Out and About

How relaxing is this?!

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I haven’t been pressuring myself to work out every single day, so after a few days of relaxation this weekend, I knew on Sunday that I would be getting outside on my bike. My bike was a birthday gift from my parents, and while I have been able to get out for a few rides, I have a December birthday so this is really the first “season” I will be out and about on it! I planned to bike about 9.5 miles down the Mt. Vernon Trail to Old Town (and the waterfront) in Alexandria for a hopefully almost 20-mile ride.

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The ride out of Arlington wasn’t too crowded, but once I hit the trail, it was game on as I navigated around runners, other cyclists, tourists, and families walking with their kids. Since I am pretty new to the whole biking scene, I’ve realized I really don’t like the speed I gain while going downhill…and I’m easily alarmed by other people who are flying down a hill towards me. I’m easily alarmed in general, so this fear should surprise no one, but I need to get over it quickly because most other cyclists are fearless in their swerving around others!

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I didn’t quite know where I wanted to stop, but once I hit the riverfront trail, I pedaled along until I felt like taking a rest. I drank my shake, laid in the shade, and people watched as others had picnics, played games, and walked around with their families and friends. This was pretty much the last good thing that happened. Hahaha

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I wasn’t looking forward to the ride back because I was being lazy and just wanted to be done, but when you ride 9.5 miles away from home, what choice do you have but to ride back?! As I went back up the Mt. Vernon Trail, it felt like the ride was flying by, and I saw a fork in the trail that could take me in another direction. I recognized the name (Four Mile Run), so I headed that direction. I was no longer riding alongside a river, and this water was SUPER calm. There were two turtles hanging out on this branch, so that was kind of cool!

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This trail isn’t straight through the woods…eventually you run into some residential areas and then the trail picks back up again. It was at this time that I started making ALL of the wrong turns. I knew one very specific way to get home, but for some reason my adventurous self decided to go another way, and I ended up getting SO stuck in Pentagon City. There are a lot of busy roads and highways surrounding that area, and the one particular way that I knew to get back home now seemed so far away. After sitting down on the side of the road and feeling sorry for myself, contemplating calling an Uber or taking the Metro, and walking up a HUGE hill with my bike next to me, I finally hopped on and got to work. At this point, I had gone in a complete circle and wasted almost an hour, so I was very annoyed with myself. I knew that I was going to pass my mentor’s house and I was PRAYING that she and her husband weren’t sitting on the porch, but of course, they were. Ha! I pulled into their driveway, scared the heck out of their dog, and they gave me just the motivation I needed to get the last 3 miles home.

And then a rabbit ran in front of my bike.

I kid you not.

Easily startled, remember?

The rabbit and I both survived and I won’t be biking for at least 3 weeks. One week off for every hour I was gone. Hahaha

What did you do this weekend?!

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MiMM

Seasons of Love [Blog-tember Challenge Day 8]

Tuesday, September 8: Tell us about your favorite season. Why is it your favorite and what does it say about you?

Linking up here.

It’s hard for me to say that one season is better than another. For me, I think there is something awesome that happens during every season…whether we are talking about a season defined by weather or a season of life.

Spring is literally a breath of fresh air after the long winter. In Pittsburgh, we don’t start seeing warm days until late April or early May. This makes you so appreciative of blooming flowers, sunshine, and wearing a light jacket instead of your bulky winter coat!

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Lots of moments in my life are defined with my running shoes.

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I love the traditions that come along with holidays in the Spring, like Easter. Egg dying and uplifting songs at church are my favorite!

Moving from Spring to Summer is almost effortless in Pittsburgh. Spring doesn’t actually really exist…we go from cold to hot with little to no transition! The weather in DC is a bit more typical of four seasons, but weather aside, summer comes with such excitement. My mom is a teacher so she was always home with my brothers and I in the summer and that was so special for us.

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We always looked forward to trips to amusement parks…and hey, we still do!

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You can do simple, yet fun things like go to carnivals, visit farmer’s markets, take long walks, and pick berries.

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And of course, I could spend the entire summer in Wildwood if it was possible. One of these days that dream will be a reality for me. 🙂 The ocean is just soothing. You cannot help but feel relaxed when you are on the beach! As you make it halfway through the year, it feels good to recharge with sun, sand, family, and friends.

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Then, there is the beloved fall. Fall is the beginning of the year for me. My brain works like a school calendar, which is beneficial because I am a teacher. 🙂 August and September are the months that I am winding down from summer and setting new goals for myself for the coming year.

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Just as I was so excited in summer to do #allthethings, come Fall, I am ready to make another bucket list. I want to go to apple festivals, visit the pumpkin patch, celebrate Halloween, and bake with seasonal flavors! I am also always ready for a change in wardrobe. Shorts and tank tops are comfortable, but I could live my life in pajamas, so I love the coziness factor that comes with scarves and boots and sweaters!

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And of course, I love the weather. I mentioned that in Pittsburgh, the weather tends to skip right over Spring and go right from cold to hot. DC makes no mistake about letting you know that it is summer. #hellohumidity The crisp fall air is REAL and it makes running so much more fun. 😉

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Is there anything happier than the holiday season? Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the Thanksgiving to New Years time of year is just the happiest time of year. Everyone is a little kinder, a little happier, and a little more excited about life. I love the traditions that come along with this season, too: the music, the snowstorms, the gingerbread house making, the family visits, the present wrapping…and of course, winter holds a special place in my heart because this is when I celebrate my birthday. 🙂

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Snow is fresh and clean and just magical. I get just as excited for the 10th snowfall as I do for the first. Although come March or April, I am moving on from snow and it does not always feel the same way;)

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I think the fact that I cannot choose one season as my favorite says a lot about me. I am thoughtful in my choices, though some may call me indecisive. The verdict here is that I like transitions. I like moving from one season to the next. I appreciate the season for what it is while I have it, and then I am ready and excited for what is to come. I would call myself an ambitious person, so I think this thought of moving forward appeals to me because as they say, “the best is yet to come”.

Balance

In one word, my weekend could be described as relaxing. Friday after work, I stayed at school to work on some projects because I am feeling totally overwhelmed by end of the semester projects.

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Last semester, everything seemed to be planned out better…now I feel like everything is all crammed into the last month of school! I am a big fan of getting all my work done during the week so that I can relax on the weekend. That is my idea of keeping the balance! But I spent most of Sunday doing work. Such is life.

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I went for a run to clear my head before my roommate made dinner and it felt like the longest run of my life. Ha! Some days are like that. I was also cranky because it was really hot. I think I forget what the sun feels like;) It was just so humid! I stopped halfway through and felt kind of lame so I found a set of stairs and did step ups, push ups, squats, and tricep dips. And then I found the UMD President’s house. I may or may not have taken a photo. You can decide. 😉

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This is my face when I wonder why I like running. Hahaha

I was on a mission to find new sandals this weekend mostly because a lot of my summer shoes are in Pittsburgh and partly because I just like to shop. 😉 I was so surprised that the sandals were picked over in almost EVERY store I went into! And I went into 5! But I also have a really big foot so my shoe shopping process is a little different. First, I have to see if they have my size, then I am allowed to look and see if the shoe is cute. Ha! Finally, I ended up at Marshall’s and while perusing the clearance rack (which was in no sort of order #annoying), I found a pair of sandals that I actually wanted in my size AND on sale!

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I had a lot of fun getting dressed this weekend. I love the change in seasons because it feels like you have a whole new wardrobe! When fall comes, I love pulling out my scarves and boots, but now I am just as excited about warm weather clothes. Although I feel like I don’t remember how to dress for warm weather. I am either too hot or too cold!

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On Saturday night, I went to a bonfire at my friend Dani’s house. She lives with a bunch of roommates and they all invited friends over for a cookout! I love food on the grill and hanging out with friends. 🙂 She is leaving DC soon so it was a fun final get together with her!

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We had burgers, grilled pineapple, way too many chips, cookies, and lots of fun drinks! It felt so good to sit outside and just hang out. I love the feeling of walking outdoors and not being hit in the face with a blast of cold air!

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I had fun getting dressed again yesterday before church;) Now you can kinda see my new sandals! They are cognac and black and snakeskin and I LOVE THEM! I am also loving the series that we are talking about at church right now called “One Little Yes”…the thing that has been on my mind most is that you can’t finish what you don’t start…and God can’t finish what you don’t start either! So just say YES!

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My friends and I always want to go to brunch after church and we are always reminded that the wait at all the nearby restaurants/cafes is an hour or more. Instead, we walked over to Eastern Market, which is an arts and food market that sells a lot of great items! But they also make breakfast and lunch. 🙂 I got chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs…you know I had a good breakfast because after I left, I went to put my hair up and I felt syrup in my hair. So there’s that.

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I was SO JAZZED (yes I said jazzed) for the Lilly Pulitzer release at Target yesterday and I was browsing online when I woke up. Some of the items were in store only and some of the items were online only, so I just figured I would go into the store later that day. According to social media, it was a little like Black Friday madness with lines out the door and people waiting all night…when I got to Target at 1 PM, this sign was the only evidence of Lilly ever existing in the store! Target’s CEO released a statement saying when items are sold out they are gone…so now everything is on eBay. OH WELL!

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To make up for my lack of Lilly…the above was purchased. It’s coconut pineapple flavor and I was so excited about it! Liked it, but didn’t love it. Notice the past tense. Ate it all already. 🙂

Happy Monday!

Cherry Blossom 10-Miler Weekend Recap

This weekend, my favorite friends came to visit! They got into town on Saturday in the early afternoon so we headed straight to lunch at Busboys and Poets. We had many other exciting things on our agenda like checking into our hotel and going to the Race Expo to pick up our bibs;) I only live about 8 miles from the nearest monument but because it was the Cherry Blossom Festival Weekend, everybody and their uncle was in town and I didn’t want to risk rushing around on race morning! We shopped and ate and ate and shopped…then passed out by 10:30 PM to be ready for our wake up call Sunday morning. 🙂

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We woke up at 6 AM to get ready but I was pleasantly surprised to see the sun coming up while we were still at our hotel! Ate English muffins with peanut butter, pinned our bibs on, made sure our devices were charged…race morning rituals. The race started on 15th Street and Independence and the walk there wasn’t bad at all! But as soon as we walked up towards the Washington Monument, we saw all.the.people.

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We hung out and took some photos and then started to walk towards our corrals when the elite women started running. The race officially began at 7:30, but the elite men and women started a bit earlier. Trying to get into our corral was interesting…we squeezed through a fence. There didn’t seem to be any way to get up front besides starting at the back and pushing forward and I always feel bad doing that! While we waited in our corral for our wave to start, the race announcer told us they had to modify the course. Like while the race was happening/about to happen. Apparently, there was some kind of accident involving a pedestrian between miles 4-6, but once we were running, I couldn’t even tell where we made a detour! And there isn’t too much info about the person who got hurt but they are okay! Technically we ran 9.85 miles because of the course modification, but we’re all calling it 10. Go with it. 🙂

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Each corral started running about 3 minutes apart which, in theory, is nice, but there were SO many people in each corral that I really felt crowded the entire time! The first mile was super slow as everyone found their footing and by mile four, I felt like I had a little bit more room to move. Still, I felt like I was driving my car at some points! I had to look over my shoulder, check my blind spots, “merge” into the open space next to me…ha! There were many times where you could find me running in the grass next to the road;)

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Of course, I tried to play photographer WHILE I was running. I’m sure that didn’t look strange at all. 🙂

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It was probably even less strange to see me taking selfies. Honesty hour: I took about 15 selfies before I got an acceptable shot. I needed a normal face, some sun but not too much, and a pretty tree. The people around me definitely thought I was crazy. Yes.

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Miles 1-6 did a nice loop around the National Mall, over the Memorial Bridge towards Arlington and back, down towards the Kennedy Center and back, and then we set off on the path down past the Potomac River. Which is very pretty. And very cherry blossom-y. And very flat. And very boring. Granted, there were water stops…and bands playing…and a bride and groom getting photos taken…and a golf course to look at…but I really felt like I was running on the road to nowhere. The monuments were behind me at this point and I knew that’s where the finish line was so I just tried to figure out when we were going to turn around and it felt like it was never going to happen. Ha! Luckily, I got pretty pictures like the one above. 🙂

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Then at mile 9, I saw a bunch of girls on the side cheering and making a scene and really entertaining all of us tired runners…and then I realized these nice spectators had little Dixie cups of beer and jello shots. Did I take a jello shot while racing ten miles? You may decide the answer to that one. 😉 The last 800 meters of the race was uphill so that was great after 9.5 miles of FLAT! I put on a really loud mean song and legit ran to the finish line. Usually I have nothing left until I can actually see the finish line…yesterday, I was out there to eat that hill for breakfast. And I’m pretty sure there was a photographer on that part of the course so THAT is going to be a pretty picture. Ha!

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This is the race I have been talking about and training for and working towards. I get so nervous about running and racing now that I’ve been hurt and I think I get stuck in my own head. I CAN do hard things and I WILL recover and do it again! Even though the course was cut a tiny bit short, all three of us PR’ed in this race! I think that is amazing. And maybe also due to the fact that it was mostly flat and we are used to Pittsburgh hills but either way, we earned our medals!

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And celebrated with Baked and Wired cupcakes. Because we earned those too. 🙂

I’m still on a runner’s high and a “I love my friends” high so this Monday is going to rock. Do something today to make your Monday rock. You can do hard things! Like make it through the first day of the work week;)