Sunday, November 28, 2010

The wishbone wasn't the only broken bone on Thanksgiving

I broke my arm on Thanksgiving. Yep I sure did. I was trail running with my boyfriend on our favorite run down Riverside Drive. Usually I'm the careful one, watching every rock, every tree root and every steep hill. I even commented on the all the leaves on the ground the day before and to be careful when I took my friend on the trail for her first time. But I did it. The one time I trip over a tree root, I fall so hard on my right elbow that it fractured the radial head. I honestly felt like it snapped in half. John had to wave down a car to give us a ride home. My knee was bleeding, and I couldn't move my arm. John was insistent on going to the ER but I couldn't do it. Not on Thanksgiving. I managed to take a shower and get dressed on my own. We arrived at my parent's house only to have my dad, a cardiologist, assess the damage. He wrapped my elbow in an ace bandage and gave me a script for an x-ray the next morning at his hospital.

The next morning I woke up in horrendous pain. My right arm was completely swollen and throbbing. It was almost 3am and so I decided I might as well venture out for Black Friday shopping. My best friend Brian and I go every year. It's tradition. We hit up Target, Wallmart and sometimes Best Buy, always focusing on electronics first. This year John and I decided to get a flat screen TV since our 20" Memorex tube TV with a constant ringing noise wasn't cutting it. We aren't big TV people, but we do love a good movie, sports and the news from time to time.

Brian took care of everything for me since I couldn't move my arm. He helped load the car, push the cart, pick up all the items I wanted and even put my car in gear for me when we hit the road. I dropped him off at 7am, came home, unloaded everything for John to set up, and hit the road
again for my 8:30am x-ray. When the radiology tech took off my ace bandage and asked me to move my elbow so he could take the appropriate shots, tears streamed down my face and I couldn't hold them back. It was so painful I could barely breath. The radiologist took a look at my x-rays and gave me the bad news. They put me in a sling and called around to schedule an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. Eventually I got one and by that afternoon, I was in my split and sling, gimped up and ready to go.

So depressing. Why me?! I have to do everything with my left hand, I can't run for 2 weeks
at least, and the pain sucks. But I'll survive. I went to the gym this morning, 2 days after my break. It felt great to get some cardio done. I hit up the bike, elliptical, and stair climber, trying to at least get my heart rate up and sweat going. It worked. I'll get back to running soon enough. I have a marathon to train for! I will not be able to run the Kiawah Half Marathon though. I'm so bummed. There goes 100 bucks and an incredible vacation to Charleston, SC. Plus, I was unable to go to Abingdon with John to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family. I can't wait for this all to go away!

However, despite the set-backs and pain, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's house. My brother-in-law cooked an amazing turkey in his turkey fryer outside. It was delicious. I'll keep everyone posted in the meantime on my broken arm. In 2 weeks, I'll be back and running in no time!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Half Marathon Complete; Full Marathon Next on the Bucket List

In an earlier post, I announced that John and I would be running the Half Marathon in Richmond, and we began our 10-week training program with a bang... literally. John fell on the trail and banged himself up pretty bad, but continued to battle. We hit 8 miles, then 10 and soon 11 miles before running the half on November 13, 2010. It was a beautiful sunny day, chilly in the morning and warming up quickly. I was excited and nervous at the same time. Even though this was my second half marathon, I was still on edge because 2nd-time races are always bad luck for me. I'm good with the "first" attempt, and not so good the second time around.

This race was no different. I wore too many layers and didn't take them off during the race when I should have just thrown them to the curb for good. My right leg cramped up almost immediately and by mile 5 or 6 I was miserable. John ran on past me since I knew I was holding him back. I resorted to walking. This was the first race I've ever competed in and had to walk. How depressing.

And now, looking back... I'm actually quite pleased
with my run. While I finished in 2:10, a wopping 12 minutes slower than last year's time, I realize that I finished a half marathon, and that's an accomplishment in itself. Four years and 50 pounds ago, I would have never imagined myself even running 6 miles, let alone 13. So... am I bummed that I bonked my race for the first time? Yes. But I'm glad it happened now and I know what it feels like to do poorly in a race, and to pick myself back up to run another. I've conquered many of my fears and reach many of my life-long goals. Running any race, good or bad, will always be an accomplishment for me. This was John's first half marathon. He finished in 2:05! I am very proud of him, and given his hectic school, work and life schedule, he still managed to keep up his training.

So with that said, I'm about to put something in writing that I'm terrified to write. I'm terrified because it makes me accountable from now on... I've decided to train for my first ever FULL Marathon. A co-worker/friend of mine managed to slip the marathon bug in my head, and after a few days of really thinking about it, I decided it's time. I'm already at a half marathon base, so why not keep going? I joined the winter training team, so hopefully I'll meet new friends and get the training I need. Plus, its the off-season. I'd rather do my marathon training quietly and with few people watching (just in case I fail. Yes, I still have a fear of failure, I'm admitting it). I've decided on running the National Marathon in DC on March 26, 2011. It's a smaller participant count (15,000 tops), and far enough past St. Patty's that I can still go to Boston and party with my sister and her friends up there, and recover in time for the race (priorities, duh). My co-worker is going to train and race it with me, which is good because I really do need a buddy system to do a race like this. John graduates from his Systems Engineering master's program at UVA in April, so I can focus on my training while he studies all winter. And not to mention the health benefits. I get to eat all winter long guilt free! Hurray!
So, with that said. I'm going to complete my first marathon. There I said it. Notice I didn't put a time down. I think that may be bad luck. Just finishing is good enough for me. One more item on my bucket list to check off... Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Countdown Love

Just as Homesliceva was inspired by her friend Stanley, I was also inspired by my friend and co-worker Stanley's post called "The Countdown." His blog recaps his many accomplishments in 2010, and what else must be done before 2010 is over. Stanley is by far one of the most inspiring people I've met. His struggle with weight loss is something I can relate to and his 150 pound weight loss accomplishment in 2009 is 3 times more than my weight loss success! I'm so proud of him and especially for his most recent goal related to his orientation, and he knows why. So it's no surprise I wanted to write my own 2010 Countdown as well.

What I've accomplished so far in 2010...

1. The first date I had with my boyfriend was a trail run on Buttermilk Trail followed by dinner at Cielito Lindo. Definitely a first. I am now in love with trail running (and my boyfriend!).

2. I took my first trip across the country to San Diego for work. I attend the annual SHRM conference all by myself and even got to visit the infamous San Diego Zoo. It was amazing, and the food on the west coast is fantastic btw.

3. I rented a car for the first time. I know this is not an accomplishment, but felt the need to share. It was a gangster Christler 300, but I got to cross the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

4. I visited Lands End in San Francisco, the site where my oldest sister passed away. By far this was the hardest and most emotional moments of 2010 for me and by far the most important.

5. I bought and rode my first road bike. Across the Huguenot Bridge. OMG.

6. I participated in my first "all by myself" race. The Capital 10 Miler was a tough one to do alone. Who has fun running for an hour and a half all by yourself? I had to really focus on music, the scenic view and my desire to break 90 minutes in my first competitive 10 miler. Check!

7. I completed my first Triathlon. This is one of my favorite accomplishments. I've been wanting to participate in a triathlon ever since my sister Diana and I had planned to do one together. I finally just signed up all on my own and it was the best decision I ever did.

8. I completed my 2nd half marathon and my first "bad race". Last Saturday was Richmond's Marathon, Half Marathon and 8k. I've been training for the past 10 weeks for this race and bombed it. Yes, I finished. But a wopping 12 minutes slower than last year's time - 2:10. While I'm disappointed in my time, I'm still very pleased that I finished.

9. I finally moved into a new role at my company. I'm still in HR but I finally feel that my career is going in the right direction.

10. I started my first blog. I'm happy to say that I've quite enjoyed this outlet to share my 2 passions - food and fitness. I was worried I wouldn't be into it as much as I am, and it's been very enjoyable.

So those are the accomplishments and "firsts" of 2010. What's left? Well, I have another half marathon in December - the Kiawah Island Half Marathon in Charleston, SC. I'm excited to keep up my training through Thanksgiving and I definitely want to race in a few small races until the end of the year. I'm also truly considering my first marathon. Another friend and co-worker brought up the idea of the Shamrock Marathon in March 2011 and the winter training program that begins next month. It perked my interested because I didn't think about a winter training program... I was hesitant to consider a full marathon because I thought all of them were near the end of the summer and I'd have to train all summer long. I didn't want to do this because next year I want to participate in several triathlons and not worry about the long distance running races next summer. It never occurred to me I could train in the winter and race in the spring! Something to think about as 2010 comes to end. I'll certainly keep everyone posted (posted, get it? LOL)!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Disney Word... The Most Magical Place on Earth, and the Tastiest!

Walt Disney once said, "If you can dream it, you can do it."

Not only did Walt's dreams come true when he created Walt Disney World, a nation full of dreams came true too. My roommates and I went to Disney World last weekend for one of their birthdays. I have been fixated on Disney ever since I went to a Disney Institute seminar at this year's annual SHRM conference in San Diego, California. Since I'm in Human Resources, I very much admire the culture and values of Disney's workforce. They call their employee's "cast members" and when you interview for a job at Disney, you "audition" for the "role" instead. When we first pulled up to the Magic Kingdom and all it's glory, I noticed an employee training session going on at the bus stop where folks were learning how to drive the Disney transit buses. Instead of calling it training, the buses read, "earning my ears." How creative is that? I love it.

Anyway... Below are my two roommates. Happy Birthday to Stine with her trio of tequilla shots and Talley enjoyed Canadian cheese fondue:

But back to what my blog is really about... the magical world of Disney. We started our adventure at Universal Studios where we hit every major ride from Jaws to ET, Harry Potter to Men in Black, and Toy Story to Twister. As a movie fanatic, it was one of the best times I've ever had. But what came the next day truly falls under one of the most magical days of my life. The night before, we decided just a one-day one-park pass would not do. We upgraded to a one-day park-hopper pass and started our day at 9am at the Magic Kingdom. November is the perfect time to go to Disney World. Yeah it was chilly, but we were still able to survive Splash Mountain comfortably and there were barely any lines for each ride. Plus, we arrived at the park's first day of Christmas celebrations. Every park was decorated to the T with holiday cheer and holiday music blasted from every angle. There's no way you couldn't smile at a scene like this.

After the Magic Kingdom is where the real "adult" fun began. We headed for Epcot's annual International Wine and Food Festival, the 15th anniversary. Every foodie's dream come true: a tour through countless countries with authentic food tastings and spirits to match. It was a dream come true for me, thats for sure! Since I can't go into detail of every country, I've decided to list the top 5 countries and food/wine pairings:

1. New Zealand: Lamb slider with tomato chutney paired with Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc... The most tender and juicy ground meat I've ever had. Flavor spilled out with every bite and the tomato chutney added the perfect combination. Definitely my favorite dish.

2. Chile: Shrimp Ceviche paired with Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc (Do you see the trend here? It's pretty obvious Sav Blanc is my favorite white wine)... The combination of citrus and spice hits your palette like you wouldn't imagine. The cilantro and lime seasons tender shrimp bursted with cool flavor and the Sav Blanc was a perfect pairing. I'm actually drinking a glass of this very wine as I write this blog because I loved it so much.

3. Japan: Tuna sensation... Paired with Morocco: Tangerine Mimosa... Yes I ended up eating from one country and drinking from another (very different) one. But what a combo! The tuna sensation consisted of raw sushi-grade albacore tuna on top of lump avocado chunks and drizzled in soy sauce. I'm a sushi fanatic and this was literally heaven for any sushi lover (except if it were upgraded to toro but I'm not that picky). The folks who ran the Morocco booth said I had beautiful blue eyes and topped off my Tangerine Mimosa with a shot of Orange Royal liquor. Now THAT's a mimosa.

4. France: Escargots Persillade en Brioche... Australia: Penfold's Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet... The escargots (snails) were seasoned with garlic and parsley and cooked inside these little phyllo dough circular pockets coated in butter. Wow is all I have to say. Plus, I absolutely love Penfold's wine. An excellent choice for any dinner party I might add.

5. Spain: Seared Albacore Tuna with Romesco Sauce paired with Paul Chenau "Lady of Spain" Cava Brut... Give me a glass of champagne or Sparkling wine any day. I love it. I wish I could drink it all the time but I guess it should be saved for special occasions and when I have a morning to recover from the glorious hangover/headache that always ensues after a night champagne libations. Bravo, Spain.

I was going to go into honorable mentions next but I think this post is long enough. So there you have it. My top 5 international food and wine tastings from Disney's Epcot 15th International Wine and Food Festival.

To end the most magical vacation I've ever had, we enjoyed an excellent concert
by Hanson in Epcot's amphitheater. Hanson was one of my favorite bands growing up and yes, we still love them today. Following the concert, we headed straight for Hollywood Studios, the Disney park that extended their hours of operation to 11pm. Thank god for the countless drinks I had before, otherwise I wouldn't have let my roommates convince me to go on the Aerosmith roller coaster and the Tower of Terror. But I did it, even the Tower of Terror twice!

To really make the day and night one of the happiest days I can imagine (as if it couldn't get any better based on the description above), we wondered to the back-lot of Hollywood studios and stumbled upon the most miraculous holiday light show where fake snow and Christmas music played all around us. It truly was a moment I'll never forget.

So hopefully you've made it through the world's longest blog post and enjoyed it. Oh, and one more thing... No one can go to Disney World and not have a Mickey waffle for breakfast! Enjoy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

World of Wine

Congratulations to my friend and co-worker Jessica for the grand opening of her new wine store World of Wine in Williamsburg, Virginia. Jess and her boyfriend have worked 2 hard years on the creation of their wonderful store, filled with wine from across the globe and delicious cheese that tastes like a little piece of heaven. The triple-cream Brie had to be the best cheese I've ever tasted and of paired perfectly with a glass of Vino Verde.

A few of us in HR went to the grand opening last week to support our co-worker's success. The catered event was quite the scene, with trays of Ahi tuna, lolly-pop lamb chops, sausage stuffed portobello mushroom caps, and my favorite- endive leaves with lump crab meat. It was a delight!

Be sure to check out Jessica's wine store at!