Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Graduation at The University

I swear it feels like yesterday that John first set off to UVA to pursue his Master's degree in Systems Engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. I remember he told me it would be a tough year for him, balancing school, work, his son and me. But he did it, and I'm so proud of him. Last weekend we headed up to UVA to watch John walk the Lawn and later on receive his diploma. It was a great weekend, busy, hot, chaotic and fun as hell. My family gave him a wonderful UVA diploma frame for graduation and it looks quite impressive hanging in his office. I will most likely bring my UVA undergraduate framed diploma to hang up as well, because we are nerds like that.

I will write more later but wanted to share this news and congratulate John on his amazing achievement. I'm proud of you babe - you are a lifetime learner.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Down and Dirty

Just wanted to share two more photos from last weekend's adventure races. This weekend was HUGE - Brett's birthday, John's graduation, his whole family in town to celebrate... It was a great time and I'll share more later this week when I'm not about to pass out from exhaustion. I'll leave you with some pics from last weekend for now... Enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Muddy, Rugged, and Butt-Busting Weekend

This weekend kicked off the summer series of muddy military style runs that I've signed up for in an attempt to train for the tough mudder. Well, Friday's race was designed more for fun than anything. RVA hosted the 3rd annual Dominion Riverrock events this weekend on Brown's Island. Mud runs, dirt bikes, rock climbers and music lovers came out to enjoy Friday Cheer's concert and wet dogs leaping for toys into a pool of water. My roommates and I headed down after work on Friday, dressed in our matching camo t-shirts and ready to get muddy. The race this year was a lot smoother than last year. They took out a mud pit that had been placed along the trail last year, which had caused bottlenecking delays at the entrance of the trail. The mud pit at the finish line was significantly improved too by adding a cargo net on top that racers had to crawl under. Overall, the race was a lot of fun. We wrapped up the night with Blue Moon beer and Boka Truck takos, which definitely made the night a success.

But wait, there's more! I dragged myself home and washed my muddy clothes, only to do it all over again the next day. I managed to dry my shoes in the dryer for the Rugged Maniac, a 5k military style obstacle course race held at the VA Motorsports Park in Petersburg. We signed up for a 12pm wave so that we could sleep in a bit and head down there without rushing. My co-worker Daniel and his friend Winslow rode down with me. We got there an hour before our wave-time and the first thing I saw was a mountain covered with a tarp and streaming water, with racers flying down into a pit of mud. We headed to the start line and hit the trail. The first few obstacles were easy - jumping through tires, climbing over short 4-foot walls, maneuvering between twisted ropes, etc. It wasn't until we exited the trail where we witnessed a huge field of halfpipes and obstacles. We hit our first mud pit with the thickest mud you can imagine. Our feet were covered and weighed us down. We climbed up and down the halfpipes and approached a series of walls to scale over. At first I had no confidence that I would be able to climb on my own but somehow I managed to jump high enough to get one hand on the top of the wall and then pull the rest of me over the top.

Then came the river obstacles. We came upon a series of planks over muddy water that you had to walk across. I couldn't reach the next plank and decided to jump. This was such a mistake. I slipped and landed right on my tail-bone, bumped my head and fell into the water. Daniel and Winslow fished me out and made sure I was okay. I honestly thought that I broke something but the only thing broken was my dignity. The pain was awful but I didn't want a little pain ruin the fun I was having. We kept going, swimming over tubes in cold muddy water, crawled through a pit of mud covered by barbed wire, a few more halfpipes and finally the mountainous slide at the end. The 3 of us went down together. I was honestly scared out of my mind when I slid down. I picked up so much speed, I thought for sure I would run right into Winslow below me, but we skidded along the mud pit to the end and ran through the finish line.

What a weekend. After all of that I celebrated with a BBQ stock-the-bar party and the Lebanese Food festival the next day. My tail-bone is quite sore and I have no idea if I'll be able to go back to the gym today, but I'll give it a try. I'm definitely enjoying adventuring racing so far, even with humiliating injuries.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring Fever

I wish I could say that a fever is what kept me from updating my blog all this time, but alas, I have not been sick - only busy with work, play and training this spring. Ever since daylight savings, I've been taking advantage of the sunlight and working out in the evenings (instead of the lunch-time spin, etc). Then I go right back to work after dinner and shower. Spring is the busiest time for me in HR - I've launched our summer internship program and so far I've interviewed 45 candidates for our 14 open positions. We're hiring like crazy so I'm training classes of new hires every week it seems. Needless to say, my nights have been quite boring and stressful, but I guess that's what they call job security.

My last post was all about the Monument 10K And my first duathlon. Now all I can think about is Tough Mudder. Even though I still need to prepare for my first open-water
triathlon next month, I can't stop thinking about all the hill training, push ups, pull-ups and monkey-bar training that I need to work on until the race in October. I can't do a pull-up yet but I will! I started a few P90X videos and signed up for a bootcamp class that kicked off this week. It's a lot of plyometrics - my weakest link, but that's exactly what I need to get stronger and better. The instructors are awesome - motivating, tough and fun all at the same time. Looking forward to continuing bootcamp work-outs this summer as well.

But amidst all the training and work, I've also had time to squeeze in a little fun. Now that the weather is nice, John and I have picked up trail running again. Buttermilk is still by far the best trail in Richmond. There are others as I mentioned in a blog post last year, but Buttermilk tops my list. I'm hopeful that trail running will improve my endurance and strength as I prepare for Tough Mudder. We also enjoyed restaurant week and dined at both Amour Wine Bistro and Sam Millers Raw Bar. Amour was a little too quiet and stiff for me, but the food was excellent. The cheese plate for dessert was a good choice. Sam Miller's had excellent crab bisque and surprisingly I chose the chicken entrée with lump white crab on top and Parmesan risotto. It was awesome (and I don't usually choose a chicken entrée for restaurant week).

Cinco de Mayo came and went, but the tequila hangover did not go by as quickly. At least I got to enjoy a mariachi band while I took back my cheap shots of cuervo and margarita.



My other favorite activity that kicks off in the spring is the opening of the
weekly Farmer's Markets. South of the James offers the most vendors and options. My favorite thing to do is to start with a "tako" from Boka Truck. Patrick prepares the best fusion tacos I've ever had in my entire life. It's like eating a little piece of heaven every time. St. Stephen's Farmer's Market is my second favorite. This past weekend, after the Race for the Cure, my roommates and I stopped by the Monument Avenue Market for the first time. I have heard the booths are slim pickin's, but after reading a tweet from RVAFoodie about cookie dough chocolate covered truffles, I had to see it for myself. The truffles were also a little piece of heaven - I can't wait to pick some up as gifts another time.

So that's what I have been up to the past month... What's next? Well, I'm moving out of the fan after nearly 5 years... Very sad to no longer be a fan rat, but excited to take the next big step in my life. Wish me luck!