Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas in Denver (Friday Five Edition)

Before I get into my Friday Five, I wanted to take a quick moment to share my sadness for Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds.   Carrie Fisher is best known for her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars.  She was a princess but could kick some ass.  Princess Leia was a role model for girls before the Lora Crofts or Katniss Everdeen.  She was a Princess that did more then wait for her Prince to save her.  Carrie Fisher was also an advocate for those with mental illness.  May she rest in peace.

So it's been a busy week.  We spent Christmas with family in Denver and had a good time.  I grew up here but moved to Virginia when I was 12. I've only been back once and that was 20 years ago. So I only remember a few things. But as we go around town I am getting flashbacks.  Here are five things that we did.

1. On Friday we went to the History Colorado Museum. It was a very fun museum to visit. They had a special exhibit about awkward family photos. You know those pictures you have on the wall which you wish you could hide in the attic so company would never see?  A bunch of those that just make you laugh.

They also had a bunch of things about Colorado that reminded me of my childhood. Like the Barrel Man. He would wear this barrel and hat (and nothing else). On a $10 bet Tim McKernan was supposed to get on TV. To do this he wore this outfit and won. He then continued to do this for every game for 30 years. No matter how cold.

2. We went to dinner at Casa Bonita. 


This place I totally remembered and it hasn't changed a bit. This place is a Mexican restaurant that has a tons of entertainment. They have shows like gun fights, magic shows, and diving.  


If you have never been there, it's kinda hard to describe.  South Park had done an episode about it that captures it pretty well.  I think it was the one thing I remembered best from my childhood in Denver.

3. I did a 10 mile run through downtown Denver.  I started at the Coors Field, the ballpark for the Rockies.

I then headed down to the 16th Street Mall which is about 1 1/4 miles long.

I then headed down to City Park, which is a very big park that includes the Zoo, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and even a golf course.  


I didn't realize it during my run, but the high school that my dad graduated from was right across the street from the park.  And then I headed back the same way back to Coors Field. 

4. On Christmas Day we ventured out in wind gusts of 70-75 MPH and went to Black Hawk.  It's a place where there are a ton of casinos.  We hung out and I lost money, my Aunt won and then we ate free at their all you can eat buffet.

5. We ventured into the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, which I had ran by a couple of days before.  I didn't think I had been there before, but there were a few things that I remembered.  The outside of the IMAX.  The growling sabertooth donation display.

The animal dioramas.

I didn't remember the exhibit, but they had a really cool dinosaur exhibit. 

Bonus - I know it's only Friday Five, not Friday Six, but I wanted to add the last place we went.  The Old Spaghetti Factory.  It is another restaurant that has not changed a bit since I was last there 30 years ago.

Did you go anywhere for Christmas?  Have you ever been to Denver?  Do you try to run when on vacation to see different sights?

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!!

I don't have a weekly wrap up today. I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah!!

I'll have more of my Christmas recap in later posts. Till then I hope everyone enjoys the holidays!!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler Recap (Friday Five Edition)

I always have a hard time this time of year because I don't like the cold and I hate these short days.  Two days ago, on Wednesday, was the Winter Solstice.  My dad always said that the Winter Solstice is his favorite day of the year because the days only get longer from here.  I think of that and can look forward to the cold winter months as I know each day is getting longer and longer.  I hope you enjoyed the shortest day of the year (or longest night - how ever you would like to think about it).  Now on with my recap.

This past Saturday I did the Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler in Virginia Beach.  This was the first time I've done this race.  I was signed up for it last year but the holiday time just got in the way and I deferred it to this year.  I'm kinda glad I did as this year they were trying to break the Guinness Book of World Record of having the most Santas in a race.  Here are five things about the race.

1. This was my first 5 mile race.  I had to think about it some while I was running, but I have never done the 5 mile distance.  I've run that distance many times during training, but never as a race.  It's a nice distance.

2. Seeing all of the people dressed up in Santa suits was so much fun.  When I picked up my bib, we were given a one size fits all Santa suit instead of a shirt.  It comes with pants, coat, belt, beard, and hat.  You had to wear all 5 pieces crossing the start line and finish line to be part of the record.  It was weird to see people that were not in a Santa suit, or even in any holiday outfits.  They really stood out.

3. We ran down the Boardwalk and they had festive lights everywhere.  My favorite was the 12 Days of Christmas.  They had all 12 days in different lights.  I wish I took some pictures of them as some of them were really creative.  I just wish they would have started us a little later so when we got to the Boardwalk it would have been a little darker to really enjoy the lights.

4. I really like the J&A Races, especially the shorter ones as they are fun routes.  The route started at the Convention Center and went down to the Boardwalk and then back to the Convention Center.  I liked being on the Boardwalk for as long as we were.  They gave out Ginger Snap cookies and Candy Canes on the course.  They also give some sort of finisher thing at the end of the race.  This race we got gloves.

5.  The weather was unseasonably warm.  It was chilly all day, but a warm front came through in the afternoon.  It was about 50 degrees when we started at 4:30.  I knew to just wear shorts and a light shirt underneath.  I felt bad for those who had long pants and heavier shirts on.  Some were stripping down during the run to their base layer (which is legal for the record as long as they put everything back on before they crossed the finish line).

I think I would do this race again.  I know they won't do the Guinness Record again, but it is a fun race on the Boardwalk.  It's just a pain to drive 2 hours back and forth for the race.

Before I end this post, I wanted to give a shout out to Heather for my Blogger Card Swap. She sent me a very cute card with a fun sticker from #werunsocial and a gift card for Target.  I heart Target. :)  Thanks so much Heather!!

Have you done the Surf-n-Santa race before?  Have you done a 5 miler race, there doesn't seem to be a lot out there?  What is your favorite holiday race?

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016 Races in Pictures (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

I don't feel like I did many races this year, but after looking at my pictures I did.  They were all part of challenges.  I also had a huge gap between April and October, which probably is what made it feel like I didn't do many races.  But with all of the challenges, boy did I get a lot of medals.  19 medals for 13 races this year.

At the start of the year I did the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World in Florida.  At some point I want to see what I can remember of this race and do a recap.  It was something that I'm glad I did, but it's defiantly a one and done.  4 races in 4 days for 48.6 miles.

I then the weekend after that I turned around and did the Star Wars Light Side Challenge in Disneyland in California.  Yes I'm crazy, but I have to say that the half was the most fun I had in such a long time.  After the half, I had run 7 races in 11 days running 71 miles.

This year was the first year that they did a Star Wars Dark Side Challenge in Walt Disney World in Florida.  If you did both Star War races then you got a special Millennium Falcon medal.  You had me at Millennium.

Most of my summer was focused on training for the Marine Corps Marathon.  That was my goal race of the year.  MCM was the hottest marathon I have ever run and I felt a little disappointed with the conditions, but I was so prod of my 10 minute PR.

Because I signed up for the Richmond Marathon Training Team to train for the MCM I had entry to the Richmond Marathon.  I had decided to make the decision of doing the marathon or half at the expo.  I decided to do the marathon - the second in two weeks.  Plus another PR, 20 minutes faster then MCM.

This past weekend I did my last race of the year.  The Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler.  It was a really fun run with festive lights on the Boardwalk and a Guinness Book of World Records set for the most Santas in a race.

So what is up for next year?  I'm doing both Star Wars Challenges and that's all I have signed up for in 2017.  I have thoughts on other races, but with the limbo of the job, I don't want to plan any more big trips just yet.  Now that I am back in touch with some of the family, I have already been offered places to stay in MD.  Maybe I will do the King Crab Challenge.  Or maybe the Triple Dare Challenge with the J&A races in Virginia Beach.  Who knows, I have a feeling that 2017 will be a bit of spontaneity when it comes to races.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

First Week of Freedom (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

So this was my first week of no work.  Honestly it has been great.  I've had so much to do this week that I was so glad that I didn't need to go to work on top of everything.  I got all my Christmas shopping done.  All the wrapping done.  Saw Rouge One twice (yes, I'm a Star Wars geek).   I even got my hair cut. 

When I run my midweek runs, 3 or 4 miles, I like to play a game.  Sort of my way of doing speed work.  I run the first mile however I feel.  I don't slow down if I feel I'm going too fast and I don't speed up if I feel like I'm going slow.  Then the second mile has to be faster then the first and then the third has to be faster then the second and the forth faster then the third.  To throw in some fun, I don't look at my pace on my watch, I try to do it by feel.  I need a name for this game.

I was able to get all of my midweek runs in.  Monday I got up early, even though I didn't have to go to work.  I wanted to get out before it started to rain, plus I had an early PT appointment.  The news said that the rain would start around 7, so I was right on time to get out there and back before it started to rain.  Then as I walked out the door, the news changed it's mind and said it would start about 6.  I was out 10 minutes before it started to drizzle then it started to rain 10 minutes after that.  I stuck it out and ran one of my fastest runs in a very long while.  I just wanted to get done and out of the rain.  I really don't mind running in the rain, but when it's cold out I hate it.  I wouldn't have gone out if it started before I ran, but since I was out there already I might as well finish it.  Monday I won my game.

Wednesday was a really good run.  I didn't win my game but I was even faster then Monday without trying.  I couldn't believe that I had two runs this week that were amazingly fast.  Not only that, but no real aches or pains, well for me.

Thursday night I was able to go and see the opening of Rouge One.  I really liked it and loved how it fit right into A New Hope.


Friday I really didn't want to go for my run.  It was 22 degrees and COLD.  It took me awhile to get out the door but I was glad I did.  I missed the last mile to beat my game, but even a faster then the other two runs this week.  Woot!  Then I went to see Rouge One in 3D in the afternoon.  I think both 2D and 3D were great.  Loved the movie so much I came home and watched A New Hope to really see how it all fit in together.

Saturday I got my hair cut.  I didn't think it needed it as I'm back and forth on if I want to keep it short or grow it out.  I made my hairdresser pick and she said I should grow it back out.  Though I think she is a bit biased on long hair.  I really didn't care one way or the other and I trust her with my locks.  But the way she trimmed it up made it look really nice and made me realize how much it needed a cut.  Maybe to be washed as well (I only wash it every 2-3 weeks, yes you read that right). 

Then I headed to Virginia Beach for the Surf-n-Santa 5 miler.  I really wasn't looking forward to this race as I was tired and really didn't want to drive all the way to Virginia Beach.  But I went cause the race was trying to beat a Guinness Book of World Records for the most Santas in a race.  I thought being part of that would be fun, no matter my mood.  I'll have more on it in my recap, but Spoiler Alert! - we beat the record (pending Guinness Book of World Records verification).


Then I had dinner with Lacey.  We went to a local place and had these really good Tuna Nachos and crab puffs.  I would have never thought about putting Tuna on Nachos and they were so good.  It was really good to catch up with Lacey as we haven't seen each other in ages.  Then I drove all the way home and showered and hit the hay.

Did you see Rouge One yet?  Do you run in the rain (even if it's cold)?  Have you done the Surf-n-Santa?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

MCM 2016 VLOG (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

I know it's been way over a month since MCM but I finally got around to putting this vlog from the trip together. 

In case you'd like to read the recaps from the MCM weekend:

I really wish I would have made a few more videos through the weekend, but I put in pictures instead.  Also there is part of it that is really weird cause I moved the phone from horizontal to vertical and I guess you are not supposed to do that.  I tried to fix as best I can, but there is still a part that looks weird.  This is the first time I tried to do it and I hope you like it.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Last Week of Routine (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

I've been having a hard time starting this post.  Not sure why.  I'm training for a half in January, but I'm not really following any plan.  Just trying to keep my fitness and runs up from the Richmond Marathon last month.  So why am I having a hard time wrapping up my week?  Again, not sure why, but I'm just going to see what happens as I type.

Monday and Wednesday I got in a 4 mile run.  It has started to get chilly and feeling a little like winter.  I'm getting used to running in the cold now and have very little hesitation anymore.  The run was good and I was glad I was out there.

Friday got a lot colder.  My first run colder then freezing.  I think I bundled up well for the 4 miles and even needed to take off my gloves at mile 3.  Again, another good run this week.

I missed my run on Saturday cause we drove up to Maryland to make Christmas cookies with family.  We haven't seen most of the extended family for a long time.  My great uncle died over the summer and that was the first time in years that we saw anyone.  The funny thing about that funeral is that most everyone was not sure who everyone was in the family.

On my mom's side my great grandmother came to this country from Lithuania when she was a teenager.

My Great-Grandmother is the one in the middle

She had four children and it seems that most of us kept to our own families.  So we all were not sure who was who and it was a bit of a relief that we were not the only ones that were not sure.  After a lot of discussion we asked to be invited when they made Crusdes (Lithuanian Christmas cookies).

The four siblings, my grandmother is on the left

So we went up Saturday to see everyone and make cookies.  It was a lot of fun to catch up with everyone.  The cookies are a lot of fun to make.  The dough is made the night before and everyone brings their batches.  Then the dough is rolled out and cut into strips with a slit in the middle.  They are then twisted in the middle to make them really fun.  Then we fry them.


Like the typical setup, the women were in the kitchen rolling, cutting, and twisting, while the guys were in the garage with the fryers.  I wanted to try and catch up with everyone, so I went back and forth and did a bit of all the jobs.  I wish I would have taken pictures while I was there.  I'm bad a that when I'm in the middle of having fun.

I made up my long run on Sunday.  I ran 8 miles and it was a hard run at the end.  I started the run and the temperatures said it was 40 with a wind chill of 35.  The first 5 miles were good and I felt warm with what I was wearing.  Took off my hat and gloves and enjoyed being outside.  After the fifth mile things started to get cold again.  Like really cold.  The hat and gloves were put back on.  And I started to hate the run cause I was so cold.  I was glad to be done with the run though.  I did see this great decoration.


So the week is over and I'm about to start a new chapter of my life.  I have tons of things that I will be doing this week, plus a lot of things that need to get done before Christmas.  It is nice not to worry about work while I try to get all of this done.

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, December 9, 2016

What's Next? (Friday Five Edition)

So today is my last day at work.  I have vacation that I'm using till the end of the year and then that's it.  So a lot of my thoughts are on what will I be doing next.  I have 7 months of severance so there are a lot of things up in the air right now.

1. Job hunting - I get this question often.  And really, right now, most companies are not hiring because of the end of the year, holidays, and budgets.  I have done a great deal of networking the last couple of months and will start up again in January.

2. Traveling - While I don't want to spend too much money on vacations, this is a perfect time go do some traveling.  I already had a couple things on the schedule and I'm trying to decide if I want to do anything else.  The only problem is that all my friends still have jobs, so it will be a little harder to find someone to do something spur of the moment.

3. Cleaning - I have to admit I'm a bit of a pack rat.  It doesn't help that I have very little storage in my house.  So I want to use some of this time to just purge and get rid of things out of my house that I really don't need.  Hopefully I can stay motivated and get a good amount done.

4. Classes - Our severance package includes some money to use for training.  We have two years to use it and it doesn't have to be IT specific.  So I'm looking around to what might be useful to my career and more importantly, what might be fun.

5. Relaxing - December and most of January probably won't be the best time for me to have a lot of time to relax as I have so much going on.  But it will be nice not to have to worry about work on top of everything.  So I'm hoping to get some reading done, binge some TV shows, and cuddling with the kitties.

Have you had some extended time off before?  What did you do with your time?

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Back in the Saddle Again (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

Between tapper, races, recovery, and Thanksgiving, I have not had a regular routine since mid-October.  This week, my goal was to get back to my normal schedule.

Monday I was able to get a 3 mile in before work.  It was in the mid-30's and cold.  I'm still trying to remember how to dress for the colder weather.  I didn't do too bad, just cold arms and legs, so my core was a good temperature and that's what matters.

Tuesday I made it to the gym.  It was a really good workout.

Wednesday when I got up for my run it was in the mid 60's.  Yes a 30 degree temperature change in two days.  That's Virginia for you.  I woke up just a tad hung over, but I knew no matter how bad the run would be, I would feel better.  It ended up being a pretty good run considering.

Thursday I made it to the gym for a second time in the week.  The first I've done that in a few weeks.

Friday the temperature was back down to freezing.  Yes another 30 degree temperature change in two days.  I dressed a bit better, so I'm starting to remember.  I ended up doing 5 miles because I would be out of town over the weekend and wasn't sure if I would get a long run in.  I wanted to do 6 miles, but that's hard to do before work for me.

I tried to do a 3 mile run on the treadmill at the hotel.  First trying to get into the fitness center was complicated.  Apparently there was a key scanner on the other side of the door that was camouflaged.  The treadmill itself was probably the cheapest that I've seen.  There really wasn't a shelf to put my iPad on.  It wasn't really big enough for a magazine.  I did the quick start and it still had the numbers from the run before.  Stop/clear did nothing.  I had to pull that emergency tab off to reset the numbers.  Once I got going it took forever for it to speed up to the number on the treadmill.  It took awhile to find the right speed cause the change was so slow.  I finally found a good speed and got a little over a mile in and my iPad slipped and hit the emergency stop and everything came to a complete stop.  It took awhile to get back to a good speed again and 2 minutes later my iPad slipped again.  I was so sick of this stupid treadmill that I just gave up.  Not worth the aggravation.

Going forward routine is going to be hard for me.  I'm not good getting my runs in if my routine is not there and my last day of work is Friday, so out the door goes my routine.  If I'm not getting up for work or meeting people I usually hang out too long and then I change my mind on going.  I'm also out of town all the weekends in December so trying to get my long run in on the weekend will be a challenge.  Might be good that I don't have work, so that I an do a long run during the week.  We will see what the next few weeks bring.

How do you keep up with training without a routine?  Does your weather get all funky like in Virginia in the fall?  What is the worst treadmill experience that you have had?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.