Home again!

There’s nothing like the feeling of coming home after being away for awhile…especially when you were away by yourself.

Yesterday wasn’t particularly thrilling.  More meetings.  But I did get to spend a little time on the beach afterwards…in the process of which I think I ruined my camera.  I had a water bottle in my beach bag and it leaked and water got on the screen.  I’m letting it dry out and hoping for the best.  So…say hello to iPhone pictures.  They’re actually not bad!

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Have I mentioned that aside from running and blogging and following my animals around with a camera, I love to read?  I polished off three books on this trip.  I finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (love this trilogy), Let the Great World Spin (I don’t know why, but I never got into this one), and Sarah’s Key (liked it).

 

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I started this morning off with a strawberry banana Vivanno smoothie from Starbucks.  I slept a little later than usual (8:30 or so) and knew I’d have to eat lunch before my flight, which left at 12:20, so I wanted something light and refreshing.  I love these!  (The chocolate flavor is kind of ass-tasting, though.)0606 004

Anyway.  Shuttle to the airport, then bopped around the Fort Lauderdale airport looking for lunch.  I have to commend them—their healthy options are much better than those at the Kansas City airport! 

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Hummus and wheat pitas, a fruit cup, and iced coffee. 

Question: does anyone REALLY like honeydew melon?  I feel like it is just kind of a generic filler for fruit cups, but it has absolutely no flavor and nobody I know LOVES honeydew.  I skipped it.  It just tastes like saliva to me and is a waste of chewing effort.

I also only ate maybe 1/4 of the hummus cup, which was massive.  It was good though!  Very peppery.  My two cravings after being away from home were hummus and peanut butter. 

I also picked up a Special K bar for the plane ride.  Gross ingredient list, but easily portable, good macros, and it was actually pretty tasty.

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It kind of scares me that this was billed as a “meal bar” though.  It only had 180 calories!  That is NOT a meal.  Unless you are a toddler.  And then, well, I know fuckall about children, so, maybe even they eat more than that.  Who knows.

I arrived at KCI a few hours later to a surprise visitor!

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Tim said Milhouse missed me and wanted to come.  

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I think he was happy to see me.

The afternoon was spent lazily unpacking.  Poor Tim had a migraine and was in bed, but happily he’s feeling better now.  We grilled steaks, and I made a fruit salad and Alton Brown’s Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese for dinner.  (The mac and cheese was good, but WAY rich, even after halving the butter and cheese.  We also thought it was a little salty!)

In other news…this week officially marks the start of marathon training!  I have a kick off meeting with Team in Training on Saturday, and my official marathon training schedule (which will be on my new blog, which I’ll announce soon I PROMISE) starts tomorrow.

In other other news, please send good vibes in the direction of my ovaries tomorrow morning.  I have a follow-up ultrasound after my gynecologist discovered what she thinks are cysts at my annual last month.  Hopefully it’s nothing!

Tomorrow I will also begin the official name change process!  Good times.

What is your stance on honeydew and other melons?  Does anyone actually LOVE it?

Achieved a goal…maybe?

Nature is cruel.

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Again, for the second day in a row, we had gooorgeous weather all day long…until we got out of meetings.  Then it started storming, HARD.  So, bye-bye, beach.  I have one more day to maybe dip my feet in the ocean!  Cross your fingers.

Happily, though, the rain was good for my plans to take a longer than usual run.

We don’t have a full-length mirror at home, so I used the hotel’s to take a full-length picture of me in all my running gear glory.0604 002Love my lucy shorts and BondiBand.  These are two of my favorite things lately.  Seriously.  

Pre-run snackage:

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My camera ate my lunch picture, but I ate about 1/3 of a Starbucks chicken caesar salad and a Dannon Light n’ Fit yogurt.   I wasn’t that hungry, and the buffet for lunch was gross-looking greasy Chinese that turned my stomach.  (I’m sure it was good, I’m just not a big Chinese food fan, especially not before a run!)

Anyway, I wasn’t totally feeling a run, so I challenged myself to beat a goal I’ve had in my goals tab for awhile—run 10K in under an hour.  I figured giving myself a mission would make it a little more fun!

And…I did it.  6.2 miles in 59:47.  It was HARD.  The gym was humid and I sweated more than I have in a long time.  But it felt good!  The thing is…I’m not sure I feel right crossing it off my goal list because it wasn’t a timed race.

In other news, these shoes feel fantabulous without orthotics.  I can’t remember the last time I ran a 10K and didn’t wind up with blisters or some kind of lower leg pain.  Eep!

In other OTHER news, we got to see 112 of our wedding pictures today online!  The gallery is password-protected so I can’t share, but we will have the full CD with several hundred images next week and I will do an exhaustive blow-by-blow wedding recap.

What do you say?  Did I reach my goal or not?

Tropical storms

Day two in Florida.  Of course, all day I was in meetings, from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm.  Boooring.

I did manage to sneak outside for a little while at lunch to enjoy the Florida sunshine!  The view from this hotel is absolutely incredible.  I found some nice lounge furniture and kicked up my heels and read for awhile.0603 001

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All in all, I have been fairly happy with the conference food.  The options have been reasonably healthy!  Of course, I’ve forgotten to photograph them.  So, imagine the following:

Breakfast:  Coffee.  Pineapple, canteloupe, strawberries, blackberries.  Banana nut mini-muffin.  Scrambled eggs.

Lunch: Minestrone soup.  Salad with spinach, grapefruit sections, blueberries, and a vinaigrette dressing.  About a quarter of some kind of flank steak wrap.  Tiny square of cookies n’ cream cheesecake.  (SO GOOD.)

Snacktime was provided.  I resisted, even though it looked pretty good.

pro_vab_101I wasn’t REALLY hungry.  I had my third cup of coffee for the day instead.  (Yes, I’m in caffeine overload.  I’ve also been drinking a ton of water—when I’m bored, I drink!)

Of course, by the time we were free for the afternoon and evening, torrential rain and thunderstorms had started.  My plans to relax on the beach were foiled. 

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Boo.  Hiss.

The planned dinner event was a four hour dinner and booze cruise.  I skipped it.  The thought of spending four hours on a boat on the stormy ocean didn’t sound appealing.  I totally would have gone if the weather had been nice and I could sit outside with a glass of wine and see the sights, but…staying inside in the pouring rain didn’t sound fun.

Instead I decided tonight called for some greasy pizza and trashy TV!  A total “me” night.  Completely unhealthy…but a little pizza once in awhile is fine by me.

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I am taking the day off running—I’ve run Sunday-Wednesday this week, and I have tomorrow afternoon off, so I’m planning on resting today and doing a “long” run tomorrow.  (Not THAT long yet—I’m hoping for 6 miles or so.)

In other news…we got the exciting news today that we’re going to be Aunt Brie and Uncle Tim to a BOY in October!  I’ve already been scouring Etsy for cute boy stuff.  I can’t wait!

What’s your favorite kind of pizza?

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!

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?

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!

Four days to go!

Today was a MUCH better day.  Thank goodness!

Late last night, all my stress from yesterday worked itself out.  So, I bounced out of bed today feeling quite bridal and ready for my last day at work as a single person.

I bought a cantaloupe and a huge bag of spinach on Saturday and I’m determined to finish them before we leave tomorrow.  Guess what was for lunch?

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And a giant, unpictured spinach salad.

At lunch, I ran the 0.4 miles to the gym, ran 3 miles on the treadmill at a halfway decent pace, and ran the 0.4 miles back to work.  It was sweaty, but a good workout.  My gym time this week has really been almost Zen-like—it just feels so good from my head to my toes and so restorative in so many ways.  (Aside from the fact that my shoes make my feet and legs and hips hurt.  But whatever.)

Snacktime?

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Love Clif Kid bars. 

The Milhouse:

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Tonight’s activity?  0504 004 0504 005

PACKING.  Tomorrow morning I’m going to get my orthotics (yay) early in the morning, then we’re putting all our wedding stuff in the car and making the eight hour trip to Chicago.  Tonight…I have to do laundry, check my lists and check them twice, and dump everything into a few suitcases. 

Weather check?

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I am oddly really excited about the trip.  Tim and I always have fun on long car rides—we both like driving on the highway and we don’t even listen to music, we just talk the whole time.  It’s wonderful. 

I’m not TOTALLY sure how blogging is going to work this weekend—we’re staying at my mom’s house without wireless (sob), but I am going to try to pop into the nearby Starbucks here and there with some quick updates.

The plan right now is to drive tomorrow, and spend Thursday getting our marriage license and meeting with the pastor.  On Friday, we drop all our stuff off at the reception venue, have lunch with friends, and get ready for our rehearsal dinner and do all that.  Then…Saturday…well, you know what happens!

Hopefully I’ll be able to check in from the road. 

What’s your favorite way to travel?  Are you a road trip fan?