Tuesday Introductions...

I know, I know, 'Tuesday Introductions' is not really a thing. I made it up.  Clever, huh? 

But, now that you're here and I have your attention, I wanted to introduce myself. I realized that I've had this blog for about 4 years already and I've never done an introduction post.  Of course, you can always go to "My Story" page to read about why I started It's a Messy Life and a bit about me, but do you really know someone off their about page? So, here goes! 

5 Random Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Me 

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1. I'm obsessed with La Croix sparkling waters.  I don't drink soda, so when plain water starts to get boring, this is my go-to! I especially love the grapefruit flavor! Have you tried them? What's your favorite? 

2. If I had a pet, I'd want a mini pig!!!  With a husband, 2 kids, running a business, a blog, and everything else in life, there's just no time for a pet. So, for now I just get my mini pig fix on Instagram! Anyone else follow @mybestfriendhank

3. I don't like Starbucks, but I collect their You Are Here coffee mugs! I don't particularly hate Starbucks, I just think there are lots of better coffee options available. Given the choice between Starbucks or a local coffee shop, the local coffee shop wins every time.  But, everywhere we go has a Starbucks, so I always get a mug to commemorate where we've been! Does this make me a hypocrite? 

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3. I'm a professional wedding photographer.  It's the best "job" ever! You can check out my work here: http://www.theemerics.com/ and if you're looking for a wedding photographer, I'm your girl!

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5. I was born in Texas! But, I don't own cowboy boots or listen to country music.  We moved to Maryland when I was 10, so that part didn't get ingrained in me.  I do say Ya'll a lot, though! 


Ok, so there you have it.  A little more info on who I am and what I like to do besides running and blogging! I'd love to hear more about you! Feel free to introduce yourself in the comments and give me a random fact about you. XO

Seven Tips for Making the Most of Your Next Racecation

What exactly is a "racecation"? Well, it's a race + vacation in one! I love to travel and I love to run races, so racecations are the best of both worlds for me!  For others, it could be a dream race they've had on their bucket list or part of their goal to race in every state.  Whatever your reasons, if you're traveling for a race, I say bring the family, stay a few extra days and make it a vacation! 

I've traveled to quite a few races and with a little planning it is totally possible to run a great race and enjoy the sights!  Here are my Top 7 Tips for planning your next racecation!

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1. Plan Ahead. This may seem obvious, but it's important to note.  Make sure to check out all the race details and final emails for any transportation logistics, last minute changes, and any race add-ons, such as carb loading dinners, seminars, or VIP Packages.  Some of these can sell out, so be sure to sign up early if you plan to take advantage of them.  It's best to print any waivers or forms beforehand, so you don't waste time once you're there.  Believe me, your family will thank you for it. Some race sponsors also offer discounts or deals to race participants, so it's good to go to the race website and see what's available.  I've found great prices on hotels and even a good deal on a city tour in Seattle this way!  Also, know where the expo is being held! Sometimes it's at the start/finish but other times, it could be in a completely different area, so map it out and know where you're going! 

2. Book a Nearby Hotel.  Like I just mentioned, most races will have a list of recommended lodging and they may even offer a discount to racers.  I'd check these out first, but if they are no longer available, as these do tend to book up soon, look for other nearby hotels. It's up to you if you prefer to be near the start or finish line and it may also depend on what you'll be using for transportation.  A lot of races do offer buses to the start line from specific locations.  Personally, for my racecations, we'll book a hotel near the finish line, so my family can easily meet me with me afterwards and they don't have to ride in the car with stinky mom for too long! 

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Use Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Cube. This post in not sponsored by Eagle Creek, I just really love their products.  As a Rock N Roll Marathon ambassador, I was given a Sport Tote to try out and I really liked it. Then, when I saw their booth at one of the expos, I purchased the Pack-It Sport Cube and it's since been with me for every overnight race and racecation! I pack everything I need for race day in it: sneakers, Garmin, hat, top, bottoms, socks, sport bra, undies, glide, gels, Nuun! Even a change of clothes for after the race! Basically, if I need it for race day, it's going in that cube.  It keeps me organized and I love knowing that it's all together.  Plus, the cube is small enough and fits nicely in my suitcase.  I highly recommend them to everyone!! 

Don't Arrive Too Early.  I've learned from experience that it's best to run your race and then start your vacation, not the other way around.  Leaving the race for the end or even the middle of your trip may give you added stress and who needs that!  You'll possibly worry about things like getting enough sleep or worry about walking too much and running on tired legs.  You may even have to plan a short training run.  There's also things like your diet to consider and let's be honest, we all like to indulge a bit while on vacation, right? I've noticed that the best time to arrive is 1-2 days before your race.  I prefer to arrive the morning before the race.  This gives me enough time to visit the expo, pick up my race big, settle into our hotel room, grab dinner, and have an early bedtime.  However, if you'll be traveling to a different time zone and will experience some jet lag, then plan to arrive 2 days early and use that day in between to relax and acclimate to the time change. 

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Stick to your Pre-Race Routine. When we're traveling, we tend to go on hyper-mode and want to do and see everything! I speak from experience! Since most races are super early in the morning, you'll want to be sure to get to bed early.  Then, stick to your morning routine as much as possible.  I always make sure to get my go-to race day breakfast of a banana and a Justin's almond butter packet the night before. I also lay everything out the night before, so I can just go into auto-pilot and get dressed, grab my things and go.  It's usually to early for me to think straight, so doing it the night before gives me peace of mind on race day!

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Use Waze.  This one only applies if you'll be driving to your race.  If so, then rather than using Google Maps, I suggest using the Waze app.  It's free to download and since it's crowd sourced, the road closures due to the race will show up and it will give you better routes to take.  It's been really helpful for us!

Enjoy the Race. Most of us who plan racecations do so because it's a new city or new place we want to explore.  Running through a city or park we've never been to is exciting, so don't forget to look around.  Don't get so focused on just running the race and watching your pace that you forget to look around and take in the new scenery.  This was probably the reason you signed up for the race to begin with! Enjoy the race and scenery and think of all the fun you'll be having after your race is done! You'll get to see and visit new places because running got you there!  And, that is pretty cool! 

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Rambling On About Life, Health, and Change

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It's been a bit over a month since I hopped on here to share what's been going on.  The truth is, life has been kinda hard lately.  It's been tough processing all the disasters and loss that have taken place all over the world, in this country, and my hometown.  Having family, friends, and clients in the Houston area, plus a lot of my family in Puerto Rico dealing with such a catastrophic loss, it just felt silly to blog about dieting and running.  Then when the tragic event that happened here in Vegas recently, life felt like it was in slow motion and surreal. And now with the fires in Sonoma and Napa, where we'd just been this summer...It's enough for a girl to never leave her house! 

I cannot begin to imagine how all those affected are feeling and coping.  I consider myself lucky to not have been directly affected by any of these tragedies and natural disasters, but just watching from afar and doing what little we can to help.  I hear stories of the survivors and those dealing with so much loss and how they're staying strong, their grateful to be alive, and doing all they can to help others too.  It's inspiring.  

I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say.  I just know that I'm starting to feel a bit better recently. I'm learning not to take any day, no matter how mundane, for granted.  I am hugging my kiddos a little tighter and a little longer.  Every day is precious and I'm trying to find the joy in the little things.  I'm working hard to keep my family healthy and strong.  I'm working hard to keep myself healthy and strong, and sometimes that's really hard to do.  But, day by day, I know that I am a better person when I take care of myself.  My physical and emotional health has to come first if I'm going to help my kiddos or anyone else find happiness.  I am choosing to live a life with purpose and helping my family do the same. 

This blog, is a place I like to come to and share the good times and the messy times too. So, I'll be back to blogging regularly.  But, my purpose won't be just to share what I've been up to but to get back to the purpose of this blog, which was to help motivate others too! Not only do I want to use this blog to motivate others to a healthier lifestyle for themselves but also for their family and I'm not just talking about physical health, but our emotional health.  I'm wanting to share ideas and tips on getting out there and exploring, whether it be in your own backyard or an epic adventure!  It's a place to give ideas, plans, and hopefully inspire others to do the same.  To live with purpose. I want this blog to be a place to get ideas and plans to use in your own messy life! So, be on the lookout for some new content and a new format! How does that sound? I hope you'll stick around for the ride! XO