have that up and running in the coming months.

For now, we’re simply thrilled to have been granted non-profit status in the U.S. as this helps us move forward with the work we hope to accomplish in the coming years.

Be Bold,


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Essentials for Running ~ Road ID

by Beth Whitman (September 11th, 2015)

Road ID BraceletIt’s funny. I’ve been wanting to get this review/mention about Road ID up on the blog for a long time but have, frankly, been sidetracked with a lot of other things and it’s been lower down on the priority list (sorry, Road ID folks!).

But after publishing yesterday’s post about running (and travel) and how important it is to be tuned into your environment, several people contacted me about how much they love their Road ID paraphernalia, so I knew the time was perfect to talk about this essential item that I always run with.

Let me first wind back the clock.

I have an otherwise healthy friend who had a heart attack at 40 while running around Greenlake, a very popular three-mile walking/running/biking route in Seattle. Luckily for Dave, a nurse was nearby, recognized his sudden collapse and revived him (yay, Dave, so glad you’re still with us!).

Dave was hospitalized but the thing about it was that he lost his memory. He wasn’t carrying any ID with him so for probably a day or so, his roommate didn’t know where he was and he couldn’t tell anyone his name.

Though I only started running recently and this incident happened years ago, this stuck with me. Because of Dave, I’ve always been vigilant about carrying an ID with me during my runs.

Until Road ID, if I was in my own neighborhood, I just ran with my driver’s license. When I traveled, I took the hotel’s business card with me plus my license. When I’m staying with friends, family or at an AirBnB, I write down the name and address of the place where I’m staying and carry that with me. Now the Road ID bracelet has replaced my license. It has the added benefit of including emergency contact info in case someone needs to be reached.

I have the Wrist ID Slim but Road ID has a wide range of products that are great for runners, bikers and, yep, even travelers. :-)

Their products come in lots of colors and styles so you can really customize it to how you like.

Now, I don’t walk out of the house (or hotel or family’s house) for a run without my Wrist ID.

Be Bold,


Want to stay up-to-date on all things Wanderlust? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

Disclosure: Road ID provided this bracelet to me for review. Regardless, everything I have said in the post reflects my honest opinions.

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Your Sixth Sense – A Matter of Life and Death?

by Beth Whitman (September 10th, 2015)

WatertownThis summer I went to Jon’s family reunion in Watertown, New York, just about as far north in NY as you can get without being in Canada.

Watertown’s got some charm to it. It’s home to an army base, Fort Drum, and sees lots of Canadian who come for the shopping deals. There are big chain stores and restaurants but also lots of independent cafes, restaurants, bakeries and other businesses that can hold their own.

We go every couple of years to catch up with Jon’s mom, siblings and extended family. Sometimes we stay with family, sometimes we rent a house. This year we stayed in a hotel that was centrally located to restaurants, shops and an amazing vegetarian grocery store/cafe.

Being so centrally located meant we were near a busy road in terms of traffic. Not a highway, but just a lot of cars pulling in and out of the parking lots of fast food restaurants, bars and chain stores.

On the Sunday morning of our stay, I headed out for a long run, 12 miles.

Because I didn’t know the area well, I figured out a route where I could run six miles out and six miles back to the hotel. I wanted to stick to the main roads so I wouldn’t get lost. These roads also happened to be busy which I figured would be safer than side roads since there would be people regularly driving by in case something happened to me. I didn’t want to stumble and fall on a country road.

I left the hotel shortly after 6:00 a.m.

Nothing less than a threat

The first thing I noticed was that there were a lot of young(ish) people already up and about so early in the morning. The first group I happened upon were a few twenty-somethings hanging out in the parking lot of a Dunkin’ Donuts. “Hmmm,” I thought, “early for them.” But then it dawned on me they hadn’t been home yet and they were likely winding down from their Saturday night.

Then as I ran on, I started to realize how far away from Seattle I really was. In Seattle, pedestrians have the right of way and drivers are very courteous when it comes to allowing you to cross the street, whether at a crosswalk or elsewhere.

In Watertown, drivers ignored the fact that I was there (yes, I’m sure they saw me) and drove in front of me while they were either exiting or entering a parking lot, not even hesitating to let me run by. OK, I can deal with that.Runner New Orleans

What was more annoying, however, was the leering, the slowing down of the vehicles on the road and the head-turning by male drivers of pickup trucks and  motorcycles.

Because it was so early, I had to assume that these guys, too, were still out from the night before and not necessarily up and at ’em in time for church.

To a guy, this behavior might sound innocuous, innocent, maybe even a compliment. But for a woman, these small gestures are nothing less than a threat to what might happen if a situation were to get out of control.

I can’t tell you the last time I felt the slightest danger while out for a run. Not even in New Orleans and certainly never in Seattle.

Particularly in Seattle, I feel very safe during my runs and walks around my neighborhood. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a perfect place. There have been reports of women runners being attacked or even hit by hit and run drivers. But the only nods and smiles I get are from other runners, many of whom I recognize since we travel similar routes.

I don’t know what the crime rate is in Watertown, but it’s not the kind of place you’d consider to be crime-ridden. But still, I had a feeling of angst as I ran. A sense that I could have been easily snatched by a couple of guys in a pickup truck.

As I got a bit further out of town near my four or five mile mark, I got so uncomfortable that I turned around and headed back toward the hotel. I did find another route that was more populated and was able to stretch out the run to nearly 12 miles. But that run was a bummer for me.

Sixth sense

Jon has often said to me that I have a really good gut instinct when it comes to our travel choices. I dazzle him with my ability to find interesting (and safe!) alleyways in cities and fascinating locals to chat with in the most exotic of destinations. I now wonder if that’s a skill I’ve honed because I HAVE to be super tuned in whereas he doesn’t. He’s not aware of the same potential for threat that I am. But that means I’m also tuned into the good.

I now think this is why women have such a good sixth sense. We have to. Because it’s a matter of life and death otherwise.

Be Bold,


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Photo Credit:
Watertown – Doug Kerr

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