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Catching Up to the Present

6 Mar

What have I been up to since starting an unofficial blogging “break” in December? I’ll recap some of the runs below in more detail at a later date, but here’s a look at what I’ve been doing-running and otherwise!

Enjoying the holiday season with my first trip home for Christmas in FIVE years! Complete with quality time with the family, christmas cookies and other homeade meals and treats galore, SNOW, a trip to NYC and a Coldplay concert.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Freedom Tower in NYC

Freedom Tower in NYC

 

Snow

Snow

Stew Leonard's, the Best Grocery Experience. Ever.

Stew Leonard’s, the Best Grocery Experience. Ever.

Coldplay!

Coldplay!

Ringing in the New Year from my condo complex’s parking lot with a friend.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Taking in some Broadway at the Bob Carr with student rush tickets to Mary Poppins!

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

Running the Color Run in January during it’s first visit to Orlando.

Running the Dick Batchelor Run for the Children at Universal Orlando for the second time. One of my favorite 5K’s!

Not exactly a running photo, but take in the post-race area at Universal's CityWalk!

Not exactly a running photo, but take in the post-race area at Universal’s CityWalk!

Celebrating my golden birthday (26 on the 26th of January) with surprise cupcakes, work, pottery painting and dinner with friends!

A Welcome Birthday Surprise!

A Welcome Birthday Surprise!

Palm Tree Pottery

Palm Tree Pottery

Starting spring semster grad school classes. Two online courses this semester. Taking advantage of tuition waivers and making slow progress towards my Master’s.

Running the Lady Track Shack 5K, an all female run in Winter Park, Florida.

Running the innaugural Winter Garden 10K-and tackling a new distance!

Running the Disney’s Princess Half Marathon!

Planning my 2013 (into 2014) dream race schedule which includes signing up for Disney’s Tower of Terror 10 Miler and hopefully signing up for Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon when registration opens!

Preparing for my sister’s arrival to Orlando for Spring Break- which means some upcoming time spent enjoying the local theme parks!

 

Blogging Fail

5 Mar

Well, I may have fallen off the blogging wagon for a while.

Seems like at the end of December I was hit by the perfect storm of life events (both good and not so good things) that sidetracked my focus on maintaining a new blog.

The holidays.
Some tough personal/family times.
Crazy work schedules.
School.

And just fitting in time to enjoy life.

BUT I am ready to give it a second try. I am such a fan of the blogging comunity. The more I read (and I am certainly still an avid reader of MANY blogs on the daily), the more I want to contribute and be an active member of the community.

More to come on where I’ve been, what I’ve been up to and what’s next coming soon!

It’s a Small World

21 Dec

I’ve only been blogging a short period but one of the most fascinating things to me is viewing my blogging stats. It’s neat to see how people find there way to my blog and how many people stop by my site, but the most interesting thing for me, by far, is being able to see where my visitors come from!

So far, I’ve seen viewers come from the following places so far!

It's a Small, Small World

It’s a Small, Small World

It’s amazing to me to have blog visitors from across the globe. It really drives home the fact that technology really does connect us all! It makes me even more appreciative of the opportunity to have this forum for my personal struggles, triumphs and life moments.

Viewing this list also motivates me to get out and travel some more. I’d love to visit all the countries on that list!

Especially at this time of year, it makes me happy to have a global connection!

Reindeer Run 2012

15 Dec

This morning it was time to participate in the Reindeer Run at SeaWorld Orlando! Presented by Track Shack, a local running store, it’s the first run that started my regular running habit!

I met my friend at SeaWorld at about 7:00AM for a 7:15AM start time. I had been planning to get their earlier, but traffic into the park was a bit crazy! Luckily, I still made it in time and found my friend a minute or two before the race start.

Ready to run!

Ready to run!

 

The race itself was a ton of fun. The course was the same as last year as far as I could tell. The first mile takes place all along the perimeter of SeaWorld’s parking lot, after that you head into the park and essentially make a loop through all main areas of the park. Along the way, there are some good views of the flamingos and dolphins. Lots of runners stop to take view the animals for a bit, but since I’m a passholder I kept running!

My favorite part of the run is running across a bridge through the middle of SeaWorld’s lagoon. It provides a pretty view of the park and some of the holiday decorations they have on the water!

Sea of Trees

Sea of Trees

It was a foggy morning, as you can see from this picture. The moisture in the air made the bridge and some of the other surfaces a little slippery. I tend to have a bad track record when it comes to walking on wet surfaces- lots of slips and falls- so I was a little nervous and tried to be super careful as I was running. The weather definitely could have been a bit better. It was cold for Florida, with temperatures in the low 60’s, but simultaneously pretty humid which wasn’t idea.

My friend and I ran separately for the most part, but she finished about 2 minutes after me, so it was a successful run for both of us. The race wasn’t timed but based on the finish line clock, I crossed the finish line in about 40:26. Going off of my Garmin, I finished in 38:59 but I started it a little late as I missed the start line signs!

One of the best things about this race is seeing how some of the runners dress up! There is a costume contest following the run, so people get pretty into it. There were tons or reindeer, elves and Santas! Mrs. Clause was there too! I don’t think I could handle running in some of the costumes I saw- they looked really hot! I even saw quite a few people running in flannel pajamas, which I could never do!

Once I met up with my friend, we headed to the post race party, grabbed some water, bananas and cookies, enjoyed viewing some of the wildlife SeaWorld had on display and took a few pictures!

Penguins!

Penguins!

 

 

A sea lion, my favorite!

A sea lion, my favorite!

 

 

We did it!

We did it!

 

All in all, it was a ton of fun. This race holds a special place in my heart and is a great time!

Thanks for a great run!

Thanks for a great run!

 

Random Running Inspiration

12 Dec

I tend to be a randomly emotional person. I tear up at the oddest things. Yes there are the typical triggers, like the movie Rent or books like Marley and Me.

Then there are the  Things like the trailer for the Katy Perry movie that came out a while ago, as a random example. Yes it’s somewhat of an inspirational underdog movie, however tears at a 30 second preview are a tad extreme, even for me.

Photo slideshows set to music  without fail will ALWAYS get me crying. It doesn’t even matter if I know the people featured or not.

With that being said, I am easily inspired by a good motivational quote. Especially when it comes to running, exercising and just being active in general. Here are a couple examples of quotes that have gotten me off the couch and out the door for a run in the past.

“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.”
-Oprah Winfrey

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
-John Bingham

 “Life is short… running makes it seem longer.”
– Baron Hansen

When I recently completed my first half marathon, I loved all the signs along the way. OUC, the race sponsor, had some staked in the ground along the course and there were plenty of funny homemade signs as well. Some of the signs did cause impromptu (happy) tears along the way!

I didn’t take any pictures along the course and have a horrible memory, but a few of the funny and motivation ones that I can remember include the following.

Sweat is fat crying.

Run faster! Your husband just found the credit card bill!

Worst. Parade. Ever.

You’re not slow, you’re just enjoying the course.

Go, Random Stranger, Go!

No one made you do this!

Trust your training
The best motivation that I’ve seen before was the shirt of a fellow runner. On the back it said, “You just got passed by an 83 year old’!

I’ve seen this woman at several local races-often when she is passing me. The shirt is very funny, but this lady’s commitment to running and her overall fitness level at the age of 83  is incredibly inspiring.  It’s always great to see her at these events-even when she is making her way past me :).

I love a little motivation-pre-run and during!

Cookies, Cookies and Christmas Cards

11 Dec

Working two jobs has its perks.

Both of my teams are hosting holiday cookie swaps! Which means means by Saturday I will have more cookies than I could ever dream of!

Tonight, I made both of my contributions for the exchanges, with both recipes being found through blogs! Since I made a complete mess of my kitchen, I don’t have any “in progress” pictures, but did get some photos of the finished products.

First I made Chocolate Crinkle Cake Mix Cookies, that I found on Julie’s blog. So simple and adorable.

photo (8)

Then, I made Hot Chocolate Snowballs as featured on Melissa’s Cuisine.I originally saw these on Pinterest and thought they were cute but wasn’t sure what to expect. After sampling the finished product (quality control and all, right?) the are AMAZING! It’s always a minor victory to successfully complete  a pin from Pinterest.

photo (7)

As a bonus, the hot chocolate cookies call for some of Melissa’s homemade hot chocolate mix-so now I have a nice supply of hot chocolate to get me through the holiday season!

Looking forward to getting my swapped cookies!

In other Christmas news, I am participating in a Christmas Card Swap, hosted by Zaneta of Runner’s Luck.

2012 Christmas Card Swap Logo

I found out today that I am part of Team Snowflake! I will be exchanging Christmas cards with the following bloggers!

Hannah at HannahViolin
Suzanne from Cows and Lazers and Everything in Between
Erica from Life as a Running Mom
Danielle from Breathe
Michelle from Michelle le belle…Tres bien ensemble

Looking forward to receiving and sending cards across the country!

More Holiday Fun

6 Dec

After finishing my half marathon on Saturday, I had some rare free time to enjoy. As someone with two jobs that works 7 days in the average week, free time is definitely at a premium.

After heading home, I showered freshened up and enjoyed some quality time with my DVR for a bit. Later in the afternoon, I met up with a friend of mine and headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for another one of my favorite holiday traditions, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

Each year a themed area of the park full of city street facades is covered in thousands and thousands of holiday lights that dance to Christmas music every ten to fifteen minutes.

Holiday Magic

Holiday Magic

When I moved to Florida, attending this event made it truly feel like the holiday season. Definitely great to enjoy the holiday atmosphere, without the sub-zero temperatures! Another holiday favorite down for 2012!