Merry Christmas! & Weekly Update – 12/22

Merry christmas

Merry Christmas!

Merry (belated) Christmas ya’ll! This was a week of a ton of family, a ton of food and only one workout. Sometimes your soul needs restful time.


After work we had the first of many Christmas celebrations! Monday was the annual Chesson Family Dinner (my stepdad’s family).  My mom always hosts, and we find a way to cram 25 people in her house.

baby mercy

Baby Mercy didn’t cry when I held her!



After work, Michael and I celebrated Christmas at my dad’s house with my brother and his fiance, Dad, Patty, Grace, and my in-laws. We do an ugly ornament exchange every year and I think the one I received takes the cake for the worst ever!

ugly ornament

Ew. So ugly.

They spoiled me rotten this year – I got 4 pair of Injinji socks, a yoga bag and a bunch of other stuff.  I have to say, my 13 y.0. stepsister is fantastic at picking out gifts!


Christmas Eve – I had to work a half day.  I convinced my boss to let me work from home, which was lovely.  I headed over to my mom’s house so that we could open presents with my stepsisters and their significant others.  I always love spending time at my mom’s house on Christmas.

Engaged ornament

Sweet ornament from my sister!

All the siblings left, and Michael and I hung at mom’s for awhile. We went to Christmas Eve service with my mom and Ken.


We spent the morning of Christmas Day by ourselves, opening presents.  Michael was sweet and got me some wonderful gifts.  He loved the gifts that I got him too.  It was great just to have some downtime with each other.

BMW gloves

Michael loved his BMW driving gloves!

We then went down to Elizabeth City to see his parents, brother and aunt.  We had a late lunch and opened presents. We got his mom a KitchenAid, and the look on her face was priceless!

We headed back to my mom’s later to see her and Ken for Christmas day.


Although work was open, Michael and I took a vacation day. Friday was a day of total relaxation….sleeping in, movie watching, eating, and just basically being a sloth!


I woke up and got to my workout with Danny.  Since this was my first workout in a week and I was feeling a bit under the weather, we took it easy. We did a lot of stretching and stability work.

Saturday afternoon, Michael and I went to return some Christmas gifts, exchange some and spend gift cards.  We also went to Men’s Wearhouse and picked out the suits for the wedding!


We went to church in the AM, and then had a pretty lazy day.  I cleaned up the house a bit from the insanity of the last week.

How was your Christmas week? Do you have a million Christmas celebrations, or is it pretty low key?

Surfin Santa 5 Miler Recap!


So apparently I’ve been getting the name of the race wrong.  It’s Surf N Santa! But I’m still gonna call it Surfin Santa, cause once you get the name wrong, you gotta own it, right?

Packet Pick-up/Expo

Since this was a “twilight” race that started at 4:30pm, packet pickup was same day from 12-4pm.  I like race day pick-up in general, so I was ok with the concept.  They suggested getting there early, because pick-up would be crowded from 2-4pm – which makes total sense, people run late by nature.

Fiance dropped me off at 1:11.  By 1:15, I had all my stuff…so I then had 3 hours to sit around and do nothing.  If I had to do it again, I would have planned to get there around 3pm.

Everything was super efficient, J&A races are always very well organized.  The expo was small compared to some of their bigger races like Shamrock.  I didn’t really spend much time in there.

Race Day Conditions/Attire

I knew it was going to be a cold one….FINALLY, a cold race! Temps were in the upper 30s, but since it was a night race, there was no sun to warm you up.

I opted for my Under Armor running tights that I LOVE with all my heart.  I wore a long sleeved technical shirt, and in a last minute wonderful decision, I opted for a vest.  It was just what I needed to keep my trunk warm, but without all the extra fabric to get me too overheated.


Everyone hung out in the convention center and I can’t say I blame them…it was a bit chilly out.  They did a great job of announcing to the crowd that there were more bathrooms available with shorter lines.  I really appreciated that.

I got to see friends!!!! I got to see Christy and Phil – a couple from work.  Christy is our Wellness Director. Then I ran into my friend Becca from college.  I tend to run into her at local races.  Its always a great surprise.  She just got engaged and I got to meet her fiance!  I was really focused on finding a few friends of mine from college and ran into them by chance.  Laura and I were on worship team together, and Jessica and I were in a  bible study together.  They brought another friend with them that I’ve never met.

I ended up losing all of them when I took my last  bathroom break, so I just headed out to my corral.

Race Time

The corrals were very well organized as always. I found Laura, Jessica and their friend (whose name escapes me!).  Let’s call her Jill.  Laura and Jessica wanted to take it easy and told Jill to run with me.

Jill and I set out at a nice comfortable pace around 11:15 min/miles. Mile 1 flew by without an issue.  Mile 2 brought the first water stop and the turn around onto the boardwalk.  The lights were fantastic.

I hung with her really well till about 3.5 miles.  My left hip flexor had started to irritate me and I couldn’t get it to stretch out or warm up.  I lost her after the last water stop.

The last mile and a half was rough without my partner, but I hung in there.  The last half mile or so was pretty dark and made me a little nervous.

I finished at 1:03:49. Since this was my first 5-miler, it was technically a PR, but even my worst 8k time (running) was 1:01:39. Oh well.  Still a PR!  🙂

After Party

J&A after parties are always fan-freakin-tastic. They had a chicken and corn chowder, which was to die for. Sam Adams provided the beer – so I got to enjoy a nice winter lager.  The band was great and most importantly, the party was inside and cozy warm!

I love this race and I’ll definitely plan on it again next year!

Have you ever done a twilight race? What is the best post-race food you’ve ever had?

Weekly Update – 12/15

Pretty uneventful week other than the Surfin Santa 5 miler.  Can’t wait to share that recap with you!


We had another “Christmas” yoga session, something I’ve really begun to love! Christmas music, Christmas lights, AND yoga?! Amazing.

So my gym has what they call the “Mind and Body” studio where yoga, pilates and abs classes (and a few others) are held.  We walked in last night and they added bars all around the room.  Perhaps they are going to add a Barre class?

For anyone who practices yoga, you’ll realize that this makes it more difficult to practice inversions, as oftentimes you use the wall for support.  Sigh.  I guess time will tell what the bars are for!


Danny night!  I think his goal was to make my butt hurt the next day.  He succeeded!

First Round (5x):

1. 200 meter row

2. TRX rows (10)

Second Round (3x):

1. SA Suitcase Deadlifts (10 each side)

2. Diagonal lunges (50 meters)


My mom had her annual Ornament Exchange where we play Dirty Santa.  I ended up getting the ornament I wanted! 🙂


Danny.  I was DEAD tired.  I stayed up way too late on Wednesday night, then had to be at work an hour early. I was also incredibly sore from Tuesday.  I don’t know why it kicked my butt so bad, but it did!

As many rounds of this as possible in 30 min (hint: only 2!):

*Do all of the exercises on your right side, then all exercises on your left.  That counts as one round.*

1. SA Cleans? I can’t remember (10)

2. Plank – :15

3. SA Bent over row (10)

4. Right side plank – :15

5. SL step ups (10)

6. Left side plank – :15


All the rest in all the world was had.  It was a crazy week!


Surfin Santa 5 Miler!  Recap to come!


Church in the morning, then had a pretty lazy afternoon.  We went to Belmont House of Smoke (BBQ place) for a work dinner in the evening.

Upcoming Christmas Race

This Saturday, I will be running the Surfin’ Santa 5 miler.  It’ll be my first “twilight” race, as it starts at 4pm.  I’m excited at the prospect of a race that is not in the morning, since I’m not a morning person, but I’m a little unsure how to fuel properly for this race.

The course will take through the Christmas lights at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.  Christmas and running combined?! What could be better? I’m really excited about this one.  I love running new races!

I am nervous about the weather.  We are supposed to get rain on Saturday night and its supposed to be in the low 40s.  Yuck.  I’ve been so beyond lucky, that I’ve never run a race in rain.  Its rained right before, and right after, but never during the race.

Also important to note: this is my first 5 miler! I’ve done plenty of 8ks, which we all know are basically a 5 miler, but not actually (4.97)! So technically, whatever time I get will be a PR!

Any tips on how to fuel for a night-time race? Any tips for racing in the rain?

Weekly Update – 12/8


Yoga.  We did a little more of a restorative class, which was lovely. Jaye turned off all the lights and lit class with just Christmas lights, and we listened to Christmas music.  New favorite way to practice yoga!!!!


Four Rounds:

1. Cable machine row and squat (15)

2. Goblet jump squats (10 each side)

3. Weighted hip hinge (10)


No workout for me on Wednesday. Michael and I left straight from work to go to a Christmas party thrown by one of our vendors.  Got to love free food and drinks!  I got to meet some of his former co-workers from Regent University and they are all fantastic.


Workout with Danny!

First Round (3x?):

1. Power Rangers** (10 each side)

2. Windmills(5 each side)

3. Wide stance inchworm with pushup (5)

Second Round (3x):

1. SA KB Squat and press (12 each side)

2. Medicine Ball overhead slams (8)

3. High Pulls with a jump (4)

**I don’t know what these are called, its just what I call them.  Wide stance, and you use a resistance band and make a half circle with your arms, and come back down.


Rest. Sleep. Watch Christmas movies.  I didn’t care.  After the week I had at work, I just wanted to not think.  Michael knew I had a crappy week and he brought me roses!!! He’s so sweet.

We hung out for awhile and watched a weird Jared Leto movie called “Mr. Nobody.”


Danny!  Did some warm up stuff then did as many rounds as we could in 15 minutes.  Because we talk too much, we only got 2x through and the second time we cut the reps in half.  Oops! The first time through we did 10 reps, the second time through, only 5.

1. SA right side Dumb bell floor press (10)

2. SA right side Dumb bell row in push-up position (10)

3. SA right side RDLs (10)

4. SA right side snatch (10)

5. Jump Rope – 1 minute

6. SA left side Dumb bell floor press (10)

7. SA left side Dumb bell row in push-up position (10)

8. SA left side RDLs (10)

9. SA left side snatch (10)

10. Jump Rope – 1 minute

After my workout, I got a shower and Michael and I finished up the last of the Christmas shopping!  We watched Christmas with the Kranks, which is a fantastic movie 🙂


Church in the morning.  I had so much yard work to do that I had been putting off, and because it was a nice day, I decided to suck it up and get it done.  I pulled all the dead stuff out of the flower beds, now my house looks SO MUCH BETTER.  Then I raked and bagged the backyard.

Finished the night off by catching up on some TV shows I had recorded and wrapped Christmas presents.

Current Obsessions

So I go through phases were I become obsessed with a CD or a food, or a TV show.  I will do nothing but focus on those things.  I wanted to share with you a few of my obsessions right now:



1. Pentatonix – I am listening to their two Christmas albums on repeat.  All day.  My poor coworkers have probably heard their rendition of “White Winter Hymnal” about 15 times today.  And me singing harmony to it.

These are my go -to snack

These are my go -to snack

2. Oats and Dark Chocolate granola bars by Nature Valley – I could eat them all day.

yoga stretch all the things

3. Yoga – I LOVE yoga right now.

hex bar deadlift

This is not me lol


4. Hex-Bar Deadlifts – I’m still learning proper form for lifting, and the hex bar deadlift is my current favorite exercise.  Plus I feel pretty awesome when I lift around 100 lbs.

Women's Chunky-Knit Infinity Scarves - CREAM

Everyone needs one of these


5. My Old Navy Scarves – I think I wear my huge Old Navy scarves almost every day.  My dad even asked me why I wear them all the time.  Um, cause they are awesome?

6.  Christmas everything – Christmas music, decorating, shopping, wrapping, cheesy Hallmark movies…I love Christmas.

elf smiling

7. Elf – I cannot get enough of this movie. I watched it two nights in a row.

What are some of your favorite things right now?  What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Race Volunteers

I want to take a minute to thank anyone out there who has volunteered to work a race…and apologize for all the times you aren’t thanked!

Race Volunteers – thank you for:

– Holding out freezing cold cups of water and not getting upset when I accidentally spill it on you when I fail to grab it

– Making sure I stay on course

– Encouraging me…you seem to know exactly when I need it most

– Giving me food and water at the end of the race – I may not be cooherent when I take them from you, but know that I’m thankful

-Handing out that precious medal! Major props if you put it around my neck for me

-Handing out my race packet and not being upset when I’m grumpy with you from waiting in line

-Getting up early and standing for hours on end

-Letting the runners be selfish and giving of yourself without recognition

-Standing out in the hot/cold/rain to take care of the runners

-Keeping my stuff safe at gear check

-And so much more!!!

Races would be nothing without the race volunteers and the race organizers.  I think so often we complain about the negative things about the races, and don’t often think of all the hours of work that went into the things that went right!

My goal for 2015 is to volunteer at a race.  I haven’t decided what race yet, but I would really love to be involved in that way.

Have you ever volunteered at a race?  What do you most appreciate from race volunteers?