Monday, December 5, 2016

Ho Lotta Fun: Running Bloggers Weekend

Earlier this year, a group of us were invited to the Florida panhandle for a running blogger weekend. The weekend was planned around the Panama City Beach Half Marathon. A trip to Florida in December? A half marathon with running friends?

Yes, please!

Even though I'd only met a couple of the ladies, I've been reading all their blogs for a while. I felt like they were friends. You know the saying, "runners are all friends you haven't met yet"? We all excitedly planned for our trip away. We also wracked our brains to come up with a hashtag for our weekend. Holly's blog name gave us the inspiration...

It was a #holottafun!



Marcia and I met at the airport early Friday morning. Even before our early morning flight took off, our phones began blowing up with texts from the group, who was already in Florida. I had planned on reading Cory Reese's book for this month's book club, but we never stopped talking from the moment we met up in the terminal until the time our plane pulled up to the gate in Panama City Beach.

Marcia and me en route
As soon as we arrived at the beachfront cottage, I knew it was going to be a fun weekend! We all greeted each other like old friends. There were hugs all around and we walked over to the beach for a sunset photo. Sure, we took some formal poses, but my favorite shots were the candids. Let the shenanigans begin!

The photobomber

Pretty edgy...
After a pre-race dinner of pizza, we went back to the cottage for an early bedtime. Everyone was up early the next morning to prepare for the race. We took pre-race photos and lined up. The horn sounded and we were off! I won't share too many details of the race on this post because I'm going to recap the race in a separate post on Wednesday. 

Front L-R: Judy, Marcia, Darlene, Tricia
Back L-R: Holly, MaryBeth, Me, Karen
We all met at the finish line and then to Margaritaville for the post-race party. There were some PRs to celebrate--Mary Beth, Tricia, Karen, and Judy all crushed their races. Darlene won her age group. Over lunch, we recapped the race. While most of the group had great races, some of us (ahem!) struggled. It always amazes me how one race can be so different for a group of runners.

Post race cocktails: MaryBeth, Me, Marcia, Tricia

Photobomber Judy

Love these ladies!
After lunch, it was back to the beach for the sunset, some photos, and more laughs. Dinner was at an oyster bar. You know when the sign says "we shuck 'em, you suck 'em", it's going to be epic. In true southern style, we started with a basket of hush puppies that were the size of baseballs, y'all. There was also a 2-for-one drink special to help us kick off the evening. 

Me, Tricia, Holly, MaryBeth

Tricia, Holly, Me
After dinner, then DJ got the party started with some karaoke. It didn't take much encouragement for some of us to get up there. Who ran a half marathon earlier that day?

What happens in PCB stays in PCB...



L-R: Holly, Karen, me, Judy, Marcia, MaryBeth, Tricia, Darlene

Party animals that we were, by 9:30 we were ready to call it a night. 

The next morning, we recapped the evening over donuts and took a walk on the beach for one last time.

It wouldn't be a trip to the beach without a yoga pose...
As I write this, I am both awed and amazed at what a wonderful group of women with whom I was honored to spend the weekend. Running brings us together, and that bond is so strong that any other differences are minimized. Yes, we talked running (a lot), but we also shared a lot of ourselves. When I told my non-running family and friends about this trip, almost everyone commented: "you've never met them?" I tried to explain how this blogging thing works. That even though most of us never met in person, we already know each other. There were no big surprises--these ladies portray their true selves on their blogs.

Because....



I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap as well as Ilka and Angela for the Sunday Fitness and Food Linkup! Have a great week!






96 comments :

  1. Aww I love this! I followed you guys on IG all weekend. Looks like it was an amazing trip!! You guys rock!

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    1. It was so much fun! Running and blogging--it brings us all together!

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  2. What a FUN weekend! Love how you can connect so well with people you've not met in person - ahhh, running and blogging. It's a great combination. :)

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    1. It's so hard to explain that bond to non-runners. What a fun weekend!

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  3. I freaking loved every minute of this weekend! You wrapped it up perfectly too! It's not very often you get 8 women together and all get along like we did! What a perfect saying for the "jump photo" I'm so glad I'm a part of your CRAZY! :)

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    1. I cannot believe how much fun we had. I hope I don't have to wait a whole year to see you again!!!

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  4. This was so awesome!! Love all the pictures all weekend! We were so jealous of the beach views and the company !

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    1. I'm jealous of the beach views--I came home to 7 inches of snow! :p

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  5. It looks like you had such an amazing weekend! I really enjoyed seeing all the photos on Instagram as I also follow a bunch of the ladies as well :)

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  6. So much funsies! I loved seeing all of the pictures on Facebook!<3

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  7. LOL omg I love the lyrics on the karaoke screen. LOVE IT. It's so cool that you have these ladies to hang out with and run with! I'm glad you were able to get to do this. You deserve some fun.

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  8. This looks like so much fun! So glad you all had such a great time! <3

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    1. It was the perfect getaway for this time of year!

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  9. SO FREAKING MAGICAL. I love it so much. Running with friends and bloggers getting together like this is the best. I am so glad that you had a great time and a great run!

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    1. Don't we just love our running blogger friends? <3

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  10. It looks like you ladies really rocked Florida! I, on the other hand, welcomed the first snow of the season, so there's that. ;-) (don't be jealous)

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    1. We landed in the snow last night--it's always such a shock to the system to come home from Florida in the winter.

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  11. Loved following you ladies on IG over the weekend...and even got a few texts from Tricia as well! So glad you all had such a fabulous time and a great race as well. You are so right about runners being instant friends though...and then you throw the blogging thing in the mix and that makes the bond even stronger!

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    1. It was such a good time! I hope I get to meet you someday as well!

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  12. What a fun weekend! Looks fabulous!!

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    1. It was a great way to experience a race!

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  13. What a blast! What a fun way to do a race and have a fun weekend with some blogger friends. I love getting to know others through their blogs.

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    1. It was such a great experience meeting everyone IRL!

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  14. This sounds like the most amazing, positive, and uplifting weekend, ever. A few years ago, a bunch of the Chicago running bloggers did a weekend trip to run the ZOOMA Half Marathon in Lake Geneva, and it sounds a lot like your weekend. So much bonding. I am so thrilled you were able to connect with everyone so strongly!!! Hugs and I wish I could have been there with you all!!!

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    1. It absolutely was a great weekend. I loved spending time with these ladies. Isn't it amazing how our sport brings us together like nothing else?

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  15. loved seeing your photos all weekend looks like you had an absolute blast!

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  16. What fun! I got caught up in too many libations and a karaoke night this weekend as well...something I SWORE I would never do! Can't wait to read the race recap!

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  17. That sounds like so much fun! It's great you all got along so well. I was following you, MarcIA, and Karen on insta that weekend! So when are you getting a snap chat account???

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    1. too many social media channels, too little time!

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    2. Okay but if you ever change your mind, I'll be there waiting with cute videos of my cats... BWAHAHAHA!

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  18. Looks like an amazing time.... I love that "runners are all friends you haven't met".... hadn't heard the expression but it is very true...

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  19. Blogging and running are two amazing things, aren't they? I've made so many great friends through both. Sounds like you all had the most amazing weekend!

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    1. Back to work tomorrow and I'm not ready for my reentry into the real world!

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  20. So cool you all met for a blogger's weekend and raced! Looks like so much fun! Great pics! Love the jumping one! Runners are the best!

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    1. As far as meeting other running bloggers goes, this year has been amazing!

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  21. Aw this just makes my heart smile! What an amazing time all around and the pictures just show exactly that. I'm so glad it was such a wonderful time and yes, I totally agree that we runners are our own tribe, our own brand of crazy - and we are wonderful. You guys just made me so happy to be part of the big ole wonderful running community!

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    1. Yes! We runners know how to party, right?

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  22. I had so much fun following your shenanigans on Instagram over the weekend! I love your jump picture. It's says it all!

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  23. So awesome! Sounds like an epic weekend! It is totally about finding people who are your kind of crazy! Love it!!

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    1. Haha! Yes, and we runners are all crazy, right?

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  24. So glad you had a great weekend. I loved all the pictures. I had a conversation with a colleague yesterday... she was at a dinner Saturday with 8 runners. And she doesn't run. She couldn't believe how much running talk there could be in one evening. It made me laugh !

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    1. We did talk about a few other things... :p

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  25. Sounds like such a fun weekend! I loved following along with all the pictures on instagram. Its really crazy how we can feel like we know people just from blogging!

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    1. Seems like most running bloggers are pretty upfront on what they write--at least the ones I've met!

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  26. So. Much. Fun. I love reading about your raucous night out ... that ended at 9:30. :-)

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  27. Tears of joy for you and sorrow that I was not able to meet you all.
    Great photos. Photo-bomber Judy. Love it.
    Can't wait to read the recap.

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  28. Wow that sounds awesome. It must have been kind of surreal meeting everyone for the first time in person. And it looks like you all had a good time. I can't wait to hear the recap

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    1. It wasn't surreal at all! Actually we all felt like old friends!

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  29. I just LOVE this! It's amazing the friendships running and blogging can bring! Looks like an amazing weekend! :) Glad you had so much fun!

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    1. I hope we have as much fun in June! :)

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  30. Great summary. You captured perfectly. So happy to have been included. I had an amazing time. It was a #holottafun.

    Can't wait to do it again. Miss you guys!

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  31. No. Stop. You ladies had too much fun. It must be illegal. :-D I also think it's funny to try to explain the whole online-friend thing to those on the outside looking in. I know it sounds crazy. But it feels so normal. Haha.

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    1. It could have been illegal....but we did go to bed by 10!

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  32. This was such a brilliant idea. Looks like you guys had so much fun!

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    1. I think there should be more blogger getaways!

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  33. I think you'll have to stop saying you have no rhythm, because you've got a #holot more than me! You can shake it, girl (on and off the road).

    I'm sorry you didn't run the race you wanted, but I am glad I got to share the weekend with you.

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  34. This looks so fun! Clearly I went to the wrong side of Florida haha

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  35. Yes indeed. It's a special kind of crazy. Can't wait to see what we cook up next!

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    1. I'm going to work on our wine weekend!

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  36. Looks like an awesome weekend, I mean what's better than a girls weekend in Florida!

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  37. Fun times! Great place. Looks like you all had a great time!

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  38. Love everything about this! Glad you all had so much fun!

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  39. Looked like so much fun! And seriously that photo of all of you on the beach is GORGEOUS!!!

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    1. I'm so happy we were able to get that shot!

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  40. I loved all of the pictures that you ladies shared throughout the weekend. There's no denying that you ladies had a blast. And I love that sunset beach photo of all of you. Love it!

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  41. This is such an awesome post with so much great positive energy!!! You guys all lookedgreat and I can clearly see that this was so much fun!! Love love love the beach pictures! Congrats on running a great Half Wendy!!

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    1. I just love the beach--I needed a beachy jump shot! Glad everyone cooperated!

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  42. I love seeing photos of you all together - it looks like such a fun race and after party!

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  43. Ah, I love this so much! I think it's so true that all runners are friends you haven't met yet, and your weekend proves how much running brings people together. Love all the photos!

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    1. I really think runners make the best friends!

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  44. This is such a beautiful little recap, seriously, it makes me smile :) like ear to ear. It was pleasure to meet you and hang out!

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  45. You are my kind of crazy! It was a great weekend! It is almost to much to put in to words! I am so glad I got to spend more time with you. I look forward to our next adventure, I know we can't be one and done! Hugs from the Florida gal! XXOO

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    1. I just loved spending time with you without my parents making me go home (LOL!). Hoping to see you again in March for some more crazy. If you find a race for us, let me know...

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  46. After "knowing you" for a couple of years and finally meeting you in Chicago, I was happy to get to spend more time with you in Florida! Yes, we share that same crazy and that makes for a fabulous connection. I'm serious about you coming here in the summer for water skiing. You and I are the ONLY crazies that enjoy that. Thanks for linking, Wendy!

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    1. I am serious too. I've already told Mike, so it's a done deal. Tell me when and I am there! That will be epic. Maybe you can throw in a race too, so I can add Alabama to my list...

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  47. It looks like you all had a blast! This post makes me so happy :-) I love how blogging and running forge bonds like the ones I see in your pictures!! Congratulations on another great race!!

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