Category Archives: Travel

Race the Runways Half-Marathon Race Recap

Nothing like coming back to blogging with a race recap, right? Right. Welp, let’s get to it then!

medal

Last time I popped in (February – eek!), the first race on my 2013 calendar was the New Jersey half-marathon. While that’s still alive and well on my calendar, I was itching to get another 13.1 under my belt before then. While I scoured the Internet for something to fit the bill, everything before May seemed to fall on St. Patrick’s Day. Ick! While I loved racing on St. Paddy’s Day last year in D.C.,  I knew there was no way I could make that work this time around. I spent February 22-March 24 traveling each weekend or hosting friends and fam.

karla

Visiting Karla in Iowa!

Anyway, after exhausting all my options for well-known races that weren’t too far away – let’s not forget that all the aforementioned travel plans left my bank account seriously drained – I started digging for smaller ones. Finally, halfmarathons.net found me a winner in the quaint little town of Brunswick, Maine!

racetherunways

“Maine? I’ve never been to Maine. Dustiiiiiiiiiin – want to go to Maine so I can run another half in April? I get to run on an airport runway and the medal looks like an airplane!!!”

Whip out my credit card and immediately register. 

That’s how that conversation went. He thought the “running on an airport runway” thing was pretty cool, too.

Now that I’ve run the race, let me tell you something: running on an airport runway in the beginning of April, after a brutally long winter, is not quite as cool as it sounds.

joclyn cheerleader

Scratch that. It’s cooler than it sounds. And when I say cooler, I’m talking in terms of temperatures. Translation: it was freaking freezing!

And holy wind, batman. Holy wind.

But let’s backup a smidge. Dustin and I took Friday off and made the 5.5-hour drive to Brunswick so we had plenty of time to pick up my bib, relax and explore. Turns out we needed all of five minutes for bib pickup. There wasn’t an expo, and we picked up at Maine Running Company – a great running store located right in the heart of town. After, we checked out the shops nearby and picked up dinner at Flipside, a local pizza joint with great reviews on Yelp.

The rest of the evening was uneventful, and pre-race rituals went smoother than ever. The start gun didn’t fire until 9:30am, so I even slept in until 7am! Around 8am, the rest of my cheering squad showed up!

uncle dave

My Aunt Sue, Uncle Dave, cousin Joclyn and her friend Quinn drove 2 hours Saturday morning to come watch me run and I could not be more grateful. I never asked them to do so, or even really brought up the race – my aunt saw I would be nearby on Facebook and shot me a few texts to confirm the whereabouts. They had never seen me run before, and I was so stoked every single time I spied them on the course.

Speaking of race support – I don’t know if it was because it was a small race, because it was cold or something else, but the spectators were basically nowhere to be seen. As an out and back course, there were multiple opportunities for crowds to be out, but they just weren’t there. Certain areas were blocked off strictly for runners, so obviously that lacked any cheerleaders, but when I saw my family, they were the only ones out there. While it made me feel extremely loved and even more energized to run a strong race, I couldn’t help but feel sad for the other runners on the course. I can’t say it enough – CROWD SUPPORT IS SUCH A BIG DEAL FOR RUNNERS. Even though we only see you two, three or four times on the course – and for about five seconds each time – knowing we’re going to see you soon is such a mental boost to keep moving. And once we actually see you, it’s like a smile is plastered all over your face for at least another mile and you sort of forget that you’re running. Sort of.

OK, that was really my only complaint of the race.

Going into this race, I had no goals. I just wanted to run strong, be happy and enjoy Maine. And I did something I’ve never done before: I ran without a watch.

But that’s for another post.

Basically, I refused to stress and ran at a comfortably hard pace. I had the Runkeeper app on my phone (amazing, btw), which sent me distance updates every 5 minutes. Otherwise, I just jammed out to my playlist – Luke Bryan’s new album FTW – and tried to ignore the constant headwind. The good thing about the “breeze?” It made my thighs numb, so my quads didn’t feel anything until about mile 9. Oh, I didn’t mention that? Yeah, the course was relatively hilly, too. Nothing like Nashville, but still.

Despite the chilly weather, quiet crowd support and hills to conquer, I was having the time of my life. My body felt great, I knew I was running at a good clip and I was just happy to be there. I popped Clif shot blocks at miles 6, 8 and 10 and attempted to drink water while running at every other stop. At mile 10, I flipped the pace option on to see where I stood, and realized I could PR. Game on.

dustin post-race

Around mile 11, my legs started to protest. Throughout the race, different songs kept me feeling strong because they brought up awesome memories with friends – “Never See Your Face Again” by Maroon 5, for example, reminded me of my recent visit in Iowa with Karla, when we drooled over Adam Levine – so I cranked up those tunes again. About a half-mile later, my app chirped in saying I was picking up the pace. While my legs didn’t want to go faster, I was hungry for more. So I channeled Abby’s voice in my head and kept chanting, “It’s supposed to hurt. You’re supposed to be uncomfortable. Keep pushing. This is worth it.”

Let me tell you, it worked.

Despite the terrible headwind and last final hill from 12.75-13.0 (thanks, race directors), I sprinted my little legs out and really raced the last 5K. Finally, I rounded the last corner and spotted the finish line. With one final kick, I gave it all I had and heard my name announced as I crossed with a 2-minute PR attached to my name.

Oh, that person about two steps behind me? I had no idea they were there until medal was in hand and a space blanket was being wrapped around me. Oops.

Race the Runways was a fun, small race that I would recommend to anyone looking for a no-frills race. It was cool running on the airport runway, but let me tell you – do not underestimate the wind. I counted my lucky stars that most of my training runs happened by the water, so I was already used to facing a headwind. Mix in a little hill training, and you’re set to go.

2:04.01 is my new half-marathon PR and I couldn’t be happier in this moment. While I’m going to continue to ride the runner’s high, I have one thing mingling in the back of my mind:  sub-2, I’m gunning for you next month.

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Racing Through The Year

One of the items on my bucket list is to run a half-marathon in every state before I’m 30. I’ve run five already, and to stay on track, I hope to run six in 2013. I told you I would share the races I had my eye on soon, and there’s no time like the present! Before we get to it, though, let’s recap what states I’ve already covered 13.1 miles in (you can find all of my recaps here):

  1. New York, New York – FITNESS/MORE half-marathon
  2. San Francisco, California – Nike Women’s half-marathon
  3. Washington, D.C. – Run Rock ‘n’ Roll USA half-marathon
  4. Nashville, Tennessee – Run Rock ‘n’ Roll Country Music half-marathon
  5. Orlando, Florida – Disney World Wine and Dine half-marathon

So I’m not headed to any races in those states this year. Instead, here’s where I’ve already registered to run:

  • Long Branch, New Jersey – Long Branch half-marathon on May 5. I’m currently building my base with the Lululemon run club and am hoping to break sub-2. Can you say speed work? 

2010 Logo_New Jersey Marathon

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Run Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia half-marathon on September 15. I’m hoping I can convince my brother to run this one with me, since he’s currently living in Philly. But he’s a med student, so I’m not sure how feasible it is for him to squeeze in training the same year as his rotations. Fingers crossed, though! 

11-RnR-PHI-Logo-RGB1

las-vegas-rock-n-roll-half-marathon

Other races that I have in my schedule, though I’m not registered for yet:

  • Des Moines, Iowa – Des Moines half-marathon on October 20. Running again with Karla! This year is the year of running for us – yay for running buddies, despite being in different states! 
  • Manchester, New Hampshire – Manchester half-marathon on November 3 (tentative). The official race date hasn’t been announced, but this would be an easy race for me to get to and the course goes right by my aunt’s house!

So I’m in need of one, possibly two more races this year (in case I don’t do Manchester). Any suggestions? Because of my budget, I’m looking to tackle some of the states closer to home, with a few that require more travel (Des Moines, Vegas). I was hoping to do one in March, but the only one in a new state that I’ve found so far sold out too fast! Any ideas for the early side of 2013 would be much appreciated 🙂

And there ya have it! My running race calendar for 2013. I’m also hoping to run Reach the Beach and complete the RAGBRAI bike race, so it’s definitely going to be a full year.

But you tell me: what races are you gearing up for?

13 for 2013

Now that January is basically over, I guess it’s about time I share my goals for the year. I always wait until the ninth to finalize them in my head – it’s my lucky number and I believe it allows time for the “OMG, it’s the new year, let’s make all these crazy resolutions right now” hype to die down a smidge. Now that it’s the end of the month, and according to multiple statistics, most people have already given up on their resolutions, I’ll share mine. Spread some more optimism.

1. Do more yoga. I believe that I went to yoga all of 10 times in 2012. I’m not kidding. Instead of me setting some crazy goal of going from zero to twice a week like I did last year, let’s just try to do more than I did in 2012. If I manage to stretch myself out 11 times this year, I’ll deem this one a success.

2. Be able to do 20 push-ups in a row. Bringing it back because I really want to do this one. I’m ready for buff biceps. And I just want my entire upper body to look nice.

3. Run a sub-2 half-marathon. Another goal from last year, but I’m so much closer to crossing this off the list than I was then. My current PR is 2:06.41, and I’m ready to train hard and slash 6+ minutes off my time. Goal race to make it happen: New Jersey half-mary with team Lululemon in May. Here we go!

sneakers

4. Participate in the first Manhattan Relay for Life. It’ll be my seventh Relay, but the first in the city I now call home. And the first in Manhattan, ever. I’m on the planning committee to help make this big dream a reality and I could not be more excited. My mom will be celebrating her 50th birthday this year, which makes this Relay even more special to me and my family. Get ready, folks, there are some great fundraisers in the works and I would love to see you.

5. Run in a relay race. I’m already starting to make this one happen with Abby and a bunch of other fabulous ladies who plan on running Reach the Beach in Massachusetts this May. It’s 12 days after that goal half-mary, so I’m hoping to be in prime running shape to do my fair share of running legs. But more importantly, I’m excited to have fun with 11 other run-crazy women, crammed in a van for 24 hours. Doesn’t that sound like a great time?

6. Run six half-marathons this year. One of my big life goals is to run a half-marathon in every state before I’m 30. I did the math at the end of last year, and in order to do that, I need to run six every year. Phewwwwwwie. It’s not impossible, but it’s a jump for me. I’ve done five half-marathons total, so jumping to six more in one year is a big leap. But I’m ready to take the plunge and will reveal which races I have my eye on soon.

race rack

7. Go on vacation at an all-inclusive resort. Dustin and I had the cruise experience and loved it, but now we want to check out another way to relax. We’ve been intrigued by the concept of all-inclusives for a while now, so let’s make it happen this year. We’re thinking about the Dominican Republic, but are open to other suggestions. Please share!

8. Pay off one student loan in full. I’ve paid off one loan completely and am on track to do it again soon. Ideally, I’d like to check this one off before the end of summer, but sometimes life gets in the way. I’ll be happy if it’s completed by December 31st.

9. Read two books per month. Last year I read one each month and you all know how much I loved it. I’m picking up the pace this year and will continue to get my knowledge on. For a quick recap of the books I devoured in 2012, click here.

10. Read my personal training certification books. This is separate from goal numero nine because I don’t consider text  books to be a part of my leisure reading. Nonetheless, I’m excited to bust these babies open and get back to studying.

11. Buy curtains. It might sound dumb, but I’ve been living in New York City for almost two years and I still don’t have them in my living room. 2013 is the year to purchase appropriate window fabric. 

windows

12. Finish a scrapbook. I used to make time for this little hobby o’ mine back in college, but it’s fallen to the wayside since graduation. I really enjoy making them, for myself and others, and think it’s a great way to package photos and memorabilia. I have one that’s been in the works since 2010 (eek!), so let’s aim to at least finish that one up.

13. Ride in RAGBRAI. What’s RAGBRAI, you ask? Oh, it’s just a bike ride that starts at one end of Iowa and ends on the other side. Karla, our co-worker, John, and I are gearing up for the race in July and I am pumped! Have I done a bike race before? Nope. Do I know anything about bikes? Not so much. But has that ever stopped me before? Not a chance. Remember, my first running race was a half-marathon. Go big or go home, right? (If anyone in NYC wants to teach me how to ride well, that would be great)

There ya have it, folks. 13 goals for 2013. Now it’s your turn: what goals have you set out to accomplish this year?

12 Photos for 2012

After I wrote about last year’s resolutions, I got a comment about how it still sounded like I accomplished a lot, even if it wasn’t what I originally planned to accomplish. I kept thinking about this and ya know what, that person was right. I knew I had a great year, and I wasn’t upset about the lack of accomplishment toward the goals I had set at the beginning of 2012. But when I wrote that post, I didn’t appreciate everything that I did  accomplish and experience.

So let’s give credit where it’s due. For me, 2012 was awesome. I experienced so many amazing things and crossed a lot off of my bucket list. Let’s take a look back on the last 12 months and every wonderful thing that happened.

January: I celebrated my three-year anniversary with Dustin. He’s a pretty cool guy, so it’s fun that he likes to stick around.

flowers

February: I danced the night away with Dustin and our friends from his hometown while one of his close friends, Cayla, tied the knot. We got a surprise the day of the wedding, too: she was pregnant! Now she has a beautiful little boy who is adorable and unbelievably well-behaved.

dance

March: Dustin and I traveled to Washington, D.C., where he watched me run a half-marathon for the first time. Oh, and I got an unexpected PR.

dc

April: After a lot of tears and a tough decision, I dropped from the full marathon distance and raced the half in Nashville. This was the first time my dad ever saw me race, and while it wasn’t even close to my best performance, I wouldn’t change any of it. I learned about leaving it all out on the road, and how to really push through to the finish line.

dad

Seeing Rodney Atkins in concert post-race was pretty cool, too. I got one of his guitar picks and a T-shirt. WIN.

May: A lot of fun things happened at work while we celebrated our 20th anniversary, like hanging out with a bunch of awesome bloggers and meeting Mia Hamm.

sam-and-mia-hamm

June: I surprised my mom for her 49th birthday, then returned home a few weeks later to participate in my sixth Relay for Life. I walked over 26 miles and helped raise over $78,000 for the American Cancer Society.

relay

At the end of June, I moved out of my old apartment and into a new one. During that same weekend, I drove 12 hours round-trip and danced the night away at another wedding. We are never packing that much stuff into one weekend again.

July: Dustin and I roadtripped it to Boston so I could go to Fenway for the first time! We crossed an item off the bucket list and caught a Red Sox vs. Yankees game.

fenway

At the end of the month, I hiked my first mountain with my brother!

August: I had a skin cancer scare and vowed to be better about my skin care.

frisbee

We also sent summer off with a bang at the annual Lefave summer party, where we raised money and collected toys and canned goods for local charities. Before that though, we saw Keith Urban in concert. Since he’s my favorite musician in the world, I could not have been happier.

September: Check another one off the list! Dustin and I went on our first cruise vacation and had a blast out in the Bahamas. 

cruise

The week after I came back from vacation, I hightailed it up to New Hampshire and had a girls weekend with my Aunt Sue, where we caught the opening show for Carrie Underwood’s Blown Away tour. Amazing.

October: Seriously, I dominated my bucket list this year. This month I  learned how to surf and went stand-up paddleboarding for the first time.

sup

I also threw my best friend a baby shower and found out I was officially named Kassidy’s godmother and guardian. #warmfuzzies

November: I flew down to Disney World for the Wine & Dine half-marathon – my first night race!. Despite my lack of training, I pushed through for a shiny new PR.

disney

I also celebrated my 23rd birthday, saw Wicked on Broadway, reunited with Karla, spent Thanksgiving upstate, and went back to my roots as a guest lecturer for creative writing and journalism students at SUNY Oswego.

December: I went to my first football game ever and saw the Bills actually win for once (note: I am not a Bills fan. That’s all Dustin. Go Pats!) I also ran the Race for Recovery 5K to raise funds for those affected by Hurricane Sandy, and got a new PR. A week later, I  ran my first 10K race on Roosevelt Island (I still owe you a race recap, I know).

christmas

Dustin and I also saw The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, sent out our first Christmas card together, traveled to visit a ton of family for the holidays, celebrated his 24th birthday and rang in the new year down in Chattanooga, TN with my dad, step-mom and step-brothers. Phew.

Like I said, 2012 was a great year! I have a feeling 2013 is going to be even sweeter.

Tell me about the cool things you did in 2012. Some might be over the nostalgic look-back-at-the-year stuff already, but I’m a sucker for it. Help a girl out. 

Disney Wine & Dine 2012 Half-Marathon Race Recap

At long last, my race cap for the 13.1 miles I ran through Disney World…at night!

Let’s rewind allllll the way back to November 9th. Dustin and I packed our bags and left freezing New York City (it was in the 40’s, so it wasn’t really freezing, but I had my winter coat on) and flew down to Orlando, getting in around noon so we had plenty of time to relax and hit up the expo. For a girl who isn’t a big fan of winter, the jump in temp was exactly what I needed!

We checked out the entire expo and while they had some great vendors there, there wasn’t much that sparked my personal interest. I was on the hunt for a pair of running sunglasses though, and managed to nab a pair for $30 – not bad! At least I’ll stop squinting when the sun decides to show itself for normal amounts of time again.

I also picked up an official race wine glass. I was a little disappointed that the glass wasn’t included in the goodie bag – I’ve done my research on wine-themed races and nearly every one gives you a glass and a bottle of wine, so I was let down. But it was only $10, so I happily handed over some cash to commemorate my fifth half-marathon.

We relaxed for the rest of the evening and eventually met up with my friend Lauren and her sister Kristen for dinner. Fun fact: Lauren and I met on my press trip for work (when I learned how to surf!) and became fast friends. After a lot of chatting, we found out we were both racing the Disney half (this was her first 13.1), so we knew we had to meet up! Since she’s from Tallahassee, FL and ventures around Orlando way more often than I do (read: I hadn’t been to Disney since I was 10), I let her take the reigns for dinner and dessert locales.

We ended up at Giordano’s, a great place known for its deep dish pizza. Um, holy yum. I had chicken parm and it was delicious. And just look at this pizza that Lauren and Kristen shared:

Yeah. That happened.

Oh, and we had frozen yogurt for dessert. Clearly. We popped by this place called Menchies – I must admit, its wide array of toppings and “swirl” option make it a serious contender against 16 Handles for top fro-yo spot in my heart. If only it were in NYC…

Dustin and I explored Downtown Disney on Saturday and hit up a movie in the afternoon so I could rest my legs. Since it was a night race, I didn’t want to do too much walking during the day. We decided not to spend the $90+ on theme park tickets because of this and just enjoyed the free marketplace. It was fun checking out all of the shops and I most definitely stopped by Ghirardelli for my free chocolate sample!

We said hi to Pooh, Tigger and Piglet, too. I mean, how could you not? Classics.

Then it was time to get ready! And by get ready, I mean have a pre-race dance party in my hotel room. By myself, since Dustin won’t dance. Lame.

And then we met up with Lauren and Kristen and meandered over to the race start. We had to get to the pre-race area three hours early if we wanted to catch the shuttle bus over, which was a little ridiculous if you ask me. But Disney did a great job of keeping everything organized and everyone entertained. Lots of music, dancing and people in costume. And tons of porta potties for people to use. The lines still ended up being really long, but that’s to be expected with such a huge race. At least the runners were courteous and moved in and out quickly!

Fortunately, we were in the first corral so we didn’t have to wait a long time once everyone was ready to begin. But about a half-hour before the race began, Dustin shot me a text message with seriously disappointing news:

Race directors won’t let me on the course. No spectators allowed, except for at start and finish. If I try to sneak on, I won’t be able to get back to the finish.

Um, what?!

In case you missed it, I didn’t really train all that well for this race. My longest run prior to race day was 7 miles and I was mentally relying on seeing Dustin at key points in the race to keep my head in the game. I didn’t remember this little tid bit of information being advertised anywhere, so when we got the news, I was a little more than upset. I mean, crowd support is a key component to a race!

After a few minutes of pouting, I sucked it up and decided I would just keep running as much as I could and be OK with whatever happened. If I had to walk then I would walk, but no bitching out. Run as much as you can.

Needless to say, I felt awesome throughout the race and my splits have never been so on point. After the first 5K, I made it a goal to stay around a 9:20-9:30 pace for the entire race, which is where I felt uncomfortably comfortable. If I felt really good, I would ramp up the speed at the end, but no pressure. I was not aiming for a PR.

The minimal crowd support was extremely discouraging, in my opinion, and I really had to rely on myself and focus to keep up my pace. My legs felt great, which helped a ton, but there was barely anyone on the course. A few spectators were out (I believe they were volunteers), but most were silently holding signs and not cheering (I must say though, that the Lululemon cheer squad was great and they got a huge smile out of me with their sign that read, “Is that a Gu in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” BEST SIGN EVER). There were Disney characters around every mile, but it just wasn’t enough to get me psyched about being in Disney. It was cool to run through portions of the park after hours, especially through the Festival of Lights, but most of the race was on back roads and highways, making it no different than a typical long run – except that I knew I would get a shiny medal at the end.

Around mile 8, my legs really started to feel it. But when I looked down at my watch and saw my splits were still consistent, my mind was blown. I realized if I kept pushing it, I could PR. I was starting to slow down, so I pulled out a shot blok and my phone – where I saw a bunch of encouraging text messages from my mom, aunt and Dustin. He was keeping tabs on me with runner tracking and calculating my finish time, so with  his encouragement, I decided then that I was going for the PR.

Nailed it! My legs were screaming by the end, and I had to convince myself not to slow down or walk when it wasn’t necessary, but I powered through and PR’d by about 30 seconds, finishing in 2:06.41. Success!

I’ve never been more proud of the consistency in my splits:

Mile 1 – 9:26

Mile 2 – 9:29

Mile 3 – 9:27

Mile 4 – 9:24

Mile 5 – 9:34

Mile 6 – 9:20

Mile 7 – 9:29

Mile 8 – 10:07 (Walked to take in Gu and fumbled with my phone. Eep)

Mile 9 – 10:02

Mile 10 – 9:36

Mile 11 – 10:11 (Now my legs can tell I didn’t run more than 7 miles before this)

Mile 12 – 10:06

Mile 13: 9:40

Mile 13 – 13.1 – 8:36

Lauren and Kristen both KILLED it and finished under two hours! I have some speedy friends and hope to join the sub-2 world soon.

We met up with Dustin, changed and headed over to the Food & Wine Festival over at Epcot. We grabbed some food at Greece, explored the whole festival and closed down the place at 4am. I continued to get 45 minutes of sleep (yes, you read that right) before Dustin and I checked out of our hotel and drove to the airport to catch our flight back home. It’s safe to say I passed out as soon as I was in my seat.

My final thoughts on the race? I wasn’t expecting to PR, but I grabbed one, so I really am impressed and content with my results. I went in with no expectations, which seems to be when I have my best races. I like night races. I walked a little, but I’m fine with it. If I actually trained for this, I think I could’ve gone sub-2. Oh well. Fingers crossed for the next one.

And my thoughts on this race in general: If you’re a big runner and a fan of Disney, I definitely think you should do one of their races. But I don’t understand all of the hype, nor do I get why people spend a ton of money to run in each one. I’m glad I experienced a Disney race, but I won’t be signing up for another one anytime soon.

Have you run a Disney race? Do you think it’s worth the price? Am I missing something? If you ran the Wine and Dine, tell me how you did! 

Why, Hello There

Wow, I’m such a good blogger – I leave you with some books to read, head off to the Bahamas on my first cruise vacation and don’t return for two months! I’ll just say I wanted to give you some space so you had time to read all of those great books I suggested, mmk? Yeah, that’s totally what happened.

Well, since Hurricane Sandy is raging and about to wreak havoc all over NYC, let’s look at some happy, beachy pictures from my vacation. We can all imagine that we’re there, instead of hunkered on the couch watching reruns of Gossip Girl, Boy Meets World and Friends (Don’t say it’s just me).

That was nice, right? Anyway, in the last two months I’ve done a lot of fun things and managed to cross a few items off of my bucket list! Dustin and I absolutely loved our cruise vacation. We went through Royal Caribbean’s line and were on their Majesty of the Seas ship. While it’s one of their older ships, it’s still quite nice. They had tons of entertainment throughout the day, great workout facilities and food available at any hour of the day.

If you’re looking to save some dough while on a cruise, definitely book a state room on the lower levels of the ship. You don’t get a view from your room, but it doesn’t matter – we were only there to sleep, so I really didn’t care about whether or not I could see the ocean from my bed. I was outside dipping my toes in the water instead! And if you’re one of those who needs complete darkness for a good night’s sleep, these rooms are perfect.

We hit three islands on our trip – Nassau, Coco Cay and Key West – and each one was beautiful with a lot of sporty activities. Dustin and I went to Atlantis in Nassau and walked a lot, exploring the aquariums and beach. We went jet skiing, swam in the crystal clear ocean and played with star fish in Coco Cay, and then we walked nearly the entire island of Key West so I could show Dustin all of the fun sights I relished the first time I visited that island – the Southernmost Point, Hemingway House, Sloppy Joe’s and, of course, the beach.

I swear we actually rode this in the water.

I dove straight into a container of conch fritters when we were in Key West, too. They may be fried, but man, my taste buds missed those delicious pieces of heaven.

The other bucket list item I crossed off my list – learning how to surf! I recently spent four days in North Carolina’s Crystal Coast and managed to ride the waves. OK, I only rode one, but I learned so much. Surfing is such a cool, interesting sport that really teaches you to respect the waves. Be sure to check out The Fit Stop soon for all the details!

This is a bit of a random post, I know, but at least you’re caught up on the big things that happened while I was away. I’ll be back tomorrow – there’s a race I’m supposed to tackle in 12 days and I’m ready to spill all of the details!