Monday, September 29, 2008

Runnin' runnin' and runnin' runnin'

This weekend was the annual Akron Marathon in the great city of Akron, OH. This was my second year to participate in the event. Last year I ran my very first half-marathon with my sister Nikki. This year, we both joined a relay team and ran the 12k anchor leg.

It was a fun day. It started out perfect with homemade whole wheat pumpkin pancakes by my wonderful mom. Then we met a very friendly fellow on the shuttle to our starting point. Then we stood in a 2 mile long line for the bathroom. The weather was very nice for a 7.6 mile run, with only a mild chill in the air. The worst part of the race was waiting for my team member to come through so I could start. There was no way to tell when she would come so my nerves were getting the best of me. Plus my muscles were getting cold which added to my anxiousness. They were calling out numbers over the speaker, but the numbers were coming so fast, it was hard to tell if my number was one of them. Thankfully, I noticed her right away.

The first mile was rough, I think because I was so nervous and my legs felt shaky. The beginning of a long race is mentally tough for me, to remind myself not to think of how many miles I have to go and to just enjoy the run. I stuck by my motto: "slow and steady finishes the race." I was able to run the whole thing and didn't even stop during the water stations...just hurriedly tilted the cup towards my mouth hoping to get a good enough drink. I love that all of the neighbors sit outside to cheer on the runners. The course was a little different than the 1/2 marathon course and I actually liked it a lot better. We got to run through the grounds of Stan Hywett Hall. There's also a great downhill stretch with about 2 miles left where you run into downtown Akron past many of the shops and restaurants. It was then that I understood what "runner's high" meant. But, to assure my humility, the last mile kicked my bum. Still, nothing beats running into a stadium full of people shouting your name. Okay, so maybe it was only my family screaming my name, but it still felt good and I'm really glad they came to support me. In an effort to keep up with my "cartwheel experiment," I told my family I would try to cartwheel down the homestretch, but when the time came I could not follow through due to shaky ankles and a desire to not fall flat on my face. Maybe next time...

Other highlights include: Getting my Michelob Ultra with my beer ticket after the race. I ran just as hard as everyone so I though I should cash in on the goods. I wasn't actually going to drink it, maybe just marinate some brats in it or something...but my mom threw it away. Our matching orange shirts - combined with my black shorts and bright green shoes, I looked like I was dressed for Halloween. The neighborhood folks passing out cut up apples to the runners...gotta love those friendly neighbors. Having my ipod for the whole race, even though technically you are not supposed to use them. But technically, it helps me! More pumpkin pancakes after the race. Having my whole family (minus a few key members) with me after the race.

It was a good run. A good run indeed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

You Can Do It (Put Your Back into It)

I was incredibly glued to the Olympics this year, especially the women's gymnastics. Like most, it has been one of my favorite events. One night, after hours of sitting in front of the TV watching gymnastics, we got inspired that we could actually do some of those moves. So out to the hallway we went to fulfill our secret gymnastic desires. My floor routine consisted of a simple cartwheel, followed by the more advanced round-off. We were having a great time, until Sutton's jeans ripped. Oops! Perhaps we should have changed into our red, white and blue velvet body suits before we started.

This got me to thinking - at 25 it is still relatively easy to do a cartwheel, though it had been years since I had last attempted and I know my form was not as graceful as it was when I was 8. And then I thought, how sad if one day I wake up and I can no longer do a cartwheel. What is it that causes our bodies to not be able to do things we once could? Part of it is our bodies grow old and they deteriorate and aren't as strong as they once were. But, if we keep working our muscles and stay active, we can slow down this process right?

So, I submit to you April's Cartwheel experiment. My hypothesis is this: If I do a cartwheel every day of my life, then I will always be able to do a cartwheel. I will be an 80 year cartwheeling woman. Obviously, this is a very longitudinal study and the actual results will not be conclusive for another 55 years. But, I'm going to test it out. If you want to join me, please do. If you want to share in your findings - is it getting easier, is your form improving, are you doing it every day, have you cartwheeled anywhere exotic - please do! Take pictures and share!

As for me, I will be cartwheeling through life from now on. I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This

What do you like least about this kiss?

1. The excess saliva around her mouth
2. The single tear
3. The way her eyes go cross as she looks from his eyes to his mouth
4. The number of times she kisses the air before actually making contact with his lips

5. All of thee above

Didn't I tell you...worst kiss EVER!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Some Beach, Somwhere....

We spent the weekend at the beach for Labor Day. In one word, it was lovely. And sunny. And hilarious. Okay, that was three words, but it's really hard to sum up a fantastic weekend in just one word.

Friday night we were anticipating rain, but Heather willed it away, and by mid-morning Saturday, the sun was shining brightly over Ocean City and we were basking away, one last effort for a golden glow before the end of the summer. I spent a good amount of time swimming in the ocean to cool off, even though the waves were wild.

Later that day, we checked into our condo to find that it was perfect. It was on the top floor, a block from the beach with lots of natural light. We played numerous rounds of Catch Phrase while we waited for all 13 of us to de-sand and shower. There were only 2 showers, so you can imagine how long we were playing. But, I haven't laughed that hard in that game, ever! "It's a full moon. You're a grown boy who turns into a feral animal..." I'm not laughing as hard right now, but trust me it was funny! And a big shout out to Micah who assisted me in my time(s) of need. No, we weren't cheating. He was just being a good friend.

Watching the sunset from our balcony

Once we had our fill of Skittles and Peanut M&Ms, we headed out on the town for some delectable seafood - crabs, of course. YUM! Jon and I opted to split the dozen crabs and I'm glad we did...I could have never finished them all on my own. Maria, master crab opener, showed me the tricks of the crab mallet, and we felt like little scavengers as we pounded, cracked and peeled out that delectable meat! Another big shout out to Steph for pulling my hair back when my hands were crab covered, and allowing me to more effectively dive into that seafood goodness.

Beach Goers (minus E-rock...I don't know how he missed this)

Crab Feast

The rest of the evening went as follows: watching the worst movie kiss, actually the worst kiss of all time in Jane Austen's Pesuasion. Watch it for a hearty laugh and then do the exact opposite when you actually kiss someone. Contemplating whether to wake up Stephanie peacefully sleeping on the couch to get us some laffy taffy. I finally retrieved the bucket and luckily Steph woke up in time to enjoy some taffy thats laffy! A little pillow talk then off to dreamland.

Entertaining Pillow Talk

Sunday we took a leisurely drive to church. It was beautiful weather and we listened to Christmas music on the way home while making plans to dance with someone we love to "Christmas Time is Here" under the Christmas lights with the lingering scent of pine. Doesn't that sound delightful? We had a nice discussion on relationships and learned more about what not to do when kissing.

We crowded in the kitchen after church and it felt much like every Sunday at home - reaching for the nearest snack and then trading with the person next to you until you've all consumed unknown amounts of skittles, sun chips, popcorn, peanut m&m's, bagels and frozen fruit cups. We walked to the beach and I tried to nap on the sand, but it was a bit hard as the wind kept blowing up my Sunday best, not to mention it was HOT! So, we stood with our feet in the water instead.

Notice anything funny about this?

We prepared a delicious Sunday dinner together and it felt much like we lived in a musical, the musical being Mamma Mia! I like that I have friends who burst out into song, and I like that everyone joins in. Our tacos and rice were so good and a nice change to the loads of sugar I had been consuming.

After dinner entertainment consisted of NERTZ, lots and lots of rounds of NERTZ. Turns out this card game brings out hidden sides of everyone. Actual quotes include"I'll put out" and "What the eff?" We'll leave those as anonymous to protect the innocent. Let's just say Maria and I developed a nice system that put us hundreds of points above our competition. And for that I give a big shout out to Maria.

NERTZ champions!

We went to Seacrets that evening to watch some fireworks, then took an enchanting stroll on the beach. The tide was very high so we rolled up our pants, kicked off our flops (which almost got swept away during a cartwheel contest) and strolled along. It was so relaxing.

Back at the condo we munched some more - leftover tacos, cereal and chocolate chip cookies. We sat around and tried to play the sign game, but it didn't work out too well as certain players were sending out multiple signs. We opted for Catch Phrase and perhaps the best answer was given as I was trying to describe "Red China." Heather chimed in with "Beijing Pink." Close enough! Steph treated me to a massage and we giggled into the night. Or laughed hysterically. It was real fun.

Monday, our last day of fun in the sun was spent appropriately at the beach. The waves were vicious, stronger than I've ever experienced. But I couldn't resist them and though I was getting thrashed, I kept going back for more. More than a few times I was knocked over and was twisted in multiple directions under the water. The water is very powerful. I took a long "laying out" break. Some played bocce, some read, some stayed in the was a very relaxed day. Nikki treated us to fresh made grilled cheese and the best milkshake. A tasty shout out to Nikki for the best beach lunch ever (I think Maria helped). I spent some more time in the waves, but was too nervous to try boogie boarding. The waves were too crazy and then the lifeguard told us we were going to get swept by the rip tide. It was definitely time to head in for the day.

Showered and clean we all headed out around 5:00. One quick stop at The Candy Kitchen which is almost like Candyland in real life and we were on the road. It was definitely a much needed vacation and a final shout out to Nikki, Brittany, Kristy, Claire, Heather, Micah, Mark, Joseph, Jon, Stephanie, Maria, Zach, Andrew and Eric. Thanks for a great weekend!