Where is the love?

So the other day in the middle of a super-intense spinning class, sweating profusely with 20 others, I couldn’t stop grinning. And it really hit me: I’m in love with spinning! And then it hit me that I used to feel this way about running. And I felt kind of sad.

So my new goal? To get that feeling back!

I finally have four races on the calendar (with three of them being in December), so it would be nice to get that loving feeling back … mainly so December isn’t miserable. I’d hate to turn the most wonderful time of the year into the most dreadful time of the year.

Here’s what my December looks like:

  • Dec. 4: Divas 5K (the third year of this race for running buddy Lori and me)

IMG_7139

  • Dec. 11: Holiday Halfathon relay (I’ll be running half of a half marathon with my running buddy, Lori, running the other half for our team, The Frolicking Fruitcakes)
  • Dec. 18: Hot Chocolate 15K

It’s nice to have some races on the schedule. As much as I think I like just running for fun and exercise, I always kind of lose focus during those times. I think I need a training goal. And now I have one.

The main goal will be to learn to love running again. Once I find that (oh, I really hope I do), I’ll start looking at secondary goals (maybe finally an under 30-minute 5K … that 30:09 time is still mocking me).

And with cooler temperatures on the horizon (OK, I’m being overly optimistic here … the horizon is a LONG way off in Florida), there’s no time like the present to find the running love again.

 

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Hello, it’s me

(And yes, I totally sung that in my head in an Adele voice).

I’ve been thinking about writing a lot. I’ve written for work or fun for as long as I can remember and not having it in my life makes me a little empty. I tried to satisfy my writing desires with Twitter (have fun with me there if you’re not already), but I need more than 140 characters.

And thanks to some urging and inspiration from my good pal, Derek, I’m finally writing again.

I think I got too wrapped up in what I thought I needed to write, what platform my blog needs to be in (I still highly dislike WordPress, by the way), how I needed to promote it (yuck, Facebook)  and how often I needed to write.

Then I remembered, hey, this is MY blog. I set the rules. So here I am.

So what’s been happening in this turtle’s world?

The last two years, my best running buddy, Lori, and I made a girls weekend out of the DIVAS Half Marathon in St. Augustine. It’s very pink with boas and tiaras given out at the finish line. And the highlight: a shirtless fireman of your choosing (well, of the four there) gives you a medal before you’re handed a glass of champagne. This, my friends, is what a race should be like.

IMG_7125 (1)

I’ve kinda soured on the half marathon distance, though. I don’t know what happened. Maybe burnout. Maybe some extra pounds (that are being quite stubborn in coming off). Maybe I’ve just lost that loving feeling with running. I’m trying to change all of that.

On the fitness front (well, besides running) , I’m taking a lot of spin classes. I’m in love.

In other news, I’m still slightly enamored with Bruno Mars, and I’m anxiously awaiting his third album.

I’ve become somewhat of a podcast lover. It started with Serial. Now I’m subscribed to an insane number and always looking for more. Some favorites: Missing Maura Murray, Sword and Scale, Undisclosed and True Crime Garage. Yes, they are all true crime. I’m always interested in true crime stories and the trials that result from them, but I’m too much of a wimp to handle crime scene photos in books or on TV, so podcasts are the perfect medium for me!

Speaking of my interest in true crime, I was rather pumped to watch the FX show, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, and watch ESPN’s five-part series, OJ: Made in America. Both are excellent, and both reignited my obsession with the OJ Simpson trial (not that it ever died).

I still love baseball, and I just went to seven Tampa Bay Rays games in seven days with my dad. It was delightful … well, besides the fact that the Rays lost six of those games.

IMG_6588

I’m not making any promises on how often I’ll write or when I’ll write. But I’ll write. And then post it here.

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Best Damn Race, Safety Harbor, Florida: Feb. 1, 2014 {recap}

So, I may have complained a time or 50 that I’m struggling with running right now (well, and the last four months). Going into the Best Damn Race on Feb. 1, I was just hoping to not be miserable running the 10K.

I went into it with some confidence because my last run (on Thursday) before the race (on Saturday) rocked. I ran 4 solid, nonstop miles. And, I felt like I could have run 4 more. It was just a fun run in a beautiful place chatting with a running pal, and it was just how it should be (and how it used be).

I hoped maybe just maybe it could carry over into Saturday.

And … it kind of did. But, it kind of didn’t.

I don’t need to share a recap of my race. There was nothing spectacular or absolutely horrible about it. I came, I ran. It wasn’t my best 10K, but it wasn’t my worst. And, at this point in my running career, I consider this a huge victory.

My time: 1:15:35. My time last year at this race when I was “taking it easy:” 1:13:16.

Yes, it’s frustrating, but that’s what it is right now. I just need to get out of this funk.

Since this was my second year running this race, I obviously like it. Why?

  • It’s in a beautiful location. The race is set along Tampa Bay in Safety Harbor. The course has beautiful views throughout.
    water
  • It’s just a fun race. It’s a fun atmosphere.
  • I always know lots of people running this race, and it’s great to see so many friends.
    group 2013

    2013

    group 2014

    2014

  • The medals rock! (It’s a bottle opener.)
    medal
  • Parking is easy (I’ve run the 10K both years, which is the first race, so this could be why. But, I never heard complaints about parking).

I knew there were a few issues this year. What?

  • They didn’t have shirts available for the first day of packet pickup.
  • The 10K was delayed by about 20 minutes. This delayed the other races (half marathon and 5K).
  • They ran out of 10K medals.
  • The beer line got pretty long.
  • They ran low/short on food.

Did these issues bother me?

  • It was a little inconvenient to pick up my shirt on race day (and the line was a little long), but I got the size I needed in a somewhat reasonable time.
  • Yes, the race was delayed. This didn’t really bother me, and I realize it can be out of the race director’s hands. A little irritating, but not the end of the world to me.
  • I got a 10K medal, so this didn’t affect me, but I can understand being upset to not have something to show for your efforts.
  • I wait for beer.
  • The food issue didn’t affect me, but it would be irritating.

I think anyone affected by these issues would appreciate the race director’s response. Why?

  • He came out and admitted the issues quickly after the race. Just admitting wrong and not passing the blame or pretending like it didn’t happen is a huge deal to me.
  • In an email sent out a few days after the race, he apologized and noted his efforts to remedy the situations (sending medals to the 10Kers, finding a different shirt vendor, looking at a new beer setup, evaluating the food situation).

Will I continue to run this race? Yes! It’s a favorite local race of mine. Maybe even the best damn one.

Did you run the Best Damn Race? What did you think?

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Back to my random ways

So, I haven’t been back at blogging that long (like two posts before this one), but it’s totally time for a random post. Because that’s just how I roll.

  • So after my week-long stay in freezing South Carolina (I’m not even kidding … the temperature was 16 degrees one night, people!), I’m back in Florida, and I’m so happy. I’m reunited with my SodaStream (I’m all about the fizzy life), my running group, my fabulous co-workers, and my fabulous chair, desk, keyboard and monitor (you don’t realize how much you take these things for granted until you’re sitting on a crappy folding chair with your laptop sitting on a giant pile of books to try to make it feel like your neck isn’t on fire).
  • I will miss lunchtime walks with my favorite girl in a beautiful place, though.

    Chloe loves South Carolina. She didn't have to work there, though (or anywhere for that matter).

    Chloe loves South Carolina. She didn’t have to work there, though (or anywhere for that matter).

  • I wasn’t so happy about the trip back, though. I flew back on Sunday (otherwise known as Grammy night, otherwise known as the only awards show this turtle likes … no, loves). I was scheduled to arrive at 5:46 p.m. Flight was delayed. I was still supposed to get in at 7:30 p.m. (I’d probably miss a few minutes, but not too much). Then, it was delayed more. We ended not even leaving until after 7 p.m. (mainly because of the delayed plane, but then more because people were being ridiculous and throwing fits about not getting their assigned seats because it was a different plane … take a seat, any seat, sit down, shut up and let’s get the heck out of here, people). Anyway, I missed almost two hours of my favorite awards show. But, I did get to see Bruno Mars receive the award for Best Pop Vocal Album for “Unorthodox Jukebox.” And, I actually screamed. And, yes, I realize I need to take it down about 53 notches.
  • I ended up watching the performances I missed on YouTube, and all was fine. After watching all the performances, I decided Beyonce and Jay-Z singing and rapping, respectively, “Drunk in Love” was my favorite. I really liked listening to Lorde’s “Royals,” but watching was scary. She reminded me of the girl from “The Ring.” Seriously, real horror movie-type stuff. Watch it … if you dare.

  • Does anyone else find Kevin Hart extremely annoying? Sheesh. I guess I’ve never seen a movie with him in it until recently. I saw “Ride Along,” and I ended up liking the movie, but at times, I want to put earmuffs on to muffle his annoying, whiny, irritating voice. Thank goodness for Ice Cube saving the movie (that could be the first time that’s been uttered).
  • I’m running the Best Damn Race 10K on Saturday. Running is a little better, but I’m really nervous about how this will go. I should just relax, have fun and enjoy it, but I usually don’t listen to my own advice. It would be nice it if it went well, though. My running confidence could use a boost.
  • If not, I guess I’ll drown my sorrows at a wine party later that day. Convenient timing, I must say.

Did you watch the Grammys? What was your favorite performance?

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Looking forward to stay positive

In effort to keep things positive around here, I’m going to talk about some things that I’m excited about. I like to consider myself a generally positive person (I even got an award at work partly due to my “sunny personality”), but this struggle with running lately has me leaning toward the negative side, and I can’t let that happen (I don’t want to give my award back). So, here are some things I’m looking forward to in the near future:

  • Running not being so miserable. Yeah, things suck now running-wise, but I keep having hope that they won’t in the future. If they don’t improve, I might not be so positive and cheery. Positive thoughts, positive thoughts, positive thoughts.
  • Running on the treadmill. Yes, that thing! I’m in South Carolina this week visiting my boyfriend, and he belongs to an amazing gym with amazing treadmills. Yes, I’ve run on the treadmill the last two nights, but I want to do it again. Maybe things are starting to turn around? Keep thinking positively.
I love you, non-craptastic gym.
  • Returning to Florida. As nice as it is to visit my boyfriend and have a spiffy gym to use, I do miss my regular routine, my running group, my friends, my co-workers (also friends) and warmer weather.
  • Getting back to my SodaStream. I miss my bubbles. I got this magical device for Christmas, and I’m addicted. Sparkling water ALL THE TIME. Seriously, best gift ever.
  • Watching the Grammys. I get all giddy about this awards show. I love it (unlike almost every other award show).
  • Running the 10K at the Best Damn Race. This race was such a blast last year, I can’t wait to run it again (even if running is kind of crappy now). Friends, a beautiful course, fun and beer await!

    Best Damn Race (and it was)

    Best Damn Race (and it was)

  • Watching the Super Bowl. As a football fan, I’ve always loved the Super Bowl. Add in some funny commercials and an amazing (Want to know how amazing? Just ask. I’ll be happy to tell you.) halftime performer, and it’s going to rock even harder.

    Making the Super Bowl even more awesome

    Making the Super Bowl even more awesome

  • Going to spring training games. I adore baseball. Add in warm weather and my dad, and it makes for the perfect trifecta.

    Ahh, spring training life

What are you looking forward to? How do you stay positive?

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I’m back. Unfortunately, I’m not better than ever.

So this blog kind of bit the dust for a while. A long while.

First, there was the domain name expiring issue. Oops. Then, there was my brilliant idea to switch to a new blogging platform (WordPress) with the new domain. Getting everything into WordPress wasn’t an issue. Trying to get everything to look the way I wanted without having to pay money for every little thing was and still is a huge issue. Argh. So, I still hate the way the site looks, but I’m not exactly sure how to fix it. I guess I need to become friends with a designer.

But, despite the crappy look, I decided I could still write (even though it irritates me every time I look at it). It’s still a terrible work in process and will hopefully look better … eventually.

So, what’s been happening the last … oh, three-plus months that I disappeared from the blogging world?

Well, I’m still running, and I’m still slow. In fact, I’m slower than ever before. And, running hasn’t been that fun lately. It’s been pretty darn miserable. I’m hoping to turn it around, but I’ve been hoping that for the last three months. I’ve run my personal worsts in the half marathon and 5K. If I’d run a 10K, I’m sure it would have been my worst, too.

turtle sign

I’m running even closer to turtle speed now.

Super-easy Halloween running costume for a not-easy-at-all half marathon

Super-easy Halloween running costume for a not-easy-at-all half marathon

Running friends make personal crappy running better

Running friends make personal crappy running better

The race where I said I was giving up on running, but thanks to these friends, I didn't

The race where I said I was giving up on running, but thanks to these friends, I didn’t

Aside from crappy running, I’ve done some traveling (to Kansas for Kansas State football games and rousing games of slap cup) and to fabulous Las Vegas, and my dad came to visit over Christmas.

A glorious BBQ sundae

A glorious BBQ sundae

Happy after some Kansas City BBQ

Happy after some Kansas City BBQ

Part of our tailgating crew

Part of our tailgating crew

One of my favorite places

One of my favorite places

With my dad in enemy territory

With my dad in enemy territory

Slap cup

Slap cup

The main reason for the trip to Las Vegas (besides it being a super-awesome city)? BRUNO MARS. Yes, you can be thankful the blog was quiet for the months leading up to that because it would have been obnoxious, I’m sure.

Yes, I saw him in Tampa this summer, but the combination of two of my loves (Las Vegas and Bruno) was too much for me to resist. Plus, it was a small venue (3,000 seats) and, well … it’s BRUNO MARS. Yes, I admit to being slightly obsessed.

The concert was amazing (duh), and he did such a wide range (Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, TLC, Color Me Bad, R Kelly, Ginuwine) of covers, which I loved. Even my boyfriend, the former Bruno Mars-hating guy, liked the concert and now semi-likes him (as long as he doesn’t sing “Grenade”).

Bellagio fountains

Bellagio fountains

Bellagio Gargen

Bellagio garden

Vegas at night

I love Vegas at night.

Venetian tree

Venetian tree

This is probably true-to-life size

This is probably true-to-life size

He's amazing (just the way he is).

He’s amazing (just the way he is).

Bruno 2

I love this little guy.

Have I mentioned he's amazing?

Have I mentioned he’s amazing?

Confetti explosion at the end of the concert. Fun, but sadness ensued since it was over.

Confetti explosion at the end of the concert. Fun, but sadness ensued since it was over.

I will try to remain calm until the Super Bowl when he performs. Just be prepared, peeps. He’s going to be incredible.

I will also try to remain calm about my crappy running and not freak out or become a negative Nelly.

I said “I’ll try.” I can’t promise on either.

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If invited to Datz Dough, go!

Some words of advice: if someone ever invites you to Datz Dough, GO.

I was recently invited to attend a tasting there with the Tampa Bay Bloggers (organized by the fabulous Denise), and I went. I’m not stupid. And, I was not disappointed.

Tampa Bay Bloggers photo by Gerardo Luna


There was bacon brittle involved, people. Bacon. Brittle. Don’t ever pass that up.


When I arrived, I was greeted with a Prickly Pear Mimosa. Yeah, that was as good as it sounds. It included sparkling wine, mandarin/tangerine puree and prickly pear syrup. And, it was pretty.
 


Next up was the Passport Salad. Reading the description, I was not overly excited about this salad. After tasting it, I was overly excited about this salad. It was made up of Belgian endive, Spanish olives, Turkish figs, French goat cheese and crispy Italian garbanzo beans. The sweet, the salty, the crunchy. It was all good.

I was excited about the next dish: Not Yo Mama’s Mac & Cheese. It definitely wasn’t. Well, the only mac and cheese my mama ever made was the kind out of a Kraft box. This was about 1,000 times better than that. It was cheesy with a crunchy cayenne panko topping. The topping was my jam.

Are you ready? Are you really ready? Because it’s bacon brittle time. The bacon brittle came on a pan-seared scallop in The Sea & The Swine. It is as awesome as it sounds. I loved this. Loved it. But, when you think about it, what is not to love about candied bacon?

Steak is one of my true loves in life. You probably think I’m kidding. I’m not. So, when I saw steak on the menu, I was pumped. Then, I read that it involved a valronah chocolate coffee sauce. And, I wasn’t as pumped. I’m a salt and pepper on my steak kinda girl because it’s so delicious it doesn’t need anything else. But, I will admit to being pleasantly surprised by the sauce. Plus, it wasn’t like the steak was drenched in it. You could dip as you wanted. The steak came with a blue cheese cheesecake. I was hesitant on this one, too. I’m not a blue cheese fan. I don’t hate it, but it’s not my favorite. But, I’m all about trying everything. So, I tried it, and I’m glad I did. It was rich and blue cheesy and I couldn’t eat it all, but I was happy with my few bites.

Top left: Passport Salad; bottom left: Not Yo Mama’s Mac & Cheese;
top right: The Sea & The Swine; bottom right: The Steaks are High


In the midst of this deliciousness, another drink arrived: the Bobby Boucher Spritz. I loved this drink before I ever tried it just because of the name. It included cherry heering liqueur, overproof bourbon, Benedictine and sweet vermouth. I like Bourbon (thanks to a bourbon schooling by my Kentucky friend, Erin), so I liked this drink. If you don’t like bourbon, you probably wouldn’t. You can just give yours to me.

We also got the opportunity to try Chef Domenica Macchia’s speciality, duck fat fries. Wow. Just wow.

To finish off this delicious night, we ended with a Banana Foster Boozy Shake.  I like banana foster. I like shakes. I thought I’d be crazy about this. When it arrived, I knew I wouldn’t. It had … whipped cream on the top. Ick. That is one thing I really, really don’t like. I’m weird, I know. So, even though I tried to scoop it off, I still felt like I was drinking it.

Whipped cream doesn’t deserve to be photographed.


Have you ever had bacon brittle? No? Do it. Now. Have you ever been to Datz or Datz Dough? If you were there, what was your favorite item? If you weren’t there, what do you think would be your favorite?

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