Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: this isn’t a story about winning. Instead, like all athletic pursuits that I engage in, this is a story about me enduring long enough and hard enough to collapse across the finish line.

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There were some days when I hiked as many as 8 trails and there were some unfortunate weeks when I couldn’t get out at all. In the end, I was able to complete all 52 hikes before moving to Colorado around week 40.

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Yes, it can be safe to travel as a woman — even alone, but you can’t be naïve about it. If you want to be safe, there are four major things to consider before going anywhere:

1. Where are you traveling, and what do you know about the place?
2. What are you doing there?
3. Do you attract attention / do you stick out?
4. Can you get help from authorities if you need it?

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Cross-country skiing is certainly an amazing workout. It passes my personal “how hard am I working?” test: it makes me sweat while I’m doing it and makes me sore when I’m done. With cross country, the sweat is intense (great for a cold weather sport as long as you keep moving) and the soreness is all over – legs, core, and arms.

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Pack Burro Racing is the only sport that is indigenous to Colorado. What started as a tribute to the state’s mining history has become an annual spectacle in which, every summer, super fit athletes and their hopefully well-trained and willing equine counterparts run long distances over Rocky Mountain passes. It’s as crazy as it sounds.

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[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]here’s something about traveling by boat that inherently equals adventure. I don’t know if it’s the wind in my hair, the bright sunshine on my face, the splash of water occasionally making its way over the bow, or the passing scenery as the ship cuts its way through the water. It’s all of those …

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[dropcap size=small]O[/dropcap]ne of my cats, the fluffy black one, is snoozing on a large pile of recently unpacked clothes over another pile of sheets and pillows on my unmade bed. The windows are open, and it is raining outside, but barely. When the sun comes out again, the pine needles will dry up and fill …

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[dropcap size=small]M[/dropcap]y smile spreads. I pause to laugh before chewing the slightly soggy, roadside graham cracker. The gravel grit of the road mixes with the cracker and I am reminded of the sprawling scene behind me. The Toklat River’s braided ribbons underline the mountains, still nameless. Francesca continues reading in her contrived Irish accent; she …

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