Welcome To The Dark Side (Challenge)

Miss Rhode Island, please describe your idea of a perfect date.

That’s a tough one. I’d have to say April 25th. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.

ANYWAY – When all of your friends are obsessed with Star Wars, and you’re obsessed with half marathons, it only makes sense to make a trip down to Florida when Disney decides to combine the two! I decided to do the Dark Side Challenge (10k + 13.1), while two of my friends would be doing the 10k, and two others doing the half. Part of my “training” would be to watch all 6 movies before the trip, which I did not do. Planning began in September, flights were booked in January, and I began counting down the days in March.

FINALLY – the weekend arrived! I flew down on Thursday with my friend Bryce, and after meeting at the airport and checking in to our hotel, we headed to Celebration for some sushi carbo-loading. We went to Ari, and it was DELICIOUS – albeit a little expensive when you’re used to half-priced sushi. I think this is enough sushi for two people, no?

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On Friday morning, we met up with the rest of our group at the expo and (somehow) spent nearly two hours there… doing what? I’ll never know. There was beer involved.

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With race bibs, shirts, and goodies in hand, we went over to Disney Springs for some more carboloading and Disney shopping. We ate at Wolfgang Puck Cafe, and it was insanely mediocre. My mac and cheese was cold, and barely had any cheese on it whatsoever. I won’t be back. We took it easy Friday night after checking in to our condo and just ate at the bar at the pool (I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich). After a quick sit in the hot tub, I was lights out by 9 thanks to some Tylenol PM.

Saturday morning rolls around and I’m exhausted – already looking forward to Monday morning where I don’t have to set an alarm for 3am. I probably drank too much alcohol and not enough water on Friday, which didn’t help the early wake-up call. In all of my Disney racing, I’ve never stayed off property, so I was really nervous about traffic and parking. I’ve heard horror stories about people getting there too late and getting stuck in traffic and then being too late to start in their corrals. So I was insistent that we leave at 3:30 for the 5:30 race. But, from where we were staying, it was super easy to get to the Epcot parking lot, find a parking spot, and get to the start staging area.

Saturday morning was SUPER windy, and I was freezing. So, what does any logical person do when it’s cold – find a generator to stand in front of. Bryce tried to pull me away from it at one point because it smelled like gasoline, but after my incessant complaining, he said “Do you want to go back to your generator?” … Yes, Yes I do.

After meeting up with Abby and Amelia, we made our way to corral D and waited for the start. While waiting, they showed clips from various Star Wars movies and talked about Star Wars-y things that did not make a lick of sense to me. And at 5:56, we were off! And true to form, I had to pee less than 1/4 mile into it.

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I don’t know if it’s because we started at the back of our corral, but this course felt SO congested. We basically walked the whole first mile. We stopped at a real bathroom in Epcot, which made the course a little less crowded, but as soon as we left the park and started toward Hollywood Studios, it was packed again. Disney has to get away from having part of the course on a sidewalk. It’s not working out.

The other thing I generally hated about the 10k course (and half course too) is that the last mile is on a dirt/gravel road. It was crowded, dusty, hard to run on, and mostly miserable. How much does it cost to pave one mile of road? Really. Get it together, Disney. Abby wanted to finish her first 10k in 1:20, and we crossed the finish line in 1:22 – which is great considering our bathroom stop and how crowded the course was! Check out this finisher picture!

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We met up with my friends’ parents at First Watch for brunch (carbs + protein = waffles + bacon!). And after a stop at target for a birthday gift and the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD, we headed home to rest up for Sunday. While a few people hung out by the pool, I napped inside and tried to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate for Sunday! We played a really confusing game while watching Episode IV and ordered Olive Garden carry out. I was definitely asleep before 9…….

…. because my alarm was going to be very rude and go off at 2:30 am. When I do Disney races, as soon as that alarm goes off, I always vow that this will be the last time I run a Disney race, because SO EARLY. Bryce and I left the condo around 3:15 (after I quietly yelled at Bryce to hurry the F*** up). I’m used to being alone on race morning, and not having to wait for someone to brush their teeth and tie their shoes, etc. etc. It was a different experience, for sure.

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Since we had already navigated to Epcot the morning before, I wasn’t as nervous about traffic and parking, and we, again, had a very easy time getting to the staging area (highly recommend staying at Summer Bay Resort or in that area if you’re going to stay off property for a race). We sat down on the ground around 3:45 to wait for our friends, who were due to arrive any minute.

Until I got a call from one of them that the unthinkable had happened … He forgot his bib at home. Literally, the stuff of my nightmares. He was planning to run with me, so he told me to just go ahead and he would catch up. SO – we brought our bag back to the car and made our way to the port-a-potties and corrals.

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It was Bryce’s first half marathon, so while walking to the corrals, I shared some general race etiquette tips – like, if you’re going to walk, hold your arm up and make your way to the right. He was in corral B (for Bryce), and I was in G (for GOAT), so we parted ways around 4:30, while Clayton was nowhere in sight. I politely chatted with some people around me, and they all agreed that the worst thing that could happen on race morning was to forget your bib at home. Silly Clayton.

But, low and behold, about 5 minutes before my corral was set to go off, Clayton finds me among the thousands of runners. I was relieved that he made it in time, but also kinda bummed, because I love running by myself and was nervous that having someone that’s much faster than me wanting to keep my pace would add too much pressure.

And at 5:28, we were off. The first few miles of the course were significantly less crowded than the morning before, and we ran a really fast first mile. 5 minutes into the race, I realized I hadn’t turned my watch on, and had to run the rest of the race with incomplete/inaccurate data, which was awful. I have no idea what kind of mile splits I ran. Everything felt really good until just after we got to Hollywood Studios, when I accidentally kicked the back of Clayton’s shoe. *ouch*

After that, I was desperate for water and desperate for a break, but Clayton would not let up. We did our 5k in 36:32 (7 minutes faster than my 5k from the day before). Once I got some water around mile 4, I felt much better. Until I had to pee. At this point I was LITERALLY praying to God that he would present a port-a-potty right in front of me. And when I saw one around mile 6, I think I actually shouted “JESUS, YOU THE REAL MVP, THANKS FOR THE BATHROOM!” as I peed for 5 minutes straight.

We ran our 10k in 1:18 (4 minutes faster than the day before). But, at that point, I my feets were starting to scream, and I was pretty bored of running. But Clayton was really intent on hitting 2:30 – which seemed physically impossible to me. He wanted to run, I wanted to walk. And I had to frequently tell myself to run MY race, not HIS. This is why I enjoy running races alone so much. I can go at my pace without feeling guilty for slowing someone down.

We entered Animal Kingdom around mile 8 and ran around the parking lot before going in a back entrance. The parking lot was empty, save for a few wheelchairs. And Clayton wasn’t too keen on the idea of pushing me to the finish line, even though I said I would push him around Magic Kingdom later in the day. So rude. I haven’t been to Animal Kingdom in probably 10 years, so it was fun to run through it and see the tree of life and Expedition Everest. Soon enough, we were running out the main entrance and on our way to ESPN WWOS.

Around mile 11, I had to pee again, so Clayton ran off ahead of me and I felt a real sense of relief that I could finally run my own race. It was so weird that someone else was able to have such a real impact on my mental state during a race. He was intent on sticking with me even though I told him on multiple occasions to leave me behind. He never once complained about our pace or gave me any reason to feel like I was holding him back. But the last two miles of the race were very liberating for me. I was able to enjoy myself a little more.

Before I knew it, I was turning on that stupid gravel road and running up through ESPN. Abby and Amelia were hanging out around 12.6 and I nearly missed them as I ran past. And as I ran down the final stretch, Bryce and his parents were cheering along the left sidelines. I finished in 2:49:29 – my 4th fastest half! And I think this finisher photo accurately shows how I felt to be crossing that finish line:

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Overall, it was a great race. I would make some changes to the course itself, but as always, Disney puts on an unparalleled race. Course entertainment, medals, organization (with the exception of the buses after the 10k) were all superb. It certainly won’t be my last Disney race.

13 down, 17 to go! EEK!! Next up is the Flying Pig THIS Sunday! My favorite race weekend of all time! :)

Race-cation Must Haves

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with half marathons. Of my 12 races to date, only 5 of them have been in my own city. I love to travel to races. Not only do you get a vacation out of it, but you get to explore 13.1 miles of another city by foot! That’s a win-win in my book!

However, taking yourself out of your running element can be dangerous (don’t try anything new on race day, right?) Below are some tips and tricks I’ve learned on my 7 race-cations (2 of which were in other countries!). You better believe I’m taking my own advice next month when I head to Disney World for the Star Wars Half Marathon weekend!

1 – BRING EVERYTHING WITH YOU. Shoes (obviously), shirt, socks, shorts, etc. Take a look at the weather a couple days before the race and pack contingency outfits. That way, you’re not stuck in insert city here without your favorite running pants because you only packed shorts.

2 – This also applies to your race fuel/KT tape/etc. Sometimes expo’s don’t have your favorite flavor of chews or gels or KT Tape that is already cut. This way, you keep everything the same and don’t have to try anything new on race day, the cardinal rule of racing. If you don’t like powerade, gatorade sells powdered mix that can be packed in a carry-on.

3 – Pack your foam roller. Especially if you’re planning on exploring the city. (or hello Disney Parks!) I always feel less stiff after a good roll, and this way I can still keep up with my family or friends. Mine fits in my carry-on rollerboard suitcase, with plenty of room for the rest of the my gear.

4 – DON’T check any of your race-day essentials. We all know airlines lose bags every day. Wouldn’t it be awful if your airline lost your bag with your running shoes in it? Have everything you absolutely need with you on the plane, and any extras, backups, nice-to-haves in your checked bag.

5 – Don’t stress about it! If you forget something, don’t let it impact your race. Find a RUNNING store in the area and go talk to some experts there. They’ll have recommendations for what socks to wear if you forgot yours, or they might have some of your favorite blocks in stock. (HINT – there’s a great running store at Disney Springs that has a huge variety of socks/blocks, KT tape, etc.)

6 – ENJOY! The best part of traveling to races is that you get to see another city! It’s called a vacation for a reason!

Anything else you would add to this list??

Rock-n-Roll NOLA Race Recap!

February is my most favorite month to travel for races … Ohio weather is unpredictable at best and it’s the perfect time to escape to warmer climates. My sister lives in New Orleans, which seemed like a great reason to take a long weekend trip for another half marathon! A flat course, and getting to hang out with my sister for a few days??? I’ll call that a win! So, here’s race recap #12 … I’m certain I’ll get sick of writing these before I hit 30.

Allegiant has a direct flight from Cincinnati to New Orleans on Thursday evening – so my friend Kelsey and I booked a cheap flight down. And let me tell you – I will never choose a cheap flight on a budget airline ever again. Our 6:30 flight was delayed for the first time around 10am. We got to the airport on time, just in case. But 5 minutes before our newly scheduled departure time of 7:06, we still had no plane, no gate agent, and no word on how much longer our flight was going to actually be. Finally, we boarded a little after 8, and arrived in NOLA two hours late.

Thinking back to Friday – the only thing I really remember was eating. We went to District Donuts for breakfast to begin our carboload (4 donuts between 3 people). Seriously the best donuts ever. We went to Rum House in the Garden District for lunch and more carbs. I indulged in a few margaritas because, why not?! It’s vacation! Jen dropped Kelsey and I off at the expo and we wandered around for an hour or two. I may or may not have fallen in love with an electric foam roller. We walked back to my sister’s place and then relaxed until going to Dat Dog for dinner! I had an alligator hot dog and OH MY GAWD – so good.

Saturday was mostly spent relaxing around my sister’s place. We went to a crepes place for lunch over by Tulane & Loyola, and then I went back to the expo to buy that electric foam roller (they were sold out, but it’s being shipped to my house!). When we got back from the expo (round 2), we took my sister’s dog on a walk to a little park. Dinner was pasta and chicken followed by a popsicle. We were all in bed really early, even though my alarm was set for 5:50 – which seems relatively late for a race day.

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I felt great on race morning, albeit a little nervous. But I was super hydrated, and excited to get going! Jen dropped us off near the start line and I left Kelsey in her corral and headed a little farther back. I met a nice girl and chatted with her while waiting for the race to start. I followed her pace for the first 3 miles or so, then lost her when I had to make a potty stop. My first three miles were really fast, but felt really good. I thought for sure I was heading for a big PR.

But then I hit mile 4. I started feeling a blister on my toes. It’s important to note that I purchased my shoes exactly one week before the race. Definitely not advisable to run on barely broken in shoes. I stopped at a medical station around mile 5 and put some more vaseline on my toes and armpits. My sister and her boyfriend live a few blocks off the course, so they walked Hannie up around mile 8. She even made me a cute sign, too!

mile8HannieHannie(If you don’t already, you should follow Hannie on instagram)

I had a solo cup of champagne around mile 9.5 while running through the French Quarter. And I found probably my favorite race sign ever (except for the kayne one from the Enchanted 10k last year)IMG_2297assslaps

I was fading quickly in the last 3.1 miles. My feet hurt, but I wanted to be finished SO SO badly. I pushed the last mile super hard and around 12.8, I couldn’t breathe. I crossed the finish line mid-asthma attack with tears streaming out of my eyeballs – because not being able to breathe is scary (my official finish line pictures are truly dreadful). I met up with Kelsey right before my phone died and we had our one free can of beer and a few of the unlimited draft beers before Jen picked us up.

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We went back to Jen’s to pick up Eric before heading to Bourbon Street for some celebratory hurricanes and Fat Tuesday Slushies! P.S. How cool is that medal?! I love the beads instead of a ribbon!

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We got some pizza and ice cream before heading to the airport to head home. I’d love to run this race again next year, but with my full marathon being a few weeks before, I may have to sit it out. It was a really fun, high energy race, and my sister and her boyfriend (and hannie) were such gracious hosts!

I felt great about my race. Twelve half marathons in three years is no easy feat. And I truly believe that no time is a “bad” time. Finishing a half marathon in under two hours is impressive, yes. But finishing a half marathon is impressive, if it takes you 2 hours and 51 minutes or even longer. I ran into a woman at the airport in the bathroom who, upon hearing my time, told me “OH, I’m so sorry! What happened?” What happened is I worked my ass off and I ran 13 miles. I’m not going to blame my time on the fact that I’m “slow” or my shoes or the course or anything else, because I’m proud as shit of my time. I earned that medal just as much as everyone else that crossed that finish line.

Oh, and I had the pleasure of sitting next to that woman on the plane on the way home. Thanks for that, Jesus.

12 “slow” races down, 18 probably “faster” (but maybe not) races left! Next up is Star Wars Half Marathon in Orlando in April! :)

2015 in Review

Man, WHAT. A. YEAR. It’s a little overwhelming thinking about summing up the last 365 days because in many ways, 2015 exceeded every expectation (intentionally or unintentionally!) set. Read on to see why 2015 has been the best year ever!!

On January 5th, 2015, I quit the job I once thought was my “dream job”. For a while, the unpredictability was charming and fun, and it never failed to provide a good story to tell at family get-togethers about my crazed life on the road. But toward the end of 2014, I started to crave a 9-5 desk job that offered a little more stability. And as it turns out, my new job is much more than just stable. I still get to travel, but significantly less, and to better destinations! In 2015, I went to Mexico, Ireland, and Poland. And in 2016, I’ll (hopefully) go to Scotland, France, and Malaysia (each twice!). I’ve found the elusive work-life balance… even though work still finds its way into my subconscious while I’m sleeping on occasion!

Even though I didn’t travel as much for work this year, I still got around. I went to Vegas in January, Florida in February, Mexico in April, South Africa in May, Ireland in July, Poland, England, and New Orleans in August, Florida and Nashville in September, and finally Florida in November. 11 trips, 5 countries, 63,000 airline miles. I hope 2016 is just as exciting!!

Man, I ran the shit out of 2015! I’m being pretty literal about that… Because I ran 6 half marathons. I kicked off the year with the Glass Slipper Challenge (and a killer vacation with my BFF to Hogwarts). I was super proud of my PR from the Princess Half (my favorite race ever), until two weeks later, when I beat it again during the Heart Half here in Cincinnati (also… my least favorite race ever). Next up was the Flying Pig, where I tripped and busted up my knee and then ran 8 more miles. I ran my second international half marathon in August while I just so happened to be in Dublin for work (that was a smelly one!). My TENTH half marathon was the Queen Bee in on 10/10 (would have loved to PR that one, but it’s a tough course!). And finally, my half of a half marathon was the Wine and Dine in November (still counting it). Of the 5 real half marathons I ran this year, all 5 of them were under 3 hours, and they rank 1-5 on my fastest races I’ve ran. I’m super proud of myself for growing so much as a runner this year, and can’t want to see what the next year has in store! Maybe I’ll break 2:30??!!?

2015 was the year I became a HOMEOWNER!!! After much help from my mom, I closed on my new condo in April, and moved in the very next day (and did minimal packing, which made for a long/stressful moving process). I have the most polarizing feelings about actually being a homeowner. Yes, it’s a better financial decision, but UGH, some days it feels like a money pit. I’m constantly wanting to upgrade little things around the condo and buy new end-tables and pillows and decorations, and the door needs to be replaced, and the windows are leaking and so on and so forth. Hopefully in 2016, I’ll be able to finish off my honey-do list and really feel settled in my new place!

Some of my new years resolutions from last year did not make it through the new year… I wanted to read 25 books; I only read 18. I wanted to pay off $12,000 in debt; I took on over $150,000 in new debt (granted, it’s house debt, so it’s not terrible). I wanted to stop hitting the snooze button; that DEFINITELY didn’t happen. It might be worse than last year. BUT, I did follow through with a few resolutions! I wanted to run 5 half marathons; I ran 6! I wanted to donate my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. And even if it was a resolution from 2014, in April I donated 8 beautiful inches to a woman in need of a wig.

With my last years resolutions (failed and otherwise) in mind, I came up with a few goals for this year. I want to get back to spending 10 minutes every day cleaning something around my home. I want to make my bed every day. I want to do 6 half marathons. I want to cook a new recipe once a week. I want to pack my lunch 4 times a week or more. I want to read 26 books (ambitious, I know).

I think my #2015bestnine sums up this year pretty well… Even though I posted the picture of Olaf and I last Christmas…

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All the glory be to God, though. Through him, all this is possible. May he bless 2016 and all that it has in store. For me and for you.

Happy New Year friends!!!

-Jess

Wine and Dine (not-quite) Half Marathon Weekend

What happens when you go on vacation and come home with food poisoning that lasts 8 days? You write a race recap and then forget to post it. So let’s just pretend it’s November 11th, not November 25th.

I set off to Orlando again last Friday for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon! This race has been on my bucket list since I ran my first Princess Half, and I was so excited to escape work for a few days at Disney World! And let me tell you, it was certainly a race weekend to remember!

I landed on Friday night and took the Disney Magical Express to the hotel… My first experience with the magical express (so fast and easy and I’ll definitely be using it again!). I ate a huge pasta dinner from the hotel dining hall and called it an early night. Since the race was at 10pm on Saturday night, I wanted to get up early enough so that I could take a mid-day nap. My strategy worked, because I was up at 6:30 Saturday morning, all ready to go! My breakfast consisted of a cheese omelette and some Mickey waffles! YUM!IMG_1608

I may or may not have been on the first bus to the expo. I was hoping to get some cool W&D merch, but it was so picked over by the time I got there. BUT – I did get to meet Jeff Galloway, who is basically runDisney royalty. I had him sign my race packet and take a picture with me.IMG_1617IMG_1612

All week, the weather for Saturday night looked like it would be insanely hot, humid, and generally awful. Before I left, I bought a handheld water bottle and some longer compression shorts to wear, but for whatever reason, I didn’t pack a tank-top. Since I bought a red and white polka dot headband at the expo, I thought I would get a black tank top and try to do a modified Minnie Mouse. I went down to Downtown Disney Disney Springs to the running store and grabbed a little lunch.

After a mediocre nap, I started getting ready for the race around 6:30 (too early). After putting on my black tank and my black shorts, I realized it looked like I was wearing a wetsuit (insert embarrassed face emoji here). But, whatever. I prepared as best I could for the heat, and ate a small dinner of a PB&J sandwich and some apple slices before getting on the bus to the race at 7:30 (also too early). Since I was staying right next door to ESPN WWOS, I was at the pre-race party by 7:40. I sat around and stretched and listened to music and checked my bag. And around 8:45, I decided to get in line for a porta-potty before I had to head to the corrals at 9:15.IMG_1625

After standing in line for a half hour in the wind and light rain, they came over the intercom and announced that they were evacuating everyone into WWOS because of the threat of severe weather in the area. Luckily, the two women behind me were super nice and let me tag along with them during the delay. We hung around in the Braves spring training field until about 10:30 while all kinds of questions and rumors spread throughout the participants. We finally got the word to head to our corrals and people were talking about whether or not they would shorten the course. Which they did.

They cut out 6.2 miles of the 13.1 course, and I’m not gonna lie – I was SO disappointed. We would still get our medals, but in my heart, I felt like I couldn’t count it toward my 30 before 30 goal. How could I, because I’d only be running 6.82 miles! On the plus side, I was that much closer to the finish line party, which is where the beer was, and we’d still get to run through the Osborne Lights, which was the part of the course I was looking forward to the most.

A little over an hour later, I set off on the modified course at a fairly fast pace. It was SO hot outside that I quickly realized it was not sustainable to run a 10 minute mile, so I slowed down. The first 2-1/2 miles were all highway miles, and were pretty boring. The course was overly crowded because the roads were too narrow and there were too many people that started at the same time. Had we had the rest of the course to run, there would have been more natural spacing. By mile 3, we were in Hollywood Studios and that much closer to the lights (!!!).IMG_1643 IMG_1636

I probably spent a good 20 minutes wandering around staring at the lights. At that point, I didn’t care about my pace, or the finish line party, or my hip that was hurting. I just wanted to stay with the pretty lights and Christmas music. It was incredible. But, eventually I had to keep moving and I ran the next 3 miles to Epcot and got my finishers medal and free beer.IMG_1645

I changed clothes and road Soarin’ before walking the 1.3 miles around Epcot’s world showcase. Literally ALL of the lines for food were crazy long and the last thing I wanted to do was stand in line (I ended up going back to the food and wine festival on Sunday with my pal Kerri and again on Monday and the lines were twice as long at the after party). I found a station in Morocco with a short line and got a fruity daiquiri and a chocolate chip cookie. I got in line to ride test track with a full beer, and then subsequently had to chug it before boarding the ride.

Around 3:30am, I finally decided to head back to the hotel. I was more than exhausted (and kind of glad I didn’t run all 13.1 miles). I took a brief shower without washing my hair and crawled directly into bed.IMG_1653

Overall, I enjoyed this race. The after-party was fun, albeit really crowded… But that’s to be expected with Disney World, I suppose. I decided to go ahead and count it as my 11th half marathon, considering on Sunday alone I walked over 18 miles around the parks and did almost 45 miles throughout the weekend. Running a night race is different and difficult and I don’t know that it’s for me. That being said, I might sign up to do this race again … Maybe for the 10th anniversary. Honestly, I still prefer the princess :)

The rest of my long weekend was spent doing all things Disney. Sunday, Kerri came and picked me up from “the end of the world” aka, my hotel and we spent the day catching up and walking from air-conditioned gift shop to air-conditioned gift shop. We wined (ok, beer-d?) and dined, and then she put me on the monorail so I could go to Mickey’s Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom! :)IMG_1673 IMG_1669

Monday I met up with an old coworker at Epcot for more wining and dining, and I introduced myself to an adult Dole Whip (pineapple soft serve with coconut rum), and it basically changed my world. I might have had two before noon. I rode test track twice, ate a lot of food, and then took a bus over to Hollywood Studios for one last look at the Osborne Lights.IMG_1721

Back at my hotel, I decided to go for the healthy option and eat some Salmon and veggies from the food court, and thus how I ended up with food poisoning.

All in all, a great race-cation. Next race up is the Rock-and-Roll NEW ORLEANS half marathon in February!

 

Disappearing Act

I say it over and over again – I need to be better about blogging. I promise to be better this month… next week… next year. And over and over again, I fail. I get lazy. I come up with ideas for things to write about in my head, but they never make it to the paper – so to speak. For the last year or so, blogging just hasn’t been one of my top priorities. No matter how much I would like to claim it was. I stopped reading blogs, commenting on other people’s blogs, and stopped connecting.

So last month when my domain was up for renewal – I had a bit of a choice to make. Do I want to keep up the act of being a backseat blogger – one that promises in every other post that she’s going to post more? Do I really want to commit to this? What does commitment look like? Realistically, how often can I expect to post new content? Should I give it up altogether?

No, I don’t want to give up blogging. But I don’t want months to go by between my posts. So – I’m redefining what commitment means around here. Commitment to quality content over page stats. Commitment to blogging friendships and a present worth documenting.

I miss writing, and I miss being committed to something.

So, see you next week … really this time :)

-Jess

One Third of the Way There!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen … It’s official. On Saturday I ran the Queen Bee Half Marathon and passed the one-third point in the 30 before 30 quest!!! (insert celebration dance!) On one hand, I find it incredible that I’ve already ran 10 half marathons, and on the other hand, I’m struggling to think I have to run 20 more of these!  I didn’t take a single picture before or during the race, so this is a very word-heavy recap!

Friday afternoon I left work a little bit early to get down to the expo. I needed to have my hamstring taped up, because for whatever reason, it had been sore the entire week leading up to the race. And despite my constant stretching and foam rolling, the pain wasn’t going away. I met my friend Kelsey on Fountain Square and we collected our bibs/bags and roamed around the expo. When I say roamed, I mean we aimlessly walked around the entire event 6 or 7 times before deciding we had seen/bought everything we wanted to see/buy. But we couldn’t leave without Kelsey embarrassing us by spilling her green juice all over herself/the floor/her swag bag. (In her defense, the bag she was carrying all her stuff in broke and the glass juice jar shattered).

I spent the rest of Friday night resting and watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns while eating pasta and drinking gatorade out of a wine glass. Class all day.

Saturday morning rolls around, and I’m just begging myself for a PR… I mean, I’m doing my 10th half marathon on 10/10, I have to go for it, right?! I foam rolled my entire body before I left and I hopped in the car literally 30 minutes before the race was supposed to start. I parked, went into the casino to go to the bathroom again and ran into my friend Rachael :). We chatted inside where it was warm until about 10 minutes before the gun went off, and then we made our way to the “hives”. We ran into our friend Lauren as the gun was going off and muttered some encouragements to each other before going our separate ways.

The first mile was basically all up hill, so I couldn’t sprint off like I normally tend to do. However, it was much warmer than I anticipated, and before the first mile marker, I was ready to strip down to my tank top and ditch my lightweight jacket. Stupid Jess decided to pin her bib to the outer jacket instead of the tank top, so I had to switch it to my tank top on the side of the road.

Mile 2 ran right past my apartment, just like the flying pig. Except this time, I wasn’t bleeding from my knee and begging for a break. I need to remember to put a sign in my window next year! Running through my hood was easy and comfortable, and the first four miles honestly flew by so fast. Before I knew it, I was running into Mt. Lookout.

Then mile 5 hit. And my body turned on me. I had passed several port-a-potties along the way, but decided to keep going until I made it to the next one, because I didn’t have to go that bad and there were lines. Ugh, until mile 5. All I can remember about mile 5 is that I thought I was going to poop my pants. I was forced to walk because if I ran, I thought I might lose it. Literally. (TMI?) I seriously considered asking people standing on the side of the road if I could use their bathrooms. Until I finally found one right past the square. I’ve never been so excited in my life. I bee-lined (pun intended) to the bathroom, and luckily there was no line.

Miles 6-12 were uneventful for the most part. The course entertainment was much better than last year’s, and there were people scattered throughout the whole course. I never had to run more than a hundred yards or so without someone cheering. The station I was most looking forward to was at mile 11… The Chippendales!!! Who wouldn’t run 11 miles to get a close up look of some of those abs… Insert heart-eye emoji. Imagine my disappointment when I get to mile 11 to find old men wearing tuxedo t-shirts. Funny Joke …. NOT!

By the time I turned the corner toward the finish line, I was just ready to be finished so that I could have my post-race mimosa or 7. I was already 5 minutes behind my PR, so I think I was running toward the finish line, but I easily could have been walking. Everything hurt. Once I crossed the finish line, I got my medal, finishers gift, banana, and Mylar blanket and headed to my friends apartment across the street.

The rest of Saturday was spent celebrating with a few friends down in OTR. We had Bakersfield margs and tacos for lunch, and hit up City Flea. I finally made it to Taft’s Ale House, and then capped off the day with a family dinner. The best way to celebrate 131 racing miles!!

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Only 262 racing miles to go… Ugh. Why did I want to do this again???

Next up, the Disney Wine and Dine on November 7th! :)

-Jess

August in Review / September Goals

August started out with good enough intentions to really get back into blogging … But then of course, I got busy and lazy, and well, here I am. I still blogged more times than I did in May or June or July, so I feel good. August was a good month, and he’s why.

I started off the month in IRELAND! My new favorite country. Mostly just because I love Guinness. I ran the Dublin Rock-n-Roll half marathon (race recap HERE).

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And then I QUICKLY jetted off to Poland (read my Poland favorites HERE). Poland was great, but I was SO ready to get out of there and head to London to visit my Uncle!! We did a mini-pub crawl around his neighborhood and stayed out until almost 3am (which is super late for Grandma Jess). I can’t wait to go back to London because my Uncle knows the coolest places to take visitors. We spent all day Saturday walking around little markets and playing yard games at a pub near his flat. I tried Pad Thai for the first time, and I must admit, it was quite tastey!

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Mother Nature and her friend Erika foiled my plans to spend the last weekend of the month in the Dominican Republic. So I booked a last minute flight and went down to New Orleans to visit my sister for her birthday! She took me to all her favorite food places and I got to lay around with her pup!

We had beignets at Morning Call –

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Happy hour at Rum House … We also had some delicious tacos that were consumed before I could snap a picture –

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Donuts at District Donuts – I had Lemon Blueberry, and Jen had cookies and cream

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And last but not least, cuddles with Hannie –

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Other August fun facts:

– Finished 1 book. BAD JESS. I have a long way to go if I want to finish 25 books this year (I’ve read 11 books, so 14 left!). EXCEPT, I’m currently working through 4 different books, so I predict September will be a big month! The book I read is called “Love Does” by Bob Goff… Honestly, probably the best book I’ve read all year. I laughed, I cried, I learned. It was the best book for my single soul.

– Visited 3 different countries (4 if you count the US) and 1 new city! It was a big travel month, so many passport stamps!

– Football season is back, and I’m the most happy.

HOW IS IT SEPTEMBER ALREADY?!?! Ever since graduating from college, this time of year always makes me a little sad. I miss buying back to school supplies and having easy classes with little homework. Basically, I miss college.

September Goals:

– BIRTHDAY MONTH! Holy shit, I turn 26 this month.

– Lose 5 pounds. Every month. Same old same old.

– Read 4 books. I have a 10-day vacation and that should be plenty of time to get caught up in my reading challenge.

– Run every day. I’ve got two half marathons coming up in the next three months, so I gotta get moving. Literally.

– Get my second bedroom put together. This might fall off until October, but I definitely want it done before the Holidays so my sister can stay with me when she comes home.

Happy September!

-Jess

friday favorites – Poland Edition

I’ve spent the last week hanging out working in Warsaw, Poland! If I’m being honest, Poland was never high on my wanderlust bucket list, but I’m so glad I was sent here for work, because it’s pretty darn cool!

FAVORITES:

  • Old Town, Warsaw … Most of the city was basically flattened during world war 2, so there isn’t a ton of “history” here like there was in Dublin. But Old Town was restored after the war ended to look and feel exactly as it did before the war. I so enjoyed hanging out here after work on Wednesday and having some real pierogies for dinner! Everyone totally judged me for using a selfie stick.

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  • Espresso. One thing I truly hate is a weak cup of coffee. The office I was working in had the perfect espresso machine and I probably had two shots of espresso every day. Now I’m convinced that I need to get an espresso machine for myself. coughmybirthdayiscomingupnextmonthcoughcough.
  • Pierogies. nom nom nom. I wish I could bring all of these back with me because they were seriously the most delicious. They even had DESSERT pierogies.

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NOT FAVORITES:

  • Dill … Seriously, the poles put that shit on everything. yuck.

Now off to London for the weekend to hang out with my uncle!! Have a lovely weekend, kids! :)

-Jess

Also, 4 blog posts in 1 week?! I should get a medal for that.

Happy Birthday to Objessions!

So, we’ve already established that I’m a terrible blogger (although I have blogged 3 times this week, which pretty much classifies me as a professional).

Last year, I forgot my blogs first birthday. When I realized this, I vowed that I would do something “special” for my second birthday… Meaning I would buy a cupcake, take a picture of it, and then shove it into my mouth-hole. And maybe buy myself a new blog design on etsy.

But, I forgot my blog’s second birthday, which was last Wednesday. I blame Ireland.

Pretend that this is the cupcake that I ate that day… And when I get back to the states next week, I will go buy myself one and eat it in record time. And maybe i’ll redesign my blog again. TBD.

As a celebration, here are some bloggy statistics.

Total Views : 18,787

Total Posts : 102 – man, i missed that milestone too.

Weirdest search engine terms :  “peed in traffic”, “rearrange this s s u p o l e r n e i f d”, and finally “big piss flaps on small teens 2min vids” – mildly disturbing.

Most popular post : Crockpot Mac and Cheese (thanks, Pinterest!)

Thanks for following along! Here’s to more years of intermittent blogging!

-Jess