Greetings from Dubai!

Hi everyone! Just a quick photo update post with our 3 days in Dubai! We just landed in Muscat, Oman and are spending a couple days here before heading back to the UAE. I will get back to all of your comments when I get back home (and get better internet). In no particular order because the internet is slowly crushing my soul, here are some pictures from our trip so far. Follow me on Instagram for more pictures!


Went for a run on Day 1 while Lauren took a nap. The “Real Feel” according to the Weather Channel was 137 degrees, sooooo treadmill it was!


Cruising along Dubai Creek


We checked out the Dubai Mall (the largest mall in the world!) and watched the fountain show – literally huge dancing fountains set to the song “Thriller.” The mall was an incredible mix of all races and ages.


The sights and smells at the spice souq (market) in Old Dubai were incredible! Couldn’t resist buying some although I have no idea how to get it home without it exploding all my luggage. Wish me luck.


We cruised the sand dunes of Al Sharjah, which is part of the “Empty Quarter” – the largest continuous sand desert in the world! It’s literally just endless rolling red sand dunes, just like you see in the movies. Your guide drives a Land Cruiser pretty much sideways up and down the dunes – not for those who get motion sick easily!


We also got to ride a camel, but first – let me take a selfie


We got a tour of the Jumeirah Mosque – absolutely beautiful inside!


Went to the top of the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa! It’s so hot that it was hard to see very far because of the haze, but still pretty cool.


Plane selfie on the way to Oman! More pictures to come!


Off to Dubai, and a Training Update

I can’t believe it, but the trip I’ve been planning since March is finally here! And buy “planning since March” I mostly mean “I bought the tickets in March and then immediately neglected to do any type of planning until two weeks ago,” but you know what I mean. Back in March, Emirates Airlines was having a crazy sale on flights to Dubai from NYC – you could buy one ticket and get one free, but you had to get two tickets. After checking around to see who might want to come with me on short notice (the sale was only 24 hours long), I successfully recruited my best friend, Lauren! You may remember Lauren as the girl who nearly fought a homeless man in Japan. We’re hoping to avoid a similar situation in Dubai.


Get ready for more temple selfies! Well, mosque selfies.

So we head out bright and early this morning (Thursday) and fly direct from NYC to Dubai! I will be catching a flight from South Carolina up to NYC first, of course. We’ll spend a few days in Dubai before heading to Oman for a couple days, then head back to the UAE and hit Abu Dhabi for a day trip! It’s a whirlwind vacation for sure, but I love a good whirlwind vacation that’s packed with literally nothing relaxing and is nonstop from start to finish. It’s the only way to travel, my friends!

What does that mean for my training? Well, nothing good, but it obviously wasn’t a surprise that I was going on this trip, so I’ve planned my training around it the best I can. The reality is that I will not be doing a long run in Dubai thanks to a) time constraints b) the obscenely hot weather c) the required dress code for women (modest attire with knees and shoulders covered). I hope to get a couple half-hour runs in, but if I don’t…well, oh well. We’ll see what happens.

In the mean time, I’ve still been nailing my training! Despite the opening of Barre3 Greenville, some nasty weather, and crazy work deadlines, I have managed to get in all of my weekday runs and my most recent weekend long run. The highlight of my week was that one of my best friends, Amanda (we have run many marathons together) was here in Greenville for a wedding this weekend, so she got to spend the weekend at my house! I dragged her and AJ to the 7:15 am Barre3 class I was teaching and let me tell you, they were thrilled. Especially AJ.


This guy supports me in everything I do and is such a trooper!

I was really excited to be heading out for my long run after class because Amanda was coming with me! We got to run on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, which is an awesome multi-use path here in Greenville that is almost 20 miles long. After bumping up to 3.5 hours last week, I took a slight step back this week to 3 hours. It was humid as hell but nice and cloudy, and the trail is beautiful and most importantly, pretty flat! I was barely sore at all after this run compared to how I have been feeling after my other long runs of late, which was a welcome feeling.


Forgot to take a picture while we were running, so this lovely post-run car selfie will have to do.

And this week before I leave has definitely been crazy. I’m teaching extra classes to make up for the ones I’m missing while I’m gone, trying to get as much of my freelance stuff done as possible so I don’t have to worry about deadlines, and squeezing runs in where I can while generally packing and getting my life together. My runs have been a bit shorter than normal, but I’ve made it a point to get out there and get my legs moving for at least half an hour on the days I’m supposed to be running. I’m really proud of how I am managing my time right now and how I am intentionally and joyfully making running a priority. Just 5 weeks to go til the marathon!

Look for some photo updates from the UAE and Oman coming soon! I’ll definitely be posting on my Instagram, so follow along!

LEAVE A COMMENT: Where is your next trip to? Do you work training into your vacation schedule?

You Don’t Have To Run

As the Second Running Boom (scientific term) has overtaken America over the past 5-10 years, people who never thought about trying out the sport have found themselves running distances they previously deemed impossible. I’m one of those people. If you had asked me when I was in high school if I thought I would have ever run a marathon, I would have told you I’ll see you in hell first. It just didn’t interest me. But like many people, I was pulled in to the sport by the increasing number of runners around me and all the fun it seemed like they were having. Medals? Free t-shirts? Beer? Uh, sign me up.


Remember when I could drink beer during races and was really skinny? Ugh, me too. #goodolddays

I’ve been thinking about writing a piece like this for a long time. It first occurred to me several years ago, when some of my acquaintances picked up running and, at the same time, started blogging (the natural progression of things a few years ago). More often than not, their blog posts made it seemed like they kind of hated running, minus the whole medals and t-shirts part. I found myself thinking “You don’t have to run.” And eventually, those people stopped blogging and stopped running, but they frequently made comments about “needing” to get back into it, and again, I thought “You don’t have to run.”

The thought has continued as I’ve read the comments left on various giveaways I’ve held throughout the years, but especially the most recent HOKA giveaway. Many, many people commented saying things like “I need to win these shoes so I can get my motivation to start running back!” or “Maybe if I have these shoes, I’ll want to run!” Again, I thought, “You don’t have to run.”

There are bloggers who I follow right now who don’t really seem to love running. As I read their posts, I’m thinking the same thing. “You don’t have to run.”

Let’s be honest – at various points over the years, it has seemed like I have hated running, and you have no doubt thought the same thing while reading some of my posts. “Danielle, you don’t  have to run.” And you’re right – I don’t. However, I’ve never been able to give myself  the freedom to not run if I don’t want to. Why is that? What is it about the sport, society, or some mystical force that makes us feel like we are literally required to force ourselves outside and put one foot in front of the other? There are some people who seem to never struggle with motivation and can truly say that with every run, they genuinely love running. But for the rest of us, there is some element of “have to” from time to time.

I can tell you that for me personally, I have forced myself to run, train, or race many times because of this blog. After attracting a small following, I felt obligated to continue – after all, it is a running blog. What would I have to write about if I did not run? Now that I have multiple freelance contracts, that impulse is even stronger. I have to run. But even without those things (because really, I could write articles without running), I think many of us continue to run because we see the sunny side of running everywhere and we think we must be doing something wrong if we don’t always love it. My Facebook newsfeed, Instagram, and blog roll are filled with people who are racing and smiling with their medals, who have just finished a 20 mile training run, who have their arms wrapped around their running groups. What am I doing wrong if I don’t love it? Everyone runs, so I have to too, right?

The reality is that I’m not doing anything wrong if I don’t always love running or if I don’t always feel motivated to train and race. I’m human, and so are you. Our motivations, hobbies, and interests change over time. Running may have served us well during one point in our lives, but due to injury, changes in circumstances, or whatever else, it may feel more like a burden than like fun sometimes.


It’s not always all smiles out on the road.

I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to not love running sometimes. It’s ok if you never want to run another marathon, half marathon, or 5k. It’s ok if you want to run really slowly, or run-walk. Hell, it’s ok to quit running forever if you want. First and foremost, running is something most people do for our health and for stress relief. If it is not serving you in that capacity anymore, you don’t have to do it. There are plenty of other forms of exercise out there that can be just as beneficial and satisfying. Giving yourself the freedom to say you don’t want to run shouldn’t be a big deal. You’re not saying you hate puppies. Still, the way we treat the topic, you’d think that’s exactly what we’re saying.

You don’t have to run. I don’t have to run. Letting myself make peace with the fact that I might never care enough to train for and run another marathon has taken the pressure off and allowed me to find the joy in running and training again. Right now, I’m genuinely excited about getting out for my long runs, but that has not always been the case, nor am I naive enough to think that it always will be. When that day comes, I’ll extend myself the same empathy and understanding that I’ve extended everyone else throughout the years, and I’ll tell myself “You don’t have to run.” And then, when I want to again, I will.





We’re Not 24 Anymore, Toto.

Toby Keith (Remember him? What ever happened to him?) has a song called “As Good As I Once Was” that basically talks about how he’s old now and can’t do the things he used to. That song has been running through my head lately, with lyrics like:

“I used to be hell on wheels
Back when I was younger man
Now my body says, “You can’t do this boy”
But my pride says, “Oh, yes you can…”

Um, this song is my life. Maybe that’s being a little dramatic, but wow, I am sure not 24 (the age I ran my first marathon) anymore. As my friend and fellow old person, Adam, at The Boring Runner would say, “GET OFF MY LAWN!” I’ve been blessed to never really deal too much with soreness, no matter how far or fast I have run. I hobble to the shower after a marathon, and I’m pretty much as good as new once the hot water hits my body and loosens up my muscles. I don’t have a lot of lingering pain the next day.

Or rather, I guess I should say I didn’t have a lot of lingering pain. All of a sudden this week, marathon training has caught up with me. My 3.5 hour long run took a lot out of me, and I’ve been worn out. I have gotten both my weekday runs in this week, but I haven’t exactly been excited about getting out the door – I’m tired! I guess that’s to be expected. I mean, it is marathon training, after all, but I’m not used to long runs taking so much out of me.


I know, this is basically the most obvious conclusion in the world.

As surprising as it is, I actually find the feeling strangely satisfying. While I obviously don’t enjoy feeling tired and sore and all of that stuff, it is nice to have that little reassurance that I am training hard and preparing my body well for this marathon. I haven’t been able to put in a full training cycle in a long time, and while this one may have started a little bit late, I am getting in much longer runs than I normally do, and I’ll end up doing a 20 miler for sure. I literally could not tell you the last time I ran 20 miles in training. I’ve been injured (and let’s be honest, frequently unmotivated) a lot over the past 2 years, so this is definitely the most complete my training has been in a long time. Will that translate into a faster-for-me marathon? I don’t think so. I’m running much slower than I used to. Will it translate into a marathon where I don’t crash and burn at the end? I certainly hope so!

So, that brings me to my goals for the race. I can’t remember if I have announced it or not, but I will be running the Spinx Marathon here in Greenville on Halloween. It will be my 49th marathon! Which means that my 50th marathon will (hopefully) be the tenth anniversary of the Route 66 Marathon in November in Tulsa! One thing at a time, though. For right now, I am focusing on Spinx. My goal for the race is to run as close to even splits as I can – I want to keep a really nice, even pace throughout the entire thing. In order to do that, I will need to start out slow and keep my heart rate at an easy effort. I have been undertrained for a lot of my most recent marathons, and that means I start out feeling great and then crash and burn hard. I have totally changed my pace expectations thanks to ditching my Garmin and running by feel, so I am hopeful that I will not be governed by how fast I think I “should” be running and will just run in a way that feels sustainable. I plan to wear only my heart rate monitor and not my Garmin on race day.


Let’s be honest, I’ll be just as surprised as you guys if I run even splits.

I hesitate to set a time goal for this race because the most important thing to me is to feel really strong at the end, but of course, I have one in the back of my mind. I would love to run under 5 hours and finish feeling awesome. I am super motivated with training right now and I can see myself continuing to train and slowly work towards getting my (relative) speed back if these races go well. Only time will tell!

LEAVE A COMMENT: Have you noticed increased running soreness and aches and pains as you’ve gotten older? How have you changed your routine, if at all?

An Epic Update and Some Big News!

Long post ahead, mateys! Why did I just talk like a pirate? I’ve got some very exciting (non-pirate related) news to share with you today! But first – a running/life update.

Running went pretty awesome last week. I was able to get both of my weekday runs in for the full amount of time (an hour), and AJ actually came with me for part of each run! I love running with him, and it’s nice to have that time together. He does run a bit faster than me, so I kind of have to hustle to keep up. It makes for a pretty good speed workout! I was primed and ready for my long run of 3.5 hours on Saturday.

The weather all week was perfect…until the weekend. It warmed up to a high of 90 on Saturday, so it got pretty warm towards the end of my run. AJ was out of town for part of the weekend, so my mom came back into town to work on the house with me. Lucky for her, she also got to ride a bike next to me for 3.5 hours :) I ran quite a bit faster this week than I have in previous weeks (almost one minute per mile faster!) and I think that is at least partially due to the fact that she was biking faster and I had to keep up. Between the heat, relentless Greenville hills, and the fact that I was running for a long time, I was pretty beat by the time I got done.  But I did it, and I finished strong!


I finished strong and then I made a bed on the kitchen floor. My mom found that amusing.

The house is coming right along, too, thanks almost entirely to my mother coming here and forcing me to do things. We are working on quite a few projects right now and made some major progress this weekend! I haven’t been very good about hanging up pictures in the house so far (despite the fact that we have a ton of artwork from all of our trips), and my mom said it looked like a prison – rude. So, I decided to work on this gallery wall in the kitchen! I left space to add to it as we go on more trips and do fun things, but I love it for now. To make it, I laid out all the pictures on a large piece of paper (we had a roll of paper left over from the house being painted) and measured out all the distances and marked where the nails would go. Then, I taped the paper on the wall with painter’s tape and hammered the nails in. Next, just rip the paper off and hang the pictures! It makes spacing everything out and getting the pictures level so much easier, and allows you to see how it all looks laid out.




We also finally finished the guest bathroom! We started working on the bathroom the weekend that AJ and I moved in. As you can see from the before picture on the left, it needed some serious updating. There was carpet on the floor, wallpaper and border, and it was just all around bad. Well, upon taking down the wallpaper, we discovered that whoever put it up had not prepped the surface appropriately, so the drywall started coming off. To make a long story short, we had to patch up the wall in a TON of places, then put on bead board, paint, etc…yeah, it took almost two months. But we’re done! Just need to hang pictures on the walls (sorry, Mom).


Blood, sweat, and tears literally went into the creation of this bathroom. And for the record, the wallpaper situation in here is the reason we painted over the wallpaper in the half bath, if you recall. No need to live that nightmare twice.

And finally in life news this week, Barre3 Greenville opened its doors! After months of training, preparation, and anticipation, the studio opened on Monday, September 21st. I taught my first class at 5:30 pm and holy crap, was I nervous. I don’t get nervous speaking in front of crowds, so it wasn’t that – it was more that I thought my mind might totally go blank and I would forget all the choreography! I thought I might throw up. As soon as the music started, though, it was game time. Honestly, the class was magical. The energy and smiles from our clients was contagious and I found myself absolutely beaming with pride at what our studio owners have created. The class flew by, I didn’t forget anything, and everyone told me afterwards that they loved it. I probably made some slightly awkward jokes, but that’s my life. Anyway, I am so excited to be a part of the team and so glad that I made the decision to become an instructor. It was a rough couple of months sometimes, but it was all worth it. I am officially obsessed!


With my fellow team members! These women are awesome, and they will kick your butts!

Ok, on to the exciting news! If you’ve been reading my blog or following me on social media for more than about 5 minutes, then you know I am in love with Qore Performance running shorts. After testing them out last summer, they are officially the only shorts I wear when I’m running. I have been promoting the brand for well over a year simply because I want people to know about them – it has completely changed running for me. Well, I am SO excited to announce that Qore has asked me to be a Brand Ambassador for their fledgling program!


Rocking my favorite shorts on a run not too long ago!

The company makes compression shorts and arm sleeves that feature pockets where you can place cold packs (which come with the product) or hot packs at the places on your body where the blood flows closest to the skin. When using the cold packs, your body can more effectively off-load heat and you stay hydrated longer. A clinical study found that athletes lost 40% (FORTY PERCENT!!) less water and were able to perform longer when wearing Qore Performance gear. Check out this free ebook to learn more!

I can’t tell you what percentage of water I lose now on my runs compared to before. What I can tell you is that the material and technology in these shorts has been a total game changer for me. Besides the obviously innovative technology (it was a finalist in the White House’s search for a solution to the extreme overheating faced by ebola responders in Africa), the shorts and sleeves are just flat out comfortable. They stay put. They stop me from chafing. They keep me from overheating! Ultrarunners are loving the arm sleeves, and athletes from all sports (golf, tennis, baseball, and more) have been using the system to keep cool.


It’s all Qore, all the time!

So, what does this mean for you? Well, it will be a lot like how I approach my HOKA ambassadorship. Namely – no sponsored posts, just relevant mentions from me and giveaways and deals for you! I only promote products that I love and use regularly, and I’ve loved Qore for a long time. As a brand ambassador, I’ve got a 20% discount code good for all my readers! The company offers FREE 2 day shipping and free returns on all orders, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying out the shorts or arm sleeves – or both!


You will seriously not regret this.

I am so excited about this partnership! I have met the owners behind this company and several of the employees and they are so incredibly passionate about enhancing the athletic experience for the world. I’m proud to be a part of it.

Nathaniel Pawthorne, and Other Stories

My friends, the train keeps on rolling. What train? All the trains. The marathon training train (that makes me laugh), the home improvement train, the barre instructor train, and the crazy work train are all still moving. Sometimes it feels like they’re all racing towards me at a thousand miles an hour and about to collide, but that’s neither here nor there. The important part is that we’re moving forward!

My parents came over this weekend to help us continue working on the house. Have I mentioned how awesome they are? Our guest bathroom is still in the works, and I’m working on reupholstering a chair. With everything that has been going on, we hadn’t hung up any pictures and lots of stuff still hasn’t been put away. Like it or not, T-Rex Mom whipped us into shape and we got a lot accomplished. Pictures were hung, the bathroom is mostly finished, and that chair…well, it still looks like I stole it from a hobo, but my mom is taking over, so I have faith. Pictures to come soon! I also finally made a wreath. After seeing a million cute wreaths on Pinterest and then looking at how much they cost on Etsy ($80 – ha, I think not), I decided to make my own. I think it came out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself!


Took maybe 20 minutes and cost about $20!

The best part about when my parents come into town for the weekend is that my mom comes on my long runs with me. I’ve been feeling really good lately and not dreading my long runs at all, but it is still nice to have some company from time to time. I had a slight cutback week this week after upping my long run mileage for 3 straight weeks, so I ran 2.5 hours on Saturday. My mom and I got up early and she rode one of my bikes next to me and handed me snacks and water the whole time. It definitely made the time go by faster and it’s always great to catch up. Overall, I had a slightly reduced running week due to time constraints, but I did make the most of it by turning the runs into “speed” work. I use that term loosely because speed for me these days is certainly relative, but they were definitely my fastest miles in a long time. I’m loving doing my long runs at a much slower pace, but I’d like to occasionally incorporate some faster workouts too. Nothing too organized – that seems overwhelming – but I enjoy a few faster tempo-style miles here and there. It was a good training week!


You can count on me for pictures to make you feel better about your post-run look. T-Rex Mom obviously looks lovely.

In the most exciting news of all, I FOUND A KITTEN THIS WEEKEND! You may not know this, but I am a huge sucker for stray animals. Actually, you probably do know this, because I post pictures with random stray dogs from all my trips. Anyway, I was leaving the grocery store on Saturday night and noticed a tiny kitten sitting in the parking lot, right in the middle of the road. I pulled my car over so I could see if it was ok (it looked like it had been hit by a car since it wasn’t moving) and it ran over to a drain. I checked the drain to see if there was a family of cats in there, but he was solo, so I grabbed some of the cheese I just bought and started luring him towards me with cheese. I built his trust up over about 20 minutes and eventually got him far enough out of the drain that I could grab him and get him in my car! He was not very excited about that.


Night #1: Not very excited about me, but very excited about food.

I immediately named the kitten Nathaniel Pawthorne, after a cat on a show I used to watch about 10 years ago called Still Standing. Do you guys remember that show? I’ve wanted an orange tabby named Nathaniel Pawthorne ever since, because it is hilarious. Anyway, I knew before I even got him into the car that we would not be able to keep him because of my dog (he has an intense, fiery hatred of all other animals), but I certainly wasn’t going to leave him in the parking lot! The little guy is so sweet and after he got a few good meals and got over being so scared, he turned out to be super cuddly. I was lucky to find him a good local home today, so although we are really sad to see him go, I’m happy he has a great forever home! I’m gonna miss this face, though.



AJ and I will miss him, but I guess I can’t complain. Lots of progress made on the house, another long run in the books, a sweet new wreath, and a great new home for a rescued kitten? That’s a pretty good weekend, if you ask me.

LEAVE A COMMENT: Do you take in random stray animals, or is it just me?

Shorter Days, Longer Runs

Well, friends, the HOKA giveaway is over! Thank you for making it such a success! JULIE is our winner, so if your name is Julie, please check the email account you used to register your comment! We need to hear back from you soon, or we will have to pick a new winner. Please email me back ASAP!

Last week I didn’t quite have time to write a training update post, what with all the giveaway-ing and home renovations that were going on. Not to worry, I didn’t quit marathon training after one week! Although running during the week continues to be a struggle and a lesson in time management, I have gotten it done and gotten my long runs in the past two weekends. Here’s what it looked like:

Week of August 24: I ran twice during the work week for one hour and fifteen minutes and one hour, respectively. I’m shooting for one hour on most of runs, but I keep forgetting to factor in the fact that I just moved and I still don’t know where the hell I’m going most of the time, so I ended up going a little longer. I got a pretty sharp twinge in my left hamstring on that run, no doubt thanks to the relentless hills in my neighborhood and the surrounding area. It actually concerned me quite a bit, so I scheduled a sports massage for that Thursday and got it worked on. Luckily enough, I felt great for my long run on Sunday and ran 2.5 hours with no twinges! Lesson learned: stop being so lazy and freaking use the foam roller if you’re marathon training and doing barre every single day.


Other lesson learned: There is no instagram filter that makes me look less sweaty.

Week of August 31: I did my best this week, but ultimately I was only able to run once during the week with my schedule. I always have everything planned out perfectly to accommodate training, but if even one thing changes, it messes up my whole system. Nonetheless, I still got out there for an hour. I also got to test out the new HOKA ONE ONE Stinson 3s, which are the new version of the last shoe I was wearing, the Stinson Lite. Of course, like most people, I get nervous when a “new” version of a shoe comes out. Can’t they just leave the old one alone? However, I’m pleased to report that my run in the new shoes went great and my feet still felt like they were running on clouds. I didn’t have any blisters, and it looks like they’ve changed the tongue of the shoe so that it is a softer material, which is great – the old one sometimes rubbed me if my socks were too low. I felt so good in them that I ended up wearing them for my long run on Saturday.


“Oh, I like your shoes! They are very shiny and tall.” – my husband

I did my long run on Saturday before heading up to North Carolina for a wedding. I woke up earlier than usual, when it was still dark, to get my run started. Back in the day, that was no big deal, but I’ve been struggling a lot with sleeping lately because my anxiety has been pretty bad as a result of my current ridiculous schedule. However, I’m super motivated about marathon training right now (for the first time in a long time), so there was no question that I was going to get up and get it done since I knew I wouldn’t have another chance over the weekend. And you know what? Those 3 hours went just fine! My hamstring didn’t bother me, and besides the fact that it got pretty warm during the end, I finished the run feeling surprisingly good. Tired? Sure, but normal people get tired after running for 3 hours. I may or may not have laid down in my driveway for awhile after the run.


See these and other equally flattering photos on my instagram. Spoiler: the best/worst ones are posted after long runs.

It’s interesting – I have mixed feelings about this marathon training cycle. On the one hand, I’m really, really proud of myself for sticking to it so far, staying motivated, and getting my long runs in by myself. The terrain has been really challenging and is taking some getting used to, but it feels awesome to conquer it. On the other hand, I am using my heart rate monitor to make sure I stay at “easy run” pace and well….it is a little discouraging. I don’t wear my Garmin while I run, so I have no idea how far I’m going while I’m actually running, but I do usually measure it out on Google maps just to get a rough idea when I get home. Let me tell you – a 3 hour run is not what it used to be. Not even close. That part is not so great, and it’s a little bit hard to let go of my expectations. I’m trying to focus on training at a consistent pace so that I feel strong throughout the entire race and can maintain a more steady pace than I normally do, and that means going slower, especially on these hills. So while it isn’t quite what I thought it was going to be, I will say that I’m enjoying running more than I have in a long time. That’s what counts, right?


Let you think I always look disgusting (which would be a valid assumption if you follow my instagram), here’s a picture of AJ and I at the rehearsal dinner for the wedding this weekend!

Slowly but Surely

First: Have you entered my HOKA ONE ONE giveaway yet?? Super easy to do, just leave a comment! Thank you to all of you who have already entered! And now back to my regular life.

I’m happy to say that with the completion of the cedar chest, it seems like we’re having a bit of a snowball effect around here these days. I started thinking about what projects we have finished for the house and realized that we actually have done quite a lot! While I don’t intend to post any tutorials (because I’m no expert and this is kind of a running blog), I thought I’d share some before and after pictures of projects from our new house! If you’re particularly interested in learning how to do any of this stuff, email me and I can point you in the right direction!

First up, the half bath! It had palm tree wall paper and a dark wood vanity. We painted directly over the wall paper and painted the vanity white! That’s T-Rex Mom, hard at work.


Next, the front door was sanded and painted. We actually painted the entire outside of the house, but I feel like it is probably a bit creepy to put the outside of my actual house on a public blog, so you’ll have to miss out on that, unfortunately. The outside was a yellowy-beige that did not compliment the brick on the house, and the shutters were bright blue. The front door was previously painted the same blue as the shutters of the house, which struck fear into my heart. We ended up hiring a painter to do the exterior of the house, which is now grey with navy shutters and this stunner of a door!


Upon looking at this, I realize the wreath is off center and I will go fix that immediately. The kickplate is also going back up soon!

One of the biggest projects we’ve taken on so far is removing the carpet from the upstairs hallway and the master bedroom and replacing it with wood flooring. The carpet was pretty thin, dirty and beat up, which added a lot of support to my general anti-carpet campaign. The walls in the entire house were also a pretty generic beige, so we have been working on painting.


Bedroom before (hallway is the same carpet)

So we painted the hallway a light grey and the bedroom a slightly darker grey (can you tell what my favorite color is?).We ended up going with a laminate because our dog has the world’s longest nails and he tends to tear wood apart. The process definitely was not easy (AJ and my dad bore the  brunt of that effort) but it looks amazing! Of course, we have not put up any decorations yet, but it’s a start.


Bedroom after! Still not a professional photographer.


And finally, I am almost done with a dresser for the guest room! I got this bad boy on Craigslist for $40, and boy was it ugly. I knew it had greatness underneath, though!


Before: Pretty hideous and beat up. I had already taken the bottom two drawers out to paint them.

I do need to put another coat of white paint on the drawers since they are not as bright as the rest of the dresser for some reason, but the whole process was relatively easy. I just sanded down the dresser and then used paint we had left over from other parts of the house. As you can see below, I also painted the sides of the drawers because I thought that was kind of fun. And the map! I bought that at a local dollar store and used Modge Podge to glue it to the top and then two coats to seal it on. I cannot resist travel themed decor, and the guest room will have lots of pictures from our travels!


After! I’m adding drawer pulls as well, and those will arrive this week.


Painted sides of the drawers! AJ and my mom said this is pointless, but I think it is fun.

Other recently completed projects include my refinished cedar chest and bookcase! I’m also in the process of reupholstering two wingback chairs that I am SUPER excited about. We are also in the middle of a re-do on the guest bathroom and are getting ourselves organized to replace the carpet on the stairs with wood. Yup, there is plenty going on around here. I love seeing it come together! There are so many more projects to be done, but I am trying to remind myself to have patience. As I am constantly reminded, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

LEAVE A COMMENT: Are you into DIY or do you prefer to buy your furniture already finished and pay professionals to do projects around the house?

Best Giveaway Ever! HOKA ONE ONE

You guys. I have such an exciting giveaway to share with you today that I can barely stand it! Seriously, I think this is my favorite giveaway so far, and that says a lot. You know I’m not a huge fan of product reviews and I don’t give away things that I don’t absolutely love. You also probably have figured out by now that I absolutely LOVE my HOKAs.


HOKAs make me jump for joy!

Sure, like many people, I was skeptical at first. After all, the appearance of the shoe is unorthodox for sure. The maximalist cushioning combined with the minimal heel-toe differential is not the norm. But I tried them, I loved them, and I’ve successfully run several races in them. So many of you have reached out to me with questions about HOKAs and many have reported that you bought some for yourself and loved them, too!


My newest pair of HOKAs arrived this week (Stinson 3)! Can’t wait to try them out!

Well, if you haven’t tried HOKAs yet or if you’re in dire need of a new pair (or if you just like free stuff), today is your lucky day! HOKA ONE ONE has generously offered to give away a free pair of shoes to one lucky reader! You can pick any trail or road pair on the website, so no matter what your preferred surface, this giveaway is for you!

We’re also making it super, super easy to participate. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog using a valid email address telling me why you want to try HOKAs or why you already love them! That’s it!

The giveaway runs until 11:59 pm on Monday, September 7! Enter now!

On Not Throwing in the Towel

I’m standing in my kitchen typing this as I cook dinner between work, taking Rocket to the vet, and barre practice. Life these days sometimes feels like one long exercise in time management and making every second count. But that’s kind of what life is, right? Not wasting a second? And while that doesn’t always mean being productive and never sitting down and taking a break, to me, it means making every moment count for something. After all, we only have so much time here.


Everyone at the vet’s office just adored him. I mean, how can you not?

And I’m telling you that to tell you this – I’m not giving up. Not today, at least, although tomorrow I may feel differently. I’m on a roll the past few days. I finished painting the bookcase I’ve been working on (finally- chalk paint is not for the faint of heart, my friends), I started a new project I’m excited about,  and most importantly…I went for a long run.


Yes, I know that is an abysmal before picture. Just imagine your stereotypical Craigslist laminate bookcase. It cost $25. The after is much more appealing!

But let’s back up. I went for a short run on Thursday and felt pretty good. I’m not running fast these days (not even fast-for-me), but still, I had some pep in my HOKAs. I ran for about an hour and the whole time, I was thinking about what to do about a fall marathon (or two, or none). I went through my obligations for each weekend between now and the two races I’m looking at and I realized that with some dedication, a nice easy pace, and a little luck, it’s possible. Since I’m running by time these days and not by distance (haven’t worn my Garmin in months), I mapped out approximately how long I would need to run on each weekend and figured I would just take it week by week. This past weekend called for a two hour run.

I set out from my neighborhood with no real plan at all other than a vague idea of places to run that wouldn’t totally get me lost. The weather was cool and overcast (relatively speaking, for a South Carolina August morning) and I decided to run more by feel than by constantly checking my heart rate monitor. I’ve noticed that every time I look at my watch, my heart rate goes up from worrying about if I’m on the right track or not! Ridiculous. I still checked it from time to time, but not obsessively.


No photo has yet to adequately capture the amount of sweat pouring off me, but I keep trying.

I’m happy to say that despite the hills, how out of shape I am, and the fact that summer is still hot, even when it’s cool, the 2 hours went really well! I never felt like I was dying. I only walked for a little bit after some huge hills when my heart rate was way too high. Did I feel like I could run a marathon? No. But I feel like I can run for 20 or 30 minutes more next week, and 20 or 30 minutes more the week after that.

I don’t know where this “training” schedule, if you can call it that, will take me. It may or may not result in a finish line any time soon. What I do know is that I’m excited about running right now, and I’m determined not to let a busy schedule get the best of me and steal my joy. The pressure is off and my game face is on.

Oh yeah, and no big deal, but…I’m officially a certified Barre3 instructor!!


And by “no big deal” I mean MASSIVELY HUGE DEAL

LEAVE A COMMENT: Are you training for a fall race? Which one?