Countdown to Chicago

Hey! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve jumped on here to share some nonsense. First off, I’m super thankful for the Scoot Chicks and all the amazing things they’ve been sharing. Since school started I don’t feel like I’ve had much to share or much time/energy to do said sharing. As I type, I’m sitting in my pajamas wondering if it’s too late to make coffee. (It totally is.)

Here’s the thing though: CHICAGO IS IN EIGHTEEN DAYS!

I know, I’m freaking out also. I’ve kind of been documenting my training progress here and on Instagram. This past weekend my running buddy and I ran out longest run of our training we’re officially in taper territory now.

To me, this means a couple of things:

  1. I can reclaim Sundays.
  2. My legs will stop hurting everyday.
  3. It’s time to amp up the anxiety.

I haven’t been looking forward to weekends for a long time. Maybe that sounds crazy to some of you who loooooove running, but I am so ready for a little break! My weekday running has seriously been slacking, so the weekend long runs are always challenging. We had a fun (LOL) 18 miles last weekend and this weekend was our 20 miler.

I usually get up about 3:45 on Sundays. Yes, that’s in the AM. Marathon training in the summer months in South Florida has proven to be brutal. I’m pretty sure we’re ready for anything Chicago has to throw at us.

This Sunday was a bit of a dress rehearsal. I wore my American Heart Association tank and my Skirt Sports Jette Skirt in Holiday Print. I got a new pair of Brooks Ghosts before my 18 mile run and I’ve fallen in love. We’ve both been wearing hydration vests for fueling during long runs.  (Did I mention it’s hot here?) I won’t be running Chicago with it, however.

5AM. Ready-ish to rock.

We’ve been doing intervals of two-minute run and thirty-second walks and pacing pretty steadily. We do get off sometimes, but for training purposes we’re mostly worried about the mileage. Once we get to Chicago the adrenaline is going to be pumping and we’ll be ready. I really think that Michelle and I have learned a lot about ourselves from this training. We know that we’re capable of running a marathon, since we’ve done it already, but this feels kind of different, I guess. We’re running a lot smarter than we have in the past and I’m feeling really good about our progress. And we’re having fun. In the end I think that’s what matters most.

We’ve been using McD’s for their bathrooms…and also their OJ.

This weekend started out strong. The route we’ve been using is a little different than what we started with some shorter runs, just because we know we can get the mileage in with no guessing. There are multiple stops on our way for potty breaks and if we need a little boost. I’ve been experimenting with different fueling and trying to find something that doesn’t make me sick afterwards. Lately I’ve been using Stinger Chews and those seem to working well! I always carry a bottle of water and nuun to keep me hydrated also. I like the new route because it’s a little more lively and there’s a bit more to see. I definitely feel safer than I’d been feeling in the past couple of weeks.

I always snap a pic at my alma mater. #GOEAGLES

Once the sun came up on Sunday all of my strength seemed to leave me. Michelle and I both could only think about how heavy our legs had started to feel at about mile 12. It was brutally hot and we still had so many miles to go. A week before our 18 we bailed out early due to knee problems (her) and stomach issues (ew, me) and it was a smart thing to do. There was no way we were doing it this week, though.

SEE YA REAL SOON, CHICAGO.

After I made Michelle take this pic at a bus stop she told me to, and I quote, “Get your ass up and let’s go.” My biggest motivator!

 

We stopped for sodas at about 17.5 miles and the extra sugar kicked helped a little. It wasn’t as great as it was the week before, but it was still fun running down the road with cups of loud ice. Once we made it to the park where we do our final mile, we’d both shed our vests and shirts. We were literally dripping sweat and praying we didn’t run into any students at the park while we were running in our sports bras.

H E L P

So, we finished the 20 miles. It happened and it’s done. It definitely wasn’t the best but I know it won’t define Chicago for me. I’m excited about the course and everything I’ll get to see up there. My family is planning a mini-vacation with a lot of fun things crammed into a few days before and after the marathon.

I’m nervous but also pretty excited because I truly feel prepared for this race. I haven’t been this prepared since I ran my first half marathon and stuck to my training. It wasn’t easy, but we made it! Stay tuned for the recap and to make sure I survived!

Fall Racing Time!

Okay, okay, I know it’s not technically fall yet. But for goodness sake, can we let people enjoy their fall race planning (and pumpkin spice lattes) in peace? YES, WE CAN!

I’ve got some great races lined up for the fall… and beyond, because HELLO, planner right here! What’s on the agenda? Right this way!

september

The Bird-in-Hand half marathon is this Saturday! I’ll be driving to Lancaster County, PA with Rachel and Katie for this weekend’s race. I expect hills, heat, and beautiful views to make up for the hills and heat. Oh, and check out these medals!

 

Okay, okay, I’m not actually running in any of the Healthy Kids Running Series races but I AM the coordinator for my town’s location! This is my second season as a coordinator and I’m looking forward to encouraging and inspiring children to get outside and find the joy in running.

Being that these races are on Sunday evenings, I COULD run my own local races on Sunday mornings but after last spring I realized that it was a bit too much to handle for one day. Therefore Sundays from September 16th through October 14th are dedicated to HKRS.

october

Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Reebok Boston 10k for Women as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

That said, if I WERE to run October 8th, I’d really love to run the Reebok Women’s 10k in Boston, MA. Why? Well, because then I’d be able to visit BEC. Also because I love the 10k distance. I haven’t run a women’s race in awhile but I do love the camaraderie and support that happens during these events.

I don’t have Boston Marathon dreams, but this seems like an attainable race! My race bucket list is growing by the day.


Disclaimer: I received free entries to the Scooby Doo Virtual Series as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I might not be able to travel to many races this fall but I’m stoked to participate with my best 4-legged friend, Gemma in the first ever Scooby-Doo Virtual Series! Doo Good is the September race while the Scoobtober 5k/10k takes place during October. A portion of registrations go toward supporting the Best Friends Animal Society.

Want to join in the fun? Use code BIBRAVE and save 10% on registration.

Remember up above when I said how much I love the 10k distance? I’m returning to my favorite 10k on October 20th, the Atlantic City Race Series.

This is one that I usually participate in every fall and while I haven’t done a training run in Atlantic City in awhile, I can’t wait to return for this event!

The day after the AC 10k, I’ll be heading to north Jersey for the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer walk. No, this is not a race in the traditional sense but I’ll do what I can to support finding a cure for breast cancer and support a dear college friend!

november

My first road race in 2011 was the Rothman 8k during the Philadelphia Marathon weekend and I’ll be returning once more on Saturday, November 17th. The 4.97 mile course is fun because it’s a different distance than the norm and there will be a lot of familiar faces there! It’s a great way to get some true fall miles in the weekend before Thanksgiving.

looking ahead

My son has already asked if we’ll be returning to The Light Run in DecemberAs soon as the registration for that opens, we’ll be joining in the fun.

And of course, in 2019 I’ve already got the Hot Chocolate Philly 5k on my race docket, thanks to Bib Rave. If you want to join me for that, register here AND if you use the code BRHCPhilly when you register you’ll receive awesome EXTRA swag, the Hot Chocolate Armband for your phone/tunes.

Will I see you at any of these? What race are you looking forward to?

Race Recap: Rampage 5K

When I posted about some upcoming races a few weeks ago I mentioned I might sign up for a 5K or something in the midst of training. Honestly, I love race bling so when my RBF and another Skirt Sister/coworker starting talking about signing up we just went for it. The Rampage 5K was part of a summer series put on by a group that does a lot of races in the South Florida area. Their events are always fun (if not always well-organized) with fun swag and good courses.

I picked up my packet on Friday after school. This group is infamous for running out of shirts and I wanted to make sure I got a good one. I live about forty-five minutes from the race site, so I went to bed fairly early Friday night. Being back to work full-time is kicking my butt so it wasn’t that hard. If you follow me on Instagram you saw my fun Saturday morning video asking “When will I never not run on a weekend?” I’m feeling pretty good with my marathon training but, wow, do I miss sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday!

My friends were already at the race site when I got there at about 6:40. We took a quick trip to the bathroom and then headed to the start line for a picture. I was excited to run a race, but also that it was only for three miles. Most of my weekend runs are in the double digits now so a 5K sounded really great.

Skirt Sisters at the start line!

I’m not normally the type of person to set goals for races. Sometimes I’ll plan a pace I want to stick to but most of the time I just want to finish and not throw up. This was one of those races.

The morning was already muggy, as it as has been for most of the summer. I’m used to starting to my runs before the sun comes up, only this race had a later start. It was definitely steamy and my glasses kept fogging up if I breathed or turned the wrong way.

Once we got going it was a fairly simple run. The course was easy and smooth, with a lot of nice scenery. I’d done two other races at this park before that were ten-milers so I was pretty familiar with it the park. There were a couple of times when we had to veer off the sidewalk due to puddles but then I just ended up stepping in mud. By the time Michelle and I hit our first mile I knew we were making pretty good time. Our first mile came out at about 10:40 and I almost laughed! That’s a pretty fast time for us and I was totally ready to slow down and save some energy. It definitely didn’t happen though! We kept pushing through, enjoying the scenery and the morning. I slowed down to take a few pictures of the nature we were running through. I love living in Florida but I’ve come to realize that you either run through a swamp or on concrete. There also might be critters living…anywhere.

Don’t you want to run by this?

There was one iffy part where we had to run on a boardwalk that I definitely took my time on. I’m clumsy and the boardwalk was definitely slippery. I’ve also been working my butt off for Chicago and wasn’t looking to injure myself five weeks before. After that it was smooth sailing! My legs were feeling great despite the fast-than-usual pace. The only problem was the humidity. Usually I don’t drip sweat into my eyes for at least seven miles!

As Michelle and I came turned into the shoot for the finish line Ali was waiting to take a picture of us, since she’d already finished.

All smiles here!

After we finished we all checked the results, just for fun on my part. I did well enough in the results, but I’m not in it to win it. I race mostly against myself. Once I stopped my Nike Run tracker, however, it told me that I smashed my previous 5K record! I’ve been running for over five years now and it always feels like I’ve gotten slower, so it was exciting to get a 5K PR of under thirty-five minutes.

Skirts and medals! Medals and Skirts!

Once we’d take our final picture, the three of us headed to Skillets for breakfast. I’d only been there once before but I was dreaming about a waffle and bacon and coffee the whole morning.

So worth it.

For a last minute race, it was a nice little surprise. I’m glad we decided to just go for.

And, honestly, it was a nice warm up for Sunday’s fourteen miles.

Chicago, here I come.

2018 Vacation Races Elk Double – 5k Recap

For as long as Jenn has been running, she’s been talking about Vacation Races Elk Double. Taking place in Estes Park, Colorado, the 5k and half marathon races are close to her home and events that she holds near and dear to her heart.

Quite the opposite of Jenn, I live in New Jersey, which means that I run on mostly flat land.

Jenn’s first half was down at sea level at the Atlantic City April Fools Half, with yours truly. Her second? The Vacation Races Rocky Mountain Half.

They’re about as different as two races can be.

Top is the elevation in Atlantic City 1/2. Bottom is the elevation in Rocky Mountain 1/2. Yeahhhhh.

As you can imagine, it’s a bit difficult to train for a race at 7,500 feet when you live in New Jersey. But knowing that I have a base fitness level from going to the gym and the fact that we were doing these races to primarily be together and have fun, I wasn’t too concerned with the elevation.

After visiting Colorado in 2015 for the BolderBoulder and realizing that my family HAD to visit Colorado at some point, I made it my mission to get them there. After a few years of me (not so gently) mentioning it (every chance I got), we planned our week’s vacation there!

We arrived the week before the race which allowed us to get acclimated to the higher elevation. Trust me when I say that this is important! I didn’t really have time to adjust when I was there during BolderBoulder and I didn’t want to repeat that yucky feeling.

The whole week was incredible and to be quite honest, I was looking at houses so I never had to leave. Plus I was reunited with Jenn and her crew, which basically meant life was pretty amazing.

The 5k was on Friday night and some gnarly looking storm clouds were rolling in as we picked our race gear up at the expo. There was supposed to be s’mores but that got shut down early (or maybe they didn’t have them at all?). We did a little shopping and then headed over near the start line which was just a short walk away.

One of the things that I love about Vacation Races is when you do a double, they give you a choice of your additional swag item. I got the t-shirt and also a Elk Double hat, which I absolutely adore! Jenn already had the hat and the long sleeve shirt from previous years, so she opted for a mug this year.

Jenn’s brother in law was running and after seeing a picture of the medal, my older son Lucas decided he’d like to run. He is his mother’s child!

The 5k had numbered waves to begin but I’m not really sure how they were doled out. We ended up in the 3rd wave and knew that we planned to take things easy, especially given as there was a long hill immediately after crossing the start line.

After that hill, the 5k was mostly flat though so we took advantage of that as much as we could. The weather was feisty; a cold wind was blowing through and because of the mountains surrounding you and being near Lake Estes, the noise from the wind was intense. We did intervals as we made our way along the lakefront.

You could hear the finish line festivities as we circled the lake – so close yet so very far! Jenn warned me that it was that way during the half too, which is tough during mile 12 of a race.

With the winds whipping we were getting more worried that we might get caught in driving rains which we were really hoping to avoid. Keeping our heads down we kept trucking along and crossed the finish line before the rain hit.

Hooray!

Got our super awesome medals, race goody boxes, snapped a few pictures, and then we were out of there!

After an awesome Mexican dinner with an equally awesome Pina Colada (yes, that’s right, we did eat Mexican and drink before the half – easy breezy), I went back with my fam to the hotel to get some rest.

I was dealing with chafing, due to missing some spots during 5k prep. Not going to go into too much detail on that but let’s just say it was down yonder. OUCH.

Having a taste of what the course was going to be like the next day had me a slightly nervous. That first hill alone was a beast and I knew that there were only more to come the following day.

However I knew that with Jenn by my side, we’d have a great time, no matter how long it took! I’ll be back with more on the half marathon next time.

A Day in the Life Redo

A few weeks ago I posted my “Day in the Life” as a teacher during summer vacation. It was from random stuff I did on a Saturday and it was a lot of fun!

Now I’m back to work and life is decidedly not as fun. I’ve been back to work for a couple of weeks, but this past Friday was our first official day of school. (I don’t know why.) I figured I would wait to get into the groove to do a new post, but here I am!

I started off strong on Monday with taking pictures and was really looking forward to sharing what an actual day for me looks like. I usually get up around between 5:00-5:30 on weekdays. Sometimes my alarms start going off at 4:45 and that’s just because I like to snooze. I’m not really the type of person who works out that early in the morning an I don’t like running in the dark, so the mornings are usually pretty chill.

On Monday I actually had enough time to make breakfast that wasn’t a protein shake mixed with too much coffee.

Yes, I do drink my coffee out of a Disney Princess mug most days, thankyouverymuch.

I have about a forty minute drive to work everyday, so I try to leave by at least 6:15. I’ve done well so far this year! Okay, fine. It’s only been five days.

Traffic sucks, but sometimes you get the sunrise and the water. *heart eyes emoji*

I like getting to work early because it helps me feel like my life is kind of together before my kiddos show up. We open our classroom doors at 7:45 so a good chunk of my time is prepping what I didn’t do the day before or, like, talking to my friends. I’m very good at procrastinating.

I’m pretty much ON from 7:45 until about 11:25. Our meeting is packed with English/Language Arts, Social Studies, centers, Science, repeated bathroom breaks, me telling students over and over to sit down, me drinking coffee and silently running my hand over my face in frustration…

Well. It’s only been five days, right?

Monday wasn’t really anything spectacular. We go to lunch and recess for an hour. Sometimes I have lunch duty but this week I’ve been outside for recess where it’s 90 degrees but feels like the surface of the sun. Lunchtime is the twenty minutes I get to interact with my teammates while we all try to stuff our faces with food.

 

A quiet moment alone with my coffee. Remember what I said about Disney Princesses?

After we melt our faces off at recess, the afternoon goes by quickly. We have silent reading time, where I catch up on emails and enjoy actual silence, and then math, which I do not enjoy. I know, I’m the teacher. I still don’t like it. At 2:00 my students go to the special area classes. Don’t ask me what class they went to, I don’t even know what day it is. After specials its dismissal (EVERYONE GO HOME) and, yeah, that’s it.

Since the year is still so fresh I’m not involved in any coaching or afterschool tutoring just yet. I know those days will come when I’m not leaving school until late afternoon and I’m fighting traffic, but I’m okay with it. I like to be prepared for the next day and if that means staying a little later, that’s fine with me.

This Monday, however, I had to take a quick trip to my chiropractor. I’ve been going since this summer and I’m liking it a lot. They are helping me “get my head on straight”. *ba dum tss*

My doctors do a supply drive and partner with my school to help students in need.

 

Helloooooo.

I decided to step a little out of my comfort zone and stop at the local park to get in a quick run before I headed home. I haven’t been getting many miles in during the week and my long weekend runs are suffering. My plans were thwarted when I started getting texts about…many things. There are no pictures because I got distracted and upset about things I can’t really control and gave up on my run. I did manage a good 1.5 miles, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. Sometimes Mondays are like that and you’ve just got to roll with the punches.

Eventually I made it home for a shower and dinner around 7PM. I did some meal prep on Sunday so that was easy to take care of. Most days I bring work home from school to do while I sit on the couch and watch TV, but I don’t have much to grade at the beginning of the year.

This year is definitely going to be an interesting one. I’m teaching Gifted/Cambridge students for the first time in my teach career. This also means that I have to take five district classes to become certified so, yeah, life is about to get busy.

I’ll still be taking selfies with my coffee cups, though.

A Day In The Life – Jenn

I’m back from my hiatus and wrapping up our Day In The Life Series with the craziness that is my daily state of being. Brace yourselves for a taste of just about everything! I chose last Thursday to document mainly because it involved more health related stuff and less construction-y related nonsense.

My alarm goes off at 5:00. I hit snooze until 6. It’s what I do. I’ve always hated mornings and have a hard time getting out of my nice, warm bed. Especially when this face is snoring adorably next to me.

Lily loves to lounge around.

Once I do get up, it’s a hike to the bathroom (aka porta potty). It’s that little green rectangle waaaaay up there. Since we’re still in construction, I’m going on eight months without a bathroom. You can imagine how fun THAT is.

Also, LOOK, I HAVE A HOUSE!

After the morning “hike”, I make a cup of Earl Grey tea, kiss the hubby and doggies goodbye, and jump in my car for the fifty minute commute to work. It’s through a river canyon and I drive a Mustang GT, so don’t feel too badly for me. I love my commute!

An old photo of me and my Pepe.

THANK GOODNESS my office building has a shower and lockers! A shower is the first order of business when I get to work, followed by teeth brushing. I store all my shower gear and work clothes at my office because I also don’t have a closet. Yet. Sigh.

Not glamourous at all.

I’ve never been much of a breakfast girl. I know I should be, but more times than not, the idea of eating in the morning makes my stomach queasy. Until last week, I’d eat some kind of breakfast pastry—muffin, scone, Danish—and call it good. Since I’ve met with a nutritionist, I’ve switched to an avocado with a little salt and pepper.

After that, it’s eight hours of sitting at a desk in front of a computer, figuring out ways I can make my company more sustainable. I love the company I work for and what we do, and I’m super fortunate to have my job.

We make some cool stuff at my work!

I had an appointment with my nutrition coach, Kyle, at Alpine Fitness. Recently, I signed up for a six-month program to help me change my nutrition and eating habits with the goal of lowering my blood sugar and kicking my sugar addiction. This is my second week and second visit. She was super pleased with my progress and how well I tracked everything the first week.

Also last week, I purchased the Boss Body Method 12 week training guide. I was going to start the program right away, but I hurt by lower back in April while cutting trees. It’s getting much better with the help of my chiropractor, but I wanted Kyle, who is also a physical therapist, to give me the green light to start, and she did! I think I’ll start after Meri’s visit next week!

I’m tracking everything except my weight in my bullet journal.

After the appointment, I stopped by Sprouts supermarket, my favorite grocery chain in Colorado, to pick up dinner. I don’t have a stove or a sink right now, so cooking is extremely difficult. The solution is the Sprouts deli, where they always have a great selection of ready-made meals that we can pop in the microwave, because that’s the one appliance I do have. I pick up an entrée for both my husband and me and feel good that it’s freshly made and healthy. I forgot to take a photo! I had turkey and steamed vegies, he had greek chicken and spiced potatoes.

Then it’s the drive home! Fifty minutes up the canyon and it’s like I’m on vacation. (It’s more like thirty-five, if I’m honest about how fast I drive.)

Soon after I got home, we worked on the French drain for our house. If you don’t know what that is, consider yourself lucky! It involves being in a dirty/muddy trench, shoveling rock into said trench, laying a giant hose with holes in it over the rock, and covering that with more rock and weed barrier fabric. It’s dirty, back breaking work, and it’s been the song on my life lately, Not the French drain specifically, but some form of manual labor that I should have paid someone else to do. Or fixing the mistakes of those I did pay. Oy. By the way, this is the stuff I’m counting as my fitness. Because shoveling rock and hauling timber is absolutely a workout!!

Blech.

When we’re hungry enough, we put away the shovels, heat up our dinners, and turn on the iPad for a little Hulu or Netflix. I may not have indoor plumbing, but I have internet, darn it! We’ll watch an episode of something (Claws is the current favorite), and relax until bed which is somewhere between 9:00 – 10:00.

My night routine includes another cup of Earl Grey. I make a 16 oz cup and all is right with the world. For some unknown reason, the caffeine doesn’t keep me up. I’m a GREAT sleeper. I usually dream about finally moving into my house!

That little red box has been home since January.

There’s a sample of what it’s like to build your own home and to live in the mountains. It’s an adventure every day! Overall, it’s wonderful (once it’s almost done)!

A Day in the Life: Ash

I feel a little weird continuing this series when I’m on summer vacation. My days are by no means scheduled and I rarely…do stuff. I run. I workout. I watch a lot of television (all 187 episodes of One Tree Hill, a whole season of Runaways, and I’m almost done with season two of Jessica Jones). So.

I chose Saturday to document since I actually had plans to do things with my sister. First on the agenda was a 12 mile training, but without my running buddy and any motivation whatsoever I ended up only doing five and calling it a day. Training is hard, y’all.

Hydrate!

After a quick (second) breakfast and a shower my sister and I headed out for the day. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers to keep me on track with eating/training and I usually weigh-in on Saturdays. This week’s weigh-in was as bad as I expected from being away on my mini-vacation to Michigan.

A little shopping always make me feel better, even though that’s probably not a good thing. We stopped in at AC Moore because I wanted to see if I could find some stuff for school. I”m always on the lookout for bargains or just fun stuff to use in my classroom. All I really found were some discounted Sharpies, which was kind of fine.

I didn’t buy this.

Our main goal was actually a trip to Goodwill since they have sales on Saturday. My sister and I are big on donating to local stores, but we also love to peruse, too. We’ve found some great deals and we just kind of like seeing what kind of trouble we can get into.

FOUND: Jeans. Blouse. Blazer. Dirty Goodwill mirror.

After Goodwill we took a trip downtown because my sister needed to pick something up. I, apparently, needed gelato. And coffee.

 

It should be no surprise that I love either of those things. As we left the coffee shop, we stumbled up on a weird “Open Shop” kind of deal and decided to try it out. It turned out to be 4,000 square feet of antiques and knicknacks. it was amazing! There were little sections for all kinds of vendors to sell their treasures. It was definitely a place we’ll go back to.

One man’s trash…

My sister really only had plans to visit Goodwill but since I was actually out of the house I decided to keep going. I was in search a pair of flats for the upcoming school year so we went to the mall. I don’t venture to the mall often, honestly. It’s loud and there are too many people there. I usually only hit a few stores that I can get into from the outside or that have a straight path to them. Of course, when I’m looking for shoes I’ve got to check out allll the stores. I have small feet so it’s not often I actually find shoes that fit in any actual store. I came up empty in my search and ended up ordering a pair online while we ate greasy mall pizza. (Food also makes me feel better after a rough day.)

By the time we’d left the mall I was pretty much ready for a nap. Life is rough when you don’t do much during the day and then do a few things in a short amount of time. I’m sure you are all rolling your eyes at this point, but seriously. This is my life! Once we were back at home I settled in to what my sister calls my “nest”. It’s where I do my watching, reading, and where I’m writing this blog right now. Stella joins me sometimes to look out the window.

I I didn’t really do much 

I did end up falling asleep, but I got up at 5:30 to run that morning so I didn’t feel bad about it. The rest of the day was spent lounging around, reading, doing laundry, and (if you follow me on Instagram you know this) cleaning out some clothes. Summer makes me simultaneously restless and also sloth-like.

I’d love to revisit this in a couple of weeks and show you a day of classroom setup and other fun teacher things, but for now this is all I’ve got. Hey, at least I got dressed and left the house?

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. 🙂 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?