Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's Official!

If you follow me on Twitter, this may be no surprise to you, BUT ......


Last week, I mentioned about how I told my mom I was gonna do it anyway. Well, Friday, I decided to just keep browsing ticket prices and I found some tickets for roundtrip from Chicago to Ireland for a pretty decent price. I called my mom, told her the price, and her response was: book them. SO! I'm going to Europe! 

Where will I be going?

My plan for sure right now includes:

1. Ireland (flying into Dublin, would love suggestions on places to see/stay/other areas of Ireland safe for me to go)
2. England (Manchester (staying with a friend) and London (staying alone, need suggestions on places to stay/tips about the city)
3. Germany (Staying with a friend in SW Germany near Swiss border. Would love to visit Berlin and would love all tips from anyone!)

What does this mean for racing?

I will be running the Melbourne Music Half this Sunday and I will run the Princess Half at the end of the month and honestly, I think that might be it for racing this year. Not because I don't WANT to race, I do, but I think I need to save that money for Europe/bills (boo!). Unless someone wants to fund me for racing.... I'd gladly accept. 

I know a few of you have said that you'd be happy to help, so expect some e-mails sitting in your inbox from me in the near future (Lisa, I'm looking at you). All other help would be greatly appreciated. I have NO plans and NO idea what I'm doing, but the planner in me is LOVING having all of this to look forward to and think about. I don't want to plan every single minute, but I'd love to have a few things planned out so that way I have a starting point for exploration!

Where is your favorite place to travel?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Birthday Wishes and Gasparilla

Before I photo dump on you about my weekend at Gasparilla, I just want to take a moment to wish THIS LADY a very happy 22nd birthday:

Happiest of birthdays to my first best friend, my oldest girlfriend, half of my heart, my sister. I hope you have an amazing birthday and I miss you so so so so much :) So proud of you and all you have done over the last year. Happy birthday, silly sister!


Now, if you follow me on Instagram, I'm sure that you've already seen pictures of me dressed as a pirate. I went to Gasparilla for the first time to see by BFF, K (you've seen her in Disney photos and most importantly, Sarasota?). She lives in Tampa now, so I jumped at the opportunity to see her AND experience the craziness that is Gasparilla. 

I left home around 6 am and got to her at 8:15 am. As soon as we got there, we started drinking and ate a ton of breakfast foods to hold us over for the day. We then got dressed, got in the cab, and headed downtown. There, we walked around for a bit, took photos with strangers, and then found a nice spot for the parade.

The parade was SO FUN! It went on for a couple hours and there were pirates of all kinds handing out beads. I somehow ended up with a total of 142 beads. Not sure how my little neck could hold all of those, but it happened. I had so much fun dancing around, cheering, and just being with my friends.

Afterwards, we tried to go downtown, but there were cover charges EVERYWHERE and there was no room to breathe. Because we had been walking around all day and had been outside, my bronchitis came back with a vengeance, so we decided to head back to K's to just hang out and relax. I definitely had a great time and would have loved to go out, but for my health, I think it was best that we called it quits early. 

She and I went to brunch the next day and then I headed home in the early afternoon, where I got stuck on I-4 for an hour because a car trailer was on fire! This weekend was DEFINITELY what I needed after everything that has happened lately and I honestly feel like my old self again. It's so amazing what friends can do for us.

How was your weekend? Have you ever been to Gasparilla or another themed parade?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 7 #PrincessHalf Training Recap

Or should I say....the week that basically wasn't. I've been battling bronchitis since last Sunday, so last week's training was basically non-existent.




Put on my running clothes, walked around my house....then went straight to the doctor


2.47 miles. You can run 2.1 miles with bad bronchitis before you start wheezing...then you can run 0.37 miles longer until you suffocate.


3 miles


20 minutes stationary bike -- easy. I reached my lung capacity around that time and started to cough


30 minutes stationary bike
1 hour strength
---The strength class was difficult for me and I had to make a lot of adjustments since I did a 30 minute warm-up and had reached my lung capacity, but I'm glad I did it.


LOTS of walking and standing outside (and drinking) for Gasparilla. When the sun went down and I was still outside, I started coughing again.

Total miles: 5.5

I'm feeling a lot better than I was, but there's still some lingering in my I'm hoping this week's training is better since the Melbourne Music Half is this Sunday!

I saw this on Pinterest and I definitely need to remember this whenever I panic about not running a lot last week. I have trained for this event, and I need to trust that training.

How was your week of running? Have you ever had any setbacks so close to a race?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thinking Out Loud #1

I have decided today to link up with Running with Spoons (and a ton of other fabulous bloggers) for Thinking out Loud!

1. Running while bronchitis-ing is difficult. I made it a total of 2.47 miles on Tuesday. Why did I try? I woke up and was hungry for the first time in DAYS and decided that it must mean I could run. I was wrong. I made it approximately 2.1 miles before I started wheezing and then 0.37 miles longer before I began to suffocate. Yesterday, I made it 3 miles before I nearly collapsed on the sidewalk.

2. Speaking of bronchitis, I've been going crazy because I was cooped up in the house by myself on Sunday and Monday, so I willingly went to class on Tuesday, even though I know that I could have milked my illness to get out of it. I kindly e-mailed my teacher ahead of time to tell him I might be hacking...and he made me sit in the back by myself. So much for ditching isolation.

3. I went to three different doctors in a matter of two days, and only one of them was sickness related. One doctor, who I went to for an annual exam, recommended that I take vitamin supplements because I'm "probably deficient due to the vegetarian diet." She didn't even test my levels, so I don't know if I should go with that. 

4. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't stressed out about my major reduction in exercise these last few days. I skipped strength training last night because it exhausts me to be out of the house for longer than 3 hours at a time and I am always ready for bed by 7 pm with this sickness, but I know my body needs it.

5. I need help creating a tutu before Saturday. I'm going to Gasparilla and I need to play the part of a pirate. Obviously, pirates wear tutus, right?

6. I may have diva-ed out at my mom when she told me she wasn't comfortable with me traveling alone to Europe. My exact words were "Well, I'm going either way." Her response? "I know you are." 

7. I have been seeing a bunch of "step outside your comfort zone" posts on social media lately. One of my new favorites was tweeted to me by Allyson:

8. While I'm happy 99.8% (that's not an exaggeration) of the time, sometimes I do get sad. Because I've been cooped up by myself more than normal this week, and because Bam Bam has officially left the country, I've had a lot of time to think about our decision and it makes me sad sometimes. 

9. That being said, when talking to my friends/family about it doesn't cheer me up, I listen to this song because how can you not be happy when you hear it?

My favorite line: "Well I should warn you I'll be just fine, yeah, no offense to you, don't waste your time, here's why: because I'm happy" I'm pretty sure this song was written to be my theme song.

What's on your mind this Thursday?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

We'll Be Waiting Our Whole Lives

Being cooped up in the house the last few days with bronchitis has left me a lot of time to think...and browse Pinterest. During my time quarantined, I encountered this quote:

It really resonated with me, especially with my most recent relationship ending, and it got me thinking about the way I live my life. I am a firm believer in following my heart and doing what makes me happy. I am a thinker, but I am also a feeler (not in a creepy, molester way, though). Following my heart has taken me so many places. This quote, particularly, applies to certain areas of my life where I WASN'T ready, but I took a chance (whether by choice or not) and it led me to some amazing places.

For instance, I had my heart destroyed a year and a half ago. Was I ready to move on? No. Did I take a chance on happiness and build a better life? Yes. I met so many new people, went on dates, excelled at my first year of grad school, traveled, and got to the amazing place I am at now.

Does taking chances and following your heart work for everyone? I am a firm believer that yes, it does. I think that if you follow your heart, you will always come out on top, even if the ride isn't smooth. Do I think that enough people follow that way of life? No. I have had two men walk away from me because they "weren't ready." Do I want to be with someone who is not ready for me? Absolutely not. I know that I am a fabulous young woman and that I have a lot to offer to a partner. If I waited until THEY were ready, I'd be waiting my entire life. Instead, I'm taking chances to live my life to the fullest...even if I'm not ready. Life is no fun unless you get scared and get outside your comfort zone once in a while.

I am scared and excited for the trip to Europe I am planning. Am I ready to be done with grad school and be in the real world? Not necessarily. But, I am ready for a big adventure, and I think that's what's waiting for me in May.

Do you take chances? What is your favorite quote? 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 6 #PrincessHalf Training Recap

Another week is in the books! Just about two weeks left until my first half marathon of the year and guess what? I have bronchitis! I am hoping to get into the doctor and get a Z-pak (I HATE taking medication) so I can just kick this out of my system and be able to run both races. Here's my week of training




3 miles
**Skipped strength because of the conversation with Bam Bam**


1 measly mile speed work


**Felt progressively sluggish throughout the day, so skipped strength again**


11 miles (so much better than last week, but forgot my fuel and water in the car)


3 miles
30 minutes elliptical, 1 hr strength



Total: 22 miles

I'm hoping that this week of training isn't affected too much by this lung infection I've got going on. If I had to get it at all, I just wish it would have hit me AFTER Princess Half!

How was your training this week? Is anyone else sick?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Drop a Beat

First of all, thank you to all of you who left kind words on my post from Wednesday and who offered to help me figure out my trip to Europe. I have sat down and drafted a list of things I want to do/places I want to visit, so I'll be posting that (and contacting most of you -- if you offered), in the near future!

I figured that today, we needed a little bit of cheering up and fun over on the blog. So, I'm linking up with Mar on the Run! and her playlist linkup to share some of the tunes I have been listening to (and loving!) on runs lately.

1. Mission Bells - Matt Nathanson 
--- I love everything about Matt Nathanson, and this song just gets me every time.  

2. Push - Enrique Iglesias feat. Lil Wayne
--- This song is just really sexy and makes me want to dance

3. SMS (Bangerz) - Miley Cyrus feat. Britney Spears
--- I CANNOT get enough of this song. It's so catchy and has such a great beat to it

4. White Walls - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
--- There's one part of this song that I have a little dance to and always do it...even if I'm running

5. Rude Boy - Rihanna 
--- Another sexy song, great beat, makes me move my lil feetsies 

6. Alive - One Direction
--- I love One Direction and have no shame.

7. Basically all of Miley Cyrus's new album, Bangerz. It's fantastic

What songs have been making you move lately? 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Focusing on the Good, despite the Goodbye

Many of you may have known that I have been dating a young man, whom I affectionately refer to as Bam Bam on the blogosphere, but what you didn't (or might not have known) know is that he's Active Duty in the Air Force and is deploying this weekend for 6 months. I was dreading that deployment because I didn't want to be away from him, but we were planning on trying it out. Well, if you follow me on Twitter, you may have figured out that Monday night, we decided otherwise. It didn't end poorly, it just came down to bad timing. Even the right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. I'm just happy that he will have happy memories of us to take with him, even if we can't be together. And while my heart is hurting so badly and this is going to be hard, I'm going to take this time to focus on me and focus on all the good things I have coming up in my life.

So what exactly are some things I'm going to focus on?

1. Two half marathons in February

2. Graduation!!!!!! In May, I will be a Master of Science ;)

3. You might remember that I mentioned in my goals that I wanted to run more races this year UNLESS I gave myself a huge gift to celebrate graduation -- well, I'm going to do it. When I graduate, I want to take a trip to EUROPE! That being said, any help from travelers who can help me plan a budget trip would be WONDERFUL! I don't have a TON of money, but I'm saving my pennies right now so that I can have this wonderful experience. Please, please, please help me out if you can!

I'm so excited for these upcoming opportunities. I have to constantly remind myself that I am young (I'm only 23, for goodness sake) and that I have the world at my fingertips. I'm excited for the rest of 2014!

Have you been to Europe? Can you help me out?! What are you excited for this year?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 5 #PrincessHalf Training Recap

This week was better than last week, but I skipped speed, again. I'm bad :(




Rest. I wanted to run after I got off the plane, but I was delayed 4 hours and didn't get home until 10 pm, then I decided to see my friends, so there's that.


4 mi


3 mile (morning)
1 hr Zumba, 1 hr strength (evening)


10 miles. This was the hardest run I've done in a while. 15 mph wind, chafing from the first mile (the worst chafing of my life), and I just didn't feel well. Luckily, I'm sparing you the picture of my horrible chafing. It looks like I have a disease.


3 miles (morning)
30 min stationary bike, 1 hr. strength (evening)



Total Miles: 20

I'm looking forward to running this week because I'm facing a lot of personal stress right now, so I can't wait to use running as a way to deal with it :)

How was your week of running? 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

One Year Blog-iversary

Uh, somehow this just snuck up on me, but today is my ONE YEAR BLOG-IVERSARY! It's hard to believe that I've been typing away at my little corner of the internet for an entire year! Feel free to look at my first post and laugh at me.

I have learned a lot over the past year, but I am still totally a newbie blogger. I don't know how to do any cool things with my blog and I can barely remember to hit "publish" on time so that you guys can see my rants and ramblings. It's been an amazing experience to have friends, family, and fellow bloggers contact me to ask questions, talk about fitness, or to just pass on words of encouragement. Thank YOU to everyone who reads my lil blog and for some reason keeps coming back for more ;)

I have been lucky to meet a reader and a fellow blogger, but I look forward to meeting some more of my blogger friends in the future. Princess Half? Road Trips? Let's get together! I'm excited to see where this next year takes me in terms of life and blogging.

I know that there are usually giveaways that come along with one year blog-iversary, but this diva is poor since I haven't worked in 3 weeks and this blog-iversary snuck up on me (I'm a really bad blogger), so I am sharing a new recipe with you :)

Butternut Squash Fettuccine with Broccoli Pesto

1/3 box of fettuccine
1 butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper
1 bag spinach
1/2 carton of mushrooms
broccoli pesto (halve the recipe)
hot sauce (to taste)
1/2 tomato (for garnish)
parmesan cheese (for garnish)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. As the oven is preheating, peel and chop the butter nut squash. Add to a bowl. Chop one bell pepper into medium sized junks. Add to the bowl with the butternut squash, add olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss together. Put onto a pan and roast for 30 minutes. Sautee one bag of spinach and the mushrooms together and drain (if needed). Cook the fettuccine according to the instructions on the box. While everything is cooking, make your broccoli pesto. When the pasta is finished, drain and return to pot. Add the squash, bell peppers, spinach, and mushrooms. Mix together. Add the pesto and hot sauce and mix together. Plate, garnish with tomatoes and cheese, and enjoy!

Hopefully, you all want to be vegetarians now ;) Thank you again SO much for supporting my little blog and I hope you stick around! Love you all SO much!

How long have you been blogging? What is your favorite vegetable? Any other vegetarians reading?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Training Plan

So...I signed up for another half marathon. In the middle of training for the Princess Half. Enter The Melbourne Music Half Marathon:

The tech t-shirts and medals are made from recycled materials -- appealing to this environmentalists heart. Plus, I was supposed to run 13 that week anyway... or so I thought.

Apparently, I do not know how to read my training plan. I have my training plan set up so that Sunday is the beginning of the training week and not the ending of the week. That being said, I'm supposed to run 13 the week BEFORE the half marathon and 14 the week of the half marathon. Now, I need help figuring out what I should do about my training plan. Should I change it? Leave it as is? I've already made some modifications, but the yellow is where I'm still confused about what I should do (ignore the purple, I drafted this post last week before I had finished my training for that week). Thoughts?

I'm planning on using this half marathon as a training run because one of my goals for 2014 was to beat my time from last year at the Princess Half, but I just need to figure out how to rearrange my training plan now..or if I even need to. I'd love any input!

Have you ever run multiple long distance races in one month? Have you ever added a race and disrupted your training schedule?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Week 4 #PrincessHalf Training Recap

Four weeks into training for the Princess Half, 8 weeks to go! There was a crazy snow storm here in the Chicago area this past week, so my training plan was altered.




3 mi


3 mi
3(ish) hours walking at the aquarium

My sister took this awesome photo


Impromptu rest due to aforementioned snow storm


Impromptu rest due to aforementioned snow storm


9 miles 4 miles. It was 0 degrees out and I felt like I was getting the beginning stages of frost I admitted defeat and headed indoors.


4 miles 6 miles. I had every intention of doing 9, but then my grandma called and wanted to go to lunch and I had errands to run with my sister, so I didn't get a chance to do the last three.

Total Miles: 16 (yeesh!) Next week should be better.

I'm back to FL today (fingers crossed there are no travel delays!) and start school again is it time for school again? I'm just happy to be headed back to FL and getting back to my routine. P.S. My training plan will be changing...I'll update you tomorrow!

And also to not be dressing like this for runs anymore:

How is your training going? Who else got stuck inside due to snow?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Food Anxieties and Running at Home

Typically, I do not consider myself to be a picky eater. Once you get over the fact that I do not eat an entire food group, I'd like to believe that I will try anything. That expectation is always shattered whenever I come home.

My parents never catered to us when we were little. We ate what was put in front of us or we didn't eat at all. Thankfully, I have always loved vegetables, so that was never an issue. It wasn't until I became a vegetarian at age 18 that my mom began "catering" to me. She will make a special meal for me so that I can eat with the family, she will read food labels to ensure they don't have any animal products listed on them (besides dairy, I'll eat dairy), and she will hunt all year long for new recipes to try when I get home.
She does find fun things like this [recycled photo]

Lately, I've been realizing that when I'm home, I've been feeling "nervous." My mom cooks with full fat, full butter, etc. My eating habits have changed a ton since I made a lifestyle change a few years ago, and I naturally stopped cooking with butter and stopped eating like my family does. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with how they eat, they just eat differently than I do. I've also been noticing that I stress sometimes about snacks and things that are in the house. Chips? Cookies? They're all here. Fruit? Not so much. I'm used to starting my day with fresh fruit every morning. Here, I didn't have fruit until Christmas morning and I had already been home a week and a half (the family just doesn't eat it as often/fast enough for my mom to buy it). I find myself reading a lot of labels, specifically looking for the word "gelatin", since that's a newly added food to my list of "things Rachel will not eat" and my mom sometimes forgets (which is okay, I have a long list of things I won't eat, apparently). That severely limits the number of snacks I can eat…since there is gelatin in a lot of common foods. Does this mean I'm not getting enough to eat? No. Absolutely not. Does this mean I've become kind of a pain in the ass? Absolutely.

The main reason I'm concerned about the foods I'm eating here is NOT because I want to keep my slim figure (although that'd be nice). It's because I'm afraid it will affect my training. I was afraid I was going to want to poop my pants every run. To be honest though, I've felt good on all of my runs. Yes, I've been frozen every run, but I haven't felt deprived or weighed down from the diet change at all. Does this mean I'll change my diet to eat full fat, full butter etc. again? No, absolutely not. But, I do think that this type of diet is what my body needs to keep me moving during training in the cold temperatures. We don't get weather like this in Florida, so I think that my body needs the extra energy to help keep everything warm and maintained during the winter training runs I'm putting in here.

These foods will be making a comeback, soon [recycled]

With that being said, I'm sure that I'm going to continue to be anxious about some foods here and continue to be a pain in the ass with my new found pickiness, but I'm also going to enjoy the hot chocolate and treats that I don't usually indulge in. And then, I'm going to run.

Do you have any food anxieties? Does your diet change depending on the seasons?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goals for the New Year

It's that time of the year for everyone to post/share their goals. I'm not trying to lose weight or anything, but I do have some goals, so I'll share those with you!

1. Run at least 500 miles this year

2. PR at the Princess Half (aka just beat my time from last year)

3. Be more consistent with the strength training

4. Run more races (This MIGHT change because I'm thinking of doing something extra (financially) big and special for myself as a graduation present)

5. Be more fabulous in life in general. There are some changes on the horizon for me and I want to take everything as it comes and just continue to be ridiculous and happy with whatever comes my way

6. Secure a job after graduation

What are your goals (fitness or non fitness related)?