Monday, October 18, 2010

Baltimore Marathon Team Relay

This past Saturday, three of my friends and I ran a team relay in the Baltimore Marathon. The four of us ran track together throughout high school and we like to get together every now and again for some kind of running activity. Two of the girls live in New York, one lives in DC, and I'm out in Arlington. It was a great excuse for us to get together and spend some time together.

The elite runners at the start of the marathon.

Members of the relay team will each run a portion of the 26.2 mile marathon. For this race, the legs were divided based on difficulty. So the two legs that were mostly downhill (and therefore easier) were 7 miles each, and the two legs that had more hills were 5.7 and 6.3 miles each. Since this was the first time I ran a race this big, the other girls let me run the last leg, so that I could run through the finish line.

As the last leg, I got to my exchange point (mile-marker 19) early in the morning and was able to watch all of the elite marathoners pass by. Watching them run by, it was obvious how hard they each had trained to come to this point. Once the 3rd leg runner of our team reached me, I left my warm up clothes with her and started my 7-miles. Although I think there's a limit to how much fun you can have while running 7 miles, I really enjoyed it. The weather was gorgeous and the spectators were awesome. Almost the whole race route was lined with people and volunteers cheering and handing out gummy bears, beer, Gatorade and water.

A random spectator

The elite marathoners are certainly an inspiration to see, but for me it is much more incredible to watch an average person finish a marathon. It is such an enormous accomplishment and I know they will remember that race for the rest of their lives. The people running are just so normal. If you saw them in the grocery store the next day, you would have no idea that this person just ran a marathon. The end of the race is very emotional for some people. People are crying, limping, bleeding, and whatever else, but they still manage to get across that line.

I ran next to this Marine for the last few miles, and of course it made me think of Justin. He is in California right now, in the middle of the very last deployment training he and his battalion will complete before they leave for Afghanistan. Justin is one of the people that keeps me motivated to run. He runs and trains almost every day, even if he's in the middle of a war zone.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

a new birthday tradition

Justin and I started a tradition this year of baking birthday cakes for each other. Personally, I think the one he made was better.

The cake I made had two layers, but since it had to travel from VA to NC in a hot car, it was kinda dried out by the time we ate it. That definitely cost me a few points.

Crappy photo by me. Cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen, icing from the back of the Hershey's cocoa box.

Just ignore the lumpy sides above. SOMEHOW my cake [and picture] just didn't turn out as beautiful as Deb's little work of art did:

Smitten Kitchen in all it's glory

Hopefully our cakes will improve with practice, but for now I'm just happy we got to celebrate both of our birthdays together this year!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

time to get serious

Ready to see some progress in our wedding plans? Here are the [very few, but very large] things we have decided so far:

Date: Saturday, October 15th, 2011!

Middleburg, Virginia

picture from Holly Hudspeth Eventing

picture courtesy of Preservation in Pink

*random tangent: I was looking for a picture of downtown Middleburg, and the very first website that came up was a blog written by a friend of mine. Kate and I both grew up on Long Island and ran track together in college. She is a Historic Preservation super-woman. You can read all about it here on Preservation in Pink.

Justin grew up in the tiny town of Middleburg and his parents still live there. It's a special little place surrounded by farms, horses, wineries, and cute little antique shops shoppes. A few weeks after Justin and I got engaged, we went out to Middleburg one Sunday morning to go to church and lunch with his parents. All the sweet ladies at church had heard the news and they just smiled and stared at us all morning.

Choosing Middleburg instead of somewhere near my hometown was a hard decision for me, but I know it was the right one. It will be easier for me to plan it down here and the church really means a lot to Justin. And hopefully it will be somewhat of a "getaway" weekend for my NY family and friends.

Ceremony Venue:

The United Methodist Church of Middleburg, VA

both pictures from the church website

Reception Venue:

The community center is going to be a great wedding venue. It has some really beautiful features and the inside will make a great "blank slate" for all the decorating ideas I have been collecting.

SO - what do you think? I'm so glad we ended up picking a day in October. It's not at all what I thought I would want, but now that the decision is made I couldn't be happier about it. October is so reliable. There is no hurricane threat and there is no spring rain to worry about. It could be hot, it could be cold, it could be windy, it could rain.... but none of these things have ever stopped a wedding before. If next October is anything like this October, it's going to be gorgeous!