Dec 31, 2013

Running in 2013 by the Numbers

Many of you know that 2013 was my first full year as a runner. My goals this year were to complete my first half marathon (check) and to finish 13 races in 2013 (check and then some).

I collected many medals, of which I am most proud of my Coast to Coast medal!

My stats for 2013
Half marathons: 5 (two in person and 3 virtual)
10 Milers: 1
10Ks: 4
5Ks: 7 (3 in person and 4 virtual)
Total races: 17 (10 in person and 7 virtual)
Total Mileage: 375.52 miles

My top two running-related lessons of 2013 are:

1) You will get a lot of race t-shirts, but you should not expect any of them to fit. In fact, if they do happen to fit and they are wearable, consider yourself lucky!

My pile of races shirts. Most, of which, do not fit. 

2) I am not a virtual racer. If you read my MCM 10K race recap, you will understand when I say that races are events. They bring out real emotions for me and the feeling that we are all doing something together. Virtual races are not events in my mind. In 2014, I will not be doing any more virtual races.

As 2013 comes to a close, I am looking forward to many more miles in 2014!

Happy New Year!

Dec 18, 2013

The Squares of Savannah, Georgia - Road Trip - Part 3

If you missed parts 1 or 2 of my road trip, please check them out first.

The city of Savannah was designed in a grid pattern, the best way to plan a city in my opinion. The grid was created to surround four city squares. Over the years more squares have been added and a few were lost, so that today there are 22 squares within Savannah's historic district.

These squares are public green spaces, and I think they are just one of things that make Savannah special as well as beautiful. Many of the squares also contain monuments or fountains that help to explain the history of the city.

Over one day we tried to visit the majority of the squares. First though, we needed some breakfast. We stopped by Crystal Beer Parlor for a light meal.

I had a cup of she crab soup which came with cornbread and a Greek side salad. The soup was delicious, creamy and very crabby. Raisin Bread had a Greek salad with gyro meat. I had a bite of that too and it was yum. I also had the world's largest cup of sweet tea. When in the South....

After brunch, we visited our first square: Monterey Square, which is home to Pulaski Monument and Temple Mickve Israel, the only Gothic synagogue in the country. 

It is also home to arguably the most famous residence in all of Savannah, the Mercer-Williams House, which was made famous by Jim Williams and "The Book."


Next, we ventured over to Lafayette Square. The fountain in the center of the square is probably my favorite spot from our whole trip. 

Surrounding the square are the Hamilton-Turner Inn,

Flannery O'Connor's childhood home,

the Andrew Low House

and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. We wanted to visit the interior of the cathedral but it was locked. Boohoo. 

I love just walking around and trying to get a feel for the city and its architecture. Our next destination was Madison Square, where we saw this dapper gentleman for the second time that day! The monument in the square is to an Irish immigrant who was killed while fighting the British. 

Both Savannah and Charleston had lots of carriage ride operators, which we added to the old feel of the cities. I have never felt comfortable doing a carriage ride, so we didn't go on one this time either. 

We took a break from admiring the outdoors to visit shopSCAD. SCAD is the Savannah College of Art an Design and if you walk around long enough, it seems as if they own half of the buildings in Savannah! shopSCAD is a place where you can purchase work by SCAD artists. There were tons of creative and interesting pieces. I especially loved these guys! 

Around the corner was the Green-Meldrim House, which served as General Sherman's Headquarters during the Union occupation of Savannah. I really wanted to visit this house, but it was closed during the holiday.

We had a number of squares to see before our next rest stop, so we headed to Chippewa Square, where the monument to James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, stands. If you haven't noticed by now, the squares of Savannah are named after people but the monument in it usually does not correspond to who the square is named after. In this instance, Oglethorpe Monument is in Chippewa Square instead of Oglethorpe Square. 

The beautiful Savannah Theatre is also on Chippewa Square. 

We walked past the gates of the Colonial Cemetery, which was established in 1750 and is one of the three historic cemeteries in Savannah.

Stay tuned for more on my trip to Savannah! 

301 West Jones Street
Savannah, GA 31401

Dec 10, 2013

Weekend Update: Christmas Prep, Museum Visit and Snow!

That time of year has arrived...when things become crazy busy both at home and at work. Ugh. I have a headache already. 

This weekend was a sample of what the next few weeks will be like. So much to do! Raisin Bread is winding up his last semester of graduate school. After this week, neither of us will be in school for the first time since 2010. I am hoping the next year will bring us lots of fun together instead of lots of work. 

On Friday night, I put up our tiny tree for our tiny apartment. 

Our cute little tree!

I also hung the stockings since we don't have a fireplace, the stockings were hung on the dining room wall with care!

I wanted to stay out of Raisin Bread's hair over the weekend so he could do his work, so I decided to head into the city to pay a visit to the National Museum of American History. No matter how many times I visit this museum, there is always something new to see plus I love seeing my favorite pieces over and over again. 

Richard Scarry illustrations, leech jar, NBC microphone and Dorothy's ruby slippers

It's Kermy!!! The museum is opening a new exhibit this week on Puppetry in America, which I can't wait to see. 

Another piece of Americana - Archie Bunker's chair.

I visited the First Ladies exhibit for the first time in many years and got to see FLOTUS's beautiful Jason Wu gown. Love! 

The atrium was decked out for the holidays!

I was super happy to stumble upon a performance by the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants! They were great. 

On Sunday, we got the first snow of the season. I ventured out to hit the gym. It was so pretty and not as uncomfortable as I was expecting it to be.

I filled the rest of the day with doing laundry, preparing two meals, buying Christmas presents and baking banana caramel bread. Yum!

The cold temperatures made for some pretty sights on my way to work on Monday morning. Look at these icicle-laden branches.

The forecast is calling for more snow this week. That makes me so happy!

In other news, I did not get into the Nike Women's Half. Woohoo! I'm really glad that I didn't get in. I was feeling very regretful after I applied, so I'm glad that everything worked out. 

Have a great week!

Dec 5, 2013

Savannah and Charleston Road Trip - Part 2

My last post left off with us exploring Bonaventure Cemetery. For the remainder of the afternoon, Raisin Bread and I took a walk through Forsyth Park, which is a large public park in the middle of the city. Kind of like Central Park but smaller.

The main feature of Forsyth Park is Forsyth Fountain. I was half expecting the fountain to be shut off, but I am happy that it wasn't!

For the entire trip, I could not get enough of the trees and Spanish moss. This tree-shaded path leads into the park. 

Being from California and the Northeast, we both find it incredibly strange to see monuments to Confederate soldiers. This was the first of many such memorials that we saw over the course of our weekend.

Confederate Memorial

We checked in to our hotel after our visit to Forsyth Park and spent a few hours resting our feet.

During the evening, we took a long walk from our hotel down to River Street.

This was the only glimpse of The Lady Chablis that we got during our visit!

Not surprisingly, River Street was very very dead, being that it was Thanksgiving Day. Most of the shops and restaurants were closed and there were hardly any people walking around.

My favorite part of our walk was seeing Factor's Walk. It is basically a series of walkways that lead from Bay Street down to River Street. It was sort of eerie walking along them since it was dark and there were few people around.

We passed by City Hall and some other historic sites along the way.

We had to walk back up to Bay Street to get to the restaurant that we had reservations for. These stairs seemed like a good way to get there!

We got to the place we were planning to have dinner at and waited for our table for about half an hour before I realized that they were only serving a Thanksgiving buffet. The thought of eating Thanksgiving food again made me want to barf, so we decided to find something else to eat.

We stumbled upon Wet Willie's and since it was so late by then, we decided to go for it. I'm not sure what Wet Willie's is like on a normal night but it was very calm on Thanksgiving Day. There were two cops standing by the bar the entire time, which made Raisin Bread and me think that this place is normally crazy. That was not something we had to deal with this night, thank goodness.

For dinner, I had a pina colada daiquiri and nachos, while Raisin Bread had a burger and a chicken salad that I also picked at. Funny how I couldn't stomach another Thanksgiving meal but I was all over the greasy bar food!

Wet Willie's has lots and lots of different frozen daiquiris, some with silly names. 

After dinner, we made our way back to the hotel and hit the hay.

Next up, a full day in Savannah!

Wet Willie's
101 East River Street
Savannah, GA 31401

Dec 3, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 + Savannah and Charleston Road Trip Part 1

I can't believe it's December. Since Thanksgiving happened so late this year, we only have 22 days left until Christmas! That reminds me, I need to put up the Christmas tree. 

Raisin Bread and I had a couples' Thanksgiving this year. We decided to take a mini-vacation to Savannah and Charleston. Since we were going out of town for the weekend, I decided to make Thanksgiving dinner the Sunday before actual Thanksgiving so that we could enjoy all of the lovely food that we only get to have once a year.

We had a decent spread. I roasted a half turkey breast with herb butter and made stuffing, corn bread muffins, roasted whole sweet potatoes and green bean casserole with bread crumbs instead of fried onions. We also had cranberry sauce and gravy for good measure. For dessert, we had a store-bought pecan pie.  So delicious! 

On Wednesday, we started our drive south. Our plan was to make it half way to Savannah and spend the night in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Getting out of DC took forever! It took us almost four hours to get to Richmond! By that time, we needed to stop for dinner.

Soggy weather on our drive

We had dinner at The Black Sheep in Richmond. Raisin Bread ordered the fish of the day, which was tilefish, and I had shrimp tacos. We both really enjoyed our food. My tacos weren't heavy at all but very filling. I loved the seasoning on them too.

We finally reached our destination about three and a half hours later than we planned. That's the Wednesday before Thanksgiving for you! It was a really frustrating drive. All we wanted to do, of course, was wash up and sleep. 

The next morning we had a quick breakfast at the hotel before heading out on the remainder of the drive to Savannah. 

For lunch, we stopped at Clark's Inn and Restaurant in Santee, South Carolina. We were extremely excited to find something open on Thanksgiving Day that wasn't a fast food chain. 

The hotel was all decked out for the holidays and it added to the already beautiful ambiance. The restaurant was serving some specials in addition to its regular menu. Raisin Bread ordered the pork with blueberry sauce plus sweet potatoes and green bean casserole. I had Thanksgiving meal #2: turkey with cornbread dressing, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and cole slaw. So much food. We also had dessert but they were both pretty awful. 

A few hours later, we reached Savannah...on schedule, I might add! Our first stop was Bonaventure Cemetery. The first thing I noticed about Savannah was all of the beautiful, haunting Spanish moss. I find that it gives a place such a sense of mystery and calm. 

We drove into the cemetery and walked around to visit the different sections on the grounds. The weather was gorgeous and made for a peaceful walk.

We also sought out three of the most famous grave sites in Bonaventure. We saw Gracie. 

Conrad Aiken and the famous bench next to his grave. After I took this photo, we saw two ladies take over the bench with their glasses of martinis! Just like in "The Book."

Lastly, we saw Johnny Mercer's resting place. This is a photo of the engraved bench next to his grave site with the names of his most famous songs carved into the sides of the bench. 

On the edge of the cemetery is this river. The cemetery was pretty empty. We only saw about ten other people wandering around while we were there. I guess visiting cemeteries isn't high on people's list of things to do on Thanksgiving Day.

Our first taste of Savannah was very pleasant and I couldn't wait to see what else it had in store for us! Stay tuned for more of our road trip!

901 West Marshall Street
Richmond, VA 23220

Clark's Inn and Restaurant
114 Bradford Boulevard
Santee, SC 29142