travel

What happens between November and March…

I’ve done and accomplished many things since I last wrote a blog update. I guess I’ll blame Chicago’s winter for my lack of writing… Although it hasn’t stopped me from riding my bike to work every day and walking everywhere (both of which I love!) So I’m going to go through a quick highlight of coolest, most fun, and most impactful things that have occurred up until now.

In November, my parents came to visit for the first time here in Chicago, which was a blast. They were able to stay with me at my apartment and then tour the city and do everything they wanted whilst I was at work, and then I was able to meet then for dinner and do some other fun things. They then drove the 3 of us to Pittsburgh where we spent Thanksgiving with the family at my cousin’s new house. She and her husband moved there from Tulsa, so we collectively got to do some exploring.

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In December, I took the most epic trip I’ve ever been on. My cousin Stephen and I took a 10-day trip to Costa Rica. We started in San Jose, the capital, and rented a car and drove to Arenal, the country’s biggest volcano. It also happens to be a rain forest… and it rained for the entire day we were there. Thus, instead of waiting around to see if it would stop, we hopped in the car a day earlier than planned and headed to the beach!

Sloth again

Sloth!!

Mt. Arenal

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Sloth!

Tamarindo picture

After 4 hours on the treacherous Costa Rican roads, we arrived in beautiful Tamarindo, a beach town on the Western Coast. Leaving a day early was a great decision and we toured the city and body-surfed in the Pacific all day. From there, we moved to a nearby hotel for a couple more days, then drove south to Samara (spending the majority of our time in Nosara, a surf-town in between Samara and Tamarindo) before spending a fun night in San Jose before flying home.

Resort pictures

I can’t remember which activities we did in which city, but here are the activities we got to do and some pictures!

  • Mountain biking
  • Left cell phone in mountain biking guides truck…
  • Surfing
  • Went to a Costa Rican “Discotecha”
  • ATV riding
  • Hiking and driving through a crazy forest on barely-existent roads
  • Body-surfed some epic waves at different beaches
  • Saw a sloth
  • Saw howler monkeys
  • Got our car stuck in a river… and consequently made friends with locals who help us lift it out…
  • Ate Brahman (grass-fed Costa Rican cattle)
  • Got stung by jellyfish (in the worst possible places)
  • Went zip-lining
  • Worked out at a tiny, sweltering gym in Samara
  • Walked around San Jose central marker

Tamarindo

Samara hotel

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Off-roading

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Crossing Costa Rican "river road"

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IN the river...

Coming back to Chicago in the middle of winter from Costa Rica is a pretty hard transition.

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but I started taking Improv classes at Second City back in April. This has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I plan to write a lot more about it in the future. In short, I just graduated from their Improv program last week after completing Level A through E! Friends and I have done some shows around the city and I was also part of a Coached Ensemble recently, doing a 4 week run of shows on the Second City stage.

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I also took a hip-hop improv class, called Yes Yes Y’all, late last year which was a blast! YouTube videos to come...

I’m now taking an Auditioning For The Screen workshop and plan to take an acting class beginning in April.  I don’t have an end goal, but I’m excited to see where this all goes.

Lastly, I’m stoked to announce that I’ll be racing for the Wattie Ink Elite Triathlon Team again this year! This team is comprised of such an amazing group of people and I’m so proud to be a part of it. Check out my sponsors page as well for more on some of the amazing sponsors our team has. I’m also excited to announce a few new partners in a couple weeks as well!

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I’ve been doing an indoor triathlon series put on by my local gym. I’ll write about the whole series after the championships in April, but it has been a lot of fun doing smaller distance-for-time style races to even a full indoor Olympic distance race this past weekend! Last week I got to again with one of my AWESOME teammates, Cate!

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That’s it. I’ve got some cool stuffed planned over the next month that I am really excited to bring to fruition and highlight here! Here’s a hint—if you are doing something that’s cool (anything!) and want to talk about it, let me know!

Be easy--

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!

Transition

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...