Saturday, March 31, 2012

Random Thoughts

I haven't posted anything for a couple of weeks.  Don't worry though.  That will be changing as I have a very active few weeks coming my way.  In the meantime, I thought I would put together a post of some random thoughts.

1)  I was sad to see Tebow leave Denver (remember my high hopes for marking Denver off my list of stadiums?), but it was good to discover he'd be so close when he signed with the Jets.  Still not sure if Chris is totally on board with the whole thing.  Nevertheless, I am excited!!  And I hope I can figure out a way to get involved with some of his philanthropic efforts.

2) I have been keeping up with a little baby - Jordan Grace - from the community where I was raised.  I went to school with both her parents and have been so moved by the blog they started to chronicle the progress of their newborn as she is working to overcome the struggles of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.  Check it out here. Please keep this little girl and her family in your prayers!

3) Speaking of baby girls, I had to miss the baby shower for my soon to be born niece this past weekend.  It was a total bummer to miss it, but when flights home cost close to $500 you have to carefully consider when the trip will be most worthwhile.  I decided to wait until she is born. I couldn't be more excited to meet her when that day comes though :)

4) I was glad to see the Commissioner come down hard on the Saints and Co. in Bountygate.  Let's be honest, there really isn't any place for bounties in football.  Ever.  Although, in my opinion, the most despicable part was the lying and covering up that occurred.  That's a shame.  Didn't seem like they thought anything was wrong with what they were doing before they got really, really caught.  Perspective should have been everything, but I guess it's hard to think you'll ever fall when you've convinced yourself you are untouchable.  Not cool.

5) I took an Intro to Improv class last weekend at Chicago City Limits.  It was a great experience.  I totally loved it.  I am definitely going to sign up for a class, but it might get put off until the fall due to my insane summer schedule with work.  I am VERY much looking forward to officially signing up though!!

6) If I could instantly transport to anywhere this weekend, it would be the easiest choices I ever made - New Orleans.  Now, I'm not really a fan of either KY basketball team, but I know Kentuckians so I know it will be intense and a lot of fun :)  Ultimately, I'll be cheering for the Cats because my little brother goes to college there, but let it be clear I am a Georgetown Tiger through and through!!

7) Pandora has taken over my life.  I listen to it on the Kindle Fire.  I listen to it on my phone while I run.  I dream I'm listening to it.  Ok, maybe not that last one, but did I not realize the amazing wonder of Pandora before now??  A true mystery.

8) I am excited about my busy upcoming couple of weeks.  It will all kick off with Race #2 on Sunday, then a long overdue date night with Christopher and my parents visiting the Big Apple just in time for the Easter Bunny to arrive.  Stay tuned.

Andrea :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My +1 experience

After an EXTREMELY early morning and roughly 6 hours on my feet, I'm thinking that the +1 part of the 9 + 1 qualifying requirements might be the worst part.  Let me start at the beginning....

Since my roommate and a couple of my friends were signed up to run the NYC Half, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get my +1 volunteer experience out of the way early and perhaps be able to cheer them on in the process.  I carefully reviewed the list of volunteer opportunities to find that many of them required a VERY early morning arrival time.  I purposefully selected the position (start marshal) that had one of the later start times of 6am.  It was hard enough to convince myself that getting up at 5am to make it to Central Park by 6am would be worth it, but imagine the sinking feeling I had when I got a "Volunteers must report at 5am" email from NYRR the week of the race.  NOT good.  Oh, and did I mention this particular race happened to follow the single most insanely celebrated holiday in NYC - St. Patrick's Day?  I mean, seriously, you would think we were in downtown Dublin.  Nevertheless, I lived to tell the story...

On race day, I woke up around 4am, got ready, and packed a little backpack for the adventure.  I hopped in a cab around 4:40 and headed to the park in the pitch black dark.  A little spooked, I head to the volunteer check-in and promptly received my volunteer vest and emergency info card only to wait and wait and wait and well, let's just say if I had shown up at 6am I wouldn't have missed a thing.

some of my fellow volunteers as we finally began to take our stations
Around 6:15am, we took our posts as start marshals.  I settled on the 8,000-8,999 corral because I thought my friends might be close to that area.  I guessed correctly because I eventually saw them both on their way to the start.

standing watch at my post around 7am
You may be wondering what exactly does a start marshal do?  I wondered the same.  Mostly I just answered runner's questions about how to get to the baggage drop, which corral they should line up  in for the start, and other various questions.  I was overjoyed when the runner began to arrive because I began to feel useful as a volunteer for the first time in 2 hours.  Everyone was amped up and it was fun to see the excitement on all of the runner's faces.  Once the race got under way, our responsibilities shifted to making sure all the fans were out of the loop where the runners would be passing through just adjacent to the starting corrals.  We had roughly 20 minutes or so before the elite runners came through that area.  At this point roughly 1/3 of the nearly 20,000 runners hadn't even made their way to the start so that was also a bit of a challenge to some extent.  I was able to snap a few pictures of the simply stunning elite athletes as they closed in on their 6th mile and headed out of the park.

Top two male finishers - Kirui and Merga.  Both finished in under an hour.
Top 2 female finishers - Firehewot Dado and Kim Smith. Dado is behind Smith here.
Third place finisher - Kara Goucher.  All three women finished in under 1:10.
These elite runners are phenomenal.  I was totally stunned seeing them as they passed by my post.  It was a true inspiration.  Once they passed, other runners began to steadily pass through the area while the rest of the runners eventually made their way to the start.  We stayed busy taking apart barricades and picking up trash for the next hour or so.  One spot where we were disassembling barricades was particularly picture worthy...

We were finally dismissed around 10am.  I was more than ready to get out of there at that point.  It had been a long day already and it wasn't even noon.  While the overall experience wasn't my favorite and I think I would have rather run the race, it was good to be on the other side of the fence for a day.  I doubt I'll make volunteering at NYRR races a regular part of my schedule, but I am glad to have had the opportunity to work such a great race.  And I think I was even inspired to put my name in the hat to run it next year!  Upon signing out we received a t-shirt, but I was most thankful that I was #1) not volunteering at the water stations and #2) done with my +1. 

Note to self: Never volunteer to work a water/Gatorade station.
After scurrying past this mess, I headed off to meet my half marathon finisher friends, Reba and Amanda, for brunch at The Odeon in Tribeca.  We had a great time, especially after Jake Gyllenhaal walked in the spot.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to snag a pic.  (Please don't be too disappointed, Jordan!)  However, I did capture my delicious (yet pricey) french toast.  It was terrific!!

Now, if I can just power through 8 more races, I'll be on my way to the 2013 Marathon!!  I am signed up for several races in April and May. I'll keep you posted.

Andrea :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

32 teams...

There are 32 teams in the NFL and only one will sign superstar Peyton Manning...likely in the next few days.  Seems to be down to three suitors - Titans, Broncos, and 49ers. The number of interested teams (or rather teams Manning is interested in) has become less and less as the days have passed.  Each of them would be an interesting fit for him, particularly the Titans since that would mean facing his former team twice a year.  I'm a little surprised that none of his remaining teams play in a dome and one actually plays in an elevated and prone to cold weather climate.  Manning has always played well inside away from the elements, but he did win the Super Bowl in the pouring down rain.  It all seems very interesting to me.  I am looking forward to seeing where he lands though I'm kind of hoping that it's not Denver because I had high hopes of going to a game there this year to watch Tebow's magic!  All things considered, I kind of think he might go with the 49ers.  While it was claimed that Manning wanted to stay in the AFC and the Titans have some amazing lifetime package on the table, I think he could possibly get his hands on that Lombardi trophy again the quickest in the NFC West; although, the AFC West could provide a potential quick route as well.  Guess we'll have to wait and see what happens, but I'm very intrigued to say the least.

Where do you think Manning will land?

Andrea :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

If you didn't know it by now, you will soon realize, I really get into celebrating holidays.  I am especially fond of this one because I have Irish roots and you gotta love being Irish on this day :)  To celebrate, I decided to host a little cookie making party with a few girl friends. SO FUN!!

We started the afternoon with my version of a homemade pizza.  I should have taken some pictures of that because I realized a couple of my friends were interested in how I made it.  It was SUPER easy.  I bought the crust in the cookie dough/biscuit section of the grocery and just rolled it out on a pan.  That's usually the most difficult part.  After that, I just put a little sauce, some cheese, and pepperoni on it.  Takes about 15 minutes to cook and it's sooooooo good!!  I also had some veggies and ranch and grapes with my own little concocted sweet dip.

Anyway, on to the more fun part of the afternoon - the cookie making and decorating!!!  We had such a fun time.  We all took turns cutting cookies and decorating them.  Everyone had such fun ideas.  We colored some icing green and then used ziplock baggies for the piping.  Take a look at some of the fun we had this afternoon....

first time using these cookie cutters...worked out nicely :)
Jessi is a decorating master!!
yay for fun friends and yummy cookies!!!
the finished product!
Hope you had a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!  Based on the noise I hear outside now and craziness I saw on my morning run, I was much happier to be inside making cookies than out on the streets of New York today!!

Andrea :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Babies Everywhere!

Quite a few of our friends and even some of our family members are expecting babies this year.  In fact, a few sweet little ones have already made their way into the world :)  We are so excited for everyone!!  It's actually kind of funny because it seems like as soon as I met Chris we began attending weddings together. We've been on the Wedding Trail for the past couple of years.  I think between the two of us we attended five weddings together and one each on our own since the Spring of 2010.  I guess sooner or later we were destined for a Baby Tour.  So, we have officially started making plans for our 2012 Baby Tour :)  The first stop will be for my niece in May.  I must admit she is the little one I am especially overjoyed to meet!!!  Another likely early stop on the tour will be to see this precious little one - Richard Fann III (AKA Trey)....

headed home from the hospital in the outfit we bought him :)
Congrats to Rich and Melissa on such an adorable little bundle of joy.  We are super excited to meet him.  Now if we can only get our schedules to cooperate!

We also already have another baby boy in the line up for a tour stop.  Fess and Amy welcomed their third son, Luke, in February.  I still haven't met their other two boys so they are high on the list of stops for the baby tour as well.  Congrats to them on the new addition!!

I'll be sure to keep you posted as the tour begins.  And of course, I'll be posting pics when possible :)

Andrea :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Race #1

Name: Al Gordon Classic
Date/Time: Saturday, February 25 at 8am
Location: Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Length: 4.0 miles
Bib Number: 7745
Official Time: 53:48
Average Time per Mile: 13:27

Before the race started...
I had run a couple of other races in Prospect Park and very much enjoy my runs there, but I didn't do as well as I might have liked on this one.  I think there were several factors that contributed.  Mostly the fact that I am not in my best running condition and hadn't trained very well.  I tried to work out pretty consistently during all the traveling, but I wasn't really able to get many training runs outside in the mix.  I think that hurt me.  Despite those two factors, it was also very cold and windy that morning. NYRR recorded it to be 39 degrees with 26mph winds.  They considered that fair conditions, but let's just say I ran with ear muffs on the whole race!  I was cold :(  Might have learned my lesson about running races least in the cold Northeast!

Happy to have one race down :)

Andrea :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012


For your birthday, I just wanted to let you know how glad I am to have you for a brother. (Don't worry everyone, I sent some gifts, too!)  Even though we had our fair share of years where we fought and perhaps tried a little too hard to permanently damage each other (and eventually Bubsa!), we came out on the back end of growing up as really great friends.  I am so thankful for that.  I'm glad we were able to spend time together in both high school and college.  We made some great friends and memories during those times.  I cherish them all!  You truly are one of my favorite people to spend time with even if we still don't always agree or get along :)  I know that I can count on you for anything!  You are super supportive and encouraging which means a lot to me.  I am looking forward to seeing you as a daddy because I know you will be so great with Brinley!  There are only a few weeks left now :)  Hope you have a wonderful birthday!  Since I couldn't make it to KY for the celebration, I had a cupcake here instead :) 

Happy 27th Birthday, little brother!!

Andrea :)