Thursday, February 27, 2014

In honor of Throwback Thursday...

As many of you know I am an avid sports fan, what you may not know is that I love baseball. It doesn't matter if it is my son playing ball, it is a high school game, if it is NCAA baseball or MLB baseball I love the game! This stems from growing up with a Grandmother and Grandfather who loved the Atlanta Braves. Some of my favorite memories in the later years with my Gram, as I called her, where the days we would take her to S. Florida to watch the Braves Spring Training games. She was at her happiest sitting on the 3rd base line watching ol' Chipper catch a ball or two! My Grandfather didn't mind yelling at the players on TV to let them know they missed a great play. He knew every statistic imaginable about his Braves! 

So it makes perfect sense that I met Scott during baseball season and quickly realized he is an avid follower of the game as well. Of course, he likes my teams biggest rivals! That just adds an extra element of fun to our relationship! I cheer for his Marlins and Hurricanes as long as they aren't playing my Braves or Seminoles and vice versa. Truth be known, he cheers for my teams a lot more often since we go to so many local games. 

This coming weekend provides a little extra fun in our home as we attend the annual three game series of the Hurricanes vs Seminoles. I always look forward to this series. Back in 2010 when we first met we spent several afternoons at the gym discussing the series, maybe it was my baseball knowledge that made the light go off in his head that made him realize I was a keeper!! (His response to that comment will be interesting, hahaha)

Since we have such a common love for the sport, I have always found it very appropriate that our first photo taken together was at a baseball game! 

May 2010
Dick Howser Stadium
Florida State University 

Of course, we have taken many more photos  at various baseball games since that day! I look forward to this weekend and many more like it watching the boys of summer play ball! 


Monday, February 24, 2014

13.1 highlights from one of the best Half Marathons!

13.1 highlights from one of the best Half Marathons! 

1. Girls Weekend! Tons of laughter and memories made over the three day weekend. I don't know what happens to us when we arrive at the Crowne Plaza Riverfront but the stories flow, the heads turn and the giggles abound in the hallway! 

2. Great Radio Tunes! Oh how we LOVE the satellite radio and the many options that we had to choose from while traveling to and from Jax. Let's face it, I-10 is boring but not with these Badass Babes! 

3. Great Food! So we ate at Fionn MacCool's two days in a row. It is not my fault their scallops are so dang good! p.s. - Y'all might want to warn them we will back in March with a few more fun people, too. 

4. The Donna Expo ~ A fabulous few hours spent exploring and getting lots of awesome freebies. We agreed that attending expo on Friday is a must for the future. It was not as crowded and easy to maneuver between all the booths that we wanted to visit. 

5. Our Donna Deegan meet and greet! We were honored to meet Donna and snap a photo with her at the Expo. This lady is so remarkable, it truly made my weekend to meet her then see her on course Sunday. Inspired me beyond belief! 

6. TEAM 413 - Meeting the family of Team 413 was so awesome! They are such a great organization and always positive. I can't to wear my new head band from them! #team413

7. Shopping… even when the sales clerks can't get my name right! The poor girl at Athleta must have been mortified and ready for us to get out of her dressing room! I'm also certain we left a lasting impression on the sweet lady at Claire's as well. 

8. The Start Line ~ There were HEATERS! Can someone please find Donna and hug her for that! While it was warmer than last year, it was a bit chilly at 6:00am and I loved the heaters! The Start Line also provided some much needed laughter to calm my nerves. I couldn't hang out with the Badass Babes as planned but I was able to hang out with our fearless MRTT leaders, we giggled quite a bit even through the actually start line. 

9. Cheerleaders! We had the best cheerleaders on course… THE BEST! Who else had cheerleaders that got up at 4:30am, dropped them off at the start area then waited for them to finish. They are real gems! 

10. The towns of Ponte Verde Beach and Atlantic Beach ~ These people know how to have a good time! They literally paint the town pink and it's so amazing to receive all their encouragement along the way. They make the race so much more fun!! 

11. The Beach!! Yes, while it slowed my pace quite a bit I consider it a highlight! The beach is one of my favorite places and allowed me time to reflect on the purpose that we were running for yesterday. It allowed me to shed tears of joy and sorrow. I praised God for a healthy body and yelled at my legs to get going! 

12. The Bridge ~ Again, it was a point of struggle and emotional breakdown! I knew two of my best friends were on that bridge and I had to get there. I am very scared of heights and sent them a text at the base of the bridge that I was scared. As I approached them, Allison came running up to remind me that I was (am) stronger and to get moving. Truth be known our friendship is very give and take, she knew exactly how to get me up there. Shannon dropped her sign and came to run WITH me down the other side. I had a side stitch and tired legs, they didn't let me quit. They encouraged me all the way, reminding me that this race wasn't about me but about others. They made sure I didn't let up in the last half mile. 

13. The Finish Line ~ This race is always emotional at the end. It's hard to avoid the tears when you end in the parking lot of the Mayo Clinic, one of the benefactors of the race itself. It's hard not to think of those that I was running for Sharon, Shannon H. and Ms. Carol plus so many others. It was hard not to release the emotion of realizing they had all pushed me. It was hard not to squeeze the life out of Allison and Shannon for getting me up and down that bridge to the finish line! They pushed me to a new PR of 2:16:22! We all accomplished quite a bit during that last 1.1 miles of The Donna, a moment that I will cherish for a lifetime! 

13.1. Celebrating with my friendsIt was so awesome to see my best friend Crystal complete a goal that she held onto for an entire year. Crystal wanted so badly to RUN the race and she did! That won't be her last, she has the heart of a runner, now! It was great to see Stephanie's face as she crossed the finish line of her first half marathon. Stephanie put in tons of time training and the preparation showed in her smile! 

This past weekend was simply amazing! We lived out Hebrews 12:1 before a crowd of strangers. We all showed our endurance and all praised God for allowing us a beautiful path yesterday.  We each woke up today feeling blessed for our experiences this weekend, maybe even already planning for 26.2 with Donna 2015! 

Thanks girls for a memorable weekend!! 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

13.1 awaits....

Wow... the 26.2 with Donna The National Breast Cancer Marathon is in two days! It seems like yesterday when we registered for the race and now here we are on the eve of our road trip to Jacksonville. We've been training really hard for the half marathon and even added a team member in the final weeks of training. I'm very humbled by the donations to our team. We were not able to reach our goal total but I am still very proud of our team! Way to go girls!

Our team will be short two Sole Sisters. During the last few weeks of training Shannon and Allison had issues with knee strain and both decided it was best not to run. I know how they feel having dealt with a similar issue last year; however, they are smart by sitting this one out. As Shannon says often "We gotta have our knees for the rest of our lives!" Being the awesome people that they are these two have decided to join us on Saturday for a little pre-race excitement. Not only do they want to pre-race party with us but they are going to cheer us along the race course! I can't wait to see my girls along the way. I have no doubt they will make sure people around them know who they are cheering for on Sunday morning! The CEO and VP of Group Fitness are the life of the party and will surely have their own great experience being the best cheerleaders E.V.E.R!!! 

This week during several workouts at the Badass Fitness studio the Mandisa song Overcomer has been played. Tonight while it was playing during our IndoRow class I couldn't hep but think about the upcoming race. I'm running a race to reach the finish line to receive my beautiful medal; however, several of the runners this weekend will be running a very different race than me. Many of the runners will be Breast Cancer Survivors, many will be honoring a loved one battling this disease,  many will be running in memory of someone special they lost to Breast Cancer and many like me just want to support the cause and help find a cure! 

We are all Overcomer's, none more so than a cancer survivor and their families. Tonight as we rowed I just prayed for the ladies that I will be honoring this weekend. I prayed for Sharon Gant and her family as she battles every day. Sharon has shown her strength and faith since day one! She has Overcome every little surprise along the way with grace. I prayed for Shannon Harrill, a long time friend of my husband, who was recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Shannon just had a very successful surgery and starts the reconstructive process very soon. Her family has rallied around her and she will Overcome this disease. I prayed for my friend Robin Bennett as she continues to grieve the loss her mother, Carol Butler. Robin had planned to run the half marathon this year but suffered a foot injury. In honor of Robin and her Mom, I will run those miles for her! These ladies all have the power of prayer behind each of them! This weekend I will dedicate my 13.1 miles to these special ladies and a few others as well. 

Yes, 13.1 may await me but many around me have bigger battles ahead of them. I'm looking forward to sharing a race weekend re-cap with you all early next week! We're hoping for great weather, at least by Sunday!

Have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

#sunsational ... My review of Sunshine Burgers!

#SUNSATIONAL is a great way to describe Sunshine Burgers! I was a little apprehensive when Fit Approach offered the opportunity to be reviewer for the burgers. I had never tried anything like them and I am so glad I jumped out of my little box. My husband and I LOVE them! 

Carol Debberman began making these little gems for her own children at home, since then Sunshine Burgers has become America's #1 brand organic veggie burger. Sunshine Burgers are made with certified organic ingredients. They are free of gluten, soy, corn, canola, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy or eggs. 

We were so excited after we received our box of samples, we couldn't wait to give them all a try. My favorite was Garden Herb flavored burgers. The Garden Herb is the original recipe, no wonder it is the top seller! They were great when simply cooked as directed on the package and paired with a salad!! 


The burgers are very convenient for taking lunches to work. One day I added the Loco Chipotle to my salad for the day. Just a simple spinach mix salad with tomato, a little blue cheese and a vingeratte dressing. This may become my "go-to" meal of the week. 

Lunch On The Go! 

That same evening my husband ate the other Loco Chipotle burger alongside a bowl of soup. This is by far his favorite. He loves a good spicy meal so this was perfect for him! Sadly, I forgot to get a photo of his awesome dinner. 

Sunshine Burgers can be found in various locations such as Whole Foods and Publix. You can check out their website and use to the store locator to find a retailer new you. I was very excited to spot these little boxes of flavor at our local Publix over the weekend. So much so that I might have danced a little then snapped this photo: 

In the frozen section... BBQ! 
Well, I guess we will going to Publix to try that flavor next! 
Notice how popular they are, the shelves are almost empty. 

Also, on their website you will find a recipe section. We've been on the go so much lately that we haven't had a chance to try any of these yet. I can't wait for life to slow a little bit so we can pick one to cook for the family! 

Aside from the overall healthiness of these burgers, they are excellent. They will be a common item found in my freezer! 

Be sure to follow Sunshine Burgers: 
Twitter: @SunshineBurger

Thanks Fit Approach and Sunshine Burgers for helping me get out my box! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Keep Calm and Love Yourself

So this is the week of Love, everything around us seems to be trying to get us to show others how much we love them. Our husbands, our children, our friends, etc.. I am a fan of Valentine's Day because I love surprising people; however, I love surprising others every other day of the year not just every February 14th. This excitement of surprising others comes from my Mom as she too loves a good surprise. She enjoys this not for herself but for the pure joy of seeing others around her feel loved and watch them smile. This could be why she is everyone's favorite GiGi! While I agree 100% that we need to show our loved ones how much we appreciate them we also need to show ourselves how much we love us! 

This morning during our Tabata Bootcamp warm up Allison had us perform a unique exercise. We did four rounds of 20 second Tabata style squats with a partner, during each rest time we were to find a new partner. While we were with our partners we had to share one thing that we love about ourselves. Not only did we have to come up with one thing we actually had to come up with four as we were not allowed to repeat anything throughout the exercise. WOW! That seems so much easier when writing it out but participating in this drill was rough for me. I could come up with one but two, three and four were difficult! After we completed the four rounds Allison reminded us that we are own worst critics. She wanted us to take that minute or so of warm up to focus on the good things we can appreciate about ourselves and love on ourselves for a change. She had no way of knowing what my week had held for me; therefore, she had no way of knowing that I had to fight tears this morning while completing this simple warm up. 

You see this week has been full of comparison…both by myself and of me by others. I will spare you the ugly details and share only that this week I have come to realize that we all suffer from the pain of comparison and we need to stop. We need to stop comparing our past with our present, we need stop comparing our body style/shape to our neighbors, we only need to focus on ourselves and what we can accomplish. We have so many wonderful things to be thankful that it is a waste of time and energy to worry about the rest. 

I also need to remember as a Christian the only comparison I should think about is being more Christ-like and relying on him to direct my path. I will never have something that I "want" without counsel and prayer about it first. During my reading yesterday in the devotion "Jesus Calling" I received a little smack in the face, see for yourself: 

"Collaborate with Me in this training" is the line that grabbed my attention. If I would focus on his "wants" for my life I might not get where I want to be but I will certainly get where I need to be in my life. (maybe if I stepped away from the girl scout cookies I could accomplish this, too. Oops, that's a different post for a different day!) I am going to do my best to refocus and not worry about that silly little word "comparison" and I hope you will do the same! 

The remainder of this week while you are loving on those special folks in your life, don't forget about yourself! You are valuable and loved, too! 

A sweet little note for us all! 

Happy Valentine's Week! 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Giving Back....

Today myself, my husband and many friends joined together to operate a water / aid station for the 40th annual Tallahassee Marathon! To say that we had a blast, would not even do it justice!! 

Our crew was amazing! 

Most of us who volunteered are runners by hobby; however, we were not 100% sure to what to expect being on the "other" side of the table. I think it's safe to say we were all pleasantly surprised at how much fun we had cheering on friends and strangers. We were a tiny bit overwhelmed at the number of folks asking for Gatorade on their way out at the 2 mile mark. That overwhelming feeling did not stop us from working hard and serving all those runners to the best of our ability! 

By the time the runners got back to us, we were more than ready to welcome them back  with cheers, hugs, water, Gatorade, cookies, candy, medicine or anything else they might need to finish the last mile or so of their races. Some of them just seemed to enjoy our silliness and wanted nothing except to exchange a smile and a high five! 

What did I take away from this experience today? I learned that our sport is in fact a team sport, we all need each other's encouragement to make it to the finish line sometimes! We were able to be a blessing to someone today, wow that's a pretty amazing feeling! I am reminded that my pace doesn't matter, just place one foot in front of the other and move. 

Sharing this day with my love made it even better! 

There are so many ways that we as runners can give back. We can volunteer for local races, we can donate our time to help plan local races, we  canmake donations or  we can run "for" someone.  All of these are great opportunities to support your local running communities! I am so happy to have spent the day giving back to our local running club today! 

I'm excited to share with you a virtual race, Run for Hope 5/10K, being hosted by one of my best friends and her running buddies. Dawn E. and the rest of her team Warriors for William are a team of St. Jude's Heroes that are raising awareness to help continue research and lifesaving care by fundraising as they run for William. 

Warriors for William at the Hot Chocolate 15K in Atlanta, Ga

To read their story and register for their Run for Hope Virtual 5/10K please visit this link: Registration is open through the end of March. I'm excited to see their team come up with more fundraising ideas before they hit Nashville for the final race for William! 

I strongly encourage you to get on the "other" side for the table! Volunteer or find a cause to run for as it will change your perspective on our sport and yourself! 

Happy Running!