Archive | Life RSS feed for this section

2013 Me vs. 2014 Me on Running 6 Miles

26 Sep

2013 Me: “We’re only running six miles? Sweet!”


Image Source

2014 Me: “Whoa… We’re running six miles?!”

Not doing that

 Image Source


I’m back.

3 Aug

“Why didn’t I learn to treat everything like it was the last time? My greatest regret is how much I believed in the future.” – J. S. Foer

Life has a way of taking sharp turns when you’re least expecting it.

At the end of February my life took one of those turns. And while I’m not quite ready to share the details of the life-altering event that rocked my family (mainly out of respect for the privacy of my family), I will say that it was a health diagnosis that caused us all to change the way we look at life. In those early days, where the prognosis was unclear, I experienced a fear like I have never felt before. And a helplessness that left me feeling paralyzed.

I’m happy to say that after the first round of treatment, my loved one has seen some positive results. They have shown and continue to show a bravery that inspires me. However, my family now lives with the heightened awareness that the future is not promised to any of us.

As if life wasn’t already hard enough to handle, it decided to hit me with two more blows: I lost the new job I started at the beginning of February and then I was hit with my own medical scare.

The new job had been my dream job on paper, but failed to stack up in real life. Rather than settling into my place on the team, I found myself questioning my role. It didn’t help that my role was constantly being redefined for me. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I increasingly had the feeling that this wasn’t the place for me. Instead of getting excited to work every day, I dreaded the moment I would start my work day. I knew something had to change soon and was relieved when it did, even if it meant that I would be unemployed.

Not long after, I had my own medical scare. This time it wasn’t life-threatening, but it was heart breaking. During this roller coaster of life that I like to call “May 2014,” I also couldn’t run. This, quite frankly, sucked. I needed to run and it seemed like a cruel joke that I couldn’t at least have that. I craved the endorphins released from a nice sweaty run and I yearned for the laughter I often shared with my friends during our early morning runs.

The days were dark and you would often find me saying, “Is 2014 over yet?” The good thing is, I never lost hope that things would turn around. It was just my impatience for it to happen that was hard for me to control. Patience is not my favorite virtue. I like things to move fast and for me having to sit back and “wait” is like placing a cupcake in front of me and telling I have to wait until after dinner to enjoy it. Screw that. I want it now.

Then June 2014 came and I found myself slowly healing. But I can’t take the credit. I credit my husband for holding me up when I couldn’t stand on my own anymore. And for letting me cry a lot. And for taking care of our little family. I credit my family for banding together in a way I never thought possible. I credit a close group of friends for listening and reminding me that good things were just around the corner. I credit school for creating the perfect distraction.

And then I found a job, one that I was genuinely excited about. I found myself able to breathe again. I found myself able to run again. I found myself smiling more, crying less. I found myself again.

So … I’m back, but I’m not the same. I know tomorrow isn’t promised and I’m going to try to honor that lesson daily, but without letting it overcome me. Life is short. Let’s have some fun with it!


2013 in My Rearview

2 Jan

Happy New Year!

New Year’s Day is always a mixed bag of emotions for me. I’m always sad that the holidays are over, but I’m thrilled to have some time to rest. This year that rest is especially important to me. My MBA semester ended just 12 days before Christmas, giving me that long to finish Christmas shopping, wrap and ship gifts, catch up with my lovely friends and family that I neglected all semester, and hit up holiday gatherings. Let’s just say that I’m perfectly happy spending the first day of 2014 resting and using the time before UCF, my alma mater, plays in tonight’s Fiesta Bowl to reflect on 2013.

I anticipated that 2013 would be my best year ever. And it was… I married my best friend! But if you would’ve told me at the start of the year that I would  decide I wanted to get my MBA and actually start the program within months of this decision, I would’ve laughed at you. Hard. I may have even had tears running down my face. With the start of my first semester, my best year ever slowly transitioned to my most challenging year ever. I spent my days trying to strike balance in every aspect of my life, and learning to let go of the things I couldn’t control.

Looking back, I am forever grateful for my husband and his support all year. He cooked. He cleaned. He took care of our dogs. He kept our house together. He kept me together. He reminded me to slow down. He made me laugh. He cheered me on. He reminded me that I can do anything I set out to do. He let me cry. He worked around my crazy schedule. He made me a lot of coffee. And when the semester ended and I had just submitted me last paper, he walked over with drinks to celebrate.

I’m also grateful for my friends. They gave me epic nicknames like “HeMBArie.” They insisted I was destined for greatness. They ran alongside me. They surprised me at my marathon. They listened to me. They made me laugh… a lot. They understood when I couldn’t make it. They kept inviting me. They let loose with me.

It was a great year. Here’s a look back at 2013:

I married my really, really hot best friend.

wedding pic

Just married!

We took a quick minimoon to Amelia Island…

Amelia Island

Our lodge in Amelia Island

And then went on an unforgettable honeymoon trip to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica

Ziplining through the canopies of the Costa Rican jungle

I lost 9 lbs. by cutting my dairy and gluten intake and managed to keep them off during my marathon training.

My little sister married her best friend.


My gorgeous Sis and her husband

I started my MBA program.

I ran the 2013 Chicago Marathon…

My training partner, Beth, and me at the end of the 2013 Chicago Marathon

My training partner, Beth, and me at the end of the 2013 Chicago Marathon

And the 2013 Turkey Trot.

The 2013 Turkey Trot with my friend Hong

The 2013 Turkey Trot with my friend, Hong

D and I finally visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and tried butterbeer.

The butterbeer stand

The butterbeer stand

I’m looking forward to what 2014 brings my way. I wish you a very happy 2014!

“Are you still running?”

2 Nov

I’ve gotten this question a lot since I ran the Chicago Marathon. In fact, I get it a lot after every race I run. Usually I look at people and say something like this:


GIF Source: Reaction GIFs


But this time it’s been a little different. If you’re wondering if I got injured again while running this marathon, I didn’t. Surprisingly I feel great. The first week after the marathon I promised myself to take it easy and not run. After running that far, my body definitely earned the right to sleep in.

The week after the marathon I went on a couple of easy runs with my girls and followed them up with catching up over coffee. It was amazing.

But then almost two weeks after my marathon, I faced another challenge of my tolerance for pain and endurance: I sat for almost five hours getting my new ink.

You see, I had been putting off getting my newest tattoo forever because I was always training for something. New tattoos require healing that running does not afford me so the time was never right. When I signed up for Chicago, I promised myself to finally make time afterwards.

So now when people ask me if I’m still running, my answer is more like this:


GIF Source: Reaction GIFs


I’m hoping that I’ll be able to run again in a couple of weeks … Just in time for my annual run of the Turkey Trot. I might even run the Orlando Half Marathon in December. If I do run the half, though, I will have to head home right after the marathon, then shower and  head over to finish the rest of my tattoo.  Ew. Running a half then having to sit still and getting poked at with needles for five hours doesn’t sound like much fun.

And then I’ll be unable to run for another few weeks again. That’s so sad … all I want to do is …


GIF Source: Reaction GIFs

I’m already growing restless.

Also, I’m still on season 3 of Breaking Bad. So. Good. Maybe that’s what I will do with all of my free time during my MBA holiday break. 🙂

10 Lessons My Mom Taught Me

30 Aug

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday.

My mom is a tiny woman (she’s probably 5’1″ but her hair adds an extra inch or two), yet her personality is quite big. And she’s beautiful. I won’t tell you her age because doing so would go against her personal beliefs, but I can promise you she looks way younger than she is. 🙂

While writing out her birthday card, I got to thinking of some of the lessons she has taught me.

Here are my top ten favorite lessons from my mom:

  1. Be relentless. If you’re persistent, that “no” may change to a “yes.”
  2. A true lady always wears lipstick and rouge when leaving the house.
  3. Watch what you say … you may start believing it.
  4. You’re only as old as you tell people you are.
  5. The bigger the hair, the better.
  6. Stand up straight and take your hands out of your pocket.
  7. Be different. Let everyone else be the same.
  8. If you search long enough, you can always find a gem at TJ Maxx or Marshalls.
  9. Photographers are not magicians. Do your part.
  10. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Lesson number ten is the most important lesson from my mom and I’m so grateful for that.

What lessons has your mom taught you?

Left to right: My little Sis, me and my "Mami"

Left to right: My little Sis, me and my “Mami”

A Different Kind of Race

9 Aug

Two weeks ago I started a different kind of race than what I’m used to: I began my MBA program. However, while completing an MBA program may not be listed as a race on, it’s still a race for me.

If you don’t understand why I think the MBA program and training for a marathon are almost the same, please allow me to elaborate.

Both are things I never thought I would do. 

I’ll never forget standing on the corner of 51st Street and Broadway in my Sunset Park, Brooklyn neighborhood and watching the New York City marathons runners past me. I thought to myself, “I could never do that.” Several years later, with a few 5k’s under my belt, and the best cheerleader ever (my now husband) and some very supportive friends, I started to believe that maybe I could run 26.2 miles. So I did. Twice. I guess you can say I’m intent on proving myself wrong.

I’ll also never forget how I felt as I watched my husband work his way through his MBA program. I was so proud of him when he graduated. However, a couple years of watching him miss out on time with family and friends (and me) had taken its toll. I didn’t think I was willing to make that sacrifice. But then things slowly began to change … and I realized that this was a sacrifice worth making.

After one day at work, I came home and told my husband I was going to get my MBA. Not only was I going to get my MBA, but I wanted to do it at one of the best programs in the Southeast and I was going to aim to start this upcoming fall semester. That was in April of this year. It was right before we left for our honeymoon. Life hasn’t calmed since.

Both require commitment. 

If you don’t do your weekday training runs, you risk injury or a horrible long run. If you don’t make it to classes or do your reading, your projects become that much harder. Training partners and classmates alike rely on you. There’s no half-assing your way through marathon training (especially for those of us who are injury-prone) and there’s no room for slackers in my MBA program.

Both put a real damper on your social life.

“No, I can’t go out Friday night. I have to eat my ritual pre-long run meal, organize my running gear, charge my Garmin and make sure I’m in bed early enough to wake up Saturday morning at 4 AM, eat breakfast and run 20 miles.”

“No, I can’t go to the beach this weekend. I have to read a hundred, billion pages, write two papers and drink at least two pots of coffee and yet still fight the urge to fall asleep.”

Seeing as I am training for both a marathon and getting my MBA, I’m pretty sure that’s going to make the lamest friend ever. On the bright side, when I do go out I can score some student discounts and save money on alcohol since I’m such a light weight.

Both require the support of your loved ones.

Without my husband’s support, I couldn’t do either of these things. He walks the dogs when I don’t come home from work and school until 10 o’clock at night or after I’ve run 18 miles and can’t move. He cooks dinner on school nights. He wakes up early on race day to cheer me on. He supports me, and more importantly, he believes in me. And that means the world to me.

And let’s not forget four girlfriends I have. Two are old co-workers that became my best friends and two are my running partners. All four of these women are smart, funny and incredibly talented at what they do.  All four of them inspire me and challenge me. And all four of them encouraged me to take the MBA challenge head on.

Sure, you can accomplish great things through your own hard work and determination. But I think it’s always so much nicer to have people you love cheering you on along the way.

That finish line is so sweet.

To me, 26.2 miles or two years are one and the same. Whether I’m reaching the finish line or graduation, either is a reminder that I can do anything I set my mind to.

The next few months will be difficult for me: I’ll be tackling training for the Chicago Marathon while acclimating myself to attending classes after work and spending my weekends running and studying. The way I look at it, the running will hopefully keep me sane. Or I’m going to collapse from exhaustion. If that’s the case, I hope my support system will be nearby to catch me. 😉


Happy Independence Day!

4 Jul - I promise to respect your special dietary needs at my barbecue if you promise not to talk about them.


When I managed to fit in some power yoga before a night out

11 Mar

When I managed to fit in some power yoga before a night out


2012 in My Rearview

14 Jan

At the end of this month I’m marrying my best friend so to say that I’ve been looking forward to 2013 for quite some time is an understatement.

But before I dive into a new year, it would be gaffe of me to not look back at 2012 and all of the amazing experiences that took place:

I ran my first marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon.


I ran my second marathon, the Flying Pig Marathon.


I tried yoga for the first time.

I completed a 30-day yoga challenge.


I started to volunteer.

My boo and I bought our first home.


My boo asked me to marry him.


I accepted a new position at work.

We planned a wedding in four months.

I ran the Orlando Half Marathon.


And in between all of that, I celebrated the accomplishments of my family and friends. I laughed. I read. I ate good food. I made a lot of To-Do lists. I lived life good.

This is not to say that I didn’t deal with frustrations… stress… injury… But I can say that the good by far outweighed the bad.

The year of 2012 was an amazing, busy, crazy, fun, life-changing year. Here’s to 2013… that I may keep my head on straight, stay focused, enjoy every last detail of marrying my best friend and finally get a chance to live without a to-do list.

I’ll review my goals from last year and set some new goals in February. For right now, I’m just trying to make it to my wedding day at the end of this month in one month. 🙂

A belated happy new year to you all!

Christmas Light Run

24 Dec

The best way to see Christmas lights is by foot.

This gives you a chance to stop and “ooh” and “ah” in front of your favorite homes. It allows you to bask in the warm glow of the twinkle lights. It makes you feel like a kid again. And it makes the miles fly by.

Running at night during the holidays is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. However, this year has been crazy with parties and family in town and wedding things like planning and bridal showers, leaving little time for running at night or any exercise at all. This is a good problem to have and I’m not complaining.

And lucky for me, my running group planned a Christmas light run in advance so I was able to block it off in my calendar.

We chose Baldwin Park for our light run. Well, my group chose… I was pulling for College Park, where I feel people hang their own lights and they’re all a little flawed. That’s okay though… I like perfect lights too.

We set off on our run with no planned mileage. Our only agenda was see as many lights as possible and avoid getting lost (which I manage to do every time I’m in Baldwin Park).

Will run for twinkle lights.

Will run for twinkle lights.

There was a chill in the air and our group was in good cheer. And the lights did not disappoint.



old school <3

old school ❤

happy lights

happy lights

Afterwards we met up with friends that couldn’t make the run at La Bella Luna and spread our good cheer. It was my first time eating there and I was pleasantly surprised. I introduced my friend to the joy that is lasagna pizza (mozzarella, ricotta, sausage and marinara) and their pizza did not disappoint. It was amazing!

Pizza Sausage Lasagna... So. Good.

Pizza Sausage Lasagna… So. Good.

It was a perfect night full of laughter, twinkly lights and lots of carbs.