Monday, July 9, 2012

Other Fall Happenings: RAGNAR, New York, Birthday, Zoo, Halloween

      At the end of September, the race my team of 11 other girls and I had been training for finally arrived. We ran the DC Ragnar which was a 198 mile relay race from Cumberland Maryland to the National Potomac Harbor. Half our team went up the night before, stayed in a hotel and started the race early in the morning. When they finished with their first legs, our team took over around noon and ran our first legs. We then alternated back and forth, even running through the night, with little sleep until we completed the race. They had food at each of the exchange points, but my favorite was the high school where they served very bland, but warm spaghetti, and where my sister Doree and I were able to relax our muscles in the gym on a blow up air mattress. We never did fall all the way alseep, but our muscles did!!! I ran 18.6 miles in total, and my first leg was the second hardest leg on the course. I was literally running straight up a mountain for several miles. I felt good doing it, though, and was pretty proud that I trained so hard to be able to do it. When I finally started descending I burst into tears because I had accomplished what seemed like an impossibe feat without walking!

 My second leg was in the middle of the night, and one of the other runners on a different team and I ran together because she was pretty freaked out about running by herself at night (by that time, the teams were pretty spread out). I was grateful for the company to distract me, but it was rough running six miles at night with a lot of ups and steep downs. My legs were really tired. My 3rd leg was the next day and I loved it because it was flat and really scenic. I got to run through Rockcreek Park with its beautiful hanging vines and lots of greenery. My legs were really done by then, though, so the last few miles seemed like forever. We wrote our leg numbers on the van with boxes to check them off, and it was the greatest feeling to check all of mine off! Our van wasn't as stinky as it could have been because we each had time to take a baby wipe bath and change clothes after each leg but we gave Tammie and Ed some car cleaning money at the end! We had plenty of snacks and I even packed chicken salad croissants for Doree and I, but most of us felt queasy during the course of the race and towards the end didn't want to see another granola bar again. We went out for pancakes before our last leg and none of us could finish our meals, which was a good thing because we were able to run sooner than we planned. Our other van had several mishaps: they had a flat tire, got confused as to where to pick up one of their runners, and some of their courses were not marked well enough so they got lost running too. I felt really bad for them, but we realized that if we waited for them we would be running in to the finish at 10 at night. So we called the directors and asked if we could just start our last legs, explaining our situation. They gave us the go ahead and we were able to finish when the festitivites were still going on at the Potomac Harbor. I met Andrew at the Potomac Harbor in his bright orange volunteer shirt, with a big smile and flowers! He was a sight for sore eyes (and legs!:) We ran in to the finish line with our teal boas, that everyone humored me with wearing, got our awesome medals, took pics and ate pizza. Then it was all we could do to walk back to our cars so we could finally go home and sleep in a real bed.

It was an experience of a lifetime! Super hard, but very rewarding:) I also had a great surprise to see some of my Maryland friends, Courtney, Michelle, and Rebecca during the race. They were on another team and it felt like seeing family. Pretty awesome. I also saw my friend Crystal. The biggest highlight of the race was seeing Mary Blakely run in to meet us at our first exchange. Everyone was in such great spirits, there was a huge crowd of other teams, and our team was cheering her in as loud as we could. She had such an awesome look on her face and she looked so proud to have finished her first leg, so accomplished, and so relieved to see us! I loved the feeling of team camararderie at that moment. Thanks girls for such a great memory and for training so hard!

Yes, that's a tiny me running past the 2200 foot elevation sign- when I turned the corner and started heading down the mountain, I burst into tears b/c it meant I had accomplished my hardest leg!!! 3 miles uphill is no joke:)

Almost to the top! My legs were burning at this point, but I knew if I stopped I wouldn't be able to start back up.
We got some action pics of Doree, even though she hated us cheering her on and definitely did not want her pic taken :)
April glowing at night in all her reflective gear:)

With literally no sleep and after running 2 legs, we needed sustenance. The funny thing was, most of us could barely eat.

April's last leg!

After my last leg!!! Those last 6 miles were HARD b/c my body was so done, but I did it!!! Everyone else looks gorgeous and refreshed in this pic, I'm the sweaty one:)

Our van decorations!

We finished all of our legs and checked them off!!! Mission accomplished.

Tammie and Ed running in together on Tammie's and the teams last leg!!!
Sporting our lovely Ragnar tatoos and boas

Yes, that's me cheering as we ran in to the finish line- apparently I was the only one that was REALLY enthusiastic that we all made it safe and sound across the finish line:)

All the girls humored me by wearing boas for our team "costume"

Andrew was such a great support throughout this whole process!!! Thank you honey, I couldn't have done it without you:)

In October, after the craziness of the Ragnar was over, I was able to meet up with my sisters and Mom in New York City. We had a great time exploring New York with just us girls. We flew in Friday night, and took the train into the city to have some famous New York pizza and enjoy our first night being in the city that literally never sleeps. I'm such an oldie and was ready for bed a lot sooner than everyone else. The next day we got up, put on our walking shoes, and made our way to Max Bremmer's for brunch. Max Bremmer's is like the restaurant version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Every dish comes with chocolate. We had real Italian hot chocolate, and breakfast that was french toast with chocolate drizzle on the side. We walked around the shop afterwards and gawked at the chocolate syringes, and massive Charlie and the Chocolate sized chocolate bars. After brunch, we decided we needed to walk of some calories, so we made our way to the Theater district to get ready for our matinee showing of "How to Succeed in Business" featuring Harry Potter as the lead. Hannah was so excited to see him and screamed everytime he came on stage. She is definitely a Harry Potter fan. He didn't disappoint with his over the top acting and dancing skills, and wasn't too shabby on the singing either. It was quite an entertaining and well done production. You just can't go to New York without seeing a Broadway show. Afterwards we went to Shake shack for Burgers and shakes and walked around the city at night. We ran into an Occupy Wall Street protest. We couldn't get to our hotel because of the mob, and had to take the subway underground to get around them. We were right by Union Station, so that was convenient. On Sunday, we woke up and went walking around Central Park. We were going to rent bikes, but just couldn't get a deal that we were comfortable enough with. So we just walked around and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We saw a Breast Cancer walk going on, visited some museums, and got a Gray's Papaya Hot Dog. We then took the subway to the free Ferry to Staten Island. By the time we got home, we had time to eat at Union Station and then it was time to go home. It was very fun and busy, but I was definitely glad to come home to my kiddos and hubby:)

We were just a little excited to be eating all this yummy food!!!
Hannah loving Elmo, too bad he expected money for that hug!
Outside of "How to Succeed in Business" Harry Potter was pretty impressive:)

The crowds were insane due to Occupy Walstreet and we couldn't even cross Times Square to get to our hotel- we had to take the subway underground to get away from the crowds.

Our fancy hotel right next to Grand Central Station

Susan G. Komen Walk

Statton Island Ferry

Statue of Liberty in the background
Alice in Wonderland Statue in Central Park

We celebrated Nate's 4th Birthday party with friends by first going to Kid's 'n Motion (a local bounce house) and then heading over to Kid's Dominion park for Thomas the Train cupcakes, lunch, presents, and more playing with friends! It is one of my favorite birthday parties so far because there was no mess and there was plenty to keep the kids engaged:) Happy B-day Nate!!! I can't believe you are 4 :)

We went on several zoo trips. It's free and the kids love it!!! We especially liked checking out the new elephant display:)

The panda's our favorite:)

Zoo Trip with the Hunts :) Hey it's free, when the weather is good, why not?!

At the end of October, we celebrated Halloween. We decided to do a theme this year, so we did a Toy Story theme. Nate really wanted to be Woody, so I made Kaitlyn a Bo Peep costume which ended up not being worth the time and money, but oh well, it's good for me to get my sewing machine out once in awhile and brush up on my skills. They looked quite adorable. I found Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head costumes for Andrew and I so we were a little Toy Story family at our Ward Party. However, Andrew was in the spook alley with the youth the whole time, so Mr. Potato Head was missing from our theme most of the night, oh well. The kids loved celebrating Halloween at Nate's school (he did a parade and Kaitlyn and I dressed up too because I did a music segment at the party), the mall (we decided the candy there was no good), the Ward Party, and finally the real night. The kids were so cute trick or treating on Halloween night and they were pretty cute great saying "Trick or Treat" and KK was always sure to say "Dank YOU!" Nate also sang as we walked from house to house and that cheered a lot of people up. Kaitlyn was very diligent in holding her Bo Peep cane, sheep, and Halloween bucket. They were both such troopers and we stayed out over an hour. We even hit the jack pot at one house in our neighborhood that gave out full sized candy bars. We came home, gave out the rest of our candy, and helped the kids "sort" their candy. Halloween is an odd holiday, but I LOVE IT!!!
We did it!
Proud of their carved pumpkins
Nate's buddies- notice Woody and Buzz!!!
preschool costume parade
Kaitlyn being part of the preschool action
Nate at his school party, we better live it up while we can b/c apparently parties are not allowed in public schools anymore:(
Waiting for the church party to start
Leftover dry ice from the ward spook alley Andrew was in charge of- Mrs. Potato Head didn't have a Mr. Potato Head that night b/c he was in the spook alley the whole time:)
the kids in character ready to go!
Family Group Shot- I know, we are a little dorky, but the kids loved that we dressed up too! They were excited we were all Toy Story characters:)
In action- twick o tweet!!! We had to teach them that they couldn't just walk in people's houses, even if there was a friendly dog:)

Nate liked handing out candy just as much as collecting it!
The stash!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Molly-I love reading your update :). I have been so bad at updating too. It's nice to just get a lot taken care of in one post! I loved seeing pictures of your recent trip to new york with friends to see newsies! If anyone wants to go again, let me know :).
I miss you and your cute kids! It would be fun to meet up at the zoo sometime.