Love List 2015 (All The Random Big & Small Things That Made 2015 Delightful)

Monday, December 21, 2015

I wanted to end 2015 with a “Top 15 Highlights of 2015” and then I saw my friend, Jessica Lawlor, did a post about her “Love List” of 2015 and I thought that sounded so much more fun to write than ONLY picking 15 things.

2015 was a big year – I traveled, I loved, I ran, I swam, I lived it up as much as I could! It was filled with BIG items and little items, all of which made me a happy girl. Let’s take a look of things I fell in love with and things I learned to love!

MUSIC

I have fallen in love with Twenty One Pilots! I’m keeping my eyes peeled for their 2016 concert circuit and WILL be seeing them live. Mark my word.

Italian music – I’ve been watching too much of The Sopranos (see below)…. I can not understand a single word but I just love it.

Nike Running Tempo Mix on Spotify. AWESEOME stuff…great beats, new artists and always there to help push me through a training run or race.

SOCIAL MEDIA

2015 was the year of Snapchat…while I’m not the heaviest snapper per say, I do enjoy following along with people throughout their evening to see what fun (or trouble) they are getting themselves into to.

I love Instagram. I think it is my favorite social media platform. Here are some of my favorite people I followed in 2015:
@Kellykkroberts – this is the most entertaining runners you will EVER follow in your life. From taking selfies with hot guys along the NYC half to now quitting her job and running/blogging full time, Kelly Roberts is one of the most hilarious individuals of all time. I want to be her friend. Waah. Oh, and don’t forget to follow her awesome friend, Greg, at @NYCsweat

@RunTriMom – Stephanie is an IRONMAN, mother of two boys and pure badass. I love following her account because she is SO REAL. She tells you to make goals, chase after them and #DreamReallyFeakingBig…that is her motto. I love that motto because she is right, if you put your mind to something you CAN accomplish ANYTHING!

@HappyTriGirl – I love Instagram because of the photos and this girl has some AMAZING photos. I even commented to her asking if she uses her iPhone or GoPro…she said mostly GoPro. I think I need one for my birthday (cough cough Taylor) to capture my running adventures.

@Benstig8r – This is a fellow runner, Ben. Not too sure where I remember seeing Ben on social media, but I started following him because I realized he run LOTS of the same reason. He was great to  follow this year as he had a goal of running “52 in 52.”

TV/MOVIES/ENTERTAINMENT

The Sopranos – what took me so long to watch this series. Taylor and I have been binge watching and we’re almost through season two. I now know where my dad gets half of his lingo from.

Game of Thrones – I was slow on this show too but boy am I glad we marathoned it and finished it in a little over a month. Too bad I have to wait until three months until it comes back on again…we should have spaced it out better.

E:60 -  Who knew an ESPN show could make an individual cry so much. I love the E:60 episodes – my  favorite episode was “Derby & Rookie: The Trenton Thunder Batdogs”….get ready to cry like a baby.

FOOD

Chipotle … Taylor James, I hate you for really introducing me to this. I am obsessed. The end.

The Mill – it has reopened and luckily for me it is directly across the street from my work. mwwuahahaha If you haven’t checked it out yet since it opened, you better head over. Awesome new look and amazing food.

Henning’s Salad buffet – another one of my lunch time “go to” spots with my Work Wife, Blair. The price is dangerous for take out, but to eat in with the buffet, so worth it!

RUNNING/HEALTH/FITNESS

21 Day Fix – I was introduced to this BeachBody program early in 2015 and due to cost I couldn’t afford it. Luckily I saved up my pennies and went after it back in October. I am so glad I did! It is a wonderful program that teaches the important of eating proper amounts, 30 minute workouts per day and group accountability. Reach out if you’d like to join our challenge group in January 2016.

15 races in 2015 – I had a goal early in the year for myself I run 15 races in 2015. I didn’t run 15 but I did run 10!

Joined the Ainsley’s Angels Family – everything happens for a reason and joining the Ainsley’s Angels family is exactly what I needed in my life. I started the first chapter in the state of PA and we kick off in 2016. I would love for you to join us!!

Sandy Hook Iron Girl Triathlon – I completed my first triathlon! I know 2016 is going to be even better as I am already signed up for two next year!!! Oh did I mention I have any amazing suit for next race season as well…

For the first time ever I was a race spectator. It is super fun to be on the other end during a race.  I yelled and cheered and split my fingers open from ringing a cow bell so loud!

I ran my first half marathon without headphones. While this may not sound like a big deal, for some runners it is (like myself.) Sometimes you hear yourself breathe and get mentally distracted. Luckily because of my Run Club I don’t need music anymore. It’s good training habit too as you are not allowed to use them in Triathlons.

PERSONAL/WORK LIFE

I moved out of my parents’ house! It’s been 6 months and I can’t imagine life any other way now. I have the best roomie possible and we haven’t killed each other which is a bonus :)

I organized my first (huge) fundraising event – I’ve helped with events here and there but none of the size of Superheroes United for Kids at my work. While it was overwhelming, gave me chest and arm pains, and restless nights, it was so worth it. I’m  glad I have a year under my belt and can make this year go much smoother than last.

Went to my first race car competition – this summer I went with Taylor’s family to New Jersey to see my first race car competition. Holy loudness, but it sure was fun to scream and cheer on random strangers.

Visited my best friend in LA – seeing Julia and Jasa over July was an amazing trip. We got to explore, see several cities, enjoy the California sun  and dream of moving out there for good. I hope to one day make that happen.

I booked a SOLO international trip – I am seeing Liam and his family for 12 days next March. I can’t wait to travel across the big pond and meet them all. 85 days and counting, it is going to be one of the most magical experiences of my life!

Went to my first college football tailgate – Loyola didn’t have football so coming from a big high school, it was weird not having the sport. I luckily experienced my first tailgate at the Temple v. Penn State game this fall. Thumbs up, you guys know how to do it well, I’m jealous.


2015 you were good…but I know 2016 will be even better!



Thirsty Thursday: Get Your Drink One

Thursday, November 5, 2015

One of my biggest downfalls for 26 years of my life was not drinking enough water. I was obsessed with Coca Cola, drinking at least two cans a day. (HOW FREAKIN GROSS!) Water was my LEAST favorite choice of drink and I'd have anything else besides it - iced tea, lemonade or soda. My only water intake would be at sports practice (which you had to) but immediately after 8 a.m. practice in college the first thing I would crave was a fountain soda from Boulder Cafe on campus.

Back in September 2013 when Taylor and I made our "who will lose the most weight by the New Year" challenge, I quit drinking Soda cold turkey and haven't had a sip since. Being an addict it was not easy. I had headaches and withdraw, my cravings and urges to crush a can were in full force that first week... but it wasn't worth it. The amount of sugar packed in those drinks makes me cringe when I look at statistics now. I was pumping my body with the WORST items possible. I'm sorry Coke, I don't miss you. We...are never ever ever, getting back together.

Since that September, it's been strictly water for me (with an occasional treat of a lemonade or diet iced tea - neither of which I have had since starting the 21 Day Fix in October.)  Did you know you're suppose to drink half your body weight in ounces per day? It's so hard some days to do, and the potty breaks get SOOO annoying, but it is so worth it!



Drinking water has so many benefits:

  • Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids
  • Help Control Calories
  • Helps Energize Muscles
  • Helps Keep Skin Looking Good
  •  Helps Your Kidneys
  • Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function

For me, I try to drink 100 ounces of water a day...you heard me, 100! It's a lot and doesnt always happen, but i give it my best. I bought a 50 oz Nathans Water bottle and tell myself to drink two per day starting from the minute I wake up to when I go to sleep.


I recently found this awesome water bottle (to the right) that gives you time-of-day check marks to make sure you're on track. You can buy it here. So my question to you is, how do you stay on track with drinking your water? Be sure to comment below!

V is for Victoria

Thursday, October 29, 2015

My bestest buddy at work is Blair. She's an amazing worker, keeps me laughing and she's an amazing mama. I went into her office the other week and she started telling me about her trip to Mexico with her hubby and how she is preparing her Mom and Dad to watch her one-year-old daughter, Victoria.

Sitting on her desk was a packet of information: a timeline of what to eat, what to do, hospital addresses, emergency numbers, etc. She told me to go ahead and read through it. I literally laughed my ass off and asked if I could share it on my blog. She of course said sure. I hope everyone gets a good laugh out of it like I did.


Victoria in a Nutshell
4 days with the Princess

Schedule (sleep/food):
Wake: typically she wakes around 5:30 am- you can let her lay in bed as long as you like,
 sometimes she does go back to sleep

·       Upon waking Victoria likes to receive an 8oz bottle of child whole milk
·       After she finishes the milk she gets half a waffle or French toast (both in freezer- toaster oven or micro)
·       Around 7:30/8:00 Victoria likes to have her 3rd breakfast of a sliced banana

Morning Nap: this happens on the weekends around 9/10am and could last up to 2 hours
·       Upon waking from this nap Victoria likes a chilled cup of milk (pink sippy cup with blue label)
·       She also gets her first snack at this point
·       Snack options include: pumpkin muffins, zucchini muffins, strawberries, yogurt, raisins, granola, goldfish, etc.- the only items that can be combined are the raisins, granola and goldfish… you might think a parfait is a good ideas… but it’s not.  She drinks water for the rest of the day from the pink sippy cup with pink label. 
Lunch: around noon
·       I try to give her protein and veggie options along with a food pack.
·       Food packs are in the cabinet with snack food in a basket
·       Chicken nuggets, broccoli nuggets/bites and sweet potato nuggets are my go to (located in freezer).  I will sometime steam carrots with cinnamon/sugar and a little butter, same with sweet potatoes (although we don’t have any of those).  She likes cucumbers without the skin (I think she prefers bigger slices rather than little bites)

Afternoon nap: If she takes a morning nap this nap will happen a little later like from 2:00-3:00pm; if not she will nap from 12:30/1:00 until 3pm. 
·       After this nap she will take her second snack (same options as first snack)

Dinner
:  this is also known as the bane of my existence.  She will sometimes eat dinner and sometimes just eat snack food or bread.  She doesn’t like any spreads on her bread other than butter, which if she actually can see on the bread she won’t eat.  There is pita bread, wheat bread, bagels and English muffins in the bread drawer.  Don’t bother with grilled cheese, she just sucks the butter off the bread and eats around the cheese.  There are also crescent rolls in the fridge, she loves these and sometimes I’ll fold in some spinach and cheese and she eats them up.  She also loves edamame.  The issue with this is she does not chew them so her diaper the next day consists of full sized edamame which I feel like cannot be good for her digestive track. 

Bedtime:  Victoria typically goes down around 6:30/7:00 but may stay up later with you guys there. 
·       I bathe her every other night before bed, with her current schedule she’ll need a bath Thursday and Saturday.  Her wash clothes are in the guest bathroom in the drawer closest to the bath tub and towels are in the hall linen closet (there is currently one hanging behind the door).  I put the flower pad down to kneel on while she is in there.  She prefers her water at a comfortable 90 degrees, but won’t complain if it’s off a few degrees. 

·       She loves to have her teeth brushed.  Her toothbrush and toothpaste are in the guest bathroom.  

Another Race Season Gone

Friday, October 23, 2015

In 8 days, another running race season will be in the books. Where in the world did the time go?

When I look back at my race season last year, it was full of monumental achievements, with personal records set, and determination to better my overall health. My drive, passion and commitment to running pushed over into 2015 finding the most perfect running group and making a goal for myself of running 15 race in 2015.

Long story short -- 15 races did not happen in 2015 AND I fell off the healthy bandwagon PRETTY
fast. After a tough half marathon in February and heartbreak of not PRing in it, my motivation fell. (As many of your read in my blog post, it's linked below) I think this happened for a reason because running in 2015 became for another reason....to help others.

While I may have not ran 15 races this year, I did compete in 8 events, one being very monumental for me, my first triathlon. This year I participated in the Be Amazo 10k, Quakertown Rotaty 10-Miler, Love Run Half Marathon, Brooklyn Half Marathon, Sandy Hook Triathlon, Runners World 5k, Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half Marathon on Halloween, and the PennSuburban Chamber 5k in December. I opted to sit out the Broad Street Run this year and with cash being tight, I had to strategically create my race calendar.

But despite all of the races and all of the miles, this year meant so much more to me. I made tons of new friends, rekindled a friendship with one, and I had the ability to watch and HELP a few fellow runners have a successful running year.

To my RUN Club-ers - I can not thank you enough for welcoming me into such an amazing, supportive and hysterical group of individuals. I wrote my first blog post about The Club on December 18 and I can say I'm still just as obsessed with you all now as I was that first day. This group has taught me that each and every one of us is an amazing and talented runner, and with the support of each other, we can accomplish ANYTHING! It doesn't matter your pace or your preferred distance, there is ALWAYS someone willing to run along side you. When injury comes our way, we have DOZENS of friends giving their support, prayers and motivation to keep our heads up when we're in a dark place. I love you all! Xo

To my dear friend Janice, I can not thank you enough for introducing me to the wonderful world of Triathlons. Our friendship dates back to second grade and here we are today, being a dynamic duo yet again despite several years of loosing touch. Your support, advice and friendship is something I cherish, and I can't thank you enough for opening my eyes to new possibilities and new adventures. You've made me realize I CAN do anything I put my mind to, and you helped me overcome my fear of getting eaten by a shark during the swim portion. :) I can't wait to Stroke It, Ride It, Pound It with you in 2016 -- watch out bitches, here we come!

Monica, I can not express into words how proud I am of you and all you have accomplished so far this year. I know you've told me many times how grateful you are that I introduced you to the RUN Club, but I'm grateful I've gained you as a friend. I hope you dont have me for yelling at you to "don't
stop running, do it for Jake!". I've been so honored to run by your side and help you train for some big races on your 2015 race schedule. Congrats! YOU need to be proud of yourself! Just like we are all proud of you.

Last and certainly not least, my dearest Taylor -- we are nearly a week away from your FIRST HALF MARATHON! What started out as a shot in the dark ask for 4 family remembers to run this race with me, you are the only one who stuck with it. Being able to run beside you, train you and witness all of your hardwork makes me fall more and more in love with you. Your determination and drive is something I've always cherished about you and it is great to witness it first hand. This half isn't even about me, it's about you! I can't wait to watch you cross that finish line and see that medal around your neck. I am so proud of you, my heart could burst.

Finish a Triathlon - CHECK

Monday, September 14, 2015

It’s officially been 24 hours since Iron Girl and I am still pumping with adrenaline from the race. It’s the same smile on your face/butterflies in your tummy you get when you’re in a new relationship. Most things new are exciting and this definitely is one for me.

Saturday: Heading to Sandy Hook
Heading to Sandy Hook for race registration was a breeze. I quickly got to packet pick up, got all my

items and hung around to listen to the “Course Talk”. For us newbies it was a great chat – they talked about the course, suggestions, tips and the day overall. It was nice to hear how much support the committee/organizers of the event are willing to give to make Iron Girl the best race experience there is. They were already winning me over on day one.

The race directors did acknowledge one hiccup for race day…they were missing an entire shipment of medals. If you’re an athlete, whether you want to admit it or not, most of us are all about the bling. You raise your hands as you cross the finish line…take 10 steps and right there is volunteers placing your precious bling around your neck. Limited bling means not everyone is getting one…most likely the individuals who are towards the back. I was in the second to last wave because of my age group so in my mind, Amanda wasn’t getting bling on Sunday. I knew they would mail it, but come on, WE WANT BLING! Liam wants bling!

So after buying a few shirts at the expo, it was time to go rack my bike. All the athletes are lucky with this race series being able to rack their bikes in transition the day before the race. They hire a night security team and watch all of the bikes over night. It was nice to worry about one less thing on race day morning.

That night, Taylor and I met up with Sarra, Augusto and Laia for a tasty Italian dinner. Carb load – check. Back to the hotel I got all my items in order – Check. A restless nights sleep filled with nerves – check.

Sunday – Race Day

Transition Set Up
It was an early start…4 a.m. WOOF. The day began so early because for Iron Girl Sandy Hook, each triathlete (ahhh weird saying that instead of runner!) needs to have all of their items in transition and set up by 6:30 a.m. For those of you who do not know, transition is sort of like “home base.” At transition you rack your bike and lay out all of your gear. So first you swim, then you run into transition and put on all the necessary items you need to bike. After the bike portion you head back into transition, rack your bike and get all the necessary items to run.

The Swim
So once our items were in transition it was the waiting game until our start. The ladies were entered
into the water by waves starting at 7 a.m. Each wave had a different swim cap/age group. The blue cap (that’s me) started at 7:50 a.m. As I mentioned before, I was most intimated by the water. And rightfully so. On Sunday the bay was choppy…realllll choppy. And there was a strong cross wind coming across the bay. On the swim there is a bit of a channel created – one side is all blow up inflatable buoys and the other side is lifeguards in kayaks and on paddle boards. They are there to help rescue, but they are also there in case a swimmer needs to take a break to catch their breath, and then keep swimming.

The first few waves of swimmers went off and some never moved. With each minute watching, I saw more and more swimmers struggle. And then it was whistles for rescues. Some swimmers couldn’t handle it and had to be picked up by the rescue boats in the water. Just like that they were disqualified and their Sandy Hook adventure was over – 13 women in total on Sunday. My knees were feeling weak and my stomach had knots. How am I going to do this? Did I train hard enough? This 1/3 mile looks soooooooo long. Holy shit, I'm gonna puke.

And before I knew it, I was off. I ran three steps into the water and then dove in like Baywatch (I’m sure you can image how graceful haha) I was in and there was only one option, get to the other side. The waves were as rough as they looked. I focused on keeping my strokes steady and on my breathing. I took several HUGE gulps of sea water. Had one time where I needed to stop because I started to panic, but took a second, regrouped and went after it. Sixteen minutes later I was running on to the beach seeing our cheer squad and trying to catch my breath.

The Bike
I ran into transition, quickly dried off my feet, put on my shirt, sneakers, helmet and sunglasses and I was OFF. Off I went on a two loop, 15 mile course. Heading away from transition was amazing, wind at our backs and I was flying. But it was coming back that was the struggle because wind was in our face, but luckily I knew that because my friend Janice warned me, I was already mentally prepared. My game plan in the bike portion was to peddle my ass off on the way out with the wind, and focus on strong strokes into the wind.

Some of these women in the race are pure badasses. I was in awe of many of them. Two loops and
back to transition I was welcomed by screams from Taylor. I jumped off my bike and my legs turned into spaghetti. Taylor is screaming for me to sprint into transition and I could barely walk. Ut oh...

The Run
As I racked my bike I was telling myself “I have no idea how you are going to run with your legs feeling like this.” When I trained for this race, I trained all three events separately (except the swim where I would run to the pool and run after). But I never practiced bike and run. I headed out to the road for our run and it took me nearly ¾ of a mile to actually feel my legs and feel like I was going somewhere. I’ve never felt so slow in my life!

Once I hit the one mile mark I knew I had an okay stride and could actually feel myself hit the pavement. I hit the turnaround point (1.5 miles) and I told myself, this is your strong area Amanda, run home girlfriend. And that’s what I did. I ran my heart out to see Taylor screaming at the finish line as always, screaming with cowbell in hand. Seeing him at the end always makes me smile. Apparently he makes me run faster as well because I had a 9:19 pace after all that swimming and biking (I'm lucky to be there on a normal run day!)


And just like that, I am officially an Iron Girl AND I got a medal. The ‘do a triathlon’ is checked off the bucket list. I had a goal time of 1 hour and 45 minutes based off my training and my official time was 1 hour 47 minutes FLAT. Not too shabby for a first timer.

I have no idea what the “average” time is for these things and honestly, I DON’T CARE. I crushed it and I kicked some ass in my mind which is all that matters. My friend Scott who is our Special Olympics head coach posted “I hope everyone realizes how hard this event is and what an achievement you have made. Way to go!” Scott himself is an AMAZING athlete and for him to post that was humbling to read. I couldn’t help but get teary eyed because I myself don’t give myself enough credit sometimes. I should be very proud, and honestly I am! I am one happy triathlete.

Team Stroke It, Ride It, Pound It – congrats to you ALL. We rocked it out there and EVERYONE loved our shirts. Go girls!

My first Triathlon

Thursday, September 10, 2015


It’s been 116 days since my last race.

Part of me feels like it has been forever. Four months have passed by and tonight I pack my bags for a new race and new journey…my first triathlon! I’m scared. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m emotional!

Now don’t get too excited, I’m not competing in an Ironman, but I am competing in a Sprint Triathlon. Triathlon’s come in four types: sprint which is roughly 16 miles, Olympic which is roughly 40 miles, half Ironman which is 70.3 miles, and Ironman which is 140.6 miles.


This weekend I’m heading to Sandy Hook, New Jersey for the Iron Girl on Sunday which aspires to bring women of all ages together as a community by offering a supportive, energetic and empowering environment for females pursuing a healthy and active lifestyle. (WOO HOO!) My girlfriend Janice is an Iron Girl Ambassador and has been bugging me for quite some time to do a Tri/Iron Girl with her. This year I finally caved in. A race full of inspirational women – heck yeah, I love it!

For my race this weekend I will have to swim 1/3 mile in the bay, bike 15 miles and run 3.1 miles. When it comes to being on land, I’m comfortable on the bike and running portion. However, it is the water where I put in a lot of work and focused most on. My apartment is luckily right by Whites Road Pool so I would run to the pool, jump in, swim my distance, jump out and run home. As a resident is was only $4 a pop after 5 p.m. and Wednesday I could go for $2 (half price day!! Holla!)

Just like any other race, whether it is a 5k, 10k, Ironman, whatever … you always have to start somewhere. And that is what I’m doing. I’m going to New Jersey this weekend with butterflies in my stomach and a new obstacle I can say I faced and tackled. I have a goal time in mind, but I’m not trying to worry about that. I’m going to have fun with thousands of women, especially the 7 ladies who will be my Stroke It, Ride It, Pound It teammates.

Despite some leg issues recently I’m going to hunker down and enter beast mode and get this race DONE! Lots of ice, stretching, foam rolling and water over the next 48 hours. I can’t wait to be an Iron Girl! I’ll be sure to fill everyone in on how it goes. And I can't wait to force Taylor rub my calves post race. #BoyfriendProblems

Wedding Wake Up

Monday, August 24, 2015

I head to every wedding with tissues in my purse. This weekend’s wedding was no different.

I’m a big cry baby at every wedding. Tears flow from the second the bride walks down the aisle…I regroup myself…and then cry again the second vows are said. I’m a mush. I had to read at the ceremony on Saturday and don’t ask me how I got through it holding it together. I’m still questioning it myself!

But I can’t help it. Weddings make me so incredibly happy. To be able to sit in my seat and watch a union between two special people is a precious gift to view. I’m thankful to be there. And I’m even happier that two of my friends are the happiest they’ve ever been in their lives.

Finding your soul mate is a gift in itself. 

As humans we wait our whole lives to find an individual that we trust and want to build a future with. Someone you’re willing to open yourself completely to, letting them love you for your flaws and you loving them for theirs. Some people wait a lifetime, some people never find that person, and those lucky enough to find their better half live happily ever after as the fairy tales say.

Love is a precious gift I hope all of us get to experience in our lifetime – and more importantly, don’t take for granted. Sometimes we take our significant others, family and friends for granted, getting use to normal day-to-day interactions with our daily routines, our daily kisses and daily ‘I love you’s.’

But as my dear friend Stephanie reminds us (she was at a wedding this weekend as well)…“Ya know, sometimes when you go to a wonderful wedding it reminds you how lucky you are to have landed a great guy [your gal] yourself.”

Sunshine Blogger Award

Monday, August 10, 2015

It is always fun when someone nominates you for an award – especially when it comes to my
writing! Thank you Ashley of ‘Like the Soup’ for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

“The whole idea of the Sunshine Award is that you nominate eleven bloggers who put a little sunshine in your day, who are positive, creative, and inspiring.”

RULES:
– Answer the 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
– Nominate some wonderful bloggers and write 11 questions for them to answer.

Here we go...

1. If you could be anyone for a day, who would you be?
Since I was a little girl I’ve always wanted to be a lead singer of a band. Maybe it was Jem and the Holograms that had me brain washed from a young age, but in my next life I’ll be a singer. So, I would say that I’d love to be Haley Williams of Paramore for a day…in Los Angeles at a Warped Tour set completely losing myself on stage. To see the huge crowd, feel their energy and have thousands sing along with me seems AMAZING! Plus all the back stage fun would be awesome to experience.
 

2. If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Candid

3. What is your biggest fear?
Lightning – I had a traumatizing situation when I was a kid. Long story short I was fishing with my dad, he refused to leave even though it was raining with thunder and BOOM, a lightning bolt hit the water about 50 yards from us. My dad tried to make it up to me by buying me McDonald’s for dinner. Little does he know, he has scared me for life. No burger will erase that memory.

4. What’s the one food you would eat every day if you could?
I have two, pizza or ice cream…all day, everyday.

5. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re alone?
I love a good book…when I lived in Cape Cod (which I was alone 98% of the time) I read 40 books!

6. If you had to dance like no one was watching in front of a crowd right now, what song would you dance to?
Avicii - Levels

7. What’s your least favorite time of year?
The entire winter season – I have seasonal depression so the long dark days are not my favorite – leave for work it’s dark and leave from work its dark. Womp womp.

8. What part of your body is your favorite?
I feel like I should say my hands – as a goalkeeper they have given me LOTS of memories and a life I wouldn’t trade for the world.
 

9. Would you rather sleep for an entire week or stay awake for an entire week?
Stay awake, go on a week long bender of go go go…I can only image how much I could get accomplished and do. Plus my FitBit enemies would have no chance in beating me MUAAAHAHAHAHAHA
 

10. What country would you go to right now if someone offered you a free ticket to wherever you wanted to go?
IRELAND! I am dying to go meet Liam and his family…soon enough!

11. Who is your favorite person?
This is a trick question as 5 names come immediately to my mind, but if I had to pick one I would have to say Taylor. He’s my voice of reason when I’m upset, he puts up with my road rage, he supports my goals, he always makes me smile when I’m in the dumps and the list goes on and on. I’m a lucky lady.

_________________________________________________________________________________
My questions for my selected bloggers

1. Favorite song lyric:
2. Piece of advice your parents gave you that you will always remember:
3. What is something you absolutely love:
4. What is a fear you’ve overcome:
5. Do you believe in heaven:
6. Your favorite book turned movie:
7. What food could you eat in entirety in one sitting:
8. Click your heels three times and you wish you appeared where:
9. What makes you swoon:
10. Most influential teacher:
11. Talent you always wished you had:


My selection is three bloggers I follow daily (two of whom I've never met but feel like I know!) The nominees are....
Jessica @ Get Gutsy
Kelly @ Run, Selfie, Repeat
Sarah @ Running on Healthy

One Year Matchiversary

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sweet Liam,

I can’t believe that today marks one year since you and I were united. Over the last 12 months I’ve
had the pleasure of meeting you and your incredible family – both immediate and extended family. I am honored to be able to say I now have a second family - including 4 brothers, an awesome role model dad, and a mom I consider one of my dearest friends. I’m not too sure of higher powers above, but you and I were a match made in heaven – THE DIAMOND DUO!

While running for you is what brought us together, I’ve learned so much more within the last year than what I have in a lifetime.

You and your family are pure examples of living life to the fullest and perseverance.

Each and every day I am amazed at the strides you continue to make through your speech, actions and sense of humor. Your giggles are contagious, your smile melts everyone’s heart and your love for life and family is a gift. I am so excited to see you in school next year, making new friends and learning LOTS of cool stuff. Kudos to your mom for going through a tough battle with the schools - her drive is amazing.


As we enter into our second year of being buddies, I have a feeling this will be our best year yet! More miles, more races and most importantly, a visit to Ireland to see you and your amazing family. With a goal of June of 2016, butterflies already sit in my stomach thinking about the day we will meet face-to-face and all of the happy tears that will flow from my eyes. (I can’t even write this letter holding it together!)

I can’t wait until we run in a race together along the mountains and go out for an afternoon stroll together, me hopefully telling you funny stories and jokes, playing hide-n-seek, and eating some tasty ice cream together.

Thank you for being my biggest inspiration and one of the greatest joys I’ve had the privilege of experiencing in my life. And thank you to your family for sharing you with me. I promise to never, EVER, let you (or them) down from now until the end of our days.

With all my heart,

Amanda

Let Me Sulk This Week

Thursday, April 2, 2015

This week I’ve been bad. I’ve ate like crap – including the two Yum Yum donuts and large coffee this morning. I haven’t run once since the half on Sunday. I needed a week of sulking and not caring…not caring what I eat…not caring if I run…I needed a break.

This past Sunday was the LOVE Run half marathon in Philadelphia. With a pretty remarkable year of running for me last year, I hoped to continue that in 2015 with the LOVE Run being my first true test since the marathon last November.

I hardly gave myself any time off after the marathon and I quickly got into training again in December, finding THE Run Club and running outside in bitter temperatures, only hitting the treadmill less than 5 times. (Cold weather, but so worth long distances outside than inside.) I’ve been training hard, running constant hills in Souderton, pushing myself to catch up to faster runners in the Club. I was excited to hit the spring race season with lots of miles under my belt, probably more than any other season yet.

But sadly, I walked away on Sunday with tears coming down my cheeks at the finish line with pure disappointment. I grabbed my medal, I didn’t even want to put it around my neck, and as I curled around the corral to meet Taylor and Kristin, I saw Taylor and broke down.

I know I’m nuts and I know I put too much pressure on myself, but I wanted to do better. I wanted the 2-hour or sub-2 hour time. I hit 2:01 during my peak training of the marathon last October and I was ready to do better. But I didn’t…and what is eating me inside is that I could have. But I gave up. I mentally gave up on Sunday.

While I wanted two hours, I ended up getting 2:04:38. I know, I know, you’re thinking, Amanda seriously – 4 minutes off. Yeah well that four minutes is a big chunk of time in the running world. My fellow runner friend Kristin who was also there on Sunday of course tried making me feel better as temperatures were freezing and winds were over 10 mph. But I didn’t care – that didn’t help my sadness.

I was on target, I was on track…I was WAY ahead…flying out of the gate (the Souderton hills HAVE helped lots!) Through mile 7 I was cruising, loving the course, loving the fans, loved running through Philly as always….but by mile 9, that’s when shit hit the fan.

With two MASSIVE hills (which we all know about) they of course were challenging and backtracked everyone…that’s okay though, I was way ahead of pace. But come mile 10 that trek back down Martin Luther King Blvd. to the Art Museum is always the death of me. Why? It’s a flat road, straight shot. But it is, it always is, every race! Step by step I looked down at my watch and tenths of seconds ticked away…I knew I need a 9:17 pace to get to my 2:01 I had in October…9 min. mile…9:08 mile…fuck fuck fuck!!

I thought of Liam…it gave me a burst, but I just didn’t have it. Seconds clicked, my heart was in my throat, I wanted to throw up (almost two times),  And just like that I looked at my watch…my chance was gone. 9:18 mile pace. As my heart gave up, so did my legs…it was the longest three miles to the finish line.

As I passed the 13 mile marker I knew I was almost there and my eyes began to well…I saw my best friend Donavan and her parents, it took everything out of me to smile and give a happy wave. I didn’t even look at the finish clock (as it is always off for me because I don’t start at the actual gun time.) I thought of Liam as I crossed the finish line and did a posed starfish jump at the finish line (that will be a fun picture to see.) But the second I landed on my feet the water pockets released and there I was. Crying, sulking, pissed, disappointed, ready to GTFO of Philly. (As I was surrounded by hundreds who were excited whether it was a new PR, their first half marathon, etc.)

Like I said, I know I’m too hard on myself. I’m happy I finished and I’m proud to say I beat my spring half marathon time from Wildwood last year barely (2:04:46) and I’m proud to say that was half marathon #8.

But I need a little regrouping.

I'll be back on the wagon come Monday...maybe even sooner. I’m scheduled to run the Brooklyn Half Marathon on May 16 with my friend Christy. I’m excited for a new city and new race, but I might just run this one to run. (that’s at least what I tell myself.) Go in with no expectations and enjoy it! After Brooklyn I think I’m going to take a little break from the race scene…maybe only stick to a few 5ks here and there and continue to encourage my new running friends and help my friends who are below my pace to get faster.

Regroup, get my head straight, enjoy the miles – purely enjoy them like I was last year!

But no matter what I remember the following 1 Corinthians 9:26 “So I run with purpose in every step.”

Motivation Monday Vol. 2.5

Monday, February 23, 2015

Spring is coming.

Spring is coming.

Spring is coming.

It's only 24 days away.

We can do it.

It's really not that cold out. My face didn't freeze like that on Saturday during my run. Sunday was gorgeous...just 24 more days like that and spring is here.

Spring is coming.

Dear lord, hurry up spring....I can't handle this frigid weather anymore! The only motivation I have for you is to keep moving, however my picture proves that even if you ARE moving, you're still going to freeze. Stay warm friends!

Ash Wednesday Fail

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Piccirilli – a true Italian-Catholic last name.

Not for us.

In our family, we’re far from Catholic. My father grew up going to Catholic school and church, however you would never guess it with the potty mouth he has and how his moral compass is set anything but North. I grew up going to church in the United Church of Christ denomination until I was about 12 years old until soccer tournaments were taking priority over weekends and church had to sit on the back burner. I was baptized but to this day I never received confirmation.

So with that quick little religious background on myself, I ended up going to a Jesuit college – Loyola College in Maryland. Religion classes were a requirement - Theology 101 was TORTURE, but my “Women in Religion” class ended up being a great time as I got to interview a family friend for a research paper who told me her background of why she left the Catholic Church and instead started to practice as a Methodist. I won’t go into detail but WOW – the Catholic Church scared the life out of her!

Not going to church/not being raised Catholic also affected me in the place I would have least expected it to in college – on the soccer field. I will never forget my first collegiate game. Before we took the field our team stood on the sideline in a circle, arms wrapped around each other’s backs. I waited for the Seniors to say a motivational speech like I use to give in high school and as they opened their mouth in unison the team said…

“Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Hail who? What?

It took me nearly a full season to memorize Hail Mary and I can say with confidence, just like I do with song lyrics, I made up half the words. (I actually now KNOW I did after Googling them.) I probably should have Googled that while I was in college. Oopps! But may I add, as soon as we got in our huddle on the field before taking our positions we ended that little circle gathering with "F--- em' up on three....1-2-3...F--- em' up!" Not very Catholic-like or lady-like. Man I miss my fellow Hounds...

Ok, ok so where am I going with Ash Wednesday… so being the oblivious “I have no idea what Catholics do” kid on campus, I will NEVER forget my first Ash Wednesday walking around campus.

I walked into class and I saw a kid with black crap on his forehead. (Do I say something to him or just let it go..I’ll let it go.) I go to my next class and see another kid with crap on his forehead. Seriously, what the heck is wrong with people? Should I say something?

I head back to my dorm room and my best friend Sarra comes walking in with black-stuff on her forehead.

“Dude, you have stuff on your forehead Moller.”
“It’s Ash Wednesday, you get ashes put on your forehead! All Catholics do it – it’s the start of lent.”

Long story short, it’s a good thing I didn’t tell that kid in Spanish class that he has black shit he needs to wipe off his forehead or I would have looked like a major asshole! I'm usually not good at keeping my mouth shut, but I'm happy I did that time!

For this year’s Ash Wednesday I am highly enjoying the #AshTag on Twitter.  You should check it out!

Broad Street: Sitting This Year Out

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"...lottery for the Blue Cross Broad Street Run lottery ends Friday night at 11:59PM. We see 
that you were a past registrant for the Blue Cross Broad Street Run, but we don't seem to see your registration for the 2015 race."


This email funneled through my email last Wednesday. My finger was THIS close to registering, but I'm sorry to inform you Broad Street Run, I'm sitting this year out.

Insert runners guilt here.

I've had a GREAT four year run with the Broad Street Run, last year being my absolute favorite by LUCK, but for now I think I'm going to put this race on the back burner for a little while.

There is lots to love about the Broad Street Run: the course is amazing, running through YOUR city is a bit magical, the crowds are encouraging from start to finish, the bling is awesome, there are plenty of water stations, there are plenty of photo opps, the expo is always a fun time, and you usually ALWAYS run into a fellow runner you know!

But there is also lots I DON'T love, which is why I'm sitting out this year: The race is a little too big. With nearly 40,000 runners it's tight, from start to finish. There is some spacing after mile 3, but the final kick is tight and it's hard to pass anyone. Maybe last year because I was a bit faster, I thought the whole course was congested. With that many runners there is also a back up on the subway to get to the start and don't get me started about the line for the porta potties. It doesn't really matter where you start on race day, but for the last two years I haven't been able to start in my proper corral because I've been stuck in a bathroom line or I was barely getting off the subway in time even though I gave myself ample time to get to the start line (I'm very anal about getting to races with PLENTY of time.)

In my Fifteen in 2015 challenge I have for myself, I'm encouraging myself to try out new races and states - so sitting this one out is okay with me. The way I look at it is that I am giving someone else the opportunity to run one of Philadelphia's greatest and fastest races.

Broad Street, you were good to me, damn good to me. I can't wait to come back in the future - I hope you'll have me back. Good luck to all 2015 participants who get selected in this year's lottery. I know you will all do amazing!!! 

Motivation Monday Vol. 2.4

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy Monday and Happy President's Day. Is anyone else as lucky as me and off today?! Work has been absolutely insane and I couldn't have asked for a better mental health day. With temps in the teens you'll find me on the couch under a blanket all day long. Brr!

Today's Monday motivation is directed to myself as a reminder, but I'm also throwing it out there to
everyone else who may notice you're going back to bad habits. We're nearly a month and a half into the new year and I hope everyone is still staying strong to their resolutions/goals for 2015.

I'm pounding the pavement strong this year and like many of us, we are putting in the miles on the road or hours in the gym, but we're not going to see a difference unless we watch what we are putting in our mouths. So today's Monday motivation is "You can't out exercise a bad diet."

I hope everyone has a great week! Stay focused and keep your head up -- this cold weather WILL pass soon. Stay warm!

Get Gutsy: Go On The Radio

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My friend Jessica Lawlor shares every day on her blog about #gettinggutsy and after entering her Get Gutsy Essay Contest, I started making note of things I'm doing in my everyday life that are a bit on the gutsy side.

For instance, I had a 'get gutsy' experience just yesterday morning, I was on the radio!

Working in media I loved being face to face with individuals, learning their stories, using my words to tell their stories. But readers only new me as a byline unless they followed me on social media and could associate the name and face. I was hidden behind a byline.

So recording a PSA at WNPV and knowing my voice will be on the radio is a little awkward to me! When I listen to talk radio or my usual radio personalities on my drive into work, I always wonder what people look like. I wonder if people will think the same about me. EKK! Will I sound funny? Did I rush? Did I stutter?

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous sitting in the recording room with the mic in front of me -- my palms were sweaty, hands were shaking holding the script. But I got gutsy, read nice and slow and BAM - in one recording, our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance PSA was recorded and Miss Piccirilli is your newest radio personality (I kid, I kid.)

Motivation Monday Vol. 2.3

Monday, January 19, 2015

In observance of Martin Luther King Day, I ask you to question yourself -- when is the last time you did something for others?

We often do things for our friends and family, but have you ever done something for an absolute stranger?

Working in the non-profit world, it is amazing to see the thousands of people's lives changed because of the work we do. Getting involved with Special Olympics and I Run 4 has also given so much pleasure in helping out others in need.

If you've never volunteered or done any special work like this, I definitely say try it. It may change your perspective on life forever. 

I'm Mad, Real Mad

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

This morning before work I read an article that pissed me off....I mean REALLY pissed me off. I wanted to blog first thing in the morning, but I decided to sit on it and cool down from the anger. But nearly 12 hours later, I'm still pissed. This morning I came across an article titled "No Marathon For Me, Thanks: Five Reasons She's Opting Out" on Zelle. (Read it, it's a quick read)

It had to do with running,  so it clearly caught my eye, so I clicked away. What I thought was going to be a fun little read had my blood pressure boiling with each paragraph read. (Did you read it yet?)

Now some of you may have read it as, okay she lists her reasons. What's the big deal? Everyone is allowed to have reasons not to run a marathon, which I completely agree with. HOWEVER, her reasons are excuse my french, bullshit. To me I read this as a huge cope out and excuse filled blog post...here is my reasoning.

1.) OPRAH: Ever since Oprah ran the Marine Corps Marathon (with her time of 4:29:20) in 1994, marathons have been about completion... Forget a competitive time—the point of running 26.2 miles could simply be … to finish?   Isn't completion what a race is all about? Who cares if your first marathon means to cross the finish line...who cares if that's the way you look at your third marathon. I WISH I could finish in the time of Oprah. Because I was slower than her, does that mean I'm not a justified marathoner?? (two times mind you). To discredit individuals for what they have done and what they have gone through is absolute bullshit. According to this, those 18-weeks of training and the sweat and tears really didn't mean anything because I didn't cross the finish line FIRST nor beat Oprah. Hey JoAnna, I'm an all-or-nothing girl myself and I damn well put everything out there on Nov. 21st.

2.) THE ME-ME-ME SHOW: Isn't this post all about her-her-her? So what if we Instagram our trails, or Facebook ourselves during a mid-run or talk about running on social media? I read about friends having babies, getting engaged, taking a dump and I love it all. They are posting about things they love!! Quite frankly I think some of my posts inspire people here at there to get off there ass and move. (I know so because I've seen comments and I LOVE knowing that.) I'm helping someone and someone is helping me. So sorry JoAnna - I'll continue to post about me-me-me and blog about me-me-me. If you don't like it, unfollow me. Buh-bye.

3.) NOTHING TO PROVE: I personally think training for ANY race has LOTS to prove. To prove you're physically strong enough to take on a challenge. To prove to yourself that you're mentally strong enough. And most importantly to prove that you didn't give up to something you committed to. So what us long distance runners go out for two hours. Those are two hours where I am completely enjoying myself and bettering myself. My two hours of running are someone else's two hours of painting. Is that a waste of time for them also?

4.) KNEES AND HEART: Last time I checked physical activity is beneficial to your whole well being. Right? If not, school has been lying to me since I was 5!!

5.) THE JOYS OF MODERATION: We're not promised a tomorrow so you better give it your all while you can. Again, another cope out.

Running a marathon is a BIG deal...and she's right, it takes lots of time, lots of determination, lots of energy. She nailed that right on the head and she could have been brief with her reasoning saying those few things. But to belittle other runners and make us feel like our reasonings and accomplishments aren't good enough -- that's where this article stings. And quite honestly, I don't think she would make it through the training because she's not mentally tough enough.

The running community has been one of the most accepting, open armed groups of individuals I have EVER surrounded myself with. But in every group there is always a sour apple. This just goes to prove that you can't let one hater bring the group down as a whole. Each and every runner should be proud of their accomplishments. I hope JoAnna is proud of every finish line she crossed. But maybe next time she thinks about blogging she won't be so judgemental and rude to runners of all kinds, from the experienced runner to the recreational runner. Her article could detour someone who is considering to pick up running from never wanting to step out the door.

Don't ever think that way -- us runners love all of you. Lace up your shoes and join us. It will change your life forever - marathon or no marathon.

Motivation Monday Vol. 2.2

Monday, January 12, 2015

Work smarter, not harder. 

I've been hearing this quote since I was 10 years old on the soccer field and I never thought I'd start using it in my work life. Our coach use to tell us this quote when we played against teams -- guiding us to pass the ball around the field (work smarter) and not play kick and run which was making us exhausted (not harder).

I've been at the United Way for exactly two months and from day one things have been non-stop and full speed since my arrival. I thought a lot of this was because I was new and I of course had to learn the lay of the land -- but I was wrong. From day one I hit the ground running and I've come to learn this is how the industry is. I'm a fan of a fast-paced environment (hence why I think I loved journalism.) But being action packed all day has made me realize that I need to "work smarter, not hard" while at the office. There are many days when I look at the clock and it is 3 p.m., I've yet to get out of my chair, eat lunch OR pee.  AND it feels like I have nothing checked off my "to do" list.

But that is what time management is all about - working smarter, not harder. Not all days are hunky dori, filled with flowers and rainbows. Lots of days suck, like today. But luckily with some running therapy and nearly two hours of Facetiming with your best friend, you day picks right back up and you're ready to do the whole thing all over again.


I Made It Official

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Do you guys remember back in November how I FINALLY hit the publish button for my “I Am A Runner” post? Well….just like that blog post, I’ve been sitting on an idea for this blog for over two years and for some reason something was holding me back to commit.

For most of you non-bloggers this might not seem like a big deal, but today is a BIG DEAL! I am super excited to announce that Amanda Piccirilli’s Take Your Pic is official because it can now be found at www.amandapiccirilli.com.  That’s right, after two years of debate I took the plunge and have made it official with my own self-hosted site. My friend Jessica Lawlor always used to tell me that while my blog posts could be amazing, when people look at the URL and see that it says blogger or WordPress the credibility lessens. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not – I find it doubtful that some HUGE news source would find little old me interesting enough to feature, but HEY! Maybe she’s right and now I’ll be all over the interwebz. Or heck, maybe I’ll be the next Carrie Bradshaw! (A girl can wish!)

With a blog face lift in April of last year, I finally feel like this blog is going somewhere. Maybe it is only going somewhere for me, but I'm okay with that. I have my few loyal readers, some posts get hundreds of clicks and some posts I barely have five hits. But that's fine.

Writing is my happy place and I’m very thankful for the continuous support from my loyal followers! Luckily for me, www.amandapiccirilli.com will forever be mine.


Motivation Monday Vol. 2.1

Monday, January 5, 2015

I could be way off, but if I was a guessing woman I would take a stab that nearly 75% of Americans got up early, packed a healthy lunch today, are planning to hit the gym and are all organized for the entire week being that it is the first full week of the new year. Does that sound like you?

I like that about individuals – the new year comes and we’re eager to do right. Eat healthy. Workout more. Focus on bettering ourselves. I’m ALL for it.

But I really hope everyone eases into it. If you’re heading to the gym for the first time in a while, take it easy – get back into the swing of things. Don’t go and run 5 miles if you only usually run two. You’re going to wake up sore tomorrow and that will set you back, make you discouraged and possibly even injure yourself.

Want to eat better like myself? We need to take small steps. A lady from my mom’s work gave us these containers and I absolutely LOVE them! You can see them at easylunchboxes.com. What do I love most? That is shows me portion control. If it doesn’t fit in there, I’m not eating it! Plus, go ahead and creep around on their instagram, they have AWESOME lunch ideas (lunch is least creative meal -- I always need help so feel free to share with me!!)  I already have my lunches picked out for the week. Like everything in life, it’s just sticking to it! Ugh...

Small, obtainable goals – we got this guys. Good luck on week one. Statistics say habits can be broken/formed in 21 days. Let’s mentally get there! Happy Monday!

Get Gutsy: Be Better Than Yesterday

Friday, January 2, 2015

Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy. This post is my entry for Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details and download a free copy of the inspiring Get Gutsy ebook.


We don't need to make a new year resolution. We've got 365 days of them. Be better than yesterday.

But you can’t be a better you unless you make a change. It doesn’t matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, you can still turn around. As Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

And that’s what I did; I got gutsy on September 4, 2013 and vowed to never be that same unfit, unhappy individual ever again. I was ready for a new me. I strive each day now to better myself.

I was committed to making myself a happier, healthier Amanda – pushing myself to limits I have never stepped on before, knowing that the road would not be easy and I would have a long way to go. (Which to this day I still have a ways to go!)

With a bubbly, happy-go-lucky personality on the outside for all of my friends and family to see, I
I Run 4 Liam and GA1 Awareness!!
was filled with self-hatred on the inside – ashamed of my weight, my looks, my life. I was in a dark, DARK, hole for many years. So instead of feeling sorry for myself day after day, I decided to make an active change.

You are the only one who can produce happiness. I wanted happy – the happy I saw in my friend’s eyes and lives – I wanted that.

So I made it happen. I made the choice to change my lifestyle after being haunted by pictures of my over-weight self and the awfulness I felt each and every day from being physically out of shape and in bad health. I was an athlete my whole life – it was time to get mentally strong again. Be that confident young woman that lives inside the roots of my soul. The choice to better myself has been the best decision of my life.

In 16 months I have lost a total of 35+ pounds and I have accomplished fitness goals I never knew possible! Even though I started running back in 2011, I now have the self-assurance to call myself a runner – I competed in 13 races during 2014, getting a new personal record in my half marathon (2 hours 1 minutes) and beating my previous marathon time by an hour and 25 minutes (a new PR of 4:49).

But the best thing that has come out of me getting gutsy is that I’ve helped others get gutsy, helping them get out of their comfort zones. I truly feel like I have touched the lives and inspired so many individuals who realized, ‘wow, if she can do it, I can do it to!’ We can all do it, you just have to want it. That's a reminder to myself each and every day.

Making the commitment takes sacrifice – no raging weekends with friends because of training runs, opting out to go to dinner because you’re being extra good, getting up at 4:40 a.m. to hit the streets by 5 a.m. on hot summer mornings – but all of that was and still IS worth it to me. It's what I want, it's now who I am.

Be selfish with yourself because in the end your happiness is all the matters in life. And when you’re happy others around you are happy – it’s infectious. So get gutsy by taking control of your life -- you're the one with the reigns, take them where you want to go.

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