Weekend Ramblings

1. A few weeks ago, I went to my awesome friend Jen’s wedding. I took all sorts of pictures, and planned on doing a full blog post about it. That clearly never happened, but I wanted to at least share a little bit of it with you guys. It was so fun. It was the first wedding I’ve been to in my adult life where I didn’t have responsibilities like “bridesmaid” or “bride”. I just got to hang out with some of my favorite NYC guys, and rap Gangsta’s Paradise per my wedding tradition. It’s cute, I promise. I can do it at your wedding for no charge.

JenWedding1

 

JenWedding2

 

2. After Jen’s wedding, we took a 24 hour trip to DC which was just not long enough. I haven’t been there since I was in elementary school, and there was so much I wanted to explore! I did get to see the White House, the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Holocaust Museum (best part–so beautiful and moving). I also ate, like, the best dinner of my life at Founding Farmers. If you’re ever in DC, GO THERE! You’re welcome.

DC

 

3. Speaking of elementary school (I mean, I did for a hot second), did I mention how at PF Chang’s I ran into my elementary school music teacher? And she remembered me. I have “one of those faces”, or that’s what people tell me. I’ve looked exactly the same for my entire life. The awkward part? I never remember anyone. Even if I know you, if I’m not expecting to see you, it will take me a good 5 minutes to register who you are. I know a lot of people, so this is often embarrassing. I also have the hardest time learning names (because I have, oh, a million students), and this leads to a constant feeling of worst-teacher-ever. It’s a good thing I’m funny.

4. I’m pretty sure my birthday party is tonight. This week, Steve created an event on facebook titles “Ariana’s Birthday” which I was not invited to. Except he didn’t make it a secret event, and it showed up on my news feed, so obviously I clicked on it. The Stacey texted me to let me know she was attending. I hope they still shout surprise when I get there, and I hope that Nicole makes the dessert. ;)

5. I really really really love birthdays. I’m sure this is a big surprise. But I feel a little weird about this birthday. Everyone just gave up a weekend to celebrate me running a marathon. I feel like I should give them a break. I mean, not that I will turn down positive attention, because we all know I love things to revolve around me, but I’m starting to feel like a jerk, and maybe I should spread some of the love around. Like, for my birthday, maybe I should have thrown a party for me friends to tell them how awesome they are! I guess it’s a little late for that. It’s a nice idea in theory, though.

6. My other favorite thing about February is that the Academy Awards are coming!!! I still need to see Argo and The Sessions, but then my list will be pretty complete. At least for the movies I actually care to see which does not include Django Unchained. I’m sorry I just have no interest. Lincoln is still my favorite for the year, but I’m also a huge fan of Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty. There are some fantastic performances in Flight and The Impossible. And I think Pitch Perfect was totally robbed of a best picture nom. I mean, don’t you  feel like it was the best movie of 2012???

7. I’ve updated my blogroll. Check out some awesome blogs for your reading enjoyment. The list is a little ridiculous, but the sad truth is it’s less than half of my reader. These are the ones I really love, and I think you will too.

The Parking Spot

I don’t know if it’s just my family, but parking at the airport always seems to be a big to do. We’re always trading drop offs because the parking garage at the airport is so expensive. Not to mention, I have an irrational fear of parking garages. True story. I think it has to do with feeling claustrophobic? Anyway, I was thrilled when I received the opportunity to try out The Parking Spot. Traveling is so stressful already, that having stress-free travel to and from the airport was awesome! We simply arrived at the location (at the awful hour of 5:05 am) where we were immediately given a cold bottle of water and a USA Today, then directed to an area with open parking.

As soon as we pulled in to our covered spot, one of their shuttles pulled right up and loaded up all of our bags. We were given a ticket with out parking spot number on it, and then we rode the very short trip over to the terminal. The shuttle gave us a chance to finish our coffee and relax a bit for a few minutes. When we arrived at the airport, I asked our very friendly driver to pose for a photo with me.

I think their shuttles are super cute. I like the spots ;)

We arrived in plenty of time, and everything went really smoothly.

Our return was equally easy! We didn’t arrive until after 11pm, and after a long weekend, Steve and I were totally exhausted. Luckily, we just walked right out to the curb, and a The Parking Spot shuttle was there in less than 5 minutes! We didn’t have to call or anything–so easy! This time we got into a red shuttle.

Within minutes, we were dropped right in front of our spot by an other friendly shuttle driver. She even unloaded all of our luggage for us–so nice! On our way out, we went right through the check out with no wait at all. It was great!

What I loved about The Parking Spot:

  • Even though we were flying at odd times (very early morning and late at night), there were no time restrictions, and we never had to wait around for more than 3-4 minutes! Perfect for those of us who tend to run late on our own.
  • The staff was so friendly! Have you ever noticed that once you arrive at the airport it seems like everyone is in a terrible mood? Well, I was pleasantly surprised to at least travel to and from the airport with the incredibly friendly staff provided by The Parking Spot!
  • They give you free stuff! Okay, so you guys know I love free stuff. Like, an embarrassing amount. Anyway, the bottle of water and the newspaper were a nice touch. ;)
  • Everything is well lit and parking is covered. Even though it was dark, I never felt unsafe in their location, and the covered parking thing is important in Arizona where your car will literally peel if you leave it out in the sun.
  • It’s so much more affordable than the airport parking garage! You pay a lot less for an all around better experience. Win, win.

Would I use The Parking Spot again?
You bet! I do tend to rely on friends/family to get to the airport to save money, but it’s not always an option, and this was more affordable than taking a cab would be, and much more convenient in my opinion. It’s great to know there is such a great alternative to the airport parking garage!

Disclosure: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.

NYC Highlights & Running in Central Park

I ♥ my team

I’ve talked a lot about how this trip felt, but here’s some photos of the highlights.

Meeting Bart Yasso

The Soup Nazi “NO SOUP FOR YOU!”

The view from my uncle’s awesome apartment

Fall

My people

Puppies

I finally saw the Seinfeld diner. I’ve been wanting to go there for years!

We were trying to be Elaine and Kramer. We’re really talented actors, okay?

Okay, let’s talk about marathon morning. Well, maybe it’s better if I show you.

The incredible energy began the moment we entered the hotel lobby. Groups were cheering and chanting, and it was NUTS! The energy was contagious, and I couldn’t help but still feel excited. I met my team in the lobby and we headed down to Central Park where there must have been thousands of runners who all decided to run anyway, and for the first time, I felt like a real runner. Race or no race, we were all out there together purely because we love running. Sometimes I wonder if I actually love it, or why it is I do this crazy thing, but I really really do love it. Not at every second, and not even every run, but running has changed my life. It has changed the way I view food, and aided so much of my food related anxieties. It has brought me friends, and even a second mom ;)

I ran through the park with tears streaming down my cheeks, and the dopiest grin on my face. Suddenly, it all made sense. I will get to run a marathon someday (soon), and I will even get to run the NYC Marathon someday, but only those of us that were here on this very day will ever get to experience this display of passion and perseverance by thousands of runners.

Everything happens for a reason, and I needed this moment in my journey. I needed it to inspire me, to reaffirm what I deep down already knew, and to make me feel like I belonged in this community. It would be so easy to say “My marathon was canceled” and give up, but that is not who I am. I wasn’t planning to make this my last marathon, and now my first will just be that much more special.

After a week of so much negativity, this morning was exactly what I needed. People still came out to cheer. They held signs, they had cow bells, and some were even passing out water. I tried to thank every single person on those side lines, I got plenty of high 5s and you better believe I accepted the water from a stranger. I wasn’t even thirsty, I was just so thrilled that they were spending their morning passing it out!

There were teams from all different countries. Brazil was pretty loud, so I distinctly remember them. We ran a loop of the park, then down to the hudson river for a total of 10.6 miles for the morning. It was exactly what I needed, and I’m so grateful I got to be a part of it.

Disclaimer: Please don’t take this as insensitivity to those affected by Sandy. I am simply explaining my experience. 

AFC Weekend in San Diego

Last weekend, I set out for San Diego with Steve and Stacey for the AFC half marathon. It was a super short trip. We left Friday afternoon after work and were there for a total of maybe 40 hours. We still managed to have a pretty awesome and relaxing Saturday, though. We had a delicious breakfast in Hillcrest at Snooze.

We were able to sit outside and enjoy a little bit of nice weather (the rest of the trip was hot–lame), and pet some super cute puppies. San Diego is super dog friendly. I wish Phoenix was more like that. Anyway, the food at Snooze was amaaaaaazing. I pretty much wanted to order the entire menu, but I settled on an egg white omelete with tons of veggies and goat cheese.

It’s funny because I really tried to be healthy, but then I dug into that omelete and it was pretty much exploding with goat cheese. I tried to pretend for a little while that I was going to scrape most of the cheese to the side, but who am I kidding??? Goat cheese is pretty much my favorite food on earth and this omelete was ridiculously good. I also snagged a bite of Stacey’s oatmeal which was also delicious.

And Steve ended up with this monster

Because clearly food is best when it’s the size of your head.

After breakfast, we walked around Hillcrest for a bit before heading to the race expo.

LOOK!!! WE’RE RUNNING!!!

The expo looked huge on first glance, but ended up being not super exciting. I did buy a new bic band, and for the first time I found one that stays on my head! It’s a thicker one, so I think having more felt is good for my awkward shaped head ;) We ended up browsing the expo for about an hour, then heading out to Coronado Beach.

Check out my awesome tan line. Super cute. It’s in the shape of sports bras/running tanks. Shocking, right?

After the beach, we went back to the hotel for a bit before meeting Coach Susan and some of our teammates for dinner. You know what I don’t understand? The whole pre-race pasta party concept. You go to an Italian restaurant where you are served lame white carbs that do you no good by race time the next day. I’d rather do a pre-race loaf of seedy multi grain bread party. Everyone gets their own loaf, and you don’t have to slice it. You just get a huge side of fancy vinegars and herbs to dip it into. That is something I can get on board with. Anyway, apparently the rest of the world doesn’t share my sentiment, so we ate Italian food. It was alright. I don’t love Italian food these days.

The company was great though! I got to know a few of my teammates a little better (there were a few of us that went), and it was cool to be part of a group. I’ve never done a race while having a coach before. Susan gave us all presents that totally made me all emotional!

Best.Coach.Ever. It’s the small things :)

Me, Coach Susan & Stacey.

The rest of the weekend was spent running, and driving and eating cupcakes. That was my favorite part, obviously. The cupcakes, not the running or driving. Those things were not super fun. Back with more details on the running part soon.

Maui Part 2 (Hike Maui)

Want to know what my very favorite part of my honeymoon was???

LOOK AT ME!!!!! I SWAM TO THE WATERFALL IN FREEZING COLD OPEN WATER!!!! I’M BRAVE!!!!

The all day hike. DUH. Shocking, right? ;) Well, the hiking part wasn’t all day. We did 2 hikes that totaled about 5 miles, so that was actually a pretty short amount the day, but the whole activity including the drive to Hana was all day. 6am-7:30pm of awesomeness.

If you’ve ever been to Maui, you’ve probably heard people talk about “The Road to Hana”. You don’t actually go to Hana, you do The Road to Hana. The road that includes 600 “hair pin turns” and 54 1 lane bridges. That’s why lots of people pay someone to drive them around. That didn’t interest me. I have a husband that gets zero driver anxiety. If I need to get somewhere, I bat my eyelashes and look cute (works every time). However, when I discovered we could do The Road to Hana, and participate in the most challenging hike the Hike Maui brochure offered, I was sold.

Most people spend their time in Maui on the west side of the Island. That’s where places like Lahaina are, and where people do all the touristy things. However, the east side of the island is like a completely different world! The west side looks kind of deserty. When you enter the east side, it’s like being transported into the most gorgeous tropical rainforest! Our guide Randy was incredibly knowledgeable, and in just the drive, I learned so much!

Painted Eucalyptus AKA “Tourist Tree” because they turn red and peel. Haha. Great joke, Maui.

WAVES!! I love the ocean. I’ve always found it to be the most calming, peaceful place.

For our first stop, we put on WATER SHOES!!! What??? We were told to get ready to hike through some mud! I wasn’t quite sure what I had gotten myself into, but I put on my shoes, and sucked it up. Actually, getting muddy was FUN. I used to be all “Wahhh I don’t like to get dirty” and annoying, but I’m branching out, people! The muddy hike was short and steep. It took us to a beautiful waterfall (see the top pic). Everyone started getting in the water and swimming across to it, but I was scared. It was cold. I couldn’t touch the bottom. I’ve never swam across open water (yes, in 27 years–I’m a wimp). Finally, I got the heck out of my own way, and swam to the waterfall, and it was AWESOME!!! I definitely would have regretted it if I’d skipped out.

Our next stop was the famous black sand beach! Soooo cool!

Finally we arrived on the east side of Haleakala, and began our longer hike.

These are the trees they used in Lost to hide from the smoke monster.

This is my I Made It To The Top I’m A Warrior face. I make it often. I like it because there’s no double chin. Randy got me with only 1 chin in every picture. I like that guy.

If you ever find yourself in Maui, I HIGHLY suggest hitting up Hike Maui, requesting Randy, and doing the all day thing. If I were to go back, I would even pay to do it a second time!