Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Moving to Australia Q&A

G'Day Mates! 

Ever since I posted that I was moving to Australia with my friend Korie next month, I've had quite a few questions come my way from people just curious as to why I'm going there, what I'll be doing, how long I'll be away, etc. So I figured I might as well type up a blog post to address everyone's questions in one place! 

So the main question...

Q: Why are you moving to Australia?

A: I actually looked into doing this shortly after graduating college when I was living in Dallas. I was interested in the idea but never really followed through. I was working an entry level job and wasn't making enough money for the idea to really happen as I would have liked it to. So I put it in the back of my mind for a few years and right around the first of this year, my friend Korie and I started discussing it. We figured now is the best time to go... not married, no kids, not working a dream job, etc. I would probably always regret it if I didn't do it while I could. Not studying abroad in college is one (small) regret I have, so now is the time to make up for that!

Q: Why Australia?

A: First off, why NOT Australia? :) Hello, it's beautiful! But in all seriousness, we wanted to go somewhere that was safe, where English was the main language, and the customs/visa application was easy. It doesn't hurt that our dollar is fairly strong there right now too. 

Q: Where in Australia will you be living?

A: After doing some extensive research, Korie and I decided on Melbourne. For the past few years, Melbourne has actually been rated the #1 city in the World to live in. Sydney was another top contender, as we've both heard great things, but the cost of living in Sydney is a bit higher than in Melbourne. We also considered Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. 

Q: What was the Visa application like?

A: Surprisingly quick and painless! After both saying we were 110% in for this journey, we filled out our visa applications online, paid $300, and within SIX hours, I received an email stating I was approved. Korie received hers a few days later. We applied for the Subclass 462 Work & Holiday Visa, which is good for 12 months from the time you arrive and only applicable for people under the age of 30 (another reason to go now...I'm not getting any younger)! I think Australia really wants young, educated, Americans to come over for a period of time and contribute to their culture and economy. 

Q: When are you leaving?

A: Our flight leaves Oct. 19th. We are going to spend one night in LA and then tackle the 14 hour flight from LA to Melbourne on the 20th. With the crazy 15 hour time difference, we won't be arriving there until the 22nd. 

Q: How long will you be there?

A: The Visa is good for up to 12 months (so I have to return by Oct. 22nd, 2016). Since Korie is a tour guide and only works 6 months out of the year (she has October - May off), she plans to return to the US in May so she doesn't have to give up her job. As for me, 6 months is my minimum. I want to get as much out of the experience as possible and since I am giving up my job here, I want to make it worth the trip and money. 

Q: What kind of job will you have?

A: This one is a big TBD. A better answer would be, I know what kind of job I do not want to have. Ever since graduating college in 2010, I've worked a typical 9-5 desk job. I want to try and steer clear from that as much as possible. Thankfully, my parents have been gracious enough to let me live at home the past few months (rent free). This has allowed me to save a bit of money so I won't need to get a job right away and can maybe swing a part-time job during my time there. Ideally, I would love to work at a gym, surf shop, or possibly one of their professional sports teams. Something active!
Q: Any travels plans around the area?

A: Yes! We decided to spend the first month or so traveling around the area before settling down and getting a job. We will be in Melbourne for about 10 days and then take off to Christchurch, NZ, Auckland, NZ, and Fiji. We will be back towards the end of November, when we can move into our apartment we found on AirBnb and will begin the job search at that time. 

Q: Will you be running & blogging while you're there?

A: I really want to! I know with the time change, it'll be a bit harder to communicate with my friends and family back home. I know the blog would be a great way to document my time over there and share our experiences with loved ones. I do plan to keep up with running while there and can't wait to explore all of the new sights on my routes. I plan to post lots of pictures and keep everyone updated via social media and the blog! 

I am going to miss everyone so much (especially around the Thanksgiving?!). But everyone has been so supportive and reassuring in telling me that this will be an amazing adventure and worth giving up so much back home. 

In summary: #YOLO

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ambronite Supermeal Review

A few weeks ago, a rep from Ambronite reached out to me to sample their new product, a drinkable supermeal powder. I had never heard of Ambronite before, but was curious to research it and see what it was all about. 

Ambronite is an organic drinkable powder that packs in a similar amount of nutrients you'd get from a well-balanced meal. It is 100% real foods with optimal amounts of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that our body needs to function daily. 

Their mission at Ambronite is to help busy people live life to the fullest with healthy meals made out of the most nutrient dense ingredients available. The powder is vegan, GMO-free, contains no added sugar, artificial flavorings or preservatives. 

Sometimes in our busy lives, we don't have a ton of time to make healthy meals at home and eating out can often leave calories and ingredients up to the imagination (as well as a nice dent in our wallets). Ambronite takes 2 minutes to prepare and each meal contains 500 calories (32% fat, 44% carbs and 24% protein). 

Here's a breakdown:

The first time I tried the powder, I shook it up with ice and water. It tasted pretty good (think oats and mixed nuts...very earthy), but the mix didn't stay combined very well and everything kept sinking to the bottom of my shaker. The next day I decided to go a different route and added water, ice and the powder to my Magic Bullet and blended it up...much better! Day 3 I played around a bit and added half of an apple and a handful of blueberries to add a punch of sweetness. It tastes good on its own, but the fruit really kicked it up a notch for my taste buds. I plan to continue mixing it up (no pun intended) and try out different recipes and combinations. 

Side note: each individual packet contains quite a bit of powder...almost too much for me. So when making my drinks, I only end up using a little over half of the packet, which really makes them go a long way. 10 packets could easily translate to around 15 meals for me (but that's just according to my preference). 

Ambornite is offering y'all 10% off your purchase when you use the code ATHOUSANDMILES10 at checkout (as well as a free shaker bottle for first timers). Let me know if you try it and what you think! 

Here's a full list of the ingredients:
Organic oats, organic coconut, organic lucuma, organic chlorella, wild bilberry, wild sea-buckthorn, organic brown rice protein, organic stinging nettle, organic rice bran, nutritional yeast, organic spinach, organic spirulina, organic almond, organic flax-seed, organic apple, mineral salt, organic brazil nut, organic blackcurrant

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Liverpool Half Marathon Recap

A little over a month ago, I went across the pond to Dublin, Ireland and Liverpool, England with two of my best friends, Kristen and Korie. Kristen and I originally planned the trip in order to check an item off our bucket list and do our first international run. We wanted to go somewhere full of history, where the weather would be great and English was the main language. We found the Liverpool Rock 'n Roll Half and Full Marathon, saved up and booked our trip well over a year in advance. We encouraged Korie to join as well and things quickly fell into place. Since it's a smaller airport, flights to Liverpool were pretty expensive. We opted to fly into a larger city and spend a good portion of our time in Dublin, while then taking a cheap flight over to Liverpool from there. 

We really only had about 48 hours in England, so the majority of this portion of our trip was mainly centered around the race. We got in late Friday night and headed to our hotel. Saturday morning we walked over to the convention center to pick up our race packets and explore the docks around town that afternoon. The city isn't very big, so it was easy to get around on foot. We made sure to stop by The Beatles Museum and soak in all of their history. 

We called it an early night on Saturday and got some rest before race day. Lucky for us, the half marathon didn't start until 9am (10am for Kristen with the full 26.2, which we all thought was kind of odd), so we were able to sleep in a bit later than most race days. We grabbed breakfast at the hotel and walked about a mile to the start line. Even though we were there in June, it was pretty cold that morning. With the start line near the water, the wind was strong and temps were in the 50s. 

I love running in new places! It makes everything go by so much faster when you have new scenery. I have to say, I never thought "Running down Penny Lane" would be on my bucket list, but after we did it, I added it to it and then quickly checked it off! They were playing the song, "Penny Lane", on the loud speakers once we got to that part of the course and it gave me goosebumps! The course was was so beautiful and tons of history surrounds the city. 

Neither Korie or I trained for the race, so we took it nice and easy in order to soak everything in and not hurt too bad over the final few days of our trip. We finished in just under 2:30 and walked a mile back to our hotel to wait for Kristen (ouch). We showered up and met Kristen after she finished the full marathon at what has to be the most awesome place I've ever been...

Anyone who knows me, knows Friends is by far my favorite show (Korie's too), so when we stumbled upon this gem, we had to check it out! It was one of my top 5 favorite parts of our trip. It was set up exactly like the show's coffee house and had reruns of Friends playing nonstop...perfect place to relax with some wine while we rested our legs and waited for Kristen. Once she met up with us, we headed back to the Liverpool airport to return to Dublin for a few more days of adventure. 

This ended up being my 10th half marathon in the past two years and I couldn't have picked a better location for the milestone. While it was by no means my best time, it was easily my favorite course. And running it with some of my best friends made it even better! I definitely want to do another international race...possibly a full? I still can't make up my mind on that one...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cyc Trainee Program

After recently having another birthday and turning the ripe old age of 27, I've come to the conclusion that my body can't quite continue taking on the toll of long distance running. While running will always be my first love, I've started exploring other cardio options that will keep up with my aging body (okay...there's a hint of sarcasm here, but I'm still getting older)! 

A few months ago, a friend and I came across a new member deal at a nearby cycling studio. We bought the 3 ride package and I instantly became intrigued by indoor cycling...specifically, this studio called Cyc. I loved the atmosphere, the music, the lights, the workouts, the instructors, and everything else about it. Overall, it had a different feeling than other gyms I had been to before. It wasn't intimidating and I instantly felt connected and welcomed.

"Cyc offers an exhilarating, beat-based, 45 minute ride that activates the whole body, the whole time. Weights are incorporated into sectors inspired by more than 20 different sport movements such as boxing, volleyball and swimming."

After a few weeks, I kept wanting more and knew that this workout was a great fit for me. I wanted to be part of the Cyc family and quickly figured out who to talk to in order to make that happen. I emailed the manager and found out that they'd be having "auditions" within the next month for those interested in potentially becoming a Cyc instructor. 

For the audition, I had to prepare 4 sectors (i.e. songs) to perform for the lead cycologists there (I just love how they call their instructors "cycologists" - it fits perfectly with the name and working out is definitely a form of therapy for me...who needs a real psychologist when you can sweat out your problems?). These 4 sectors included a warm-up, jumps, swimming, and boxing. The Cyc method is much different than your typical spinning class. Their method incorporates weights during certain tracks and works the entire body (as opposed to Spinning, which is similar to simply riding an outdoor road bike). 

Once the audition date arrived, I had picked my music, created and memorized my routine, and worked on my stage presence and confidence. The latter really got me out of my comfort zone. Physically and mentally, I can create a routine, memorize it, and perform it without any problems. Where it gets tough for me is having to lead a class and keep them motivated at the same time! I was able to let my personality shine through during my audition (even though it is still something I will have to continue working on) and was notified the next day that I made it into the next round and would be included in their training program to become an instructor! 

The training program starts on May 4th. It's going to be one of the most intense, yet exhilarating, challenges I've ever done. We will be training at the studio Monday-Friday from 7pm-11pm for 8 weeks! I am so excited to meet everyone and see what training has in store for me. However, even though I have been accepted into the program, it does not guarantee an official Cycologist position. There will be on-going evaluations throughout the process and an exit audition must be passed before you can become an official instructor. 

I will make sure to document this journey on the blog! Here's a short video showing a glimpse into what a Cyc workout looks like.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mileage Update

Happy St. Paddy's Day (yes, it's really with "D" not "T")!!! 

Just wanted to pop in and give a quick mileage update. This year is flying by, but we're still on track for our 2,015 miles in 2015 goal.

Kristen and I are running the Bearathon in Waco on Saturday again this year. We both did it last year and it's not called "The Hardest Half in Texas" for no reason. It's extremely hilly, but atleast we know what to expect going into it this year. The forecast predicts 60's and rainy. While some people may not enjoy running in the rain, I actually kind of like it. The one thing that will be on my mind during the race is the George's Big O Bloody Mary waiting for me after we finish! We went there last year, so I'm going to go ahead and call it a tradition. Cheers to adding 26.2 more miles to the log. 

Hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy some green beer this evening. 

3/17/2015: Miles run - 525.30 of 2015. Miles remaining - 1,489.70 of 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Winter Funk

Texas weather is about as unpredictable as Kanye West at an awards show. One day it's a perfect 75 degrees and sunny, the next it's overcast, rainy, and cold! I'm really tired of it and it's had a huge impact on my mood and workout routine. Lately, all I've wanted to do after work is lay around inside my warm apartment. And for the most part, that's what I've done. I gave up and just went with it. But it's easily starting to show based on the fit of my clothes and my mood and energy levels. 

It's freaking March! Texas isn't supposed to still be cold...stupid groundhog. 

Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about it and I know I need to get it together for the sake of my sanity (and wardrobe). 

Since running outside has been somewhat off the table, I've tried to stick with a few indoor workouts...mostly 30-minute living room routines or a few cycling classes here and there. 

Bathing suit season is (hopefully) upon on us, so even though I'd rather cuddle up under a blanket and eat Doritos, I'm going to try and become a functioning member of society and do my best to work up a sweat a few days a week. 

Please tell me I'm not the only one on this struggle bus?! 

3/4/2015: Miles run - 449.3 of 2015. Miles remaining - 1,565.7 of 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2015 3M & Austin Half Marathon Recaps

Hello everyone! It's been a while and I'm way behind on posting, but I figured better late than never, right?

My friends and I have completed two half marathons in 2015 already! I think it's safe to say that the runner bug has bitten a few of them :) it for me, I may take a little breather from long runs due to some knee issues. 

I have the Bearathon Half Marathon in Waco at the end of March and then the Liverpool Half Marathon mid-June. Other than that, I'm going to take it down a few notches until my knee is back to normal. 

Backing up a month or so, I mentioned in my first post of 2015 that a group of us girls would be running 2,015 miles in 2015. We kicked off our goal with the 3M Half Marathon on January 25th. There were about 8 of us girls running it and we kicked some booty! The majority of us ran together in a pack while we motivated and encouraged each other for the bulk of the race (a few others went ahead and got some great PRs!). Around mile 10, we broke out into individuals or groups of two. Everyone had great finish times and I really enjoyed getting to run this race with my friends. I already know a few of us signed up again for the same race in 2016. 

The group waiting in the cold before the start (yes, those are trash bags to keep us warm)

Our group of two near the end - me and Ashley

The group near the finish line by The Capitol (we went with a pink theme so we could easily find each other)

Three short weeks later, a few of us ran the Austin Half Marathon this past Sunday. This was my first time running this race and it was much harder than the 3M. The elevation and hills were killer, but I actually enjoyed the course a lot. There were definitely more people running it, which meant more sideline crowds (my favorite).  

The girls who ran that morning

Post-race pain faces

Love this medal! 

I was pretty sore after both runs and it took a good 2-3 days for my knee to stop hurting. But after some rest and relaxation, my legs feel much better and I'm ready to get back out in this wonderful weather we're having here in Austin...sorry East coast...

2/18/2015: Miles run - 382.45 of 2015. Miles remaining - 1632.55 of 2015