Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Running, Loving, Living's Summer Virtual Run

The lovely Toni over at Running, Loving, Living was awesome enough to host a virtual 5k and 10k race this past week. Given the opportunity to do a race, I will never say no (unless I already have plans). The race "ran" from June 18 until June 25, and I managed to complete both. One was a bit unintentional and was far from race pace (the 10k). The other was a pain in the butt since my normal running loop is around 5 miles and running at 5k pace for the first 3.1 miles surely meant sudden death for the next 2.

And that was quite accurate! Now, I'm not really the best run-tographer (Oh yeah, you like how I merged those two words? You like that?!), so I didn't actually take any pictures. More like, I forgot, oops! These days, getting ready for a run means the following: waking up, taking the dogs out for their morning poos, getting a little something-something in my stomach, hydrating, actually putting on workout gear, getting my ipod (which lives in my car), and making the house dog-proof before heading out the door. Gasp! Out of breath before I even start running! I kid--my lung capacity is a bit greater than that!

Believe it or not, my 10k run was my first run back from almost a week hiatus. This was unintentional, but I was just having trouble finding the time and settle into VB. It pretty much started out as me saying to myself, "I think I want to go on a long run today. Let's see how far I can go if I make the following turns..." The answer: 6.2 miles. Interesting! I don't really have much to complain about during that run--it was nice having a slightly different route than the usual one I run around my mother's neighborhood. It also tested my memory from back during the school bus days. And I got to see what exactly changed. Let me tell you--lots did! Hence my slower (for me) time! I may have gotten "lost" a few times (aka I thought a few roads connected that didn't quite...).

The 5k run was actually a progression of 5ks over the course of the week. I started out around 24-25 minutes, which is nowhere near my race pace, but all I could manage in the 90+ degree heat knowing that 3 miles out meant 2 miles back home. Why not just select a shorter route? Well, at that point I had not joined a gym, and right after 3 miles, there is a conveniently-located playground. Or makeshift gym, as I just decided to refer to it as. 10-15 pull ups on the monkey bars, 25 pushups, some stretching, and another set of 25 pushups upon completion of my run. It's like rubbing salt in the wound (or more realistically sweat in the eyes). But I don't dare complain! No pain, and there sure as hell will be no gain! So over the next few days, I saw my 5k time drop by several seconds here and there. The route was never exactly the same--I had to dodge an inmate workforce one time that was doing some landscape work... Normally, I wouldn't really be that creeped out by that, but normally I'm in my car driving, and not running in a sports bra within feet of these men. Uh, I'll take the long route for $800, Alex! But yes, 5k done at 22:07. I could be a bit prouder, but I know I have better in me. The heat was just the unfortunate deciding factor, and it decided to slow me down. Oh well!

I have to say though, I love the feeling of racing, even in a virtual "setting." I'm so thankful that Toni organized this event (and got some great sponsors)! Make sure you click on the link above and check out her blog! It is well worth your time!

That's all for now, folks, but expect a recap/review of my new gym SOON!!!!


Monday, June 25, 2012

A Familiar Face!

This week has had it's fair share of ups and downs, starting with crazy torrential rain on my day off on Friday. While being at work all the time leaves me feeling like I don't have time to get anything done, when I'm not at work, I just feel bored and alone. I don't have a set enough schedule yet where I can create a routine for myself unless you count walking the dogs twice a day. I only work with about 10 other girls, and I live on the opposite side of town from everyone else, so meeting up with them would be a chore. Not to mention, there seems to be a decent amount of drama and cattiness between a few of them, so I'm not entirely sure I want to play into that. Don't get me wrong--I don't have a problem with the girls I work with, but in this instance I think it would be wise not to mix work and play.

Not that there's ever a convenient time to move, but I think I chose the most inconvenient time to relocate. Summer has already begun, meaning I'm missing out on seasonal Charlottesville fun with people that I love. Social sports leagues are already under way, so I can't join until Fall. I have a year down here in Virginia Beach before I can hopefully start grad school, so I better change my attitude soon and make some connections! And besides, my intention is not to whine and complain today.

Instead, I want to mention how GREAT it was to see a familiar face this past weekend in the form of my partner-in-crime! He was down in the area (a bridge-length away) on James Bond training for work. In other words, upstaging me by playing with guns, rappelling down walls, and showing off for the ladies owning some marines--or so I was told. He makes my daily runs in the 80-90 degree heat (pre-9am) seem weak! Obviously, this is unacceptable...

But regardless, two three bottles of wine later and I forgot I was even in Virginia Beach! I also forgot that there was a third bottle, but that's beside the point. I definitely needed a night of fun in the form of getting drunk in front of other people's families. I don't even get drunk in front of my OWN family! Oh, indiscretion! I have no shame!

Clearly, I was in no state to remember to take pictures if I couldn't even form sentences, but I was sent the following picture by a great friend of mine!
I'm an auntie (again)!! This little rascal is going to be so loved and spoiled!

All-in-all, it was a great weekend though! Unfortunately, work got in the way of getting to take a complimentary Crossfit or TRX or boxing or Jiu Jitsu or MMA or Muay Thai class together at my soon-to-be new gym, but that just means I have more time to practice kicking (his) ass! Speaking of the gym though, I stopped in today to take a tour after work. Had it not been for the rain (and an inconsiderate coworker who went on break late thus forcing me to stay late), I would have taken my class today and immediately handed over my credit card signed on the dotted line. But alas, that will have to wait for tomorrow. And trust me, I'm peeing myself jumping up and down in excitement!

I'll leave you with my weekly fail, which was last Thursday I believe:
Mixing chocolate protein powder with a "juice" made of carrots, spinach, and apple is FAR from appealing. In fact, it's wait-for-dinner-until-you-get-home-from-work-at-10pm REPULSIVE. Ick! 

What am I doing wrong? Fruit-flavored protein powder instead? Vanilla?
Help a girl out, please!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Oh happy day!

Happy 20th birthday to my baby sister, Eleanor! I know, 20 is not so much a baby anymore, but since I'll always be older, I'll always refer to her as that or Ellie or Gorgeous or grinch. I kid about that last one. She's a sweetheart! But when we fight, it can get ugly...or as ugly as pretty girls can get!

I have to say, even when her and I do have spats, even when she does tell my mother things that I prefer for her not to know, even when she doesn't respond to my texts, my life would be much less amusing without her! She's a little crazy and a whole lot of fun!

Unfortunately, her jackass of an ex-boyfriend broke up with her recently--2 days ago to be exact--so I made a rescue drive over to Norfolk (one city away) to cheer her up on Sunday. Or just get her mind off things. Breakups are so rough, but she's going to be so much better off without him. She already is! I don't know what I would do without a sister--I know she would be there for me just like I was for her.

But yes, back to today... A few years ago, I inadvertently started a birthday tradition. One called dinner at PF Chang's. Yes, it's a chain restaurant, but oh goodness, the food is amazing! Side note: I meant to do a photo recap of the years we've been there, but back in December when my hard drive was wiped clean... Yeah, I don't have those pictures anymore.

The only ones I do have:
El's 18th Birthday and high school graduation
(2 months after) My 21st birthday
El's 19th birthday
I love the candidness and the laughter in that picture. And how jacked my arm looks!

Then today happened. Sissy turned 20. One more year til she can drink! Legally...
It was a girls' event--with Sam (left) & Amanda (right)

Amanda actually happens to be my running buddy--both when I lived in Cville and now down here in VB. Although she graduated with my sister, she attends UVa and works at Loft.

Family resemblance?
It was a great night full of food and laughter! I made sure that I went on a long enough run earlier in the day in anticipation of calorie-laden food. Lucky for me though, I found a dish that was exactly what I was looking for--high in protein, low in carbs/fat, and contained seafood and veggies! Sweet! And given that I shared a good bit of it, I was way under my calorie budget. Wow, how terrible do I sound right now?!

I believe the evening ended a little like this:
Girl's gonna hate me, but she brought it on herself. Also, I exude hotness apparently!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thought to live by

On occasion, I like to indulge in some chocolate. Meaning that my friend, Stacy, bought me a bag of Dove chocolates before my Charlottesville departure. I opened this one up several days ago and have been trying to keep it in mind. Lord knows I need a new beginning from the last time I lived in this city! Truth: I was a nerd in high school--that's all I'm saying!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I have a new obsession

I think this band has a song on the top 200 songs on itunes, which is how I generally find my new music. After listening to their entire CD, I think all the songs deserve to be on there. I encourage you to check out Imagine Dragons!

Did I mention they're super motivating to workout/run to? Catch ya later!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New & Improved

Hey there lovelies! What do you think of the new layout? I just wasn't feeling the old one--honestly, I just looked at it as the best of the unfortunate choices that Blogger offered. I'm not really that website savvy, so it's not like I could take matters into my own hands. And once, I asked if my tech-nerd brother would help and he just blew me off. Oh well!

I'm at Day 3 of living in Virginia Beach now, and while it's not what I hoped for, I'm making the best of it by forcing my mom to eat healthy. I'm not going to lie, I'm one of those people that can eat crap food if it's in the house...which is precisely why I do not buy it. It's not necessarily that it tastes good, it's just there and practically taunting you. These past 3 days, I've been super healthy though, packing a lunch to bring with me to work and cooking dinner (or crossing my fingers that my mother cooked the food that I defrosted/prepped/etc) upon getting home. So far, so good!

Last night, I may have gotten a bit peeved though when I got home from grocery shopping at Trader Joe's after a full day of work and started to cook the swordfish I had defrosted. Upon taking it out of the fridge, my mom claimed, "I'm not hungry," which irked me since there were telltale signs that she had not eaten healthy during the day. And had probably recently eaten. I can't fully blame her, because she's recovering from a total knee replacement and has to have her leg elevated for 6 hours a day. If that was me, I would get bored too--and would probably eat a bit more than usual. But we had chatted before I left for work that day and agreed on a dinner menu. Not to mention, I texted her as I was checking out at TJs letting her know I was on my way home. Perhaps I should not have assumed she would start prepping dinner... Regardless, I made the swordfish with some new (to me) coconut oil, lemon juice, and seafood seasoning. Umm, it was delicious!
With a side of vegetable medley, please!
What's not pictured is the glass (and a half) of wine that accompanied this. Perfection!

Then last night, I was surprised with the fact that my best friend, who recently moved to Philly, was in town! Commence the planning for our hang out today, which happened to be my day off! We decided on a puppy walk with her german shepherd mix, Delilah, and my two pups, Archie and Murdoch. Technically Murdoch is my mother's dog, but for the sake of not getting too confusing...

Our plans were thwarted a little bit after deciding that we would take the dogs to the local dog park at Red Wing. There was a bit of confusion over whether or not Archie and Murdoch were actually licensed in Virginia Beach, which is required of all dogs that use the dog park. Eh, well, we broke several of the park rules by taking them through the Japanese garden...and then letting them loose on the tennis courts with the gates closed. Luckily, it was pretty dead, so we didn't get caught!

What do you get when you introduce two (male) miniature schnauzers to a larger (female) dog? This:

They got along so well! Maybe too well, in fact! Lilah was definitely interested in sniffing some butts, but her tail was wagging the entire time! I've never let the dogs loose with another dog before, but everyone was on their best play date behavior! My favorite of those picture is the 2nd on the left in the top row--Archie and Lilah locked eyes and it was just too adorable!

After the dogs were thoroughly tired out, I dropped off the pups at home and headed to Katie's and chilled out by her pool while Delilah continued to be her precious self.

Don't get me wrong, I love my dogs, but german shepherds have a special place in my heart!

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, cleaning my car--vacuum & wash (it was about time!), and heading out for a 5ish mile run around the neighborhood. Good news is that I've dropped all the weight I gained while I was force fed saying my goodbyes (at various restaurants) last week. Oh, and did I mention that my mom fixed the licensing problem while she was out today? Looks like the pups will get to frolic in the dog park after all!

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's Official

I am no longer a Charlottesville resident. And Virginia Beach has welcomed me back with open arms. Let's hope I can return it's kindness. Eventually. I can't lie--it's not all bad. It's just different from everything I've known for the past 5 years. Sure, four of those were spent in undergrad, but as I was explaining to a friend, I don't associate Charlottesville with those years with UVa. I think of the life I had outside of school. I always held a job throughout my college experience, and that led me to numerous adventures outside of the confines of undergraduate coursework.

It's not that I'm not proud of my alma mater--that's definitely not the case. I just never felt the connection to the school that many people feel toward it. And part of that is why I'm looking to (finally) go to grad school. I want that connection.

But that's off topic. It's not my intention to rant about moving. I understand that that chapter of my life is closed and I have to figure out what's next. It just might take me a little bit longer to accept that. I think that's fair. I'm already looking for ways to reintegrate myself back into life in Virginia Beach. I need to join the gym that I mentioned the other day, but I have a slight drawback at the moment.
Unfortunately I could not take a non-fuzzy picture because my hands were shaking so much. But I got a little ambitious during my last workout at TP, and the partner in crime suggested I go out the same way I went in--with the Crossfit qualifier. For those of you unfamiliar, it is 1 power clean and press/5 kipping pullups, 10 pushups, 15 air squats. Repeat, adding 1 power clean to every round until you hit 10 consecutive power cleans. I got to round 7. I knew my grip was off during the kippings and once I hit 4 of them, I knew my hand was jacked. I wrapped with with a paper towel and managed to eek out the rest of that round, but I'm a little out of commission for anything strenuous that isn't running. Dang it! Was it worth it? --Umm, isn't it always worth it?!

The rest of the weekend was spent saying my goodbyes at various different outings. Not to mention, I made it to my first Veritas Starry Nights ever on my last night in Charlottesville. Oh, irony. Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for inviting me! You two are amazing! Then finally, on Sunday I scrambled to get in one last run, one last visit to the gym (to steal back my medicine ball), and pack my car before heading to one last Guadelajara meal with my Loft ladies.

A couple of minutes after I sat down, my co-manager placed this beast in front of my face:
I'm still shocked by the generosity of my lovely coworkers! I was honestly expecting just a card. And I had no idea that I had such an impact on any of them. I'm still getting settled at home--otherwise I would take pictures of everything--but that will come soon! I've been so fortunate to work with so many of these girls, and it was just so touching to know that I'll be missed so much. And of course, I can't lie--I cried the second this was placed in front of me. I'm a sap. Also, PLEASE note the yellow butterfly clutch in the center of the basket. One of my coworkers made this for me, along with a necklace! I promise to take better pictures in the coming days, but please keep her in mind. She's reopening her Etsy shop soon, and she's AMAZING!! I'm not biased or anything--all of my opinions are 100% truth.

Oh, and did I mention it was also her birthday? I think she's a little surprised, don't you think?

Mexican restaurants. The best way to embarrass a birthday gal! Happy birthday, Ayla!

She's not the only one who was crafty--my co-manager is always looking for new crafts involving wine corks, since there are so many local vineyards around here. Well, a few weeks back, another coworker and I were at a wine festival when we saw wine keychains. Of course, we immediately told her about the idea and I was secretly hoping I could convince her to make me one. Apparently, all it takes is moving away to be gifted with this adorable keychain:
I got super antsy and put it on my keys before this picture was even taken! But yes--thanks to all of my amazing coworkers and friends for making my last days as a Charlottesville citizen more than I could have ever hoped for!

And as of this morning, when I changed my address on the DMV website, I'm currently a Virginia Beach resident. I will continue to be optimistic, of course! And with that, here's the view from the parking garage near my new store:
I just love the plush grass in front of the Sandler Performing Arts Center! And not to mention, there's a fountain in front of the store--gorgeous!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hanging in There

Obviously, I just can't seem to get the hang of blogging on a regular basis these days. But in my defense, I have a very drastic life change lingering over me in t-minus 36 hours. Not that I'm counting. I really don't want to count because it makes it all that much more real, and therefore unacceptable.

Also, I've had a very busy week:
All the red is work, the blue is going-away stuff.
Don't let that empty space fool you--that's errands/workouts.
But first, let's discuss last week, and my not-so brilliant idea of running to the gym, working out, and running back from the gym. I think I managed that two days in a row before I decided that my level of insanity is far greater than I ever imagined. Running to the gym is 3 miles. Which also means at least 3 miles back. But I like to go the long way, which is less rolling hills and more downhill--this adds on an additional 0.25-0.5 miles. I'll take the lesser of the evils, distance over elevation change. Working out in between was the killer though. And I'm pretty sure I didn't chose the most opportune time of the day weather-wise. But hey--I managed and can't say that I regret running!

That being said, I opted not to run the 4 the Wounded 5k last weekend--it just wasn't in the cards, but instead I spent time with friends and got in a pretty brutal Crossfit workout. You know it's a good day when you tell your workout partner, "You pick the poison," and then you beat him at his own game. 17:31 minutes later and I was done with 5 rounds of 25x 45lb push-presses and 50 double unders. Add about a 1:38 minutes and he finally caught up due to my words of encouragement. I don't think I've ever heard someone cuss so much while jump roping! Of course I'm kidding, but hey, let me have my victory!

I've had to come to the nasty realization this week that yes, this is my last week in Charlottesville. Throughout the past month or so, I've been in denial about this whole thing, trying to make things work out in my favor, but to no avail. Now, I'm finally very reluctantly embracing accepting that things just aren't meant to be here. Or something like that. 5 years in one city--and I look at these years as more than just a college experience because I did build a life here by working throughout college--and it's all done. I'm regressing--I'm going back to Virginia Beach (I can't call it home), and it feels forced even though it is a sad excuse for a choice. It's the better of the 2 options I have right now.

Yes, I do have a plan, and no, I do not intend to stay somewhere that I know I will not be happy. But that's where I'll be for the next year, and I feel like I'm just setting myself up to be stuck in limbo for that time. It's not all bad--I have some opportunities down there, but it doesn't feel right leaving right now. Moving has never been this hard before, and it's been taking a noticeable toll on me for a while now. Once down in VB, I have to start making a temporary life, but do I really want to go through the motions of settling in somewhere that I plan on leaving sooner rather than later?

I know that's no way to look at relocating. Those are just my concerns and my underlying questions. I promise, I'm REALLY giving it my all to at least appear to be positive these days! I've cried on very very few shoulders for that reason. Also because I refuse to appear vulnerable through this. Needless to say, this is a very tough weekend.

But enough of that! It's sunny outside, so I should try to reflect that, right?

Positive Thoughts

 I ordered the new Nike Free Run+ 3s. In neon pink. Did you really expect any less from me. Verdict is still being reached.

Why yes, I am pretty awesome at my job if I do say so myself! You can't really tell here, but I created the setup of this little shop within the store and I think it is very inviting. And obviously colorful. I think this is the only kind of creativity I have...and the only practical application for my amazing puzzle skills! True (random) fact: I freaking LOVE puzzles!

 Stacy made me go to Starbucks with her. And by "made me," I mean she really didn't have to say anything other than "Starbucks?" She brought along a Dove chocolate for each of us, and I must admit that lately, Dove has been right on with their sayings. This one told me "You're gorgeous." Not an exclamation, but a statement. Which, if you revert back to English 101, means it's a fact. They have their facts right.

 I ordered a Megarita at a going-away dinner with my Newsplex crew. Megarita means 3-in-1 according to Wild Wing Cafe. Unbeknownst to me, it was the same price as the small on Wednesday--win in my book. Double win that I was able to make it the "skinny" version.

 I finished it right when I finished my meal. The waitress asked if I wanted another. I may have responded "Hell no." What?! She basically asked if I wanted another 3 margaritas! Uhhh, I don't even have the tolerance for the one I DID finish!

 Stacy and I had a Girl's Night last night. We both just got haircuts earlier in the day. She's awesome and chopped off an entire 8 inches(!!) to donate to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program.

I am truly going to miss Stacy and Maggie/Maggles/Maggie-Doo/(insert other nicknames here). One of my greatest, truest friends to-date in Cville.

Not to mention I had to say a very sad non-goodbye (we can't do those apparently) to my gym stepmom, Toni, on Thursday. Complete with more Starbucks. I've been a well-caffeinated and well-fed girl this week. I think I'm officially 4 pant sizes larger! Not.

Now I'm off for more last weekend festivities (if you can even call them that), before I pack my car tomorrow and make the drive to VB during the night. I think the only thing I'm looking forward to is joining this badass gym!