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Welcome to my little piece of the internet. I'm your host, Stef, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, who loves coffee, running and real food. My mission is create a commuity for people like to you to feel empowered to live your best life! Now let's get started! 

My 2017 Highlight Reel

My 2017 Highlight Reel

The start of a new year has me reflecting on the past 365 days. As I go through the inventory of my accoplisments, I feel it's safe to say, 2017 was a big year for me!

In March, Andrew and I went to California to visit his sister and brother-in-law. It was my first time in the 'Golden State' and to say I was excited is an understatement. We spent weeks researching to-dos and planning our packing list for the trip. 

Thanks and Katy and Eric, we had a place to stay in Mountain View and solid directions on how to get around via the CAL train. We visted Katy at Standford, spend a day exploring San Fran on foot, backpacked in Henry W. Coe State Park, drank beer at Russian River and watched Golden State hoop it up with the Celtics. The trip was amazing. After a week, we still weren't ready to go home. We plan to visit them again this year. CANNOT WAIT.

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Next up, Boston. I qualified for the Boston Marathon three times before finally running in 2017. Boy, was it worth it. Not only was I able to particpate in the marathon, I was lucky enough to share the expereince with my parents and best friend.

We spent the days leading up to the race exploring the city like any old tourist. We walked around Boston Commons, the Public Garden, checked out Harvard Square and Cheers all before the big finale; THE BOSTON MARATHON.

Race day was something I dreamt about for years. Honestly, I wasn't prepared for how special it would feel. The Marathon is held on Patriot's day, which is a holiday in Boston. As I left our brownstone on race morning, I was greeted by a number of spectators who were gearing up for the race as well. They wished me luck and cheered me on as I ran to meet a friend at the busses.

I qualified with my friend Carly at the Columbus marathon in 2015. We ran the entire race together and plan to do the same for Boston. In order to make sure we were together, we signed up for a special bus that was organized by some Cincinnati people. We all met at The Marriott in Boston and boarded together. It took us from downtown Boston to a school. From the school, we hopped on an offical marathon bus, which took us to the runner camp in Hopkington

Boston is a point-to-point. Runners are bussed to the start line hours before the gun goes off. We were in the second wave, which didn't start until 10:25 a.m. So, we had some time to hang out. We ate our pre-race meals and waited in bathroom lines before finally being called to our corral.

We lined up with the other runners and made our way to the start line. It was about a mile walk from the camp in Hopkington and it was really starting to get warm. Carly and I talked through our race strategy as we waived our way through thr crowds.

The beginning of the race is down hill and filled with spectators. It was super easy to get excited and take off. We kept our pace and eased into the best we could. As the miles ticked by, the race got increasily more difficult. I was lucky enough to see my parents and Sarah around mile 11. Their words of encouragement got me through the next few miles. We saw them again around mile 17, as we started the climb to Heartbreak Hill.

The temperature soared to the 70s as we climbed. Honestly, I was not prepared for how difficult this race would be. I live in Cincinnati, which is know for challenging hills. We trained on the 'The Pig' course, which I thought would more than prepare me. The combination of the heat, hills and late start took a toll on my body. Around mile 25, I told Carly to leave me. She was hitting a good stride and I was crumbling. 

Right after Carly took off, I saw my good friend Carley on the sidelines, cheering me on. I was really struggling at that point. My body was overheating and I couldn't catch my breath. I ran past her, trying to keep it together. I saw the famous Citgo sign and gave myself a little pep talk. I knew I had only a mile and a half to go. I dug down deep and found some energy to carry me to finishline.

I finished 3:34:09. A Boston Qualifier. Though it was a tough race and far from a PR, I was happy to call myself a finisher. I accepted the medal and walked to meet my family at the finish. Words cannot decribe that moment.

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After five years of thinking about it and nine months of studying, I finally became in NTP in June! You can read more about my journey here. I also started this blog and Whole Hog Nutrition. 

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I met my friend Jenn Schroeder in the NTP program. We became fast friends at the first workshop in Ann Arbor, MI. It only made sense that we travel to the NTA conference in Denver, Co together. Read my recap of the trip here.

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And I nerded out on the Solar Eclipse. Andrew and I drove five hours to Nashville, TN to take part in the Great American Eclipse. We crashed at my cousin's place in East Nashville and tracked the eclipse as it crossed 14 states, finally making it's way to Tennessee. 

Funny enough, a large cloud covered the sun during totality. Figures! We had a great time hanging out with my cousin and tracking the event. Once the darkness passed, we hopped in the car and headed home. Traffic was insane. It took us nearly nine hours to get home! It's normally a four and a half hour trip! But it was so fun. Something I will never forget.

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I really enjoyed looking back at the year. I hope you take some time to do it, too. Let me know your highlights in the comments!

 I can't wait to see what's in store for 2018.

Meals in Minutes: Lunch

Meals in Minutes: Lunch

Melissa Hartwig Comes to Cincinnati

Melissa Hartwig Comes to Cincinnati