Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Brews, Zoos, and Fireworks!

I wish fireworks rhymed with brews and zoos. The end.

While I originally thought I had nothing planned for Memorial Day weekend, it turned out to be quite the adventure! And I'm glad - one more weekend of sitting (and steaming) in the apartment wouldn't have done me much good. Although it could use a little unpacking attention, but oh well. This was more fun.

Friday after work, I headed down to Atlanta with Molly, dropped her off at Heather's house and took MARTA down to the Braves game! I was meeting up with two friends who I  haven't seen in quite literally at least twelve years. We all went to elementary school (Jeff and I), junior high and high school together (all three of us); Jeff moved to the Atlanta area after sophomore year of high school, and Christine moved to Washington after freshman year and now works in Atlanta. Talk about a mind trip! So it was great, finally getting to a game, and reminiscing and catching up! So crazy! And of course, the best part... it was Firework Friday! Yippee!

Saturday, of course, Heather and I woke up early to head to the Mama Bear 5K, not far from her place. Again, given my lack of training lately (and sincere lack of consistency), I'm pretty happy with how I did. 31:39 for a brutal hill; and looking back at some other 5K times, it's pretty consistent with what I'm able to pull out, whether in the middle of training or not. I would call that a success!

 Afterwards, we headed to this fabulous place for pancakes - oh so delicious and oh so deserved. Yum! We also stopped at Pet Supplies Plus to play with the puppies for adoption. Bad idea, and yet great idea. I fell in love with a beautiful 5-month old blue heeler mix and Heather got trampled on all over by a sweet hound she nicknamed Ms. Beans. Adorable. And fabulous.

Later on Saturday, we met up with a random assortment of people - co-workers of Heather's, their friends, some family, and other folks for Brew at the Zoo. Basically, they shut down the zoo early that day, and after 5 pm you had to be at least 21 to get in. Scattered all over the zoo were 40+ wine and beer tastings, so you could walk around and see the animals and drink as you walked around. Genius? I say yes!

Pandas, tigers, lions, kangaroos were out in full force and definintely provided us some amazing entertainment. The kids' area was still open to us, of course, so we got to ride the carousel to our heart's content and the train around the area as well! So much fun!

Check out some of the shenanigans amazingness:
Love me some zoo animals!

Sunday we slept in, and went for a run around Piedmont Park before Molly and I headed back up to Athens. Beautiful morning, but we definitely felt it from the 5K and 4+  hours on our feet at the zoo the night before. The Atlanta Jazz Festival was kicking up, so it was fun running through and checking out all the cute booths - that we had intended to go back to and never did!
Molly and I got home around 5 on Sunday, and I promptly got to work and finished moving all my stuff from the old apartment - finally! Not fun. Monday we lounged around, unpacked, and took a vacation day from the rest of the vacation weekend. Fabulous!

Hope you all had a great weekend too! What did you do on your extended weekend?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Race Report: Mama Bear 5K

Mama Bear 5K - Atlanta - Heather's been planning on running Mama Bear for awhile and I toyed with it... but was totally not sure what I was doing with my life this weekend! I finally decided to sign up and give it a whirl since I'd be down in Atlanta on Friday night anyway (weekend recap post coming up!). I also figured this would be a good excuse for the May #runchat challenge: run a new course! Well, I've never run in Atlanta. Ever.

Saturday morning was supposed to be something like 70 degrees (perfect!) ... with 100% humidity (ewwww). But regardless, when we headed out Saturday morning, it was gorgeous. Warm-ish, but a gorgeous morning. We met up with Heather's friend, Pri, who brought along another Megan (yay!). Pri hasn't run a 5K in awhile, and was pretty unsure about the whole experience. We realized this was Heather's sixth 5K of the year (yeeaaaaah HP), and while we were chillin' and stretching, made another friend, Holly (hi Holly!), and started talking about running, and racing and half marathons. It's really fun to talk with folks and realizee that kind of, even if only kind of, I know what I'm talking about a little bit! Legitmacy, for the win.

Pretty, pretty course. Tree and mansion-lined the whole way through!
Heather ran this course in February or so, so she thankfully knew that while it was a mostly fast course, there was a beast of a hill around the first mile marker, then mostly flat, and just before the end a lesser hill but enough to make you work for it. I originally planned to just hang out and take it easy, but you know how I work -- eventually I just take off. I paced myself pretty well up until Beast Hill, managed to jog the whole way up, puttered around around the halfway mark, and then walk/jogged the last half. At some point, I was chugging along at an 8:30 mile and realize I'd die if I tried to finish the race that fast so finally dropped back a little bit and finished off.

Uh yeah. Ew. Brutal enough for a 5K!
I got to cheer Holly in (new PR for her!), and Heather in (course PR!) and then we cheered in Heather's new running friends, and then came Megan. Heather and I went to go find Pri and bring her in and ran her back all the way in! Afterwards we hung around for a little while, cheering in folks, talking, and generally trying not to die in the heat.

3.16 miles = 31:39"

We did it!
Finally... pancakes!

For a small race, they had a good amount of sponsors and support -- few local running companies and freebies. Bagels, Powerade, race coupons.. some good stuff! The race neighborhood was beautiful, treed and almost completely shaded the whole way through! A great race!

Given that I haven't trained much lately either, I'm pretty content. Not a bad time for those hills and having gotten much of a run in lately! Not bad.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Race Report: Warrior Dash Georgia 2012

holy amazingness.

Warrior Dash Georgia - May 19, 2012

In two words, the entire race. Holy amazingness! So much fun! I will be blabbing about the whole weekend, because that really contributes to the soreness I feel today as I'm typing this! Trust me, it'll all make sense.

Friday was moving day -- I'm moving from one of my complex to the other (long story short). I'm blessed to have a great friend like Heather drive up from Atlanta and help me make this happen. So after a 75 minute $20 rental truck from Lowe's and throwing my mattress and couch off my balcony (yes, you read that right), all my big furniture got moved on Friday night. And then we carb-loaded as I thanked HP for all her help... and then we went on a cupcake quest. We finished the night at the old apartment (where there was still cable and internet), eating a cupcake a piece, and lounging on the couch cushions we left behind while watching Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids and VH1's Top 100 Songs of the 90s (at which point we decided we need to add at least half of the songs to our running playlists).
Whole-wheat chicken penne; HP and me!; cinnamon roll cupcake, strawberry margarita cupcake (Gigi's Cupcakes), nutty chocolate cupcake and vanilla twilight cupcake (Silver Lining Co.). Gig's won. Yum!
Saturday was race day! Excitement! Thankfully our heat wasn't until 2:30, so even with the hour and a half drive, we still had the opportunity to sleep in and chill before we hit the road. After rolling out of bed around 8 (yeah, that's still sleeping in), slowly getting our stuff together, we made our way out of town around 10:30 to get to Mountain City. (Side note: so close to North Carolina! And we didn't make it. Sad face).

Parking lot... and therefore, still clean!
We made it to Mountain City about 12:20, just about on time. The directions we were provided via email took us to parking at city hall, which is an old abandoned school (that apparently is turned into a haunted house at Halloween, because we were greeted down a hallway that had MURDER and hand-prints in red paint all along the wall. Creepy, no thank you). Pretty annoying that parking was $10 though - couldn't that have been included in race registration? From there, we were bused to the actual course about 15 minutes away - where there was closer parking, also for $10! But how were you supposed to know about that? (Turns out most of the folks who ran it last year knew of said parking lot only because they were returners. Noted.)

Once we got to the main plaza, we met up with Heather's kickball friends, Terry, Rob, Rob, and Terry's cousin Nicole and her husband, Chris. Loved having a group to run with; definitely makes the experience a lot more entertaining! Though I didn't know any of them except Heather of course, we all clicked pretty easily and got super excited about the adventure to come! Terry had done Warrior Dash last year, so prepped us a little bit for some of the obstacles and challenges up ahead. Though we gotta say, some of the obstacles that were there last year didn't make an appearance this year!

All of us, ready to go! Chris, Nicole, me, Terry, HP, Rob.
Once the last Rob arrived, we got face painted and ready to roll! We headed towards the start line, which was also adjacent to the first two obstacles, so we watched for a bit, got pumped, and then headed into our wave start line. We spent a while gawking and cheering on those who came in costume, and decided that next year (because at this point we already knew there'd be a next year for us!), we must be decked in costume of some variety. Folks in matching outfits, Smurfs, Purple Drank (oh yes!), and our least favorite... Borat, complete in lime green bikini-thing (you know what reference I'm making). But all in all, people sure made this a show and some sights to be seen!
Lady Warriors!
Love this lady!

And then it was time! The fire guns apparently stopped working when our heat took off, so that was pretty disappointing, considering I'd been pretty entertained by them the entire afternoon (womp). The first quarter-mile was all road and then partially dirt/rocky trail until we got to the first obstacle: the lake! I was amazed that we went straight into water without any other obstacles first!

Lake Swim - the water felt amazing. Not too cold, but a perfect leisure swim that just happened to be a little harder with soaked running shoes.
Storming Normandy - this sucked, only because it wasn't even mud yet, but hard, coarse, gritty sand that really only served to cut up your knees. Mine are pretty sand-burned!
Under-Overs - under the barbed wire, over the 3-foot (?) walls. About ten of these in total. Easy!
The WALL - This is honestly the obstacle that worried me most. I've got little to no upper body strength, admittedly, and was worried about scaling a 15-foot wall with nothing more than some rope and bars to help hoist me up. It wasn't actually terrible! The worst was straddling the wall, trying to figure out how to get down and feeling it teeter a bit - that was nerve-wracking.
Deep Water Swim - This featured some seriously deep water (where I first jumped, maybe 8-9 feet?) and floating islands you had to hoist yourself up on  and either climb over or get back in the water to hoist up again, finish the swim and climb back out.
Net Crawl - clammer up the net slope, over and back down again. Not super challenging, but definitely took some work!

At this point, we started the run up the mountain. Maybe a quarter mile later was the next obstacle:

The Stripper Pole! - No, just kidding. But that's what we'll eternally refer to it as. Anyway, you climbed up maybe 6 feet on what felt like rock climbing on wooden boards with some too-far-spaced-out wooden blocks to hoist you up. And then slid down on a 10-foot pole - really, probably should be called the Firemen's Pole, but... that's just no fun. The pole was actually tricky; it was half my body's length out from the wood platform, so you had to lean your chest in first, then very quickly wrap your legs around it and squeeze your thighs; the poles were already so wet there was no sliding down! I heard later that day that some girl had broken her ankle from hitting the ground too fast and too hard. Yipes.
Horizontal Net Climb - climb up nets, climb across nets, climb down nets. I hate nets! But really, not too complicated! 

After this, we ran probably another mile or so. I must say, the race's mile markers seemed a little off. Maybe because I was so distracted, but I sure didn't feel like I had ran a mile between the 1.5 and 2.5 markers. But maybe I was all off. Anyway, after the second net climbing, it was a lot of trail running from there - mostly up, but eventually found our way heading downwards.

The Slide! - Definitely wouldn't call this an obstacle, but so much fun! The short hillside was covered in gray tarps and sprinklers, with hay (and consequently, mud) at the bottom. The best way was to just take this straight on, so I jumped right in! 
The Junkyard- Also land of tires and junk cars. Not a fan of climbing through and over cars, and was terrified of messing up my ankles and knees in the tires. I was way up front, Nicole right behind me, and the others behind her, when I heard Nicole yell that she had cut herself. I looked back, saw a cut and then saw the whole cut; she had gashed her leg wide open in probably a 5-inch cut across her upper thigh. I started sprinting ahead, and asked the cameraman to radio for medics, and then asked the sprinter who whizzed by me to do the same. Thankfully, at this point, Terry (a nurse, to our sheer luck) had gotten Chris' shirt and used it as a tourniquet on her leg - this explains my sudden disappearance of a tank top in following photos; I wasn't sure there was anything being used yet so I worked my way out of my own tank before seeing Chris' shirt already wrapped around her leg); medics finally arrived as Terry told us she probably got through tissue and muscle (squirming ensues). After medics got her gauzed up and on the truck, she yelled at us to keep going so hesitantly, we did. 
Warrior Roast - Warrior Dash's probably most recognized obstacle, three rows of fiery logs to hurdle yourself over - not going to lie, I'm really excited for those professional photos to post! Straight from the roast into the.. 
Mud Pit! - Of course, the namesake. The announcer for the race was walking up and down the banks for the length of the pit, calling out people for not being muddy enough. Hilarious and amazing. Deep enough to swim or crawl in and a fantastic way to end! 
Getting in!
In chin-deep. Some guy kicked back and splashed my entire face, too.
And the end. Aside from the huge wall, I didn't feel like any obstacle was so challenging most folks couldn't do it. All in all, a fantastic time and something I'll totally do again! 
At the end, minus our Wounded Warrior (& her hubby).
 Chris ran off to go get his and Nicole's bag so the medic tent could get all her information and get her to the hospital in Clayton. After we finished, we ran off to meet up with them at the medic tent, gave her her (earned!) medal, where they were getting ready to drive her back to their car so Chris could take her to the ER. Poor thing! 

We went to clean up, get our free beers and turkey legs (we'd been craving them since we got there three hours earlier!).
Muddy, muddy warriors.
Aaaaah, clean. 
Donate your shoes afterwards - a cool touch. And the reason I saved my Color Run shoes to do WD, so I could donate them at the end.
Mmm... turkey. And fuzzy warrior hats.
We hung around til about 5:30 and decided it was time to go - we still had a long drive home after all! The other obnoxious part was that by the time we got out to shuttle pick-up, there was not a bus in sight (while at the school there'd been at least 10 of them) but at least 100 people in line ahead of us. And when we got back to the school, there were still at least 4 more sitting there! There needs to be some more coordination there, WD folks, FYI! 

We found out when we got home that Nicole, our beloved Wounded Warrior, got two rows of stiches under the skin and a row of stitches above to fix her up -- what a trooper! She and Chris were super fun to get to know and I'm only sad they didn't get to finish and enjoy the post party with us. Thinking of you Nicole, hope you're feeling better!

Nothing stitches-worthy, but some good bruises and sand burns!
Sunday Molly and I hung around for a little while. I did some more moving, despite the incredible soreness I felt all over. Mid-afternoon we took a break (and by we, I mean I. She hung around you know... and did dog things) and went to Ben Burton park for some cooler water and pretty views. Can't beat it! 
Happy kid!
 Today, I am not nearly as sore, but have a few aches here and there, and a few more bruises to show. Not looking forward to finishing moving, but it must be done! 

Cheers from your favorite Warrior,

Dear Monday...

want to join? link up!
[i even beat megan at her own post today!]

dear monday, i'm feeling optimistic and sunny today. the yellow cardigan might be helping. but i'm ready for you, week! bring. it. on. 

dear warrior dash georgia, thanks for a freaking kick-butt race! race re-cap to come, friends, i promise! for now... post-race gloriousness. 
dear apartment complex, you continue to astound me with your customer service (or, again, lack there of) and your failure to do things you say. if you say it, do it. your failure to follow through is just another excuse, and i'm tired of your excuses. oh, and it's more to add to my letter to your property management company. enjoy. 

dear charter, despite the bad things i've heard about your bad service in athens, i've been nothing but happy with you since starting my account in september! even more happy that the service rep came at 8:30 this morning and was done hooking my new apartment up in less than 15 minutes. win. 

that is all. happy monday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

division of student affairs softball tourney!

you know it!

not as bad this time - moving to the other end of the complex.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Took the Plunge

So, I took the plunge y'all...

 Surf City Marathon - February 3, 2013 

Can it get any better?
Kasey and I are running our first full marathon in February 2013 -- despite the fact that neither of us live in California anymore, we're going to run on our home turf. Which will be awesome. And more importantly, it'll be flat.

Here it is! I've got work to do in 2012, but bring on 2013! Bucket list item -- in progress!

What advice do you have for a first time full marathoner? How do you take it to the next level?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dear Monday...

want join in? link up!

dear monday, not sure what you've got in store for me this week, but bring it on!

dear warrior dash, i am SO STOKED for saturday! thankfully it's one of the few sunny days this week!
dear apartment complex, you suck. your customer service, or lack there of, sucks. yes, those new reviews that are popping up online are coming from me. and that 5 page letter that your management company is going to get? also from me. enjoy. 

dear craigslist, much as you helped furnish my apartment, thanks for letting me make some cash monies back! i'll be sad to part with these two pieces, but i'm excited to make fifty bucks off of them! i need some cash to get through this month, so this is utterly perfect
first pieces i refurbished!
dear family, 30 days til we cruise![ps. dear bahamas, get ready for us!]

dear colleagues & former supervisors, thanks for being such a wonderful source of guidance, advice, relief, and support! your openness means the world to me and knowing i have such an amazing support group behind me is wonderful and uplifting. you all... whether you read this or not... are amazing and i value you each.