Monday, April 15, 2013

Behind the Pictures

         In the wake of today's tragedies in Boston, my heart breaks. Having only recently joined the distance running circuit, I know the time, dedication, and hard work that goes into training for a race - any race - let alone one as historical as Boston. To have this great moment marred by something so senseless.....I really don't have any words.

        My most recent half would not have been as memorable or as special had my parents not been there to cheer me on and support me. Having them present at multiple stops along the race helped to give me the encouragement I needed to carry on those last few miles.

Behind these pictures are the people who encourage me and support me the most in my life and I can't image losing them while they were there to support me. 

It was about 100ft back from this picture that I first saw my Mom & Dad along the race route. I cried, right there at Mile 4.5, entering into the happiest place on earth. In all the (few) races that I've run, my parents hadn't been able to make it to any of them. So the fact that they were able to make it to Disney - one of the biggest races I've done so far - meant the absolute world to me and I was beyond happy to see them. 

Mom and Dad were a part of the ChEAR squad so they were able to have access to a few more viewing spots along the race route. Dad even stepped up his technology skills and learned how to read text messages with my time/pace updates. 
This picture was close to Mile 7-8 right outside the Polynesian Resort. It was amazing to see them right by my all time favorite character - Stitch. I'm pretty sure I was telling them "I LOVE STITCH!!" - I remember hearing my Dad yell "Run Little Bit, Run!". (I'm getting teary just writing this....)

The man behind this picture is standing at the top of the finish line stands, waiting for me and my running buddy to cross the finish line. I don't know who was more excited. Me, or him yelling at the top of the bleachers, or my Mom chEARing me on right at railing. 
It is this picture that makes my heart break when I see today's footage. This is right at the end of the race, right where today's bomb went off. Heartbreaking. 

Having these two by my side during and at the end of the race meant the world to me. I know that they are proud of me and all of my accomplishments. I'm thankful for all the support and encouragement they have given me throughout the years. 
Their shirts don't do them justice. They are the BEST ChEAR squad a runner girl could ever have. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who were affected at today's Marathon. 
Yes, today was supposed to be filled with personal accomplishments and achievements - but those things wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the people on the sidelines, the volunteers, and the race organizers cheering us on, and supporting us every step of those miles. 

Keep Running Boston. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park

         So this weekend I went up to Richmond to spend time with my Dad for his Birthday and babysit my adorable little nephew so my sister and brother-in-law could go out with some friends. He's so stinkin' cute so I don't really mind.
         Saturday during the day, I wanted to get a run in, and Janet wanted to take the baby for a walk. Since the weather has been so nice, she's been taking Donnie on walks around some parks in their neighborhood. I was happy to tag along with them and explore this new place. We went to Crump Park - which is home to Meadow Farm Museum. After checking out the map it looked like there were a couple or trails to run on. I had no idea what kind of milage the trails were because it wasn't on the map, but I figured I really was only going to run 2, maybe 3 miles.

       I made sure to bring my phone with me incase I got so lost that I wouldn't be able to find my way bak to where Janet and Donnie were. Thankfully I was able to find them. I wound up only running about 1.5mi in the one trail I was on before coming back out to the road and spotting them. It was almost time for Donnie's lunch so I gave up on running and just enjoyed the walk with them.

         There were a few interesting sights along the way. The actual trails weren't very well marked, and I had absolutely no idea where I was going. After making a few turns I wound up at what looked like an open field more or less behind a school. This is what I saw-
I have no idea why it was there, but I thought it was photo-worthy. And maybe Janet knew why it was there. Turns out she didn't. Oh well. 

Towards the end of the trail, where the trail was a little wider and there were a few more markers, I came across a sign that said Cemetery. Ok now I'm intrigued. A cememetry in the middle of a trail? I've seen weirder things, but I like history so I was intrigued. 
I'm not going to lie. I was a little disappointed. There were no grave markers. How am I supposed to know who's buried there? Oh well. 

After I finished on the trails, I walked with Janet Donnie. There were some pretty interesting things at this farm/park. I thought this ancient wagon wheel was pretty cool. 

Overall it was a really nice afternoon.  We did some more walking, pushed Donnie in the swing for the first time - he loved it - and had a nice picnic on the large grassy area that reminded me of the DMZ at Kutztown. 

I'm looking forward to going back up to Richmond as the weather gets warmer and exploring more parks with Janet and Donnie. I think in two weekends, the Meadow Farm Museum is having a sheep to shawl event. Did I mention that there were sheep, cows, and some free roaming turkey's all over the farm? There were a lot of neat things at this park. 

Other then the racerback sunburn I'm now sporting from my running top - it was a great Saturday. Plus my date for Saturday night was pretty cute too! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Running in the Raw

So like I said before, I use the term "runner" loosely. It's something I've only been doing for a little over a year now.  Some days I run faster then others and legitimately feel like a runner. Then there are those other days were I feel like I could walk faster then I run - but I'm still out there trudging along, racking up those miles. It's hard for me to believe that I've actually completed 3 half-marathons and a handful of other races within the last year. Most of it is by the encouragement of my running buddy and the crazy experiences we have a long the way with training and actual race day. Having some one to share the moments with make it all worth while.

But I digress.....

In February, my running buddy and I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Another one of her crazy ideas and adventures that I was happy to be a part of. It was one of the best races I have ever done. How could it not be??? It was a RunDisney race!! Running  in the happiest place on earth? YES PLEASE!!

Before our departure from VA, I had planned our race day outfits. My thought on my whole running thing is that I don't run fast, I don't look good doing it (I'm a HOT, SWEATY mess!) - but I'm going to look damn good doing it!!  I like to make sure my outfits for the most part are coordinated and look cute. Anywhoo.....we are in the airport waiting to board the plane and I realized that I forgot my running buddies outfit in the trunk of my car - epic fail (sort of). This gave us an opportunity to check out some vendors at the super-awesome-oh-my-goodness-shoppers-magical-paradise of an expo.

When we finally found this particular booth it was like hitting the jackpot of running clothes combined with all things that are wonderfully Disney.  The company is called Raw Threads. All of their stuff is made from Bamboo, organic cotton and have some UPF protection. Their shirts are super soft and comfy. Plus, the designs are super cute too!!
This is me and my running buddy after the race. Her shirt is of Princess Belle and mine was Snow White. It matched the princesses we we're running as. 

These are the pictures from the web-site. I love how the back has all the dwarfs hats. 

 I was super happy to see them at the Shamrock Marathon Weekend Expo. So of course I had to treat myself to a new shirt for the 8k!

I had to make sure that my race shirt matched the weekends festivities....and I'm Irish. It's appropriate for St. Patrick's Day weekend. 

I was also happy that a few days later on their web-site they were having a sale. 
So I needed another shirt to promote my RunDisney status!!

It's backwards from my mirror but it says "A Princess Life" - I think it's fitting!! 

So if your looking to treat yourself and splurge on a new shirt  - they also have pants, shorts and skirts. It's totally worth it. When we were at the Shamrock Expo we actually had a chance to meet the owner and she was super nice! 

Check it out. Raw Threads I promise - you won't be disappointed! And you'll look super cute too!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Monkey Chow?? For the Monkey's of course!!

Last week before Spring Break my school hosted a silent auction bake sale. I didn't have a ton of time to bake an elaborate dessert like I normally would, so I kept it simple and decided to make some Monkey Bread Muffins. If you went to Kutztown with me, and had the pleasure of living with Abbey, you knew her Mom made the most amazing Monkey Bread. So my challenge was to come somewhere close to Peg's recipe. After spending quite some time on Pinterest I found a simple recipe that wouldn't take me too long.
This is the blog that I found the recipe on Bits of Balance - Monkey Bread She does a great job of giving a play by play and pictures to show you each step.

Here's my breakdown and the recipe.

Monkey Bread Muffins Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins
Adapted from All Recipes
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 (12 oz) cans refrigerated biscuit dough (I used the buttermilk flavored)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons water

Here is a picture of my process. It was actually pretty fun to roll the pieces of dough in the cinnamon sugar. 
(Please forgive my messy counter. Small apartment = little to no counter space.)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 12 muffin cups with paper muffin liners.
  2. Open the biscuit dough and slice up into little biscuit cubes. It is up to you as to how big or small you want them to be.
  3. Combine the cinnamon and white sugar in bowl and roll the biscuit cubes in the mixture. Divide the coated cubes among the muffin cups.
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, and butter. Allow the mixture to boil. After about 2-3 minutes, the sugar should be dissolved. Remove the mixture from the stove top and spoon it over the muffins.
  5. Place the muffins in the oven and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Enjoy!!
 This is the brown sugar, butter and water combination melting away on my stove top. It looked so gooey and delicious!

My creations getting ready to bake away in the oven and make my apartment smell yummy and delicious. 

The finished product. While I'm sad to report that they were not as gooey and delicious as the Monkey Bread I remember from my days at KU enjoying Peg's Monkey Bread, but they were still very yummy and helped raise some money for a good cause at school. 
I think next time I will be trying a few different recipes but it's nice to know that this one can be a quick go to and made for a yummy breakfast. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

33 - a new year - new things

So I have attempted to blog before but didn't stick with it. This time I think I might be more successful. I've include all the things that I love in my life right now. Running, crafting and baking. I don't always have time for all of them, but I squeeze them in when I can. 
My first post is going to be about my new found "hobby". Last year I took up running and while I will use the term "runner" loosely, it has become something that I can actually say that enjoy. It won't be much of a secret but I really enjoy running races for the bling. There's just something about getting a bright and shiny medal when you've run X number of miles. It makes it feel like all the sweat, pain and blisters are worth it. 

Here's my not so great recap of the 5k I ran on my 33rd Birthday. 

On the morning of my 33rd birthday, I had decided to run a 5k for the Wounded Warrior Project out a the ocean front. (I'm not going to post the link to the race since its not a stellar review but it is a good cause.) I signed up with my faithful running buddy and her hubby. Turns out her hubby couldn't make the race so we were flying solo. No biggie. We made our way down to the ocean front in the chilly late March temperatures. Which is totally not normal for this time of year. I was looking forward to showing off my new sparkly skirt my sister made me - not bundling up to run outside. We picked up our race packets and made our way back to the car to warm up and get our selves all situated. For a sport that requires so little, I feel like I'm always running down a list of "things" I need to make sure I have. Race-belt, Chapstick, phone, earbuds, GU......the list goes on and on. 

We made our way down to the race area (right by the big Neptune statue by the Hilton). For a small race it was really crowded. There wasn't any exact starting corrals, just people milling around in the park and on the boardwalk. They made an announcement that the race was about to start (6 mins after it was supposed to start). While we waited for a whistle, or a horn - nothing. Next thing I know we all started running. I was hoping to clock a new PR so I was unsure as to where the actual start line was so I didn't really know when to start my gps. I picked a good spot (I'm pretty sure there was a flag there) and started my gps. I have been running pretty consistently for the last few weeks so I felt great. My running buddy on the other hand has had a lot going on in her life and hasn't had the time to hit the pavement. While I wanted a PR, running with her is more important to me. Especially since it wasn't a chip timed race. By the time we reached the 1.5mi turn around spot both of us were sweating from the too many layers we were wearing. So it was time to de-layer and make our way back to the finish line where it was just as chaotic as the start was. There was no race clock, but a guy reading off our times from his cell phone. 

While the race was not the best for both of us, it was an absolute gorgeous day out at the ocean front.  I couldn't have picked a better person to run with on my birthday, and for such a great cause. I just hope that the next race is a bit more organized - because the turnout was great. 

This was the only picture we took at the race right before we started running. 

Now onto my next race....The Glow Run 5k in Richmond May 11th. This one I plan on brining my sister, her best friend and my nephew. And my running buddy of course!!