Thursday, December 20, 2012

the ugly sweater run las vegas 2012.

this last weekend it was finally time for las vegas to host the national ugly sweater running series downtown! i heard about it a few months ago and it sounded like a blast. not timed, snow at the start line-even in vegas they say, sponsored by sam adams, and lots of ugly...i was so in!

so after a week of looking/searching/hunting for an ugly sweater everywhere with no luck of the one i truly envisioned in my head, i met up with my ragnar teammates downtown to compare the ugly! totally unplanned but we all ended up signing up for the race and found out a few days before, which of course meant we were all starting together. it was so fun to see them all again and outside a van! it was dang cold saturday morning and i was glad for the untimed thing. i had already done my long run of 8 miles earlier in the morning, yay for an 11am start time, and was ready to just enjoy the run. we gathered a few extra friends along the way and headed to the start line after pictures of course!
we had all run the course quite a few times with other races, theres only so many ways to run downtown, so we settled in fairly quickly with runners at our own pace. i stayed back with yumi, michele, and a new recruit holly chatting about upcoming races and why do we always think this is such a good idea until we all show up. there were a few sights along the course but not quite as many as promised. i wont lie, i was a little disappointed there was no sledding like advertised.
there was a couple of turnarounds throughout the course and i saw lots of people i knew! my parents, my physical therapist and his wife, some friends from work, my boss and her whole family, to the point where my teammates asked why i knew so many people haha! at one point holly and i lost michele and yumi and decided to just take on the rest of the course on our own. there was snow at the finish line on the way into the post-run party!

we headed to the beer tent once everyone had crossed and started shivering together since all of a sudden it decided to actually be winter in the desert. there was also an ugly sweater contest, a place to take pictures, and hot chocolate for all! it was a blast and im so glad i got to see my teammates again:) ps we are already working on our costumes for next year!

*i was chosen as a brand ambassador for the ugly sweater run. this recap and other opinions are all my own. i did receive 4 free entries from the racing series and this little gem that won me the ugly sweater contest at work this week...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

the christmas homecoming.

it was the middle of may when my brother came home for a normal weekend and told us that he would be leaving in 45 days for his next deployment. it was one of the first things he said to me when i got to my parents house as he stood there hugging me with his feet on top of mine so i couldnt kick him when he told me. being in the military we always know theres a chance and it can happen rather quickly. last time we got rather lucky since he was stationed on a boat and wasnt in the middle of everything. this time he was headed to afghanistan. 5 days after he got back to base that weekend he headed into a 30 day training in the desert, went back to camp pendleton, then left 2 weeks later.

this whole deployment was different than last time. it almost didnt feel like he was really gone, we hadnt really been talking much before he left for the training so when he left it felt like a continuation of that. it wasnt until just before he got extended (yes that happened!) we really started talking. now for most of the 1st part he was out in the middle of nowhere without power, none of us heard from him. but when he got to camp leatherneck my mom and his gf kelsey heard from him all the time, me not so much, my dad either. once he got extended for another 2 months i really started hearing from him more mostly through text since that was the only way. by the time he was headed home we finally were back to normal. ps my brother and i are super close which is why this was so weird.
we had heard the end of november rumors for awhile but it wasnt until the tuesday before thanksgiving that we got the official date and time of december 2nd. he was really coming home, just in time for the holidays! my parents booked a great resort/spa in dana point for the weekend, we would leave from vegas saturday, he came home sunday, then the 4 of us would all drive back up to vegas together so kyle could take care of a few things here. so for the 3rd weekend in a row my parents and i piled into the car to head back to southern california!

after a detour through pasadena to visit stats (the best christmas store ever!) we got a phone call from kelsey that they werent coming home till monday night. now we had heard from kyle they were delayed because of weather but only by parts of the day, not a whole one! so here we were staying till monday with nothing to do on sunday. as we were driving by knotts berry farm i said outloud wouldnt it be fun if we could just go to disneyland tomorrow instead. just to see what happened. next thing i know im looking up ticket prices and trying to find somewhere for my dad to go golf for the day while my mom and i go to the happiest place on earth during christmas time!! i called my friend nate and his wife katie because they had annual passes and told me anytime i wanted to go just to call. they said they would meet us there in the afternoon, we were really going!

the next morning we had an amazing breakfast at the resort and were kicking my dad out of the car at the second golf course we found so we could head up to anaheim. we got to disneyland sometime around 10a and planned to spend the whole day, so we did!
bring it militray!
we are still gonna have a great weekend:)
she asked if we swam there hehe.
it was misty and dreary but still busy. we got to ride all the rides we always do and had lots of delicious snacks on the way, hello disneyland churros! the christmas parade was so fun then nate and katie joined us for the afternoon. it never really opened up and rained, just misty enough to make you wet. that wasnt going to break our spirit but was enough to cancel the candlelight ceremony mid-way through and prevent it from "snowing" on main street after the fireworks show. we had a blast! i am sooo glad my mom said yes to going:) plus i got to cross something off my bucketlist, visit disneyland at christmas time!
nate and katie:)
oh and my very stylish poncho!
3 of our very favorites!
i love gingerbread men!
especially chocolate-covered mickey ones:)
such a pretty castle!
finally it was monday morning and i was up ready to go for a run when i looked outside to see it pouring outside. so i headed back to bed for another hour before breakfast. we were just finishing up, getting ready to head to base when kelsey called and said we needed to slow down. they hadnt even landed at march air force base yet, let alone start the 2 hour drive south to pendleton. so i headed back upstairs to lounge in my amazingly comfortable king size bed a little longer.
the view from my balcony.
at about 11a we finally couldnt wait any longer and knew that he was at least on the buses headed south to us. so we headed to base and the parade deck already had families there for us to hang out with. pretty soon after we saw the buses go by as they headed to the armory to check their weapons and get room assignments for the barricks. we were pretty good at entertaining ourselves at this point and watching the vehicles rolling in with weapons and bags gave us all stuff to talk about. everyone kept saying the check in process would take 2 hours, but luckily we knew better from the last deployment return. not even an hour later the motorcycle brigade was headed onto deck!
our traditional homecoming pic!
right behind them was our guys marching in for formation. we had to stay behind the flags set up until they were released, we were of course right on that edge. as they marched in we kept trying to find him in the 2nd group but they all look alike! before we knew the commander was calling out platoons and asking all accounted for? with a response as yes sir. then, finally...dismissed. except we still hadnt found my brother yet! luckily he found us and bee-lined right for me. first hug!! he made the rounds to everyone and tears were flowing freely.
after pictures it was time to grab the stuff and get the hell out of there. he had too much to just take on his own so we of course volunteered to help. dang his stuff was heavy!! the bag i took was probably a good 60+ pounds. we didnt care he was home.
one of the best.
food was a must pretty soon after so we headed to el torito for lunch and then the road home fairly quickly after which of course meant margaritas for kyle and i ;) it was cool to have him come home with us and hear all the stories over time. we also found out the real reason he was delayed! the pilot was making a u-turn on the runway and didnt turn fast enough then running them off the runway and into a massive snowbank!! we plan to blame the pilot for quite awhile. he was only home for the night then back to base tuesday night. the 18th-27th though he will be home for christmas leave! we are so thankful he came home safe, god bless our troops near and far.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

the old thanksgiving.

so last year we had a new kind of thanksgiving where we stayed here in vegas and had a few family members come into town. i have to say, it was just ok. we have been going to southern california for thanksgiving every year since the 6th grade and to not do it last year was kind of a bummer. we decided (i think on that day) that this year we would save our pennies and go there without a doubt!

finally it was time to actually hit the road on that wednesday evening. now mind you we had just gotten back from southern california a few days before, but we were going anyway:) we made it just before midnight and mom and i turned in pretty early for our turkey trot in the am! just about the only thing we took from thanksgiving last year was to run a turkey trot. we had so much fun last year and i found one fairly close to where we were this year. 5am came awful early the next day since we had a little bit of a drive to dana point from lake forest. plus we needed to pick up our bibs and park which we knew there wasnt a whole lot of down there. fortunately we were early enough and parked super easy on our way to packet pickup. there was actually a whole expo for the race and TONS of people! i have never seen a 10k/5k so big. it was the 35th year running and people had been turning out for years. we huddled close together since the sun was still hiding in the marine layer and it was pretty chilly. before i knew it we were headed out!
im ready!
the course was a lot of out and backs with almost no hills, yea! we got to see the beach a few times, ran up and down pacific coast highway, and into the state parks as well. i was feeling really good, i mean really good. i kept an eye on my garmin after i thought i went out too fast and was lovin what it said. we were just past the halfway point when i saw few people running back shouting for the park officials to call for help. there was a guy that had collapsed! i wanted to stop but there were already quite a few people around him and even more when i came back the 2nd time. soon we heard emergency vehicle and most of the runners were really great about getting out of the way so they could get to the guy. i hope he was ok, he seemed to be talking a little more the 2nd time i saw him.

we continued on and rounded the last turn around soon to hit the 5 mile mark. i looked down at my garmin and couldnt believe what it said, i could soundly set a new pr even if slowed down quite a bit. of course i kicked it up instead and sped across (well for me anyway) the finish line with a shiny new time! 52:55 flashed on my garmin and i couldnt believe it:) my last 10k pr was a 56:31...thats a 3:30 minute improvement!!! i grabbed some water and spot on a higher sidewalk to wait for my mom who finished with a time of 1:29:30! there wasnt much in the way of food so we headed back up the road a bit to grab some coffee near the hotel. we saw 2 very young looking marines grabbing coffee ahead of us and we went out to thank them after grabbing ours. turns out they were from idaho and kansas, which means they just couldnt make it home for the holiday weekend. instead they had been "adopted" for the day by a local guy for the holdiay! it was so cool and they were sooo young, i mean they looked 12. crazy that my brother looked like that when he was a new marine too.
and we got bling:)
after breakfast and a shower it didnt take long for our hotel room to be filled with my aunts/uncles/cousin that were staying at the same hotel. we tend to travel in packs! the rumor was dinner was between 3p-4p but we decided to head over a little early to hang out with my grandpa and naturally where the food is. it wasnt there very long before i had eggnog in my hand, a hill family tradition at thanksgiving, i dont even think i had to ask haha! there was a lot of hanging out, catching up with some big things for us all, and good times with family. dinner was delicious of course and it was so much fun to just be with family. we are loud, crazy, everybody is in everybody else business, and there is always a whole lot of love to go around. it was really what i needed and just easy. that night, after my grandpa kicked us out, we headed back to our hotel room to drink. this is a new occurance for us to be honest. but after my breakup my unlce promised we could get drunk on thanksgiving and he can impart his wisdom on me;) we had a blast, even if i tend to think i can keep up with the boys when i have already had some wine and then switch to jack daniels. the things you think when you drink:)
most of my big, crazy family!
friday morning we slept in a little and i avoided the black friday craziness for the first time in 2 years! we headed to rogers garden instead:) its a family tradition to go every year! everything is so beautifully decorated and really puts you in the christmas spirit:) once finished we even convinced my dad that we needed to go to the beach instead of back to the hotel for a nap! it was super overcast, but beautiful as always.
he tried to splash me so i got even!
later that afternoon we picked up my grandpa and headed to go see lincoln. the theater was friggin packed and we ended up about 3 rows from the front. seriously good movie if you havent seen it! i can definitely see why its there is so much oscar buzz around it. the rest of the family joined us for dinner at pepinos, one of our favorite italian places! most of us were leaving the next morning so it was good to have almost all of us together one last time.

saturday morning we were up bright and early to go to the swap meet!!! i know this sounds pretty silly, but this swap meet is different. its in orange county so its much better stuff than a traditional one. we wondered the aisles and browsed through the endless cell phone covers, sunglasses, and fake plant booths. my parents like to take me with them because i try on all the silly sunglasses and hats along the way! i did however score a really sweet christmas present for my brother:)
one of the best quote aprons ever!
that afternoon before heading home i was able to shoot up to brea and meet nate and katie for lunch! i hadnt seen nate since the summer and katie since the wedding. i was so grateful for people outside my family and some my own age haha! my family is great, but we had a lot of togetherness the last few days. we met at sweet tomatoes (yum!) right near their apartment and literally down the street from where we stayed for the wedding the week before. we spent a few hours catching up, laughing, comparing storeies, and just had a good time. somehow we walked away without any pictures! afterward i got to see their very cute apartment just down the street. they are just starting out and have everything decorated so cute.

this year we switched things up a little and decided to come home saturday night instead. best decision ever! it was nice to have the extra day at home before going back to work. not that we spent it totally relaxing. i ran that morning, probably farther than i should have, then we spent the rest of the morning/early afternoon moving and storing the rest of my furniture from the apartment. it was a big relief to get everything else out and just be done. now i can really move on!
thanksgiving this year was a blast and so different from my last couple. i was really able to just be me and not have anyone else to worry about. plus it was like my family really decided we were old enough to do things like drink with them now haha! good thanksgiving:)

Monday, December 3, 2012

the november 2012 running recap.

total run mileage: 72.65 miles
highest weekly run mileage: 27.96 miles
# runs: 13
# rest days: 17
# xtraining workouts: 2 <-oops.
favorite run: ragnar for sure. ok that may be a few runs put together, but man it was cool:)
most hardcore run: the run i did right before ragnar. it wasnt particularily difficult, my head was just all over the place and my body was really not loving that i drug it out of bed that morning.
current reads: back to being a big slacker!
current shame-inducing guilty pleasure: falling asleep with the tv on and sleeping diagonally. i know it sounds silly, but i couldnt do either at my apartment! sleeping right down the middle while friends plays in the background are seriously two of my favorite things:)
current obsession: christmas music! omg its everywhere and im totally in love. ok i wasnt in love until the end of november, but now i listen to it everywhere!
current drink: water and wine, ha! im trying to learn to drink it and i think im doin a pretty darn good job:)
current song: goodbye in her eyes by the zac brown band.
current wish-list: clothes that actually fit. i always thought i would be so excited if my clothes were loose or needed a belt. then it actually happened and now i am beyond frustrated that nothing fits. it would be much easier if i had some extra cash running around to start replacing, but that whole adult thing keeps getting in the way, ha!
current need: to stay in the moment. sometimes i get so worried about what the future might possibly bring i forget to love the moment im in and i have been having some really great ones too, no matter what im feeling at the time.

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i love pinterest:)

current triumph: getting to my last class!! i am soooo close to done people. january 12th is coming sooo fast, 41 days to be exact:)
current bane of my existence: my final paper. its 30 pages people, really?! 30 pages. its due january 9th so i have lots of time to work on it, but its going to take a lot of work between now and then. theres lots of things going on between now and then too with holidays and family that its going to really put me to the test!
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current goal: to combat the holiday weight gain. it sounds a little silly but i learned such great things from joanie i need to not waste them over the holiday season. plus i feel really good about all my progress, lets not let the holidays burst that!  
current indulgence: coffee. frilly, girly, sugary coffee to be exact. that’s actually 2 months in a row, oops:)
current excitement: this is happening soon...
good grief you can tell were related!
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