It’s Been a While

I have been blogging for longer than I care to admit. My entire life, I have had at least one creative outlet. I dance from age 4 until I was 20, as a young child, I sewed cross-stitch and attempted to make rag dolls. Eventually, this turned into attempts at designing, and yes, sewing my own clothes. Realizing I had no experiencing in actual sewing, I even hired a seamstress to create one of my designs to wear to the Sadie Hawkins dance in 10th grade! (Interestingly enough, no pictures exist as evidence- were you trying to tell me something mom? :)) Late in college, I took up baking, and then cooking. Shortly after that came CCR.

Here is the thing about all of those creative endeavors. I have S.U.C.K.E.D at all of them. Anyone who knows me, knows I can be a bit forceful when I have my mind set on something. What this has meant in the creative space is that even though I truly do suck at these activities (and know it!) I continue to do them and to love them with my whole heart.

81200267 Because I’m Cotton Eyed Joe…

Since beginning CCR, I have never taken a break, even updating the blog from Europe! I have blogged through moves , international travel , multiple injuries, and new jobs (I think I set a record for most jobs in one company within three years). I love being able to look back through these experiences and see what my day – to – day life looked like at the time.


Well, this injury is different. For almost 6 weeks now,  I have been battling painful inflammation in my knees, preventing me from running and wearing my beloved heels (the horror!) For the first time, the thought of blogging is painful, it hurts my heart to write when nothing seems to be getting my closer to running.

But don’t worry. My crappy, creative, scrappiness hasn’t gone anywhere. I’ll be back on CCR shortly, making you question how much of my future retirement I am throwing away on froyo, scheming my next trip,  and hopefully, hopefully, hopefully running.

Have you ever taken a break from blogging?

Tell me about your awesome creative endeavors!

My First Trip to Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy. I have heard many things about Physical Therapy throughout the years. In daily life, you hear about the elderly going the Physical Therapy to help mobility, about post-surgery patients attending PT to regain functionality, about athletes with injury going to rehab injuries and hopefully return to their sport at their previous level. I also heard a lot of wives and mothers nagging their husbands and children to, “Please make sure you’re doing your Physical Therapy exercises. You’re never going to get better if you don’t!”

Despite various injuries I have had over the years, PT has never been one of my prescribed recovery methods. That changed with my most recent injury, inflammation that began in my right knee, miraculously healed itself, and jumped ship to my left knee. Two weeks after the pain set in, I was finally able to get in to see a PT. The clinic I was referred to was one I was familiar with. In additional to Physical Therapy, they run well respected athletic programs, training many of the Triangle’s professional athletes and Olympians! I can’t say I was excited to be injured, but I was excited for my insurance to pay for a trip there!

The day I visited, the pain was fresh to my left knee and at it’s most sever level. Any straightening of my leg past a certain point, sent a stabbing pain into the inner, lower portion of my knee. Make a claw with you hand, cup the inner portion of your knee cap, and pretend you fingers are sharp objects. Ouch!

After describing this to the PT and his intern, they asked me to do a series of activities, measuring the pronation of my legs, my flexibility, and generally observing me. The result- I am pretty flexible (weird to think compare to my former dancer self), and don’t decidedly pronate, music to any runner’s ears. Except, it didn’t tell us a thing about the pain I was experiencing.

Next, they put me on a beloved object I hadn’t stepped foot on in two weeks, the treadmill. I ran for a few minutes at an 8:19 pace while they filmed me. I have always watched with wide eyes, film and broadcasts of collegiate, professional, and even blogging runners as their stride was filmed, critiqued, and analyzed by running experts.

We played back the video, frame by frame, and what I saw was familiar, but in a whole new light! Unfortunately, I don’t have the film to share, but inspired by Hollie from FueledByLOLZ, I used my awesome and artistic paint skills to recreate an image so awesome, it’s like you’re looking at a real picture…


I really do wear pants when I run, I promise🙂

As I had seen in  countless race photos, my lower leg lands at a noticeable angle relative to my thigh when it strikes the ground. The cause, the typical runner M.O., weak hips and glutes. The good news was that my stride was relatively midfoot, meaning I coul focus on just one change to my running.

Next, we went through a series of exercises to strengthen my hips and glutes.

Single leg weighted deadlifts

Anterior, Posterior, and  Lateral LE reachs

Single leg bridges

Side plank abduction lifts

Let me tell you what, those side plank abductions will get ya, those guys are tough! My PT told me to do 2-3 sets of 10 reps every other day to strengthen my hips an glutes and return the following week.

It turns out my insurance is not as supportive of Physical Therapy as I am. I now can sympathize with all of those people who visit Physical Therapy once and not again. I am determined however,  to diligently complete my exercises as prescribed, strengthen my body, and knock this injury out! In the meantime, you can find me on the elliptical

Have you ever been to physical therapy?

Five Things Friday

Good Morning! I am so excited that today is Friday! This week has flown by and I cannot wait to enjoy the weekend! My plans are fun and carefree with a hair appointment (it’s about darn time), pool party, and brunch with friends on the docket. Eric only has a few more weeks in Raleigh before receiving his final work assignment which will likely be in California! I want spend as much time as humanly possible with him until then (he’s so excited about this you have no idea :)) so he is in for pleeeennntttyyy of Anne time🙂


First, The Bucket List Continues!

There has been a lot of bucket list talk around here lately, Machu Picchu, The Rolling Stones, and now… Fall Out Boy! Ok, before we go any further, let me just say – I get that not everyone may think that seeing Fall Out Boy live and all of their crazy non-sensical (do you like that word?) lyrics live is bucket list worthy but to you, I say balderdash (Wow, my randomness is on a roll this morning)! Since their Sugar We’re Going Down days way back in 2005, though today, I have been a huge Fall Out Boy fan. They never cease to impress me with their sound, Patrick Stump’s voice, and Pete Wentz’s weird but wonderful lyrics. I cannot wait until next Saturday when they an Wiz Khalifa come to Raleigh!

Second, I. Am. OVer. It.

Monday, I discussed my frustration with the knee pain I have been experiencing the last two weeks. Something odd happened Monday morning when I woke up and stepped out of bed, my legs ached and strained, but only because they were sore from the weekend’s workouts. My right knee felt…. perfect! Though my right knee felt miraculously healed, it was as if the pain had jumped legs overnight and manifested in my left knee! Ummm what!? I am well aware that when injured, we compensate for the discomfort and pain, often leading to pain elsewhere. In fact, it is often a weakness or imbalance in a whole different body part that causes the pain we are experiencing!

After three days of rest, my left knee felt no different and I broke Thursday morning, choosing to test out a run. I knew it would hurt, yet I just had to fin out, how would this knee feel if I ran on it? I know you will be shocked to hear, it hurt. I pushed out 2.5 miles before walking in the last half mile.

That afternoon, I went to the PT for the first time. It was my first visit to the PT, and I’ll expand in a later post, but the short of it is that weak hips and glutes are causing the pain an inflammation in my knees. For now, it’s back to the elliptical. Oh well, such is life!

Third, Where Next?


It has been 5 weeks since we returned from Peru. The only thing I can think of now, is, where next? I was lucky enough to grow up in a family full of wanderlust who managed to take a trip almost every summer. My life goal is to take a big trip every summer forever. I know this may not be realistic, but, hey a girl’s gotta have goals right?

Even though Summer 2016 is a ways away, I feel the need to have something in the works to plan and look forward to. I am trying to convince my sister to join me in Boston for a long weekend this fall. I have never been and am dying to go. A city famous for history, running, and food….. sign me up!

Fourth, Links I loved

Despite My Weakness

A beautiful piece written by a high school friend

Denim Skirt and Strips

Mom, will you please buy me this outfit? Thanks. P.S. the shoes are on sale and the only size left is my size🙂

Finally, The Week In Fitness

Friday: Skipped

After Physical Therapy the day before, I woke to the most severe pain yet. All I can say is GET ME IN THE GYM!

Thursday: 3 mile run

Even though the pain had seemingly magically moved from my right knee to my left, my runner brain (aka diluted brain) hope that 5 miles would feel ok. I was wrong.

Wednesday: Skipped

Tuesday: Skipped

Monday: Off

Sunday: 60 minutes elliptical, total body toning

Saturday: 60 minutes elliptical, kettlebell workout

What are your bucket list concerts?

What is the longest workout break you  have taken?

This is it for me!

Well This Looks Familiar

Good Morning! How was your weekend? Tell me all about your 4th of July!

Though I didn’t have plans to hit the road or the beach for holiday, I still had a fun, festive, and America filled weekend! I wish I could share pictures of our adventures, but…. Snapchat happened. Has anyone else found that the increased popularity of and capabilities is Snapchat mean that they rarely take real pictures? Opps!

IMG_0923[1]I am super glad I am sharing this ridiculously flattering picture with the world

We ate incredible meals out far more than my wallet would have preferred, watched oodles of soccer (my brother is OBSESSED – it’s ridiculous, also holy Women’s World Cup!), spent time with friends, and celebrated America the best way possible, with fireworks! (I hope you sang Katy Perry allllll weekend :))

Bday 2014Throwback to the best night of my life aka my 25th birthday when me and 17,000 10 year olds saw Katy kickoff her Prism world tour.

Ok, randomness over, I promise.

What I actually want to talk ohhhhhhhh so briefly (because who wants to dwell on injury), is well, my injury.  As I mentioned Friday, I have absolutely no idea what my orthopedist diagnosed me with, nor am I all that confident in his diagnosis. What I am certain of, is my stupidity, when 9 days after the pain set in, I attempted to run, “Just to see what it felt like.” It hurt, a lot. That meant, it was back to the elliptical for the foreseeable future.

IMG_0932[1] Whyyyyyy

It’s funny, every summer for the past three years, I have had to deal with injury. Luckily, the last two have been minor, requiring only a week or two of downtime. I originally thought that this injury was in that same boat, 1-2 weeks of ellipticaling and I’d be back at it, fighting the humidity, not nagging pain.  What I have found through minor and sever injuries, is that by far the most frustrating, defeating, tear-inducing part, is uncertainty. Not knowing what an injury is, means you can’t treat the injury, and take steps to regain your health – and sanity.

One week after I was unable to run, I visited the doctor. He sent me home with a knee brace, and a prescription of physical therapy. My two weeks of ellipticaling is approaching rapidly. I fear that despite a “diagnosis,” I remain in that indeterminable limbo where I don’t know what my injury is an thus don’t have clarity on how to treat it.

Thursday, a week since visiting the doctor, and two weeks since I have been able to run, I was finally able to get into physical therapy. This is where my hope is residing right now. The clinic I am visiting works with the area’s colligate and professional athletes, Olympians included! I am itching to get in there and get healthy. So stay tuned. My fingers are crossed this is just a speed bump and nothing more.

Did you watch the Women’s World Cup Final?

What is the hardest part of being injured for you?

Five Things Friday

Happy Friday friends! One question for you this morning, where are you? Are you on your way to the beach? Visiting friends? If you are reading this as you get ready for work, don’t worry, I am right there with you, publishing this as I eat my breakfast before work. While it seems like the rest of the country has today off, because the 4th of July falls on a Saturday, we get to take the holiday as a floating holiday at any point this year!

I wish I could report that I had today off of work, and oodles of fun plans for the 4th, but alas I do not. The good news is that because the 4th falls on a weekend this year, I get to take a floating vacation day at any point this year. I am thinking Boston sounds like a good idea!

Even without major plans, I do intend to have a fabulous weekend filled with grilling and pool time with any friends who are in town. What is it about the fourth that just puts everyone into a fabulous and fun mood?! Ok let’s jump into Five… errrrr Four Things Friday shall we?


First, What a Bucket List Summer!

First Machu Picchu, and now… the Rolling Stones!?! Is this real life? Can I be introspective for a moment on a Friday? Ok, thanks . It. Is. So. easy to fall into the hum-drum mental trap that our lives aren’t that exciting in spite of all of the wonderful things happening in them, even in hard times. It took someone at work telling me that seeing the Rolling Stones live was a bucket list item for it to hit me.

I’ve checked off two huge items that are on most people’s bucket list this Summer, and  it’s only the beginning of July! One of my favorites, Jenn from Running With Pugs  recently posted about not pausing to appreciate the progress we make. I am majorly guilty of feeling stalled in life when in reality…. I ain’t that old yall!

IMG_0913[1] Oh hey Mick…

Anyways… speaking of old…. the Rolling Stones were great! They were just as energetic and awesome as you would expect.  The first person who bottles the secret to their longevity, vivacity, and energy at any  age (even 70!) will be a very rich person.  I never thought I would see the Rolling Stones live, how is that for a bucket list item!

Second, I really Thought I Was Making Progress

With Injury prevention that is….


It seems that once per year, I get some sort of nagging pain that sidelines my running. In the past, the pain turned into serious injury (hello 10 month stress fracture!) I like to think that I have grown wiser (ha!) and when those pains set in, stop running for a few days. If they persist, I then go straight to the orthopedist. I had notice a pain in my inner right knee over the past few weeks. It was so mild that I ignored it. Last Thursday though, I cut my 7 mile run to 5 miles when the pain became too glaring to ignore.

Since Thursday, I have been ellipticaling, which as soul crushing as it is, I am grateful for because it is pain free. Walking however is not. I went to the Orthopedic yesterday, my diagnosis, I literally have no idea. my doctor, who UI saw successfully two years ago when I had Quadriceps Tendinosis, breezed through our appointment, telling my my pain was a common running injury involving the cartilage in my knee and that with a brace and physical therapy to strengthen my quad, I’ be running again in a few weeks. In other words, not my best experience.  I will begin physical therapy next week, and continue wearing the brace and ellipticaling in the meantime. Fingers crossed his diagnosis (whatever it is) is correct!

Third, Links I loved

22+ Funny Illustrations Proving The World Has Changed For the Worse

Cauliflower Burnt Rice

I CANNOT get enough of this recipe!

Permanent link to The Reason Why I Always Want to Work Out

Yes, Yes, Yes

Finally, The Week In Fitness

Friday: 60 minutes light elliptical, abs

Thursday: 50 minutes elliptical, abs

Wednesday: 60 minutes elliptical, booty

Tuesday: Off

Monday: 60 minutes light elliptical, arms

Sunday: 60 minutes elliptical, total body toning

Saturday: 60 minutes elliptical, total body toning

What are you doing for the 4th? If you work, do you have today off?

On a scale of 1-10 how much do you like your doctor?

The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is the ultimate bucket list for many people. They dream of visiting the secluded jungle city of the Inca, hidden from most of society for hundreds of years. After falling in love with Peru during our first week, incredible the question Eric and I had to ask was, would it live up to the hype?

Day 7 The Sacred Valley

If there is one piece of advice I can offer when visiting Peru, it is to go with the flow. Our experience may  have been unique, but from the moment we met our, “contact” at our hotel to take us on our tour of the Sacred Valley on the Inca an on to Machu Picchu, control was out of Eric and I’s hands.

Tip: Visiting the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu Almost ever visitor that comes to Peru visits the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. The standard trip bases out of Cusco and begins with a day long tour of the Sacred Valley. Visitors then spend the night in one of the Valley’s towns before making an early morning train/bus ride to Machu Picchu. Some choose to visit Machu Picchu directly from Cusco. It takes just over three hours to reach Machu Picchu from Cusco, making a day-long trip quite the feat!

Tip: Packing for Machu Picchu: The train to Machu Picchu has strict luggage limits which  most carry-on bags will not meet. We found the buses to be more restrictive. I highly recommend packing only what you need in a back pack for your time in the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

Eric, our backpacks, full of our necessities for the next three days (yes, I wore the same clothes for three days straight) met our contact at 8am to being our tour. Without a word, she beckoned us to follow her, led us to a bus and “gently” shoved us on board. Neither of us thought to ask where the bus was headed or if we were in the right place. When we sat down, we realize that we looked to be the only English speakers on board…

Our bus took off, and after seeing the look of utter disbelief on my face, our guide reassured us, “I see your face, don’t worry, don’t worry, I’ll explain in English and in Spanish.” Ok….. As he explained our itinerary, Eric and I realized we had no idea how we were supposed to get to our hotel in the town of Urumbamba, as the tour circled back to Cusco at the end of the day. But that was a bridge to be crossed later. Literally. In the meantime, we made our first stop, an obligatory stop at a literally tourist trap all visitors to the Sacred Valley are routed to. Luckily we ran into some of our friends from the Amazon an previous tours who we were able to ease our concerns to by joking about our tour.


Our first real stop was in the town of Pisac, famous for it’s market. On Sundays, tourists and locals alike flock to the market to haggle deals. Even though we didn’t visit on a traditional market day, there were still plenty of goods to gaze at.

IMG_0756[1] After our stop off at the market, we climbed, and climbed and climbed from the valley to the mountain top and the ruined Incan city of Pisaca. Perhaps it was that this was our introduction to the Sacred Valley, but Pisaca was one of my favorite stops in the Sacred Valley. He views were stunning, and for those with the time, there is ample hiking in the area.

IMG_0763[1] The reoccurring theme with all places associated with Incans…. stairs… We did not have much time, but Eric and I broke from the tourists and hiked along the ruins as far as time allowed.


Next up, was lunch! We drove to the town of Urumbamba for lunch. Our travel agent had booked our buffet lunch at a different restaurant than the rest of our tour. We drove an drove through town, getting a preview of our lodgings for the night. Our impression…..Ummmm….. There are a lot of charming places in Peru, on the surface, the working town of Urumbamba is not one of them. We were able to take the time to ask our guide how we would get back to town that day to stay overnight. The answer, we would walk. Sort of. There was one last stop on our tour, and after that, our bus would return to Urumbamba where it would cross the river to return to Cusco. At that crossing, Eric and I would need to depart and walk the rest of the way to the hotel. Cool.

Tip: Buffet Lunches For some reason, buffet lunches are a “thing” in the toursisty spots of Peru. When making your way to places with limited options such as Machu Picchu or the Sacred Valley, expect to see buffets. While I love nothing more than a good (or not so good depending on your standards) buffet,  don’t expect fried chicken. The good buffets in Peru have incredible cevice and high quality food!

But first – Ollantaytambo! In the 1400s, an Incan general broke off from the Incan king and established the fortress city of Ollantaytambo.


Though the fortress was a strategic stronghold and fended off one Spanish attack, when the Spanish returned with a force four times the size of the Incan defenders, they were force into retreat further into the jungle.


After exploring the ruins it was time to return to our bus for a short ride to our drop off point for the night. When we reached the bridge in Urumbamba, we bade our Spanish speaking bus farewell, slung our packs over our backs and set off to find our hotel. As we walked, Eric had the idea to pop into one of the street side convenience stores which are 2 per block in Peru, grab a Cusquena, and watch the sunset in the Valley. It may have made no sense to spend the night there, but it was the perfect way to end the day.

Tip: Where to stay the night before visiting Machu Picchu: To reach Machu Picchu, visitors almost always depart from Ollantaytambo. Those not taking the 4 day Inca trail by foot take a train for approximately 2 hours into the foothills of the cloud forest to Aguiles Calientes. From Aguiles Calientes, buses take visitors 25 minutes up the mountain to Machu Picchu. Almost all visitors to Machu Picchu spend the night before in either of these locations. Do so. Enough said.

Day 8 Machu Picchu

Spending the night in Urumbamba meant that before we took the 6 am train from Ollantaytambo to Aguiles Calientes, we needed to catch a 4am bus to Urumbamba . Yes. It was as crazy as it sounds. At 4:15, we were getting nervous and called our “contact” for help. 5 minutes later, we heard honking and ran onto a bus of sleeping Peruvian tourists. Yep. We arrive at the train station and took our seats on the train. As we made the approximately 2 hour trip, we watched the first dark blue light of the day creep in as we descended into the canyons of jungle.

Next, we boarded the buses and began to ascend into the cloudy mist of the mountain to Machu Picchu. So let me be honest here. I was bummed. Sure we were in a cloud forest and all but I really wanted to see the green, jungle valley, and snow capped mountains peaking through. In fact, I was acting like a diva. Part of the mystery and wonder of Machu Picchu is the mist. But still.

We had 7 am reservations to hike Huayno Picchu, a mountain adjacent to Machu Picchu so the moment we scanned our tickets, we made our way through the mist, unable to see the true glory that surrounded us as we mazed our way to the hike’s entrance.


Tip: Hiking Huyano Picchu: Only 400 visitors per ay are allowed to hike Huayno Pichhu, 200 at 7am, and 200 at 9am. Guys, the hike, while fairly short, is strenuous. Eric and I are descent hikers. We grew up hiking in the American West, and are fairly fit. When we hear that a hike is difficult, we typically disagree, and expected the same at Huayno Pichhu. Well, we were wrong it’s hard, and fun, and totally worth it!

The hike was S.T.E.E.P. Wow. The one thing I can say for sure about the Incans is that those people were in shape! Once we finally ascended the mountain, we emerged into the mist. Seriously, that is all we could see. What make This Huayno Picchu so famous is it’s steepness, and the view of Machu Picchu and the surrounding valley. The behest of a guide from another group, we waited for the mist to lift as it did, the early morning of Machu Picchu was revealed.




Hiking up Huayno Pichhu was tiring and steep, but the descent down, well, it was harrowing. The first part of the climb, descended the same steep stairs however as anyone who has climbed anything knows, going down is always harder than going up. There was nothing to hold on to, and a sheer cliff to one side! I fell back to my favorite piece of advice, always have three points of contact.


We spent the next few hours meandering through Machu Picchu. We had a tour scheduled for 11am, but, it turned out our “contact” had booked us another Spanish tour. We joined an English tour for 1.5 hours, but our favorite part was meeting fellow traveler, one of whom was an archeologist and taught us more than our guide! Snafu aside, if there is ne thing I can say about Machu Picchu – for all of the hype, it is not over rated!


IMG_0831[1] Around 2 pm, we were exhausted (we had been up since 3:40am after all!) and headed down into Aguiles Calientes  for another fabulous buffet lunch before checking into our hotel.

Despite being over-priced and a tourist hub, I found Aguiles Calientes  to be a charming town.


Day 9 Aguiles Calientes to Machu Picchu

The next morning, we caught the train back to Ollantaytambo. On our ride, we made friends with two women from Lima, Margarita, and Sofia, who not only sent each of us home with gifts, but a standing invitation to visit them anytime in Lima! I love Peruvians.  Once we arrived in Ollantaytambo , we had to catch another bus back to Cusco. As you can imagine, at this point, we had our fingers crossed that our bus would be there and we wouldn’t be riding on the roof. And we weren’t. We boarded a cozy (that makes it sound nice right? :)) bus here we were the only foreigners for the two hour rive back to Cusco. Our ride was elayed 45 minutes while we waited for a parade to pass through Urumbamba.

When we finally arrived back in Cusco, there was one thing we could say – we really did get to travel like locals! We arrived in time for a late lunch at our new favorite restaurant, Quinta Eulalia for one last idealistic meal.

After lunch, we spent the remainder of the afternoon wandering through Cusco, stopping in Paddy’s Irish Pub, aka the highest Irish-owned pub in the world. It was just as touristy and as friggin fantastic as it sounds! We ended our final evening at where else… Museo Del Pisco before dining at Cicciolina for incredible octopus and alpaca.

Our adventure retuning home to the US deserves a post in itself, but what I can say is that when Eric and I left Peru, we left with intentions we plan to fulfill, to return soon. Peru, you are amazing!

Where is the number one place in the world you want to visit?

Is Machu Picchu on your bucket list?