Friday, September 28, 2012

Ponderings on a mystery of life

In a completely ironic twist, my post Thursday about how I am always unprepared and behind the times was pre-written on Wednesday. I almost never pre-write posts, and of course it turned around and bit me in the ass. I published the post Thursday morning, and as soon as I was on my merry way to work, the radio DJ told me the replacement ref thing was over, making me a liar in my post. On the bright side, that meant Eric enjoyed his birthday gift of football tickets infinity times more. He was even finally able to explain "replacement refs" in a meaningful way to me. "It's like if they made you a ref". Considering I spent most of the game looking around and just clapping when other people clap, that put it in perspective. 

Last year I ran the Baltimore Marathon with Kara and we both got a PR of 3:54. The race ends right in front of Ravens Stadium, so I crossed over my PR finish line last night. That has got to be major good luck points with the racing gods, right? Last year, the city actually painted it permanently on the ground, like Boston, and I really wanted a picture, but the 70,000 other Ravens fans were totally in my way.

The closest I could get
As you can see, it was a late game, beginning at 8:20 pm, a time I'm normally yawning in the couch on my pjs. I took a terrible picture of the stadium, but in my defense it took us like half an hour to find our seats. I think we sat down at 8:19, so stopping to take a better one would have meant missing the beginning of the game, which was my favorite part.

I didn't think we looked this creepy, but pictures don't lie

This is where I started pondering one of the great mysteries of life. At home, watching football is the most boring activity I can imagine. I'd rather gouge my eyes out than watch. That's a pretty trite analogy, so I'll personalize it and say I'd rather clean, or even participate in the most boring activity imaginable, grad work. Even that one time I went to an action movie marathon was better. Male readers: read that last sentence as "even that one time I went to The Notebook marathon was better" so you can stay with me here. 

Last night, I was going out of my mind with excitement to be in the stadium, and spent the entire game cheering and having fun like an actual fan.

To make things even more surprising, we sat in pouring rain from the second quarter on. Again, I was mystified. I would have laughed at the idea of watching this game on the couch, warm and dry in my leopard print snuggie, but here I was, soaking wet, surrounded by drunk people, on a hard plastic seat actually having fun and, perhaps more shocking, paying attention!

We stayed until the bitter end, a Ravens victory. Eric wasn't surprised, just disappointed. 

When we finally made it out of the packed stadium, we had a mile walk back to the car in our soaking wet clothes. I was exhausted, but still in good spirits. There's that saying about how there are no "stupid questions", but Eric totally proved that wrong last night. Seriously, I don't believe in calling your spouse out on the internet, but he actually asked me "Do you want ice cream?" when we passed an ice cream truck. Has the man learned nothing in four years of marriage? I told him as much, and he said something about how I'd been complaining about being "cold" and "wet" and "tired" and thought maybe I just wanted to get to the car. Well, I certainly was dealing with all those problems, but I am always willing to overcome any adversity that threatens to come between me and sweet treats. 

A cookiewich made the rest of the walk back significantly better. We got home after 1am, and the game was totally worth the lack of sleep. 

Which begs the question: Am I going to watch football now?

Hell no! It's still horrible on TV. Unless we win the lottery and can afford season tickets, I'm no more of a fan than before.

In running news, yesterday before the game I did a four miler. I didn't wear a watch, but I did have a cop standing at the top of a huge hill with a radar gun clock my speed at 6mph. I'm doing my last run, tomorrow morning, the day before the race. I've never done that, but my legs tend to get extremely tight after flying, so I'm hoping to loosen them up this way. Fingers crossed it doesn't backfire on me.

Today, I'm flying to Rochester after school, for my freaking epic weekend of family, Kari, delicious food, and of course the Wineglass Marathon. To say I can't wait is a huge understatement, but I'm really tired and only on my second cup of coffee, so that's all I got. 

What mysteries of life are you pondering?

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Confession: I'm not an "on the ball" type of person. I tend to forget about things like meetings and fire drills. I've made duplicate copies of worksheets so many times because not only did I lose the original batch, but I completely forgot I ever made them. A perfect example is that I finally decided to check my flight information for this Friday's trip on Tuesday night. I couldn't find the email confirmation, and freaked out and spent 20 minutes looking through my thousands of old emails. I had finally convinced myself that I must have never hit submit or something and didn't actually buy the ticket and would have to drive up to Rochester for the marathon.

Turns out I archived the email. Genius. 

I am totally disorganized and never ahead of the game, so I was really excited when Eric informed me that we were boycotting football going forward. Something about "replacement refs" that I think he's tried to explain to me like 42 times already. I really beat the curve on this one, I've already been boycotting football for 29 years, quite successfully I might add. 

The boycott doesn't go into effect until tomorrow, because tonight we are using Eric's birthday gift: tickets to the Ravens game! They are playing the Browns, and Eric is a diehard  Browns fan. I'm technically a Ravens fan. "Technically" because I can't make it through more than 30 seconds of football, even the Superbowl, without getting horribly bored and resorting to Twitter or Angry Birds. But I got a free Ravens jersey from my friend, so I faithfully wear it every Friday, because that means that during football season there are only 4 days of the week I have to work to overcome my lack of fashion sense in order to look mildly presentable. 

I've only been to one other NFL game, back in 2009, which was also a Ravens game. There was a huge snowstorm, and they had to delay the game to clear off the seats. We were in the highest row, against the fence, and it wasn't even 20 degrees at the start. 

Tonight the overnight low is 70, so this should be a pretty different experience. Plus I bought my boss's season tickets, (we're sitting with her inlaws!), so we might be able to see the field without binoculars. Against all reason, I'm thrilled to be going to the game, and feel like we'll have a lot of fun. Watching football on TV is boring, but being in the stadium is cool. 

Our view from our last game
I felt this post needed some food porn. I had dinner at Panera last night with my BFF Casi, and I decided to begin my marathon carb loading with the double chocolate walnut cookie.

Speaking of race prep, I don't really consider myself a weather wimp when it comes to running. However, this morning, thunder and lightning woke me up before my alarm, and I got this on my phone.

Ya, back to bed it was. Darn. Luckily all I'm doing is an easy 3 miles, so I should be able to cram that in before the game. TWSS.

Are you organized?

Are you a football fan?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Educational policy rant, balanced out with cute baby pics

As if I wasn't freaking psyched out of my mind for this weekend, my sister sent me more motivation to get there ASAP. 

Then my mom sent me the behind the scenes view - on her new iPhone! I felt pretty special that they put so much work in for me.

Getting a smile isn't easy sometimes

Unfortunately, the weather isn't being quite as cooperative. The race is Sunday. 30% chance of major chafing in our future.

Today I did another easy 7, no watch or music or anything electronic. I swear I've been dehydrated since San Francisco. I can't seem to get it under control. 

I'm going to take a second to rant. Sometimes blogs say things like "feel free to skip it and scroll down", which usually makes me think "apparently you aren't aware of this, but I always feel free to do that if I am bored with what you're saying".

Teachers are required to get a master's degree in some states, Maryland being one of them. I guess the idea is to make us better at our jobs? Except, teaching isn't like engineering or something, where extra education helps you learn more about your specific specialty, unlike working with children, which no amount of classroom education prepares you for. Maybe. I don't really know anything about engineering, but you get my point.

What this boils down to is that last night, I really wanted to stay late at work to do crazy things like plan lessons to teach my class and interventions to help kids work on skills they are weak in. But I couldn't, I had to rush out of work shortly after the kids to make it to my grad class on time. Then I sat there for three hours listening to.....theories. Abstract theories. Which was super helpful, because if there's one thing I know, it's that kids always behave in the way a theory developed in the 1800s dictates they should.

Funny College Ecard: I hope college teaches you everything except how useless college is.

So I'm getting this masters, which means that I've spent countless hours writing papers, sitting in a classroom, or some other pointless activity instead of my actual job. And I get to pay for this privilege!

In thanks for reading my educational policy rant, here's something hilarious. Read the reviews for this product. Watch out though, it's incredibly addicting.

Did your education prepare you for your career? I certainly learned a lot about how to make bulletin boards look pretty and a classroom library look inviting in college. Not so much about what to do with things like students writing death threats about you on the side of the school building.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My police on free booze

Saturday night, I worked a shift at the running store, then headed to my friend Donnie's 30th birthday party. I'm getting to that point in my life where 30th birthday parties are becoming a frequent event. It's a lot of fun while I'm still safely young at 29, but brings up a lot of pressure. My own 30th is in June. I've given up on the pipe dream of having my life together and being a real adult by then, but I do need to figure out some extra special way to celebrate. 

The usuals, partying it up
My adorable new third grade teammate stopped by for a little bit. It's amazing how much actually liking people you work closely with improves the quality of your life.

I strategically planned my rest day for Sunday. Planning my running schedule around my social calendar is key to success for me. Unfortunately Sunday turned out to be anything but restful. I had a busy shift at work (which I like, actually) and then I had a ton of grad work to do (which I despise more than anything on this earth). 

Monday morning Lily and I ran an easy 7 miles. I probably won't wear my watch at all this week until the marathon and just keep it light. After school, I was working at the running store for a Black Girls Run event. I had no idea what this event was, but it turned out the group just partnered with the store for a night of discounts, snacks, wine, and shopping. I swear I'm not just saying this for the sake of appearing positive about my job on the internets, it was actually a fun night! Obviously cleaning the toilet wasn't my favorite, but I love meeting new runners and talking about running. Plus, apparently they don't abide by my strict policy of never turning down free booze, so I got to go home with this. I even got hummus and grapes too (any free food is extremely exciting in my life).

The fun didn't end when I got home. The matching noodle huggers that Kari and I ordered for our race on Sunday had arrived, and were even prettier in person. Now we are officially ready to race.

The fun ended pretty abruptly when my alarm clock went off at 5:30 this morning. I always know I'm in trouble when I hear the alarm but have probably a full minute of total confusion where I have no idea what's happening or where I am. By the time I got home and ate dinner last night it was around 10:30 pm. Once again, I know I'm not horribly overworked or anything, I have plenty of friends who work much more than me. But we must keep in mind that I am significantly lazier than the average person.

I know I'll have to suck it up in the future because I want to keep my second job, but luckily this week I could pull the "what will help me more for the race, a 5 mile run or an extra hour of sleep?" card. An extra hour of sleep it was. I have grad class tonight so today is officially a rest day. I usually like to take two on weeks of big races anyway.

How many hours a week do you work?

Do you like the people you work with? I LOVE them. Now. :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Race Goals

I'm a week out from my next marathon. I never go into a big race without first preparing two things:

1. A list of excuses in case of a poor performance.
2. An amazing plan for a ridiculous dessert to refuel with after the race, regardless of performance.

The ice cream bar at the hotel after the Shamrock marathon
was inadequate, so I was forced to take matters into my own hands.

Of course, I've had those items prepared for weeks. I have no end of excuses, but my main one is that I'm training for a 50 mile race. I ran 57 miles this week (tomorrow is a rest day) so that's hardly a taper. 

For dessert, my wonderful mother is very kindly making Kari and I a salted caramel chocolate cake with Nutella buttercream frosting (underlined to emphasize how incredible it sounds). I've posted this picture before, but it's worth repeating.

They had the nerve to send this to me on my sister's
birthday, knowing I live 400 miles away.

One thing I don't always go in to a race with is a time goal. So far, I've PR'd in the marathon and ten mile distance when I didn't set a specific time to reach, and when I didn't look at my watch at all during the race. The races where I've tried to hit a certain time, I generally fail miserably and hate the whole race.

Obviously, this stems from some sort of mental issue, but I have a theory. As a elementary school teacher, I have to appear incredibly over the top, positive, bubbly, and cheerful to the point where I want to punch myself in the face on a daily basis. Therefore, I use all my positivity up Monday - Friday during school, and therefore I'm quick to fall down the rabbit hole of slow runner shame and negativity during a weekend race.

It's the same with patience. Mine is usually long gone by 10am, but I have to pull every last bit out of my ass to make it through the school day. Then I come home and completely lose it over something like Eric leaving a dish in the sink, instead of just asking him to put it in the dishwasher like a normal person. Trust me, it's a common phenomenon, I've discussed it with fellow teachers. 

So, my plan going in to the Wineglass Marathon next Sunday is just to run by feel. Of course, all runners have the same goal going into any race, whether or not we admit it: to PR. And we all have a time that we need to come in under - for Wineglass, 4 hours. But that's as specific as I'll get, to keep me from getting too crazy. 

This morning, I ran 15 miles along the harbor (average pace 9:25) with Lily, and Monica, who joined us while she was in town for a blog conference. She tweeted last night that she was looking for a Baltimore long run buddy, so once again I ended up in the car with a complete stranger at an ungodly time of the morning. At least this time, I was driving.

I love, love, love running with Lily, but after countless miles together on training runs, not to mention 14 + hours at our 50 miler last year, we've told each other most of our stories from childhood on up. It's always good to have a new person to chat with, so we had a lot of fun getting to know Monica. Plus the run seemed to fly by while we showed off our tour guide skills. I was really relieved when a cab driver screamed at us and cussed us out, it's very important to me that all visitors get a true taste of Baltimore life.

Requisite blogger meetup pic

Do you like to go into races with specific goals? How about specific dessert plans?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Some complaints

I never write my blog post titles until I write the post (unless it's a race recap or Full House theme song lyrics) because I never really know what direction the post is going to go in until it's finished. I usually have an idea and "pre-write" a lot in my head on my run or in the shower, but it doesn't always follow the plan. Essentially, I'm not so much writing a blog, the blog writes itself and I'm just here to facilitate with my excellent typing skills. 

I'm in a great mood (who isn't on Friday mornings?) but as I wrote, I realized I have a series of complaints, so here they are.

1.  Sad news for all those who I knew were really looking forward to my mom getting her new iPhone today - apparently it's now not available until October 5th, due to "high demand". Come on Apple, get yourself together -  people do crazy things like wait over night in lines to get your products when they come out. Was "high demand" some sort of surprise to you? 

2. My Garmin is officially dead, according to my email correspondence with the company. At first, I was really impressed with their customer service, because they responded to my question really quickly. But now they want me to mail back my Garmin, pay for shipping, AND send them $79 for a refurbished one. Am I being a diva or is that a lot to pay when I've been using their product exactly as specified for less than three years? I didn't drop it in the tub or anything, I returned from my final run in San Francisco, and it decided it never wanted to turn on again. Anyone else had this problem?

Luckily, my sister is nice enough to temporarily let me take hers over, so I'll just go with that for now.
Random old race photo of us - why  not?
3. This morning Lily and I ran 10 miles, and getting out of bed was once again horrific. Next week, bedtime needs to be my top priority. I'm having trouble because I haven't been getting home from school until 6:30 or 7pm. I know many, many people work way longer hours than that, but lets be fair, those people are clearly less lazy than me. To be up for a 5am run, I'd need to be in bed by 8:30. Theoretically, that's possible, but by the time I get home, get everything ready for the next day, make dinner, and eat, it's usually already 8:30. If I went straight to bed, I have no time to see Eric, or, if he's at kickball or something, no time to waste time reading blogs. Do we all see how this is a serious conundrum?

Tonight Eric has to work, which sucks, but I remained positive and planned a hot date for his absence. 

Katy Perry 3D Movie Poster
It's out on video!

Of course, tomorrow is another early run, which means I would need to be home early enough to start watching by like 6:30 pm. But if that's not incentive to finish up early, I don't know what is.

What time do you usually get home from work?

What complaints do you have today?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

iOs6, ILY

Does anyone else suffer from this problem? All day at work you're exhausted, and daydream about how wonderful bedtime will be. You fantasize about how if you were independently wealthy, you would just live in your bed.

Then, at bedtime, all of the sudden that Seinfeld rerun from 15 years ago is of the utmost importance. It's not going to watch itself, after all. Or the internets suck you in. There's no end of time wasters on there.

That's pretty much my life. I need to fix it, because returning to 5am alarms has been exceptionally horrible this week. 

Last night I waited until I was in bed to update my phone to the new iOS6. I'm not usually one to lose sleep over things like operating systems, but I was pretty excited about the ability to attach pictures in emails. This will make it even easier to send my friends screenshots when people we hated in high school post pictures demonstrating that they got fat or ugly, or particularly stupid statuses. That's breaking news. 

More importantly, believe it or not, the iPhone now has shared photostreaming. Which meant that I woke up to this:

It even eased the pain of waking up to run in the dark
If you liked that, check out my sister's blog for more adorable pictures. If you didn't like it, you are obviously dead inside and should seek help. 

Even more exciting (I know, my life is absolutely wild), my mom is getting the iPhone 5 tomorrow. She's been resisting joining the wonderful world of smartphones for years, until my sister and I tortured her by trying to send her baby pictures at work and they wouldn't load on her flip phone and that was the last straw. My takeaway here is if you want your parents to do something and they say no, just enter a grandkid into the equation. Bonus points if you can get one of your siblings to do the hard work of actually having the kid.

Yesterday, I enjoyed the return of the fall weather on a nice, cool, 9.2 mile run. I was supposed to do 3 miles at marathon pace. I aimed for about 9:00, and ended up with 9:04, 9:06, and 8:44. I'm trying to do it without looking at my watch, to get used to how the pace feels, so I guess they weren't that far off. My average pace for the whole run was 9:20, so for 5am with no food or water prior, that's not bad.

I don't eat before super early morning weekday runs, mainly because they are just too early. I mean, I guess if I woke up starving I would, but usually just waking up and forcing myself to stay upright is all I can handle. Today, I ran 7 miles (easy, no watch) with Lily, and I couldn't even manage to put on my shirt properly. 

Inside out and I didn't even know it

Wow, I didn't really intend to write a post professing my love for my iPhone, but I guess that just happened. In fact, I'm even inspired to take up Words with Friends again (I go through phases of loving/hating it). Apple, feel free to send any royalties my way. 

Do you suffer from my sleep problem?

Are you obsessed with your phone? If you have an iPhone, do you love iOS6?

Do you eat before early weekday runs?

Do you want to play me in Words with Friends?

How many questions can I include in one post?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's racing time

Now that I'm back from our big trip to San Francisco, the next big thing for me is racing! On my run this morning, I realized I'm racing non-stop this fall.

I have the Wineglass Marathon with Kari a week from Sunday - crazy! After that, I'm going to see Kari again, this time at her stomping grounds, to run the Hartford Marathon, because all the cool kids run two marathons less than two weeks apart with their blog friends. Emily and Emily are running too, and even Eric is coming!

I'm sticking with the two week intervals and running the Fire on the Mountain 50K next, which will be my last big long run before my number one target race, the JFK 50. This time I'm waiting a whole 3 weeks in between, since the last two are ultra marathons.

So, technically, the marathons are training runs, but I have trouble thinking of 26.2 as just "training". Especially when it's a huge race with spectators and medals and, at least in one case, free wine at the end. I guess what really makes them training runs is that I'm not officially tapering until after my 50K, although I will run significantly less for a few days before each race. 
Laminated, for sure.
I decided to return to my practice of going watch-less a few times a week. The idea behind this is to ensure that the runs are easy. I haven't had any problem with that this summer, in fact, the majority if not all my runs have been pathetically slow. Removing the watch only helps by avoiding the self-flagellation that occurs with the slow runs. Since I ran a lot faster in San Francisco, (other than the day after the wedding, but pace doesn't count on runs after open bar events), I'm at least partially blaming the horrible Maryland humidity. 

The past few days, the humidity has finally decreased, and I started to feel more like a real runner again. But this morning, when I was engaged in my usual "hear the alarm, groan, push snooze, check the weather, try to come up with an excuse of why I need to sleep in instead of run routine", I got a special treat. 98% humidity. YAY. 

In the end, I got up and ran 7 miles, and I was really glad it was a designated "watch-less" morning. Really, the only reason I woke up was because the 98% humidity meant that if I skipped running, instead of sleeping in, I'd just lay in bed, wide awake and sweating. Might as well stumble through a miserable run, which is exactly what I did. 

On a more positive side, I ran my highest mileage ever these past two weeks - 65 miles!

The first time didn't technically count, because I had done the previous week's long run on labor day, and as you can see that week has a really low mileage. But this past week I officially ran 65 miles with only one long run!

Running without a watch - love it or hate it?

Do you ever use races as training for other races?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Marriage advice

Eric and I have been married for over 4 years now without any major fights resulting in injuries for either party, so I figured it was time to share some of our magic with the internet. You are welcome in advance for the following gem. 

You know that episode of Full House where Jesse and Becky get in a fight because she makes him ride horses (which he hates) and he makes her hang out at the Smash Club and listen to his band (which she hates)? No? Just me? Well anyway they make up by coming to an agreement that neither of them will do activities unless they want to, but then they get super romantic and say that they each "want" to do the activity that they hated 3 seconds earlier because they want to be with the other person. 

Their agreement pretty much sums up our marriage, minus the part at the end about "doing things anyway to be together". After my first marathon (when Eric didn't run at all) my training group had a happy hour to celebrate. As soon as I walked in, my friend asked where my husband was, seemingly surprised that I didn't bring him. Um, home, because spending 3 hours drinking and listening to reviews of mile splits, cramps, and hydration sounded like hell to him. 

Now, don't get me wrong, Eric was up at the ass crack of dawn to cheer me on at the race, and I've been to plenty of football games to see him coach. We support each other, but we have just never felt the need to "support" each other at social events that don't interest us. 

That being said, I spent Sunday night at a sports bar, watching a WWE pay per view. Eric has always loved WWE, and goes periodically to this bar with a bunch of like minded buddies whenever there's a pay per view event. There was even a live taping on my birthday that I encouraged him to go to. We didn't have school Monday, so I decided to finally take Eric up on his invitation and see what it was all about. 

6 of the 87 TVs I could choose to watch from
I was there. #proof
What happens when Eric gets any camera
I've always told myself that I don't like WWE wrestling because I don't like violence. But then when I started including all sorts of exceptions to this rule in my head, I started think maybe that wasn't true.

"I don't like violence....unless it's of the werewolf vs. vampire variety".

Game For The Twilight Movie

"I don't like violence....unless it's a government mandated fight to the death among teenagers".

"I don't like violence...unless it's in a possibly British, psycho medieval fantasy world".

So I can't exactly claim I don't like violence, but WWE was still terrible. The highlight of the whole experience was the people watching. People in the bar got hysterical, screaming at the top of their lungs, jumping up and down, pounding on tables, etc. I wanted to judge them so badly. I was really mad at myself for going to all the Twilight movies on opening night and therefore sacrificing my right to ever judge anybody about their entertainment choices for the rest of my life. 

Since Eric and I worked pretty much opposite shifts we hadn't really seen each other all weekend, so it was fun hanging out with him and learning a little about his obsession, but that show is the stupidest thing I've ever seen.

Speaking of mile splits being boring, I did a 9 mile run today with 3X2 miles at half marathon pace, which I decided would be 8:15. My splits were 8:19, 8:18, 8:14, 8:13, 8:24, 8:03. I didn't look at my watch the whole time, so even though I was a little slow, at least I was fairly consistent. 

I wanted to share my dinner tonight because it was really good and I recommend it. Yes, it's weird healthy food, Eric just said he likes it, so that makes it mainstream tasty. Southwest Stuffed Acorn Squash.

Don't worry, that whole squash was mine, I made Eric his own

If your significant other goes to a social event you have no interest in, do you go or stay home? I got Eric tickets to a Ravens/Browns game for his birthday (he's a huge Browns fan) and he invited me and I'm actually excited about going to an NFL game! That's a rare exception for us though. I will judge people who go to Twilight or Nicholas Sparks movies with their boyfriends/husbands - seriously make some girlfriends. 

Do you judge people for their entertainment choices?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Changed woman

This weekend, I had to work at 10am on Saturday morning, meaning I would need to leave the house at 5am to get downtown in time to fit in a 20 mile run before work. I could have done the run Sunday, but I had friends over for game night Saturday night, and I didn't want to have to limit my wine intake. 

Lily and I ran 20 miles and finished by 9:15 am. I had time to clean up, change, stretch, and punch in to work. I hung out there for about 10 minutes until my manager pointed out that my shift was tomorrow. So essentially I got up at 4:30 am on Saturday for no reason. Still, it was nice to have the run done early. 

My Garmin seems to be permanently dead, and I forgot to charge my Nike + watch, so I went in to a 20 mile run with no watch. I didn't even throw a tantrum, and somehow I survived.

It meant I had plenty of time to buy wine and make these. Nutella pretzel brownies, with a pretzel crust.

Unfortunately, Eric had to work, so I had a few friends over on my own for "Game Night". We never ended up playing any games, partially because we were frantically catching up after weeks apart, partially because my friend Sarah brought a new friend over.

Harper, born 7 weeks ago

Ok, I can honestly say that if someone had wanted to bring a baby over when I was hosting a gathering I probably would have said yes only out of politeness. But now that I'm an aunt, I was actually excited to get the text that Sarah was bringing little Harper, and as soon as they arrived I was right at the front of the pack, throwing elbows to make sure I got my chance to hold her.

Is there something in the water with new mothers lately? I've been led to believe that they are supposed to be sleep deprived and carrying baby weight. I always knew my sister would be an exception to this rule, she's always been exceptionally gorgeous. I had no doubt that as soon as I was holding Harrison in my arms, she'd be looking like a world class model again, and of course that's what happened. 

Then Sarah has the nerve to show up at my house looking beautiful, fit, and fresh as a daisy only 7 weeks after having a baby. I get one night of barely any sleep (taking the red eye from San Francisco on Wednesday) and I look horrible and can't even manage to show up to work on the correct day. I've heard this new mother thing is pretty tough, but according to my Facebook feed, they all look fantastic.

Sunday, I made it to work for my actual shift, then did a 12 mile run downtown along the water after. I finally managed to get brave enough to run with a watch now that I'm back in the slow, hot state of Maryland. My average pace was 9:12, so slower than California (of course) but not terrible.  We'll see what happens once I get back to those lovely 5am runs.

Anyone else noticed this "new mother looking better than me" trend?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Everywhere you look

Tuesday morning in Oakland, CA I did a wonderful 7 mile run (8:48 pace). My friend Rachel, the beautiful bride that we were visiting, lives across the street from a 3 mile loop around the gorgeous Lake Merritt. The route is pretty flat and gives you fantastic city views while you run. I even ran into fellow blogger and (not fellow) superfast runner Roserunner. I knew from her blog she ran there, so I kept an eye out for her the whole time. She was pretty shocked to see me, you know, randomly running on her neighborhood route on the other side of the country, and I was all stalkerish like "Hey, I've been looking for you this whole time!". It was still pretty cool though. 

After that, we had a whirlwind day of sightseeing. We walked at least 6 miles, and in my book, that's a lot of walking.

First stop - the Full House house!

I insisted on touching the steps that Uncle Jesse had touched, even though Eric tried to tell me they probably just filmed the outside and the set was somewhere else and he was never actually there.

Second stop: Golden Gate Bridge. Sort of. We randomly got off the bus not really knowing where we were and started walking, which worked out great because we got to see this really pretty former military base/current park called the Presidio. 

Random cool stuff

National Cemetery

We even got a day with hardly any fog!

We walked all the way across and back #proof

We saw a seal catching fish!
 After we learned all about the Golden Gate and how it was built from the plaques below, we took a cruise around the bay and went under the Golden Gate. It was another audio tour so now we are truly experts on the city.

After our cruise, we walked around Fisherman's Wharf some more, had dinner, and then headed back to Rachel and Travers for our last night on the West Coast. 

Wednesday morning, we went on a walking tour of Oakland. It was pretty detailed into architecture, which isn't really our thing, but we saw some cool stuff.

Before we left, I went on my last California run, around Lake Merritt again, 10 miles at an 8:43 pace. Then we packed up our stuff and headed to the airport. We took a red eye flight, which theoretically is smart because by sleeping on the plane you don't waste a day flying. Except you can't actually sleep on the plane, so you end up wasting a day acting like a zombie. I'm not complaining though, I'll take one sleepless night for such a fantastic vacation. 

We got back to our apartment around noon on Thursday, and pretty much alternated sitting on the couch and passing out on the couch. I wanted to go to bed early, but the time difference was sort of still messing with me. I managed to wake up and do 7 miles this morning, which was a minor miracle. No watch, because I was too sad about leaving California to face how slow I was. 

And now it's back to real life. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

You miss your old familiar friends

Sunday, we enjoyed my birthday present from my mom - tickets to tour Alcatraz!

We took a ferry from San Francisco over to the island. The old cell block had headphones that narrated an audio tour so you could learn all about the prisoners and life on Alcatraz while you walked around.

The cell block from the outside
I'm pretty far from a history nerd, which probably won't come as a surprise since I've provided amble evidence of my devotion to pop culture as my exclusive entertainment choice. When I get in situations like this (historic sites, museums, etc) I get SUPER excited about being where the history actually took place, and want to read every single plaque and learn ALL THE THINGS, as if I don't have access to Google and libraries and could technically learn this information any time I want. This makes me a really fun museum buddy.

Luckily, there were limited plaques here, and most of the information came from the audio tour, plus Eric was really into the tour too. There was so much to see we stayed for over 3 hours.

The Hole - where the bad prisoners were punished

He would.
When we returned to San Francisco, we were starving, since lunch wasn't available in the prison. We gulped down some hot soup for dinner at Boudin, which seems to be the Panera of the West Coast, but it was pretty good. San Francisco is cold, and it felt especially so to us after months of the temperature rarely dipping below 90 in Baltimore. We were freezing, but that didn't stop us from braving the winds for the mile walk to Ghirardelli for ice cream.

Looking at this picture makes me SO SAD that we're leaving. 

Monday morning, I went for my last run in San Francisco - 8.1 (8:41 pace) miles down the Embarcadero, and through Fisherman's Wharf. I can't even put into words how much I love running with gorgeous views. 

After my run, we took the BART (metro system) over to Oakland, where the newlyweds live. They were nice enough to take us to Napa for some wine tasting, and I was in Heaven.

I was instagramming the shit out of everything.
Eric even found champagne that he liked!

After, we spent the night hanging out with them, watching football, and eating amazing Ethiopian food and gelato. I don't know how I'm going to return to normal food after this vacation, I think I'm going to cry when it's time for lunch and I have to gulp down a tuna sandwich at work.

What's the worst part about ending a vacation for you?