Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 in Books

I thought I wouldn't have any time to read this year with so many classes...turns out I did! Check out my lists from last few years here and here. * are those I recommend!
  1. A Gift to Remember by Melissa Hill
  2. The Reversal by Michael Connelly
  3. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng*
  4. The Ladies Room by Carolyn Brown
  5. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler*
  6. Five Days Left by Julie Austin Timmer*
  7. Missing You by Harlan Coben
  8. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
  9. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
  10. Mean Streak by Sandra Brown
  11. Friends Like Us by Lauren Fox
  12. Summer Island by Kristin Hannah
  13. Going off Script by Giuliana Rancic*
  14. Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler* (this book is hysterical)
  15. It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell*
  16. The One and Only by Emily Griffin*
  17. Memory Man by David Baldacci*
  18. Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
  19. Big Cherry Holler by Adriana Trigiani
  20. Zero Day by David Baldacci
  21. 10% Happier by Dan Harris
  22. The Forgotten by David Baldacci
  23. Identical by Scott Turow
  24. The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand
  25. Olivia Joules and Her Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding
  26. Straight Talking by Jane Green*
  27. Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan*
  28. The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro*
  29. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton*
  30. Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan*
  31. Last Kiss by Luanne Rice
  32. The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan*
  33. Little Children by Tom Perrotta
  34. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins*
  35. That Night by Chevy Stephens*
  36. Backfire by Catherine Coulter
  37. How to be Single by Liz Tuccillo*
  38. The Light Between the Oceans by M.L. Steadman
  39. L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
  40. Sweet Little Lies by Lauren Conrad
  41. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Bloom
  42. Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont
  43. Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah
  44. Circling the Sun by Laura Mclain
  45. Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova*
  46. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan*
  47. Night Night, Sleep Tight by Hallie Ephron*
  48. Love May Fail by Matthew Quick*
  49. The Circle by Dave Eggers*
  50. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
  51. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling*
  52. The Perfect Comback of Caroline by Matthew Dicks
  53. Don't Want to Miss a Thing by Jill Mansell*
  54. Match me if you Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips*
  55. The Unexpected Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell*
  56. If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison*
Any books you recommend from this year?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2015 in Miles

This was a pretty incredible year, running-wise, for me. I completed my new year's resolution to run a marathon, but that was just the beginning. I hit my highest mileage total ever (~1380 miles as of December 22nd...I will probably hit 1400 by the 31st), ran my first AND second marathon, and PR'ed during six of the seven races I ran (Frostbite 15k, Monument 10k, Shamrock Marathon, Flying Pirate Half, Richmond Marathon and Blue & Gray Half-> links to all are on my races page). I couldn't have asked for a better year between me and the pavement.

I have also been lucky to have no major injuries, and only some aches and pains that are normal with excessive mileage. Running has continued to be a great release for me, where I get physical and mental exercise. I have given up the notion of trying to find another type of exercise to "balance out" the muscles I use, because the fact of the matter is, all I ever want to do is run. I don't want to do yoga, pilates or go to the gym. I can barely do the elliptical anymore on a rainy day. I only ever want to lace up my shoes, put on some music or a podcast, and experience the outdoors. Being outside and running around my city is one of my favorite things to do. I fully agree that you have to find the exercise that you will do consistently and enjoy, or else you won't exercise, and running is that for me. It is part of my life.

Here is a great post about my feelings on running from last year. I still echo all the same sentiments! As for this year, I honestly don't have any running goals. I want to focus on shorter races, but I won't rule out a fall marathon just yet. We will see how the winter and spring goes! No mileage goals either- I have a hard time thinking I will top out my total from this year, but you never know:).

Now, where is this winter weather I have been looking forward to?! I love running in gloves/hats and hate how warm it has been! 

What are your running goals for 2016? How was 2015 for you?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Blog Motivation & Holiday Happenings

I have been struggling with blogging motivation lately. I was looking through my posts from the last few years (especially last year) and I blogged much more than I do now. I wish I could say I have the same desire to do that now...but I don't. I have contemplated keeping this blog up and running or taking a step back and trying to become more private (I feel like since I started blogging, social media/internet has really taken the place of so much of what this blog was for me in terms of saying how I was feeling and documenting parts of my life). I find that instagram is my new "daily life" social media avenue. Also, the less I am on the internet/blogging, the happier I actually am, but I do enjoy having some sort of personal diary to look back on, which is essentially what this blog has been for me. I have some posts planned for the remainder of this month, but I may take a step back in 2016...we'll see!

It didn't take baby Libby long to knock over my small tree!
Updates for me as of now...I finished my 4th semester of PhD work! It was a really nice semester between supervising master's level students and taking a Statistics class. It was also very easy semester for me, and the spring looks to be much more busy, so I have definitely been spoiled! I am a little antsy about needing to do more research though. Presenting and teaching is not a problem for me (I am getting paid to teach adjunct next semester- woot woot! and I have a big presentation coming up in March in Montreal), but I do need to align myself with a professor to do more research. However, I really have enjoyed this PhD experience so much that I almost don't want to ruin it with "feeling" like I have to do anything. It has been much more of a personal growth and learning for fun experience (imagine that-> school can be fun?!). I have ideas of what I want to do when I finish, but I am not in a rush about anything. Even if I graduate and stay doing things similar to what I am doing now, it will have been worth it. As I get older I realize what a privilege it is to be able to afford to continue my education and how learning is a wonderful/insightful thing, and I want to keep it that way:) I am exactly halfway done with classes now! I have one and a half years to go until dissertation time...it's flying by!

Besides finishing classes, I have been playing with my new kitty (baby Libby) and her brother and celebrating the holidays! I have also been running more casually since I don't have any big races on the calendar for a while. It has been nice to run a more normal amount (aka not 15+ miles at a time), but I still enjoy my Saturday morning group runs!

Work Holiday Party!
She is so sweet when she sits still!
Tacky Lights!
This picture makes it look like they actually get along...
James Center!
The Jefferson Hotel decorated for Christmas!
I have one more day of work before my two weeks off (!!!) and many more parties this weekend (I have three alone Saturday night)!. I am heading to the Outer Banks for a few days early next week before Christmas, and then family comes in afterwards. I am very much looking forward to the break! I still wish I could take a bigger trip during these weeks off, but it is a hard time of year to travel with people and for good deals. Don't worry- I have a spring and summer full of great trips that I am sure I will document even if I blog much less:)

What funs things have you been up to?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Impromptu Half Marathon

I had been debating running the Blue & Gray Half Marathon in Fredericksburg since I ran the Richmond Marathon. I was a little hesitant based on my knees being a little iffy and not knowing if I would injure them more. However, all last week my runs progressively felt better, so after an awesome and beautiful Saturday morning run,I decided I would do it!

It was too late to sign up online, so I called the organizers to confirm that I could sign up morning of, and I could. It was a small race run by a local Fredericksburg running group (VA Runners). My friend was running it, too, so I was able to ride up with her at 5:50 AM on Sunday morning (talk about a fun weekend wake-up)! We made it to the race by 6:50 AM and it was nice because the VA Runner store was in a big strip mall where there was tons of parking. We were able to park about 25 feet from the start, and my registration was very easy and quick. We went to the bathroom twice before the race and even hung out in our cars a little bit to stay warm.

This course was beautiful- it goes from main roads around the Mary Washington Hospital, down to the Rappahanock River running/walking pathway and back. We ran along the river and through some neighborhoods. I don't know much about the area, so it was neat to see a different part. My friend and I were running together and our goal was to break 2 hours (that would be a PR for her). We started out VERY fast through the big downhill, but felt good enough to maintain that pace the whole race. We were averaging about an 8:29/pace through most of the race. The end was very tough as it was essentially two miles straight uphill. We split up around mile 11.5 when I had to walk a bit. I caught back up to her around mile 12 but had to walk up a part of another hill around 12.5 (she was stronger than I on those hills). She finished with a 9 minute (!) PR at 1:51:35, and I finished with a 3.5 minute PR at 1:52:12! Needless to say we were both very pleased.

My legs felt good the whole race and while the pace was challenging, it was attainable until those ending hills. 

My coworker, Karen, also ran the race and I saw her at the end! She is the one who told me about this race a few weeks ago.

Rachel and I enjoyed the food at the food tent and watched the finishers for a bit before heading back to Richmond (and an obligatory Starbucks run). It was so nice to run a smaller race (about 600 runners) and the course was beautiful and challenging. The weather was great- crisp but not freezing (in the 30's) with abundant sunshine and no humidity. It was a great morning. We both plan to do it again next year!

I think my goal for 2016 may be to break 1:50, because if the course is flatter,  I think I could have picked up my speed slightly and cut off 2 minutes. Considering I have done no run longer than a 10k since the marathon and no speedwork and did not even rest for this race (I ran Tuesday-Saturday since I didn't know if I was running the half), this race left me optimistic for that. We'll see! Rachel and I commented about how much nicer half distances are on our bodies, so this race makes it very tempting for me to stick with 13.1 as opposed to 26.2 miles!

Anyone else ever run an impromptu race?

Monday, November 30, 2015


I am so sad the long Thanksgiving weekend is over! It was full of family, food, drinks, games, running and fun! Here is a snapshot of some of the events...

After a leisurely morning/afternoon on Wednesday (I love how we get the day off work), I picked up my new kitten! And ,no, she still does not have a name. I am simply calling her "baby cat."

Still no name!!! She got so much love from her family over Thanksgiving!
Then on Thanksgiving morning, my siblings and I ran our annual Turkey Trot 10k! It was hilly, but I did a course PR and the course is beautiful. However, every year I do this race I am always surprised at how hilly it actually is...I need to remember this better.

We spent the rest of the day hanging out, eating and playing cards/doing tequila shots:)

Friday was gorgeous, so we did a walk along the river and into Belle Isle. We also went to Triple Crossing Brewery and an awesome dinner place called Family Meal before going home and playing more cards and taking more tequila shots...

Saturday was full of football and small business Saturday, and we even got started on our 2nd puzzle of the week. I think we are obsessed.

On Sunday I introduced my kitten to her big brother, Tony Romo, with limited luck and got to see my friend Emily's new baby!

High school friends!
As least Romo is staying in the room instead of running away...
The next few days will sure be an adventure in new kitten adjustment at my place (any tips?)! And the next few weeks are full of fun holiday events, and I am excited about being done with classes for the semester in a short 9 days (December 8th!) :) Hopefully work will go quickly this week, and I am entering it feeling very thankful for the wonderful people in my life! Too bad I did not sleep as much as I intended to...why does that always happen?

How was your Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Losing Perspective

I had a very humbling moment the other day that put a lot of things in perspective for me. I was sorting through old emails that I had saved from work and was reading through various funny exchanges with coworkers, and then I cam across the announcement from when I received a big promotion. I saved the initial announcement and all the subsequent emails that came from friends and coworkers congratulating me. I remembered that feeling of excitement and shock from when I received the position and how proud I felt of myself. I remember exactly how it felt to think about the new job and what a great opportunity it would be for me. It's like I was back to two years ago in that moment. It seems like a long time ago, but it was only two years.

I tend to get antsy. I am always looking ahead or in the future for the next thing I want to do or try. I get fed up and make plans for other things. I have a hard time staying in the present and really working through things that aren't making me satisfied. I stay busy instead-> buy a condo, go back to school, run marathons, get second jobs, go on trips, and contemplate what else I could be doing rather than what I am doing. I lose perspective of what the purpose is of all this.

I always lean towards the grass being greener even though I know that is not the case. I know it in my head but my heart feels differently. Lately I have been working on mindfulness and presence and trying to make good of situations. It's hard and I am fighting against a lifetime of habits and mindsets. I crave change and challenges yet the second they aren't new or exciting anymore I crave something different or something I used to have. I live in the past or the future and not the present. That is not the way to live life.

The emails I read recently, the Paris terrorists attacks, talking with people who are struggling financially or with their health or their families...that all brings me back to ground. I don't want to be one of those Generation X/Y people who can't sit still. Those people who are always moving and changing and unsatisfied. Yet, I don't want to sit still either. I think I need to be more mindful of my thoughts and actions and really work on me before I make well-thought out changes. Change doesn't fix things that are going on within myself and I need to remember that. Everything has pros and cons.

I need to make sure I don't keep running away from things and instead face them head on. What this means and how I do it doesn't have to be drastic, but I think that the common thread to all my problems is me. I need to really figure out what is best for me- whether it is personal, professional or physical. I can't lose that perspective. Easier said than done for sure, though!

I hope you’re learning to listen
And I hope you’re learning to stay
And I hope you find what you’re missing
And I hope that you’re making you’re way
I’m a headcase if I don’t keep moving
And my head hurts if I don’t sit still
It’s an itch that I’ll never stop scratching
It’s a hole that I’ll never quite fill
-Electric President

Anyone else struggle with this? 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thinking Out Loud

Image result for thinking out loud blog

Here I am 5 days out from my the marathon. I can successfully walk without pain, had my first short run back today (2.5 miles on the treadmill, thank you rain), have rehashed the race with all my running buddies, and feel like my appetite and energy levels have gotten back to normal. I think my recovery this time around was faster than last March, but it is still a surprise to me how long it takes me to feel normal again after a race like this (aka bathroom habits, sleep schedule, body fatigue, ect). These marathons sure do put a toll on your body! How ANYONE can do a recovery run the day after a marathon is beyond me. 

I posted some race photos that my friends and family took of me, but let's check out the attractive official race photos... (notice I am not posting them all)

Mile 20...about a mile before I started to die.
Down the finish chute!
Salty goodness!

I went to dinner last night with a group of people I trained with during the weekday morning runs (and who also did the Saturday training teams). It was awesome to hear everyone's feelings about the marathon and how awesome/hard it was. I kept thinking how runners are really amazing people and I am so glad I have found a community that share this passion with. We were talking about how we were sad the training program was over because it leaves such a void in our week. As exhausting and time-consuming as it is, I really enjoy how even though running is such an individual sport, you really become part of a group while doing it. We all understand the aches and pains and how many of our days revolve around running (whether they should or shouldn't)-> Going to bet at 8 PM? Totally normal! Who has time to date when you are training for a marathon? -> I won't miss having to run 8-10 miles before work, but I will miss the people and having a goal. After all, isn't that what it is all about?

So it's been a good week, albeit a slight letdown from the anticipation of race week! On the plus side, I AM adopting a new kitty from work though. I need name ideas! 

Tony Romo's new baby sister.
I get to bring her home on Wednesday! I am excited to spend Thanksgiving with her and her aunts and uncles!

As for me this weekend, I have Friendsgiving (I am hosting) on Saturday afternoon and a quick trip to Charlottesville to see my friend's new baby boys! Other than that I am going to try to not spend money, as November has ended up being an expensive month between socializing and my new car. I gotta save up for the holidays and hopefully a trip during my two weeks off from work. 

How did everyone else's recovery go this week? Anyone running races in the next few weeks?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

2015 Richmond Marathon

I was thinking yesterday after the marathon how hard it was to put into words how I was feeling, because I was feeling so many different things: tired, sore, thankful, blessed, accomplished, proud...it was an incredible day of love, support, and the strength of the human spirit.

I finished the marathon under my top goal of under 4 hours at a new 11 minute PR of 3:57:49.

This marathon was special to me because it ran in my city. I ran by my condo, my friends' houses, where I used to work, where I used to babysit, where I go to school (VCU), where I met for training team every Saturday for the last 5 months, and it ended in the heart of this city I have called home since I was 7 years old. I saw so many friends and family along the way, those I knew would be there and those I didn't, and I even had a friend run me in from miles 21-25...it was a very special day.

Thumbs up when I saw my parents right before mile 13.
That is not to say this race was easy by any means:) The weather WAS perfect (low-40's at the start and low-50's at the finish-> both my races have had the best weather). But I kept thinking along the route how HARD running is, even when you do all the training for it. I did two 20 milers this time around which I think helped me, but my pace the whole way was a solid 20 seconds faster than any of my longest training runs, so that was hard to keep. I went through many ups and downs in terms of how I was feeling during the race-> miles 10-12 were tough due to hills and running directly into the sun, miles 17-19 were another tough group due to an incline and fatigue, and then after mile 21 I was mentally not in a great place and felt I could not run any faster or my legs would fall off. I had to keep reminding myself that it SHOULDN'T feel good at this point, but to not let me not accomplish my goal when I was so close to the finish. Pain is temporary. The last 5-6 miles really are when you have to accept the discomfort and tough it up. All the training in the world can't make those miles easy. I was lucky in that I didn't have any serious pains- my hips were tight but everything else felt good (even my feet remained unscathed- no blisters or any shoe pain)!

All that being said, this race was FUN and went by SO FAST. I thought multiple times along the route how quickly it was all going by. I blinked and we were at mile 7...and then 17! That could be because I knew the route so well, but I also think because I was more relaxed and thankful this time. I knew I would finish (I just didn't know if I would get my top goal) and with everything happening in the world on Friday night, running a marathon really took perspective. I GET to do this. I don't HAVE to do it. It is a privilege to have the time and energy to train and run races. That mindset made me really enjoy the time even when it was hard.

The marathon training team coaches that I had worked with all training season were all over the course and would always cheer me on or give me worlds of encouragement when I needed it (shout out to a coach that motivated me at mile 18 and another at mile 25). I also had ZERO stomach issues which is always something that concerns me (I sometimes had to go during training runs), and my fueling went great- I took water or gatorade at every stop (mostly water) and took gatorade chews at miles 6 and 11 and gu that was available on the course at miles 16 and 21. I didn't walk through the water stops until after the halfway point, but if I did it again that is one thing I would start during the first half because I don't think I was getting enough water by running through, which may be why I had rough few miles before the halfway point.

My pace was very consistent- I averaged 9:02-9:05 the entire time via the various splits they gave me (10k, half, 20 miles and finish). I could see the 4 hour pace group the entire marathon- sometimes I was behind them and sometimes ahead of them, but they were always close. I also never used music because of the great crowd support and music along the course. I also met some great people that stayed with me for a big part of the race (it was cool to meet out-of-towners and hear their comments on how beautiful the course was!). My group thinned out closer to the end, though. The last mile was downhill, which was a very welcome situation. It was like you didn't have to try to run anymore (ha)! My quads did not like HOW downhill the last .3 was, but it made for one of the best finishes because you can see the river and Brown's Island as you come down from the city. I knew I had PRed and beat my goal, so I enjoyed it!

This was me seeing my dad right before I crossed the finish line telling him I PRed!
I felt surprisingly good after the race at the post-race party and got to reunite with friends and family. Hunger didn't kick in until a few hours later and all I wanted was SALTY FOOD. I was done with sugar due to all the gatorade and gu:)

Literally 1 minute after I finished!!!
Friends at the finish!
My parents!
We celebrated with dinner later Saturday night at Mellow Mushroom (pizza!) and I had a slightly rough night of sleep due to the soreness kicking in but I went to be early so I got a decent amount of sleep:). I know I will be sore for a few days and I am looking forward to training for shorter races! I have a Turkey Trot 10k coming up on Thanksgiving that my whole family is doing and then a half marathon on December 6th in Fredericksburg (I have never run a half there before). I do not have a strong desire to do another marathon any time soon, but I loved this course and training experience, so I may think about doing Richmond next year...we'll see how I feel once all the soreness has worn off:). I honestly don't think I can go much faster, and I am spoiled that my first 2 races were both under my goals for each and the weather was perfect...I know I can't keep that up! Maybe running a race with a friend who needs support would be fun, or in a new city...we'll see:) I am also so lucky not to have been injured either of these training seasons. Our bodies are incredible things!

Thank you again to friends and family for all your support and listening to be talk about training for so long:) And a big shout out to all my friends that ran the full and those that did the half!!! Runners are AWESOME!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Richmond Marathon Training Part 4 (aka TAPER CRAZIES)

Ya'll...it's race week! I am 5 days away from Marathon #2!!! I am PUMPED.

The last few weeks (of taper) have been a great and awful part of training...you are excited about lower mileage and more rest/sleep, but you begin to doubt that you can actually hit the higher mileage again. I have had a lot of good runs during taper that were at marathon goal pace (9:10), but the doubt is still very much present. Can I hold that after 20 miles?!

To make myself feel pumped/capable/emotional, I have been reading blogs of people's Richmond Race Recaps and looking at various other training plans to not feel so crazy about my taper:) This good news is I FEEL good. I just want Saturday to be here!

That being said I have three goals for race day:

1. Finish (-> obviously a marathon is no joke any time you run it)
2. PR (4:08:52 was my Shamrock finish time)
3. Sub-4:00 (!!!)
(^I think if the stars align this is very doable based on my training runs as long as I can hold my pace for the last 6.2 miles)

Good quote to keep in mind:)

Anyways, here is my running during the taper!

October 26- November 1 (Week 16)
Mon- Rest
Tues- 5 miles
Wed- 8 miles
Thurs- 4.1 miles
Fri- Rest
Sat- 12 miles -> this run was exactly at marathon goal pace and I had negtive splits
Sun- Elliptical
Total: 29.1 miles

November 2- 9 (Week 17)
Mon- 4.05 miles
Tues- 6.1 miles
Wed- Elliptical
Thurs- 3.85 miles
Fri- Rest
Sat- 8 miles
Sun- 4.2 miles
Total: 26.2 miles (see what I did here?)

November 10- 15 (Week 18/RACE WEEK!)
Mon- 3.5 miles
Tues- Rest
Wed- 3 miles (planned)
Thurs- 3 miles (planned-> I may rest again and do a shake out on Friday instead)
Fri- Rest
Sun-  Rest...like a boss
Total: 35.7 if I run my tangents well:)

Good luck to all the Richmond Marathon/Half Marathon runners!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Honda-ween!

I had a very exciting Halloween weekend!
First off, I had my 12 mile training run on Saturday morning that I did at goal marathon pace, so I was very excited about that (and the fact that I didn't have to run 20 miles)!
Secondly, after I got back from D.C. on Tuesday, my car started to make some odd rattling noises under the hood. This is my 2004 Saturn Ion that I bought after college with only 20k miles. She now has 108k miles, and has some "quirks," if you will. The coolant light has been on for over a year (the coolant is fine), the left windshield wiper is not on correctly (I had to get the bulb replaced last year and it has never been the same), I can't always get the key out of the ignition due to an electronic issue that never does it when I take it to the dealer so they won't fix it, her sunroof drains sometimes leak in my trunk and passenger floor, her hubcaps keep popping off, her paint is faded and the inside seats are stained, and her front lights keep getting a film on them due to a moisture issue, so I don't get great vision in the dark. Nevertheless, she is paid off and the taxes on her are super cheap! However, I told myself I would no longer put money into her because I am an adult and can afford a new car, so when the rattling started I was pushed to finally pull the trigger.
I have wanted a Honda Civic forever, so I did some research at the end of last week on prices and reviews, and went to the dealership to test drive. Well, of course I loved the car and due to my awesome credit score, the financing is very reasonable (.9% APR) and I was able to get what I think is a good deal for a 2015 since the 2016's are coming out now.
So at about 3:30 yesterday, I walked away from ROLYWA...(I am not keeping the same plates due to the vanity/UVA fees I got sick of paying every year)...
to this beautiful unnamed vehicle:) My first brand new car EVER.
Isn't she pretty and shinny?! And she has a back up camera, side camera, Bluetooth (and all that fancy jazz), alloy wheels and is alllll black. I was able to put down a solid down payment and my monthly fees aren't bad at all. Now, I have never in my life had a car payment, so we will see how fast I pay her off just so I don't have one anymore:) BUT I do recognize that my money is worth more earning interest in the bank than paying her off as fast as I can, and since I still want to travel and put money into retirement funds, and am paying for school, I am going to try to not pay her off super-fast, just so I have money for other things:) Welcome to adult financial decisions, right?! But can we say "road trip" fast enough for my two-week winter break coming up? There is some money saved right there versus flying somewhere (my gas mileage will be amazing)! See, she is paying for herself already:)
Afterwards, it was time to celebrate Halloween, so I borrowed some clothes to dress as the Easter Bunny and went to my friend's house for our version of Halloween- aka wine and a potluck!
In character as a Ninja Turtle, Egg, Bunny and Robber

Friends on Halloween:)

I just love Stewart (the dog) looking so guilty here:)

So I had a very successful weekend and I am looking forward to two days this week of no students due to Election and Parent/Teacher Conference day! Happy November- the official start of the holiday season:)
How was your Halloween? Ever bought a new car?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The night I met David Duchovny

So I fulfilled a childhood dream on Monday night, and met David Duchovny at a concert in D.C. You may or may not know he released an album (because why not when you have that much money?), but my love for him extends from The X Files, Californication and various movies. I have had a fangirl crush on him since I was 14.

The meet and greet tickets were not SUPER expensive, so I forked over a little extra money to guarantee that I would meet him. I figured that this would probably never happen again and since we was coming so close to where I live, I needed to do this! I still regret not seeing him on broadway a few years back...

So I got my bro and sis-in-law to join me (along with a friend and his wife) and we ventured into D.C. during rush hour on a Monday (woot woot). I did get to leave work early to drive up, so it made my Monday at work more exciting than normal:)

Howard Theater is in a cool part of D.C. right off U street. I just love D.C. so much it is always fun to go into the city. The theater had tables, a bar and a main floor area in front of the stage, which made it feel more like a lounge than a concert area. It was cool!

Meeting him was super-quick, but amazing. Once the doors opened at 6, I was in a line that wrapped down the stairs to a dressing room. We were instructed to give our phone to a lady when we walked in, shake his hand and chit chat quickly before taking the picture. I told him I liked his leather jacket and got to shake his hand twice:) He looked SO GOOD! Better in person than on TV. And I would like to point out how skinny his legs are...

My marathon training legs can take his.
I was literally shaking when I left the room because of how good he looked. And then I proceeded to social media my picture for all my friends and family. It was awesome. Currently I have upwards of 150 likes- this is equivalent to an engagement announcement. No big deal.

My group then had dinner next door and went back in a little later to catch the show! My camera did not take great pictures, but check them out! 

He bantered with the crowd between songs and I was close to the stage the whole time (standing room only tickets). It was really cool to see him so close for so long. He is not an amazing singer or anything (he has so much money, I am sure this is just a dream/fantasy hobby), but the opportunity to see him perform and meet him was amazing. There were definitely some crazy fan people there (they made me feel much better about my level of obsession for him), but it was a very cool night. I probably enjoyed him talking between the songs the most, but there were some catchy songs and the band was great (I should probably listen to my signed CD)! 

The group consensus was that it was very fun, but he is not what anyone would call a singer. In fact, my brother joked that this might have made him like him less, but I beg to differ:)  We also had a bet on how many times he would mention The X Files and we all lost- he never mentioned the show or anyone related to it at all! This was clearly a night about the music. Ha.

And now I can die happy:)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Richmond Marathon Training Part 3

I am officially in taper time! I am actually looking forward to a few weeks of more sleep and rest, but I am very excited for race day. My 20 miler on Saturday was on pace for a marathon PR and I felt great when we ended (still running negative mile splits). I also wasn't very sore on Sunday, so I think this bodes well for race day if I can stay healthy:) I think running two 20's actually was good for me because I noticed big gains between the two. I wouldn't recommend that for a first time marathon training cycle, but I see the benefits for people who have done a marathon before and have better muscle memory. My paces between the two were 9:25 versus 9:18 just two weeks later and my recovery was much faster after the second 20 miler. Our bodies are amazing things:)

September 28- October 4 (Week 12)
Mon- 4 miles
Tues-  Elliptical
Wed- 8 miles
Thurs- 5.15 miles
Fri- Rest
Sat- 12 miles
Sun- Elliptical
Total: 29.15 miles

October 5- 11 (Week 13)
Mon- 4 miles
Tues- 3.5 miles
Wed- 9 miles
Thurs- Rest
Fri- 5.15 miles
Sat- Rest
Sun- 20 miles
Total: 41.65 miles

October 12- 18 (Week 14)
Mon- Elliptical
Tues- Elliptical (extra sore this week from the 20 miler)
Wed- 9 miles
Thurs- 5.05 miles
Fri- Rest
Sat- 12 miles
Sun- 5 miles
Total: 31.05 miles

October 19- 25 (Week 15)
Mon- Rest
Tues- 10 miles
Wed- 5 miles
Thurs- 5 miles
Fri- Rest
Sat- 20 miles
Sun-  3 miles
Total: 43 miles (This is about as high as I can go without getting aches and pains)!

All smiles right after a 9:18 mile pace 20 miler!!!
Three weeks to go!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Brian Wilson

My dad and I went to see Brian Wilson last night at The National in Richmond and had a great time! (My favorite quote of my night was my dad saying, "You know, Robyn, I don't know how excited you are about this, but he is a living legend." HA! I know dad- I only grew up listening to his music ALL THE TIME from you). I was very impressed with his band and was once again reminded of how much I love his music. It was a late night for me, as the concert was from 8-10:15 PM (on a school night!!!), but I enjoyed myself. Check out some of the pictures and video below:)

Also, we think one guy thought I was my dad's younger wife- that was a first! Ha!

Ignore my signing on the video :)

Otherwise, I have been sleeping a lot this week to get over my cold, rest during my peak week in running (I had two 5-milers and a 10-miler this week), and prep for my final 20 miler tomorrow! I feel good, but I am VERY excited to begin tapering:):):) I am looking forward to an evening of catching up on all the shows I missed last night and hitting the sack early! Welcome to adulthood...aka marathon training:)

Have a great Friday!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Work Lately

We have a Vet Science class at my school, so I have been enjoying the animals lately! Especially as I am battling being so tired/sore/sick this week from marathon training and a cold, getting to hold and spend time with the animals really is like therapy. It also calms the students down. It is amazing to see their demeanor change when they see animals in the building (one student who was having an anxiety attack was completely calmed down by a kitten). Animals are universal healers! I think they should be in every school:)

Chef J's dog, Maisie!
Hershey and friend.
Sweet Becky!
The kitten I am SO TEMPTED to adopt...Feisty!
Another one of our coworkers dogs!

So as you all know, I have a cat, but do we think I can adopt another one? I think Romo might like a friend to play with...


Mom if you bring home another animal....
Have a great weekend with your furbabies, families and friends:)