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Why I Didn’t Run the 15k and Other Great Stories

3 Oct

On September 22nd I didn’t run the Miracle Miles 15k like I planned to. Instead I ran 8.7 miles with my running ladies and called it a  day. But please don’t worry… there are really good excuses reasons for this.

The main reason I didn’t run the race as planned is that I never signed up for it. Unless you’re a bandit runner, registering for a race is one of the most important steps in running a race. It’s right there next to showing up for a race, which I also did not do.

You may be wondering what I was doing that would cause me to be to busy to register for a race. Well… I was busy celebrating.

On September 7, 2012 my love asked me to marry him under the first oak tree on the southwest corner of the Great Lawn in Central Park, New York. It was, quite literally (I tend to overuse this statement, but certainly not on this occasion) the best day ever.

We took the pics above in a photo booth hours after we got engaged while waiting for our good friends to meet us for dinner. Can you tell we’re giddy? This photo was quite possibly the best $5 I ever spent.

The days and weeks that followed were crazy busy. We ran around town telling our local family members in person, while trying our best to catch the rest of our family on FaceTime. We called friends and broke the news. We celebrated. We began planning the day when we will stand before God, our families and those we love the most and vow to love each other for the rest of our lives.

And if that wasn’t a life changer… Literally minutes after I said “Yes!!” I received an offer on the job within my company that I had interviewed for. Did I happen to mention that September 7, 2012 was the best day ever?

I’m currently working long days to get up to speed with the new position and when I come home I’m lucky if I have the energy to walk the dogs and eat dinner. Our weekends are spent working on our new house and trying to figure out the whole wedding thing. To say I’m stressed and overwhelmed is a gross understatement.

My little sister sent me a text today that made me stop, smile and remember to breathe:

I watched a two hour testimonial on a holocaust survivor. And the only times she smiled was when she talked about her wedding day and her grandchildren. She wore a white blouse and had ten people at her wedding and they ate soup. Just a reminder that what’s important is you and Donnie and what makes you happy… the rest you will surely forget. 🙂

She’s right. I will forget the race I missed and the yoga classes I couldn’t make it out of work in time for. I will forget that my half marathon training schedule is all out of whack and I can’t seem to find the time to do laundry or dust and sweep. There are a lot of things I will forget, but you know what I won’t? How I felt on September 7th.

Moving Large Furniture Makes for a Great Workout

20 Aug

Last week I started my week eager to get back into the swing of things. And boy did I ever end up getting my sweat on:

  • MON: 30-minute Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown DVD sesh (thought I much prefer calling it a Yoga Melt) in the AM
  • TUE: 3-mile run in the evening
  • WED: 1.5-hour walk (no clue how far we went… I was Garmin free) in the AM
  • THU: 3-mile run in the evening followed by furniture strength training

Yes, that’s right. I said ‘furniture strength training.’ It’s the new thing… everyone is doing it. At least Rox, Donnie and I were!

It all started when Rox and I both got held up working late on Thursday and had to miss my favorite yoga class. Instead we decided to go for a run in the new neighborhood (which really isn’t that new to us since it’s the neighborhood we both started to run in together). While we were running I asked Rox if she would mind following Donnie and I to a co-worker’s house after our run just in case we needed any help moving the armoire I had purchased. It was an IKEA piece, so I assumed that it would be made of lightweight particle board (as most IKEA pieces are), but was asking Rox as a precautionary measure. Rox, being the wonderful friend she is, agreed. A friend later declared that this was the classic old “bait and switch” though that wasn’t my intention. I really didn’t think we’d need her!  After our run, we set off for what would become our second workout of the night.

When we got to the house and saw the armoire, Donnie walked right up to it and gave it a little shove to measure it’s weight. The armoire didn’t move… it was solid. Doubting the strength that Rox and I possess, he said, “I don’t think we’ll be able to manage this.”

Insulted by this comment (does Donnie not realize how strong chaturangas have made us??) we immediately jumped in and said we could do it. However, in the back of my mind I was thinking, “Oh crap. How are we going to do this??”

We set up with Donnie on one end and Rox and I on the other and proceeded to move through a series of lifts and turns. We soon started to erase all doubt from Donnie’s mind. With only the occasional help of a 4th person (helping steady us so we didn’t scratch up the walls) we got the piece out to my car.

We encountered a major obstacle when we tipped the armoire to slide it into my car and it wouldn’t fit. Until last Thursday, my Honda Element (nicknamed “Ele”) had never met a piece of furniture that wouldn’t fit. All we needed was one more inch!

We set the armoire down and stared at each other. The reality that we would have to move this back into the house and do this whole thing again another day was starting to set in and sending me into full panic mode when Rox spoke up. She knew who we could call.

I love Rox for many reasons, one being that she’s strong (mentally and physically) and two being that she thinks quick on her feet. While Donnie sat outside guarding our armoire, Rox and I set out to borrow an Expedition from incredibly graceful folks.

We came back with the Expedition and managed to slide the armoire right in. Perfect fit!

Back at the house we slid the armoire out and decided on a game plan: We would carry the piece straight into the house and to it’s new home without resting or stopping.

Donnie: Can you handle it?

Rox: Yes.

Me: Um. Yeah… I think so. Maybe. I mean, I don’t know. How far is it again? Do you think maybe that’s too far…

Before I could finish my verbal self-doubt, Rox and Donnie started lifting. I had no choice. And in no time at all, the armoire was in it’s new place:

Our new armoire, which is not made of thin particle board.

Rox high-tailed it out of there before we could ask her to mow our yard. Ha! If you’re reading this, thanks lady! You’re the strongest woman I know. Well, behind Killer T, of course. But who can compete with her? 🙂

After Thursday night’s excursion, I decided I would take it easy the next few days. My back was in full agreement.

Have you tried furniture strength training lately?

The Last Three Weeks of My Life

12 Aug

In short, I’ve been packing, moving, cleaning, unpacking, and working my way through the last three weeks. Oh… and I’ve been watching the Olympics.

Rather than yoga and running, I’ve been lifting boxes, cleaning and carrying large objects that I had no business carrying. Rather than hanging out with my friends, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to myself and cardboard boxes. And rather than eating healthy, I’ve been surviving on caffeine, wine and bad dinner decisions caused by hunger and desperation.

Sure, I’ve gotten a run in here and a couple 30-minute Jillian Michaels yoga melt sessions in there, but for the most part I’ve been missing my regularly scheduled exercising. I gave myself a pass and told myself to enjoy the moment. I gave myself through this weekend to do some more unpacking.  Everything’s still not unpacked, but we got the essentials. And starting tomorrow I’m back to life as I knew it… sweatin’ pretty!

Until next time, here are my last three weeks via Instagram photos.

Time to finally donate some race shirts. The tees might be gone, but I will always fondly remember these races!

Celebrated two years at the job. On that day, Hemarie ran on Dunkin.

Too tired for will power

We did it!

D, me and fellow training partner, friend and real estate extraordinaire Beth celebrating our final walk through. Check Beth out at

My friends got all Pinterest on us and gave us this great gift. I love it!

Had to get in one last lunch at the old 4Rivers. Ate 1/10 of this Six Shooter and took the rest home for dinner for two of us.

A new weekend tradition. So. Good.

BurgerFi 1/2 and 1/2 burger topped with an onion ring. Life changing.

Up early to help man the cycling portion of the Mini-Maniacs Triathlon.

First girl Mini-Maniac killing it.

Gettin’ my hair did comes with perks.

Rex (on the left) captivated by the men’s Olympic Marathon race. Tank (on the right) totally unimpressed.

So inspired by Meb.

I’ve gone to bed every night exhausted, but feeling so blessed. A big thanks to my friends and family for helping us move. Our moms get special credit for all of their hard work. We are forever grateful. 🙂

Week in Review

16 Jul

Last weeks was one of those crazy weeks that ends up with you screaming in your car. If you’ve never screamed in your car, you should really try it. It’s a nice stress reliever.

The month of July is notoriously busy at my job and last week was my second week of going full force. Perhaps it wasn’t smart of me to make plans for every day after work, but after the yoga challenge, I was excited to rejoin the social world.


I started my week off with Hatha. I was still feeling optimistic about my week. 🙂


My friend Rachelle invited me over to her place for a virtual wine tasting. You never have to ask me twice if it involves wine and food and lady time!

On my way over, I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up some “hard cheese.” I’m no wine aficionado, so I asked the Cheese Lady for some help. After I told her what type of wines we would be tasting, she suggested a gouda. I asked what I should pair the cheese with (thinking she would respond with a cracker), she suggested a peach or a pear. I opted with pears, since they are crispy and I wanted that texture.

When I got to Rachelle’s I was super excited to see the food spread, and my friends of course!

This chardonnay paired perfectly with sparkling grapes (grapes flavored with JELL-O crystals)

The gouda went perfectly with the pears and the reds

My new favorite pinot noir

Also at the table:

  • A flat bread pizza that Rachelle made and was AMAZING
  • Brownie bites
  • Bagel chips and soft cheese spread

It was such a fun night! However, I found myself dragging Wednesday…


My day was super busy, so I had to force myself to ignore that headache I woke up with. After work I took off towards College Park, to join the Central Florida Lady Bloggers at Taste for the July meet-up. It was a large group of us, and I got there late. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself sitting next to Victoria from Running Peanut. She’s about 19 weeks pregnant, but is tiny and you can barely tell. I spent the early part of our meet-up asking her fun pregnancy questions.

The second half of the meet-up we were led in a discussion of how to fit in blogging in the midst of our busy schedules. There were a lot of great ideas shared, but I was too busy figuring out how I was going to fit in my exercise last week to think about blogging. Ha!


Another busy day at work followed by an hour and a half of Ashtanga. Somewhere in between work and yoga I did some car screaming.

After yoga I found out there was a small hiccup in the home buying process. This was just what I needed to go home and cry. Honestly, if I hadn’t been so worn out from my day I think I would’ve taken the news in stride (as I’ve taken the whole home-buying process). However, I was too tired to be strong.


Most people dream of going out Friday night. I spend the day dreaming of sitting on the couch Friday night. Finally, my work day ended and my couch-sitting started. Aaaahhhhh …


I hit my snooze for an hour straight and then at the very last possible minute decided that I was going to wake up after all and go to my 8:30 AM Ashtanga class.  I’m super thankful for my new yoga friend that knows I have the habit of walking in at the last minute Saturday mornings and now saves me a spot next to her so I don’t have to practice at the front of the class.

I spent the rest of my day running preliminary moving errands (donating books, buying storage bins, taking all of my CDs out of their plastic and into a organizer, drinking a Venti frapp, etc.). I was pooped, but when the boyfriend suggested we go to dinner I figured I could pull myself together for an evening out.

We were both so hungry it was hard for us to decide on a place to eat. And since it was a Saturday night we knew we would be facing long waits everywhere.

After doing a little calling around, we found out that the Dexter’s in Thornton Park has zero wait. We were there in 5 minutes.

I was craving red meat, so I opted for the bacon-wrapped meatloaf. I’ve seen this on the menu before and always opted against it, but after recently watching The United States of Bacon on TV, I was in the mood for something like this.

D went for the Fish of the Day, which would’ve been my pick if I wasn’t pining for red meat:

Fish of the Day at Dexter’s

We were starving so we also ordered a side of their truffle fries as an appetizer. They were so good that we ate the whole thing before our dinners came.

Both of our dinners were amazing! The meatloaf wrapped in bacon had the perfect flavor and the boyfriend’s fish came with a fried spinach that melted in our mouths. And the polenta that came with his meal was delicious too! So. Good.

Bacon-wrapped meatloaf … Doesn’t look as good as it tastes. 🙂

Fish of the Day: Snapper, served with fried spinach, shrimp, polenta and asparagus.

While my meatloaf was definitely the star of the plate, the snapper had a very strong supporting cast. We were happy with both of our choices, and enjoyed our leftovers yesterday for lunch!


I spent my morning drinking coffee and deciding whether I would hit up Hatha at 11:30 AM. When I got a text from a friend saying that she was at a Starbucks nearby, I decided to throw on my yoga clothes, visit her for a bit and head over to yoga.

My Hatha class rocked my face off. I definitely had to remind myself to breathe often. 🙂

By the time I got home from yoga, I was hungry. Good thing I had some amazing leftovers!

Sunday night we headed to the grocery store to stock up for the week. But first, we stopped at a friend’s house who had tons and tons of boxes that we could have for moving. She posted on Facebook that she had boxes to give away and you better believe I responded immediately. A big thanks to Lauren for the boxes!

And staying true to the old rule “Never go to the grocery store hungry” we decided to stop at Gringos Locos for a quick bite. I got the sloppy taco and the double D. Both were yummy, but afterwards I was stuffed. I would’ve been fine with just one taco.

Sloppy Taco and the Double D

This week I’ve got plans to start packing and sorting through my clothes and yoga in between. It’s time to finally donate those expensive work pants that I can no longer fit in. Besides, if I ever do get back down to a size 8, I’m sure I’ll want to buy new pants to celebrate. 🙂

How do you manage a busy schedule? 

Happy Fourth of July!

4 Jul

Rox and I wave our mini-flags

Since I had so much fun this past weekend (and last night for that matter … photo evidence above), I’m laying low today until our Lake Eola fireworks tonight. I love fireworks, mainly because they never fail to instantly bring me back to my childhood. I love to embrace these feelings of nostalgia.

Speaking of nostalgia, a friend posted this quote from Former President Ronald Reagan today:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Sitting on the porch and recalling memories of our childhood is a family tradition that is usually accompanied with unrestrained laughter. But the thought that our freedom could become one of those memories is frightening.

While we do have to fight for our freedom, I urge us to remember that we do not only fight with weapons in war. We must shed light to those still not receiving freedom in our great nation. We must fight evil daily with integrity, honor and kindness. We must set examples for our youth. We must love one another. And hopefully, our freedom will never, ever be a memory of the past, but always an ever present reminder of our gratitude for those who lost their lives ahead of us.

Happy Fourth of July!

Lucky Girl

23 May

Close friends contribute to our personal growth. They also contribute to our personal pleasure, making the music sound sweeter, the wine taste richer, the laughter ring louder because they are there. – Judith Viorst

I have always known how lucky I am to still be best friends with the ladies that have been by my side since elementary school. These days, it’s hard to get us all in the same place, but when we do it’s like things have never changed. Except that there are kids.

I’ve had the chance to see my three best friends transform into mothers over the last few years, and it’s been amazing (and sometimes very amusing) to see them step into their new role of “Mommy.” Most recently Jenny has joined the ranks. A family event finally brought her, the hubby and their new baby girl, Ida Lou, back home from North Carolina, and this called for a BBQ reunion at her parents’ house.

Jenny and her baby girl Ida Lou

I walked into their house on Monday, and it was like I was walking through time. Before you knew it, we were all sitting in the back porch, like we had done countless times growing up, and doing our favorite things: laughing and eating. Whoever said you can’t go home again didn’t know this group.

Yesterday my co-worker told me that laughter is like running for your insides. I hope it’s true, because if so, my insides are doing much better than my leg. Growing up we laughed a lot. Monday we laughed a lot.

We laughed the hardest when I looked down to see that my zipper on my super tight jeans had split open. This was a sure sign that I should’ve have gone back for more ribs. Boothe and Kel joined me in the restroom to try to help (and by help, I mean they stood around pointing and laughing a lot). We finally resolved the manner with some giant safety pins and by untucking my long shirt. Everyone was put on notice to let me know if they saw my undies. And I’m pretty sure Boothe has an incriminating photo of this event.

We went to get a group pictures of the ladies, when someone (I think Donnie?) suggested we take a picture laying on the ground like one we have from our past. We hit the pose, putting baby Ida Lou in between us and the boys snapped away. Donnie (who I am now thinking missed his calling as a creative director) suggested I mock the photo up next to the original (taken 14 years ago as we were headed off for college). The comparison between the two pics is amazing. When I mocked them up I realized we were in the same formation! I’m in the top left and going clock-wise it’s Boothe, Kel and Jenny. Baby Ida Lou is the middle, kicking our heads.

The pic on the left was taken 14 years ago, as we headed off for college. The pic on the right was taken Monday.

Donnie always likes seeing the four of us together because I turn back into a teenage girl, giggles and all. That’s okay… it’s good for the soul.

Me and Donnie – On top of the world.

I need to be careful. I might be enjoying my running hiatus just a tad bit too much. 🙂

Do you think you can go home again? 

Very Brave

30 Apr

I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much. – Mother Teresa

Every now and then you come across a person, or in this case a story about a person, that just stops you in your tracks and leaves you with so much emotion that you don’t know what hit you.

This news piece on a deaf, blind man about to walk the Flying Pig 5k did just that. Deaf since birth and blind for many years, David Conroy likes to pursue lots of interests.

“The thing about being deaf and blind is you get really bored,” stated a LADD employee in the video.

That statement hit me like a rock. I cannot fathom losing either my hearing or my sight, but to lose both? That’s incomprehensible to me. I’ve sat here for a while trying to even grasp what that would be like, and can’t. And yet, it’s David’s life. And he chooses to live with the sort of courage that I only read of.

I want to walk away from this learning from David. I want to stop being such a spoiled brat who takes my health everything for granted. I want to appreciate more. I want to remember David when I set out to run the Flying Pig Marathon Sunday morning.  I want to look at this world with fresh eyes. I want to possess just a small piece of his incredible perseverance.

And most importantly, I want to be brave.

Comfort Zone

27 Apr

If you know me well, you may be surprised by the following statement: meeting new people is terrifying to me.

I’ve been this way since I was a wee little one. I can’t really explain why it makes me so anxious, but I can explain why I force myself through the process anyways: because I love people. I love learning from people and I love laughing with people and if I didn’t bypass this little fear of mine I would never get the joys of meeting some pretty amazing people.

Now this would be shocking to friends and family because they never see this fear. What they do see is a loud, chatty girl always telling stories and laughing with the group. I would credit this to my ten years of hospitality work. Every day I had to go to work and force myself to walk up to a table with a big smile on my face and talk to strangers. And when I moved into tending bar, I had to work on the art of small talk, as well as entertaining large groups. While talking to complete strangers did get easier through the years, my jitters are still there. And I still have to overcome them.

While stepping out of my comfort zone is almost never easy, it’s always worth it in the end.

I almost quit Marathonfest ten times before I even started for fear of meeting my running group. Now those women (and our one token guy) are such a great support system and I spend countless hours laughing with them every week. I’m even traveling to Cincinnati with some of them next week for my second marathon, Flying Pig Marathon.

I was scared to death of trying yoga for the first time, until Carolina from Peas in a Blog let me tag along with her to a class. Now I’ve got a new addiction.

And most recently (last night to be exact) I walked into a room full of strangers, (well… some of which I know only through their blogs that I follow) and I met a group of lady bloggers here in the Orlando area. Now, I’m not as brave as I appear… I dragged my BFF Rox there with me so she could  protect me can pick the brains of seasoned bloggers, which I’m happy to say she was able to do so (on both counts). I got to meet some lovely ladies, learn some new things and laugh a lot.

I look forward to the next meet-up. Thanks to the ladies for being so nice to the noobs!

So the moral of this bloggy blog: if I never stepped outside of my comfort zone, I would miss out on so many opportunities. I will continue to tuck my clammy hands into my pockets, put a smile on my face and start simple with “Hi, I’m Hemarie…”

When was the last time you stepped outside of your comfort zone?

Easter Sunrise

9 Apr

Saturday night  Donnie and I decided that we wanted to watch the sunrise Easter Sunday at the beach. Only problem there was that we would have only a few hours of sleep. Not like I’m not used to waking up at ridiculous hours…

We woke up around 5:40 AM and surprisingly we were out the door in less than 20 minutes. This is a record for us. Anyone that has ever gone to the beach with us knows this is nothing short of a miracle.

As we pulled up to New Smyrna Beach, we realized there was a beach-side service going on. We watched the sunrise with worship music in the background. Then we walked down the beach a little. We didn’t go far because of our injuries: Donnie coming back from an almost-stress fracture and me and my little IT band.

It was a gorgeous sunrise. It was cloudy, so the sun was shining down through the clouds. It looked like heaven shining down in the distance. It made for the perfect backdrop for some prayer and reflection.

As we walked further from the music, we heard nothing but waves crashing and the birds calling out to the world. The sounds of the beach are my happy place.

Here are some pics I took:

Afterwards we listened to Pastor Rick’s message back at the beach-side service before heading off for some breakfast. We returned to the beach stuffed and ready to catch some zzz’s on the beach.

When Donnie’s foot is better, we plan to have a sunrise run along the beach. I’ll be counting down the days…

Where’s your happy place?

You Really Need to Work on Your Cardio

28 Mar

“Wow, Babe, you really need to work on your cardio.”

This is what Donnie said to me after our hike this past weekend when I admitted to him that I was seriously out of breath while hiking up the mountain that lies in my best friend’s back yard. The mischievous smile on his face told me he was kidding, and I couldn’t help but laugh (after I rolled my eyes, of course).

Here I am, training for my second marathon this year, and I could hardly tell my best friend a story without stopping to huff ‘n puff. Meanwhile my best friend, who just had a beautiful baby last month, didn’t seem out of breath at all. At one point she reassured me that it gets easier with practice, but I’m not sure where I’m supposed to find mountains to hike down here in Florida. Well, besides Clermont.

My best friend and her husband live in Sylva, a small town located in Western North Carolina. A small creek runs by their house and their back yard is the foot of a mountain. Their “yard” is picturesque, and made the perfect setting for our hike.

I don’t know how long or how far we hiked. Great company and the beauty of nature were quite distracting and I got lost in the moment. Growing up I spent every day with my best friend (no, I’m not exaggerating) and now I’m lucky if I get to see her once a year. Getting to spend time with her is a rare treat so I’d say this has been hands down my favorite workout all year. Even if it did take me longer to spit out a sentence.

I wish I could’ve bottled up the hike to share with you, but all I got were pictures. Enjoy!

Fellow hikers (and my favorite people in the world) Donnie, Brad and Jenny

Donnie and Brad lead the way. Brad is carrying his baby girl.

We smile because we hike. Brad, me and Jenny.

The world would be a better place if we all had waterfalls in our backyard.

The creek that runs by their house.

Freshwater puppy

Donnie rocks his burly mountain beard.

Our trip was much too short, but I look forward to the day we hike together again!

What’s been your favorite workout this year?