Sunday, October 31, 2010

Perfect Autumn Afternoon

We had a perfect autumn afternoon on the trails at Minor Park. It was the most perfect weather, with perfect company and perfect surroundings. If you haven't been out to Minor Park, I'm hesitant to recommend it. One of the reasons I LOVE THIS PLACE is that there is hardly ever anyone there. Pete doesn't need to be on a leash, and we always have so much fun!

Once you get on the mail trail from the trailhead, there's this weird metal thing that at one time I"m sure served a great purpose. Now, its just a hot spot for graffiti. Fitting graffiti though. :-)

The Blue River runs through the park and there are a few spots that really overlook the water. This is probably 25 feet above the creek and BDR is afraid of heights! Peter would get close to the edge and BDR got so nervous.

This is one of the most scenic spots on the trail, with great rock seats to take in the views.

Needless to say, we love our new iPhones and are really enjoying getting some good use out of them.

I'm obviously in a great mood from a great afternoon!

And Peter is exhausted from the several-mile hike!

While we're at it, this is a taste of something I have to put up with every night. Growing up, we'd have group therapy sessions with our dogs after dinner. Sitting around the table, we'd listen to a similar whine and bark and attribute it to some issues the pups needed to work out. Now, I'm not so sure, but there is definitely something he's trying to communicate!

And one last taste of the dramatic gopher... if you don't think this is funny - watch it a few more times!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An oldie but a goodie

So I can't believe this was about 6 or so years ago! Sean has gotten so big! He's 7 now, in the 2nd grade, but can still make me smile just as much as he did when this was live.

Enjoy. May your bad day now be made better!

I miss it.

I miss racing.

Not because I'm any good at it. Not for the PR's. Not for the medals.

But for the sweat.

And the fun.

And the heart-healthy benefits.

And the feeling of accomplishment and pride.

And the bit of soreness afterwards.

So how do I get myself motivated to train, keep training and make the entry fee a little more worthwhile? That is the question. Do I set up a race schedule for next year? A couple half mary's, maybe a half iron? Maybe just some 5ks?

I went to the actual gym this morning. And, let me say, BLAH. A run with Peter is a way better use of my time. A swim would've been good, but the pool was TINY. I've also recently gotten the P90X system, and I've thought about doing that. I'm just worried about my commitment level.  Hmm. Things to ponder.

In other news, my new pants are bleeding all over my hands. This dark-washed denim slack ain't sticking where it should!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mountain Climbers and Frosting Truckers

Sunday we celebrated BDR's little brother's 17th birthday - at an indoor rock wall!

I had no idea this place existed. Its a huge building, with tons of gymnastics equipment and a monster play area including a rope swing with big foam blocks to fall onto and at the back is this 40-foot rock wall. We took a lesson from this "serious rock climber guy" and everyone else got belay certified. Here's us before we got started... From right to left, BDR, Nick, me, Kristen and Charlie.

Here's me, the first one to go up, feeling like I'm about 95 feet in the air, even though that black line is probably 10-12 feet high. I'm starting to get a bit nervous.

Another step or two later and I decide I can't go any further. That's what happens when you look down! The repelling part was fun, the being up on a wall with only little fake rock protrusions to hold you there - not so fun.

BDR did great, even though he's afraid of heights. 

But we were all shown up by the birthday boy. I think he rang the 40 foot high bell more than anyone else. Ah to be so fearless!

BDR's dad was the official photographer for the day. From the looks of this photo, you'd think he was an O'Donnell! Its the official self-portrait!

Afterwards, we all went to Johnny C's Pizza, the Reedy Family hangout, for pizza, onion rings and birthday cake. (Note the awesome toy construction trucks on the cake! It even had a mound of frosting dirt and black sprinkles like soil!) Of course, the competition continued on the side-by-side race car game. All-time winner, BDR, was eventually beaten by the all-time loser Nick.  

After pizza and beer, we of course, busted out the cake. On the second round, a big plop of frosting hit the carpet. Hilariety ensued. OK, so maybe you had to be there, but judge for yourself...

It was a fun celebration, and we can't wait to do it again next 'eekend on the 'ween out at 'ake 'ivira. In the meantime, maybe we'll see you on the Fe. (Oh inside jokes are funny, too bad they can't really come across on a blog!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The best thing about fall... least in my new neighborhood, is all the crunchy leaves! It's been a B.E.A.Yoo.Tiful autumn in Kansas City. We love our new neighborhood and we love enjoying the days outside. See, here's proof...

Oh ya, and ignore my little flub at the end, I'm still learning how to use the video recorder on my iphone!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Good little weekend

After the race on Saturday, BDR and I had some friends over to break in the back yard. Most imporantly, the fire pit. We aren't quite sure if this was legal or not, but since there were cops running the show, I banked on us being okay.

The guys thought it was a really smart idea to throw piles and piles of leaves into the fire, never mind the sparks that flew towards 2 of the 10 monstrous trees living in our yard.

We ended up having a great time, trading stories and drinking cold ones.

I'm particularly proud of myself for staying up til 12:30 or so. I mean I got up at 5:45, ran a half marathon, did a bunch of errands and then starting drinking. It was a busy day!

Sunday brought the most perfect morning on the back deck, drinking coffee and reading my Sunday paper, sharing the highlights with Pete while he stalked the white squirrel and treed it. We did some cleaning and organizing and bill paying, watched some TV and then started cooking.

We had BDR's parents and little bro over for dinner and a tried 2 new recipes from my new Runner's World. I highly recommend the one-dish wonder of Pork Tenderloin and Winter Vegetables. A casserole dish holds the pork (rubbed with mustard, garlic and pepper) and cut up sweet potato, carrots, brussel sprouts and red onion (substituted for fennel, since I had no idea what fennel is). It was phenomenal.  I also tried the spaghetti squash recipe on the magazine's following page. His parents loved it, but I thought it needed a little something more. I probably should have used a bit more seasoning. It was a little bland. We definitely got a good dose of fiber for the day though!

The boys broke in the horsehoe pits, we drank some Malbec, ate a bunch of food (also including a delicious bacon-cheese ball and strawberry rhubarb pie!) and enjoyed some wonderful company. Including Mr. Begger Dog.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon!

The most beautiful day of the whole fall and I'm out running with 11,000 of my closest friends through downtown Kansas City at the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon. Just a little 13.1 mile jog along some of the most scenic points of my city - what a great way to spend the morning. I always forget how much I love race day until a new race day rolls around.

Here's my recap of Saturday's half marathon. It promises to be long, but hopefully entertaining!
Rise and shine before the sun comes up and head downtown with my training buddy Jennifer. We had originally signed up for the full monty together, but between her injured knee and hip and my lack of motivation - we decided at the last minute to give the half a shot. We hoped to hit the Johnny's before the gun, but had no time to find one so we hopped in the chute near the 2:40 pace group and decided we'd try to beat them. (Bee-tee-dub, I love seeing all sorts of pals at races. Abby and Abby (yes, 2 Abby's) and Meagan and Al and Kim and many other friends perked up my morning!

Here's Jennifer waiting for the gun to go off for her first official Half Marathon! We are pumped!

We ran through the Power and Light District, past the Salvation Army band, and back south toward Union Station and Crown Center, passing beautiful fountain #1 while the sun rises.

Just past this fountain was a HUGE uphill, not very steep, but it went on for.ev.ver. It took us up and around towards the National World War I Memorial. Yep, that big pole coming out of my head is the memorial! Beautiful reds and oranges in the trees and a lush green lawn leading up to the WW1.

This is the point where Jennifers leg starts to really bother her. Major bummer, as she was hoping to feel good til mile 8 or so. I didn't mind, because the hills were starting to get to me!  From here, we headed south on Main towards historic Westport.

From Westport we went south on tree-covered Roanoke towards the Plaza, one of my favorite Kansas City destinations. I can remember coming up for long weekends with my mom as a kid because KC had such better shopping than Ta-Town. It always made me feel glamourous! Here we passed one of the most notable fountains in the park on the Plaza - its got big statues of horses!

A little east of the Plaza we hit the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, another landmark. Besides all the indoor art, the Nelson has big badminton birdies on the lawn, random, but fun! Still feeling pretty good here...

We start to head north through Hyde Park, and I wonder what this part of town was like in its hay-day. The homes are huge, gorgeous, magnificent, but you can tell they are a bit run down the further north you go. Once we cross Troost and head towards the Paseo, I know I'd never run here alone. I remember stories from my days with the Salvation Army and its "Honk and Holler" program (volunteers would drive around a canteen, honk and people would come out of the woodwork for bag lunches and socks and blankets). There was one day I rode along, and the lead volunteer instructed me to not get out of the car, because the neighborhood was so drug-infested, you never know what someone might do when I got out. Anyway, I digress. It was fun to run through this historic, beautiful part of town and feel totally safe. We get on the Paseo and before we know it, the lead vehicle passes us and the full marathon winner flies by! Luckily I was able to snap a photo... you can't tell but this guy might actually have wings!

From here, we get to run through one of the coolest parts of town that I've never been in. We pass the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and some amazing, historical jazz places at 18th and Vine. Yes, the song rings true... we got some crazy little women here and I'm gonna get me one. At this point, we are both pretty tired, sore feet, Jennifer's knee is killing her, and we are both truly having a great time, pain and all. We do a lot of intervals. Run. Walk. Run. Walk a lot. Run some. Walk more. Until we round the corner back on Grand and head south, uphill towards the finish line. Then it takes all I've got to hold back and not do my typical sprint to the finish. We stayed together this far, so I'm bound to cross the finish with my buddy!

BDR and Peter did indeed make it down to watch us finish, and more importantly, drive me home and to some food post-race. I was, no surprise here, starving! We hit the patio at the Blue Moose, with Pete, and enjoyed some delicious wraps, fries and a big pickle! (My fave!)

Here's the race by the numbers...
bib number: 8531
age: 27
gender: F
location: Overland Park, KS
overall place: 4457 out of 5213
division place: 621 out of 743
gender place: 2519 out of 3131
time: 2:40:13
pace: 12:14
3.3: 38:54
hm8m: 56:25

One last photo of me with one of the most memorable KC skyline views, the Western Auto Building sign. Too bad you couldn't see that in the view they showed in the first episode of Outscored. But there was no Sprint Center either... regardless, the show is still hilarious.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Youth Leadership Institute gets a New Leader!

My role as Chair of the 2011 Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) has begun.  We concluded the 2011 program by having the graduates attend an Overland Park Rotary Club meeting, speak to the Rotarians about their experience and learn who won the scholarships for their essays on the 4 Way Test.

This program is the largest program of our 175-member club, so it comes with a lot of responsibility. There is a large budget and a lot of notoriety that comes with my new job. Its going to be time consuming, but oh so rewarding. The program is a week-long summer leadership camp, much like many I've attended in my younger days with the Wichita's Promise Youth Council. It helps high school students cultivate many needed skills, get to know themselves and make new friends from across the metro area.

Here's the group that attended the Rotary meeting.

A Rotarian and his YLI grad grandaughter.

And finally, two of our three scholarship winners!

Oh ya, and me with the 3rd winner's mother! She's in France right now studying abroad for her junior year. It sounds like an amazing experience.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wedding Weekend!

So I hardly took any photos during my big brother's wedding weekend extravaganza. There was so much going on and so much to think about that grabbing the camera just didn't come to mind. Here's the good ones I did get...

BDR and I at the rehearsal dinner. It was at O'Neills in Leawood and during the KState-Nebraska game. Maybe if I had watched my 'Cats woulda actually showed up for the game. Oh well.

My 3 favorite penguins at the reception during either the first dance or toasts or something. They were all on a serious sugar high from all the desserts, wedding cake and SODA!!

Us at the reception. Chels did a great job of taking care of all the little details. Too bad I was too hectic and busy talking to family and friends to notice!

Post-wedding back at the hotel with family. These girls know how to have a good time.

Like I said, we know how to party. :-)

Friday, October 15, 2010

What I've Been Up To....

So, its pretty obvious I've been crappy at posting lately. Well, I have a good excuse. Hopefully you'll agree. BDR and I just moved, work has been crazy busy, I'm super involved in two volunteer groups and my brother just got married. This week its really been catching up to me. Not only has it been a "fat" week, ugh, I hate that feeling, but I've been exhausted and struggle waking up! Its bound to get better now though, as I settle back into a routine.

That routine starts tomorrow with a Half Marathon. Wait, you haven't been training either?! I did my last long run at the beginning of August. 17 miles in killer heat, followed by dehydration that kept me on my back for the rest of the weekend. That was the tipping point for my burnout and I think I've gone on two 2-mile runs since then.

That should make tomorrow pretty interesting! My training buddy JW and I plan to stick out the misery together. If its good weather, maybe I'll take my camera along so you can relive the race with me!

Anyway, back to what I've been up to in the past few weeks...

Packing, packing packing.

And lots of unpacking. Peter was a nervous wreck for a few days until he realized that he was going to get to stay there with us. He stayed at my ankles, under foot for probably 4 days straight, staring outside whenever I went to grab another box to unload.

He's not quite sure about having his own room. The dining room has a doggy door that leads to the mud room, with a doggy door that leads to outside. There is a tiny little cheapo white shelf that he can jump on to see whats going on in the kitchen.

Our neighborhood is well established, so there are tons of trees! Which means tons of leaves, but we've got a great front deck, handicap accessible even!

And an even better back deck! With tons of seating areas and lots of acorns!

With those acorns come the little buddies that like to munch on acorns, and sometimes, they just can't take the heat. I'm not sure if this little guy died of natural causes, electrocution or a dog bite, but he sure looks pretty peaceful. Since this first loss, we've recovered two more of  his friends. One was picked up by the tail, courtesy my 6 year old nephew.

The best part about the new house. More space! I don't have to be thisclose to BDR and Peter at all times - and - I've got extra space for all my shoes!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wedding weekend video!

A big congrats to my big brother!

Chelsea + Tim // Wedding highlights from AleaLovely on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Empathetic Pete

Another Peter video to make your day. I know it always makes me laugh. When I'm in a bad mood, I watch and instantly feel better!

BDR has a ringtone on his phone that sounds like a firetruck/ambulance. Peter hates to hear that someone is in trouble, so he empathisizes with their pain.

In other news, this amazing Mexi Retreiver has some sweet dance moves. Napoleon would be jealous. Now if I could just teach Pete how to do this...