Living Fit Mountain side! // TN & NC 2018

Columbus is a great place to live, but getting around the world and traveling to see, hike, walk, yoga, swim and of course >RUN< in new places is one of our passions! Every two to three years we do a big Spring Break trip, usually to the coast such as Mexico or Puerto Rico. On this “off” year, we kept the driving distance short and headed to the Great Smoky Mountains and surrounding areas. It was a great escape from the ongoing winter that Snow-hio has been blessing us with and even though we were only 7 hours south, the sunshine and warmth gave us an extra 20 degrees on most days. Yipee!

The first city stop was Knoxville, TN. My husband and I were originally planning to run the half marathon, but with both of us somewhat still on injury reserve, we decided to save our legs. We want to tackle the upcoming Cap City Half strong & healthy! We dragged the family to the expo on Saturday night, let the kids run around, got a lot of free goodies and had some fun at the selfie stations.


Sunday morning we slept in – which I have to admit, was better than the usual 5AM race day alarm – and headed out to watch part of the race. I love spectating almost as much as running. As the runners pass by, you witness all the sweat, hard work and often months of training come together in the magic of race day. If you want to be inspired, go watch runners finish a marathon. We sat at mile 25 for quite a while, cheering on the participants as they headed into their final mile. It was amazing and energizing!


Later that day, my husband and I headed out for a six mile run. We toured the streets, paths & greenways of Knoxville. Since we weren’t getting in a super-long-run, we decided to do a “pace” run and met my half marathon goal pace of close to 9 min/mile… this will get me over the finish line at that two hour goal, so hoping for that on race day! Hubs held the pace while I would stop, click a pic, then sprint to catch up. Otherwise, how would I get all these mid-run pics?! He is a pretty good sport about my camera… insert eye roll here. 🙂


We did some hiking at a nearby nature center, then spent the evening touring the restaurants and shops of Market Square. We LOVE the “square” type settings – another fav is in Savannah, GA – because the kids can roam a bit without the worry of cars.


At 11PM we realized we had covered 12.6 miles total that day. My brother decided we HAD to go out for another 1/2 mile to get to the 13.1 miles we had originally anticipated running in the half… so out we went to wander the streets & sites… and made our own Knoxville half marathon. 🙂


Our second stop was Del Rio, Tennessee to see family. We ventured out to hike at The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, crossing off the first visit both our littles had to a national park. One down, only 59 more to go! We hiked Big Creek Trail up to Midnight Hole and some beautiful waterfalls. Although it’s known as a swimming area, you likely wouldn’t dare this time of year… the water was frigid! It was a scenic three mile hike, a good calorie burn (especially since I had a toddler on my back for 1/2 the hike) and a great way to spend the afternoon.

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Our last stop was Asheville, North Carolina. We spent three nights in the mountains in a GORGEOUS mountain home called Starry Night. This place made me want to move south and take in the mountain views every morning over a cup of coffee. We spent the days hiking the Blue Ridge and the evenings exploring all the shops, dining and breweries in downtown Asheville. It was a gorgeous city to explore and would be even prettier after all the leaves begin to return later this spring.

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It was definitely a fun week filled with adventure and activity. If you are headed to any of those areas, feel free to email or reach out on Instagram, I’d love to be your virtual tour guide! Now, if we could just get the sunshine and warmer temps to come visit us here in good ‘ol Columbus…

For now, we think we’ll turn in for the night!

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Living Fit Beach Side // Puerto Rico 2017

We took a family trip to Puerto Rico this past spring break and absolutely LOVED it. The sun, the sand, the hispanic culture, the views and activities in Old San Juan… such great adventures and memories!
We typically use Lisa from Creative Vacations for our “bigger” trips including this one, our honeymoon to Riviera Maya, Mexico & our last family trip to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Using a trusted travel agent can help make sure you’re staying in safe locations, give you lots of travel tips you may not think of, arrange reliable transportation and more! Lisa helped us find the most beautiful resort and as loyal Marriott customers, we booked the San Juan Marriott Resort. My mom spoiled us and upgraded our rooms to ocean view so we spent many mornings drinking coffee from our balcony and it was an added benefit to have during the baby’s nap time.
Per usual as fitness lovers and bloggers, we made sure to incorporate exercise into our week! Not only are long runs and bike rides great ways to see new places, they make for adventurous memories! Whenever I’m traveling over spring break, it seems I’m training for a half marathon… this year we are preparing for the Kentucky Blue Grass half and needed to get in 10 miles, which we did! Below is a quick recap of our weekly adventures, mostly in pictures… aren’t they worth 1,000 words anyhow?

8 mile bike ride to Old San Juan (with yoga stops, of course!)

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Hiking at the rainforest, El Yunque

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#stopdropandyoga with the kids

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10 mile long run to Old San Juan (with water breaks & yoga stops)

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Top five things we loved: 
  • Tons of options for fitness including bike rentals (we got ours directly from the Marriott), running paths, hiking and more
  • The gorgeous blue water and breathtaking coastal views
  • The location of the Marriott and walking distance to shops, restaurants and tons of things to do
  • Old San Juan – history, shopping, views, activities
Things we didn’t love: 
  • The traffic coming home from the Rainforest – there was a World Baseball Classic going on and it took us HOURS to get back to the hotel
  • At the time of this trip, all-inclusive options were not available
My mom lived in Puerto Rico for five years as a kid and is fluent in Spanish so it is always fun to come here (this was my second time visiting). It is an amazing destination and we’ll definitely be back someday!
**Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own 

Living Fit Beach Side // Hilton Head + National Running Day!

Today is the first Wednesday of June which makes it National Running Day! Make sure you strap up those laces and get out for a run… or maybe a barefoot run/walk on the beach if you’re on vacation like us 🙂 Our little guy keeps running circles in the sand, getting enough exercise for all of us.

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We’ve been loving this trip for so many reasons. HHI is a gorgeous island on the coast of South Carolina and is often referred to as “America’s Favorite Island.” There is so much to see and do here! We rented a beach house at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort with extended family and it was PERFECT for having an almost-18-month-old. You could go to the beach in a matter of seconds without having to load up the car and you could easily go back to the house when the toddler melt down kicked in and nap time was evident! We were very pleased with the clean community, which had several pools, and would go back again.

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The week was full of a tiny bit of relaxation and down time, but mostly activity and adventure. Between the seven of us we flew kites, played volleyball, went running, rode bikes, collected shells, took long beach walks, golfed and tried various water activities. I guess we wanted to see how much we could cram into one week! Fitness + Travel Blog Hilton Head - 4Fitness + Travel Blog Hilton Head - 7Fitness + Travel Blog Hilton Head - 10Fitness + Travel Blog Hilton Head - 12Fitness + Travel Blog Hilton Head - 17 golfFitness + Travel Blog Hilton Head - 15 bikingFitness + Travel Blog Hilton Head - 16 biking

My sister-in-law, Carrie, has me loving yoga lately and I did my first ever beach yoga session! We used beach towels as a mat and although the flow was a little slower than I’m used to, I really enjoyed it. The sound of the waves was almost meditative and I look forward to doing beach yoga along more coasts!

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When we got back to the beach house, Carrie made sure to squeeze in some more #stopdropandyoga and even got the little guy involved! 🙂

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Since we had the whole Gellenbeck crew together, it was essential to get some family beach photos. We got dressed in coordinating coastal colors, scurried out at sunset and were able to get some great shots to capture the memories. Fitness + Travel Blog Hilton Head Family - 12Fitness + Travel Blog Hilton Head Family - 13

Although we made so many great memories, the highlight of the trip was definitely the big “proposal!” Jake asked Carrie to be his wife… and she said yes! 🙂 I was lucky enough to be a part of the process and was secretly hiding in the sand dunes to capture the whole thing on camera. Yay for a new family member and brother-in-law! Guess we may not be coming back next summer… because now we have a wedding to plan!Fitness + Travel Blog Hilton Head (20)