Monday, December 15, 2014

Marathon Monday

This past week's theme: WIND. Oh my goodness was it windy. You might remember that I was having a rough go of it last week. I rebounded pretty well. I did my long run for the week last Sunday. That's when I thought it was windy (Wednesday hadn't happened yet). It was pretty chilly out, but kind of sunny. I got dressed and stood on my porch for a couple minutes to make sure my outfit was weather appropriate. I thought it was, but then I left my porch and found out I probably should have a warmer top on. The first two miles of that run was like running in a wind tunnel, but the wind was swirling. Crazy. During mile six I think the wind chill was frostbite like. I was very happy to finish after eight miles.

My other two runs this week were after school on Monday and Wednesday. Monday was cold, but fine. I just did a quick 3.14 miles around my school. Wednesday was so cold and so windy. There was one point on my Wednesday run where I swear I wasn't moving forward. The wind was so strong. I felt like maybe my miles should count double. I was so disappointed on Friday...I wanted to try to do some miles, but when I went to go change after work I realized I had forgotten my running stuff at home. Ooops! I guess 14.77 miles is better than the 7ish last week. There is now under one month left until my race, 25 days to be exact!

On a side note, I was feeling lazy and not so motivated on Saturday evening when I was thinking about my long run for Sunday. Then I got this very kind text from a friend. Big thanks to Chris Miller for helping me find some optimism and helping me get my self in gear.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas at The White House

The Cross Hall and Grand Foyer with the Blue Room tree in the background
Yesterday Matt and I went to the White House! Back in July, when we were on a mission to be tourists in our own city, we asked for a tour. I suggested Christmas time so that we could see it all decorated. Little did we know at the time that it would be perfect timing with the program that we went to at the Archives on Thursday. The program definitely helped me spot details and know a little bit extra background information.

The Blue Room's 18 foot tree, decorated with the theme America the Beautiful
Close up of the 2,000 ornaments
This post is going to be few on words and heavy on pictures. Overall the tour was only OK. It is self guided and you don't get to see much of the White House. I suppose security really should be the priority. And speaking of security, it took us longer to actually get into the White House than the time we actually spent inside. Those things mentioned, I'm still glad we went. The decorations are very beautiful and the whole place smelled so good. It really just smelled like you think Christmas should smell! And obviously it's really neat to be inside. I leave you with the rest of the pictures and the details I remember :)

The White House Library
Vermeil Room
The China Room, decorated with Gingerbread Cookies

The East Room
The State Dining Room displayed the decorating theme this year, Winter Wonderland
The 300 pound Gingerbread White House 
A close-up of the trees in the Cross Hall and Grand Foyer
The icicles, snowflakes, and stars on the trees and trims represent a child's wonder
In front of The White House, we didn't even have to jump the fence!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Love

This week was so busy! My little friends at school are keeping me on my toes, and I'm sure they will be making sure to do so next week too. I have definitely earned my weekend. We are taking a trip to the White House tomorrow! I'm really excited, and I can't wait to share more about it on my blog soon. Have a great weekend!


Soup Exchange Party. I read about {this} idea for a winter party on another blog earlier this week. I love this idea! I'm thinking about trying with my friends after the holidays. Anyone want to join me?


Marcel the Shell. This might be the most ridiculous thing I have seen, but also the cutest. I was laughing out loud on multiple occasions. I even watched the other two videos. I don't even like YouTube videos. Oh, Marcel.


Our Christmas Tree. I was feeling a little grinchy and had kinda decided to forgo a Christmas tree this year. I thought we wouldn't be home enough to enjoy it, and it's always such a process to bring all the stuff out and then to put it all away. I had a change of heart last weekend and decided we would forgo all other decor, but put up the tree. I suppose it was a good idea.


Our Fireplace. The day we put up the tree, we also decided to turn on our fireplace. Best idea ever! We have been enjoying it ever since. I'm only slightly terrified about the bill I am going to receive as a result.


The whole panel
History of the Holidays at the White House. Last night Matt and I went to the Archives to listen to a panel talk about decorating the White House for the holidays. It was the perfect event for us. It had history for Matt, and decorating and Tim Gunn for me. The other panelists included Lynda Johnson Robb (daughter of LBJ), Genevieve Gorder from HGTV, former White House Chief Usher Gary Walters, and Coleen Christian Burke, author of Christmas with the First LadiesEach of the panelists had some experience being in the White House during the holidays. My favorite part was listening to the stories of the White House Usher and the author of the book. I really liked that even though the program was very historical the panel kept it funny and entertaining. It was a lot of fun!

Lynda Johnson Robb's stocking from LBJ's last year in office

Monday, December 8, 2014

Marathon Monday

So here's the truth. Sometimes I still strongly dislike running. Sometimes I have no motivation. Sometimes the weather is crappy. And sometimes miles just don't really fit into the schedule. Last week was alllll of these things. Then there was the fact that I was just being super negative about training.

I just felt very 'done' with the training process last week. I was wishing I could have already run the half marathon and just not have to worry about getting these miles in. I think my schedule was just off with traveling to Pittsburgh and then hosting Matt's family for an extended Thanksgiving celebration. I'm glad to say I am already back on track and in a more positive mood this week. I need that attitude to last at least another 32 days!

The very short two runs that I did do last week were after school. Neither of them were great, and one was in the rain. I'm disappointed in my 7.16 miles, but at the same time, if I'm trying to be positive, I guess that's better than none. Here's to a better month ahead!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanksgiving Break

We had a wonderful time visiting Pittsburgh over the Thanksgiving holiday. In addition to spending Thanksgiving day with our family, we were also able to take advantage of some Pittsburgh culture and a last minute side trip to Penn State. 

Warhol's Silver Clouds
We ended up getting a little bit of a bonus day the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Matt had already taken the day off from work so we could leave around lunch time when I was finished with school. We changed our minds on Tuesday evening when winter weather was predicted for our route to Pittsburgh. We decided to take our extra day and spend it at the Andy Warhol Museum downtown.
Silk Screenings
The museum is seven floors completely dedicated to the life and artwork of Warhol. It is recommended that you take the elevator to the top of the museum and work your way down. That's what we did. What I really liked about the museum was the way that it was organized, each floor showed a decade of Andy Warhol's life. I also liked going and looking at Warhol's artwork that was recognizable and relatable to someone like me. I felt like the museum also did a good job showcasing Warhol's other endeavors and the events in his life as well. They also made connections between the artwork and American culture at the time. 

Warhol's Screen Tests
On Friday we were able to go to the Penguins game with my parents. We had tickets that were right on the ice. We had a good time watching and feeling like we were part of the action. We had a lot of hockey players being shoved into us and pucks flying at the glass. It was a little bit scary, but definitely really cool. I don't think there is any other sport where you can get so close to the action.

Saturday we took an impromptu trip to Penn State. My sister was given some extra tickets and Matt and I decided to take advantage of them. We arrived in State College right before game time, so we didn't have much time to spend in town or tailgating, but since it was so cold that probably worked out for the best. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see a very good game, but it's always fun and exciting to be in Beaver Stadium and to visit Penn State!

After the game we drove back to Virginia. It was a long day, but definitely worth it. Now we are back into the work routine and looking forward to Christmas break! Only 2.5 more weeks!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Marathon Monday

2014 Pittsburgh Turkey Trot
My training schedule was quite action packed this past week! I started out my week with a long run on Sunday. It was a little rough keeping the motivation to get out of bed and get started, but once I got going things went very well. I did 10 miles...the longest I have gone by myself in a long time. And it was at my fastest pace ever for that distance! 

Tuesday I was determined to get some miles in before leaving for our Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh. I dragged my friend along with me. We had just enough time for two miles before the sun was gone. The sunset that night was beautiful. Below is just one stage of it. 

Benefits of Daylight Savings Running
Thanksgiving morning I had signed up for the Pittsburgh Turkey Trot 5 miler. Last Thanksgiving I participated in the 5k race and it was FREEZING. I was very happy that while it wasn't warm, it wasn't 8 degrees. The weather ended up actually being pretty close to perfect for running. I really enjoyed the first 3-4 miles of the race, but after that it got a little redundant. We kept having to loop around the same area. I finished the race in under my goal time. The race also made me really hungry for Thanksgiving dinner!

Finally, on Saturday I decided to try the treadmill in my parents' basement. It was a nice reminder that the treadmill is just not for me. I stuck it out for four miles. All the while fretting that I would fall off or bore myself to death. Luckily, neither happened. Later that day I added four more miles gallivanting the Penn State campus.

I am also pleased to report that the beginning of this week brought us into the threes for my Runcation countdown! After my 25.2 miles this week we are down to 38 days! So exciting!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Recipe of the Week!

Turkey Cheesecake
Don't know what to do with your leftover turkey from Thursday? Well this is delicious and different. This fabulous recipe is brought to you by the Rimkus Family. I know turkey cheesecake may not sound the most appealing, but trust me, it's good. This recipe is also very simple to make. The hardest part is waiting patiently for it to finish baking. It can also be made with chicken. If you have a springform pan, that would be the best thing to use. My mom didn't have one, so I just used a stone pie dish and it worked out just fine.

12 oz. French onion dip
Three 8 oz. packages cream cheese
4 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp dill
1.5-2 pounds shredded, cooked turkey
Cranberry sauce

Beat together cream cheese, onion dip, dill, and flour. Once combined beat in one egg at a time. Fold in turkey. Place batter in a lightly greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour and a half, or until a knife comes out clean. Serve with cranberry sauce on the side.