Viva La Cure.

I took off this morning around 9am – packed up the Murano full of running gear and hit the road!

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I had some delicious hot coffee with me, and have discovered the joy of PODCASTS!  Before I knew it, South Carolina was welcoming me…

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Somewhere in South Carolina, I decided I was hungry.  In order to stay healthy on the road and not need to make stops, I packed a sandwich and some snacks.

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For lunch I had a PB2 and pear butter sandwich, and a golden delicious apple…

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I can’t believe how great listening to podcasts were on this road trip!  I have been missing out all these years.  I never turned on music once over a six hour drive – crazy!  I listened to a few different nutrition and vegetarian podcasts, and started an audiobook as I made my way into Georgia…

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I stopped for gas and for something to drink.  I may or may not have been wearing my slippers…

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I gave up artificial sweeteners a little over a month ago, and so far I’ve been good and haven’t cheated.  The hardest thing about avoiding artificial sweeteners is finding decent DRINK options.  All of the diet teas, flavored waters, etc. that have zero calories are also all artificially sweetened.  I found these Sobe Life Waters that were sweetened with Pure Via, so I gave those a try – not bad!

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I made my way into Florida, and before I knew it I was crossing a giant bridge and could see the Jacksonville skyline!

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I got to our OCEANFRONT hotel, and saw Mary Ann jumping and waving to me in the parking lot!!  Check out this bell that was hanging out on the counter when we checked in!

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Our room is awesome, and is on the first floor right off the BEACH access!

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Check out the view from our room – so amazing!  I can’t believe I’m here!!

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I really wanted to go out and play on the beach all afternoon, but we made our way to the expo to get our packets instead.  This race had a pretty good expo – lots of PINK!

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There were so many great breast cancer tributes and memorial/honorary opportunities.  Definitely feels like we are here for a great cause!

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Mary Ann left a note for her mom on the LOVE wall…

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And we found those fun sports bras with the built in pockets!  Having no control over impulse purchases,  we both ended up buying one.  I still can’t decide if I want to wear it tomorrow or not – it will have to be a race day decision.

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After the expo, we headed straight to dinner.  We went to one of the spots I’ve always read about in Florida, but have never actually been to – The Mellow Mushroom!

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This place is AWESOME!  A vegetarian dream!  They had tons of vegetarian options, including over six varieties of tofu and tempeh, which you almost never find in restaurants.  I was in heaven.  We split a stuffed portabella mushroom appetizer…

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And we each got small pizzas for dinner.  I got a super veggie with no cheese and added tempeh, and Mary Ann got a red sauce and pesto swirled pizza with tomatoes – so so good!

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Check out all those veggies!  I was really impressed with the service too.  The waitress came over and told me that they usually add a layer of butter and sprinkled parmesan cheese to the top of the pizzas,
and wanted to check with me first before they added it to mine.  Someone had obviously caught on to my “healthy pizza” option, and was nice enough to consider not adding all the added butter and cheese.  I was so grateful, and told them to hold the extras.

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Now we are back at the hotel, checking out our loot and getting ready for tomorrow morning.  Here are some of the fun things I got in my race bag!  Since we were at the expo pretty late, a lot of companies (like Mix 1) were handing out full bottles of samples in order to get rid of their supply – score! 

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Check out the seriously AMAZING shirts Mary Ann made us for tomorrow – she is so super talented and crafty.  The fronts have our names in sparkles… 

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And the backs speak for themselves…

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I can’t WAIT to wear these tomorrow!  My gear is all laid out, and now it’s time to get some sleep!  We are getting up at 4:30 to catch a 5:15 shuttle!  Tomorrow I am running 13.1, showering and checking out, grabbing lunch, and hitting the road back to Charlotte – I’ll be back tomorrow night to tell you how it went!  I am running with my camera, so hopefully I’ll get lots of good pictures for you guys!

It is so fun to be here with Mary Ann, and I am SO excited to be running for such an important cause.  It feels very cool to be part of something so big.  WE LOVE YOU DONNA! :)