Wednesday, May 29, 2013

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday: Memorial Day Weekend

We had a very busy and yet somehow very relaxing Memorial Day weekend. From start to finish it was packed with new adventures, hanging out at some of our favorite spots in town, spending time with friends, and really just making the most of our time living in Pensacola. Here are some pics from the weekend. The only thing I missed out on were kayaking pictures since we don't have a waterproof bag we don't bring our phones with us. But we are looking into getting something we can bring with us for kayaking and paddle boarding so hopefully I will be able to get some pics in the future.


 Yummy dinner at End of the Line Cafe- tempeh club and pink potato salad :)
 One day he's going to refuse to take yet another picture with me, I know it ;)
 I always keep it wonky!
 My favorite brewery in town...
 My new favorite pelican
Pensacola- the city of five flags. Spain, France, Great Britain, Confederate US, and USA
Sadly, no kayaking pics :(
 Beautiful view from the patio where we ate lunch after kayaking
 You can't help but to feel super peaceful and relaxed with this as the backdrop...
 And some yummy vegan dessert...everything is right with the world.
 On our way to see the Great Gatsby- which I loved
Followed by some beers afterwards as we planned out our geocaching trek for the next day
Geocaching all day!

We trekked through State Parks
Walked out onto piers...
 A few times...
 Tried to help a baby bird with fishing wire wrapped around it's legs and wing :(
 I took a minute to play in a fountain filled with bubbles
 We visited the 17th St Bridge
 AKA graffiti bridge and some day soon I am going to paint it!
 And our tour led us to Pensacola Veterans Memorial Park

 Where we gave thanks to those who sacrificed their lives in the name of their country
There are other war memorials in the park but my phone died so I didn't get pictures of them all
We spent Monday paddle boarding then had a fun dinner at home with friends. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend. Here are a couple more paddle boarding pics that I didn't post in yesterday's blog.

How did you spend this holiday weekend? Was it relaxing, adventurous, or a little of both? 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I'm Doing It!!!

'I'm doing it!'- a phrase I must have uttered a thousand times this weekend.

I act just like a little kid when I experience new things. I get crazy hyper and excited about it; before, during and after.

This weekend my new adventure was paddle boarding. Which was AWESOME! The whole time, even when I was frustrated because I couldn't figure out how to steer, I couldn't stop saying, 'I'm doing it!, I'm doing it!'. Not necessarily because paddle boarding is so hard that I was amazed I could do it but because I actually did it. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and tried something new. I kept saying to our friend AC that was with us that this was such a big deal for me, doing new things. Dacia from three years ago would have been too scared to even try. So for me, the excitement comes not from the ability to do something well, because I did kind of suck at it for the first couple hours, but instead by the simple act of just doing it.

Then last night, over dinner, as Paul, AC and I sat around laughing (to the point of tears) over my ridiculousness on said paddle board Paul asked me if after my experiences today I wanted to learn to surf. I said absolutely yes. BUT my one caveat is that I need to learn how to swim first.

Don't get me wrong, I can kind of swim. Not great by any means but I am quite buoyant so I tread water easily and I do have my own makeshift way of swimming laps using my own version of various stroke styles. It's not pretty but I get by.

But since I do want to learn how to swim properly AND I have my first triathlon coming up in just two months I really need to crack down and focus on proper stroke form and breathing techniques.

And since learning how to surf and completing a triathlon are both very important to me (they are on my Pensacola bucket list)  I knew I needed to stop delaying the inevitable and sign up for adult swim lessons. 

So today, that is what I did.

They don't start until July (I can't do them in June since I will be gone for two weeks) but I am taking them twice a week for a month. I think that will really, really help get me ready for the triathlon. And once I get my first big open water swim under my belt I know I will feel ready to take some surf lessons.

So, look for some posts about those two events, as well as some about my swim lessons, coming up in July/August. Until then, well I guess I need to get back to running, riding, and quasi-swimming this month to train for the tri and of course I foresee more paddle boarding, kayaking and plenty of other new adventures in my future.

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...”  ~ Marcus Aurelius

I'm pretty sure that paddle was way too big for me...

Apparently yoga while paddle boarding is a thing...I just had to give it a try!

Not only was I literally posing for the camera, I had a group of people watching me do this...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Throwback Thursday

This picture was taken back in 2008, probably a little more than 5 years ago.

I was back in Washington for training and met up with some of my friends/former co-workers. All of the people there that day only knew me at that weight/size.

Thanks Curtis for letting me steal this! :)

I often wonder if I ever ran into these people today would they even recognize me.

I also wonder how much I have changed (besides the physical attributes) since then. I have made it a point to try not to let the physical changes affect my character. I really want to be that person in the picture, just a much healthier version. She was a good person.

I'm glad I shared this today- it's always good to reflect back. I never want to forget where I came from- it has made me who I am today. And I think there was alot more 'good' than 'bad' in that girl in the photo. I also need to remember that, too.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Didn't Do It

A week or so ago I mentioned that I was hoping to cross off one of my 35 goals for the year by running a sub-30 minute 5K at the Navy Federal Credit Union 5K this past Saturday.

Sidenote: if you have a minute you should head over to 13.1 Miles to Disney's blog and read her race recap. I may or may not make a guest appearance in her post.

Well, the race came and went and I didn't do it. Not really too close to it either. I finished in 31+ minutes. Not a PR and didn't reach my goal. But I did finish and that is always my first and foremost priority.

Strike that.

Actually, my first and foremost priority of any race is to have fun. I try to take in the scenery, relax and enjoy the experience...which is some times easier said than done.

Saturday was rough. When my alarm went off I debated on turning it off, going back to sleep, and skipping it. That has never happened before for me but I woke up exhausted, dehydrated and just physically worn out. I wasn't too hopeful I would even be able to run a 5K.

But I got up, started rehydrating and psyching myself up. I put on some music. Got dressed. Realized my running shoes were down in my car which was on base (which is not really close to where we live) left there the night before. So, I wore my old shoes, which was no big deal, but of course threw me for a loop for a minute.

Once I was lined up at the start I began to get a bit nervous. It was hot, sunny (I was literally running to any patches of shade I could find) and humid. It was probably my first time running in such crappy conditions since moving from San Antonio. It was not really enjoyable. I was just so exhausted and so thirsty and I knew it would be a struggle from start to finish.

And it was.

It was definitely the hardest 3.1 miles I have ever run. And no, I did not finish in under 30 minutes. But I ran it, for the most part, and I finished in a pretty good time for me. I'm not disappointed in my performance because on Saturday morning, 31 minutes was the best I could do.

And I still have over 6 months to try to cross the sub-30 5K goal off my list.

It will happen.

I am getting faster. And stronger. And I know I will do it.

And yes, it sucks writing this - trying to not feel like a failure but you know what? I KNOW I am not a failure. Not showing up, quitting because conditions were less than ideal- that would make me a failure.

No, I think if anything else I am stronger because of this experience and I walk away from it knowing I can do so much more than I ever thought I was capable of.

'In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.' ~ Albert Schweitzer

I promise I won't overlook the flowers...

Before,sporting my favorite race shirt :)

At the finish, being chased by Marines running in formation and calling cadence. Scary!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

You're Doing It Wrong

I try very hard to be a positive person. I try to never talk bad about other people, or blogs, or what I've read, etc. I try to just write about my life and what I'm up to without letting what other people say or do affect me.

But I'm a human. And some days I just can't let the things I read just roll off my back.

Some days it eats me alive reading the 'words of wisdom' of other bloggers because some times their message infuriates me.

Today was one of those days.

This morning the only thing I could think about was this:

If what you are doing today isn't what you want to be doing for the rest of your life then you're doing it wrong.

That's my opinion.

An opinion that came bubbling to the surface after reading through some posts this morning.

It just kills me that there are people who wake up every day and deprive themself of joy and happiness just because someone else tells them to. People modeling their behavior off of someone else because they believe it will bring them similar successes.

Maybe it's just me, maybe I am just on the other end of the spectrum and so these types of behaviors seem so damaging to me. I believe in moderation, not deprivation. I believe in being active AND enjoying it. I believe that you should live each day trying to make yourself better than you were the day before but not at the expense of your happiness, sanity, relationships.

And when you write about forcing yourself through activities you hate, that make you miserable, just for the sake of a smaller size. And when you cut out foods completely from your diet and either hate yourself for it or binge on them because of it because you feel deprived- well those are just not healthy behaviors.

We need to take back control of our lives. Work towards healthy but don't lose yourself in the process. Because the reality is, when you hit your goal weight/size this does not stop. When you write about these drastic behaviors and tell people they are temporary you must know that you are not setting yourself up for success in maintenance and you aren't helping your readers form healthy, sustainable habits either.

You don't hit goal and then stop. That's not how it works.

This is a lifestyle change. Yup, I said it. It's for life, people! And who wants to be miserable for the rest of their life?

Steps down off the soapbox

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Rules

As most of you probably already know my background story involves me losing a substantial amount of weight (like 125 lbs) which in the process helped me to become more active and led me to two of my passions; running and cycling- hence the name of this blog.

I know for the most part I don’t talk too much about my weight loss. I know I mention those last ten pounds every now and again but I don’t think I talk too much about the first year or so, how much I changed in the process, what tools I used to get me to where I am today or the successes/pitfalls I had along the way. I had/have another blog that was dedicated solely to that portion of my life but I moved away from it as I moved into a new phase. As much as I want to share with you these things from my past it is hard to do because some times I am not sure they are relevant and I’m not sure they would provide anyone any help or guidance.

Then other times I ‘meet’ people who want to know about my story. How I got here. How I stay motivated. How I was able to overhaul my life and find the person I always wanted to be. And when that happens I am inspired to share a bit of that side of me because I feel that well maybe it will at least help one person on their own journey.

So today I thought I would share with you some of my rules of life. Ok, maybe not rules (that sounds way more serious than it really is) maybe I should call them my guidelines. These are just some ideals I try to stick to that help provide me with some balance; allowing me to work towards improving my health and still allowing me to let my hair down and be not so serious all the time. Does that make sense? I hope so, some days I can’t even follow my own train of thought. Lol!

  • The 80/20 Rule: Not really the same as the 80/20 (Pareto principle) that states 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Nope, mine is more like 80% of the time I eat really good foods which I prepare myself. I plan out my weekly meals. I eat for my body. I focus on nutrients in and recovery foods. I just try to put as much thought as possible into at least 80% of my choices. The other 20%- well that’s kind of like what happens in real life. That’s beers and (vegan) burgers before a baseball game, that’s a piece of cake for dessert, that’s nachos instead of salad, that’s just promising myself to not feel guilty if I ‘splurge’ (and I hate that word, I think there are too many words/phrases being used that give too much power/importance to our food choices) eating out or drinking because really I like to do those things. I refuse to abstain from these activities for the sake or weight loss. I am neither that strong nor dedicated. I believe you can be healthy and active and drink a beer every once in a while. That’s just my opinion though.

  • Hunger scale: My friend taught me this concept probably close to 2 years ago and I have tried as much as humanly possible to use it all the time. Basically think of your hunger on a scale from 1 to 5; one being full, not hungry at all- five being starving, wanting to eat everything in sight.  For me, I try to never eat when I am a one. That is just mindless snacking or searching for comfort foods or something unnecessary. If I am not hungry I really shouldn’t be eating. On the other end, I try really hard to not let myself get to a five. If I do, I will probably eat way too much way too fast. Being ravenous means I have lost control and I will not only overdo it I will probably overdo it with any foods that are in my sight. I can’t make good decisions at a five. So I try to stick to eating at a three-four, just when I am starting to get hungry. At this point I will be able to eat slowly, make good choices, and really enjoy what I am eating.

  • Fail to prepare means prepare to fail. Harsh I know but it is my reality. If I want to be able to follow guidelines one and two I need to be prepared. I need to meal plan, I need to keep healthy snacks on hand at all times (even in my purse), and I need to have a well-stocked pantry/fridge that is loaded with staples of my diet. Just like I pack up my gym bag with all of the essentials I need I do the same thing with my lunch bag. Plan, plan, plan.

  • Do what you love. Probably the one ideal I preach the most on this blog is doing what you love. I am happy with what I am doing because I love doing it. I love doing it and so I want to do it more frequently. I do it more frequently it becomes a part of me. Cycling is like this for me. I can’t get enough of it. I want to be on my bike all the time. It’s freeing. It’s exhilarating. And I love it. Maybe you hate it. If you do, I suggest not doing it. Don’t make yourself miserable. You deserve so much happiness. So, find what you love and do it!

  • Drink lots of water! Aside from beer and an occasional cup of coffee I only drink water. You already know how good it is for your body to drink water so I won’t go on too much about this. I say, just drink the water.

Last but certainly not least..

  • Don’t take life too seriously. This is the hardest one for me. For the better part of a year I was super focused on weight loss and results on a scale and working out all the time and skipping social gatherings because of weigh ins and what not; I had tunnel vision and it was bad. Not saying that you should ignore your health and ignore the scale but for me I needed some balance. I needed to be active AND social. I needed to give myself a break. I have made so many changes in my life that are now permanently there- I can cut myself some slack. One ‘bad’ (ugh! Again with stupid words) meal or a night out with friends at the bar will never undo what I have done. I follow my 80/20 rule, I maintain/slowly chip away at those last 10, and I just enjoy the ride! If you ask me, it’s never a good idea to take yourself too seriously.

Enjoy your life! Be happy! Take care of yourself! Live your dreams!

There you go folks, my super awesome (sarcasm in case you can’t tell) words of wisdom for this beautiful Friday! 

Run a race, drink a beer! 

Monday, May 13, 2013


Life has gotten a bit hectic over in R.R.R.ville so I apologize if I have been MIA lately.

The reality is, days/weeks between posts will probably become a common occurrence unless I learn how to quickly master the short post. I will definitely work on that. Today starts the summer semester here at University of West Florida and I managed to enroll in two grad classes, Educational Research and Educational Statistics, both required for me to be admitted into the EdS or EdD, specialist or doctorate in education, programs I hope to start in the fall semester. Ultimately I would love to get my doctorate now but I am just not sure I will be in Pensacola long enough. I am hopeful, however, that I will be able to finish up the specialist degree before our next move. Fingers crossed.

So classes are starting for me and ending for Paul. Well, at least the academic portion of his first phase of flight training is ending. This is a pretty intense training class that they are in right now, designed to weed out the weak, and so once he is finished with this portion there will be a big celebration this Friday. This will also be the day when he can wear his flight suit for the first time. I am pretty excited for this and plan on taking a million pictures of him in his 'Top Gun' outfit. Consider yourself warned.

Saturday morning I will be attempting to check one of my 35 in 35 goals off my list- sub 30 minute 5K. I feel pretty good about this one. My current PR is 30:26 which was set back in October. Since the injury, not too long after that PR, I have struggled with progressing speed-wise. I have been doing alot of trail running since I moved to Florida and I think that really helped build some strength back in my leg. For the first time in a long time I feel 100% healthy and strong in my left leg. Two weeks ago I decided to test it and managed to run two sub 10 minute miles on the treadmill. I  was floored. I couldn't believe I was there again, back to where I was 6 months ago. It was awesome.

Then last Saturday, May 4th, I ran a 10K in the morning and a 5K in the evening. Three of my six miles at the 10K came in under 10 minutes (and I PR'd that distance with a time of 65:30) and then just hours later during the 5K I clocked a sub-nine minute mile. I knew it right then that a sub-30 minute 5K was in my near future. I could just taste it.

This Saturday I plan on setting a new PR and accomplishing this goal at the Navy Federal Credit Union 5K. I will definitely keep you posted!

Until then...

"You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, an to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give." ~ E.O. Wilson


Yay! A new race medal!

 Big party after the 10K in Seville Square
 Resting my legs between races!
My collection is growing!

 Me and MG before the 5K. He finished in 26 minutes!
Hot mess after the 5K...LOL!

Celebratory beers post-race! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I posted the prom picture below on Facebook this morning and it sparked some of my high school friends to post theirs as well. Needless to say there was a lot of laughter in my office this morning. Definitely loved seeing our goofy styles from the 90's. It totally made my day. So I thought I would share some pics (some goofy, some not) with you today as well.


February 2012- in Atlantic City for my cousin's wedding
April 2011- my first trip to New Orleans
July 2009- Paul's graduation from Army basic training at Ft. Benning, GA

 May 1995- senior prom, me and my Dad
October 1992- Homecoming, me and Dad again. I'm guessing Mom took these photos.
My best guess- this is 1984. Me and Grandpa- Christmas
This one is probably 1980. At my grandpa's house. Yeah, I was a cute kid

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My One Year Race-iversary

This Sunday will mark the one year anniversary of my first running race. It was a 5K and it was the first time I ever even attempted to run in a race and run I did, from start to finish. 

Previous to this I had walked a few 5Ks, maybe a 2-mile fun walk, not really much other than walking for fun/exercise on my own. Even when I was younger and wasn’t morbidly obese I was never a runner. It was just never something that I thought I could do and so I never did it. Then last year I set a goal for myself to run a race, start to finish, even if the distance was just a mile.

I ran my first mile ever (outside of the ones I was required to run but usually ran/walked in high school) in January 2012. Then in February I started the Couch to 5K program. I finished up the program just a week before I was set to run my first 5K on May 5th, 2012. That first race was awesome. Not because of the running part (which was still really exciting because I did it) but because the race was for obesity and diabetes research and education. I was actually brought on stage at the pre-race ceremony because of my weight loss story. I got to meet some amazing doctors who are working very hard in San Antonio to end the obesity epidemic. The mayor was there. I got to hang out (and received lots of hugs) from one of our local news anchors- I basically felt like a celebrity.

And when I came in to the finish and saw them all there, plus Paul snapping tons of pictures, cheering me on it brought tears to my eyes. That day I accomplished something I had never dreamt possible. Then to be embraced by the kindness of strangers and the love of my husband- well that was amazing.

Since that day I have ran; 11 additional 5Ks, two 4-milers, one 7K, one 8K, one 5-miler, one 10K, one 15K, one 10-miler, and three half marathons and of course countless miles training for all 22 of those races. It’s been wild. I never thought I could have run a mile or even a 5K let alone a freaking half marathon or three. So, to say my mind is blown is an understatement.

And to close out my first year of racing I will be running a 10K Saturday morning followed by a 5K Saturday night. Yep, 9.3 miles in one day- like it’s no big deal.

Some days it’s hard to believe all that I have accomplished (when it comes to running) over the past year…

Some days it’s hard to remember the girl who struggled just walking a mile…

But most days I am just filled with hope and excitement for every race that lies ahead and every new limit that will be tested…

And that is pretty damn awesome.

05/05/2012- Before my first 5K

04/07/2013- after my most recent half marathon