Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday! Seriously--how is it already the end of October? This time next month we'll be gearing up for CHRISTMAS! This year has seriously flown by. 

On the bright side, it's FRIDAY which means it's time for some of my favorites!

Linking up with Heather, Jill, & the Virginia Bloggers today. :)

1. Girls weekend was awesome! Totally low key and absolutely perfect in every way. We went to the farmer's market, decorated pumpkins, went on the Blue Ridge Parkway and took professional photos---it was much, much, MUCH needed! I know, I know.. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times but I'm so lucky to have these three incredible women in my life. And I can't wait to get our photos back! In the mean time, you can just look at mine. ;)

just awkwardly holding a pumpkin in my lumberjack gear

2. This brownie recipe is STILL my favorite. They're healthy AND delicious. There's no beating that combo. I've made it a MILLION times at this point and never tell anyone that there's no added sugar and they're only about 90-100 calories a piece until after. No one believes me. Ever. And if I'm feeling really froggy, I'll sub applesauce for the eggs and it's even better!

3. My niece turned THREE on Sunday. How is that even possible?! LOVE this girl. It's so neat watching her grow up and seeing her develop this spunky, sassy, and totally funny personality. Not to mention she's already a crazy cat lady and it's awesome.

4. I'm running the Haunted Half Marathon tomorrow! I've wanted to do this race EVERY YEAR but something ALWAYS comes up. Not this year! I'm debating on running as a cat or geek.. right now geek is totally winning out though. This is supposed to be a super fun race and will help me finish out my LAST long run of my marathon training cycle. HECK YES! 

5. And finally, speaking of my marathon...things got SUPER real yesterday when I got this email...

I guess there's no backing out now, right? 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! And Happy Halloween! 


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thinking Out Loud: Just Breathe.

Did you know that October is National Healthy Lung Month? Don't worry, I didn't either. And as a fitness junkie, I'm so very grateful for my own! They help me teach group exercise classes, run marathons (hopefully!) and live an all around healthy life. So today, I thought I'd do a little thinking out loud and talk about ways to stay healthy and how we can help our lungs keep us breathing for a long, LONG time.

Linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons!

1. GET MOVING! This is an obvious one but in order to get our lungs in the best shape possible, we have to get up and move! Whether it be walking for 30 minutes a day, taking a Zumba class, or training for a marathon, just as if you were training a specific muscle, the more you work your lungs, the stronger they get! And not to mention how awesome you feel afterward!

2. If you're smoking, quit and if you're not, don't start! You wouldn't drink poison would you? So why inhale it?!

3. Healthy eating! Eat good, feel good. Research has shown that anti-oxidant rich foods are good for your lungs. You don't have to tell me twice to eat more broccoli. Okay, maybe sometimes but most of the time I can't pass it up. ;)

4. Be aware of indoor toxins. Many products that we use on a daily basis can be carcinogenic--some may even contain asbestos. I know when I think of asbestos, I typically think of all the home renovation shows when they tear out walls and ceilings and find it but did you know that some companies still put it in their products? Even though it has been shown to cause mesothelioma, also known as asbestos cancer? Crazy, right? Everything from adhesives, to crockpots (!), to BABY POWDER can contain the dangerous chemical. Absolutely insane. Read your labels!

5. My final tip? Laugh. A LOT! Besides the obvious benefits of laughing (hello, HAPPINESS!), laughing helps work your abdominal muscles, which aid in posture and ultimately allow your lungs to breathe a little easier. I'd say that's a win-win, don't ya think? I know my lungs got an awesome workout this weekend with my best friends! Who knew that all that laughing was so beneficial? I guess that's just an excuse to visit with them more often, right? :)

Have a wonderful Thursday everyone! I've got my last 20 miler of my training cycle this Saturday and I'm glad I've got a good set of lungs to get me through it!

For more information on mesothelioma and products containing asbestos, check out this website.

See you tomorrow for my Friday Favorites!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

TOTR: Crunch Time

So...... that awkward moment when you're watching a movie trailer on TV while on the treadmill and you immediately freak out because it comes out on November 13 which just so happens to be the day before your marathon.... yep, that happened this morning.


Linking up for Tuesday's on the Run!

I know I talk about my marathon a LOT but with it just around the corner, it's basically the only thing on my mind these days. 

I've got my last long run coming up this weekend and I'm hoping it will be a big confidence booster. I'm kind of terrified of the race at this point (been reading too many horror stories!) but if something scares you, it's GOT to be good for you, you know?

I literally have no clue what's going to happen on race day. I could bomb out at mile 18 or feel great the entire day (wishful thinking) but I just want to finish. That's it. That's my #1 goal at this point and anything else is an added bonus. 

My thoughts on marathon training up until this point? Ehh. I love running--it's probably my biggest passion--but I like the freedom of running when I want, how I want, and how long I want. And that's not to say I haven't taken some "creative" liberties while training but I won't know until after I cross the finish line whether I'll do another marathon or not. Okay, maybe SEVERAL days after crossing the finish line. 

But all of that being said, there have been countless moments during the last few months where it's really hit me just how AWESOME it is what I'm doing. I'm pushing my body to run 26.2 miles... for fun! Not many people have the guts to take that on and I know it. So who cares if it takes me 5-6 hours to cross the finish line? I got out there didn't I? 

And there are so many people out there who have believed in me during this training when I haven't. My husband, my family, my friends, my exercise clients. When training has gotten hard and I've lost confidence, they've been there to pick me back up and get me on track. I'm so very grateful to each and every person who has helped me along this (hard) journey.

So, here's to my last few weeks of marathon training. No matter what happens, I'm proud of myself and the effort I've put in. It's not been easy by any means but it's been worth it. And WILL be worth it on November 14th.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Favorites!

Popping in for a quick Friday favorites today! I have a LOT on the agenda for the weekend but wanted to get one more post in.

Linking up with Heather, Jill, & the Virginia Bloggers!

1. GIRLS WEEKEND! The entire reason for my quick pop-in! In a few short hours, I'm packing my bags and heading to Roanoke for another edition of girls weekend! I think this one will be SLIGHTLY more low key than Charlotte (still recovering!) but much needed! I can't believe we haven't been together since JULY! We literally talk every single day so it doesn't feel like it's been a SUPER long time but I can't wait to head out! So blessed for wonderful girl friends. I don't know what I would do without these girls.

2. As an addendum (I guess?) because I love my BFF's so freakin' much, I moved my last 20 miler to next weekend and suffered through 12 miles this morning bright and early. That's love folks. Next weekend I'll be running the Haunted Half and can't wait. I've wanted to do this race FOREVER but it always seems to fall on a bad day.... but not this year! I'm stoked to dress up--I think I may rock out 13.1 as a skeleton?! I've never done a costume race before (unless you count the time I dressed up as a Christmas tree....) so I'm looking forward to it!

3. Tom Keene because he's totally one of my favorites this week. So obsessed with The Blacklist!

4. Okay, not to bring up another TV show (I swear I do more than just run and watch TV!) but Peter & I have been slowly making our way through the show Dexter and it's so good! Everyone has been telling me to watch forever and finally a few weeks ago we decided to take a stab at it (no pun intended). We're on season 3 now and still have 5 to go but man--it's good. Can't believe we waited this long to watch.

5. And finally, because I finally made the jump to Pro-team, I'm LOVING the new Insanity format. Last night was my first night teaching it and it was so much fun! It's slightly different than before but the changes make ALL the difference. I've been teaching Insanity for a little over a year and a half now and to say it needed a breath of fresh air is an understatement. Well, err, at least I needed a change. Not that I'm not ALWAYS enthusiastic to teach (really, I am!) but sometimes it's hard to teach the same thing over and over and over again. New music, new moves, whole new ballgame. It's hard to tell in the picture below but I was literally DRIPPING in sweat last night. That's how you know it's a good workout. ;)

Not the most exciting update I've ever had but hopefully I'll have some good stories for you on Monday.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Some life updates

I figured I haven't done just a general life update in a while so since I have a few minutes on my hand this morning, I figured why not?!

We're going to do this list style because, well, that requires less thinking and at this point, my brain is absolutely fried.

1. Marathon training is down to the last few weeks and to say I'm nervous would be an understatement. I keep second guessing myself and wondering if I should have done things differently but last night, I had an epiphany while talking to a friend. He was saying how he wanted to run double digit mileage for the first time ever and asked me for some advice. I told him to just go for it. Most of the time, your mind is the only thing holding you back and it's better to go out there and try and fail than never know. And then it hit me--I need to heed my own advice. So what if I go out there and bomb out on mile 20 and finish in an unacceptable (to me) time? As long as I cross the finish line, I'm a officially a marathoner and I can live the rest of my life knowing that I did something bigger than myself. Boom.

2. Peter's mom came in last weekend and we did a little sight seeing around the area and uhh, can we talk about how absolutely beautiful it is here right now? Summer is by FAR my favorite season but for these two weeks in fall, I can get down with some foliage.

A photo posted by Sarah Smith Carlson (@sarahc33) on

A photo posted by Sarah Smith Carlson (@sarahc33) on

3. Some potentially big news on the horizon. I don't want to go into full detail because I'm totally one of those overly superstitious people but as soon as it does (or does not) come to fruition, I'll let the cat out of the bag. ;)

4. I got word last week that I was selected to be a Momentum jewelry ambassador! Anyone who knows me knows just how big of a deal this is because I wear my momentum jewelry EVERY. SINGLE. DAY as a reminder that I'm a girl and I can kick some major booty. I'll be rocking everything I got for my marathon in November! More on this to come!

5. I've got my next certification coming up in December and I couldn't be more excited. In my quest for woman empowerment, I'll be getting certified in Rape Aggression Defense (RAD). I've taken this course several times as a student and am beyond happy that in a couple of months I'll be able to teach it to others. It's wonderful training and something I think EVERY woman should take at some point in their life. It gets you mentally and physically prepared for a potential attack... and although it's something that you HOPE you  never have to use, I know I feel safer having the training in my back pocket in case I need to break it out one day.

So, there you have it! A few updates from my world. Hope to be back on Friday for my favorites from the week before I head off to Roanoke for my next girls weekend!

Happy Wednesday!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thinking Out Loud

Happy Thursday! It's fall break around here and we have been cleaning and organizing our building non-stop since Monday! Needless to say, that's why there have been ZERO updates. ha.

I have a few minutes to pop in this morning though so let's do a little thinking out loud.

Linking up with Amanda from Running With Spoons!

1. I think I mentioned it on here last week but for as long as I can remember, everyone from around my area in the small, small, SMALL corner of Southwest Virginia have been driving an hour and a half for the nearest Turkey Trot in our area. Ridiculous, right? We've hit an absolute running BOOM around here and instead of complaining about it for another year, I decided that it's finally time I do something about it. So, enter the Dairy Queen Turkey Day 5K. 

I'm so unbelievably excited for this race! I hope we have a good turnout and can keep it up in the future. I'm nervous because this will be the first race I've done without the help of a big college behind me but at the same time, I'm excited for the possibilities that leaves me!  So as if I didn't have ENOUGH going on......... ;)

2. Speaking of running, my long run on Saturday sucked. As in, sucked so bad I only did half. Of 20. Ugh. I knew this was going to happen at some point in my training cycle but man... it's definitely made me feel a little discouraged this week. Top that with a bad race last weekend and I'm a little bummed out. But, that being said, it's only made me want to work even harder this week. I have no idea how Richmond is going to go and I'm going in it with no mindset whatsoever toward racing... simply finishing. That in itself will be an accomplishment and I'm not going to beat myself up over whatever happens on November 14th. So, here's to my final month! AHHHH.

3. Today is my Friday. That in itself deserves it's own point. ;)

4. Peter & I have been on the house hunt and man.. it's both exciting and SUPER frustrating! I feel like there's no middle ground around here. I just want to be able to paint walls when I want to paint walls. ha.

5. The leaves are on POINT this week in Southwest Virginia. Summer is by FAR my favorite season but I can't lie--I can get down on some fall weather. But winter? Please stay far, far away. I don't know if I'm ready for another one like last year.

A photo posted by Sarah Smith Carlson (@sarahc33) on

A photo posted by Sarah Smith Carlson (@sarahc33) on
6. And let's end with the fact that I basically have a love affair with my Saucony Triumph's. This is my third pair this year (probably should be on my 5th or 6th...) and they do not disappoint. Ever. So glad I let the sales lady talk me into these shoes. I'm pretty sure the best day in any runner's life is when their new pair of shoes comes in. Okay, maybe that's just me. But these feel HEAVENLY.

Have a great Thursday folks! I'll try and be back tomorrow but no promises! The Mother-in-Law is coming in and we've got a "Woodbooger" festival to go to! (Don't ask. ha)


Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Favorites!

I know I say this every week, but TGIF! 

Time for some Friday Favorites!

Linking up with Heather, Jill, and the Virginia Bloggers today!

1. A few weeks ago, I signed up for a chance to become an ambassador for Momentum jewelry because, well, the bracelet I bought while I was in Florida back in April is legitimately the ONLY piece of jewelry I wear (besides my wedding rings, of course ;)). I absolutely LOVE what they stand for. I'm all about empowering women through fitness and this company totally speaks to my soul. Well, long story short, I got accepted! So flipping excited! More to come on this at a later date. :)

2. Okay, okay. I hate jumping on the pumpkin spice bandwagon because to be honest, I'm not a huge fan BUT... the pumpkin pie quest bars? Uhhhh..... go buy one. One of my clients surprised me with one last week and I've been obsessed ever since. 

3. Well, as if I didn't have enough going on right now (grad school, marathon, full time job, teaching class.... the list goes on!), I decided that my little part of the state of Virginia needed a Turkey Trot. And so.. that's what I'm going to do! This has never really been an issue before because I'm usually out of town for Thanksgiving but for the last 2, I've been home and the closest Thanksgiving morning race? An HOUR AND A HALF away! Ain't nobody got time for that. So.. sometimes, if you want to change something, you just have to do it yourself. ;) I'm currently in the process of planning the "Turkey Day 5k" and our tagline? Run like a beast, before you feast. ;) We're a little rushed this year but I hope that we can turn this into something BIG. Thankfully, my mom and dad GRACIOUSLY agreed to sponsor the race through Dairy Queen so all of our proceeds will go to a local homeless shelter in desperate need of supplies! I'm so excited and will post more details soon! 

4. I'm super obsessed with red velvet anything right now. I made Peter red velvet pancakes for our anniversary breakfast and they were the BEST! And so easy! And then last night, I decided to experiment with a red velvet/PB2 mug cake. I added a few white chocolate chips in and it was heavenly. Someone get me away from all the sweets! ha. 

5. Well folks, we're officially less than 40 days away from my first marathon! I'm currently a mixture of nerves and stress with an occasional bout of doubt. I've got my next 20 miler tomorrow and I've been feeling SLIGHTLY under the weather this week so I'm not quite sure how it's going to go. But either way, I think more than anything at this point I'm ready to just get this thing over with! Ughhhh. Come on Richmond!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

TOTR: Novelty Races

It's Tuesday, we've had a solid 2 days of no rain, and next week will be the midpoint of the fall semester. No complaints from me.

Today's topic for Tuesday's on the Run is a fun one--novelty races! At this point, I feel like I've done just about all of them--color runs, glow runs, zombie runs...but my favorite? Obstacle course races, specifically Spartan Races.

I've talked Spartan before but until you do one, you have NO idea just how seriously awesome they really are. I went in to my first Spartan race last March thinking that it was just another race. And I was totally wrong.

Spartan is its own community of runner's and it's... the best. There's no other way to put it. Everyone is so encouraging, so helpful, so BADASS--literally everyone has that mindset of "go big or go home", which makes me love it even more.

And if that's not enough, the races are HARD. I've done several of the other big time OCR races and not one compares to a Spartan. Spartan races challenge you physically, mentally, emotionally--by the time you are done, you're absolutely exhausted in every form and fashion. But the sense of accomplishment is like no other. I'm assuming that's probably how I'll feel after my marathon next month. I hope!

I've been thinking a lot about my next goal after the marathon and as soon as I ran the Virginia Super a couple of months ago, I knew IMMEDIATELY my next goal was the Spartan Trifecta. In order to get the Trifecta, you have to a sprint (shortest), Super (middle), and Beast (longest) in one calendar year. And on top of that, I've decided that I want to do the absolute hardest ones out there. I'm still debating on which Sprint but I've got my eyes on the Virginia Super for a second year in a row and  the Vermont Beast--the best of the best.

So if you get nothing else out of this post, the point is that you should go do a Spartan race... immediately. You won't regret it and I promise, no matter how bruised and banged up you are when you finish, you'll want to do it again.

You'll "know" at the finish line.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Favorites: One Year Anniversary Edition

Happy (rainy) Friday ya'll! I feel like this week has absolutely flown by... has it for anyone else?!

Anyway, I'm linking up for Friday Favorites wtih Heather, Jill, and the Virginia Bloggers.

Seeing as Sunday is my one year anniversary (!!!), I'm doing a special edition of my Friday Favorites.

(First of all, how is it even remotely possible that I've been married a year?!)

So, marriage. It's still weird for me to say I'm married. Not because I'm not proud of it (I am!) but because marriage seems like SUCH a grown up thing and I still feel like I'm 18 trying to find my place in this world some days. If you would have told me five years ago I'd be the first of my friends to say I do, I would have laughed uncontrollably in your face. I wasn't really dating, had no intention of settling down, and was enjoying my final year of college (a bit too much!).

But then.... Peter came into the picture. We had been friends before but suddenly, things started taking a different direction. And to be honest, at first, I was kind of annoyed. ha. I had no intentions of getting tied down... like, none. Zilch. Zero. But the more we talked and got to know each other, the more I started falling for him. And finally, one day, we both admitted we had feelings for each other. Unfortunately, that was the day he left for camp in Pennsylvania for the summer. Ha. Go figure, right?

And to be honest, that camp was the best thing that could have ever happened to Peter and I. We spent all summer long talking and getting to know each other. There was no pressure. I can remember looking forward to every night--we talked about any and everything. So when he finally did come home for the summer and we finally went on the first date we'd been talking about for quite some time.. it was... easy. Don't get me wrong, I was nervous and totally downed a shot of tequila to calm my nerves but still--we sat and talked for HOURS that night and everything just clicked.

The rest as they say, is history. 

And almost a year ago, we tied the knot. Our wedding day was one of the absolute best days of my life. Up until that Friday, I was stressed beyond belief but once we got to the rehearsal dinner with all of our friends and family, it was the most fun weekend I've ever had. 

We drank, we laughed, we danced, we drank some more, we laughed some more... all weekend was just.... incredible.

drunken madness!

Any our wedding day? I know a lot of brides have talked about how rushed and stressful it was but man... mine was the most relaxing day I think I've ever had! Everything was planned, all of the details were taken care of.. all I had to do was show up in a white dress. ;)

The first thing I did on my wedding morning? Run, of course. Our wedding date was 10/4 so I figured I'd better not run 10.4 miles and went with 4.10 instead. Close enough, right? I remember thinking very clearly on the treadmill just how much my life was going to change in the next 24 hours and really savored my last little bit of 'me' time for a while.

And after that? It was go time. Hair and makeup, packing, scrambling to make sure we grabbed everything from the hotel to take to the venue and then arriving... and waiting. We arrived about 4 hours early so the photographer could take some pictures and get set up and it was the most fun time ever. My bridesmaids and I had a blast. We played hangman. We took pictures. We danced. We took shots. It was so much fun. I'll never forget it.

All of the sudden, it was 4:45pm and it was time for Peter & I do to our first look--which I'm beyond thankful we did. I loved getting to have some alone time with Peter right before all of the hoopla. I can remember walking down the steps behind him and being so nervous! But as soon as he turned around and saw me, everything was right with the world.

Just like that, an hour later or so later, we were pronounced husband and wife and danced the night away with the people we love most. It was the most magical day and everything I hoped for and more.

A year later and I still feel the same way about Peter and our relationship as I did that first Saturday in October. But you know what? I'm not here to say that marriage is all rainbows and butterflies and ours certainly is no exception.

I think when it comes right down to it, marriage is a lot like running. In the beginning, you can do no wrong. It's all you want to do when you wake up and all you think about when you go to sleep. Your legs are fresh, it's something new everyday, and the runner's high is out of this world. But then, once you become a seasoned runner, you realize that not every run is going to be a good one. There will be mornings you wake up and the last thing you want to do is get out of bed, put on running shoes, and log 10 miles. But even on those runs, in the end, it's so worth it. I never quit running after a bad run.. I always come back to running because it's one of my biggest passions. Good times and bad.

Just like our marriage.

Of course there are days we want to kill each other but nothing in life is perfect and if our marriage was perfect, it would be FREAKING boring. You know? :)

And plus, all of the good times FAR outweigh the bad. Just like running.

I don't remember the bad runs, I remember the magical ones. I remember the 1:36 half marathon, I remember the first time I ran a sub 22 minute 5k, heck, I even remember the first mile I ever ran!

I'm so grateful for my relationship with Peter and everything we've done so far and everything we still have yet to come. It's a beautiful thing and I'm so blessed for the man I've been calling my "dawg" since day one.

Here's to many more years and many more miles.

Happy Anniversary, dawg.