Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy Marcus Monday!

Perhaps the coolest and cutest dog walker in all the land?
I'd like to think so.
Happy Monday!

A Virtual Race #djv5k

Before going into a race recap, I want to take a quick minute to thank all the lovely ladies who participated in the Fall Virtual 5k hosted by Jenny and me. It was pretty awesome to periodically check InstaGram to see all the results and pictures of all the ladies participating! (If you participated, please be sure to link up your recaps at the bottom of this post.)
We had a total of 37 lovely ladies sign up. Not too shabby for our first go at this whole virtual race thing. If you ran the #djv5k but didn't post your pictures and results to InstaGram and/or Facebook, be sure to do so. We want to see how you did! 

It was awesome to see ladies from all over the country participating. Pictured above are runners who were pounding pavement in: California, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Texas. Temperatures ranged from 37 degrees to 70 + degrees. It was inspiring and amazing to see everyone get out and get after it, regardless the time of day or weather conditions. 

I have to say, personally this 5k was more fun and more challenging that I had expected. Essentially it was a race against myself, which I've never really done before. 

Earlier this summer I ran a 5k and hit a PR of 24:16, so I thought I might try to beat that time by a few seconds. In my mind I was shooting for 24:10.  Running solo doesn't always lend the most competitive vibe, so I was tying not to set myself up for a lot of hype, or disappointment.
When it was time to run I hit my favorite route, and I hit it hard. 

The first mile felt awesome. I hit a pace I rarely never clock. At the half way mark I could feel my pace slow a bit. And by mile three all I could think of was "one-tenth of a mile to go, one-tenth of a mile to go." Between the thought of finishing, and the fictitious man who was chasing me (not kidding, I imagined a man on my tail, chasing me, to help keep the pep in my step), I clocked my most recent PR.
23:27.54. 43 seconds better than my goal. I'll take it, please and thank you.

Competing against yourself, and no one else, is quite the mind game. But the gratification at the end and seeing the finish time was a very welcomed and pleasant surprise. 

Looks like more virtual races will be in my future! 
Did you run the race? How did it go? Let us know, the link-up is open through Sunday! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Selfies, Sunsets, Purging, and Running

Thank goodness it's Friday. Am I right, or am I right? We don't really have weekend plans, which will lead us to watching football (Iowa State v. Iowa tomorrow -- GO CYCLONES!), drinking a few bevies, and likely a trip to the beach. Hello 100˚ temps, allllllll weekend long. Hey, Mother Nature, didn't you get the memo? It's Fall EVERYWHERE ELSE!

Without further ado, Fridays top five!

1. Grandmas
Marcus was lucky enough to spend a few days with just Grandma Kathy while Scott and I were (literally) running around D.C. Grandma was nice enough to keep up with the selfie-a-day with Marcus while Scott was gone.

2. Weddings
Our good friends were married this past weekend and we may have had a little fun with their photo booth.
Don't ask because I don't know.
My friend Barb. Isn't she absolutely gorgeous?!
3. Sunsets
It's not too often we treated to truly stunning sunsets. Most evenings our skies are either void of any clouds or completely overcast with the evening marine layer. This week a quick "storm" came in and left us with a masterpiece. When I saw the skies were going to give us a show I literally raced to the ocean to capture the beauty.
It really was that awesome.
4. Purging
I went through ALL of Marcus's clothes and sorted through what I loved and what I didn't. Those clothing items that didn't make the cut were sent to our local nuns, and the "keepers" were reorganized into bins. The amount of clothes this boy has -- mind blowing.
Not even kidding when I say the top photo does zero justice to the mountain of clothes I sorted through.
Bottom left: two years of clothing into two bins, not mad about that.
Bottom right: the donation pile.
5. #djv5k!
After what seems like eons of talking about it, the #djv5k is FINALLY HERE! This weekend the Fall Virtual 5k participants will lace up our shoes and pound out a 5k. Participants: please share your pics on InstaGram and/or Facebook using the hash tag #djv5k. Also, don't forget to link up with Jenny and me on *Monday* to share your race details. I'm pumped to see how everyone does!
If you signed up but didn't receive a bib like the one shown below, please message me right away and I'll get yours to you, stat!
Anyone want to sign up last minute? I wouldn't be mad if you shot me a message saying you wanted to run. :)
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Running DC

When it became apparent Scott was going to be gone on a six week work trip to D.C. I couldn't help but want to make the cross-country trip to visit.

Two weeks into playing solo parent I couldn't resist and booked a flight. For the last four days of Scott's work assignment I would join him. I'm pretty sure the first words I said to him once my flights were confirmed were, "I can't wait to run the Mall!…. And, see you too!"

Though I was still recovering from a cold Marcus was so kind to pass along, I couldn't help but wake up early on my first full day in the nation's capitol to run the National Mall.

I should also point out that I'm using the term "run" very loosely. I spent *most* of my run starting and stopping, as I couldn't resist taking about a hundred pictures in the 3.5 miles I ran.
A storm had blown through the night before and the skies were still scattered with clouds that made for the most unbelievable sunrise.
Just when I thought the skies couldn't produce anything more spectacular I would run a few feet and the colors and backdrop would render me breathless. 
Annnnnd, I took several shameless selfies along my route. For awhile I tried really hard to take the pictures discreetly, there were so many people out running! After about 30 seconds of pretending I gave up on sneaky selifes, said screw it, and snapped away like the tourist I was.
Between the sun rising, the countless photo ops, gawking at monuments, and selfies galore, my time wasn't exactly what I would call stellar… 
That pace is laughable at best (as was the insane humidity), but I wasn't even disappointed. Running the Mall was one of the most gratifying, beautiful, fulfilling 3.5 miles I've run in a very long time.

Speaking of miles, are you ready for the #djv5k this weekend?! Have any goals set: seeing spectacular sun rises, hitting PRs, running a new location? I can't wait to hear how everyone does!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Birthday Wish

Scott,
There isn't a day that goes by that Marcus and I aren't reminded how blessed we are to have you in our lives.
We've shared an abundance of laughter, joy, and love.
 We can't thank you enough for the strength and support you provide our little family.
 So, on your day we wanted to take an minute and say thank you.
 And, we hope your day is just as amazing and wonderful as you.
Happy Birthday! We love you!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Bridge I Didn't Conquer

Whew! What a fabulous little bloggy break. Sometimes stepping back, taking a break, and catching a breath is just what is needed before jumping back into the ol' blogging saddle. Since returning back to the keyboard a lot of good stuff has happened, and I can't wait to share it all.

First let's talk about the Conquer the Bridge 5.3 Mile Run that I mentioned awhile back and was so eager to run. The race took place on Labor Day but I didn't run it. >insert all the sad faces<

There were countless miles run, rap music for days on my playlist (don't judge me based on my running playlist), about a bazillion selfies posted to InstaGram (#djv5k), and a $50 race entry fee paid.

Let's rewind just a bit…
About a week prior to the race I noticed Marcus was snotty, eyes were all sorts of goopy, and a cough was developing. Hey nasty cold, glad you could make an appearance.
You see where this is going, right?
The night before the race I could feel a cold coming on. I went to bed thinking I would be fine, thinking I'd be ok to run.
Then I woke up. And I'm pretty sure I was dying.
While my head was saying, "Maybe you can run this thing." My body was screaming, "Oh hell no! This isn't happening today." And, it didn't.

So, here my bib still sits, the t-shirt that came in my swag bag I've worn, but feel like I'm lying or cheating, or something, and a finish line that was never crossed.
It's a crap deal, but if I have learned anything from the situation it's that when your body talks demands something, it's best to listen. There's always next year, right?

In other, better, running news… Remember that 5k I ran earlier this summer and actually placed in my age group? The race where I left before awards, and missed out on all the accolades? Well, with a single email I was able to get my medal and $15 to RoadID, sent directly to me. Whoop whoop!
Here's to recovering from nasty colds, more pavement pounding, and the #DJV5K to be run this Saturday!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Happy Marcus Monday!

For Forty.Five.Days(!) Scott was gone on a work trip. For each of those days Marcus and I took a picture and sent it to Scott, counting down the days until the work trip was over… (If you're so inclined, you may want to turn your volume on.)
…It's always better when we're together
Happy Monday!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Marcus Monday!

There are many things that have made me a proud mommy. This one ranks right near the top.
Jesus loves me this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me. 
The Bible tells me so.
Happy Labor Day!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Grandparents, Van Gogh, and a Mini Vacation

There is so much good stuff going on right now, I don't even know where to begin. I'm not sure I can even squeeze all the random awesomeness into five little bullet points. But, here's to trying!

It's Friday, you know the drill…

1. Grandma and Grandpa Macke were here for a few days, and before they left we made sure to take them to a few of our favorite places. Like, the park with the stream, waterfall, and ducks that just love to be fed.
A trip to "our" beach was a must.

2. Thanks to the visit of Grandma and Grandpa, I was able to slip out for a girls night. The time with some good girl friends was very much needed. The ladies and I had the best time painting, grabbing dinner, and sipping on some very good wine.
I was in the best of company. But, that painting. Ugh. I'm not sure which closet it's going to grace.
3. On a whim I signed up for yet another race. Who am I?! Usually these kind of things are very calculated with meticulous planning and training. This will be the second race I've signed up for less than a week from race day. And, it looks like it's going to be a doozy.
Conquer the Bridge 5.3 Miles Race :: Over that bridge. And then back again. It doesn't look too bad, but trust me when I say the incline (twice!) on that bad boy is going to be INTENSE!

4.  This has nothing to do with anything, other than the fact that I am admitting a guilty pleasure - trashy TV. This is seriously the only smutty TV I watch. Otherwise if the TV is on it's Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. But, did you see who the next Bachelor is going to be?! Farmer Chris!! The best part? He's from IOWA! Tell me he isn't about the dreamiest farmer you've ever seen.

5. At 4:00PM Sunday this Grandma will land in L.A. and stay with us for a bit.
We are beyond excited!
Grandma Kathy's visit may or may not also mean I am going to hop on a plane and visit Scott while he wraps up the last few days of his work trip. That place may or may not be pictured below.
via
To say I'm thrilled would be an understatement. Not only will I get to travel without a toddler (the first time in well over a year!), and see Scott, I'm so freaking pumped to run the National Mall!
BONUS: Congrats to Stephanie from Wife, Mommy, Me winning the Damsel in Defense Hot Lil' Hand Pepper spray. If you're interested in the Damsel products be sure to check out all their amazing and affordable products! Just click HERE to browse (and buy)!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fancy Tacos

Normally I don't do many posts like this, but every once in a while you visit a place that is cool enough you feel compelled to share. While there's nothing flashy or showy about our latest little adventure I could't help but share in the fun and uniqueness…

All of a sudden Taco Bell has gone fancy-schmancy. You read correctly. Taco Bell, fancy, in the same sentence. I thought it was all a big joke until my sister-in-law sent an article on this mythical upscale Taco Bell restaurant located in Huntington Beach.

I would categorize my in-laws somewhat as foodies. So, when my mother-in-law and father-in-law were visiting and heard of the news of this fancy Taco Bell they convinced me we needed to take a day trip to HB.

Let's be real. It doesn't take a whole lot of convincing to get me to go to a beach, especially Huntington Beach.

Off we went!
Never in a million years would I have thought that a restaurant run by Taco Bell would be cute, and the food outstanding. 
U.S. Taco Co. is this cute, chic, hip little joint located just off the beach. The decor is this funky eclectic mix that just works.
These fancy tacos ranged anywhere from $4 to $10 per taco. You can pretty much get six meals from a regular Taco Bell for $10!
And, the tacos. Yes, give me all the tacos. I had the Wanna Get Lei'd taco (of course I did), which was grilled Mahi Mahi topped with cabbage, cilantro, a mango salsa, and some sort of creamy sauce. I'll take 12 more of those, please and thank you.

You'd think I was getting paid to promo this place, but I'm not. I just thought it was that cool and that good.

After our adorable al fresco meal we meandered through the beach community and made our way to the beach.
Oh, that beach… While I really enjoy the beach we frequent, HB is the epitome of Southern California.
The beach itself is wide, the sands are soft and clean, little to no sea weed washes ashore, and the crowd is easy going. Just the right mix of surfers and sun bathers, tourists and locals.
 We also took the opportunity to take Marcus' monthly pictures.
And a selfie.

No beach trip would be complete without a little ice cream, or in our case, gelato.
I couldn't help but snap a few shots of the character of Huntington.
Gosh, I wish HB was just a little bit closer to us. In good traffic we can get there in 45 minutes. In bad traffic… Oy.
I'm no expert on beach communities in California. But, if you were to take a trip to the coast I'd urge you to fore go Santa Monica (so touristy!), Venice (so many crazies - for real!), or even Malibu (unless you're rich). The charm of Huntington Beach will leave you longing to go back before you've even left - and the tacos are pretty exceptional as well.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Some Pretty Tall Ships

Remember the giant rubber ducky (of course you do)? Well, he didn't go too far. Actually, he helped parade in 13 pretty amazing tall ships into the Port of Los Angeles for the Tall Ships Festival.
I found the ships to be fascinating. Marcus found the duck to be the real show stopper. Obviously.

After the conclusion of the parade we were able to get up close and personal with the tall ships - which to me looked a lot like the ship from Pirates of the Caribbean.

The ships didn't do much for Marcus. After the coveted ducky sighting the kid was out for the count for most of our festival experience.
 
Duck? Check. Nap? On it.
With the pint-sized passenger knocked out it gave Grandma, Grandpa, and me a little time to hop on board the American Pride.
The ship was simply gorgeous. And, I'm really glad I'm not the one in charge of all those ropes and sails and whatnot. Eek.

Eventually the mini-matey woke up to catch the last half of our tall ships adventure, and just in time to spot this slightly out of place vehicle…
The Wiener Mobile?! I'm confused…

We continued with our ship gawking, and managed to snag a few decent photo op moments.
Tall Ships Festival, we weren't sure what to expect from you, but you did not disappoint. Though the festival is over the rubber ducky has been such a huge hit that he's sticking around until Labor Day! Maybe we'll take one more peek before he heads back to sea.