Cherry Blossom Madness

Yep, I did it. I made the mistake of attending the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. on one of the two weekend peak bloom dates. I don’t think I have ever been in the midst of such a humongous crowd! It was madness, just trying to get from Point A to Point B. People clogged and flooded the sidewalks and pathways. It was impossible to get a clear shot.

I’m thinking this is one of those times where I can say I did it, and I’m not going to do it again (at least not on a weekend). Lesson learned. Scratch it off the bucket list!

I thought I would share some of the pictures I managed to get. Hope you enjoy them!

Spring is Almost Here

We’ve had some warm days sprinkled in of late…they have me so anxious for spring. I can’t wait for the blooming flowers and for the bunny rabbits to return. Yes, I’m sure I’m crazy (and do remind me I typed that when my allergies explode), but I love this time of year. The fresh scent in the air, the longer days, the promise of summer’s warmth.

Before I get too sidetracked, I’m going to share a photo and a poem to help herald Spring’s arrival later this week. The poem is Spring, the sweet spring by Thomas Nashe. I found it http://www.poetryfoundation.org. They are a great resource! Be sure to check them out sometime.

Chatam_Topaz

Spring, the sweet spring

BY THOMAS NASHE

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
      Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
*
The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
      Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
*
The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
      Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!
            Spring, the sweet spring!
*
Ignore the stars between stanzas, please. WordPress and I were doing battle. The * was the only way I could get the spacing correct. Forgive me, Mr. Nashe.

Marine Corps 10K

The_Liaison_Room_ReflectionI had a fun, yet rushed weekend in Washington D.C. I’m going to share some of my photos from the short trip. I went down Saturday afternoon, checked into The Liaison on Capitol Hill, and picked up my packet from the spacious runner’s expo at the D.C. Armory – lots of vendors and goodies to look at *grins*. Dinner was at La Tasca, a tapas restaurant in Chinatown (you know from my previous adventures, how entertaining Chinatown can be. It didn’t disappoint this time!). Unfortunately my fav restaurant, Graffiato, was packed. The food at La Tasca was great and worked perfectly for a pre-race meal.La_Tasca

Oh, I forgot to mention that I saw my “dream” car at the hotel. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of it. You know, to remember it by since I will never own one! What do you think? Does this car make your “win the lottery car purchase”? In case you can’t see the symbol on the hood, it’s a Bentley. An oh so beautiful Bentley.

Bentley

Sunday was a crazy mess! We gave ourselves an hour to get from the hotel to the race. The Metro chart said it would take 15 minutes on the train to get to the race start. Surely an hour would be long enough, even with the single tracking on the Red Line. Nothing like being wrong. We waited 32 minutes for the Red Line Metro. As we exited the Metro station, the Marine at the top kindly reminded us that the start of the race was imminent. Of course, I needed to pee (sorry, if that’s TMI), and the lines at the few port-a-johns were long. As in very long. Ugh. With a minute to race time, I made the decision I would find a place to pee on the course. Well, that minute passed by super quickly, and I found myself dashing to catch-up with the walkers at the back of the race pack.

Post-race selfie
Post-race selfie

That first mile was a challenge. The streets were clogged with walkers and slower runners. It took me some time to make my way through them. I will spare you the details of the 6.2 mile course. Suffice to say, I didn’t get to pee until after I finished (oh, it was painful!), and I didn’t like the steep uphill finish. The Marines along the course – oorah! It was such a good feeling! When the Marine placed the Finisher’s medal on my neck, I was both proud and honored.

Overall, I’m glad I did the race. My time was decent, and given the complications of the morning, I’ll take it. I ran the race in 58:14. Since it sounds cool, I’ll share that I placed 75th out of 571 runners in my age group.

If you have the chance to do the race, I’d recommend it. The Marathon always has a huge draw. Unfortunately a knee injury will never allow me to run a full marathon. At least I got to feel the excitement of the 10K.

runwithmarines MCM

Last, but not least by any means: I’m dedicating my run to one of my coworkers, who is in ICU and not doing well. This one was for you, Charlie!

Vacation Week in Review

So, you may have noticed that I’ve been oddly silent this week. Well, there’s a very good reason for that – Vacation!! Whoo hoo!!

IMG_20140805_154640I managed to find a backwoods spot where there is no cell service in the town (as least my provider has no towers in the area). That was not a bad thing at all. I didn’t miss not being able to make phone calls. Now, I shouldn’t make it sound like I was completely disconnected. The B&B where I stayed had WiFi so I did manage to check social media and text.

Are you ready for the Review??

Monday: I arrived in Marlinton, West Virginia. I quickly learned there were basically 2 restaurants in town (not counting Dairy Queen). I also learned that the local IGA grocery store was poorly stocked and expensive – try $2.59 for a QUART of milk. I explored the Greenbrier River Trail on foot and saw lots of wildlife.

Tuesday: Cycling! The ride was just over 25 miles from Cass back to Marlinton. The rail trail was in good shape and Mother Nature sprinkled some rain, but thankfully no thunderstorms or heavy downpours.IMG_20140806_165215

Wednesday: More riding. This time almost 33 miles. There was some backtracking involved to ride through the Droop Mountain tunnel, but all in all it was a good day. The trail wasn’t crowded either day, and the scenery was fabulous!

Thursday: Time to head home, but first . . . a stop at Beartown State Park to see the awesome rock formations, then a trip to the Cranberry Glades to see the bogs, and finally a hike to the Falls of Hills Creek (the thunderstorms must not have hit this area as the falls weren’t as impressive as I expected).

Friday: Laundry and recovery!! Until the evening when I ran a local 5K. I have to admit that I had an awesome race. I really pushed myself. I’ve never been a fast runner, but I’m trying now that my knee won’t allow me to tackle half marathons. My first mile in this race was at an 8:20 pace. I ended up finishing in 27:21. Almost to my goal of a sub 27 minute 5K.

So, in between all the exercise, I have been reading. I finished Darkness Rises (Immortal Guardians #4) by Dianne Duvall and Running Wild (Havoc, #1) by S.E. Jakes.

Darkness Rises is a PNR, and I awarded it 4.5 stars out of 5. I am completely hooked on the Immortal Guardians.

Running Wild is an m-m romance filled with bad boys and motorcycles. I awarded it 3.5 stars out of 5. While I liked Sean and Ryker, Prophet and Tommy still hold my heart captive.

What’s in store for the rest of the weekend, you ask? Well, trying to get myself back on a “work” sleep schedule in addition to writing and maybe some biking (yes, my legs are going to completely hate me soon!).

One more picture to end the post!

IMG_20140807_205323