The Ultimate Road Block to #roadtobuns

I’ve had so many blog posts in my head over the last few months, but between a new job and a full scale house remodel project – the blog fell to the wayside. The posts were really happy ones about how well marathon training was going. Truth be told, marathon training/running has never been my favorite running activity. Thankfully, I was blessed with a wonderful training group for Chicago and the weeks and miles just flew by until I hit quite the road block.

Several weeks ago, I started having occasional hip pain. It would usually go away in a day or so after hard runs, so I just figured it was the increasing mileage. Unfortunately, my last long run – a lovely 17 mile jaunt through torrential thunderstorms – left me in a ton of pain that didn’t go away.

I made the rounds of the local medical profession landing at a sports medicine practice. The doctor told me that my hip pain wasn’t related to my hip at all – he said it was something amiss in my lower back. One set of x-rays later, I had a diagnosis of L5 spondylolysis – a big word for a fracture on both sides of my L5 (lower back) vertebrae. The doctor scheduled me for an MRI for further diagnosis. I was really hoping that the MRI results would show that the condition was treatable and that eventually my L5 would mend itself and that I could resume running as normal. The doctor, who had a bedside manner that left a lot to be desired, told me the exact opposite. He said my L5 is what it is and that it would never heal. He gave me lots of other mildly helpful advice such as working on my core strength to support my back, keeping a very healthy weight to lessen the stress on my back, taking daily arthritis meds and my favorite piece of advice, only run when there is a 5k t-shirt that I just can’t resist.

The last bit of advice crushed me more than anything else in this injury journey. Running and racing is such a huge part of my life – I can’t really fathom not running regularly. I’m sort of a mixed bag of emotions about the whole situation. I’m upset, but I have also seen people I love truly fight for their health this year. A broken vertebrae seems to pale in comparison to what they have gone through. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason and that silver linings can be found in most situations. I’m still trying to figure out what that means in this situation.

For now, I’m trying to let my back heal and strengthening my core to help my back. I’m spending lots of time with my husband working on our house together. I’m sleeping in when I used to wake up at the crack of dawn to go running and using that extra energy for my new job and work team. I’m researching other doctors for a second opinion. And I’m keeping my heart and eyes open to find the silver linings.

Flowers from my husband are definitely a silver lining

Flowers from my husband are definitely a silver lining

The #roadtobuns will be different. I’ll be sherpa-extraordinaire for my #roadtobuns partner in crime, Holly, instead of running in my buns alongside her. I can’t wait to spend the weekend of the Chicago marathon cheering on my friends and my Oiselle birdies.

Many thanks to my main partner in crime, Chris, for keeping my spirits up through all of this.



Filed under #roadtobuns, Fitfluential, Marathon, Marathon Training, Team Oiselle, Uncategorized

#Roadtobuns – A story of long-distance #runlove friendship

The road to buns began innocently enough last January when I received a message via Twitter from this lovely lady.


Step 1 – Twitter connects @hroberts123 with @crosscountrycajun

@hroberts123 – Hey, you live in Nashville. Ragnar Relay with Team Nuun?

@crosscountrycajun – Yes, I’d love to run a relay with a bunch of strangers from the interwebs. (Mom/Chris, don’t worry -  it’s totally safe) A van full of sweaty strangers and endless NUUN – count me in.

Step 2 –  Captain @hroberts123 sets about organizing the most kick-butt relay team ever. She handles all the details. During this time, I am totally nodding my head at her level of enthusiasm and organization and request any runner spot as long as we can be in the same van. This girl seems like she will be legit awesome IRL.

Step 3 – Ragnar TN (a.k.a. where our #runlove friendship was solidified) Cliff Notes version: Our relay team was awesome, the two vans of sweaty strangers from the interwebs were so amazing, best weekend ever!


Step 4 – Post-Ragnar TN blues – What to do when you are running alone with no van chasing you down with their disco ball, cowbell and Katy Perry’s Roar? You talk to your long distance #runlove BFF almost every day. That’s what you do.

Step 5 – Plan next adventure – In all that post-Ragnar blues chatting, Holly and I did what any runner friends do when recovering from Fall race season. We brainstormed our next adventure.

Holly: What’s your race plans next year?

Tess: Not sure.

Undetermined source: Marathon? Twin Cities? Chicago? Running 26.2 miles is super fun, right?

Holly and Tess: Fun if we do it together. Let’s do it.

Step 6 – Take a gamble, register for the Chicago marathon – We had our eyes set on the prize Chicago marathon before they made it a lottery system. I totally understand why they changed their registration but was bummed that there was a possibility we wouldn’t be running Chicago together. Leave caution to the wind, we’ll see what God has in store for our #runlove marathoning adventure and register for lottery spots. Fingers /toes crossed to get in.


Step 7 – Someone brings up buns, #roadtobuns is born –

Q: Why run 26.2 miles in shorts when you can run in buns?

A: To avoid excessive tan lines? To celebrate being in the best shape of our lives? To not get overheated? Why not run 26.2 miles in buns?


Because some of us learn by visuals – here’s a quick road map to how #roadtobuns was born



Stay tuned for an amazing journey on the #roadtobuns.

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Filed under #roadtobuns, Blends, Marathon, Marathon Training, Team Oiselle, Uncategorized

Race Report: Houston Half Marathon

This past weekend, I had the honor of running the Houston Half Marathon in memory of two special men – my Paw Paw Bernard and my Uncle Tommy. Last Fall, I raised money for the American Heart Association as part of the Run for a Reason program with the Houston Marathon.



My goal for the race was to run with a smile on my face because that’s how I remember my grandfather and uncle – always smiling and joking.

I was lucky to be able to reconnect with Ashley, a fellow Oiselle birdie who I met when we both lived in Nashville. Ashley is the sweetest, and she is super speedy (spoiler: she finished 2nd woman in the half marathon). I was blessed to get to spend some quality time with her.

Our hotel was 10 or so blocks from the hotel so we walked over to the expo Saturday morning. I cannot express how amazingly well run this race was. Packet pick-up was a breeze, the volunteers were incredibly helpful, there was signage everywhere to know exactly where you were going and the support was second to none. This was definitely the best big race I have run.

We had a triple treat at the expo – running into Megan and her partner Steph, getting to meet and chat up our local Oiselle sales rep Sara and getting to meet MEB.


photo from Megan


Meb told us to be patient with our races but be quick. He also said to run the second half faster than the first. He was incredibly nice, and I can’t wait to read his book.

We spent the rest of the day Saturday just hanging out and grabbing an early dinner at Flying Saucer. We tried another Italian place downtown but it was booked solid so a quick pizza at the bar did the trick. Our #flystyle was working its magic in our favor as we were offered free beers by two sets of random strangers. Thankfully, we were well hydrated with lots of Nuun so no beers were necessary!


Race day was made easier with our hotel location. We ate our breakfast, donned our singlets and headed to the convention center. Bag drop was super organized and soon enough it was time to head to the start line.


I really didn’t know what to expect with the actual race. My running had been so lackluster for the last few months that the longest training run I did was maybe 5 miles. I ran steady and made a promise to Chris that I would not injure myself. All the race mojo aligned correctly because I had 13.1 miles of pain-free running in 2:08:09. Better yet, I was smiling the whole time. I saw my best friends Sarah and Rob at mile 2, and the rest of the course was lined with spectators all the way.

If you are in the market for an amazing January race, I cannot recommend the Houston Marathon and Half Marathon enough.

What an amazing weekend! Full of Oiselle love, full of rekindling my passion for running and full of lighting the fire for some serious racing for this Cajun in 2014.

Cheers friends!


Filed under Goals, Half Marathon, Running, Team Oiselle, Uncategorized

Rediscovery: My love of running

A year ago, I was hitting my stride in Nashville in many senses of the word. Everything seemed to be falling into place. We were updating our house with little projects, I had just started coaching a half marathon group in town, I had reconnected with old friends and made new ones. We saw our families often. We found a wonderful church family. Nashville was finally feeling like home.

Fast forward a few months later, and the course of our lives changed. Chris was offered a job back in Dallas, and we had a very tough decision to make – stay or go. With a pivotal career move waiting in Dallas, we knew what the right decision was – but it was by no means the easy decision.

Welcome To Texas Sign

What followed was the toughest of years. It was hard to explain to our Nashville friends and family why we were moving. It was hard to quiet the voices that made us question our choices. It was really hard to live apart for a few months. It was even harder letting go of our Nashville life not knowing if Dallas would ever feel like home.  It was hard to explain to anyone really how emotionally taxing uprooting your lives is. We trudged ahead, bought a fixer upper outside of the city (an entire blog in itself) and tried to accept our new chapter. The downs were more frequent than the ups, and it was hard to adjust. I felt lost in every sense of the word.

I thought running would be my saving grace through this “transition” period but it made me deeply miss life in Nashville. It made me miss my running groups, my running friends, running in the neighborhood where all my old college friends lived and being able to drop by for coffee, brunch, dinner and just chatting for hours like old times. Running was so intertwined with a community of people I deeply missed that it made me sad.

It wasn’t until Ragnar in October that I was able to remind myself of the joy running brings me and how much of a part of me running is. I set out on a personal mission to figure out why I was avoiding running . It took me months to figure out but slowly and surely, I am regaining my passion for running. Instead of making me sad, it is opening new doors and building new friendships. Each mile makes me feel less lost and more at home. With new races ahead in 2014 to look forward to, I can’t wait to see what this year holds in terms of PRs, new running friends and getting further connected with my Oiselle teammates and the running community here.


Although last year was tough, we also had enormous blessings that I cannot go without mentioning. Our Dallas friends welcomed us back with open arms and made us feel truly loved. Our parents answered all of our venting phone calls, offered suggestions and solutions and came visit us to offer many a helping hand. Our new neighbors have really helped us to start making our house feel like home. For that, I cannot feel more blessed. My Ragnar teammates were truly magical and I know there are life long friends in that group! My Oiselle teammates have become like sisters. And all of you, for your encouragement and good wishes along the way – thank you.

Like they say, there is always a silver lining. Cheers to flying fast and far in 2014! 



Filed under Fitfluential, Marathon, Marathon Training, Running, Team Oiselle, Uncategorized

Join us for the New Year 24 Day Advocare Challenge

This Fall, Chris and I were introduced to Advocare after Chris won a 24 Day Challenge from a local advisor. We were both a bit skeptical at first but decided to give the challenge our best shot. After months of living in hotels, apartments and a house in the beginning stages of a major remodel; the stress of life had definitely taken its toll on us. Lots of take-out meals and loads of coffee and soft drinks to give us energy – we were both feeling worn down. Over the course of our challenge, we lost roughly 20 lbs. between us. With continued use of Advocare products, we have lost another 5 lbs. together bringing our total to 25 lbs. More important than the weight loss, we are both feeling amazing with tons of energy.

The program for the challenge was so easy to follow. The challenge is broken into two phases: The Cleanse Phase and The Max Phase. We were provided with supplements for each phase and a guide for what to do each day of the challenge.

Nutrition wise – we followed the recommendations (for the most part) in the guide which focused on clean eating and whole foods. We were really surprised on how much we were able to eat while still loosing pounds.

Energy wise – once we got to the Max Phase, our energy was through the roof. We have continued to take the MNS packs each day and love how great we are feeling.

Pros – simple, easy to follow, successful without having to kill ourselves at the gym

Cons – Chris said he missed milk

Check out the Advocare 24 Day website for further details, success stories and everything you get with the challenge.

Sounds like a program you could benefit from? Interested in joining us on a challenge in the New Year? We’ll be hosting a challenge starting on January 6th. We plan on offering prizes to our participants with great support along the way!



To join us:

  1. Order the 24 day challenge through our Advocare site
  2. If you are interested in getting a discount of 20% with your order, contact me so I can tell you more about being an Advocare distributor
  3. Email me at so we can add you to the list or if you have any questions

Chris and I are looking forward to completing the 24 day challenge with you and are excited to have a group of friends and family to share the experience with.

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Time of Transition

Hey ya’ll! I’ve missed blogging so much. I can’t believe it’s already been two months since we moved back to Dallas.

Moving - the new form of cardio for 2013.

Moving – the new form of cardio for 2013.

If life happens in phases, this is definitely a transitional phase. Physical transition, emotional transition, career transition, routine transition, etc.

I’m not always the best with tons of changes at once, but I am learning new levels of putting faith in His plan, of going with the flow and of patience.

The saving grace these past several weeks have been our friends and family near and far. Our Dallas friends have welcomed us back with open arms, open homes, delicious meals, real estate advice, girls’ nights and more. Our families have been praying for us each day. We even had our first visitors, my wonderful in-laws, this past weekend.

Even my old Starbucks barista – Panda – welcomed me back!

Chris and I are slowly settling into some semblance of a routine and making a home here. Speaking of home, we just bought a spacious/great lot/lots of wall paper/fixer-upper near Dallas. We are a bit overwhelmed but very excited to make it our own. Any DIY advice will be appreciated. This is a small slice of what we are dealing with.


On the fitness front, I am starting to train for the Tennessee Ragnar Relay in October and a few half marathons this fall. I ran my first 5K here a few weeks ago, and it felt so awesome to put my Oiselle race gear back on.


I fell in love with running in Dallas so it’s super special to be back here running again. I just finished my Crossfit intro class tonight so I will be adding lots of Crossfit into my workouts.

I’m so excited for settling in to Dallas and really making it feel like home! Things are super busy between work and home renovations but I will definitely be blogging more often from here on out. I have some great products and recipes to share with  my blends!

How have ya’ll been doing? Anyone tackled a DIY project before – tips, advice, horror stories?!





Filed under Crossfit, Dallas, Fitfluential, Oiselle, Running, Team Oiselle, Uncategorized

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Blend Retreat: Out of the comfort zone, into friendship

Remember back in the day, when your parents told you to never meet up with anyone you met on the internet – ICQ (remember that), chat rooms, AOL Instant Messenger, etc.

This weekend – I did just that, and it was one of the best weekends in my life! No scary internet people just a wonderful group of inspiring, strong and friendly ladies.




I can’t properly express how amazing of an experience the Blend Retreat was. It was perfectly timed after a few long months of transition turmoil. A weekend with girls who share my same interest, sense of humor and just general enthusiasm for living fun and healthy lives.




We ate a ton of amazing food.




We got our butts kicked in the best way by GPP Fitness (burpees are fun)




We shopped, and we laughed until our abs hurt more.

We got to know each other and most importantly, we built friendships that I am certain will last a long time.





Thank you to Janetha, Lindsay and Katie for all your hard work to make Blend simply amazing.



xoxo to all my blends!

I promised Heather I would blog more. So I’ll be back to recap the swag, the food, etc. later this week!



Filed under Blend Retreat, Blends, Fitfluential, GPP, Park City Utah, Team Oiselle, Uncategorized

Texas sized News

Two years ago, Chris and I moved to Nashville from Dallas, Texas imagining that we would spend many years in Nashville. We always said that we would move back to Dallas if a certain career path was available there for Chris. Well, a few weeks ago that door was opened very unexpectedly to that certain career path for Chris and he accepted the job there. Since then, we have remodeled our house to put it on the market, coordinated a long-distance move back to Dallas and tried our best to go with the flow during a big time of transition.

Welcome To Texas Sign



I thought it would be easiest to explain the move by answering all the popular questions we get about moving back.


What are you doing with your Nashville house?

Our house is on the market, and we have had really great progress forward with finding a buyer. Any prayers you can send our way for a successful sale will be greatly appreciated.


Where will you live in Dallas?

We are renting for a while until we find the right spot in Dallas. The real estate market in Dallas is a seller’s market so we are trying to be smart with our future home purchase.


How is Chester taking the move?

Chester is with a hunting retriever dog trainer right now and enjoying life on 400 acres in the hills of Tennessee. We are assuming he will be very confused by apartment life but we miss him every day and can’t wait for him to join us in Texas.


How are we taking the move?

Chris is much better at transition than I am. I think we have both experienced every emotion, but we try to just lift each other up when the other might be having a rough time. Kudos to all those couples who live apart whether it be for work, military deployments, etc. Transition time and being apart from my husband has been rough but it gets better with each step forward in the process.


Was it a hard decision?

We moved to Nashville to be closer to family, so we didn’t take the decision to move away lightly. We have come to realize that as long as we are together and marriage is strong (which it most definitely is); our location is not as significant. Career wise, it was the best move for our family’s future. There will be many trips here and there to visit family, and we will have to figure out FaceTime, Skype and all the cool new keep-in-touch technology methods.


So that’s our big news. Apologies for the radio silence in blog land the past few months, but it would have been hard to write about running (I’m currently sidelined by a hamstring injury going on 2 months) or cooking  or the mundane bits of life when we have had so many big pieces moving around in our world.


Major thank you to our families both near and far. My in-laws have been so supportive through this process both through helping with renovations, helping move things back to Alabama, covering us in prayer during this time and just being our support system. My parents have been my sounding board for career decisions, advice and just a general pick-me-up. My godparents have not only lended us storage space but  also real estate advice and open house company. We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful family members. That is a whole post in it’s own.

Bring on the Texas heat, Dallas best friends and Texas sized adventures.



Filed under Dallas, Family, Uncategorized

Catching up.

Oh hey! I still have a blog. Evidently my new posting schedule is once a month. Whoops. Hopefully, that will change for the better soon.

The last month has been busy and fun and sometimes, you just have to step away from the computer and enjoy it all!

Highlights of the past month:

  • Running the Tom King Half Marathon. I finished in 1:58:10 which is faster than I have run a half in a long time. My PR is a 1:56:04 so I am hoping to beat that PR in one of my upcoming races.
#2 of 13 in 2013

#2 of 13 in 2013

  • I finalized my schedule for 13 in 2013! I have already run 2 of my half marathons – Cedars Frostbite and Tom King. Up next – Scottsboro Half Marathon on March 30th. I’ll write up a post on the 11 remaining ones on my schedule. I am so excited for this year.

My work reminder of 13 in 2013

  • I’m still loving coaching one of the half marathon groups with East Nasty. We have a wonderful group of coaches and runners so Saturday mornings are so fun.
  • I’ve been training with Amy Cotta since January and I did 15 push ups in a row the other day. For a girl with zero upper body strength, this was amazing. I love working out with Amy and am loving the strength I am gaining.
Post - Amy session smiles

Post – Amy session smiles

  • My grandmother had heart surgery on Wednesday and is doing amazing. That’s the best news of the whole month! Can’t wait to see her soon and give her a big hug!
  • I get to see my boys tomorrow night. I’ve been in Roswell, NM all week and am so ready to go back home!
photo (6)

UFO Museum


What’s been the highlight of your month?



Filed under 13 in 2013, Family, Half Marathon, Marriage, Random, Team Oiselle, Uncategorized