san diego

2,822 Miles to San Diego!

I made it! After a long adventure across the country (with my brother for half the trip) I've finally made it to San Diego. This post is just going to be a lot of pictures and quick blurbs about what we did along the way! Screen shot 2013-06-10 at 9.58.05 PM

My brother flew into Tampa and we spent a couple days just clearing everything out of my apartment, mailing boxes to San Diego, and packing my car to the brim--to the point where if you opened a door or window, it would spell disaster.  Of course, this was the first thing my mom decided to do when we met her in Tulsa....

The plan was to drive from Tampa to Tulsa, where my cousin was getting married, attend the wedding, then continue on San Diego. My brother was going to go with me from Tampa to Tulsa, before he flew back to Virginia Tech to start work for the summer.  We rolled out of Tampa on Tuesday morning and made our first stop in Atlanta.

We got there unloaded our stuff, and met up with one of my best friends, Matt, and his Kristina. Matt and I met when I spent a summer in college living outside of New York City, in Hoboken, and I lived in the Beta Theta Pi house at Stevens Institute of Technology where Matt lived and went to school. Since then, we've done a number of fun races together, like the Men's Health Urbanathlon, which we hope to do again this year! We went to an awesome, local, hidden treasure style bar with great food and a beer list that was literally a novel.

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The next day, we grabbed a workout, packed up and headed out, en route to Nashville by the evening. Along the way though, we stopped at Ruby Falls, and amazing underground cave that ends with an incredible waterfall.  Apparently, we had stopped here years ago when my family took a road trip from Houston to upstate New York (don't ask me why my parents wanted to make that drive...) Anyways, the falls cave was amazing and so worth going a but off the beaten path to make the stop!

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We got back on the road, got an hour back thanks to the time zone change, and got into Nashville.  We ended up at the wrong hotel--a much nicer Marriott that was downtown--but I talked our way into getting two discounts to get a cheaper room than the original hotel. Score.  We met up with another good friend of mine, a renowned player in the fitness and personal training industry, JC Deen.  JC is a trainer and writer and is frequently featured in Men's Health as well as other publications like Forbes. He suggested that we check out a really cool jazz/funk show that was only on Wednesday nights where some classic names in the jazz/funk genre, the Wooten brother, got together to play as the house band at a local bar.  This was totally my brothers scene and I had a great time a well. These guys were amazing  and I saw possibly the best drum solo and base solo that I'll ever see (according to Stewart--and he knows what's he's talking about, since he is a drummer in multiple bands).

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Thursday morning was Stewart's birthday! He turned 22.  As my present, I opted to not tickle his feet in the morning when I woke up and they were the only visible part of him sticking out of the blankets in the morning. From Nashville we drove to Memphis, but first we stopped in Graceland, the home of Elvis.  Come on, we had to! It was actually pretty cool--having not grown up in any of the Elvis eras, it's hard to comprehend just how big his influence was and how many fans he had. Like, 35 years after his first song, he was still selling out Vegas 7 nights a week. We'd been to Graceland before too (on the same trip as aforementioned) but it was cool to go as an adult.

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When we got to Memphis, our first stop was some barbecue! I had running Stewart into the ground with our morning workouts and so we were hungry and he was ready to celebrate his birthday with some grub! Thanks to a suggestion from my friend Beka, we went to Charles Vergos' Rendezvous! This place is known for ribs, so that's what we had! If you're gonna do it, do it big, right?

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We then went out on Beale St. and celebrated his birthday... we'll leave it at that...

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Oh yeah, and we saw this: the Memphis what??

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When we could finally get out of bed the next morning, we started the final leg to Tulsa.  We stopped in Little Rock, but then realized the only to do there in the daytime was to like go to the Clinton Library... so we passed on that.

The weekend wedding was a blast though! From the bachelor party golf outing to the rehearsal dinner at the Hard Rock followed by hitting the casino, we had a lot of fun.  My cousin Erin is only a couple months younger than me, so we were always close growing up--her dad just sent me this picture:

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Her new husband, Paul, is great guy as well, and their  wedding was beautiful. It was outside and held at a mountain cabin overlooking a valley. They did a cowboy theme and so we all wore our boots. It was fun and I danced alllll night--I mean, somebody had to get the party started right?

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It was amazing to spend a weekend with my entire family. My dad is flying back out here next month and we are going to go camping in the Grand Canyon for a week.  This was also one of the best trips I've ever taken. My brother and I are close, but we've never really done something like this before and it was long overdue.

From there, I venture our alone.  My first stop was en route to Albuquerque, and I of course stopped at the Big Texan Steak House. If I'd had an accomplice, perhaps I would have thought about the 72 oz. steak challenge... but it's on my bucket list, and I'll try someday! The "scenery: around there was wild though!

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That night, I got into Albuquerque and found out from my brother (who was back in Virginia by then) that one of his friends and a kid we grew up with lived there. So, what the hell, I gave him a call and hung out with him for an hour while he rolled silverware after his shift at Applebee's haha.

The next morning I grabbed a workout and when I got on the road, I got a text from my mom (who on a road trip back to Virginia with my little sister). They were at a Starbucks in Memphis, where the Spurs were playing the Grizzlies in the NBA conference championships, and just happened to run into Boris Diaw. Kind of awesome

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My adventure for the day was driving through the mountains of Arizona en route to Phoenix. I lifted in the morning, so I as I drove through canyons, I stopped in Sedona, which is a beautiful, small, mountain town. I found a small turnoff to stop, parked my car, stripped down, and went for an amazing trail run! It was some of the most beautiful scenery I'd seen in a long time and made me feel like a million dollars.

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There wasn't much to do (alone) in Phoenix, BUT I did take an amazing midnight adventure! Remember the scene in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure when Napoleon takes the Ziggie Piggy Ice Challenge at the Ziggy Pig Restaurant? This is the Chuck E. Cheese that the scene was filmed at! Check out the scene here to refresh your memory. Gotta love the iPhone app that pointed that out to me.

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The last stop on my journey, from Phoenix to Felicity, California, to The Official Center of the World.  I still honestly have no idea what the f**k this place was, but I was the only one there and it was creepy as hell.  It was like something straight out of the Da Vinci Code or some Illuminati stuff. Pretty awesome though--there was this small church at the top of this hill and weird triangular stone pillars that lined the land in front of it with the history of Arizona (yes, I was in California, so I have no explanation there), the history of the United States, and the history of the World:

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I basically visited the place at a full sprint before running back to my truck and getting out of there! The rest of the trip was driving through incredible mountains and seeing deserts that I didn't even know existed in America

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Finally, 2,822 miles and a ton of fun later, I arrived in San Diego at my new home! I'm living with one of my best friends Roddy who did all the leg work finding us a spot

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Now that San Diego is my home, let me know if you're nearby and want to meet up or train! Or just some visit!

This Feels Right

A lot has happened since my last post--which is a large reason I've been delaying this update (well, that and until today it used to take me hours to upload pictures...). I've got a changes coming, but I guess I'll start at the end first. Then weekend before last, I hopped on a plane and jetted out to California--I flew into LA, saw my cousin, and rode with a friend 4 hours north to be a part of the one and only Wildflower Triathlons. This was a team event for Wattie Ink, so I had the chance to meet about 20 of my teammates...  they are all awesome and overall really really good people. We camped out Friday night (in a tent) and I then spent the entire day Saturday chasing around most of my teammates who were racing the Long Course half-Ironman race.  I think I got a video of nearly everyone crossing the finish line or out on the course! (Let me know if you raced and I'll see if I got you on video!) Heather Jackson, a Wattie Ink pro triathlete, won the overall Pro female division and dominated the course!

Heather Jackson- the Champ!

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If you don't know about Wildflower, it's known as one of the toughest triathlon courses in the country. Mad props to everyone who finished on Saturday as it was easily like 90 degrees- I was getting a workout just around with the camera so I know the racers felt it.

Some of the squad at Wildflower

The next morning we woke up to temps in 50s. I was so cold I didn't even know if I was going to start the olympic distance race I would be doing that morning.  Luckily, I got into my Blue Seventy wetsuit early and was able to stay warm. The race was awesome--swim was choppy and impossible to sight, hills on the bike were crazy, and the run felt entirely uphill until the last mile.  My swim was bad, but I blame that on how I swam, not my swimming ability, bike was solid, and my run was really good.  This felt awesome based on the amount and distance that my training has been. I've been doing less with more intensity and lifting a lot more.

Headed toward the finish

Me and One-arm Willie!

My wild one-armed uncle Willie was there! I met him at the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon a few years. He won the overall challenged athlete division

After the wild weekend, I returned to LA, got In n Out Burger with my cousin (that's right bitches) then hopped a train to San Diego, bike in tote. I stayed with a good friend of mine and we sealed the deal on an apartment we'll be moving into in June...

Which brings me back to the start!

A few weeks ago, I made the decision to resign from my job. It was not in line with where I wanted to go in my career and I wasn't happy.  At the time, I didn't have something else lined up yet, but I knew that if I didn't make a move, I never would.  So I stepped away... And I have never felt so happy. The decision felt so right and so powerful. Now, I could be happy, and my destiny lies in what I make of it and how hard I work for ME. I came across this article today, which totally reaffirmed what I plan to do.

So through a series of events and hustling, I am going to be moving to San Diego next week to pursue an opportunity in marketing, brand development, and sports--everything I want to be doing and that will help me determine and align what I want to do in the long term. I couldn't be happier and more excited.  I will be very sad to leave Tampa and the amazing friends I have here, but this is going to be another huge step in my recovery: for me to get to a new environment, leave old habits, and create a life free from the things in my past which kept me stuck.

To help support myself, I'm also going to start personal training again, which I can't wait to do as it is something I really enjoy and I have a lot more experience and knowledge than when I was training in college.

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Next Tuesday I'll head out from Tampa on a cross country adventure.  I've talked my little brother into making half of the road trip with me which should be awesome! Our plan is drive from Tampa to Atlanta, spend the night in Atlanta, then spend a night and day in Nashville, followed by the next night and nearly a full day in Memphis, then stopping through Little Rock as we finish in Tulsa for the weekend where my cousin is having her wedding. After the wedding, my brother is flying home, and I'll finish the journey through Albuquerque for a night and then spend a night in Las Vegas! If anyone is along this route, please let me know, as it would be awesome to meet up! Especially in the second half of that trip--who wants to go to Vegas with me??  No, like really, I need someone to go with!

Here goes!

1,000 miles in the car with this kid...