July, Thank You!

July is, by far, my favorite month of the year. And it is not only because of my birthday, it also brings great memories of my mom taking time off for vacations while I was out of school. I’m sure by August, she was ready to throw the towel and go back to work LOL. She always made sure my birthday was filled with loved ones, fun, and cake! My most memorable birthdays were at the beach, where we used to eat cake with sand and I DIDNT CARE!!

July in a nutshell!

This year – 2016 -, my last in the 30’s :-O , wasn’ the exception. In July I got to celebrate my 30th (+9) birthday and it was great. I had good friends with me, good wine and a desk full of gifts and balloons – what else does a girl can ask for? -. I also go to travel to Denver – for a friend’s wedding – where I met one of my favorite people and new friend. I also went to Mexico for work and met the amazing team I’ve been working with for a while but didn’t know in person. And finally, I went to Chicago to do Rock n’ Roll Chicago.

My favorite month of the year!
July is my favorite month of the year!

 

While in Denver, I drove to the top of Mount Evans and got to experience God’s magnificence first hand. I was scared to drive with cliffs on one side or the other on the road; I got altitude sickness, but man, oh man it was beautiful. I would do it again! Getting to experience calmness it is something I can’t explain. It was just peaceful, loud and quiet at the same time. I also got to eat at the German bakery Rheinlander Bakery that features lots of pastries, cakes, and coffee. The best part? They had a good choice of delicious gluten free cakes. You should check them out.

Mexico was great, it was a really quick trip and I mostly spent the time in a training but like I said, I had an awesome time learning and getting to know some people I worked with in the past and didn’t know and of course eating some tasting Mexican food.

Finally Chicago!

I have to confess, I was super scared about the half marathon. I wasn’t my first or second half marathon, but I was nervous, however, it was an amazing experience. Seeing the city while walking around it is something not everyone gets to do. Watching the city revealing as I walked towards the finish line, was a rally awesome experienced. Traveling by train and trying new restaurants it is always a plus, especially in a new city. Thanks to my lovely friend Darleen, I tried a place called Carnivale. And although the discarded my barely consumed Perrier water, the food was amazing, and the main room is the kind of place that will drown you with the color and smells, simply beautiful.

To make this trip to Chicago even better, my last season Team In Training Coach, Karen, happened to be in town my last night (and staying in the same hotel I was staying) and invited me to join her for dinner and drinks to celebrate me finishing the half marathon. Thank you Karen!

As I said before, July is one of my favorite months of the year, and this year July was an amazing month. Full with new adventures and experiences, complete with good people and good food. I’m really blessed and fortunate in my life, and the next time I complain about something, I will bring back these memories to remind me how bless I am. I’m looking forward to a great August and rest of the year – for that matter – and see what’s in store for me.

How about you? What’s your favorite month and why?

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Humana Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon

Last year I walked my fist half marathon. I loved it, I hated it, I wanted to do it again. Then I did the Disney Half where my mind was even more tested than my body. Especially because I only had 2 hours of sleep and I was emotional about leaving my family and doing this out-of-state race alone. But after I finished Disney I had the same reaction; I loved it, I hated it, I wanted to do it again.

In February or March of this year, I decided I wanted to try more Rock n’ Roll races because these tend to have a longer time limit – something I look for since I’m a walker in hopes to become a runner. Because this series goes to so many fun places, I wanted to do more than one. I wanted to do – for sure Dallas but it was too late and I hadn’t been training so I skipped it. Anyway, I bought the Rock n’ Roll TourPass, and may I say this is one of the BEST ways to do more than one race in the series for an affordable price!

The excitement took over me and I signed up for 3 races:

  1. Chicago in July – This was part of my birthday month celebration
  2. Philadelphia – I love history and I want to explore Philly while I run/walk
  3. Brooklyn – I LOVE New York – enough said!

I prepared my training schedule for Chicago – which, if I’m being honest, I didn’t follow as I should have -. I booked the hotels, I bought the tickets. I was – almost – ready! July came like a storm and with it additional trips before the race. For the 4th of July weekend, I went to Denver for my friend’s wedding and celebrated my birthday; the same week of the race I had to go to Mexico for work and then I flew to Chicago.

Last time I was in Chicago, I was 9 or 10 years old, so obviously I don’t remember much! This was my first time in this awesome city as an adult. I was ready to explore and enjoy the race, but at the same time I was scared I wasn’t going to complete the race on time – after all, I knew my training wasn’t as it should had been -.

The hotel (Palmer House) was amazing and in an awesome location. Just a block or two from the starting line – that meant I could sleep a little longer ;-). As soon as I landed and checked in, I went to the Expo, where I signed up for the 5K on Saturday and met some cool people, and hey I made some impulse purchases as well.

On my way back to the hotel, I called Lift and got a little lost – GPS signal in Chicago it’s crazy – but that gave me a chance to see the city. Saturday morning I participated in the 5K where we walked from Grant Park around the Lake and back. It was a beautiful morning and I ended early enough to go and explore some of the city. While I was exploring, one of my good friends gave a suggestion of a place to go and have a good dinner, it is called Carnivale. It was delicious.

One of my favorite things was taking the train. Everywhere I went I used the train and it was super fun! While I was exploring, one of my good friends gave a suggestion of a place to go and have a good dinner, it is called Carnivale. If you are in the area, you should check it out, it was delicious.

Sunday morning arrived. I was nervous and all up in my head. It was cloudy and the temperature was really pleasant, after all, there was a heat advisory. I joined the 3:30 pace team – this was the time limit of the course and I wasn’t ready for it but I was going to push myself -. I believe I started with a really good rhythm and the best part was how the city was unveiling itself to me.

Every turn had a surprise for me and I felt grateful. Grateful to be able to discover the city while walking around. The wind on my face – although against me – it felt amazing. The buildings rising and falling as I walked by and the river always a constant while walking in Downtown and Michigan Ave it was like walking on a Red Carpet.

At mile 7.5 it started to rain. The race organizers asked us to take cover because of the lighting. I thought that was it. I was going to have to take the van to the finish line – at that point, I was falling a behind. Once they gave us the OK to continue, I took off and kept walking I had decided that even if I wasn’t on track I WAS GOING TO CROSS THE FINISH LINE! I’m glad I did because just like that the city kept showing itself.

Crossing the finish line was a great experience, but because of the rain, most people were gone. On the other hand, I had the cameras for myself :-), and I took advantage of that. I didn’t finish in the time that I was supposed to, but it doesn’t matter. I didn’t give up, I pushed through damp shoes and socks and I’m proud of myself for completing this amazing race!

Have you don’t RnR Chicago Half Marathon!? If so, do you love it? How was your experience? Are you doing the race again!?

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Book: Your Holistically Hot Transformation

If you are like me, searching for inspiration and motivation to get healthy and happy, you’ll understand my fascination with reading books, blogs or magazines to learn how other people do it and apply it to my daily life.

It is here when Marissa Vicario enters!

I got my hand on her book Your Holistically Hot Transformation: Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle Free of Dieting, Confusion and Self-Judgment, and I couldn’t put it down. In this book, the author brings to you information that, although it might be “common sense”, it gets overlooked, in other words…

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Wise words, Voltaire, wise words!

In the book, besides the “common” information – see quote above -, there are helpful tips that serve as a reminder. For example:

Vow to release yourself from the rigidity of rules, diets and any restrictive behaviors you may have around food at least for the time it takes you to read this book. It may not be that easy. If that feels to challenging for you, allow yourself to be an objective observer of the ways in which you may seek a quick fix or be a victim of a dieting culture.

For me, this really hits home because in the past I’ve been very strict and my “diet” was very limited, and yes I did lose weight but I also gained back. After that, while dieting, I started to say “if I want to eat fried chicken, I’ll do it because otherwise I will not be satisfied and eventually I will over eat”. But it felt like an excuse to just eat what I wanted. Reading this gives me the peace that in fact it is a good approach and I should exercise this more often but in a smart way – not ALWAYS eating the fried chicken 😉 –

Like I said, this book has good information that will produce some “aha” and “duh I should have done that already” moments, but it is good to have those moments because it gives you the opportunity to see what you are or have been doing and modify the behavior. Strive for progress, not perfection, why!? Well, because when you try to be perfect, the moment you “fail” is the moment that will throw everything down the drain. While when you try to look at it from the “progress” point of view, you get to see how far you’ve come vs how long you have to or how “imperfect” you’ve been.

It is an easy and quick read. If you keep an open mind and take the information as you need it, you will enjoy it and will find it useful. Let Marissa Vicario help you achieve your Holistically Hot Transformation!

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Until the next time!

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