Monday, July 30, 2012

Lake Weekend

Last month, my friends and I headed to Tim's Ford in Lynchburg for our annual lake weekend.  We are very blessed that one of our friends invites us out each year to his parent's lake house.

As usual, we had a blast!  It was sunny and hot all weekend, so there was no better place to be than in the water!

We tubed and skied and wake boarded and rode the boat and floated and swam and ate yummy food and just had an amazing weekend away from Nashville having some fun on the water.

I hadn't skied in about 7-8 years, so I gave it a try and was able to pop right up and ski for quite a while.  It was much easier than I remembered.  I have learned how to wake board over the last few years, so I did plenty of that as well.  This year I also tried my hand at the wake skate - it's just like the wake board, but there are no boots to hold you on to it.  It took me a few tries, but I finally got up.  I couldn't stay up long, but I was thrilled I was able to do it.

This is what summer is about... being active and having fun with friends.  I'm so glad we got to do this again this year!









Sunday, July 29, 2012

Insanity Weeks 4 and 5

I have really appreciated knowing who all is still out there!  Thanks for letting me know!

Just wanted to give a quick update on how the past 2 weeks of Insanity have gone.  I got a little off track because I spent a few days traveling for work up to Chicago (post about the half marathon I ran there to come), but I keep just moving along the Insanity plan on the days I can.

I am definitely continuing to see an improvement in my endurance and speed for the moves, but I continue to sweat like crazy and feel worn out when I'm done.

My sister said she can tell it's toning up my tummy when she saw a picture I posted on Facebook of me in a sports bra after a race.  I can't say I SEE that difference yet, but we are our own worst critic.

However, I was wearing a tank top the other day (which is not new since it's been crazy hot here this summer) and glanced in the mirror and was like, "WOW! My arms look really good!" So I definitely am seeing a change there.

I'm about to start amping up my running and doing more long runs since that 50K is only 2 months away now, so I anticipate not being able to do the workout on the days I have a hard run.  I am almost to the halfway point, so I'll be curious to see how things go when I switch to the DVDs for month two!

So far, I am definitely feeling like it's making me stronger... so I'm determined to keep it up!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Is Anyone Out There?

I'm just curious who all is lurking and reading out there.

It's no secret I don't blog as much as I used to.  I still read blogs on a daily basis, but I've lost a bit of my motivation to blog myself.

I'm thinking about taking a temporary hiatus from blogging, but I'm also toying with sticking around but only writing about my running and races (since I have a fair amount coming up.)

So... help me make the decision.  Who all is still out there reading? Should I stick around and blog about my races from time to time until I get my blogging mojo back or should I take a break?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Insanity Week 3

I managed to get through my third week of doing Insanity.

Due to life, I'm still not quite following it as closely as the calendar suggests.  In the 3 weeks, I've done 14 of the workouts since I've had to not do one a few days here and there.

The biggest thing I've noticed after 3 weeks is that it seems like my endurance and speed on the moves is improving.  I'm finding that I am having to take less breaks to catch my breath, and I'm able to do more.  I consider this a success!

I did the fit test again when I got to that day, which was at the end of the week.  I managed to get a tiny bit better on all of the moves in the test.  It wasn't a lot, but I think even getting a few more of the moves was still improvement.

I am continuing to run here and there while I am doing this.  I definitely find that it's tiring to do the workout and a run in the same day, but as long as I keep listening to my body and take the extra rest days when I need it then I think I'm fine.  I don't want to overdo it, but I also do want to get serious about getting in shape.

I feel like I can tell that it's already improving my core as well as my leg strength, both of which will be great for the running I plan to do between now and the end of the year.  I have a few fall races lined up. 

I'm also debating making some changes... for example, I'm debating if I can really get in shape to run a 50K between now and October 6th.  I signed up and was all committed, but life has gotten busy and I'm just not sure right now.  I'm trying to not feel pressure to decide something right away, but I do want to sleep on it and make a decision soon.  I am considering just switching to the 11-miler that takes place the same day on the same trails, but we shall see.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Florida Vacation

I spent the first week of June down in Tampa, FL at the condo on Indian Shores beach that my family goes to each summer.  This year our pseudo-cousin Jessica joined us (pseudo because she's not actually related to us, but she and her family are as close as family), and Meredith's boyfriend Nathan was able to spend most of the week with us as well.

Unfortunately, it was cloudy and/or rainy most of the week.  There was one sunny day when we went to the water park, and then there were a few times we were able to go out on the beach... but it was mostly just gloomy.

Nonetheless, we still had a fun week.  It was great to be away from real life - though I did still get some work done while I was there.  It's awesome that I now have a job I love and thus don't mind doing some work even when I'm away.

We went to Busch Gardens one day.  It was super cloudy, but it didn't really rain so it was perfect.  We had a blast riding rollercoasters and seeing the animals.

We ate a lot of good meals and enjoyed treats like ice cream, margaritas, and donuts throughout the week.

All in all, it was a really nice getaway even though we didn't really get sunny beach time!



Sunday, July 8, 2012

CMA Fest in Nashville 2012

Despite growing up just outside Nashville, I had never attended CMA Fest until this year back in June.  (Although I do recall when it was known as Fan Fair back in the day.)

A friend of mine offered me an extra ticket she had to go on Saturday and Sunday nights of the festival.  I happen to enjoy some country music, and I love doing things in Nashville that are considered very "Nashville" things to do.  Granted, most Nashvillians clear out for all of the country music fans that descend on the city.  Seriously - a friend drove a hotel shuttle all weekend and met people from 31 states and 3 countries.

I donned my cowgirl boots and dressed the part for the show Saturday night.


Here I am at LP Field with the gals, ready for the show to start!


On Saturday night, we saw Kenny Rodgers, Eric Church, Faith Hill, and Luke Bryan along with some other smaller acts I cannot recall.  Eric Church and Luke Bryan were my two favorite of the night.  That Luke Bryan can dance!


On Sunday, I put the cowgirl boots back out and headed downtown again.


I know our skyline is small, but I really love it.  This is definitely home.


The Sunday night concert included Scott McCreery, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, Alan Jackson and Martina McBride.  I particularly enjoyed Dierks Bentley this night.  And if he needed a girlfriend, I would probably volunteer.  He's a cutie!


I love a lot of different kinds of music, but I can't say that country is a "go to" for me when I want some tunes.  Nonetheless, I definitely like some of it, and it was super fun to get to go and enjoy a mix of this music that Nashville is known for.

Insanity Week 2

Another week down, and I was able to do Insanity on all 5 week days.

Due to missing a day last week and making some changes this week, I'm still technically a few days off the calendar.  But I really think it's best for me to kind of adjust the schedule so that I take rest days when I actually need to take them and not when the schedule says to, etc.

I realized while doing it this week that some of the moves have been a bit easier now that I'm doing some of the discs for the second and third time.

Don't get me wrong - it's still tough, and I'm still a sweaty mess the whole time.  But I must be getting a little stronger since sometimes I'm able to do the moves more than I could last week.

I have decided that the Pure Cardio disc is one of the toughest for me.  I like to think I'm in a pretty good shape, but by the end of that workout I can hardly breathe and can't keep the sweat toweled off of me.

I haven't gotten to Cardio Abs just yet since I'm a few days behind, but I'll be adding that to the mix soon.  I'm kind of looking forward to it as strengthening my core is one of the key reasons for doing Insanity.  I know the entire series works your core (I can feel it!), but having some specific abs exercises worked in will be good.

I didn't do a workout yesterday because I ran 10 miles... 10 VERY hot and humid miles.  There were 7 of us running, which was great as it helped push everyone along.  But we were all miserable by the end.  Getting long runs in this time of year is never super fun.  I decided after the run there was no need to also do an Insanity workout.

And today?  Well, I need a rest day after 6 days of Insanity and running. (Because some days I do both!)

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Vineyards

When a friend suggested gathering at our local winery for her birthday gathering, she didn't have to try too hard to get us to all come out... Even though it was a crazy hot June Sunday afternoon.

Kix Brooks (of Brooks and Dunn) opened Arrington Vineyards at some point in the past (Google it if you really want the details) out in Franklin.  It's a beautiful spot to take a picnic, and sometimes they have music.  This was the case when we went.

So we all met up with picnic foods, bought some wine, and hung out enjoying the music and each other's company.


Below is me with the birthday girl shortly before we enjoyed the free tasting that you can do while at Arrington.  All of their wines are good, and on this visit I purchased their blackberry dessert wine.  I have intentions to enjoy this one night with something yummy from The Cheesecake Factory.


Despite the crazy hot weather, we had a great afternoon.  The birthday girl and another friend are both runners as well, so a photo of us pretend running seemed appropriate. (We had been drinking wine.  It seemed like a good idea.)


There were some guys in attendance, but they tend to shy away from cameras.  So here is a group shot of the ladies.


If you're in the Nashville area and have never made it out to Arrington Vineyards, I definitely recommend it!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mangia!

Back in May, some friends and I tried out Mangia here in Nashville.

It's interesting to explain to other people.  Mangia isn't an actual restaurant location.  Mangia happens in a building that is normally the Cool Cafe.  This awesome chef, Nick, comes in to cook for the Mangia experience.  And an experience it is!

We had a group of 30, and it took us 2 months to get a reservation.  You get a reservation by emailing Nick to ask for one.

We all arrived, and everyone is seated at 8pm.  It's BYOB for a small cork fee.

Over the course of the four and a half hours we were there, we had 4 appetizers, 2 salads, 2 pastas, 3 entrees, 1 vegetable and 2 desserts!  You pay one flat rate for the meal and get to try every single thing.

I was seated with a few close friends, and we ended up laughing so hard over various things as we talked and shared stories over the meal.



There is lots of music throughout the evening.  Here, the chef is leading the waitresses in a dance to entertain us.


Later, we were all encouraged to get up and dance. We even pulled chef Nick in on the action.


The below picture is one of my favorite pictures from the night.  It's me with some of my closest friends here in Nashville, and we all had one of the best nights we've ever shared.


Below is my sweet friend Erin who orchestrated the whole outing.


I don't even know how to describe how much fun we had.  The food was absolutely amazing, and I tried everything!  The menu changes with each season, so we are going to try to plan to go back soon to try out the summer menu.  It was fun to take four hours to eat and drink and be merry.  I loved dancing with my friends, and just having dinner be a complete experience instead of just rushing through a meal to get on with something else.

I can't wait to go back!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wrecking Crew Wedding

I've been terrible about not blogging about some of the fun stuff that's gone on over the last month or so.  I'm determined to catch up!

SO.  About a month ago, I traveled up to Canada for my dear friend Amanda's wedding.  She and my friend Steph are the gals who were nicknamed the Wrecking Crew back in 2007, and we still like to jokingly call ourselves that despite getting older and having much calmer Wrecking Crew reunions.

I met up with Steph and her hubby in Toronto, and then we made the 3-hour drive to Port Cunnington Lodge.  But first!  No Canadian vacation is complete without a stop for some Tim Horton's coffee.


We made it to the lodge and got settled in.  There were five of us who came from the states and found ourselves in a cabin together.  It wasn't long before we made it to dinner and were reunited with Amanda.


Friday night was spent playing darts and having a dance party in the rec room since it was pouring down rain.  It was still kind of cold and rainy on Saturday, so the morning and early afternoon was pretty low key.

Fortunately, the rain cleared a bit and we were able to have the ceremony outside as planned.  Amanda made a beautiful bride!


I am so happy for Amanda and Nick as they start their married life together.


Dinner was amazing, and then we all had a blast tearing up the dance floor for the rest of the night!



These are my two best girls, and my life is more fulfilling because of them.  I am so thankful to have them in my life and to be able to celebrate some of life's biggest moments together.  With both of them married off, I'm the last one left. :)


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Insanity Week 1

So I'm doing Insanity... like, for real.

I started out this week and plan to follow the program through as best as I can.  I know there are going to be some days where I just can't do the workout.  I've decided that I won't try to make it up or skip over it... if I miss a day, I'll just pick up the next day with the one I missed and keep moving forward.  I don't think it matters if I do Thursday's workout on Friday and then get a day behind the calendar.

Thoughts from the first week?

It's definitely a good workout!  I know it's working because I am dripping sweat by the end and am pretty sure I am sore all the time.

I did the fit test on Monday, and even that was a tough workout!

I was thankful when I got around to recovery day.  That DVD was still a challenge, but it was a nice break.

I also ran twice this week in addition to the work outs, and I'm already off a day because I didn't have time to do one of them one day. 

It's been in the 100s the past few days (we set an all-time record high of 109 on Friday!) so it's nice to feel like I have a hardcore workout I can do when it's way too hot to go for a run.

I'm going to keep it up and see what happens.  It's definitely too soon to see any progress (other than my sore muscles that tell me something is working!), but I'm looking forward to see how things go in the coming weeks.

I feel like it's going to be a great way for me to get stronger before I start amping up my training for the 50K in October!