as my heart aches.

as my heart aches.


A week ago, I was sitting at my desk browsing twitter (taking a little break from doing work), and I started seeing the news about Newtown, CT. I was immediately overwhelmed and concerned. 
I grew up in Westport, CT which is about 40 minutes from Newtown. My best friend is a school psychologist in Easton (30 minutes away). My high school gymnastics coach is now a high school teacher at Newtown High.

The events really started to hit home. I was scared for the people I knew but also for those I didn't know. All the schools in the area were on lockdown. I was thankfully able to confirm with my friend in Easton that she was ok.
I'm lucky. I don't know any of the victims personally. But you know what? There were police officers at every school in Westport the next day. 

We can argue about gun control and mental illness. We can blame parents, teachers, and administrators. None of that will bring those innocent children and teachers back. Nothing. 

Banner in Westport, CT

My heart is aching for those families who will gather for the holidays without a member of their family. My heart aches for the parents who wrapped presents for their babies that won't be able to open them. My heart aches for the children at Sandy Hook Elementary who are scared, confused and grieving. A 6 year-old shouldn't have to grieve the loss of their playground buddy. 
As the aftermath of this event continues to rock the entire country, I can only hope that our country send messages of love, hope and peace to Newtown. While we debate gun rights and the proper care for the mentally ill, I hope this nation takes a moment to remember the spirit of Christmas. 

I don't have any answers for those families. All I have for them are prayers and love. 

I found this article to be helpful. It's easy, in times like these, to turn from God and to not trust in Him. It's easy to wonder how He would let this happen.
monday musings.

monday musings.


Andddddd we're back. My sincere apologies for the lapse in fulfilling and thought-provoking content. Things have been a little nuts. Where did we leave off...

1. Two weekends ago we pet a penguin and a giraffe at the Dallas Zoo.

2. I ran my first half marathon that weekend as well!

3. Just three days after that, I signed up for ANOTHER half marathon.

4. Then I signed up for a 15k in February. What the HECK is wrong with me?

5. This past Thursday was C's company Christmas party at Hibiscus. The food was underwhelming, the company was hilarious and the gift is proving to be useful interesting.

6. Friday we attended a surprise engagement party for our sweet friends. The plan went off without a hitch and the new bride-to-be was so surprised - her reaction was priceless. It was such a treat to be a part of their special day. Congrats you two!

7. After a much needed walk around White Rock with my "other" soul-mate, C and I braved NorthPark to do our Christmas shopping. We were SO successful and got everything on our list!

8. We came home to this amazing book in our mailbox on Saturday night. By Sunday morning, I was halfway through it. HUGE thank you to my sweet cousins for sending us this incredible book. It's already proving to be invaluable. Her blog is even more helpful. So glad we have this resource.

9. Through her blog I stumbled upon these amazing printed invitation sets. HELLO money saver!

10. Sunday we managed to stay in our PJs until 2pm. What sounds unproductive to you was actually a very productive day of gift wrapping and life planning.

11. Sunday evening was spent babysitting this ball of fluff. He's the most precious pup in the world and we almost took him home. To his parents: we'll babysit him ANYTIME you want. Seriously. He's gotten to big since I last saw him!

12. This is the last week of work for me before the holidays and it's going to be busy. I have a Secret Santa Party tonight which is always a blast. Then the rest of the week will be spent getting workouts in, cleaning up the apartment, and packing for Florida.
....are we all caught up now?
{race report} Dallas Half Marathon

{race report} Dallas Half Marathon


I signed up for this race back in July. At that point, December was so far away that I wasn't concerned about running 13.1 miles at all. But then we hit the 30 day mark and I was pretty freaked out. The most I had run at that point was about 1 hour or 5-6 miles. No where near 13.1. 

But alas, the day quickly approached and I had no choice but to be ready. I laid out all the necessary ingredients for the race including compression sleeves, arm warmers, sneakers and gels (chocolate and strawberry banana). I ate a balance dinner of grilled chicken, salty rice and a little broccoli. I set my alarm for 5am and prayed that I'd cross the finish line in one piece. 


After a fitful night of sleep (probably due to Saturday afternoon's 3 hours nap), I woke up at 5:15am full of adrenalin. I munched on a bagel with cream cheese and a cup of coffee. I made up a water bottle with grape Nuun and filled my SPIbelt with my gels.

Getting to the race in the morning was less stressful than I anticipated. With 25,000 runners and even more spectators trying to get within a mile of downtown Dallas, I had prepared for the worst. Another couple met us at the apartment and C drove us down to the race. He dropped us off, gave me a good luck kiss, and headed off to park. 

Jessie, Brian and I headed into the Convention Center to drop off a bag at the bag check and use the "non-porta potty" restrooms. The energy was infections and I somehow wasn't worried at all.


At around 7:20am we made our way over to the start line which was about a 7 minute walk from the Convention Center. The majority of the racers were already lined up in their corrals so Jessie and I had to fight our way into a good spot in Corral C. Shout out to sweet Jessie for starting back in C with me and calming my nerves!

At about 7:50, I took a gel and our corral started to creep toward the start line. It's really an amazing scene. All these runners in every shape and size making their way toward the confetti filled start line as the MC hyped up the crowd and the music blared.

Then, all of a sudden, we were running. Well, more like jogging. But that was it. It was happening. I was going to run 13.1 miles. 

Per my coaches instructions, the first 10 min was an easy warm up. I just tried to focus on not tripping over everyone else's feet and trying to navigate the crowd without running too many extra zig-zagging miles. 

From there on out, the plan was supposed to be run 1 mile, walk 45 sec. Originally, I admit, I thought that was a silly plan. I figured if I just ran slow and steady, I wouldn't need to walk. False. 

Miles 1-4 were fun. There were SO many people around and there was a lot to look at. Jessie was running with me the whole time (even though she's much faster than me) so it was great to have a buddy while I got my legs under me. 

Mile 1 - 11:41
Mile 2 - 11.:31
Mile 3 - 11:04
Mile 4 - 10:51

After these four miles, I realized I was having a really tough time keeping my heart rate down. Training pace for me is 155-175 but my heart rate was already at 178 (race pace = 175-185) and staying there. Even for my walk breaks, it just wasn't coming down at all. I was a little worried about this because I knew I would have a hard time sustaining race pace for 13.1 miles. I was still hoping it was just adrenaline. I took a gel at mile 4 as well (originally supposed to take a gel every 30 minutes).

Mile 5 & 6 still felt really good. I saw C and my coach at Mile 6 and gave them a big smile. I was feeling strong despite my high heart rate. 

Mile 5 - 11:40
Mile 6 - 12:07

image       image  

Jessie pulled ahead after Mile 6 so it was just up to me to get myself through the next 7 miles. Mile 7 was downhill a lot and I took another gel just before the next water station. At Mile 8 we ran through part of Highland Park and I saw some more familiar cheering faces which was a nice boost. I was actually pretty surprised how good I felt at mile 8. My heart rate was still through the roof but when I looked at my watch as I passed the mile 8 marker, I was excited. I thought there was still a chance I'd make my sub 2:30 goal if I kept feeling good and could kick the last few miles.

Mile 7 - 11:05
Mile 8 - 12:33 << I thought I was doing better than this at Mile 8...


Things took a turn for the worse at Mile 9. I was kind of ready to see the finish line at that point. (Good news, I think I'll like doing a 15K...) I felt like the time between Mile 9 and 10 was an eternity. I probably should have taken another gel at Mile 10 but I didn't think I could get it down. My legs were so tight and my knees were starting to ache. I was also starting to realize how hot it was. I thought Mile 11 was never going to come.

Mile 9 - 11:01
Mile 10 - 11:49
Mile 11 - 10:55 << Somehow, even though I felt awful, I ran one of my fastest splits. I think this was a big downhill...


Then surprise, at Mile 12, you get to run out and back. So you think you're so close to the end and then you realize you're just running away from the finish line and will soon have to loop back. That was cruel. Just cruel. I think they also forgot to put water stations towards the end of the race. At least that's just my opinion, maybe I just really needed more water at this point.

Mile 12 - 12:05
Mile 13 - 13:14

FINALLY I could see the finish line. It took everything I had just to keep putting one foot in front of the other and get myself to cross the finish line as quickly as I could. It actually felt worse to be walking at this point. I was SO ready to be done. 

As I got close to the finish, I spotted C and my coach. With a pained look and a pouty bottom lip, I gave them a thumbs down as I realized I would be 9 minutes off my goal (2:39 finish). But hey, at least I ran 13.1 miles and got a PR! 

So much pain...also, why are my hands doing that....?

All in all, it was too hot, my HR was too high, I probably need more fuel and more water. But I freaking ran 13.1 miles! So I'm pumped. I actually already signed up for another half in March! I need a new PR!!
the mundane musings of my life since we last spoke.

the mundane musings of my life since we last spoke.


I knowwwww it's not Monday. I know we haven't talked in awhile. For those of your that creepily keep tabs on my life via this blog, I know you've been sorely disappointed by my lack of updates. I'm sorry. Things have been a little nuts. 

First things first, you probably know we got engaged two weeks ago! Happy Day! C did a PERFECT job. We could not be more excited.

However, wedding planning is overwhelming. It's on the back burner for now. We like calling each other fiance.

Thanksgiving was a whirlwind. My mom came down to Baltimore and we had a blast hanging out with the two families. We also got to spend some quality time with C's friends who are just the sweetest. Sunday Maria (the secret photographer) threw an amazing brunch with all C's friends and even the kiddos. It was really special.

We were only back in Dallas for three days before we jetted off to the east coast. We spent 2 days in CT with my mom in her new "post-flood" cottage. It's just perfect for her. We even got to see my bff's new house that her and her bf just remodeled. So amazing. So happy for them.

Then we spent two days in NYC catching up with more friends. We started the trip off right by being surprised with an upgraded suite on the 25th floor of The Benjamin, a sweet note (addressed to The Future Mr. & Mrs.) from my college bff and a bottle of champagne I'm so thankful for her thoughtfulness! We met her and her precious BF for brunch at Friend of a Farmer (note to self: get the pancakes next time!) and then made our way over to Chelsea to check our a super hip, men's pop-up flea market. C was in heaven.

We filled the rest of the day wandering around the city and attempting to avoid the crowds before meeting C's college friends for dinner at Da Marcella (another winner and CHEAP!). After a near death experience that was the cab ride back to the hotel, C and I were thankful to be back in our room.

We ended the perfect trip with brunch at our new favorite NYC spot, The Smith. We went last Christmas when our parents met in the city and we loved it. Brunch was no different. You must check it out.

Now that C and I are back to reality, we're having a hard time adjusting. This week has been crazy for me at work, catching up on everything I put off the last two weeks. I did manage to make a little time for some crafting last night. Watch out for these babies coming soon to a mailbox near you.

This weekend is proving to be a busy one as well. Our friends already managed to put together an engagement party for us on Friday, we're meeting a penguin on Saturday and then I'm running my first half marathon on Sunday! In the meantime, there is a whole lot of this going on (while watching Homeland of course). Shin splints be gone!

© ALESSANDRA MARIE • Theme by Maira G.