Hey, Florida!

Today was spent traveling, traveling, traveling!

This time…for work.  Not  quite as fun as the honeymoon, but still, not bad!

Tim dropped me off at the airport around 8:30 for my 10:30 flight.  Unfortunately, said flight was delayed until noon, so I spent quite a lot of time sitting around doing nothing!

Before I knew the flight was delayed, I bought a carryon lunch—turkey and cheddar from Quizno’s and a bunch of fruit.

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Unfortunately the fruit was kind of gross.  KCI doesn’t have the best healthy options.  Oh well.

I ate the sandwich about 11:30 before I boarded, and the fruit at about 2 mid-flight.  Got in to Fort Lauderdale around 5, and was happy to see my hotel accommodations were pretty fancy!  See, for example, awesome balcony on my room:

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  Flatscreen TV and plenty of room to spread out…

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And a beach view in the lobby!

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After yesterday, all I wanted to do was run.  Well.

The comments yesterday seemed pretty split on “keep trying the orthotics” and “ditch ‘em.”  After thinking about it—I confess that I probably did not break them in perfectly before running in them.  I’ve been SO busy lately, and they don’t fit in my work shoes, and the weather’s been sucky, that I did a bit of walking in them and then immediately went running.

So, my plan for now: try my new wide, neutral New Balances without orthotics for running.  Once I get back to KC after this trip, I’m going to start from scratch and break these in with WALKING and daily wear.  I may even ask my boss if I can wear sneakers a few hours a day! 

Anyway.  The hotel gym was nicer than my regular gym!0602 014

I am a sucker for individual TVs at each treadmill.  I watched Cash Cab!

0602 015Final result was 5K in 29:20.  Not at all shabby, and I was only a little sore afterwards—definitely no stabby pains.  I felt triumphant!  I can do this.

Also, this gym was awesome because they had ice water with orange and lemon and lime in it, and a FRUIT BOWL!

0602 016You know I decimated an apple.

I ran back to my room, showered and dressed quickly, then went to dinner.  Conference food can be sketchy, but I was happy with the options here!

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About half my plate was mixed greens with carrots and ‘shrooms and vinaigrette, and the rest was steamed carrots, wild rice, a small slice of beef, and a wheat roll.

And a Sam Adams.  And, okay, when I found out there was no dessert…a glass of Cabernet. 

I’m off to take a sunset beach walk—have a great night!

Do you like to travel?  I love airports, strangely, and seeing new places, but I tire of it quickly and miss home!  I’m a homebody!

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Stabby foot pain

I don’t feel like writing a real blog post today.

After work I ran.  One stinking mile.  (9:20, at least.)  At 0.95 miles, thanks to my custom orthotics, I began to feel a stabbing pain in my right arch.  Just like yesterday.   As much as I hated to do it, I slowed to a walk and walked another mile.

Driving home hurt my right leg so much I used my left foot to brake at stoplights.  I could barely put weight on it when I arrived home, but after half an hour, I was back to feeling normal, with just a bit of lingering soreness.

Here is my dilemma.

I have to start marathon training next week.  I’ve been a big slug lately, and I need to get this going strong.  Do I stick with the orthotics that give me a lot of pain (but may get better), or just try out my new running shoes sans orthotics and see how that goes for awhile?

Sometimes a marathon seems so, so unattainable.  Today is one of those days. 

Sigh.

We’re ba-ack!

From the honeymoon, that is.

It was lovely.  Honestly, this post will probably be pretty light on text, because, well, we didn’t DO much.  And it was glorious. 

Since we love driving and road trips, and saving money, we decided to road trip it to and from the honeymoon cruise.  So…Kansas City to New Orleans.  A 14 hour drive, if you were to do it straight through.  But that’s no fun.

We left early on Friday morning and drove through the day until we arrived in Memphis just in time for dinner.  It was when we sat down here I realized, “Ahh, vacation!” for the first time.

We went to Bosco’s, a brewery/pub type place.  Tim relaxed with a beer.

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The beer was awesome.  The food (we got individual pizzas) was just so-so. 

 

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We stayed the night in northern Mississippi, and drove from there to New Orleans (about 6 more hours) on Saturday morning.  Our cruise was on the Carnival Triumph to Progreso and Cozumel, Mexico.

Embarkation was kind of a clusterfuck, frankly.  We sat in traffic to get parking at the Port of New Orleans for at least an hour.  Once we parked, it was long line after long line after long line in the heat to get everything checked in and secured and whatnot.  I get that it’s necessary and all, but it was a pretty big buzzkill.  We also got a notice that because of the oil spill, we’d be leaving at 9 pm rather than 4 pm, which would have been nice to know beforehand so we didn’t have to get up at the asscrack of dawn to get there on time.  But, alas.

Eventually we made it through and got on the boat and took  pictures.  New Orleans!

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After all the travel hectic-ness, I needed a drink.

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With an umbrella, naturally. 

One of the nice things about Carnival was their beverage policy.  Although the cruise did not include the cost of soda or alcohol, they allow each guest to carry on (not check) a 12 pack of soda and a bottle of wine (not hard liquor).  We each carried on soda, so we didn’t pay for that all week, and a bottle of wine, which contributed to two fun, boozy nights.  We did end up buying a few mixed drinks, but the prices were reasonable (about $5 for an Absolut vodka/tonic, about $7 for a fancy mixed drink or top shelf booze) and the drinks were STRONG. 

Here is a montage of what we did pretty much the entire trip.

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Read and laze.  Yes, I got sunburned.  I swear to you, it was accidental—no joke, Tim and I used an entire spray can of SPF 30 the first day on the boat and we both got burned anyway.  I’d brought two cans, but the aerosol thingamajig was not working in the second one, and the store on the boat was closed, so we spent our second day in the shade!

Our first port was Progreso, Mexico.  We didn’t get off the boat for very long—we just browsed around a duty-free shopping area near the dock.  Nothing too exciting. 

Progreso is not the most scenic.

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The second port was Cozumel, which I don’t have any pictures of.  We did debark that day and take a snorkeling tour, which was fantastic.  I’d never snorkeled before, but it was so much fun!   Definitely the highlight of the trip.

A few random photos inside the boat.   The lobby:

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The barstools that made us crave Reese’s:

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Our stateroom:

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Assorted towel creatures:

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And the ONE picture we got together on the whole honeymoon:

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My impatient debarkation face:

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All in all, we enjoyed cruising.  While we decided we’d probably both go on a cruise again, we’d probably not go with Carnival.  Here are the pros and cons, in my opinion.

Pros:

  • Service was great.  Our stateroom steward and dining room waitress were both very nice and helpful, and all the other Carnival employees were perfectly attentive and polite.  They were really a highlight of the trip—anything we needed or wanted, they would get it for us.
  • The boat was very clean and well-staffed. 
  • Cozumel was a beautiful port.  We didn’t see enough of Progreso to judge it fairly!
  • The drinks we ordered at the various bars were all really good and made strong.
  • I really liked the breakfasts on board, especially in the main dining room!  The omelets I had were great, and I liked generally that the portion sizes were fairly small so you didn’t overeat too much.
  • We really loved the excursion we booked in Cozumel through Carnival.
  • They show movies outdoors at night, and we really enjoyed (re)watching the most recent Harry Potter movie with a bottle of wine on our last night!

Cons:

  • My biggest issue was the food.  We agreed that the Lido deck (buffet style area) was about one click up from college dorm food, and the main dining room was maybe two clicks up.  We had a few things that we really liked (Tim had lamb he said was great, I had a few good pasta and fruit dishes), but everything else was pretty unremarkable or just kind of bad.  But, we recognize you get what you pay for, and we were on a budget. 
  • There was one show we wanted to see the entire cruise—a comedian—and the lounge was packed, standing room only, when we showed up 20 minutes early.
  • SMOKING.  It seemed like everyone on the boat had a cigarette dangling from their mouth or fingers the whole time.  It was really annoying.  If there were non-smoking areas on the boat, they weren’t enforced.
  • I did not like being constantly hounded by photographers to take cheesy posed photos.  We said “no thanks” every time, but it was a little annoying after awhile.

Anyway, just my opinion, take it with a grain of salt!

After we debarked, we set out to explore New Orleans for the day, mostly with our stomachs.  Our first stop was for beignets and coffee at the iconic Cafe du Monde.

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We split an order of beignets and whoa, they were good.  (But, you know, it’s pretty hard to screw up fried dough coated in sugar.)

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We walked around the French Quarter for awhile.  It was HOT!

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You guys, I have a confession to make.  Our second gastronomic adventure of the day MIGHT be my #1 highlight of the entire honeymoon.  (Um, except spending lots of time with my husband.  Right.  Tim > ham sandwich.)

For lunch, we visited the John Besh (who is kind of a total hottie, and OMG did I just say hottie?) restaurant Luke.  (There is a dotty thing over the U, but I am too tired to figure that one out.)  I am 99% certain this was the best meal of my life.

I ordered the Croque Madame.  In normal terms, a ham sandwich with Emmentaler cheese and a fried egg on top.  With French fries.

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You guys, I cannot even explain this sandwich.  It was out of control good.  Everything.  The egg, the ham, the bread, the cheese…to die for.  I mashed up the yolk so the whole sandwich was nice and eggy and ate it with a knife and fork.  It was obvious the ham was not just HAM, but…god, I don’t know.  Made from a golden pig, or something. 

Tim liked it, too.  He got cochon au lait, which was basically some kind of pulled pork and ham sandwich with cherry mustard, Emmentaler cheese and cornichons.  I tried a little and it was also from the same gilded pig that made my sandwich.

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We spent the afternoon exploring the garden district (no pictures, because I was driving) and then set out for our final gigantic decadent meal of the day at Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA.

28975_861971051100_15908788_46920072_3742017_n 28975_861971240720_15908788_46920075_3395408_nMy meal was just okay.  Tim raved about his, though, and we both loved dessert there.

On Friday, we drove through to Tim’s parents’ house in southern MO, stayed there for the night, and drove the last few hours home this morning.  It feels good to be back, although I’m flying to Fort Lauderdale for work Wednesday through Sunday!

In other news, I went to my favorite running store today and bought the running shoes I hope will solve my problems—neutral, wide width, half size larger New Balances.  They feel like clouds on my feet.  Cross your fingers that these will be “the one.”

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Can you believe marathon training starts officially in a WEEK?  Not me.  I’ve missed regular running and racing with all the wedding mania that’s been going on the last two months!  I’m working on finding and registering for some races in June and July to keep me occupied—we’ll see how it goes!

Did I miss anything big?  What happened in the blog world last week?

Hummus on the brain

Happy Monday!  These are iPhone photos—I forgot my camera, sorry.  But, I have to say, the quality has VASTLY improved over my old phone.

Lunch.  Unpictured spinach, canteloupe/pineapple, yogurt:

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And some homemade wheat bread with a little homemade PB:

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Since the wedding…I confess, I’ve been lacking in the exercise motivation department.  I truly have been busy trying to get our lives back in order, but I decided today I needed to make a triumphant return to the gym.  I KNOW I like working out once I’m there, but getting there is half the battle—especially after work.

So I employed a little external motivation.  I wore two pieces of meaningful workout gear.

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Silly, maybe, but sometimes you literally need the reason you’re hauling your butt to the gym plastered across your forehead (and boobs).

In other news, I am pretty sure Bondi Bands are the best thing ever.  Mine held my new short hair back perfectly for my entire workout, and it wasn’t ugly!

photo(8)The new ‘do doesn’t cover my neck at all, so no need for any kind of pony/pigtail.  Reason #43253 why I love this haircut.

Anyway.  I went to the gym and decided I wanted to do three miles of run/walk intervals.  (Yes, I can still run three miles.  I wanted to walk in an attempt to break my custom orthotics in gently.)  I did a 5 minutes-5 minutes walk-run split and finished in about 35 minutes.

BUT GUESS WHAT.  My feet are blistering again.  In the arches.  Yup.  Custom orthotics?  Not impressed.  I am going to go to the running store and get a new pair of WIDE running shoes and hope for the best—the only shoes I didn’t blister in were wides (unfortunately they also gave me horrible shin splints because they were a stability shoe).  I am going to buy WIDE, NEUTRAL shoes, preferably New Balances because of the big toe box, and cross my fingers.

The good news is that I had no ankle, shin, hip, or knee pain, so at least the orthotics are keeping things properly aligned.

In other news, I have had hummus on the brain.  I had to make a special trip to Target after work today.

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Holy delicious.   I now want to bathe in hummus.  And black beans. 

Another rave?  The Lucy shorts I bought this weekend are fabulous.  Comfy, don’t ride, a big-thighed-girl’s dream.   Well worth the price thus far!

Anyway, I’m off.  Have a fabulous night!

Three days to go!

Sorry this is a little late.  I think I’m going to be able to post in the morning on Thursday and Friday, so you’ll be a day behind, kinda—Wednesday’s post will go up this morning, Thursday’s will go up Friday morning…and then you’ll just have to wait until I’m all married to get the rest of the weekend update!  🙂

This morning I went to pick up my custom orthotics.  Hooray!  The podiatrist wrote the prescription for them back in mid-April, and I’ve been waiting ever since. 

They are a soft foam insert with a cork bottom.  Top view:

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And bottom.

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Cool, huh?  I do think I will need to go to a wider shoe (I’m thinking a New Balance, since I lurrrrved their wide toe boxes), but they feel pretty squishy and good.  He listened to me (yay) and didn’t build up the arch too much so I won’t blister.   They are nice and squishy under my forefoot, which felt good.

I’m supposed to break them in by just walking around in them for a few hours for 3-4 days before I start running in them.  I’ll deal with that…after the wedding.

As soon as I got back, we packed up the car and got on the road!  (Tim dropped the animals off to be boarded while I was at the doctor.  I get too sad and emotional when I take them.  Lame, I know.)

We had perfect driving weather the whole way.  I drove three hours, Tim drove three hours, I drove three more hours.  Not quite fair, but we had lots of lovely conversation about politics and marriage and how Buckley, Southpaw, and Milhouse would behave at a sleepover.

Tim drives:

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While I napped.   I sleep so soundly in moving cars!  I love it.

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We took a pit stop for lunch at a Panera in Des Moines, and stopped for gas at…

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The World’s Largest Truckstop.  I love it so.  Only in rural Iowa can you find things like this: 0505 006

Hmm.  Questionable.

Anyway, we drove and drove and drove and finally stopped at my sister’s house (about half an hour from my mom’s) and went out for real Chicago pizza with her.  It was delightful. 

Then, we Redboxed the Blind Side (which we both Hated, capital H) and chilled at my mom’s house all night. 

The plan for today?  Well, I’m blogging this from breakfast at Panera..  Then we’re going to drive up to where the wedding is (about an hour and a half from where my mom’s house is, but close to where my mom lives during the school year—it’s a long story), get our marriage license (OMG!), pick up some last minute gifts (oops), meet with the pastor, have dinner, and head back down to my mom’s house for the night.

See you tomorrow!

Lunchtime Warrior

11 days to go!  We’re almost in 10-day forecast territory, dudes.

I thought about photographing my lunch, but it was the same as yesterdays: pineapple pre-workout, spinach + balsamic, Chobani + strawberries + Kashi GoLean, and a multigrain bagel. 

Once again, over the lunch hour, I hit the gym.  0.4 mile run there, 3.5 mile run on the treadmill, 0.4 mile run back.  Whee! 

My iPod was dead today, so I did some thinking while I ran.  I am certain these shoes (the Brooks Defyance 2s) are not THE shoes for me.  Aside from the blister issues, I’ve had various knee/shin/ankle pain, and today, my hips were complaining too!  Ugh.  My orthotics are in (but I keep forgetting to make an appointment to pick them up—it’s a little hectic right now), and I think I’ll head back to the ol’ running store to get a new pair.

Here’s my dream shoe wishlist:

  • A wide toe box.  I think the blistering on my forefoot is because these shoes are just too narrow thanks to my awesome bunions.
  • I also like the idea of a wide width shoe—I tried one for a few weeks earlier this year, but it was a stability shoe, and didn’t have enough cushioning, so I got shin splints.  I’m curious about what could happen in a wide neutral shoe with plenty of cushioning.
  • A larger size.  I’m pretty sure my feet swell when I run.  A lot.  I’d ideally like to be measured, run on the store treadmill for awhile, and then be re-measured, but they probably don’t want me jeopardizing it all day. 

Anyway.  Moving on.  There was a birthday celebration at work this afternoon, so I was planning on having cake as an afternoon snack.  (Yup.)  Buuut, I went, and it was white cake with white frosting—booooring, and not worth the sugar binge.   I went back to my office and opted for a Luna Bar instead.

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I’m not a white chocolate fan AT ALL, but I really like these.  Huh.

Came home.  We got a wedding gift!  Hello, new salad bowl.  May I fill you with spinach?

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I also got a very fancy candle as an early wedding gift from a co-worker today!  Totally sweet.

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I looove candles (and so does Tim) and this one smells awesome.  It’s orange/vanilla scent, so think grown-up creamsicle.

And for fun, Tim and I get 8904543 mailings a week from the Missouri Bar Association.  We got one today that we both laughed at:

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We’re down to four RSVP stragglers.  Come on, guys!

What’s something that made you laugh today?

Snow? In March?

This has been SUCH a long day. 

I rolled out of bed at 5 so I could be at work by 6:30.  Worked from 6:30-noon.  Hey, guess what?

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It started snowing/raining/sleeting late last night and continued throughout the night.  This morning, it turned to snow.  We now have probably 4-5 inches of snow on the ground.  And it’s March 20th.  Not cool, winter.  Not cool.

The upside is that it’s supposed to be in the 40s tomorrow so hopefully it will all melt.  But still, sucky.

I was absolutely determined to get the shopping-related errands done today.  They’ve been stressing me out for the last week and I was tired of it.  So I forged ahead and did my errands, snow be damned.

First stop: Ulta, for shower hostess gifts.  I have 7 hostesses (roughly) so it had to be something reasonably inexpensive.  I’m going to wrap them up with a note hoping that all their showers will be as nice as mine!

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And a nice flatiron for my hair.  My straightener right now is a joke—I think I bought it at the drugstore for $9.99 my freshman year in college, and it doesn’t work.  I’m so tired of long hair, but I want it to look nice for my shower/bachelorette parties/etc, so I figured I should splurge on a nice one.

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Then I stopped by the running store to a) restock on Gu and b) pick up some odds and ends to wrap up for my sister’s maid of honor gift half marathon registration.   My friend/the owner Bob was there, and of course he asked about my shoes.  Guiltily, I told him that they just weren’t working all that well and showed him my dead toenail/new blisters. 

He felt bad and gave me some new cushiony insoles to try.

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They are so wonderful there, but I think they think I’m a lost cause at this point.  Bob admitted that he can’t think of one more thing that would help me that I haven’t tried, and recommended I see a doctor.  (Which I plan to do after the wedding—things are just too crazy now.)  It makes me sad that there’s really nothing else they can think of that will help my poor feet.  😦

Bob even said, “I’ve never said this before, but maybe you should just go to a sporting goods store, find a pair of shoes that feels good on your feet for $50, and keep trying that until you find something.  At this point, you don’t have anything to lose.”  (Except more money.  But…a nice sentiment.)

Anyway, I got this.  I’m not sure if it’s going to be for my sister or for me quite yet.  Oops. 

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And an array of goodies to give my sister—non-cotton socks, sport beans, shot blocks, various Gu flavors, and Body Glide.

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I also bought a whole box of Chocolate Gu.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?  This should last me awhile, and it’s discounted if you buy by the box.

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Then I headed to the mall and picked up some bronzing airbrush spray while I waited to get my eyebrows done.

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Got my eyebrows waxed, came home, ate dinner, and now we’re watching The September Issue and possibly The Hurt Locker later.

Anyway, not a cheap day, but I think I’m mostly done shopping-wise for my Chicago trip.  Tomorrow’s MUST GET DONE LIST:

  • thank you note for the gift we got this week
  • print/cut/assemble/address rehearsal dinner invitations
  • write out cards for shower hostesses
  • try to get as much Chicago packing done as possible

Anyone else getting unseasonably awful weather?