Saturday, October 1, 2016

Big Huge Announcement

Folks, as you know, I have been MIA for a couple of weeks now.  I was starting to get back into a great routine but then life happened. I have a wonderful job but unfortunately don't make enough money to continue living in the Metropolitan area of Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD.  So, I have decided to move to the Raleigh/Cary area of North Carolina.

This is a huge announcement and life change for me!  I have lived in Maryland since I was 17 years old.  I am leaving a job that I love to having no job temporarily however I need to be able to survive and enjoy life. This is scary for me but I know that God has my back as He always has in the past and I am a strong Warrior!

So, big changes for this girl.  I will be moving at the end of this month and starting new in November. I am looking forward to this new adventure.  Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Health and hypothyroism

As you know, I haven't been feeling well for a couple of months now.  I attributed part of it to my crazy May running schedule-four half marathons in 21 days along with starting a new job.  However, after not feeling well for in my opinion too long, I decided to seek medical assistance. Since thryoid problems run in my family I decided to research it more and make an appointment. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is normally located in the lower front of the nect.  The thyroid's job is to make thryoid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body.  Thyroid hormone helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles and other organs working as they should.  My primary care doctor found nodules and ran blood tests.  However, these came back in the normal range. Did you know that most thyroid problems go undiagnosed? Do you know the symptoms?

 Still not feeling satisfied and experiencing symptoms which included uneven body temperature, weight gain, lack of energy and sleep and overall not feeling well,  I decided to seek out another opinion.  I found a Thryoid Center at GBMC and scheduled an appointment.  I met with the doctors who performed more intensive tests including a biospy.  Talk about being afraid when they say that they are going to put needles into your neck!  However, everything went well and after a week, I found out that I intend have an low functioning thryoid which is hypothryoidism!  I started on medication on Saturday and hope to feel back to my "normal" self in a couple of weeks.

Thank you for all your support and I'm crossing fingers that I get back to my old self by the end of the summer!  Remember to always trust yourself, your body and get a second opinion if necessary.

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Asheville Marathon

I was recently appointed as an Asheville Marathon Ambassador.

I was so surprised and thrilled.  This race has been on my bucket list since last year.  The race course goes through the grounds of the beautiful  Biltmore Estate.

The race weekend is March 11-12, 2017.  The race weekend has a half and full marathon.  The half and full marathons run entirely through the Biltmore Estates woods, meadows and grounds of the Estate.  The full marathon is a Boston Qualifying Event.  There is even a winery on the estate and you can purchase a bottle of wine on race weekend!

Until July 30, 2017, I am able to offer the lowest price discount for registration.  15% off the registration for the half, full or VIP.  Use code ANNALOUISE2017AMAROCKS at the check-out prior to payment. I also received my AVLmarathon ambassador shirts and will be rocking these while I am training for this race. :)

I will be posting my training plan as time goes on.  I hope to see you there,come run with me and have a runcation at a beautiful place.   If you do run this race, please say hi to me as I would love to meet you!  

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Special K

I was recently appointed to be a Special K Ambassador.

I am thrilled to be a part of fifty amazing amateur athletes from across the US.  Special K is about fortifying you and your family to help achieve goals, have wonderful adventures while using the unique qualities that make you YOU! The website has the Special K story, recipes, products and news.  You can even sign up for the Kelloggs Family rewards program and earn points to receive free items.  Stop by for a visit and see what's new!

Special K sent us a huge swag array to help us get started with this great product line.  I will be sharing my story of training while sharing Special K products at several local races and gyms.

I hope to see you there! Make sure you stop by and receive your Special K products.  Let me know what your favorite Special K product is in the comments and I'll be sure to pass them along!

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Monday, July 4, 2016


As you may have noticed, I haven't been on social media lately.  I ran four half marathons in 22 days in May followed by a 10 miler and I'm just tired.  However, it's not a physical tired-just life tired!

I'm 52 years old and just tired.  Here's why:

  • No friends (far and few between) and little family
  • Attended college in my forties which everyone said would change my life for the better in many ways (financially, academically, etc) and it didn't. 
  • No home of my own (I currently rent a room in a house) 
  • No money (While I have a good job, I basically make just above poverty level after taxes, benefits and retirement) 
  • No vacations (I haven't been on a vacation in a long time).
  • Constantly being left out (I see on social media all the friendships, gatherings and I never know until I see it)
  • No birthdays (I think I remember five birthday celebrations my entire life) or holiday celebrations either
  • Slowest running
  • Weighing the most I have ever weighed my adult life

I'm not trying to make you feel sorry for me but I'm just tired.  I need to reassess my goals and move on.  I'm tired of being alone and social media doesn't help.  Do you ever feel that it makes you and us more lonely?  It's hard to see pictures of family and friends and know that you don't have that.  It's even  harder to see all the races, runs, vacations, buying things (Sparkle Skirts, shirts, shoes, etc) and know that you can't afford any of it!  That's why I feel the need to step back.  Last summer, I struggled with staying alive and beating cancer! While that was tough and I'm a survivor,  I feel that I need to take a step back and feel alive again in a different way.  I'm used to being alone and figuring life out as that is how my life has been but I'm struggling with the reality that I don't matter in this world and my own mortality.   I have to realize that I will always be alone and do it for me.  I need to work on my own goals of losing weight, feeling good about the direction of my life and figure out how to make a home for myself once again.  

So, if you don't see me, it's not that I don't care.  It's about realigning myself with me and taking care of myself.  Thanks as always for hanging in there with me!

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Baltimore 10 Mile Race Recap

Sorry that I've been MIA from my blog for a month now.  I just haven't felt like writing this even though I have had four half marathons in 21 days followed by the B10.  So, here's my recap of the B10 which is part of the King Crab Challenge (Frederick half marathon, Baltimore 10 mile and the Baltimore half marathon).  I've done two out of the three races this year and I'm not sure that I will be doing the Baltimore half this year to complete this challenge.

Last year was my first year doing this race and I got really sick if you remember-the heat, the humidity followed by finding out a week later that I had cancer.  So, I was a bit anxious about the race this year as I didn't have fond memories of it.

The B10 starts and ends at the Baltimore Zoo.  The first two miles are downhill and it's an up and back course so the last two miles are uphill.  I'm saying this so I remember this next year-Hills,hills followed by more hills!  Here's the elevation chart.

I went to packet pick up on Global Running Day at the local Dick's Sporting Store since it was convenient to me.  The line was short; just pick up your bib since you don't receive a shirt and there really isn't an expo for this race.  I was able to snap a quick picture!  

The night before I laid out my outfit since it was supposed to be hot and humid again along with my prayers.  This is a race tradition for me to do since I started running.  I love my flat me's and my prayers! :)  

The alarm went off early, snapped a quick picture and off to meet friends to carpool!  
We arrived at the zoo, parked and walked toward the runner's village and start line.  I love these ladies and have been extremely blessed to have run several races with them this spring and will continue to run races with them into the summer months!  I couldn't have asked for more better running friends who help keep me motivated, laugh and smile and have fun with our adventures!  Thank you, Christina and Tammy-I love you dearly!  

I also ran into Sparkle Sisters who were wearing their skirts along with a friend from the Princess Posse. These ladies are wonderful friends and it was lovely to see them again! I love Sparkle Skirts and really don't like to run in anything but the skirts due to all the pockets and storage space available!  

I also ran into another dear friend, Holly who is the thrifty runner.  Check out her blog as every week she finds great deals on running clothes and accessories! 
We started towards the start line and who showed up in a truck but "Blue" the Mascot.  Tammy started to run after him to take a picture and so I decided to join the fun!  I'm sure that it looked crazy as the truck was trying to make its way through the crowd of runners as I was running after it trying to take a picture.  I did manage a picture!  

The race started and we were off.  As I stated earlier,the first part of the race is downhill. This race is very well supported with water stops every two miles along with police and volunteers.  My favorite water stop was the one with  Girls on the Run.  These girls were extremely supportive both at the beginning and end of the race.  They made me so proud of them and their wonderful way to give back to the running community-THANK YOU!

The race winds around Lake Montbello and back towards the zoo.  I was a bit disappointed as last year I remember that the water stop had chips, granola bars along with great community support and this year none of that was there.  I also remember getting really sick around the lake last year and not sure if I could finish but realizing that if I could (and I did) that I was half done with the race.  The hardest part of the race is the hills at the end and seeing/hearing the finish line only to realize that you have a mile before the race ends!  Tammy got a great picture of me heading towards the finish line; thank you!  

I crossed the finish line and was handed a cold towel along with my medal.  There were tables of bananas, watermelon, apples, granola bars, bottles of water and crab chips!  This is one of the reasons why I love this race-the stuff that you receive at the end!  Again, followed by quick pictures of finishing and then off to get the best part-a jacket!  Yes, you receive a great jacket as your swag for this race!  I didn't get the beers in the runners' village as we were going to lunch but you also receive two free beers!  

For lunch, we decided to go to a local restaurant, Paper moon diner.  The girls had never been there while being close to the race and it is just fun.  Very  eccentric, eclectic and technicolor as their webpage states! Here's one picture from inside.  If you are ever in Baltimore, it's a must visit!  Great food and atmosphere and the milkshakes are to die for!  

Yes, we did get milkshakes.  We deserved them after 10 miles of hills, heat and humidity!  Runner's worse enemies! LOL!  

Again, I love running with these ladies and sharing our adventures after our races!  Will I do this race next year?  Yes but I will remember those hills!  

I wanted to say thank you to all the race personal, the police and EMTS who were along the course keeping us safe along with all the volunteers!  You make the races for us and we wouldn't be able to enjoy our running adventures without you!  THANK YOU!

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

St. Mary's Inaugural Historic Half Marathon

I had the opportunity to run through Maryland’s first colonial capital and North America's best preserved English colonial archaeological site for the St. Mary's Inaugural Historic Half Marathon. A portion of the event profits were donated to the St. Mary's College of Maryland's Cross Country team.

Historic St. Mary's City and St. Mary's College of Maryland are located next to each in Southern Maryland.
 The weekend weather was stormy and raining with a forecast of thunderstorms.  The race directors were wonderful with communications about the race and weather conditions.  Personally, I was looking forward to revisiting this area of Maryland and running this race as I know the beauty of the Historic City, campus and the Potomac River.
Up early and on the road in the rain.  By the time that I reached St. Mary's, it was pouring rain.  I grabbed my shirt and bib while sitting in my car to stay warm and dry.  I love my new hidden comfort Balega socks.

I headed for the start line, quick picture and ran into some Sparkle Skirts Sisters while we were all wearing different skirts!  I love that I always see "sisters" at my races.  It feels like family!

The race started in pouring rain which lasted until about mile six.  The race initially went through the college and then out to the highway.  Mile four was a hill for about a mile but the downhill was great. Not a lot of race support but plenty of water/hydration stops due to the highway and mile six was beautiful through a lovely waterfront neighborhood.  I got rid of my rain poncho at this point as I was starting to really overheat.  

The rain stopped about mile 7 and the rest of the race was beautiful-lovely neighborhoods with shade and river while the race ended in Historic St. Mary's City.  

I was happy to finish and loved showing off my Sparkle Skirt since it matched the medal.  I would run this race again and hopefully not in the pouring rain!  

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Running and Gratitude

I recently had the opportunity to return to my alma mater, Loyola University Maryland to work a temporary position for several weeks.  I entered this endeavor with great trepidation.  I graduated in 2012 with a degree in elementary education however due to life situations, I was unable to procure a teaching certification.  Other unpleasant memories associated with my undergraduate degree lead me towards these feelings.

Once back however I remembered what my alma mater believes  which is "Cura personalis", Latin for "care of the entire person".  I was reminded that my education from Loyola cultivated me into the whole person -mind, body, and spirit and the commitment to this is a life of integrity, honesty, discernment, reflection and dedication to the great good along with intellectual study, social justice and service.  Returning back there granted me a final healing that I needed along with a new perspective as I start a new chapter in my life with a new career and job.

Now, you may ask what does this have to do with running and gratitude.  Running provides me the same thing.  Running makes me take care of my self entirely.  The right amount of sleep, training and nutrition help keep me "whole" and healthy.  Running allows me to spend time to reflect and rejuvenate myself.
How many times do you run when you feel like you don't want to run or haven't any energy left to give anyone or yourself?  How do you feel when you run on days like that?  I know myself that I feel refreshed, whole and ready to conquer the world.  How do you feel when you run "naked" without the GPS watch, music, phone or anything else-just run?  I've recently started running once a week without these items and feel alive.  I notice the beauty in the world as I run past from the smallest details-the flowers blooming, the trees budding, the birds singing, how fresh and new everything appears along with the breath of air as it hits my lungs reminding them how much they like the taste of air and living!  There is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it is sent away. When you create a space in running where you feel broken down, it is impressive that you have the strength and trans formative power of putting one foot in front of the other and build yourself back up.  These are the moments you notice when you run "naked".

Running has transformed me into a whole person.  Running has allowed me to grow, spread my wings and soar along with giving me the opportunities to allow my alma mater's beliefs enter more deeply into my life.  These are traits not simply inherent but are learned and must be practiced.  Much like training for a race.   Running has brought friends, adventures, community and happiness into my life.  Running has allowed me to give back in ways that I could only imagine from finding inspiration in social media, to writing my blog and recently being able to give a donation to Girls on the Run.  Last summer, when I was diagnosed with uterine cancer the running community embraced me with love and support.  Running has allowed me to sprint after my wildest dreams-to be valued, acknowledged, and loved.  Running gave me the ability to be awake.
Gratitude has been defined has an awakening of the heart.  When we experience gratitude, we unlock the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude can make sense of our past, bring us peace for today and help us create a vision for the future.

Every day that I can run, it transforms me into this and much more.  What does running do for you? Does it make you a whole person?  How does it transform you?  How does running transform into gratitude for you?  Because of all of this, I am and will be always eternally grateful and happy!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

National Walking Day

Yesterday was National Walking Day.

 The American Heart Association sponsors this day to promote being heart healthy.  The AHA is concerned because as Americans we are spending less time being active therefore we increase our risk for heart disease, stroke and other health problems.

National Walking Day is held the first Wednesday in April every year and it is the kick-off of April being a month long celebration to be more active.  One of my local running stores, Charm City Run is hosting an event for NWD.  I decided to join and walk today.  Why should you walk?  Walking is easy and low-risk.  I strive to walk 10,000 steps each day.

A regular program (walking) can also:

  • Improve your cholestrol profile
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase your energy and stamina
  • Boost "couch potato" bone strength
  • Help prevent weight gain

The American Heart Association recommends that adults get 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.  Even short activity sessions can be added up to achieve this goal. Here are some articles:
I arrived at Charm City Run only to find out that I was the only one attending the walk.  However, they had a half marathon training group practice that evening and I was invited to stay for the discussions and the run.  The first lecture was on nutrition and the guest speaker was Lauren from Live Full Baltimore.  She was fantastic.  The run followed around Lake Elkhorn however I walked about half the distance (2 miles).  My Garmin Vivoactive watch shut down about mid-point through this and I wondered if it would record everything.  To my amazement this morning after charging the watch, it did!  Following the walk (run), there was a discussion on various watches.  Afterwards the group went for pizza and drinks and I was invited; lively and fun group with wonderful discussions.  I even saw one of my friends from MRTT (Moms Run This Town). Overall, I had a great time even though it wasn't what I thought it would be and how much fun that life gave me this great opportunity.

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

#RIOTS Week Six and Seven

It's weeks six and seven for the #RIOTS.  I got a week behind as I had a lot of personal things going on these last two weeks. I ha...