hubby

Vegas Vacation!

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This was our first “vacation” in 3 years and boy, was it nice. I am so glad hubby convinced me to take the time off and go to Las Vegas with him while he was there for work, which is why I call it a “vacation”, but I’ll take it. It was exactly what I needed. The only thing that would have made it better is if he did not have to work while he was there. But I am very thankful I was there with him.

It’s hard for me to travel. Being self-employed makes it hard. I can’t just up and leave. But the timing of this trip worked out perfectly. I am guilty of making a few calls and responding to emails while there because I couldn’t totally let it go, but that’s fine. I still had a great time.

We arrived Friday night, an hour and a half late due to mechanical issues with the plane. Have I mentioned how much I do not like to fly? As in it scares the heck out of me. This time around I took Dramamine to help with the recent car-sickness I’ve been experiencing. I was a nervous wreck waiting to take off, especially after the captain told us they had to figure out why there was hydraulic fluid where there should not be hydraulic fluid. I just don’t fly enough for that sentence to ever be okay, so my nerves got the best of me. Finally, we took off and the flight wasn’t bad at all. We watched The Wolf of Wall Street during out flight so that took up 3 hours of our time. Finally, we landed in Sin City, in all it’s neon glory. We had not been to Las Vegas in 15 years so it was sure to be different and I couldn’t wait to check it out. I managed to capture this great picture as we were about to land.

 

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After checking in at our hotel – we stayed at Harrah’s – we walked around for a bit. In all honesty, I was determined to walk to In-N-Out Burger, just 2 1/2 miles away. We were able to walk within about a 1/2 mile of it and couldn’t go any further because there was no sidewalk. I’m all for adventure, but walking an overpass without a sidewalk is just nuts. We decided to save it for another day and headed back to the hotel since hubby had to be up at 6am for a day of meetings. But we did see the fountains at The Bellagio…

 

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I had visions of sleeping in every day that we were there and catching up on sleep that I never get enough of at home. But, when hubby was up and left Saturday morning, the last thing I wanted to do was sleep. There was a fun city out there, with a view of mountains, and amazing weather in the 60’s with humidity in the teens. I had to get out there and enjoy it. And that I did.

 

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I walked along the strip going into The Mirage, Caesar’s Palace, The Bellagio, The Cosmopolitan, and more. The Conservatory in The Bellagio was so beautiful, with all the fresh flowers and butterflies.

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I stopped at one of a millions Starbucks and enjoyed a drink outside and people-watched. I also walked around The LINQ and saw the new High Roller ferris wheel, and also found out we could possibly see Keith Urban in concert that night. The town was full of country music stars for the Academy of County Music Awards that would be live at the MGM Grand that Sunday, and they had concerts Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get ahold of hubby in time and we missed out. I also managed to find a boutique at The Venetian that sell Alex + Ani bracelets that I love, and bought a couple.

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By the time I got back to the hotel from my day of exploring, hubby soon arrived and I was so excited to have his company that evening. We decided to take the monorail as far south as we could and we could see the concert behind our hotel as we waited at the monorail station. Taking the monorail to where the old Sahara used to be, we then walked to Fremont Street. Along the way, we passed several wedding chapels and also walked past the pawn shop where they film Pawn Stars.

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It was just getting dark when we arrived at Fremont Street Experience. The lights are pretty amazing. Being in the sign industry, third generation (my father and grandfather), I love old school neon and signage. There was so much to see. This is also the place to see some pretty strange people. We didn’t know what to expect from one block to the next.

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We took a cab back to the monorail station and then back to the hotel where we could hear the live concert playing near out hotel. We decided to have a late dinner at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Harrah’s. They had a live country band playing. Great food, great music, and a fun time.

 

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On Sunday, we had a filling breakfast buffet at our hotel before heading to the pool at the Rio. I had found out the day before that since the pool at Harrah’s was closed for renovations, we could take the hotel shuttle to the Rio which was about 1 1/2 mile away off the strip. The shuttle runs all day long and leaves each hotel every half hour. We found out the first shuttle of the day did not leave until 10:30, so we decided to walk there earlier. It wasn’t a bad walk at all and we got there just as the pool opened at 9am. Their pool area is called VooDoo Beach and they have 4 pools, 3 hot tubs, and a sand beach area. It was beautiful. I crave the sun and never have the time or the ability to shut my brain off long enough at home to enjoy a lunge chair and pool, so this was a real treat for me. Hubby is not one to lay by the pool – he likes to always be doing something, so I love him for enjoying the down time with me for about 3 hours. I could have laid there all day long….

 

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We decided to skip the shuttle and walk back towards the hotel and stopped at a cute little place called the Haute Doggery for lunch, located at The LINQ. How could we not eat there? it hit the spot and held us over to our first of three company dinners we would attend while there. This may have been the more fun part for me… I love going out to dinner and being able to dress up was fun and something we just never do at home. I had splurged on several new dresses for the trip, dresses that I would normally never wear.

Dinner that night was at Sergio’s Italian Gardens of Las Vegas. We had quite a large group so there was an open bar and dinner was served family style. Bruschetta, calamari, salad, chicken marsala, penne pasta with a vodka sauce, and so much more… Including a delicious piece of tiramisu, my favorite dessert ever.

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Monday morning, hubby headed off to the convention and I met up with hubby’s boss’ wife and we took the shuttle to the Rio so I could enjoy the pool again. She had not yet been, so we had a great day by the pool. We both brought magazines with us but we never once looked at them, we were busy talking the whole time! Must be an Italian thing….

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Monday evening meant another fun dress and dinner that The Capital Grille. The view from this restaurant was amazing. It was on the third floor of the Fashion Show Mall, facing the Strip, directly across the street from the Wynn. Just beautiful. And the food…. We had amazing appetizers – raw oysters, lump crab meat, prawns, and bread. We were treated with a delicious red wine. I ordered the filet mignon, my absolute favorite. I ate enough for the whole week, I’m sure but it was worth every single point and calorie.

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On Tuesday, our last day there, hubby went back to the convention, while Bobbie and I met up again to go shopping at the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. This was probably my favorite hotel and the shops were amazing. I bought sinful desserts at Carlo’s Bakery (The Cake Boss!) and may have bought another Alex + Ani bracelet or two.

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Hubby was done early that day, so we had time to finally – FINALLY – go to In-N-Out Burger. Until you have been, you just don’t get it. Scrumptious burgers (seriously, it’s the spread and the toasted bun), French fries and a chocolate shake. It was worth the wait. I just wish I could have gone twice while I was there!

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We walked through Paris on the way back to our hotel from lunch. These pictures do not do it justice – it’s pretty amazing!! We also saw the fountains at The Bellagio during the day.

 

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Tuesday night was our last, amazing dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse called Fogo de Chao. There was so much food and it was all delicious. I enjoyed more filet mignon, but I have to say that the artichokes and fresh mozzarella at the salad bar may have been my favorite. We had chocolate mousse cake for dessert and it was heavenly. I also wore what was probably my favorite dress of all for this trip.

 

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We ended the night with a quick cab ride back to our hotel and then walked back to The LINQ and watched the ferris wheel one last time. I still refused to go on it, but I sure loved looking at it.

 

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We were up very early the next morning to check out and get to the airport for our flight home. I was thankful for an early – and nonstop – flight home. I was sad to leave but I was also ready to get home to my own bed and back to our boys who were probably done with being boarded after 5 days. I was finally able to catch a few last fun shots , including a sunrise. And I managed to get a few good shots from the plane as we took off over the mountains (thank you, Dramamine) and also as we flew over Clearwater Beach on our approach to Tampa. It’s amazing how different two sides of the country are – both beautiful.

 

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I learned several things on this trip….

  • We really shouldn’t go 3 years before going on another get-away. It does wonders for the mind and soul.
  • I am becoming a dress girl. After years of only wearing dresses if I had to, I think I might do it more often now.
  • It’s important to get away with your significant other whenever you can. It’s too easy to get in a routine at home with all the day-to-day stuff.
  • I love Las Vegas – the weather, the atmosphere, and the enormity of it all.
  • I am not afraid to go out exploring on my own. Sure, it’s more fun with someone else, but I’m glad I didn’t just sit around in the room and miss out on the excitement of a different city. I can hopefully sleep in one day here, but Las Vegas certainly wasn’t the place to do it.
  • Quality time with hubby, away from it all, is the best!

 

Have you been to Las Vegas? What is your favorite thing about it?

Negative splits and bacon!

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With half marathon #7 quickly approaching, I am trying to get in a long-ish run each weekend between now and then. Not following a strict training plan going into this one, I’m just trying to keep my legs feeling fresh and strong. So far, so good. This past Sunday, I headed out to Memorial Causeway in Clearwater to run my most favorite running route. Hubby was tagging along with his bike to keep me company. Have I mentioned how much I love that he will ride his bike along with me while I run? He’s great company, my cheerleader. and we chit chat the whole time. Which, by the way, when did I become the person that can carry on a conversation while running? Back in the day, I couldn’t form words through all my huffing and puffing and here I am having actual conversations!

 

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When I run my neighborhood and do 3 – 5 miles, I don’t always take walk breaks. I’ve gotten to the point where if I think I need a walk break, I can talk myself out of it for a bit. If it stays a nagging thought, I’ll take a quick one, and then off I go again. There is nothing wrong with walk breaks, I know this. But it is always my goal to run far more than walking every single time I go out there. I am constantly challenging myself. This MilePost running quote of the day from Sunday morning was fitting….

 

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When I did my long runs for my last half marathon, I took walk breaks as needed. Those long runs are not about speed – they are all about endurance.

On Sunday, my run started off in the face of a crazy headwind that literally had tears running down my face. After I got over the bridge and a slight turn, the wind died down immensely and I wasn’t crying anymore. When I reached the normal point that I would take a quick walk break, I just kept running. I didn’t realize at that moment that I had just challenged myself to run the whole route without a walk break. It wasn’t until mile 3 that I pointed out to hubby that I had not taken a walk break and it was my goal not to. For the whole 6.25 miles. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

 

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It actually felt great. I never once felt like I had to take a walk break. I was running a nice pace, one that is comfortable to me. When I finished mile 5, I realized I had a couple negative splits and I wasn’t surprised because the run just felt great. Overachiever that I am, I aimed for one more negative split.

 

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Negative splits are an awesome thing. In case you don’t know what a negative splits are, it simply means running the second half of an interval or an entire run or race at a faster speed.

What makes this even more awesome? My first mile included the Memorial Bridge, right at the start of my run. Mile 6, my best pace for a full mile, had me running back over Memorial Bridge. After running 5 miles leading up to this. With a crazy head wind the first mile. and tears running down my face. And a couple of negative splits even before this.

 

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Needless to say, I was pretty darn proud of myself. In discussing this with hubby, he told me he wasn’t surprised I did it, that I do anything I set my mind to (I’m telling you, he’s the best cheerleader ever!) and that he thinks I sell myself short sometimes. I love his confidence in me.

After some stretching, we headed to the store to stock up for the week. I had a bunch of food prep to do and I was seriously starving for breakfast. Reason number 2761 that hubby is the greatest ever and just gets me, he suggested BLT’s for breakfast. Bacon? YES!!! And while I am all about eating healthy – most of the time – I am not even going the route of turkey bacon. No sir, this girl requires REAL bacon. I ran 6.53 miles, I deserve bacon, REAL bacon. And boy oh boy, was it good.

 

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I can’t wait until Feb. 1, to run the Best Damn Race Half Marathon in Safety Harbor. Did I mention that it’s the day before my birthday? And I will earn this awesome medal….

 

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How many of you local folks will I see out there? Be sure to let me know! And, if you haven’t registered yet, there is still time. You can save $5 with my discount code NANCIC. Click here to register!

 

Tell me one running goal you are working towards!

2014 Goals

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Happy New Year! Here we are again, starting a new year. It’s a fresh start, a clean slate. And with the new year, there are new goals. Some of my goals from last year will carry over and others are new.

 

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Last year, it was my goal to have more date nights with hubby and while we did have some great ones, we didn’t have enough. 2013 was a challenging year time-wise with much going on with work for both of us. I made some work changes that I hope will help us to have a little more time to have more date nights.

 

I would love to start writing a book – this is another goal that carries over from last year. I have two books I want to work on, both near and dear to my heart. I really hope that 2014 is the year I can get a great start on them.

 

I am so close to my goal at Weight Watchers. Today is the one-year anniversary of when I went back and it has definitely been a success. I also blogged every Saturday about each weigh-in. I started 2013 at 178 pounds and ended it at 149 pounds. Just a few more pounds to go to get to my ultimate goal of 140 and make lifetime again.

 

I killed my mileage goal last year, which I set at 450 miles. I finished 2013 with 628 miles. It was such a great year of running. I ran every day in May, and then my mileage really bumped up during my half marathon training. It’s no secret what a visual person I am so the graph on DailyMile is fun to look at…

 

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Right along with my mileage goal, I would love to complete a Sub-30 5K. I ran my best 5K to date at the Santa’s Twilight 5K in December, finishing it in 30:56. I will work on this!!

 

Last year I ran 4 half marathons, bringing me up to 6. This year, I want to run 4 more so that I have 10 total. I am such a Half Fanatic. To this day, I still can’t believe that signing up for that first half marathon would light such a fire in me. I really thought it would a one-time thing just to say I did it. Instead it created a monster. It is still just as exciting and exhilarating to cross the finish line…

 

And finally! The biggest goal I have set for the year is to train for and complete my first full marathon. Oh boy…. Even typing those words scares the heck out of me. I still remember when I swore I would never do a full marathon, I had no desire. It was sometime over the summer that that changed and I really started thinking about it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to do it. I thought I would hold off until early 2015 to do one, but it’s much too present in my mind to wait. I am currently looking into training plans, preferably an 18 – 20 week plan so that I can build my mileage slowly. It’s not the marathon itself that I am so much afraid of, it’s the training. Long runs of 18 and 20 miles? Scares the heck out of me. But after training for the Women’s Half this past fall and seeing how much the training prepared me for it and helped my time, I know that it’s possible. I also know that I have a lot of support going into it. Hubby will train with me by bike as he did my half marathon training (which I LOVED!!), and of course my mom knows I can do it. It also helps me to know that so many of my running friends are excited for me. My friend Beth seemed to know I was going to do a full before I did and told me to ask her any questions on training. She just completed her 7th marathon  and I really look up to her. I also know a few people running this same race. So… I will run the Space Coast Marathon on November 30, 2014 in Cocoa Beach near Kennedy Space Center. I am beyond excited to add this medal to my collection…. And to finally add a 26.2 sticker to my car.

 

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(Source: Space Coast Marathon)

 

I am excited about my goals for the year. I know that when I set goals and work towards them, all things are possible. Take them one step at a time and never give up. I accomplished so much in 2013, I am ready to tackle 2014 and see what it holds for me!

 

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Have you set goals for 2014? What are you most excited about?

Favorite posts of 2013

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Another year is coming to an end… As I look through posts from this past year, it’s amazing how much has happened, how much was accomplished. Running, weight loss, personal growth, and more…. My blog has turned out to be the best form of a scrapbook I have ever done. And now it’s time for me to share my favorite posts of 2013. Since I just shared all my race recaps for 2013 yesterday, I did not include those in this list…

 

 

I have so much to look forward to in 2014 and continuing my blog is one of them. I hope you’ll stay with me and follow along!

 

Have a safe and Happy New Year! I hope you have a wonderful 2014!

2013: The year of running and races

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As I sit here and look back over the year and all that I accomplished, I am trying to think of one word to describe how I feel. I think “proud” is perfect. proud - feeling pleasure or satisfaction over something regarded as highly honorable or creditable to oneself Yes, that pretty much sums it up….   My last race for the year was before Christmas and as I finish up the year with the hopes of reaching 625 miles logged for the year (I’m at 616 as I post this), I thought it would be a great time to look back at my races for the year. 2013 was definitely the year of running, and my how I changed even from the beginning of the year.   01/12/13 – Glow Run 5K, St. Petersburg, FL  -   44:16 This was a fun run, hubby ran it with me. It was at night in downtown St. Petersburg. I was just at the start of my weight loss journey for the year and I knew I needed to lose weight as I ran this one. But it was fun. Also, I look like Scuba Steve in our picture!   glow run 5k     02/02/13 – Best Damn Race 5K, Safety Harbor, FL  -  39:21 I thoroughly enjoyed running a 5K on my birthday, and what would also be the first of three races in the month of February. It was really cold, but high on my list of favorites for the year. I was thrilled to finish under 40 minutes. Hubby also ran this one with me!   bdr 2013     02/10/13 – Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon, St. Petersburg, FL -  3:02:53 I had high hopes for this one, after running this event as my first half marathon in 2012. I wanted so much to finish under 3:00 but I had foot pain that slowed down my last 3 miles. I did enjoy it, though, it was neat to come full circle from my first one and to see an improvement on my time. This was also the first race that my friend Corinna and I ran together, and hubby ran the 5K.

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    02/24/13 – Gasparilla Distance Classic 8K, Tampa, FL  -  1:05:58 Another one that I hoped to beat my previous year’s time on, but I did not. I remember the first half was windy but when we turned around, it was HOT. Hubby also ran this one with me, as well as my friend Corinna and her son John Evan. I love Gasparilla!

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    03/17/13 – Sarasota Half Marathon, Sarasota, FL  -  2:48:12    PR!!!!! I registered for this one on a whim simply because of the dolphin medal. I actually registered for it at the Gasparilla Expo, so less than a month before the race. I was already training on the bridges for Iron Girl so I just wanted to give it my best shot and have fun with it. I never ever expected to PR at this race, coming in 12 minutes under the 3:00 mark.   sarasota me medal 2013l     04/14/13 – Iron Girl Half Marathon, Clearwater, FL  -  2:48:32 I was very excited to run this one, practically in my backyard, and on the bridges I trained hard on. I did not let the bridges get the best of me and I gave it my best, finishing just 20 seconds slower than my PR in Sarasota. My friend Corinna also ran this one with me.   iron girl 2013 me corinna     11/24/13 – Women’s Running Series Half Marathon, St. Petersburg, FL  -  2:23:28    PR!!!!! After not racing over the hot summer, I trained for 15 weeks for this race. I needed serious redemption over it after finishing it in 3:37:11 in 2012 thanks to my sciatica. I knew I could finish it under 3:00 thanks to Sarasota and Iron Girl, but as I trained for it and worked hard on my long runs, I set an optimistic goal of finishing in 02:30. I was thrilled and ecstatic to finish in 2:23:28, a new PR. This was my best run yet. I ran most of it, a nice even pace, and felt great. I didn’t listen to any music, I just focused on running. This half marathon is the one that really made me start thinking seriously about a full marathon.   IMG_3003     11/30/13 – Pretty Muddy Mud Run 5K, Tampa, FL  -  approx. 45:00 (untimed) Another fun run with my friend Corinna. It was a smaller event than last year, but we still had fun running the course together. It was untimed, but we did every obstacle. I was able to climb over the big cargo net much easier than last year. It’s amazing what weight loss can do!   IMG_3306     12/14/13 – Santa’s Twilight 5K, Honeymoon Island, Dunedin, FL   -   30:56      PR!!!!! This was another night time run on a beautiful evening. Hubby and my friend Corinna also ran this one and it was so much fun. I ran my best time on this one, setting a 5K PR. I definitely see a sub-30:00 5K in my future.

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  What a year! I had hoped to do 10 or 11 races, but it just didn’t work out. So, what’s up for 2014? Stay tuned to find out!   How many races did you do in 2013? Which was your favorite?

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