Oviedo Get Away

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

(Lao Tzu)

My Walk into the Future allows me to discover adventures large and small.  There are some weeks when I lay low and stay local and others when I get the urge to just get up and go.

Well, needed a bit of adventure in my life so decided to get up and go and make a circuitous route back to one of my favorite places Oviedo, Florida.  I spent 4 years in Oviedo when I worked at the University of Central Florida and still enjoy getting back over there when possible.  It has grown from a sleepy little town east of Orlando into a traffic heavy little town.  The urban spawl is real there.

I did not have a dedicated plan when I headed over, just wanted to see a few sights and enjoy being back in Oviedo.  I knew I could take advantage of the running trails as I continue to work towards my first full marathon.

Outlets

The Orlando outlet malls are not close to Oviedo so that’s why I described my adventure as circuitous.  Most folks know I love outlet mall shopping and will stop anytime I can get close.  The Orlando outlets are huge and provide access to name brand companies with the idea of good prices.  Some of the outlet stores are running sales and clearance specials, so the prices are even better now.

 I focus on Nike, Timberland, GAP, and Columbia stores when I’m in Orlando.  I added the Cole Haan outlet store to my rotation on this trip.  I have been in the store in the past but never really took the time to see everything they offered.  There were a lot of shoes marked down and these prices got better by joining the Cole Haan club (it’s free).  Just needed to provide my cell number and I was signed up to receive additional discounts while shopping.  Picked up a new pair of Cole Haan shoes on this trip and look forward to getting back for more deals soon.

Made my way down to the Nike and Columbia stores to find additional bargains.  My hope was to upgrade my hiking boots prior to my trip to Asheville but could not find anything I liked on this trip.  I have enough sneakers, so my Nike visit was to look for new running gear.  I picked up a few items in Nike and made my way over to Oviedo.

Seminole Cross Trail

I was able to leverage the Seminole Cross Trail again to complete one of my long training runs.  The trail provides 20+ miles of multi-purpose access for runners, bikers, and walkers.  This trail makes my long run process easier since I don’t have to figure out where and how I will hit a specific mile number (5 miles, 10 miles, etc.) since the trail is well maintained with mile markers easy to spot.  Needed to get a 10-mile run in while in Oviedo and was able to hit my mileage with plenty of shade to cover me during the run. 

Bob Marley’s

Bob Marley’s at Universal Orlando City Walk has been a favorite stop for me over the years. 

It’s a unique venue to listen to live reggae music and catch an irie vibe.  Some of the bands I have heard there over the years rival some of the best reggae artists in Negril.  Always thought that was amazing considering the musical talent that resides in Jamaica.  COVID-19 still influences the venue—it is mostly a dining place with a live band playing while patrons are eating.  Prior to COVID-19 this was the spot in Orlando to listen and dance to reggae music.  People came from all over the country to experience this venue and hear some world class musicians.

The music during my recent visit was still outstanding but most of the folks just sat at the dinner table and rocked their heads from time to time.  No dancing or excitement from the patrons but they appeared to enjoy the food while there.

I stayed for an hour or so and decided to call it a night—happy to get a chance to listen to live reggae again.

Finish off the adventure the next day at the local Costco to stock up on household items.  Made my way back down to Fort Pierce to get ready for the work week.

Quick little getaway but made sure to maximize my time while away.  LOL.

Where do you go for a quick getaway?

Irie!

“If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet”.

(Rachel Wolchin)

Run to Stop Hunger 5k

“Running is real and relatively simple…but it ain’t easy”.

(Mark Will-Weber)

My Walk into the Future allows me to mix and match my adventures depending on what I am trying to get accomplished.

I always love the running tourist part of my journey since I get to explore and stay in shape by training.  My big running goal for 2022 is to run and complete my first full marathon in December.  My training program is going well as I am averaging 30+ weekly miles to prepare for the task of running 26.2 miles in Palm Beach.  The 18-week training program allows me some flexibility but a standard in the program is the long run concept each weekend.  The miles increase incrementally each week and I have been dedicated to ensuring I get up on Saturdays to do my part to ensure I am ready for the full marathon.

Decided to sign-up for local 5ks to improve my speed and warm up prior to going out for my long runs.  The 5k (3.1 miles) distance provides a great opportunity to get out and test my fitness levels, gauge my speed, and have fun. 

Signed up for the Run to Stop Hunger 5k in Fort Pierce in September.  This was a hometown race, so the running tourist did not get a chance to explore new locales, but I did get to see Fort Pierce in a different context. 

The race start and finish line was located within Causeway Cove which sits directly on the Indian River in Fort Pierce.  I run by this location weekly but never ventured onto the site to explore everything that is located there.  I see the signs for jet ski rentals when running and always think about going in to rent a jet ski but have not made that happen to date.  Interesting spot with a lot of different activities hosted there:  RV park, drive-in movies on Saturday nights, concerts, food festivals, etc.

Needed to complete 14 total miles so decided to park closer to downtown Fort Pierce and run across the Seaway Drive bridge as a warmup before the 5k.  My goal was to get a 1-mile prerace run in to loosen my legs and give me a springboard to get up to speed during the 5k.  Made my way across the Seaway Drive bridge at a comfortable pace and arrived in Causeway Cove warmed up and ready to go.

I did not set a time goal for this 5k but wanted to go out faster than I did for the Celebration of Running 5k back in August.  We did not have as many runners for this race so there was not as much traffic to navigate on the course.  The course was completely flat, and we did not have to cross traffic at all.

It was an out and back race format with the turnaround at the 1.5-mile marker.  It was cool getting a chance to see the leaders heading back towards the finish line—got a chance to gauge how close or far I was from the race leader. 😊

My first mile was run in 8:40 and I felt comfortable with this pace.  Smiled when I looked at my watch and saw my first mile was well under a 9-minute pace.  The Florida humidity was thick as always, but this did not keep me from maintaining this pace throughout the race—my goal was to get some speed work in so no need to back off at this point.

I locked in on a couple runners to help pace me the rest of the way after crossing the race midpoint.  I felt the humidity a bit more in the second part of the race but had my music cranking (TI’s Motivation, again) and kept running hard.

Crossed the finish line at 26:43 for a pace of 8:35. This was my fastest 5k since March 2020 so extremely happy with the results.  This time allowed me to finish second in my age group and collect a medal and age group award.  Got a chance to talk with some local runners while waiting for the awards ceremony—we are a friendly bunch of people.

Still needed to get in additional miles so left Causeway Cove and ran back over the Seaway Drive bridge to my vehicle.  Got my additional 9 miles completed on Ocean Drive for a total of 14 for the day. 

Happy with my results and how my legs feel during this preparation phase of training.  Will leverage speed work more as I get closer to my marathon date.

Happy running folks!

Irie!

“As we run, we become”.

(Amby Burfoot)

Poetic Flow / Drive

cars ahead on road
Photo by Taras Makarenko on Pexels.com

Drive

Keep moving ahead

The dreams you dream are all in front of you

The actions you take

The dedication you display

The time you take

To chart the course

All come down to the drive you have

To seek your dreams and then to fulfill those dreams

Drive your success by allowing your dreams to come true

Negril, Jamaica

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“Mi come soon!”

Decided to activate my Walk into the Future and make my way back down to Negril, Jamaica in July.

I made a point to visit Negril on an annual basis prior to COVID-19 and this was my first trip back down since May 2019.  I felt comfortable when I traveled out to Portland, Oregon for the NACE2022 conference back in June and got the urge to get down to Jamaica since COVID restrictions were scaled back.

I went back and forth on when to travel to Jamaica but decided to just look at hotel and air prices to determine the best time for me to travel.  Found dates that were compatible with my work and life schedules and booked a trip to my favorite spot, Samsara, which sits on the cliffs on the West End of Negril.  I found Samsara years ago and always stay at this resort when I’m in Jamaica.  The location is great for snorkeling, catching sunsets and experiencing Jamaica in a more authentic manner than staying at a large resort and never leaving the property.

The staff at Samsara is great and most remember me when I return which makes me feel like a family member.

My overarching goal for this trip was to get down to Negril and relax.  Yes, I could have found a spot closer to home to relax but the Irie vibes in Jamaica kept calling me.  I made sure to pack my snorkel gear since I wanted to spend as much time in the water as possible on this trip—mission accomplished.

Arrived at Sanger International Airport after my 2-hour JetBlue flight from Orlando.  Made my way through customs, got my luggage, and headed to the Jamaica Tours counter to catch my shuttle to Samsara.  The airport is about an hour and a half away from Samsara, so I got a Red Stripe beer at the airport and got on the shuttle for my ride over to Negril.

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Samsara has gone through a remodel since my last time down there.  They added a couple new buildings, a new infinity pool and deck overlooking the water.  These additions were a complete hit with me as they brought a new level of adventure to the resort.

My room was in the newest guest building and was steps away from the infinity pool.  This view created some unique pictures for me with the sunsets bouncing off the pool and the ocean.  I did not get in the pool but appreciated the addition and several other guests were regulars.  Guess not everyone goes to Jamaica to get in the ocean. 😊

I did not book the all-inclusive packages since I wanted to explore and not have to be at the resort at a determined time for a meal.  Also, there are other options close by and I like to experience different venues for my meals.

One of my regular spots on this trip was the 3 Dives Jerk Centre on the West End.  This spot has some of the best jerk chicken on the island and the price is fantastic.  I’m not a huge fan of spicy foods but the seasoning they use is great and they provide the jerk sauce on the side so I can add more or not.  Mostly, I don’t add sauce and just eat the jerk chicken with rice and peas.

I made another stop at the Rock House to get lunch and had the grilled snapper, peas and rice and plantain.  The chef at the Rock House has an international reputation for great Jamaican dishes and I’m never disappointed when I dine there.  The rum punch is pretty good too!

There was not as much live reggae available as past trips but believe this is because the island is still adjusting to having tourist back.  Legends on 7 Mile Beach is a sister resort to Samsara and they host a live reggae band on Sunday nights.  This is a new music spot from the last time I was in Negril and the band was good.  The larger venues had DJ music which was fine but I’m a huge fan of live music so gravitated more to the bands/groups that were playing.  Hoping the live music continues to come back since I’m already planning my next Negril trip.

This song was a surprise request for the band:

I was able to snorkel daily in the morning before leaving the resort for my food and music excursions.  The water off the cliffs is calm in the mornings and provide a perfect place to float and see a wide variety of fish.  There were no jelly fish this time, so this allowed me to stay in the water for extended periods of time.  There were only a few other folks in the water, so it felt like I had the ocean to myself.  😊 Plan to get out to the reefs my next time down to explore a bit more.

I was able to get 4 full days during this trip and enjoyed every minute I was back in Negril.  Hope the become a regular visitor again so I can enjoy the irie vibes, food, and great views. 

Continue readingNegril, Jamaica

Poetic Flow / What Did I See?

Poetry May 2022

(Image by rose-de-velours from Pixabay

What did I see?

When I looked over the horizon

And tried to see my future

The future said everything will go well

You just need to find you way

Understand the pursuit of happiness

And begin your journey today

Don’t waste your time

Running around without a sense of direction

Chose your path

Live your life

And walk into the future

 

Waxing Poetic!

Poetry December 2021

Thinking of you

Thoughts of you crossed my mind today

Seems like you just stopped by to say hey

Maybe this was your way to let me know everything will be okay

Either way, it was great for you to drop in

Because I have really missed my friend

Don’t stay away so long

Thoughts of you make me smile

The grateful 5 (5 things I’m grateful for)

Grateful

“A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles”

(Pinterest)

Dictionary.com defines grateful as feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.

Pretty simple concept and one to dig into a bit more.  I do a lot of reading and came across a blog article titled the Top 5 Things I am Grateful For.  The article and title are straight forward so I decided to try my writing chops to explore this from my perspective.

Family

Spend any amount of time with me and I will tell you about my family.  My family on my mom’s side consists of 5 uncles and 4 aunts.  The last time we counted I had 32 first cousins and 69 second cousins.  I know that last number has gone up, but we have not counted them in a long time.

This large extended family unit allowed me to grow up in an environment where most of my early friends were family members.   We did not add nonfamily friends until we started school because there were enough of us around to field our own teams in most sports.

I am grateful for having so many family members who go out of their way to look out for each other.  Seems like a simple thing but we spent most Thanksgivings with this large unit and enjoyed our time together.  COVID-19 put a halt on our large family get togethers last year but hopefully we can find a way to get the crew together this year—safely!

Friends

My Walk into the Future journey has allowed me to make some truly great friends.  Please note, I do not let a lot of people into my inner circle, so my friends are special people to me.  I have friends who are not cousins and I have known them my entire life.  We stay connected and get back together whenever possible and continue to grow our friendship.

I have friends I met while in the Air Force and we have become our own family unit.  I look forward to getting together and catching up whenever possible.  COVID-19 has put a halt to our running tourist trips, but I am sure we will get back on track in the future.  New Orleans is calling!

I met my best friend in the gym one morning as she bullied me to help her with the weights she was lifting—true story! 😊  Seriously, a simple gym conversation launched a great friendship, and we chat and catch up on life as much as possible.  See you on Park Avenue!

My tree branches are all friends I look forward to catching up with.  Could be a simple email, text, or phone call but love hearing how well my folks are doing in this world.  I enjoy seeing them exploring life via Instagram stories and pictures they share.  I live through them daily and enjoy seeing the growth of my tree. WE ARE!  Go Bucks! Go Noles! Go Gators!

Running

I found running later in life but cannot imagine a world without me putting in my miles.  The concept of running a half marathon was foreign to me in 2013 but now I run 6 to 8 half marathons yearly (pre-COVID).  I had no intention to run another half marathon after my first attempt because it took me three full weeks to recover.  Of course, I had no idea how to train, hydrate or recover properly—lessons learned the hard way! LOL.

My stated goal for 2022 is to explore my first full marathon.  I am hoping COVID does not come back like 2020 and eliminates all future running events.  I am always looking for motivation when I run so training for a full marathon should keep me putting in the miles for years to come.  Trying to convince several friends to come race with me. Let’s go Laurens! 😊

“Running helps me maintain my ‘never killed anyone’ streak”.

(Pinterest)

Health

Happy to report I can eat and drink whatever I want.  My running and weight training programs help with this, but I am blessed with good health.  Running has not caused undue aches or pains and helps me maintain a healthy weight without counting calories.  My weight training provides strong muscle structure to keep me moving forward.  My annual physicals produce good numbers, and the doctor does not have to get onto me to eliminate anything from my diet.  Grateful to continue to age well! 😊

My Blog

Started the Walk into the Future blog without a clear understanding how it would impact me.  I thought I would just write a few things down and see if anyone wanted to read my words.  Turns out the blog has become an extension of me and gives me a platform to share thoughts, ideas, and adventures.  My writing process has slowed down as my work obligations expand but I am still able to keep 4 to 5 weeks of blog articles in my production library.  I would like to get back up to 8 to 10 weeks of articles in reserve in case I need to revise or update them before publishing.  Not sure how long I will continue to publish the blog but still have a ton of material to explore so hope you stay with me on this journey! 😊

Bonus:  My readers

Grateful for everyone who takes the time to read my blog.  Your positive affirmations always put a smile on my face and inspire me to work to produce better content weekly.  Thank you for following the Walk into the Future blog!  Well done!

What are YOU grateful for?  I welcome your thoughts!

“The struggles ends when the gratitude begins”.

(Neale Donald Walsh)

Walking with a positive work environment (Repost)

(Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

“Positive work environments outperform negative work environments”.

(Daniel Goleman)

Positive people make positive things happen is one of my favorite sayings to inspire people in my world.  I created this as a mantra when I enter a work environment to help my team understand the mindset, we need to get positive results.

I was introduced to Positive Psychology during my course work and it remains with me daily.  One premise of Positive Psychology is people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives.  This could be on a personal or professional level.  I like leveraging Positive Psychology within the work environment to show direct reports how our mindset influences work outcomes.

I mentioned in an earlier post, my daily response to how I am doing is to say fantastic.  This is not a way to hide my true thoughts or feelings but a way to energize myself.  I found by saying I am doing fantastic provides a new level of energy for myself and it can inspire others around me to join in on the fun.  The word fantastic is not used very often in daily life so it makes people take notice and encourages them to get on The Energy Bus.

Now imagine if you had a leader who was always negative and never had anything nice to say.  How would this person impact the work environment?  I am sure this negative mindset would translate to everyone in the work environment and would not be a pleasant place to work. 

Leaders must be cognizant how their energy (positive or negative) impacts the work environment.  This knowledge will go a long way to build a positive work environment culture to ensure positive things get done daily.  Sounds simple, huh?

It takes a while for this positive process to take hold within a new work environment.  The speed of this process can be enhanced when everyone is ready to engage.  One negative teammate can slow or aggravate the process, but this can be mitigated by the rest of the team pulling in the same direction.  A new initiative for me is to follow Rule #6 from The Energy Bus—I have a sign posted that reads No Energy Vampires Allowed in my office in a prominent location.  I will point to the sign when the tone of a conversation starts to become negative.  I welcome different views and opinions but look to negate negative tone, language, or interactions.  It takes time to eliminate the negative, but the goal is to move forward in a positive manner.  I struggle sometimes because I want everything to head in a positive direction but also know things take time. 

A positive work environment is a place where everyone can thrive, grow, and provide input.  We spend a large amount of our lives in the work environment and I strive to create a space where we can work hard, laugh, and enjoy the process.  Leaders who understand work does not have to be stressful create a space where productivity can be displayed daily.  I have worked in places where people dreaded coming to work and I made a vow to never duplicate these types of environments when I reached the big seat.  Well, I have been in the big seat for a while now and smile whenever one of my tree branches reach out and say they want to work with me again.

I am sure not everyone feels this way, but I have enough of these folks to form my own wolf pack.  😊 Still learning and growing but will continue to promote positive work environments because they are productive and fun.  Imagine that, fun in the workplace!  Guess Google, Microsoft and Apple understand what people want in the work environment.  I do not have ping pong tables, yet, but play a lot of reggae in my office.  Irie!

What do you see as the benefits of a positive work environment?  How do you contribute to ensure your work environment remains positive?

 “Positive anything is better than negative nothing”.

(Elbert Hubbard)

Falling back: Running and staying safe

“Running in the dark, learning to embrace the dark side”.

(Pinterest quote)

I wanted to use a clever quote to highlight the new Walk into the Future adventure that happens when we switch from Daylight Savings time.  Most of us understand the time falls back in America every fall.  This occurred for us on November 1, 2020.  Some people like the time change and others hate it.  I was never too concerned with the time changes—still do not understand why we continue to do this but make the clock adjustments like everyone else.

My concern as a running tourist is my weekday runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays are done in the dark.  I routinely leave work on Tuesdays and Thursdays and head out for my weekday runs as part of my normal training routine.  Nothing spectacular with this process prior to the time change but now I leave work and it is dark when I head out for my runs.

I have been telling people I work with how I combat running in the dark but do not believe they fully understand what it takes to remain safe and be seen when running this time of the year.

I take my running program seriously and cannot imagine not running during the week.  My way to combat the darkness is to invest in reflective gear to ensure I remain safe when out for my runs.  My runs prior to moving to Fort Pierce were all done during the day—all my weekly runs were completed during the day—mostly in the mornings prior to the Florida heat kicked in during the summer.  My winter runs could be done a little later but were still completed with plenty of daylight available.

My move to Fort Pierce and daily work schedule make weekday runs after work a better option to maintain my mileage.  I still leverage the weekend runs to get my long runs in but need the weekday runs to build up my base miles and keep me focused on race days.

I invested in reflective gear to keep me visible and safe when I run in the dark.  My first investment was to get reflective bands I wear on my legs.  These bands can be seen when illuminated by light and ensure I can be seen when it is dark outside.  I like to ensure an extra level of visibility so invested in a fluorescent and reflective running vest.  I did not use this vest much when I lived in Tallahassee but wanted to make sure I had it when needed.  This vest is one of my best purchases I have ever made from Dick’s Sporting Goods.  Was able to get it on sale and it gives me the confidence to continue to run even when it is dark outside.

I jokingly tell people the vest makes me glow in the dark, but it is true.  The yellow run vest stands out and has two reflective strips as an added feature.  Both strips can be seen when lights bounce off them.  My goal when running in the darkness is to remain safe and ensure everyone can see me.

I have decided to adjust my running routes with the time change to minimize how many intersections I must cross.  My Tuesday and Thursday runs have been cut down to no more than 4 miles since this distance keeps me out of traffic and I avoid driveways where people could back out and not see me.  Scaling back on my miles during the week means I must increase my weekend miles to make up for the reduction.  I believe this is a fair trade off to keep me running and safe.

I have decided to embrace the darkness safely and keep on running! 😊

How has the time change impacted your weekly routines?  What adjustments have you made to keep Walking into the Future?

“Stars cannot shine without darkness”.

(Pinterest quote)

Poetic Friday

Dream Weaver

Be careful what you dream

Because sometimes dreams do come true

So, what’s the problem you may ask?

The dream you dream may in fact not be for you

Life provides opportunities for you to reach your goals

The key to this process is to know the correct path to follow

Look beyond tomorrow

Search for the things you need

Use this knowledge and your dreams to succeed

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INSTAGRAM: @jayla_brianna

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