Monday, September 22, 2014

a pure michigan engagement

The story of our engagement is written from my perspective. For something slightly less colorful (or maybe more colorful, who knows!), please ask Brandon. ;)

The Homestead, in Glen Arbor has been our "special place" in Michigan since the beginning of our relationship. I first convinced Brandon to go there in September 2010. I wanted to show him a fun and relaxing weekend away in all the splendor that Northern Michigan has to offer. You might say we really fell hard for that part of the state during that trip (and fell for each other, too!)

Fast forward to September 2014, four years later. Brandon got me a trip back to The Homestead for my birthday. We had to wait nearly 7 months for September to come around, but I was looking forward to it with every passing moment. We had our road trip planned, our must see's laid out and we were ready to head back to Glen Arbor!

After a beautiful trail run that Saturday morning, and a lovely spa facial for myself, we headed out to Sleeping Bear Dunes in the early afternoon. Our first stop was the world famous dune climb where we would get yet another good workout in that day all for the sake of beautiful scenery. We made it past about three large hills of dunes, maybe a good half mile, before I had had enough. Plus, we got to a point where we had an incredible view of the dunes overlooking Lake Michigan. It was simply gorgeous.

This is gorgeous, right?

A few groups of other dune climbers had made it to the same point as us and Brandon graciously took their picture for them. The other folks lingered for awhile and I decided it was time to head back to the car. The weather didn't look too promising and there was no way I was walking any further than I had to in the sand!

Thinking quick on his feet, Brandon asked me to take one more selfie. I obliged, even though I was having a pretty rough hair day. Once the photo was captured, Brandon said he had "one more request." He then got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. Like a cat, I reacted fast. I promptly swooped my arms around his neck in a big hug (after first swiping the ring from his hands) and replied with, "of course!"

We hugged for awhile in excitement and then Brandon asked me what my answer was. He must have been too caught up in the moment (or in his nerves) to have heard my reply. I could have really pulled a joke on him here, but luckily for him, I didn't.

We're engaged!
The ring was my grandmother's

We're thrilled to be engaged and looking forward to celebrating our relationship with our family and friends (and if you have any wedding planning advice, we'll take that, too!). 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

oiselle #birdcamp

almost two weeks ago to this day, i had the opportunity to head west to orgeon and participate in the first ever oiselle #birdcamp. i didn't really know what to expect and i was 100% nervous leading up to travel day with the same fears i had as a kid going to camp, "what if no one likes me?" funny how even as adults our core fears and concerns don't change much!

i was lucky enough to carpool with some amazing ladies and that set the tone for a week full of meeting new friends who already had two things in common to bond over: oiselle and running. 

the carpool crew

we made a stop at legendary hayward field in eugene before
driving to bend

i was hoping i would go into bird camp feeling strong and ready to run on trails and challenge myself in the 5k race that we all did on thursday evening.  what i got out of my body, and out of myself was the exact opposite. i was only able to run twice and each of those runs was incredibly difficult. my body wasn't cooperating and i was in pain. if you want to feel badly about an injury, go to running camp where most people are running 2x a day in the most incredible scenery you can imagine. needless to say, i was mentally struggling to keep myself positive. 

luckily, there were experts at camp to provide insight and advice and words of wisdom on all sorts of running, sport and life related topics. i think my favorite thing about camp was listening to elite athletes like lauren fleshman, kate grace, and stephanie howe share stories of their triumphs and their times of struggle. i specifically asked lauren about how she has been able to find the "what's next for me" goal during times of injury. i wanted to know how i could get past my own injury, mentally. she provided some amazing advice that is so simple and yet so hard, "you just have to let it go and accept the reality of the situation. find a new process goal" (that is totally paraphrased by the way, but you get the idea). i spent a lot of time over the course of camp thinking about my goals and how i could let my current september goal go. for me, bird camp was as much mental training as it could have been physical training.

lauren fleshman answering my question and giving out advice

we did a lot of great things at camp; hike smith rock (my first time hiking EVER), explore the beautiful oregon trails, form drills and activation drills, meditation exercises and singing the national anthem as a team (search for it on youtube, lauren led us in song). we also got a sneak peek at what's coming down the line from oiselle and it was pretty neat to see all the different clothing styles on actual bodies. i know that everyone had a long shopping list at the end of camp after getting to see the #flystyle of everyone on the team!

me on top of our smith rock climb

smith rock - gorgeous!!!

if anything, this week solidified for me one thing i have known to be true about running: the community is one of my favorite things about the sport. i spent a little less than a week with 100 amazing women who have conquered amazing feats, who have endured, who have overcome and at the end of camp they had inspired me. even though i was feeling low about my ability as a runner at this time in my life, i could look around me and still have the drive and hunger to chase down my goals because all of these women kept that fire alive for me. they were out winning races and challenging new distances. heck, i am even reconsidering training for a marathon again thanks to leana! even though i couldn't run like i wanted to, i came away from camp knowing how much running meant to me and having a network of supporters to help me keep that fire alive. that is something that i cannot put a price tag on and something i am incredibly grateful for.

my homegirl beth was my bird camp hero!

loved learning from lauren and sally - much respect and love for them!

oregon is ridiculously beautiful

this was just a 3 minute walk from where we stayed!

i'm so glad i stepped out of my comfort zone and went to camp. getting a chance to do something like this doesn't happen often and even though i wish i could have been running fast and strong (or running at all) i am still so glad i made the most out of every moment i had with the oiselle team! check out a few of the other recaps from oiselle, my friend (and fellow spartan) lisa, paulette (my long time goog buddy), ashley (who helped me come up with an idea for my next tattoo), sarah (who has a very thorough recap and has a dog that looks like mine) and sun (who i got to meet for the first time in real life)!

Friday, August 15, 2014

the super run: ann arbor and lansing race entry giveaway!

the super run is a national series of family events, with a super hero theme, of course! this 5k and 1k event partners with local charities to raise awareness and funds for their causes. the run acts as a platform for multiple charities to benefit, instead of having to enter a race for each charity you might want to support. it's a pretty smart idea, really! why haven't we been doing this all along?? 

the super run is coming to ann arbor on september 6th (and lansing on september 27th), and i have a free entry to giveaway for both races! the host charity for both of these events is the lutheran social services of michigan, the largest private foster care agency in michigan (check out their awesome super hero video about being a foster parent). this event will also support the following amazing charities and more:

  • world animal awareness society
  • american association for cancer research
  • children's hospital of michigan foundation

since this is a family fun event, there will also be awesome activities like moon bounces, face painting, magicians, and vendors to check out. overall, it's just an event that is trying to raise awareness for some great causes in a very fun and super way. 

here are the details:

what: the super run
when: september 6th, 2014
where: gallop park, ann arbor

what: the super run
when: september 27th, 2014
where: hawk island park, lansing

and here are the discounts!
  • get 20% off your super hero gear and costumes at by using the discount code: SUPERRUNFAN  (can anyone say early halloween shopping??)
  • get $5 off an adult race registration for the super run by using the discount code: SRBLOG7

and, if you want a chance for a free entry to the race, make sure you enter my giveaway using rafflecopter below (and let me know which city you'd like to race in)! there will be one winner per location. hope to see you on september 6th in ann arbor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway