Thursday, January 23, 2014

Race Report: Frosty Trails 5-Miler

Last weekend, Adam and I drove over to Nashville, IN for a little weekend getaway and the Frosty Trails 5-Mile race!

We had heard that "little Nashville" could be fun to explore, so we decided to make a weekend of it. We got into town Friday night and checked into our hotel room.  To offer some perspective, we had a suite the size of my last apartment for $60 a night.

The packet pick-up was held at Big Woods Pizza, so we stuck around and had a delicious dinner before going back to our room and watching episodes of The West Wing. (Yes, we are total nerds and bought the whole series with a Groupon deal and have been watching it from the beginning and love it.)

The race wasn't until 10:30am, which was awesome! We slept in (which was good because the walls at our hotel were paper thin and we didn't sleep well) and then drove over to Brown County State Park for the race.

Now. It was COLD.  And it snows like every other day (including the day before the race) so the woods were covered.  It was beautiful!  Adam had never run a trail race, and neither of us have run on a snow covered path before.  We took it easy and enjoyed the scenery, and we had a blast!

The race ended up being about 5.2 miles, and we finished in 1:05:20.  I was pretty pleased because we weren't really pushing it since we were trying to enjoy the woods and also not slip and fall!

The smartest thing we did was take hand warmers and put them in our gloves.  Even though it was freezing, I was actually quite warm during the run thanks to those and my multiple layers.  The hoodie I have on is something I invested in just to be able to run in Indiana.  I would never need anything as warm as it in TN.  Crazy.

Anyways, we had a lot of fun.  It was definitely a small town race - maybe 100 people?  But it was great.  Everyone was friendly, and you could tell everyone was out there because they love to run.  It was a good reminder to me of what it is I love so much about running!

After going back to the hotel and cleaning up, we set out to find lunch.  This was not as easy as we hoped... it turns out a lot of businesses (especially restaurants) shut down during the winter. Nonetheless, we found a little "country kitchen" type place and had a DELICIOUS lunch of meat loaf, turkey, potatoes and gravy.

Then we spent Saturday afternoon wandering the 6-8 blocks that make up the little town of Nashville, exploring all of the little shops.  It was so fun to just be wandering around and visiting little boutiques and antique stores.  We found a winery shop where we did a wine tasting. We found a tea shop where I had the best tea I've ever had in my life... it was an apple cranberry, and it was soooo tasty!  We found a jerky store where Adam got some tasty treats.  There was a bath shop where we got some muscle relax bath salts.

I loved some of the old homes that many of the shops were in!

It started snowing, and it was so pretty.  There's just something so peaceful about falling snow.

Once we had finished exploring, we headed back to the hotel for it bit.  It was so nice to just walk around everywhere and not need the car.  After a bit, we decided to go to Big Woods Pizza again for dinner (since it was the only place open.)  It's a good thing it is so yummy!  We would have driven into Bloomington, but with the snow we decided to stay close.  We'll save that for another time.

We spent the rest of the evening watching more West Wing, and then on Sunday morning we checked out and headed back home.  With Nashville only about an hour and a half away from our house, we were still able to get back home and have time around the house before the weekend was over.

Even though we didn't go far or do anything overly special, it was so much fun to go explore something new with my love and run a fun trail race.  I don't count on us doing this race again as we should be living back in TN this time next year, but I'd definitely recommend it!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Connor's First Real Snow

Connor, like most kids in Tennessee, has never really seen snow... not a good snow anyway.  In my 30 years in Tennessee, we maybe saw 4 snows that were enough to go play in, and it still wasn't anything like what we've experienced here in Indiana.

He didn't get to see the foot that we got along with the recent polar vortex (and oh my goodness, wind chills of -40?! This southern girl is not made to live somewhere that such an event happens!), but he DID see the 7 inches or so that we got in early December.

We really lucked out that it snowed right before Gram brought him up here for one of our weekends. He was SO excited, and the two things he wanted to do most was dive into the snow and find icicles.  I am pleased that we were able to do both, among other playing we did both days.

I can't even explain how much fun we all had.  He was so excited that he was running around and talking about everything and trying to just take it all in.  I think in some ways he was actually a bit overwhelmed!

I just wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures of us enjoying his first time playing in this much snow.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Getting Old(er)

At 30 years old, I know I'm not all that old.  But I can definitely see more and more signs of getting older.  (Like how the day after I turned 30 it seemed like my back started hurting all the freaking time. It definitely gives me yet another reason to be glad I am married, as Adam gives excellent massages!)

Adam and I had a lovely Christmas (I'll share more on that soon), and we received some nice gifts that we are very grateful to have now.  But it definitely made us realize we're getting old.

I can remember in college getting a ton of ADPi stuff.  After college, it would tend to be clothes, movies and things of the like.  But I remember the turning point.  I had been living by myself for a while, and I realized I had a piece of crap vacuum that didn't actually pick anything up.  I COULD have spent a little money to get a new one, but what's the fun in buying something like that? So I was delighted to receive it for Christmas.  I feel this way about socks, too.  I ask for some more every year when mom and Grandma start requesting a wish list.  I get what I need, they know what I need, and I don't have to spend money to buy something as boring as socks.

This year, we asked for our family to consider getting us items that we had on our wedding registry but did not receive.  So when we opened up quite a few boxes containing all new bath towels, it was AWESOME, to say the very least.

Connor, meanwhile, looked over and was genuinely confused as to why we were so excited over towels.  He promptly returned to opening his stack of toys, games, movies and other such fun items that 5-year-olds love.

Not only did we ask for new bath towels, we also suggested Bed Bath and Beyond gift cards when asked.  We have desperately needed a new pots and pans set (the bottoms of the insides on ours are scraping off, and we figure that's probably not good). We knew it was a bit too pricey of an item to put on the registry or the Christmas list, so we've been holding on to a few wedding gift cards and added a few more to the collection over Christmas.

So this week when we managed to buy a nice Calphalon set with less than $100 out of our own pockets, we were thrilled!  We also still have some lingering wedding gift cards to Macy's, and I think we may use it on a few other kitchen items and complete what we had still been needing for our home.

Oh, and we also bought a nicer shower head at Target tonight because we realized the one we have is terrible.  It took showering at my parent's house for almost two weeks and mentioning "some day we'll get a nice one like this" and my mom saying, "It's only $30 at Target - just go get one." Added bonus? We had a Target gift card, too!

So as we installed the new shower head, put away the new towels (and moved old ones to the donation box), and threw away the beat up, peeling pots and pans set... we feel like we have finally completed our task of making our home cozy.  We're not ones to spend a ton of money buying the top of the line items, but we do feel like it's time to stop buying the low end stuff that doesn't last... so it's great to feel like we can cook and bathe and just live our day-to-day life with some nicer items.

When we were driving home from buying the pots and pans, Adam said, "Is it sad we're this excited over this kind of stuff?"

"No, we're just getting old."

But here's the thing... I don't mind.  While sometimes I feel a bit nostalgic for childhood and while there are days when being an adult is hard, I actually really love being a grown up.  I feel so lucky and blessed to have found the perfect man for me and to have started our lives together as a family... to be making our home together... to be dreaming and planning about all we want to do, both together and with future children.  So if that means getting excited to get towels and kitchen stuff is a sign of age? Then I'll take it.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Our Wedding - Rehearsal Dinner

After our rehearsal on the evening of August 8, we headed to a restaurant around the corner to enjoy our rehearsal dinner.  Adam's mom is awesome, and she decorated the private room beautifully! We did a very southern buffet meal including chicken, pork, mac and cheese, green beans, potatoes and fudge pie! We also picked out some wine and champagne at Trader Joe's (all with Italian labels since we were heading to Italy for the honeymoon) for everyone to enjoy along with their sweet tea and fruit tea.

We set all the tables up to make a big square so that everyone could see everyone.  Karen made place cards, and I recognized it was my last night as Melanie Blair.

What I liked most was that we planned for this to be a special time for our closest family and friends to celebrate with us.  After we finished our meal, Adam and I gave out some gifts to our wedding party and some other folks who were helping out.  The guys got flasks with their initials on them.  The girls got monogrammed button-down shirts to wear the next day.

We spent the next hour or so allowing everyone the chance to give a toast, share stories, or just whatever they wanted to do.  My sister even wrote an awesome poem for us that was both funny and also made me cry. It was so great to just relax, be excited for the next day and celebrate with everyone.

I love how in the above picture that something made me laugh like this!

Connor even made a small toast!

Connor also enjoyed taking pictures!

Before we knew it, the evening had flown by and we all needed to get some sleep.  The last event of the evening was when we gave Connor his gift.  We had a small box made with his name on it to use as his "treasure box."  We filled it with some fun things, and he has since been using it to keep cards we send him and some other special treasures.  We're hopeful it's something he'll keep even as an adult and that will always be a reminder to him of his role in this big day where we became a family of three!

Adam and I had a few minutes alone before we each headed out - we prayed together and then parted ways to spend the night away from each other before our big day!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Race Report: Jingle Bell 5K

As part of Adam's goal to run one race every month from November 2013 through the end of 2014, we ran the Jingle Bell 5K in Indianapolis on December 15.

I told Adam when he came up with this idea that it was going to mean some really cold races.  And cold in a different way from what we were used to back in Tennessee.  I think we both got a good dose of that at this one!

The temperature was somewhere in the teens, and the wind was nuts!  To say we were cold doesn't even describe it.  This was something more severe than cold.  We've invested in some warmer running clothes (such as fleece lined tops that I would roast if I ran in them in TN) and bundled up, but it still didn't keep us from feeling numb.

The race was set up at the Banker's Life Fieldhouse downtown.  We had been in there a few days before for the Justin Timberlake concert, and it's pretty cool in there.  We definitely need to go to a Pacers game sometime before we move away from this arctic part of the country. (And yes, I realize other places are colder.  But we are NOT used to this.  The high this coming Monday is -9.  I don't even know what that means!)

I was so glad that everything prior to the race was inside so that we could stay warm.  We got our shirts and took them back to the car, we used the bathroom, we talked about how maybe we should dress up in Christmas costumes next time we do a race in December, and before long it was time to line up.

Adam has set a goal to run a 5K in under 30 minutes.  I think this is totally doable, and soon! But it's not going to happen when it's this cold.  We were running straight into the wind a few times, and the cold air is really hard on the lungs.  We did manage to run the whole time, and we finished in 32:07.

After the race, we found Santa!

We stopped for a biscuit on the way home and then took a hot shower before we curled back up in bed and took a lovely Sunday afternoon nap!

Next race? The Frosty Trails 5-Mile Trail Run in Nashville, Indiana on Jan. 18th.  We are driving down there and staying all weekend.  I'm excited to run on trails again, though I'm unsure about how this might go if it is snowy!