A Never-Before Shared (with the internet) Story from the Road-trip Vault

Heyo! I’m headed up to Santa Barbara today to hang out at the race expo with Oiselle and SB Running Co! (are you gonna be there? say hi?) No, this is not Act II of the “Secret Marathon”… although I kind of wish I’d thought about it sooner. Did you know to this date SBI is the ONLY marathon I’ve 1) negative split and 2) not walked during? Yup. 8 marathons and not another damn walk-less 26.2 to claim. Let alone the elusive negative split. Sigh. Someday maybe.

I’ll be working today then cheering tomorrow (somewhere) so if you’re going to be around let me know to look for you!

(but seriously if you’re in the area or running come say hi? dinner? drinks? do I sound desperate yet?)

In my absence I wanted to leave you with an untold story from this summer’s cross-country road-trip with Emily. I call this one, “The Only Time I Was More Scared For My Life Was When We Were Ambushed by Buffalo in Yellowstone” and I’ve only just recently decided the threat level has been lifted enough to let the topic air out.

And if not, at least Emily is still *almost* a full state away.

And-and if you haven’t seen the Buffalo Ambush, divert quickly HERE. Then come back.


“many Yellowstone visitors have been gored by buffalo” ^^^ Genuine fear

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013. South Dakota’ish.

Day Four was our longest day of driving. 650is miles, from Minnesota to the SD/WY border. We’d developed a pretty sound rotation system by then – we’d take turns driving until 1) we needed to fuel up (the car or the passengers) or 2) one of us needed to pee (usually me.) This made for about three hour shifts, but as the long day wore on and darkness took away the beautiful sights of Western Bumfuck South Dakota, we switched every 90 minutes or so to you know, keep from falling asleep at the wheel and killing ourselves.


not only do you miss the arrow-straight, nothing-on-either-side-except-maybe-some-roadkill views in the dark, but the bug smears are somehow even worse

Our goal stop was still a couple hours away (we got a little distracted and were admittedly a little ambitious with our route planner) but at 1:30am, with Em dead asleep in the passenger seat, my eyes lolling, and realizing the upcoming exit appeared to be the last map dot of civilization for the next 100 miles or so, I pulled over. We pricelined the highway trucker exit real quick and found the best statistical option – a 1.5 star, $80 no-name hotel (it got extra points for not being motel-style) that boasted “free bfast! cable tv! running water!” and pulled in, too desperately exhausted to care what kind of horror-thriller movie plot we could be walking into.

I pulled Emily’s car, which was stuffed to the absolute gills with her entire life inside all smashed up against the windows, into a parking spot between a semi and a dirty NASCAR-ish trailer. We banked a few (four) hours of sleep, grabbed a quick shower and a styrofoam cup of dry raisin bran from the “breakfast buffet”, and got the eff out of there at 6am before any of the murderers or convicts woke up.

I probably watch too many crime shows, and if you’re wondering no that’s not the scary part.

Wednesday, August yth, 2013. Wyoming’ish.

We had another long day of driving ahead (500 miles, no fun stops), our only two real tough days of the trip, but the promise of Yellowstone at the finish line was enough to power ahead. A full tank of gas, grande coffee, trenta ice water – wheels up! (err, down? burn rubber?)


Emily smiling because the string of terrible-awful-worst-copilot-ever events hadn’t happened yet. also because this was hilarious. (bikers = sturgis motorcycle rally)

Somewhere through the middle-ish of Wyoming during Emily’s shift I realized we were getting close to 2000 miles on the trip odometer. We’d been carefully and excitedly monitoring it and kicked ourselves for missing the 1K milestone in Minnesota. Seeing the potential photo opp and needing a break from radio dj’ing, I set to change the time on the adjacent dash clock to reflect the current time zone so the “2k! Still alive!” instagram I was dreaming up would be as accurate as possible.

Now, in all the car/appliance/anything clocks I’ve set in my day, you have to hold in a button to get the time into “edit” mode. Get the little colon dots blinking, you know what I mean?

Unfortunately in the fine piece of automobile high techness that is a Scion, you don’t need to do that.

(Do you see where this is going?)

And holding the little knob by the clock in will reset your trip odometer.

I honestly felt my heart stop.

I froze, hand still reaching towards the clock/odometer, when Em gave me the 10-and-2 cautious driver side-eye and asked what was wrong. The terror in my face directed her gaze straight to the screen, now smirking a “0.7 miles” trip reading, sealing my fate as what would surely be a dead body laying off HWY90.

As if ruining the only statistically relevant part of the trip Emily cared about wasn’t enough, I immediately felt the grande + trenta combo drop to the bottom of my bladder. The odometer-wrath fear must’ve triggered an emergency fight or flight signal, and an hour before our next stop and according to the sign we’d just passed, 40 miles from the next exit, I was in trouble.

I made it about 10 more minutes before begging and pleading (no really, I had tears in my eyes) to pull over. Being the understanding but still slightly fuming friend she is, she granted my wish.

By pulling the car onto the shoulder and handing me a napkin.

That shameful squat on the foliage-less highway shoulder was probably the lowest part of the trip from Team Sarah, but at least Emily didn’t speed off and leave me to die with my pants down.


Other “oopsies aren’t you so glad I’m here?” moments:

Getting dehydration/altitude sick and cutting short our OMGSOAMAZING run around Yellowstone Lake, threatening to call PETA at the rodeo, having to cancel horseback riding because I got us lost in Yellowstone (hi I’m helpless without GPS or cell service), almost setting our glamp tent on fire, missing a turn in Oregon and adding an hour (albeit much more scenic and beautiful than the planned route) to our drive, and not having cash for VooDoo Donuts. All roadtrip felonies.


And so after those confessions from the road, in case you’re just itching to ask – no, I’m not for roadtrip co-pilot hire. I totally would but I don’t have any references to vouch for my services. Sorry.

p.s. Em let me know when you’ve forgiven me so I can plan my next trip to the Eug and not have to sleep with one eye open. Thanks.

Sarah OUaL

TrashyNashy – a Bachelorette Weekend in Nashville

I’m sitting at home with my coffee and oatmeal – the first meal in about 6.5 days not accompanied by between 1 and 15 Ohio friends. One of the bar performer’s albums is playing on Spotify and the collaborative Snapfish album is buzzing with new material as everyone uploads their photos, finally bridging some of the haziness between memories.

My week in Nashville was pretty damn perfect. I went in a few days early – Lauren (the bachelorette and my BFF since age two) was on a work trip so I crashed her hotel room, did some extra exploring and writing while she worked, and we got to spend a little QT together before the chaos started.

Below are some snippets from the week – obviously respecting the Trashy Nashy confidentiality agreement and the reputations of those involved and keeping it PG…

Oh and Lauren? ps : reunion trip in the works.

Day One aka “Sarah Explores & Bar Scouting”


lunch with nuunHTC teammate Elizabeth at The Southern, disappointingly celeb-free |||  5.5 sweaty midday miles to Centennial Park |||  L & S “research” bar crawl incl stops at B.A.D for songwriter’s night, bypassing on nude karaoke at Printer’s Alley, leaving some artwork at Paradise Park, and requesting Garth Brooks from anyone on stage that would listen to us

Day Two aka “Sister Sister & the BFE Secluded Cabin”


sweet potato pancake, overeasy egg, BBQ sauce at Puckett’s (to die seriously|||  begrudgingly passing on boot shopping due to self-imposed “fun shopping” ban  |||  wandering down by the river  |||  settling into the digs at our VRBO rental, a ridiculous cabin about 20 miles outside of town

Day Three aka “The Arrivals & You Can Still Drink in the Dark”


squeezed in a run while the rest of the group poured in (confessional sign says “I went running while everyone started drinking”) ((it was 9am))  |||  four girls may need tested for lyme disease after exploring the backyard trail and coming back with ticks  |||  grilling and at-home dining made for a budget-friendly weekend  |||  I played in the thunderstorm because “GUYS IT DOESN’T RAIN LIKE THIS IN CALI!!” and I miss Ohio  |||  … and then the power went out and we played Kings and Apples to Apples by candlelight

Day Four aka “Tourists & the Black/White Big Night Out”

Fri Opry

exploring Opryland hotel  |||  lunch at JD’s  |||  soliciting around the Grand Ole Opry looking for famous people (only tourists)



the whole gang decked in country black & white  |||  last-minute fireball shots before the cabs  |||  L on stage hat-swapping with Jeremy McComb at The Wheel  |||  an ugly but valiant karaoke performance  |||  dropping it for a street performer, showcasing a multi-threat dance arsenal and that country girls CAN “shake it for me”

Day Fiveaka “A Beer Will Probably Help & Downtime During Daylight”


line dance lessons at Wild Horse  |||  tip jars fit for hicks  |||  accidentally found the same band from our last stop the night before, where a few Trashy Nashy attendees may have fawned a little hard over the lead singer (and he definitely recognized us|||  dinner at Jack’s for the “best BBQ in the world”; gave an A+ to their sauces smothered on mac&cheese, salad, and cornbread  |||  this giant hat Shea found to cap off the night

Appendix aka “Drunk Pinterest’ing”


Lauren was very adamant that she wanted the weekend to be mostly low-key, with no crazy itineraries or penis necklaces or stupid games (not verbatim). But I still wanted her to be the focal point – this was HER weekend, not just a random girls’ trip!

We decorated with balloons, crepe paper streamers, and a glittery “L” from the Dollar Tree, to give the cabin a little bit of a party feel.

The cowgirl veil was made from strips of tulle and wide lace ribbon from Michaels – both bought with 40% off coupons and came out to around $10. Picked up the black hat at a souvenir shop for $20 and swapped it between that and the tan Target hat she brought with her. It turned out super cute (in my not-so-humble opinion) and was a great attention piece.


Laur modeling the homemade interchangeable hat veil

To help combat “is this my beer? or is that one mine?” and leaving tons of half-drank bevys around I blinged out Can Grips for each girl. Their names were on the gingham ribbon, tied up with some lace and rafia, and either a yellow, green, or orange ribbon to make location a little easier. Plus it’s just fun to have a handle on your beer can. Fancy buschy pops!


can grips >>> coozies

For a momento/flight home entertainment we set up a “Remember When…?” confessional. Each girl wrote a note(s) of a funny, fond, or embarrassing memory of Lauren, and sealed them up in a simple index card holder I wrapped in leftover lace ribbon. It was simple to prep and set up, and fun to see people throughout the weekend jotting stuff down.

I’m sure all the ones from Friday night while we waited for the drunk munchies to bake were real gems.

And now that this is written I guess it’s officially time to get back to “real life”. Guess I’ll start with a detox run – can’t say I’ll miss the humidity, bugs, or the 16% grade 1/4mi driveway to start and end with…


no but really. extended vehicles can’t get up it and two of our cabbies left giant skid marks at the base.

Sarah OUaL

My New Project & Where to Find Me bc I’m Definitely Not Here

Expect service blackouts from Once Upon a Lime the rest of the week – I’m in Nashville for my best-friend-since-age-two’s bachelorette party! The company and entertainment of 15 other chicks (inc some long lost buddies) trumps interneting.

Not sorry.



heaven help our hillbilly selves. so many busch lights to drink, karaoke bars to storm, and wrangler butts to pinch. (jk brian)

In the meantime you can get a little Lime fix over at Oiselle’s blog. I’m going to be writing a recurring column (sounds so official) and the first installment, “From “Ka-Flez-a-what?” to US Champs” is up.

The working title is “The Evolution of a Fan Girl, In Progress”, and my mission is pretty much to convince people pro running is worth your attention. As a former running dunce and someone not ashamed to look foolish on the internet, I want to guide my fellow Run Fan Rookies around the ropes and highlight some of the cool shit going on with the athletes who make a living out of running.

Like the USA National Track & Field Championships (Des Moines, IA) and US Half Marathon Championships (Duluth, MN) this weekend! There’s info in the post about how and where to follow. So do it. It’s going to be awesome. I’ll be squeezing Flotrack updates between tequila shots and karaoke sets, for sure.

If you have any ideas for features, or any burning questions you’ve been too embarrassed to ask anybody (“what’s a steeple/A standard/EPO/mary cain?”) hit me with them. If you’re really super super embarrassed, use the anon Q&A page.

Oh and if someone wants to start an indiegogo campaign for bail money, that’d be great. Foresight.

Sarah OUaL