Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Celebrating Four Years in Providence

In mid-April, Christopher and I went on a little weekend getaway to celebrate four years together.  It is hard to believe we've been dating since April 17, 2010 - four years!  That seems like such a long time when you think about it, but it also seems like just yesterday at the same time.  We were also celebrating six months until our big day.  I can't believe how quickly time is passing toward that exciting time!

Our main goal for the trip was just to relax and truly get away from all the craziness of New York living, work, and wedding planning.  We took the train to Providence on Friday afternoon and arrived just in time for dinner.

The hotel suggested a great seafood spot - Hemenway's.  We were able to walk there from our hotel and it did not disappoint!  I had lobster mac and cheese with the most exciting presentation.  Chris opted for mahi mahi.  Both were delicious!

The next day we had high hopes for We Will Rock You - a musical featuring songs from Queen.  Unfortunately, it did disappoint.  The story was the most bizarre and abstract one we had ever seen...and we've seen a lot of shows in four years!  We did enjoy the music as the cast was phenomenally talented, but the story just totally lost us.  We couldn't escape fast enough!

That night we headed over to Federal Hill for a yummy Italian dinner.  We dined at Mediterraneo Caffe.  Dinner was great!  Dessert didn't lack either!

On Easter Sunday, we headed back to NYC playing cards all the way!  We made it through all the phases of Phase 10 and several rounds of Uno.  It was great to just relax and have fun together on our weekend away celebrating this fun milestone in our relationship!

Andrea :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cherry Blossom 10-miler in DC

The first weekend in April, Christopher and I ventured to Washington DC for the weekend so that I could run the Cherry Blossom 10-miler.  I had been interested in this race for a couple of years, but hadn't managed to get into the lottery.  I didn't get in this year either, but was offered a bib from one of Christopher's long time college pals that decided not to run the race after all.

We barely made our too early for us bus to DC on Saturday morning, but once we arrived we grabbed some lunch and headed over to the expo.  Though it involved a lot of volunteer direction, I liked the packet pick up.  Everyone was ushered upstairs to pick up and then back down to get t-shirts.  The flow was steady, but not bad at all considering the time frame we were picking up.  I decided to make a t-shirt switch at the end and that process was very smooth and easy as well.  We looked around the expo for a bit, but I didn't see anything spectacular there.

That evening we grabbed dinner at Good Stuff Eatery before heading back to Larri and Ro's place.  They were gracious to host us for the night since they were also running the race.  Dinner was tasty, but I wish I had ordered mine well done because it was far too pink for my taste.

After dinner, Chris and I met up with a friend to watch Kentucky play in the NCAA tournament.  My brother and dad were at the game so I was really cheering for the Cats to win.  It made for a late night, but it was worth it for the crazy finish! 

The morning of a race is never great for me.  I slept well, but woke up a couple times throughout the night fearing I had overslept.  I had never been away from home for a race before so it was a different experience for me.  I ate my banana and got myself sorted out and ready to go without too much issue.  We had decided to drive which proved interesting, but worked out in the end since we were able to use the bathroom inside the building where we parked before we headed over to the start.

Ro and I missed our assigned corrals, but managed to jump in with the 11 minute per mile pace group.   My goal was to finish the race between 2:00 and 2:05.   That put me at 12 minute miles, but with all my anxious energy I started out much faster.  The first couple of miles Ro and I ran closer to 10 minute miles.  I had worn myself down too early and we separated around mile 3. 

I was wearing my new watch for the first time and I really liked being able to keep track of my pace.  I had exhausted myself too early, but pushed to get to mile 5 where Chris was waiting for me.  Officially, I hit the 5 mile split at 1:00:26 pretty much right on pace.  I very briefly stopped there to say hello.  Then, I devoured my chews and kept pushing.

Toward mile 7-8, I was worn out.  The course was three out and backs surrounding the Mall area of DC.  I am not a fan of the out and back structure.  The first two were manageable, but the last one was difficult for me.  Mentally, I was not happy to know that the path I was taking would be repeated on the way to the finish.  I walked a little here and started to feel defeated.

Once I hit mile 9, I knew I just had to suck it up and go.  I wasn't certain on where I would fall timewise, but I just wanted to make the final mile a good one.  There is a bit of a hill just before the finish and I couldn't have been happier when I hit the peak of it.  I sprinted to the finish and figured I was somewhere around 2:03.  Officially, I clocked 2:03:01 with a 12:18 pace per mile.  While I would have loved to be closer to 2:00 (or just under), I was happy with my time.  It wasn't terrible, but just a tad off the mark I was anticipating I could hit.

The post-race experience was not pleasant at all.  There was no one there to provide water or fruit or a bagel.  There was nothing.  I had signed up to recieve a medal so I ventured toward that tent to pick it up and never once saw anything resembling post-race drink or food.  I eventually found bananas, but still never managed to find any water.  This was by far the most unorganized portion of the race.  I was surprised it wasn't more structured since everything else had been.

After getting showered and packed up for our trip back to NYC, we spent the afternoon with friends at brunch and sightseeing a bit in the Mall area.  Chris and I hadn't been to the MLK, Jr. Memorial so we wanted to check it out before we headed home.

The bus back to NYC proved to be a horrific nightmare, but we eventually (at 2am) made it back to the city.  The trip was a lot of fun, but we'll most certainly be taking the train next time we make the trek!

Andrea :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mini of the Month: April

When life gives you lemons, make cupcakes!  Or maybe not.  But I think that is the approach that Baked by Melissa took this month.

I had high hopes for the April Mini of the Month.  Lemon Cheesecake sounded pretty good to me.  I like lemon flavor and love cheesecake so how could this one not be good, right? 

Ingredients: Lemon Cake, Lemon Cheesecake Icing, Yellow Sugar Crystals Topping

Well, it's the first one that I haven't really liked too much. The cheesecake part of it all just didn't mesh well with the lemon flavor. It sort of had a sourish taste in the end.  Chris felt about the same.  Neither of us loved this one, but I did like the sugar crystal topping.  That was a welcome change from the other monthly minis so far.

Do you think you would like lemon flavor with cheesecake??

Andrea :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Runnners Tell All: Worst Running Experience

It's never fun to recap a worst running experience, but I've definitely had a few under my belt.  By far the worst was my first 10k.  I wrote about the experience here so please head over to that post to read all about it!

Now that you are back from that detour, I'd love to share the top five reason that lead to a worst running experience.  At least in my opinion...

1 - As my story demonstrates, failure to train will almost certainly get you closer to the worst category than the best.

2 - Improper fueling the day before can lead to all sorts of issues the morning of your races.  I have found that it is very important to find a meal that works for you and stick with it.  Otherwise, lots of not so fun port-o-potty time will have you off your running game.

3 - Too much activity/not enough sleep the day before your race can leave you exhausted before you even cross the start.  I'm a night owl, but I try to get as much sleep as possible before race day.

4 - Having to go to the bathroom mid-race.  I've gotten better about knowing how to avoid this particularly in shorter races, but it would always throw me when I had to waste precious time in line as other runners dashed past me.

5 - The dreaded out and back race format.  I haven't recapped my most recent racing experience, but it was three out and backs for a total of 10 miles.  I was so excited about the race beforehand, but these out and backs were no fun at all for me.  I didn't run too terribly, but it wasn't my best either.  I just couldn't get on board with the course.  No one likes to be able to see just how many people are ahead of them the whole race, right?

Looking forward to reading everyone's posts today!  And here's hoping you have all had far more best than worst running experiences!

Andrea :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our First Date

Four years ago today, Christopher and I had our first date.  We didn't know then that it would be our last first date, but we sure did have a great time.

Since the date was to take place in New York City, I took the lead on organizing it.  Christopher had suggested dinner and a movie.  My usual movie theater is in the thick of Times Square so I opted to find one in a calmer part of the city - Kip's Bay.  There happened to be a Brother Jimmy's BBQ restaurant nearby so I decided that would be a great place for us to meet for dinner.

We had been communicating via email for a close to two months at this point, but had only met in person once.  That one other meeting occured on April 4 (ironically, Easter Sunday).  We met for lunch with the friends that had set us up that day and truly hit it off.  Hence, the first date...

On that April 17 long ago, both of us were a bit nervous that we wouldn't recognize the other so our initial "hello" at the restaurant was a bit unique.  I had taken a seat at the bar to wait since Christopher was running late (don't worry, he let me know!) as he had gotten caught up discussing his Uncle's recent passing with his mother.  We talked a little about that initially as he was planning to make the trip over to England in the next week for the funeral.  Not exactly the most uplifting conversation to get started on, but as the night progressed we warmed up a bit.  We talked about everything from how Christopher calls his alma mater the "U" to his more than perfect vision to my love for movies.  No matter the subject we were both laughing most of the night.

It was a chilly April night because I remember we wore coats so I'm not sure why I thought it would be a great idea to get Pinkberry after dinner, but I did.  And Christopher was all in.  (I have since found out that he doesn't eat cold desserts unless it's like 100 degrees outside. Oh, the things you learn in four years'  This little excursion also caused us to cut it VERY close on time getting back to the theater.

So close that we ended up on the very end of the front row of the theater.  Not exactly ideal.  At all.  But we went with it.  We saw Date Night...and it was quite funny.  Though I'd skip the Pinkberry for a better seat if we could rewind and do it all again.

Speaking of doing it all again, that is precisely our plan tonight!  We are trying a new location, but we'll dine on Brother Jimmy's BBQ and check out Jason Bateman's new flick, Bad Words, to celebrate four amazing years together tonight!  It's the first time since that first date that we've been together to celebrate our anniversary so I couldn't be more excited to recreate the magic of that fun first date back in 2010!

Andrea :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Yankees v Red Sox

Last year, Christopher promised to take me to a Yankees v Red Sox game...and this past weekend, he made good on that promise.

We witnessed an insane amount of home runs, ate some yummy hot dogs, and enjoy America's greatest pasttime on a gorgeous April day!

We also met up with friends of mine that were in town for the game.  We made our way over to the bleachers where they were sitting for the last two innings.  Just after the exciting rendition of YMCA...

In the end, the Yankees were victorious...and we had a fun day at the ball park, too!  Baseball is a lot more exciting when you are at the stadium!

Andrea :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Frankfurt, Germany

When I made the trek across the pond to visit my friend in Salzburg, Austria one of the reasons was so that I would have a friend to join me at an NFL Europa game.  I had just completed an internship at NFL Europa training camp in Tampa so heading to see an actual game was quite exciting!

My friend and I made the journey via train.  We stopped off in Munich for a day before we eventually made it to Frankfurt for the weekend.  Frankfurt was surprisingly very modern.

We weren't there long and didn't take in too many sites, but the only non-modern building I did see was an Imperial Cathedral.  The Gothic St. Bartholomew's Cathedral is stunning.  You are able to climb to the top for great views of the city, but we didn't have time for that this trip.

Our main adventure was a Frankfurt Galazy-Amsterdam Admirals game.  My buddy, Michael, played for the Admirals so it was cool to see his team in action though we weren't able to meet up since they were the visiting team.  The game itself was just like any other football game, but the stadium and the crowd were much different!

It was a exciting experience.  The fans were cheering and having a great time!  My friend and I even managed to work our way down to the lower section and make an appearance on the big screen at one point.  It was a lot of fun.  We were even able to celebrate with the Galazy afterward which proved quite interesting.  The experience was most definitely worthwhile, but it was a LONG train ride back to Salzburg the next day.

Andrea :)

Linking up with Bonnie for Travel Tuesdays!
Travel Tuesday

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Brothers

I managed to miss National Sibling Day yesterday, but wanted to dedicate my post today to the two best brothers that anyone could have - MINE! 

Visiting me in NYC the first winter I lived here back in 2007!

These two have been my partner in crime for many years now.  Don't get me wrong, we've had our knock down, drag out fights...but we are the best of friends these days.  I know that I can without a single doubt count on these two to listen to my craziness and try to help me in any possible way.

Running our first half marathon together in Chicago in 2010.

We've had lots of fun memories as our family traveled the 50 states together over roughly two decades during our younger days.  And even though we are rarely physically all in the same place at once anymore, these two are my best buddies.  They have fun enjoying the perks of my job with me and always find a way to accommodate me when I travel back to Kentucky for a visit.

Celebrating Bubsa's high school graduation with a trip to Cedar Point.

All smiles on Hawaii's Big Island...

Family Trip to see the massive Redwoods back in 2006.

Alaskan Cruising in the late summer of 2010...

Totem Pole forest in Alaska...

I truly can't imagine my life without these two fantastic men.  Though they can drive me crazy and aren't one bit afraid to give me a hard time, they are two of my biggest fans.  They support me, encourage me, and are happy for me - always! 

Working my first Super Bowl...and bringing my brothers along for the ride!!

Christmas 2013 with Brinley and Landon :)

I absolutely love my *little* brothers!  And I hope my little niece and nephew have the same relationship with one another as they grow up together, too!

Andrea :)