Monday, October 26, 2009

Family Visit

(Warning - this is a long post! Also, you can see my sister's report of the trip on her blog at

Last weekend, my family came from Texas on an impromptu trip to visit us here in Kentucky. It was so great! When we moved to Kentucky three years ago, we figured that we would get to see our family twice a year - for Christmas and for a summer vacation. But each year we have been really lucky because we've been able to see at least my family or Chad's family at one other point in the year, too. I love love love getting to see family, so I was ecstatic a few weeks ago when my mom called and said that she, my dad and my sister wanted to come visit us. Plane tickets were purchased, a rental car was reserved, and about two weeks later they pulled up in our driveway!

They flew from Houston to Louisville on Thursday, and arrived in Nicholasville at about 12:30am...which is pretty much the crack of dawn for my family. I definitely get my "early to bed, early to rise" genes from my mom and dad. I was actually pretty worried about them driving from Louisville to Nicholasville (about an hour and a half drive) so late at night. But they arrived safely about 12:30am!

After talking and catching up for a little bit, and letting the dogs play together for a while (I was so glad Megan was able to bring Pod, her chihuahua!) we decided to turn in for the night. We didn't have any concrete plans for Friday, so the big plan was to sleep in. Well, I slept on the couch with Emma and it was pretty much like sleeping on a couch with a toddler. She slept soundly on Thursday evening while we were waiting for my family to arrive, so when they arrived (and with her special friend Pod, no less) she went crazy. Megan and Pod were sleeping in our extra bedroom, and Emma spent most of the night completing a routine of sleeping on the couch (where she would force me to sleep in a cramp-inducing state, as she likes to lay perpendicular on the couch), then waking up and jumping off the couch, then crying at Megan's door, then getting back on the couch after I was like "Emma, EMMA!". She did this about every 15 minutes.

So Friday morning came pretty early! Luckily the next few nights were much better, as the dogs played hard during the day and slept pretty soundly at night. Once we were up and moving on Friday, we had breakfast and coffee (which my mom makes the best coffee, by the way) and then headed into Wilmore so I could show them the seminary where Chad attends and where I work. I'll note here that my parents have visited us twice (my mom three times) and have seen a lot of the sites. But Megan, as you may remember from my Cincinnati marathon posts a few years back, has only been able to come up once. And that trip was a disaster, and only allowed her to see the view from the airport and back. So, we wanted to show her a lot of cool things around Central Kentucky this time around.

After going to Asbury and showing them around and introducing them to my co-workers, we headed into Lexington to go to Keeneland. I was really glad that they chose to visit in October, because I knew we could go to Keeneland. Keeneland is a stunningly beautiful horse track in Lexington, and they only race twice a year there - in October and April. So it was kind of a gloomy day, chilly and overcast, but I knew that we just had to go to Keeneland.

Keeneland is different from most tracks in that it is built mainly of stone, and has tons of green space. Other race tracks I've been to like Churchill Downs and Louisiana Downs have so much concrete, which really makes Keeneland so beautiful in comparison. As we were going into the front gates to buy our tickets, a nice man gave my dad a free ticket. Admission was $5, so it was nice to get a free admission ticket! Once we were in, the guy walked by me and I said "thanks again for the ticket" and he gave me a $10 food voucher. So that was nice! Except for the fact that we bought $40 worth of hot dogs, chicken tenders, drinks and bread pudding for lunch, and forgot to use the voucher! Doh! But we used it later to buy pretzels and peanuts. We stayed for two races, and my dad actually won $20 in one of the races!

After leaving Keeneland, we headed back home to relax for a little bit and play with the dogs. That evening, we went to Dick's Sporting Goods (a store my sister loves, but they don't have in Houston) and then to Moe's for dinner, which is also a place my sister loves, but they don't have in Houston! We knew burritos would be pretty good pre-race food, as we were running a 5k in the morning.

Saturday morning came, and we were all a little more rested than we had been on Friday morning. Chad had to go to Asbury to work for a few hours, so he headed into Wilmore and we headed to the 5k race site. The weather on Saturday morning was overcast and chilly, but seemed like it would be good racing weather. The greatest part about the race was that it was only about 3 miles away from our house, at the RJ Corman compound. RJ Corman is a local businessman who has made millions in the railroad industry. He owns like 100s of acres in Nicholasville/Jessamine County, and has nicely paved running and biking trails throughout his property, as he is an avid runner and cyclist. He is also a cancer survivor. He opens up a section of these trails for 5k races, and the "Tri Delt Dash" was the first 5k I've run at his place. He also holds the "RJ Corman Festival of the Fourth 5k" every year, but that is run in Wilmore.

The race began at 9:00am, and we arrived at 8:30 to pick up our packets. We got our packets and t-shirts, then made a quick bathroom stop before lining up at the starting line. Our plan was to run easy and have fun. I got a NikePlus Sportband a few weeks ago, and it is amazing! It's great having a watch for only $60 that shows distance, pace and time. I just can't justify shelling out $300 or so for a Garmin, so this Sportband is a great little tool. So, the gun went off and off we went. We settled into a nice pace of 8:55, and soon passed a lot of the people who had started off too fast. The scenery was absolutely beautiful - we passed creeks and ran through beautiful orange and yellow fall foliage. It was also great not being on a road, but being on private property. At about the 1 mile mark, RJ Corman himself and my marathon friend Alan passed us and we chatted for a little bit with them. But then they left us in the dust, ha ha. A little before the two mile mark, two guys cheated and cut their distance almost in half by cutting across the course. RJ Corman yelled at them and said they were disqualified - it was awesome! I'm sure they had no idea who he was, and didn't think they would be caught.

Megan and I finished in 25:30, which I thought was pretty good for a nice and easy effort. Just as we finished, it began to rain so we decided to not stick around for the awards (we didn't think we placed, anyway!) and headed to Main and Maple to get some coffee and hot chocolate. We relaxed the rest of the morning, and then got cleaned up to go to lunch at Pazzo's in Lexington when Chad got home. We had a great lunch of pizza and calzones, and there may have been some beer samplers involved for Chad and my dad...

After Pazzo's, we headed back home and took the dogs out to the dog park since the rain had cleared up. There weren't any other dogs out there, but it was great for Emma and Pod to get to run some energy off. My mom tried desperately to get a good photo of the two of them together, but they weren't having it! Dachshunds and chihuahuas just don't like to sit still when they are in close proximity to one another, I guess.

Saturday evening we headed into Wilmore to hang out with our friends. My parents had already met just about everyone, but Megan hadn't met any of our friends. We had a bonfire at the Strebecks with smores and hot cider - perfect for a chilly October night! I was really glad Megan got to meet everyone, as I am always telling them crazy stories about me and Megan. My mom and Megan also got to meet Harper Raborn, the newest and littlest addition to our group of friends!

Sunday morning we slept in a bit, then headed into Lexington for brunch at Alfalfa's. I've only eaten there once, after a 3k in Lexington last March, but it was so good and I knew my family would like it. After stuffing ourselves with pancakes, eggs, bacon, grits and quiche, we headed next door to the Fayette County Cigar store. My dad LOVES cigars and was in the tobacco industry for several years, so I think he really enjoyed being able to check out their humidor and chat with the owner.

Once we got home, Chad started on a chicken and sausage gumbo. Once it was at a good simmering stage, we headed out to Boyd Orchards. This place was amazing! It is an orchard with all kinds of "you pick" fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, we're too far in the season now and have already past their picking times. So, since we couldn't pick any fresh apples, we loaded up on apple donuts, apple cider, pumpkin pie and pumpkin donuts from their "general store". Boyd's was a really neat place, and I think Chad and I will head out there next spring/summer to pick some fruit and vegetables.

When we got home, we dug into the gumbo. It was so good - Chad is an excellent cook, and he makes a great gumbo. We were all really stuffed, but managed to eat pumpkin pie and/or chocolate pie afterward! The day felt a lot like Thanksgiving to me, which was neat since we will be away from family on the actual Thanksgiving this year.

They had to head to the airport on Monday afternoon, and I was sad to see them go but so so thankful that they were able to come visit for 4 days. I know it is a huge undertaking to travel nowadays - it is very expensive, plus they each had to take a couple of days off of work - so I was really thankful that they were willing to do all of that for little old me and Chad. And sweet Emma - they love her like a granddaughter. She was definitely spoiled during their trip as well!

Hopefully I will have pictures soon to post. On Tuesday, I am going to start my base training for my spring marathon training. This fall/winter/spring I hope to get this blog back on track and focus on posting my marathon training details. I'm planning to run the Derby Festival Marathon in late April. This way, I will be able to have my marathon season over before the triathlon season gets underway. I'm also going to incorporate swimming and biking into my marathon training. I am actually buying a fluid trainer from a friend this afternoon, so I hope to log a lot of miles on the bike this winter from the comfort of my living room!

Thanks for sticking in to the end on this post, I know it has been long!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back to Blogging

I haven't been blogging too much lately...I've been too busy! Life has been really fun and hectic lately, and I just haven't had the werewithal to formulate a post in my mind. I'm pretty much addicted to Twitter, and I find that it has impeded my blogging a little bit. But, I still love writing here and I hope to resume posting more frequently.

A couple of weeks ago I ran the Jessamine County Cancer Coalition 2k for a Cure race. This was one of the best races I've ever run. Here's a list of the things that made it so great:
  • 9am start ( to sleep in, eat, pick up my packet, & walk Emma...all before the race!)
  • Only 1.2 miles
  • The race start was 1 mile from our house (running to the start was a good warm-up!)
  • The race finish was about .25 miles from our house
  • The race course was part of the route that I run every morning
  • Dog participation was encouraged
  • The race raised funds and awareness for breast cancer and colon cancer
  • I set a 2k PR
  • I got 3rd overall!!
It was really a great race. I went back and forth over whether or not I should bring Emma, but in the end I decided to leave her at home. This race was part of the Jessamine Jamboree, a festival that is held in Nicholasville during the first weekend of October every year. Every year, the parade starts at 10:00am. The police close Main Street to traffic around 9:30am, and the race was held on the closed street at 9:45am. Since I was running a mile to the start, I didn't think Emma could handle both the 1 mile run to the start, and then the 1.2 mile race. So I decided that I would run the race, then go home and bring her out in our front yard to watch the parade and to mingle with the other dogs as they walked back by our house.

My goal for the race was to finish in 8:30. I knew that there would be awards for the top three finishers with dogs, and the top three finishers without dogs. I hoped to finish in the top three without dogs category. I ran down to the race start at 9:30, and had about 5 minutes before the race started. Once the race started, I took off and tried to establish a good pace. I knew the run would be over before I knew it, so I tried to really give it my all. I was right behind the lead pack, and just in front of the middle pack - I ran all by myself for most of the race! It was fun to run on the parade route, as the course was lined from start to finish with spectators. In the lead pack ahead of me I could count three people with dogs and two guys without dogs. I knew if no one without a dog passed me, then I would get 3rd. I kept on booking it down the street, checking behind me every now and then to see if someone without a dog was gaining on me. I never saw anyone, so I figured I was pretty safely in 3rd. I crossed the line in 8:47 - a little slower than I had hoped, but I was happy to have held a 7:19 pace.

Top three finishers in the "without a dog" category!

Accepting my plaque!

...Mine is the smallest one on the right!

I will defintily be doing this run again next year!

My next running adventure took place this past Saturday. My friend Kelly and her husband Tony are training for the Walt Disney World marathon in January. Kelly and I run every Saturday morning in Wilmore, which is a tiny little town. Kelly and Tony needed to get 12 miles in, so instead of looping around Wilmore a couple of times like we normally do, we decided to run to Lexington. There is a Panera Bread right at the corner of Harrodsburg Rd. and Man-O-War Drive...exactly 12 miles from Wilmore! The 1st annual Bourbon Chase run was going on in Lexington this weekend, and since we weren't doing the Bourbon Chase, we figured we would do the Bagel Chase!

Harrodsburg Rd., which runs directly from Wilmore to Lexington, is currently under construction - they are basically building a new 4-lane road. We figured that there would only be a short window of time where we could run to Lexington safely - running the majority of the way on the new road which is closed to traffic.

This actually worked out perfectly - we set out from Wilmore at 7:40am and arrived at Panera 2 hours and 5 minutes later - cold, muddy and tired! It was a great run, and I was very happy to end at a place that had hot coffee and cinnamon crunch bagels!

I have two more 5ks this month - the "Delta Dash" on the 24th in Nicholasville and the "Black Cat Chase"(a night run) in Frankfort on the 30th. My mom, dad, twin sister Megan and her chiuaua are coming to visit us the weekend of the 24th. We have lots of fun Kentucky stuff planned, and there just so happened to be a race (the "Delta Dash") here in Nicholasville that weekend. Megan and I are fiercly competitive with one another, so there is likely to be shoving and possibly tripping near the end. It will be interesting to see those race results!