Saturday, October 20, 2012

Middle Half Marathon Weekend

Last Saturday morning we were up super early to run the Murfreesboro Middle Half Marathon.  I had run this race solo last year and talked the Mister into running it with me this year. 

Our training this time around had gone very well and we were both mostly injury free (for once).  For some reason, the cooler weather we'd been having disappeared for the day and left us in the sixties and seventies with 90%+ humidity.  I was bummed about this but it ended up not feeling too bad. 

race start

The flat course ran the same route as last year (this time without the whole getting lost thing).  The first half winds through fun streets and historic landmarks and includes a few out and backs where I was able to see Mike and cheer him on. 

starting the race

The last four miles or so run along a 4 lane highway and have virtually no spectator support.  I definitely felt a little lonely during these miles and struggled not to let it wear me down.  I knew if I hit the 10 mile mark before 1:30 and didn't completely fall apart from there, I'd be able to beat my previous time.  Luckily, this worked out and I crossed the finish line at my new fastest time of 1:57:14 (8:57 pace- right under my 9 min/mile goal). 

my face shows the pain I was feeling at this point- haha
I quickly found Mike and was so excited to hear about his speedy race.  He finished in 1:46:15 (8:07 pace). 

It was a successful race for both of us and left us excited for our upcoming races and our next half in December! 


race memorabilia
Our afternoon was spent relaxing at home and playing with a certain someone who was sad she didn't get to run the race despite doing all of the training runs ;)

she's mastered the art of throwing the ball into the door till we come play
In the evening, we made our way to Vandy to watch the Gators play! 

gators taking over vanderbilt campus
The game was a better matchup than we anticipated which kept things exciting.  It was so fun to get to watch them live and even more fun to see most of the stadium decked out in orange and blue. 

lots of orange and blue

go gators!

Our long day was finished up with a work party for M's company downtown at Margaritaville.  Trace Adkins was sitting at the table next to us and we were pretty excited about it (but not brave enough to stalk him for a photo).  Great end to a great day!

*race photos borrowed from here

Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekend in Georgia

A few days after getting home from Philly, we packed up our stuff again for a weekend at Alex and T's.  We drove over early Friday morning and arrived just in time for a lunch at The Troll Restaurant on the Chattahoochee River.


Our next stop was Dukes Creek Falls for a quick hike.  It was a short walk for a very pretty falls- win!  

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the back yard with the puppies.  Once T made it home from work, we went out for some amazing barbeque and some entertaining bowling.  

Saturday, we were up early for our second time running the Currahee Challenge.  

currahee mountain- we climb to the towers at the top
We loved the race last year and were excited to tackle the brutal hills again.  


pre-race boys
Once again, the mountain kicked my butt.  I tried to keep pace with Alex but the final climb got me and I slowed to a walk.  You have to love the walking-in-place feeling up steep hills.  I crossed the finish line just under 1 hour (beating last years time) and found the boys to congratulate them on their speedy races. 

I found out I placed third in my age group so we waited around for the awards ceremony to claim my medal.  

After the race we replenished our calories with some delicious Mexican food and then broke the curse of watching Florida lose to LSU at their house.  Go Gators!

On Sunday, the boys had a shooting match to participate in.  T and I (and Ellie) went to spectate. There were six stages with different scenarios and they take turns shooting the targets.  It was quite the experience and I know M loved it. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Philly: Day Four

We had booked a return flight for Monday night so that we could spend a little more time in the city before heading home.  Our hotel was across from Reading TerminalMarket and multiple sources told us we had to go there.  

The building is filled with rows and rows of stalls selling all types of foods.

apparently a best seller- I don't get it!
We spent a little while browsing all of the food and dessert vendors before picking up some breakfast of fresh squeezed juice and calzone with eggs, cheese, peppers, and tomatoes.  

Once we were properly fueled, we began the long walk to Eastern State Penitentiary.  We had heard from our tablemates at the B&B that it was worth seeing and were so thankful for the recommendation. 

M's instagram as we walked up
original design (source)

When checking in, you receive a headset and a map of the property.  I loved the way the tour was setup.  You were basically given free reign of the entire 11 acre place.  You can take one thirty minute overview tour and then walk to places of interest, type the appropriate number into your headset, and learn about whatever topic you want.  
outside the prison
rows of cells, cool headsets, and the OR
The prison was built in 1829 and was the largest in the nation at that time.  It housed famous criminals Al Capone and "Slick Willy" Sutton. 

al capones cell was fancy
more cells, watchtowers, solitary confinement cells

We were both surprised at how much we loved the tour of the prison.  It was so interesting and such a unique thing to do.  
crazy tree
After we finished our tour we took a cab to the Italian Market region of Philly.  There were lots of interesting Italian specialty shops and grocers and cute little restaurants.  We had gone to the area with the intention at eating at one of the city’s more well known sandwich shops- Paesano’s. 

Mike went the traditional route and ordered the namesake sandwich containing beef brisket, sweet peppers, roasted tomatoes, sharp provolone, horseradish mayo and a fried egg.  I was debating between two and asked for advice from the man at the counter.  His response: Where else are you going to get fried lasagna on a sandwich?  I was sold on the Bolognese- a roll filled with fried lasagna, sweet peppers, cheese, and a fried egg.  Both sandwiches were very rich and very enjoyable.  We were also lucky enough to share our lunch with Julianne who came to meet us on her lunch break.  
his and hers sandwiches
Our final afternoon in the city was spent people watching in Rittenhouse park and leisurely walking through cute streets.  We finally ended up with fresh macarons from Garces Trading Company and a pumpkin pie ice cream cone from “More Than Just Ice Cream" before saying goodbye to Philly and catching our plane back home.  

Philly: Day Three

I’m sure you’ve realized by now that I’m a little psycho obsessive when it comes to planning trips.  I like to cram stuff into every minute of the day and see as much as possible.  Luckily my husband only complains slightly about the millions of miles I make him walk each day.

We kicked off our third morning with a group breakfast at the B&B with the newlyweds, Julianne and P&E.  Afterwards, M and I checked out of our room and made our way to our hotel for the next night. 
view from room

We then met up with Christina and Mike (our friends who are new Philly residents themselves and still qualify as newlyweds themselves) for some touring of the historic district of the city.  We wandered around the National Historical Park to see the sights.  

visitors center

Ben Franklin's grave- covered in pennies

on a bench
liberty bell
Next up was our tour of Independence Hall.  We got a brief history lesson about the founding of America and saw the place where the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were drafted and signed.  

independence hall

where the documents were signed- original chair george washington sat in up front
After we had appeased the boys with some history lessons, it was time to eat!  We had signed up for a walking food tour through Chinatown by Free Tours on Foot.  Our tour group ended up being just the four of us and our guide Jenn did an awesome job.    The tour incorporated lots of fun facts about the area, the people, and, of course, the food. 

The first stop was one of my favorites- a Chinese bakery.  I always love these shops full of gorgeous homemade pastries and sweets, all usually ringing in at less than $1.  We loaded up on pineapple and red bean (yum) moon cakes, steamed pork buns, egg custard, and bbq pork sandwich bun. 

Next up was an underground Asian market.  We explored a bit of the unique grocery items and randomly found one of C’s favorite drinks from her childhood trips to Taiwan- apple flavored soda. 

Our next couple of stops were a mix of fun foods and Chinatown landmarks.  

yummy waffle, bubble tea, avocado milkshake

As gross as it sounds, the avocado milkshake was incredibly delicious and I’ve thought about it at least daily since we tried it. 

1986- year of the tiger
We ended our tour at more of a sit-down cafĂ© and crammed lots more food into our already full bellies.  We got to experience soup dumplings (favorite), more pork filled pastries, moon cakes, bok choy, and scallion pancakes.  All were very tasty!  

At this point we said our goodbyes to C&M and rested up a bit before our next food stop (yes, more food… this is the bonus to making us walk 20 miles a day on vacation).  We capped off our night with a fun Mexican meal at Lolita.  We were too full to take part in restaurant week but still managed to share and sample lots of amazing foods with Julianne, Alyssa, and Matt.  Dinner was the perfect time to recap all of the fun parts of the wedding and discuss all our favorite parts of Ocho Rios since they were headed to a honeymoon in Jamaica the next morning.