Coffee, Thinking Out Loud

Thinking Out Loud

Hello and happy Thursday (aka New Year’s Eve)! Here in blog land, Thursdays are for thinking out loud. So without further ado …


I’m pretty excited to be taking part in this blogger’s linkup this week. It’s one that I have thought about joining many a time, but it seemed like I never could quite make the time to get a post done in time.

Speaking of posting, I’ve been thinking out loud about things that I want to write about and what the purpose of the blog is. Honestly, when I started out I had no clue what I was getting into or really what the purpose of the blog would be. I felt like I was supposed to share my story and I did that. Now what?

Ehh, well technically I shared an overall summary, but there is still much more to write about. At some point, I want to write a post about my eating disorder story, my running story, my journey of healing from trauma, etc. I’ve set up the big picture for you, but I want to delve more into the details of the specific parts of the story.

I wanted to make blogging a big part of my life. When I started the blog, I was taking a break from a stressful work situation (which I may or may not blog about more in depth at some point) and for a hot minute I thought that I just might be able to turn this thing into a full-time, paying gig. So yeah, that is much harder than it seems.

One thing with blogging that I definitely struggle with is the line between self promotion and staying humble. The thought of promoting my blog really makes me uncomfortable. From what I can tell, if you want to have a successful blog, you have to really put yourself out there and promote it. I have posted links to some of my posts on Facebook and Daniel has as well, but I don’t want to get too carried away with that. It just seems a little bit self-absorbed and pretentious to think that I actually have something worthwhile to share.

I’m sure there is a balance to be found, but for now I am still searching for that. I’m writing because I really truly enjoy it and if someone out there enjoys reading it, then that’s even better! I pray that the Lord will continue to guide my path and reveal things to me that He wants me to share. I am merely the vessel.

Since it is New Year’s Eve … I have been thinking out loud about goals for the upcoming year. I haven’t really ever been a big “resolution” person, but there is definitely something wonderful about having a clean slate, a fresh start so to speak, for a whole new year. I don’t really see the point of waiting until January 1st to make a big change though. We get a fresh start every day! His mercies are new every morning!


Let’s talk about resolutions for a minute. The word resolution is defined as “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” I don’t know about you, but “firm decisions” don’t work for me. Don’t get me wrong, I am really good at following rules and being rigid with myself. I am actually too good at it. In fact, it’s what gets me into trouble. Eating disorders and perfectionistic, workaholic tendencies thrive in an environment of rules and rigidity.

Now, let’s talk about goals for a minute. The word goal is defined as “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” Goals are fabulous and we all need to have goals. Goals help us focus our time and energy, form plans and live a purposeful, intentional life, which helps us to feel accomplished.


What are my goals for the coming up year you ask? I have two overarching, somewhat intangible goals, which are simply to be kind to myself and to find joy and meaning in every single day. I have some other more tangible goals as well … you know like to run a marathon under 3 hours, save enough money to buy a house, conquer the world … things like that.

I have been thinking out loud about the idea of writing a short blog post every day. As part of my whole goal to find joy and meaning in every day, I thought that maybe sharing something every day would help me to stay accountable with that goal. But perhaps, that makes it seem too much like a resolution. I resolve to post every single day. Yep, sounds too rigid. Maybe I will just try to take a picture of something meaningful every day and then share my pictures with you guys once a week. This one is still a work in progress …

The point is that it is way too easy for me to slip into a routine of just surviving life, not really living it (if that makes any sense). The blog has become a way for me to articulate the meaningful events and the important thoughts. Choosing what to write about helps me to discover meaningful things even in life’s simple moments. I promise it won’t be 365 posts about coffee, y’all. Don’t fret.

Part of this whole find joy and meaning in every single day is inspired by one of my all-time favorite quotes by Marcus Aurelius (forgive me if I have shared this one before) … It says, “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” I just love it. Absolutely love it. Every. Single Day.


The other part is inspired by my grandmother, Momel. She passed away in 2010, but I still think of her often. One morning last week I was out throwing the ball for Brooks (part of our daily routine) and happened to notice the beautiful sasanqua tree in the yard. I’m sure the tree has been blooming for quite some time and yet, I hadn’t noticed it. My grandmother loved that tree!


I can’t really explain it now, but for some reason, the moment when I first noticed the blooms was a big moment for me. I was a wonderful reminder that I need to slow down and enjoy the beauty (and also the joy and meaning) in everyday life.

Speaking of coffee (we were talking about coffee, weren’t we) and while we are still thinking out loud why in the world is it that coffee beans smell so heavenly? Don’t get me wrong, I like the taste as well, but the smell of the beans is so much better than the taste. Every now and then I make the coffee at work, and I always take a deep breath and just inhale that wonderful aroma before I start the pot.


Being the curious person that I am, I decided to do a little bit of research on this phenomenon. Apparently, the fact is that although we have sensors on our tongue, eighty percent of what we think of as taste actually reaches us through smell receptors in our nose. When you swallow the coffee, this sends a burst of aroma up the back of the nose from inside the mouth, activating the second sense of smell in the brain that is less receptive to the flavor, causing a completely different and less satisfying sensation than when you just take a big ‘ole whiff of the container.

There you have it. Science.

What are you thinking about today? What are your goals for the upcoming year?


Holiday, WEW

Week End Wrap-Up (#6)

Hey friends! I can’t believe that this will be the last week end wrap-up for 2015! I’m going to be linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin again this week for their Weekly Wrap.


We have been go, go, go for the last few weeks and I think it finally caught up with me. I slept until almost 10 a.m. yesterday, which is way later than I ever sleep. I must admit, it was quite glorious.

We celebrated Christmas Eve with my family and then we headed to see Daniel’s family on Christmas Day. We got there around lunch time and we were greeted with a delicious meal, wonderful gifts and lots of quality family time.

Daniel made both of his sisters’ gifts this year and they both loved them! He made his older sister Moses Basket Bassinet and he made his younger sister a bib and medal display. His older sister is having a baby in February (which will officially make us Uncle Daniel and Aunt Sam) and his younger sister just ran her first marathon a couple of weeks ago, so the gifts were very timely and appropriate.

Daniel’s mom always goes all out for Christmas. She definitely spoils all of the kids and their spouses. It’s so sweet! Daniel’s dad got a basketball goal this year, so we had some fairly intense games of “horse” and “pig.” Sadly, I didn’t win, but I did at least put up a respectable showing, considering I haven’t played basketball since I was in high school. Speaking of intense, there were also some intense games of Phase 10 that went down. Brooks really wanted to get in on that action, but since he doesn’t have opposable thumbs, he had to just watch from the sidelines.

Leigh-Ann and I got in 10 miles Saturday morning before we had to head back home. I really enjoyed spending some quality time with her out on the roads!

We got a group shot before we left.


We decided to stop by Rouse’s Market on the way back into town. I hadn’t ever been there before, but I had heard good things and I wanted to check it out. We came out with some really old fancy cheese (the entire wheel of it was > $150, we decided to settle for one little piece) and some new to me granola bars. We weren’t super impressed, but it might be worth another trip at some point.

After we unpacked and settled in, it was getting pretty late, so we went to bed pretty early and slept pretty late. We have been out of town the past three weekends in a row, so I was ready to just crash. It’s been a wonderful month of traveling and spending time with family, but all that fun can really be exhausting!

I was supposed to do a 16 mile steady state run Sunday, but the thought alone of that run was just too much. The weather is so hot and humid, it’s like we have July in Christmas. You know how people always talk about Christmas in July, well we’ve got it the other way around. I settled for a walk with mom and then Daniel rode the bike with me while I ran (nice and easy).


His piriformis has really been bothering him recently and so he has not been able to run. He was nice enough to bike along with me though and I really appreciated the company!

Sunday afternoon, we took Brooks to visit his new cousin, Thatcher. He is absolutely adorable and is a very chill pup. My cousin, Catie, was home for Christmas, but we hadn’t gotten to see her since we had been out of town. It was really nice to catch up for a little bit and let our “babies” play together.

Sunday evening we grilled out. This seems to becoming more and more of a regular occurrence. I can’t say that I am upset about it.

Now it’s back to the grind. I’m loving my new Coffee Loft coffee mug that Daniel’s mom got me!

It seems like the Christmas break flew by. What was the highlight of your Christmas vacation?


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas friends! 

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Day with family and loved ones. 

Let’s catch up. I’ve got lots of pictures to share today! 

We have had a really rainy week. 


Brooks got his Chrismas bath. 


They love each other. 


Daniel has been a busy elf, building lots of presents. 


Check out his brand. He even had an etsy shop at one point. 


Mom and I went on a Christmas Eve walk. 


We saw this cute little guy. 


We wrapped all of our gifts yesterday and Brooks helped us out. 


We celebrated Christmas with my family last night, which meant …

1) Fire (even though it was almost 80 degrees). 


2) Grilling. 


3) Sautéed veggies (I cooked those all by myself). 


4) Bows on our heads. 


We have been wearing our bows for as long as I can remember. It’s tradition. 


5) Lots of laughs. 

Daniel is straight up obsessed with his new Christmas hat, which I think looks like a cross between Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation and the Mutt Cuts van from Dumb and Dumber. 


6) Sweet memories. 

My favorite gift of the night was the framed magazine spread from the December issue of Runner’s World that Daniel designed for me (with help from Mike at Lyon’s Share). 


We woke up this morning and got in 10 Christmas morning miles. I tested out my Fitbit Charge. It was pretty off on the running miles, but hopefully that’ll correct itself at some point. 


Now we are headed to see Daniel’s family. 

Brooks got bored after about the first 20 minutes. 

That’s all I’ve got for now. Talk to you soon! 

Faith, NOLA, NYC, Running

2015: A Year of Life


What a year it has been!

I didn’t start the blogging adventure until mid-year, but I wanted to go ahead and do a recap of the entire year, so that I will have it later, when I am old and gray and not remembering things very clearly.


2015 started off with a bang! In mid-January, I ran the First Light Marathon relay with a fun group of friends. I ran the 10K leg in 39:06 (an unofficial PR). I’m not sure what the runner’s etiquette would say on this. I feel like I can’t count this as a PR since my time isn’t separated out in the results, but regardless, we set a new course record and had fun doing it!


At the end of January, on what I would have to classify as one of the best days in my life thus far (definitely top 10 at least), I won the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon. What in the world?! I totally didn’t see that one coming. I ran a good for me time (it was an 18 minute PR), but not a time that typically would’ve won this race. I don’t feel like I have to qualify myself here, but I just want you to know that I know I am not an elite athlete. I have some lofty aspirations, but I am nowhere near reaching them at this point.

I have debated writing a full-blown race recap of that race just for fun (and posterity) and while I could certainly give you my mile splits, at this point, I don’t really remember a whole heck of a lot from the actual race. I do know that I passed the 1st place girl somewhere around mile 16 and led the race the rest of the way.

Once I was in the lead, I had two bike escorts riding beside me. We chatted a little bit during those last 10 miles. I was thankful for the distraction.

My most vivid memory from the race is the bike escorts playing “Daydream Believer” on their radio for me during the last mile of the race. Apparently they do this for the winner every year and they replace “homecoming queen” with “marathon queen” as they serenade you. It was so cute! They tried to play it for me around mile 23 or 24. They were in communication with the person riding with the second place female and they told me that “I had it in the bag.” I was absolutely not letting them play that song until the very last mile though. As many of you may know, you never, ever know what will happen during those last few miles of a marathon! I definitely didn’t want to jinx it!

As I write this out, I do recall one other pretty vivid memory, which was seeing my husband … standing somewhere around mile 25. Mile 25, y’all. He was so excited and was all like “You’re winning!” and I was all like “Yes! I know! But …what in the world are you doing here? You need to be at the finish!” He told me that there was no way that he could make it there before I did. I strongly suggested that he RUN (and) FAST. He took off through the grassy area beside where I was running, hurdled some low-hanging tree limbs and almost lost his shoes in the mud, but by-golly he made it to the finish in time to see me cross the line!

As I approached the tape, it was like a wave of emotions washed over me. I had to overcome a lot of adversity to get to that point and the significance of the moment was not lost on me. I just felt everything. I felt so alive, so thankful, and so joyous.


I am no interpretive expert, but I think that there just may be some sort of symbolism to be found in the words of The Monkees song that was played for me that day.

Now you know how happy I can be

Oh, our good times start and end

Without all I want to spend

But how much baby do we really need 

What do you think that means? To me, it means now that he has experienced true happiness and he understands that even though not all times are good and you may never have everything you may want (on this earth anyway), you don’t really need much to find true peace, joy and contentment.

In a lot of ways, the marathon win was the catalyst for the other big things that happened this year, including changing jobs, starting the blog, applying for the Runner’s World contest, etc. With the Lord’s guidance, I found the strength and confidence that I needed to stand up for myself and share my story and testimony with the world. He revealed His purpose and deeper calling for my life.

The rest of the months are going to be much shorter, I promise. Just keep swimming reading!


In February I started working with my current running coach and focused on surviving tax season! I ran a 5K in there somewhere, but otherwise it was a pretty uneventful month (aside from the whole working a boatload of hours thing). Oddly enough, I have zero pictures on my phone from February. That pretty much sums up about how unexciting that month was.


March was more of the same, but unfortunately tax season got the best of me (in more ways than one) and I came down with the flu (for the first time in my life). I was really disappointed to miss my very favorite local race of the year, the Spring Fever Chase 10K. This year would’ve been my 10th year in a row to run that race. It was the only race that I did consistently over the years (starting my sophomore year in college). It ended up turning out pretty neat though, because I was able to go watch and Daniel won it! He had to put up a hard fight and I was able to see him at several places along the course. If I had raced it, I would’ve been behind him and so it was really neat to get to see him cross the line in 1st place!



Tax season came to a close in April (thank goodness) and my mom and I took a fun trip to Watercolor.



Daniel graduated with his master’s degree in May! He was in school and working full-time for over 3 years, so this was a much anticipated, very exciting life event.


At the end of May, Daniel and I both left our jobs. We knew (at least hoped) that he would be taking a new job after graduation, so that wasn’t a huge surprise. Mine, on the other hand, was a little bit more unexpected, but was without a doubt one of the best decisions that I have ever made.


Daniel and I spent the first two weeks of June (intentionally) unemployed together. We figured that we would not get an opportunity to both be off of work at the same time for any extended period of time in the near future, so we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity that we had. Daniel started his new job in mid-June and that is when “Mobile Bay Runner” was born. I had been wanting to start a blog for a while and I finally had the time on my hands to make it happen!


Those of you who have been following along since the beginning pretty much know what I’ve been up to for the last half of the year, so feel free to disregard the remainder of this post if you wish. If you are new to the blog, continue reading for a condensed version of my other 67 blog posts from this year.


In July, I started training for the New York City marathon, tried yoga for the first time, played some tennis and spent a lot of time on the water.



I ran a 5K in early August and got a shiny new PR that I was pretty excited about!


On August 10th, I turned 30 and decided to run 30 miles on my birthday (totally normal behavior guys). I went back to work (pretty much full time) and started coaching the marathon training group at Running Wild, which brought about a drastic decrease in blog posting frequency. Things got a little busy there for a while. In late August, I found out that I had been chosen as a top 10 finalist for the Runner’s World cover search contest. That was a really exciting day!


Daniel and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary in September and went to New York City for the first time (courtesy of Runner’s World)! If you are new to the blog, you really just need to read this post. I think it is my favorite post to-date and there is no way to adequately summarize that experience.



I ran a tune-up half marathon and survived some very tough weeks of marathon training as my New York City marathon training came to a close in October.


We also made it through our second busy season at work. At the end of October, we returned to New York for the big race.


On November 1st, after months of training, I ran the New York City marathon. The whole experience was very surreal! I ran a 3:02:47 and squeaked out a tiny little PR.


The next weekend, also after months of training, my marathon training group ran the Pensacola marathon (in the rain no less). The end of the month brought Thanksgiving and the ten year anniversary of the attack. Thanksgiving is a bittersweet and yet, a wonderful reminder for me of everything that I have to be thankful for. Every day is a gift, y’all. Don’t forget that.


Here we are in the final month of 2015 … December has been filled with Christmas parties, fires and a couple of fun weekend getaways (to the mountains and the beach).


We celebrated Daniel’s birthday and now we await the celebration of our Savior’s birth and the ringing in of the new year.

This has been an absolutely incredible year and I am so happy to be here sharing it with you guys! I’m going to keep on sharing too, so stay tuned! As they say, the rest is still unwritten …

Daniel, Holiday, Sunset, WEW

Week End Wrap-Up (#5)

Hey y’all! I’m linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin again this week for the Weekly Wrap.

This weekend was all about celebrating Daniel’s birthday!

Anyone else have a birthday close to Christmas? I learned fairly early on in our relationship that it was of the utmost importance to differentiate between the birthday and the Christmas celebrations, especially with the gifts. Never, ever wrap a birthday gift in Christmas wrapping paper and never, ever combine a gift for both occasions. Both are highly frowned upon.

We kicked off the birthday festivities Friday evening after work. My mom used #HBED as our hashtag (Happy Birthday Eve Daniel). She wrote this on the outside of his card and then asked, “Isn’t that a hashtag?” She’s getting super hip on us. Watch out, world.


Daniel loves to grill out and sit by the fire, so that’s exactly what we did Friday night.

He opened a few gifts that evening. If anyone is looking for a cool, manly gift idea, check out Man Crates. I got Daniel the “Grill Master” crate and he really liked it! It came with lots of grilling gadgets, like a meat tenderizer, a cast iron smoker box with hickory wood chips, and four steak thermometers, along with several sauces and spices.


After the standard Saturday morning group run at Running Wild and post-run caffeine fix at Coffee Loft, we headed east to 30A for the weekend. We got an awesome Black Friday discount code for one night at the Watercolor Inn, and we decided that Daniel’s birthday would be the perfect time to use our night.

We had an awesome gulf view! It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed walking around and did a little bit of shopping.

We walked over to Seaside for dinner at Great Southern Cafe. We got the black-eyed pea hummus appetizer, I got the dinner salad with grilled salmon and Daniel got grouper with fried green tomatoes and sweet potato fries. Everything was delicious! As soon as the waiter brought out our food, Daniel made sure to get a picture. He got his phone out, looked at me and said, “Do you want me to get a picture for the blog?” I didn’t even have to ask. He’s good! It definitely reminded me of this article about Instagram (<– follow me!) husbands.

We came back and sat outside by the fire pit for a while. Unfortunately it was a gas fire and it didn’t put off all that much heat, so we basically sat in the pit, instead of beside it. It was so chilly this weekend! Last weekend we went to the “mountains” and it was really warm and this weekend we went to the beach and it was freezing. Totally backwards. I was completely happy with the cold weather though. It’s time.

The sunset definitely didn’t disappoint.

We woke up and had coffee Saturday morning while Daniel scoped out Strava segments. He made a route for us so that he could take two segments while we were out. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Strava is basically a social media platform for runners and bikers. Daniel is in the “Lower AL Runners” group. You can follow along and see what workouts and routes your friends are doing each day.

There are also “segments,” which are fuel to any athlete’s competitive juices and allow you to compete with other athletes by running or biking the same segment that they have done previously and beating their time. The segments are all varying distances and are all over the country. If you go to a new town, you have to find a segment to take down. It’s an addiction. If there was a Stravaholic Support group, Daniel would definitely need to join.

We ended up running 8 miles and he took two segments during the run. The first one was a one mile segment. He took that one in 5:56. The second one was three quarters of a mile. He took that one in 4:29. He was smokin! I don’t do Strava, so I just enjoyed running at a slower pace and he waited for me to catch up each time.

After our run, we walked on the beach for a little bit. I absolutely love running and walking on the beach. Daniel is nice enough to play along with my shenanigans. The water was so pretty!


We ended up walking back to Seaside in search of some breakfast. We had been wanting to try the Airstream food trucks for a while. A little history lesson Some random facts for you … in Seaside’s early days, many of the owners building homes stayed in Airstream trailers, aka “land yachts” while they waited on their houses to be completed. Some of the town architects did as well, as they spent long nights working. The trailers became part of the landscape and style of Seaside. They were comfortable and wonderfully designed and represented the adventurous spirit of the people who were making Seaside what it is today. Those “land yachts” are now all little independent food vendors.

As a side note, I am fascinated with the idea of living in an Airstream and traveling around the country. Daniel tells me that isn’t a realistic aspiration … something about having a steady job (and some other details that I’m kind of fuzzy on). Major bummer. Anyway … let’s get back on track here. Daniel got a grilled ham and cheese melt.

I found a truck that had all of the amazing things. All of them. I was so excited! Turns out that they were “remodeling” and not open for business (don’t let the sign fool you). Womp, womp. Check out the sweet monkey wrap on the sign though … peanut butter, apples, bananas, cinnamon and honey on a wrap. Does that not sound amazing? I might try to make that one on my own at some point.

I wasn’t too upset because we decided that we could just stop at Another Broken Egg on our way out of town. I love that place. We got there and it was closed too. So, so sad. At this point I was getting majorly hangry (the state of hunger where anger majorly sets in and takes over), so I settled with an oatmeal cup to go from the coffee shop next door to Another Broken Egg.

I’ll have to admit that the oatmeal was very good. Maybe I was just really hungry, but either way, I was pleasantly surprised. I might even incorporate these little, to-go oatmeal cups into the regular breakfast rotation. I’m all about convenience.

We made it home and finished up the last of our Christmas shopping. Boom! Now we just have to wrap the presents. Hopefully I won’t dislocate my shoulder wrapping the gifts this year. Yes, that definitely happened one year. Don’t ask …

Alright guys, I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and has a very Merry Christmas!

What are your Christmas plans?

Brooks, Coffee, Daniel, Holiday, Running, Treadmill

Buddy the Elf! What’s your favorite color?

Hey folks! Happy Friday!


Can you believe that Christmas is one week away?! Me either. I still need to tie up a few loose ends on the shopping front. I’m loving the Christmas tunes and all of the festivities though. It took me a little bit to catch the spirit this year, but it is here in full force now!

Let’s just talk about how awesome the movie “Elf” is for just a minute. I mean, they don’t really get much better than that (in my opinion). I am going to attempt to integrate some wonderful “Elf” quotes into this post. Ready … go!

You sit on a throne of lies!


Our neighbors have an awesome throne that Santa comes to sit in. I decided to carry along my phone on one of our evening runs this week so that I could get a pic on the throne.

Good news! I saw a dog today! Have you seen a dog? You probably have.


If you hadn’t noticed, we are somewhat obsessed with our little Brooksy.

You did it! Congratulations! World’s best cup of coffee! Great job, everybody.


Check out the amazing gift we got at our small group’s dirty santa party. We had to do some scheming to make sure that we got this one at just the right time so that no one else could steal it from us. Success!

I just like to smile! Smiling’s my favorite.


Seemed like an appropriate place as any for a smiling selfie!

He’s an *angry* elf!


I don’t have a ton of *angry* pictures, but that is definitely one of my favorite quotes from the movie, so it had to be included. This one of Sooki from a Gilmore Girls episode that I watched this week on the treadmill works pretty well though.

Does somebody need a hug?


Brooksy hugs are the best!

I’m a cotton-headed ninny-muggins.


Truth. I may be a cotton-headed ninny-muggins sometimes, but at least when I am, I win a tacky sweater contest. Please note Jordan’s photo bomb that this is an actual vintage Christmas sweater from the 80s (ish). I’m actually not sure when it is from, but my mom did inform me that it was “a Marisa Christina Classic,” which from her explanation I am taking to mean that it was super fancy back in the day.

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.


The guys at our small group Christmas party. I’m not entirely sure why they posed this way, but it kind of looks like they are caroling. Just go with it!

Did you hear that?


That was just me, running on the treadmill.

To summarize: I love the movie Elf, my husband and my dog (not in that order). My week was filled with some running, some working and some Christmas parties (pretty much in that order).

I have a little extra time on my hands today, so I figured we could catch up today and then my weekly “Week End Wrap-Up” post can actually be about just the weekend. Novel concept, I know! Today is Daniel’s birthday eve and we’ve got some celebrating to do this weekend! I do believe that the birthday weekend deserves its own post.

Talk to you soon!


Brooks, Faith, NOLA, Track, Treadmill, WEW

Week End Wrap-Up (#4)

Hey friends!

I had a good week of training and a wonderful weekend (that included a little mini-vacation) and I’m excited to be linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin again this week for the Weekly Wrap. Just a fair warning, I’ve got lots to share this week, so go ahead and grab a cup of coffee (or tea, hot chocolate, etc.) and get comfy.

I started the week off with an easy run on Monday and then Tuesday morning I hit the treadmill for a 10 mile brisk pace run. My schedule called for a 2 mile warm up and then 8 miles at 7:00 – 7:10 pace. I ended up averaging 7:03 for the “brisk” portion, which I was very pleased with. The brisk pace run is something that my coach uses periodically in training to help improve the athlete’s ability to stay relaxed and smooth at a quick pace.

I successfully kept myself distracted throughout that workout by watching a few episodes of Gilmore Girls. I absolutely loved that show when I was in high school and college. My mom and I watched it together every week. I’ve heard rumors that the show is returning for another season (on Netflix only), so I just started watching from the beginning to familiarize myself with the show again. Plus, workouts are much better with friends!


I’ve apparently done something to make my face very angry with me. The past few weeks, I have had several rashes and/or breakouts take over the entire surface area otherwise known as my face. The jury is still out as to whether or not it is some sort of allergy or not, but for now I have just discontinued the use of all products on my face. This doesn’t really seem like a big deal (and probably shouldn’t have been), but I figure since I am oversharing my life on the internet, I might as well not leave anything out.


Perhaps this is stating the obvious, but I want to just point out that it is so very easy to “leave out” unhappy, bad or even just mediocre things on social media. I want to try my best not to do that because that isn’t real. And if we are being real, the whole face situation had me bummed out, which I know sounds really silly and really petty. But regardless, I was feeling bummed so I had to acknowledge those feelings and try to get to the root of the issue.

I got a steroid shot Tuesday, which meant that I was awake pretty much the entire night. There have been several people on my heart and I did lots of praying and reflecting that night (or well technically Wednesday morning). Oddly enough, the First 5 devotion Tuesday morning talked about getting quiet and listening to God. I had plenty of time to work on that while I was awake all night.


I know that outward appearances do not matter. I know that. Yet, it is so darn easy to fall into the trap of thinking that they do. The world focuses on what people look like on the outside. While there’s nothing explicitly “wrong” with wanting to look pretty, we just need to make sure it’s in balance. I definitely felt convicted that I needed to restore my balance. God focuses on what people look like on the inside. He would rather see us work on becoming drop-dead gorgeous on the inside … you know, the kinds of girls who talk to Him on a regular basis and study His word.

As I sit here now, finishing up my post, I stumbled right across this amazing article that a friend recently shared. The author writes, “God has called me to fitness, … but He hasn’t called me to put the focus on my body or on my accomplishments. The biggest disservice that I could do would be to inspire women to look at the outside appearance and believe that THAT is the most important thing, or that they have to live up to a certain expectation to be acceptable in the world’s eyes … It’s not about extreme fitness, or accomplishing great things with your body. It’s about being extremely sold out to the calling God has placed on your life and being healthy enough to GO and DO what He asks.” Um, Can I get an AMEN?! I love it when God reveals things to me that I need to hear (even in something as simple as an article shared via social media).

Moving on … Thursday morning I hit the track for a speed workout! I haven’t been to the track in a really long time. I had 10 X 600 meter repeats on the schedule with a goal pace of 5:50 to 6:00 (so 2:10 to 2:15 per repeat). It was dark and early, but I got it in and thankfully Daniel went over to the track with me so that I wouldn’t be by myself. You might have seen this on Instagram, but here’s how it went down … 2:13, 2:15, 2:14, 2:14, 2:12, 2:11, 2:11, 2:12, 2:12, 2:11.

We loaded the car up, dropped Brooksy off at the doggie ranch and headed north after work Thursday evening. We spent the weekend in Gaylesville, AL (population < 150), which is just outside of Fort Payne (and also just outside of Lickskillet (yes, really … you can’t make these things up)). One of the doctors that Daniel works with was nice enough to let us stay in their cabin for the weekend. We are so thankful to the McGees. Their place was absolutely beautiful (check it out on VRBO)!

Friday morning we went rappelling and rock climbing with True Adventure Sports in the Little River Canyon. Going in, I was a tad skeptical about this whole “adventure.” Case in point.

But you guys … it was absolutely incredible! Part of the mission statement of TAS is to operate their business as a ministry, to bless others and to help others experience God’s creation through a new light. Our guides, Tyler and Jonathan, were great. Daniel and I were both genuinely encouraged by their boldness to step out and share their faith with everyone that goes on trips with them. They prayed with us before and after the trip and it was really powerful. They have a wonderful ministry and it was a great reminder to not be afraid to talk to people about “real” things and things that are important to you.

In my previous post, I kind of jokingly referred to this adventure as being an “exercise in trust,” but the more I thought about that, the more that I realized there was something there and I want to expound upon it a little bit. Trust is defined pretty simply as the act of placing confidence is someone or something else. It is a fundamental action, but without it, fear can take over.

I’m sure most all of us have heard the verse from Proverbs 3:5 that says “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Unfortunately we also probably have all gone through different things and different experiences that have “taught” us that we can only depend on ourselves, not others. In order to live the life that God has called us to live, we have to unlearn that lesson and learn to rest in God’s understanding. We may know that God is all-understanding and that he possesses infinite wisdom, but sometimes it can still be difficult to trust Him completely. Every day we must make a conscious effort to set aside our own plans and expectations and to surrender to His plan for us.

What better way to work on trust than to face your fear head on?

Rappelling was definitely my favorite. Apparently rock climbing is not in my skill set (not that I thought it would be), but I’m glad that I tried it. Daniel was a lot better than me at the climbing. He went first and made it look so easy … but, no. Not so much. I definitely need to work on that whole upper body strength thing.

After all the fears were faced and the trust was restored, we headed the local grocery store, the Unlimited Grocery Outlet, to get some groceries for the weekend. This in itself was quite an experience. The place was crazy cheap, but the selection left quite a bit to be desired. I don’t believe that they carried any of the brands of any food that I typically buy. While that was a bit of a mental challenge for me at first, we came away with some good options and minimal stress.

We got back to the cabin around 3 pm that afternoon and we were itching to scope out our route options and go for a run. Because … running. We found some awesome trails and got in 6 miles. We had to wear our hunter orange because the area where we were staying (and running) was several thousand acres of wildlife management area and there were lots of hunters out.

We cooked a delicious dinner (ribeye, conecuh sausage, chicken, grilled veggies and sweet potato fries).

Saturday morning we headed over to Huntsville to watch Daniel’s sister, Leigh-Ann, run the Rocket City Marathon. It was her first full and she did great! We had some navigational difficulties getting around the course, so we didn’t catch her until mile 19. We found a place to park around mile 20.5 and we took off running backwards along the course to find her. It was rather warm (especially for pants and long sleeves … poor planning on my part). We found her right at mile 19 and ran the mile and a half with her back to the car.

From what I could tell and from what she told us, this was a really cool course. The runners got to run by the rockets at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and through the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. The race finished in an indoor arena, where there was live music and lots of food. I loved the finish area. It was perfect for spectating.

She finished in 4:19:20 and was still smiling at the end!


Several of Daniel’s family members were there to support Leigh-Ann. Her aunt and uncle even came all the way down from Louisville, KY and surprised her!


We headed back to the cabin after lunch and got back in time to go for a run. We ventured out in the opposite direction this time and were able to get 6 miles in again. You can’t really tell, but the shirt I was running in was a shirt I got in NYC for the marathon and it says “Run NYC Run Anywhere.” I thought that was pretty fitting because it kind of felt like we were running in the middle of nowhere.

Leigh-Ann and her husband, Will, came over and stayed with us for the evening after the race. We haven’t gotten to see them much recently, so it was really nice to hang out and spend some quality time together. We made dinner (pretty much more of the same … ribeye, pork, chicken, sweet potatoes and veggies) and hung out by the fire. We had s’mores for dessert and fell asleep watching Elf (which is obviously the best. movie. ever). It was a perfect evening!

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise Sunday morning. We had some coffee, watched the sun come up and mapped out our route for the day.

I had a 14 mile long run on the schedule with the middle 6 miles up-tempo (6:40 to 6:50 pace). I didn’t want to do that on dirt, gravel or trails, so we found a route that would take us over to the Little River Canyon scenic highway, where we could *attempt* the tempo portion. Just a heads up, anytime you are running in canyon, expect hills. Lots and lots of hills.

Anytime you are running on a scenic highway, expect beautiful scenery. Lots and lots of beautiful scenery. The route, while not optimal for tempoing, was absolutely beautiful. The tempo portion was shortened to 4 miles and went like this: 6:54, 7:03, 7:40, 7:14. I am pretty sure that the effort I was having to put in to get those times was closer to the 6:40 to 6:50 range though (that is what I am telling myself at least). We climbed close to 1,000 ft., which might not sound like a lot, but I was definitely feeling it.

We came back to the cabin, scrambled some eggs and relaxed for a while before it was time to pack up and head back south. I made the most of the long (ish) drive home and got the majority of this post typed up, using the new and improved WordPress app. Daniel was driving, listening to ESPN radio and smoking a cigar eating cow tales. Does anyone else out there eat these things? He loves them.

We had a wonderful weekend, but of course it is always nice to be home. We missed our little buddy. He lived it up at the doggie ranch. We know this because we are the overprotective puppy parents who keep tabs on our fur baby via Dog Ranch Resort’s Facebook page while we are away. Don’t judge. Look how much fun he had …

Alright guys. I think we are officially caught up. I hope you all have a wonderful week! I’ll talk to you soon!