I Could Use More Fridays Like This

Every once in a while I have to travel locally for a training class for work, and I love it when it falls on Friday.  That’s as close to a three-day weekend as I can get without using a vacation day!  Two hour drive to Nashville, three hour class, two hour drive home = a full work day.  Yeah, it’s only 7 hours but the way I see it all my 10+ hour days make up for that hour.  😉  And I would have gone in if I’d had anything that needed to be done, but I checked in with my right-hand woman and she had things under control, so I called it a day!

These training days are the only times when I actually get to dress cute for work.  I always dress in uniform khakis and a company shirt when I’m working because I know I’ll get nasty and I’m not ruining my good clothes!

And since I was in Nashville, I couldn’t resist a quick trip to Trader Joe’s!

And Starbucks!  Yes, believe it or not, there are still people in this country for whom that is still a treat only available when we go into the city.  Ha!

Then when I got home I found the boot socks I’d ordered came in!

It had been almost a month since I ordered them (they came from China), so I’d almost forgotten about them.  I love fun surprises in my mailbox!

Now it’s time to get the real weekend started.  I think I’ll start with a nap!  Driving makes me sooooo sleepy!

How was your Friday?!  Any big plans this weekend?

For the first time in a while, we have ZERO plans!  This excites me!

Girls Weekend Out: Nashville

My sister and I headed to Nashville for a much-needed getaway this weekend, and it did not disappoint.  The weekend was filled with fun and laughter, good music (and some bad karaoke), good drinks, and REALLY good food.

We got to Nashville around 3:30 or so Friday, checked into the hotel and immediately walked downtown.  I wasn’t running in the Country Music Marathon, but I can’t resist an RnR expo.  We wandered around for a while, partaking of all the free samples.  There was some REALLY random free samplage going on in Nashville!  Pickles???  Tomato juice???  Upon taking samples of tomato juice, Kim promptly asked where the vodka samples were.  I like the way she thinks.

The only thing I bought at the expo were some snazzy new sports sunglasses.  They were red and looked like they would make me run faster.

While standing in line at the Publix booth for more free stuff, I got a text from none other than the Crazy Penguin herself saying that she was there at the Brooks booth.  We had planned to meet at the expo and have dinner afterward.  BEST.  DECISION.  EVER.  Seriously if any of y’all ever get the chance to hang out with this girl, DO IT.  After walking around the expo for just a few more minutes looking for a vendor that turned out wasn’t even there, we went to The Old Spaghetti Factory, where we proceeded to probably make everyone around us think that we were all mentally challenged.  Or drunk.  Or both. 

But, you see, they weren’t in on the inside joke that had us snorting with laughter.  I would try to explain it, but it’s definitely one of those “had to be there” things.  We were actually cracking up trying to figure out how you could possibly blog about it.  Heck, I’m cracking up just replaying it all in my head but I can see how the humor would be lost on someone who didn’t witness it firsthand.
After dinner, we parted ways.  She was turning in early because she was running the half the next day, and Kim and I had business to tend to.

Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville…

 We found open seating in one of the upstairs bars at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and parked ourselves right there for the rest of the night.  Aside from having the best margaritas ever, if you ever find yourself in a Margaritaville and your server offers you a Loaded Landshark, TAKE IT.  Landshark beer loaded with the Margaritaville brand island lime tequilla.  NICE.  And EFFECTIVE.

I had every intention of getting up early Saturday morning and walking to the race course to watch the elites finish.  Let’s just say there were too many Loaded Landsharks to make that plan a reality.  I woke up about 9:00, and it was closer t 9:30 by the time I got there.  The #10 male was coming into the finisher’s chute just as I was getting there.  I walked to the half-marathon side and found the 2:00 pace group passing mile 13.  I stayed right there for a good while watching for several people I knew running, but I never saw any of them.  No surprise considering how many people there were!  A while back I had posted about plans to hop in and offer support for any struggling marathoners I saw, but my head was pounding and I was in absolutely no shape to run.  At all.  I did walk the course between miles 17 and 19 for quite a while cheering on and talking to individual runners, but there was no running.  Fail.

About noon I walked back to the hotel to get Kim and figure out something for lunch.  We walked back to Panera Bread downtown and then she and I hung out at the finish line for a while again.  By then, the half had finished up, but there were still marathoners finishing.  Bless their hearts.  They had already been out on the course for over 6 hours.  Just watching the emotion on everyone’s faces was amazing.  Some people were skipping to the finish all smiles and others were limping through gritted teeth and tears.  But like the announcer said to some of the finishers coming into the chute trying to sprint to the finish:  “Relax!  You’re done now!  You’re still gonna get the same medal the three-hour finishers got.”  It was inspiring to watch.  Even Kim said she wants to get to the point where she can run a half someday!  And, if I wasn’t before, I am now seriously questioning my “never again” mindset when it comes to running another full…but that’s another post for another day!

We headed back to the hotel, where we took showers, watched Looney Toones (yeah, so what?), and I took a nap.  Around 6:00, we walked BACK downtown (I’m figuring I walked at least a half-marathon Saturday.) for dinner.  We went to The Melting Pot expecting a little wait, but we weren’t expecting a 2-1/2 hour wait.  Kim noticed a sign in the front that said the suggested attire was upscale casual, and she called me out on my clothes.  I had on my “That’s What She Said” t-shirt.  Classy, right?  We made reservations for 9:00 and began walking around trying to find something to get into to kill the time.  I really just wanted to find someplace to sit down and relax with a glass of wine or something, but there was a wait to get in anywhere with a table.  Then we walked past the Wild Beaver Saloon and saw a sign for $2.00 domestic longnecks.  Close enough.  We kicked back and listened to (and I contributed to) some bad karaoke until time to walk back to the restaurant.

Totally worth the wait.

Cheese and veggies?  Awesome.

Caesar salad?  Mmmmmmm….  (I ate mine AND Kim’s.)

The main course?  Not bad at all.  I’m sure a meat lover would have enjoyed it more than I did.  My favorite part was the potatoes and mushrooms.  Next time I’ll get the vegetarian entree.

The dessert?  Orgasmic.

Strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, cheesecake, brownies… and a big pot of chocolate to dip it all in.  I was in Heaven.

There was really nothing else we could do to top that.  We went around the corner to the Beer Sellar for just a few minutes, decided we were too full/sleepy/old to drink any more, and went back to the hotel.

It was a super fun weekend.  I just wish I had the time and money to do it more often…

Three Things Thursday

1.  I made hotel reservations yesterday for a girl’s weekend for me and my sister!  We’re going to Nashville the last weekend in April and I CAN. NOT WAIT!!!  Coincidentally (or maybe not…), that’s the weekend of the CMM.  I’m excited to go and spectate!  I ran the 1/2 last year and it was awesome, but I’m already running two April HMs, so I just want to cheer everyone on in Nashville.  I don’t know anyone who is running it this year, so if you are, HOLLA!  I’ll cheer for you specifically.  🙂  I even thought about hanging out around the 20+ mile mark and running with various random struggling marathoners for a little bit.  I know that would have helped my morale IMMENSELY when I was running mine solo in December.  Other than that, I don’t know what else the weekend will involve.  Besides The Melting Pot.  Definitely The Melting Pot.  And band-stalking on Second.  And beer.

2.  I got this in the mail Tuesday.  It’s my Heavy Medal medal for completing two Rock N Roll events in 2010 (CMM 1/2 and RnR Las Vegas Marathon). 

It’s pretty cheesey, no?  That’s okay.  It still looks cool on my medal hanger!

3.   I had the brilliant idea to go roller skating this past Sunday with some peeps from church.  I haven’t had wheels on these feet in like 20 years.  I sucked at it then, and guess what!  I still do!  I didn’t even want to go out onto the rink because it was sooooo crowded, but the kids that I was with finally shamed me into it.  It was scary!  The people zooming past me like I was standing still (a stand-still actually isn’t much slower than I was going) made me nervous, and there were kids falling all over the place.  I was scared to death one was going to fall in front of me and I wouldn’t be able to stop before I rolled over them.  But they finally got me out there and I didn’t fall once.  I had several close calls though.

Celebrating my fall-less first lap.  This photo is weird.  It makes me look like I have dark roots and no hair on the right side of my head.  And that looks like a ghost in front of me.

My heart aches for Nashville

I’m sure you have seen the news and know that a lot of Tennessee is under water. Thankfully, neither we nor anyone we know personally lost our homes, but there are so many who did. And most of those people will not be covered by insurance. We don’t live in a flood zone, so most people don’t have the flood insurance rider on their homeowner’s policy. I don’t. It seemed unnecessary. You don’t move to Hawaii and buy avalanche insurance. This type of thing just isn’t supposed to happen here. Tornado or earthquake? We’re fairly prepared. If you live in this area, you know those are good possibilities. Flooding? Not so much.

There was a lot of water under our house but nothing a sump pump couldn’t take care of. But go 10 miles in any direction from our house, and it’s another story:

And this is nothing compared to Nashville. My heart literally hurts when I see the pictures of Nashville. A week ago I was running in those streets, standing in that store, eating in that restaurant, drinking a beer at that bar… And now it’s all under water. The Grand Ole Opry? That is such a shame. I’m sure my grandma is crying in Heaven over that one.

I’m trying to focus on the fact that these are just brick-and-mortar buildings and be thankful that the loss of life was no greater than it was. As bad as it seems, this is nothing compared to what New Orleans endured (and is still enduring). But this just hits a little closer to home and heart, ya know?