Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"We are America, we own the finish line" Never Forget. 4.15.13



Maybe it's the rain, maybe it's the clouds, or maybe it's the howling wind...something about today seems off. It leaves me with an empty feeling in my gut, very few times in my life have felt like this. Then it hits me....today marks a year since the Boston Marathon Bombing.

While a year can produce a thousand changes, some things stay the same.

A year ago I was sitting in my office, excited that I could stream the Boston Marathon live on my computer. I had my office door closed, pfft I mean remodeled paint closet, and while I worked on marketing for the summer programs I would be running I watched the elite women take off. I remember flipping back and forth from Google Chrome to Microsoft Publisher and Excel, listening to the commentary on the race. I even had a couple co-workers stop by my very well hidden office to ask why I wasn't running in Boston today! I laughed it off saying someday they'd see me there and while I'd love to have that be a dream come true one day, I know right now it is just that....a dream.

A year ago I had completed my first half marathon and had really gotten into the swing of blogging and began meeting new people who are now a constant in my life.

I remember being upset I had to drive home and would miss some of the action but knew I'd keep listening after my 35 minute commute. By the time I made it home I had forgotten about the race and realized I was out of KT Tape. I got back in my car and drove to CVS. I remember sitting at a specific intersection waiting for the light to turn when it came on the radio. "There has been an explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon". Even now typing it I get chills all over my body. I know I missed the light because I sat there in pure shock. I flipped a couple of stations and that was all everyone was talking about.

I raced home, I turned the TV on and immediately was bombarded with images of horror. What? How? Who? WHY!





I couldn't wrap my head around it.

If you have seen the full image of this photo you were as impacted as I was. I chose not use it out of respect.



While the entire massacre has left its mark on runners all over the world this photo in particular has impacted me. The man in the cowboy hat is wearing a Tough Ruck shirt. His name is Carlos Arredondo.


Carlos is one of the amazing transplant Americans we have living in this country. He ran TOWARDS the blast and blood like thousands of first responders. If you are unsure of Carlos' story let me tell you why this man changed my life. Carlos is originally from Costa Rica. He wasn't at the Boston Marathon last year to cheer on a runner, he was handing out mini American flags to spectators trying to spread Suicide Awareness. Carlos' oldest son was killed in Iraq serving with the United States Marine Corps in 2004. In 2011 Carlos' youngest son took his own life because of the depression he felt after losing his brother. When Carlos found Jeff Bauman, the man in the photo who lost his legs he immediately made sure to stop the severe bleeding and rushed him to a waiting ambulance. His goal after losing his sons was to do all he could to help people. Little did he know how important his actions would be that day.



The murderers, who I refuse to acknowledge, thought what they would do is strike fear into America. Well I'm damn sure we showed them what we are made of. A year ago strangers helped one another, fearless heros ran TOWARDS the blast and we are STRONGER today than a year ago. We aren't just all Americans, We. Are. All. Boston. Marathoners, runners in general are a spectacular group. There is more family love than in most families, because well, we all CHOOSE to hurt, we CHOOSE this sport that makes us vomit when we have pushed it to the breaking point, we CHOOSE this sport that makes our toenails fall off from the number of miles we impress upon our feet, we CHOOSE to wake up at 5am to log miles instead of sleeping in and we CHOOSE to support one another as we prepare to crush our goals.

I am proud to be a runner as well as a first responder, I may not have the same certifications as an EMT but I have enough knowledge to help in an emergency and would like to believe that I would have run towards the chaos on that day. It is this thought that makes me keep all of this knowledge up to date. 

I would like to thank every single first responder out and think we should all take the time to remember the survivors as well as those who lost their lives a year ago today.




I will never forget Boston. 

I wear my Tough Ruck Boston Strong shirt proudly today.


How are you remembering today?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Inaugural Middletown Half Marathon and Legends 4 Miler

I had registered for the Inaugural Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Middletown Half Marathon (say that in one breath) so long ago I ended up being a moron and signing up for another race in Danbury the same day! Luckily they gave me a refund for my mistake. This race was being put on by Hartford Marathon Foundation and I was very excited to be a part of this inaugural half in my state, plus I knew Anne lived in Middletown and figured she MUST be doing this race.

After getting to the Quarter Marathon by the skin of my teeth the day before I made sure I arrived early to get a parking spot somewhere close to the Start/Finish line. I was in luck! Ain't nothing better than free parking!


I ended up only being one block from the Start/Finish Line as well as the post race festivities. At 10 am they were still setting up.


I was incredibly excited to meet Jeff Galloway again! I had no idea he went to school in CT AND was roommates with Amby Burfoot! Wow, what a small small world! I had Jeff sign my race bib.


Jeff Galloway, Amby Burfoot and Bill Rogers all together, The Legends.


I was so excited to get my picture with these two! Sorry Bill but I had no idea who you were. Amby holds a record for the most consecutive Manchester Road Races run, I believe he completed #50 this past Thanksgiving. That was how I knew who he was. And of course the adorable Jeff Galloway!


Okay so the shirts....let me first say I loved the Hartford Marathon Foundation truthfully until I found out they only accepted "elite" athletes to their team, how 'well-rounded' is that, (sorry I am a sore loser on this one) AND because lets face it, unless you put sizing instructions on your registration pages how am I to know that it's going to fit my boobs. If that's TMI, shove it because I LIKE to wear race shirts, especially right after the race to show my support and well show off where I just beasted it. I know the guy was doing his job but the douche working the table of shirts was incredibly rude and lets be serious Hartford Marathon Foundation, we BOTH know you are not struggling for money. You got JEFF FRIGGEN GALLOWAY to come to CT. Cut the act. So now I have a race shirt that unless I get a boob reduction I won't be able to wear. Isn't the whole purpose of a shirt to have people wear it and others interested ask about it?! Anyone ever heard of advertising?! Okay. now my rant is over. By the way congratulations to the HMF Team Members!


While waiting for the start Anne and I looked at the Nora Cupcake Truck to see what goodies we might want after.


Kim and Anne were doing the 4 miler and I was in for the half. I love these ladies so much and always seem to have an absolute blast with them! (Congratulations Kim on becoming part of HMF's Team, now SHE deserves it!)


One more shot of us before we ran, Kim, me, Anne and Pam!


Seeing the first aid tent set up made me think of RyRy. Look how Army-esk this is. HOOAH!


Volunteers were still hanging up the medals, blue for the half marathon and red for the 4 miler, as we made our way to the start.


I couldn't wait to cross this finish line.



On our way to the start. The half and the 4 miler would begin together.


Carolyn!!!! AHHHHH Skirt party, Anne, Carolyn and Kim. I wasn't invited but, it's okay. I still love them.


Carolyn and I were channeling Kristy the whole race! We sent videos to tell her how we were doing <3


Carolyn had a great support system with her too, Dyella who I had met at #runnerslove was there cheering her and me on! She took this great photo of us!


Okay so the race...hmmmm, lets see, we ran down main street and immediately took a left, UP. A. HILL. It was absolutely brutal. I had hoped to stay between  the 2:45 and 3:00 pacers but I felt like I had concrete in my shoes. Carolyn and I ran the whole race together with our only goal to beat 3 hours! I cannot remember the last time I had so much fun running and hated the entire course. We chatted and laughed and cursed the hills that just kept coming. We made friends with the 3:00 pacers and had a good time with them as they kept catching up and then falling back. The weather was phenomenal during the race, a little warm but perfect in my opinion. Anne finished the 4 miler and booked it up to the 8 mile mark with Phred her little furry munchkin child! I'm pretty sure I screamed when I saw her! IT was such a huge surge of adrenaline. Shit, this is what #runnerslove is. She just ran 4 miles and instead of relaxing and celebrating, she came to cheer us on. It gave me goosebumps to see her. Thank you again Anne, it really meant the world to me! Ugh, being able to have heart to hearts and seeing friends while you are running, there are few things better than that. Carolyn and I pushed each other and had a great time doing it!

At mile 12 we realized we could make our goal a reality, we stopped for a photo op and pushed it the last 1.1.


Going down the very same hill we went up at the start of the race I found a woman walking, I told her to keep moving and although visibly winded she said "all right"! and picked up the pace. I asked if this was her first half marathon and she said yes, she looked like death and looked miserable, (hell I'd probably be too if this course was my first half!) I told her she could do it, only a little bit more to the finish. I told her finishing, not just her first half but THIS COURSE under 3 hours would be something she'd never forget and told her to keep running! The children in the background are hers, when they saw her on main street, they all ran out and finished the race with her. Thank you again Dyella for an awesome picture!


Carolyn although a fluttering, flying beast throughout the race, she slowed down before the finish and I caught up with her, we grabbed each others hand and sprinted to the Finish Line! We did it! We hugged and accepted our medals! I love the proofs we have and might actually have to buy a photo or two.

After I crossed the finish Anne was there waiting, every piece of my body hurt from my forehead to my toes. I knew I wanted to get Amby Burfoot to sign my bib so I quickly met up with him.



Although I can say, very confidently, that I will NEVER run this course again, I will give the 4 miler a try possibly next year. The overall event was too much fun to pass up.


And I got to meet Chris Trotta, we both follow each other on Twitter and got the chance to meet in person! He's incredibly sweet and down to earth. Congratulations to Chris on his Team HMF acceptance as well. (See I'm okay with him and Kim.)


After saying our goodbyes and noticing there was little to no food left, okay there was greasy pizza. Anne and I needed a drink. 

I was incredibly disappointed that I was unable to get a cupcake from Nora Cupcakes, the ones that they had for the runners, post race. Another negative check for HMF. However, a plus was Eli Cannon's pulled pork that was left, if I could have bathed in it, I would have been a happy girl. It was THAT good.

Anne suggested First and Last Tavern on Main Street and we walked, well I hobbled, to the bar. We sat and talked for I think and hour and a half. I had such a good time with her. It's always enjoyable to spend time with Anne. If you get the chance, do it. She's incredibly easy to get along with.


After two margaritas I headed back home to have dinner at my parents house. I needed to change out of my running clothes and shoes A.S.A.P.


I love my medal.


As you can see I got just a wee bit o' sun during the race as well.


I got to hang out with my girlfriends.....and Kemmy...


Finished another half marathon for 2014 AND got color....


And had my baby fall asleep on me at the end of the day.



You find a better Sunday. I dare you.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Taste Bud Tuesday: Captain's Grille Dinner

Taste Bud Tuesday


So most of you have read my recap of the Captains Grille lunch. For my last Princess Half vacation night in Disney Sammy and I decided on the Captain's Grille for dinner. I have been here multiple times both with my family and then just my cousin and I and every meal has been fantastic!



Previously I've ordered their Prix Fix menu: appetizer, entree and dessert, and it was all included in the Disney Dining Plan. Sadly I noticed the menu had changed. The Green Goddess Salad is no longer on the appetizers menu.


With the exception of one or two time I have always gotten the Chef's Pasta Creation. Luckily each time it was gnocchi. TO. DIE. FOR. This time it wasn't gnocchi and I wasn't in the mood for pasta. I've gotten the Pan-seared chicken before but this was a little different from past dinner experiences. I still knew I wanted something light like chicken instead of steak.


A couple of things...I get the whole plate presentation thing. I get portion control..... This to me is a joke. The smallest piece of chicken I have ever paid for on top of the fact I was given three....count them... one, two, three pieces of asparagus. The chicken was very moist and delicious and seasoned well. But really?!


Thank goodness for my dessert savior! I did the s'more tart? I think it was called that. It was incredibly delicious and a very large portion size, too large almost.


Look at how amazing the inside of this is! Mmmm mouth watering!




All in all I love the atmosphere of the Captain's Grille but was severely disappointed as this has been one of my favorite meals on property. I'm not sure if I will be venturing back anytime soon.


Have you eaten dinner before at Captains Grille?