The C word Call

My future mother in law was taken from me in just our first few weeks of dating, my aunt was taken from us when I was still in high school. I see those effected all around me lose, and some win.

Today I learned that my Grandpop has liver cancer. Words I never thought I would have to say, type, think or feel. I am writing this here because I don’t know where to start. He made it to 80 and now this?

My grandfather and I have been close since I can remember. As the eldest grandchild we have always had a special relationship. He loves my husband and Jean is his newest shining star. I get in trouble for not emailing him pictures enough so he can see her grow. And he plans to attend her christening this summer.

But now I feel I have to move more quickly. I feel this sense of urgency to research and learn and rush and make so many things happen just so we can make sure we see him as much as possible in the next few months. All I can do is think about the what if’s and try to distract myself with the positives to push down those lingering fears.

He was so positive on the phone, well except for the part when he mentioned we would have to bury him eventually anyway. But he is optimistic about his appointment next week with his oncologist and says he will do any recommended treatment that his doctor allows.

I can’t say todays run wont be distracted. But I can say that I know I will do everything I can to ensure that we make the most of our time from here.

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Martinique

There is an annual cabin trip that my college friend group takes each year that we have coincidentally always missed. This year I was determined not to…. and I suggested we do something tropical since it is the year of many of our 30th birthdays.

One of the girls found flight deals for Norwegian airlines and found round trip flights to Martinique for under $200… so we were sold! We quickly jumped on the flight deals and figured we would worry about the rest later. I grabbed us an additional flight from ATL to BWI just to make sure at least the flights were booked.

Martinique is apart of France … which means that the primary language is French…and of course NONE of us can speak it. WHOOPS.

Later came… and we quickly realized why flights were so inexpensive. We had a group of 21 at the time we began searching for hotels or houses for our dates… and finding comfortable accommodations was like finding a needle in a hay stack. BUT one of the girls found an amazing property that had 2 Villas available for us and we were sold. Villa Palms in Le Vauclin!

My job was to find the best rental car options since the other girls had organized the housing. I was worried! I had found that most of the car rental places had VERY limited numbers of automatic vehicles. Someone from the villas offered us rates that seemed too high so I checked on priceline.com and found that Avis had the best and most reasonable prices so the 4 people that were assigned to be drivers made reservations and we were all set… or so we thought!

As we got closer to the trip one of our planners worked very hard to put together excursion options for us. We had difficulty getting responses and understanding some of the messages because of the language barrier… but we made reservations…. or so we thought!

My next role was to work with one of the guys to make our list to pre-stock our fridge to ensure we would have breakfast foods, water, snacks and at least one dinner. Converted gallons to liters and job was done! … or so we thought! (sensing a pattern??)

We used groupme to pack and get excited for the trip.. and finally it was travel day! We all met in front of the check in desk at BWI ready to go! Our first surprise was that we did not understand the bagged policy of this airline. Our personal item and carry on bag were both weight and if over 12 kilos our carry on was required to be checked… whoops! At least we had prepaid for this in our seat pricing, some had not but luckily it was waived for them.

The flight was only about 4 hours and as soon as we landed immigration was basically non existent… bags picked up! Now to the rental car place… all 17 of us patiently stood in line at Avis for about an hour before our first of the group was up… And then we learned why they were the cheapest. On priceline.com you are given a option for insurance per day and also an amount that is due at pick up. WELL! If you don’t add the rental insurance Avis would like you to put down a 2,000 Euro deposit, oh but don’t worry… if you do choose the insurance… they only want to hold 1,000 Euro. Because that seems logical right?Our rental car was additionally in very poor condition! It had large dents and ants! But it was sorted and all 4 of us had our rentals. We rode a shuttle to pick up the actual cars and come back around to pick up the rest of our 17 deep party.

We opted to drive right to the villa because we knew it was about 45 minutes away and that the fridge was stocked so we could eat dinner. Apple maps in a foreign country with questionable cell signal is REAL fun! after several turn arounds and trying to find our way we made it to a banana patch gravel road that led into the drive of our Villas…. and the rain came, at this point we were all starved, tired, and pretty annoyed. Was all this worth it?

We walked in our Villas and the answer was YES. Our villas were beautiful, comfortable, spacious and had multiple common areas for us all to enjoy. Marilyn was there waiting for our arrival and gave us the keys, codes and showed us the pre-stocked fridge… where we found that some items were missing but no worries! She made a call and we followed her 15 minutes away to a restaurant that stayed open for us so that we could eat…. PIZZA for dinner. At this point it did not matter, we were together and tomorrow was a new day! Luckily the Villa had wifi as well so I had a facetime date with our baby to look forward to in the morning.

After a quick nights sleep in what sounded like a sleep machine turned to the rain forest setting, we were up and ready to go. We knew that we had to be to the excursion by 9am, but had discovered the gentlemen we booked with had us set for Monday when all our emails said Saturday. You have to love language barriers! We also could not find the actual address for where we needed to go! But we loaded up and set off early anyway… and got a bit turned around… and during a 45 minute scramble actually found the address and made it just in the nick of time! Only to discover that half of our group had not been booked and their spaces were given away.  Fortunately we were able to split 10 on a catamaran and 7 followed on a fishermen’s boat. They were able to stop at Josephine’s Bay with us, a small island where we visited a former cane plantation and ate lunch and they even got in an extra stop at a beach! Overall it turned out to be an amazing day. Once we docked they had found a restaurant across the street that was willing to open for our group and serve us chicken or shrimp so that we could eat early dinner. This was followed by a shower and a quiet night in for us. I was so sunburnt on the right side of my body I looked like a strip of uncooked bacon!

Sunday morning… 6:30am… Jean has altered my internal alarm clock entirely too much! I got up and did a quick workout with Nike Training Club before anyone else was awake. Then we started a nice group breakfast. Once everyone was awake we decided that maybe we should hit a Rhum Distillery before the beach so that those with sunburn would not be completely red by the time they got home. We picked Habitation Celment, which had a full botanical garden, house, old distillery and storehouse. Many photo ops later we finally made it to our favorite point… the tasting room. For 10 Euro each I would say we all had our fair share. We opted for a pool day instead of beach because the beach was about an hour away and we wanted to have a nice dinner out still. And what is the point of having a sweet pad if you can’t use it?!

After some actual relaxation by the pool and maybe a taco snack for everyone, we got ready for dinner and headed out on our hour long journey to get there. The restaurant had our table set up and it was nice! No air conditioning but busy, great vibes and english speaking staff. We ordered a round of drinks for the table and decided on dinners and then out of nowhere one of the guys stands up to talk, he typically leads our mealtime prayer so that is what we thought he was initiating…. until he got down on one knee and proposed with the most touching words to one of our girls. No one except the photographer with us knew and the room was filled with cheers and happy tears. It was a beautiful moment that made the entire trip worth while.

After our delicious meal came check time… I attempted to organize the process with the bar manager who was in our room behind the bar. He wanted to keep it simple, walk up tell him how much you owed off the bill pay and be on your way. Well… there were 17 of us so needless to say he got a bit frustrated…. but we paid out and have a mini photo session in the street with our newly engaged couple.

Then it was time for goodbye, many of us had booked flights home for Monday not realizing the waste in traveling so far just to turn back around. We hugged and kissed and headed back to the Villas for our final night of sleep. Woke up before the sun and headed back 45 minutes to the airport to turn in our cars. Made it through security and to our gate in time to reflect and mentally prepare for our next 10 hours of travel. Upon landing at BWI we made it to our gate… and were trapped for about 40 minutes because the bridge was not able to work. After another hour wait for our bagged it was a mad dash through the airport to the domestic side for our next flight. Thank God for pre-check because airport chipotle was needed!

Back home now to our babe and so many happy memories with our best friends to hold onto. Even more lessons learned in our travels. And now to the bank to trade in our left over euro!

Overall it was a great trip because of the company we were with, but I don’t think we will be back to Martinique. One of our guys said it best, there are two types of trips: travel and vacation. We were traveling our whole time with little time to relax which created a much more stressful environment. Now… off to plan our next relaxing vacation ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is this thing still on?

Hey there! Its been a while… and by a while I mean about 3 years? Sorry about that… I was a bit busy. After completing the 2015 Princess Half marathon I felt like I had let myself and you guys down. But I would like you guys to give me a chance to catch you back up and see where we can take this from here!

Well since then, Jamil and I got married in July 2015 surprising many of our friends and family #whatthefick, and we had a beautiful baby girl Jean Marie in February of 2016. In April 2016 my grandmother who we shall refer to as Gigi, moved in with us. We bought our first house in May 2016….. and then Jamil was offered a job in Atlanta(his hometown) to start in July 2016.

When accepted and moved and my WONDERFUL company has allowed me to stay on working from home. Atlanta is wonderful because… SWEETS. They are everywhere, and I have been trying to keep a list and lose baby weight but GAH.

Which brings me to training…. or lack there of. Its been a constant struggle between balancing motherhood, work life and our new city that has an actual winter. Using the nike run club app and the nike training club app has REALLY paid off over the last few months. We also joined the Atlanta Track Club here so that we could have access to their grand prix series of races throughout the year to stay motivated to train.

For Jeans first birthday we spent the weekend in Disney World where I represented Girls on the Run Orlando. I was able to raise with your support $1200 to participate for this cause. There was a 10k Saturday and Half marathon on Sunday and I am happy to report that I completed both and can still walk! LOL. I even had a course PR for the Half which made me feel like I am starting to get it back together.  Have several events lined up here over the next few months and really looking forward to getting my miles back up.

I need you to bare with me, forgive me, and keep it real with me because I AM BACK… and I am not going anywhere!

 

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London-town

Is anyone going to hold me accountable for keeping up with this thing? Come on guys…. Someone has to. Because I have literally reached an all time new low of lazyyyy BUT I am here now so let’s do this.

A month ago today we woke up in London. Literally. Not a dream. On the top floor of the biggest plane I’ve ever seen,

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with two British Tweens poking the backs of our seats like they were the pillsbury dough boys belly. But we made it. Safe and sound and ready to explore.

But first we got to go through customs…. Wait for bags…(you know we packed like we were going for a month) and then navigate the Gatwick airport to find the train we pre-booked to victoria station.(best idea ever because we avoided a massive line) Once we figured out our platform we didn’t wait long before we loaded in. At this point we had not had cell service or wifi for at least 12 hours and I am not sure how I lived.

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But this was worth it. And after about a 30 minute train ride we were at Victoria station! And needed to find a cab that would hold all our junk.

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Success!

Off the the Park Plaza Riverbank hotel to drop out bags and fingers crossed, early check in. And wellllll we could! So the obvious thing to do was throw down all of our bags and nap for a few hours. This completely helped save us from being jet lagged and allowed us to get some serious exploring done on a nice late afternoon-early evening walk up the Thames.

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First stop? Why of course we needed fish and chips! We made the rookie mistake of eating in a touristy shop near the London eye… But the serving size was large and I had a very happy boy on my hands.

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After eating we walked through the area where the parliament is and closer to Big Ben. Totally cool and probably a good 4 miles plus in a pair of fresh chucks. Rookie mistake number two! But we managed to make the best of it before heading back to the hotel to get a good nights rest.

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This is a blog about running right? Oh yeah right… So of course we wake up early Friday morning for a run to…. Buckingham palace! It worked out that it was basically a 5k to and from the hotel so I easily swindled Jamil into it.

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It was super awesome and fun to run through the droves of people headed into work for the day. I sort of felt like a real runner! And once we got to the Palace we were completely taken back….

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But no pausing for too long! The changing of the guard wasn’t for a few hours and our stomachs were ready for a proper English breakfast, so after a quick selfie it was back to the hotel!

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After breakfast we had to get ready because our good friends Tom and Emily would be arriving from the train station any minute to drop their bags and head out with us for a day of… SHOPPING. This is where rookie mistake number three came into play. Aka opting for ridiculously adorable shoes versus comfy sneaks to rest my poor chuck Taylor wounded feet.

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But I mean seriously. Would you rock sneakers with this?!

Anyway… Shopping day was a complete blur. It was the first official day of London fashion week and Oxford street was booming! After grabbing a quick bite and wifi at Pret a Manger it was off to Harrods and Primark. I can’t really recall the order, but this is probably because the Harrods Champagne bar was also involved in this. And some serious ankle bleeding that led to a purchase of some insanely cute new flats from PRIMARK for 4 pounds. Can we say amen?!

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But anyone who knows me knows I can’t function on days like this without a nap. So after recouping and getting ready we were off to Leicester square for dinner and some casino action! Dinner was lovely and quick and ended with a Nutella and strawberry pizza so basically I could not complain.

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Jamils roulette luck wasn’t the best…. But Emily was winning like it was her birthday! Overall we walked away smiling and that’s all that matters right?

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Saturday was a pretty big deal. We had a trip to the magical Nike Lab London planned, and wanted to watch the Man U and Arsenal game somewhere semi decent since we weren’t able to get the nearly impossible tickets. We started off on the tube(which was so clean it made me feel like I was in a movie)

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And then a short walk to hunt down this hidden gem.

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Another success! And we still had some serious time to kill so it was off to the Spitalfields market and the original All Saints store…

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Now that is one happy man. Next off to the Slug to catch the futbol game! We apparently watched the whole match. I truly wish I could speak more on this experience but the bar had wi fi soooooooooo yeah. After the team we wanted to win won(I think) it was back to the hotel to rest and change for out last night on the town!

And it was Saturday, and we were in London…. But we are a Georgia Bulldog household regardless of which side of the pond we are on. And of course the game was on cbs…. And on a rain delay…. So! Somehow Jamil magically found the only bar in ALL of London that was playing it! So we waited out the rain delay and made new friends. Unfortunately the game went in and out several times because it was being shown via someone’s slingbox… So we left at halftime to try to find it online and pack. Let’s just say during this process I managed to break Jamil’s computer and complete my packing. You win some and you lose some!

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And when we woke up… We got ready quickly… Largely because the hotel cuts your power prior to your check out so you’ll leave! And headed to the Eurostar station to catch our train to Paris. Welp… Let’s just say this was one of my personal favorite awesome amazing highlights of the trip…. Why you might ask? BECAUSE I GOT TO GO TO KINGS CROSS STATION AND VISIT PLATFORM 9 3/4 DUH!(please excuse my nerd Harry Potter enthusiasm)

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No seriously… This really happened… And yes… That is my phone case.

After my nerd shenanigans it was time to make our way across the street to St Pancreas so we could grab some brunch and check in! Emily and I also had other plans…. That mainly involved byobing our own bottle of champagne.

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And this is what I leave you with… Because my hand is literally cramping… And you probably stopped reading paragraphs ago. See you in Paris!

Slacker of the year award

Ok so I have been completely slacking. It’s not that I haven’t been active or training, it’s just that I haven’t been on a dedicated plan regime que all the excuses.

Things have been going really well. I’m continuing to get faster. Those nasty calluses on my feet are almost completely heeled, and overall I feel better.

I did attempt an at home workout from runners world that looked super cool on paper…. But well I’m just not a good reader IMG_9593.JPG
So I have to admit, I didn’t realize that I was supposed to turn for the first set… Ummm yeah

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Yeah… anyway on that note!

Spent Labor Day weekend with Jamil visiting his brother in Atlanta which is always a great time. We watched UGA whoop some tiger booty and paid a visit to the brick I got them at the new College Football Hall of Fame which was amazing. The brick is literally front and center and could not be more perfect.

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After a great visit, and a quick nap…. Of course I made Jamil get up so we could climb stone mountain! It’s such a great workout and last time we climbed it over thanksgiving break I was embarrassingly out of shape feeling.

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But of course… This was followed up by a visit to Jim and nicks BBQ… Which got ugly.

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p

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But was just what we needed before the drive back to Orlando.

Last week was pretty solid. I only ran about 6 miles and biked 2, I’ve been mixing in a lot of weight training and really trying to work on strengthening my butt. After my 10k a few weeks ago my It band was pulling on me knee so I knew it was time to get back to building.

I can promise you that my next blog will be completely worth reading because…. Dun dun dunnnn

We are going to London and Paris!

But don’t tell I told because I will get in trouble.

Love you guys!
Xoxo

I came, I saw, I conquered

Well, I beat the generous goal time I set. After a final week of mediocre training efforts at that. I think part of my was scared of hurting myself before the big race, and part of me was a little pooped. Could be why it’s taken me so many days just to log this.

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Sooooo basically I took it easy. Now I am honestly a bit mad at myself. There are no excuses and who knows if not missing/ skipping 8/19 could’ve give me the extra edge to shave my time further.

I did at least enjoy my 8/21 run, at night through downtown Charlotte and near panthers stadium. The humidity wasn’t so bad and I was testing out a sweet new pair of racing kicks from my wonderfully awesome bf.

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Friday was a work day even though I was traveling. One of the best parts of my job and company is the flexibility to visit our contractors and preform site visits. After a short drive to Danville Virginia my dad and I made it to Virginia international raceway!

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The drive was about 2.5 hours each way and I drove the entire route. Needless to say by Friday evening my right knee was worrying me. Since the big day was tomorrow my training partner and bestie Nikki opted for a night at the ballpark instead of a night on the town which was good fun. We just had to pick up our racing packets and figure out dinner….

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And the humidity really sank in. I was sweating like we were in Florida! Def began to get more worried. We decided to leave the game early for a carb loading sesh at Harris teeter.

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And a great knee icing opp.

Saturday morning came all too quickly. We woke up at 5:55 am because it sounded like a good number and then I proceeded to drive Nikki insane for the next hour. We had so much to do! I mean, we had to hydrate, fuel, energize. And figure out coordinating race separates. Needless to say we managed.

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And by the time we made it to the start line much to my dismay the humidity was at 91%. This literally crushed everything I had planned for. I am very much so used to this, I live and train in the jungles that are Orlando Florida, however I have not run a distance further then 4.2 miles at once because of this reason. Welp, I sucked it up. We took a before race pic and then we were off!

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And I felt good. Don’t get me wrong I probably lost 4 pounds of sweat, my Charlie horse from the prior night was kicking in and my knee felt like it was going to pop through my leg… But I felt good. And all I wanted to do was keep the girl in the Europa shirt in sight, so I could pass her at the final quarter mile and that’s exactly what I did.

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Nikki stuck with me the whole way, but in the last seconds as I was struggling not to vomit I told her it was ok to leave me. We both crossed within 3 milliseconds of one another and we beat Europa tank top girl. Where ever you are, thanks girl! And after I was done spitting up and keeping the projectile vomit from ruining the day of innocent bystanders some of my greatest friends popped up to support.

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Obviously the event was a success. And then I remembered we had a 10am brunch reservation with unlimited mimosas and crab legs.

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Who doesn’t love a great brunch? Anyway. Obviously we needed to kill time and wait for official results so, we knew just what to do….

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And after seeing that I was under 1:05 in real life I was pretty pleased!!! So before my flight I went to the one place I knew I could celebrate in style.

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Yes. Guilty as charged. But pleased. Allowing some mild recovery time the last few days and ran a quick mile last night with some weight training. No plan this week, just doing what feels right and enjoying some downtime.

The temptation to hunt down another 10k before our proof of time is due for Disney in December is so strong! We shall see!

Until next time…

T minus 4 days and counting!

And I started off my 3rd week of training as anyone should really… With cookie butter pancakes and eggs!!! IMG_9035.JPG

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I mean it was Sunday! So I rested, went to church and then met up with my coworkers to play Orlando’s first “Great Escape Room” where we were locked in a dirty room with lots of puzzles for an hour and had to find clues to solve and break free. Outside of it being a bit gross and filthy we escaped with about 3 minutes to spare and had a nice time.

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Since I felt a bit guilty got resting, Monday I added stairs and abs to my training plan and on Tuesday instead of resting borrowed a kick butt hit training from my friend Donald’s fitness page:

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Followed by more speed and endurance training and a nice long run Friday I was ready to end my week strong.

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Food choices were a bit varied, but who can say no to cookie butter ?!

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I mean, I know I can’t. But at least there were some veggies in there right?

Friday after work we drove to savannah with boosie for the weekend. And I was pretty excited to end the training week with a run to the beautiful Forsyth park! And as planned, it was awesome! Still just as humid as in Orlando and I made the mistake of running a route down drayton to get there, but once we were there I couldn’t have been more pleased. I loved the trees and the fountain!

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And of course Jamil for being a trooper as always to get up and run with me.

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Pretty proud of a strong week,

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So obviously it was time to reward myself with some sun and fun!

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And of course a night out on the town!

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Sunday morning we opted for sight seeing with boosie before brunch and more beach.

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Then before the beach my gf Erica took us to this amazing breakfast placed called the breakfast club.

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Yes… The black hawk burrito was as amazing as it looks.

I am not sure how I managed to take more Bikini photos…. But hey why pass up the chance?!

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The worst part about road tripping though… Was making awful food choices. Please don’t judge me.

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Well ok you can! But I promise I will be ready for Saturday!

Half way and a day

Well, or two but whose counting? Busy weekend but I can say I got my training in!

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I feel my endurance building and it’s great. Still a bit worried about the 10k because at this point the longest outdoor run I’ve had has been 4.2 miles, but I have to accept that I live in the jungle terrain that makes for awful training conditions.

But I digress, this weeks cross training was pretty awesome, a sweet legs and glute workout Sunday that I got from my friend Donalds fitness Instagram page,

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And on Thursday my yoga booty ballet class! My instructor has just landed from Canada so class got started a bit late, which gave me plenty of time to take goofy pics:

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But of course the week was filled with questionable food choices that really make me wonder why I even bother at times….

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But at least I did try to make my own hummus… it actually isn’t bad at all!

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But we did somehow end up at a Red lobster on Saturday afternoon, at which point I was not longer in control of my actions.

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Blueberry pancakes make everything better though… right?

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And there are of course new adorable boosie photos:

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And even though the eagles lost their preseason game Friday, I still was supportive, accomplished my goal and successfully used energy chews for the first time! Whoop whoop

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And on Saturday my wonderful amazing boyfriend whom I love so very much blessed me with the gift of new shoes and insoles for my bad feet! Pretty stoked because they have lunarlon technology. Flyknit Lunar 2 shown below:

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Please excuse my awful foot pics below: #sorrynotsorry #youwerewarned

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And last but not least…. I think we’ve found a strong contender option for an Ariel race outfit for the princess half marathon!!! Please share your thoughts because I’m still in the selection process and open to opinions.

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Ok I lied. We are going to savannah this weekend for my very first trip and I’m pumped for the beach but also a morning run to Forsyth park! Already planned my route!

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Until next time folks…. Xoxo

Week one and done

Well almost. First off let me apologize because I’ve been one lazy blogger. But please know I was anything but lazy with training for week one. Don’t shoot me!

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I know what you’re thinking, she missed day one ?! But it’s because I didn’t decide to do the training plan until Monday! So stop judging us

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I also have sucked it up and been using my beats head phones that go over my ear, you know the ones from the Lebron commercial? Somehow I have managed to lose the bud part so it’s a bit painful but I def had some jams flowing

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Is it weird that I’m starting to enjoy cross training more then running ? My feet have really been bothering me a lot, I just feel stronger and probably a bit sassier,

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But there were as always good and not so good food choices:

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And I def had that moment when you’re half way through your 5 mile run on Friday, and wipe me down comes on your boyfriends shuffle, shout out to jamil. He gets me

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And because I feel obligated, a few boosie pics of our furry child.

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Ahhhh and I almost forgot. FINALLY made it back to yoga booty ballet, andddddd I was well, glowing. Lol

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After completing my week 1 I celebrated pool side, unfortunately after 3 hours and SPF 15 applied once, plus the 4 pounds of sweat I lost, I am still scraping my forehead off.

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Until next time!

4 weeks til orthocarolina classic!

On 8/23 I will be running in the orthocarolina classic in Charlotte, NC. My first official 10k with one of my very best girlfriends whom I cannot wait to see and hug and love. (We are also doing the half marathon together). She has recently experienced a devastating loss and this is the soonest I came get there to be with her.

So this is pretty soon, I mean less then 4 weeks to do a 10k is sort of a big deal for the athletically challenged common folk like myself. I found a training program on runners world and of course in theory would have had to start it Sunday. So missed day 1 but completed day 2 last night and whooped my own ass.
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Quick tips for training in central Florida in the outdoors: 1-make sure it isn’t 91 degrees 2- do not take a thermo cla pill 3- do not wear black 4- make sure it is not before 7:30pm 5- do not wear a belly burner.

Well now that we are clear, just know that basically I murdered myself and had tingly fingers and a sweaty bum. But today I feel great.

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And of course there were snacks

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Now I know I’ve promised music, but I lost the buds to my beats while traveling last month to virginia, and my Bluetooth headphones tragically cracked in my suitcase going to Philly, so I attempted to get some sony make shift ones at best buy that were just a no go. Sorry… Trust me I am not too happy about it either.