Running with the Bride, Adirondack-Style!

A quick selfie with the glowing bride before pounding the pavement.
A quick selfie with the glowing bride before pounding the pavement.

Last week I took a break from my regular California routine to attend a wedding and visit family on the east coast. This wasn’t your typical white-gown-boozy-toasts-rubbery-chicken affair (although, there was quite a bit of booze!). From the pre-ceremony shots of rum and the steel drum player during cocktail hour, to the backyard-style barbecue reception with lawn games (ladder ball, anyone?), my Aunt Kathi and her new husband Will put on the most relaxed shindig Upstate New York has ever seen—and I loved every minute of it!

I’ve been proud of my Aunt Kathi for a long time now, but running with her on Saturday morning before the major festivities got under way filled me with a new appreciation for her tenacious spirit.

After a sad divorce several years ago, Aunt Kathi was faced with a broken heart and an unhealthy lifestyle. But she relied on one of our family mottos to help her pick up the pieces: “Every day is a good day.” With that positive attitude she hit the dating scene and joined a gym. Since then, she’s lost over 180 pounds thanks to healthier eating and fitness habits (she wakes up at 5:00 am most days to sweat it out with her friends at Core in Glens Falls, NY!) and she met the new love of her life, Will. (Aunt Kathi enacted another family motto when she took up residence with him: “Daly’s don’t dust; we move.”)

Who says life doesn't give second chances?
Aunt Kathi and Uncle Will share a moment overlooking Lake George. Who says life doesn’t give second chances?

Aunt Kathi and I tackled three miles on a rolling street in the Adirondacks and chatted the entire time about love, life, and making healthy choices. She apologized for her slow speed, but running faster would have meant missing out on a chance to connect and reflect. (Huffing and puffing at a tougher pace has its place, but this wasn’t it.)

There’s a popular saying, “Life doesn’t give you second chances,” and I think it’s a misleading mantra. We are surrounded by shining examples of people who, like my Aunt Kathi, render the statement untrue every single day.

Every day is a good day. Every day you get to wake up and decide how you are going to live your life. Will you choose a loving, supportive relationship? Will you opt for a plate full of veggies? Will you lace up your sneakers and go for that run? Every day is your second chance. Take it!

Where did you run last weekend? Who inspired you to have a good day?

Running with the Bride, Chicago-Style!

Sara’s sister made her an adorable top to run in pre-vows. (And yes, this beach is in Chicago!)

I just love a June wedding–especially when it takes me to a city I’ve never visited before. A couple of weekends ago, I had the pleasure of watching my friends Sara and Iain tie the knot in front of family and friends at an art gallery in Chicago. Craving a girls’ weekend, I made Baby Sister come along as my date and we took the Windy City by storm.

Brrr! It was so much fun that after climbing out, Sara and I just had to jump back in again.

There’s no better way to learn about a city than to go for a run! The morning of the wedding, I pulled Baby Sister* out of bed early to meet Sara and her sister for an easy 4-miler. We took an out-and-back route along the water front, which included a loop of the zoo in Lincoln Park. Then, we jumped into Lake Michigan!

One all-beef dog, mustard, onions, sweet relish, pickle, tomatoes, peppers, and a shake of celery salt on a poppy seed bun.

After all of that sweating and swimming (30 seconds of treading water totally counts), I felt as though I’d earned a hot “dragged through the garden” dog. This one from Portillo’s was topped with everything under the sun–everything except ketchup, that is. (Surprise!) Chicagoans love their cheesy, saucy deep dish pizzas, but they’re not big fans of that other kind of tomato sauce.

Speaking of hot dogs… It’s time for me to find a grill and get my BBQ on. Happy 4th of July! And congratulations again, Sara and Iain!

Did you go for a run before you walked down the aisle? Have you ever tasted a Chicago-style hot dog?

*Baby Sister isn’t a big fan of running, so I’d like to thank her for being such a good sport. Not only did she hold her own at a 9:00 min/mile pace, she also threw herself (and her new Lululemon capris) into a Great Lake just for me. Baby Sister, you rock!