A Tale of Two Wetsuits, Part One

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” — Ferris Bueller

I swear I blinked and somehow June and July happened. I’ve been on two international trips, enjoyed time on the mountain, soaked up some rays on the beach, and spent time in our nation’s capital. I had some once in a lifetime experiences this summer and learned a lot about myself in the process.

With so many amazing adventures this summer, I have lots of stories to share. Today, I’m inspired to write about my family vaca to Banff, Alberta, Canada, in July. Anyone who knows me well knows that I prefer tights, boots, and coats to shorts, tanks, and swimsuits any day of the year, so a trip to Canada in July was right up my alley.  

After a dreadful experience with cancelled flights, an unexpected overnight in Dallas, and 48-hours without luggage, we settled in for a week of fun in the picturesque Canadian Rockies. The beauty of this locale was that the hardcore hikers could do their thing while others could still experience the breathtaking scenery without strapping on a pack and wandering into the wilderness. 

Day one began with a gondola ride near Lake Louise. Halfway up we spotted several grizzly bear right off the bat. Banff is known as bear country so we were psyched to start out the trip with a bona fide bear sighting. 

We spent the afternoon canoeing Moraine Lake. Y’all, the water is really that blue. It’s ridiculous. The color results from the sediment that is continually deposited into the glacially-fed lake and the light that is refracted off of it. Despite the fact that John will tell you he paddled myself and Miles around the lake “Driving Miss Daisy” style, Miles and I did our fair share of paddling through the 38 degree water. 

So, let’s get to that wetsuit. The whole fam loaded up and we rafted the Kananaskis River with Chinook Rafting. The water was in the low 30s and had still been icy the week before. We were each issued a wetsuit, neoprene booties, a water resistant pullover, and helmet. A quick training session later, we embarked on our frigid whitewater adventure. 

Miles had the most important job, serving as wave blocker throughout our journey. John and I sat in the front of the boat, so we could be close to the wave blocker, and were told to synchronize our paddles so that the rest of the raft would stay in sync. Somehow we managed to do just that, while keeping ourselves and the wave blocker safely inside. Our fabulous guide, James, made every effort to ensure that we were completely soaked, whether we stayed in the boat or not. Wetsuit or no wetsuit, that water was cold! 

We were in Banff for July 4th, so we celebrated with a traditional American evening of bowling and pizza. It was so much fun and being that my family isn’t competitive at all, no smack was talked and everyone was a humble competitor. Right. Look closely and you will notice that the six-year old won. 

Y’all know my favorite way to explore a new place is through running. I enjoyed a great run through Tunnell Mountain, exploring some of the trails near our resort. While I packed for mild weather (I may have packed a pair of boots in each member of my family’s checked luggage), they were having a heat wave while we were in Banff. It was hot, but it felt great to get a run in. I even spotted some wildlife!


The culmination of our trip was a ride down the Icefields Parkway and a visit to Athabasca glacier. We rode the massive, all-terrain ice explorer bus to Athabasca and were able to disembark and walk around on the huge, 10,000 year old glacier. As part of the experience, we also explored the glass-bottomed Glacier Skywalk with amazing views of the Sunwapta Valley. 

On our final night in Banff, we visited the Fairmont Banff Springs after dinner. While driving past the golf course that borders the hotel’s property, we spotted a group of elk hindering some golfers on the front nine. As far as the eye could see, the elk were grazing and enjoying the nice weather and manicured greens. 

From water slides and all-you-can-eat buffets, to poutine and bear sightings, many a memory was made in Canada. Ferris wasn’t kidding when he said that life moves pretty fast. That alone makes special memories made in far off places that much sweeter. 

2017 Miles to Go: 446

They Say It’s A Dry Heat

Last week took me to sunny Palm Springs, CA, for the annual PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference. No other event is more targeted to what I do every single day at work than this conference. I love getting to see old friends in the tourism industry and making new ones. Plus, Palm Springs is not the worst location to have to travel for work, right? 


The conference was held at the Riviera Palm Springs Resort, just ten minutes from the Palm Springs airport and easily accessible to all of the city’s hot spots. The beauty of this conference is that you get to hear from major travel editors and journalists in the industry, while also rubbing elbows with them at networking events. I mean, how often do you get to talk Tupelo with Samantha Brown, face-to-face? 


Tuesday morning, I participated in a fun run with everyone else crazy enough to get up and run through the desert. It was hot, even at 6:45 a.m., and the 5K I ran seemed way harder than usual, as a result. They say it’s a dry heat. But, hot is hot and at least in the humid South, I know when it’s time to hydrate. I loved getting to experience Palm Springs while running, and the view made it worth those hot miles.

Our closing reception was held at the Dinah Shore Estate in Palm Springs. The plush, mid-century modern estate is now owned by Leonardo DiCaprio and is situated in the same neighborhood as homes once owned by members of the Rat Pack, Marilyn Monroe, and Liberace. Elvis’ honeymoon cottage is also in the neighborhood, so my new friend, Rachel from San Jose, and I hopped in an Uber and made it our mission to find the home. Of course I had to check it out! 


When the conference ended Wednesday afternoon, we moved the networking poolside to celebrate the end of a great event and soak up our last few hours of sun in beautiful Palm Springs.

My trip to CA included quality time with my first and forever best friend, Elizabeth. We met at Disneyland for a magical morning of roller coasters and catching up. We would have been happy to just sit in the car and talk all day, and with the crazy traffic getting in to the park, that almost happened.

This was my first trip to the original Disney park. I consider myself a Disney World pro at this point, but that prepared me in no way for this visit. Walking into the park was like stepping back in time. We maximized our visit by hitting the rides that were exclusive to Disneyland. The Matterhorn Bobsleds, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and Pinnochio’s Daring Journey, were a few favorites. 

Elizabeth and I took a 72-hour trip to Disney World when we were in college. A Friday afternoon phone call from her at Ole Miss to me at the University of Alabama resulted in the two of us driving through the night to Orlando in time for rope drop at the newly-opened Animal Kingdom. Rather than buying food and a hotel room, we brought snacks from home and purchased Disney souvenirs. We ventured to the Magic Kingdom that afternoon, stayed through the fireworks, and drove home. The whole way down we talked about riding Space Mountain first. When we arrived, it was closed for refurbishment. So, it was only fitting that Elizabeth and I chose Hyperspace Mountain as our first ride together at Disneyland. It was well worth the almost 20-year wait! (Ummm, yes I did the math correctly and I, too, am shocked.) 

My trip to Palm Springs was pretty fabulous. It’s less than two hours from both Los Angeles and San Diego and Joshua Tree National Park is about an hour away. Make it your base and it’s the perfect place from which to explore all that beautiful, sunny Southern California has to offer. I learned a lot, met some new tourism friends, spent time with my forever friend, ate some great food, and got to experience a new place. This trip was just the first of many this summer that will keep me on the run and I look forward to sharing it all.

2017 Miles to Go: 483

Gates at Elvis’ Honeymoon Cottage

Editors’ Panel at the Conference

Unlike Disney World, Characters wandered around Disneyland

My Mickey Ears!

Fun Run in Palm Springs

The Hill that was not so fun on the fun run in Palm Springs

Consistency

Consistency is everything. In running, in work, in your spiritual life, in relationships, in eating right, in life; if you’re not consistently working on the things that are important to you, you’re never going to meet your goals or uncover your true potential.

If I have been anything over the past two months, I’ve been inconsistent. After the Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon, I wound up with shin splints. A result of my adding too many miles too fast before the NOLA race, I brought them on myself. I would rest a few days, but every time I ran they came back with a vengeance. It was beyond frustrating to feel fine, begin a run, and have to quit because of the pain.

So, I rested. I rested a lot. To be exact, I rested the entire month of March. I didn’t run a single mile. I didn’t blog about the fact that I wasn’t running. I just didn’t run. Because I was inconsistent in my training for New Orleans, I had to take a break that I had not planned to take. It derailed some of my goals and kept me from running some races I had intended to run this spring.

That’s me in the pink socks!

So, when April arrived, I bought a new pair of running shoes (I’m loving the new Brooks Ghost 9!) and hit the road. I ran the annual Autism Run 5K a few weeks ago on my first day back at it. I felt great and enjoyed being able to run in support of the amazing work that the Autism Center of North Mississippi does in our area. After the race, my abs hurt, I was tired, and even a little sore. Consistency, right?

I’m  finally back in a good running routine, focusing on a faster 5K. The longest race on my horizon is a 10K, at the moment. I hope that through consistent training, I’ll be able to shave a minute or more off of my current 5K time. I also hope to be better prepared to run that 10K, on the road to my next half marathon. For now, my goal is consistency.

2017 Miles to Go: 491

A Festival Fit for a King

IMG_3812Last weekend, in my hometown of Tupelo, we celebrated our favorite native son with the annual Tupelo Elvis Festival. Held the first full weekend in June, the festival celebrates the impact Elvis Presley made, and continues to make, on music worldwide.

Whether you’re a die-hard Elvis fan, a lover of music, have a pet who has an uncanny resemblance to the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll, or are just looking for something a little different to do, everyone can find something to enjoy during the festival. One of my favorite parts of the weekend is the annual Running With the King 5K that is put on by the Tupelo Running Club.

I signed up for this race by myself and tried to persuade a friend or two to join me, but to no avail. I’ll admit, Saturday morning when my alarm went off, the last thing I wanted to do was get up and run. Since I had already registered, I drug myself out of bed, put on my running clothes, and drove to Veterans Park for the start. It was hot…and muggy. Thankfully the sun was hidden behind some pretty thick clouds or it would have been a miserable experience.

The race winds through Tupelo’s Veterans Park which is located in Elvis’ neck of the IMG_3777woods in East Tupelo. After running past the Tupelo Aquatic Center and down the American flag-lined Lawrence Stanley Memorial Drive, we made our way onto Elvis Presley Drive, past Elvis’ house, and through his neighborhood that was once lined with sharecropper shacks. The final mile took us along Veterans Park’s winding, tree-lined trail and ultimately to the finish by the park’s softball complex, where an Elvis impersonator was waiting to serenade us with the King’s greatest hits.

I ran a good race, not a PR, but about a minute under last year’s pace. We had a wild Saturday last weekend, so I didn’t have time to stick around to hear the winners announced, and they still haven’t posted the results, so I’m not completely positive what my exact IMG_3779time was, only what my Garmin showed at the end.

I bought new running shoes last week, so this was the final voyage for the dreaded purple Asics. I am once again in my happy place with the newest Mizuno Wave Riders thanks to my friends at Trails and Treads in Tupelo. I began breaking those bad boys in this week and have learned my lesson about steering away from what works.

I’ve shared before about the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition that’s held each August in Memphis during Elvis Week. Tupelo has its own competition during the Tupelo Elvis Festival that sends a winner to represent our town during the festivities in Memphis.

In between competition rounds, some of the top tribute artists in the world perform concerts at the BancorpSouth Arena, showcasing Elvis and the various eras in which he performed. Right when I think I know a little something about Elvis, I attend another show and realize that I still have a lot to learn. From the “outfit,” to the movement, to the hair, the tribute artists have to know it all, because the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll’s fans absolutely IMG_3772know. I got to see a few of my favorites perform Thursday night, including 2014 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition winner Jay Dupuis (pictured), which made for a great start to the festival.

On the Fairpark side, this year’s  festival was headlined by American Idol winner, Trent Harmon. We knew it would draw a big crowd, but no one could have predicted that the crowd would show up, leave due to inclement weather, and then come back in full force to hear this hometown boy play. Elvis Presley, Mac McAnally, and Paul Thorn were all born in the Mississippi Hills and it will be exciting to see what’s to come from the newest generation of Tupelo’s musical talent.

Another Tupelo Elvis Festival has come and gone. The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association and its many volutneers that make up the “Blue Team,” are the ones that make this great event happen, and they do a fantastic job. I always look forward to the festival because I get to run, I get to hear great live music, and I get to learn something new about my city’s most famour former resident. Plus, a little black leather and powder blue never hurt anyone, right?

2016 Miles to Go:  859

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! I was blessed with a pretty incredible mother. She loves selflessly, supports unconditionally, is the most organized and together person on the planet, has a sense of humor like no other, and has freakish upper body strength. As I reflected this morning on how my mother’s love mirrors God’s love for us, it also hit me that the lessons I have learned from her over the years can help me be a better runner.

 

The slide of death in Ecuador

 
#1: Try something new

My mother is the first person to get you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to try something new. To this day I will try anything once, whether it is food, meeting a new person, hanging a picture a different way, or trying a new activity. I often hate to tell her this, but she’s usually right.

Running is something new for me. I’ve only been running for about five years, but have found so much joy in this new thing that I have tried. Because of my mother, I’m not frightened of new things or change, and I am eternally grateful to her for that. I tell people all the time that if I can do it, anyone can do it. I love recruiting new runners and I have my mama to thank for that.

 

Commitment = Seeing through a week at Disney

 
#2: Commit and see it through

My parents have always encouraged me to try new things, but once a commitment was made, there was no going back. What a great lesson in a time where society tells us we should all be happy no matter what. There were several commitments throughout my life that made me horribly unhappy, things I joined or started that turned out to be far from what I thought they would be, yet my mother always made me honor my commitments. For this, I am so thankful, even if it meant I didn’t get to come home from horse camp. 

This totally applies to running. So many times I have signed up for a race and started my training, but inevitably, those early morning runs would get old after awhile and I would not stay as committed as I should. There is no other feeling like crossing that finish line and if you don’t commit fully and see your training plan through to completion, that finish line feeling may be out of reach.

 

Supporting my theatrics

 
#3: Be supportive

I could talk all day long about this one. Both of my parents have supported me in every single thing I have ever done. Whether it was with their time, their prayers, their finances, or any other way, they have always been there for me 100%. My mother has attended events, bought tickets, worked nurseries, gone on field trips…this list really could go on infinitely, but the point is that she has supported me in all things.

Running a race can be a very lonely thing, but when other runners support one another, we are all in it together. The most supportive race I have ever run was the RunDisney Princess Half Marathon. Complete strangers cheered each other on no matter the mile we were running. Outside of Disney, I strive to be that runner who encourages others, thanks volunteers along the way, and supports runners in their quest to reach the finish line. 

Having fun at Granne’s house

#4: Have fun

Remember how I said that my mother has a sense of humor like no other? I wasn’t kidding. She is hilarious and makes sure that everyone around her is having fun. I didn’t always get this, especially when she was singing over the bus intercom on middle school chorus trips, but I totally get it now. Finding a way to laugh in every situation makes even life’s hardest moments a little less hard, and boy does my mama know how to do that.

Running is hard. It can be downright awful some days. But, I do it to have fun. Traveling, seeing communities from a different perspective, getting great exercise, and earning the bling, all make running fun, and for me, that’s what it’s all about.

  
On this Mother’s Day I am so thankful for my mother and hope that I can be half the mama to Miles that she has been to me. I also hope that the lessons I have learned from her continue to make me the best runner that I can be. I may not have the freakish upper body strength that she possesses, but I bet when the time comes to move Miles home from college, I can make sure that he is more prepared to do so than I, right Mama? 

2016 Miles to Go: 881

It’s Race Week!

It’s race week, ya’ll! By this time next week, I will have completed the RunDisney Glass Slipper Challenge. I am so excited I can barely stand it! I’m going to put in a few more short training runs before we leave to keep my legs loose, but as John put it this morning, three more sleeps to Disney!

February has already been a month filled with all things fabulous. I spent this past week in NYC at the Receptive Services Association of America annual summit, inspiring travel to Tupelo by sharing our story with tour operators from around the globe. Usually, before I can open my mouth, they want to talk about Elvis (I mean, really who doesn’t want to talk about Elvis?!?!), but when I get to share Tupelo’s list of impressive sites, bites, events, and shops, people are truly surprised at all that our special town has to offer.

NYCSNOW

Walking in the snow with my mother in NYC

My mother joined me in the city, and In between meetings, networking events, and exploring the city, I managed to get in a couple of training runs. Since technically this is my taper week for the Princess Half Marathon, three-milers on the treadmill worked just fine. I did a ton of walking this week, too, so that cross-training counts toward all the steps I’ll take in the parks later this week, right? And, walking through the city in the snow counts double, I am certain. According to a statistic I heard today, last week was the coldest week on record in New York City, of course.

Frozen’s Princess Anna

I feel confident about my races as a result of the training I have put in and am looking forward to all that is in store. On a side note, my race outfits are all ready. Apparently, half the fun of running RunDisney ev

The Little Mermaid’s Princes Ariel

ents is dressing the part, so of course I drew my inspiration for each of my races from a couple of ginger princesses. I’ll give you a sneak peak, for now, but I promise to share the full outfits, complete with accessories, on race day! I did a practice run in my new, fabulous skirts from Sparkle Skirts, and they are amazing. Other than the fact that they have built-in shorts that don’t move at all, they have lots of pockets to hold anything you may need on race day. I will keep running in these skirts, even when I’m not dressed as a Disney Princess, and I am really looking forward to checking their booth out at the race expo.

After all of my training, it is hard to believe that the races are almost here. Miles still doesn’t know that we are leaving for Disney World this week, or that he is running in a kids’ race when we get there, so I may be more excited about telling him than anything. Thanks for your support and encouragement throughout this process. I have run three half marathons prior, but never two races back-to-back, especially waking up two mornings in a row as early as I will have to wake up, but I look forward to sharing every single fantastic detail of my experience with the Glass Slipper Challenge, when it is all said and done.

2016 Miles to go: 945

 

Gaining Confidence

“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.” – Joe Namath

In honor of the 2016 National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide’s celebration in Tuscaloosa today, I thought I would share a quote from former Alabama great, Joe Namath. After two really fantastic training runs this week, I am feeling confident, having fun, and looking forward to amazing things that are to come in 25 days in Disney!

I ran three miles Monday when we returned from Nashville and it was awful. I was slow, winded, and mentally just not into it. I swear 90% of running is having your mind right. The other 10% is just putting one foot in front of the other.

Tuesday, I rocked my 10K! I felt great and could have kept going had it not been after work and the fact that my boys would expect supper sooner than later. Everything about that run was amazing.

Today, I completed an eight-mile long run that was equally as fabulous as Tuesday’s 10K. It was cold, but I layered properly, and enjoyed being out in the sun. Had I had one more GU packet, I could have easily hit 10 or more. Today was a great training day!

Gaining confidence as a runner is vital to enjoying the sport. When I feel good about a run, I have fun, and I know that reaching the finish line of whatever race I am training for is attainable. Joe Namath played football at Alabama under the one and only Coach Bear Bryant, so you know that without a doubt he worked hard to hone his quarterback skills so that he would be confident on the field. He led the Tide to a National Champioship in 1964, both fun and amazing.

Our Magic Bands arrived yesterday and the excitement of returning to “the happiest place on Earth,” has us counting down the days. We aren’t telling Miles about the trip until the morning of departure, so we are just as excited about the surprise as we are the trip. I desperately needed this week of confident runs to know that I am almost fully prepared for the Glass Slipper Challenge. Training was fun this week and I cannot wait to see what amazing things are in store when the race to 19.3 begins in four short weeks.

2016 Miles to go: 965

Running Resolutions

I love a good New Year’s resolution. I’m not talking about an overly broad “I’m going to be a better person this year” type of resolution. I mean a measurable, attainable goal that motivates me to actually be a better person in the process. I have made resolutions in the past to read a certain number of books or volunteer a certain number of hours, but this year I am resolving to be a better runner with a few running resolutions in 2016.

Resolution #1: Run 1,000 Miles in 2016

I am going to run 1,000 miles this year. If I were to do it all at once, I could get all the way from Tupelo, Mississippi, to New York City in a little over 1,000 miles. In reality, this is just under three miles a day. My current training schedule requires running four days a week, most days over three miles, so while it will be challenging, I look forward to tracking every mile on the road to 1,000.

Resolution #2: PR a Race 

To date, my fastest race was my very first half marathon. In training for the RunDisney Glass Slipper Challenge in February 2016, I have gotten faster and know that a PR is within reach. I don’t expect to PR the Princess Half Marathon from everything I have read about the race with all of the character stops, photo ops, and number of runners/walkers who participate, but with several other races planned in 2016, I am excited about this resolution.

Resolution #3: Participate in a Virtual Run for Charity

Virtual runs can be run anywhere at anytime. You simply sign up, pay the entry fee, get in your miles, and your medal arrives in the mail. Virtual runs are a great way to raise money for a non-profit or charity organization without having to actually put on a race. I haven’t participated in one of these races yet, but plan to support one of my favorite charity groups this year by participating in a virtual run.

new-years-day-1021360_1280

I just finished my first run of 2016 and while it was cold, windy, and I could definitely tell that it has been a few weeks since I hit the pavement, it felt great! I am excited about all that this new year has in store. The RunDisney Glass Slipper Challenge is a bucket list race for me, so I cannot wait for that magical weekend in February. Most of all, I love being a healthier, stronger version of myself, and that alone will make me “a better person this year.”

Happy New Year!

2016 Miles to go: 997

Rites of Passage

Today, it happened. I experienced one of the true rites of passage as a runner. I fell. 

“The Incident,” as we will now refer to it, was not just a little slip or graceful topple. I’m talking a massive full on plummet to the pavement, scraped hands, and bloody knees. It happened in slow motion as I took a corner and the uneven pavement stopped my right foot immediately, while the rest of my person kept moving forward. I was booking it, at a 9:40 pace, which is actually really good for me. I felt great and was on my way to an awesome 3.1 mile start to the day…until “The Incident.”

As I sat stunned in the street, my first instinct was to look around to make sure no witnesses were present. Once certain I was alone, I slowly got up and walked a few steps to make sure everything was ok. I was 2.4 miles in and mentally I needed to hit that 3.1 mile mark, so I slowly began to run again. It hurt at first, but I finished the run and made it home to survey my wounds.

When I was able to see what my knees actually had endured, it was not a pretty sight. Had I not been wearing running tights and actually seen the scrapes and bruises on my knees and legs when it happened, I probably would have burst into tears and called John to come pick me up, despite the fact that I was only one street over from my house. I have NEVER been accused of being dramatic. 

Upon showing my battle wounds to John, I was congratulated on becoming a real runner. In fact, both my husband and my dad, the marathoner, welcomed me to the realm of running as a result of my first fall. Are you kidding me? Both shared tales of their own topples and how it is simply a part of the sport. They assured me that if I stuck with running, this would not be the last time I met the pavement. 

As the day has gone by, I have thought about “The Incident” pretty much every time I have had to bend my knees. I am proud that I completed my run this morning and hope that with the help of neosporin and ibuprofen, I will be able to complete my next long run Saturday morning. “The Incident” could have been a whole lot worse, but bottom line,  I truly feel blessed that I can put one foot in front of the other and keep on running. 

A Grand Time

Pregame while everyone was still speaking in Tuscaloosa

Pregame while everyone was still speaking in Tuscaloosa

Following what was a less than desirable trip to my alma mater, John, Miles, and I headed south for the Southern Public Relations Federation annual conference at the exquisite Grand Hotel Point Clear Resort and Spa, just outside of picturesque Fairhope, Alabama.

The resort is like a step back in time, but with all of the modern-day amenities you can imagine, including the luxurious spa. While I enjoyed great professional development sessions with some of the best public relations minds in the southeast, my boys explored the Grand from top to bottom. They swam in the huge pool, complete with waterslide, waterfall, and several water features, and rented bicycles (of which the first hour was free) to explore the lush property. From feeding the ducks and participating in the daily cannon firing to canoeing on Mobile Bay, the Grand is an ideal destination for the whole family.

Canoeing on Mobile Bay

Canoeing on Mobile Bay

John made an appearance in the spa during our stay, a perfect reward for chasing a four-year-old around the expansive property for four days. While his massage was a highlight, he also enjoyed spending time in the saunas, whirlpool, and quiet room. This was not our first visit to the Grand, and it definitely won’t be our last. Our tradition is to enjoy the scrumptious breakfast in The Dining Room before we depart, and this year was no exception.

I got in a great training run Tuesday morning, that started out as a quick three miles and turned in to a delightful five miler, that could have been more had I not had to get to my meeting. I ran around the resort for the first mile and some change, before heading out to The Eastern Shore Trail. The trail is 24-miles long and is a picturesque pathway, meandering past gorgeous bayside homes and businesses. There were cyclists, dogwalkers, stroller-pushers, speedwalkers, and more exploring the trail and enjoying the amazing fall weather that we were all blessed with that morning.

Eastern Shore Trail Marker

The Eastern Shore Trail Marker

After four delightful days at the Grand, we headed for the white sand beaches of Destin, Florida, where we did all of the things you are required to do while at the beach: sunshine, swimming, seafood, and shopping. My favorite thing about this trip was sipping coffee on the balcony of our condo each morning while John was on his run and Miles was still sleeping. I watched dolphins playing in the harbor as the deep-sea fishermen began their voyages and witnessed an array of birds scooping up fish skimming the surface of the expansive water. I made the super bright decision Thursday to go for a three-mile afternoon training run in the hot Florida sun, and while I did complete the run, it was a miserable experience. We had spent the morning at the beach and even though I applied sunscreen before leaving the condo, I felt as thought I was baking from the inside out with each step.

Morning harbor view from the balcony

Morning harbor view from the balcony

Sure, I could have gotten up early to run, but I just wasn’t willing to give up my mornings on the balcony with steamy, hot coffee and an amazing view.

We made it home today, to what feels like coming full circle, as we arrived just in time to watch our teams hit the gridiron once again. Thankfully, this time they weren’t playing each other.

Beachin' with my boys

Beachin’ with my boys