That’s that.

Welp, it’s me again.

It is still hard to come to terms with the fact that yes, I like to blog and write but at the same time I almost don’t miss it. Don’t get me wrong, the space this little blog provided, that outlet, that connection was all amazing. But the spending nights and free time feeling like I had to blog was not the greatest. It is funny because I have a handful of people saying WHAT you stopped blogging, but why. You need to go back. Then I have people that say – I mean now you are living life and not just writing about it. Truth.

This isn’t a comeback but today I wanted to to write. So why not write? Plus a lot of ‘new’ has taken place. Where to begin…

  • I got a huge promotion. Yes I will be thrown into totally new waters for me but this is what I have been working my tail off of for the past 11 months. Technically it is confidential but I know you all won’t tell. This new job is a leap but a crazy, amazing, can’t freaking wait leap. I begin transitioning in June. I just found this news out yesterday so the shell shocked feeling is still there. Pinch me.
  • Body pump certification is kicking my butt in all the right ways. Today I interview with the gym manager to be hired there. Sunday I am taping and can’t believe the amazing support I have of friends who are willing to take the hour long class I will be teaching. I get such an energy from teaching, this high I can’t even describe.
  • Early mornings are still my jam. Even better, they are lighter now so I dig hitting the pavement at what some would call an ungodly hour. Good news? Now that I don’t work weekends I get to have more buddy run times making the weekday solo miles not that bad. Oh and that marathon in October… haven’t even thought about a training plan… whoops.
  • I realize it is nice to be recognized. I have never been one who likes attention. I am that silent hard worker that steps up when the time is right but doesn’t need that recognition to do well. Lately in my job I have been getting a lot of pats on the back – from many unexpected high figures in the firm. Nothing feels better.
  • My running store friends always have my back. I think a part of me was still worried as I left the store our friendship would fizzle. Anything from that. We are constantly in contact and I can’t thank them enough for getting me through some nasty boy problems.
  • I quit birth control. Sorry probably should have prefaced that as TMI. I had only been on it for five months because I was having very painful periods. Not fun. However, I was getting pretty nasty side effects – the whole puffy face, swelling in hands (couldn’t even bend them) and water retention. I decided to quite cold turkey this week and already notice such a difference. My body was just not jiving with it. At all.
  • I am going home for the fourth. My firm actually gets most of that week off as a gift to the company (along with half days on Fridays in July!). I haven’t been home since Christmas. HELLO. Far too long.
  • Getting to hang out with my mom this past weekend in Charleston was soul soothing. We walked almost every morning chatting about life and everything in between. I miss mom time far too much.
  • I am on book 55 since January 1st. You could say I am still reading up a storm.

So ya. Life is changing but again a change I am starting to welcome. Don’t know when I will be back but maybe the urge to write will hit again soon. I do miss you all. I still read. Every day. You all know where to find me.

Question: what is one update on your life? 

Oh hey there.

Hi.

Isn’t that how you start those awkward conversations after not hearing from someone in a long time? Just a short. Hi. Period.

I never really came out saying, hey I need a break this blog will suffer type post. Mostly because I had no idea that I would just not start back up. Sadly, this is far from my come back post. I doubt you will be hearing from me in some time.

Life’s been awesome. Between certified to be a body pump teacher (I have my gym evaluation this Wednesday!), interviewing for promotions at work, seeing friends more often, enjoying spring running weather… I have been having my fair share of busy yet fun adventures. Even the sucky parts, met a guy – dumped by a guy, I still seemed to see the good in it. I do miss family, it has been far too long since I have seen anyone but that will be fixed when I head to Charleston next weekend for my sister’s graduation.

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I actually popped in to share some Whole Foods fun. You all know Allison, and if you don’t, I highly recommend getting to know this girl. For me, attending her event at her work was more than just supporting and learning more about the Go Meatless campaign and more about supporting someone doing what they love. Something that really inspires me about Allison is her passion for spreading her knowledge. When I was looking at internal jobs, there were so many ‘safe’ routes to go, and then there were those opportunities that made me push a little harder and go out on a limb. Allison taking this new job in the health field speaks so much to doing what you love and get others excited to follow in your footsteps.

Whole Foods Tenleytown hosted a Meatless Monday event throw by Health Food Specialist and blogger Allison. Even better, I was joined by Sophie and Megan.

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Now I was familiar to this location, this is my Whole Foods location since I live maybe five minutes away. While I arrived a little late, I did get to catch the tail end of appetizer and of course the hot food bar. Guys, I love vegetables. It is true. But I swear Allison made the best cauliflower I have ever had. It was so simple yet so delicious. I snagged that recipe for sure. As for the hot food bar, I had no problem staying meatless. At certain Whole Foods locations, Meatless Monday nights last from 4-7 pm and for a flat rate of $8 customers can fill up a plate (staying meatless!) to promote this campaign. Despite its smaller size for a Whole Foods, it was stocked with plenty and I mean plenty of choices to choose from. Cinnamon roasted butternut squash. Balsamic tofu. Grilled pineapple. Garlicy kale salad. And so much more. You bet that plate was full.

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My favorite part though (besides this amazing dessert I can’t even begin to explain made from avocado and unsweetened cocoa powder) was getting to talk to Allison and some of her other healthy food specialist coworkers. Each had such a love for what they do. Even hearing their funny customer stories was such a great chatting point.

What did I learn? I learned about their Healthy Starts Here brand. It is a way for Whole Foods to make healthy food accessible for all of its customers through helpful labels, signs and experts. With four pillars (using WHOLE FOODS, that are PLANT STRONG, contain HEALTHY FATS, and are NUTRIENT DENSE), the Healthy Starts Here brand equips their healthy food specialists with the expertise to help customers find those resources.

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I am pretty sure you will be finding me there on Mondays to take advantage of that killer deal. Not going to lie, something that made the event even that much better was hanging with some amazing bloggers that I hope to spend a lot more time with. So Whole Foods, thanks, Allison and Healthy Food Specialists, thanks. What a great Monday.

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As for you all, thanks. Obviously I have been quiet here. Doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping up. Just means I need to find purpose to this blog and still sit on it.

Question: Have you taken advantage of a Meatless Monday at Whole Foods? 

End of an Era.

Cats out of the bag. I have been attempting to keep this little secret till Monday because officially no one could announce it yet. Well, no secrets anymore. Come the second week of May after almost two years at the running store, I will no longer be there.

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On Monday night, our running store staff was called for a quick meeting. (You see where this is going huh?) We were told this DC location, the only DC location of our running store family stores would be moving to Gallery Place, aka closer to downtown DC rather than out in NW. Wow. Total news to all of us. Even the manager had only been informed that morning.

But what does this mean? Here’s the picture. This store is a neighborhood store. We have those loyal customers who live right around the area, most within walking distance. This new location is almost a 40-60 metro ride on the weekend if you are lucky because of the dang metro delays. Everyone, including myself, at the running store is within walking distance besides the manager and one other coworker. We were all asked to move to this location. All of us.

I won’t lie, I was super torn. I actually fully thought come the second week of May I would be moving. But I realized that would make my weekends hell and even less time and money shelled out just to get there. Plus, most of my coworkers won’t be moving to the new location either. I knew deep down, that gut feeling, was that I had to let it go. Woof.

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This place has been my second home, especially the last few months. My running store coworkers are and will always be some of my best friends in DC. That will never change. I think part of me worried that I would lose those people but if anything this store shift has brought me closer to them and they will still be those people I see weekly/daily and lean on all the time. I am beyond grateful for what this store gave me in skill sets. I gained this confidence of expertise I never have felt in anything else, I also found a passion for running you can’t replicate.

Ironically, this came at the same time as a mini promotion at my real job giving me the Senior title and a slight raise. Setting me up for a new internal position promotion come May (ultimately where I want to be). What a relief. Money will always be a stress point for me but this at least gave me a little peace of mind on that front.

So, the next 7 weeks or so I will be saying bye to my store and hello to free weekends. I turned from sad to actually excited. I am so ready to be able to really put more into those relationships around me – both with these amazing running store ladies and the new blogger connections I have made in DC. I think the itch has been there. I keep meeting more amazing internet connections and even work connections that make me want to have that time.

I have to look at the evolution of this job. What started as almost a necessary financial help turned to a ‘avoid what I was really feeling’ job then turned to a job that felt like a second home. How far I have come in just two years in DC is awesome to see through this job because it really shows those ups and downs I have had in DC.

Saying all this though, this new found time will most likely not be spent blogging. I love this space but lately have found this need for distance from being personal even greater and the desire to read blogs even less attractive. No, I won’t be disappearing but you will hear a lot more ‘just too busy to blog’. My real work has picked up significantly and I need to invest time in that. My running and training is clicking and I want to keep that momentum up. I won’t lie – there is also a fear of stopping blogging. I have met amazing ladies through this, ones that have made DC home for me. I fear that dropping off the face of the earth on the internets will end those new connections I started to make. This week is another presentation week at work and with races coming up in the next months, my mind is just on life – not blogging. As I try to push all those fears aside.

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Even without the store, running will always be my passion. But I can’t thank the store enough for what it gave me as I came to DC. It helped me find where I want to invest my time, who I want to invest my time with and how necessary it is to invest in myself.

Now excuse me as I begin to hoard all the discounted Mizunos I can get in the meantime…

If Nothing Were Stopping Me.

I am learning my time management skills are such a blessing right now. How I am cramming everything in while trying to remain sane – still a mystery. I should probably thank Megan for giving me lots to look forward to and texting with friends who just get it. Keep calm and lean on friends. Amen?

One thing I really love about the blogging community is that it is constantly growing. I feel like each week I find a new blog or a new interaction that just adds that spark to your perspective. I read this post yesterday on this lady’s blog and couldn’t help but get intrigued. Mostly because my mind started running wild with ideas. I swear, I saw this phrase to myself almost daily. I wish I was one of those people who didn’t let things hold me back and take more chances – but for now, a girl can dream.

If nothing were stopping me…

I would get a tattoo. We all know I have been wanting one, I even know what I would get. I just can’t find the guts to actually do it. Plus, the place I want it (my ribs) scares the bejesus out of me. Oh and that whole money factor too…

I would fly home each Saturday afternoon for church and dinner with my extended family. I think the distance from my family is still a tough spot for me. I want to be closer although I do love my life in DC. It stinks to not see family on a weekly basis, especially because I grew up so close to my whole extended family (within 15-20 minute drive). Saturday night church at the full Arabic mass then dinner out was such a tradition.

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I would never have dirty laundry or a dirty apartment. Those cleaning fairies? They would be my jam.

I would see my cousin run one of her big races. I don’t talk much about family ironically. My cousin is 16 years old and a baller runner. Like I mean National status, top in country female runner. When I saw she blows runners out of the water, I am not even exaggerating. When I ran in high school I remember feeling how it just wasn’t a big deal because no one ever came to watch me. It wasn’t like drama shows or concerts, running was just this side thing I did. Probably why I still haven’t had my family come to any of my races, ever. I want my cousin to not feel this same way. I want her to honestly feel she 100% doing something that everyone around her is invested in, making her feel even more empowered when she runs.

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I would have a dog. It is more so my guilt about having a dog that holds me back. I miss having someone to cuddle with on the couch, I like that feeling of coming home and having someone so happy to see you. I just know I spend almost 15 hours of my day out of the apartment, that just isn’t fair to a dog.

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I would travel to Lebanon. Always been my number one place I want to visit.

I would have my own fashion style and rock it. Gosh, one that I literally think about all the time. I hate shopping for clothes due to my past which doesn’t help. But I dream of the day that I am just known as having that Alex style that I find a way to stand out in. A lot of insecurities hinder this one.

I would never feel alone. Who wouldn’t ask for this one?

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Question: If you had nothing stopping you, what would you do? 

Season of Running.

I tend to overall be an over thinker. And also very much a Type A routine person. If you couldn’t already guess. Funny though, when it comes to the few days before race day and even the day of races – I am not a creature of habit. I don’t have that one food the night before (the past few races I have had something different every time). I don’t have a specific race day warm up or week before running schedule. I don’t even pick out an outfit till the morning of! In a scattered sort of way, I thought I would share what crosses my mind the days leading up to race day.

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Water me captain. I do struggle with drinking water on a regular basis but for some reason the week before a race I am on point with water. I make sure to always carry one around so that I am not chugging water the night before thinking I haven’t drank enough all week only to be up all night pee-ing. Oh come on, we all done that.

Know your food triggers. While some people do find that they need to eat specific foods the night of or maybe even the week of, I try to just follow this one rule. Stick to what I know makes my tummy happy. I do most of my carb eating 2-3 days out than actually the night of. For the celiac girl right here, my go to is not pasta but rather potatoes. So easy on the stomach and a perfect source of quick carbs. The night before, I always keep my meals plain and to the point.

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Pick up your race day essentials. The day before I always make sure I have fuel for race day and throw away clothes if I need them. This weekend it is actually supposed to be quite warm so I am planning on wearing a throw away long t shirt to ditch at the beginning of the race. I know my aunt always needs to chew gum at the start so the night before we always hit the local store for some.

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Have a race day plan. Now, I know some people are all about numbers. I am not. I don’t even wear a watch when I run races. Some people also just want to run a fun race. My plans tends to be vague but specific enough. Like this year – play the start super safe and the second half, get uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. I actually deliberately put myself in a slower corral time than even my best half PR so that I could make sure I started nice and easy.

Don’t underestimate sleep. The pre-race week sleep routine is probably the most selfish I am when it comes to me time. I make sure I am in bed early and get enough throughout the week. It always makes me feel that much better come the night before the race (the night that inevitably no one can sleep!)

Plan out that rest. I think I used to feel above the taper. Back in college. I thought, oh I don’t need rest the week of. False. A big part of my pre race routine is making sure I take plenty of rest days and take it easy overall with my running/workout routine. Nothing feels worse than feeling beat down at the start of the race. Nothing.

Get freaking pumped. For everyone, this is different. I think the expo totally puts me in the mode, normally why I go the day before a race to the expo.

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Last but not least… don’t over think it. I am prone to this. But something I have trained myself to think over and over is ‘this is just another run’. I mean that really is what you are doing. Going out for another run, with a bunch of other people just looking to run. No matter what there are other races. I bonked far too many races last year but guess what, I still signed up for more this year. Sometimes we can’t control what happens on race day. It could be a bad race just because.

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Is it Saturday yet? For real.

Question: What is your pre race necessity? Or thing you have to do? 

Trade em up: Moo.

Because woof is the only noise I keep hearing myself say….

Can’t even try to put together some sort of coherent beginning. Hello. Welcome to the next day that is almost as rough as Monday that brings you one day closer to hump day but really just means you are not halfway through the week. What else would you call a Tuesday?

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I would trade… flashbacks to last year. If you read my blog last year, you knew my work days were 10-13 hour days almost every day with a couple of double shifts between my real job and the running store job. Because March is a crazy month, I have picked up Monday nights from 6-8 pm shift. That means I leave my apartment at 7 am and don’t get back till 8:30 pm. Yuck. Longest Mondays ever. What a way to kick off the week. Really winning at this one.

I would NOT trade… these warmer mornings. I mean all together this warmer weather is like a treat. A big freaking treat. Ironic that this time last week we had a snow day while today it is 60 degrees. Uh what?

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I would NOT trade… instant mood boosters. I have a few. Reading is certainly one. Even more these days are listening to rap. Yep, that hardcore rap I am pretty embarrassed I am rocking to through my phone. Don’t even care.

I would NOT trade… making sure I play this week cool. I suck at the week before race freak outs. My go to’s are focusing on my trainings, getting in some nice runs, catching up on sleep and drinking lots of water. Just having those little promises I keep to myself makes me feel that much better.

I would trade… a few darker mornings. I understand we have to have these few weeks of darker mornings so that it can stay lighter later but I really can’t wait till we have the lighter mornings too. Come on spring.

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I would NOT trade… tickets to see Divergent. Heck yes, pre bought those Divergent tickets to see with friends the night of the 20th. Boo. Freaking. Yeah.

I would NOT trade… the kick off of my work internship last week. So begins two crazy months that will certainly test my time management skills and most of all ability to handle tough criticism. Eek I am scared of this. But I like to challenges – or so I keep telling myself.

I would trade… decisions and changes. I can’t go into detail but man was I floored and now I have a massive decision ahead of me. Ugh. The worst.

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Brain is pooped over here. I got nada. Back to the week.

Question: What would you trade this Tuesday? What wouldn’t you trade? 

Up a Notch: Running, Pilates, DCFit {Giveaway} oh my

I will be honest. I have been struggling with time to blog. Period. Between a new internship at work, along with both jobs, training for my races and trying to maintain some fun – I just can’t. I tend to find these stress waves that come and go, well I am knee deep in ‘holy shit help me’ mode. I am hoping I find that groove again but I can’t promise what this week will look like. I have an extra Monday shift at the running store (hello 13 hour day), mentoring, big mentoring selling event and prepping for Rock N Roll .. this week looks scary.

While I am still recovering a jam packed weekend with Bethany and a training race, let me tell you what is coming up in DC. Because it is certainly the season of fitness in DC. Probably making it one of the best times to be in DC. I swear a recap of this weekend will come soon enough.

Rock N Roll USA Half Marathon (and full if you have those balls…)

This is the race I am most pumped for and most scared for. It will be my fifth year doing it but only my second year on this new course. Registration has closed sadly but what I love about this race are the spectators. Aka if you are in the area get your butt to this course to do some cheering! I need to some cheering up Calvert Hill please (and gummy bears if you so see fit!), pretty sure I won’t be the only one that needs it.

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Potomac Pilates Power Hour at The Shops at Wisconsin Place

Every Friday in March, Potomac Pilates in Friendship Heights is doing a Pilates Power Hour with a DJ, goodie bags and even a happy hour after at the Tasting Room Wine Bar (everyone gets 15% off!). Pilates Pro Lindsey Davidson will be putting people through the energizing Friday classes. And this happens every Friday in March at 5:15 pm, 6:15 pm and 7:15 pm.

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InTheCapital #DCFit

All you early birds, it is the best time to buy those tickets for DCFit hitting the Long View Gallery. This is a brand spanking new event that is happening from 10 am – 3 pm. It is an opportunity to check out the hottest trends and fitness. You will have an panel of experts on leading a healthier life, new workouts, cooking demos and products from the sponsors. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of healthy treats to fuel you throughout the event. Walking around will be team members from their sponsors Reebok FitHub in Georgetown and Disrupt Fitness.

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I’m excited and this is just a very basic run down of what is going to happen on that Saturday. Early bird tickets are $25. General tickets are $35. But using the code RunWithin you can get 15% off. EVEN BETTER…. I am giving away two tickets to this event. All you have to do is let me know why you want to attend this event. Giveaway will close next Sunday at 5 pm! Two lucky winners will win free tickets the event… so….

Question: What gets you most excited and wanting to go to this event?