Category Archives: Outdoor Activities!

Wanderlust 108: A Kind Triathlon

On April 26, 2015, I participated in the “world’s kindest triathlon,” known as Wanderlust 108, here in Phoenix! The Wanderlust website sums up the description of this all day event perfectly:

Wanderlust 108 is a triathlon unlike any you’ve ever known. This “mindful triathlon” brings three events together in your favorite local park: a 5k run, an outdoor yoga experience, and a guided meditation — but with a twist. Unlike most triathlons, we place community above competition, inner peace above power, and self-awareness above strength. We prefer slow food to fast run times. For us, winning is measured in laughs shared and new friends made.

Normally, I am a very competitive person (whaaat? who me 😉 ), however, due to my recent foot and knee injuries, the idea that this event was NOT focused on competition made it very appealing! This past month I just got approved to get back into low-impact activities like walking, biking, hiking, and yoga. In other words, everything I like to do, but running. So being encouraged to walk the Wanderlust 5k was a good thing for me!

I spent the day with with friends (old & new) and I did my best to take pictures of the event to make sure I could demonstrate the concept with plenty of visuals!

Here’s a display of the event schedule:


My friends and I arrived at the venue, Tempe Diablo Stadium, around 10am. We needed to check in our bags and yoga mats in by 11am for the start of the 5k.

Here’s a look at the crowd!



After we checked our bags in, Nicole, Cristina, and I headed over to the Wanderlust sign for a selfie and other fun pics! We were excited to sport our brand new orange Wanderlust headbands! It came with our bibs!




Here is the crowd heading to the Wanderlust sign for the start of the 5k.


I was excited to show off my “Yoga, I’m Down Dog” shirt! Thanks mom for the awesome Christmas present!


Nicole and I snagged a picture during the pre-run stretch session!


By 11am, the 5k started!


I got my start of the race selfie!


After the 5k was complete, I walked around the vendor booths and did some shopping! Check this awesome butterfly top from Yoganastix! They have a Facebook page and a website where you can purchase amazing yoga and/or casual clothes! I love that this a locally-based, small business owned by a husband and wife team! Here’s the tagline from their website: “Your source for yoga inspired clothing. Handmade with love in Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.A.”


Right before our outdoor yoga class started at 12:30pm, I ran over to the Kaleidoscope booth for some snacks and a green juice! They had some yummy looking salads but they ran out quick, unfortunately! I was able to manage though with my all-greens juice, some hard-boiled eggs, and their healthy version of a rice krispy treat! My husband and I love their cold-pressed, all organic green juices! We like to go their stores in Scottsdale frequently! You can check out their website for locations and products!


After munching on my snacks it was time for our yoga class to begin!


It was a huge crowd! About a thousand people!


As you can see it was a cloudy day! That’s a blessing for Phoenix residents who will be outside all day at the end of April so I was happy!


You can tell it was humid by the way, since my thick, curly hair was getting more expansive as the day went on LOL. #CrazyHairDontCare #MonicaFromFriendsInBarbados #WellMaybeNotQuiteThatBad 😉


So speaking of clouds and humidity….when I heard it might rain (we had random bursts of rain the day before so it was quite feasible), I made sure to pack a towel, a light rain jacket, and an umbrella with me in my backpack!

As the yoga class came to a close and we transitioned from Savasana (a.k.a. corpse pose) to our meditation, I began to feel rain drops. Laying there with my eyes closed, I kept wondering if the drops would dissipate or become more and more frequent. Well just in the nick of time, I managed to throw on my rain gear and protect myself from the downfall that rapidly came! I don’t have a picture of it, but try to imagine about 1000 yogis laying in a field, suddenly jump up and duck for cover haha! It was quite the sight!

By the way, my friend Nicole was quite impressed that she opened up her eyes to this hilarious image! #RainGearNinja #OnceAGirlScoutAlwaysAGirlScout #AlwaysBePrepared #OnlyOneWithAnUmbrella


Luckily it only lasted about 10 minutes and then the sun came out again! At this point, it was time for hula hooping and acroyoga for those who wanted to participate!



I had a lot of fun with the hooping!


Overall it was GREAT day!


I may have some suggestions for the folks at Wanderlust though, to make next year even more fun! The method for bag check-in and bag retrieval took a very long time, so making that more efficient would definitely be a better use of everyone’s time! Also, I was ecstatic that Kaleidoscope was there serving healthy food and organic juices, however, it clearly wasn’t enough food to accommodate the large crowd, so inviting some of the local food trucks to attend the event would have been an amazing opportunity!

With that being said, I still thought it was a great event and I would love to do next year if they come back!

What do you think, would you attend a Wanderlust in your city?!

It’s My Birthday And I’ll Hike If I Want To!

It’s my birthday, and I’ll hike if I want to
Hike if I want to, hike if I want to
You would hike too if it happened to you!

My 32nd birthday was on Tuesday, August 5th! For a couple of weeks I debated how to celebrate! I knew that I’d be in Arizona that day as I wasn’t traveling, but I realized that didn’t mean I had to stay in sizzling hot Phoenix in the 200 105 degree heat! I thought about what was important to me – staying cool, doing something active, spending time with my husband, seeing a brand new place, and being surrounded by nature! It occurred to me that driving up north to Flagstaff and finding a hiking spot would be the perfect answer!! I asked my friend Corine aka Zucchini Runner if she had any suggestions and she told me about the Flagstaff Nordic Center!


Since I’m all about pictures (shocking right?), I knew I wanted a really cool and unique shirt! So I asked my friend Theresa, owner of Shark’s Bites of Life, for help finding a place that makes custom shirts! Check out Theresa’s shirts on Etsy! She directed me to Spreadshirt! On Spreadshirt’s website, I customized a tank that said “It’s My Birthday And I’ll Hike If I Want To” on the front and “Cook and Run with” on the back!



The shirt came out great!! I LOVED it!!!

So how did my birthday go? Let’s start from the beginning! I woke up, drank my Shakeology, and did the PiYo Workout that was on the calendar for the day, PiYo Sweat!


After a quick shower and a change in clothes, we packed up the car with our necessities and headed up to Flagstaff. By about 1:30pm we stopped and had lunch at the Mix Restaurant on N Leroux street. I found it through a search on my phone. The reviews were excellent and I loved that they were all about local ingredients and fresh made-to-order soups and salads. They don’t believe in using processed foods on their menu and neither do I, so it was a great choice! Evan and I both enjoyed the cauliflower soup with our sandwiches – delicious!!

After we filled our bellies with a fabulous lunch we headed to the Nordic Center which was another 20 or so minutes of driving. By about 3:00pm we arrived at the main lodge.



Right before we started hiking, I checked the weather and I was very thrilled to see that it was 75 degrees and sunny out! Perfect hiking weather if you ask me!


At the start of our hike, Evan and I took a selfie!


The Nordic Center has options for those who want to stay and enjoy some relaxation! You can “rough” it gently as they say in a yurt or camping hut, or you can enjoy more traditional accommodations and stay in the Ponderosa Room at the Lodge.

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With a trail map in hand, we ventured off into the woods! Get ready for a picture explosion! They really do all of the talking!



I really enjoyed the beautiful bright white aspen trees!


And it made it so interesting that the scenery kept changing!





There is actually a squirrel sitting on the fallen tree. Can you see him?? 🙂


I wanted to enjoy the beauty of nature and WOW – did I ever!!




In fact I was having so much fun, I felt the need to jump in the air LOL! 🙂


And then the exploring continued!








As we were taking one of our sign post pics, we saw 3 bulls in the background!! Here I am pointing to them in the background. They actually got quite scared of us and ran away! What an incredible sight to see!

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This picture doesn’t even do the aspens justice! The white color was so intense!


And then I felt the need to take a selfie! I just love showing off my Girls Run Fast necklace! 🙂


We knew that the sun would set at 7:25pm, so we made sure to head back to the car in time. After 2 hours and 38 minutes, we enjoyed our fill of the hike! I was very happy that we completed 7.34 miles that afternoon!


We decided it would be really nice to head to Sedona while the sun was setting! We took the Oak Creek Canyon scenic drive! I highly recommend driving this route some time if you haven’t already! Apparently it’s one of the Top 5 Most Scenic Drives in America (according to Rand McNally). How cool! I totally get it!




I started searching on my phone again for a place to eat and came across a place called The Field Organic Restaurant.  I loved seeing that this restaurant was all about local, organic, sustainable, and seasonal fresh food!! We really enjoyed the ceviche, the sea bass, and the eggplant parm! And of course a glass of vino was absolutely necessary after a 7.34 mile hike!!


They even won best organic restaurant in Sedona in 2014!


It was so fortunate that we stumbled across not only 1 fabulous, organic, healthy restaurant, but 2 WOW!!  I will definitely return to the both the Mix in Flagstaff and The Field in Sedona!

All in all, I am extremely satisfied with how my birthday went down! What can be better than taking in the fresh air, getting exercise, eating delicious healthy food, and seeing a brand new place – all with the love of my life by my side! <3 <3 <3

In keeping with the theme, I even got jewelry from my husband that reflects nature, including a butterfly and leaf necklace!

Butterfly and Leaf necklaces

And wow did we accomplish a lot of steps according to my Fitbit!!

Fitbit Aug 5

I have to also mention that I was completely and utterly overwhelmed by the insane amount of texts, calls, Facebook messages, and new likes on my Cook and Run with Kristin FB page!!! Wow, talk about the icing on the cake!!! I want to thank everyone for the enormous outpouring of love!! I am a truly blessed person!

I especially loved the pictures and special message from my mom!

On this day, 32 years ago, I met the most beautiful person in the world. Happy Birthday to my daughter, Kristin. You are my life, my best friend and my rock. Who else would put up with me. I don’t know what I would do without you. Love you to the moon and back.

Mom and me as a baby

Mom and Me, Mother's day 2014

Grandma and Me, Louie's Restaurant


Ok, so enough about me already! TELL ME – how do you love to spend your birthday? OR, would what be your fantasy birthday?? I’d love to know! Leave me a message in the comments!!



What’s up with Yoga/SUP?!!

I have always been intrigued by the watersport SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding)! Most of you know that I love yoga, so when my friend Rhiannon Ritchey ( told me that she teaches Yoga/SUP classes – I became outright giddy!!

It’s so hot in Phoenix right now that admittedly, this normally avid runner has been shying away from running in the heat. I have lots of friends that are keeping it going, but they wake up by 4am or 5am to do it and I’m a terrible morning person lol!


I’ve really been filling up my exercise time with indoor activities, (i.e. yoga classes at various venues, PiYo workouts at home or strength training with gym equipment) so the idea of exercising outside right now and not collapsing from heat stroke is a thrilling concept!!



Side note: If you want to know more about PiYo, let me know because I am a Beachbody coach!

So anyways, let me tell you more about Rhiannon! She is a 200 hour certified yoga teacher who has had a personal yoga practice for the past nine years. I had the pleasure of meeting her at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale where she teaches yoga once a month on Tuesday nights (



It was at the Butterfly Wonderland that she informed me of the Yoga/SUP classes that she teaches on the weekends at both Tempe Town Lake and also Lake Pleasant. Lake Pleasant is much closer to me so I opted to take a class there! She is normally there on Sunday mornings from 8-10am but her class on that upcoming Sunday filled up before I could get spots for my husband and I! It all worked out though because she decided to open up a Saturday class just for us! I promptly put up a Facebook post about the Saturday class and recruited my good friend Nicole!

On Saturday morning we arrived at Lake Pleasant ready to SUP!

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The great thing about Rhiannon’s classes is that you only need yourself, a bathing suit with comfy clothes that can get wet, a water bottle, and sunblock! The SUP boards and paddles are included. She works with Go Paddle AZ to get the paddles and boards rented for everyone. Rhiannon gave a quick tutorial on how to SUP and then we were ready to go!


When first leaving the dock, it’s best to start on the knees so that you do not accidentally fall off and hit your head!


Once I was a safe distance, I got myself standing on the board for the very first time! And on the first try yay!


We paddled across the lake and arrived at our yoga spot, where Rhiannon has a place for us to anchor our boards for a safe yoga experience.



Once everyone was attached, Rhiannon got our yoga experience going!


I snapped a few pictures of Evan and Nicole practicing their yoga!

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Here I snapped an “oops I fell in the water but it felt wonderful” selfie!


Evan’s looking good in plank and bridge pose!

Yoga:SUP - Evan side plank

Yoga:SUP Jul 12 - Evan bridge pose

I’m feeling confident in side plank and warrior one!

Yoga:SUP Jul 12 - Kristin side plank

Yoga:Sup - Kristin in Warrior 1


Nicole is rocking her side plank!

Yoga:SUP Jul 12 - Nicole side plank

Namaste time!


Three happy Yoga/SUP’ers!

Yoga:SUP Jul 12 - Evan, Kris, Nicole

After 2 wonderful hours of paddling, practicing yoga on the boards, and playing around in the water, we headed back to the dock!


We truly had a blast!! Love this group!!!

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After a relaxing lunch right there at the lake, we decided to rent SUPs on our own through Go Paddle AZ and enjoy another 2 hours that afternoon on the lake!


We even practiced some more yoga!


Down dog!


The Warrior series!




Then we just had lots of fun striking poses!



Finally by 4pm we headed out, but not before Nicole and I took a selfie!


And did some final yoga poses!

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For more information about Rhiannon’s yoga and Yoga/SUP classes, please contact her here:

(480) 526-1207

Rhiannon’s Yoga on Facebook

Do you love yoga or SUP?! Have you tried both together?! Do you want to try it now after seeing these pictures?!! Let me know in the comments below because I LOVE hearing from YOU!! 🙂