Category Archives: Virginia

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 😉

14579966132_9eb30464f1_o Firecracker

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

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!



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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

Pumpkin Patch Picture Dump

While Brian was at a bachelor party, the girls and I had a fun afternoon at the pumpkin patch. This was really the first autumnal thing we have done this year, and it was a lot of fun! Hopefully we can sneak more fall-esque things in sometime in November when our schedules slow down a little bit.

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Filed under autumn, Family, Home, Virginia

What I love about Virginia

One of the things I have always loved about Virginia is just how different it is. It feels like you can turn one way and be in a huge city, turn another way and be in nature (lots of hiking, trails, rivers, etc) or turn yet another way and be in a historical, colonial type of area. It is the perfect mix of modernity and history. I don’t think there are very many other places quite like it. It’s definitely something we didn’t see in Montana, where the biggest city was about the size of Charlottesville, and every city was about 3 hours from the next. It almost feels like every weekend (that Brian’s off, anyway) is a vacation because we have gone to so many different things! I love that so many things are on the water…it’s hard not to feel relaxed when walking along the river, or eating near the National Harbor.

We went to Occoquan yesterday which is a little historical town on the river with lots of restaurants and shops. My friend, Cindy, suggested it after I lamented about how much we love Old Town Alexandria but how hard it is to navigate through with a baby. It was the perfect place to go yesterday! The shops were adorable and the restaurant we chose to eat at was really good. There were two wine shops (one of which sold only Virginia wines, my favorite) that offered free wine tasting. Of course I couldn’t leave without buying a few bottles. We weren’t able to stop in every shop we wanted to just because it was close to naptime, but we definitely plan on going again ASAP…maybe even next weekend. Brian really liked the Virginia wine store because it gave him the option of creating his own 6-pack of Virginia-brewed beer, so we can’t miss that opportunity!

I get so excited every time I think about the holidays and change of seasons here. I know Old Town Alexandria, Occoquan, downtown DC, etc are going to be so beautiful and I’m so happy to get to share in all of that for the next few years! They even have ghost tours for Halloween, and I reallllly want to go on one…

Here are some pictures of Occoquan:
Audrey and me on the river:

Daddy and Audrey watching ducks:

Some of the restaurants and shops:

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Filed under Home, Virginia

Almost there.

That is what I keep telling Brian when he gets stressed out about moving. He has done the bulk of the packing/cleaning in these last few days because of Miss Audrey’s unforgiving schedule. She goes down for a nap every two hours, and because of that, she and I maybe get an hour to an hour and a half of productive time a day at the old house. We officially hand it over tomorrow, so then we (he) can hopefully relax a little bit more. A week from tonight, we will ALL be in Virginia, and a week from tomorrow, we will be moving into our house.

Leaving our old house is a little bit sad. I have had a hard time taking down Audrey’s room because it was the one tangible way we could show our excitement and our love for her before she was born. It made me reminisce about when we put her room together, and taking it down was very bittersweet.

In the process of moving, I also realized that my giant stash of frozen breastmilk would need a new home, so I ended up donating about 240 oz to a mom who was not able to provide BM to her baby girl. I am so happy that all of that hard work involved in pumping will not go to waste! And I am also amazed at the amazing abilities of the body to be able to do stuff like that!

Here is the face that brightens our stressful days!

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Filed under Military Life, Virginia, Washington DC

Ugh, Moving…

Well, a week from now, Liz will be in NoVA and I’ll be somewhere in North Dakota (hoping all goes well). We’ve been frantic packing the house up and dealing with movers and last minute TDYs (temporary duty) to Denver for a polygraph!

The polygraph was a blast (yeah, right), but it was nice to get out of Great Falls, even if it was only for a day. Sounds like it went well, but the last word rests with the security folks.

As for packing, that is even harder than I remember. We’ve got so much stuff but, for the most part, only one of us can pack at a time because Audrey has been rather fussy lately. I can’t say I blame her. We’ve kind of upset her entire life over the last few days. On Thursday we had the movers come by and get all the awkward or heavy or very breakable things and that stuff is on its way to Virginia. Since then we’ve been busy packing everything else in the house and there is a LOT OF STUFF! We’re getting our U-Haul tomorrow, cleaning the house Tuesday and we’re finally out of the house for good on Wednesday. It’s going to be weird to leave the house since it’s our first house, we brought the dogs to that house and, most importantly, it was Audrey’s first house. It’s a little bittersweet, but in the long run, I don’t think I’m going to miss it as much as I think right now.

It’s late and since I’ve been packing all day, it’s time for a beer and bed.

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Filed under Military Life, Virginia, Washington DC