Monday, August 31, 2015

Birthdays and 5K Races with Kevin Hart

From the Crabfest adventures of mid-August to my healthy journey of eating more vegetables and participating in FitBit challenges, August has been a good time. 

Mary Anna's Non-Monday Birthday was a success. I made this fun Etsy-like sticker that read 336 months for the amount of months I am. You know, how they put those stickers on babies "3 months," "5 months," etc. I'm 28. Someone asked me how long it took me to do that math. I said "12 seconds, I used a calculator." I met up with my best friend and we caught up with my other friends at Morgan's Pier for dinner and drinks. They had this delicious concoction called "Mango Shandy" and it was made with apple cider and mango puree. I could drink those all day. Then I'd get diabetes. 

After dinner we went to Penn's Landing Summerfest and caught up with Jschool bestie, Alexa. Alexa and I tried our hand (or feet rather) at skating. I put the skates on and thought "nope." I quickly traded them for in-line rollerblades. I felt a bit more in control on the blades. Alexa skated around (her first time ever) with no problem at all. 
I was a wall clinger but I made it around a few times. People on the outside were cheering me on. It was pretty great. I didn't fall! I didn't fall at all! That was the biggest accomplishment. After skating Alexa and I went to Spruce Street Harbor Park for a little Cards Against Humanity. Then we traveled to The Tattoed Moms, the very first Philadelphia bar I went to when I moved here. The Moms staff made me a Not Your Father's Root Beer Float AND paid for my actual Not Your Father's Root Beer for my birthday. It made me love that place even more. 

After that Alexa and I retreated back to my apartment. We hung out on the roof for a little bit. I ended up going to bed at 3am, something I haven't done in a LONG time. It was a great birthday celebration with some awesome friends!

My actual birthday was pretty good too. I went to work on my birthday (like I do) and wore this huge birthday hat. It had candles on it and everything. A few coworkers gave me some presents. After work I went to Ray's Happy Birthday Bar for my annual birthday shot. I ended up hanging out with the bar patrons and we watched Jeopardy. It was fun guessing really wrong answers as well as the right answers. haha After a PBR I headed home. As I walked through South Philly I looked up at the pink sky and just thought, what a great way to end my birthday. 

I picked up some sushi and wine on the way home and enjoyed the last hours of my birthday chowing down on one of my favorite meals. I had an apple cake, put some candles on it, made a wish and then shared my cake with Bronx. 

My first week as a 28-year old was unremarkable. Work was work. Job hunting was job hunting. I was tired a lot. I felt, old. That all changed when the weekend after my birthday arrived and I found out Kevin Hart was hosting a spontaneous 5K run on Saturday. I immediately registered for the run and plotted out how I could get really close for pictures and still enjoy the run. 

The morning of the race I got up at 5:30am. I made it down to the art museum by 7. I got my shirt (my new fav shirt) and put my sign on my back. 

Little did I know this sign would be a huge hit with the crowd. People were taking pictures of it, taking pictures of me, taking selfies with it and posting it on social media. My joke was my "ass is trending." haha As I was running, people kept patting me on the shoulder and giving me a thumbs up. The irony was it was my 8th 5K and I ran Broad Street last year and I'm still SLOW as a TURTLE. 

Anyway, back to pre-race. So donning my sign and my new shirt I took my place by the DJ and danced it out a bit. Everyone was in this great party spirit. I didn't feel out of place, I felt in my element. Suddenly the crowd shifted to right in front of the art museum entrance. I made my way to the barricade and scored a spot front and center. Little did I know that I would be right in front of where Kevin Hart was to deliver his pep talk!

Everyone was friendly. I mean everyone. Then Kevin's step squad came out and the crowd started to get hype. Next thing you know, Kevin comes out with his kids Hendrix and Heaven! I was CLOSE.
Kevin stressed that it was not a race it was a run. This stuck with everyone who participated. (I later found out it was 4,500). After the pep talk we got in our running waves and were off. I ran the entire first mile without stopping to walk! I have never in my life been able to do that. It did go a little downhill from there but I was still glad to be out doing this free and fun run. The Nike + app is my new best friend. I loved how it updated me as I reached each mile and told me my pace. I'm an idiot for not using it before. 

I finished at a horrible time of 44:44. But I never felt the drive to really run and kill myself doing it. I ran at my pace and was happy with that. The race ended going UP the Rocky Steps. At that point, Kevin was surrounded by people and security I couldn't get my high five. I was really happy with my pre-race pictures though so I didn't worry about it. I went off to get water, bananas, apples, pretzels and water ice (how Philly) before heading home. 

I have to say, they cheered the last runner up the steps. Everyone was really positive and motivational. It felt like fitness was FUN. It also motivated me to run more. Now that I know how fun the Nike + app is, I'm planning on using it more often to train effectively. I can't wait to get out and kick asphalt again. In fact, I'm donning my new Kevin Hart shirt tonight at kickboxing because I feel fierce in it. 

Later in the evening I saw the professional shots of the event. I'm in a bunch of them (AND SO IS MY SIGN). I also landed in an NBC10 video of the event where they zoom in on me 17 seconds in. The whole event was an affair to remember. I'm so glad I got up early on a Saturday to take part in that. I wish Kevin the best of luck with is on-fire career and with his campaign to get people moving. #rallywithkevin #runwithhart. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Road to Health

I'm back on the green smoothie kick and I'm eating a lot more kale than I ever have in my life. It's summer and I wasn't too happy with how I looked in some of my vacation pictures. I felt I could benefit from some healthier decisions. I realized one thing really helps me make the healthiest choices: accountability. 

I am now back to using my FitBit on the regular. I've joined Wellcoin, an app that gives you coins for completing healthy tasks. The coins can be redeemed for actual gift cards and merchandise. I'm checking in with coworkers about their fitness journey. So far I'm doing pretty well with the eating well part but definitely need to step up my exercise. I'm finding that after work I'm just too exhausted and it is too hot outside. I just want to enjoy my parking space on my block and hang out with Bronx. I need to start training soon because the Broad Street Run is a 2016 goal I have. I finished the race under two and a half hours this year but next year I'd like to finish in under two. That is going to take a lot of training to get to that stamina level. 

In other news my birthday weekend is planned. I'm doing some fun waterfront events with some of my closest friends. My Jschool bestie is even going to try to make it down to celebrate with me. It's going to be a blast! 

Nothing else to report, really. Bronx is fine. He has taken to sleeping at the top of the bed with me each night. I usually wake up to him nosing my head, sneezing on me or pawing me in the face. I spent a few extra minutes with him this morning before I left for work. I think it is important to make sure you let your pet know how much they are loved. All too often we get caught up in the chaotic world of "adulting" that we forget that our pets sometimes need reassurance that we love them, that we'll be back, that we have to go to work but will return soon, that we're doing ok. I feel so bad on mornings when I yell at intimate objects because of well...gravity fails and Bronx's ears go back. He gives me this look like, "I didn't do it!" I always make sure I get down on his level and pet him and let him know that I'm not mad at him. It usually ends with him giving me a kiss. 

Adopting him was one of the best decisions I have ever made. :-)

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Whirlwind Tour of August

Today is August 11th. There are 31 days in August. We are on the 11th day. When did that happen? August has always been a good month for me, mainly because my birthday is August 24th. I've got some fun plans with good people in store for that birthday weekend. Sadly my actual natal day is on a Monday. I'll make the best of it though. 

Where do we start? Well, the reunion I suppose. I coordinated/planned/shelled out my own cash and collected cash to pull of Nandua High School's Class of 2005 10 Year Reunion. It was an anxiety inducing process but at the end of it all, the reunion turned out well. I had some no-shows and we didn't have the faculty guests we expected (which proved to be a huge bummer). However, everyone had a great time. It was so good to see some people I haven't seen in 10 years! Almost every knew about Bronx and many asked about him. haha It was like he was my son for real. 

The highlight of Reunion Weekend was undoubtedly the night prior to the big event. I drove down to my friend Heather's house where me and my three high school best friends got together like old times. Heather asked if I needed directions but I knew the way like the back of my hand. The four of us and Heather's fiance sat out on the back deck surrounded by tiki torches while reminiscing about the good times. It was great to be with them again. So, great that I made them pose for this picture so we could recreate a moment from 10 years ago. 

The bottom photo was taken at Paradiso Pizza, a now defunct pizza joint on the way to Maryland. The top photo was us now, 10 years later on Heather's back deck. We didn't nail the poses exactly but you get the point. I am absolutely in love with this photo. The top photo is my Facebook cover photo. "The four best de da da."

Hot off the heels of my reunion I washed Sasha Fierce (my car) and got ready to head back to Philly for a hot second before continuing north to the Poconos for my family vacation. Unfortunately on I-95 in Delaware Sasha Fierce took a rock to the face (pebble to the windshield) and it cracked. Now I have to get her fixed. That is not nearly as bad as what happened to my parents who blew an RV tire on the way up to the campground, got it fixed, bought a new tire and then proceeded to blow ANOTHER tire on the way home a week later. Sigh They're doing well and glad to be back home in Virginia but the RV is going to need some help and some brand new tires. 

Vacation was nice. I could have used more sleep but I did enjoy lounging around and swimming in the pool. We went hiking in Bushkill with Bronx and he loved it! I also went stand up paddleboarding for the first time. I got lessons on the Delaware River and was able to stand and paddle around! I didn't fall in (though the water was really clear so I don't think I'd mind if I did). 

We had a wonderful time. I came back to Philly Sunday night, exhausted. I'm still exhausted on this Tuesday August 11th. I need a vacation after vacation. haha 

Some other awesome stuff is I'm now a contributor for MOGUL, a website dedicated toward providing news and stories for women readers across the globe. I've published three stories so far and they're doing well. I enjoy the carefree nature of MOGUL. Elite Daily edits your work and Thought Catalog is like an exclusive nightclub you have to beg to write for free for. MOGUL lets you post whatever you want, no edits, no approvals. Granted I don't post controversial or crappy content, I just like knowing that when I hit publish it does that...publishes. This outlet has provided me with a place to let my creative juices flow, especially in the world of Humor Articles. I look forward to posting more stories in the future. 

So, on deck we've got more wishing, hoping, praying for new opportunities. We've got Mary Anna's Non-Monday Birthday Bash. We've got a serious fitness plan and motivation. I've got to get kickboxing again and find time to start training for next years Broad Street Run. We've got the sadness that comes with the plethora of Back to School ads. I miss school. We've got a new writing outlet. We've got social media information dissemination. Good stuff but the stressful month of July is finally over!

Until next time....

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