It’s been a while…

I haven’t written a post in quite a while. There has been plenty going on worth writing about, but I have been happy to just embrace the experiences for myself instead of rehashing each and every one in its own blog post. Now that the year is (WAY too quickly) winding down, I felt like catching up the blog would be fun. So here’s what I’ve been up to during the summer and fall:

I tried some new things in the running/racing department through the summer. Coming out of training for the Wrightsville Beach Marathon, I was surprised to find that I wasn’t remotely sick of running. But I knew my mind and body needed a break from strenuous training. So I ran a few races for fun including my first trail race (a 7k in 37:35), a local half marathon (1:44:39) my first 8k (36:54), and a 5k (25:07). I learned that I am certainly not as strong at short distances as I am at half marathons and marathons. The 8k and 5k were both in some pretty ridiculously hot temperatures. But even if the temperatures had been ideal I doubt the results would have been impressive. The feeling of trying to sustain faster paces for a shorter race proved to be pretty foreign to my body and I could never maintain my pace in the later miles.

'Please just kill me now...'

‘Please just kill me now…’

I ran a new half marathon PR. Several of my Bull City Track Club teammates were traveling to race the Lehigh Valley Marathon in Pennsylvania in September. I jumped at the chance to make the trip with them and race the half marathon, knowing that an early fall race would be my best chance to train for a good performance since the later fall months were booked solid with wedding and honeymoon plans. I ended up running a really solid race. I perfectly executed negative splits, starting around a 7:37 average pace at mile 1 and ticking down to 7:25 average pace by the time I reached the finish line (my last mile was 6:51, which surprised the hell out of me). The end result was a shiny new half marathon PR of 1:37:11 and I couldn’t have been happier.

A new PR and third in my age group. And beer, of course.

A new PR and third in my age group. And beer, of course.

I was accepted into the Boston Marathon! No explanation is really necessary except to say that, after over two years of very hard work, it felt so incredible to get that acceptance email.

 

I helped pace somebody for the first time. Last week I ran the Richmond Half Marathon alongside my friend Amelia. It was her second half marathon and she was hoping to improve her time from last year of 1:46:30 to somewhere around 1:45. I had a great time running with her and even felt like I was a helpful motivator at a few points along the way. We crossed the finish line together in 1:43:12 – an incredible new PR for Amelia!

 

Most exciting and hands down most importantly… On October 24th, a perfectly beautiful day in Wilmington, NC, Jeremy and I got married! Part of me wants to go into great detail about each and every part of that weekend, but every single time I try to do that the words that come out don’t seem to adequately capture our happiness and gratitude. The best I can do is say that we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend celebrating with all of our friends and family. The ceremony and reception were fun, stress free, and fit us completely perfectly. At the end of it all, we both agreed that we felt at peace, like everything was exactly how it should be now that we were officially husband and wife.

Announcement

Reception

We topped off a great wedding weekend with 8 days of complete relaxation in Jamaica. We enjoyed plenty of quality time together unplugged from email and social media, ate all the food, drank all the adult beverages, and simply enjoyed the view.

Jamaica

The view from our room. I definitely still miss it.

It’s good to be back on the blog after an extended hiatus. Now that I’m somewhat caught up, maybe I can do a better job of making this into a regular thing again!

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California favorites

Last week Jeremy and I traveled out to California with two of our good friends, Jolly and Vaughan. Our main excuse for flying across the country was for our college friend Jess’s wedding. But, in my opinion, you don’t spend hundreds of dollars and two full days of your life traveling to just stay in California for a few days and then come home. So the four of us made a full on vacation out of it and were there for a week. I’m back, readjusted to East Coast time, and have returned to work. **Sigh** In hopes of keeping my vacation mindset lingering on for as long as possible, I’ll rehash some highlights here on the blog to anyone (or no one) who will listen.

The wedding

Although we flew into San Francisco and spent the better part of our time there, Jess and Patrick’s wedding was North in Mendocino. The area was beautiful, the wedding was perfect (and made me cry for the first time at any wedding ever), and the reception was a blast.

People cheering and napkin spinning for the introduction of the newlyweds.

People cheering and napkin spinning for the introduction of the newlyweds.

The beer

Somehow it became our unofficial vacation mission to visit as many of the local area breweries/taprooms as possible. We ended up going to five in total: Lagunitas, Thirsty Bear, Rogue (based in Oregon but has its only public house outside of Oregon in San Francisco), 21st Amendment, and Speakeasy. I couldn’t tell you which one was my favorite because I loved all of them. But the IPAs at Rogue and 21st Amendment may have been the top contenders.

Brewery 2

Brewery

The wine

Jeez, Anna. Drink much? But I’m not ashamed that two of the items on this list are drinking related because there were just too many good local beers and wines to try. We had thought about stopping in the typical Sonoma/Napa wine country hot spots on the way from Mendocino to San Francisco. But, as it turned out, we didn’t even have to get off our route. The road from Mendocino passed right through Anderson Valley, which is teaming with wineries. We stopped at two for tastings and the second stop, Brutocao Cellars, was my favorite.

Vineyard

The running

I didn’t get tons of miles in during the trip, but the ones that I did were beautiful and memorable. Our first full day in San Francisco, Jeremy and I found our way to Bernal Heights Park, where we got a taste of some seriously rough hills and 360 degree views of the city. And later in the trip I got to check off my one and only must-do activity for the trip and ran across the Golden Gate Bridge. Something about doing that just felt epic. I’m not sure how else to describe it.

Run

Run 2

The company

Traveling can be stressful and exhausting. If you are traveling with the wrong people you can spend more time wanting to kill each other than actually enjoying the trip. I am fortunate to have a wonderful fiance and friends who I can share rooms, bathrooms, cars, and 18 hour travel days with and still be friends with after it all when we get back home.

Our vacation family portrait among the redwoods.

Our vacation family portrait among the redwoods.

Where did you travel for your most recent vacation? What was the highlight of the trip?

#Winning Wednesday 12

Hope you’re all having a good week so far. Mine has been crazy, but mostly in a good way. The only kind of post that makes sense to do when things are crazy is a list so it’s an opportune time for a #Winning Wednesday if you ask me…

1. It’s official!

Jeremy and I took a trip to Wilmington last weekend where we met up with my parents and took several venue tours. We fell in love with a place that is perfect, fits us well, and is so unique. So as of this week we officially have a venue and a date. October 24, 2015 is the best day ever… and it hasn’t even happened yet!

2. Talenti Salted Caramel Gelato

Have you tried this stuff yet? If you haven’t, I am pretty sure you need to stop whatever you are doing and go buy some right now. If you’re feeling ambitious you can do what I did and polish off the whole container by yourself in under 48 hours. Challenge accepted?

Gelato

3. Orange is the New Black

I finished the second season last night. I’m obsessed. Please tell me that we don’t have to wait as long for season 3 as we did for season 2!

4. My new desk buddy

You can laugh at me all you want to. I don’t care. Jeremy got me this awesome figure of Daenarys from Game of Thrones and she chills on my desk all day and makes me happy.

GOT

5. It’s almost July!?

July has crept up on me and I am completely okay with it – it is going to be a fun month. Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate and we are going to three weddings in July, one of which we are taking a week-long vacation out to California for. Good times ahead for sure.

What is making you happy this week? What are you looking forward to next month?

 

The circuit workout that has been kicking my butt

I am finally back home in North Carolina after a whole lot of traveling last week. After spending most of the week in California for work, I headed straight to New York City for a friend’s bachelorette party.

The beach on Coronado Island, CA

The beach on Coronado Island, CA

The ladies wandering around New York City

The ladies wandering around New York City

Both trips were great! Although we had more than a few travel issues that caused everyone plenty of stress during our NYC weekend. On that note, I will NEVER fly on American Airlines again unless I am somehow forced to. I could write an entire post about how incredibly crappy this airline proved itself to be last week, but instead I’ll take the high road and spare you the angry rant post.

After a week away, I am so happy to be back home with Jeremy and Juneau. And hopefully (maybe) back in the groove of blogging.

I wanted to share an intense, full-body strength circuit workout that I have been loving lately. It always leaves me tired and sweaty and it is easy to do with minimal equipment (just dumbbells and a medicine ball). I got it from this Clutch Cut program on Bodybuilding.com.

*Start with an easy five minute cardio warm-up and some stretching.

*Do a quick, 15 minute HIIT circuit to get your heart rate up. Try alternating 30 seconds walking, 30 seconds jogging and 30 seconds sprinting on the treadmill and repeat 10 times.

*Repeat the following circuit 3 or 4 times, doing 10-12 reps of each exercise (videos of all the exercises are available through the link above):

Clean and press
Overhead medicine ball throws
Dumbbell rear lunge
Push ups
Bench dips
High knees
Bodyweight squat
Wide grip lat pull-down (I do upright dumbbell rows instead when I’m not in the big gym)
Medicine ball jumping jacks
Incline push ups
Dumbbell bicep curl
Side lateral raise
One-arm dumbbell row

*Finish up with an easy 5 minute cool-down on the treadmill and more stretching.

Let me know what you think if you give it a try!

Any favorite circuit or plyometric workouts to share? I am looking for new ones!

Hello from California!

Just wanted to stop in and say hello from beautiful Coronado Island, California!

I have been here since Sunday but haven’t had a chance to post and doubt I will have time to again during my time here.

I am visiting for work and am spending the better part of my days in a series of very long and mentally draining seminars. Whenever I am not in a conference room, I am doing whatever I can to maximize my free time by exploring the area and getting in some runs to soak up the gorgeous weather and scenery.

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I hope everyone is having a great week!

Where was the last place you traveled? How do you like to explore new places? — I am all about going for a run to check out new surroundings.