December 29, 2011

2011 Year in Review

Another New Year is upon us and as I did last year, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on the past year in preparation for looking forward to the next year.

2011 was a great year. There were, as always, ups and downs, but for the most part, I was really lucky to have such a great year.

So without further ado, here are my Best of 2011 Moments.

*Starting off the New Year in Florida with The Pilot in January*

*Going sub-2 at the New York City Half Marathon in March*

*Boston Marathon weekend*

*Finishing the spring semester and spending another 3 weeks in Florida with The Pilot in May*
*Taking off on my round-the-world adventure trip to The Netherlands, Bosnia, Serbia, Italy and India*

*Coming Home*
*The Pilot moving back*
*PR-ing the Half Marathon and Marathon distance in October*
*PR-ing yet again at the Philadelphia Half-Marathon*

*Anniversary Weekend in Maine*

Looking back, it really was an exciting year. I made a lot of new friends and I think I accomplished a lot. 2012 will bring with it thesis writing, more world adventures, graduation, and job searching...perhaps the most daunting task of the coming year. It will also bring marathons, half-marathons and more PRs (hopefully!), crossing things off The List, living life to its absolute fullest and turning 25!

My New Year's Resolutions are simple: to (1) run strong, happy and injury-free (2) get a job upon graduating (3) move out of New York City (3) be spontaneous (as if I didn't do that enough already) (4) try new things (5) live happy.

Life is too short to be anything but happy. 

How did your year shape up?
Are you making resolutions for the New Year?

December 27, 2011

So this is Christmas

I think I was on the "Nice List" this year.

Surprisingly, I had a pretty great Christmas.

I had to work up until Friday afternoon and luckily, my mom lives just a short train ride away from the city in New Jersey, so I was out of work and home in less than 2 hours on Friday. My mom and I popped open some wine coolers and had lunch before I got dressed and headed over to The Pilot's house for Christmas with his family.

We had organized a Secret Santa between the six of us (The Pilot, his brother, sister and each of their significant others.We drew names at Thanksgiving and arranged it so that none of us could get ourselves or our significant others. It ended up being pretty funny because we got his brother and his wife, they got his sister and her boyfriend, who in turn got The Pilot and me. So all of the couples ended up with each other. I got an awesome new Nike running shirt from his sister and his mom bought me the most beautiful coat that I've been eying for months. Best part? She had no idea.

My new coat!
The Pilot had an early trip out on Saturday morning so he missed Christmas with my family. We celebrated Noche Buena with roast pork, rice and beans, mashed yuca, guayaba pasteles and rum punch. And because roast pork only comes once a year, this vegetarian of 5 years digged in and had a little bit of the Christmas pig. After dinner, we opened presents.

I was really excited about the presents I got my nieces. Let me tell you, Christmas is way more fun when there are little kids around. They loved their presents and I actually enjoyed Christmas this year because of them.

After everyone left, my mom and I decided to go to Midnight Mass. It was...ok. I used to love going to church but ever since the Catholic church decided to completely change everything about Mass, I'm finding it a lot harder to enjoy Mass.

Anyway, Christmas morning, I woke up and opened presents from "Santa" with my mom. We drank mimosas and ate cinnamon rolls...always a holiday tradition at my house. My mom is amazing and got me the best presents, including, a gorgeous Coach bag so that I have a nice, professional looking purse when I start interviewing for jobs this spring.

After we opened presents, I went for a quick run and headed to the airport to board a flight for Nashville!

My handsome Pilot and I
This wasn't really an oops, but kind of! The Pilot had to work Christmas and I didn't want him to have to spend Christmas alone so I met him at the airport and hopped on his flight to Nashville so that we could spend Christmas together. I had made us reservations at the Gaylord Opryland for dinner and we had so much fun exploring the hotel and then ate the most incredible dinner either of us had ever had.

Christmas Decorations outside the Gaylord
When we got back from dinner, The Pilot and I exchanged gifts. He got me some fantastic Lululemon winter running gear and I got him the new Kindle Fire. I was so excited to see how surprised he was with his gift. It totally made my Christmas. After exchanging gifts, we passed out and woke up at 4:30 the next morning so that he could continue his trip and I could make the trek back to Newark. I spent the day with my mom lounging around watching movies and then he came over and set up his new Kindle Fire. Mom and I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" which I can now cross off The Movie List and I absolutely loved it.

Yesterday, I went to the movies with my sister and her two girls and The Pilot and I spent the day at the movies

Today, I'm back at work. It's absurdly quiet at my office today which I'm thrilled about. I'm here until tomorrow and them I'm off again for New Year's weekend. I'm trying to follow The Pilot on another trip this weekend to go spend some time in Chicago with him and my two favorite newlyweds. We'll see where the rest of the weekend takes me! Then, it's time to bring 2012 into full swing with training for the Madrid Marathon, writing my thesis and planning my world adventures for the New Year!

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and I hope Santa was good to you.
How did you spend the holiday?

December 21, 2011

Oops...I went to Minneapolis!

Hello and welcome to another edition of "Oops, I spontaneously traveled somewhere."

Confession: My last few "Oops" posts weren't really "Oops." Well, not all of them. when I went to Texas in August, that was a total oops...especially since I had taken a vow against traveling for at least 2 months. My 2nd Oops trip to Texas wasn't an oops at all...I just hadn't told y'all about it. Maine? Wasn't really an oops although we had decided to take the trip less than 48 hours before takeoff.

This? Was definitely an Oops.

Let's back track to Monday. I had been anxiously awaiting news for almost a week that still hadn't come. When the news finally came, it wasn't good news at all. Something I really wasn't expecting. I was devastated. I spent the next few hours in tears questioning a lot of things about the next few months. At 2:00, I was still in my pajamas and still hadn't eaten breakfast.

The Pilot texted me around 6:30 from Jacksonville and said that he was about to fly to Newark and then to Minneapolis. I said, Hey! You're coming to Newark? I want to see you. I knew he would probably be in Newark for all of 20 minutes so this was very much a joke. But he turned around and said, "Do you want to come? The flights to MPS and back are wide open."

There was one small issue. I had to work on Tuesday. I texted my boss and said...Hey, if I stay late Wednesday and Friday, can I take tomorrow off? Her reply? Yes, you deserve it. Go do something fun. 

15 minutes later I was dressed, packed and on my way to the airport.

By 9:00, I was standing in the cockpit flirting with the pilot...The pilot.15 minutes later, I was sitting in my seat and my very own boyfriend came over the loudspeaker and said, "We're number 3 for takeoff." This was the first time I've ever flown with him commercially and it was the most exciting thing ever.

So I went to Minneapolis. We landed around 1am and checked into the very...very nice crew hotel. The hotel was right downtown and our room was super nice. Since it was late, we went straight to bed, woke up the next morning and started our adventure!

First up? The Mall of America! We found the Light Rail quite easily and hopped on it to the MOA. Holy goodness, y'all. I don't know if any of you have ever been to the Mall of America but it is insane! Wikipedia says that 7 Yankee Stadiums can fit inside the, I don't believe that for a second but wow. This place was huge. They have an aquarium, a bowling alley and a theme park inside. 

An Ugly Christmas Sweater store...for all your Ugly Christmas sweater needs
I LOVE The Pilot for spending so much time in this store with me...reliving all of my childhood.
At Nickelodeon Universe...I have a major crush on Pablo from The Backyardigans.
A wedding chapel...I'm not kidding.
See what I mean? They have everything.

After spending the day shopping, we made our way out to Target Field because well, if you don't recall Minneapolis has a baseball team! Unfortunately, the Twins ballpark only does tours through November so we couldn't actually check it out but we roamed around, took some pictures and stopped in the Team Store so that I could pick up my pin (which I collect from every ball park I visit). I'm gonna go and say that yes, I have been to Target Field but I 'm not going to write up a "Ballpark #16" recap because it wouldn't be fair to judge the Twins on looking at their stadium from the outside. So, come back during baseball season for that because I loved the Minne-Apple (such a cute name!) and will definitely be back.

MLB's newest ball park...well until the season starts up again.
The Golden Glove!
We had a little bit of time to spare before we needed to be back to the hotel so naturally, we went to Target Headquarters. Meh, I wasn't that impressed to be honest. I've seen nicer Targets. Although we did accidentally walk in through the corporate section and the corporate office has its own personal Target store...and THAT looked nice.

After Target, we went back to the hotel so The Pilot could put on his fancy uniform and we could head back to the airport. A few hours later, I was nestled all snug in my bed recapping my amazing super spontaneous trip to Minneapolis in my head...and had completely put the bad news from the day before behind me.

So tell me: Have you ever been to Minneapolis? Did you go to the Mall of America? What's the most spontaneous thing you've done lately?

December 13, 2011

Apartment Tour!

It's been 4 months since I moved into my apartment and I've been holding off on posting a virtual tour of my place until I was 100% happy with it.

Well, 4 months later I've realized I don't quite have the budget to be 100% happy with it, so today, I'm welcoming you into my humble little apartment so you can get a taste of what my life looks like.

I love my apartment. I got so lucky when I was offered a position within the university that pays for my housing because let's face it, make fun of Jimmy McMillan all you want but the rent is too damn high and one of the biggest reasons why I want to leave New York so badly. It's disgusting how much it costs to live in New York. Remember my apartment last year?

I paid $1000 a month not including utilities to live in that space. It was a 5 floor walk up. It was 11x7. I had no closet. I had 3 roommates, one of whom had a live-in boyfriend. I had no space and no privacy and I was miserable. I have friends who pay less than that on the mortgages of their 3 bedroom houses. 

So the fact that I don't pay rent makes me one less angry New Yorker. And my space? Pretty nice if you ask me.

The Living Room
This is the living room. When you walk into the apartment, you walk right into the living room. It's a living/dining space which is pretty comfortable. Yes, my TV is tiny. The Pilot complains about it all the time. As you can see, my pictures all shattered and fell and I haven't gotten around to replacing them yet. I really like my living room, the only thing missing is a nice, comfy rug!

This picture makes me miss London every day. 
As you can see out the window, my view is of the Courtyard of our building and the opposite end of the building. I love not having a front facing apartment, I don't know why everyone goes nuts over front facing apartments...they're so loud!

This is my "bar." Fancy right?
The Bathroom
When you walk into the apartment, you walk into the living room and the bathroom and kitchen are on the left and right, respectively. 

Not much to talk about here. 

The Kitchen
This is my kitchen. Sad to say, it's actually huge compared to what I had in Boston. No complaints about it though. I wish my sink was a little bigger and I would like some more counter space but hey, it does the job.

The Bedroom
I love my bedroom. It's very cozy. It has a huge window the same size as the one in the living room so there's a lot of natural light. The overhead lights aren't the brightest and unfortunately, I can't change that. So I need to get another lamp or two to light up my desk space some more but I love coming home and sitting on my bedroom couch to read or at my computer to blog (I never do homework in my room) or to just lay in bed and veg out.

I desperately need something over this wall. I'm thinking my "Where I've Been" map when I finish it!
The Closet
And this is my closet. It's nice, big and spacious and has a light. Unfortunately I don't have a lot to put in it. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I hate my wardrobe and desperately need a new one.

So that's my apartment! Let me know what you think!

December 7, 2011

2012 Race Plans

With 2012 quickly approaching, it seems that race plans for the next several months to year have already been finalized by many people in the blogging/running community.

Today is December 7. I'm not planning my next race until February 25. That is 79 days away. I'm very excited about this.

I'm raced out. I hate the fact that I raced this year because I had to. Of the 9 races I ran to gain guaranteed entry into the New York City Marathon, there were only 2 that I actually wanted to run...and then 4 other races that I actually wanted to run making a grand total of 13 (and one that was cancelled) races this year which doesn't seem like that many until you factor in the fact that between October 1 and December 2 I ran 3 half-marathons, 1 full marathon, a 5k and a 15k.

Yea. I don't want to do that again.

My goal for 2012 is to slow down. I want to race because I want to race...not because I have to. I want to wake up excited on Race Day, not tired and dreading having to get out of bed because I just did this last week. I'm not trying to get guaranteed entry into the 2013 NYC Marathon, so I'm all set with having to pay to run circles in Central Park for awhile.

So what's on my Race Calendar for 2012? First up:

The Cowtown Half-Marathon - I'll be making my way back to DFW to run in my first Texas race! I've roped (or should I say lasso'd) my 17-year-old sister to run the 5k with me the day before as part of the Cowtown Challenge! I'm a sucker for race bling and if you run any 2 events during race weekend, you get a pretty sweet medal and getting my little sister to run in her first race with me will be that much more awesome. Added bonus, The Cowtown falls perfectly in line with my training for my spring marathon (see below.)

Next up is the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run in DC of course! For those of you who are somewhat new to this blog, you can read about how I didn't run the Cherry Blossom last year here. My fabulous DC friends and I have registered for the lottery as a group so here's to crossing my fingers I get in!

It wouldn't be spring without my annual trip to Boston for the Boston Marathon festivities, complete with a 5k PR and Course PR that I'll be aiming to crush this year with the help of my favorite LL Bean chaperone. I'm trying to convince a certain Pilot to take the trip to Boston with me this year for a weekend full of blogging, running, cowbell waving girls all descending on a city to cheer on one of the greatest marathons in the world.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a big fan of international travel. Having spent my entire summer traveling through Europe and South Asia, I think it's only appropriate that I go international for my third marathon. Enter Spain. After being rejected from the London Marathon lottery (how rude!), I started looking into other international spring marathons and Ally (aka Mrs. Hugh Jackman) and I, tempted by the race discount given to us by Rock 'n' Roll at the Marine Marathon expo, caved and are now planning my 2nd trip to Spain. It'll be my first Rock 'n' Roll race so I'm pretty excited! 

And of course, the whole reason why I ran so many races this year was for the New York City Marathon which I'll be running on November 4. I'd like to run a mid-summer half to keep me in shape between training cycles and I'll probably run an early fall half as part of training for NYC but outside of that, that's it - my 2012 race schedule. 

My 2012 Running/Racing Goals are to stay injury free, strength and cross train at least twice a week, run a sub-4 marathon and a sub 1:50 half-marathon.  I was great about listening to my body this year but next year, I'd like to be better. I'd also like to run a training cycle without black toenails...I think switching out of my Nikes may help with that...I'm also signed up for a triathlon that I deferred from last year. We'll see how that goes though since the idea of riding a bike anywhere on the island of Manhattan terrifies me. 

So that's what I've got planned! What about you? Are you making it a goal to race next year? Whether it's your first 5k or your 11th marathon, let me know what and where you'll be racing!

December 6, 2011

November Recap

So we're 6 days into November and still no recap. Sorry.

I've been avoiding it. November was pretty much the most unproductive month I've had since starting my 25 Before 25 list because well, I was really busy. Let's break the month down week by week shall we?

Week 1: Recovering from Marine Corps Marathon, racing my way through my 3rd 5k.
Week 2: Spontaneous anniversary trip to Maine with The Pilot!

LL Bean is now our favorite store. Ever.
Week 3: Racing my way to a shiny new Half Marathon PR in Philly.

Week 4: Kicking off the Holiday season at home for Thanksgiving.

I had fun this month, that's for sure, I just wasn't all that productive in crossing things off my list. You know what I was productive about though? Reading everything there is to know about the African continent, writing papers about sex trafficking and all things grad school. I always make sarcastic comments about how uplifting my graduate program is but truth be told, I love learning about all of this stuff. I feed off it. You can ask my poor boyfriend how many times we've been out to dinner and I start going off about human rights violations in Sudan and the fact that World Cup soccer brings along with it a huge increase in the sex trade (which is the current topic of the paper I'm writing). I love this stuff. I love sitting down with these issues and striving to find a way to bring about change. I could not have chosen a better topic for my Master's.

And to think, I started college as a THEATER major.

This month, I submitted my thesis proposal. I won't have my Master's by 25, but I'll have it 3 months after I turn 25. I'll take it. I think I'm going to extend my deadline the way health insurance companies extend your health care.

I will have health insurance until completed my list by the end of my 25th year. 

With 3 months to go, there are a few reasons for the extension of my list, namely that grad school takes up an obscene amount of my life and that being gone all summer kept me from doing things like horseback riding, ballpark visiting and movie watching. I'm ok with it though. 

But you know what I did do this month? I:
  • Read the Book of John, the Acts of the Apostles and the Book of Romans. In 25 days time, I'll have read through the entire Bible in one year and crossed another thing off my list. 
  • Submitted my thesis proposal and am well on track to getting my Master's.
  • Made another recipe out of one of my cookbooks...only 10 more to go!
You know what else I did? I had fun. I saw some balloons inflated for the Thanksgiving Day Parade...

...and I saw the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree get lit up...kind of. 

Because you know what? What's the point of life if you can't have fun? This month, I'm going to finish my last semester of coursework for graduate school. I'm going to read a lot of books in my pajamas. I'm going to watch a lot of movies in my pajamas. I'm going to try to enjoy the Holidays for once. I'm going to scrapbook till my eyes fall out. I'm going to bake a lot. I'm going to run when I feel like it. I'm not going to race. And I'm going to welcome in 2012 with open arms. 

How did your November shape up?

December 4, 2011

Hot Chocolate 15k Race Recap

There are three words that I can use to accurately describe this race: clusterf*ck, sh*t show and disaster.

The Hot Chocolate 15k, organized by Ram Racing, should be used from here on after as a model for race organizers everywhere on how not to organize a race.

There were a lot of things that went wrong with this race that were completely out of the hands of the race organizers, but the way they handled every aspect of it was completely unacceptable. 

If you'd like, you can visit the Facebook page here to view the 600+ comments that people have made in response to the race. Or you can grab a cup of hot chocolate that you didn't have to suffer for and continue to read my recap. 

Before I go into detail, there are a few things I'd like to point out:
  1. It's sad that Ghiradelli put their name on such a disaster of an event and I really hope they pull their sponsorship from future Ram Racing events.
  2. While everyone in Social Media is demanding a refund, I can't say that I need one. Despite all of the hiccups, they delivered on producing a timed race and providing unlimited amounts of fondue and hot chocolate afterwards (which were, in fact delicious).
  3. The few volunteers they had were awesome. I can't even imagine what it must have been like to volunteer at a nightmare like that but they were great. 
Now, let's go back to 3 or so months ago when I decided to sign up for this race and @HotChocolate15k was incessantly tweeting me, Christine and Emily about registering. Never one after we registered, did we ever hear from them again including when I tweeted questions such as: Is the race Metro accessible?

When the race was advertised, it was advertised as a" downtown course in The Nation's Capitol." There was no course map but that led me to believe (stupidly) that the course would involve some kind of 9.3 mile through the monuments, Mall, etc. After and only after the course had reached its capacity of 20,000 runners did the Course Map get posted as being in National Harbor...aka in Maryland (I think), not in DC and not Metro accessible. I won't bore you with details of the 500 emails I've gotten over the course of the last month requiring us to register for transportation options and information about parking, shuttles, etc but let's just say they were excessive.

I had planned to stay in a hotel with Emily the night before and Andrea offered to come pick us up. The race had an 8am start time and we agreed on 6:30 as a pick up time to give us 45 minutes to drive the 4.9 miles to the race site. After all, we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time. 

4.9 miles, 13 minutes according to Google Maps
Within 5 minutes of getting in the car, we got slammed into gridlock traffic that was not moving. Apparently, there was an accident which, according to Facebook and Twitter, was false. As the minutes rolled by and we looked around us, we realized that the entire traffic jam was runners with very worried looks on their faces and none of us knew what was happening. So, we turned to Social Media. 

Well, considering we still had 2 miles to go and weren't moving, that didn't help. Then they posted this:

Right. We finally got off the bridge around 9:15 or so and had no idea if the race had started, what was happening, anything. It took us forever to find the parking garage because there were no signs, no volunteers, no anyone. People were walking in all sorts of directions asking everyone what was happening and no one had any update. We finally found a sign that said 'Starting Line Path This Way.' The path was about as wide as 3 people and tons of us were making our way up hill up this narrow, gravel path toward the start. Then, we got to an intersection where a race volunteer was trying to direct the flow of pedestrian traffic through the flow of 5k runners who were already running their race. Yea, we had to go through the 5k to get to the start...which would have happened regardless of whether there was a traffic delay or not since the 5k was scheduled to start 30 minutes before the 15k.

The traffic jam vvia
After making our way the mile up hill to the start, I left Andrea and her friend Kelly to go find my corral since I was seeded into Corral B. I saw the signs for the A and C corrals but there was no B. Then I realized that everyone in the C corral wasn't seeded so I just jumped in. Everyone was standing around waiting for the race to start. There were no announcements, music, nothing and then all of a sudden, people just started running. No gun, no announcement, nothing. They just let 20,000 runners stream through the starting line all at once. So much for corrals. I literally walked the first 3/4 of the race because it was so jam packed there was no way to get around. We made a small out and back and then we merged onto a highway. With live traffic. Yup. The first 4 miles of this race were on a three lane highway with one lane open to traffic. Runners were dodging cars, cones strewn across the road, oh and each other. It was so unbelievable tight, you couldn't move. I actually saw someone get hit by a car. They were fine but it was really scary to see. The high way was 2 miles out and 2 miles back and it was like that the entire time. I started to feel nauseous from breathing in the exhaust fumes and my knee was starting to hurt from running on concrete. I decided...I'm supposed to start training for a marathon in 4 weeks, I'm not doing this, it's not worth it. So I started looking around for someone to stop so I could say, I can't run this race anymore. I didn't see a volunteer on the course until Mile 7. 

When we finally got off the highway, we made our way up hill to the first water stop which had something I've never seen in a race: self serve aid stations! That's right. They had about 3 volunteers and people were literally grabbing water gallons and drinking right out of them because the cups were still stacked in plastic bags. I skipped that one. At this point, I had been running for close to 5 miles and awake for 4 with nothing in my stomach but a granola bar, I was starving. I could have really used some Gatorade but I wasn't about to fight my way through the mob of people trying to pour their own water. For about a mile, the course opened up as we made our way down a long, winding hill before it crowded up again through a narrow path around the National Harbor...not through it, around it. Mile 7 brought another hill that brought us onto a dirt, sandy, gravel path which was kind of difficult to run on and then onto another dirt, sandy, gravel path that was about 6 feet across and opened onto about a 4 1/2 foot drop onto the water. Runners were shoving their way through one another and on more than one occasion, someone teetered dangerously close to that drop. When I finally made my way up the last hill to the Finish Line, I barely crossed the Finish Line because traffic from those who had already finished was so backed up because they were handing out water approximately 3 feet from the Finish Line. From there, we had to walk about a half mile up hill to the Finishers' Festival. 
See that narrow sandy beach? That's where we were running.
I do have to say, the Finishers' Festival was fantastic. They definitely delivered more than enough chocolate fondue with dippings and hot chocolate, a great DJ with fun music and an overall nice ending to a pretty terrible race.

I finished in 1:26:17. I feel pretty 'meh' about my finish time. I couldn't have gone faster if I tried because of the congestion and the fact that I was starving through most of the race didn't really help. The course was actually short. My Garmin read 9.09 miles and I knew something was off when the Finish Lines for both the 5 and 15k were the same but the signs for Mile 3 and Mile 9 were in the same spot.  It's a shame that the race was so terrible. No, Ram Racing couldn't control that there was an accident, however I'm grateful that they held up the race. What I do have a problem with is that from what I read on Facebook, the organizers never let the people who were already at the race know what was going on so they stood outside, lined up for over 2 hours waiting for an update. A lot of people just left. Social media is a gift and a tool, making an announcement on Facebook and Twitter would have been helpful. Instead of simply delaying the race, they should have postponed it to a certain start time and made that information clear so that people waiting around could have gone somewhere warm to wait and people stuck in traffic could have made it. 

These are things they could have controlled. They also could have controlled mapping out a safe course and limiting the amount of participants. This course probably couldn't have handled more than 3,000 without staggered start times never mind 10,000 starting all at the same time. 

Someone posted this on Facebook and it was too good not to share. 
A lot of people are demanding refunds. I'm not. They delivered, badly, but they delivered. They provided a race, gave everyone the opportunity to run that race despite the set back and didn't skimp on the endless amounts of chocolate that were promised. 

Yesterday they announced that an official statement would be coming soon from the race organizers but that hasn't yet happened. I had heard terrible things about the Hot Chocolate Chicago race so this frequent occurrence is a warning for me to stay away from future Ram Racing events. I love the idea of a will-run-for-chocolate type event but this was just poorly organized on all levels from the time I registered through the time I crossed the Finish Line. I'm disappointed but hey, what can you do. It was my first 15k and I learned that I like that distance, I'll definitely tackle it again. I'd probably PR by something like 10 minutes because I'd actually be able to run the race.

Somehow, I stayed surprisingly calm throughout the traffic incident and didn't let the race frustrate me. I think it was because I just didn't really care. I've said it before but I'm so burned out from racing this year that I just didn't let it bother me too much. 13 races is a lot to do in one year and my next race isn't for 3 months which I'm thrilled about. I love racing but I don't want to race nearly this much next year. One thing I do know is that I had a fantastic time with Andrea, Kelly and Emily and a great trip to DC. There were some hiccups involving the race and the reason I was in DC in the first place but you all know how much I love DC and that I look for any and every excuse to get down there and this trip provided me with awesome friends, new and old, an adventurous run and a 2 day trip away from working on my final papers which I need to get back to. 

So tell me: Have you ever run a race this terrible? Do you think Ram Racing could redeem itself from something this disorganized? I'd love to hear from you. 

November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

God has given me so many wonderful things to be thankful for and this weekend brought all of that together.

I'm so blessed.

I spent Thanksgiving morning eating cinnamon rolls and drinking mimosas with my mom and The Pilot.

I spent Thanksgiving dinner with The Pilot at his grandparents' house. We ate appetizers in their sun room with the most beautiful view of the sun setting on the bay.

We went to Target at midnight with my sister and brother-in-law because well, why not?

Friday, I studied and The Pilot and I went to the movies, went for a run, studied some more, watched movies with my mom and then went out for late drinks with The Pilot and one of our friends from high school.

I spent Saturday working on a paper. I went for a run and then went to my aunt's house with The Pilot. We went to Mass together at my old elementary school and then went shopping.

Today, I studied some more and went shopping with my mom. I worked on a paper and caught up on some blogs.

This weekend was perfect. 
I did everything I love with everyone I love.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

November 21, 2011

Recipe: Quick Minestrone Soup

It's getting to be that time of year where the only thing that warms you up from being outside is a nice, big cup of hearty soup.

It's been awhile since I've delved into one of the recipes from my cookbook challenge, so last night, I decided to make a bowl of the Quick Minestrone.

I amended the quantities of the ingredients a bit, so here goes:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp each minced fresh thyme and oregano
  • 1 tsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small eggplant, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 32 oz. V8 Vegetable Juice
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta shells
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Make sure you dice the vegetables into bite size pieces. I chopped mine a little too big so it was kind of awkward eating these big clumps of vegetables in my soup. 

Sauteing veggies!
  1. Put the olive oil, onion, garlic, herbs and spices in a saucepan and sautee until sizzling. 
  2. Add the vegetables and stir until they soften...about 15 minutes.
  3. Pour in the V8 juice. *Use left over for nutrient rich, delicious Bloody Marys*
  4. Add the beans, then the cooked pasta. *Note, I cooked the pasta al dente as it continues to cook in the soup)
  5. Taste, add salt and pepper if needed. If the liquid is low, add some warm water. 
  6. Serve with some crackers or bread and enjoy!

Only 10 more recipes to go!

Love/Don't Love

1. I slept for 13 hours last night. It was glorious. Love.
2. Yesterday, I owned my race. My new running mantra (which I developed somewhere around Mile 9) became "Own your race." I didn't put everything out there but I still finished strong and fast. Now, I have my sights set on a winter Half-Marathon that I can truly own and test my limits and see just how fast these little legs can carry me. Love. 

Woo! Look at me! I PRd!
3. I came home last night to find the picture frames I hung on my wall last week on the floor, shattered to a million pieces. So much for posting photos of my apartment this week. Don't Love.

4. I'm starting to get a tiny bit excited for the know, now that they actually start this week and it's appropriate to do so. Love.
5. The Pilot and I have plans to go see Macy's inflate all of the balloons for the Thanksgiving Day Parade but now it's supposed to rain. I swear I feel like it rains at least twice a week in New York. Don't Love.
6. 3 more weeks! 3 more weeks! 3 more weeks! Love.
7. Those 3 weeks involve a lot of paper writing...which is what I will be doing on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and through the weekend. Goal = write 2 of 3 final papers this weekend. Don't Love.
8. I just found out I don't have to work on Wednesday which means as of 6pm tomorrow I'm free! Love...To go write papers. Don't Love.

It's the start of a short week for everyone!
What are you loving and not loving this week?
Who's doing something exciting for Thanksgiving?

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