Monterey, CA- Big Sur Marathon! 

I am beyond pumped to share this post about the epic marathon weekend! I didn’t mention the marathon too much on my blog leading up to it because I didn’t know if I would be able to run the race with the new job’s schedule (we work a ton of weekends). BUT I was able to get race day off and lemme tell ya, I’m forever grateful for the beautiful memories that elapsed in that small time frame. I needed this weekend too- as ya’ll know I’ve never been more exhausted or stressed physically and emotionally than this last month-so this was pure therapy.

Last minute my mom (Momma Jill) arranged to fly in for the weekend since DJ couldn’t go to the marathon with his work schedule. However, the day before she flew out she was in the hospital diagnosed with a fractured foot. I insisted  that I would be fine going alone, but I’m selfishly pretty darn glad she was adamant about coming! After all, she is my good luck charm at races! She is one tough cookie, I tell ya what. (shhhhh she isn’t wearing her boot in a lot of pictures- I may not have been the best nurse by allowing that one).

When she arrived Friday evening we headed to Rootstock Wine Bar on Main Street Cupertino.

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We ordered some bruschetta to share and a couple glasses of wine. The last time she was here, Main Street Cupertino was still entirely under construction. She was blown away by how much it had evolved! We stopped into 85-degree bakery to visually digest the exotic, massive, and drool-worthy desserts before heading back to the apartment. I will try the calamari ink roll one of these days!

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We were both pooped and fell asleep pretty early (after some ice cream, of course). DJ had some time in the morning before he had to head into work so we went to Bill’s. Surprise, surprise! It’s basically becoming a weekly tradition. You can read all my reviews about it here, here, or here.

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After a fantastic breakfast, DJ zipped to work and we began our trek to Monterey for the marathon!!!! (I kept thinking back to my and DJ’s our anniversary celebration and it made me miss him lots! During the actual race I passed the place we stayed which was pretty fun).

 

One of my favorite parts about races is the Expo! There is always an exorbitant amount of energy and excitement (plus the SWAG is pretty great too).

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This expo was pretty small, held at the Portola Hotel and Spa. There were limited vendors, but with the expo’s location there was plenty to enjoy outside anyway. I laughed because in typical Northern California style they had wine samples rather than the CLIF Bar samples you would see at most! For those that want to run this marathon in the future, make sure you stop by the Expo to pick up your Bib #, a bus ticket for the hotel you are staying to the race starting line (there is no access otherwise), and your T-shirt, of course!

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After strolling the expo, my mom and I walked around downtown Old Monterey. This town is so sleepy and quaint, even with all the commotion of the race.

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We decided to follow this sign to go to the water. We were quickly drawn into the downtown boardwalk with colorful storefronts, tourist landmarks, and each passing restaurant passing out samples of their individualized “claim-to-fame” recipe of clam chowder. My mom and I sampled all of them and were shocked at, first, how delicious they all were, and second, how different each one tasted!

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I hadn’t seen the show Big Little Lies at this point, but my friend, Kelsey, is obsessed. I started watching it this week with a free month HBO trial and cannot stop. It’s so good.

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They call me ‘The Bird Whisperer’ in these parts

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Around 3 pm we were able to check into the hotel we were staying for the evening- Monterey Tides. I found this place pretty last minute (with not being SURtain if I could make the race) and chose it because it was one of the cheapest I could find on a booking site. We were blown away by how gorgeous this place was- I kept thinking there was some mix up because this honestly underpriced!

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The hotel attendant said that it may be a couple minutes, so we decided to enjoy some drinks while overlooking the sparkling Monterey waters. My mom and I even saw our first whale!!! It was quite SURendipitious that we were staying at this majestic place!

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The room was super nice with a beachy feel- Definitely what you would expect from a place named “Monterey Tides”.

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After dropping our stuff off it was time to head to dinner. In order to not fight driving and parking, we decided to uber to the famous Mediterranean Oasis, Epsilon.

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From the decor, to the friendly staff, to the unbeatable Greek cuisine- this place was superb on every.single. level.

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ATTENTION ALL CARB LOVERS: You need to hear this. I was fascinated with their bread and dip combo. The waitress explained the way they make their dip is by actually putting sourdough bread into a food processor with olive oil, garlic, and salt (perhaps a few other secret ingredients too). Right before she walked away she said, “Just dip that bread into that bread!”. I may have to try making this at home. Talk about a fantastic pre-race carb-load meal!

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And their hummus…. hands down, no questions asked- the BEST hummus I have ever had. My mom took the first bite and I could tell by the look on her face that it was going to be just that. It was smooth and creamy- absolute perfection.

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And whenever there is octopus on the menu……

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Marco Prime’s is still forever my favorite, but this was satiating. It had a grilled flavor and almost tasted like steak. MMMM mm.

We also had to delve into their greek salad, because duh

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My mom and I split the vegetarian combo plate. Combo plates were created for the indecisive individuals in this world, like myself, so I was ecstatic to see everything we were wanting to try coming on one plate. It had imam byaldi (the “priest fainted” vegetarian eggplant dish), falafel, and dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves with rice and herbs). It all surpassed any greek food I have ever had, but the eggplant dish was particularly out of this world!

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And one can never end a mediterranean feast without baklava. Ya’ll know I am a strong believer on having a sugar-laden dessert the night before a race. Good Heavens, I can’t even explain…

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We headed back to the hotel to watch the peaceful, perfect sunset.

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We were in bed by 8:30 pm and fell asleep almost instantly.

3:30 AM my alarm went off and it was time to race! I was giddy and energized. I downed a cup of coffee and grabbed my No-Cow bar and Boom Chicka pop bag for the bus ride to the race. My mom drove me to the drop off point to pick up the bus shuttle at Embassy Suites (only a couple miles from Monterey Tides).

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The bus ride was about forty-five minutes- 30 miles south from Embassy Suites to the starting line. The race was a straight shot back north for 26.2 miles. I made some friends during the ride, everyone swapped race stories, goal times, jobs, and hometowns. The camaraderie of the Big Sur runners was unlike other races I have been. We laughed about the fact that this bus ride felt super long and yet we were about to be retracing the trek in just a couple hours. The scenery was kept secret by the dark nightly veil of mother nature, so even if you tried to get a peak of the views out the bus window all you could see was piercing black.

When we finally arrived, we still had about a mile and a half walk to the start. I had no clue where I was, but I just followed the masses of people as they unloaded off the buses.

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Finally! The starting line came into view.

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It was crowded. I get it- the forest isn’t exactly conducive to ten-million porta-potties and 4,000 people, but holy smokes, I really felt like a sardine!

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People lined the paths with coffee in one hand and a banana in the other. I love races for the people too- racing brings together all types. #peoplewatching

They provided fruit, coffee, tea, and water at varying stations around the starting line. They also have a truck for you to drop your bag with warm up clothes or anything else you need before the race that they then drive to the finish line. I loved this system!!! You just put a sticker provided with your bib number in the bag. After the race it was clear where to pick up your belongings and overall a super smooth process.

Now, if you are a runner, you know the STRUGGLE of trying to time the bathroom appropriately with the start time. You don’t want to go too early, but you don’t want to be anxiously waiting too long when everyone else is lined up at the start.

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And then it was time to begin!!! My heart swelled with excitement, my stomach filled with butterflies, and after taking the last couple days off running I was biting at the bit to get going. Considering I hadn’t trained much for this one compared to my other marathons I was hoping to at least finish without an injury.

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We started out in three separate waves, I ran in the second; the weather was pleasantly cool and the air smelled like pine and cinnamon. If there wasn’t enough adrenaline already, Highway One greeted us with the most intoxicating views at every turn. Each picturesque scene of the landscape had a way of taking your breath away while simultaneously giving you a second wind.

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I’m quite SURtain this is one of the most magnificent places that exists on planet earth.

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During these races is when I feel most myself, where I feel that all is right in the world, and all my cares dissipate with every step.

We embarked the renowned Big Sur bridge at the halfway mark .

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They even had a pianist playing whimsical tunes dressed in full performance garb!

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Around mile 15 I like to start using Gu Gel (they provide it twice during the race). I have half a packet at about mile 15, 18, 22, and then 24. It works!

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To avoid the head winds, I drafted a few different people throughout the race. Drafting works well, but you have to be pretty secretive about it, or you’ll creep the person you are following the heck out. Let’s chat if you’ve never heard of this. It’s essential for this race and saves SO much energy!

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YesSUR!

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At mile 23 they handed out the best strawberries I have ever had. It was similar to eating pure sugar! I wish I had snagged a picture!

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All done!

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Thank you, Aunt Terry, for the congratulatory beads all the way from New Orleans!!!!

Race Results!

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This was far off my PR of 3:38, but they say to add 20 minutes to your PR time with how challenging the course is (13th most challenging in the world), so I’ll take it. Plus without training for it and the stops for photo ops, I was happy to break 4 hours!

At the end of the race they handed out boxes of muffins, pretzels, cookies, minestrone soup and Sierra Nevada Beer. After races I’m not very hungry for about an hour- so we walked around a bit, basked in the sun, and then decided to head out. At this point I decided I was starting to feel my stomach growl. Warning: Once the post-marathon hunger begins, it’s insatiable for about three days!

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My mom suggested we go back to the hotel we stayed at the night before for Brunch (it was only about 11 am at this point!). She had breakfast there in the morning after doing yoga and said they had a great menu.

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She did not lead us astray! Multigrain avocado toast with poached eggs and a watermelon feta salad helped refuel the carbs, protein, and was still light enough to not upset my somewhat turbulent stomach.

And of course, mimosas are necessary after every long race.

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We headed back to the apartment and eagerly awaited DJ to come home so we could go out for a Mother’s Day dinner, since we wouldn’t actually be able to celebrate on the day of!

I was SURprised that I was actually feeling pretty decent after the race. I usually am zonked out for about two days after, but I had that adrenaline still running through my veins!

We decided to go to LB Steakhouse on the Row. I had never been, but DJ said it was delish. We looked over the menu and both agreed it looked like a great place to dine!

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I’ve walked past LB a trillion times while on the row, and their faux cow skin lined chairs always grab my eyes!

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Isn’t she lovely?!

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My love ❤

We started with their Spanish octopus, which seemed harmless, until Mama J took a big bite of that pepper right on top…

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Her face went from surprise to a twisted, tortured expression in seconds. She was not just startled by the spiciness of the pepper, but rather in literal pain. I was confused by her reaction because she loves spicy food and can tolerate spice more than most people. (We ask for the “hot” food at Indian restaurants- if that gives you an idea). She flagged down the waiter and could barely talk. She reached for anything on the table to calm the fire overwhelming her mouth. He brought out milk and she said it was helping. I felt horrible, and jokingly said, “Happy Mother’s Day!”. I was also so confused how something they could serve could be that horrendously spicy. I picked up what was left of the pepper and out of curiosity touched it to my tongue. The small portion that I had touched to my tongue felt as though it blistered my tongue (and she ate the ENTIRE pepper). I can do spice with the rest of them, and this was not edible. It turned out there was a mix up- the restaurant meant to order the sweet haberneros, but rather served one of the hottest variations in the world. Let’s just say, this was something we laughed and literally cried about. I think I will forever have trust issues with peppers after this experience.

But the rest of the octopus was great! It sorta reminded me of pasta salad!

DJ ordered lobster bisque- not our favorite (‘Cause naturally I stole a couple sips), but it was still good.

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My mom ordered the seared scallops with misty artichokes and sweet harvest orange butter. I swapped her some of my salmon for a scallop (we classy), and not kidding- one of the greatest scallops ever. I think the only ones I have personally had that has topped it were Farallon’s!

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Steak and appropriately spicy pepper for Deeeej.

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Salmon for me. This really hit the spot. The salmon was perfection and nearly melted in my mouth.

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After dinner, well I guess more during dinner, we decided Cheesecake Factory’s cheesecake sounded like a perfect finish to a great weekend. We headed across the street and all put in our orders for cheesecake to go- Original for Mama J., Oreo Dream Xtreme for DJ, and Chocolate Hazelnut for myself. I was feeling adventurous and for some reason this flavor sounded so good. I can officially say it may be my new favorite. I can’t believe it doesn’t get more love! It has such a nice moosey texture mixed with the fudgey chocolate and sprinkles of coated hazelnut. I will be getting this one again!

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After savoring our Cheesecake, we headed to sleep. Monday, Mom J. had to leave at 4 am for the airport, and I was up at 5 for work. I was supposed to have Tuesday off (which I was looking forward to rest my legs), but I ended up having to work Monday-Wednesday. I think it’s by the grace of God I SURvived because I do not know how I made it through those shifts at work!

But I do have to mention- I worked with lumbar drains this week and it was one of my favorite days yet. I am getting more in the groove of actually being a neuroSURgical nurse, and while the learning curve is steeper than the hills of Big Sur, I am feeling more competent. I also passed the EKG exam I have been studying for the last couple weeks!!!! Hence, I was able to care for my first tele patient this week and loved it! This also means I am officially done studying in all my free time and I can catch up on your blogs- watch out- I’m about to blow up ya’lls notifications and I cannot wait… I can’t thank you all for your encouragement through this crazy adjustment in life.

Last- if anyone has any questions about the race feel free to leave a comment or contact me. I know lots of you are runners!

Oh, oh, oh! AND major congratulations to my other blog ladies- Tara at Runandlivehappy and Taralynn at SimplyTaralynn for both annihilating their half marathons!!!! ❤

Blog Birthdays in May:

Kimberlee at anotetohugette

Katy at katyslifestory

I absolutely adore these two lovely ladies. Their writing and stories are inspirational, and they have the kindest hearts. I hope you two have wonderful birthdays this month!

xo ❤

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89 thoughts on “Monterey, CA- Big Sur Marathon! 

    1. Hi Kori!!! Ha, I’m pretty sure you are one of the only people that actually appreciate puns like I do- I love it! And put Big Sur on your bucket list ASAP! It’s incredible.. my pictures cannot even do justice! Thank you so much for your sweet words. I’m so excited to have a day off and I’m going to catch up on yours so soon! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

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    1. Thank you, Kalpana!!! And I agree- its beautiful there right now so I think you and your family MUST make a trip 🙂 Also- I have been meaning to ask you, do you know of any good Indian food restaurants in the area? My husband and I are craving some but I don’t really know of too many! I hope you have a great weekend 🙂

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  1. Well that is awesome! You really did have a great weekend. Makes me miss my momma! Lol.
    And I’ve never participated in a marathon but I would like to. Although I heard you have to train pretty hard for it and well…I’m not a runner lol. Perhaps I’ll participate in a half marathon but I would like to do at least one. Lol. Do you have to finish within a time limit?

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    1. Hey girl!! Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂 Okay- I could literally talk allll day about marathons- You CAN do it- like you said, it’s allll in the training! Each race has a different time limit depending on the course- but it’s usually SUPER generous, I wouldn’t even worry about that (Like people could walk the most of it generally and probably still finish!). If you want a schedule to follow, I have one! I would train for about four months. Ahhhh- I’m getting excited for you! Let me know if you have any questions!

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      1. Lol I’ll have to find marathons that are held here. They have a bunch throughout the year so I’ll have to look into them. 🙂 I’ll let you know if I need advice etc etc lol

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  2. I love love LOVE Big Sur! One of the prettiest places in the world, for sure! We go camping there; in fact I don’t think I’ve ever actually been much into the town. My mom used to run this race but I was so little I hardly remember it. But that VIEW!

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    1. YESSSS! Isn’t is amazing? It truly is one of those places that just whisks all my cares away. DJ and I have been wanting to take up camping lately- we both have that urge to get into nature in our “free time” (wait jk we don’t have that lol), but soon we want to make a big trip! And that’s awesome your mom ran it, have you made a trip there recently? It’s gorgeous right now and there are so many whales!!!

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      1. I was there last year to camp! So far we have no plans to go this year, and that bums me out, but maybe I’ll take a trip there to visit the town!

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  3. Tonight (11pm in the U.K.) I couldn’t sleep and so I decided: to Mack’s blog I go. I’ve been super excited to read this post- as you know I’ve entered the London marathon. But youuuuu are a pro! Your times girrrrl! They are amazing! I giggled every time you made a SUR pun 🙈 Your photos of the run gave me race blues- they really are some of the best days! What IS an expo? I heard everyone talk about it when he London Marathon took place a few weeks ago 🤔 I hope you’ve recovered well and it was the best stress relief after the challenges you’ve faced recently. Have a SURriously amazing weekend 😉❤️

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    1. Kat!!! You’re comment is the sweetest start to my morning!!!! Aww!! Thanks sooo much! This is a long post too…. you are so kind to read! Also— it makes me incredibly happy that you enjoy the puns 😉 Takes a special breed, lol. Girl, you are going to do so well on the marathon! Goodness I cannot wait to stay updated on how your training goes and how the race itself goes! What is the date for it (it’s the 2018 one, right?).

      Ohhhhh the expo!!!! It’s one of my favorite parts of a race! So basically it is a bunch of vendors- think protein bar brands, running shoe companies, run for a cause, small businesses, local community non-for-profits, etc. (it really could be anyone). They hand out tons of free samples usually, and you find some of the most unique ideas! Usually they have a famous runner you can meet too. They are a ball, and traditionally I have left with loads of free goodies and a full stomach! Big Sur’s didn’t have many vendors, but the location was terrific to fill up an afternoon and we still got our free samples of clam chowder anyway! 😉 Plus, they sent out a “virtual” goodybag, so I think that may have taken the place of live vendors.

      Ahhhh- LOL! You’re the best!! I work today and tomorrow, but I will SURtainly try to make the best of it! I hope yours is absolutely wonderful too, dear! Thank you, thank you for making my day! ❤

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  4. Oh my goodness that race looks amazing!!! Totally might have to add that one to my bucket list…I’m running my first race (a half) next month, so we’ll see how much I enjoy racing after that. 🙂 The view on the Big Sur though–wow. That’s impressive! and I love their mile markers!!!

    Congratulations on passing your EKG test!!! That’s wonderful!! I’m so happy for you to no longer have the stress of studying to worry about. 🙂

    Have a great weekend!
    xo,
    Lauren

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      1. LOL- this is one of my favorite questions to get particularly because my answer is ridiculous. I actually hold it when I know there will be photo ops… but majority of the time I put it in my sports bra 🙈 hahahha . It makes for easy access, especially because I’m constantly changing my music too. But I would recommend getting one of those arm bands like the normal people do… hahahha . I have actually been meaning to try those out – I just haven’t got around to it quite yet 😜

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    1. Hi Lauren!!! YESSSS ! Add it to your bucket list ASAP! It’s amazing. I can’t say enough good about it ! And I cannot wait to hear how your half goes 🙂 I know you will do amazing. Thanks so much- the test was a HUGE relief. It felt like there was a literal weight off my shoulders ! Have such a great weekend too, dear! 💕💕💕 I so Appreciate you stopping in !

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      1. Hehe…I’ve actually heard of several ladies who put their phones in their sports bras…I’ve just never tried it before! I actually do have one of the arm bands, and it’s nice when I just want my phone out of the way. However, trying to get my phone out to take a picture is kind of impossible without pretty much taking the entire band off….

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      2. Exactly! I feel like it’s super restrictive. We should invent something that’s a good in between. Or use a fanny pack. Hahaah. The sports bra has just always been my go-to. Let me know if you find any other solutions! LOL!

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  5. I was lost in reading your colourful and very delicious post, it brought back some lovely memories of the road trips we took from Vancouver, B.C. to San Francisco (and beyond to Carmel!), your images of the stunning coastline are haunting! Congratulations on your run and much needed break – as I write you this note, the Vancouver marathon is in full swing! And what a wonderful surprise to find your very sweet birthday wishes, thank you for thinking of me, it warms my heart!

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    1. Awww thank you, Kimberlee! You are too kind ❤ I think it is time you revisit the SF area 😉 hehe. I am always pushing a vacation to northern Cali on people! Birthday celebration, perhaps?! Oh wow— the Vancouver marathon?!? Okay, I'm adding that to my list. That sounds amazing!!! And I truly hope your birthday is the absolute best and you feel nothing but tremendous love ❤ Have a great week ahead!!!

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      1. Thank you so much! I think it would be awesome to read that you’ll be running in the Vancouver marathon, it might be one to cross off your bucket list! Your birthday wishes warm my heart, it is only a day or so away…

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      2. I actually already did some research on it! I’m making it a do-within-three-years goal! And is it perhaps today ?! Ahhhhh or if it is tomorrow … either way HAPPY ACTUAL BIRTHDAY! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy ! 🎂 🎉🎉😘

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  6. Congrats on your marathon in such a hectic time of your life! That’s super cool you got a whole stats list of your run.

    I love ALL your pics, especially the ones of you in the sunset!

    You make me miss walking through Monterey and all of your food looks super nummy. I start the Daniel Fast next week. I’m only doing 10 days though…because the Bible told me so 😀

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    1. Ahhhh oh my goodness! Thank you, love! I am SO glad you commented because I was looking for your blog earlier and couldn’t find it under my followed.. I think I was looking under Kristin rather than the blog name! I cannot wait to hear about how the fast goes! I know you will be blessed through it, and I think the 10 days sounds like a perfect plan 😉 Sending you big hugs. I can’t wait to catch up on how everything is going for you!!! Any big updates? Well I guess I’ll be reading your blog to find out! XOXO

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      1. Dude I cancelled my blog because I’m just in a place where I neglect it or haven’t had the time to produce great content. But I’m still around to comment on everyone else’s!!

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      2. NOOOOO!!!!! GIRL! You need to get that back up ASAP! It is time consuming though- I get that part! Tell me though- how is life? What are you up to? How is teaching and the new job?!

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      3. Everything is lovely and I’m glad my blog didn’t bore you to death hahaha! Teaching is wonderful and life here is great!

        I can’t wait to read about your next adventure as well!

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      4. Aw, not at all! I hope you will start it back up at some point ❤ And I am SOOO glad things are going well. Look at us go! Jesus is really leading our steps. Just a few months ago we had no idea what life would look like right now! XO

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  7. Okay first of all you deSURve a round of applause at how awesome you did at the race!!! Although I had no doubt that you’d SURvive through it! Congrats girl ❤ You were not kidding about Monterey though, I'm speechless over those views! Certainly not as nice as the views you get here while running the Boston Marathon butttt speaking of, you're signing up for it next year, right? lol As I was reading along… when you went with Greek for dinner I was thinking 'I hope she chose baklava for her sweet!' because I recall you saying how you traditionally have your sweet before a race! And you did 🙂 The texture of baklava and the honey just does it for me! And what a trooper Mama J is for coming down even with a hurt foot, that's a great mama bear ❤ I am so happy for you and glad that even with your hectic work schedule that you were able to participate in the race and relieve that stress!! Also- thank God, because how else would you have known that you were a bird whisperer all this time 😉

    xo, JJ

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    1. Lol, you are the BEST!!!! You just get me. Thank you tons and tons ❤ Girl- it's my absolute DREAM to qualify for Boston. I'm hoping to within the next couple years. I need to find a nice, flat course to get that time. I was off by three minutes on the Cincy one I ran a couple years ago. Stay tuned!

      And of course on the baklava!!! It was SOOO good- I hope you can make it to Monterey too someday. Have you ever been?! Mama J was SUCH a trooper- she didn't complain a single time about her foot. Seriously, she's so tough. And I'm SO thankful the race worked out. I needed that weekend to just get alllll that angst out.

      Bahahha! I mean, I'm trying to stay humble here, but bird whisperer is one of my most favorite titles ;). Hahhaah. I hope you are having such a great week, dear! XOXO

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    1. Thank you so much, Chels!!! You are seriously my inspiration- I think “If she can do 50, I can do 26.1!!”. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such encouragement. It means more than you know!

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      1. Ahhhh- ok – I am officially going to sign up for one by this time next year! You can hold me to it!!!! Have a great day, Chelsea!!!💕

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  8. Look at you with the sneak attack marathon! You ran an amazing race AND took fantastic pictures along the way? That is more talent than I will ever have. Speaking of pictures… girl, there is so much eye candy here you should open a store. What a literally picture perfect weekend, and I love those pictures of you at the beach!
    And yes. ALWAYS THE OCTOPUS

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    1. Awww! Hi Suz!!!!! Thanks for stoppping by 🙂 It felt like such a last minute marathon- training was just bizarre hahah. But thank you for alll your super, super sweeet words!!!!! And ALWAYS the octopus 🐙 it’s one of my faves! Have you been to Marco Island? They have a steakhouse called Marco Prime and they have the best octopus dish I have ever had. It’s unreal! Have such a great day 💕

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    1. Awww thank you, Nikki!!!!! I hope you are doing so well. I was so excited to see your name pop up here on my feed! If you ever go to Cali- Highway one is a must! Have a great week ❤️

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    1. [I didn’t finish before my untalented fingers hit ] As I was saying…. The scenery is AMAZING, and you did an awesome job of multi-tasking so your readers could run this marathon vicariously through you. Thanks for doing all the work! 😀 Also, I’m with you on the octopus. I lived in Greece for a summer where I developed a taste for octopus. YUM! What a fantastic weekend you had! Congrats! 🙂 – Suzanne

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      1. Awww!!!!! Hehe, well the first comment was awesome, but this is a big bonus! Thank you for your sweet words. I sometimes feel like I can’t handle everything on my plate, but by the grace of God it all gets done somehow. Ahhhhh octopus is the BEST! Greece is at the very tip-top of my travel list. I want to go so badly. My husband and I were talking about maybe doing a mediterranean cruise in a few years when work lightens up and we have a couple years under the belt. Where in Greece did you live?! That is just incredible. Thank you for stopping by, Suzanne! Your comment made me smile big time!

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      2. I was an exchange student in Kavala WAAAAYYYY back when I was in high school. One of my students will be in that same city this summer on a mission trip! If I were to go back, I think I would visit the islands in the Ionian Sea. I hope you have an opportunity to go sometime!

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      3. That sounds like an absolute DREAM! I have never considered going to Greece on a mission trip, but that’s one of the BIG reasons I got into nursing! (To do overseas missions). I may need to look into that! Have a perfect weekend 🙂

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  9. Holy crap, Mack!!! YAY!!!!!!!!! I am so happy for you. This is such an amazing accomplishment. The Big Sur marathon is supposed to be one of the best in the world.

    So relate to much of what you wrote — I’m a runner too, although I only ran one full marathon (NYC in 2001, right after 9-11). I ran the Big Sur Half Marathon in the Fall a few years ago, and it was awesome. So beautiful.

    The photos are magnificent, especially the views and the ones of you, DJ, and your mom. Awww! The three of you look so happy and full of light and love. Seems like you had a fantastic pre-race meal too (who knew you could dip bread into bread? ❤ )

    You know, I just went for a run this morning, and I was struck by how alive I feel when I go. It's me and God, and I let go of so much that I don't need … and touch into my happiness!

    So glad to connect with you again, Mackenzie. Thanks for coming by my blog, you are welcome anytime. And keep up being good to YOU. You are so amazing. I love you. Blessings, Debbie

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    1. Dawww! It made me smile SO BIG to see this comment from you, Debbie!!!!!! Wow- I bet that was absolutely surreal running the NYC marathon around that time. That’s amazing. I’ve never known anyone else to actually run Big Sur so HOW COOL that you have ran the half! I bet in the fall it’s a totally different spectacular experience- I need to look into it! Thank you always for your sweet words- and next time you are in Monterey you HAVE to dip the bread in the bread at Epsilon. Lol, it sounds like I’m speaking in code. “It’s all Greek to me”. Lol, don’t mind my horrible jokes ;). I am so thankful you were able to get those endorphins moving and felt so centered this morning. It’s such a cure all! I just have to be careful not to over-do it. I tend to “cope” with running the extreme sometimes. Thank you so so much for stopping by. I appreciate your sweet presence more than I can say and love you to pieces! Have a blessed rest of your week 🙂 ❤ ❤

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      1. Thank you tons and tons. I just sent this info to a bunch of people in my family- maybe I can convince them to come out for the half ! 🙂 I hope you have the best week ahead, Debbie! XO

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      2. Yipppppppeeeeeeeee!! Mack that’s great. I’m thinking of doing the Ventura half in September -it goes through Ventura and Ojai!

        Also, I wanted to mention that I’m doing a free forgiveness intro this Fri from 1-2:30. It’s online & you (or your friends!) are welcome to attend. No strings – just a way to experience forgiveness and letting go. ❤ Is this something you'd like to do? If yes, I'm happy to pass along the link to register. Blessings Mack, and keep up the great job showing up for yourself!! Be gentle and kind with you.

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      3. Awww that sounds WONDERFUL!!!! I am actually picking my sister & her boyfriend up from the airport that day, so we are going to be running around and on the go most of Friday. I hate to miss it, but I know it will be amazing and will helps tons of people <3!!!! Thank you TONS for thinking of me. And yes yes- I bet those races are absolutely breathtakingly beautiful!! ❤ Sending so much love!

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      4. OMG that sounds wonderful Mack! Have a great time with your sister and her boyfriend. 🙂 Would you like me to keep you posted of upcoming events/intros? If not, completely cool of course. Lots of love and THANK you for saying it will be amazing. ~Debbie

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      5. Thank you, tons!!!! That would be wonderful!!!! Life is pretty cray to the Z in this season, but if you think of me I would love to see if there is a chance I could join! 💕💕💕 🤗

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  10. Hey Kenzie! I seriously want to plan next year’s Big Sur Marathon (or maybe half lol) for my bf and I because those views are gorgeous! I have never been to California before, but omg I have to go! Thanks for such a good write up of the race, and all the amaaaazing looking food :)) Oh, also, poor mama J w/that pepper >.< OH, and congrats on passing the EKG test — I had an entire class on EKGs in college and it was rough lol so great job – you must've studied your ass off ❤

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    1. Jesss!!!!!!!! I was/am SO excited to see your name pop up here! Ok- You have got to sign up for one of the Big Sur races! I can’t even explain… I’ve done quite a few races and NOTHING compares to this one. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and AH, always the food. You know I can’t help but document everything and anything edible in front of my face. Lol. That pepper experience too.. hahahha- it was hilariously tragic. OMG- EKGs are a serious challenge- I give you props too for taking a whole class on them. I actually sort of enjoy them now that I can put them into practice! I hope you are having a great week and everything is going beautifully for you, dear! Thanks for stopping on in! 🙂

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  11. You found my favorite run spot in the US (that I have found so far).
    My Oma lives about a mile or 2 from Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey so I always run from her place down to the coastal trail and have the best long runs ever! Then I grab a coffee and walk along the wharf staring at the sea lions for a while. It is my favorite place and the weather is always amazing. I have not made it out there in 3 years and I miss it so much.

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    1. AHHH okay first off- I am SO jealous of your Oma.. that is amazing and my dream. I want to retire in Monterey someday. Second- I love your epic memories of the area, and I think it’s time make a trip back here soon!!! Annnnnnd third, when you do we should totally run and get a coffee together! (I live about 1.5 hours away but I’ll make any excuse to go there, hehe). Thank you for stopping by, Abby! XO

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  12. What an amazing weekend! First of all, that is an amazing time for the Big Sur Marathon! I just cannot get over how gorgeous the course is. Wow! And, how awesome of your mom to be with you despite her injury. Moms are the best!

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    1. Thank you, girlfriend!!!!! Have you ever been to northern California? I know you guys love the outdoors and Big Sur/Monterey is a beautiful place for hiking! I think you would absolutely love it! And aren’t they just the best?!? Speaking of moms… any big plans for mother’s day?!

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  13. Hi Mackensie, How are you? It is great you got to run the marathon, for the therapy it gave you. your mother is such a trooper to come with a fractured foot , but it shows a mothers love to be there for her daughter. What better place to go after her arriving than a wine bar( I want to go to one soon!!) What a cute place it looks. Bills is another place that looks great for food, I LOVE the pic of Dj and you coffee in hand! Monterrey looks such a lovely city, What an awesome place to stay at the beachfront. Mackensie such wonderful beach photos at sunset and again the one of you looking up is amazing. You are great to look so relaxed after 26 miles in pic with Mom!! I am sure you were SURprised to be in such good shape after heading home. Your Mo is so lovely , and you 2 pose nice too . I love cheesecake factory ! It was nice you could celebrate mothers day early. It is gret you are getting the confidence at work and congrats on passing the ekg exam! I love all the SUR references, and I will continue to encourage and pray for you Dear, Hugs, Terri xoxo.

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    1. Hi Terri! I always get SO excited to read your comments! I am doing well- I have had a pretty good week at work- busy, busy but I am learning a ton and feel like I’m getting more in the flow… my momma was a trooper. I wish I could spoil her more for mother’s day, but Texas is too darn far away! And it is wine bar galore out here ( I know I’m always recruiting you to come to Cali- but you would just love it!). And I usually crash for at least a full day after, so I was quite surrrrprised 😉 LOL.You are so kind to put up with my humor! What is your favorite food/cheesecake from cheesecake factory?! That is one of my favorite questions to ask people in general- says a lot, right?! Thank you always for your prayers & love! Sending big hugs! Anddddddddd a VERY happy Mother’s day to you!! XO

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      1. Aww thank you Mackenzie, Iove your posts so it is easy to reply to you! It’s great you are getting so accustomed to things at work, i know I got to make the trip to the golden state, in time! it’s been so long since I’ve been to the Cheesecake Factory I can’t remember the dinner and lunch menus but I love the Banana Split cheesecake ! Continued prayers to you and thank you for your kind wishes, hugs, Terri💖💖

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  14. What a BEAUTIFUL marathon. I can barely run three miles anymore!! You did amazing. And those VIEWS. Definitely something to see. I was in Monterey for a wedding about three years ago and I regretfully did not stay long enough to enjoy the coastal views. I would love to go back and see everything!

    Thanks for sharing all those beautiful photos ❤

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    1. Awwwww thank you, girlfriend!!!!! And I say you NEEEDD to make a trip back to enjoy the coastal views ASAP!!! I bet a wedding in Monterey was incredible nonetheless! Thank you for stopping by ❤

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  15. First of all Huge HUGE HUGE congrats on finishing the marathon! So exciting!
    Second. Oh. My. Lanta. Your pictures! I do not know what to say except they are gorgeous! All that food has me so hungry! And Monterey is officially on my list! What a quaint town!
    I am so happy your mom got to come despite her foot (I hope she feels better! Fractured foots are no bueno! )
    I LOVE that the race offered wine. That is amazing! And definitely my kind of race! Who needs Cliff bars? lol
    I have a love hate relationship with birds (though i did get pretty close to a sea gull when I was in San Francisco)
    Girl you know I love your puns!
    That hotel looks amazing! Seriously I NEED to go to Monterey. This mermaid is doing some serious swooning!
    Your sunset pictures and you (and your mom!) are stunning! You are beautiful lady!
    I loved your recap of the race! I think it needs to go on my bucket list! Your writing, pictures everything makes it seem so incredible! And girrrrrllll I wish I looked like you did after FIVE miles! You looked amazing!
    I loved that you guys were able to celebrate Mother’s Day with your Mom and she is a serious fashionista! That shirt is amazing! And again you looked absolutely stunning!
    This whole post gave me all the feels! I think it is one of my favorites! Your pictures alone has this mermaid living vicariously through you! I hope you have an amazing weekend! ❤

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    1. AHHHHHHH I just got back from a 12- hour shift and can finally sit down to catch up on WP- and this made my life! I am so glad that this convinced you to put Monterey on the list- it’s amazingggg. Uhmmmmm and—- YOU.ARE.TOOOOO.SWEEET. ❤ You are wayyyy too kind to me, always. But your lovely words always make my day ! I am beyond glad you enjoyed this ❤ Sending massive hugs to you, love! I hope you have the best week ahead! XO

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      1. 12 hours?😳 girl you are a rockstar! Seriously!
        It did! So stunning! I want to go there yesterday! So gorgeous!
        They are so true sweets! You are stunning inside and out!
        Awee thanks beauty! I hope you have an amazing week!😘😘😘

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    1. Ahhhh thank you so much for sharing in this excitement with me!!! It is one of those weekends I can’t shake in the best way- so many fun memories. You would be proud to know though that this past weekend was 100% recoup, relax, and REST! (Hence the lack of a post, lol). How is your week going!?

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      1. LOL! REST! (Wellllll ok, maybe some deep cleaning, but mostly wine and netflix, oooookay maybe some running worked into the mix… and food prep… but REST, yes, rest!). And ENJOY that road trip! That is too fun, I am quite jealous!

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  16. Oh my gosh how freaking fun!!! I loved the pictures of you and the sunset! Wow 😍 Monterey is soo beautiful I been there over 5 years ago and been wanting to go back and visit Carmel too!! Good job on the race!! Wow! Simply amazing! All the food pictures making me hungry!!! Keep doing you girl 💕

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    1. AW! Thank you, love!!!! You must MUST go back asap! It is so beautiful and the whales are out!! I hope you have the chance, and ahhh I dream about that food. Thanks for the sweet words. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see your gorgeous face pop up in my notifications!

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