march miscellany

Friday, March 31, 2017

every weekend, every day seemed so full this march -- it was the best month so far this year, if i'm being choosy. memories of my lifetime were made over these past weeks, i cherish them so -- but am eager and hopeful for upcoming days;  finding adventures and celebrating the simple moments in between.

the weather this march is something one must note -- it was surely weird with snow and rain and sunny days mixed in -- but the sun is lingering longer each day and so that alone is something to celebrate.  i think we are on the cusp of a blooming spring, finally-- blooms abounding and lawn mowers singsong-ing.  i am ready to dig in the dirt, plant herbs, and ultimately end our days underneath that blue umbrella.   hip hip!

things I want to remember from march:
+ a weekend with my one of my best girlfriends! -- smoothies and pedicures, veggies on the grill and dancing in the kitchen, brunching with mimosas and talking, talking, talking.  it was beyond lovely.
+ our trip to Texas-- the Houston rodeo and all that it entailed-- longhorns, turkey legs, cowboy hats, country music and family, a most perfect Texan vacation.
+ running the 8k shamrock race with Chris! the cold beer and dancing in the sand that traditionally follows
+ Guinness drenched corned beef and basketball games all the live long weekend, madness indeed
+ running my first half-marathon!! and the entire weekend in North Carolina -- carb loading, celebrating, relaxing, belly laughing, and loving through and through.
+ spotting daffodils, and snowflakes, and red buds abloom.
+ fervent skin care routines and pops of lavender in my hair -- late twenties bringing out both the "give a crap" and "why the hell not" in me
+ the greening of every little thing, spring rain showers when birdsong is still heard, and windows open evenings
+ homemade vanilla almond granola if only to fill the house with good smells; cucumber noodles in our salads; and fresh berries & asparagus once again filling the fridge
+ a coffee table try filled with all the best things: springtime magazines, a new candle flickering, a baby succulent, and salted caramels in a dish -- the simplest things make my heart happy
+ springtime walks with my Corgi girl


Emerald Isle Half-Marathon weekend

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

this past weekend i ran my first half-marathon!  on Emerald Isle, the island where i grew up.  running a new distance and reaching this goal of mine, with family meeting me at the finish, and a husband who rode his bike all the way down the island cheering me on, -- it was a full and spectacular experience.  a highlight of this life of mine, of that i am certain.

driving down friday to sunny and 75! we arrived with time to relax, grocery shop, grab my race bib, and spend an hour at the farm(drone flying for him, chit chatting/swinging for me and mom).  later, we gathered at home for a pre-race pizza party!  five large pies from the best pizza spot at the beach made for full bellies and leftovers for days.  carb loading at its finest.

i woke up saturday with nervous butterflies and a honestly bit of self doubt.  it was a warm day already and i, having not trained or enjoy running in the heat, was nervous.  but i put those thoughts away, praying for peace and presence and to enjoy the entire experience ahead of me.  when training, i focused and planned to run my first half in two hours. but come race day that pressure and perfection was weighing me down, fogging my confidence.  so i softly told myself to just run, run with your heart--for yourself and not for time.

a quick before picture and a good luck kiss from Chris and i was ready. standing at the start line water bottle in hand, music in my ears, and nerves in my belly but eager to run.

a lucky thing to have lived on this island mile 2 looped right by my parents house! so they greeted me with whoops and hollers and homemade signs -- i smiled for miles and miles from their encouraging cheers.  down sound drive and across highway 58, down ocean drive and back up the island along the bike path -- each mile steady and strong.  warmed by the sun but cooled by ocean breeze; runners were encouraged by strangers, locals, and beach goers with the best signs!-- small island living at its core. i took each cheer to heart, this friendly island is my home and these people were just what i needed.

i felt great the entire race, enjoying the weather! and ironically not wanting the run to end! Chris biked along the island finding me at different mile markers; cheering me on, taking pictures and videos.  his genuine encouragement and excitement made my heart ache in the best way.  he is just the sweetest and i am so lucky to share these memories with him.

walking only at water stops and to squeeze down half a goo (should have taken the whole thing!!) not until the middle of mile 11 did i start to struggle.  my legs felt heavy and my head wasn't staying focused, i was ready for the finish line.  i had started to walk, but only for mere seconds until a girl i had been pacing with the last few miles tapped me on my shoulder and told me to keep going.  we had one more mile and we could do it!!!  a huge hug and shout-out to her! girlfriend helped me keep going when i needed it most.

oh the joy in rounding the corner to the beach, seeing the finish line and my parents; and then my time of 2 hours and 11 minutes then did i break down and cry! all while trying to remember my form for the finish line photo! ;) with happy and proud tears, i crossed the finish -- i had just ran 13.1 miles in a time i was unbelievable proud of.  i grabbed my medal, hugged and thanked my new friend, we just completed a half-marathon!!!  the love and congratulations from my family and Chris made my heart swell so big, nearly to the point of breaking-- that runner's high though, feeling all the feels is very real indeed, a most amazing emotion.

i hobbled back to Chris' truck with the biggest smile on my face, peace in my heart, and medal around my neck; i had ran a half marathon and now it was time to rest.  aka, eat the biggest sandwich with potato chips! stretch in the grass, and drink a mimosa!!

we spent the rest of Saturday relaxing -- spending more time out at the farm(drone flying, catching sun rays) my sister and nephew came to hang out together for a few sweet hours too.

a few celebratory beers were enjoyed Saturday night with my bother and Chris, i wasn't finished celebrating/gloating! in true fashion, i thoroughly enjoyed milking all the congratulations and praise -- everyone should just be happy i didn't wear my medal out that night!

i can't thank my family, friends, and husband enough for their love and support.  and i promise to not be so self-indulgent next race! maybe.

i will definitely be running the Emerald Isle half-marathon again in the future, and hopefully one more later on this year. i've been bitten by the race running bug.

we shamrocked it

Thursday, March 23, 2017

we continued our st. patty's weekend tradition of running the shamrock 8k at the oceanfront in Virginia Beach.  six years and counting, we love this fun quick race and especially enjoy the post race party on the beach.  will run for beer indeed.  

i love competing with myself, challenging each year to improve results from years past; I also love a little healthy competition between husband and wife. and not to brag, but I beat that competitive husband of mine for the second time!  i'm reveling in it, totally.  

dancing in the sand and sipping beers together is one of our favorite pastimes -- and our absolute favorite way to celebrate St. Patricks day! the rest of our weekend included countless hours of basketball watching while a Guinness drenched corned beef simmered away in the crockpot.  

cheers to tradition and exercise and beers on the beach👊🍀🍻


i left a piece of my heart in Texas

i have a gut feeling that is a song lyric or title?  it must be, because it is so utterly true.  this being our third and favorite visit to Texas thus far, i know this feeling well.

we visited Chris' aunt, uncle, and grandmother who live in Texas early this march.  they live on the most gorgeous lake a mere hour drive from Houston.  we get such a lovely mix of Texas hillsides covered in wildflowers, serene lakeside sunrises and sets, along with the hustle and bustle and lights of a big city not far away.

we swayed between relaxing days and jam packed ones -- spending as much time at the Houston rodeo as we could, exploring the art district of Houston, eating as much tex-mex and Texas sized fair food as we could muster, while enjoying margaritas and Texas brews to boot!! {pun?}

though spending time with family was the true reason and joy of our trip.  we always feel so loved and doted on when we visit.  morning hugs with endless mugs of coffee and tea, homemade dinners ending with a cocktail on the patio.  filling the hours with endless conversations, stories of travel and advice, silly banter with lots of laughter, quite naps on cozy couches, and always leaving with ideas and "next time" plans.  we're comfortable here, a home away from home sort of feeling -- and yet, vacation.  the best of both worlds, truly.

a few more things i want to remember from our visit:
+ a full saturday at the Houston Rodeo, the day entirely-- from walking and shopping hand in hand - seeing cattle and longhorns and baby piglets - a lunch of Texas bbq, shrimp, and gumbo, evading the rain in the wine tent sipping on our favorite prossecco - the rodeo itself! cattle roping, wagon racing, bull riding!! - cold beer and an Alan Jackson concert -hearing that classic country music, knowing my dad would have loved every moment, made me teary and lucky for the experience.  the whole evening was that of a lifetime.
+ coerced into late night carnival rides by my daring husband -- crossing off bucket list items that hadn't before existed -- thrilling adrenaline indued rides that made me laugh and smile and of course one horrible one that made me cry
+ sunday morning service at one of the painted churches of Texas
+ travel advice and stories of adventures, hearing his aunt and uncles wedding story again, its my forever favorite
+ endless mugfulls of hot tea and coffee; also peanut butter filled pretzels and dates with salted cashews are now a new obsessions of mine
+ pastures filled with cattle and longhorns, dry counties, country roads, and fields of blue bonnets-- Texas wildflower season is a beauty
+ experiencing Texas hills and humidity on a shorter than expected run
+ sunset gazing on the lake, a double date with his aunt and uncle-- it was the sweetest moment
+ the most gorgeous Texas weather paired with leftover carnival tickets and Chris' child-like determination to eat a turkey leg, we headed back to the Houston Rodeo arena for more fun! Shopping with cold beers in hand, his turkey leg+sausage on-a-stick and my giant Texas sized chocolate chip cookie!! the biggest of my life and certainly delicious. more carnival games and one last ride; leaving with promises to return one day
+ a late afternoon walking and train riding around Herman park and gardens, his hand in mine laughing together; simply enjoying every last minute of our day and each other
+ a last night in Texas dinner -- tex-mex+margaritas! ok and Texas beer! possibly the best tex-mex/food of all time? most definitely.
+ trying a cannonball= fried avocado that is magically filled with melty cheese and spicy chicken!! and yes it changed my life

until next time Texas...