5 Things Friday XXIX

Happy Friday friends! It’s been awhile since I did a 5 things Friday, and I thought it would be a fun way to “catch up” with you all.

1.) A cruise redo: Remember when my husband and I were supposed to go on a cruise with Carnival in September and it got cancelled due to a little thing called hurricane Irma? Well we were finally able to reschedule! It’s a 6 night western instead of an 8 night eastern, but still on the gorgeous Carnival Vista and we are pumped to leave in just over two weeks! You can follow along with me on social media (@heatherslg) and the hashtag #CruisingCarnival.

(I just bought these towel clips so our towels won’t blow away on the ship, I have meant to do it for years!)

2.) Finally fall? Y’all, we had to put our heat on last night! It dropped down to 50 and this girl was cold, but I’m not complaining! We have had record breaking heat this October (90’s!) so I was thankful to get to wear pants and a cozy sweater today. I’m busting out my boots tomorrow! Unfortunately it’s not staying this way, but maybe now we won’t be reaching the 90’s anymore until May? One can hope!

3.) Wine and Dine: I announced on Instagram stories a couple weeks ago that due to the generosity of a sweet friend I will be running the two course challenge! Yes I’m under trained and I have no costume (help?) but I am running both races and am PUMPED! I haven’t run this once since 2013 so it’s time.

4.) Giveaway: Head on over to Instagram because I am hosting a giveaway, a gift certificate, and if you like athletic apparel you need to check it out. It closes in a couple days so hurry.

 

5.) Webinar and pre sale: In case you aren’t on my email list or follow me on social, you may not know my pre sale for my e-course: Social Side Hustle, 21 days to becoming a social media manager, started yesterday. Not only can you get my course at the lowest price now, but you can sign up for a FREE webinar all about getting social media clients. Also if you would like to get on my email list here is the link for that.

I know I just gave you a ton of links and information, but y’all are sharp, I know you got this. I hope everyone has a fabulous fall weekend, has great weather, attends at least two pumpkin patches and three trunk or treats (no seriously we have a really busy weekend!)

QOTD: What are you or your kids dressing up as for Halloween? 

September 2017 Goals

August really got away from me y’all. Honestly, I’m not complaining that it’s gone because it was SO HOT. It’s too hot to even go to the pool because the water isn’t even cool. September is still stifling, but brings the hope of some temperatures in the 80’s at least (I hope!) Before we look at my goals for this month, let’s see how I did in August:

1.) Research and get ready for the cruise: A+ Yes! I spent some time doing research and have a plan for each day. HOWEVER, with hurricane Irma, I’m not sure what is going to happen to our cruise or ports. Sad times.

2.) Workout 5+ days a week: C- Yall. This ecourse is sucking the life out of me. I’m SO excited to share it with you, but it is so draining and taking up so much time. I worked out 3-4 days a week this month but not five. I’m working on it.

3.) Set a date for my course launch: C- I’m close guys. I’m about 85% done. I WILL go out on a limb and say by the end of September, but I don’t have an exact date yet. I wwiisshhh I did. I just want it to be perfect.


September Goals:

1.) Launch my course: Self explanatory, no?

2.) Organize and de-clutter: I realized after living here close to a year (woah) that I have WAY too much stuff and really need to get rid of things. If I haven’t used it since we moved in, I probably don’t need it.

3.) Workout 5 times a week: Giving this one another go. I can tell a difference in the way I look and feel that I need to workout more.

As always, I feel you have a better shot at reaching goals when you can print them out and see them all month. Be sure to snag your free goal and fitness tracking printables here.

Happy September everyone!

QOTD: What are your September goals? 

August 2017 Goals

And just like that, my birthday month is over. So sad! To keep myself occupied, it’s time to start getting excited about fall! (Even though around here “fall” means temps in the upper 80’s as opposed to the upper 90’s!) I’m so ready for football, a crisp fall breeze, and pumpkin spice lattes (YES I said it. Don’t hate.) Anyway, let’s take a look back at my July goals and see how I made out before looking ahead at this month’s goals:

1.) Work on my e-course at least 4 hours a week: A+ YES! I worked on my social media manager e-course 5-10 hours a week, and got a lot accomplished! I am by no means done, but I am chipping away at it. I can’t wait to release it!

2.) Workout 4-5 times a week: B+ There was one week I only worked out three times because I hurt my back, but otherwise, yes I have been doing much better with this, and planning ahead is what has really helped me so there are no surprises.

3.) Clean up extra room: F Big fat fail. Not only did I not clean it, but my parents brought even more furniture that we stored in there so now I can’t even get in the door. Oy. Another day, another day.


August is going to be a great month, I can already tell. I have a good attitude about my workouts and the possibility of cooler temps coming in the next two months, as well as my course, and then our cruise in September! Here are my goals:

1.) Research and get ready for the cruise: We are cruising to all new ports, and on a cruise line I haven’t sailed in almost ten years. I hate not knowing things, so I want to make sure I have a plan for the sea days and port days. I know if I’m not prepared and feel in the dark I won’t relax, and I DEFINITELY need to relax on this vacation, so this is a priority.

2.) Workout 5+ days a week: That’s right. I’m bumping it up. last month it was 4-5 days, and this month I want 5+ days. I expect a lot from myself and know I can deliver if I really want it, so here goes nothing!

3.) Set a date for my course launch: Setting a date for a course or book launch is very scary, because you are promising people it will be ready by a certain day. I’m not to the point where I am ready to nail down a day, but want to be by the end of the month at the latest. So scary but also exciting!

Looking for a way to help you reach your goals? I have always found that having them printed out and taped to my mirror or refrigerator help me. Click here to access my FREE fitness and goal tracker printables.

QOTD: Do you have any goals for August? Name one!

I’m Cruising With Carnival!

Disclosure: Our cruise fare is being covered by Carnival, however all thoughts, posts, and opinions are my own.

The other day in my Instagram story, I eluded to a surprise I was sharing today. Well, today has come and I’m excited to tell you Bobby and I are going on a cruise! We will be going on an eight night Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Vista this September.

The Carnival Vista departs Crete, Greece. The largest and most innovative cruise vessel in Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet, Carnival Vista measures 133,500 tons, 1,055 feet long and has a guest capacity of almost 4,000 passengers. Photo by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line

Bobby and I haven’t been alone on vacation together since January of 2016 (another cruise) so we are excited to have some time away just the two of us. Emma Kate isn’t quite potty trained yet (almost!) and we would hate for her to get upset that she couldn’t use the pool, so she is going to have to sit this one out.

WaterWorks aboard the Carnival Vista features a number of slides and other water attractions. 

Anyway, I have so many exciting things to share with you, and I can’t wait to invite you on our trip with us via the blog and social media. The Vista is Carnival’s newest ship, and it looks so amazing. First of all it’s huge, it has tons of dining options, entertainment galore, and we will be stopping at some new to us ports, check it out:

We leave from Miami, have 3 sea days, and 4 port days in San Juan, Grand Turk, St. Kitts, and St. Marteen. Has anyone been to these ports? I would love suggestions. There are so many great things about the Vista I can’t wait to share with you, like SkyRide (pictured below), specialty dinners, the Serenity adults only area, and the fitness center.

Guests onboard Carnival Vista participate in SkyRide, an opportunity to pedal hanging recumbent-like bikes around an 800-foot-long suspended track some 150 feet above the sea. 

I can’t wait to share with you how you can have an amazing cruise on an awesome ship for a lot less money than you think. I will post more as we get closer, but I just wanted to let you in on my surprise.

QOTD: Any tips for what to do in our four ports? 

Tampa Tuesdays: Carnival Goes to Cuba

Last week, Megan and I were invited to a special celebration aboard the Carnival Paradise at the port of Tampa. This celebration was marking the first of twelve special voyages to Havana, Cuba over the next year.

La Nacional Hotel, Havana, Cuba

The celebration on board the ship was as colorful as Cuba itself, with the largest Cuban Sandwich at sea,

delicious drinks,

 

Cuban food,

and a big check donated to the Ybor city museum!

We danced with Senior Cruise Director John Heald, and got super excited for everyone onboard sailing off to Cuba that afternoon.

Sadly, we had to disembark the ship, but I saw some wonderful photos already from the first voyage! (Search #CCL2Cuba or #CarnivaltoCuba for great shots on Instagram!)

Each cruise is four or five days in length, and includes an overnight stay in port, giving travelers a rare glimpse into Havana at night. Also, some of the itineraries include a stop in either Key West or Cozumel. What is there to do in Havana you ask? So much! Carnival can help connect you with local guides familiar with the food, music, and history of Cuba. With 16 shore excursions, I’m sure you will find something to do for the whole family.

On top of visiting Havana, you will be on board the Carnival Paradise. A Fantasy class ship holding 2,052 passengers (the largest to ever sail to Cuba) with fun on board activities like a water slide, Seuss at Sea kids activities, Spa Carnival, and the Serenity adults only area.

Sailing dates are July 13, Aug. 14, 24 and 28, Sept. 7, 21 and 25, Oct. 5, 9 and 19, 2017, as well as May 3, 2018. Be sure to find a sailing that fits into your schedule before they are gone. What a great opportunity!

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QOTD: Would you be interested in sailing to Cuba? 

Disclosure: I was invited to this special day by Carnival, however all opinions are my own. 

5 Things Friday XXVI

Hola! Happy Friday my friends. It’s literally been raining here for a week, so I think I may need an ark before long to get outside of my neighborhood! I hope you are having better weather than us, and I hope you had a good week! The past couple of weeks here have been super busy with events and such, so I thought I would do a 5 Things Friday event recap of all the fun I have been having.

1.) Biggest Cheeseburger at sea with Carnival: Recently I had the opportunity to board the Carnival Liberty for a fun press event where we witnessed the largest cheeseburger at sea, and even got to flip our own burgers at Guy’s Burger Joint. It was a blast!

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This burger had fifty pounds of toppings and 50 pounds of flour to make the bun. So crazy! 2017-05-25_10-54-12_513

2.) Food and Wine Conference Fun: At the end of May I spoke on a panel at the Food and Wine Conference in Orlando. I love having so many conferences “close to home!” Anyway, it was great getting to meet some more local bloggers and make new friends, as well as learn new things. I also love speaking so that was fun, too! I did lots of stories and social media posts so hopefully you followed along.

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3.) Tampa Margarita Festival: I was invited to the Tampa Margarita Festival, and Bobby and I (who both love margaritas) used it as a fun date night. It was hot outside but everyone seemed to be having a great time. We didn’t stick around for the concert (Barenaked Ladies) because we had to go pick up Emma Kate, but we really love having fun local things to do on the weekends!

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4.) Tijuana Flats new summer menu: I had never even heard of this place until we moved here, but it is becoming one of my favorites. They have a great menu, and Bobby and I were invited to try out some of their new summer offerings last week, and everything was delicious! My favorites were the Bangin chicken tostadas and the the lime steak street tacos. Be sure to stop by your local restaurant and check out the new items!

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5.) BlogHer is quickly approaching: I have always wanted to go to BlogHer, and thanks to it being close by and to their generosity, I was able to make it happen this year. I am rooming with two friends from Tampa, and it just so happens to be at one of my favorite resorts, Hilton Bonnet Creek! The conference is June 22-24, so be sure to follow along then because of course I will be updating you all as I go!

QOTD: How is the weather where you are? Have you tried any new restaurants lately?

Disney Fantasy Cruise 2016: Day 6

In my last installment, we left off after our Grand Cayman day and dinner at delicious Palo. The next day was a big one, as it was the first ever Star Wars Day at sea. This had been hyped up immensely, and while they did do some things right and had the right idea, it wasn’t all executed well.

The day before we had two port adventure tickets on or bed telling us to be at the Tube at 9:15 for an immersive character experience. We had brunch at Palo at 10:30, so we decided to skip breakfast, do our character meet, then get ready to eat. We stood in line at the tube for ten minutes….to take a picture with a bounty hunter. You are not told ahead of time who will be your character. Some people got two characters at one time. Some people got 2-3 tickets. We got two (one the next day which was weird). It was just a photo, nothing immersive about it so that was kind of a let down.

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We decided to head to the lobby because there were supposed to be characters walking around all day. Everyone was just kind of standing around waiting. These were the only ones we saw, below.

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We decided to give up, and go get ready for brunch.

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We LOVE Palo brunch. Before we ever did Palo dinner, we did brunch and it became a trip highlight for us. It’s a buffet  but there are also plated items you can order as well. The chicken parmesan is amazing. As is the dessert table.

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After we sufficiently stuffed ourselves, we changed and headed up to the pool deck to relax and do some reading. I ordered the Star Wars drink of the day which was called “galaxy in a glass”. it was like a strawberry smoothie but I tasted zero alcohol in it which was a bummer considering the price.

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The quick service locations on the pool deck also had Star Wars themed food.

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The ship horn played Star Wars music a couple of times throughout the day, but other then that there wasn’t the fanfare that we expected. The stores had TONS of great merchandise, though commemorating Star Wars Day at Sea.

We also finally had a chance to ride the Aqua Duck in the afternoon. We passed along the entire length of Cuba all day, so that was cool to see as well!

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We may have gotten some ice cream, too.

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We eventually got ready for dinner at Animators Palate.

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One thing that was kind of cool was since this was the inaugural Star Wars Day at Sea, we were the first ones to hold the special new menus.

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All the food was themed which was cute.

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After dinner, we made our way to the Walt Disney Theater for a showing of the new movie, the Force Awakens, in 3D. There was plenty of Star Wars merchandise at the concession stand as well.

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After the movie, we had to hustle to the pool deck for the deck party and fireworks. The fireworks were cool set to Star Wars music, but the deck party/stage show was lacking. We thought there would be a fight scene, or storm troopers taking over the ship, etc, but it was nothing like that.

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Instead of having a buffet on pirate night, we had one after the deck party, and they had it decorated very nicely. The food was pretty much the same as you see on pirate night with a few additions, but I loved all the décor!

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Crepes for the win!

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We were bummed that the adult trivia challenge was at the same time as the buffet, because I know Bobby would have done really well!

We went to bed after we ate, all in all a good relaxing day. I just think Disney hyped up the day a little too much then didn’t deliver, but hopefully they will make improvements for the future, because there is a lot of potential!

QOTD: Do you like Star Wars? Have you ever done Palo brunch?

Disney Fantasy Cruise 2016: Day 4

We left off the vacation recap talking about our day in Cozumel at Mr. Sanchos. After we took a cab back to the port area, we went on the hunt for some tequila. Our cab driver told us about a shop a few blocks down, but they wanted $35 a bottle (insanity) and then said he would give it to me for $30 (still insanity). We ended up just saying oh well, and headed to the ship.

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That’s when we went through the outdoor mall area, and I saw a drugstore that had a big sign that said “tequila”, so we ran in to take a peek, and found big bottle for $7 and $9 a piece. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

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We took a couple of photos then headed back to the beautiful Disney Fantasy.

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It was pirate night, and we were eating in the Enchanted garden. Our table mates had Palo that night, so we dined by ourselves.

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We had a great table right by the window. This is my favorite of the three main dining rooms, it’s so pretty!

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We hurried through dinner and back to our room to change, because…

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IT WAS FOOTBALL TIME! The national championship was on that night, and having been onboard a Disney ship during the NFL playoffs before, I knew it may get crowded. We headed to ‘O Gill’s Pub, and grabbed two chairs right in front of the big screen, and settled in to read out books…..because the game didn’t start for over an hour. (#Hardcore). Anyway, time went by and no one else came! Finally a few minutes before kickoff more people made their way in, but we were shocked at how empty it was…until I remembered this was a Star Wars cruise and we joked that was the reason there were so people in the bar for the game. Heh.

I ordered a drink and we had a great time watching.

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Something I think I failed to mention in my other recaps is that I HAD NO VOICE. Right after the half marathon as we were sitting outside cheering in the other runners, I realized my voice was getting kind of raspy. I felt ok, and chalked it up to the crazy weather (very humid but cold). However, my voice got worse until it was completely gone. The first two days of the cruise I couldn’t talk except in a whisper, and even by the last day it still wasn’t completely back. My throat hurt and I felt tired and coughed, but I had no other sickness symptoms and it took a month for me to feel like my voice was completely back. SO random! I say all this to say, imagine me screaming at the TV in the pub with not voice. It was pretty funny.

The next day we were in Grand Cayman. We had to tender, but I don’t mind because the water is so beautiful and I like the ride to and from the ship.

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I was just happy to finally see some sunshine! We usually hit up seven mile beach, but since we knew we still had a beach day at Castaway Cay (insert ominous music here) we decided to walk down to Margaritaville for some drinks and free Wi-Fi.

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Hello, Georgetown!

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It was crazy how warm it was! It was in the 80’s and pretty humid. I couldn’t get over it since it was January of course.

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We had no wait (this place is HUGE) and even had a table where we could see the ocean. We ordered some Margaritas, chips and salsa, and just enjoyed hanging out listening to the music while we did some work on our phones/iPad and checked in back home.

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Round two was a Pina Colada, it was delicious.

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Pool upstairs? So cool!

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After a couple of hours we decided to walk around a little more then head back to the ship. There were some clouds rolling in and we didn’t want to get trapped in a storm trying to get on a tender boat.

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I was decked out in my ASICS gear this day, too. Nice and light for a hot day.

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One thing I love about Disney Cruises is the special attention to detail. For instance, they were handing out freezing cold washcloths as we headed to the tender boats, and they had different types of water for us as well.

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Such a nice touch!

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The towels felt great on this hot afternoon, and we were soon headed back to the Fantasy.

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This post is getting a little long so I will stop there for now.

QOTD: Have you ever been to Grand Cayman or Cozumel?

Disney Fantasy Cruise 2016: Day 1

Hey friends! So two weeks later I finally recapped the runDisney marathon weekend expo, race, blogger meet up, interviews, and marathon weekends at Bonnet Creek. Whew! So much to say for just being in town for 24 hours! Anyway, it’s time to move on to something fun, the cruise! I plan to only post a couple of these a week until I’m done so they won’t be back to back to back or anything. But let’s start with after the race on Saturday:

We got a ride back to our hotel from a friend, we quickly showered and checked out, and our car was waiting downstairs. We had a private transfer scheduled from Southern Elegance. They do an amazing job, are on time, handle your bags for you, and everything. it’s top notch and our favorite way to get to the port. We were SO exhausted from the race plus our 2.5 hours of sleep that as soon as we started for the port, we CRASHED in the back seat. I woke up about ten minutes from the port, so it was great to get a little power nap in before getting on the ship! We got out bags to the porters, got through security, and waited in line to get checked in. It was 12:30 and I decided I really like checking in at this time of day. There was no waiting for your number to be called or anything, we just walked right on at about 12:45, which was amazing.

Our name was called as we boarded the boat and the crew clapped and cheered for us. I was so ready to start a fun week of relaxing and cruising! The first thing we did was head to get our dining assignment changed to early dinner, and snag a Palo brunch reservation. Once that was handled, it was time to eat! Up to Cabanas buffet we went. After lunch, the rooms were ready so we went to put our stuff down and check it out.

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We had a great aft location on deck nine, and I would totally get this location again. We were two flight down from the pool deck and buffet, and I much preferred the aft elevators because they weren’t as busy as mid ship.

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We spent some time wandering around taking pictures and enjoying the ship before the muster drill. We had been SO go go go the past 24 hours, that it was nice to just finally sit and relax.

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Oh, I forgot to mention that this was a special cruise. It was the first of the Star Wars day at sea cruises, but more on that later.

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After the muster drill, we got ready for our 5:45 dinner rotation. For those not familiar with Disney cruising, they do this cool things called rotational dining. There are three main dining rooms you rotate between, and your servers stay with you the whole cruise so you can get to know each other. it’s really great, so we were excited to meet our servers and table mates!

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I will admit, I was a little nervous about meeting our table mates, It’s totally luck of the draw, and on previous cruises we would do the late seating to get a table by ourselves. However, since we are now old and go to bed early (haha) we wanted early dinner which meant sharing a table. I have heard some people have amazing experiences and some not so much, so we went for it, and ended up making new friends!

We ate at Royal Court that night, and I had TWO desserts. I deserved it right? I did run a half marathon that morning…

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Usually we go to the adult clubs for a really fun game show that they have the first night, but I was SO exhausted that I fell asleep at 8:00. EIGHT YALL! I ended up sleeping for twelve hours. I guess my body really needed it!

Up next time: Our first sea day.

QOTD: Mickey bar or Mickey ice cream sandwich? Have you ever been on a Disney cruise?

Don’t forget, as a Disney travel planner, I can book your cruise for you at no extra charge! Email [email protected] for details

5 Reasons to Take a Racecation

I have taken many racecations over the past few years. I know in a lot of people’s vocabulary, the words “vacation” and “running’ just don’t mix, but hear me out, it can be a LOT of fun!

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1.) See new places: With the popularity of racing, you can now find races pretty much anywhere. You can even sail on the Disney Cruise Line and run a 5k on Disney’s private island in the Bahamas! There are websites like Running in the USA that can help you find races in every state. It’s fun to sign up for a race and then find fun activities to do afterwards with your family!

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2.) Hang out with other runners: Most races have an expo, so it’s a lot of fun to hang out with other like minded people at the expo and get excited about the race with other participants. I love having meet ups and tweet ups to meet up with other online friends as well.

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3.) Keep weight in check: Everyone always jokes about gaining weight on vacation, but you are more likely to keep things in check in the days leading up to your race, and then of course you will burn calories actually running, so there’s another bright side, no dreaded post vacation bloat!

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4.) Run in different climate/elevation: Running here in Mississippi can be pretty monotonous. It’s not particularly pretty, and it’s fairly flat most of the time. I love having the experience of running in low humidity on a beautiful course, something I could never get from a local race!IMG_3572 (2)

5.) Bond with your family: A lot of races have made things a family event. runDisney has kids races and a family fun run 5k, and the Rock n Roll series often offers 5k races with their half and full marathon weekends as well. These make a great opportunity to involve the whole family in being active, as well as teaching kids healthy habits. Or if they just prefer to spectate, you can work together on some really fun signs to hold up on the race course, or go sightseeing post race.

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QOTD: What is your favorite thing about a racecation? What is your favorite racecation location?