31 October 2012

Halloween running swag swap

I recently participated in katieRUNSthis's Halloween running swag swap. I sent a goodie envelope to Jodi in Louisiana and she sent me all of this!

I have been looking for one of the headbands that cover your ears for awhile, so I'm excited she sent me one. I tried the Watermelon GU Chomps last Thursday before spin class and they powered me through the hour of sweat.

30 October 2012

Becca & Ryan get married

Around noon on Saturday all the ladies gathered in a suite to start prepping for the wedding. I arrived early and was able to get my make-up and hair professionally done and then just sit back, paint my nails, and watch the madness of 16 young ladies getting ready.

the bride getting her hair done

in her dress
From the hotel we headed to the Chapel on Texas Tech's campus for the wedding. It was a gorgeous chapel that was very Texas/Southwest.

Kandyce and I waiting to walk down the aisle
After the beautiful ceremony we threw rose petals at the bride and groom then headed over to the reception site in the freezing cold. Yes, Lubbock was freezing and we were all ill prepared with bare legs and light jackets. Luckily we had a warm limo to drive us and soon were announced into the reception hall.

ready to dance

first dance

photo booth fun
After a few hours of dancing, mashed potato bar, queso, and shiner the party was over. We lit sparklers for the bride and groom to walk through and head off to their life together.

The next morning we had brunch at the hotel and headed to the Lubbock airport, I milked my wedding hair for a second day. I was a little nervous about getting back to DC with Sandy on her way in, but I arrived 8pm Sunday night at DCA with no issues.

Lubbock airport bathroom hair

29 October 2012

Lubbock, TX

I was in Lubbock, Texas over the weekend attending my grad school friend Becca's wedding. More on the wedding in a bit, but as it being my first time hanging out in Lubbock I thought I'd share some of the local flair.

We stayed at a really nice hotel that was across the street from the Texas Tech campus and near all the wedding festivities. The hotel was decorated in Texas flair. The hotel was also hosting an Elks conference so there were tons of old cowboys strolling around wearing cowboy hats.

post bridal luncheon cotton farmer love
cowhide stool in hospitality suite

Lubbock made peanut pattie from our room gift bag

Shiner from hotel bar

armadillo enjoying a drink at the hotel bar

the rehearsal dinner was at Cagle Steakhouse

Texas sized steak

rehearsal dinner entertainment

wedding morning run around campus

home of the red raiders
Lubbock has a semiarid climate and primarily grows cotton. From the plane you could see miles and miles of irrigated cotton fields.

Hurricane Sandy

I was out of town this last weekend and luckily my flight wasn't cancelled and I arrived back in DC around 8 pm last night. I took a cab back to my place because it was already raining and I didn't pack any rain gear for the Texas desert. 

When I got home I looked in my fridge and decided that hurricane or not, I needed to do some grocery shopping. Luckily the run on Whole Foods happened before 9 pm and I almost had the store to myself. Whole Foods aren't you normal grocery stores so I decided to document what people by in preparation of a Hurricane at a WF. In addition to the normal run on bread and water the following things were in high demand:

yellow onions

berries... especially strawberries 

mac & cheese (the fancier pastas were also in low supply)

sparkling water
My office is closed today so I'm chilling at home and relaxing from my wonderful weekend in Texas. Sandy has brought rain and wind, but nothing too bad yet.

16 October 2012

Caramel Corn

Sunday morning I was watching CBS Sunday morning and drinking coffee when I remembered that I was suppose to take a treat to an afternoon party. Feeling in the fall mood I first went to pinterest and was quickly overwhelmed. So then I went to my sister's blog and searched pumpkin. I saw her Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn and knew immediately that is what I would make.

Best of all I had all the ingredients other than popcorn and pecans. A quick trip to Whole Foods and I was in business.

Not only was this my first time making caramel corn, it was also the first time I made popcorn on the stove... very exciting Sunday morning.

I followed my sister's directions exactly. My one bonus discovery was using a spaghetti spoon to mix and stir up the popcorn. With all the slots and holes it was great for breaking everything up and not getting too sticky. 

I used an oatmeal container and yarn to gift package it up. 

pom pom for the win

14 October 2012

Baltimore Running Festival

Last March at a work happy hour a few of my coworkers hatched a plan for an office softball team. And naturally we needed to start running and cross training to get ready. Well the summer ended and the softball team never happened, but the Tuesday Night Run Club was born. After months of running together we decided we were ready to compete and we signed up for the Baltimore Running Festival Marathon Relay. 

The Marathon Relay splits the full 26.2 mile distance up between four people.

Leg 1 5.7 miles Greg
Leg 2 7.1 miles Hannah
Leg 3 6.1 miles Bob
Leg 4 7.3 miles Courtney

You run with a timing chip on a wristband and hand it off in special relay exchange areas.

We all headed up to Baltimore on Friday night and headed to the Expo to pick up our numbers and shirts.

step 2: walk through all vendors to pick up number and walk back through all vendors
 Then we headed to Little Italy for some carbo loading. We were running a little late and I arrived before Bob, who had made the reservation. When they found the reservation, they pointed to an almost full table of older people and said, "there is your party", I looked and they were not my party. Turns out they other party had a similar last name, but no reservation, and they stole ours! I've never had that happen before. They were able to set us up in the banquet room, where it was a bit quieter and the food tasted just as good.

We all went straight to bed to prepare for an early wake up. I woke up at 6am to be able to meet the team at bag check at 7am.

Good morning Baltimore!
 Hannah had to catch a 7:30 bus to the staging area for the second leg of the bus, but the rest of us had a little time to get pumped up.

Greg aka Hill-lover

Bob aka Speed-demon

ME aka Spiritual-leader

For the few weeks running up to the relay we went back and forth over what our team uniforms should look like. When we finally decided on lime green shirts, it was impossible to find any in plain ones in the proper sizes and fit. So we settled on green shirts and electric orange headbands and wristbands (which just happened to match the relay bibs and medals!). 
ready ready ready ready to run

The race started at 8:00 and I had to catch the bus to my starting point at 8:30. The route the busses took wasn't the smartest, it crossed the race twice. First we waited for the back of the 5K race, but they finally stopped the walkers and let us through. Then we crossed around mile 8.5 where the really fast people were already running. At the second crossing the school busses just floored it and darted through. Once we arrived at the exchange point, everyone got in line to use the porta potties and while we were still in line, the first wheel chair racers arrived and then the elite runners. I met up with a friend on racing on another team in the porta john line so we chatted while we waited and as soon as we arrived at the staging area I received a text that our second leg was complete. At that point it hit me that I'd be running in about a half hour and started getting ready and taking off all my layers. 

We were positioned on top of a hill so we could see people coming for a little bit. The green shirt and orange headband made Bob easy to spot and our transition was flawless. I started off fast with all the adrenaline flowing from the hand off. The route continued up hill for awhile then around a big lake. The only problem with running after a fast teammate is that most of the people he passed, started passing me back. I was still definitely towards the front and running mostly alone. There were crowds along most of my route, which really made it fun. With several rolling hills my pace bumped around between 7:28 and 8:01, but averaged out at 7:44 a PR for me at the 6-7mile distance.

running fast
With a mile left I saw that we were going to be way under 3:30 (our loose goal) and picked up my pace for a strong finish. An official time of 3:16:29. It was hard to see who was running the relay and who was running the half marathon and who was running the full marathon mid-stride. But I hadn't noticed any relayers passing me, and knew that not that many teams had came in to the exchange before us so we thought we might of finished pretty high up. Turns out we were 14th out of 579 Mixed (male/female) teams!

at the finish line

what hills don't kill you make you stronger

11 October 2012

They pronounced my name right!

My last name is German, my family pronounces it in an English way, but there are two vowels in row and they don't follow the rules. In High School this meant I never knew how I was going to be announced at basketball games, now it means I never know how I'll be introduced at work meetings. So with this history I can't believe I forgot one of the most exciting things that happened at Sunday's 10K. When I crossed the finish line, the pronounced my entire name correctly! If only they took the picture at that moment, because I had a huge smile across my face. Here are a few photos they did take...

pre-race bag check prep

where's Courtney?
Last but not least I share with you, the most terrible race photo of this year (or second maybe). After having several pretty good photos it was about time this happened. 

so many things I could write here

The main thing going on here, is this leg ripple. I've named it elephant leg. I guess I was going just that fast.

10 October 2012

Fall weather & Fall food

The long Columbus Day weekend paired with the cool and rainy fall weather inspired me to cook up some fall food. 

First I was inspired to make some butternut squash soup. I think this is the first soup I've made from scratch (unless you count chili as soup?). Due to terrible planning I had to stick the soup in the fridge after cooking, before blending and eating, and return to it the next day. I followed a recipe from the Whole Foods Recipe's App. It turned out fine, but not as thick or creamy as I've had before. I ended up adding pumpkin pie spice to living it up. I'm thinking restaurant versions use thick cream or something; this version was celery, onion, carrots, squash, and low sodium chicken broth.

I had a zucchini in my refrigerator that needed used so I decided to make some bread. After first going to the internet I remembered the old time source for recipes... cook books! I figured my family reunion cook book would have a recipe and it did. I followed it pretty closely, but my bread came out really crumbly and not as moist as most versions I've had. Any thoughts on what I did wrong? It is still tasty and will be consumed.

08 October 2012

Run for the Parks 10K

For part two of my two race weekend I headed back to West Potomac Park for the Run for the Parks 10K. I signed up for the Run for the Parks 10K for three main reasons: 1) I had never  raced a 10K 2) sweet race swag and 3) proximity to my apartment. And then the additional benefit of helping the parks. With my ankle swelled and sore from the prior day's misstep and this being my first 10K I wasn't sure how the race was going to go.  

race swag
I got up at 6 and had oatmeal, coffee, and water while analyzing the weather forecast. Sunday was the first day this fall that didn't make it out of the 50's. Add some rain to the forecast and I wasn't sure what to wear. I ended up deciding on a long sleeve shirt with shorts, which was the right choice during the race. At 7 I added pants and a rain jacket and biked down to the starting line. The only pre race packet pick up was in Tyson's, so the line was pretty long. My friend Jayna was already in line so I joined her and about 15 minutes later we had our numbers and jackets and we moved over to the extremely long bag check line. By the time we finished both lines it was almost race time. A very talented 15 yr old girl from Virginia sang the National Anthem while playing the guitar. And then a minute or two after 8 am we were off!

The course was similar to the 8K I ran a few weeks ago, but with a mile extra. The course is fairly flat and at or below sea level at some places. 

As soon as we started running I realized my feet were cold. Luckily we were running and they soon warmed up. I put a brace on my ankle so it was a little extra stiff and I could feel a little uncomfortableness for the first mile. My ankle didn't hold me back and my first mile ended up being my fastest (no surprise here) at 7:56. After the ankle loosened up I started noticing my legs felt a little tired, but kept up the pace for the second mile at 7:57. Around mile 2.5 the lead runners were heading back. I made it to mile 3 maintaining the steady 7:57 pace and after the turnaround entertained myself watching the runners going in for the turn and looking for my friend. I saw her and shouted and waved. Out and backs are fun, because you get to see other runners, but they are also not fun because you know how far you have to go back. 

I don't remember anything significant about mile 4, but I slightly slowed down to 8:02. Around the 5th mile I started having a few people pass me and I made a note to focus more on negative splits. Mile 5- 8:05 and an even slower mile 6- 8:09. I was able to kick it for the final .2 miles for a total official time of 49:54. I was very happy with my time for my first 10K, bum ankle and all. Other stats- 78/643 female runners and 22/180 female runners 25-29. 

at the finish

Jayna, Washington Monument, and me

After the race I got my water, banana, and granola bar before heading over to get a free consultation on my ankle. Fast Track Physical Therapy was there giving free massages and injury consultations. I figured since there was no way I was going to go to a doctor and since my I sprained my ankle twice in three months that I might as well take advantage of a free consultation. She asked me some questions, felt my ankle asking where it hurt, had me stand and squat on one foot, and had me press against her hand in different ways. Basically once you sprain your ankle once you are screwed because the ligaments once stretched, never go back. I sprained my ankle several times playing high school basketball, including one severe time, so I've been doomed for awhile. However you can build up the muscles to support the ankle, but to learn these secret exercises I have to make an appointment. I liked her though and she didn't yell at me for running the race so I might go visit her.

Dead Man's 5K Run

the awesome shirt

Saturday started out fine. I did some grocery shopping and made butternut squash soup. I failed in not watching the clock very closely and ended up having to stick the soup in the fridge after cooking and before blending so I could dart out the door for touch football practice.

My Mizzou team isn't doing very well, mostly because no one has been able to consistently make it to the games. Practice started out horribly as I was the only one there, but by 2:40 we had 8 and were able to run routes and scrimmage. At the end of practice we were running a few more routes and the quarterback under threw me. I took a few more steps and sprained my ankle... AGAIN. Horrible timing as I had signed up for a 5K race that night and 10K the next day. It was pretty painful at first and I hobbled home with the help of my friend.

Having sprained my ankle a lot in my life I don't have much patience for it. I iced and elevated it for about a half hour, then dug out my ankle brace.

I signed up for the Dead Man's race because it was in a cemetery at dusk in the month of October. Sounded like a fun race. Also I had suggested it to a friend and when he said he registered there was no turning back.

On the way over to the race I still felt like I would probably just walk the race, but once I got there and pinned on my bib, I knew I wanted to try and jog.

ready to run... or walk

getting artsy
It was a smaller race and some people were dressed up in costume. They also had people dressed up as ghosts and goblins around the course and spooky music at the start and finish.

We ended up running together and started out slow. The first quarter of a mile was through the cemetery, but soon we were out on the Anacostia Riverwalk trail that runs along the Anacostia River. We ran south for a bit then back north towards the old RFK stadium for mile 2. We then backtracked towards the graveyard and ran the last quarter mile in the cemetery and finished back by the chapel. We picked up the pace in the last two miles and ended with a 10:28 average pace for a total time of 32:56.

finish line
 At the finish line we got bananas, granola, and water and got to mingle with the goblins. It was my slowest 5K in awhile, but a lot of fun (For a good cause! Up keeping the historic cemetery).