Monterey and Carmel

We were up and out early on Saturday. We took the scenic route to Monterey along the coast. Monterey is as lovely as I had imagined. We went straight to the marathon expo at the Portola Hotel. It was not difficult to find, just follow the Boston Marathon jackets and race tech tees. There was a line of people waiting to get their photo taken in front of a Big Sur International Marathon sign. I thought, what’s the big deal? Well I didn’t realize at first that the sign had the names of all the runners. Of course I jumped in line. Thankfully the names were in alphabetical order. Carlos gets his photography skills from me!


We wandered down to the wharf in Monterey. We took some photos and saw a few sea lions.




We had time to kill before we could check into our hotel so we decided to drive to Carmel to scope out the finish line area. We found the finish area easily and then went straight to the beach. It was beautiful out, but a bit chilly. Carlos and Orlando played soccer. Carlos made friends with JD the black lab.


I lounged and watched people perfect their selfies and social media posts. You cannot believe how long it takes a group of four women to coordinate a simultaneous jump for joy and have it captured on camera. It actually takes less time to do that than it does for boyfriend to photograph girlfriend throwing her scarf in the air, over and over and over again. How cute??!

We discovered we were very close to one of the entrances to the 17 Mile Drive around Pebble Beach. If you are into gorgeous scenery, slow drives, and imagining what it would be like to live in stunning homes then this is well worth the $10. Orlando and I loved it. We dream of one day building our own seaside home on our land in a small beach town in Mozambique. Of course it will be nowhere near as grand as the homes we saw. We stopped at many of the landmarks on the ocean and that gave Carlos the opportunity to climb on the rocks so he was happy too.img_2532-1





Back in Monterey we checked into the Munras Inn. The room was lovely, but we would have preferred a vacation rental that offers a little more space. Lodging is expensive in the Monterey/Carmel area. For anyone planning their trip to the area specifically for the marathon, plan early and check out VRBO, Home Away, etc. in Pacific Grove, Monterey, and Carmel. Had I started planning a little earlier we might have found a property at a more reasonable price, although these areas are pricey in general. Our hotel was a little less than a mile to the Marriot where I would catch the bus for Big Sur on marathon morning. It was an easy walk and with so many runners out I wasn’t worried about being alone. My family was very appreciative that I didn’t wake them at 3:45AM to drive me.

I thought about attending the pasta dinner, but the only seatings were at 4:30 and 5:30PM, but we were still out in Carmel. We found a local Italian place. I had a sub-par dish of spaghetti. It was a bit disappointing because running a marathon is really my only excuse to enjoy a big bowl of pasta.

There is a ritualistic process that takes place the night before a marathon. First I lay out my clothing for the race. I always put the safety pins in the bib unfastened. I set up all of my necessities. Most importantly I set as many alarms as I can especially when a race requires a 2:40AM wake up call. I was terrified I wouldn’t wake up on time for the race.

Then I was asleep in a matter of minutes once I got into bed. It was a beautiful, relaxing day, but I was excited and anxious about the marathon.


Forward Motion

The curse of December is upon us. Well it always used to be a curse for me. For years I basically washed my hands of any attempt at weight loss during the holidays. You know the old “I might as well just start fresh on January 1st.” Last year was a turning point for me. It was the first year that I did not gain weight over the holidays. If I remember correctly I may have even entered the new year a pound or two less.

Last year I went into the holidays with a slightly different mentality. I enjoyed holiday treats here and there, but I didn’t go totally crazy. I was also marathon training which doesn’t typically mean weight loss, but I was very active throughout the month of December and into January. 

This year I’m taking an even more proactive approach. Christmas came early for me. My husband and I never exchange gifts for birthdays or holidays. Instead we feel free to gift ourselves certain agreed upon luxuries at any given time of the year finances permitting. Today I signed on with a personal trainer for 12 sessions. Along with our sessions she is helping me to design a fitness plan for the rest of the week including strength training activities I can do on my own at the gym.

I love running, but it’s time for a bit of a change. I will continue to run for fun, relaxation (yes I run to relax!!) and stress relief, however, I’m not currently training for anything specific. I also recently bought a Groupon for a local yoga studio so I will throw that into my fitness regimen for the next 10 weeks or so. My fitness goals are to improve my flexibility, increase my strength and continue to improve my speed. 

I have also decided to meet the holiday food frenzy head on. Seriously this time of year really stresses me out. God help me I love treats and working in a hospital can be a nightmare. The doctors buy gourmet gift baskets, patients’ families bring in food for the nursing staff, the nursing staff brings in sinfully delicious treats for each other. I’ve got my boxing gloves on this year and I’m going to punch most of it away. I control what goes into my mouth not the other way around. I will allow myself to enjoy only the treats that really really interest me. No wasting my time on those Russell Stover chocolates when there are Lindts Dark Chocolate truffles awaiting.

Having a plan doesn’t mean I won’t indulge here and there, but my goal is to keep chipping away at the last 13 pounds I have to lose before finally reaching my Weight Watchers goal weight. I’m not going backwards this holiday season. It’s forward motion from here into the new year.