Surviving an All Inclusive Resort

Last week I went to Cancun with friends to celebrate our upcoming graduation from veterinary school. It was an all inclusive resort, meaning all of our food and drinks were included, aka unlimited food and drinks at all hours! The most dangerous combination when you are celebrating with friends and wearing a bathing suit!


For most of the week, we just laid around on the beach, not moving. Occasionally, we would get up and swim in the water, but usually our adventures from the beach were for breakfast, lunch, and our snack. Not the best situation. Servers constantly came around to see if we needed anything to drink. Making it harder and harder to be good!


I know myself and know that I have no self control when tempted. The best thing for me to do is to keep myself out of the danger zone. It is really easy to be laying in bed at night telling yourself, tomorrow you are going to be good, not snack and eat no dessert, but the other side goes, hey you are on vacation and celebrating.

Here are some things I learned over the week!

  1. Make time for the gym // I like to start my mornings on vacation with a workout. For me, it means I definitely got it done. Who knows what fun activity may happen later, and I never want to miss out because I need to work out. I tend to eat better if I have gone to the gym and worked out because it kicks starts my morning!
  2. Walk through the whole buffet // Most all inclusive resorts have a buffet restaurant. I get totally overwhelmed with all the options and before I know it, my plate is piled to the sky with food. Then, you look at your plate and say you won’t eat it all, but you might, and maybe you will even go back for seconds. Planning out what you want to eat can really help you limit what you are going to get.
  3. Gym with friends // As always, you are more reliable when you have someone counting on you or encouraging you to go. Make a plan with a friend to go to the gym, exercise on the beach, or attend a workout class! Some of us went to a water cycling class where the exercise bike was actually in the pool under water.
  4. Pick your drinks carefully // I don’t drink much alcohol. There are very few drinks I actually enjoy drinking and I stick to those. Unfortunately, the ones I love are made with so much sugar. At the beach, it is so easy to fall into drinking margaritas and daiquiris and anything else beachy, but these drinks aren’t great for you. Limit these drinks and pick something else to drink along side.
  5. Exercise outside // I am not great at working out in a gym. I spend way to much time worrying about everyone around me watching me then actually getting a good workout in. Those “weird” exercises I do at home make me uncomfortable and I can’t do them in the gym. I also loathe running on treadmills for more than 10 minutes (but unfortunately you can’t always run outside in strange places). I began moving my exercises to a location either on the beach (which was extra hard) or just a remote grassy location. I was more secluded than at the gym, making me less self conscious, and it was a beautiful view!


I took a lot of sweaty elevator selfies after the gym! Please share any tips you have!

Cancun Senior Week

Between our last rotation and graduation, some friends decided to go to Cancun to celebrate for one last hooray! We stayed at an all inclusive resort and relaxed for five days. It was exactly what we needed to unwind after all the stress and work over the last year and a half. The views were breathtaking!


It was the most wonderful week filled with friends, fun, laughter, and so much food! We spent almost all day at the beach relaxing and swimming. There were two beaches and six pools, one was on the roof! The resort felt super big, giving you space to move around and explore! One of my favorite places was the light house on the point!

Being as pale as I am, aka a ghost, I struggled so much with trying to keep from burning. I brought a carry on suitcase, so all my sunscreen needed to be less than 3 oz- no spray sun screen for me! I religiously put on sunscreen every 2 hours at first, and slowly began to spread it out. I wanted to get a little tanner, so I wasn’t the color of sand, but I really didn’t want to burn or over do it! I may, if you squint, slightly have a tan line, but that is so much better than harming my skin!

Being at an all inclusive resort, we had unlimited access to food and drinks, really testing our self control! There was a coffee shop (the bet coffee ever), Mexican, Italian, Asian (sushi and hibachi), American, and French restaurants, a buffet that changed, and a pastry shop! Way too many options, and we had to try them all! There were bars everywhere for you to grab a drink, even a swim-up bar in one of the pools!


I love these guys and I am so happy to call them my colleagues!

Officially Dr. Thumel

Yesterday, I graduated from veterinary school, making me Dr. Thumel. It is crazy to believe that my childhood dream (since the age of three) has finally come true. Hours of studying and stressing has finally paid off. It’s unreal and has definitely not sunk in yet!


Penn has an awesome tradition where veterinarians within a family or Penn faculty are able to present a student’s diploma. Both my parents came up on stage to present me with mine. It meant so much more this way! My mom was beginning to tear up and I couldn’t look at her because I knew it would make me cry.


School’s Out For Ever!

This weekend was my last weekend of clinics, finishing with a bang being on call for surgery all day Sunday. Our last day of clinics on Friday was such a weird feeling. Some classmates brought in a waffle maker and griddle to make us funfetti pancakes and waffles. There was so much food and we basically ate all day.


We have all been going to school for so long, it doesn’t feel right to not be. I am definitely excited to be an adult, but I am going to miss all my friends. My class has become such a family. I love wandering through the hospital to find friends and chat or ask for help on a case. We are definitely going to need a big group chat to bounce ideas off each other and share our crazy cases together.


Today, some of my friends and I are headed to Cancun to soak up some run and celebrate the occasion! We are carrying on our luggage, and I struggled so hard getting everything to fit. I know I overpacked and can’t seem to remember what I forgot, there is always something. I burn so easily because I never get to spend time outside. I purchased sunscreen before I left, which had to be smaller than 3 oz, so I bought three bottles (I really don’t want to get burnt!) I plan on always wearing a hat to protect my face. Can’t wait to lay on the beach for three days and just relax!

MTBing With Your Dog

Dizzy and I love to spend as much time outside as possible. It is really hard while in school because often I am at school for twelve hours a day, leaving little day light on either side. I also love to go mountain biking. I try to mesh Dizzy into my free time with what I like to do as much as possible. When I tried to take Dizzy biking a few weeks ago, I ended up tearing up her feet and she had trouble walking for the next few days. I felt terrible! I have been working on a way to take Dizzy biking again, safely.


Here are some things I am looking into!

  1. Keeping Cool // One thing Dizzy and I have trouble overcoming is the heat. She has so much fur and such a thick coat causing her to overheat so quickly. I am not going to shave her, I just can’t bring myself to do it. I only pick trails where there is easy access to water so she can go swimming and stay cool. We also pick cooler days or go in the morning, before the days get hot.
  2. Booties //  Our last Australian Shepherd, Splash, loved to go biking, and he could really keep up. However, he and Dizzy have the same sensitive feet, making it difficult to take them! I have been looking into getting Dizzy a pair of boots to protect her feet. I found these Ruffwear Griptex Boots that have good reviews. I am just worried that they may slide off. I had taken Dizzy before and we had never had a problem, so I am on the fence of getting her a pair of boots or starting training slowly to build up her feet.
  3. Bells and Lights // Dizzy is a sweet dog and gets along with everyone, but I know dogs can be intimidating to people or other people’s dogs may not be super friendly. I like people to know she is there. Dizzy and I used to do search and rescue and she had a great vest with lights built it and bells attached. You can hear and see her coming, which is great! Here is a great high visibility harness to make sure your dog is visible!
  4. Building Strength // Dizzy has become quite the couch potato over the last few years because I have spent so much time in school. We go for long walks, but that is not the same as running six or eight miles hard. She definitely can’t keep up like she could a few years ago. This is where I am so jealous of Oakley, my brother’s dog. He can go for eighteen miles easily! My plan is to take her out for short rides, starting at just two or three miles and increase by about a mile a week. What I want more than anything is for Dizzy to have fun, not have her drag exhausted and be reluctant to ride!
  5. H20 and Snacks // Bringing plenty of water and snacks for us both is important. It is so easy to get stuck on the trails for longer than you planned (thanks to mechanicals). You also never know when you are going to have an off day and need the extra push. Just like how you need a snack or two for extra energy on a ride, you dog partner does too! I usually just bring granola bars along with me and share some with her.  You can also pack some dog specific treats in your pockets. Your pup may also need a little extra food for dinner that night after these long rides!



Big Frog 65

This weekend was my first NUE race. It was 65 miles of pure fun and mountain bike riding. I have been mountain biking for less than two years, and this race was a big change for me. My dad, Heath, and I started driving early Friday morning, 5:30 early, and picked up our friend, Ron, for the trip. The 9.5 hour drive loomed over us and we drove on. I recently bought a book of crosswords, which turns out I am really, really bad at, so they helped keep us entertained, or extremely frustrated.

Once we reached the park, we went out for a pre-ride of the course. We rode about 18 miles, covering the start and finish single track. The starting single track was awesome and oh so flowy. It was great to ride. The end was mostly downhill, great to know that at the end it was mostly downhill. There was also a couple sketchy parts on the last downhill, which I really made a mental note of for when all I wanted to do was get done and to the finish. Once we were done riding, we checked-in, made our drop bags, and ate some spaghetti dinner with a lot of breadsticks! We stayed in a hotel about twenty-five minutes from the start (instead of camping at the park). We all got our bikes ready for the next day and relaxed before going to bed early.


The Cohutta 100 started at 7am and the Big Frog 65 started at 8am, leaving me alone to stew and get nervous by myself for an hour. I rode around to warm-up, riding up the start hill, just watching the time slowly creep by. I eventually went over to the start line to wait with the crowd. I get nervous about picking a starting position at races- I am slower on the single track than most other people, but I can climb hills well. I really don’t like messing up other riders, either slowing them down or just goofing up over a technical section. The more nervous I am the more likely I am to make a mistake. The nice and very hard thing about this start is that it had a road climb to help spread everyone out.


Moments before my race started, I realized that I had forgotten to put my spare tube, tire lever, and CO2 cartridges back on my bike. I only had my patch kick and plugs, which would only get me so far if I had a flat.  I prayed to the bike gods before starting and hoped I wouldn’t get a flat!


Starting out on the climb was more brutal than I realized, my legs were tired and I was pushing hard. My adrenaline was pumping, making me nervous and jumpy during this first stretch. The turn into the single track was welcome and off we went riding quick. Here, I slowly started to relax and let me bike do it’s thing. Unfortunately, I tried to let someone pass and they knicked my handle bars. I went down and ended up with a few bumps, bruises, and scratches, but nothing too bad. It took me a while to relax again on the single track.


I got in with a new group of riders and continued to ride through the fast and flowy single track. I loved just flying down the hills and around the turns. The views were beautiful. We eventually reached the gravel road, where the majority of the climbing started. Around mile 30, we just started climbing, and climbing and climbing. It felt like it was never going to end. The heat was starting to get to me and I was running low on water. Not a great feeling. I made it back to the aid station, refilled my water, grabbed a snack and started on my way. I began to feel a little nauseous and it wasn’t fun. At mile 47, another beyond steep five mile climb started. The best thing was knowing at the end of this hill, I would hit the single track to the finish.


On the final single track, I had moments where I was so tired I didn’t think I could keep gong and others where I could pedal up over anything and power on. The one thing I kept reminding myself was to “have faith in my recovery,” something my cross country coach used to say. No matter how tired I was going up hill, my body always seemed to recover to fly down. It really made a difference to me! I was so happy to get finish the final descent and head to the finish line! I went and sat in the stream to cool off. I got to clean all the dirt and sweat off me. It felt amazing. I ended up finishing 6th overall, I was stoked. Heath ended up getting fourth, which was incredible against this competition.


My dad and Ron also had hard races. The heat got to both of them, making the end of the races hard! I was definitely happy that I picked the 65 and not the 100 for this race! Ron had to quit early, something he never does- he felt terrible on Friday and he felt wore on Saturday. He ended up not eating until Sunday morning to recover!

I am so excited to see what will come next. I spent the car ride back brainstorming ways to get quicker, get better and climbing, and just relax while I am out there. My arms and back were so tense and sore the next day from just being so tense. I love my bike and I can’t wait to see where we will go next!!


Pure Barre

I have always wanted to try Pure Barre. I never really understood what it was and spent a lot of time researching. When I was home on break, I asked my friend Caitlin if she wanted to go! She is always in for a work-out class and was a great person to go with. We had to not look at each other in the mirror because we would laugh, but it was so much fun to go with a friend!

Here is what I have learned after my first Pure Barre classes!

One // Before your first class, spend some time online learning the lingo and watching the video. Get there early! Your instructor will go over how the class works, how to set up, and go over the lingo and what it means. It was awkward while everyone watched, but so helpful.

Two // Definitely wear leggings and and a tank top. you feel comfortable in. They recommend sticky socks, and I would too! I didn’t have a pair for my first class and really regretted it. I spent a lot of time sliding my feet across the carpet during planks and not doing the workout.

Three // The warm up is not a warm up, it is hard work. I was expecting some nice stretches and light work. I was so wrong. I was sweating within seconds. I had no idea how I was going to make it through the whole class after my first warm-up.

Four //  You probably won’t be able to do everything and your instructor will correct you. There was parts of the work out that I couldn’t do. The planks are long and my arms and abs got so tired. I had to put my knees down, but it leaves rooms for progress. The movements are controlled and have slight position adjustments that matter. The angle of your hip makes a difference. I didn’t realize how the little movements really make a difference in what muscle or muscles you work.

Five // Have fun! The more fun you have the more you will get out of it. The room is small and tight when the room is packed. Having fun makes it more fun for everyone. Working out is a time to let out the stress and let loose, not get stressed about the work out.