I'm training for my third half marathon!

I've signed up for another half marathon! Last week I registered for the Southern California Half Marathon in January 2018 and completed week one of a twelve-week training plan!

My goal for the race is 1:59:59 — yep, I'm going for under two hours! At this point a sub-two finish feels like a challenge, but it also feels doable given that I've been running regularly and I've gotten a lot faster. It's scary to be putting this goal out there for the world to see, but I'm going for it!

The Fenix half marathon training

My training plan consists of easy runs, tempo runs, track runs, race pace runs, long runs, and a 5K and 10K race along the way. It's a pretty standard training plan but also the first time I've explicitly trained for a race. I'll also decrease my strength training down to two days per week to focus on running.

My dad is a testament to the importance of a training plan. He's been a distance runner my whole life, and his last few marathons have all been PRs after he switched to a new coach and running program. He has me convinced that going into each run with a plan in mind is the key to a PR. The results shows it!

My dad and me after my first half marathon in February 2016

My dad and me after my first half marathon in February 2016

Keegan and me after my second half marathon in Berlin in August 2017

Keegan and me after my second half marathon in Berlin in August 2017

My goal for my first half marathon was simply to finish. It was the hardest thing I've physically ever done. I spontaneously decided to register for the 2016 Austin Half just six weeks before the race, and at that point the longest distance I'd run was just four miles. I got up to eight miles before the race, which wasn't enough and I knew it. I had a really hard time finishing. I walked a LOT. I crossed the finish line with my dad (who was my cheerleader the whole way) at 2:52:23 — a 13:10 pace. Yeeeeeah, not so fast. But I met my goal! I proved to myself that I could at least do the thing.

My second race was in August 2017 in Berlin, Germany. I ran with my boyfriend, Keegan, for his first half marathon. We kind of trained. We were good about getting in our long runs each weekend but slacked on our mid-week runs. This time, I had two goals: to not walk at all and to beat my previous time. We finished with a 2:28:20 time, and I felt AMAZING! I finished with gas in the tank and felt like I could have gone much faster or gone farther, but I met both of my goals and I was so proud of Keegan for finishing.

Since then I've gotten so much faster. I'm not sure what got into me but it's like I had a breakthrough — my pace is consistently much faster than it was even just four months ago. A sub-two finish feels ambitious, but I know I can do it if I stay committed to my training plan and keep my nutrition in check for the next 11 weeks.

My Paris Round-up

Ooooh I am so excited to be sharing my favorite spots in Paris and some gorgeous images of my time there in July! I think it's impossible to take a bad photo in Paris. Every corner had a cute cafe or old building. I can't recall even one street that didn't have a "Paris feel."

The city itself reminded me a lot of Manhattan with its energy and walkability, only without the tall buildings and feeling of having to get somewhere in a hurry. People do truly take it slowly in Paris. At restaurants and coffee shops, our servers didn't rush us to pay and leave as soon as we finished like I'm used to at efficiency-focused spots in the U.S.

For the most part our time in Paris was relaxing, but it does still have a trace of the big city bustle. While I loved visiting Paris, when our time there was over I was excited to be heading farther south in France for 12 days for some slow living and relaxation.

All images shot on Fuji 400h film with a Contax 645 | Developed and scanned by Photovision

Check out my list of favorite Paris spots:

Merci: A lovely little coffee shop. It's also a used book store, and it's connected to a store with clothes, stationery, home goods, and other beautiful objects by different artists and makers.

Merci Paris

Canal Saint-Martin: Someone said this to Keegan and I can't remember who: If you're a cool American, you hangout on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower, and if you're a cool Parisian, you hangout on Canal Saint-Martin. Well we did this for more than a few nights — it sort of became the norm on our trip! It's so low-key — buy a bottle of vino and some butter or cheese in one of the grocery stores nearby, a baguette (or two!) from a bakery, and you're set for the night.

Palace of Versailles: While not in Paris, it's an easy day trip! I could do an entire post on this place since I took so many photos while I was there! Visiting Versailles has been a dream of mine for a few years, and I even cried when I first arrived.

Le Comptoir General: My favorite bar in Paris — there isn't a sign but you can find it by the address. Don't be intimidated by the bouncers in the front! Get through the initial gate, walk quietly down the walkway, and once you're in, you're good to go.

Botanical Garden of Paris: A lovely place to take a stroll!

La Seine: It's just as romantic as they say! The first time I saw it, we just sort of happened upon it while walking around and I was so happy! On one of our last nights in Paris, Keegan and I brought bread, cheese, meat, and wine down to the water and had a picnic! He says the photos of this remind him of a Kinfolk spread, hahaha.

The Louvre: It's majestic! There were a handful landmarks in Paris that I was so excited to see and this was near the top of the list. Like many of the spots we went to, it felt unreal to see it in person after seeing photos for so many years. It was crowded but truly an incredible experience. We didn't have enough time or patience in the moment to walk through the entire museum (this would take hours!), but I'm happy with what we saw (and I had to get some photos of Mona Lisa, although I was more impressed by the packed-in crowd in front of her!).

The Broken Arm: I loved this coffee shop! They have indoor and outdoor seating, and it's connected to a neat shop.

Télescope: Another great coffee shop! If I remember correctly, they don't have wifi, but they had a great chicken salad sandwich.

Télescope Paris

Gigi: Amazing crepes! The restaurant is on a beautiful block with other cute restaurants nearby and lots of people strolling around.

Gigi

Luxembourg Garden: This was one of the highlights of my time in Paris! This garden was breathtaking. We spent an entire afternoon here.

Notre Dame Cathedral: I didn't have too much interest in this spot but knew I at least wanted to see it. The line was almost a quarter-mile long (I'm serious, I'm good with guessing distances) so we didn't even bother trying to go in. Also, it was really busy while we were there because the First Ladies of France and the U.S. were about to arrive for an event of some sort!

Eiffel Tower: And of course, you must visit the Eiffel Tower. Need I say more?

My London Round-up

When we planned this three-month trip to Europe, Keegan and I decided our goal is to travel slowly. We weren't interested in a 6-countries-in-10-days sort of pace but instead wanted to take our time in each city or country so we could get to know the personality of each city beyond every must-see. We knew we wanted our lifestyle to stay as true to our everyday life as possible, just somewhere else. So we are visiting four countries in three months — England, France, Germany, and Portugal — with only one backpack and one additional bag each.

We started with 9 days in London. Keegan had been there once before — on a solo trip 6 years ago to London and Paris, his first trip to Europe — and I had never been before. We chose to stay in the Shoreditch neighborhood, and I'm so glad we did because it ended up being my favorite area in the city, and we had a quaint Airbnb with a terrace. It had a Brooklyn feel but almost felt more cool, if that's even possible. It's Brooklyn but smaller and more dense — more coolness per square foot, per se?

We achieved a pretty good mix of touristy destinations and stops away from the frenzy of summer visitors. Just as in every other city we visit, we found our favorite restaurants and coffee shops through Foursquare and word-of-mouth.

Somehow 9 days felt both not long enough and more time than necessary to get to know the city. It's more than enough time to visit if you just want to hit major tourist spots. We managed visiting no more than one must-see in a day so we could spend the rest of the day exploring stress-free, and some days were able to stay out of crowded areas altogether.

I'm compiling a list of my favorite spots here — a mix of our favorite tourist spots and otherwise — and I'm excited to share some of my film shots from our time. Enjoy!

All images shot on Fuji 400h film with a Contax 645 | Developed and scanned by Photovision

St. Paul’s Cathedral: It’s a stunning church! We loved walking around the entirety of the building and stopping to relax, read, and have a snack on the grass in the courtyard.

The Nightjar: We loved this jazz club! You can expect good live music and fancy, creative cocktails. We chatted with a couple a few tables away and ended up joining tables and sharing a bottle of champagne. So fun!

Ace Hotel, Bulldog Edition, & East London Juice Co.: Ace Hotel is a super hip hang-out spot in the U.S., and it wasn’t any different here. We loved that it was in walking distance from our Airbnb. We spent more than a few times sitting in the lobby reading and working all day while sipping coffee from the coffee shop connected to the lobby, Bulldog Edition. There is also a juice and smoothie shop next door. I think the hotel even offers the drinks on their lobby menu.

BunBunBun Vietnamese Food: We loved the food here so much that we went three times while we were in London. The place isn’t particularly cool or beautiful, but the food is amazing.

Buckingham Palace: A must-do on a first-time trip to London! We went in the morning for the changing of the guards ceremony. It was super crowded, so make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes early. If I were to go again, I would arrive even earlier and try to get a spot along the fence closest to the palace so I could see what was happening inside the gates. It was still fun to see the entrance and exit on the street though!

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town: The coolest bar we went to in London. It’s a speakeasy and has a secret entrance. Go into the diner on street level, ask to speak to the mayor, and the host will walk you through the door of a Smeg refrigerator down to the bar. You’ll exit through the diner restroom when you leave. Play it cool!

Tower Bridge: Another must-see spot. I didn’t know until I arrived in London that this isn’t actually the London Bridge. It turns out that’s a common misconception! The London Bridge is actually next to the Tower Bridge and is way less impressive.

Tower Bridge London

Kensington Palace & The Orangery: This was the highlight of my time in London. I loved walking around the palace grounds, and having tea at The Orangery was quite an experience. We had so many recommendations of where to get afternoon tea, and I have no complaints about where we ended up going! Next on my list is tea in the pink room at Sketch.

St. Pancras Station & Platform 9 3/4: Yep, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan! On this trip I started rereading the series, which was a defining part of my childhood. It was so fun to see parts of where the movies were filmed, and yes, I did wait in line to take a photo with the trolley going through the wall.

Dishoom: If there’s one restaurant you have to eat at in London, it’s Dishoom! It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The space is beautiful and the food is extraordinary. We didn’t have a reservation, so we had to wait about an hour and a half, but it was well worth it.

Dishoom

Borough Market: We loved the energy of this spot! It’s a good spot to grab a quick bite to eat and either eat there (the curb is probably the only place you’ll find to sit) or take your food and sit by the River Thames nearby.

The Attendant: Delicious brunch in Shoreditch and a beautiful space.

Wahaca: I found good Mexican food in London of all places, WHAT? Yes, it was amazing!

The London Eye, Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, & Westminster Abbey: I’m lumping all of these together because they are in about a half-mile area. It’s quite crowded, so crowded in fact that I actually felt anxious being there, but these are all on the London must-do list. We reserved tickets in advance for the latest time slot to go up in the London Eye (Pro Tip: Buy tickets online in advance and pay the extra $5 or so to get into the fast-track lane!), and it was just amazing to see the sunset from the top.

Introducing My New Website

Welcome! I'm Kailey, a wedding and portrait photographer with a love of wellness, fitness, and traveling. I'm currently traveling with my boyfriend, Keegan. We just finished a month in London and parts of France, and now we are in Berlin for a month. Our goal in travel is to keep as true to our "real lives" as possible while we are on the move. It's quite the experiment and we are continually learning how to travel smarter! (He has a bit more experience at traveling than I do!).

Introducing The Fenix

My health and fitness journey began in the summer of 2015 when I started Kayla Itsines' BBG program for the first time. Since then I've learned so much about taking care of my mind, body, and spirit, and I want to share with others what I've learned and am still learning. This month I completed my second half marathon with a PR by 25 minutes (!!!) and now I'm focusing on losing body fat by incorporating more strength training and HIIT workouts.

Introducing The Fenix

On this blog I plan to share beautiful photos and health, fitness, and travel tips. I hope to inspire you to get active, eat colorful foods, and visit new places like a local.

Warmly, Kailey