Saturday, May 26, 2012

Disneyland Half Week 1

We ran a little last week, but officially started the SmartCoach plan this week. I upgraded my SmartCoach to the paid version (whoo big spender!) to give me more flexibility with the plan.
Until last week we were running Monday and Wednesday afternoons. But something happened over weekend...
It got freaking hot. Hello, summer. If you think that 84 and 90 are basically the same, you are wrong. Those 6 degrees are a massive difference between comfortably sweaty and wanting to die. So we have moved our runs to the mornings.

Tuesday- 6:20 am wakeup call. 3 mile run.
It was actually too hot for this. By the end of the second mile the sun was above the house roofs and we were running in the sun. Vowed to wake up earlier the next time.

Tuesday pm- Yoga DVD. My foot has been hurting (return of the plantar fasciitis- boo!) so I did a yoga DVD hoping to stretch out those muscles. However this was my first time doing Yogalosophy and it wasn't a calm stretchy yoga, it was a real workout. My buns were burning the next day!

Thursday- 5:45am wakeup call. 3.6 mile run with 2 tempo (12:08 pace)
1.23 mi warm up jog (forgot to start the Garmin when we started running.. oops!)
2 mi tempo (11:40 pace- I set the Garmin for 11:30 to 12:30 range for the run, and it seems we were going a little faster than our goal pace)
0.4 mi cool down walk
Was supposed to be 4 but Dan had to be into work at 7:30. We got up at 5:45 but were moving a little slow to get out the door. When I saw it was 6:45 we turned back the short way and headed for home, cutting it about a half mile short.

Saturday- 6am wakeup call. 4 mile "long" run. Since the plan is just getting started the long run is the same length as the midweek run, which is good because we are still easing our way into morning workouts.
After the run, we made pancakes, then headed to Home Depot. I had yard work to do, and so does Dan in his own yard so we decided to work together.. mine today, his tomorrow. One day maybe we'll only have one yard and then we could be done already!
 A couple hours of weed and feed-ing, weeding, mulching, and pruning. Then we took a dip in the neighborhood pool to cool off. "Good day!" I said. "I still haven't gotten my nap," said Dan, so I guess it's naptime now!

Friday, May 25, 2012

It's a New World

Early Tuesday morning (2:44 am Central) the private company SpaceX launched an unmanned spacecraft full of cargo to the ISS. SpaceX was given seed money from the government as part of a program to develop commercial spaceflight capabilities. It was a long road for them, including several scrubs over the past few weeks. Spaceflight is not easy, as we seem to have to keep learning, and I am happy to see them finally get off the pad. Read more about their launch here.

This morning the Dragon capsule was grappled (plucked out of empty space, amazingly, while both Dragon and ISS were traveling 17,000 mph, 220 miles above the earth) by the station's robotic arm (read a semi-live-blog from Houston Chronicle here and official NASA coverage here) and will be berthed (attached to another module) in order to allow the astronauts to open it up and take all the cargo out.
From now on we live in a world where a commercial company flies to the ISS. Amazing.

By far my favorite picture of the week:

Dragon launches over Mission Space in Epcot. Source
I do love the confluence of Disney World and space! It's a whole new world. Update: check out video of capture if you missed it live. Truly amazing...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dress Shopping and a Party!

So I headed back home last Friday night for dress shopping. My dad has a friend who custom makes wedding dresses. She had actually offered to make mine for me, but we started by going to a store owned by a friend of hers to get an idea of what I liked.

First I had to do my homework. She told me to tear pages out of magazines, of styles I liked. She said that tearing stuff out of magazines is fun, and would keep me from freaking out. She must know me? Or maybe all brides are like that!
So I bought a couple magazines and tore the pages out. Here's a sample:
I actually tore this dress out twice, it's that awesome!
Seeing a pattern?

We headed to Florida late Friday, after work. Saturday Dan got to be lazy by the pool all day, while my mom, dad, sister, and I went dress shopping. I know it's a little unorthodox that my dad came. But it was his friend... and his money... and I don't really care besides. In fact, I would have brought Dan if he had wanted to come. But he didn't, because there was a pool calling his name. He'll see it before the ceremony anyways, because I plan to take pictures before the ceremony starts to take advantage of the daylight.
Not the dress I'll be wearing.

I tried on 4 dresses, and the one I picked was actually #2. It had a lot of elements I expected to like, but also some surprises. For instance, I really didn't want a sweetheart neck... until I put one on. The dress I picked ended up being on the way cheap end for that store, and my dad's friend said she couldn't even replicate the dress for that price. So we bought it.
I also explored veil options. I really liked the idea of a wrap-around blusher but when I put this one on it was too close to my face. See, that's me tugging it to keep it from strangling my nose. (Can you strangle a nose?)
Then I tried on this other one and liked it alot- its just one comb at the top of the bun which makes it easy to flip forward for the walk down the aisle and back for the rest of it. So I ordered it, but am getting it custom made in the fishnet material like the first one, instead of the teeny netting in the picture.
My dad's dress-lady friend and I are going to work on custom accessories- a flower for my hair (I liked the idea of a flower but not that particular flower) and  maybe a colored belt (my dress comes with a matching ivory one with a crazy flower on it- not really my thing) or some removable long sleeves since it might be cold out that weekend.
So that was a big thing off the to-do list. Then it was time to PARTY!
 My parents planned an engagement party for us Saturday. Since we planned to be out dress shopping all day, my mom invited the local wedding guest list to a dessert party to give us time to prepare.
My mom made just about everything from scratch, including baklava, 2 pecan pies, the brownie pops, s'mores brownies and dipping chocolate for the fondue in back. It was all delicious!
Who knew I'd find a wedding dress in 2 hours?! We even had time to go out to my favorite restaurant for lunch and then take a nap before the party!
Toasts from my dad and grandfather.
Delicious brownie pops. Mom is so cute!
My bff Ali. She's getting married 3 weeks before me.
Presents. Actually all the bags are empty, gifts are being shipped.
Good thing, because I didn't want to carry all that home in a suitcase.
It was an awesome party with friends and family. I talked to everyone, but feel like I never had a chance to talk to anyone. Of course, the wedding will be just like that but 10x worse. Still, it was great to see and celebrate with everyone. And, I got a wedding dress!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Disneyland Half Training Kickoff

A few months back, Dan and I signed up for the Disneyland Half, which will take place on my 26th birthday, September 2nd, 2012.
 Up until now, 6.2 miles is the farthest I have ever run. To be honest, even that is rather shocking... when we started training for the 10k I was reasonably sure 3 miles is where I would max out. But I've doubled that distance, and now its time to more than double my distance again!

I don't have lofty goals for this half. I plan to walk some, but run most. I plan to stop and get some good pictures with my favorite characters. I plan to have a good time. I plan to finish side by side with my fiancé. I plan not to die. I plan to get one of these babies and proudly wear it for days:
That's about it. Training over the summer in Houston, I know it will be a miracle if I survive to race day. A lot of early, sweaty mornings await (starting with today-yuck). We are primarily using a smart coach plan, with help from the Galloway official Disney plan. Once a week I'll bring you updates here, for the next 15 weeks!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What I ate Wednesday: Business Trip Eats

Man, am I getting tired of restaurants! Between being out of town two weekends ago for the Illinois 10k and out of town last week for work, and not really doing much grocery shopping in the middle because I was leaving in 6 days, I haven't eaten many meals at home. And I'm heading out of town again Friday night for dress shopping back home.
As you might recall, I brought a ton of food with me to California, lest I be caught hungry. What I left with:

Almost every day for breakfast, I made myself a breakfast in the room. Either a bagel or coffee maker oatmeal. 2 packets of oatmeal, hot water from the coffee maker:

What I came home with:

Wait a minute? How did that pile get bigger? A trip to Trader Joe's! We don't have Trader Joe's in Houston (although, rumor has it, one is on it's way!) so I went on a small shopping spree. The haul?
A salad for dinner that night- I was so tired of restaurants I opted to eat a salad on my hotel bed instead of go out again!
Love the included fork, since I didn't have any in my room!
Wine (sophisticated-ly sipped from a coffee mug).
Also in that pile were cookie butter, pita chips, KIND bars, and candied ginger. These were for home, although I did break into that cookie butter the very next day for breakfast! Cookie butter is this amazing (but not exactly healthy) spread that tastes like Biscoff, the cookies they used to give out on Delta flights. I had heard about this stuff, and I knew I had to try it. But it really is SO good, that I think people have been underselling it. All I can say is... get yourself some cookie butter. And a spoon. Yum!

In-n-out burger: I heard all manner of things about this place, which apparently has a divisive rivalry with Whataburger (which I hate) for the fast food burger throne.

This burger was awesome. As soon as it was gone I wished I had another. Or had at least ordered a double. Their special sauce... oh man! Another awesome thing? You can order your fries to your desired doneness- lite (slightly underdone), regular, lite well (slightly overdone/crispier), well done. I ordered regular, but I think lite well sounds brilliant. Also you can order fries with the special sauce on top. Sign me right up for that next time!

Ghirardelli! Yes I am reusing this photo, because I am THAT excited about this hot chocolate. Which I only drank 2/3s of before the trolley captain made me throw it away. Sad. But the part I had was oh-so-delicious!

Giant bagel. Our hosts at Ames brought us some delicious bagels on Friday. It's bigger than my hand!

Beer flight- Thursday night, our last there, our hosts joined us for happy hour at a place which brews it's own beer. So, of course, we tried them all! We passed the cups around so everyone could taste and pick their favorite to order in full size. Also, these little 6oz beer glasses are SO cute!

It was a good, productive, fun trip, but I'm happy to be home! 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wedding Planning Update

So I know I started out being all negative about the wedding planning. That was a lot of driving, a lot of cramming appointments into a few precious weekends, a lot of stress and numbers and concerns.
I was still a little conflicted when we made the big decision to book the venue. I was thinking that we hadn't seen everything yet. What if we liked something better? What if we were missing out on the perfect venue, the perfect location, the perfect... something? There was the day, soon after we signed the contract, that we went exploring downtown and I realized there was a pretty cool area that maybe our visiting family would have liked better than an outlet mall. Then I fretted for days. But then I realized, it doesn't matter. The place we found is awesome, and it's going to be great. But more importantly... in less than 9 months, I am marrying this wonderful guy:

And I can't wait!

Save The Dates: The front says "I will love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond, forever and ever." With adorable space robots. The back has a picture of us and the website address.
I got them from We wanted ones that were space nerdy but here weren't any space themed ones in the wedding Save the Date section. Go figure, most grown adults don't have space-themed weddings. We briefly thought about using a space themed kids birthday invite or baby announcement. Then we found these. The only problem? I wanted post cards, not envelopes. For one, it's cheaper, but also I think the postcards are cute! I contacted Minted customer service who said "No problem!" and gave me instructions for how to put the special order in. Then I wanted the matching thank you cards but they weren't sold separately, only with the invitations which I wasn't ordering directly. Again I asked customer service, and she added a custom card to my cart with the details.  Despite two complicated special orders, the proofs came out looking exactly how I wanted. A week later, they were delivered. Awesome job by Minted.
Matching Thank You notes. Matching adorable space robots.
It was important for me to get the Save the Dates ready before I left for California. Last Saturday and Sunday we addressed and stamped nearly 100 of them. Dan went to the post office Monday to request hand cancelling so they wouldn't get all chewed up. And that's when we found out that apparently the USPS doesn't do hand cancel anymore. That kinda sucks. I hope the majority of those beauties made it there without too much distress.
But I can't worry too much about the state of my post cards, so I'm moving on. As with the venue I've decided that good enough is good enough. That's my new wedding planning mantra- Do the best I can and then give up at good enough. It's better for my blood pressure.
In related news, we celebrated our second dating anniversary last night. Exciting to think that in a year we'll be married and have a new anniversary! Dan wanted to watch the Capitals game (they lost) so we stayed in and grilled chicken wings and drank champagne:
Next weekend, we're heading home for dress shopping and an engagement party my parents are throwing. Dan gets to chill by the pool while the ladies go dress shopping, then gets to go to the party. Being a groom sounds awesome, where do I sign up?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sunny California

So this week I've been in San Jose, CA for work. We've done quite a bit of working, but there has been a little time for play, too.

Tuesday we left straight from work (in awesome rush hour traffic) to visit San Francisco. 
Such a pretty city... but those hills are crazy!
First stop?

The Golden Gate bridge.

My travel buddies taking in the view.
We paid $6 in tolls just to drive across it, stop for pictures, and drive back. Then we parked and wandered over to Fisherman's Wharf where we had fabulous clam chowder (I don't even like white clam chowder and it was still amazing) and other fresh fish. I had snapper. Yum! Then we headed over to Ghirardelli square.
I would like to go swimming in that!
It was too cold for ice cream, so I got Sea Salt Caramel hot chocolate. Delicious!

Then we hopped on the cable car. Only we didn't realize the cable car was one way (oops), so we had to hop another cable car to get back to the other side of town. Then we realized we didn't know exactly where we left the car, so we wandered around a bit to find that. In our excitement when we arrived, we ran off without checking the street signs. Oops, again.

Wednesday morning we made a breakfast run (doughnuts) and happened to (take a detour in order to) pass by Google Headquarters.
Yes, that is a sand volleyball court. Right on-site. Snazzy.
It's very pretty, like a college campus. We were amazed that we could just drive up and walk around, no gate, no fences, etc.
Crooked building. I think they call it "art."
Shark attack!
Valet parking. Seriously.
Electric car parking. Matching Leafs.

When we broke for lunch we had a cool opportunity to see the flight simulators here at Ames Research Center.We all flew the 747 simulator.
Here's the scoreboard:
  • 1 crashed and burned.
  • 1 landed and then skittered off the end of the runway.
  • 1 performed a touch and go then crashed and burned.
  • 1 landed ok but then drove the plane through the terminal.
  • 1 landed perfectly.
I tried, but was only second best. Here I am right before I drove it through a terminal. Whoops! Braking is really hard- they're at the tops of the rudder pedals and you have to really jam them down while bleeding off airspeed. I think I was too short, I was mostly out of my seat to reach.
After all that excitement, I took it easy tonight... stopped by Trader Joe's for some snacks and food, G-chat video with Dan, and after finishing this post, heading to bed early!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Packing for a work trip

Actually, this is my first ever work trip, so this isn't really a "how to" but a "what I did." Next week I'll let you know if I did it right.

Electronics: Work laptop and charger, USB mouse with fresh batteries, phone charger, I-pod and charger, Garmin, camera charger. From what I've seen, I travel electronics-light compared to most bloggers. When not traveling for work I rarely bring a computer, although Dan usually brings his tablet, which is almost as good.

Reading Material. Last trip I read an entire book between the flights there and back, and this flight is longer so I don't want to run out!
See those old Runners Worlds? I'm months behind!
 Work clothes: slacks, dark jeans, nice tops, office-appropriate dress. They are a little more casual than we are out in California, so I half-expect the slacks to come back unworn.

"Play" clothes: workout clothes, a couple extra t-shirts, bathing suit (hey, it's California!) and pajamas.
I'm hoping the time change will allow me to get up early a couple days and hit the hotel gym or go for a run. Yeah, maybe. It would be best not to hold your breath.
Don't worry, I packed underwear, socks, and bras. I just didn't feel the need to take a picture of it for you. Sorry. Also in there are 2 pairs of shoes- sandals and work flats. Since my sneakers are the biggest, I wore them on the plane. All so I could take this little guy...
Sensible carry-on. Currently stuffed to the brim.

...instead of this giant one:
You can't even tell how HUGE this one is. It's like hide-a-dead-body-big.
 Also thrown in there was the food: bagels and nut butter, instant oatmeal, tea, snack bars, trail mix.
Overkill? Definitely.
Confession time:
The only thing about traveling that really really makes me nervous is.... food. I hate not knowing where my next meal is coming from. Its why I always carry a granola bar and water bottle in my purse.  The hotel doesn't have free breakfast, so I brought the oatmeal and bagels and pb so I could be assured a breakfast even if there's no time to sit down and eat. Then we have meetings scheduled from 8am to 5pm every day (with a lunch break in the middle around noon) and might option to stay later until 6:30 or 7. Throw in a 2 hour time-change...
Then that noon lunch break is actually at 2pm. And dinner is at 8 or 9 at night.  And I'm not going alone, so I have to coordinate with my traveling companions. Maybe they won't want to leave work every day and go straight to a restaurant. So... enter plenty of snacks. Just in case.

This probably is indicative of some major food issues, like eating my emotions or transferring my homesickness onto a granola bar, but I didn't have time to work out all my issues before hopping on a plane, so the food had to come too!