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.

tiffany necklace

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

cape charles 3

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.

crawlin crab 5k 2014

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.

surfnsanta

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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Florida Pt. 2

This is a continuation of Florida Part One. Sorry it took so long to get out…I’ve had some unexpected excitement! On Wednesday, we began the trek to Key West…my favorite part of the trip. We knew the drive was going to take about 4 1/2 hours, but we were willing to take our time.  The first part of our drive  until we got to Marathon was pretty uneventful. The second half was really slow!

Key West welcome center

Key West welcome center

 

My view for most of the drive

My view for most of the drive

 

Beautiful restaurant in Marathon.

Beautiful restaurant in Marathon.

Best Caesar Salad I've ever had!

Best Caesar Salad I’ve ever had!

This plane had crashed near Marathon days earlier and they were working to get it out

This plane had crashed days earlier and they were working to get it out

We arrived in Key West and navigated straight to the Cypress House, a cute bed and breakfast that was built in 1888.  They took our luggage up to our room and gave us a free parking pass.  We parked down the street and walked back to the room.  It was beautiful.

Porch outside of our room

Porch outside of our room

Cypress House Est 1888

Cypress House Est 1888

Front door to the Cypress House

Front door to the Cypress House

Cypress House

Cypress House

Pool at the Cypress House

Pool at the Cypress House

The most beautiful thing was sitting on the nightstand….a gorgeous boquet of flowers! Michael had snuck away from me while we were in Ft. Lauderdale and contacted the Cypress House.  They arranged to have an arrangement made and delivered to our room.  Do I have the sweetest guy, or what?!

Beautiful flowers from Michael!

Beautiful flowers from Michael!

We freshened up then hit Duval Street.  For those of you who haven’t been to Key West, this is the main street, where all the bars and shops are.  We hit up Irish Kevins for a pre dinner drink and then did some exploring.  We settled on Fogarty’s for dinner.  After dinner, we had a great dessert from a local bakery 🙂

We crashed early.  Got up the next morning (Thursday) and had breakfast downstairs.  We brought our coffee back up to the room and sat on our porch.  We each took turns getting ready and we set out for the day.  We went on the Conch Train to get a tour of the city. Key West has so much history and so much Cuban culture.  We got off around Southernmost Point (90 miles to Cuba).  We walked around for awhile, taking in the sights and exploring some nice hotels.

We went to a cute place called Two Friends Cafe for lunch.  After lunch we went shopping along Duval, much to Michael’s dismay.  We had dinner that night at Caroline’s and I had the best blackened Mahi Mahi I’ve ever had.

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My handsome baby!

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My sunburned self…

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Blackened Mahi

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Michael’s Cuban sandwich

On Friday morning we went through our normal morning ritual.  We spent some time hanging out in the room, then we went to Bo’s Fish Wagon for a snack while we were waiting for Dante’s pool bar to re-open from a private party.  We ate lunch, hung out, then went back to the room to get ready for our sunset cruise.

The sunset cruise was amazing.  The weather was perfect, the staff was funny, and the wine and food was incredible.  We had a blast and met so many interesting people.

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The happy couple

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We had a beautiful sunset!

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I love this picture of us!

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Sailboat!

Saturday was the day we left Key West and I was so sad! We drove back from Key West to West Palm Beach to hang out with his cousins.  These cousins are the children of his aunt and uncle that we stayed with at the beginning of our trip.  We sat out on their porch, drinking and eating.

We got up on Sunday morning and drove all the way to the west coast of Florida to Ft. Myers.  We had an incredible lunch with two of Michael’s friends.  I decided to leave my beautiful flower arrangement with them so that they could enjoy it.  I didn’t want to just leave it in a hotel room!

After lunch we drove to Orlando.  We checked into our hotel and then had dinner at Cafe Tu Tu Tango with some of my friends from a vendor the bank uses. I had a southwest chicken flatbread and some jalapeno mac and cheese.  It was so yummy and it was so good to see them!

Jalapeno Mac and Cheese

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Southwest Chicken Flatbread

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Chocolate Calzone

We stayed at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando.  It was a beautiful 4-star hotel that I’ve stayed at for work before.  We spent the last full day of our trip lounging by the pool.  It was such a good way to close out the trip.

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Pool at the Gaylord

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Caesar Salads poolside!

Our flight out on Tuesday was uneventful.  We were sad to be leaving, but very happy to be heading home to familiar territory 🙂

And that’s it!  It was a great trip that I will never forget!

Florida Pt.1

As promised – stories from my Florida vacation!

We flew out on Saturday, March 29.  It was a nasty, rainy day when we flew out of Norfolk.  Our flight was supposed to depart at 11:15AM, so like good flyers, we arrived a bit before 9AM.  We parked the car in long term parking, checked our bags and got through security by 9AM.

Ready to go on vacation!

Ready to go on vacation!

I decided not to get any coffee because I would have to use the bathroom on the flight…and that did not sound appealing to me (even though the flight to Orlando was less than 2 hours).

What Michael and I didn’t know is that there was really bad weather in Orlando – thunderstorm and tornado watches/warnings.  They delayed our flight till 12, 1, 2, 3….then finally we took off at about 3:45pm. In the midst of one of those breaks, we decided that we needed Starbucks – these were the resulting pictures:

Very unhappy face

Very unhappy face

Yay Starbucks! Boo, delay!

Yay Starbucks! Boo, delay!

When we finally arrived, we had to get our baggage (which took forever) and get our rental car.  Then we had to drive about an hour to Leesburg.  I was NOT a happy camper, I was hangry.  I think it was about 8pm before we got there!

We stayed with his Aunt and Uncle (his dad’s twin brother).  They made us some fantastic tilapia, potatoes (red and sweet) and some vegetable I cannot recall at the moment.

We woke up the next morning  (Sunday) and had coffee and breakfast.  They make smoothies with their Vitamix every day.  They use chocolate protein powder and mix in strawberries, pears, apples, pineapples, blueberries and bananas.  It was SO GOOD.

They didn't know my affinity for owls when they gave my coffee to me!

They didn’t know my affinity for owls when they gave my coffee to me!

We then drove about 45 minutes to a nearby town called Mount Dora.  It was a quaint little downtown area where we had lunch on a balcony and walked around for a bit.

Overlooking Mount Dora!

Overlooking Mount Dora!

We also went to a swap meet/farmer’s market type place that was actually really neat.  I was enjoying myself too much to snap any pictures there.

We went back to Leesburg and I promptly laid down for a nap.  I was so tired from our travels the day before.  I woke up and we had drinks and snacks out on the screen porch.  We had a wonderful dinner of crockpot lasagna. Yum!

Mmm Corona :)

Mmm Corona 🙂

We woke up the next morning (Monday) and were headed to Ft. Lauderdale. Had our fruit smoothies and some coffee and got on the road. We stopped at Panera for lunch.  It truly felt like the start of our vacation since we finally got to be alone!

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We had dinner with his aunt (his mother’s sister), cousin and her kids.  She made some wonderful, delicious food! We left there and headed to our hotel by the water.

Family!

Family!

We spent the next day (Tuesday) walking around, eating, shopping, and going to the pool.  I could have spent a ton of time in Ft. Lauderdale.  It was a beautiful beach and there was a ton to do! It was a good place to walk around and just enjoy the weather.

Cheese and bacon omelet on panini.  I'm not even going to pretend it was healthy!

Cheese and bacon omelet on panini. I’m not even going to pretend it was healthy!

:)

🙂

Our beautiful hotel

Our beautiful hotel

The bridge over from the hotel to the beach

The bridge over from the hotel to the beach

Ft. Lauderdale Beach

Ft. Lauderdale Beach

Watching some parasailers

Watching some parasailers

The water was so clear and warm

The water was so clear and warm

Fish and broccoli

Fish and broccoli

Yummy Chicken Caesar Wrap!

Yummy Chicken Caesar Wrap!

View from the room!

View from the room!

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Ridiculous boat in the rich area of town

Ridiculous boat in the rich area of town

On Wednesday, we got up early because we were heading to KEY WEST!  I had another omelet panini (hey, don’t judge) and we began the 4 1/2 hour trek to Key West where we would spend the next 4 days.  That’s a story for another post 🙂

Florida Trip Recap

Hey ya’ll! I’m back from Florida!

I plan on doing a post from each part of my trip, but I thought I’d give you a little sneak peak of some of my favorite moments!

We spent some time at Ft. Lauderdale.  Look how beautiful and clear the water is!

Ft. Lauderdale Beach

Ft. Lauderdale Beach

We left Ft. Lauderdale for Key West.  Michael arranged for us to have these flowers waiting when we arrived!

Beautiful flowers from Michael!

Beautiful flowers from Michael!

In Key West, we did a wind and wine sunset cruise on a sailboat.  It was a blast and we met some pretty cool people!

Sunset sail!

Sunset sail in Key West

 

Sunset Sail!

Sunset Sail in Key West

We spent the last part of our trip in Orlando at the Gaylord Palms.  Its a pretty awesome hotel with an atrium in the middle of the hotel.

Hotel in Orlando

Hotel in Orlando

So, there is your little teaser! I’ll be adding some more posts about the trip this week 🙂