Weekend Highlights + Ramblings

Happppyyy Monday friends =)  How was everyone’s weekend? Too fast as usual, right? Yeah, mine too.

I had a rough week at work & was so happy when Friday rolled around. Friday evening after work I spent a much needed relaxing evening in w/ the BF (oh yeah, I guess I should note: my love life does exist. & I’m very happy + excited about it!). We cooked dinner, watched a movie + I promptly fell asleep half way through the movie. I know, I know, I’m an old lady & can barely stay awake past 10pm.

Saturday morning I woke up around 7am – I was making the trip to cheer on Jessie at the Boston Trail Half Marathon which was about 40 minutes from the BF’s house. The morning was chilly, but perfect race weather for the runners. The race started around 9am, so while Jessie was out running, I got to spend time with her fiancé, Mr. Sass. We drove to the turn-around point to see Jessie + we saw a waterfall on the way!

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Once Jessie finished, I had to get on the road to my Dad’s near DC. My step-mom was having a big family reunion & she wanted me to be a part of it. The 3.5 hour drive was long – it rained a lot of the time & just felt boring in general, but I ended up getting there around 3pm. I immediately took a nap because I knew I was in for a long night!

My step-mom’s Uncle had an 85th birthday & we all gathered at Ardeo in DC for dinner around 6pm. Cocktail hour was from 6-7pm so I opted for Sauvignon blanc which was really good. There was so many people there & everyone welcomed me with open arms when meeting me for the first time. My step-mom’s family is a group of characters & there is never a dull moment when hanging out with them. Dinner was served after cocktail hour & I chose caeser salad, grilled chicken, and trio of sorbets for dessert. The sorbet was sub-par, unfortunately, but the rest was good. Very large portions, I couldn’t even eat everything! The night was spent laughing, drinking, + listening to the family tell fond stories of their Dad/Uncle. It was a very loving + wonderful evening. At one point, one of the daughters gave the man of the hour a huge headdress, as he was the head of the tribe, + then passed out feather headbands to the rest of us. Such a cute idea!  It was so nice visiting with my Dad, who I don’t see nearly enough.

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I headed back yesterday afternoon around 2-ish, so it was a quick trip! Although much needed to see my family. My parents gave me a bike of theirs that they weren’t using so I was very excited to bring it home! I haven’t ridden a bike since I was kid, but really wanted to do more biking this summer. Once I get a helmet, I’ll be all set to hit the trails!

Countdowns: 8 days ’til Anatomy 2 is OVER! 13 days ’til Pittsburgh Half! 16 days ’til Public Speaking is OVER! 33 days ’til Memorial Day weekend! (BF + I planned a DC trip :)) 39 days ’til Ragnar PA!

Got some exciting times coming up! How was your weekend? I hear Pittsburgh is supposed to have a crazy heat wave this week/weekend – I hope it doesn’t rain so we can enjoy it!

What’s Next?

Hi all =)

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I wanted to update everyone with “what’s next?” for me. I’m about to finish up my last semester at community college & I’ll finally be starting my Bachelors program in June for Sports Management. It’s 100% online & I’ll be considered full time. They split the semesters into 8 wk increments, so I’ll be taking 2 classes every 8 weeks – so as you can imagine, I’m going to be pretty busy.

As far as official training goes, the Pittsburgh Half Marathon is in 3 weeks & Ragnar Relay PA is in a little less than 7 weeks. At this point, I’m no longer following a specific plan, but I’m just trying to stay consistent with running + keep up with some decent long runs. My legs for Ragnar will total 17 miles – 6.2, 6.5, 4.? – so I want to make sure I simulate some work outs in the weeks before then.

I’ll be honest – I’m not sure how much blogging I’m going to be doing. But, I absolutely will when I feel I want to recap an amazing weekend – or a race – I’ll for sure be recapping Pittsburgh + Ragnar.

Please keep up with me over on Instagram + don’t forget me on here =)

Happy Easter, all & I hope you have a blessed week!

currently | april

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Happy April, my friends 🙂 It’s finally spring which means we’re that much closer to SUMMER. The next couple of months are going to be pretty crazy – I can’t promise I’ll always be here to update you guys but I will do my BEST. Don’t fret – my own personal journal over on my Instagram will always be updated if you need your Ciara fix 🙂

Planning: Nothing at the moment! Although I would really love to plan a trip down to see my brother in Tampa.

Listening to: As I’m writing this: “Independent Woman Pt 1” – Destiny’s Child. Such a classic

Drinking: Coffee, water, & nuun.

Watching: I just finished 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. It was raw, real, & sometimes really difficult to watch. I remember being bullied a lot in middle/high school & some parts of the show really hit home for me. Bullying is a major issue still & I fear for my future children…. Regardless, everyone should watch this show including kids who are currently in high school. It’s a pretty big eye-opener & it’s very powerful.

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Eating: all the junk food lately, it seems. Getting back on the healthy horse for April.

Looking forward to: Pittsburgh marathon weekend! My best friend from back home is coming in to run with me & I can’t wait! She is in for a REAL treat.

Loving: life! I have a lot of happy things going on. 🙂

March goals recap:

  • Put at least $200 in savings NOPE
  • Stay consistent with running mileage (I’d like to get in 55 miles!) NOPE

March ended up being a harder month than I anticipated. A lot of trips & things that needed paid for + some pretty low mileage when it came to running. I plan to make April better.

April goals:

  • Consistent work-outs
  • Consistent runs
  • Finish spring semester strong

 

What have you been currently up to?

RnR Raleigh Half Marathon Recap! 

What an amazing little getaway this past weekend was! On Saturday morning, my friend Kristin + I flew to Raleigh, NC to run the Rock ‘n Roll Raleigh half marathon!

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We arrived Saturday afternoon & took an Uber to our AirBnB in the beautiful neighborhood of ‘Historic Oakwood’. This neighborhood was so adorable. Gorgeous homes with sidewalks, families every where & beautiful gardens. I was in love! Our hosts, Steve & Tricia were fantastic. We had a private entrance to our own room complete with everything you could ever need while you’re away from home.
Once we checked into our room, we walked about a mile to the Convention Center for the expo. Downtown Raleigh surprised me in the best way. It was clean, quiet,  & the people were so friendly. I also didn’t see a homeless person the entire weekend. A real difference from Pittsburgh. The expo was great – we both picked up the same navy blue tank which they only had XL in, but we figured we’d take the chance. We lucked out!

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Once we left the expo, we headed out for an early lunch. The food we ate during our weekend was mediocre at best – it seems that all of the notorious delicious restaurants were closed on the weekend, especially Sunday. Our airbnb hosts told us Raleigh is in the Bible belt, so most places are closed on Sundays.  After an early lunch, we got an Uber to a local grocery store so we could pick up breakfast before the race. This was the only time we Uber’d – we were able to walk everywhere else! We picked up a few snacks & decided on a bagel & peanut butter for our breakfast. We were able to relax the rest of the evening since we had an early call time in the AM! The first picture below is looking out from the patio our airbnb had – Kristin & I sat out there & had a beer & enjoyed the beautiful weather.

 

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Race morning came early! We woke up around 5:40 to leave by 6:10. The race officially started at 7am – but anyone who races knows to get there early to accommodate for long bathroom lines – which we didn’t even use.

Kristin + I were both in Corral 10 & it took us about 10 minutes to cross the start line. It was so fun waiting to start! The music was loud, the announcers were so professional & they got everyone excited & ready to race!

Kristin took off like a bat out of hell & I kept a steady pace. The weather was perfect! Low 50s & the sun hadn’t quite come out from behind the clouds yet. Yes, the race was hilly – but truly nothing that my Pittsburgh-living self couldn’t handle. The bands at every mile were great & the spectators.. WOW. They were everywhere! I absolutely loved it. I didn’t start interacting much til towards the middle because I really just wanted to focus on getting in the right mindset to keep a good pace.

I had a plan to run the first 10 miles, then run/walk the last 5k. Well, I felt pretty good around mile 9 so I decided to scrap my run/walk idea. I was doing so well keeping a sub 12min pace average that I didn’t want to risk blowing a good finishing time. After mile 10 though, the hills were more frequent & there wasn’t much shade on the course. I was starting to get warm & was running out of the water I was carrying. At each water stop, I was slowing down to throw water on myself. The paces of my last 3 miles were pretty slow, but as I made the last turn & saw the finish line, my heart just about exploded with joy.

Guys, nothing beats running down the finishing chute.. especially when it’s a long one & it’s lined with people cheering for you (think Pittsburgh’s finish). It was incredible. I couldn’t stop smiling – & I was booking it. My last .2 was sub 10 minute miles. I was ecstatic. The pictures below show it —
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Kristin finished a little bit before me & after getting all the finish line goodies – we sat in the lawn & listened to music for a while. The finishing party was AWESOME! I even saw Tricia! It was so random that I saw her walking by – but I’m definitely glad I awkwardly called her by her blog name & said HEY! It was great to meet a blog buddy. After that, we headed to the beer area & grabbed our free beer. YUM!  Overall – I absolutely LOVED this race. The Rock ‘n Roll series is so great! This was my first race with them & I was super impressed – I will for sure be back. Everything was so organized & smooth + I had a great time. PS: Check out the elevation chart below! WHOA.

 

 

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We finished the day eating + drinking + we went back to the room to relax. Naps were needed + we were pretty sore, so we basically just laid around the rest of the day.

Monday morning we got up & checked out of our room & headed directly to Krispy Kreme for breakfast! The coffee was pretty disgusting, but the donuts were good! I’m a HUGE donut fan, & these didn’t disappoint!

I had such an amazing weekend in Raleigh. I was so impressed by the city, the people, the race, & the adorable puppies I seemed to see at every corner I turned. I will absolutely be back.

I spent 13 weeks getting ready for this race + I am super proud of how I performed. 2:37 on a super hilly course?! I did way better than I even imagined.

My next half is Pittsburgh – in 1 month exactly! I can’t wait to celebrate that weekend & everyone’s accomplishments 🙂

JASR + Raleigh week

Helloooo strangers! I’m sorry for falling off the map since last week. I have a feeling it’s going to continue in the near future. In order for me to write, I need to be inspired. And I guess the month of March has taken a toll on my inspiration. I’ve been busy with school, work + truthfully just life in general. Don’t take it personal, I love you guys. I just may be here less frequently than I had originally hoped. I hope you don’t forget about me in the meantime.

This past Saturday was my last long run of training, the Just a Short Run 8.1 miler. I ran this race last year, with plans on completing the half, but had to drop down to the 8.1 mile distance due to a knee injury. So I already knew what to expect course wise. As far as my performance, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that the weather was going to be in the 60s, which I wasn’t a super fan of.

 

Showing off my mentor status!

Myself, Jessie & Steff hosted a #WeRunSocial meet up before the race & I got to meet some of the other ladies in the Pittsburgh running social community! Loved meeting all of you ladies, hope to see you around in the future!

 

My family. ❤

The race started at 8:35am. I’ll keep this short & sweet, but the first 3 miles were great: 11:56 (huge uphill), 11:16, 11:15.

The next 3 miles were still good: 11:45, 12:01, 11:42

The last 2 miles I slowly broke down: 12:29, 12:32

Disappointed is an understatement. I wasn’t planning on racing, but the paces in the first half of the race felt good, so I wanted to continue with those paces. But the sun came out & the humidity completely got to me. I thought I was going to vomit at multiple moments during those last 2 miles. When I saw Jessie & Rachel right before the finish line, I truly didn’t even think I was going to be able to run myself in. But I gathered up some good vibes from the girls & finished.

 

For sure wasn’t what I was expecting, but oh well. On to the next one.

After the race, Jessie & I caught up over coffee.

 

So all – it’s Raleigh week. I fly out to Raleigh on Saturday & the race in Sunday morning, starting at 7am. The weather doesn’t look good on Sunday running wise. The high is 74, mostly sunny skies. As far as what it’ll be at 7am, I’m not sure. I’m not going to lie – I’m incredibly worried. After how I performed in the weather at JASR, I don’t know what to expect for this. I guess I’m just going to have to do the best I can – which means upping my water intake this week + packing some salt tabs to take before the race. Wish me luck. Can’t wait to update you when I get back.

Enjoy your week, friends!

Linked up with Steff & Tricia!

Rock ‘n Roll Raleigh Half Training – Week 11

I can’t say this is much of a “training” recap as it is just a weekly recap. I only work-out once during the week… But this training recap series is shortly coming to an end because my race is in 13 days! After that – I will try to stick to regularly weekly recaps & some other fun posts as well.

WEEK 11

March has been totally slow in the fitness department. At least in my opinion. I know I seem to talk about this every week, but it’s something I’m mentally struggling with. When essentially I only have 2 days to run, it kind of works on my brain a little.

Monday – EFX as usual. I came home to a package from Legend Compression Wear – a pair of compression socks & they are super comfy! I couldn’t wait to try them out on a run.

Tues + Weds – Class

Thursday – Although I needed to run on Thursday evening, I needed to take my Anatomy exam. As I’ve always said, school comes first. Thanks to Jessie, she gave me the idea of making up a little workout while I took my exam. Here it is below:

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It actually turned into a half decent exercise. There was 60 questions in the exam, so I got in a decent amount of squats & jumping jacks! Also noteworthy: a couple of months ago I couldn’t even do a 30 second plank. I was shaking & my lower back was always killing me by second 20. Well, guess who can do a 1 minute plank no problem now? Your girl. Thanks to EFX for getting me stronger!

Friday – Happy St. Paddy’s day! Who had green beer? I opted for a green margarita + tacos!

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Saturday – I had 10 miles on the schedule since Raleigh is so close. I hadn’t done a long run in a couple weeks so I knew this probably wasn’t going to be great. The first 8 miles went fine! It was a slightly humid but nothing horrible. After the 8th mile, I was definitely getting sore. My hips, my hamstrings & my glutes were killing me! I’m hoping that in between now & Raleigh I can get some good consistent runs in so that I can feel a little better come race day. I tried out the compression socks I got earlier in the week & loved them! They’ll be coming with me to Raleigh.

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Saturday evening was my Painting with a Twist fundraiser for the ALS Association. I had 33+ people come out to support & it was SUCH a fun night! I did a 50/50 raffle & I raffled off two pairs of Pirates tickets. In raffle ticket sales, I raised $198! I’m waiting on the final headcount from Painting with a Twist, but if I had 33 people, I will have raised $165! Estimated total raised: $363!! Totally thrilled.

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Sunday – I had every intention of waking up early & running a short recovery run, but I was exhausted & I was a little sore from my long run. I decided to give my body the rest it needed. In the afternoon, I headed to my friend Jenn’s bridal shower where I ate way too much & got to celebrate her wedding which is in just over a month! I got home sometime in the late afternoon & couldn’t do anything else but lay on the couch the rest of the day!

How was everyone else’s week? I’m sorry these recaps aren’t on point this training season! I truly am doing the best I can with what I got!

 

I have a dream…

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… to never “work” a day in my life

… to help others who struggle

… to continuously better myself

… to always be the bright light

… to be someone’s bright light

… to own a home someday soon

… to graduate college

… to wear workout clothes every day

… to help someone who is just starting their journey

… to find peace within myself

… to keep and form only positive, fulfilling relationships

… to be a good sister, daughter, & friend

… to be a personal training wellness and fitness coach

… to make a lasting impression

… to be a motivational speaker & share my story

… to be financially stable

… to be more patient , with life & others

… to consistently create goals

… to live & love with purpose

❤ C

Rock ‘n Roll Raleigh Half Marathon: Week 10

My schedule is so wacky this semester, I feel like I’m having a hard time getting runs in. But in reality, I’m doing the best I can. I get most of my mileage over the weekend because that’s just how the week pans out – so even though during the week I feel like a slob kabob, I’m usually working my buns off on the weekend.

I switched my week to start on Monday instead of Sunday because truthfully, I just prefer it that way.

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Monday – I went to my usual EFX class. I worked my ass off in this class – I had had a stressful day & I was taking it out on my workout! It felt amazing & I was dripping sweat by the end of the hour. I’m so excited to continue working out at FASTER. It’s truly become my favorite new workout!

Tues + Weds – class

Thursday – It was a beautiful day & I knew that snow was coming & that I wanted to enjoy the weather before it got shitty again. I headed out to the Panhandle Trail for 4 miles. I haven’t been here in a super long time, but running on the crushed limestone was good for my legs. I ran into Katie towards the end which was so nice!

Friday – I woke up Friday to a few inches of snow on the ground & a neck spasm. I’m starting to get really tired of my neck being in pain. Neck spasms started about 4 years ago for me & at first I was even going to PT for it. Essentially, my posture is so terrible & my neck is so weak that if I’m not properly supported in bed or I move the wrong way in bed, I’ll get a spasm. This is the 3rd one since the beginning of the year so something isn’t right. I’m going to have to go back to the chiropractor in hopes he can help me!

For lunch a few coworkers & I went to the Milkshake Factory & it was divine. It was my first time & I was not disappointed at all! It’s kind of pricey, but as a treat every so often it’s perfect. I had the cookie dough brownie – but there were so many amazing sounding flavors to choose from!

Saturday – Since I hurt my neck, I took the day off. I laid in bed til around 10:30am & when I finally got around to getting up, I made some coffee & went back to sleep until noon-ish. Slob Ka-bob, ya’ll. Honestly, I’ve been go go go since before my birthday & I let my body get the rest it needed. I headed to the grocery store in the afternoon (where it was SO busy) & I got a pot roast to make for a few days of lunches next week. As I’m writing this, it’s cooking now & it smells amazing!

Sunday – I met up with Joanna for 6 miles. It went by so fast, we had some great conversations & the weather was cold, but manageable. I dressed perfectly, only taking my gloves off (which always happens, my hands warm up so fast).

I know that even though my schedule is making me feel like I’m not working that hard, I know that I’m doing the best I can with what I’m given. I have 2 more months in the semester, then I start online classes. Although I will still be so busy with classes, it will give me the flexibility of making my own schedule. I have been feeling some type of way about not getting any speed work into my schedule, but I frankly don’t have time for it. And since I’m not training for a PR, it’s also probably not a big deal.

How did everyone’s week go? I have 3 wks until my half! WOO! How long til the race you’re training for?

Linking up with Steff for Weekly Training Recap

Friday Five 3.10.17

This week was kind of blah, in all honesty. My mood has been less than stellar, work has been stressful, & I’ve just been all around not feeling too great. So even though I don’t have many favorites from the week, I am forcing myself to find 5 things that I enjoyed. Because, positivity.

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1. Thank God for Discover Weekly on Spotify. I found William Singe & he does all of these amazing R&B covers. I’m obsessed. My two favorites: Work and Hotline Bling but truthfully they’re all so good.

2. I got out of class early twice this week. My Anatomy 2 professor wasn’t in the mood for lab (neither were we) & my Public Speaking professor only ever keeps us an hour. So I was able to come home & relax a little catching up on some TV. It is so nice having teachers that don’t keep you until 9:30pm.

3. Survivor started on Wednesday night! I haven’t watched all the seasons religiously, but this one is called “Game Changers” & it’s basically all-stars of people who have played before. I always find that exciting because these players have a history with the game & with the others. 500 episodes! I can’t believe it’s been on for so long.

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4. The weather has been super beautiful in the afternoons this week. Comfortable temperatures & blue skies. That will quickly change this weekend – as we’re supposed to get a couple inches of snow. Just in time for my 8 mile long run on Saturday. Womp, womp.

5. Okay, so this isn’t this week BUT daylight savings is this SUNDAY!!! Which means more daylight after work. I absolutely cannot wait. I will finally feel like a normal human being again! And the fact that I’ve woken up every day this week to the sun & birds chirping has just been simply fantastic.

There, I did it! It wasn’t easy. But, 5 favorite, good things that happened this week. What about you guys? Happy Friday!

My Favorite Hidden Ways to Work Out

Spring is just around the corner (or has it been here since the beginning of February?) & the weather is going to start being great again. It got me thinking of other ways besides running to get out there & get a good sweat in!

Running is not for everyone, but that’s not an excuse or a reason to not find other ways to get off the couch & burn some calories. My favorite kind of work outs are the ones where I don’t realize I’m working out, amiright? Here are a few of my favorite hidden ways to move:

  • Rock climbing
  • Trampoline park
  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Roller blading
  • Yoga (take your mat outside when it’s nice out!)
  • Biking
  • Laser tag

You’re probably thinking… laser tag?! Yup. There’s even fitness benefits there. Although most places you’re not allowed to run, it’s still good cardio because you’re moving fast & your heart races from the adrenaline! You’re also doing a lot of crouching down & behind corners & walls (squats, anyone?) I know I’m always a sweaty mess after a few games!

Do I have any Florida readers out there? I stumbled upon CQ Tactical Laser Tag facility (okay, I’m fibbing, my brother is the GM. I may be biased, but the stellar reviews on Facebook don’t lie!) when I was down visiting my brother last summer. I had never experienced anything like it!

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The general set up is there are two teams, and there are 12 different team based missions available inside and outside (yep! There’s even an outdoor course – where you can run!) They run birthday parties, corporate events, and they’re even open late. Taken from their website, “No matter your age or experience, you’ll be working as a member of a squad….devising and executing a plan to accomplish your mission within the time limits.  You and your squad members need to stay alert, while moving from room to room, avoiding obstacles and taking enemy fire every step of the way.” How fun does that sound?! You play for a solid 90 minutes & these games can get pretty intense. Cardio, some muscle work, & adrenaline pumping… sign me up.

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I had to put my brother in here – he’s in the front 🙂 #proudsister

What are some of your favorite hidden ways to get in a workout? Share ’em here, let’s get a big list going! And if you’re ever in the Tampa, FL area.. check out CQ Tactical Laser Tag  & get your sweat on having fun!