Happy 1 Year!

…to my blog!

Yesterday, September 23rd, was the one year anniversary of the very first blog post on Cait Strides. I had the idea to start this blog as a way to keep me accountable for marathon training and [as a picky eater] trying new foods. It has turned into so much more than that and has truly been a pleasure to write nearly everyday. It’s been a pretty crazy year with so many up’s and down’s. Of course, it’s impossible for me to share every aspect of my life on this blog, but I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and share a few highlights from the past year:

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The First Post – chronicling a bit about my life and how I became such a picky eater/my desire for change (Sept 2011)

Life of a runner – explaining my love-to-hate relationship with running (Sept 2011)

Hawaii Trip!! – when I went to visit a good friend who is living in Hawaii (Oct 2011)

Graduating from the kiddie menu – my first Chipotle experience (Oct 2011)

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse – Run For Your Lives post race report (Oct 2011)

Experimenting in the kitchen – first time making pizza dough (Nov 2011)

On Life, and Death – serious contemplation on life and what it means to fully live (Nov 2011)

Ran Philadelphia – marathon #2 in the books! (Nov 2011)

Truly becoming a Maryland-er – making the most delicious crab pizza (Dec 2011)

Discovering my inner hipster – I’m even too cool for this post (Dec 2011)

New Years Eve in NYC – easily one of the craziest nights of my life and one I won’t forget any time soon (Dec 2011/Jan 2012)

Weight – announcing my struggles with weight and committing to lose weight (Jan 2012) – for the record, I’m 15 lbs lighter! WOO!

It’s not always rainbows and butterflies – sometimes life is hard (Feb 2012)

Things I love – a different kind of Valentine’s Day (Feb 2012)

Shamrockin’ the races – Post race Shamrock Half and PR report (March 2012)

Monument Ave 10k – another race recap (March 2012)

Kristina’s visit! – my BFF from Washington came to visit for a weekend in DC, we had a blast (April 2012)

It’s a BOY!! – my sister and bro-in-law find out they’re having a boy! (April 2012)

Livin’ the Sweet Life – hanging out at the Sweet Life Festival (April 2012)

Memorial Day Weekend – Instagramming my entire life away (May 2012)

USA vs. Brazil Soccer game/vacation #1 to Myrtle Beach – kicking off summer the right way (June 2012)

Lindsey’s Bachelorette Party – girls just want to have fun (June 2012)

Erin’s baby shower – spending the weekend with my family celebrating my sister (July 2012)

4th of July – a low key 4th of July celebration at my parent’s house (July 2012)

Myrtle Beach Vacation #2 – Post 1, Post 2, Post 3 my family is crazy and I love them (July 2012)

Debating chicken and teal pants – in the same post, impressive! (August 2012)

Mumford & Sons and Kyle is born! – best weekend of summer, easily (August 2012)

Rockin’ and Rollin’ in VA Beach – Rock ‘n Roll VA Beach sweeeeaty post-race recap (Sept 2012)

Remembering 9/11 – never forget (Sept 2012)

Thank you so much to everyone who has continued to read and support Cait Strides. I have appreciated each and every one of your messages, comments, and feedback! Writing this blog has truly been a pleasure; I hope you enjoy reading my ridiculous quips as much as I enjoy writing them.

I’m looking forward to blogging another crazy year of my life: more races, running, cooking, new foods, and general fun with my favorite people. Get ready.

Thank you!

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Myrtle Beach Pt. 3 + Sugarland

Fortunately, no more scary plane crashes to report. The rest of our week at Myrtle Beach proved to be relaxing and fun!

Weather wise, we couldn’t have picked a nicer week. Not even one day of rain! The last two days were a bit windy, to the point where the sand was blowing all up in your face. On those two days we enjoyed a bit of time at the pool.

Check out this crazy perspective! Looking up from the pool deck.

Without question, one of the spots my family hits every year is Hawaiian Rumble mini golf. It’s our favorite course! Previous years have included getting caught in rainstorms, me getting escorted out by my mom (I was really young and threw a tantrum during a difficult put, give me a break), and nail biting finishes down to the last hole! This year proved no less, just fewer tantrums…by some. At the last hole my brother, Jackie, Brook, and I were all within one putt of each other. My brother won…boooo! At least we all beat Grammy. 🙂

Mr. Bunny went a little cray the last night!

Okay, now before you go judging me, thinking I’m all weird (because I know you don’t already think that) my mom has this ceramic bunny that sat untouched in the living room for about 20 years. During their recent move, my brother aptly named him Mr. Bunny and has been moving him to various locations around the house. Mr. Bunny will randomly pop up on the couch reading my mom’s kindle, sometimes he shows up in the bathroom brushing his hair, other times he’s at the dinner table with a fork in his paw, the options are limitless. He joined us on his very first family vacation and showed us what YOLO was all about.

Now I’m sure you’re way less weirded out…I don’t care. My family rules.

As luck would have it, my good friends Marcus and Lindsey were also at the beach the same week! They were staying in a house with Marcus’ family just 15 miles away at Sunset Beach.

Sunset at Sunset Beach

They graciously invited Brook and I to visit and we had an awesome time eating Mexican food, drinking margaritas, playing cornhole, and walking the pier. Check it out, someone caught a shark!

They have the same facial expression.

Speaking of Marcus and Lindsey, remember how I failed at taking pictures the weekend of their wedding? Well, their photographer’s pictures are posted now! Check it out:

Pretty bridesmaids

Goofy groomsmen

Fave!

All pictures were taken by Essential Sunshine Photography. You can see the rest: here.

It was great to see them this past week!

So, anyway, Brook and I decided that we weren’t quite ready for our vacation to end. We had one more day to utilize before heading back to work and we were determined to make the most of it! We found out that Brook’s favorite band, Sugarland, was playing at Jiffy Lube Live on Sunday night. So we found last minute tickets and Brook made the 5 hour drive up to northern VA (and I made the less impressive 45 minute drive).

None of my concert pictures really turned out (do they ever?) but the show was awesome! Super high energy the whole time. I didn’t know too many of the words, but Brook knew them all…die-hard much? The highlight for me was when they busted out a Matt Nathanson cover! He’s one of my favorite artists and I was caught off guard. They rocked it! Jennifer Nettles has an amazing voice, and she was sporting a cute little baby bump too.

Another amazing feat? We got out of the parking lot in less than an hour! Which was great considering Brook needed to drive 5 hours home. Crazy woman. Impromptu concert, SUCCESS!

What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve done lately?

PS. This post is so random. I kinda love it!

MB Vacay Pt. 2: The Plane Crash

Confused by the title of this post? Wondering if it’s a joke? Well, it’s not. I saw a plane crash yesterday.

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We were enjoying a beautiful day on the beach, just like everyday. Brook and I had just returned from a walk, and everyone was hanging out under my family’s tent. All of a sudden, my brother-in-law, Robert says, “Isn’t that plane flying too low?”

I looked up and it all happened so fast. One of those airplanes that carry a banner for the beachwear stores took a nose dive right into the ocean close to the shore. We couldn’t even believe what we saw, my mom actually said, “Is this real?” It was just so wild.

People and lifeguards alike went sprinting into the ocean. I saw the pilot emerge from the plane and wave his arms for help. The lifeguards got to him and pulled him to shore. The tail of the plane bobbed for a few minutes before going under.

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That’s the tail of the plane in the ocean.

Emergency response then showed up, and spent the majority of yesterday blocking that section of the beach off. They still haven’t gotten the plane out of the ocean yet, and to be honest I’m not sure how they plan to do it.

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It was crazy to witness something like that, but at the same time I feel very fortunate that no one was hurt. I’m happy the pilot survived and was okay. I’m also thankful that he landed off shore rather than on the beach considering so many people could have been hurt. Craziest thing I’ve ever witnessed.

Anyway on to happier things. Besides that, the trip has been enjoyable. Last night we went to Liberty Brewery and Steakhouse. I got the largest rack of ribs I’ve ever seen in my life. They were awesome though!

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We’ve also been to Fat Tuesday for drinks a few times. It’s awesome now that everyone is 21 and we can all (well except my sister because she’s pregnant) go out for drinks together. My mom is obsessed with the jello shots!

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The only downfall to the trip is that it’s been so crowded everywhere we go. It took us 30 minutes the other night just to find parking at Broadway at the Beach! And most times, because there’s so many people using the network, my cell phone service has been spotty. Those are things I can live with though.

Well, I’m about to go ride a banana boat now. Let’s hope that today is less eventful than yesterday!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen?

Myrtle Beach Vacation Pt. 1

Hello from super, sunny Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!

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The weather has been beautiful thus far. Hot, but not a cloud in the sky!

Rewind back to Friday, my family woke up at the crack of dawn (aka 5:30am) to pack up and start the 9 hour drive from Maryland to South Carolina.

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Check out that sweet packing job.

The trip felt loooong. I got pretty bored, despite the fact that 90% of the time I was jamming out to 90’s pop music. My poor family.

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Anyway, the drive was worth it because vacation has been AWESOME so far.

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We’ve been lounging by the beach most of the day. The only time we really spend in the condo is the hour we go up for lunch.

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At night we typically go out to eat.

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And drink.

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The motto of the week (somewhat ironically) is YOLO!

Last night we went to Carolina Roadhouse, which is a restaurant I discovered last time I was at the beach just a few months ago. We enjoyed some delicious margaritas (seriously, they are the best ever).

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After dinner, we usually play mini golf.

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Adam may have gotten a hole in one on this whole, but just ask him who the overall winner was. Hint: it was me!

Marathon training in vacation mode has proved to be somewhat interesting. But I packed my running shoes and have been able to do about 6 miles in the morning before the beaches get crowded. Beach running is tougher than regular running, mainly on the calves. And the fact that I sweat just about a gallon of water out of my body just by taking my first step.

Oh well, I’m pretty psyched it’s only Monday. I still have a whole week to work on my tan…which is coming along nicely, for the record.

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Gotta go enjoy the sun!

What do you usually do on vacation?

USA vs Brazil + Myrtle Beach

Guess who just got back from a 4 day weekend? If you guessed me, then congratulations, you’re a winner! I took a bit of a technology hiatus this weekend while I was kickin’ it at Myrtle Beach and it was SO nice. I might have to do that more often, it was a much needed break!

But first, let’s rewind back to Wednesday for the USA vs Brazil soccer match. A few months ago I found a deal on Livingsocial for 50% off Club Level tickets. The deal was just too good to pass up, so I bought them! The only downfall was that game day was on a Wednesday night. Luckily, we crept our way around rush hour traffic somehow and ended up at FedEx field with enough time to have a solid tailgate.

My only complaint was that it didn’t last longer! 2 hours flew by and before we knew it, it was time to go in.

Livingsocial seriously hooked us up with these seats. The Club Level was a lot nicer/less crowded than other areas of the venue. The bathrooms were cleaner, there were lounge areas where you could sit in the air conditioning and watch the game (if you needed to), and you could see the whole field from our view without being too far into the nosebleeds. The game itself was not anything to write home about. The only shining moment came with the lone USA goal to make it a 2-1 game, but in the end Brazil ended up blowing us out of the water: 4-1. Oh well, the outcome was expected. It was still a fun event for a Wednesday night!

The next morning I woke up bright and early to prepare for a full day of driving down to Myrtle Beach. Luckily, I really only had to drive 2 hours by myself to Richmond where I met up with Jim. He drove the remainder of the way. I like being the passenger on long road trips!

Apparently when boredom strikes, my swag comes out in full force.

We stayed at the Schooner II Beach & Racquet Club in Myrtle Beach, which honestly, I would recommend to anyone looking for a place. The rooms were huuuuuuge. We got a one bedroom condo, but could have easily slept 6 since there were a pull out couch AND some rando bunk beds. Plus there was a full kitchen and a sweet balcony that overlooked the ocean.

Balcony View

Aside from Jim’s epic sunburn (which he forbid me to photograph, LAME), the trip was a relaxation success. One of the best parts about going on vacation is, of course, the free license to essentially eat whatever the hell you want. The first night we had pizza from Mellow Mushroom, which I had never been to (but upon further research, I’ve learned that there is one located in DC! Definitely going to have to hit that up soon) but is apparently pretty popular.

This was so good, but I could only eat half. I saved the rest for lunch leftovers for the rest of the week. YUM!

Unfortunately, due to my inadvertent technological hiatus, this was the only food snap shot I took all weekend. Bad, bad blogger! I know. However, other notable eats of the weekend included:

  • Crab dip from Joe’s Crab Shack
  • Coconut Crusted Shrimp also from Joe’s
  • Peanut Butter Cup ice cream from Kirk’s 1890 Ice Cream Parlor (good ice cream, but the place smelled funky)
  • Really good Caesar Salad from Carolina Roadhouse (it came with a croissant drizzled in honey? on the side, whoever thought of that deserves a high five)
  • Marinated Sirloin also from Carolina Roadhouse (marinated in fruit juices, soy sauce, garlic, and spices. You could really taste the fruit juices!!)
  • The best margarita EVER also from Carolina Roadhouse (can you tell I really liked this meal?)

For the record, besides the ice cream and margarita, I wouldn’t have touched these foods with a 10 foot pole before about 2 years ago. It was a pretty adventurous weekend!

To make up for my lack of foodie pictures. Here are some awesome ones of the beach!

So fun.

Anyway, now it’s Monday and that means it’s back to reality. I went for my first run in about 2 weeks today…yikes! It didn’t go so well, but I got to test out my new Garmin watch. So far, so good. It’s slightly confusing to figure out what all the buttons on the bezel do, but I think that’s because I haven’t read the manual yet. I’ll get to it. It’s time to start marathon training again. Also time to resume my diet. Someone has to fit into a bridesmaid’s dress in a few weeks. EEK!

What’s your favorite part about vacation? Food? Relaxing? Sightseeing? Something else?

Fast Friday Update

I’ve been neglecting my little piece of the internet this week, which is very uncharacteristic. I just haven’t had much to write about.

So here are a few things that have been going on this week.

I bought a Garmin Forerunner 410

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Remember how the other week I was inquiring about race watches? Well, the very next day there was a Groupon deal for $100 off the Garmin Forerunner 410. I took it as a sign and bought it on impulse. It should be here within the next few days; I am ridiculously excited to try out my new toy.

I signed up for another half marathon

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I’m running the Rock ‘n Roll in VA Beach for the third time this September. This race is fun, although it can get a little crowded on the course. The only reason I’m really signing up is because Train is the headliner this year for the concert. I ❤ their music!

RunDisney unveiled the new marathon course for the 20th Anniversary Disney World Marathon

Words cannot express how excited I am about this course. I loved running the marathon in 2011, although, admittedly the course got slightly boring because you spend a lot of time running between the parks on back roads. Disney does a great job filling the lulls with entertainment, but it seems like this new course has even more attraction time! I did slightly groan at the idea of running around a race track (they are on a slight sideways incline which can be painful on your legs), I am dying to know what the surprise at mile 20 is! I really want to try to do the Goofy Challenge this year (ie. run the half on Saturday and the full on Sunday). No, I’m not a crazy runner, not at all.

I booked a BEACH trip!!

Finally taking my first vacation days of the year…I can’t believe it took me until June! I’m heading down to (hopefully) sunny South Carolina in a few weeks. I’m so ready for the beach, beer, mini golf, food, and relaxation time.  Myrtle Beach, here I come!

My heel is giving me problems

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This isn’t as positive as everything else on the list, but my heel has been acting up this week. Every time I run, I have sharp pains in my heel and sometimes they last for an entire day after. I’ve taken it easy with the running this week, but it still hasn’t gone away. My brother (in PT school, so I trust him) says it looks like early signs of plantar fasciitis. I sure hope not because that will put a serious damper on #1-3 on this list!

Happy Friday! Any big weekend plans?