Tag Archives: Caroline

Back In It

Standard

Y’all, I am BACK.

Back in the ‘Burg,
back in my apartment,
back in my semblance of clean-eating,

IMG_0829[1] IMG_0833[1] IMG_0841[1] IMG_0844[1]

(mostly) back in my exercise routine,

IMG_0837[1] IMG_0838[1]

back with my grad school girls whom I missed so much(!),
and back into blogging.

It’s not hard at all to believe I went 13 days without posting. Between wrapping up my summer teaching position, studying for the CPCE (which was this morning, by the way), wedding-planning, and packing, the past two weeks have been a whirlwind of stress and excitement. Perhaps I should have taken a page out of Colleen’s book and simply taken the month of August off, knowing how much was approaching, but alas…

I had several posts I desperately wanted to write: the emotional ending to four summers of work with my students with autism; an update on Ian’s and my Zero Negativity Challenge; a close family friend’s wedding last Saturday; and a few other piddly topics. As much as I adore my blog and sharing my life with you guys, sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve really dropped the ball on monthly mileage updates toward my 2,013 miles in 2013 goal. As I begin my 600-hour internship next week, I’ll be putting my time-management skills to the ultimate test! 😉

Right now, at this moment, I am in such a good mood. That counseling exam is behind me, it’s a gorgeous 79 degrees, I am finally blogging (and blogging outside),

IMG_0848[1]

I have dinner plans with some of the girls to celebrate yet another grad school milestone behind us, I have little else on my agenda besides a post-exam, pre-dinner workout calling my name and Pretty Little Liars reruns to watch, and I move my baby sister in to her apartment tomorrow to begin her senior year of college! I am truly blessed, because I could not ask for a much better Saturday 🙂

This semester, I plan to work diligently to be a more frequent blogger. I think daily posts might be a bit ambitious, but I’m aiming for at least every other day. In other words, my goal is not to procrastinate or make excuses; when I get an itch to write, I’ll write! Thank you all for sticking around during my unplanned and unannounced absence. I write Sarcasm for me, but it means a lot to know there are interested readers and friends out there!

With that, I’m off to hit the gym! I’ll have much more activity in the coming weeks, and I promise to make a better effort to share it!

Positively Productive

Standard

Boy, do I have a lot to share with you! This weekend was absolutely, positively, perfectly productive! So, let’s start at the beginning.

[Bear with me — this is gonna be a long one.]

Friday afternoon, Ian’s parents came into town from Roanoke to do a little rehearsal dinner venue-shopping with us. Because Bonnie has two sons and won’t get to do the fun girly stuff involved in wedding-planning and because she lives three hours away, Ian and I are making as concerted an effort as possible for her to feel included in the decision-making and the planning. Due to extensive research, sight-seeing, visiting, and Q & A, we had narrowed our choices down to three locations… which Ian planned for us to see all in one evening. (Insert obligatory and overly dramatic groan here.)

I won’t deny that I was exhausted, hangry, and irritable. Nevertheless, we set out for our first destination across town. Even Ian hadn’t seen the space, so I was excited when he and Bonnie and Jimmy liked it!

IMG_0225[1]

Quickly, we were on to our next destination. Ian had seen our second location, but I was thrilled when he and his parents were smitten. We still went to our third destination, but our minds were already made up. Before we set out, I had thought I would’ve been happy with any of the three, but after having seen them all in succession I realized that my mind was made up before we ever left 😉

(In the spirit of full disclosure and because I am loving planning this wedding, I will share with you honestly the locations we chose for everything and our opinions of our experiences post-shindig.)

We dined deliciously at Capital Ale House, which has become Ian’s and my favorite Friday night destination for beer and burgers. Their lamb burger, orange chive vinaigrette mixed greens, and Rauchbier cheese dip are to die for.

We dropped Bonnie and Jimmy off at their hotel and turned in early at my house. As much as we would have loved to sleep in…

…we were up bright and early Saturday morning. My mom, my sister, Bonnie and I had a 10:00 bridal fitting appointment at my fifth — yes, fifth — bridal gown shoppe. I may have found The Dress. I said this before, and the dress turned out not to be The Dress. I have a different feeling about this one, though… I keep looking at the pictures on my phone, complete with veil and bouquet, and thinking, I sure would love for Ian to see me walking down the aisle in this!

I tried on dress after dress after dress (which I desperately wish I could share with you!!) until Caroline and I declared we were starving and required sustenance before we wasted away to nothing. Hey, when you have hypoglycemia, you can be as dramatic about food as you want 😉

We met Ian and his dad at Olive Garden, my “alma mater.” Man, have I gotten some strange looks when I jokingly tell people that…

We left in a bit of a food coma, but the jolliness of the weekend was perfectly fitting for the lazy evening that followed. We finally got to relax, so relax we did. Caroline and Ian and I gathered a random assortment of beer and settled in for 21 and Over. Despite its abysmal approval rating, we found it to be absolutely hilarious — the perfect movie to cap off such a great day!

We hit the hay early again, which I don’t hate. [I’m starting to realize at two years post-undergrad just how elderly my tendencies are.]

After church this afternoon, we wandered around in Carytown for the annual Watermelon Festival. Well, first there was brunch at Baker’s Crust, which involved mimosas…

IMG_0716[1]

IMG_0714[1]

…and literally the best frittata I have ever had!

IMG_0727[1]

After brunch, we browsed the vendors’ booths for a few hours. I even picked up a couple of really unique jewelry pieces! I love festivals like this with local businesses and all kinds of live entertainment. I hadn’t been in several years, partially because the festival always seems to fall on the hottest weekend of the entire year. It was great to be back, even though it rained a bit and then got incredibly steamy and humid.

I capped off my perfect weekend with a cheesecake milkshake, awkward photo courtesy of Ian:

IMG_0728[1]

Unfortunately, this evening was full of back-to-the-real-world activities in preparation for my last week of work, and the start of my third year of graduate school in just 11 days. No matter: it was a perfectly productive weekend with my one and only, my family, and my future in-laws! 🙂

*****

In other news, Ian and I issued for ourselves a Zero Negativity Challenge beginning August 5th. We have recognized that in our relationship, negativity exists in the form of sarcasm, making fun, little jabs, silly name-calling, etc. As our wedding date approaches, we are doing everything we can to improve upon our relationship in preparation. As we have chosen not to live together until after we are married, I am referring to this time as “the things after the rings.”

Our Zero Negativity Challenge has caused me to realize just how often we poke fun at each other and use just a little too much sarcasm. When I told Ian about several occasions I had marked on my calender as days with “negativity,” he was like, “When?!” I told him that I’m erring on the side of caution in keeping track on my calender; as such, I am becoming enlightened.

I think this challenge is going to be good for us on so many levels: awareness, change, preparation, compassion, empathy, and kindness, to name but a few. On or around September 5th, I’ll update you about how our challenge went.

Thanks for bearing with me through yet another lengthy post! I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend!

Grown-Up Weekend

Standard

You may or may not be able to relate to this, but do you ever feel like just because you’re in your 20s, in professional school, working, or living independently, that you’re not quite a grown-up?

I’ll be 25 in December, I will begin the third year of my M.Ed. program in 25 days, I have my own apartment where I attend school, and I am planning a wedding… but I still do not feel like a grown-up.

Maybe it’s because I still call my mom to ask, “What do I do?!” for the simplest of queries.

Maybe it’s because I will wait until I’m on my death bed to see a doctor. (Though the way I hear it, a lot of grown-ups do the same thing!)

Maybe it’s because I conveniently seem to forget about appointments I’d rather not go to (e.g. the OB-GYN).

Maybe it’s because I have chosen to live with my parents (from the time I graduate in May) until Ian and I are married in October.

Whatever the reason, I, A.K., do not self-identify as a grown-up. Nevertheless, Ian and I decided to engage in some “grown-up” activities this weekend. For example, we hosted our first cookout at his apartment. We invited several close friends, including two of my favorite heterosexual life partners whom I have known since freshman year at Longwood, Rachel and Charlotte.

IMG_0620[1]

IMG_0629[1]

We carefully prepared our menu: blue cheese-infused turkey burger sliders with all the accoutrements, baked beans, and curly fries. Our couple-friends, Mark and Heather, brought one of the most delicious and unique cheese balls I have ever tasted! Plus wine. It’s definitely not a grown-up cookout unless there’s wine involved 😉

IMG_0626[1]

We asked our guests to arrive around 7, so we began preparations at 5:30. Ian had done the grocery shopping earlier in the day. As nervous as I was about someone who doesn’t eat tomato or avocado choosing the perfect ones, he did splendidly with the insanely detailed thorough grocery list I gave him.

He caught me a bit off-guard while I was trying to slice and dice the perfect little onion and tomato wedges and figure out the sliders:

IMG_0618[1]

IMG_0619[1]

[Don’t worry; I usually cut vegetables with my eyes closed, so I’m a bit of a pro.]

Ian and Mark manned the grill while we ladies waited for the beans and the fries to be ready.

IMG_0621[1]

IMG_0624[1]

The men must comment on the status of cooking meat, in addition to the size and heat of a fire, the poor gas mileage on cars, what good time they’re making on a road trip, and the score or status of any sports event imaginable, amiright?

The sliders turned out much smaller than I had anticipated and the blue cheese flavor wasn’t as prominent as I hoped, but everyone proclaimed the meal a success. I considered it a success myself afterward when everyone sat around moaning about how full they were 😉 I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I was glowing when Charlotte complimented my ability (read: luck) to have the sliders, the fries, the veggies, and the beans done simultaneously.

IMG_0625[1]

A wonderful evening was had by all! I was sad to see everyone go, but it was 11:30 before I knew it and Ian and I were fading fast. We finished cleaning up and hit the hay. Asleep by 12:30 on a Friday night? One of the most grown-up bedtimes we’ve had since I met this HSC gent.

Saturday morning, we slept in and did absolutely nothing. It was positively glorious knowing we had nowhere to be and nothing to do. Ian made me a breakfast of scrambled eggs, Chobani Flip, toast with apricot jelly, and apple cinnamon oatmeal. We did a little wedding-planning business, and then we settled in for the Harry Potter marathon. My lazy butt needed a nap toward the end of the first movie, and I awoke at the beginning of the fourth thinking, How long have I been asleep?! Turns out, the movies were being played out of order. Momentary panic.

Around 3:00, we packed up and headed to my house. We ate an early dinner and then Ian and I, my parents, my sister, and her boyfriend piled into the car for the 90-minute drive to Spotsylvania. My dad and I ran in the Spotsylvania FCHC Twilight 5k at 7:30. Ian served as my gracious photographer as I stretched, got prepped, and tried to get “into the zone.”

IMG_0634[1] IMG_0636[1] IMG_0641[1]

You probably know by now that my dad and I run races together, and we keep pace with one another. I am the watch-wearer in this relationship. Our goal for months now has been to finish together in ≤34 minutes.

We started off fairly strong with a 10:37 first mile. We lost a good bit of speed as we rounded the halfway point on the out-and-back course at 17:14. We hit mile marker two at 22:25, and I was pretty certain we weren’t going to make our PTR. To say the course was “rolling” was a gross understatement. There were some hills, man. Plus the humidity was killer.

When we rounded the last turn leaving the neighborhood and I could see the finish line in the distance, I said, “Let’s go, Dad!” and he said, “Go!” I didn’t think I had much left in me, but somehow I took off. I sprinted toward that finish line, hearing our four supporters calling my name and cheering me on.

IMG_0644[1] IMG_0646[1] IMG_0648[1]

Dad finished strong just behind me:

IMG_0649[1] IMG_0651[1]

I clocked myself at 34:36. I couldn’t find the “stop button” immediately as I crossed. The chip I wore strapped to my right ankle clocked me at 34:38, finishing 118th out of about 200 runners. Dad was clocked at 34:53, finishing 119th. According to my official time, I averaged 11:09-minute miles, so we should have been right on pace to finish within our goal.

IMG_0657[1]

As soon as I caught my breath — which I never thought I would between the humidity and pushing so hard at the end — Ian and I headed toward the snack tent for a banana (and the requisite post-race pics).

IMG_0654[1] IMG_0656[1]

After the race, we celebrated with custard from Carl’s, a Frederickburg favorite, as evidenced by the crowd snaking around the building. For a shop with only five flavors, the place sure was hoppin’ at 9:00 on a Saturday night. I was too pooped to snap pictures, but Ian and I split a chocolate sundae with chopped nuts. The custard hit the spot with my sweet tooth and wet my whistle, but it can’t hold a candle to Sweet Frog or Coldstone.

Things got a bit silly on the drive home as Rob, Caroline, Mom and I cracked up at the Instagram account @youhadonejob. If you’ve never heard of it, check it out. These ridiculous mistakes will have your sides hurting!

It was to bed early for everyone as soon as we got home at 10:45. Yet again, I felt like such a grown-up: splitting a sundae, participating in an out-of-town race, and getting to bed at a decent hour in preparation for church today.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful, fun-filled, adult-like weekend. Talk to you again soon!

What were you up to this weekend? How did you get out and move?

I’m Baaa-aaack!

Standard

Goodness gracious! I haven’t blogged in NINE days! I sure have missed the blogosphere, but to be honest, I didn’t have too much to tell you guys.

As you know, I was in class for three weeks. [Hopefully, my last summer classes ever.] Then, I got home last Friday, June 28, and we left for Smith Mountain Lake at the crack of noon on Saturday. SML has been one of my family’s favorite vacation spots since I was in elementary school. Most families are either lake people or river people or beach people; I like to think we’re all three 😉

We stayed at Covered Porches, by far the most beautiful and generously furnished vacation home we have ever rented. It doesn’t take much to impress this old gal, but Covered Porches was everything I was expecting and then some. It was even the perfect size for ten people. This is depressing for me to admit, but this vacation was possibly my last full-blown family excursion before Ian and I tie the knot. Eeeeek! Mr. and Mrs. Giles going on vacation 😉

I am so grateful that Ian was able to join us for the entire week between “bouts” of med school, and so were a few college friends. It was quite the fiesta with the Lew Crew!

The weather was actually pretty crappy all week, with either rain, storms, or gloomy skies every single day. No matter; it didn’t slow us down one bit.

IMG_0443[1]

IMG_0450[1]

We spent the week laughing hysterically playing “Cheers, Gov’nah,”

organizing splash contests,

IMG_0512[1]

lounging by the lake,

IMG_0437[1]

playing Blackjack with beer bottle caps as currency,

IMG_0511[1]

tubing (which is quite a workout, by the way!),

IMG_0474[1] IMG_0476[1] IMG_0487[1] IMG_0497[1]

hunting down four-leaf clovers,

IMG_0457[1]

frolicking on the dock,

playing cornhole,

swimming and paddling around,

chatting around the campfire,

and simply enjoying the lake life.

I would be remiss if I glossed over how I ate while on vacay. I always like to think that my grad school lifestyle will carry over while I’m out of my routine, and it almost never does. I feel as though if it were truly one hundred percent my lifestyle, I wouldn’t have trouble maintaining it when I’m out of my norm. However, I also believe that sometimes it’s okay to indulge. That may not be the appropriate term to use to describe this week… Maybe gorge is more accurate. I ate my body weight in s’mores one night, and in tacos another. I also drank enough Seagram’s and Bud Light Lime to float a small fleet of battleships.

IMG_0454[1]

IMG_0434[1] IMG_0435[1] IMG_0436[1]

It’s not that my family doesn’t eat nutritiously — quite the contrary, actually. For example, one night we planned DIY mini pizzas with whole wheat shells, low-fat cheeses, and veggies galore; one night we sautéed Polish sausages with green peppers, onions, and sauerkraut; and each morning there was Chobani, oatmeal, whole grain cereals, and “skinny” bacon available. I just seemed to be a bottomless pit this week! Next week, as I always vow post-vacation, I’ll get back into the swing of things and plan delicious, nutritious meals. I’ll also jump back onto the workout horse.

That reminds me, though…

Being on vacation and being away from the gym does not equate with being sedentary in my book. Between running back and forth from the house to the dock (uphill, both ways, in the snow), swimming, canoeing, tubing, swinging, paddling, and numerous intense games of volleyball, I certainly don’t feel that I lacked for heart-pounding, BP-elevating action!

In other, completely unrelated news, one of my favorite parts of vacation with my family is that TV is hardly a thought. Unless the weather is so bad that playing outside is not an option (or the Orioles are playing ;-)), the remote collects dust. And that’s the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it.

Well, there you have it folks. The reason for my hiatus: fun, sun, family, friends, celebration, and relaxation. After a trip to OBX, two summer classes, my sister’s 21st birthday party, a week of refresher training for my summer job, and a trip to SML, my summer may finally settle into a regular routine. Well, except for nursery duty at Vacation Bible School next week…

Also, I said I had news regarding the half-marathon my tubing buddy Lauren and I are running, and I do! Stay tuned! 🙂

Mini Cheesecakes and a Mega Weekend

Standard

I never meant to wait this long between posts. We got Internet back five days ago, but the past few days have been a very, very busy blur. Please pardon my extra-long post in advance…

Friday was Ian’s birthday, as well as the end of his first year of medical school, as well as the day my sister and her boyfriend flew in from a week visiting his grandparents in Florida. In addition to helping Ruth whip the house into tip-top shape for the weekend, we ran approximately 3.7 million errands. Friday afternoon, Ian and I drove all the way down to Once Upon a Vine downtown for a specially created four-pack of craft beers, Ian’s choice. I knew I could’ve picked out 4 beers for him to try and he would’ve probably loved them, but his favorite part of Once Upon a Vine is the experience 😉

Friday evening, Ruth and Ian and I met Mike, Caroline and Rob (the boyfriend) at Kobe in downtown Richmond for the most delicious hibachi I’ve ever tasted. (Granted, the only other time I’ve ever eaten hibachi-style Japanese food was on a field trip in Kindergarten.)

IMG_0188[1]

IMG_0189[1]

IMG_0195[1]

For his birthday “party” and end-of-M1 celebration, Ian chose to sit around the fire pit at my parents’ house with a few friends and sip his $4-apiece craft beers. Hey, that’s easy. I’m down!

IMG_0202[1]

Saturday was all work and all play! My family hosted an engagement party for a friend I have literally known all my life, whom our mothers refer to as each other’s “first friend,” and his lovely fiancée. I love an excuse to experiment in the kitchen. Culinary whiz that I am I somehow managed to create a spicy cheese ring accented by strawberry jelly and toasted pecans; fudgy brownies with a secret ingredient (sour cream!); chopped, sliced and diced veggie and fruit trays; and miniature cheesecakes with impromptu garnishes. (By strawberry leaves* I mean the cut-off top of each strawberry, carefully removed so that each ring of leaves is still in an intact circle.) Here is the recipe I used:

Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 3 hours, 20 minutes (including refrigerating)
Makes 18 servings

What You’ll Need
1 C graham cracker crumbs
3/4 C + 2 tbsp sugar, divided
4 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 C Cool Whip
1 C blueberries
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 C diced strawberries + strawberry leaves*
handful mini chocolate chips

What You’ll Do
– Preheat oven to 325°.
– Mix graham cracker crumbs, 2 tbsp sugar and butter until blended; press onto bottoms of 18 paper-lined muffin pan cups.
– Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crusts.
– Bake 25-30 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 2 hours.
– Top cheesecakes with a dollop of Cool Whip.
– Garnish half of cheesecakes with diced strawberries, strawberry leaf, and chocolate chip. Garnish other half with blueberries and lemon zest.

IMG_0208[1]

They sure as heck were delicious, but I never promised they’d be healthy! While cooking, I refrained from BLTs (bites, licks, and tastes).

My mom truly is an incredible cook, and she created this lavish spread for Scott’s and Chelsea’s guests. At this point, I didn’t refrain from sampling anything 😉

IMG_0204[1]

IMG_0205[1]

IMG_0206[1]

Sunday morning, Ian, Caroline, Rob and I were up early to head to King’s Dominion. The high for the day was supposed to be in the low 80s and there was a 40-50% chance of rain all day, but we decided to take our chances. The park was open 10:30-8:00, the public schools weren’t out for the summer yet, it was an overcast day, the water park wasn’t open yet, and it was a Sunday. With the odds stacked in our favor, we set out at 8:45.

We arrived well before the park opened, parked so close to the gates it was almost ridiculous, and blazed through security. In exchange for a 30-minute wait by the Eiffel Tower, we were able to ride in the front row of every coaster with a maximum of a 15-minute wait for any given ride. I think we rode the Volcano twice, Outer Limits once, Intimidator 305 twice, Backlot Stunt Coaster three times, the Ricochet once, the Avalanche once, the Dominator three times,

IMG_0220[1]

and even a few smaller rides, like the Triple Spin and the Flying Eagle — all in just 6 hours. With so few people in the park, the lines were ridiculously short. Even though I was sweating like a crackhead because of the humidity, I cannot emphasize enough how perfectly we planned our trip yesterday. For four adrenaline junkies, we rode coasters until we literally couldn’t ride them anymore.

IMG_0221[1]

And today, I finally got to sleep in, and I finally got a chance to blog. This weekend was a surreal blur, but it was completely perfect. And with that, I’m off to help prepare chicken fajitas and margs!

What were you up to over the weekend?!

Susan G. Komen 5k ‘13 Race Recap + Weekend

Standard

Well, blends, nothing too exciting has been going on over here with the Lew Crew. We still do not have Internet; I am penning this post on Saturday afternoon, which marks our eighth day sans Web. I apologize for my prolonged blogging absence – because I’m just sure you’ve missed me terribly – but there hasn’t been much I could do. It’s been weird being able to access social media via my iPhone but not being able to blog. I’m sure some of my more tech-savvy counterparts would find a way, but I’m just not that hardcore 😉 I’m not sure when this will be published, but I wanted to write about a few subjects today.

No. 1: The First Week Home

Whenever I come home (Richmond, VA) for an extended stay, the first week home is always the most difficult “adjusting” week. By this I mean, there are many, many opportunities for me to make healthy choices… and I almost never do. Sweet Frog? Sure! Chick-Fil-A salad? Haven’t had one in awhile. Late-night Taco Bell on a whim? It is hard to resist those DLTs…

Truly needless to say, I haven’t made choices I’m proud of this week. My sister Caroline and I went to the gym both Monday and Tuesday and I ran about 6 miles total, but Wednesday and Thursday were flops. Caroline’s boyfriend Rob is visiting, and we’ve more than taken advantage of his presence as an excuse not to get out and move. I can’t and won’t deny that I am soaking up every minute of lazy relaxation before my summer gets can’t-stop-for-one-minute hectic, but I don’t feel good about myself when I look back on this week. (Two cups of coffee a morning, real Coke, French fries, Woodchuck, and cupcakes don’t exactly make an aspiring half-marathoner feel like a rock star.)

Of course, Friday I had planned to rest, so rest I did. I got up early, did some stuff around the house, sipped coffee and discussed wedding biz with Mama Lew, and caught up on a few episodes of The Office and Parks & Rec. Friday night was my dad’s final team party with the high school golf team he coaches, so we all went to support him. This party was at least the fourth one I’ve attended, and I love to hear the stories Coach tells about his golfers and the awards he presents. The food ain’t half bad, either 😉 Of course, there was the obligatory froyo trip afterward – contributing nothing but guilt to my week-long binge of crap.

Allow me to insert here that I made some healthy choices this week. I did run two days in preparation for the 5k and in the spirit of training for the half. I also ate breakfasts consisting of whole-grain cereal, Chobani, and fresh fruit. The dinners we ate at home consisted mostly of vegetables and lean meats, including a variation on quinoa bowls one night!

IMG_0087[1]

[Shredded lettuce bed, parmesan couscous, black beans, steamed corn cut off the cob, sauteed green pepper and yellow onion, Jack’s Special Salsa, and fat-free sour cream]

In general, though, next week needs to look (and feel) a helluva lot better. Which brings me to…

No. 2: Race Recap

Saturday morning was in the low 70s and partly cloudy here in RVA. Perfect running weather, if you ask me. I was up and at ‘em at the ungodly hour of 7:00, but eight solid hours of shut-eye didn’t hurt. I was too excited to hydrate much, but I downed a Chobani, a bowl of Banana Nut Cheerios, and a few sips of coffee before our half-asleep troupe spilled out the door.

We got downtown and found parking a bit later than we would have liked, but there was still plenty of time to use those oh-so-fresh-and-clean “restrooms,” stretch, and find a place toward the front of the pack.

My dad’s and my goal was to complete the race in 34 minutes or under. Our goals have almost always been 35 minutes for 5ks, so I decided we needed to challenge ourselves a bit more.

We started off strong, barreling downhill, weaving around women with strollers and walkers who had decided to start in the first few waves. The first mile passed before I even knew what was happening in just 10:15 – our fastest mile time to date!

The second mile felt as if it dragged on for centuries. As my sister put it, I “wear the watch in this relationship” (i.e. I keep the time, and Dad is happy with knowing or not knowing). This was where I began to feel the full brunt of those French fries, the lack of water, and the heaviness of the food I had been consuming. I had a small stitch in one side as we crossed some uphill sections, but nothing that required stopping (read: I absolutely wanted to stop, but I refused to let myself). Just past the 2-mile marker, I finally conceded to taking a drink, but I didn’t stop running.

The third mile breezed by even more quickly than the first. I knew we needed to haul ass on an uphill stretch, then book it down a steep section, round the final corner, and sprint to the finish. When I saw that we had just 4 minutes left to complete our goal but I could not see the steep downhill segment, I wasn’t sure we would make it. Then, we began descending, and I felt almost as if my body and my rubber-legs were propelling themselves.

As we rounded the final corner, I said to Dad, “We have 30 seconds. We can do this. We can DO this!”

And do it, we did. We kicked it into high gear, full-tilt sprinting past my mom, who was snapping pictures on my iPhone as fast as she could.

IMG_0128[1]

IMG_0129[1]

IMG_0130[1]

The finish line was in sight and no one was blocking my way as I pulled away from Dad. I crossed in 34:12 and he in 34:15, just shy of our goal. The victory was sweet finishing that closely to our goal, but not as sweet as if we had crossed the finish line together. He did not care that I pulled away and finished ahead of him, but there is something so much more rewarding to me about finishing with my running buddy.

We collected our pink medals and bottles of water and sat down in some shaded grass to stretch out and to rest. After a few minutes, we joined mom about 50 yards from the finish line to watch Caroline and Rob finish. She, too, pulled away, and they ran across the finish line one-and-two. Great sisters run alike, I suppose 😉

Rob and Caroline 5k

After we hydrated thoroughly and took too many smiley pictures displaying our medals,

IMG_0140[1]

IMG_0146[1]

we walked to a local favorite, Third Street Diner, for brunch.

 It’s always strange to me to have accomplished so much and be ready for another meal by 10 a.m. on race days. I was too hungry to snap pictures, but I chowed down on a tri-veggie omelette, an English muffin, fried apples, and OJ.

Well, I guess it’s about time I wrapped this up and ran a few errands. Hopefully we’ll talk soon, blends! Thanks for stickin’ around Sarcasm while I’ve been away!

Busy, Busy, Busy

Standard

Good morning, blends!

I’m penning this post on Tuesday morning, though I’m not sure when I’ll be able to publish it. We have not had Internet since Friday afternoon, hence my accidental hiatus from Sarcasm. But let me back up a bit…

On Thursday, I took my two final exams(!); afterward, a bunch of my classmates and I went out for margs and bottomless chips and salsa. I was so excited to come home, I could barely sleep. In fact, I woke up at 7:00 Friday morning, already packed and rarin’ to go.

Friday evening, Ian, my sister Caroline, and I went out to dinner at one of my all-time favorites to celebrate: P.F. Chang’s China Bistro!

DSCN0275

Probably no one out there is totally Chang’s-obsessed like I am, but I have literally dreamt about the Ma Po Tofu, the spring rolls, and the lettuce wraps.

Then, we celebrated a little more. A few of my favorite ladies from college came over to Ian’s apartment, toting Bitch Bubbly and PBR.

IMG_0076[1]

I downed more moscato than I care to admit; if it’s in the name of celebrating the end of one’s second year of grad school, it doesn’t count, right? 😉

Saturday we slept in until the very great hour of 9:00 (ha!) before heading to my house to help my parents put the finishing touches on their Kentucky Derby party. This was one of my dad’s Bucket List items, complete with an electronic spreadsheet betting system, enormous hats, and tables laden with fancy finger food.

DSCN0289

DSCN0292

DSCN0283

I placed $1 bets on Overanalyze (true to my nature) and Orb (not just saying that because he won!), respectively, and won $16.40! By the start of the race I believe there was over $220 in the pot. The big winner was one of my neighbors, who won $82 on Orb. I’m not a gambler, typically, but I could easily see how this behavior becomes addictive…

It was early to bed for all of us after a long but exciting weekend.

Sunday, it was cool and breezy downright freezing here in Richmond, but we decided to hit Arts in the Park at Dogwood Dell anyway, and we dragged Ian along. I always enjoy seeing all the different vendors’ wares, like homemade soaps and candles, handspun pottery, local artists’ tapestries, and jewelry made from natural Virginia materials.

We ate an early snacky dinner from leftover picnic and party food, and crashed in front of Myrtle Manor. Have you seen that show?!

Yesterday, we had a bit of a incredibly lazy slow start, but we (my mom, my sister and I) finally made it to the gym. I had planned to run a light 5k in preparation for the Susan Komen 5k on Saturday, but I started cramping so badly around one mile that I only made it through two. Perhaps a do-over is in order.

Well, blends, I guess that’s what I’m off to do. Hopefully you’ll be reading this soon. Ta ta!