Wednesday, May 14, 2014

On Turning 31

May 13 is always a special day - my birthday!

This year, I turned 31. I don't know why, but for some reason 31 feels much different than when I turned 30 last year.  I think there is just something about being officially IN my 30s. 

But - I'll quote my favorite 6-year-old ever who recently said, "I know you are older than Daddy, but Daddy looks older!"  Smart kid. :)

Speaking of little man's daddy, I have to brag on my amazing husband.  He really knows how to make a special occasion truly special.  With my birthday falling on a Tuesday, we decided to celebrate over the weekend.  He had told me to mark off the weekend, but that everything was going to be a surprise. I LOVE surprises!

When the time finally rolled around to celebrate, he told me to pack for 2 days.  We hopped in the car, and I had no idea what he had planned!

Before I knew it, we were downtown.  We started our adventure with a tour and tasting at the Sun King Brewery - something that had been on our list to do since we moved to Indy!

After this, we drove a bit further downtown and parked.  Our next stop was the Libertine Liquor Bar - another place on our to do list.  We enjoyed a delicious cheese plate and some fancy cocktails.  For my Nashville people, think Patterson House or Holland House.

For my birthday dinner, he took us to St. Elmo Steak House - yet another item on our Indy to do list. This is one of the top-rated steak houses in Indy, and from what we heard it's the one frequented most by Peyton Manning. I had the filet, and it was delicious!

After dinner, we walked down to the movie theater and saw The Other Woman.  It was really funny - I definitely enjoyed it!  After the movie, we walked to the Sheraton where Adam had booked a room with a view of the Circle.  It was so nice!

The next morning, we woke up to beautiful skies and walked over a few blocks to have a late breakfast at Le Peep.

After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and headed to the north side of the city. We wandered around a Books A Million for a bit and then headed to the Studio Movie Grille (where you can order drinks and food during the movie) to see Neighbors.  It was hilarious! I wasn't sure if it would be stupid or not... it had its crude moments, but it was still a funny and sweet story.

Then, we checked into a room at Sybaris. This place is meant to be a getaway hotel for couples, and it was SO much fun.

We found our bed covered with rose petals.

I was excited about the giant whirlpool tub, too!

There were some awesome massage chairs and robes.

And there was a private pool with slide... in our room. Seriously.

It was amazing.  We swam. We used the steam room.  We ordered a pizza.  We watched Savings Mr. Banks that we picked up at Redbox (a terrific movie!). We sat in the massage chairs.  And we enjoyed some chocolate-covered strawberries and the whirlpool tub.  It was so relaxing, and it made this one of the best birthdays ever.

Yesterday on my actual birthday, Adam worked from home.  He went and got us some breakfast from McDonald's.  We both had plenty of work to do all day, but it was nice having him home.  Connor called to wish me a happy birthday, so we enjoyed chatting with him for a while.

Then, we went out to eat dinner at a local burger joint and then went to Chili's for a chocolate lava cake! Adam had also noticed that I favorited this cute Hedwig necklace on etsy a while back and surprised me with it!

It was an absolutely amazing birthday, and mostly because I married the most amazing man who knows how to make me feel special.  I also greatly appreciate the many birthday calls, texts and Facebook messages I received.  My life is full of so many awesome people whom I love and hold dear, and it is delightful to feel so loved on such a special day.

This weekend we'll be in TN to celebrate with Connor and our families.  We are going to go to Loveless Cafe (a Nashville staple) and have a yummy dinner! I'm really looking forward to continuing to celebrate with more people I love!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Race Report: Indy Mini Half Marathon 5.3.14

On Saturday, Adam and I ran in the Indianapolis Mini Half-Marathon.  Adam had decided late last year that he wanted to do a few half marathons throughout this year.  We decided this race would be fun as it boasts of being the largest half marathon in the country - and you get to run all the way around the Indy Speedway.

We went downtown to the race expo on Thursday evening in the hopes of avoiding the crowds.  We were so glad we did.  We easily picked up our packets with no wait, and we were able to wander around and check out the vendors.  Adam even found a new pair of sneakers for $49!

On Saturday morning, we were up bright and early to head downtown to the race start.  We had booked parking online the night before, and we easily found it and got situated.  It was a bit chilly (because heaven forbid it actually be warm any time we race in this state), so we hung out in the car as long as we could.

Soon, it was time to walk down to the start and hop in our corral.

Adam and I trained a bit better for this race than we did for his first half back in September. However, we knew we had only gotten up to 9 miles in training (life has been busy!) and that we wanted to take it easy.

I was quickly impressed with all of the bands along the course!  They were spread out just enough that as you could no longer hear one you passed, you could hear the next one you were coming up on.  This definitely helped to break things up and keep us entertained... which was good, because the course was pretty boring and not through any interesting parts of town.

Before long, we were running up into the Indy Speedway. This was definitely the coolest part of this race!

I could definitely tell as we ran the 2 miles around the track that the music had been helping.  It was so quiet! It was just so cool running around in there and seeing how big the place is.... I had no idea!

After we left the speedway, we were at about mile 9.  I was starting to feel it in my legs a bit, but for the most part I still felt pretty good.   The bands resumed, and we kept plugging along.

Another thing I was impressed with was that the water stops were frequent and well organized.  We had no issues staying hydrated along the course.

I knew we were on track to get Adam a PR, so I kept an eye on my watch and made sure our walk breaks stayed short.  We definitely took far less than we did in his first half, and when we did take them they were pretty short.  I was so proud of him for being able to run so much more!

We finished in 2:33 and some change... though the course was long and I clocked our half in 2:31 9and we ran pretty well down the middle the entire time).  His previous time was 2:39, so he definitely killed it!

We got our medals and checked out the post-race festivities before heading back home for a nice post-race nap.

All in all, I felt this was a really well organized race, and I'd recommend it.  The course is very flat, but other than the Speedway it is also VERY boring. Nonetheless, we had fun and it was a great day for running!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Race Report - Indianapolis Graffiti Run 4.27.14

Last Sunday, Adam and I took Connor to complete his first ever 5K!  We didn't tell him what we had planned - we just said it would be fun.  Once we got there and got checked in, he started figuring out we were doing a race.  When he realized we were going to get colorful, he got pretty excited!

We had found Groupons for The Graffiti Run quite a while back, and when we realized it was a weekend we would have Connor we were looking forward to the race even more.

Once we got checked in, we hung out in the car for a bit since it was still a little chilly.  However, we soon headed to the start line to get ready to race!

They encouraged everyone to go on and throw the color in the packets we all received when we checked in, so it wasn't long before we had some colorful powder on us.  Connor got especially tickled when I put my hand in some on the ground and put a handprint on his shirt.

After a while, we were off!  We encouraged Connor to run as much as possible, but we definitely kept it slow and took frequent walk breaks.  It was so cute seeing him running along with us!

I love this picture of Connor running along, covered in blue.  I told him he looked like a smurf, which he thought was hilarious. We've got to work a bit on running form - HAHA - but for a 6-year-old he was doing pretty awesome!

After we had been through all of the color stations, we could tell he was getting a little tired - so he got to ride on daddy's back for the last quarter mile or so.

We ended up not going all the way to the finish, mostly because it was a bit windy and we didn't really feel the need to stick around for any post-race stuff.  We got a family photo in the parking lot and were on our way!

As we left, Connor told us how much fun he had and that he thought it was pretty awesome.  We could tell he had a blast the whole time, and it was so much fun for us as parents to see him having such a great time!

It's really important to us to teach him the importance of being active and healthy.  We plan to have him do some fun races like this with us from time to time, but we also don't want to push him to run a lot as he gets older unless he enjoys it.  I'm sure there may be something else active he enjoys if not running. We also want him to learn the importance of us doing stuff like this as a family as well as show him how Adam and I do stuff like this together.  Maybe that's all a little cheesy, but it's what it all boils down to for us. In the end, it's fun when we make it fun!

I loved some of the photos the race photographers got of us, too.  It's fun to see us all having fun together during the race.

Now about the race itself. We were not impressed.  The Graffiti Run is definitely a rip-off of The Color Run - and it's definitely subpar in comparison.  Another reason why we didn't go to the finish area was because we knew by that point that it wouldn't offer much.

It was sort of just one poorly organized detail after another:

  • We never got any sort of pre-event email the week of the race to give further details
  • Race check-in was a CLUSTER.  Seriously long lines that moved incredibly slow, and it was just total chaos among the volunteers working the registration. 
  • The t-shirts were so incredibly cheap... just paper thin.  Mine is now Connor's size after washing; Adam's is now my size after washing.  And they are longer in the back than in the front.
  • The color powder was also cheap.  When we did a Color Run, we were covered and it stuck to us until we showered.  This stuff just fell off of us, and most of ours was gone by the time we got to the car.
  • The last station was completely out of color by the time we got there - and we were pretty far ahead of most of the runners.  Terrible.
  • The "water station" was a stack of cases of bottled water to the side in one spot toward the end of the course.  And no volunteers.  We all had to tear into the cases to pull out a bottle.
  • I didn't wear my Garmin, but there's no way the course was a 5K.
  • They allowed WAY too many people to register and were unprepared for the crowd.
We won't be doing a race of this franchise again, but at the end of the day I am still glad we did it because it gave us such a fun morning with Connor - he definitely enjoyed his first ever 5K!