Army Ten Miler weekend & race recap

Short version – I had an amazing weekend, met some friends, and ran an awesome race!

Long version. . .

I left my hotel (and my sleeping guys) in Birmingham EARLY Saturday morning and headed to the airport for my flight to Washington, D.C. I arrived shortly after 9 a.m. and was met at the airport by my friend Sarah and her fiance Neal. It was great to see her again – it's been since January 2010 when she flew to Phoenix to run the Rock n Roll Arizona Marathon with me. It was also great getting to meet Neal! We took the Metro back to their apartment and I relaxed and visited for a while before I navigated the Metro by myself to get to the Armory for the race expo and packet pickup. I got my packet and shirt (long sleeved!!) and then checked out the rest of the expo. I met a couple of my DailyMile friends. Tim was working at the TRX booth and I chatted with him for a bit, and then I met up with Danny, a fellow Soldier (but from Fort Eustis), and we hung out for a bit while checking out the rest of the expo.
Lani with Danny Weatherly
(photo courtesy of Danny)

As I was leaving the expo to head to the Metro to go to a little cafe to meet some Twitter/blogging friends, I saw Madeline and her family (a fellow Army family!). She was one of the ladies I was meeting up with, so we traveled together to the meet-up spot. Once we got to Le Pain Quotidien, I got to meet Katie (and husband and son), Anne, and Lisa (and daughter). Seeing the 3 babies together made me really miss my little man, but we all had a great time chatting and snacking on the food we got from the restaurant. It was wonderful getting to put faces with Twitter handles/blogs and I really enjoyed our time together and watching the kiddos interact. Thomas would fit right in with them.
Lisa Madeline Lani Anne Katie small
(photo courtesy of Madeline)

The kids started getting fussy and the husbands (not pictured) started getting bored (I think, anyway) and we all had other places to go, so we said our goodbyes and good lucks for the race and headed our separate ways. Madeline and family were heading the same direction as I was, so I was able to travel on the Metro with them and spend a little more time with her!

Sarah and Neal met me at their Metro stop so I could find their apartment and we headed "home". (In case you haven't figured it out yet, I stayed with them – awesome hosts!!) Neal cooked an AMAZING pasta dish for dinner – the sauce was super delicious!! I headed to bed shortly after 9 – it had been a LONG day with me getting up at 4 to catch my flight.

Sunday morning dawned and I got up and dressed for the race. Sarah had made some oatmeal muffins on Saturday, and I had a bowl of oatmeal and one of the muffins for breakfast. The muffins were super yummy!! (She sent the rest of them home with me, and Robert loves them, too.) We finished getting ready and headed to the Metro to go to the Pentagon where the race was starting. OMG the people!! But that happens with 23,000 runners. The Metro was PACKED, but it wasn't too long of a ride and I don't mind standing up (thanks to my year in Korea). We found the start area and Neal took a picture of me and Sarah. It was chilly out, hence the sweatshirts.
Lani Sarah pre-race
(photo courtesy of Neal)

I had found out on Saturday that my high school friend Loren was running the race! We have not seen each other since he graduated in 1993 and we made plans to try and find each other. He and his wife arrived shortly after we did, and we were able to find each other! I got to meet his wife and then after we had to go through the security checkpoint (only runners with race numbers allowed past), we hung out together while waiting for the race to start and actually ran together for the first little while. It was nice catching up on the past 19 years, and we decided that we won't go another 19 until we see each other again. Before we went through security, his wife took a pic of us.
Lani Loren pre-race
(photo courtesy of Loren or his wife)

The Army Golden Knights jumped in before the race and during the National Anthem (which was sung very well) there was nothing but silence from the 23,000 runners!! So awesome! It was a perfect day for a race, and I couldn't have asked for better weather – it was in the 50s the whole time and a little bit of cloud cover. The first 2 miles were SUPER crowded and my pace was about 30 seconds per mile slower than I wanted. I didn't let it bother me, though, and I knew that I'd make that time up later on. I did a lot of weaving around other runners for the first 5 miles and then I was finally able to get a little space. There were Army Band brass quintets playing at the first 2 water stops and that was nice hearing them play! There was also a high school band along the course and they were really good. I passed A LOT of people on the 3 "hills" along the course – they were nothing more than slight inclines compared to what I train on here in Alabama. It was neat running through Washington, D.C., and seeing some of the monuments and buildings, but I didn't get to look around too much. I was too busy trying to weave my way around the other runners.

My goal time for the race was 1:40 (10:00 pace) and I was able to surpass that!! All my hard training over the past few months has paid off and I'm super excited to be getting faster!!! I finished the race (10.2 miles – ok, so it was a little long, but whatever) in 1:39:45, a 9:48 pace!!! Yes, I'm a little excited and my use of exclamation points is justified. 🙂

The only disappointing thing about the race, I think, is the post race food. There was only water (Gatorade would have been nice) and prepackaged bagels, muffins, and cookies. No fruit – a banana and/or oranges would have been nice. I settled for a banana nut muffin and an oatmeal raisin cookie. I eventually found Sarah and Neal and we walked around the tents from various Army posts. We saw the Ft. Rucker tent and I saw a couple of the members of the Ft. Rucker team and chatted with them for a little while before we headed back to the Metro station for the ride home. Here's me after the race. . .
Post race small
(this photo is actually mine!)

After a quick shower, Sarah, Neal, and I headed down to Whole Foods to get lunch. I've never been in a Whole Foods before and WOW!! No processed foods in this grocery store. They have a hot bar and pizza station and salad bar and all kinds of other food (besides the grocery side of stuff). I chose a slice of wild mushroom pizza and made a small salad with blueberry vinaigrette dressing. We took the food back to the apartment and watched football while we ate. The pizza was DELICIOUS!!

All too soon, it was time to leave for the airport. We drove this time, instead of taking the Metro, as Sarah and Neal had other errands to run. We said our goodbyes and I headed inside. (Thanks again Sarah & Neal for the hospitality!! I had an awesome time!) I got my boarding pass (I had checked in online Saturday afternoon) and headed through security. I had the easiest time EVER at security. They have a separate lane for Active Duty service members with their CAC ID cards – I didn't have to take my laptop out, I didn't have to take my 3-1-1 liquids bag out, I didn't have to take my shoes off. I didn't even have a problem with the 5 ounces of breast milk that I had pumped. It was soooo nice and I wish more airports would follow suit. And then I found out my flight was delayed by an hour and 40 minutes. UGH. At least I had a cross stitch project and magazines. I found a seat in my gate area and stitched for an hour. Then I went and got a pretzel and drink from Auntie Annie's Pretzels and came back and sat down to eat. Another Soldier (I knew him from our flight from B-ham to DC; he's a flight student at Rucker and was running the 10 Miler as well) came up to me and asked if I was indeed going back to B-ham. Turns out that while I was getting my food, they began boarding our flight (earlier than anticipated). So I put my pretzel in my bag and went and got on the plane. At least I had a snack for the flight!

I got into Birmingham and called Ryan and the boys and they came and picked me up (they were waiting in the cell phone lot). Although I had an awesome time in D.C. meeting friends and running, it's always nice to get back home to the ones you love! We got on the road home and finally got home around 11 at night.

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Seven Things Saturday

Here are seven things to get you caught up on my life. . .

1 – Thomas has his 1 year well-baby appointment on the 4th. He weighed in at 20 pounds, 14 ounces, was 30.5 inches tall, and his head size was 18.75 inches. His doctor said everything looked great! After seeing the doctor, we went to the lab for blood draw and they took it from his arm – no longer the baby way of a heel stick! They called with the results a few days later and Thomas is slightly anemic, so he's on an iron supplement. After his blood draw, we went for his immunizations and he got 4 shots, including his first dose of his flu shot. He goes back in 4 weeks (from the 4th) for part 2. He did really well with both the blood draw and the immunizations.

2 – I borrowed a sewing machine and got Robert's patches sewn on his Cub Scout uniform, and just in time, too. His den meeting 2 days after I sewed the patches on they had to wear their uniforms (usually they just wear play clothes so they don't get their uniforms messed up). They had a variety of guests from the MP station come to talk to them, and they got to do fingerprints and other stuff. They also had a uniform inspection, and I guess my sewing was ok as Robert passed inspection. Robert and Ryan are camping this weekend with the Cub Scouts.

3 – My training for the Army Ten Miler has been going ok. I'm not happy with how many runs I've missed the past couple of weeks, but at least I'm still getting some runs in. My last long run was to be 9 miles today. Well, with Robert and Ryan out at camp, I had 2 choices – not run or run with the jogging stroller. So after sleeping in this morning (!!!!), I got Thomas in the car and we drove to the parking lot by the gym and Thomas and I ran the 2 mile paved loop for a total of 6.3 miles. I'll take it! So it wasn't 9 miles, but I pushed Thomas for over 6 miles. It was 75 degrees out, but the slight breeze helped some. I plan on getting in all 3 of my runs this week, one way or another.

4 – Ryan finally saw his VA primary care doctor after being here for 4 months (that was the soonest they could get a new patient in) and he's starting to see some of his referral appointments come in, so that's a good thing.

5 – Thomas is walking more and more holding on to things – furniture, our hands, his push toy – but he still can't stand by himself yet and he hasn't taken any solo steps yet. He's working on tooth #5. Some nights he sleeps all night and some nights he's still up once or twice. He loves playing in the cupboard with all my plastic containers and he also loves balls and books. And of course, he loves when big brother plays with him!

6 – I'm staying fairly busy at work between my work in admin and 1-2 gigs a week, plus rehearsals. Our schedule is really starting to pick up as we get closer to the holidays. We've marched 1 parade already, and there are 9 more parades on our schedule before the middle of December, including 3 on one Saturday. That will be a long, tiring day.

7 – Hmm. I guess I can't think of a seventh thing. So I'll throw this out there – give me some topics/ideas to write about. Ask me questions, etc. What do you want to hear from me?

September Foodie Pen Pals Reveal Day!!

September was my second time doing Foodie Pen Pals, but this is my first reveal post since the first time I participated I never got a package (nor did the person I sent to acknowledge receipt of her package). I was a bit discouraged after the first time, but I decided to give it another try and I'm glad I did!!

I received a wonderful box from Sandy in Iowa! She lives near Amish country, and she likes shopping at a little grocery they have and some of what she sent was from there. Without further ado, here's my box!!

September Foodie Pen Pal Package

— The cinnamon-sugar kettlecorn was delicious!! I still have a little bit left, but I'm trying to make it last because it's so good! In her note, Sandy said "It is so addicting" and I would definitely have to agree with her on that!!
— I haven't had a chance to try the tortilla strips yet – been waiting on just the perfect meal (not to mention that they got buried in the pantry and I kind of forgot about them). We have salads on our menu coming up, though, and I'm really looking forward to adding some extra crunch on my salad!
— The Oriental snack mix was definitely interesting. I'd not had it before and I'm glad she sent some to try!
— My 8 year old son LOVES the dehydrated marshmallows! He's been asking for it in his cereal at breakfast and he's been having Lucky Charm-like cereal for a while. I tried some too and they really are good!
— The Apple-Cinnamon English muffin slices were really good!! I toasted them lightly and put strawberry jam on them. Apple butter would have been nice, but I didn't have any.
— I haven't had a chance to try the egg noodles yet as I've never cooked with egg noodles before and I'm not quite sure what to do with them. But after talking to Sandy and googling them, I'll probably be making them for lunch someday, maybe with some steamed veggies! They're Amish, so I just know they're going to be good!
— Cookies Seasoning. It smells really good! The bottle of it in this picture managed to come open in the box during shipping and it was all over everything. Sandy, out of the goodness of her heart, sent me another bottle, and that one arrived all in one piece! I'm really looking forward to trying it next time we grill hamburgers. And next time I do chicken in the crockpot, I'll be adding some in.

Beside all that yummy goodness, Sandy sent me a recipe for Steak on a Stick and I'm really looking forward to trying it out! It sounds delicious!!

FoodiePenPalsblogbadgeAPPLE

Now, after reading all that, don't you want a Foodie Pen Pal of your own?? Here are the details!

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re interested in participating for October, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by October 4th as pairings will be emailed on October 5th!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my Foodie Pen Pals package!!