Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Year in Review

Today, I am stronger than I was a year ago. One year ago, fresh out of my breakup, I was looking at today, December 31st, as what would have been my third anniversary with my ex-boyfriend. Today, I'm looking at it as an end to an amazing year and the beginning of a year that will top 2013.

Let's take a look at what made this year super special (and awesome) for me :)

1. I started a blog, mainly so I would stop bombarding my friends and family on Facebook with fitness/food

2. I ran my first half marathon (are you guys tired of seeing this mentioned?)

3. I met a boy I really liked, who hurt my heart. I moved on and showed him how fabulous I truly am. Your loss, buddy ;)

4. I went to Costa Rica for work (and turned 23)

5. I ran my first 5k 

6. I got to go home for the first time in almost a year, to celebrate my best friend's wedding

7. I started spending A LOT of time with a handsome boy ;)

8. I swam with dolphins quite a few times

9. I had Thanksgiving with a fraternity and it was the most ridiculous Thanksgiving of my life

10. I started training for the Princess Half again

11. I am healthy

12. I am home with my family for the holidays

Yes, there were some downs in this year, but overall, life was pretty good to me in 2013. Here's hoping that 2014 can top that!

And with that, I leave you with an appropriate song by my favorite Matt Nathanson, "Farewell December":

What was great about your year? Are you ready for 2014?

Happy New Year

Monday, December 30, 2013

Week 3 #PrincessHalf Training Recap

It's hard to believe that I'm already 3 weeks into training for the Princess Half and that the race is less than 2 months away! Here's what last week looked like:


2 hours at the zoo


8 mile run (5 of the 8 miles were below 10 minutes! :D )


Rest (it was freezing, so I didn't want to venture out)


3 mile run (I ran 9:36, 9:36, and 9:18, just amazed that I could run two miles at the exact same pace?)


4 mile run


3 mile run (9:03, 9:18, 8:56; I need to work on figuring out my splits and getting them to not be so crazy)


Speed The speed workout was kind of a fail. I did 0.70 miles and then stopped because I kept slipping on black ice.

Total Miles: 18.7 miles

This week was pretty cold and uneventful, but it was nice to run on Christmas! It was so quiet and peaceful out there. Today and Tomorrow are supposed to be frigid...so we'll see how my workouts change.

How was your training? Did you run on Christmas?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I will most likely not be posting or around too much tomorrow on Christmas Day, so I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas! Tonight, we are headed to my uncle's house for food, drinks, and silly pajama time. Moose wanted to wish you guys a Merry Christmas, too (Have you all met Moose before?))

Merry Christmas to you and your family! Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday and thanking you all for stopping by my little corner of the Internet (for some reason, some of you like me ;) )! Can't wait to hear what Santa brings you all and I hope you all enjoy some of your favorite foods and treats for me!

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Week 2 #PrincessHalf Training

I survived my first full week of training for the Princess Half in the cold. Here's how it looked:




Wimpy speed session before my plane


3 mi run


7 mi run (complete with icicles)

My face froze that way, along with the ice in my hair.


4 mi run


Kickboxing (SO FUN)


3 mi SLOOOWWW run (tiptoeing around ice)
3 hours walking at the mall

Total miles: 18 (including speed)

Unlike last week, I got in all of my training runs! Here's hoping the weather holds up this week so I can get in all of my runs, but I'm not going to force anything since Christmas is this week and there are lots of activities to be done!

How was your week of training? Are you finished with your Christmas shopping?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Underprepared for Long Runs in the Cold

This isn't going to be another entire post dedicated to hating the cold. This is going to be a post discussing how underprepared I was/am for long runs in the cold.

For the most part, I was warm enough on my seven-mile run on Wednesday. I keep my core the warmest, even though it's where I sweat the most, but I seem to be okay. I still need to find a face shield/scarf, though, because when I come home I cannot breathe or talk until my lungs warm up. I also came home with icicles on my head:

Icicles right at my hairline

No, for once in my life, being cold isn't my problem. I don't know how to fuel during long runs in the cold. I ran without water OR fuel yesterday. I think I need to experiment with fuel that won't freeze (I'm thinking Larabars because I'm obsessed). For the most part, I didn't feel hungry or thirsty at all through my run. I also somehow ran negative splits the last half of my run. There was, however, waves of nausea that I experienced throughout the run. That's how I knew that I needed fuel of some sort.

Last year, when I trained for the Princess Half, I did NOT use fuel AT ALL! I even ran the entire race without fuel. Since then, I have learned more about my body and more about running and understand that I need to fuel myself properly if I want to reach my full potential. Since I'll be back to my normal fueling routines when I return to FL, I need help with fueling while I'm here in Chicago. Any and all advice is welcomed :)

What type of fuel do you use? If you are a cold-weather runner, please give me some suggestions on how to fuel! I will be forever grateful!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Things I Hate About Running in the Cold.

It's cold. I'm not referring to Florida cold here, people. I'm referring to real life, Chicago cold. Where I'll be on the rest of my winter break. It's horrible.

I went for my first training run in the cold here yesterday and as you're reading it, I've hopefully decided to brave the cold and head out for my long run for the week. Somehow, I trained for the Princess Half last year while I was home in Chicago for 3 weeks. This Florida-blooded girl (I am officially a transplant as I have zero plans on ever returning to the Chi) ran outside 4 days a week in the dead of winter. After yesterday's run, I'm not sure I can do it again. Here are some things I hate about running in the cold:

1. The wind
2. Icicle tears
3. The inability to breathe
4. Numb legs
5. Numb hands
6. Numb neck
7. The inability to speak coherently or stop coughing after the run
8. Snow
9. Weird aches and pains you don't normally notice
10. The cold

I have this jacket from Target that surprisingly kept me warm and made me slightly happier, but expect to see this post 5x a week for the next three weeks.

Also, I need suggestions for running scarves, please. 

What type of weather is your least favorite to run in? What is your favorite cold-weather running (or outdoor activity) accessory?

Week 1 #PrincessHalf Training Recap

Hi guys! Sorry for the late post today. I've been MIA again, but for good reason. I started training for the Princess Half again last week, and it went really well, except for the fact that I skipped one training run. I'll explain that later on. I'm loving running again, thankfully after that little break I took a couple weeks ago. Here's how the week broke down:




speed work


Walk for 12 hours around Magic Kingdom/Epcot (we did virtually no sitting)


3-mile run


6 mile run * This was my favorite run of the week because a tiny dolphin swam at my pace for half a mile. Amazing!


3-mile run



Total Miles:

14.2 miles (including speed work)

Four days of running is not bad at all, but I skipped the four mile training run I had planned. I'm not here to make excuses, I'm just going to tell you that I didn't do it because I chose to spend time with Bam Bam instead. His birthday was Thursday, so we spent the weekend together and celebrating it. I also wanted to get as much time as possible together before we were apart for a while. I am spending winter break with my family and shortly after I return, he's deploying. So, I chose time with someone I care about over running. It might not be the best for my training, but it was the best for my heart.

How was your training this past week? What was the coolest thing you've ever seen on a run? 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Disney Princess Half Marathon Training Plan

Well, it's that time of year to start training for the Princess Half again! I modified the training plan I used last year as well as the plan I used for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler and this is what I came up with:

It's kind of daunting...especially that 14 mile run I put on there. I'm going to be doing strength and cross-training more than what is put on this plan, but I have to figure out how I'm going to do this for the period of time I'll be in Chicago. Obviously, this plan is subject to change, but I think it's a good start!

Do you use already made training plans or do you make your own? What's the longest run you have ever done?

Missing in Action: Where I've Been

Hi guys! Sorry I have been away for most of the week. I finished my final presentation on Monday evening, and I haven't really taken time to do ANYTHING since then. That's why I've been neglecting all my friends around here.

Let me give you a short and sweet recap of what I have been doing since I last updated you guys last week.

The weekend:

My weekend was actually really low-key compared to what it usually is. Since my weekends start on Thursday, I'll start with what I did on Friday. On Friday, I typed 15 pages of my 27 page report, went out, and was really crabby, so I didn't enjoy myself. On Saturday, I worked all day, came home, finished my report, and then Bam Bam and I went out for some Mexican food. Before we went out, my friend C called me and invited me and Bam Bam to join her and her boyfriend for some "Snow in the Park." Yes, I live in FL, but we were anxious to see how this was going to happen. Unfortunately, when we got there, the snow machines were not there. When the snow machines DID get there, they broke after 10 minutes. It was fun to see the kids get so overjoyed by the snow, but I think the logistics just weren't quite there.

On Sunday, Bam Bam and I went bioluminescent kayaking in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to see the comb jellies. I didn't bring my cellphone for pictures incase we tipped over, but it was AMAZING! We had to have seen at LEAST 200 comb jellies in the 2 hours we were out there. We also got to experience hearing a red drum (a fish) vibrate its swim bladder under the water. It was so loud and so awesome. I got eaten alive by mosquitoes, though, so I look like I'm sporting a severe case of chicken pox.
Borrowed photo of what we saw :)

Final presentation where only THREE of my classmates showed up, one of whom was presenting as well. We'll see if I go to anyone else's presentation later in the week. It's cool, because that just means I'm done with everything :D

I went to Mug Monday that evening with a few friends. If you bring any size mug that can fit under the tap, you only pay for a regular 12 oz beer ($3.75). My mug is the "tiny" green mug (I'm guessing it's 32 oz?).

The other two mugs were 50 oz and 52 oz, respectively.

Disney with Kel. We both finished with our semester on Monday, so we went to Disney World to celebrate. As always, we had a ton of fun. We spent the morning at Magic Kingdom, where there were virtually no crowds. The longest line we waited in was to see Cinderella at the Princess Fairytale Hall. We spent part of the early evening in Epcot, learning how other countries celebrate the holidays. It was incredibly interesting, and we came away with this awkward photo:

Then, we went back to Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. It was gorgeous and so much fun! There were NO lines for cocoa and cookies, even though the park was much more crowded than it was during the day. We went on the Jingle Cruise (formerly known as the Jungle Cruise), met Minnie, saw the Dwarves, and then went to the Holiday Wishes presentation, the Celebrate the Seasons show, and the parade. The parade was MAGICAL. So much fun and so well done. It was CRAZY to see some of the things that Disney can come up with! We left after the parade because we were exhausted, but I highly recommend the party if you can make it!!

I have a ton more Disney pictures, but that one is my favorite and I don't want to make this post even longer than it already is!


Beach and lazy day. Just didn't feel like doing anything :) Bam Bam came over in the evening and we just had a low-key night. It's his birthday today (Thursday) so we are keeping it low-key before the celebrations this weekend!

And that's where I've been!

How was your weekend? Have you ever been to any of Disney's Holiday Parties?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Goals Check In: December Goals

I know we're a week into December, but I'm finally getting time to review my November goals!

Goal 8: Say More Meaningful "Thank yous"

This was a fun one. I enjoyed saying "thank you" to people who I would normally not say thank you to. Friends, family, those who I see every day (or almost every day), but don't usually stop to say "thank you" for being in my life. I'm hoping to continue this on meaningful thank you trend! 

Goal 9: Stress Less

Holy cow, guys. I've already been struggling with this and it's only a few days into December. This is a nice reminder to myself that I do not need to stress so much about final presentations (and other things going on in my life). A friend last night told me (in response to a situation that I was telling her about), "Rachel, I can see you're troubled. I've never known you to be upset about anything, and I can tell you that everything is going to work out." It was definitely what I needed to hear to help me relax. I'm going to try and be relaxed from now until Monday, when my last presentation is, because then I know that I will have an easier time relaxing for the rest of the month.

What are your goals for the month of December?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hitting a Wall: I've Found a Running Rut

I know I still owe you guys a recap of my November goals and I need to re-share my December goals, but I promise I will get that to you eventually (aka before Monday).

I find myself in a true running rut for the first time in my short lived running career .... just in time to start training for the Princess Half next week. I've had bouts with running where I've taken a day or two here to just reset myself and remind myself why I love to run, but I can't seem to get myself back into the mindset this time around.

I've been falling into it since the Tower of Terror 10-Miler, but it's just this last week and a half that I've noticed something: I just don't want to run. I'm bored with it, I can't motivate myself, I just don't want to do it. My legs are tired, my brain is tired, everything is tired. It's also weird, because when I forced myself to run on Monday and Tuesday, they were great runs (mentally). I just can't get myself out there to do it and I'm not sure if I should continue to dredge through the runs or take a few days to reset and start fresh next week with my half marathon training.

That being said, I sent out a plea to Twitter yesterday:

And on Facebook, asking runner friends for their favorite running routes in hopes of finding new routes to help me break the mental fatigue and stigma that are associated with the routes I run over and over again.

I'm hoping that by Monday, I will be ready to start fresh. A 3-week stint of training in Chicago will provide new scenery (and the snow will HOPEFULLY provide more reason to run fast) when I travel their later in December. I do need your advice, though.

So far, my plan of attack is to spend the rest of this week doing cross-training in hopes that I can reset my mind and refresh my legs by giving them a different sort of movement. Then, on Monday, I'm going to take my runs to some new routes suggested by fellow runners in the area. If those don't work, then I don't know what I'm going to do.

Have you ever experienced a running rut? If so, how did you deal with it? Is it better to take time off or to push through?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tuesday Tangents

This post has nothing of importance except for the giveaway winner ;)

1. Today is my last day of regularly scheduled classes for the rest of the semester. So excited.

2. I decided yesterday in my strength class (as I'm wearing my Sweat Pink tank top) that I looked like the worst example of a fitness ambassador because I was complaining so much.

I looked like that baby..and sounded like it too

3. I tried to participate in the Runner's World Run Streak... but I didn't run on Sunday. I woke up with some nagging in both my hamstrings, so I took a rest day. I ran again yesterday... but I guess it isn't a streak if you miss a day. Oh well.

4. I'm trying to get back on the speed work train... but it's tough. I've done speed two weeks in a row, but last week I felt like I was going to die. This week, I didn't feel so bad...but I'm going to guess it's because I did a two-minute speed walk as a recovery in between sprints instead of a recovery jog. I'll work my way back up there.

5. A decision has to be made here on my end within the next month concerning something personal... either way, I'm going to need your guys' advice. I'll be sure to fill you in on it as soon as I can.

6. I watched "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown" last night, so it's officially Christmas in my house.

7. I need help convincing my mom (even though I don't live with her anymore), that I need a dog. Any help is requested.

8. I have one large assignment due on Monday, and our professor hasn't given us enough time to collect the exact data that we need. So, I'm having everyone who's anyone do my survey. If you guys wanna help me out (and help me pass), let me know. You don't have to live in Florida!

9. I hope he doesn't find my blog and see that I'm not doing my assignment correctly.

10. And finally, your giveaway winner is:

Congratulations, Andrea! An e-mail should have arrived already!

What are your tangents this Tuesday?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Most Ridiculous Thanksgiving Ever

After receiving some news that made me pretty blue on Wednesday evening, I was more than excited to spend Thanksgiving with one of the most ridiculous groups of people I know here in Florida -- the Lambda Chis. For those of you who do not know, Lambda Chi Alpha is a fraternity at my University. I met them at my favorite bar last year and have been friends with a good group of them ever since. To say that this Thanksgiving was going to be ridiculous would be an understatement.

I originally woke up at 4 am because I was stressed out and couldn't sleep, but after a bowl of oatmeal, I crawled back into bed and slept until my alarm went off at 8:45. I had it set for 8:45 so that I could get up and watch the parade and begin cooking for 30+ people.

As I watched the parade, I peeled roughly 8 pounds of potatoes, chopped up veggies to add to my own personal stuffing, cooked cranberries for homemade cranberry sauce, and made cheddar biscuits. I don't have a mixer, so I had to mash all 8 pounds of potatoes by hand, but at least I got a good arm workout in! Plus, I had so many mashed potatoes that Bam Bam got to enjoy a bowl for breakfast when he finally woke up at 11:30.

I got to the Thanksgiving festivities around 1:30 and by the time I got there, everyone who was there already was HAMMERED. I was far behind in the endeavor. People were enjoying appetizers (none of which this vegetarian could enjoy), playing games, and just being overall ridiculous. We didn't eat until about 4 pm, but I just spent time enjoying the company of these ridiculous boys.

After dinner, all hell broke loose. One kid knocked himself out, so we decided it was time for him to go home. His little brother and I got him into the car, but he kept trying to escape. We finally got him to his house, but he continued to struggle. We got him into his room, where he punched his little brother in the face and pushed me into the door frame as he charged out the door down the street. He was weaving in between houses when he was finally tackled and brought home. It was literally the most ridiculous hour of my life. We thought we were done with him, but he showed back up to the party 2 hours later and had no recollection of the events. Ridiculous.

The rest of the party was less eventful, but we did continue to enjoy good food, drinks, games, and fun. Bam Bam had to work, but when he picked me up at 9, all the boys had either gone to bed or gone home and I had helped the host clean up the house so that it wouldn't be disgusting in the morning. Also by that time, I had caught up to the boys in terms of alcohol consumption (don't judge me), so Bam Bam got to have fun dealing with my antics at home. My favorite part of the after party? Finding a plastic fork in my bandeau when I was searching for my cell phone. Not so sure where it came from, but I laughed for a good 15 minutes. I don't remember much between then and bed, but I do know that I actually felt GREAT in the morning when I woke up (I actually slept in). Day drinking is the best.

How was your Thanksgiving? Anything ridiculous happen?

P.S. Don't forget that my giveaway ends TONIGHT at 11:59 pm! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Everybody's An Expert

"Everybody's an expert." We've all heard that phrase before, usually after someone tells us their opinion (often stated as fact). Sometimes this information is useful, other times, it's ridiculous. I'm pretty sure the only thing I'm truly an expert at is being fabulous. Let's focus on the ridiculous.

When I was in the Keys, the topic of healthy living and fitness came up. I talked about how I love to run and there was a man there who looked at me and said: "You know, if you ever want to have children, you should stop running." I asked him why he thought that and he replied "Because it messes up your lady organs. Your uterus will collapse or fall out and you'll never be able to have children."

Uh, what? I responded that I had read things that stated running is harmful to female organs, but I have read more information about how running is beneficial to women. In my head, I was thinking about how many women run, have gotten pregnant, and have successfully carried a baby to term, all doing that WITHOUT the uterus (or the baby) falling out onto the street. When I did a Google search while drafting this post, I could only find information on public forums and very little, if any, was supported by any research about running causing my uterus to fall out. This made me think about some other ridiculous things that people say to athletes, specifically females:

If you don't stop exercising and put on a couple of pounds, you will never be able to get pregnant. ****Now, this is NOT RIDICULOUS when someone is expressing genuine concern to an individual who is suffering from a disordered lifestyle, but it is ridiculous when the person who said it to me is ignoring the fact that I weigh 135 pounds (at 5'5), and have fat on my body. The same person who said this to me is the one mentioned above.*****

If you don't stop lifting weights, you'll get too big and not be able to fit into your clothes.

If you lift weights, you'll look like a man.

You running/working out/etc. for me? I have a creepy neighbor who always says "you running for me?" every time he sees me. No sir, I'm running FROM you.

You should work out to fit a certain ideal body type.

You are obsessed with working out/how you look.

You're crazy.

These are just a few ideas I can think of that I've heard from people before. I usually just roll my eyes and ponder the craziness, but it seems that everyone else seems to think they know what's best for you. The point of this whole (terribly written) post is that you should do things FOR YOU! Always do exercises that make you happy! I'm pretty sure that man just wanted to put a baby in my belly and that's why he was so concerned about my lifestyle.

What can you add to this list? What is something (even exercise unrelated) that EVERYONE is an expert at?

P.S. Don't forget to check out my giveaway!!
P.P.S. Remember how I lost my mail keys? Well, after I got the locks changed, I opened my mail box to find.... my missing mail keys inside. 

Be safe and enjoy your holiday!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#myraceragz Review and GIVEAWAY!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen these two pictures recently:

Didja wonder what they were all about? MyRaceRagz is a company where you can create your own, customized, dry-fit tech t-shirt! MyRaceRagz was created by a husband and wife team, both of whom are runners and tri-athletes. They wanted to create customized running shirts that were fun and and comfortable. That is exactly what I have found my custom shirt to be!

On the MyRaceRagz website, you are shown a picture of the front and back of a blank white tech shirt:

You then have the option to insert one of their ready-made designs, write your own text, or insert your own image. I had seen the 13.RUN sticker on a few cars and I loved the phrase, but couldn't find anywhere where there was a ready-made image available. Instead, I used the text feature, selected my text, and made it as large as I wanted. When I was finished, I completed my order and sent it into be created! I received my t-shirt in about 2 weeks and wore it during one of the few "chilly" days we've had here in Florida.

My thoughts? I loved it. It turns out that the temperature was a little warmer than I thought it was when I started running, so I simply rolled up my sleeves. I am notorious for being ridiculously sweaty at the end of the workout, and that was the case with this run as well. However, my t-shirt was only slightly damp and not soaked like other shirts I've worn. I LOVED it. I also did not overheat at all, despite it being a little warmer than I had anticipated. I've also worn the shirt twice as a lounge shirt and it's so comfortable. I ordered a size "small" despite my chest being a half inch bigger than the sizing chart on the website. It fits perfectly and is not tight on any part of my body. It's perfect.

There are two things I would like to change about my long-sleeved MyRaceRagz tech shirt. One, I'd like thumb holes at the end of the sleeves. When I wear this in the winter, I love to be able to cover my hands with my sleeves because my hands get cold really easily. It would also be fun if we could get one of these tech shirts in a different color or two. Other than that, I wouldn't change anything!

Now onto the fun part: You have the chance to win a short sleeved OR a long-sleeved tech shirt and customize it to your liking! Simply enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The giveaway ends Monday, December 2 at 11:59 pm.

****Edited to add: Full Disclosure: I received a free coupon for a customized shirt of my choice in exchange for my review. I received no other compensation and all opinions expressed are my own.****

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Just One of Those Days

Remember how yesterday I talked about how I got a brain vacation this past weekend? Yeah... that vacation was really short lived.

On Monday night, I tried to squeeze in my usual strength class, a meeting, and grocery shopping, immediately shoving me back into the grind I so desperately wanted a break from. Tuesday morning, I decided to sleep in because my body said so (and I like listening to my body), but in the hour I decided to sleep in, I had 4 dreams where all of these bad things were happening. I posted this ominous tweet:

Well, by 10 am, the dreams had proved to be true. I broke my sunglasses as soon as I walked out of my condo (I was already late), I was a couple minutes late to class, and then on the way to the high school, I decided to call the post office about finding my lost mail key. The man on the phone proceeded to tell me that the name on the deed for the house had to be the one to come and get a new key. Well, if you don't know my situation.... the name on the deed for the house is no longer in the picture. I immediately got off the phone and started crying to my mom. It was just one of those days where crying is the only way to express your frustration and your stress. I know it's not a huge deal, but it's one of those things where I'm mad at myself for losing my key and that is piled on top of all the bullshit (excuse my language) that I have to go through to get a new one. Working on finding a way to hopefully get a new key....

(I did feel like an angsty teen yesterday)

After that phone call, I walked into the class where I teach and the teacher said "how ya doing, Rach? You look tired." I responded "I'm just having a tough day." She asked "What's going on?" and I cried... again. For no good reason. I proceeded to cry two more times before noon.

I slowly felt better throughout the day, but when I left the school, I left my lunchbox in the classroom. Then, I get to my second job for the day and I'm tired, exhausted, and hungry. My first appointment is late, which is good for me because I have to do some work of my own. My second appointment was early, but he was a sweetheart and didn't need much help. As I was getting ready to change for my run (I postponed it from this morning...bad idea), I realized that I forgot my sports bra. I don't have a large chest, but I also don't want pain from being ill prepared. It was just one of those days.

But I wasn't the only one who was having an off day. I got this e-mail from my professor in the morning:
That's not my name.

Hopefully today will be better. Be on the lookout for a giveaway in the near future!

Have you ever had "one of those days?" What do you do to combat the blues? 

P.S. I know that in the last few posts I have posted some "woe is me" sort of topics, but please, please, please don't think I'm out seeking attention. I see a lot of other bloggers comment that bloggers show their worlds through rose-colored glasses. My life is a sitcom, and sometimes my own sadness/insecurities/misfortune are humorous to me and I hope it will be to others. I'm laughing at myself already for yesterday's events.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Do Care 2013: Weekend Recap

If you read my post last week, you know that I needed a brain vacation. For the most part, I got exactly that this weekend. I headed to the Florida Keys for Island Dolphin Care's annual fundraiser, I Do Care, to raise funds for scholarships for the families who need them to receive therapy at Island Dolphin Care. This is kind of a lengthy recap with lots of pictures...so feel free to look at pictures and not the words ;)

I arrived at Island Dolphin Care on Friday in the early afternoon. I immediately got right to work helping with the last minute details that needed to be done at the office to get prepared for the fundraiser on Sunday. I love going back to IDC because it's like I've never left, everyone is always excited to see me, and the energy is always great...even when the stress levels are high. I never feel like I'm doing any work there, even if I'm ridiculously busy. After my "work" was done, I said hello to four of my favorite dolphins.

Later that evening, we had a party at the director's house for Joe's birthday (you can read his amazing story here). Joe is the reason that Island Dolphin Care exists. Every birthday is special for Joe because he was not supposed to live this long... instead, on Friday, we celebrated 27 years of life and joy! It was such a great evening full of good food, fresh squeezed margaritas, and lots of great conversation with a ton of cool people. I was exhausted, though, because I hadn't slept well the night before, so Joe and I left early so we could get rested up for Saturday's events.

Deena made this from a ball that washed up on the beach...crazy!

My day started with a short run around Key Largo before I headed to Starbucks for a smoothie (SO SMALL FOR THE PRICE) and headed over to Island Dolphin Care to man the home-station for anything that needed to be sent over, corrected, etc. while the others set up at The Big Chill. I left IDC around 1230 to head over to the Big Chill, where I inhaled some lunch and helped set up some last minute items/decorations. I left at 3:00 and returned at 4, fully dressed and cleaned up and ready to work. The facility looked BEAUTIFUL after all of our hard work.

At 5:00 pm, I was trained on check-in procedures and check-out procedures, since I was in charge of delegating people to collect the items that the attendees had won during the silent auction. I also had the chance to bid on some items after everyone was checked in/before it was time to check out. Spoiler alert: I won a pretty sweet mermaid basket in the silent auction (are you surprised?)

We heard nothing but good things about the auction. It was beautiful, people were friendly, the weather was warm and gorgeous, AND we made more money than we did last year. A large amount of scholarships will be able to help families attend Island Dolphin Care and experience joy and relaxation in their otherwise stressful lives. We also got home 2 hours earlier than last year, which was such a blessing. I was EXHAUSTED and my feet hurt...so I slept in my ProCompression socks.

On Sunday, I was a lump on a rock. I woke up at 730, because I don't know the meaning of sleeping in, but I forced myself to stay in bed until 8:30. Joe and I then headed over to his parents house (the directors of IDC) for brunch. I ate A LOT of carbs, drank a ton of booze, and just relaxed. I went for a boat ride, which was gorgeous, and spent a lot of time on their backyard beach under a tree. It was definitely the vacation day I needed.

Later that day, I had the opportunity to swim with some of the dolphins at IDC. Even though I've done it numerous times, it never gets old and I will never take it for granted. We did a structured swim, where I was able to give kisses, hugs, and play with TWO dolphins (all to myself), as well as a natural swim, where baby Tashi was playing with us and being a typical one-year-old. It was a great way to spend a Sunday evening. We went home and quickly changed. We ended our night on a different private beach, enjoying homemade naan and other food items cooked in a Tandoori grill. This was one of the best/most relaxing days I've had in a while and I definitely needed it.

I spent yesterday morning at the office for a couple hours helping to unload the UHaul, organize the items that were purchased but not paid for, and organize the items that were not purchased. I left around 10 am, ate a pound of pineapple (not an exaggeration) on my ride home, and got back to my house in the early afternoon. I was immediately forced to jump back into the grind...so the vacation is truly over.

Sorry for the long recap! Thanks for sticking with me if you did ;)

How was your weekend? Have you ever swam with dolphins? Unrelated to this weekend, does anyone know/have had success with getting a new mailbox key (if you live/lived at an apartment)?