Sunday, December 31, 2017

Looking Forward

To say this was a tough year would be an understatement. It was not the year I envisioned at the end of 2016 and it wasn't the year I wanted. Obviously I took a step back from blogging (both writing and reading), and there were a few reasons for that. The first major reason was that I struggled with enjoying lighthearted hobbies when they began to feel frivolous in the face of...everything that happened in the US this year.

I have little hope for 2018 politics-and-justice-wise, but I do have some hope for the year running-wise.
Top 9 pictures from Instagram this year. Fewer running pictures than in the past. I had my lowest-mileage year in ages.
After the fasciotomy on my right leg I was able to get back to running using intervals (3:1) but always had to stop at about 2 miles because my left leg was still exhibiting symptoms. But the right leg's success made me excited to have the left leg done. My insurance made us wait to move forward with that surgery, so I was basically fully recovered on the right side by the time I had the left done.
Here we go again.
I had my left leg's fasciotomy on November 30 and have been recovering very well. At first I had more pain and discomfort than in my right leg, but I am only four weeks post-op and already my incisions look even cleaner than the first set.
Two days post-op, I had a ton of bruising. This is normal, but I didn't have it with my right leg. I found out after my post-op that I had bled more in this surgery and that explains the higher pain levels and bruising.
About 9 days post-op, when they removed the steristrips. Incisions looked good!
I am experiencing some calf stiffness in both legs, in the left due to surgery and in the right due to inactivity (I think); it will be another couple weeks before I can truly begin running again, but I did jog for three minutes on Christmas morning and it felt good to get moving.
Merry Christmas to me - a 3 minute slow jog on my parents' treadmill.
PT is going well. I have a couple more weeks of it to go. My therapist is confident I'll be able to do a 5k in late-February, which is my "comeback" goal - to run/walk the Fort Lauderdale A1A 5k (maybe with Kristina?!). I've done the half and full at the race over the last few years, it's always my birthday weekend, and it would be literally a year since my last race and REAL run/training, so the significance is huge. I'm feeling hopeful.
My left-anterior incision is still a little lumpy (that's where I had bleeding) but the posterior is already almost less noticeable than the scar on my right leg.
I am looking at 2017 as the final chapter in the first half of my running "career". I began running with no clue about what I was doing. I had no idea what intervals were or even what appropriate shoes were. I didn't even know races existed.

I plan to use 2018 as a chance to start totally fresh. I will pick up running from the beginning, but with the benefit of the knowledge I've gained over the last 9 years. I know there will be days when I really struggle, and there will be days I lament my lost fitness, but I hope this experience will serve as a reminder to never take it for granted. I hope that I'll be able to put this all behind me and focus on my running goals with renewed vigor and dedication.

I hope this blog will become something I'm excited to pick up again. I started it in 2012 with the intention of keeping myself accountable, and I don't think that's necessary anymore, but as an outlet and a place to track my journey, progress, setbacks, and victories...well, I hope it will become that again. I have no way of knowing where my mind will go as my recovery continues.

It's hard to start completely over, and I refuse to fall into the comparison trap while I build myself back up to where I once was, and maybe even beyond, so I know I'm not ready to step back into the runner-blogger community...but I feel like I'm standing at the threshold of a doorway that is slowly opening, and sooner than later, I am going to step through.

I am desperately excited and anxious to do so.

So, here is to the new year, my new legs, and a Part II of my running journey.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Recovery Rundown

There have been a few factors in my stepping away from this blog, but I felt I had to write this post. For posterity, or something. It's been a month and ten days since my surgery. In that time, I've gone to and graduated from physical therapy and started running again. I'll see my surgeon October 16 and will book my left leg's surgery on that day.

In physical therapy, I did a variety of exercises which helped strengthen my calf while improving mobility post-surgery. I did leg lifts, heel and toe raises, squats, leg presses, and lots of fun balancing exercises. (I think the therapists liked challenging me because I always rose to the occasion and they aren't used to having a willing guinea pig.) Each session always ended with a massage and 10 minutes in an ice boot while receiving TENs stimulation.
They put me on the bike early on and started working short treadmill runs into my routine about four weeks post-op. Everyone at PT seemed impressed by two things:

1. How quickly I was recovering. I've always been a textbook healer and when something is serious I take my orders seriously. Meaning, I actually obeyed orders, didn't run or overdo my stretches, moisturized, elevated, iced, and compressed. I wasn't surprised when I bounced back fairly quickly.
2. The precision of my incisions. Dr. Guerra is an artist! My scars are very thin and flat. They're still red/purple, but I know that will fade in time.

After a night of dancing at a friend's wedding, my right leg was super swollen, so I am still wearing compression socks daily.
My last physical therapy appointment (for this leg) was October 9; my PT told me that because I've begun running on my own again, from a PT standpoint there's not much more they can do for me. But I'll see them again once the left leg is done.
You can see where my right leg lost quite a bit of muscle.
I've done a couple short runs on my own using 3:1 intervals and my right leg is feeling amazing. Yes, it feels a bit weak, but it is pain-free. My left leg is another story; it is still tightening up badly. This is kind of a good thing because it makes the path very clear for me: the fasciotomy worked on my right leg and I need to repeat the process on my left.
A real run! 
In the meantime, I am going to enjoy the little runs I can, get back to the gym, and focus on the light at the end of the tunnel.


Monday, September 11, 2017

First Irma Update & Good News

While we are not home yet to see the extent of the flooding, I do have some good news to share. First of all, thank you to everyone who has reached out to offer help in the coming weeks if we find extensive damage in the house, and thank you to those who offered good thoughts Sunday as we waited to see how the storm would turn out.

For us, Irma has passed. It is still going to bring dangerous weather to other cities, but I hope it peters out quickly and more damage is avoided.

A friend was able to get close enough to our intersection to get a photo of our house. It looks like the water is sitting just below our garage in front; we aren't sure how high the water got before receding to this level, but I am hopeful that if we had flooding, it only came in from the back into the sunken living room, which we emptied and prepped. Knowing how our backyard floods, that is still a possibility.
Our neighborhood has no power and the estimation is about two weeks before it comes back on. With temperatures in the 90s, we are not anxious to get back to an AC-less house, but we are anxious to see if there is interior damage. Our roof looks intact from the front view, at least.

We got lucky; the areas south of us took the hardest winds and the storm surge, and by the time the hurricane hit us it was a Category 3 instead of the anticipated 4. By the time it got to my parents' house, it was a 2. (They never even lost power!) My brother's apartment made it through; my sister is on her way home to see how hers did. My friends and colleagues are safe and most sustained minimal damage to their houses and yards, but the downed trees, debris, and downed power lines are a concern.
A colleague sent me this still shot of her house. All the houses are on personal islands due to flooding; she's not sure about internal damage  yet. 
I am honestly weak with relief. It could have been so much worse for us and millions of others. The path Irma ended up taking was very lucky because she lost power as she stayed inland.

I've seen quite a few heartwarming stories that remind me that we are all in this together, and we will be able to rebuild.
Click here for the whole story.
 I think Kristina's home got through the worst of it intact as well!

Thanks again for your support!


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Preparing for Irma

This past week has felt like it lasted a year. As Irma strengthened, Matt and I prepared the house.

After putting it off for years, Matt bought some hurricane shutters (he found them for $3 a shutter - they are usually $6 a foot) and spent Tuesday cutting them to size and fitting them on our house. I helped him finish up on Wednesday. The original shutters were plastic and the bolts were unevenly spaced, so it was quite a project.
He worked all night Tuesday to get the shutters ready.
He also put out all the sandbags we got from last week's storm, but the two layers of bags we have probably won't do much good against the projected storm surge. (Some of you may have seen the videos I posted of that flooding on Instagram last week.) Finally, we went to his studio and cleared out all the ceramics.
Wrapping a tarp around his kiln. We're not sure if the cabin will make it through the storm. His kiln, wheel, and slab roller may all be lost.
For awhile we were unsure what Matt's mom would do, as she lives in a mobile home and has a small dog, but eventually decided whatever we ended up doing, she would join us. So Thursday, as Irma's path turned ever more westward, we finally decided we would evacuate.

Our home almost flooded just the other weekend from a rainstorm that sat over us for awhile, so we were sure the house would flood from Irma. As we saw that the wind gusts would possibly be 150 MPH, we became worried that our roof wouldn't survive, so we had to evacuate.
We are in Fort Myers. My parents live in Sarasota, between Tampa and Fort Myers.
We were able to book an Airbnb up in the panhandle. We finished cleaning up the house and removing things from our sunken living room, and after taking a video of each room to document our belongings, we hit the road around 2am on Friday. Because of my surgery, I was told if I evacuated I should keep my foot elevated and my leg outstretched to avoid the risk of blood clots, so Matt drove the entire way to Tallahassee. He used backroads and we used Gas Buddy to find fuel along the route, and we made it to our first destination (Matt's cousin's house) around 8am. Traffic was heavy for the dead of night, but we didn't encounter any gridlock.

Saturday afternoon, we completed our journey out to Miramar Beach. The panhandle is unlikely to have more than a tropical storm, so we will be safe here. Once we arrived, my mind was finally able to start processing that we may not have a home to return to. Irma's eye is aimed directly at our city, and our house was built in the 1970s. It wasn't until after Hurricane Andrew (1992) that more stringent building codes were enacted. It is extremely likely that the 15 foot storm surge they are expecting will get into our house, and it's very likely that our roof won't hold out against category 4+ winds.
Road tripping. You'd never know a hurricane was looming based on the weather we're having.
I am relieved for my friends on the east coast, but devastated thinking of what the west coast is facing.

I keep thinking about the things I had to leave behind, most specifically my grandma's crystal, which she gave me as a wedding gift, and the handcrafted menorah Matt got me for my birthday two years ago. I took all my heirlooms/good jewelry. I am trying very hard to come to terms with possibly returning to utter destruction. (The Weather Channel predicts our area will suffer somewhere between "devastating" and "catastrophic" effects.) If I expect that the house will be totally destroyed, then I can be happily surprised if there is anything left at all.
The Waterford crystal only comes out for Passover.
After all the work we've put into it, I can't really explain the emotions I am going through right now, but I'm sure you can imagine.

Before they evacuated, Elizabeth went to my house to grab my A1A marathon medal for me.

My parents and siblings (and their pets) are all in Sarasota at my parents' house. Their house was built in 2007 so it should be safe, and Irma should be a little weaker when it hits Sarasota. I am anxious about them staying behind, but I'm sure they'll be fine.

There is still time for things to change, as Irma won't hit Fort Myers until Sunday night. There is time for it to slow down or weaken. There's time for it to curve. Hurricanes are tricky in how difficult their paths are to predict.

I have dozens of friends who either evacuated or have prepared their houses to weather the storm. Needless to say, I am anxious for my friends and family. I appreciate everyone who has reached out with well wishes and offers to help. I will need them.

So...yeah. I am trying to be objective about this, because I can't find it in me to be positive. We will survive and that's what matters. But the road ahead is sure to be difficult. Please keep Florida in your thoughts. I don't believe thoughts and prayers make any difference, but it helps to know people are thinking of us.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Surgery & Afterward

I am going to include photos in this post; nothing is gory or bloody, but there is one photo of inside my leg so if you think that might gross you out, you've been warned!


Matt and I arrived at Naples Day Surgery at 2pm for intake. I was feeling very calm; I don't think I got nervous once during the entire day, maybe because I was still in denial a little bit about actually having surgery. Let's call it survival mode!

After I changed into a gown and got settled in the pre-op area, Matt came back to wait with me. The nurse gave me an IV to start pushing some fluids because I hadn't had any since very early in the morning, and then the anesthesiologist team (there were three of them) came by to each check on me and get my medical history.
This is my new look; it's great for hiding bad hair days!
One of these team members had had an emergency fasciotomy in high school due to a football injury, and he showed me his scars. Everyone was so helpful and nice; I definitely give them all an A+ for bedside manner.

Dr. Guerra came by and marked my leg, and then I asked one of the nurses to help me to the bathroom. The IV had made me have to pee, and I was afraid I'd go on the operating table once I was under anesthesia!

Finally, it was time to go into the operating room. They pushed the first dose of...something...into my IV and I immediately started feeling loopy. I remember trying to tell them a story as they wheeled me into the OR, but I honestly don't know what I was telling them. (Okay, I think I was telling them about an Unsolved Mysteries case about a doctor who killed patients by putting bubbles in their IVs. What is wrong with me?)  I vaguely remember the nurse attaching the monitor wires to my chest, and I think I remember the oxygen mask.
A photo they printed of my surgery. I think the silver thing on top is the blade, the smooth pink at the bottom is the muscle, and the thin white/red thing is the fascia being cut.
The next thing I knew, I was hearing voices and being moved into a sitting position. I became aware that Matt was there talking to someone about my care, and I asked for something to drink. I felt dizzy from the anesthesia, so I asked for apple juice (I felt like I needed the sugar) and nursed that slowly while I woke up.
I was wheeled out to the car, and about halfway home I made Matt pull over so I could try to puke, but nothing came up. After that passed, I actually felt a lot better. Matt stopped at Publix to get me ice cream and soup (I remember telling him exactly what to get me, but it's all very foggy; all my memories from Thursday are), and then at home he made me dinner and was generally just the best caretaker I could ask for.
I do not remember taking this picture while I waited for Matt. I guess I was subconsciously thinking I need this for the blog.
I used my crutches the rest of the day Thursday. I really didn't want to take any of the narcotic painkillers I had been prescribed, so I stuck with Advil (Dr. Guerra said that was fine) and actually didn't have much pain. I was able to sleep pretty well!


I spent the day lounging around watching Jessica Jones with Matt. I was able to hobble around a bit without the crutches, and was still taking 600mg of Advil every 6 hours or so, but really my pain was very manageable.
The size of this bandage freaked me out but when I finally removed it, I saw I had very little swelling. The ace bandage was just packed with gauze and cushiony stuff.
I woke up around 3am Saturday morning with some burning in one incision, and I took Advil and went back to bed.


I was finally allowed to shower Saturday night! I did not have to take any Advil all day (besides the 3am wakeup) and was fully walking without crutches. Matt helped me unwind my leg and peel off the old dressings before my shower. After examining the incisions, we dressed them back up and I finally had a chance to shower. Afterward, my leg was a little sore from standing, but mostly I felt great.
They had me mark the leg they'd be operating on, and my initials are still there.
I had no swelling or bruising; my muscle was sore beneath my skin, but the surgical sites themselves were completely numb. I know this could last up to a couple months.
No swelling at all!

By Sunday, I had no pain at all. My ankle is a little sore where my anterior incision is, but the rest of my leg is painfree, if a little stiff. We even left the house Sunday so I could walk around a feel like a normal person.

I start PT on Tuesday and I am excited to get on with it! My post-op is September 11, and I hope at that time we can schedule my left leg, because I am bouncing back fast from the right and I am ready to be totally done with both! I'm hoping my fast recovery means I could get my right leg done on a "normal" long weekend. This time I had five days off but I think four would be plenty.

I am so grateful Kristina is going through this at the same time as me; it sucks to have this injury, but it's nice to not be alone. I am so ready to come back, to truly train, and to run again the way I used to.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Running Gave Me this Life

It might be too much to say running saved my life. I know it has been a literal lifesaver for many runners out there. For me, it is enough to say that running gave me the life I have.

It helped forge me into the person I am.

It has made me resilient.
It has made me strong.
It has made me appreciate failure.
It has made me brave.
It has made me compassionate.
It has made me analytical.
It has made me prioritize.
It has made me face truths.
It has made me more sociable.
It has made me determined.
It has made me focused.
It has made me grateful.
It has made me insightful.
It has made me humble.
It has made me joyful.

Running changed the way I think and helped me shed societal expectations for my body.

Running showed me over and over what I am capable of.

Running gave meaning to the corny cliches about pressure and diamonds and self-determination.

Running did not save my life, but I would not be who I am today without it, and I love what it has helped shape me into.

As I write this, on the eve of surgery, I am looking back at old posts and remembering why I am doing this. Why it's worth it. I will never be a competitive, elite runner, but I am not whole without running. I am not truly myself without it.

Last week, I was getting cold feet about the surgery. I've been numb the past couple months, as this process has dragged on. I wondered, Do I even miss running enough to undergo surgery to get it back?

This week, I know. I have not felt like myself since February, when my running had to be drastically cut back. I have felt strangely hollow and half-there. I am ready to feel alive again.

I am so ready.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Various Updates


A couple weeks ago, I went back to see my doctor and schedule my fasciotomy. Not only has my calf pain been back, but the mental and emotional anguish of being injured has been weighing heavily on me. Running has been the only exercise that ever worked for me; I believe it played a huge role in making my depression manageable and helping me live a more balanced, happier life.
So I am very much looking forward to surgery at the end of the month. I'm savoring each run right now; after surgery it will be three months before I can be truly back to running the way I like, or think seriously about training.

This month I wrote a post for the Skirt Sports blog about my WORD. A word that motivates me and keeps me moving. I have used transcend as a mantra for ages - it has applied to overcoming pain, doubt, negativity, and fear. These days, it seems even more applicable to life in general.
My post is here. Please give it a read!

I laughed a little at this robot's assessment of my writing skills. Doesn't it know purposeful repetition is an artistic choice?! 
Product Review Update

I've tried out the MIIEGO headphones a couple more times. While they definitely resulted in sweaty ears at the gym, I found this wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought it would be when outside.
The picture on the right shows all the sweat from wearing them to the gym, but after my outdoor runs they're not this sweaty!
The band across the back is still a little too tight and pulls a bit, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with them. I hope the band loosens up a touch with use, because right now my one major complaint is that they slip due to the band wanting to rebound into its twisty shape.


I'm enjoying being back at work. This year we have a third CRT (curriculum resource teacher) and it's been great! The three of us make a really strong team.
We had 78% totality during dismissal on Monday. That was fun!
We moved into a bigger office this year, too, and it's much nicer than the old one. The year has gotten off to a smooth start so far.

Real Life

Last Friday, some friends joined me and Matt for a peaceful march of resistance and reflection, followed by a vigil for Charlottesville and Heather Heyer. It is very hard for me to explain how it feels, as a Jewish woman and an American, to see Nazis brazenly marching in the streets, but gathering with others in hope and love served as a balm for my sore heart and strengthened my resolve to resist.
And seeing the response in Boston? That was perfect.

What is your word?
How have you been dealing with national events lately?


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MIIEGO Headphone Review

A couple weeks ago, out of nowhere, my Jaybird headphones stopped working. I am really not in the market to replace $150 headphones, so I started looking around for a new brand. In the meantime, I struggled with some cheap corded earbuds I had lying around the house, and I remembered how much I freaking hate cords.

Then, I saw a post on Flip Belt's Instagram. You guys know I'm a huge fan of Flip Belt, so I was excited to see that they were pairing up with a bluetooth headphone brand...I trust Flip Belt so I figured the headphones would be a good bet.

I reached out to Flip Belt to see if I could test out and review a pair, and a couple days later I had a beautiful pair of coral MIIEGO headphones in my hands. I really wanted to try the M1, which is their bluetooth earbud version, but I was happy to try the AL3+ Freedoms.
The headphones come with a carrying case, extra foam speaker covers, and a charging cord.
First Impressions:

I immediately found the packaging, color, and design attractive. The headphones coil up into a neat little bundle and the carrying case is compact and sturdy. The instructions were clear and simple; the headphones paired up easily with my phone and were fully charged and ready to use right out of the box.
Right out of the box, full battery! I tested the pairing and buttons immediately and mastered their use in under 5 minutes.
I did have a couple concerns right off the bat, though. Would they stay in place while running? Would they feel bulky and warm?

After taking them out for a spin, I'm pretty happy with them.
Ready for a run. I tested the headphones in 88 degrees, 90% humidity, sunshine, and no breeze.

Easy storage
Good sound quality
Easy to install & use


A little warm for FL summer
Need some adjusting/moved a little
The band doesn't lie quite flat enough
I was pleasantly surprised - the headphones stayed in place and needed less adjusting than my favorite earbuds ever did!

For the price, these are really nice headphones for the gym or just hanging out. They're not my favorite for running but they aren't bad.

I wish they fit a little more loosely. The twist in the wire made the headphones "tight" across the back of my head so they pulled a little, which is the only reason they moved at all; I think with time this tight coil will loosen a bit and they'll become more comfortable, will stay in place better, and will pull less.

They are not as bulky as I thought they'd be - they're really lightweight. My ears definitely got warm from wearing the headphones. I tested them in fairly normal Florida weather but what others might call extreme. I don't think the warmth would be bothersome in most other states at any time of year.

Rating: 8.5/10, B+
Price: $79.99

I'll definitely continue to use them! If the coil loosens up and the fit improves, I'll write an update, as well.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Earworm Wednesday: Linkin Park

I was really shaken by the suicide of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington. I think most people my age can agree that Linkin Park's poignant lyrics and powerful instrumentals got us through some tough times in high school and college, and so far I've loved every song I've heard off the new album.

In "Leave Out all the Rest", Chester sings, "When my time comes/forget the wrong that I've done/help me leave behind some/reasons to be missed", and I think the legacy of his music absolutely fulfills that wish.

So today, I wanted to share some of Chester's last songs off the new album One More Light.

One More Light: "If they say who cares if one more light goes out/in a sky of a million stars?/it flickers, flickers/Who cares when someone's time runs out/if a moment is all we are?/We're quicker, quicker/Who cares if one more light goes out?/Well I do"
Battle Symphony: "...When they turn down the lights/I hear my battle symphony/all the world in front of me/if my armor breaks/I'll fuse it back together/Battle symphony/please just don't give up on me/and my eyes are wide awake"
Talking to Myself: "The truth is you turn into someone else/you keep running like the sky is falling/I can whisper I can yell/But I know I'm just talking to myself"
I will always be grateful for the solace Chester's music brought me, and still brings me. I am grateful to have this final album. I wish it didn't have to be his last.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Some Hard Truths (and Some Small Victories)

These days, three miles feels daunting and four seems impossible. I am trying to stay positive, but when I think about my longterm running goals, I can't help but feel hopeless.
I love that Elizabeth has become the voice of reason and experience in running here.
Running on the treadmill at the gym has reminded me how much easier running indoors is. For one thing, there's no humidity! For another, the treadmill really cuts down on the effort and impact. I am taking Wednesday's 30-minute run (no walking!) as a victory.

Monday I ran for 17 minutes without stopping (outside) and that is a victory, too.
My calf pain has been significantly less intense than it was November-May this year. On the one hand, this could mean I don't need surgery after all? So maybe all the stress, expenditure, and loss of fitness was for nothing, but I can just pick up running again like normal.

Or maybe this means I forgo surgery and then months later - after my deductible resets - the pain picks back up and I need it done after all.

I am thinking back to my first marathon. I was struck with calf cramps like I had never had before. At the time, I blamed Mucinex. But what if that was my first experience with compartment syndrome? Can it be dormant for years before resurfacing?
(Rereading that post is so amazingly motivating. I can't wait to be able to run a marathon again.)

I am running on my golf course or at the gym exclusively these days because the thought of driving to a route with the intention of completing it and failing is paralyzing. I like the comfort of the familiar right now.
But it's not a bad place to run, really.
Last week was the first time in a long time I actually enjoyed a run and felt like I was running for me and not as a chore. It was liberating.
Actually, genuinely happy.
Elizabeth listened patiently to these sundry concerns Wednesday and then offered really helpful suggestions and I feel really lucky to have her. She is endlessly patient and always helps me see the positive side of things.
I am trying very hard to focus on my victories. Today at the gym, I realized I can run without walk breaks. I realized Florida summer is a big element in my struggle; I had forgotten how much it can affect me.

I realized for the first time in awhile that I still want to run distance and I still can. Not yet, but eventually. Running is a lifelong endeavor, and I am relieved to realize I'm excited to get back to it after this is all over, however it turns out!

How do you get over your self-doubt after an injury or setback?
What small victories are you celebrating lately?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Some Summer Stuff

I officially go back to work July 27th to start training our new teachers, so summer is basically over for me. It's been a good one. Our travel plans fell through and my leg debacle caused some stress, but mostly I really enjoyed my time off.

In June we had a week straight of heavy rain, but I was able to take advantage of the few days of sun and enjoy our backyard.
I took time off from working out to catch up on reading and writing for fun. It felt so good to be a total hermit and avoid socializing for a couple weeks.

We went up to Sarasota for Father's Day and Matt taught my family how to use his One Wheel. I always love it when all of us are able to get together, because it usually only happens at Thanksgiving.
This video of my mom on the One Wheel always cracks me up. She did a great job! My brother was so nervous; he really didn't want her on there.

Although we didn't get to New York this summer, as was our original plan, this past weekend Matt and I made a weekend trip up to Mark's family beach house in St. Augustine to see a handful of our college friends; it's always a treat to see them and catch up.
Sean always cooks for us when we do these trips, and this year he made sure everything was totally gluten free!
In big workout news, I finally joined a gym. Planet Fitness totally got me with their $1 signup special. After doing the math for the yearly cost, I decided it was worth the membership, especially if it means I'll have some accountability for going. I also talked Elizabeth into joining! I just feel like I need more beyond our classroom workouts this year.
I was brave and went by myself the first day I joined!
The gym is a half mile from my house, so I can run there, which is a major plus. And when my runs get rained out now, I'm a two-minute drive away from a treadmill! No more excuses!

Although I worked a little here and there over summer, it definitely felt like a long enough break. I am excited and ready to head back to work!

Did you go anywhere this summer?
How do you most like to spend your downtime? 


Monday, July 17, 2017

Our Anniversary in Pictures

Matt and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary last week. We don't often do anything big for our anniversaries, but this year we didn't have a summer vacation planned and we just felt like we wanted to do something special. So, we got a hotel room at a nice local hotel and had a staycation!
One of three pools at the hotel...this one had a huge fountain and waterfall! We drank our mimosas here before bringing our luggage upstairs.
When we arrived at the hotel Sunday, I was a little overwhelmed. When traveling, we usually go for 3-star hotels and inns; the Hyatt Regency is basically a resort compared to those! Like, we checked in and they offered us mimosas. That is beyond our usual level of fancy.
The view from our room...we upgraded to a balcony.
We had lunch by the pool and enjoyed the lazy river before opting for the adults-only pool, which was quiet and perfect. We are officially those people. The place was crawling with kids! We just wanted a quiet getaway.
A late lunch...I think Bloody Marys are appropriate to drink at any time of day. (Looking at this picture makes me really glad I booked a haircut before school resumes.)
Enjoying the hot tub.
Despite this being the "adult only" pool section, a couple interrupted our alone time by bringing their toddler in with them. I feel like that's really rude and unsafe!
After sunning ourselves, we cleaned up for a delicious seafood dinner at one of the restaurants at the hotel. I had a fantastic paella and Matt had scallops and orzotto. We also had two kinds ceviche, because the restaurant is known for its ceviche bar. We had one with swordfish and one with red snapper.
After dinner, we wandered the grounds a bit. They had some big fires going and you could make s'mores, but we just wanted to sit and enjoy the atmosphere. After being interrupted a few times by kids who were up way too late, we went back to our room and watched some Bob's Burgers, because this is real life and in real life couples watch cartoons before they go to bed.
Our view from the hammock we relaxed in after dinner.
Monday (our actual anniversary) we checked out, enjoyed a little breakfast (they had gluten free blueberry muffins that were so good!) and then spent some more time at the pool. When an afternoon rainstorm swept through, we decided to call it a day. I had work Tuesday and we had to grocery shop and get some laundry done...real life was waiting for us.
To me, this was the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary. Just a night away, a couple days at a resort, really good food and drinks, and quality time.

How do you celebrate special events in your life?
Do you like ceviche/seafood?
Do you and your SO consider yourselves romantic? We are really not...this kind of "romantic getaway" isn't our usual gig, but I think I'd like to repeat it in the future!