Friday, May 30, 2014

Cross Country Road Trip- Part 1

Well, it's been awhile since my last post.  Though I did promise to update, things with our recent move have caught up to me.  But I am back, and looking forward to sharing the adventures ahead of us!  And trust me, there are many!

We have officially begun our journey to California, though it seems we took a wrong turn!  Perhaps we had the map on its side, but instead of heading west from Virginia, we somehow ended up north in Connecticut!  Coincidence?  Not really.  You see, my husband had a few extra days of leave to use up, and we figured instead of heading straight to California, we could visit with some family before the long trek.

This trip was pretty boring to us.  Lots of typical Northeast traffic, and it's a route we have done far too often.

This part of our journey took us through multiple states, all of which we have already been through multiple times:

1.  Virginia (where we are leaving from)

2.  Maryland

3. Delaware
4.  Pennsylvania (I missed this sign, but we returned later)

5.  New Jersey
6.  New York
We have been collecting Starbucks mugs for a few years now, and are just now adding this to our collection.  There will be many more added!  This is our 5th mug (3rd from the current You Are Here collection)

7.  Connecticut

We are now staying in Connecticut for a week and a half before we hit the road out west.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Grandpa Steve's visit

Recently we have had many visitors come to see us before we leave Virginia.  Last week, Grandpa Steve came for a quick visit.  The boys were excited and surprised to come home from Connecticut to see him in our house.  I think they forgot to even say hi to me.  
Just like his last visit, Grandpa Steve brought the heat.  His last visit, it ended up being over 100 degrees and our AC went out.  This visit, it wasn't quite that hot, but it still got to over 95 degrees.  Luckily, our AC was working and we had other ways to cool off!  We spent Monday morning in Downtown Fredericksburg (gosh am I going to miss it!) and spent the afternoon playing outside in the sprinkler.  The boys hadn't seen the sprinkler in awhile, and they had a blast.  E Step thought it was so funny, and Z step had fun running around.  They got so much energy out, and just couldn't stop smiling.  Us too, because they were so cute running around.  
And it starts...

Love how happy they are!

My favorite photo of the day.  
Of course, we all had fun too.  Lots of smiling, laughing, and running around. The boys slept well that evening!
Running from Grandpa Steve

Cracking up with Daddy

The rest of Grandpa Steve's visit was spent busy.  We went to the indoor kid's play place to get some energy out followed by the playground for a picnic.  
At the playground for our picnic.  He loves picnics now!
We ended the visit with a visit to our favorite Brazilian restaurant.  Lots of wonderful meat and veggies, finished with some grilled pineapple.  We really are going to miss Virginia.  Having family close is great!
This was the best photo we got from our visit

Monday, May 19, 2014

Half Marathon Recap

Z Step says, "Someday I run 13.1 miles!"

And.... We're back!!!  Have you missed us?  I have somehow gotten so busy, that Big Family Steps has ended up on the back burner since October.  I am so ashamed that I let it get to be this long.  But somehow life got in the way!  Life seemed to much slower in Okinawa.  Virginia is great, but definitely more fast paced than I would like.  I look forward to taking a step back and living a little slower again out in the desert.  With nothing to do within 1-2 hours, I think that will be pretty easy.  

Race Expo gear.  I didn't like the red shirt they were giving out.  So I bought myself these two shirts.  Love the colors and cuts of them.  The green is a bit big and it's an xs!

Speaking of fast paced- D Step and I just completed the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VA.  D Step did it back in 2009, and I had said for years that I would eventually do it too.  This was my first Half Marathon race.  I've covered the distance before, but never in an official race.  And I proved to impress myself with it.  

Start and finish line

The race had about 6,000 runners (I think) and ran through many parts of Historic Fredericksburg.  My favorite part was probably in the 8th mile, when we got to run through my favorite area- downtown Fredericksburg.  There were people cheering us along the entire 13.1 miles, and lots of people dressed in colonial clothes in the downtown part.  There was dancing, singing, bands, and lots of great signs along the way.  

This was at the finish line!
Lots of people had signs along the way.  My two favorites were, "Smile if you're not wearing underwear" and a young guy wearing nothing but boxer briefs wearing a sign that said, "Run faster or I'll drop the sign."  There was a girl running who had a shirt that said, "Can I have your beer coupon?"  Seriously, how do people think this stuff up?  

It was pretty cool running under this American Flag!
One of the greatest things I saw along the race was an elderly veteran standing outside his home to cheer us on.  People were stopping to run up and shake his hand and thank him for his service.  It was beautiful.  He was so thrilled and couldn't stop smiling.  

The first 7 miles went smoothly.  Around mile 8, I began feeling some knee pain on my right side.  It's the same knee as I've had issues with before, and I think it's a hormonal issue.  I ran through it, but it definitely slowed me down at the end.  

The 11th mile is what I was most concerned with.  They call it "Hospital Hill" and it has an elevation of 375 feet.  I had run hills for weeks in my training on order to prepare me for it.  I was nervous my knee would give out, but I pushed through and Hospital Hill didn't seem to be nearly as bad as I anticipated.  
Mile 13!

I had slowed down in the 8th-11th mile in order to accommodate for my knee.  But once the hill was over, it didn't seem bad anymore.  I picked up the pace, and sprinted more in the last half mile.  I crossed the finish line at 1:51:38.  There were a bunch of Marines waiting to award medals, and photographers there to snap a few.  Unfortunately D Step and I got separated on hospital hill, so we weren't able to take a photo together at the finish line.  We did get together later for our celebratory beer.  

All in all, it was a great race.  Would I do it again?  Probably.  I must say, I think I prefer weights over running at this point.  I will be sticking it to those for awhile.  I definitely lost some very hard earned muscle in the process of training.  Something about lifting weights appeals most to me.  Being strong is pretty important to me.  And muscle burns fat!  Not to mention, I hate having to take over an hour or two once a week to run.  Then another hour to recover.  I'd rather bust out my entire workout in an hour and move on to spend time with my boys.  

I now vow to keep up with this blog again.  We have movers come this week, and will be hitting the road to CT in about a week.  After some time with family, we will be hitting the road for our 2 week long trek to California.  I hope to blog along the way about all the cool places we are going to!