Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weekend Beach Trip

When a friend sends an email out that she has a condo we can stay in for free in Orange Beach, AL, you say yes.

That's how I ended up taking one of the shortest beach trips I've ever been on, but it was totally worth it!

A friend and I drove down on Friday and got there in time to spend a little bit of time on the beach, go to dinner, and walk on the beach at night with our other friends.

We slept in on Saturday and then spent the whole day on the beach before going out to dinner.

The rest of the evening was spent hanging out at the Florabama, a cool little bar right on the beach on the Florida/Alabama state line.

Sunday we made the drive back to Nashville.  It was definitely a short trip, but it was so much fun to hang out on the beach and spend time with some of my favorite people.  I came home realizing that I am so blessed to have so many amazing people in my life, and I'm incredibly thankful that I have the kind of friends that you can take a quick trip like this with and come home with a ton of stories and memories after a lot of talking and laughing together on the beach!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mumford and Sons in Louisville

Last week, Mumford and Sons performed a show up in Louisville, KY.  It's only about a 3-hour drive, and their show at the Ryman was so amazing that I knew I couldn't pass up a chance to see them again.  So a friend and I got tickets and made the trek up there for the evening.

It was at an outdoor stage on the riverfront, and everything was general admission.  At first we thought we'd plant ourselves near the stage.  We saw Nashville band Apache Relay open from super close.

But after that set, we decided it just wasn't worth dealing with the lack of personal space that exists that close to the stage, so we moved a bit further back.

Dawes performed next, and Marcus Mumford join them for "When My Time Comes" so that was pretty neat.

Then it was time for the main event.  Mumford and Sons played almost all of their debut album along with 4-5 of the new songs off of the album that is going to be released next month.

I got some really cool shots of them on the video screens.

It was a really great show, though it was WAY different than seeing them at the Ryman.  You just really can't compare the two experiences.  Nonetheless, I'm glad we went up there and saw them.  They really are just an amazing band to see live.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Insane Stuff

So I didn't do Insanity at all last week, but I am determined to not let that mean that I'm falling off the train altogether.  I did run the trails some, but mostly last week was just BUSY.

I went to Louisville to see Mumford and Sons.

I am slammed at work because of our next event coming up in three weeks.

I went to the beach for a few days with friends.

I've since been recovering from going to the beach for a few days with friends.

I also got accepted through the lottery to run in the Flying Monkey Marathon in November, so I felt like I got a workout in just thinking about running that beast of a marathon for the third year in a row.

I'm heading out now for a trail run with friends.  I'm signed up for a BarreAmped class in the morning (I bought a Groupon and have GOT to use it before it expires).  I'm determined to do a few days of Insanity, I'm running a 5K with a friend this weekend, and I'll get a long run in on Sunday.

And I still have social stuff and work this week.

Whew.  It's insane to think about all I do... surely I'm staying fit just by getting myself everywhere and squeezing all the activities in!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Insanity and Running

So... last week I only did Insanity twice.  BUT, I still consider that a success.  I'm glad I've been able to keep moving along the schedule, and soon I'll be starting month two.

Why did I only do it twice?  Well, because I actually ran close to 30 miles last week... which is the most I've gotten up to in quite a while.  I know it's probably still not enough considering I've got a 50K in less than 2 months, but I'm slowly but surely getting there and getting more confident about it.

The main thing is that I can tell already I feel stronger running, and I have to think it has something to do with the Insanity workouts I've been doing... even if I haven't been doing them every day.

The thing is - I could do them every day and run 30-40 miles a week.  But between that, work, eating and sleeping... I'd have no time for everything else.

And that doesn't sound fun. 

So I'm pleased.  I'm feeling strong.  I'm going to keep doing Insanity on days I don't run, and I'm going to keep building my mileage so I can feel better about my endurance, too.

All that to say... I'm getting more fit.  And you can't complain about that.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nashville Junior Chamber Gala

Several weeks ago, two new friends I've met through trail running invited me to join them for the Nashville Junior Chamber Gala.

I'm all for getting to dress up and have some fun at an event with food, drinks and dancing... so I bought a ticket and found a dress to wear.

I had not heard of the Junior Chamber, but I quickly found out it's a lot of Nashville young professionals.  I'm considering joining the group, but for now it was fun to get out and meet some of them at a fun event.  Everyone just seemed super fun and nice!

We went to a pre-party at one of the member's homes and had some yummy chips and guac from a local burrito place before heading downtown to the event at The Standard.  I've never been there before as it's the kind of restaurant that is way out of my price range, but it was neat to get to be there in one of the event rooms.  It's just a cool old building.

We had a great evening just hanging out and getting to know other people like us from Nashville.  I love it that I have made new friends recently through activities that I enjoy, and that it has also led to me doing neat things like this that I may not have done.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mammoth Cave

A few weeks ago, several friends and I drove up to Kentucky and spent the day on a tour in Mammoth Cave.  We grabbed some breakfast, and then hit the road with some coffee and good tunes to make the two-hour drive.

I had been once when I was quite small... I have a very vague memory of eating a candy bar in the concession room and sitting there when they turned out all the lights, but otherwise I don't remember much.  So it seemed like it was time to go again.

We made good time, so we had to stop for some silly pictures with the national park sign.

We had booked the 4 1/2 hour Grand Avenue tour.  We didn't take a ton of pictures since it's pretty hard to get good ones inside a cave, but we got to see a lot of different caverns and tunnels and formations.  It was all really neat.  And it was like 60 degrees in there.  Part of why we decided to do this was because it'd be a nice break from summer heat!

A short bit into our tour, we got to stop in one cavern that is set up like a cafeteria (the one I have the memory of from when I was three and went there with my parents) for lunch.  We are pretty sure this menu hasn't changed in years.

We got to hear a lot about the history of the cave and hear some neat stories about people who have explored it and such.  We did manage to get 1-2 pictures to turn out of some neat formations.

When we got back out of the cave, we checked out some info on the old railroad company that used to bring visitors to the cave.  A friend managed to snap this neat picture... I told her it was as if she Instagrammed it without the app!

It definitely made for a fun Sunday summer activity!  We grabbed some dinner in Bowling Green and then made our way back to Nashville.  We're thinking about going back sometime and doing the spelunking tour - it seems like it would be neat!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Race Report: Chicago Rock N Roll Half Marathon

Two weeks ago, I led a team of runners to Chicago to run in the Rock N Roll Half Marathon with Team Not Alone.  It was a super fun weekend, and I came home worn out!

We arrived in town on Friday morning and hit up the race expo.  It wasn't the biggest expo I've seen, but we got some free samples and breezed through it in about an hour.  I was pretty disappointed that this was my second Rock N Roll event this year, and it was the second time I got a thin white tech shirt.  I've always been pretty up front that I think the Rock N Roll races care more about making money than providing a lot of quality for the runners, and this is one example.  Could they not spend a bit more to get a red shirt with white writing as opposed to the white one with red writing we got?  I digress.

Then I led a friend around to do some sight seeing, including lunch at the Navy Pier, wandering Michigan Avenue and checking out the sights of downtown Chicago.

I stayed at Steph's on Friday evening, and she was super awesome to host a small dinner party.  We ate, we drank, we talked and laughed... it was a great evening with her friends.

On Saturday, we slept in a bit before lunch together, and then I headed downtown to check into the Hotel Monaco (which was beautiful and awesome and I highly recommend it if you need a hotel room in Chicago).  I held our team meeting and gave out goody bags, etc.  Then, several of us grabbed dinner and headed to the Sears Tower.

I had never been up in it, so it was neat to get to play tour guide to some friends but still get to do something new that I haven't done before.

We made it back to the hotel a little later than is ideal the night before a race, but I was just running for fun so it was all good.

After about 5 hours of sleep, we were up and heading to Grant Park for the race.  When we glanced up and saw that NO ONE was at The Bean (which I have never seen happen), I had to run up and get a quick pictures.

We all met up at the start line, and Laura and I made a last minute decision to run in sports bras.  It was already pretty stinking hot at 6:30am!  The team got to chat a bit, and then it was time for the race to start.

Laura and I ran the whole race together.  I may not like to run a lot of Rock N Roll races, but considering I was just running for fun I don't have a lot of complaints on this one.  I felt like the water/Gatorade stops should have been every single mile since it was so hot (at first they were every other mile), and I was also disappointed they didn't start having Gatorade at them until after the first few stops.  It was HOT, and I felt like that should have been handled differently.

The course was similar to the Chicago Marathon course for the first few miles, so it definitely brought back a lot of memories.  I was thankful it was flat, too.

We were doing well and holding a steady 10:00 pace until about mile 10 when we were both hot.  I could tell we were both fading a bit as we were slowing down and taking a little longer to start running again after walking the water stops.  We also weren't talking as much, haha.  Nonetheless, there is something to be said for having a friend at your side in a race.  We really pulled each other along.

Here is our after photo... once we got some water, chocolate milk and a Jamba Juice in us.. and sat down... we were a bit more smiley. You can't really tell in this picture, but there is not a dry spot on us.  You would have thought we had jumped in a swimming pool at the finish we were so sweaty.

All in all, it was fun to get to run another race in Chicago as it is such a great city to run in!

We went back to the hotel to freshen up and check out before making our way to Gino's East for some delicious deep dish pizza.  Steph and another friend joined the three of us so it made it even more fun!

The above picture also happened.  I have no idea anymore what was so funny.  Or maybe I was just tired and dehydrated and the one pint of beer I'd had while waiting on pizza had gone to my head.

After lunch, we rode out to Wrigley Field to see the famous sign.  This was something else I had never done, so it was neat for me, too!

That evening, Laura and I took one of the architectural boat tours on the river.  I had done this about five years ago, but since it had been a while it was really neat to do it again. 

Then we walked over to The Bean since she hadn't seen it yet.

We finished our night at the Navy Pier and rode the Ferris Wheel.  I have never been on it before, so that was fun to do one more new thing in a city that I visit several times a year.

If you're paying attention, you've noticed I never took a nap.  I was exhausted.  I crashed HARD that night.

The next morning, this happened.

 The waitress brought it to me and said "that's a lot of food."  I ate every bite.

I did some work at Steph's (since I had stayed there Sunday night), and then got cleaned up and made my way to her office.  I joined her for lunch, and then it was time to get to the airport to fly home.

I was worn out for a few days after this one.  Not only did I run a half marathon, but I also played tea captain and tour guide to several people.  And walked a LOT.  And it was sunny and hot all weekend... which I prefer to the usual weather I've experienced on my last few trips up there.  But boy did it wear me down.

It was kind of neat to know that since this was my second Rock N Roll event that I will get a special medal in the mail sometime for doing two in the same year.  I can't complain about an extra medal. :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Insanity/Running Update

So I only did Insanity once this week.


Things were busy, and I'm finally running more... which is kind of the main thing I need to be doing anyways.  So there was only time for one Insanity workout since I'm not doing it on days I run any more and because I'm also trying to make sure I have a true rest day or two. 

Honestly?  I've been exhausted lately, and I think it's because I've been overdoing it.

And the heat.  Heat is super draining, and even just being out in the heat not running has worn me down a few days.  I had to measure the course for the 5K I am planning at work one day, and after taking over an hour to walk the route and make all my notes in 95 degrees, I decided that was all the physical activity I was doing that day.

I'm trying to make sure I'm really listening to my body and doing the workouts and runs, but also not to the point that I'm doing too much... because eventually that would defeat the purpose.

Nonetheless, I hope to get my schedule a bit more balanced this week so that I can work through a few more Insanity days.  I am definitely feeling my core get stronger, so I want to keep it up.

Meanwhile, I ran the red AND the white trail at Percy Warner yesterday morning... my first time to do that!  It ended up being at 7 miles that took me about 1.5 hours with my friend.  My body felt pretty good, but the humidity was NUTS and I was getting a little lightheaded a time or two.

I also was very aware the entire run that I hated my shoes.  I had bought trail shoes at Fleet Feet a few weeks ago, and every time I've run in them I've felt like they were too big.  I was certain about a mile into the run yesterday that they were both too big and very uncomfortable.  My feet HURT at the end, and I was confident it was the shoes.

So I took them back. After spending some time with one of the employees who also does a fair amount of trail running, I left with something completely different.  They felt much better even jogging down the sidewalk outside the store, so I'm hopeful they will be much better on the trails.

I intended to get up this morning and meet some friends for a long run, but my body just ached when I got out of bed.  I think it is from the 7 miles in the wrong shoes... my feet hurt, my joints hurt, etc.  So I skipped the run, deciding I need to let my body recover a bit.

I've got 2 months til the 50K.  I have definitely got to start getting some longer runs in, but I feel like I am on track so far.  My body is feeling very fit, and I want to make sure I don't get too crazy and hurt myself.