Sunday, March 27, 2011

One goal down!

Yesterday I completed my first half marathon, the "National" Marathon (yipee!!) and, believe it or not, it was actually a really great experience!

Going into yesterday's race I had completed 10 weeks of training that included its fair share of aches, pains, and doubts. At one point I seriously considered stopping my training because I was experiencing the most awful shin splints. But, thanks to encouragement from Chris and my brother, Will, I got over the pain and doubts. After successful 8- and 9-mile runs over the last month, I realized that I could finish the race, but I didn't think it was going to pretty. Especially after my last long run of 10.5 miles, which didn't go so well. I finished, but it was hard. Really hard. I knew I could finish the Half, but I had a feeling that it would be hard and I would struggle.

Race day came before I knew it. I wasn't really nervous, but more anxious. I wanted it to start, and I wanted it to be all over so that I would know the outcome. I would know if I prepared for the race as well as I could have, or, if I wasn't cut-out for this long-distance running thing . . .

And . . . it went well! Really really well! Not only did I finish the race as I had wanted, but I also finished with the time of 2:07! (I had hoped to run less than 10-minute miles, but to have actually done it feels awesome!)

Here's a map of the course, which was really fabulous and made getting through those miles easier!

View Larger Map

As you might be able to see, we got to run right past the Library of Congress, the Capitol, and Union Station. Past Smithsonian museums, the Washington Monument, and the White House! (I was secretly hoping Obama would be out cheering us on!) I ran past some old workplaces - the Hall of States and the Department of the Interior - and some great neighborhoods - Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, Columbia Heights, and H St. NE. We even ran through Howard University's campus, who provided the runners with 2 DJs playing old school hip-hop, which was a huuuuuge pick-me-up around the 8th/9th miles.

Here are some photos Chris took:

Corral 6 and RFK Stadium (where I started)

In the middle of the "Connecticut Ave/Kalorama Climb" (I was slowing down to hand Chris my headband!)

Me, next to the mummy guy. Chris told me I was going faster than he thought I'd be going at this point (10-mile mark-ish)

After finishing! "I ran through history." Love it.
One of the most memorable moments was when a woman, most likely a tourist, yelled to us, "You're almost there!" A little after the 3-mile mark. Myself, along with a few other runners around me, had a good laugh over that one! Also, that darn "Connecticut Ave./Kalorama Climb," as I like to call, it kicked my butt. Well, actually my thighs, because boy are they sore today! That chunk of the race was a good 2-3mile climb. And it burned. Buuuur-urned! But, after I got over that hill, I definitely knew I was good to the finish!

Like I mentioned on my resolution goal list, I have always wanted to run a half marathon and I am so so glad I finally did it! I am now seriously considering running one the Marine Corp Historic Half in Fredericksburg, VA on my birthday, and possibly the Virginia Beach Rock n' Roll Half at the end of the summer! (And, I'd love the company if anyone wants to join me!)

Friday, March 18, 2011

My senses tell me it's spring.

My senses are telling me that it's spring-time for Hitler and Ger-manyyy! (Gosh, I love The Producers!) I know that spring doesn't technically begin until this weekend, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that spring is officially here! (And, watch it snow tomorrow.) My senses are just telling me so . . .
  1. I can smell spring. Spring has a certain smell, right? It could be the smell after those first big rainstorms of the season. Or, it's probably just the smell of compost and mulch that people are putting on their gardens . . . mmm?
  2. I can taste spring. Kinda. I swear I smelled some barbeque yesterday, which got me salivating for that spring and summer food. Mm mmmm.
  3. I can feel spring. It is supposed to get up to 75 degrees today. I did not take a coat/jacket to work. And, my office window is open (and it's not to offset the unbearable heat from the radiator.)
  4. I can hear spring. No sounds mean spring more to me than the clank of hurdles and the scuffle of feet on a track! And, since I walk past a high school track everyday on my way home from work and the high school team's been out practicing, it must mean it's spring!
  5. And, drumroll . . . I see spring! Color! Flowers! Life beyond the drab greenish brown of winter! (which also means Chris and I need to get cracking on our own "color"/garden . . . )
Daffodils? Tulips? I don't care, it's some color!
Now, my St. Louis readers, I know you guys got some snow this week, but I promise spring will be there soon too ; )

Happy Spring everyone!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras!

Happy Mardi Gras!!

Mm mmmm, King Cake!
Happy Fat Tuesday everyone!! The only thing I will be doing to enjoy Fat Tuesday will be eating a few bites slices of that King Cake since loads of yummy, and most likely unhealthy foods, are not really conducive to my running now that I'm getting into higher mileages. Lots King Cake and other indulgences = baaaad 5 mile run tonight. Boo.

But, since today is Fat Tuesday, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday for all of us Catholic-folk out there. I've never really been that good about my Lenten promises, but maybe I'll think of something good that I can stick with this year . . .

I could give up fast food? Devote an hour a day to reading non-school work? Less TV? I could try giving up french fries, again? (the first time I gave up french fries I ended up getting a kidney stone in the middle of Lent, and so of course I had to have french fries to make me feel better!) I could make sure I "sweat" (exercise) every day? Anyway, decisions, decisions . . .

Any ideas?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How to . . . move from Wordpress to Blogger

While I know pretty much none of my readers will be interested in this post, I must write it for any other lost souls out there searching the internet for instructions on how to move their own blog from Wordpress to Blogger.

When I googled "how to move blog from Wordpress to Blogger," I got a TON of articles/blog posts/etc. about moving from Blogger to Wordpress, but a very limited selection of instructions for leaving Wordpress to go to Blogger. (Apparently it is very easy to go to Wordpress, but more difficult to leave it!) That is, until I found this website: Wordpress2Blogger Conversion.

It is really simple:
  1. Login to your WordPress account and navigate to the Dashboard for the blog that you'd like to transfer to Blogger.
  2. Scroll down the left-hand navigation bar to Tools and click on it.
  3. Underneath Tools, 'Import,' 'Export,' and 'Delete Site' are listed. Click on the Export link.
  4. Choose your filters and download the WordPress WXR export file by clicking on Download Export File. Save this file to your local machine.
  5. Then, using Wordpress2Blogger Conversion, browse to that saved document and click Convert
  6. Save the converted file to your local machine.
  7. From there, you can log-in to Blogger, click on the Create a Blog link from the user dashboard, and then click on the Import Blog Tool and follow the instructions. 
  8. OR, if you are like me and already created your blog, you can log-in to Blogger, and go to Settings for the blog on your Dashboard. The first options under the Basic tab are to 'Import,' 'Export,' and 'Delete Blog,' so go ahead and Import the converted file you saved.

Now, I had read that by doing this, you would lose all of your blog's comments and that was a consequence I was willing to take, but I actually didn't lose any of my blogs comments!

However, you will lose your stats and whatnot, since it is a whole new url/blog, but again, I didn't mind that. ALSO, the Wordpress2Blogger Conversion only allows downloads smaller than 1MB (I've read that 1MB is about 50 posts), so if you have a lot of posts, you might have to export, convert, and import multiple times to migrate all of it. Lastly, I did have to go through my posts to verify that the formatting and images looked ok, which took a little bit extra time, but all-in-all it was a SUPER easy switch. AND, I am SUPER glad that I did it!

I hope this helps anyone out there as lost and nervous as I was making this switch!

OWL's New Home on Blogger!

Welcome to Our Washington Life's (OWL's - cute acronym, right?) new home at Blogger!

I am really indecisive, as I've mentioned here, but thanks to some "inner soul searching" on my part, and some long email, gchat, and phone conversations with Danielle, I decided to move our blog from Wordpress to here!

While I know that Wordpress offers a huge amount of flexibility and options, and that many professional bloggers and "web-people" like love Wordpress, I was just not feelin' it...

First, I felt like my design was boring. I made it as fun as I could, but without paying Wordpress for more options and design flexibility, AND, without knowing enough about HTML and CSS to design something "cooler" anyway, it made making a funner more fun blog pretty impossible for me. (Plus, as much as I would love to learn all of that web-designy stuff, my goals list is already pretty long!)

Secondly, the whole point of this blog was to share Our Washington Life with our family and friends all over the country. It wasn't about using "the best" blogging platform. And, it certainly wasn't about me conquering the intricacies of said blogging platform. The whole point was for me (and hopefully Chris soon!) to write, and share, and communicate with our friends and family. It was supposed to be fun for us, not frustrating!

So, weclome to OWL's new home on Blogger!  Please bookmark our blog, subscribe to it, and share it because it's for you!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

Well, since I've done my run for the day, I've finished my readings and assignments for this week of class, and Glee isn't on tonight, I figured I'd update you on our Washington Life.

I have to say, I'm pretty proud of our past weekend. I went into it just planning on running a few errands (and run a few 8 miles), but I didn't have any plans beyond that.  Usually weekends of errands (and long runs) don't end up being anything worth writing about, but for some reason this weekend was different. It can most likely be attributed to the awesome spring weather. Or, my successful 8 mile run (4 weeks until my half marathon!) in the nice spring weather. Or, the bargains we scored shopping in the lovely spring weather. Did I mention the awesome spring weather?

Yes, we experienced our first nice weekend day of 2011. So nice that we were able to walk around on Sunday without coats on! It makes me really really look forward to the rest of the warm spring weekends up ahead, Yipee!! Here's what we did on our nice weekend:

  • Succesfully completed my 8 mile run in Rock Creek Park! It's like running through the forest following a creek, but with plenty of other runners, walkers, and cyclists to "people watch"!

  • Bargain-shopped at Michael's for pictures frames and a mat for a house project I am working on. Hopefully, I can finish it this weekend to share with everyone, but, as a teaser, it includes nineteenth century maps of KC and St. Louis and a vintage postcard of Washington, DC . . .

  • Bargain-"ate" at Chipotle thanks to the BOGO (buy one, get one) given away at the America's Next Great Restaurant Facebook page just for watching a 1:31 video. Easy, shmeezy! Do it!!

  • Bargain-shopped at Goodwill. It was a spontaneous stop on our way home from Chipotle, but we ended up scoring 9 books for $1 each AND a 2-drawer filing cabinet for, get this, $10!!

  • Enjoyed an IHOP breakfast. Although, our IHOP has started including the caloric values of the menu items. Which is really depressing. Especially after conquering those 8 miles the day before...

  • Bargain-shopped at Bed, Bath, & Beyond for a humidifier and other home goods. Chris was able to finally get his "dream" humidifier, thanks to a 20% off coupon, and now we can stop shocking our kitties when they demand lovin!

  • Checked out an open house in our Petworth neighborhood . . . getting ideas for our own home, and scoping out the "competition." (We think our house is better, and it cost less!)

  • OH, and we got Girl Scout Cookies!!!! (Long story, but Chris owed me some Thin Mints.)

  • We capped off our weekend by watching the Oscars. The critics didn't like it too much, but I didn't think it was any worse than previous years . . .

How was your weekend? I know it's Tuesday already, but I hope everyone's weekends were as nice as ours . . . If not, only 3 more days until the next weekend!
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