Pete the Cat 5K

I haven’t really felt like blogging lately, sorry about that.  Not that I have that many followers anyway.  I am going to keep this post short so as to not exert all my blog posting enthusiasm.

Last weekend I ran what was dubbed the Pete the Cat 5K technically called the 2013 Beat the Street for Little Feet which benefited the Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool.  I wanted to do the race as a way to get involved with Team Decatur and I really wanted the T-Shirt.  Pete the Cat is rather famous here in Decatur, GA and the author James Dean is active in the local community.  I also knew my nephew and other young ones have read the book.  Shirt

I woke up race morning to the sound of rain outside and considered heading over to the race start to pick up my shirt and go home.  Instead, I remembered how all of my Sedalia running buddies had ran the Lub Dub the weekend before in the rain.  I opted not to wear a jacket and was cold waiting around for the race to start as the rain pelted down.  At 8:00 the race started.  I was feeling good and just wanted to be done in the rain.  After about a half a mile I was warned by a fellow running buddy about a treacherous double hill.  I thought that hill was going to take it out of me, but I kept powering through.  I honestly thought I was running about a 10:00 min/mile pace.  As I neared the finish line I gave it all I had left like I like to do in 5K races and was pleasantly surprised to see the time clock with a 27 as the first number considering my previous PR was a 29:14 on a flat course with near perfect running weather.  Pete the Cat Finish

I had been guesstimating my time to be in the 27:40 range since that’s what I remembered seeing as I crossed the line.  The official results came out today and my time was 27:39.75.  I guess these hills have really helped increase my speed after all.  Now I kind of want to know what my time would be like on a flat course with no rain.  Or maybe the rain helped me run faster since I wanted to get home and dry?  Regardless, I had a great race and it’s always nice to have a new shiny PR.  I am keeping up with a few of my New Year’s Non Resolutions after-all! Pete the Cat

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Sidewalk Saturdays

I have been volunteering with the Decatur Arts Alliance helping them to plan and promote the upcoming Decatur Arts Festival on Memorial Day Weekend.

During my time here, I have also gotten involved in their new initiative known as Sidewalk Saturdays. Every Saturday from 3:00-6:00 PM from April 6th-June 15th with the exception of the Arts Festival weekend, there will be 6 different performing artists that will pop up in various locations in Downtown Decatur and Oakhurst’s Harmony Park (the park at the corner of East Lake and Oakview Road).

The locations are unknown to anyone except the organizers aka me and some others at the Arts Alliance. The idea is that someone is in Downtown Decatur enjoying a nice Spring day on the square and will be entertained by a pop up performer.

These artists get paid for their performance while the cost remains free to the public.

Last weekend, we had an ukulele player and singer, a drummer with various percussion instruments, an acoustic singer performing some of today’s best hits, a comedy group, a tuba player, and a Brazilian martial arts and acrobatic group.

20130417-131459.jpgRachel Simpson

20130417-131519.jpgLuis Stefanell

20130417-131539.jpgTroy Cono @troycono

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20130417-131622.jpgFunny Monkey Comedy Carnival

20130417-131632.jpgLarkin Taylor-Parker

20130417-131640.jpgCapoeira

We hope to see you in Downtown Decatur this Saturday for Elizabeth Dulemba (sidewalk chalk artist), Kris Youmans Band, Morgan Rowe (acoustic singer), Valero Flamenco (flamenco dancers), Bo Gaiason (classical guitarist), and Gateway Performance Productions (dance and classic mime artists). Find out their location on Saturday, April 20th at 3:00 PM!! Follow us on Twitter @DecArtsFest or follow the hashtag #sidewalksaturdays to discover their location.

This initiative is made possible through a sponsorship from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Georgia Council of the Arts with the support of Decatur Downtown Development, the Decatur Tourism Bureau and the Decatur Arts Alliance.

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Lasagna Roll Ups

I have officially decided that I don’t really like cooking.  It just takes too long to prepare and cook everything to eat it in 10 minutes and then have to clean up all the dishes.  Last week I made Chicken Enchiladas and the chicken was taking forever to cook, so I didn’t get to eat until almost 9:00 PM!  Let’s just say I was pretty hangry (hungry+angry) by then.

On Monday, I decided to make Lasagna Roll Ups from a recipe I found on Pinterest.  I thought that since they were roll ups they would be easier and less time consuming.  Boy was I wrong.  I believe I started preparing everything around 6:45 PM and it wasn’t done until about 8:20 PM.  Photo Apr 08, 7 12 31 PM

You had to brown the hamburger and add the tomatoes, boil the noodles, all while mixing together the cheese and spices.  Then you had to spoon out and evenly apply the cheese mixture onto the noodles.Photo Apr 08, 7 49 34 PM

Then roll them up and place them in the pan which had half the sauce mixture on the bottom and you poured the other half on top.Photo Apr 08, 7 50 20 PM

30-35 minutes later after sprinkling the cheese on 5 minutes before they were done, the lasagna roll ups came out of the oven.  Photo Apr 08, 8 28 04 PMThey were pretty good and I would call the recipe a success.  I think next time I would just make regular lasagna because these were not any easier or quicker.

Who wants to be my professional chef? I will do all the clean up work :) 

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Cooper River Bridge Run Race Recap

This past weekend I ventured to Charleston, SC to run the annual Cooper River Bridge Run. Ever since I was a student at Clemson and heard about the run, I had wanted to do it. This year I convinced a number of friends to do it with me also.

20130408-211806.jpggear laid out ready to go

We all awoke at 5:00 AM so that we could leave the apartment by 5:30 AM and board the shuttle bus to the start which you had to be in line for no later than 6:00 AM (designated by the race officials).  We ended up getting to the race start around 6:00 AM and waited in the cool 48 degree weather.  I couldn’t decide what to wear because of the cool morning, but decided on capris and a throw away long sleeve.  I didn’t have a throw away water bottle and was sort of freaking out about that, but luckily BILO volunteers were handing out water bottles right near where the shuttle bus dropped us off.

20130408-212842.jpgWaiting around for the start

Katie was placed in corral E and I was supposed to be in corral G.  We wanted to run together, so we had to do some sneaking around.  Rachel was supposed to be in corral H, but she slipped into E easily.  The lady manning the corral E gate caught me, so we just went to the next entrance where I walked right in.  I still haven’t figured out how they decided on the corrals because Katie and I signed up at the same time.

20130408-211829.jpgmoments before Katie’s first 10K and my second 10K20130408-211850.jpga look ahead of all the people

The race got started at 7:59 AM which was great since last year there had been problems with the shuttle buses and the race had been delayed by an hour and fifteen minutes.

Corral E took off about 18 minutes after the first corral.  Katie and I started off the race together and did our best to navigate through all the people.  I had gone into the race just wanting to have fun, but there was still that competitive voice in my head.

20130408-211905.jpgthe start of the hill

Everyone warned me about the incline on the bridge and said it was really bad and not to expect a PR.  I personally didn’t think the incline was bad at all.  I really do think these Atlanta hills have been good for me.

I stuck with Katie until about the end of mile 2, somewhere in the middle of the incline.  She got a cramp and had to walk it out and I really did not want to walk.  I checked back with her at one point and then decided to just go on my own.  Once I got on my own and up over the incline, I kicked it into high gear.

20130408-211921.jpgthe middle of the incline

20130408-211958.jpgalmost downhill

20130408-212008.jpgstarting to be flat and downhill

On top of the bridge, the course field opened up a little bit, so it was easy to navigate through.  Towards the bottom of the bridge it got congested again, but I did my best to keep up my pace.  At the end of the bridge I looked for the Krispy Kreme donuts that Rachel said would be there (not that I would have taken one), but didn’t see any.  Katie didn’t see any either, but Rachel swears they were there when she went through.  The donuts were Katie’s motivation to get over the bridge, so it was a bit of a running joke.

After the bridge, you do a couple of turns and then run down King Street.  It was also about this point when you get to the 5 mile marker.  I looked at the running clock and tried to calculate if I could PR.  I was still feeling good, so I got my phone out and looked at the elapsed time.  It was then I realized if I could keep up my pace or accelerate I could PR.

20130408-212018.jpgrunning down King Street

There were a couple of more turns after King and the last .2 miles seemed like forever.  I just pushed what I had left in me and kept going.  I crossed the finish line and stopped my app on my phone and saw that I had done it, I had PRed.  My previous time had been 1:05:56 for a 10K and I came in just under that. 1:03 something according to my calculations.

20130408-212028.jpgwe survived

20130408-212034.jpgwith Valerie who also ran her first 10K

After the race, we hung around the finish line festival and got our bananas, oranges, bagels, water, and a free sample of ice cream.  We didn’t stick around long and headed off towards the Market and in search of brunch.

20130408-212048.jpgpost race stuffed French Toast

I was also in dire search of the official souvenir beer mug.  There were several participating restaurants and bars that were giving them out.  We decided to not stick around for a beer after brunch so I got very nervous we wouldn’t get our mugs.  Mid-afternoon, we ventured to Mt. Pleasant to Vickery’s and successfully got our beers and official souvenir mugs.  I had never been happier.

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While we chatted and drank our beers, we got word that the official times had been posted.  We all looked up our times and I was even more delighted to learn that not only had I PRed, but I beat my friend Tate by 1 minute 15 seconds.

Bridge Run Time

It was such a great race and I really enjoyed spending time with my college friends.  I definitely would like to do the race again in the future.  I think we even convinced Katie to do it again.  I am also very motivated with running now.  Seeing improvements in my times  really makes all the hard work and effort seem worth it.

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Easter Weekend

Easter weekend was spent at my grandparents’ house in Clemson, SC.  It turned out to be a great weather weekend after spending the previous week shivering away.  Spring may finally be here after all!

I started my Saturday morning with a little breakfast to let it warm up outside and then went for a run.  I had mapped out a route in my head the night before which included an out and back route over the dike.  Fellow Clemson people, can you believe I had never been across the dike before?  I am glad I chose that route because it was extra flat and the views were wonderful, just look.  photo 1 photo 2

I initially set out to do 3 miles because I knew they were waiting on me to dye Easter eggs, but it was just too beautiful out that I extended my run to 5 miles.  When I finished my run I was ecstatic to see my splits.  Besides the portion of time when I was running on some uneven trails, my splits were around 10:30 min/miles.  My last two ended up being sub 10:00 min/miles.  I guess these hills in Atlanta really are good for me.  photo After my run, the little girls as Grandmother calls us dyed Easter eggs.  The kit didn’t come with orange so we had to use some grade school art skills and mix colors.  My favorite egg was green, purple and blue of course.photo 3

All of the eggs together were quite colorful.  Carla, the artist, was the best at forming color combinations.photo 4Later that afternoon we met up with a friend of my cousin’s for a boat ride on Lake Keowee.  The weather was great, but it would have been better if it were about 10 degrees warmer.  As always the views from the lake were wonderful with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background. photo 5

Easter morning the whole family went to a very crowded church service where we practically  sat on the front row.  The aunts and I took another walk across the dike after lunch, so now I can officially say I have been on the dike.  There are a lot of things in Clemson that I haven’t experienced while spending Christmases there growing up and going there for four years of school.  I guess that means I have to explore something new every time I go to visit. IMG_0127

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A Taste of the Gym

I am mildly obsessed with going to the gym multiple times per week. My biggest pride was being the mayor of my local gym on Foursquare. It took three weeks after I moved, but yesterday I finally got ousted. It was a sad day.

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To make up for my terrible loss and gym withdrawals my cousin Kalyn invited me up to workout with her at her apartment gym. Before heading up there, I ran my 3 mile hilly loop. Which I might add was the best overall run time I have had to date on those hills. I think I may be finally getting used to them.

20130326-102238.jpgFree weights how I have missed thee

Kalyn got in some quality time with the elliptical while I rekindled my love of free weights. I did a variety of exercises targeting biceps, triceps, and shoulders. I am a little sore today and I have missed that feeling.

There was also this cool machine.  It was a lat pull down and row machine in one.

20130326-102536.jpgMy typical Monday night from earlier this year was revitalized minus my workout buddy Joslyn. I even attempted a pull up, though I didn’t get anywhere.

Until next time gym, we will meet again.

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An Afternoon at Stone Mountain

This past Saturday it was a gorgeous almost spring day in Atlanta.  I woke up with plans to run 7 miles, but decided to cut it short due to a new lingering left hamstring pain.  Not long after I got back from my 3 mile run, Kalyn texted me and said she wanted to do something outside.  My suggestion, hike Stone Mountain.  I had been to Stone Mountain once before as a young child and didn’t remember much about what the hike would be like.IMG_1046

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About halfway up there is a shelter house, which we soon discovered was the warning sign that it was going to be steep from there on out.

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Once we finally made it to the top, the view was definitely worth the hike.  Even if my hamstring was worked harder than a 7 mile run would have done.

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The wind was so strong up top, we thought we were going to be knocked over.

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I very much enjoyed looking at the different imperfections of the rock formation.  I’m sure the below were just from some water puddles, but they were all over the mountain.

Some cool formation

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It was a great afternoon outing and a great workout at the same time.  Stone Mountain is a place everyone should try to take in at some point.  The views of the city are amazing!

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