Cherry Blossom 10 miler Race Recap

Did you even run a race if there’s no photographic evidence? I kinda feel like that right now. It’s taken me so long to write this race recap because I’ve been waiting for an email from marathonfoto to say “Your Race Photos are Ready!” Well over a week later, I decided to check the website and alas it’s like I played Where’s Waldo with the photographers. After skimming through hundreds of unclaimed pictures, I FINALLY found one of me at the finish line. So proof. I ran that race lol.

Other than the lack of evidence of my race, I have to say that this is a race I would definitely do again. From the beginning it was well organized, news letters from the race were constantly being sent out with tips on how to get to the course, how things were set up, changes to the route etc. Bib pick up was easy and I was well guided to the right area.

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Got a picture in before we rushed off to the start line! 

The morning of the race did not start off without a hitch though. I will say, it’s my own fault. I should have planned on getting a Lyft a lot earlier, because while I scheduled it out in time, of course so was everyone else and the demand was HIGH. I started to freak out a bit when it was going to take them a half hour to get to me, but thankfully we had two phones going and one of them finally worked. We arrived to the race, hurried and searched for a bag drop off, (which I don’t normally do but it was unusually chilly in DC that morning and we knew we needed extra clothes) and got into our corrals just in time.

The first few miles were kinda tough, not because it was a hard race, actually it’s a really flat course, but it is super crowded. Some of the roads were pretty narrow, and there were a lot of walkers in my wave. I know I’m not a faster runner, but I’m not a walker. I am solidly middle of the pack. So this is my only gripe about the race, I was not seeded properly and it made my time much slower in the beginning than what I would have liked. I honestly felt like I was walking the first few miles, but I didn’t want to waste energy weaving in and out of people. One of the things I’ve started doing while running and biking is listening to audio books instead of music. This helped keep my mind off the actual race and just focus on my book and my environment. (If you need a good book, I just finish “The Wife Between Us” and it was SUPERB!)

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Soooo pretty

After awhile, it cleared up a little bit, still a very crowded race overall, but more manageable. Like I said it was a flat course, so nothing challenging, but I will say it isGORGEOUS. This is absolutely the prettiest course I have ever been on. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom, the city was clean and water sparkling. As I ran under the arches of the trees that hung over the roads, I was in awe. It made the first frustrating miles kind of disappear and made me just enjoy running for the first time in awhile. Last year, as you know was full of heart breakingly bad races, injuries and tears. While, I’m still working on getting back to where I once was, this race gave me the confidence that I needed to keep working and make my come back in 2018.  So Thank you Cherry Blossom 10 miler for a great kick off to my 2018 race year! Up next is the Portsmouth Half Marathon this weekend!

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My one and only race picture! So happy to finish!
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Pretty Medal! Thank you Rachel Rakoff for letting me steal this one!
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C Joy hits the sea!

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated here, mostly because things in life have taken a turn. All good, but I needed some time to get adjusted back into life and my new routine. I’ve been back in Boston for about 3 weeks now after being out to sea for 5 days, with nothing but water and sun surrounding me. Before, I left I decided to make a change in my career, but that’s another story for another day. Today, while I stare out the cafe window at snow falling I’d rather reminisce about my trip out to sea. While I am about fitness and health, that’s not my whole life. I want to start sharing experiences that help my balance my life and keep me sane. Traveling is one of those things and 2018 is my year for it!

On February 20th, I set out for my first time on a cruise! I’ve been on a ferry before to go to the Harbor Islands of Boston and I went whale watching once, but a CRUISE is a whole different story. When I got on board, my definition of rest and relaxation hit a whole new level. I spent this trip with my boyfriend, Patrick, it was a present for my 30th birthday (not sure how he’s ever going to top that one!) we set sail from Miami on the Royal Caribbean ship Navigator of the Seas, and this what our itinerary looked like:

Day 1: Miami

Day 2: Sea

Day 3: Costa Maya

Day 4: Cozumel

Day 5: Sea

Day 6: Miami

Embarkment

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Getting on to the ship was extremely organized, we got to the dock super early so we were some of the first people on board which was nice for this first time cruiser. I was so excited to check out the ship and explore which is basically a floating mini city. Our stateroom was on deck 8 stateroom 8616 and it was awesome. I honestly, often forgot I was on a boat sometimes, until I walked out on to our balcony and could only see ocean for days. If you go on a cruise, I really suggest you get a balcony, we used it a lot of pictures and relaxing with a drink.

Tip: even though I often forgot I was on a boat, I did get motion sick so remember to bring proper medicine.

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Everyday there were different activities that you can do on the cruise, and every night we were provided with the next days schedule. There is SO much going on, but honestly, we didn’t experience much of it because we were there to relax. We did work out one day in the very small over crowded gym, but decided that fitness was something we could take a break from for a short week. The pool, bars and food were our main focus of this trip.

Land Excursions

Cruising isn’t just about the ship though, we did get off the ship when we docked at different destinations. Our first stop was Costa Maya. I was super excited to stop here because we had planned months before to go snorkeling. This is a trip of firsts, and I had never gone snorkeling before and couldn’t wait to see ocean creatures that weren’t just at an aquarium. Sadly though, as soon as we got to shore we learned that the waters were too rough and snorkeling was cancelled. This was probably the most disappointing part of my trip, I got up early on vacation (6am) to get off the ship only to be told that we couldn’t do the one thing I was looking forward to. I was determined to still have fun though, so instead we signed up to swim with the dolphins. Not exactly seeing wild life out in the wild, but I have never done it before so it was a first!!!

The dolphins were really well trained to all the hand signals we were taught and we got got a TON of pictures of us kissing and holding them. Before we got in the water though, we had a safety talk as well as a lesson on how we can do our parts to help dolphins in the water, by not using so many plastic bags etc. It was nice that there was a little educational part even though I was sweating in my life jacket. There were two parts to the swimming. The first we would swim out to the middle of the huge pool we were in on a boogie board and two dolphins would swim up behind and push your feet so you went flying across the pool! The second one was you would swim back out and hold one arm out and a dolphin would swim up next to you so it was belly up, you grab its fins and it pulls you across the water. If you can’t tell from the pictures, I was ecstatic!!

Even though I was happy to still have fun in Costa Maya, I still wanted to snorkel! The staff on the ship was extremely accommodating to this. We originally had signed up to see the Mayan ruins in Cozumel, but after not being able to snorkel and learning that it was about a 6 hour round trip to the ruins, we decided to see if we could snorkel in Cozumel instead. Thankfully, we were able to make that change and went snorkeling in Turtle Cove and in the Cenotes.

Turtle cove was amazing, we saw several sea turtles up close, different fish and the reef that is out there. I was kind of disappointed we didn’t stay out there longer because I was having a blast. But some of the people in our group were slow pokes and we moved slowly to get in the water. Sadly, I am not high tech enough and we didn’t get any pictures, but I really enjoyed it.

After the cove, we went to the Cenotes which is an underwater cave. This was beautiful and I am so glad I got to experience this. The water was so clear and clean you could see straight down to the bottom. There were places you could touch and then there were places that dropped hundreds of feet. Surrounding us were so many stalagmites and stalactites that have been developing for hundreds of years. We learned the history of these caves and how there are hundreds of them connected by an underground river.

Food and drinks

Back on the ship there are several different places to eat. Some are included and some you have to pay extra. The Windjammer was the buffet style dining area that is included but we really only had a few meals here because I am not a fan of buffets. There was a lot of different choices and cuisines that catered to pretty much everyone here and it was good for a quick snack.

IMG_0090Aside from the buffet, there was the Sapphire dining room which was more formal, also included but with limited hours. This is where we mostly ate, the food was more limited in choices but in my opinion, so much better. In the evenings, this is where the three course formal and semi formal dinners were held and we definitely ate there every night. Everyone is assigned to a table and a dinner time for this dining area. At first when Patrick told me our dinner time was 8pm I was appalled because it was so late! But it really ended up being for the better because it gave us time to relax, get ready and have a pre-dinner cocktail without rushing. These meals were a pre-fixe menu that changed nightly so we got to try a lot of different meals that we normally wouldn’t eat. One the second night of the cruise it was the formal captain’s dinner which everyone got dressed up for, which I was super excited for because we never get to get that dressed up.

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Tip: While there is food included, drinks are not. We got the unlimited drink package, and it was definitely worth it, I can confidently say we got our money’s worth!

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Would I do it again? YES! I had a good time except for when I got a little motion sick, and I got to go snorkeling even though it didn’t quite go as planned. We actually have already booked a second cruise for February 2019 to the Eastern Caribbean (Tip: you get a sweet discount if you do it on the ship.)

 

Where do I plan on going next? We hit DC in a couple weeks and I’m off to the Philippines in May!

 

 

Why I don’t make New Years Resolutions

Last December, I took a big leap. I left an easy relationship (ie. not perfect) moved out of the area of Boston that I had lived in for 5 years and started over…again. Honestly, I’ve done this before because I am not the type of person to just settle if I’m not happy. I have never wanted to be one of those people that sticks with a job or a person just because it’s comfortable or easy. Sure, there have been hard times when I’m like, “Crap, I can’t afford groceries this week.” But I some how always make it through.

This is why I don’t make resolutions.

It’s a waste of time to wait for a certain day of the year to make a change. I make changes that are aligned with my goals and MY timeline, not the calendars. In the past when I have tried to make resolutions it was more like me going through the motions rather than really working towards a goal that is important to me.

What I prefer to do at the end of one year and the beginning of another is to asses how that year went and what I can work on throughout the next year. A lot of these things aren’t measurable and I don’t really know if I’m making progress until a certain situation may come up and how I react.

So what has 2017 taught me?

-I need to stop caring so much about what others think about me. It’s a huge source of my stress and it’s kept me from my own success.

I DO NOT NEED TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONES’. A lot of my friends in this industry are rocking it. They have amazing blogs and social media and are killing it. But as you can see I struggle to keep up and that’s OKAY. I have a different path, still fitness but I chose to go down a management path because it fits my end game better.

No days off is unhealthy. I did so many races in 2016, I was constantly training and missed out on some of the important things in life because I always had some race or training plan to stick to. Where did that land me in 2017? Over trained and injured so none of my races went well. 2018 I will be more selective so that I can live life.

-I love fitness, but there’s more to me than just fitness. Someone told me this year that they like me because I can talk about things other than fitness, I love musicals and ballet, I’m well read. I think I forgot this about myself because the first thing that everyone wants to talk about these days is health and fitness. How about that latest Ruth Ware book?

What am I working on in 2018?

Killing a 70.3. I’m not trying to keep up with anyone, this is for ME. I need to cross that finish line not because I’m trying to impress my followers, but because I crave it.

Reading more. Every year I set a goal to read 24 books a year, so 2 books a month. But it’s been just any book to get that number. This year, I want to read for fun, but I also want to read to grow. Whether it’s a classic I haven’t read or a self help book to help me grow, I want to read more so I can become the best version of me.

Travel more. Like most people I want to see places and learn things. But I’ve let other life things get in the way (work and races). So this year you get to see me explore the Mayan ruins, visit my family in the Philippines and traipse around Italy.

I’m excited for what the future months hold. I love that I can look back and see how much I’ve grown in a year because day to day it’s really hard to see and some times even I get discouraged. So when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, remind yourself how far you’ve come and that progress is still progress.

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5 Friday Favorites: Podcasts

1.Well-Fed Women (Formerly the Paleo Women Podcast)

This podcast is hosted Noelle Tarr and Stefani Ruper, who are extremely funny and you should expect witty banter (I laugh to myself on my long runs when I listen to it). But don’t let that fool you. They are EXTREMELY smart and well read. They cover topics from empowerment for women by women, health issues that most women don’t want to talk about, fitness and body image. With over 100 episodes there are so many topics that they cover, I’m sure you’ll find something that applies to you.

2. Mind Body Musings by Maddy Mood

I just recently discovered this podcast because I happened upon her instagram and her life experiences really speak to me. She talks a lot about escaping perfectionism and expectations, and stop wasting our lives with overthinking. She does talk a little bit about health and fitness because she comes from the body building world as well, but she really focuses on self care to be the best you.

3. The Body Love Project with Jessi Haggerty

The title of this one says it all. I share the same outlook as her when it comes to diets and body image in the fitness industry. My favorite episodes so far have been “F*ck your fitspo with Sarah Vance” and “Melissa Carmona on Body Image across cultures.” Jessi is real and honest and doesn’t try to sugar coat anything which I can really appreciate.

And lastly

4. Bigger Pockets

Not really my favorite, but I’m into it because it’s helping me learn about a different way of earning money without really having a traditional job. Can I please retire by 35? K thanks.

5. Case Files

Ok, this is my guilty pleasure. I love shows like CSI and Criminal Minds, but now that I have SUCH a long commute (compared to me 10 minute walk) I don’t have much time for TV. So this supplements that for me! This podcast covers real crimes, solved and unsolved that have happened all over the world. It’s pretty interesting because there are some that were really big in the news and others that I can’t believe that it wasn’t bigger news!

Traveling, fitness and nutrition

Traveling doesn’t mean that you have to lose sight of your fitness goals.

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I’ve run in a lot of really cool places, the beaches of Puerto Rico, the streets of London, wooded trails in North Carolina and many more. I’ve hiked and walked in some great places, too. As a matter of fact, when I travel – my workouts are always pretty interesting. Traveling does bring some challenges because it also forces you to make changes to your normal routine but those changes can actually be really great for your fitness goals. Why? Because it reminds you that fitness can be fun!

Fitness on the go doesn’t have to be stressful or as carefully planned during our every day lives. Plan your work outs into your vacation so that you can really SEE the place you’re in. It can be as easy at putting on your sneakers and exploring or it can take a bit of planning; here are some of ways to fit workouts into your vacation and make them fun:

  1. Check a map before you go. Know where you’re going to be so that you can plan your walks or workouts ahead. It will also help you plan your day, knowing how long your walk/run will be.
  2. Check your location for studios – I love hopping into a local yoga class while I’m away
  3. Ask the concierge. There’s always a fitness-buff on staff, they’ll point you in his/her direction
  4. Check out the hotel gym, come up with a creative circuit of exercises that are certain to make you sweat. Do it twice.
  5. If you’re somewhere warm – SWIM.  Need I say more?
  6. Take advantage the landscape around you.  Run hills, hike in the woods, walk on the beach. Enjoy your surroundings with the person/people you’ve traveled with!

Nutrition might be a little bit trickier, you’re not always preparing your own food and vacation is generally a time to indulge! I’m not discouraging eating out or having a few drinks, but try not to binge every meal! Here are some tips to eating while traveling:

Plan:

-Research restaurants and grocery stores

-Use apps like “Healthy Out” to find healthy options

-Find a hotel room with a kitchenette to make simple meals

Pack Smart:

-Pack snacks like dried fruit, nuts, protein powder and homemade bars

-Pack supplements like vitamins and fish oil

-Pack work out clothes!

Drink Plenty of Water:

-This will help keep you full and curb your appetite