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Sedona Marathon: "If the hills don't take your breath away, the scenery will!"

Few races in the Country can compete with the stunning views of Sedona’s majestic red rock. Perhaps it is those views, or the challenging course, or maybe the friendly race staff that attracts nearly 2,600 runners for the Sedona Marathon each year. Many runners come from all over the globe for the chance to pound the pavement in Sedona. For the 9th annual race in 2014, officials announced that runners from as far as Canada, Brazil, Europe, Japan, and even Afghanistan were in town for the event. The event continues to grow from year to year, with women making up 70% of registrants. It’s hard to keep your eyes on the road when such stunning and vibrant color abound. Very few races can offer the views and the challenge that the Sedona Marathon provides. You might never run anything like it again. 

The Courses

While the Sedona Marathon is certainly one of the more stunning races nationwide, your legs will pay the price. Be prepared, for this isn’t your traditional marathon. The route follows a series of unforgiving hills that wind along the towering red rock formations making for a scenic and tough competition. And if the hills aren't enough of a challenge, just over 6 miles into the course (which is the half marathon turn around), the pavement turns to hard-packed dirt filled with all manner of little obstacles waiting to trip runners up. Trail Runner Magazine named Sedona as one of the "Top 3 Most Beautiful Trail Running Cities in America." If you're a trail runner at heart, you will love this race.

Because of the level of difficulty of the full marathon course, the majority of runners choose to instead compete in the half marathon distance. But don't be fooled, the half marathon is no slouch.  Organizers designed it so that the steepest hill is smack dab in the middle of the course. The 5k and 10k courses also offer an excellent blend of beauty and difficulty for those who’d rather attack a shorter distance but still want that triumphant feeling of racing across the finish line.

Aid stations are set up about every two miles and offer water and Gatorade. The aid stations located deeper into the routes also provide bananas, orange slices, and gels. Runners won’t suffer for lack of fuel or water as the aid stations are plentiful. This also means that runners shouldn’t bother with carrying water with them; its an unnecessary weight.

The Event

While the marathon has an international attraction, it's not without that welcoming small town feel. The marathon is produced and directed by the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by many local businesses and seems to have the full support of the town. From city officials to high school athletes, it seems like the entire community is either supporting the event, or competing in it. There are plenty of support vehicles, volunteers, and aid personnel to ensure the event’s success. Many of the city’s hotels offer discounts to runners, as do several of the more popular restaurants in town.

 The Town

Sedona has recently been ranked #13 in the Top 25 Best US Destinations by TripAdvisor. The town is perfect for girlfriend get-a-ways boasting over 80 art galleries and boutiques, world-class hotels and dinning options, and resorts and day spas. The best part is that all of this is surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery that certainly rivals that of any national park, offering hundreds of miles of red dirt trails with incredible opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding, trail running, and photography. With so much to do and the perfect blend of hippie and chic, modern and old town, there's little question why Sedona draws travelers near and far. 

Get more information on things to do, dining, and places to stay here

Relaxation Techniques

Women are often so busy taking care of everyone else's needs that they forget to take time out for themselves. In order to preserve their sanity and get the most out of life, women need to find a relaxation technique that works for them. Since many women find solace in nature, the best relaxation techniques are those that incorporate a love for the outdoors with the need to slow down and unwind.

Yoga is a very popular relaxation technique, and with good reason. In addition to calming the mind, the poses and breathing techniques help tone muscle, improve air flow and strengthen your sense of balance. There are several kinds of yoga that serve different purposes, but the forms best known for stress relief are Satyananda (also called “traditional” yoga) and Kundalini. The slow and gentle movements associated with Satyananda yoga are perfect for beginners and those with physical limitation. Kundalini yoga combines physical activity with meditation and chanting mantras (short, meaningful phrases), making it a spiritual experience for many people.

The fact that yoga does not require any equipment aside from a soft, flat surface makes it much easier to practice in an area that aids in relaxation.

Tai chi is a physical relaxation technique with its roots in martial arts. The slow, steady movements are meant to vary the pressure felt by different parts of the body, allowing for improved blood flow and release of stress. A big part of the relaxation comes in focusing your mind on the movements as opposed to other things that may be going on in your life. It's a great low-impact workout that works for people of all ages and ability levels. Although it can be done on your own, it's a good idea to start off by taking a class that may be offered at your local community center.. Since it too requires no equipment, it is easy to adapt to an outdoor setting.

Meditation is something that can be done in a variety of settings. The idea is to clear your mind and focus only on the present moment, which is easier for some to do when they are outside and away from distractions such as television or other people. Go off by yourself and find a quiet place. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and focus only on what is going on at the time. Some people find it helpful to use mantras; others focus on the sounds of the world around them, such as the ocean or rustling of leaves; still others find a piece of music that creates a feeling of “calm”. If you can't seem to sit still, sometimes a walk on the beach or through a park can help. Whatever works for you is fine, as long as it involves shutting out other thoughts and focusing on the present moment.

Some people start off meditating for 5-10 minutes a day and work up from there, although “mini-meditations” may be easier to fit into a hectic schedule. Simply take a short break to clear your head. The idea is to make meditating a habit that helps you unwind and let go of the tensions of daily life.

Tuna-Stuffed Cucumbers Recipe

This delicious recipe is sponsored by StarKist.

Tuna is one of those foods that has endless recipes. Because it is a versatile food, it can be served practically at any time of the day, for any meal of the day. Thinking of ways to incorporate more vegetables into my diet without having a big meal, I came up with Tuna Stuffed Cucumbers. They can be served as an appetizer before dinner, they be can share as hors d’oeuvres at a dinner party, or they can be a snack to take to school or work.

StarKist Tuna Creations pouches are perfectly portioned for my stuffed cucumber recipe. Depending on the taste desired, I can use the Zesty Lemon Pepper, Sweet & Spicy or Ranch flavor. I do however, always use 2-3 pouches to really stuff the cucumbers and possibly have some left over for a sandwich or to eat with crackers.

Cucumbers may seem like a hard food to stuff, but it’s actually really easy. I start by bringing all the ingredients I need to the counter top.

Ingredients needed:
  • Cucumber
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Tuna (2 pouches of StarKist Tuna Creations in desired flavor)
  • 2 teaspoon mayo or equivalent
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons relish
  • 1-2 sprigs minced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon walnuts or pecans
  • 1 boiled egg diced
  • Parsley for garnish
I begin by making the tuna mixture with my choice of StarKist Tuna Creations pouches, mayo, mustard, relish, dried cranberries, egg, green onion, and nuts. Once the tuna is mixed, I cover it and place it in the fridge to keep cool.

I grab one decent sized cucumber and wash it. I peel the skin and wash it again. Next, laying the cucumber down horizontally, I slice it about an inch thick until the whole cumber is sliced. I turn over each piece of cucumber, laying it flat so that the seeds are in the middle.

Very lightly, I then scrape the seeds out so there is a crater-like hole in the center of each piece of cucumber. Once all of the cucumber seeds have been removed, I place the cucumber on a serving dish. I then sprinkle the salt and pepper on the cucumber. You can sprinkle just a bit of lemon juice on the cucumber to keep it from turning brown.

Next, I get the tuna from the fridge and spoon out enough of the mixture to fill each piece of cucumber. Lastly, I garnish with parsley. 

Tuna-stuffed cucumbers are a refreshing treat won’t take more than 15 minutes to make. What beats that?!

RVing-Not Just For Old People!

Mention how it is a good family vacation that might be less expensive than others
A good way to explore the outdoors without having to give up the comforts of home (i.e. bathrooms, showers, etc)

mosquito repellent

Cute and unusual exotic animals

The monkey on WWA's profile,

It's cute, but I'd be afraid my cats would try to eat it. Since its about the size of my fist, they just might succeed. :(

The world's largest breed of rodent. On first glance it looks like a dog...
Lets just say your cats won't be chasing *these* around!

maybe some kind of cool lizard or fish, something in the cat family, the German Giant rabbit,

maybe the red pandas
Somehow I don't think these would make good pets. :) The fact that they're bigger than my car makes me think they'd wreck my plastic knockoffs fine china. That, and I don't see the Chinese government being happy about it.

Mention how koala bears don't need to drink because they get all the water they need from the eucalyptus leaves they eat.
Where did he even *get* that thing?!  If I could train it to use a litter box, it might make a good 
pet. On the other hand, the massive amounts of food they eat (a whole cabbage in one sitting?!) would be 
a bit cost-prohibitive! Just a *little* bit. :)


When you hear the term 'Outdoor life', what comes to mind? Camping? Hiking? Mountain climbing?
While these are definitely examples of outdoor activities, the term 'outdoor life' is much more encompassing than that.

Women spend so much time taking care of everyone else in their lives that many have a hard time making time for themselves. As the world becomes 'digitized', it's really important that people find things to do that don't involve sitting on the computer all day or playing on expensive devices. Many women are finding that classic outdoor activities such as camping, swimming, bike riding and simply walking are the perfect way to do this. Even those who aren't normally 'outdoors-y' find pleasure in getting out and breathing fresh air.

There's just something about being outside and seeing the beauty of the natural world that makes us appreciate the simple things of life. Many find a short walk through the woods or on the beach at night to be a very spiritual, relaxing experience. Few things are more beautiful than a full moon over low tide.

This blog has been set up to help women discover various ways to enjoy what the natural world has to offer. Beaches, mountains, traveling, woods, sports-there's something out there for everyone.

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