Thursday, August 23, 2012

Countdown to Ol' Blighty

In approximately 29 hours, Rhett and I will be departing on our long-awaited trip to the UK...


...and it couldn't come soon enough.  

A rough outline of our itinerary:
  • Kingston and London
  • Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Highlands
  • Bristol
  • Bracknell/Reading
  • Brighton
  • Brockley-proper SE London, innit?

  • Daily (hopefully) recaps of the trip to come. Watch this space!

    Friday, August 17, 2012

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Philly love

    More talent from Instagram

    24 hours in NYC

    Tuesday night I took the Amtrak up to NYC for a work conference all day Wed. Sadly, I didn't see much of the city in my short time there, but I took a few pics in my iPod.

    Let's applaud Instagram for its efforts, shall we?

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    It's starting to click

    In spring 2011, Rhett and I made a fun and big purchase. We'd been saving for a DSLR camera for a while, and we happend to find one we wanted in Target on sale.  Even better, it was the last one left and we got a 10% discount on it since it was the floor model. Not bad! With the sale and additional discount, we spent less than $400 on what is usually minimum $500. 

    Within the last year, and specifically the last few months, I've been getting more comfortable with this fancy camera.  Initially I used it on Automatic, and while the pictures were good, I knew they could be better.  It was just a matter of learning how. 

    Rhett's advice? Take a class, or read the manual. One expensive option, one boring option.  Instead, I had my friend Danielle (who was taking a class and who probably did read the manual) to show me a few pointers, and I eventually made my way from Auto to Manual. 

    Beyond that, two sites have been extremely helpful for me to understand the photography language and how my camera functions. One is Say No to Auto (I purchased the $10 E-book and would recommend this to any beginners out there), and the other is the Pioneer Woman Photography page.  I discovered the latter about a month ago and it has been a lifesaver. I was already familiar with the Pioneer Woman's easy-to-follow and delicious recipes, and I was amazed at how many fantastic tips she had from an amateur photographer's perspective.  Better yet, professional photographers contribute content and advice to the site.

    Watch this space for some shots from this past weekend!

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    Weekend wrap up

    Just a quick peek at last weekend:
    First Phillies game of the season!
    Perfect night for a game

    The Ellie Belly head tilt
    Reunion with Bubs and post-kickball victory drinks

    Bubba face

    Good pup
    Kitten treats. Evie gobbled hers up and wants more.
    Oklahoma map designed by Rhett's brother, Zach.
    Schweaty post-run pic. Even with SPF 70, I still get
    nice and pink.

    Can't wait for another great upcoming weekend! Enjoy :)

    Monday, May 7, 2012

    Recap: Broad Street Run 2012

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 marked one of my favorite days of the year: Broad Street Run. This was the 4th time I ran the 10-mile road race, and it was by far my best experience.

    For fun, I looked up my previous times:

    2008- 1:54
    2009- 2:00
    2011- 1:47
    2012- 1:41

    That’s right, a big PR for me this year! I think I owe that to a great training schedule and regiment, a delicious carb-filled dinner on Sat night, and a fantastic playlist.

    Here’s a quick recap on how the race went this year.

    A little inside info for you out-of-towners:

    "The course starts at T.S. Park in the Logan neighborhood at the athletic fields at Central High School and goes south along Broad Street. Runners pass Temple University, City Hall, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Kimmel Center. The race finishes at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia. Due in part to its nearly flat (actually slightly downhill) course, it has become a favorite in the running community for setting personal best times." Wikipedia

    The race starts every year at 8:30 a.m. and the easiest/best way to get there is to take the Broad Street Line up to North Philly (BSL stop: Olney). Lucky for us, we live right by the Lombard/South stop, so it’s a quick 2-minute walk to the subway.

    In years past, we have always been good about getting there with plenty of time to properly warm up, stretch, check our bags, etc. This year, however, was a different story. We got a slightly later start than we would have liked- our goal was to be out of the house by about 7:10, and I think we actually left around 7:20. At the station, 4 trains passed us by because they were jam packed- this was the largest BSR to date (30,000+ runners), and the runners took advantage of the free and convenient train ride. We still hadn’t left by 7:45, and I was getting a bit stressed since I had my bag to check. I made a last minute decision and ran home to drop off our bag and thankfully arrived back just in time for a train to stop around 8:00. Cutting it close for sure!

    Waiting for the train, before I ditched the backpack
    We arrived at about 8:27 (aaaaagh!), and thank god we left our bag. Otherwise, we would have been running with it. Rhett and I hugged and he went up to find his starting corral.

    (Side note: people find it funny that we don’t run together, but he is a very fast runner and I am a self-proclaimed pokey runner, so it works for us).

    I found time to do a quick stretch, and thankfully spotted some empty Port-A-Potties. Whew! Relief in every sense (TMI? Too bad).

    The race itself is SO MUCH FUN. The camaraderie of the fellow runners and the cheering crowd is really something- in fact, in 2008 and 2009, I ran without any accompanying music, and had no problem with my energy or motivation. The cheering is that loud and exciting. People hung out of their windows and yelled and clapped, and people lined up on the streets on either sides. Probably the best motivation is City Hall- it serves as a beacon the first half of the race, and it’s so cool to see it getting closer. Best of all, as soon as you pass it, you're more than halfway finished! 

    Pictures from Broad Street 2011. Beginning of the race
    BSR '11. Approaching Center City

    BSR '11 City Hall
    Highlights included seeing Erica and Ponch on the sidelines. I gave Erica a sweaty hug and Ponch some puppy kisses, and she said pups howled for me after I ran off. Around mile 7 in South Philly, right by Morris street, I saw Jen, Kev, Baby Ellie and Petey. Ellie was sleeping, Kev got a pic of me and Jen, and Petey howled and barked.

    After I passed Jen, my legs and hips really started to feel it, so I slowed down slightly. Once I saw mile marker 8, though, I picked up speed, and after mile marker 9, I really pushed myself. It felt good to complete the race breathless and tired, as it showed I ran a good run. It was also good to note that I could have run longer if I needed to- the half marathons in September and November will be great races, I can tell!
    BSR '11. Almost finished! The end is near

     After getting my medal and my race packet, I found Rhett in a crowd of thousands of people. We arranged to meet “to the right of the Dunkin stand,” which was still pretty tricky, but luckily I found him within 2 or 3 minutes. Our journey home was fantastic. In previous years, it has been a nightmare in terms of organization and crowd control, and we would have to walk another mile to get to the subway stop. NOT FUN. This year, we went immediately to the shuttle buses and got a free ride to the subway. We hopped on an express train, then walked 3 blocks home. Easy schmeezy.

    All smiles on the shuttle bus
    At home, we showered, played with the cats, and made smoothies. I chugged water, but still ended up pretty dehydrated and got a bad headache later in the day- I also blame the sun for that, though. Standing out and playing kickball when you are in the direct sun and dehydrated is not a good idea. I skipped game 2 and went home to rest, and thankfully prevented a migraine. WHEW!

    Today, I'm pretty sore- my calves and shins are achy and I could use a good massage. Mentally, I feel great knowing I ran a great race and secured a new PR for myself. Hopefully after a summer of training, the half marathons in the fall will be just as successful.