Unsalted and Shark Free

About this time last year I got a late night text from a friend showing off a shiny diamond ring. I was so, so excited for my friend and couldn’t wait to hear all of the details. I knew that the wedding would be in Michigan since that’s where she’s from, but I also knew that it would be a small affair. Needless to say I was happy to be invited! I love this girl and couldn’t wait to celebrate her special day.

Fast forward to about a week ago when I was packing a bag and preparing to travel to Michigan. Though my family went on many road trips when I was a kid we never made it to Michigan, so this was a first for me. I got up dark and early on Saturday for a flight to Atlanta and then to Grand Rapids. I’ve traveled alone before so I wasn’t too worried about layovers and flights and things. Once I got to Grand Rapids, however, things got a little hairy. I rented a car for an hour and a half drive to the small town of Pentwater. I get extreme anxiety when driving, though, so I was a little worried.

I did okay, though. I mean, I’m alive and that’s all that matters! Once I got to Pentwater my main priority was a nap. I had been up since 3AM and was in serious need of rest. I love traveling and seeing new places, but it’s totally exhausting sometimes.

Once I was rested up I took a drive into Pentwater and walked up and down the…street. Because there’s only one. It was warmer than I expected. (I’m from Florida. I’m used to melting.) It’s a cute little town that sits on Pentwater Lake and Lake Michigan. I love a good view of the water and Pentwater didn’t disappoint. It also had some adorable shops and touristy places to check out.

Of course I found books.

Also I found some amazing coffee gelato.

After I toured the town myself, I went back a little later with a friend and her husband that arrived a little after me. We had dinner at one of the pizza joints in town (there were a few) and then headed to the state park to mee the bride and her family after the rehearsal dinner for a sunset on Lake Michigan. It was beautiful!

No filter needed.

After the sunset we headed into town for drinks at a basement bar. This was a new experience for me as we do not have basements in Florida. πŸ™‚ I was exhausted after a long day of traveling and was so ready to climb into bed. I guess this is the part where I tell you I took workout clothes and got up early for a run, right? Well, you know I didn’t! I did get up early, but that’s just because of my internal teacher clock. After a quick hotel breakfast I…took a nap. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I’m in a brand new state and I should be exploring! But I was also on vacation and I’d been feeling a little down lately. Some extra rest was just what I needed.

This was wedding day, so there wasn’t a ton of time to explore. My friend Cristi and her husband Jose were staying at the same hotel so we ventured out together again. We tried a little coffee shop in Pentwater and did some shopping before driving to Hart and finding a cute little brewery for lunch.

Cristi and I enjoying the view in Pentwater.

After our little excursion I had enough time for a power nap before getting ready for the wedding. The bride’s family has an adorable cabin which is where the wedding took place with a gorgeous view of the lake. It was a perfect setting and a beautiful ceremony.

Florida friends with the beautiful bride.

Ice cream themed tables.

Michigan brew with a view.

Monday was my last day in Michigan so I drove an hour south to where my friend Jenn was staying with some old friends. (All of my friends that I spent time with in Michigan are friends I work with in Florida.) Jenn and her family/friends rented a boat in Spring Lake, so I went out with them for that Pure Michigan experience. It included a boat ride, some choppy waves, and a floating trampoline!

I, of course, had to do a little SkirtSports photo shoot.

I jumped off a boat and swam to that. Go me.

Bumpy selfies with Jenn.

After a great day on the lake with friends (and friends of friends) I made the trek back to Pentwater to get ready to leave the next morning. I was flying out of Grand Rapids at 6:45 and had to drop off my rental car, also. This is the part where my anxiety kicks in and I don’t sleep, but at least there was no traffic when I left at 3AM! The drive was smooth, security was a breeze (besides me leaving my license at security), and my flights were on time. My layover was in Detroit where I landed at gate A73 and had to hustle to A9 to my next flight back to Florida.

I loved being away for a weekend and being able to do a little exploring while celebrating a good friend. I didn’t workout while I was away, but technically none of those days were running day so I didn’t feel too guilty about it. Sometimes you need a break from all kinds of stuff (even if you’re on a vacation as it is), even marathon training. I’m getting back in the habit now and also getting into the mindset of going back to work. I’m saving my “Day in the Life” until my day consists of something other than Netflix and large amounts of coffee.

Michigan is a beautiful place and I’d love to go back and visit and see what other trouble I can get into. There doesn’t even have to be a wedding!

Chasing the Races

Most of my posts have been about how I’m training for the Chicago Marathon, because that’s my main focus right now. There aren’t a lot of other races in the area to sign up for during the summer in my area and that’s kind of okay. I’m focusing mostly on training and have a lot of long runs coming up, so I don’t have a lot time on the weekends to run races. Honestly, if I don’t have to run, I’m not going to. That’s just the hard truth of it. I love running, but I’m in training mode and I’m not looking to go out just for fun. My rest days are sacred, even if some of them have cross training mixed in.

Other than the Chicago Marathon (did you know I was training for that?) I have a few other things scheduled for the fall that I’m pretty excited about!

At the end of the month I’m running a Ragnar Chase the Moon Challenge with my running buddy Michelle. Basically we’re going to go out and run 6.7 miles “around the moon” and hope that some crazy folks are running it with us. It’s Ragnar’s challenge to run and help raise money for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp while we’re doing it! To sign up was free, but Michelle and I both bought the swag and made a donation. I love swag so it was a no-brainer.

There might be a few 5Ks that pop up in August and September. I’m also started a chapter of Girls on the Run at my school, so that’s definitely going to keep me busy. Last year I helped coach the middle school girls’ cross country team and I’m really looking forward to working with some younger girls with this program.

October is THE BIG ONE. It’s going to take a lot of planning to get to and from Chicago with my family. It’s definitely exciting but I’m also nervous about traveling to and running in a state and weather that I’m not sure of. I know what to expect from Florida. Well, sometimes. (During my first WDW half marathon it was 35 degrees and that was no fun at all.) I’m also still trying to raise money for the American Heart Association. I have amazing friends and family who are helping me out with that.

The weekend after Chicago I get to go and celebrate the Food & Wine festival at Epcot with some colleagues like we do every year. It’s our way to “Sharpen the Saw” and bond and also eat and drink our way around the World Showcase. If you didn’t know, the Food & Wine festival actually ends its run…with a run. Or, rather, a series of runs: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, in true Disney style. Michelle and I did the Wine and Dine 10K for the first time last year and had a blast, so we’re going back for seconds this year. It’s at the beginning of November and after we’re definitely planning on visiting the festival before it goes away for another year.

In December things are going to get really interesting because I’m doing my second Ragnar race. Last year I got to meet Mer and Cam and get up close and personal while we slept in a van together in Pennsylvania. It was a great experience and sooooo out of my comfort zone. This race is a little closer to home, and it’s a trail race. (YIKES.) There’s also camping. (DOUBLE YIKES.) I’m excited, though. So many of my fun and new experiences are earned through running and it’s been such a fun journey.

That’s going to get me through the rest of the year and 2019 will be here before you know it! We’re already looking to a half in February and I’m sure there will be some fun things in between. I love the running community and I can’t wait to get out there and get sweaty with a bunch of strangers. It’s crazy that I started running on a whim five years ago and now I feel like a part of an amazing community.

What races are you looking forward to this year?

The Road to Chicago

Happy Independence Day/Wednesday! I hope you’re all having a nice holiday/week/summer/day/whatever you’re doing. This past weekend my running buddy and I did our longest run yet for our Chicago Marathon training. It was a tough one, but we pushed through with a good, steady pace. (Even if we did get a little lost and almost had an encounter with an alligator.) Marathon training during the summer definitely has some challenges, but it’s going pretty well. You can listen to me ramble about it below.

High of 90? We got this.

 

Sorry for the TMI. Don’t you just love running?

Post run refreshments are a necessity.

ColoRADo Weekend

You ever have those trips that you wish could last just a few more days? Just so you could squeeze in a little more time with people you love or places you want to adventure?

That was my trip to Colorado last weekend. A too-short, but entirely wonderful weekend in the mountains with my family and good friends.

Our purpose for the trip? A wedding. For two of my favorite people in the world. The bride is practically my cousin – our moms have been best friends since they were 13 and though we grew up states away from each other, Hilary and I spent our visits riding horses, playing dress up, singing showtunes, girl scout camping, and snowboarding… among a great many other things. Now, we’re lucky enough to live about 20 mins apart – and we do our best to see each other as often as we can. In living so close, I’ve gotten to know (her now husband) Duncan really well over the last five years, too.

When we found out their wedding was going to be in Colorado, Clay and I knew we had to make the trip – but it was pure luck that Clay’s work schedule allowed him to go. Approved-then un-approved-then conditionally re-approved leave and a canceled gig later meant that he could travel over the weekend, something we didn’t know for sure until the week before we were supposed to leave. WHEW!

But, our last minute scrambling for a suit and a dress worked out (I went with an option from Rent the Runway, which is kind of my favorite way to find dresses for special occasions), and we left for Denver early Friday morning. When I say early, I mean EARLY – we left the house around 3am and arrived in Colorado around 6:30am. But, that worked to our advantage, because we arrived about five hours ahead of my family, so we were able to go in to the city, grab some breakfast and groceries, before doing a little sight-seeing.

Our first stop was Denver Biscuit CompanyΒ where we ate the most ginormous cinnamon roll I’ve ever seen.

Clay for scale

In addition to that cinnamon roll, I had shrimp and grits that were so, so good – being the first real meal I’ve had out in months, it was a real treat to have something so yummy.

After walking off breakfast and heading to the grocery store to get some provisions for the weekend (you can’t have a road trip – no matter how short – without snacks), we decided to check out the Denver Zoo since we had a couple hours until we needed to be back at the airport to pick up the rest of the crew.

While we were there, the weather got a little stormy and the animals were all worked up about it. This Rhino was blustering about and pacing, the Tapir was squeeling (or whatever you call that high pitched sound it makes), and the birds were going bonkers. We sort of sped-walked the last half of the exhibits, but the animals we did get to see were pretty amazing. I always feel kinda sketchy about zoos (animals in captivity and whatnot), but the Denver Zoo is pretty clear about their conservation work and the efforts they make to ensure the animals’ enclosures are large and similar to their home environments. I would love to go back and see more!

Once we found the rest of my family, we headed up into the mountains to Estes Park – a small mountain town about two hours northwest of Denver. Situated just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes sits in a valley and is surrounded by some of the most gorgeous vistas you can imagine.Β Our first evening in town was pretty low-key. We checked out a brewery for dinner and spent an hour or so exploring the downtown area. Saturday, though, we hit the ground running. Clay and I wanted to get some fitnessing in, so we dropped in to CrossFit Estes Park for a WOD before meeting back up with my family to head in to RMNP for a hike. We headed to the Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead and found a 2.5 mile loop that suited us perfectly. It was a gorgeous morning to get out and see the mountains and all the Park had to offer. It probably goes without saying that post-hike we were all very sweaty, a little dirty, and pretty hungry. We found some eats at Smokin’ Daves BBQ and then worked on getting gussied up for the weekend’s main event. The wedding was taking place at The Stanley Hotel – made famous as the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining, and complete with an actual hedge maze. Though Jack Torrance isn’t chasing anyone through this one.

Hilary and Duncan were married on Long’s Peak Lawn, overlooking the valley and the weather was absolutely perfect for their ceremony. It was remarkably beautiful and the rest of the evening was a wonderful party with delicious food, lots of dancing, and plenty of cake. I did my due diligence and tried all the desserts: almond cake with raspberry filling (I think?), banana cake with a chocolate ganache filling (omg you guys, I need more of this in my life immediately) and lemon bars. I could have had like, five of those.

The whole fambam. These nerds are the best.

Emmie is getting real good at the third wheeling.

By the end of the night, I realized I hadn’t gotten a picture of the bride and groom, so I remedied that the next morning before we headed back down the mountains to grab lunch in Boulder before heading to the airport to go home.

love these goobers.

It wasn’t a long trip, and by the time we got home we were completely exhausted, but I would do it all over in a heartbeat. I’m already looking forward to our next opportunity to get the whole family together in a beautiful place to celebrate something as big as love.

It’s Summer and I’m Lazy

I’ve been sitting here for about an hour thinking of what to write about and also what to name this particular post. I remembered multiple times yesterday that I had a post scheduled for today but I kept getting distracted. I even texted Mer this morning to tell her I was working on it. Only I’d just gotten up and had barely made my coffee. It was 10AM.

I just love summer break, y’all.

I’m the type of person who goes all school year round. This year was definitely a busy one for me with coaching cross country for my first time ever, clubs, tutoring, and all other things that just kind of fall under teaching. I’ve only been out of school for a few weeks, but I already know of some changes that are going to happen next year and some really exciting things that I get to do. Yes. It’s June and I’m already planning for August. It’s how a teacher brain works.

So. I’ve been lazy lately. It’s not a difficult as I thought it would be.

I’ve still been keeping up with my training schedule. I mean, mostly. I’ve had some hip pain so I’ve scaled back a little on my running. This is a huge deal for me, as knowing when to take a step back from something is not my strong point. I’ve also been seeing a chiropractor for the first time ever to work on some adjustments that are really needed. It’s been nice just taking it easy and relaxing. Of course, I’ve also been binge watching the early 2000s show One Tree Hill, just for fun. Yesterday I didn’t even get dressed until 5PM and that was only for a quick visit to the Target a mile away from my house.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Well. First of all, I can’t think of anything else to tell you! That’s really about it, sadly.

I can be the queen of go-go-go and doing things until there’s nothing left to do. I know there are a lot of people like that. Maybe I’m telling you to slow down. That if you want to watch TV all day in your pajamas, you can. (Unless you have a job. Go to work.)

Take care of yourself. Take a break if you need to. Last week I wrote about celebrating yourself, which is hard for some of us. I know taking a break and relaxing is hard sometimes, also. We always feel like we have to be doing something. Whether it’s for ourselves or for other people.

The thing is that we don’t.

Lately I’ve been doing nothing for myself. I’m sure, eventually, I’ll get bored of doing it. Eventually I’ll start painting my bathroom or wallpapering the guest room or even (ugh) planning for next school year.

Until then I have six and a half seasons of One Tree Hill to watch.

Do you have any summer plans?

 

Letting It All Go

Howdy, folks!! I’m checking on from my hiatus, and I’ve got BIG STUFF to talk about. Primarily, what are the take-aways from facing your biggest fears and failures? Like I said, it’s heavy stuff, but it’s good stuff! Some nights, you cry yourself to sleep. Some days, you tune into this weird nirvana that comes with resignation that failure might be waiting down the road. Been there before? I thought maybe so.Β  So here, click and listen to me drop some soul-foody truths on facing our toughest challenges.

 

 

 

Celebrate Yourself

This past Wednesday was my 35th birthday.

Yep. THIRTY-FIVE. I feel weird saying that I’m thirty-five because for most of my life I thought that people in their 30s were…old.

I’m old.

That’s not what this post is about, however. I started running when I turned thirty. I’d previously been on a weight loss journey that didn’t really require any exercise and running a 5K was just a thing I wanted to do. I’d run in high school and it was terrible, so I wanted to kind of prove I could do it. And I did.

Here I am, five years later, training for my second marathon. On Wednesday I got up early to run, spent some time at the chiropractor (because that’s what old people do), had brunch with my bestie, went to the bookstore with another friend, shopped, then had dinner with my sister. Usually my birthday makes me maudlin for no apparent reason except the ones I create in my own brain. I fought that hard on Wednesday. Because it was my birthday, dangit.

For the past few years I’ve started my birthday with a 5K. I just add on however many extra years I am onto it. Wednesday I got up and did a nice 3.5 miles for thirty-five years and it felt great. It was a strong start to my day and really helped keep my emotions high for the most part. Running is obviously a type of therapy for me, and for so many other people.

With social media it’s so easy to get caught up in the thinking that you’re just not good enough. For me, I know that I’m never going to be one of the fast runners. I’m not a person who wants to get out there and go every single day, either. I need rests. I need to sit on the couch with a book or watch television. When I have a good run or if I’m just feeling cute (Skirt Sports for the win), I like posting and sharing. Kind of like this blog post!

Actually, my run on Wednesday was a pretty normal one, though it did feel a lot better than some of my other training runs. My point is that sometimes it’s so hard for us to talkΒ good about ourselves. We know that we sometimes put up a front on social media, and that’s fine. No one has a perfect life. But if we wait for just those perfect/awesome/amazing days we’ll never get to celebrate.

Maybe it’s not just about posted a picture with a funny caption. Make it really is about treating yourself. Not in the sense that you should go out and buy a bunch of junk, but just that you treat yourself well.

I am the queen of self-deprecation, which is ironic because my number one love language is words of affirmation. I mean, really. But by treating yourself well, I just mean to celebrate you. The everyday you. Was it hard to get out of bed today? Did you do it? Awesome! Treat yourself with a cup of coffee. Finish a book? Great! Buy a new one. Did you run? Walk? Workout? You are amazing.

I wish it were that easy, but I know it’s not. We should treat ourselves like everyday is our birthday, right?

We can at least celebrate our little accomplishments. The little things we’re proud of.

A good run.

A workout.

You put on pants one day. (I’m on vacation, okay?)

Leave me some ways you celebrate yourself. I’m going to go celebrate with leftover cake.

Summer Challenge(s)

First off, Happy Global Running Day! I swear it was just National Running Day, but I’m not one to argue with the Important Days Calendar. I hope you are celebrating this day with some movement! I’ll be heading off on my three mile training run soon-ish. Probably.

These days I’m having such a great time not setting an alarm and getting out of bed, that I can’t even be upset that this weekend’s long run ended in a sports bra sunburn and that yesterday’s run was more of a walk. It’s summertime and this teacher is tired!

On to the point of this post, however.

On the last day of school our admin team presented us with a challenge: a summer BINGO challenge. My School is a Leader in Me Lighthouse School meaning we teach the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to our students using kid friendly language. We also strive to live by those habits and set examples for our students. This summer, to me, is all about Habit #7: Sharpen the Saw. We spend all school year working hard and not really focusing on ourselves. Sharpening the saw is doing just that.

Our summer BINGO challenge has some cool stuff on it, and I’m excited to get started. I love participating in any type of activity I can earn prizes with. I just really love prizes. I also love challenges and trying new things…for the most part. Here are a few things that are on our BINGO sheet:

-Try and activity that you’ve never done before.

-Go on a family bike ride.

-Write a positive note and mail it to a friend.

-Eat something you’ve never tried before.

-Turn off all electronics, including TV.

-Create a goal for the summer and track it daily.

-Write a list of your unique gifts and talents.

Some others included setting mission statements, cooking and eating as a family, and celebrating goals.

I love this idea because it encompasses all parts of a person, not just the physical.

So far I haven’t completed too many of these, but I’m definitely going to work on it! I’ve started an online Book Club that’s already grown to almost twenty-five people and my anxiety is doing just fine with that, thankyouverymuch. I’ve only got one trip planned so far, but I’m hoping to visit my favorite Florida parks (Disney and Universal, did you think I meant nature?), do some fun things around my house, and just R-E-L-A-X. Oh, there’s also that pesky marathon training thing I signed up to do. How could I forget that?

Summer is the best time to get back to yourself and to find new things that you love. I’d love to hear from you about your summer plans!

Now, I’m off to celebrate Global Running Day!

Be Cool, Sodapop

Summer! Don’t you just love it?

Okay, I know it isn’t “technically” summer just yet, but I live in south Florida. It’s the land of perpetual summer. Except when it’s hurricane season.

This week I tried a vlog to talk about how to stay cool and hydrated this summer. Apologies in advance for being super awkward.

 

I love this Cool It skirt!

Leave me some comments about how you stay cool.

How Not to Burnout

I typed that title, read it out loud, and my sister laughed at me, y’all.

Maybe it’s because I am very, very bad at taking it easy. As a teacher, the end of the year is VERY STRESSFUL, OKAY?

I’M FINE.

Every year I tell myself that I’m not going to procrastinate and I’m going to do things right…but here we are again. Some things start piling up and it feels like you can never catch up. Somehow it kind of always works out.

I feel that the same can be said about training, too.

I’ve been training for the Chicago Marathon for a little over two months now and things are really coming along nicely. My friend and I are using a Hal Higdon training plan and we’re both enjoying it. As the year comes to a close it’s hard to run together, but I’ve stated before that we have plans to train together this summer. I’m definitely excited and nervous about training during a lovely Florida summer, but at least it will be character building!

One thing I noticed when I first started training was that I was ready to go ALL IN BABY. I’d also started a weight loss journey and I just knew I was going to get svelte and everything was going to be amazing.

That was clearly not what happened. I was tired. I was working out or running every single day, and I wasn’t losing how I wanted to. I got kind of obsessed with closing the green circle on my Apple Watch. It was so satisfying to close those rings! I was so proud!

I was also burning myself out. So. I stopped cross training. I realized that the running and stretching was more important than anything else. As a runner, I know that cross training is importantΒ at the right time. I love working out. I love finding new things that my muscles can do. But I hated forcing myself to do things for no reason. (Obviously being healthy is a good reason, but it wasn’t part of my training plan.)

I’ve felt a lot better since I stopped and reevaluated my workout plan. I’ve made it to my goal weight and, with my marathon training, I’m getting read to actually add cross training back into my plan. It’s perfect timing, with summer just around the corner.

Training has been an interesting experience for me. I’ve had plenty of good runs, but I feel like the bad run outnumber them. I’m out there, though. I’m moving and getting the miles in. I’m feeling strong

Except today.

Today I put my pajamas on at 5PM.

You’ve got to take care of yourself.