Thursday, May 24, 2012

Historic Marine Corps Half Marathon

Once again Tater and I have had crazy busy days since our last post!  A lot of work, catching up around the house and, as you know, training....for a half marathon!!  Yea, call us crazy...we actually pay and travel to torture ourselves for 13.1 miles.  Actually, this was my first half marathon that I was training for and Tater's 2nd.  She's a natural runner and did track all her life so it comes very easy to her.  Me on the other hand...not so much!  I've done 5k's, a trail run and random runs to keep in shape, but never anything longer than 3-4 miles until Tater came along (running is actually the reason we are together now, but that's another story for another post).

Anyways, few months ago (around the same time we booked our Memorial weekend cruise) Tater's friend decided we should sign up for the Historic Marine Corps Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VA.  The date of this race was May 20th and of course the weekend before our vaca on the big boat! Since we were all going on the cruise together we thought this would be a great way to get us in bikini shape! So every week we would make sure to do at least one long run and add a mile to it each week.  Surprisingly, we successfully stuck to our training plan!

 Feeling good and ready to get away for short little weekend, we packed up our car, picked up Tater's friend, Fancy (long story), and made a quick drive to Fredericksburg, VA.  We drove straight to the expo to pick up our race packets/shirt and of course check out all the vendors.   This was actually a decent expo.  They had tons of race gear! Nuun had a great deal and you could even sample several of their flavors...they sucked me in to their "expo deal" - Buy 2 and get a free water bottle...yay! 

After some unplanned spending and browsing we checked in to our hotel, threw our bags down and went out to find some grub.  Fancy went to college in Fredericksburg, so she was familiar with the area and insisted that we head downtown to try a restaurant.  We somewhat stumbled upon Bistro Bethem.  One word...AMAZING!  This place has great outdoor seating right in the middle of downtown, food is wonderful, staff is great, drinks were perfect.....what more could you ask for?  I highly recommend this place if you're ever nearby.

Sunday morning - 4:15am alarm - It's race day!
I actually felt great so early in the morning and I think it's safe to say everyone else did too.  We managed to get to the shuttle parking lot on time and got seats right up front (which is always nice on a packed bus).  While sitting on the bus, you can hear everyone chit chatting about their pre-run rituals, injuries or Tater randomly singing....until it was completely silent because the shuttle bus driver completely missed our turn and is now lost.  I felt bad for her and lucky for her, Fancy guided us to the drop off point!  I hate to say it, but this race was probably the most unorganized race event I've ever signed up for and it's not just because of the shuttle getting lost.

Anyways, after Alison Sweeney from the Biggest Loser spoke, the race officially began.  Fancy stuck with us for a few miles in the beginning, but then she found her own pace.  We didn't see her again til we all finished...she did great!  The course was great and my body felt great so it was an enjoyable run.  Now don't get me wrong....I struggled  A LOT near the end, but it still was a fun run!  It was motivating and entertaining to see all the residents out in their front yards so early in the morning with their kids and dogs cheering everyone on.  The last 2 miles were probably the worst.  Tater could have so finished the race a lot faster than she did, but she kept slowing down her pace to keep me close by in order for us to finish together.  Yea....she's sweet!

So now I can say I've accomplished a half marathon!  I say this with pride since just 2-3 yrs ago I could barely finish a 5k (I even think I walked some).  Will I ever do a full marathon?  Hell no...I couldn't imagine this race being a halfway point.  Would I ever do a half again?  Most definitely, but I'm totally up for tackling a few 5 and/or 10k's the next few races before I even think about another half.  

 For those of you who want to get into running or are just starting to run or hate running all together....I highly recommend starting slow and sticking with it.  I hate running but I love the feeling I get once I'm a few miles into a run and I love the feeling after a great run even more!

PS (like this blog isn't long enough)  I forgot to mention Eileen's Bakery.  Tater and Fancy needed something sweet after our Sunday lunch and our waiter recommended this place right around the corner.  It's a must to go to if you're ever in Fredericksburg!  It's an old church turned into a bakery.  Lots of goodies to choose from and all are delicious!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day & Catching Up

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!  I hope all the mommas (whether blessed with furry babies or real live small humans) out there have a fantastic day!  Maybe one day Mom will know about this blog and love to know she's been made famous.  Here's to you, Ma! <3

 My Mom, preggers with me in 1984 -- I want those glasses!

We've been so busy lately and our attention has been pulled in a million different directions.  Between Shrimp's family coming to visit, finding out where we will be moving next for work, training for a half marathon and getting ready for vacation we can barely keep our heads on straight.  I won't even get into our feelings on the political stuff that has been going on related to gay marriage in the last week!

Shrimp's family is great, but it was sooooooooooo nice to finally have our house back.  I think I just sat in quiet rooms without TVs or anything on after the week we had with them.  I guess since we rarely watch TV I didn't realize how much excessive volume it really adds to such a small house!

It seems like as soon as they left our attention immediately shifted to "The List."  The List, in most people's house refers to a number of things you have to get done.  For us, though, it meant a number of opportunities or a dreaded next few years.  You see, The List is just a list of the seven places I may have been moved for work, then we had to rank them (and explain WHY we wanted that rank... eeeeeek!), cross our fingers, and hope things came back in our favor.  Luckily three out of the seven places on The List were pretty attractive, including South Carolina, Georgia, and Northern Virginia.  We ended up getting Northern Virginia (yaaaaaaaaaaay!) so we get to stay in the DC area for another 2-3 years (double yaaaaaaaaaaaay!).  I think Shrimp would have killed me if I told her we were moving to Middle-Of-Nowhere, Missouri, San Antonio or El Paso, Texas.  The other option was Germany, but Shrimp couldn't work there and CAN YOU IMAGINE FLYING FOUR ANIMALS ACROSS THE OCEAN?!  I want to hyperventilate even thinking about it!  But thankfully we're staying pretty local :)

Half marathon training is going fairly well for not taking it all too seriously.  I had a little setback when I increased my mileage by too much and wasn't doing any short training runs (lesson learned -- 2 weeks no running = lame!), but I was able to keep biking during that time and everything is going A-OK!  I had my last long pre-race run on Friday night.  My colleagues and I ran to 10.5 miles from work to our house and followed it up with margaritas (fluid + carbohydrates + electrolytes!) and fajitas (protein, of course).  I am feeling surprisingly well, not really sore at all, and I'm hoping that means the race won't be too rough on me.  As we speak Shrimp is on her last training run.  She's running to the gym and I'm going to go pick her up (she's making me pump iron when I get there :/ haha).  Hope she's enjoying herself!

 Hard earned "re-fueling" post-run

Oh, did I mention a vacation?  Yes!  We get one of those!  We're heading out on a (very) brief cruise for Memorial Day weekend and couldn't be more excited about it.  We plan on spending all of our time doing absolutely nothing responsible.  We're not even planning shore excursions once we get to the Bahamas because that would be too task-oriented.  We are going with one of my friends, so Shrimp may feel the need to babysit us (and that may be appropriate), but I don't want to burden her so I might just have the bartenders make her drink a little stronger from the get-go so she doesn't worry herself too much ;)  My personal goal is to avoid wearing pants at all cost for 4 days.  I think I can do it!

I hope everyone's summers are kicking off well and you've got lots to look forward to!

Bon voyage!