Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday Fun

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Brad and I both worked the day before and the day after, so Christmas was a lazy day at home for us. Brad's parents came in a few weeks ago and mine are here this weekend so it's really been more like a Christmas couple of weeks!

Brad got me an awesome medal hanger (Allied Medals) and I'll be posting more about it later.

I was proud of myself because I actually surprised Brad this year. He is really good at shaking presents and figuring out EXACTLY what they are. So this year I brought a huge box home from work and wrapped it with a bunch of junk in it.
Along with all the junk, there was a picture of an exercise bike. I picked one out but he's so picky I figured I'd let him actually do research and choose before I went and got it. Sounds horrible, but trust me, it's really better this way. I actually went and picked up the bike that he chose today... now we just have to put it together!!

I'm thankful that we were off for Christmas and able to spend the day together, but sometimes it just doesn't feel like Christmas without being home. I'm excited to spend time with mom and dad this weekend!
At my work Christmas party a few weeks ago when Brad's parents were here to visit.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!


Brad, Riley, and I slept in then had a big breakfast and opened presents. I ran a 5K on the treadmill for Kiley's virtual race. I was going to take Riley for a walk for the 5K, but he was otherwise occupied!

I didn't really have anything Christmas stuff to dress up with, so I did my best with a green shirt and green sparkly Active Band to match.

I'm off to cuddle with my boys, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 race awards:::: my favorite races, bling, swag, courses, etc.

i LOVE recaps, reviews, year in numbers, etc. i've had this one on my mind for a while, and seeing as how i'm finished with non-virtual races for year, i figured i'd go ahead and do this one!

without further adieu i present to you the 2012 race awards, as judged by me::::

best bling::::
lots of nice bling to choose from. i loved the flying pig medal because it was double sided and there was a pig tail on the back. too cute! i also really liked the clay medal from the cherokee harvest half. it was hand made and you've gotta appreciate that. my least favorite was the xterra harbison half... sticker on a lightweight piece of metal, thin plain white ribbon. yuck. 
but hands down, run the bluegrass was the winner for this category. the ribbon was thick and double sided, i like how it loops through the medal instead of ending with a jump ring like most. i love how the ribbon looked like racing silks so it actually stood for something. the medal was heavy and i love the horse shoe. my fave. 

best swag::::
flying pig half marathon. in addition to women's specific asics tech shirts, we also received duffle bags and posters. 

best course for a pr::::
downhill at dawn. the name is not misleading. the first 3 miles are out and back, so you have about 1.5 miles of slight uphill. from that point you sail down the mountain. SAIL. 

most scenic course::::
this was a hard choice that ultimately ended in a tie between run the bluegrass and RnR savannah.  run the bluegrass is run all around keeneland and horse farms. beautiful farms, horses, fences, i loved it. RnR savannah was another beautiful course that was full of history. this course was changed from 2011 because runners complained that they didn't see the pretty parts of the city. RnR did a great job fixing that problem, i really enjoyed this course. 

honorable mention in this category has to go to the cherokee harvest half marathon. beautiful creeks, streams, woods, lots of nature!

best spectator support::::

flying pig half marathon. if you want people cheering you on the whole way and lots of signs and costumes to distract you, this is the course for you. i have never seen so many people along the way, and this was the first time i truly understood how much spectator support can help you!

best course support::::
i ran a lot of races with adequate course support, but the one that stood out to me for the year was the xterra harbison half. i think anyone who's ever done longer trail race can tell you how important those aid stations are, and this was no exception. a guy jogged out to run me into the station then refilled my camelbak while i had some gatorade. SO HELPFUL and MUCH APPRECIATED!

best shirt::::
this is hard to decide. i've gotta do sub categories.
best short sleeved shirt:::: run the bluegrass [nike drifit, women's specific, great blue color]
best long sleeved shirt:::: three way tie between strawberry plains, downhill at dawn, and cherokee.

best small race::::
cherokee harvest half marathon. they did a wonderful job with this race. great course support, great finish line, raffles, adequate bathrooms, great shirts, great food after the race. 

coolest race experience::::
of course this goes to RnR las vegas. if you're on the fence about this race let me push you over... DO THIS RACE! yes it's expensive and yes it's huge, but IT'S SO WORTH IT. running down las vegas boulevard in the dark, seeing all the costumes, seeing all the lights, AMAZING. 

all the above links will take you straight to the event website for 2013.  click here to go to my race review pages. 

what was your favorite race of 2012?
what award category would you add?

also, check out kiley's Christmas virtual race!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

vacation part 2::: NYC day 2

thursday morning i got up and did 5 solid miles in central park [love].

we got ready and then went to lunch at the shake shack.

the burger and shake were amazing. my favorite burger ever. the fries were just ehhh. brad even said he liked it better than in and out [but he made me add that the 'animal style' on a shake shack burger would be the best ever].

we spent the rest of the afternoon in macy's, bloomingdale's, and some other stores. i loved seeing all the Christmas decor!

we went back and got ready to go see wicked! i was so excited that i finally talked brad into seeing this! last time we were in NYC we went to see the lion king because it was one of the shows brad thought he'd actually be interested in. i'd seen wicked on tour with my mom and LOVED it but brad has always had this aversion to it for many reasons, one of which being, WAIT FOR IT... he's never seen the wizard of oz!! but since this trip was kind of for my big birthday, he let me pick.
it was every bit as wonderful as i remembered and brad even said he liked it better than the lion king! i'm so happy he liked it! after the show we were walking to dinner and i got to meet the actress who played Glinda. she was really nice and signed my playbill! we had dinner at joe allen's then we headed to a bar we found near our hotel that we loved. i could not even tell you the name of it, but we ended up there almost every night we were there. they had tons of beers on tap and brad enjoys trying different ones.

so that was the end of day two! one more day of vacation round up to go!

have you seen the wizard of oz?

Monday, December 17, 2012

30k for my 30th birthday!

i have issues. i love to run races.

earlier this week when i realized i technically had saturday morning free [brad's parents were going to be here, but brad was working saturday morning and i figured i'd be done by the time they got up] i immediately started googling for local races.

i found just what i was looking for... one of our local running stores [foot rx] was having a blackjack 5k. have you all ever done one of these? it was my first, but it definitely won't be my last! here's how it worked:::

  • race day registration only (yay, since i waited so late to sign up i was really thankful that i didn't get charged an arm and a leg!)
  • $10 to sign up (double yay) which goes into a pot
  • when you sign up you get to draw your first card
  • you get a second card at the halfway point
  • when you cross the finish line you can hit and take one more card if you like. 
  • the pot is divided between however many people get 21, or if no one gets it whoever has the highest total without going over.
there were 20 of us running and it was a great time. my first card was a 10 so i was hoping for an ace at the halfway point. i drew a king. when i crossed the finish line (30:07) no one had hit 21 so i stayed. one of the last few people hit 21 so i hit and got another face card. oh well. 

it was a great time and a great way to get my total mileage for the day up to 12 miles (i did 7 on the treadmill before the race, then another 2 outside after the race). 

another good thing that came from me doing the race::::
i had been looking for races that line up with my marathon training plan [aka 'if i'm going to do long runs id rather do some of those miles with the encouragement that the racing environment brings'] and i found the Frosty Foot 30k [also put on by Foot Rx]. unfortunately the 30k was already sold out when i found it. but aaron [owner of Foot Rx] mentioned on saturday that if anyone still wanted in to let him know. i spoke to him after the race and i'm in!!! 

i'm supposed to run 16 that day, so a little more than what i'm scheduled to run. that should be okay, right? my larger concern is that it's a trail race and the elevation profile isn't posted... how do i end up in these situations? funny thing is, i couldn't be more excited!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Vacation Part Two:::: NYC day 1

Tuesday morning we packed up and left Vegas bright and early.
brad was taking full advantage of the the strip's open container policy as long as he could! we arrived in NYC around 7pm. it sucked to lose a day of vacation to travel, but we were together and we weren't working, still a win in my book.

we stayed at the metro apartments, which mostly worked well for us. the studio apartment was tiny, but it had a kitchenette so we were able to make our breakfasts. the biggest problem was more of a problem with travelocity than the hotel. long story short, i made a point to call travelocity to confirm that there was a fitness center on site. we get there and there wasn't a fitness center. i call travelocity and am on the phone for over an hour, without a resolution. greaaaaat.

the first night i honestly can't remember where we grabbed food, but then we caught a late showing of Lincoln.

the next morning we got up and went for a run in central park. i cannot even tell you how much this is my favorite part of visiting NYC. i don't know if it would wear off if you ran there every day, but i can't get over just being in awe of the amazing beauty and tranquility in the middle of such commotion. i also love seeing all the sights that you see in the movies and tv shows. wednesday i ran 3 miles with brad and thursday i did 5 miles on my own.
on wednesday we visited grand central station, rockefeller center and the nyc public library. grand central seemed other worldly to me. i loved it and could have sat in there for a long time. they were having a holiday market too, and a man was playing Christmas carols on his violin. we enjoyed listening to him for a while.

next we ended up and rockefeller center and i spotted magnolia bakery. the line wasn't out the door as usual so i ran inside to get a cupcake. i chose the rockette red velvet. the cake part was delicious but i didn't love the frosting [more marshmallow-y than cream cheesey). rockefeller center looked great all dressed up for Christmas.
the nyc public library was really cool to see in person, and it was decorated inside also.
we had to get back to the room pretty quickly because we had a big date planned. we had tickets to the NYC ballet's performance of the nutcracker at lincoln center.

the dancing portions were amazing, but i had honestly forgotten how boring the first act is. i was pretty bored during the first act, and brad was pretty much asleep! but the second act was a lot better, with more dancing. afterwards we went to dinner at rosa mexicana, which was our favorite restaurant when we visited NYC last year. [quick side note, brad found the biggest lululemon i've ever seen on the way to dinner, SO much product! i found a jacket that i loved and i think i MIGHT be getting it for Christmas... fingers crossed!]
dinner was great, if you're in NYC you should definitely try rosa's. they have chains now, but we ate at the one in atlanta and it just wasn't as good. so we went back to the original one that we had tried before.
more to come on the rest of the week later!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

RnR Las Vegas Half Marathon:::: #10 of 12 in 2012

rock n roll las vegas half marathon, las vegas, nevada
half mary # 11
race# 10 of 12 in 2012
time:  2:12:01
division:  338/1901
gender: 2531/13487

we arrived in vegas on saturday and after going to in and out and checking into our hotel, we headed to the expo. we were staying at new york, new york and the expo was all the way down at the venetian, so we took the monorail. i bought discounted tickets for the monorail on RnR's website. the expo was pretty much the same as the RnR Savannah expo. I quickly grabbed my shirt, bag and bib and we headed out. I usually enjoy the expos but for whatever reason I wasn't really feeling it. Brad's never feeling it so we just got in and out quickly. here's a beautiful, no make-up, been traveling since 5 am picture of me [it's the only one i got at the expo so that's the only reason i'm posting it]. 

race morning evening::::
this is the first race i've ever done that didn't have a morning start and it was so odd. i had no idea what to do/how to eat/etc. the half marathon started at 430 so around 3 i headed to the room to get ready. 

i was a big pink mess! 3 different colors of pink on, oh well! my only regret as far as my outfit was that i wish i'd added something fun. i saw so many lighted headbands, necklaces, and stuff like that and also so many sparkle skirts! i've made up my mind, i'm getting one!

after i got all my stuff together i headed to the start line. i took the shuttle from the MGM Grand to the Mirage (start line). i had a little trouble getting into my corral, i somehow ended up on the side that didn't have any entrances so i had to walk back then up to get in. 

the race::::
what is there to say about this course that hasn't already been said? it was definitely a once in a lifetime thing, running down the las vegas boulevard at night and seeing all the bright lights! i was too busy checking everything out and stopping to take pictures to pay any attention to my pace or mileage. i carried my phone for the first 6 miles or so, just because i knew i'd want to take pictures!

the course was flat and the temperature was perfect. my only complaint weather-wise was the crazy winds! i literally almost tripped over my own foot at one point because a huge gust of wind blew my foot into my leg. there were also several times when i just had to put my head down because dust was flying into my eyes (i wear contacts and if they get too dry they fall out and i'm pretty much blind without them!). 

the course was an out and back, beginning and ending on the strip. one of my favorite parts was that we ran through the old downtown part of las vegas which has a lot of casinos and lights too. i'd never seen that part so i really enjoyed getting to see it. we even ran by the pawn stars store! 

the best part was that there was only about a mile or so in a residential area. all the rest of the course was in an area with so many distractions. the course was FLAT too. would be great for PRs if not for the large crowds. 

compared to the horror stories i read last year, RnR really worked out a lot of the kinks. the marathoners had a separate finishing chute for the last 2-3 miles that we ran alongside them. I completely agreed that this was necessary, however there was no on policing it and most of it was just divided with tape (easy to cross). also i felt like the last two water stations were not staffed as well as the first ones. there was water on the tables, but no where near as many people handing them out. 

my race::::
i went into this race wanting to have fun. this race was on my bucket list and i'd been looking forward to it all year. i wanted to soak up every drop of the experience. i stopped to take a lot of pictures and even waited in line for the official photographers to take this pic:

even doing all that, i finished with my second best time ever [brad actually says it's a PR because he doesn't count my downhill race as a PR]. either way, i'm over the moon. it was such an amazing life/running experience

what i'm wearing::::
nike miler shirt
nike running capris
mizuno wave riders (14s) with sweat pink laces
lululemon headband
road id
iPod nano with yurbuds headphones
iFitness double pouch belt

my recommendations for this race::::
get a monorail pass for after the race if your hotel isn't nearby. no one wants to walk the strip after you've run it!
dress up or do the race with a group of friends!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

vacation part 1::: vegas

last saturday b-rad and i were up early to fly out to vegas. i got some gorgeous pics of the fog/mountains/sun coming up as we were leaving.

we landed in vegas as scheduled around 1 (via atlanta) and took a shuttle to our hotel, new york new york [no we did not plan this, it just worked out that way!].

our room wasn't ready yet so we dropped off our luggage and made another important journey [the most important thing on brad's vegas list].
he'd been talking nonstop of animal style burgers and fries since we booked the flight.

after in and out we went back and checked in. we were pleased with our room, it was smaller than the last room we had in vegas [at the venetian] but the price was great and the rooms were clean and had everything we needed. well, scratch that, i would have loved a fridge, but no dice.

we took the monorail down to the venetian for the expo and packet pick up. [i bought two monorail passes via the RnR website at a discounted rate and they came in handy. i don't mind walking but the strip drives me crazy because you can't just walk. you have to go up and down stairs almost every block].
dinner the first night was okay. we ate at chin chin which was a sushi/chinese type place in our hotel. then we played some blackjack.

on sunday [race day] we got up and ate breakfast at il fornaio [in ny,ny]. it was convenient and really cheap because they were doing a 2 for 1 deal for runners. i had a waffle with strawberries and it was delicious! kind of nice to carb load at breakfast since i never get to. after breakfast we played some craps then went to a sports bar to watch some of the football games. brad stayed there while i went to get ready for the race [full post on that coming later].

after the race i met up with brad and we took the monorail back to the hotel so i could shower and get ready for dinner. we had reservations for julian serrano [in aria].
most of the tapas were great but those meatballs were not. they were apparently made ahead of time and were served after they were reheated, however mine didn't get reheated. yuck. we have an amazing tapas place in asheville though, so i'm pretty partial to it. [if you're ever in asheville you have to try it, it's called curate].
after dinner... yes brad has on a suit and i have on jeans. my only dressy outfits required heels and that was not happening an hour after 13.1 miles.

on day 3 we mostly walked around and looked at the shops.we had a great lunch at max brenner [in the forum shops] and i fell in love. we split a chicken caesar salad and a bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato sandwich [and those fries with the sandwich were the best!]. then for dessert we had this chocolate lava cake with ice cream, berries, and a mini shake. the little tin had warm chocolate sauce in it. sooooo good.

 after lunch brad went to play craps and i went to the atrium in the bellagio. it was decorated beautifully for Christmas.

i can't remember what we did or ate on monday night, so obviously nothing too exciting! we went ahead and packed up because tuesday morning we were flying out to NYC. more to come!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

sock swap reminder and direct TV is killing me

we just got back home and while we had a great time, it sure is good to be home! my OCD flares up though so i'm on a laundry/grocery shopping/put everything up mission. brad isn't really affected by stuff like that so he sat down to catch up on his tv but lo and behold our DirectTV box has crashed... for the second time. 

brad's pretty go with the flow but let me just tell you, do not mess with his tv. i'm mostly upset that the Christmas episode of duck dynasty is gone, but he's taking it to another level. rightly so, for the amount they charge us every month i feel like they should come to our house and serve popcorn when we want to watch a recording. and of course the earliest our schedules line up with theirs is friday. and you get the standard, "when would you like us to come out, between 8-12 or 12-4?" really? i'd like you to not monopolize my whole day when YOUR crappy stuff breaks down. UGH. end rant. but seriously, multiply me by 10 and you're getting a taste of where brad's at. 

onto more fun stuff, we just got back from vacation. we went to las vegas and NYC. sounds really silly but long story short, we had a week off and there was no way i was spending a week in vegas. not happening. so i was playing around looking at flights and it ending up costing $20 each to go to NYC for the rest of the week. don't mind if i do. i've always wanted to see the city around Christmas and it did not disappoint! 

i'll be posting about our trip over this week, sorry to bore you all but i like having the memories on here because i'm too dang lazy to scrapbook like i used to! 

quick reminder::: sign ups for the sock swap close at midnite tonight (saturday). i'll be sending out emails tomorrow telling you who you're shipping to. if you've emailed me you're signed up. (i replied to everyone's request to join so if you haven't heard from me, email me again). 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hello From Las Vegas!

Hey everyone, I hope y'all are having a great week so far! I'm blogging from my phone so please excuse if I have more typos than usual.

I ran the RnR half marathon last night and it was amazing! I'll definitely be doing a full post when I get home, but it was such an experience!

I also met Monica from Run, Eat, Repeat ( I was so nervous to go up and say hi but I manned up and went over. She was so nice and I couldn't believe she'd just ran the half, she looked picture perfect!
Monica's blog was one of the first that I started reading and she's been a huge inspiration for me. I like that she tells it like it is!

More to come once we get back home, but if you want to know what I'm up to you can follow me on instagram (courtlauren05).