After 8 weeks learning how to pee outside, sit, stay, lay down and come - she passed with flying colors! We'll obviously need to work with her continually throughout her furry little life, but this class was a great start.
Here's our class at the graduation ceremony!
We tried to take individual cap and diploma photos afterwards. Check out this video to see just how successful that was! (The video was inadvertant, the instructor thought she was just taking a still shot!)
The Saturday after St Patrick's Day, I roadtripped with some girlfriends to run another festive race in Manhattan, home of the Kansas State Wildcats!!
We were expecting a warm, sunny day, but arrived in Aggieville to a cold and dreary morning. We watched the 2 mile race take off huddle under an awning of an eye doctor, then corralled ourselves inside Kite's to watch the finish and stay warm.
Minutes before the start gun went off, we got in the middle of the starting pack - just in time to take a quick pic! Those are my running buddies, Lynsey, Jennifer and Alli.
The race left Aggieville, went north through campus past the rec and the Bill and the firestation, not to mention the old llama lot. Then turned around back through campus, Aggieville and around city park.
Once we hit the K-State gardens at the 4-mile mark and about 40:42 on the clock, I knew I had a chance to break an hour. Set a PR - no way, I hadn't really even been trying that hard thus far in the race! I was stoked. So I told Alli I was gonna try and she said she'd see me at the finish line. I picked off as many people as I could and sure enough -- I did it!!
Here's the video I'm glad I remembered to take as I turned back onto 12th Street toward Kite's and the finish line.
After we all finished, we were so excited to chow down on some of our Manhattan favorites. Unfortunately, with a combination of the rain and the upcoming St Patty's parade, all our favorite spots were jam packed to the brim. So we ordered to go food.
First, of course, Raspberry Chipolte Black Bean Dip from So Long Saloon.
And the Belly Buster from Rock-A-Belly Deli.
We were happy runners with full tummies for the drive back to KC!
Luckily, its only a short 1:45 drive. Any longer and I would have been exhausted. It poured the entire way home, leaving very little visibility and making it nearly impossible to carry a conversation from the pounding of the raindrops.
I'm still so stoked that I broke an hour and set a PR. Now if only I could figure out whats wrong with my bum leg in time to PR at Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in a few days!!
Besides the warmer weather and sunshine, spring brings one of my favorite holidays! St. Patrick's Day! With a name like mine, you don't get much more Irish, so every year I try to do a few special things to celebrate.
This year, it started with the Westport St. Patrick's Day 4 Mile Run.
I raced with a sorority sister/running buddy last seen in this post about the Kansas City Marathon turned half marathon, and a friend of hers enjoying her first race-day experience!
Here we are waiting at the starting line.
And here we are after we trekked back to the car.
This is one of the most fun and festive events in KC. Everyone gets into it, either wearing green running clothes or busting out some amazing leprechaun costumes. There is a huge group out for the race, evidenced by this photo approaching the start line.
I finished 270th in my AG, 1780 overall with a time of 41:40.2 for 4 hilly miles in midtown/Westport.
(Editor's note: I thought I published this a long time ago. I was wrong. Sorry for the delay. Here's the last installment of the Mexico stories!)
After our visit to Tulum, we got into the exciting part of the excursion.
We started out snorkeling in a cenote'.
What an amazing experience. The water was frigid! But it was crystal clear. The stalagmites and stalactites were gorgeous. I expected them to be breakable, but nope, hard as a rock. Fitting, since they are indeed rocks. I can testify to that though after kicking one! There were tiny little catfish near the only spot of sunlight in the cave. It was a very spiritual experience. Really, only God could create something so amazing!
After we dried off, we went ziplining. Holy Cannoli. This was crazy. We climbed up a 100-some-odd foot rickety wooden tower in a tree and jumped off, with only our harness attached to this cable that took us to the next tree several hundred feet away. You can see the tower in the background of this photo. Its way high. So high that you can see the ocean, and we are way inland here.
As you can tell from BDR's face. This was pretty stinkin' cool.
Lastly, we rappelled off this other really high rickety tower in a tree. You had to put your back towards the wild blue yonder, and start to step off the edge. Man, my palms are sweating just thinking about it! Eek! There were three steps that went towards the ground, so it was like you were stepping backwards downstairs but 100 feet in the air with only one little rope holding you up for dear life. It was exhilerating to say the least!!
Some outlandish crazy adventures, but oh so worth it!! Thank you Bob the Cat for biting me so BDR and I could have this amazing vacation!
The days may be hot in Mexico, but the nights are hotter!
As part of our all-inclusive package, we got two nights at the "good restaurants" rather than just the normal buffets. The first night was at Le Gourmet, the French cusine place. Wow. I had not at all been impressed with the food at the Sandos, but here it was great. We ordered things that we would not normally order, knowing we could always go fill up at the buffet if it was bad. But no need. It was the perfect amount of food - and the rolls, filled with cheese --mmm!!
I had my first ever Baked Alaska! I didn't even really know what it was, but I know that its one of Daddy Warbucks' favorites so I had to try it. Basically it was ice cream covered in whipped cream with a brandy sauce that was then set on fire. Quite interesting.
After dinner that night, we walked along the beach, cocktail in one hand and my love in the other.
After our long and stressful excursion day, we chowed at the buffet and then lounged on a hammock near the ocean, just relaxing, pondering life and listening to the waves. It was quite a romantic, yet philosophical, moment.
Our other restaurant night was the Mediterranean spot. I had high hopes, but it was not nearly as good as the buffets even, so that was a bummer. But the ambiance was delightful and the service was pretty good, so I still enjoyed myself.
As did BDR.
While at the restaurant the mariachi band went around taking requests. It was super fun. At some point I might post the video I shot, but for now, I'll leave you with a snapshot of the mariachi band and me at the buffet. Guantanamara and De Colores were quite lively tunes!
While in Mexico, we saw the cousin to one of the New 7 Wonders, Chichen Itza, in Tulum, just a ways down the coast from Playa.
Tulum is an ancient Mayan city with walls on 3 sides and the Carribean Sea on the fourth. There are only 5 entrances to the city, and they are all very narrow walkways through the wall - like this one that BDR is modeling with.
We had a muy interesante Mayan Tour Guide, who knew all sorts of tidbits about Mayan history and culture. We learned about their housing, clothing, temples (see photo below) and so much more. The buildings are made of limestone, so this K-Stater felt right at home! Walls and ceiling are built at an angle so that the rain water could slip off easily.
Here's me overlooking the ocean, with Tulum behind me. That's just one small part of the city, but it was gorgeous!
And by gorgeous, I mean - this is not in the slightest bit photoshopped. The sky was really that blue. Absolutely amazing and awe inspiring environment to vacation in.
There is a building that overlooked the ocean, tons of jungly colorful plants, and quite a cute couple if I do say so myself!
It did get a bit warm while we were touring Tulum, 85 going on 110 it seemed like. It was so much different from the gray, blustery days at home in Kansas. But, hey, I am by no means complaining!
On Wednesday morning, we decided to go for a run from the resort into the town of Playa del Carmen. There was a beautiful road, with gorgeous palacial resorts on one side and beautiful vacation homes on the other. The concierge told us it was about 3-5K into town, so off we went.
About halfway there, after passing the Playacar Plaza and the first Starbucks, we saw a sign leading us back into the jungle towards some Mayan ruins. We climbed on up and had a nice South African couple take our photo.
Once we hit the edge of town, it was shopping city. The very south edge was filled with Tommy Bahama, Lacoste, Coach, etc, but the further north you got it was only little shops where the salesmen holler at you as you pass by. "Honeymooners, American honeymooners, come see what I have for you!" "Oh, I have a good deal for a pretty American lady!" Ya, buddy, sure you do.
We went in one shop and BDR picked up some sunglasses. The salesman jumped on him immediately. "You like? Great quality, good price for you." Of course BDR asked how much US? The guy said he'd sell the fake Oakleys for $45. Shah, right. BDR said he only had $10. So the guy came down to a $22 sales price. BDR said he only had $10. The sales guy said "Don't lie to me amigo" and then eventually agreed to a $10 sales price. Ya, that's what I thought!
At every cross street to Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) you could look east and see the ocean. It was gorgeous!
We had a ton of fun walking around, and taking in the different culture and scenery.
Friday morning, we walked back down to the Plaza Playacar for a coffee to enjoy as we walked back on the beach.
There was this cool walkway that took you from the road to the beach that we took. I love this photo!
As Zac Brown suggested, we got away to where the boat leaves from - to take away all of our big problems. All our worries, we could drop them in the blue ocean but we had to get away to where the boat leaves from.
Yep, BDR and I went to Playa del Carmen, Mexico - a little town south of Cancun where the ferry takes people to Cozumel. We took the red eye out last Tuesday, nearly missed our connecting flight through Chicago but made it to the beach by about 2:00. We drug some chairs out toward the water and just relaxed.
It was pretty amazing, to say the least. We left 30s and dreary Kansas City for 85 and sunny Playa. Ah, I want to go back.
We didn't do a ton while we were there, lots of walking on the beach:
Lots of wading the water:, swimming, and body surfing:
And lots of lying around, enjoying the view:
It was a great way for BDR and I to connect and really spend a lot of QT together. That was quite possibly the best part.
We stayed at the Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa. It was the furthest south in Playacar, and probably the biggest. Supposedly it was a 5-star resort, but I'd say 3-star at best. We had to switch rooms a few times, in hopes of finding a room without ant farms, with a working shower and a semi-comfortable bed. We ended up in the building closest to the beach, with a jungle/ocean view. Luckily the resort itself was beautiful and the people, although they didn't always follow through, were very nice and friendly.
One of the coolest things about our trip, besides the amazing environment, was that it was truly an international experience. There were very few other Americans at our resort. Tons of Canadians, lots of Norweigans, and many other Europeans. I got to practice my long-lost Spanish skills and I was suprised at how quickly my "vocabulario" came back! There was tons of great people watching. I mean, people in bathing suits on the beach, of all shapes and sizes - the people and the swim suits!
More to come about other trip highlights... Check back soon!