Category Archives: Celebrations

The long holiday weekend (and Firecracker 5K results)

There is truly nothing better than a long weekend without any crazy plans, and that is exactly what our 4th of July weekend was like! The big focus for us was lots of relaxed family time, especially since military life will strike again soon!

We started off the long weekend with Potomac River Running’s Firecracker 5K and kids’ fun run in Reston followed by a delicious brunch with our friends. This was SO much fun and was my second sub-8 min/mile 5K race. Splits were 8:04 min/mile, 7:24 min/mile (!!!), and 7:44 min/mile and I was mere seconds from a PR, but this was just the confidence/motivation-boosting race that I needed after an “eh” spring race season. Oh – and we even had a Duggar sighting!

I love these action shots from the kids’ fun run! Audrey is running like the wind! It was only a moment later that Caroline ended up face first in the pavement, but she rebounded quickly 😉

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After the race and brunch, we had a neighborhood parade to participate in! It didn’t take long before Audrey realized we did it all wrong – we shouldn’t have walked IN the parade because no one throws candy to the parade participants! Despite this, it was a fun time…well, at least until our nap-deprived children were tired of being in the sun and started throwing some fits…

We spent the rest of the day hanging out, grilling, and having mini-fireworks displays with the girls. They are so easy to please at this age – love it! Actually, that is basically how we spent the rest of the weekend, too, and it was glorious! The weather was wonderful so we spent about 80% of our time outside. It’s too bad summer won’t stay like this.

Marathon training went well this past week with no missed runs – hooray! My long run was a beautiful trail run that I actually enjoyed. It was nice to go out and not care about pace but instead try to enjoy it.

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Filed under Celebrations, Family, Fisher House, Fitness, Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, Military Life, New York City Marathon, NYCM, Races, Racing, Run, Running, Team Fisher House, Virginia

A weekend of spoiling

I am ending this weekend feeling very, very loved!

It started with flowers on Friday for Military Spouse Appreciation Day – I think this is the first year Brian has remembered this day… 🙂 The flowers are beautiful but if you look closely, it looks like there is cabbage or something in the middle which made me laugh. B said it was called something like the Western Mountain Mix, so it is a good reminder of our time together at Malmstrom AFB in Montana ;).

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I also got my favorite types of gifts – the homemade preschool Mother’s Day gifts! Audrey made me a votive candle holder and Caroline made me a sweet little trinket box.

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On Saturday, something unusual happened: Brian and I each took one girl for the morning, so we got one-on-one time with them. Brian was volunteering at a rocket egg drop competition and since he & Audrey are space lovers/nerds ( 🙂 ), she went with him. Caroline and I spent the morning running errands, shopping at Target, making a Starbucks trip, and running around the playground.

 

This morning I started my day off with a 10.5 mile run (so hard, hilly, hot – ick! Good prep for Historic Half, hopefully), and then I came home to get ready for brunch with my ladies (and Brian) in Georgetown. After brunch, we walked around a little bit and visited Lululemon and Georgetown Cupcake, two of my favorite places. Lululemon was giving moms mini-Reisling bottles and dark chocolate. It’s like they knew I was coming – those are my two favorite things ever!

One thing that I have been working on since the New Year has been consuming less sugar. I guess it’s working because for the first time ever, I took a bite of my cupcake and couldn’t finish it. It was too sweet for me!

After we got home and napped, we whipped out the sprinkler! We had to practically drag them back inside – they loved it. I’m sure it will be out constantly from this point on.

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It was a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend, and my sweet little things were so loving and affectionate. I could not ask for more – they are the best gifts!

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Filed under Celebrations, Family, Fitness, Georgetown, Home, Kids, Lilly Pulitzer, military, Military Life, Montana, Ristorante Piccolo, Run, Running, Washington DC, Wine

Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half Marathon Recap and Reflections {3/15/14}

Hmmm, how to start this…

This was my 5th half marathon, and I did not have a good time at this race. I simply did not want to be there and it showed in my time. I think this race came too soon after B got back, and all I wanted was to be at home with everyone. It is also not my favorite course or race, and it was a logistical pain in the butt for me. I was so paranoid about it that I woke up at 3:45am and ended up at the starting line 2 hours (!) before race time because of my fear of the huge crowds (there were 25,000 runners!) and not getting there on time. That, paired with an additional 20-25 minute wait to cross the start line (wave start), just added to my desire to be anywhere but there. I was over it before it even started. I even texted Brian before the start that I wanted to come home and didn’t want to race at all!

I started off the race trying to shake off my bad attitude, and even paced myself well for the first half. I held back at the start and forced myself to slow down after starting at 8:10 min/miles, and up until mile 7-8, I was averaging around 8:40-8:45 min/miles which I would have been thrilled with at the end. My heart and head were not in it, though, and by mile 5, I was ready to be finished. The huge hill of this course comes at mile 6 (exiting Rock Creek & heading into Georgetown), and then there was another sizable hill in mile 7, and I think those were the catalysts to my complete loss of interest in the race. I started alternating between walking & running at mile 9 (?) – even considered texting Brian to tell him how miserable I was, but refused to stoop that low (ha). If I had really pushed myself at mile 10, I still could have finished sub-2, but I just didn’t care enough to fight for it. Knowing it wasn’t my goal race did not help my apathy, either.

And guys – I DIDN’T EVEN SMILE FOR THE CAMERAS (well, most of them). YOU KNOW THIS WAS A BAD RACE WHEN I COULDN’T EVEN MANAGE THAT! I ran a 7-miler with BRONCHITIS and still smiled for all of the cameras! This was clearly dire 😉 .

My final time was 2:03:34. Despite my bad race, I still finished in the top third(ish) of all competitors, top 30% of age division, and top 26% of women so there’s that, I guess…

Splits:

5K = 27:45, 10K = 56:59, 10 miles = 1:32:58.

Something that Brian reminded me of when I got home was the difference in treadmill training vs. actually pounding the pavement, simply from an impact perspective. He asked me if my legs felt tired/sore earlier, and when I thought about it, they had. I noticed it during the race but didn’t really connect the dots. I’m sure it was because my training over the past 2-3 months has almost exclusively been on the treadmill (thank you weather + military life). Honestly, when I was sprinting to the finish of this race, my legs felt like they were sprinting to the finish of MCM (and they felt like I had just run a marathon for the rest of the day, too). I haven’t gotten any hill training in, and this race is pretty hilly in the second half. At least my days of single parenthood are over for a while and I can get outside for runs again – gotta get used to the pavement impact and hills again!

Another more sobering feeling that has been running through my mind (even prior to this race) is burn-out. I went all out last year in terms of my race schedule, and while it was rewarding, it was also exhausting. I have a packed spring race schedule this year, too, but I’m not sure if my desire to push myself is there. I am prepared to run them, but I almost want to run them for FUN, not for time. At the same time, though, I know that my very competitive nature will be annoyed if I don’t meet time goals. UGH, such a catch-22. But isn’t running supposed to be fun?! I’ve lost that feeling lately. Waking up at 5am to squeeze runs in isn’t fun. Running on the treadmill isn’t fun. Feeling like I don’t have a spare minute in my day isn’t fun. Hopefully these feelings improve now that Brian is back and I have room to breathe again, but I guess time will tell. I’m not really sure what the solution is, but I’m trying to incorporate more cross-training just to give myself a break.

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And in HAPPY news, GO HOOS! It was so fun to watch the ACC Tournament this weekend, especially because we are not used to being on the winning side! Caroline wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but she cheered along saying, “GO, HOOS, GO! HURRY, HURRY, HURRY!” in her sweet little baby voice!

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Filed under Celebrations, Charlottesville, Family, Fitness, Georgetown, Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, military, Military Life, Race, Races, Racing, Run, Running, University of Virginia, Washington DC

Welcome, 2014

I guess it’s time to come out of my holiday-induced hibernation & post some updates!

We had a wonderful holiday season with lots of welcomed family time. We flew out to Buffalo on Christmas morning, so we pushed our Christmas celebrations up two days (Christmas Eve on 23rd, Christmas morning on 24th) so that we could celebrate with my parents and so that the girls could have a leisurely “Christmas” morning without being rushed so we could make our flight. Then, we got to have a third day of Christmas on the real Christmas day once we got to Buffalo! Christmas is so much fun with young kids – it is full of excitement, anticipation, & joyful chaos. Our time in Buffalo was really nice, too, as it is always nice to see people you don’t get to see very often. Somehow we still have not mastered the art of seeing everyone, though. I will say that we were very ready to head back to “tropical” DC again after our trip.

Now that the new year is here, it has been time to get back on track with everything that slipped over the last month or so. That means healthier eating, a more consistent running schedule, and a re-organized house. It has been fun to look back at 2013 because it was such a great year, and I intend to do everything I can to make 2014 just as good! Of course I have some things in mind that I want to improve upon in 2014, who doesn’t? I wouldn’t say they are necessarily resolutions, though. Resolutions come with so much pressure and are pretty meaningless to me. Seeing them as “goals” make them seem way more attainable & not such a drudgefest.

We have a lot of big adjustments coming up in our family, so the first quarter of the year will be dedicated to making it through those…yikes! Military life strikes again.  Despite that, we are looking forward to the clean slate of 2014 and all that it brings (like, KINDERGARTEN, gah).

Holiday photo dump below! I know the Audrey to Caroline picture ratio is a bit off, but I swear Caroline is the only one who nicely poses for pictures these days! Audrey is too busy to give me the time of day most of the time 😉

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Filed under Celebrations, Christmas, Family, Holidays, New Year, Run, Running, snow

Let your heart be light

That was the theme of our Christmas card this year, and it was full of such fun, light-hearted pictures from our family photo session this past fall. We tried to capture all of the silliness & love that occur in our family on a daily basis, and hopefully we were successful!

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As almost everyone knows, Christmas has this ebb & flow tendency of being exciting when you are little, but then waning a little as you grow older. But once you have your own kids, it becomes the best thing ever again! Christmas with kids is way better than Christmas as a kid! Sorry, mom & dad – those Christmasses were fun, too, but there is just something so magical about seeing the joy and anticipation on your child’s face when they experience all of the traditions of the season.

We have discovered that Buddy the Elf and preschoolers share a life philosophy: the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear! Of course, in the case of preschoolers, it is singing the same line of the same song loudly and incorrectly, over & over & over… 🙂 We have done the requisite cookie baking, (though it was mostly them “helping” for 5-10 minutes and then getting bored and doing other things when there was no more dough to sneak), Elf on the Shelf, letters to Santa, letter postmarked back to us from the North Pole, Christmas crafts, personalized videos from Santa to the girls, Christmas movies, etc. Their favorite activity, though, was the Santa Train! They both love, love, love trains, and the Virginia Railway Express had a Santa Train weekend so it was a no-brainer. It involved hopping on train for a 40 minute ride with visits from Santa, Mrs. Claus, and carolers. The fact that there was snow on the ground just added to the fun of it!

Speaking of snow, the weather has been crazy the last few weeks! We went from this:

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I think the weather is supposed to be a little chillier on Christmas. Thank goodness because it felt weird to experience weather like Florida has in December! I am so, so, so excited, though, to spend the next few days with family, and hope everyone has a blessed holiday season and a wonderful 2014!

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Gobble, gobble – Thanksgiving 2013

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. We have been having a nice, relaxing time, and it will be hard to head back into work on Monday, even armed with the knowledge that there are only three weeks until the loooong holiday break!

I started off Thanksgiving morning like so many other people in the country – the requisite turkey trot! I ran in Alexandria’s 5-mile Turkey Trot. It was my first post-marathon, post-bronchitis race and I did not run a smart race at all. The cliffs notes version is that I went out way too fast for me (8 min/mile pace for the first 2 miles – that average includes a stop to retie a shoe), struggled a bit in mile 3 where I walked off a huge cramp and sore rib for a few minutes, and finished around or below 8:30 min/mile for the last mile or two. Total time was around 44 minutes (clock time was 43:45 or something). I accidentally forgot my Garmin, so I didn’t realize how fast I really went out! It is crazy how discouraged I felt afterwards, though. I have to remember that a) it was for fun, b) my mileage in November has sucked for various reasons, 3) I have come a long way in the last year for a “sucky” race to average an 8:40 min/mile pace (especially with walking in there!), 4) I was working towards a very different goal for the past 5 months. I also think that I am looking for another high like I had after MCM, and let’s face it: that might not happen for a little while! Perspective is needed sometimes – luckily, Brian is good at giving it to me when I send him pathetically whiny texts afterwards saying, “I suck at running!”

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The rest of Thanksgiving was relaxed and quiet. My mom came up from Charlottesville and we made way too much food, but it was delicious! We are not Black Friday shoppers, so we slept in on Friday and then bundled the girls up to run their own race, Potomac River Running‘s Gingerbread Man Mile. Audrey ran this last year and she had so much fun! Since she is 4 this year, her race route was a little bit longer, and she loved it. This was Caroline’s first year being able to do it and she ate it all up, too. She had the best time! She couldn’t stay still while waiting for her turn…she kept saying, “I wanna run, I wanna run!” I love that this race is geared only towards kids, so the focus is totally on them. Kids’ fun runs are usually secondary to the “main” adult races, and Audrey and Caroline are always there to cheer for me during races, so it was a nice change to cheer them on.

The rest of this weekend will be spent Christmassing up our house, wrapping gifts, having lots of family time, praying UVA can pull out an unlikely win against VA Tech today, and finishing up some grad work. The Christmas fairies put all of our Christmas decorations up last night, much to the surprise and delight of the girls this morning. They are very excited to decorate the tree tonight!

BFFs

BFFs

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Filed under autumn, Celebrations, Christmas, Family, Food, Holidays, Home, Race, Races, Racing, Run, Running, Virginia

Wedding fun and the plague that followed

This is such an overdue post, but I am finally back in the land of the living after about 2 weeks of being so sick. I had a feeling that I would be slammed with something post-marathon, but at least it waited 2 weeks before actually hitting me. I finally gave up and went to the doctor last Thursday and it turns out I have bronchitis! Ick – at least I have a diagnosable reason for feeling so terribly, and it did make me feel better about the 12K performance – I can’t really be mad at myself for having a bad race WITH BRONCHITIS! Today is my last day of antibiotics and I already feel a million times better (and, according to Brian, I don’t sound like “walking death” anymore!).

Anyway, this plague was nicknamed the “wedding plague” because we attended a wedding of two good friends in Charlottesville on 11/9, and so many people came out of that epic weekend with some sort of illness – we all blame it on the tequila! Illness aside, this wedding was amazing. Two of our very good friends tied the knot in a place that we love dearly (Charlottesville, of course), so all of my old college friends had a good reason to reunite at our beloved alma mater. Brian was a groomsman, I did a reading, and the girls were flower girls. They absolutely reveled in the attention and did such a great job being adorable. Caroline was touch-and-go for a minute before walking down the aisle, but as soon as Audrey walked down and I said, “Go get Audrey and run to Daddy!” she was all about doing a giggling run/waddle down the aisle. all while flirting with everyone along the way.

It was so much fun to be part of a wedding where we knew both the bride and the groom well (I’ve known Maria for 11 years!), and where we knew about 75% of wedding guests…it almost felt like my own wedding! Everywhere I turned, there were people I needed to say hi to, dance with, share a drink with, etc. Even the new people we met were amazing and now it feels like we’ve known them forever, too. That is the beauty of the wedding of two fantastic people – it means everyone they love is also fantastic and you come out with so many new friends! You could feel the love radiating throughout the entire day – we are so happy the bride & groom met (at a party at our house!), dated, and finally made it official!

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Filed under autumn, Celebrations, Charlottesville, Family, University of Virginia, Virginia