See ya, San Antonio! And so long, September!

Well, I had quite a crazy week.

Since my race one week ago, things have been nonstop for me, mainly because of work. When your shift starts at 8:00 am and does not end until 7:00 pm and your job is about thirty minutes away from home… Work takes up a lot of your time.

It helps that I get a break in my work week by having Wednesdays off. I cannot begin to explain how great this is! Unfortunately, I did not get such a break last week because I had to switch days with a coworker in order to have Friday off.

I needed Friday off in order to go to a conference in San Antonio. Jocelyn and I hit the road on Thursday night after we got off work. We didn’t get to our hotel until 1:00 am and had to be up at about six in order to be ready and at the Convention Center by 7:30 am (for check-in, breakfast, and to find our way around). We are such girls. The only reason we woke up super-early was so that we could each shower, do our hair, and do our makeup!

We ended up walking to the Convention Center. Downtown San Antonio is a bit creepy in the morning before the sun rises. Fortunately, it was a short 15-minute walk. When we arrived at the Convention Center, we both checked in and quickly bought breakfast items to take into our lecture. We sat through four hours of lectures about our specialty, Neurology. My butt was hurting towards the end and those rooms were freezing. I was wearing a skirt and ballet flats, which made matters worse.

Finally, we had our lunch break. We each received lunch tickets with our registration and headed to the exhibit hall to eat. Of course, NOTHING on the menu was vegan. Even the vegetables appeared to be cooked in butter. So Jocelyn and I left and strolled down the River Walk to a nice little Mexican restaurant. I ordered vegetable enchiladas without cheese and made sure that my beans were not cooked with meat or lard. We sat at a table on the edge of the water and had little ducks come up to us the entire time we ate. They were precious!

After lunch, we returned to the Convention Center for more lectures before heading back to the hotel to change and get ready for dinner. We ate dinner at an Italian restaurant. I, of course, didn’t eat any of the bread. My pasta was delicious, though! The sauce was made of tomatoes and there was basil, onions, and mushrooms. Delicious!

We spent the evening strolling around downtown and along the River Walk, being total tourists. We walked right by the Alamo, which was really small. I was a bit disappointed by it. After all the walking and the lack of sleep, we were both in bed by 10 pm. Old ladies. Hahaha

Saturday morning was brutal. I woke up late and missed my first lecture. I raced to get ready to make it to the second one. I decided that the best and easiest way to get there was to just walk along the River Walk so that’s what I did. It was so hot and humid! Yikes! Thankfully, though, I made it to my lecture with time to spare so I went to buy fruit for breakfast.

When it was lunchtime, Jocelyn and I met up and walked to the mall. We ate Chinese from the food court. Once again, nobody minded me asking how the food was prepared and I was able to enjoy yet another vegan meal! I decided to go shopping because I realized that I did not pack any shorts and as hot and humid as it was in San Antonio (it felt like a swampy jungle out there!), all I wanted was to wear shorts.

That mall is rather small and limited. Only one department store and no Forever 21. What the crap? I ended up finding shorts at Macy’s, along with a cute Star Wars t-shirt and a crystal ring. After all the walking along the river, through the mall, and back to the hotel, I took a nap in my big comfy bed with all six pillows. I woke up just in time to catch the end of the LSU/Georgia game.

The plan for the evening was for us to find a bar to watch the Aggie game, which started at six. It was raining, though, so we watched the first half in our room before finally heading back out to the River Walk. We found a sports bar and lucky for me, they served a vegetarian pita. All I had to do was ask for them to hold the cheese and it was vegan. Success once again! And my Aggies won!

Jocelyn and I did some more strolling around and stopped to have some drinks at one of the restaurants. Throughout the night, I had six different people tell me that they liked my Star Wars shirt! It was a fun night. Jocelyn and I just chit chatted, sang as we walked, and laughed at all the ridiculous things that we each said. We eventually headed back to the hotel. The humidity and the crowds were almost unbearable, but we had fun regardless.

This morning, we slept in, packed our things, got ready, and left our hotel. We had to go back to the Convention Center to pick up our certificates and then it was back on the road to Dallas! The morning in San Antonio was actually nice. It wasn’t as humid and the temperature had dropped. It was crazy cloudy, though. Grey skies style.

It remained cloudy all the way to Waxahachie. By then, the clouds started clearing and once we got to Dallas, it was gloriously sunny! It was the perfect weather to welcome us home!

I had a great time in San Antonio. I wish the weather was nicer and that I had packed more comfortable clothes and shoes. I also wish it wasn’t so dang crowded! But overall, it was a fun and most importantly, I learned a lot at the conference. Also, it was nice to get away, although I did miss my babies!

So that marks the end of my very busy September! I made it. October promises to be quite busy as well, with more football, work, volunteering, the State Fair, haunted houses (I hope), back to running, my second photography class, live music shows, and Halloween celebrations (I hope).

Is this really my life? I love it.

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My first half-marathon

One month after my original goal date, but well ahead of my 30th birthday, I ran my first half-marathon. I had been training since late May, I trained all through the brutal summer, having to wake up super-early on run days in order to avoid running in unbearable heat. In the final month, I finally stuck to the strict training diet and went full vegan at last.

My race was scheduled to begin at 7:30 am. As was suggested by my training manual (written by the wonderful No Meat Athlete), I woke up at 5:00 am to prepare and drink a smoothie (made with pineapple, banana, ground flaxseed, spinach, and coconut oil). I took some spirulina and changed into my running clothes. It took Dustin a bit longer to wake up, but he finally did. Off we went.

It was actually pretty cool when we left his place so I had to borrow a hoodie because I’m a weenie about being cold. It only took about twenty minutes to get to the park. The race was starting at the Plano Balloon Festival. Dustin and I made our way around the grounds not knowing where to go exactly, but finally found the runner’s village. As a runner, I was treated to free coffee, which of course, I do not drink. Dustin gladly drank it for me, though. Haha Free coffee for my sleepy fella!

We made our way to the starting line. Music was blasting so we started dancing together. I needed that. It was my warm up. As the countdown to the start ended, I kissed Dustin, told him my estimated finish time (based on my pace during my training runs), handed him my bag, and off I went.

It was so exhilarating to be out there with fellow runners, especially fellow first-timers. There was so much excitement and positivism. During the second mile, we made our way up a hill and were able to see the hot air balloons that had been launched. Unfortunately for those of us at the head of the pack, not all the balloons had been launched when we passed this area and it ended up being the only place along the course with a view of them. Ah, well. On we continued.

I felt pretty good throughout the race up until mile seven or so. At that point, I had to take a break and walk. I also ate a few of my fruit chews and drank up some sports drink that I had in my water bottle. It seemed as though it took forever for me to reach mile eight. By mile nine, I finally felt that I had it in the bag even though fatigue was really starting to hit. After that point, I started stopping at each drink station and downing cups of Powerade. I know my body needed the carbs and I was happy to drink them!

I took a look at my watch once I reached mile ten and it hit me that I could make it to the finish before the time that I had told Dustin. This thrilled me, since he was spending all this time alone at the festival with not much to do other than look at balloons. The run had pretty much become a mind game at this point. I walked every five minutes or so until I reached the last mile. The sun was hitting us hard and I was feeling it. My legs were feeling okay, no worse than they felt during my long training runs. It was my feet and my stomach that were giving me trouble. I started to regret drinking all the Powerade!

I finally reached the last drink station at the 12-mile marker. I drank a cup of water, took a huge breath, and ran, ran, ran! The crowds cheering us on at the sidelines were becoming bigger! That was actually pretty amazing… All along the course, there were people cheering us on, telling us we were amazing, encouraging us to keep going, and even high-fiving us.

My Dad attended the White Rock Marathon every year when I was a kid and it makes me SO damn happy to finally realize that he was one of those guys waking up early to cheer others on. What an awesome guy. As if I didn’t already love him enough!

So, yes, I reached the 12-mile marker and knew that I was almost done. I imagined putting that finishing medal around my neck and finally seeing Dustin and just ran as fast as I could on my tired feet. The large inflated arch that marked the finish line came into view and I got the craziest chills. The crowd was really big at this point! I started smiling like crazy!

With about 10 yards left, I spotted Dustin on the sideline! He was wearing a crazy, pink cowboy hat that I knew he must have bought while wandering around the festival! He looked hilarious in it and I started laughing. As I passed him, he took the hat off and started fanning my feet with it. I laughed even more, but I kept running.

As I was nearing the finish line, I heard someone yell, “Yeah! Go pink hat!” I turned my head, still running, and realized that Dustin was running right behind me! He was running and fanning my feet with the hat again. He was yelling encouraging words and I just started cracking up!

I finally crossed the finish line, with Dustin by my side, and we gave each other the hugest kiss with so many spectators watching us! I think our picture was taken too! It was the perfect finish. So much better than I could have imagined. That moment just reminded me how loved I am and how special Dustin is. I honestly expected him to be bored and sleepy when I finished the race. I expected having to call him to find him. He truly exceeded my expectations and made me such a ridiculously happy gal.

Dustin had told me the day before that he during a meeting at work, he told his co-workers about my race. I feel like he kinda bragged about me and that makes me happy. 🙂

Here’s my picture after the race. I’m showing off my huge medal and wearing the crazy pink hat!

Plant strong! Woot woot!

Now, I look forward to continue to run this distance, improve my pace, and run a full marathon in six months to a year. There is no stopping me now! I am addicted to running and cannot wait to run another race!

Pre-work

I’m sitting in the break room at work, waiting to clock in, and it’s hitting me how much I don’t want to be here. I’d rather be outside in my neighborhood enjoying the weather. Unfortunately, it will be nine days before I get to do such a thing. As excited as I am about my trip to San Antonio this weekend, I will have no daytime spare time until next Wednesday. It will be October by then. Whoa.