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Chicago Bachelorette Part 2

April 27, 2011

Saturday, the day of the bachelorette party, actually started with a run.  My Maid of Honor is currently training for a half marathon.  She had to get in a four mile run.  I decided to also bring running stuff and leave the house with her.  She took off and I actually did a bunch of run/walks.  My runs were about 5 minutes long, and the walks were about 3 minutes long.  I actually went out for about 45 minutes and just loved running around the loop!  It was so great!

Our activity for the afternoon was perfect for me and some of the attendees as structural engineers and architects:  an architectural cruise of Chicago!  It was an absolutely gorgeous day.  Even the haze burned off during our cruise:

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In case you don’t recognize that building, we started from Navy Pier.

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Everyone had a great time:

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There were a few fun sights along the way:

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What is that?  The Boeing Building (the one with the truss)?  No!  It’s the River Center!  That’s the building where my old work was!  Funny story, my friend’s husband now works in the building at a totally different company!

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We also spotted a bunch of brides, grooms, and wedding parties! 

I would highly recommend this tour to anyone.  Especially if you are a structural engineer and have read books such as “Why Buildings Stand Up” or the sequel “Why Buildings Fall Down”.  Seriously it tells you all about the structural system of buildings like the Sears Tower.  Our guide was amazing!  Sigh . . . I love Chicago.

Chicago Bachelorette, Part 1

April 25, 2011

Finally, I have the pictures to write up my Chicago Bachelorette party.  It was AWESOME!!  When my matron of honor, Amy, first suggested having my bachelorette in Chicago, I thought that it would be absolutely perfect.  I lived in Chicago for two semesters while in college.  I absolutely love this city!  It is so clean and easy to get around and people are so friendly.  Sigh . . . Matt won’t let me move to Chicago.  Something about the cold and the snow . . .

Anyway, it also helps that my matron of honor currently lives in Chicago; two of my bridesmaids grew up in Chicago; another’s dad lives in Chicago; several friends live there; and the rest of my friends live in a close driving distance.

Friday night, I flew in around 7pm (at first I was mixed up, because I input my flight times in local times in Outlook, but they were given to me in Eastern time . . . yeah, I got in an hour earlier than I had thought I would).   Kathleen, Sarah, and Beckey were waiting on me in the cell phone lot.  Well, after waiting and listening to the radio for 40 minutes, Sarah’s car wouldn’t start.  So I hung out in baggage claim while they called AAA.  That is actually just a tip of the iceburg for the adventures that these three got into while driving from Cincinnati to Chicago.  There was also an incident involving Kathleen putting her coins for the toll in the change slot.  You know the slot that gives you change . . . yeah . . . my friends had fun!

After that whole mess, we finally made it to Amy’s apartment in the West Loop.  Luckily for us, the West Loop is right next to Greek town.  So we just walked a few blocks down and found some great food.  Walking through Greek town was a bit nostaglic for me.  I used to walk from my office to dance class at Hubbard Street right through Greek town.  I loved seeing all of the buildings with the businesses written in Greek.  Being Greek in college, and an Engineer, I would always try to see if I could make out what the word was saying.  What do you think this is?

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(I’ll give you a hint . . . )

Anyway, we started our meal with some flaming cheese:

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I actually ordered vegetarian moussaka for my entrée.  It was DELICIOUS!

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Here’s a bunch of pictures of the rest of the food.  Don’t ask me what it all was.  Most of it was absolutely fabulous!

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After we were sufficiently stuffed (and it was like midnight!), we returned to Amy’s loft.  We went up to her roof deck to see the fabulous view of downtown Chicago.

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Okay, so it was kind of foggy and night time.  But it was still pretty awesome!  The fog around the Sears Tower reminded me of when I lived downtown at Roosevelt University.  The view from my window was the Sears Tower, but I often couldn’t see it due to the fog.  Even though it was only a few blocks away.  It was always so crazy to me!

So that is the first night.

Next up . . . what else would an engineer want to do in Chicago? (guesses?)

Boston Marathon 2011

April 18, 2011

Well, since I live in Boston, I knew that I should make it to the Marathon some day.  This year, a friend of mine was running, so I figured this was a great year to do it.  Turns out that I knew three people running it!

Since Matt has Patriot’s Day off (especially due to the fact that the Marathon goes down the street that his work is on and he actually couldn’t get to work), he picked me up at my office around 11 for a “long lunch”.  We drove about 10  minutes down the road and a quick walk to Comm Ave, and we were there at mile 19.25 by 11:20am!  My friend, Rachel, had given us an approximate time that she would be there (12:15ish) and I left a bit of a buffer.  At Mile 19.25 we were at the beginning of a “Newton Hill” in the Heartbreak Hill area.

When we got to the Marathon, the runners were few and far between.   We had missed the elite women, and would only see women runners ever 3-5 minutes.  About 15 minutes after we got there, we see some trucks and police cars making their way down the course.  It was the elite men!!  I actually got a picture of the eventual winner, Geoffrey Mutai:

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I swear that’s him!  Zoom in!

He and the rest of the elite men went by pretty fast:

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Next up, we were looking for a coworker of mine.  Thank goodness for the online tracking so that we knew about when to expect him.  Since I didn’t know what he was wearing, I just started taking a video. 

Unfortunately, I got tired of holding the camera and turned it off.  He ran by about 10 seconds later!  But the video shows the atmosphere.  It was so great!  We liked it when people had on college shirts.  I decided to take the “Bowl Game” approach and cheer for teams like Ohio State and such.  Hey, these people were doing something that I couldn’t do.  And what was the most prevalent Big Ten school?  IOWA!  Seriously.

Luckily, Rachel had told me what she was wearing, so I picked her out (she’s the girl in the yellow, #5882).

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We then decided to wait and see if we could find my friend’s dad.  And we were also trapped on the wrong side of the street.  If you didn’t know, 20,000 is A LOT!

We enjoyed seeing the funny costumes, too.

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We ended up not finding my friend’s dad.  He probably ran by us and we missed him. 

How did Rachel do?  Rachel finished in 3:01:25!!  SERIOUSLY!  She was #117 for women!  It just blows my mind that she can run that fast for that long.

It was a great day and a really neat experience.  An absolutely gorgeous day for a run.  Sunny and 55 with a slight tail wind.  No wonder a new course record was set.

Bridal Shower in Tennessee!

April 15, 2011

Finally, I’ll update with the bridal shower in Tennessee.  We went down there a few weeks ago.  My mom joined us, so that she could also meet Matt’s extended family and friends.  The first shower (yup first) was for the extended family at Matt’s parents house.  First we ate:

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Then time to open presents.  At this shower, I had to answer a question, which wasn’t necessarily trivia, just a chance for the family to get to know me.

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The funniest part was when a card was mixed up with a different package.  At first I dismissed the papers with the card.  Then I figured out what the papers in the card were actually telling me.

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This was sitting on our porch at home!  A quick phone call to my friend Emily and it was safe at their house awaiting our return!

It was a great time.  Here’s a picture of me and the immediate family.

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The second shower was on Sunday at Matt’s church.  It was crazy!!  It’s a southern thing to have a church shower.  Luckily, Matt’s name was also on the shower, so guess who got to open presents with me!

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There were so many people. 

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And I think that our dishes were DECIMATED!

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Best part about the two showers!  New ribbon bouquets!!!!

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I cannot believe the generosity of Matt’s family and friends!!  We are truly blessed!!

Darn You, Kettlebells!

April 7, 2011

Yeah, so, it’s pretty quiet on the wedding front, which can be a bit disconcerting considering it’s like 6 weeks away!

So how about a nice kettlebell workout?  But first a kettlebell story:

At my gym, they started a cross-fit area (formerly known as the personal trainer area).  This means that I have to be out in the gym with my trainer, which can be difficult when the gym is full.  Anyway, there’s a bunch of great equipment in the cross-fit area, such as the kettlebells.  Now when I’m with my trainer, she just asks to borrow them, and they say sure.  When I’m by myself, I definitely try to keep it on the DL that I’m stealing them.  I figured 6:30am, not many people, okay, I can just sneak in and do my workout.  SUCCESS!  No one saw me do it.  Putting them back on the other hand . . . umm . . . yeah, I got caught.  And not only was I asked not to take them, the woman also commented “There are plenty of other dumbbells and weights in the gym.  You don’t need to use these.”  Snark much?  By the way, there are many things that you CAN’T do with dumbbells that I love kettlebells for.  GRR!!  I put a suggestion in the box about having kettlebells available to everyone.  And don’t I at least get credit for facing the music and putting them back?  See?  I’m responsible!

Anyway, how about a kettlebell workout?

Now if you are looking for a new challenging move, try the windmills (you could probably do it with a dumbbell, too).

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They look deceivingly easy.  Plus, I figured that I have pretty good flexibility.  Piece of cake, right? (mmmm cake!)  No seriously, I could barely get my bottom hand to my knee.  Incredibly tricky move!  Give it a try!

Pushing Your Limits

March 31, 2011

Two stories about pushing your limits (at the gym):

A few weeks ago, my trainer had me do bicep curls on a declined (or inclined, pessimist vs. optimist) bench, like so:

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I was using 12lb dumbbells and it was hard!  My right arm was doing okay, but my left arm, not so much.  I had to do 12 curls, and by the 6th one, my arm was having problems.  I struggled so much with the last three it was ridiculous!  So on Wednesday, she had me do them again.  And you know what, I didn’t struggle hardly at all!  Isn’t it amazing how quickly your muscles can adapt to new exercises?!  CRAZY!

On Tuesday I was all excited to start the C25K running at 6.2mph (the pace I’d need for a 30 minute 5K).  Well, on Wednesday with my trainer, after our two rounds of the weight lifting circuit, she said “Let’s go run.  How about a quarter mile at 6.5?”  Say wha?  That’s like almost 2.5 minutes running at a faster pace that I was used to.  And you know what?  I DID IT!  THREE TIMES!!  Needless to say, when I went to go run this morning (yup that’s twice this week!), I opted to go to week 3 of the C25K:

  • Jog at 6.2mph for 0.13 miles
  • Walk at 3.8mph for 0.12 miles
  • Jog at 6.2 for 0.25 miles
  • Walk at 3.8 for 0.25 miles.
  • Repeat

HOORAY!  Best part was that it only takes 25 minutes (including the warm up!)  OH YEAH!

Have you pushed yourself further recently?  Did you surprise yourself?

Morning Exercise Challenge

March 29, 2011

I know that I’ve bemoaned it many a time on the blog, but to say that I am not a morning person would be a gross understatement.

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I am a night person.  I have not gone to sleep before 11pm, since I was 12 years old. When I was little (like under 5), my parents would dress me in the morning while I lay in bed, a bunch of dead weight.

Anyway, I have decided to challenge myself to start doing morning exercise.  Since we are busy with the dog and enjoying each other’s company (like Friday night date night), it’s hard to find time in the evenings to get to the gym.  I know that by going in the morning, I am essentially freeing up my evenings to perhaps clean my house (it’s seriously disgusting), work on wedding projects, or just snuggle with Matt.

Therefore I am challenging myself to go to the gym every weekday morning (except Wednesdays, since I have my trainer Wednesday evenings) for the next three weeks!  What’s at the end of those three weeks?  Why, my second dress fitting of course!  (Ah, there’s the real motivation!)  When I told Matt this, he scoffed and gave me a skeptical face.  So now I’m doing it to prove him wrong.  If I complete my challenge, he will give me lots of hugs.  If I don’t, I still get hugs.  😀

So what did I do this morning?  Well remember my goals for 2011?  One is to run a 5k in 30 minutes.  I did W1D1 of C25K with my walking at 3.8mph, and my running at 6.2mph.  I made it!  HA!

Are you a morning exerciser?  Want to join my personal challenge?