2014 – First Half Marathon, Engagement and Life Lessons!

2014 was a fantastic year for me! I hope all of you feel the same way.  I think its really important to reflect on the year and focus on the positive!

January

I hadn’t started this blog yet, but it was brewing in my mind!  I started my training for my first half marathon!

February

I began this blog! It was one of the best decisions I’ve made.  I have loved the community that I’ve found with you guys! Its nearly impossible to articulate how encouraging each one of you is!

Michael and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together and he spoiled me rotten.

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Its so beautiful!

 

March

I ran my first half marathon – Shamrock! Not only did I run my first half, but I completed the Dolphin Challenge by doing the 8k and Half Marathon in the same weekend. It was such a rewarding experience.

Celebratory beer and 8k medal

Celebratory beer and 8k medal

My race bling!

My race bling!

Michael and I celebrated our 6 month anniversary.

We know we are obnoxiously in love and we don't care! :)

We know we are obnoxiously in love and we don’t care! 🙂

Pretty roses!

Pretty roses!

We also went to see comedian Gabriel Iglesias!

At the Gabriel Iglesias show!

April

April was my favorite month this year!

Michael and I went to Florida and I got to go to Key West for the first time!

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Sunset Cruise in Key West

 

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Key West Sunset

 

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Sunset Cruise in Key West

 

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Pool in Orlando

 

Beautiful flowers from Michael!

Beautiful flowers from Michael!

Hotel in Orlando

Hotel in Orlando

The water was so clear and warm

The water was so clear and warm

On April 19th, Michael proposed!

Happy!

Happy!

The ring!

The ring!

On April 21st, I celebrated my 27th birthday.

Michael's parents

May

In May, I ran the Chickfila 5k and logged my worst 5k time ever due to major sinus issues! But the Chickfila sandwich at the end totally made up for it.

June

I bought my wedding dress in June and did lots of other wedding things!

say yes to the dress

I said yes to the dress!

 

July

In July, I fell out of love with running, then made a re-commitment to get my act together for my fall races.

August

I started to focus a lot on a balance of different types of workouts and came up with a killer workout schedule that I kinda kept to….

September

September brought a lot of anxiety and stress, but also brought things like my 1 year anniversary and a great anniversary trip.

cape charles 2

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cape charles

October

October was a busy month.

I ran my second half marathon – Crawlin Crab.  I did both the 5k and the half marathon for the Shell Yeah Challenge.  I learned a hard lesson about proper fueling when I bonked early.

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Allyson and I after the 5k

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After the half!

 

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Shell Yeah Challenge bling!

Michael and I took a mini vacation to the mountains and got our engagement pictures taken.

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engagement

Later in the month, I ran the Wicked 10k.

wicked 10k 2014

Wicked 10k 2014

 

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I’m such a cheeseball.

 

November

In November, I ran my third half marathon – Harbor Lights.  I was very pleased with my mental fortitude during this race as well as my fueling plan!

My AWESOME friend Diane who totally kicked butt!

My AWESOME friend Diane who totally kicked butt!

 

harbor lights finisher

Harbor Lights!

 

 

Hollie is a pro at taking pics!

Hollie is a pro at taking pics!

December

Who doesn’t love December?!

I ran my first 5-miler at the Surfin Santa. It was also my first twilight race.

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Then of course, Christmas with my dear family and friends.

Merry christmas

Engaged ornament

 

2014 was a great year and 2015 promises to be ever more incredible!  Happy New Year everyone!

 

 

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October Vacation + Engagement Pictures

After Crawlin Crab on Sunday, I was so ready for a relaxing week off! My stress levels have been pretty high recently, and this vacation couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

Monday

I dragged my butt out of bed for my mani/pedi appointment.  Once I arrived at the salon, I was surprised to find out that the salon had been repossessed by the bank! I really needed my nails done before our engagement shots on Tuesday.  I had my haircut at 11:30, and thankfully she has a nail person that was able to do my nails on such short notice!  Mom and I even got a chance to go out to lunch together.  It was a great recuperation day after the half.

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Pretty nails!

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My feet actually look pretty for once!

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New haircut 🙂

 

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Lunch at JoJacks with my momma!

Tuesday

Michael and I got up on Tuesday morning to head off to vacation.

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Yes I used a filter. No shame in my game.

Our first stop was in Richmond to get my ring cleaned and shop for wedding bands at TIFFANY’S!

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Aren’t we so cute?!

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Like a kid in a candy shop!

We then headed up to Orange to check into our hotel and get ourselves ready for our engagement pictures.  We had our pictures taken at Carter Mountain Orchard by the fabulous Katelyn James Photography.  You can check out the rest of our pictures here.  Despite some rain that forced us to find a secondary location, it was a fantastic time!

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Wednesday

On Wednesday, we got up and drove into Charlottesville,VA. We went to a few wineries and did some shopping.  It was a great day 🙂

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Country traffic jam.

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Horton Vineyards

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Horton Vineyards

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Trump Winery

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Trump Winery

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Trump Winery

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Jefferson Vineyards

 

Thursday

Thursday was a more relaxed day.  We had breakfast and then sat outside at the hotel and did some reading and relaxing.  Later in the afternoon we headed toward Culpepper and went to two Greek vineyards. We had been to Mediterranean cellars before, but Molon Lave was a last minute decision and we LOVED it.  We even bought a bottle of wine and came back to the hotel and sat out to watch the sunset.

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View from the back porch of the hotel

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Our sunset picnic with Vidal Blanc from Molon Lave!

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Look at this cutie!

 

Friday

On Friday, we headed to Stuarts Draft to visit my stepsister and her husband.  We went to Barren Ridge for our last wine tasting of the trip.

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Rob, Cristina, Michael and me at Barren Ridge

Later that night, we went into Staunton to have dinner with some of Michael’s friends.

Saturday

This was our last day, we got up pretty early to head home, since we had a work picnic that afternoon.  The weather got a little rough once we got there, so we didn’t stay long, but it was a fun time.

Sunday

Had church in the morning on Sunday, then got a lot done around the house and just caught up after being gone on vacation.  I had dinner with my Dad, stepmom and stepsister, and my future brother in law even came with me.  It was a great week and a nice relaxing weekend to wrap up the week.

 

Do you like going to wineries? How was your weekend?

Anniversary Weekend

Sunday, September 21st, was the 1 year anniversary of my first date with Michael! And in true romantic fashion, he planned a weekend away for us. He did tell me we were going away, but wouldn’t tell me where we were going.

We left after work on Friday, got Chipotle for dinner and got on the road. He had given me a few hints throughout the week that led me to knowing we were going to the Eastern Shore…then that Friday morning he told me where we were going. We ended up at Cape Charles, a small beach town just over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge onto the Eastern Shore.

Although I’ve been up and down the Eastern Shore my whole life, I’ve never been to Cape Charles.  We stayed at a quaint little bed and breakfast facing the Chesapeake Bay.

We got up on Saturday morning, had breakfast then decided to take a drive around the town.  After exploring via vehicle for a while, we parked the car back at the B&B and took off on foot.  We went to a few little quaint shops then had lunch at a coffeehouse.  After walking around for little while, we got some ice cream 🙂

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Breakfast time!

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A sweet older couple took this picture of us 🙂

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How cute!

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I’m a cheeseball.

 

We decided to go to a cute little seafood restaurant called The Shanty.  We had to wait for awhile, but the food was good! We got some wonderful pictures of the sunset while we were waiting.

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We got up Sunday morning, had breakfast and then got on the road.  Sunday was spent being lazy at home and just enjoying each other’s company.  What a wonderful weekend 🙂

 

Do you like surprise trips? Have you ever been to a bed and breakfast?

One year away!

Let the countdown begin!!!! Oh wait, I’ve already been counting down….Ya’ll, I’m getting married a year from TODAY, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Wedding planning has been slightly stressful thus far, and there is a TON more ahead of me, but thankfully, I have the really big things out of the way and done! Here’s a bit of a sneak peek:

Venue – We’ll be getting married at my alma mater: Christopher Newport University (CNU)!

Catering – CNU will be doing the catering and its gonna be oh so yummy!

Photographer – The amazing and fantastic Katelyn James (now Katelyn Alsop) will be capturing our big day.  I am so beyond excited to have her!  Katelyn and I have known each other for almost 10 years and I have seen her business grow over the years.  She and I were on worship team together in college and she is such a beautiful soul.

DJ/Lights – My friend Eric will be my DJ and do our lighting for the wedding.  He is starting his own business: Surf and Sound Events, and we are so excited to support this new chapter in his life.

I have an appointment to try on dresses at the end of the month!  I’m not normally a super girly girl, but I totally will be that day.  I’m excited 🙂 I don’t have any preconceived notions of finding THE DRESS the first time I go, but hey, maybe I’ll get lucky!

I’m excited about all the things that go into the wedding day, but I’m so much more excited to start my life with Michael.  This year will certainly be a test of patience. I’m trying so hard to enjoy this season of life…you aren’t engaged forever, after all!

What things in your life are you counting down to? Are you a good planner, or does planning stress you out?

 

Weekly Update

Monday

So even though Monday was my birthday, I really wanted nothing more than to go to yoga class.  After the chaos (although it was amazing) of the weekend, I wanted some “me” time 🙂 Class was just as relaxing and amazing as I’d hoped!

Tuesday

Danny night.  We are working on stretching.  This workout was all about hip mobility.

1. Hamstring walks, wall sit (x2)

2. Squats, wall sit (x2)

3. Walking Lunges, wall sit (x2)

4. 5 yoga pushups on bosu ball, 10 supine hip hinges each side (x2)

Wednesday

Rest day.  Fiance and I looked at our first venue option!

Thursday

Danny night. We worked mostly on shoulder mobility. We did what will become my new warmup:

1. Hamstring walks, wall sit, 5 yoga pushups (x1)

2. Squats, wall sit, 5 yoga pushups (x1)

3. Walking Lunges, wall sit, 5 yoga pushups (x1)

We did 3 rounds of the following:

1. 15 double kettlebell clean and press (12 lbs)

2. 10 (each side) kettlebell rows in push up position (20 lbs)

Friday 

Rest day.  Got to hang out with the fiance and dream about wedding planning! We came up with a  budget…yikes!

Saturday

Danny and I have a bunch of sessions to make up from all the snowstorms we had this winter, my vacation, sickness, etc.  We are adding a Saturday session for a few weeks!

Did my normal warmup:

1. Hamstring walks, wall sit, 5 yoga pushups (x1)

2. Squats, wall sit, 5 yoga pushups (x1)

3. Walking Lunges, wall sit, 5 yoga pushups (x1)

We did some stretches and foam rolling for some tightness in my back.  We did a lot of other stretching that I honestly can’t remember right now.  I’m horrible at documenting!

Michael and I spent some time walking around CNU (my alma mater) because it is a potential wedding site.  We had dinner with my friend Sara and her husband Matt.  Later on, our friends Sarah and Chris joined us.  The girls gave me lovely birthday presents and some wedding planning stuff – magazines galore!!!

Sunday

Church in the morning. Had lunch with my old college roommate, Erin.  Michael and I walked around CNU again since the weather was so lovely 🙂

Do you have a certain warmup that you like to do? What did you do this week?

Weekly Update

This was the first full week of being on a food log.  Danny has me using My Fitness Pal.  Its pretty easy to use.  I know I don’t eat the best I should, but I hope I’m not doing too abysmal!

Monday

Finally! Back to yoga class! We spent the last four weeks (I was on vacation and missed 2 weeks) working on balance, now we have transitioned into some strength movements.  My hamstrings were on fire from doing yardwork this past weekend, so it seemed like everything we did hurt them.  I had some discomfort in my left ankle while holding Warrior 2 pose, so I’ll need to pay attention to that.  Words cannot describe how much I’m coming to love this class 🙂

 

Tuesday

Danny night.  Basically, welcome to torture! 🙂 We did a 3-2-1 workout (3 min, 2 min, 1 min) two times, paying close attention to form over speed.

Exercises for 3 minutes:

1st minute: High pulls to goblet squats (20 lb kettlebell)

2nd minute: Kettlebell swings stepping forward, backward, and each side (15 lb kettlebell)

3rd minute: Bent over rows with opposite leg lifted (10 lb kettlebell)

Exercises for 2 minutes:

1st minute: Side step lunges (:30 sec each side)

2nd minute: Plank with hip dips w/feet on bosu ball (till failure)

Exercise for 1 minute (:20 sec each):

:20 sec plank with arms on exercise ball

:20 exercise ball between feet 6 in off the ground

:20 crunches while holding exercise ball between feet

 

Wednesday

Rest day, aka boyfriend day. Way more sore than I should be from yesterday, but that’s what happens when you don’t exercise during vacation!

 

Thursday

Danny night.  Today was “see how much we can kill Lauren’s arms” day.

Warmup:

90 sec jump rope, 5 yoga push ups on a bosu ball

60 sec jump rope, 5 yoga push ups on a bosu ball

30 sec jump rope, 5 yoga push ups on a bosu ball

Workout:

1st set: Stair run w/12 lb ball over head, 10 kettlebell deadlifts (10 lbs), 5 ball slams (12 lbs)

2nd set: Stair run w/14 lb ball over head, 10 kettlebell deadlifts (15 lbs), 5 ball slams (14 lbs)

3rd set: Stair run w/16 lb ball over head, 10 kettlebell deadlifts (15 lbs), 5 ball slams (16 lbs)

 

Friday

My poor arms are sore.  That’s what I get for not working out on vacation!  Went for a nice walk today during lunch, though it was a bit cold. Got to spend time with the boyfriend.

 

Saturday

Because of Easter being this week, we had worship team practice for church on Saturday AM. I’m not a fan, because I like to sleep in on Saturdays….my ONLY day to sleep in!  Because my birthday is on Monday, my momma took me out for lunch and some shopping. But Saturday was a MUCH bigger day than I expected because I got ENGAGED! I also got to celebrate my birthday with my mom and stepdad!

Sunday

Easter Sunday! I got to share the news with my church family and my pastor greatly blessed us by praying over us.  We celebrated my birthday with my dad and stepmom (and engagement) and it was a such a beautiful day filled with family!