Thursday, January 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday: It's A Wonderful Run Recap

I figured since it's Thursday, and I never posted this recap I would use it as a Throwback Thursday. I realize this post is over a month late, but it's been a bit crazy with the holidays and what not. Saturday, December 13th I ran the It's a Wonderful Run 5K for the third year in a row. This year was much different than last year weather wise, but just as fun!

The race is an evening race that starts around 4:45 pm in Seneca Falls, NY. Seneca Falls is rumored to be the town that inspired Bedford Falls in the movie "It's A Wonderful Life." For the past 3 years, Nita and I have run this race, and dressed up in our Christmas best. This year the weather was a little warmer, but rained the entire time.

Nita met me at my grandmothers house so we could all get ready and then ride into to Seneca Falls together. Earlier that day, my dad and I had run to the outlet mall, and as luck would have it I purchased a pair of running capris at Under Armour that were on sale. As I was getting all my running stuff around, I had realized that I left my running tights on my bed at home. So I threw the running capris on under my red and white tutu. Not really the best as it was still chilly out, but I survived.

My dad dropped us off a few blocks away from the start so we didn't have to worry about parking as the race had close to 4,000 runners. We waited by the Bridge street bridge for the race to start, and while we waited we ran into some of our running friends.

(Yay, friends!)

(Trying to stay warm before the start)

After saying hi and chatting for a bit, our friends made their way a little closer to the starting line. Nita, mom and I hung back. Knowing there were close to 4,000 runners with a mass start, I was in no way expecting a fast time or PR. This race was all about having fun!

Speaking of fun... Race selfie time!

(Had to show off the holiday Minnie Ears!)

We finally put our phones away, and it was minutes from the race starting. Once we started it seemed like forever until we actually crossed the timing mat. Nita and I decided to run a 1-to-1 interval. It took awhile to get settled into a rhythm due to the fact that people who were slower started in front of us, so we were constantly weaving through a sea of people. I'd say we were weaving in and out of people for a good mile and a half.

The course lead us through areas of downtown, then out to the high school and back into town where we ran down main street and finished at the community center just shy of where we started on the bridge.

(Course Map: source)

This race is always such a blast because it's during Seneca Falls' It's a Wonderful Life Festival, and the houses that are along the course are always decked out in Christmas decorations. The residents come out and cheer on the runners, and many of them have music playing, fires going in their front yards, and even offer drinks and snacks.

Nita and I finished the race just shy of 40:00, but considering all the people and the weaving we did, I can deal with that. I still, however, decided to get up early the next morning for a redemption run...

(Missed my goal by 1 minute, oh well)

I like to do this race every year for the fact that it's just a lot of fun. It's a huge race, so if you go with the goal of setting a PR, then it's not the race for you. I'm not saying it's not possible, but you had better be at the front when the race starts. It's just nice to see everyone decked out in holiday garb, and the costume ideas they come up with. The race swag also includes a nice long sleeve tech shirt.

(The bib was pretty fun this year too!)

QOTD: Are there certain races you have to run each year? Is it because of the course, the swag or the fun?

Friday, January 9, 2015

runDisney Depression

As I'm writing this, it's 8:45 pm on a brutally cold Friday evening in Western NY. I'm sitting in bed watching Disney movies with miss Coco, and honestly, the only thing I can think about is how I should be in Florida right now preparing for the Walt Disney World 1/2 Marathon in the morning.

Currently, I would be getting my running gear and/or costume around for tomorrows runDisney WDW 1/2 Marathon. Then crawling into bed by 9 (to attempt) to get some sleep before the 2:30 am wake-up call to get to my corral on time. Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of my control I had to defer my registration until the 2016 WDW 1/2 marathon.

I'm really excited for all the runners that get to attend the race weekend events, play in the parks, and of course run their race (maybe #runalltheraces), and collect their bling. Runners will be collecting anywhere between 1 and 6 medals this runDisney race weekend. I can't help but feel a little depressed that I will not be one of them.

I can honestly say though that I am excited to live vicariously through some of my running friends who are participating in this weekends events! Chris is running the Dopey Challenge for his second year, and has already collected 2 of his 6 medals. And Lily is running her first marathon!! I'm also a bit obsessed with following other runDisney enthusiasts on Instagram, and seeing what pops up under the #rundisney hashtag.

QOTD: Have you ever had to defer one of your race registrations? Did you feel depressed when race weekend rolled around and you weren't there?

Monday, January 5, 2015

NOLA Trip Recap

I've been terrible about keeping up with my blogging lately. Hopefully I can get myself back on track. First, a little bit of news. I found out that I passed my Pediatric Echocardiography boards! It was honestly the longest 65 days of my life waiting for those results, but now I can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. Now, on to my New Orleans recap.

If you read my Jazz Half recap, then you know Mom and I had been preparing for the Jazz half for months. Unfortunately for me, my training had suffered due to my obsession with studying for my board exam. We flew down on Thursday, October 30th after work, and didn't get to NOLA until after 11 pm. We decided we would sleep in on Friday as we didn't have any real plan of attack for the day. Once we got up and got going it was after noon so we decided to venture out and find some lunch. Some friends of my parents had suggested we try the Central Grocery and get a Muffaletta sandwich. So we walked down to the Central Grocery, bought our sandwich, then walked back to Jackson square to eat. The Muffaletta sandwich consists of olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone. I wasn't a huge fan of the sandwich as I don't like olives or ham, but at least I can say I tried it.

After we had lunch, we walked around Jackson Square. There are a lot of artists that set up artwork around the square to sell each day. It can also be different stuff on any given day.

After walking around the square we decided to go on one of the carriage tours through the French Quarter, and out to one of the St. Louis Cemeteries. This was a fitting activity to do considering it was Halloween!

(This was a great way to see different parts of the French Quarter!)

(It was definitely fun touring the cemetery on Halloween)

After the tour, mom and I ventured back to the hotel and stopped at a few of the shops on the way. Friday was a pretty low key day considering we had the half marathon in the morning.

We relaxed at the hotel for a while before getting ready to go out for dinner. We weren't really sure where to go for dinner since we didn't know the area too well, so we stopped down at the front desk to ask about a good Italian restaurant to fuel up before the race. They made a few recommendations that were within a few blocks of where we were staying. Before we went to dinner we decided to walk up to Lafayette Square where the race was set to start and finish, so we had an idea of what time we needed to leave the hotel in the morning to walk there. I don't think it took us more than 15 minutes to get there, so we would be in good shape.

As we were walking back toward the hotel and in the direction of the restaurant, we passed a few people dressed up for Halloween. One guy stopped me and said, "What do you think of my costume? I'm a formal apology!" He was wearing a tux that had "I'm sorry" written all over it. Haha

Mom and I had dinner at a small restaurant that wasn't too busy in the warehouse district. We both ordered ravioli, and they were pretty good (even if I had to force feed myself). After dinner we went back to the hotel and got our stuff around for the half in the morning. I won't go into details from the half as you can read about that here.

After the cold and windy half, I melted into a hot bath for about an hour to thaw my frozen muscles. Once I thawed, I swear I must have napped for about 2 hours. Once mom and I got up, we took our time getting around for dinner. We decided to go to the other restaurant that the hotel recommended the previous night.

(Dark, but enjoying a well deserved glass of wine)

After dinner we went back to the hotel to relax and get to bed early. Sunday morning we decided to get up and head to Cafe Du Monde for Coffee and Beignets! The line was SO long, but surprisingly, it moved quickly! To make the wait seem shorter there was even a jazz band playing on the corner by the cafe!

Mom and I enjoyed 2 orders of beignets, and they were absolutely worth every calorie! After breakfast we ventured around the French Quarter a little more. We scheduled a tour of the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery at 2 pm, and the shuttle service was picking us up around 1:20. The tour was a lot of fun, and honestly not at all was I was expecting (in a good way). We got to sample each type of rum they make there, and they gave us a complimentary tea. The Gingeroo was definitely my favorite!

After the tour we were dropped back off at our shuttle stop and mom and I walked back toward the hotel along the Mississippi River and looked into maybe having dinner on one of the river boats. We decided against that though.

That night, mom and I went to dinner at Origami, a sushi bar in New Orleans not too far from where we were staying. We still look a taxi even though we would have been able to take the street car. The sushi was outstanding, and I honesty don't even remember what I ordered. After dinner we headed back to the hotel and went to bed. 

Monday we got up and had realized that we had soaked up a lot of what we wanted to see, but headed back down to the French Quarter for the afternoon. We decided to walk Bourbon Street...

(Being a goof ball)

Then we went to Pat O'Briens for a Hurricane...

(Probably more than I needed, but delicious!)

After Pat O'Briens mom and I ventured back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We had made reservations at NOLA's, one of Emeril Lagasse's three restaurants in New Orleans. Mom and I enjoyed a great meal and a glass of wine. After dinner we went back up to the river walk to take a few pictures. Then we made our way back to the hotel to pack to head home in the morning. 

I had a great time exploring New Orleans with mom. I would go back again during a festival or Mardi Gras so I could enjoy a different experience.

QOTD: If you've been to New Orleans, what was your favorite thing to do?