So this year I did the one thing I SWORE I’d NEVER EVER EVER EVER do. I am ( holy cray cray ) flying back to California on Thanksgiving weekend. Holiday travel is the worst. It’s a horrible time to travel, what with weather delays causing ripple effects in delays of your flight … even when where you are traveling to having FABULOUS weather.
I mean really I went from Atlanta to Vegas to Sacramento. It’s probably the only hop I’d contemplate this time of year. I’d prefer to avoid the overflowing parking lots, the mad dash from dropping your bag (please oh please let my bag be in Sacramento). I got lucky, Atlanta lets Military go through a fast lane. I actually really can’t complain, I’m on time. I’m having a beer in Las Vegas, life is good.
But most of all I’m going HOME for a Happy Gobble Day with the family – my first since 2007. My Mom, Daughter, and Best Friend are all waiting for me at the airport. Guess the exhaustion from attempting to sleep on the plane is all going to be worth it once I get that amazing hug from the women in this world that love me and make me feel fabulous.
I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday weekend. Enjoy the Turkey or whatever your heart desires. Enjoy being surrounded in laughter, reliving the Thanksgiving pasts, and disconnecting from it all as you live in the moment, savor your time and be thankful.
I have one last leg of my journey, the excitement at knowing I’ll exit security and fold into the arms of my daughter? Ohhhh yes worth any journey.
Update: My flight was actually EARLY! I’m not sure how that happened. My hike pack even made it! As my Mom just said to me as I sit in the kitchen I grew up in (okay they DID remodel) angels were on my side last night. And that hug with my daughter? Oh even more wonderful than I could know, being a sandwich hug with all three? Oh yea. I’m HOME!
I feel like life has become a series of countdowns, in Afghanistan it was the deployment countdown, we returned to Germany? Countdown to returning to the USA. Since returning home everything is a series of “Days until…” recently I was counting down to this last weekend. A surprise chance at a 4-day weekend for Veterans Day and I was hopping a flight to DC to spend 4 days with my husband. I was counting down on each text - 4 days 3 nights. 3 days, 2 hours…
In some ways it adds an excitement to my life, I have things to look forward to. I have Thanksgiving with my family in California, Christmas in Connecticut with Fletch and his clan, and many points in between for certification exams. Okay – well maybe those aren’t as exciting as fun vacations with family and friends but there is always a date in the future I’m reeling in closer to me.
Like when I run. If I’m running with people around me I think of it as fishing. I reel in the next person, and you’ve achieved something when you get them.
I took a few weeks off from the running program to give myself a break, I’d developed a pain in my calf that started at my ankle and ran up to my knee. 2 weeks of weight training and foam rolling as well as ice and a tiger tail roller and I finally felt ready to go again. And no it didn’t really stop me at all from running from this crazy group. They were moving WAY closer the first time I went through with flags still on my belt!
But what’s the balance? How do you count down and have events to look forward to without rushing the event or feeling it slip past you?
What I did
this last weekend? While yes I checked in on FB a few times to do a little hello to our family & friends. I kept the phone tucked in the purse. No notifications turned on, just the ringer on my phone in case someone called me (which RARELY happens! Sometimes I wonder why do I have a “phone?!”) I went for a run. I ran, and I ran, and I felt amazing!! The crisp fall air, the colors of the leaves, being back in the same state as my husband. No counting down, just enjoying the slow joy of a 10 minute mile while he was in class. Feeling happy that knowing we were once again together. Yea I know, I was running alone while he was in class. But I was with him, and the day was right. I couldn’t believe how the miles slipped by. 1, 2, 3… 3.5 – um? Yea you have to run back now. Yes – 7 miles :: 1 hour 15 minutes. My legs burning but I felt so proud of myself.
While we were in Virginia we were able to drive up and visit friends of ours we were stationed with in Germany. T & J were great friends to hang with & and the easy going friendship between the four of us that developed was still there like no time had passed. Quite rare I find, couples who all like each other without one spouse wishing that the other was just a ” bit more like ___________.” Fill in what ever blank. We spent the rest of our weekend hanging out with people he is in school with, enjoying the Virginia Countryside, and taking a walk from the Capital to the Vietnam Memorial on Veterans Day.
It was only until that farewell at the airport, that moment your heart turns heavy and you have to say farewell, the hug that turns into a cling for dear life. The kiss that hurts your heart and makes your entire body tingle in an attempt to absorb the moment. The last look back (where you hope no one noticed you almost ran into a TSA sign) and finding him still standing there looking at you.
Mountain in the Middle trail race, I knew, that was the one. So here I go, I have a plan. I have a date. I have a new goal… and yes. I’m counting down to the next time I am back in my husbands arms. The countdown continues.
What do you think? Do we spend too much time counting down the days to
the next event and forget to embrace the moment that we are in?
I had the best time having the bejeebus (yes its a word, I say so!) scared out of me a few Sundays ago. For the Howlin’ Hounds 5k I had won two tickets to go to Plantation Blood . I got a hold of “K” and asked her if she’d like to go with me (otherwise these tickets were going to a Single Soldier, as I was not going alone). I thought that seeing as she is from Czech, and Halloween a “American” thing she might get a giggle (or scream) out of the adventure.
We were NOT disappointed.
From the moment we stood in line, the anticipation made your nerves tingle. You couldn’t see the house but through some cracks in the fence. And as we got closer, we jumped as the sound of a chain saw firing up cut through our chatting and giggling.
We got in and the plantation house was in front of us.
They gave us the rules: No photos, no running, seriously DON’T RUN
And I knew why the moment we walked in, the fear from the unknown had one girl gasping for air and running back out the front door before we even had the first taste of what was truly like stepping into a on screen horror movie.
K and I linked arms as soon as we were standing outside on the porch, and we stayed that way through the entire house! Upon stepping into the front room the darkness surrounds you and your eyes adjust slowly. Huddling in the center of the room we kept jumping sensing things move in the shadows. The guys that were with us were just as crazy, jumping and yelling from the start.
We wove our way from room to room, being chased by crazed lunatics sporting bloody faces and clothing. Doors opened and contorting gory women lunged from their perches on the ceiling, your ankles were grabbed and let go from mysterious unseen entities. Large rooms emptied into small dark hallways, opening into a terrifying scene of mayhem and murder. You were never quite sure if there was still someone or some THING left in the room that would be lunging out to grab you. Smoke would pour from the ceiling and lights flickered making you feel off balance and lost.
The truly terrifying moment for me? When K and I came out of a crazed farmhouse scene where we had been locked in a closet by a wild man in overalls; after escaping we came into a large open tent. Straw scattered on the floor, more fog to cloud the scene and the strobe lights once again. You could see shadows move in the fog, the guys we were with bolted for the door on the other side as K and I took a more timid approach stepping carefully and moving for anything that could provide some cover as we crossed the tent. All of a sudden the two guys reversed direction screaming as they came back in the tent and the maniacal appearance of a chain saw wielding clown became the only thing I could see. As we screamed at the site a dark shadow popped up on our left and a painted grinning evil clown with orange hair sprouting off his head lunged at us with what looked like a MACHETTE!! Screaming K and I backed around a barrel and backed right up into another clown, laughing and screaming as he lunged at us. We “walked QUICKLY” to the entrance only to hear the chain saw rev up again. It may have only been 5 minutes but it felt like forever as we fought our way out and down the path only to stumble into a zombie town. Moaning and shuffling they swarmed us, and our trusty men behind us had no qualms with using us as human shields to get through the massing zombies! Chivalry is dead.
One more door to exit and we escaped Plantation Blood, just under a full on run to escape the returning chainsaw massacre and dodge a zombie chained to the post!
We were sweaty, out of breath, hands shaking, and legs weak from our adventure through the plantation walls. The darkness, sounds, and unknown had terrified the both of us. I had never had so much fun being so scared!
** I’d love to be able to share some of my own photos but there is really no way to run screaming latched onto your girlfriend and capture the moment the way you can see it. I’m sure you understand. I did use some of the Plantation Blood Gallery Photos, go on over and see but they really keep it all pretty hush hush, you have NO idea what to truly expect.
Do you have a haunted house in your town?
A little heavy on the photos but I had to be able to share what this looked like along with my impression of the COLOR RUN 5k. First of the three 5k’s I have planned this month it was a great start to give me a good feeling on these planned events. I was actually so excited the night before I had a hard time getting to sleep even though I knew the alarm would go off at 0700! I laid out my clothes, made sure I had all the bibs and wrist bands ready for my team, then finally got to bed around midnight! Only to get a text from my gf saying they had just made it to town! Despite the late nights we all met up at 0830 and had smiles on our faces. [ A lot of this post is captions to photos... just a heads up ]
Walking along the race route from our parking spots we found many sideline cheerleaders giving their families and friends a big boost of support with cheers and signs to encourage and give a giggle in between the color shots you would receive from the volunteers along the way.
So we started out as pretty much the last to the last group that ran. Only as they called the countdown and the start began we didn’t move. They had prizes being shot off and thrown from the start box so people were taking their time getting out the gate. Which was fine, we were having fun, then when we finally DID get moving out I found most people in this fun “Run” were actually walkers. Not a whole lot of running going on. When I went to look at my stats from the run later, I saw so many spikes in my speed from stopping with the walker groups, or slowing down through the color splash corridors starting in Pink, then Yellow, Blue, and Orange …
Less about your 10-minute-mile and more about having the time of your life, The Color Run is a five-kilometer, un-timed race in which thousands of participants are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer. The fun continues at the finish line with a gigantic “Finish Festival,” using more colored powder to create happiness and lasting memories, not to mention millions of vivid color combinations. Trust us, this is the best post-5k party on the planet!
So overall my impressions on the Color Run 5k? Really all about the fun and being happy, take your competitive streak and toss it in a bag of color for the day. Hell even roll around in it after you get your sweat on and laugh at the impressions it makes in your t-shirt [ my color stuck to my shoulders and left me with a sports bra impression of clean white on my back ]. There was a wide variety of people and groups on the road. Speed was not their priority, be prepared if you are a runner to do a lot of dodging and weaving on the route. Having something to cover your mouth as you go through the color toss is advisable, as well as eye protection to keep the powder out of your eyes. I was a little surprised to see some people had their dogs and hoped the color on their coats was from loving pats not from walking them through the dust clouds.
Would I do it again? Oh heck yea! Embrace the fun, throw some color, but be prepared for the stain on your skin. It was kind of funny because after the run many of us stayed downtown and had lunch, new people arriving into the area were confronted with hot pink faced sweaty runners in tutus and purple streaks in their hair. The tables along Broad Street were filled with color splattered purple people eaters all laughing and flipping through fotos they had taken during the race. When I took my car to the car wash I didn’t realize the shock it would present when I got of the car still sporting my blue and purple face. And hand washing didn’t get rid of my smurfy appearance either. The key? Makeup remover pads got it off my face, a sugar scrub in the shower got most of it off my legs. And surprisingly it all washed out of my clothes and shoes in one wash in the washer [I did put baking soda in the soak and vinegar in the rinse cycle for the smells - not sure that had any help on the color]. So here I sit with slight blue stains still on my arms and abs, but luckily other than that I’ll be able to sport the uniform without raising an eyebrow.
Hope you had a carefree and relaxing weekend! I’ve got to get back to my studies that I keep procrastinating!!
Mom and I went to Charleston South Carolina this past weekend, and one of the things we wanted to do was to see a Plantation.
Middleton Place dates back to 1705 acquiring the family name from Henry Middleton in 1741 through a family marriage. Its history is pretty fantastic and sad all in one. The civil war saw its lands and animals being pillaged by Union Soldiers.
Middleton Place is a plantation in Dorchester County, directly across the Ashley River from North Charleston and about 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Charleston, in the U.S. state of South Carolina. Built in several phases throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the plantation was the primary residence of several generations of the Middleton family, many of whom played prominent roles in the colonial and antebellum history of South Carolina. The plantation, now a National Historic Landmark District, currently functions as a museum, and is home to the oldest landscaped gardens in the United States.
Middleton Place, a set on Flickr.
We enjoyed walking the grounds and the stables before taking a guided tour by horse drawn carriage. I can honestly say in the 3.5 hours we spent there, I could still go back and see so much more.
I couldn’t say which was my favorite, the gardens that draw you into hidden sitting areas and mysterious paths or the stables full of fantastic fuzzy farm animals that work the land of the plantation.
If you get the chance to go I highly recommend it.
So,yesterday I had mentioned I had some upcoming excitement! It started out with the Zombie 5K run on Base, then my girlfriend invited me to join her team for the Color Run, and finally those sweet little puppy faces invited me to help raise money for them by running in the Howlin’ Hounds 5k Run. Who knew Augusta had so many runs going on in one month!?!
Seeing as I’ve never DONE any of these fun runs (besides the Susan G. Komen) I was pretty excited to be able to sign up for some theme runs! (also a reason my runs are pretty important) And then my weekends took on a look of something like this:
I’ve got my SoxBox CRAZY sox ready to roll, neon orange shorts, white tank, and neon sweat band all ready to roll. Sorry – no Tu-Tu for this girl. Can you tell I’m a little excited?
What does one wear for a dog run??
Super excited, I think I have my Czech buddy intrigued into running with me on this one. This girl runs every night for an hour at least, I don’t think the Zombies have a chance.
Quite honestly, I’m keeping myself busy because this time of year is rough. The changing from sunny hot days to cool and overcast makes me a little, well “drag-ass”. I’ll find every reason to lay under the covers and give in to the sleep monster then kick myself in the butt because I’ve just done nothing for the day. My Sunday morning Yoga has given me a great morning wake up and I can ENJOY the rest of my day after getting a good morning salutation to myself. They say the winter blahs bring the blues for many people, I’m just actively seeking ways to not let that happen. And by ACTIVE I do mean looking for things to keep me busy and on the go.
So you maybe wondering… Jen? What’s up your skipping a weekend!!
Ohhh yes I am. You’ll hear about it later.
SO any adventures planned to keep your goals in mind with the change of the weather?
2 out of 3 of these I’d planned on doing on my own,
would you do something like this if you didn’t have a partner?
Never fear, as you see I’m already talking fellow classmates to join my crazy self.
A little update on getting my butt [and other parts] back in shape. My running partner and I have decided that the runs need to varied a little. And with that, I upgraded my Runtastic app to Pro so I could get the full effects of a British lady letting me know when I’ve reached milestones on our run.
So just to start off, this is by far my favorite commercial at the moment [I'm not really a TV watcher, and if you haven't seen it, click the graphic ... comeoncomeoncomeon... click it!]
So – I have a month of adventures coming up in October [more on that later] so training up my run is important. And Monday was awesome. Maybe its the shift in weather, the temperature has been cooling off in the morning and the humidity has finally broke. I started the app and we began to run. Legs felt good, breathing was easy… and of course having my running partner to chat at kept me distracted. ;) We like to quiz each other on our studies as we run. Monday though I think we were both in challenge mode to keep pushing each other. Coming in under 10 minutes on the first mile we picked it up, but part of our track is sandy! So you could feel it pulling your feet as you ran. Whenever I got tired “J” pushed me on, whenever I felt him lag back? I pushed us forward. It was a good morning to run.
After sprinting in the final push on the track, I went into the gym and put some weights on the bar and did my bicep / back routine. I hate to say I have lost some of the strength I had gained while deployed. My pull ups have definitely taken a hit. I can only look in the mirror and acknowledge that while I have lost some strength, I haven’t lost it ALL. I refuse to go back to my old mind set that 1 step backwards means to throw in the towel. Pull on your big girl panties and dig down deep again.
I am loving my run! So how do I do both? Enjoy my run time and get my lift on while getting my studies on? I’m still working on that. I keep thinking life will give me a normal “routine” … my “routine” is there is none. Any tips?
So Wednesday being “HUMP DAY” I decided I was going to do the hills this morning, but my running buddy got pulled for another duty this morning so instead of going to the other side of base, I plugged in an old favorite and did intervals on the treadmill. WhatWHAT!? I also continued after and did chest and triceps on the weights. I’m working on getting an actual workout journal together to track my progress. Looking for something I can carry with me in the gym so a 5×7 max size. Might end up making one so that I can incorporate the fact that I LIKE variety.
1. Warm up: 5.0 MPH 2.0% incline – she really makes you focus on your breathing and how you feel. 5:59
2. Stage 1. Hold your speed, do 5 hard pushes, 1st minute you stay 4.0% incline same speed. 1 minute moderate @4.0% incline, 1 minute hard @8.0% incline. That’s the change – your incline, and whoa!
3. Stage 2. (Recovery) 1.0% Incline go into active recovery. 2 Minutes just bring it down easy get your breath back.
4. Stage 3. Home base for 3 minutes, then you go up in speed for 3 Minutes HARD intensity, and increase your speed one more time for 1 minute all out as hard as you can go! Do this 2X’s. She really gives you great instruction on what those intensity levels can be. And knowing that you have this time limit, you push yourself listening for the bell and its amazing how quickly it goes as you are focused on achieving the goal!
Some links that I’ve been reading that are keeping my motivation up:
So what’s going on in October? Until tomorrow…
A fantastic and very relaxing birthday weekend with my Mom!
Friday night was spent getting out of class early and packing up tasty treats and good books to lounge by the pool. In between chatting with my Mom and a nice woman who joined our conversation by the pool, I actually made a dent in my latest read Deliverance Dane. The next morning we awoke around 9am and had a leisurely breakfast (cooked by Mom) then we were dressed and to our pedicure appointments by 11am. Pretty good for us I thought! We wanted to be downtown to enjoy the festival in good time as there was a threat of rain for the late afternoon.
I’m glad we arrived when we did, we got a great parking spot and stopped first at the Augusta Market. This event goes each Saturday from 8am to 2pm – there is a running group that meets up and runs different distances based on your ability group.
This weeks Augusta Market had special extended hours, and many more craft booths than I’ve seen in the past. I purchased some body sugar scrub with a lemon & ginger oil added to it that smelled amazing! We enjoyed looking at all of the goods, but by far our favorite booth at the Market was for the Greyhound rescue group. These dogs are beautiful. There were three of these beautiful babies to give you an “in-your-face” display of their healthy beautiful puppy faces, which in the past may have just been a life end since the racetrack days were over. Two of the little girls were sporting backpack aprons with donation pockets. As I was putting a few dollars in the pocket of one, she leaned in to my thigh in a hugging motion and I found myself getting puppy love. Definitely a top of the list item – hug from a dog.
The Augusta Market – Diggin’ the River! The Augusta Market is every Saturday from March 23rd to December 31st. from 8 am to 2 pm at 15 8th Street in Downtown Augusta, GA
The 2013 Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival marks the 33rd year that the Greater Augusta Arts council has produced this event, frequently described as “Augusta’s finest moment.” This year, the festival returns to Broad Street and the Augusta Common.
Broad Street, between 8th and 11th Streets will be closed off for the Fine Arts and Crafts Market, featuring 115 artisans selected by jury. There will be plenty of shade to make the festival an enjoyable experience for attendees, and there will be wide and varied handmade goods to suit every budget.
The Global Village, located on the Augusta Common, will host ethnic food from around the world. New countries that will be represented this year are France, Bulgaria and Trinidad and will stand next to favorites from years past such as Germany, China, India, Pakistan and more.
There is something about the feeling of a small town gathering (well Augusta isn’t exactly SMALL town) but it felt lively, and the smells of cooking food surrounded us, making our taste buds water. The music was starting to warm up and children ran about the grass laughing and enjoying being able to run loose some of the energy that they MUST absorb from their parents. I loved seeing an older couple as they found a bench to sit upon as they sipped cold lemonade and shared a plate of fries watching the families on the grass in all their adventures.
I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon so much local crafts and arts to see, so little time. I did go a little crazy over one vendor and her jewelry - Cool Designs Jewelry. I think she may become my go to girl, her style is fabulous!
We did get out of there just in time. As we were walking back to the car in the late afternoon, big fat plops of rain threatened the afternoon festival goers. It was perfect timing as we had a dinner theater to get to! A very happy birthday weekend indeed.
Do you find out about local events and go explore in your area?
How do you keep in touch with the upcoming events?