October 21, 2013

Once in a Blue Moon

Once in a blue moon, this homebody goes out on the town. And last week, it was to see the founder of Blue Moon at Crystal Bridges Museum's Oktoberfest. Since we moved this summer, Trea and I have spent literally all of our free time working on the house, and it was so nice to have a date night that did not include sitting on the couch watching TV.

The Great Hall was beautiful, with tables decorated with pumpkin vines and Blue Moon bottles, and we eagerly dug into our roasted pumpkin -- filled with gruyere and bacon -- as soon as we arrived.

We tasted several different brews, and some of them were pretty strange. My favorite, of course, was the original Belgian White Blue Moon, and I did not care at all for the beer-wine hybrids that the company is trying to market. Wheat ale and merlot, anyone? NO.

After a glass of champagne and tasting 6 different beers, we were treated to something truly unique -- a beer float. Delicious vanilla bean ice cream topped with Blue Moon's seasonal Gingerbread beer, which will be out this winter. It was amazing. They gave us tiny little mini-floats, and I could've had about a dozen of them. 

We followed up with dinner at Table Mesa {dinner while sitting in a restaurant! Not takeout on the couch!} where I had a chicken curry burrito that I'm still having dreams about.

And after all that beer tasting and indulgence, you guessed it... I have lots of running to do.

October 2, 2013

When you smell doughnuts, turn around

It's hard to believe, but it's been two years since I trained for my first marathon. TWO. And I've barely done a thing since. In 2011, when I was getting ready for my 26.2 debut, I did most long training runs with a group. And our sunrise meeting spot was almost always Krispy Kreme.

It was a treat to get to run there because most of my shorter training runs happened either near my house or near work. But on the weekends, we would gather at Krispy Kreme and run routes that were not as familiar, and of course, at the beginning and end we were tempted by that glorious doughnut smell.

Well, now that I'm starting over with running and we live in a new place, the running paths that go by Krispy Kreme are practically in my backyard. After we moved this summer and I tried to start running again, I just stayed on our neighborhood streets. Half a mile, a full mile, that was far enough for me. But now I'm going a little farther...2 miles on week days and 3-mile "long" runs on the weekends.

The view on my run last weekend

I run a lap around our neighborhood and then I leave our streets and hop on the running/bike paths that wind through our city -- leading me toward Krispy Kreme. Every weekend, I go farther and farther down the path before I have to turn around and head home. This past weekend, I made it far enough that I could distinctly smell doughnuts before I had to turn back. Stopping and going the other way when one smells doughnuts is probably just a good policy in general, but for me, running on that path and smelling that smell made me think of my friends, of marathon training, and of that amazing sense of accomplishment when you run farther than you ever thought you could.

Marathon training is well out my my reach right now, but I'll be happy when I'm strong enough to run past Krispy Kreme and keep going down the trail a bit farther. For now, it's a good landmark for where I've been and where I know I can go.

September 25, 2013

Birthday Bash

September is Trea's birthday month, and this year I celebrated by making him run a 5K with no training. He loved it. {That was sarcasm.}

Bentonville had a Birthday Bash 5K the week of his birthday, and it seemed like the perfect race -- celebrating the one-year birthday/anniversary of Wishing Springs Trail, which is where we used to run before we moved.

Who wouldn't want a birthday cake race shirt the week of their birthday -- followed by birthday cake flavored snow cones at the finish line?

We got up painfully early for a Saturday, discussed staying in bed, whined about how we weren't prepared, almost flaked out, and then pinned on our race bibs and faced the music. At this point, I hadn't run more than 2 miles since the Bentonville Half 5K, and Trea hadn't run a step in about a month.

The race was point-to-point and started in our old stomping grounds, just a few miles from our old house. It was nice to go back to where I've spent most of my time running and where we first started.

The first mile went pretty well; we were keeping a slow, steady pace with a goal only to finish. Then the wheels fell off, just as we expected. I felt pretty good and could have probably jogged slowly the whole way, but poor Trea hadn't run in forever, was still barely awake and had forgotten to take his allergy meds in our haste to leave the house. He was miserable, so we took a few walk breaks along the way. The last mile was the worst, as with most races, but he stayed in good spirits the whole time and we finally, finally made it to the finish line. It was nowhere near our best time, but it wasn't my slowest either.

We were greeted at the finish by a snow cone truck passing out free birthday cake flavored snow cones, and I must say, I don't know why all races don't do this. After trudging along the trail with not much shade, we were so grateful for an icy treat.

It was humbling how beaten up we felt by only 3.1 miles, and I think we were the first ones on the shuttle to head back to the starting line and our car. {Thank goodness we were first. I hope they burned those seats after hauling all those sweaty runners around. GROSS.}

Afterward, we could barely move for the rest of the day and groaned with every step. We are embarrassingly out of shape but we're getting better! I've talked Trea into going to the gym with me a few times, and I'm back to running three times a week now, slowly building up my mileage.

I have another 5K on the calendar for the end of October (my first costume run!), and my only goal is to finish each race better than the last. I'm getting there.

August 26, 2013

Starting Now

Things are going to be different. Starting now, I won't ignore my beeping calendar reminding me to run. I won't have half a pizza because eating garbage is easier than spending an hour in the kitchen. I won't sign up for a race and then not start and blame it on the weather, knowing deep down that if I'm honest with myself, I'm not racing because I'm completely unprepared.

Starting now, I'm reclaiming my health and my strength. Now is the perfect time. We're all settled in our new abode, and my neighborhood couldn't be more perfect. There's no more driving to a trail or to town so I can run safely. There's only miles of sidewalks waiting to greet my feet.

Starting now, there are no more excuses.

This blog has been quiet because I haven't been running. But I don't have a reason not to run anymore. Lots of people are busier than I am, and they're training for an Ironman. So I think I can run for 20 minutes. I won't continue being quiet about it, avoiding accountability, avoiding failure. Starting now, I'm setting a goal, and I'm going to achieve it.

July 14, 2013

Moving On

Trea and I left our little house in the woods last week. We're still in the same area, but we moved to town, near restaurants and shopping and bike trails, to a neighborhood where I can finally walk out the front door and run on safe roads with sidewalks. We're in our dream house, where we never actually believed we would be. 

This is what we wanted, and yet, I'm nostalgic for our first house. 

Just after we moved in, 2007.

It's where Trea proposed before we even had a key to the front door. 

And after our wedding, it's where I hung the necklace I wore and where it stayed for 5 years, making me smile every time I saw it.

It's where we brought home baby Bella.

Where we made things beautiful.

Where we learned new things.

It's where we found ourselves.

We have so many memories in that house. It's the only place we've ever lived, so it feels like our entire history is there. 

We shed so many tears leaving this place, but I think we made the right decision. The new house holds lots of possibilities, and I'm so excited to go for a run in our new neighborhood as soon as I recover from all the unpacking. 

But a little piece of me will always miss our house in the woods. It was exactly what we needed when we needed it -- the perfect place for our beginning.

May 31, 2013

Being quiet

Where have I been for over a month? I've been being quiet. (Well, first I went to Puerto Rico, and then I was quiet.) I've loved writing in this space, but lately, I just haven't had a clear direction in my life. So I've been quiet while I try to figure out what's next. Lately, life has gotten the best of me.

Every day is busy. Every evening is packed with my to-do list that never ends. Every moment is filled. Every second is noise. There's no time to do the things I love. I'm barely running, barely reading, barely speaking to friends and family. Last week, I decided to stop and get away, even if for only an hour.

On a gorgeous sunny day, I left work to grab lunch, intending to drive thru Chick-Fil-A like I always do, and rush back to my desk to keep working. And then I changed my mind. I saw the drive-thru line madness, thought of the intercom that never understands me, and I took myself out to lunch at a little cafe on our downtown square. Table for one, please.

I felt the breeze. I soaked up the sun. I was quiet.

And when lunch was over, I still wasn't ready to leave my solitude. Working out lately has been sporadic and half-hearted. I certainly can't call it training, even though I have a race this weekend (and no, I don't want to talk about it). So I decided to use my quiet time to move my feet. I was in business clothes, so I didn't run. Instead, I left my car on the square and walked about a mile or so back to the office. Down my favorite street in the world. Through someone's sprinkler.

I got back to my desk a little damp and with a smile on my face. And after work, I did it all again to retrieve my car. There are a lot of days when I drive straight to work, sit at my desk for hours, and drive straight home and sit on the couch. But not this day.

I'm determined to have more days like this. Even if I only spend 30 minutes, and whether it's walking or running or riding my bike, I will spend more time being quiet. Then I'll figure out what's next and find my voice again.


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