Monday, July 30, 2018

This Part is Hard

I am not going to complain about going back to work. After all, I got a real summer this year, with actual time off and travel to boot. Yes, going back to work is tough, but I'm happy to be back and I'm excited for this year. So, no complaining.

But am I allowed to comment on how stressful this part of the school year is? And how absolutely bone-tired my body and mind are at the end of the day?

Sometimes I think about how hard coming back feels for me and I can understand why students are basically barely-animated blobs when they return each year. Time off gets you into a different set of habits, and you're in them just long enough to start to feel used to having an open schedule, and then school starts again.

Right now, I am struggling to run. I'm exhausted. It's hot. (Like 100 degrees every day kind of hot.) After a day of work, I want to come home and relax, and by the time it's "cool enough" to run (after sunset, usually, and then we're still talking usual Florida summer temps) I've lost the will to move.
Honestly, it's absurd to expect people to go outside in this.
I am mostly writing this post to pry myself out of my chair. I know that once I get into the swing of things, running after work will be a vital part of getting through the school year. I actually keep a better running schedule during the year than over the summer because my schedule is more stable...and I can consistently remember what day of the week it is.

It's getting back into the habit that's been proving difficult.

I am naturally a lazy person. I had hoped going through compartment syndrome and recovery would inoculate me against my natural sloth-like state, but apparently not. Getting out the door isn't much easier than it ever was.
Truer words were never written.
On top of that, because I'm not training for anything, there's nothing to hold me accountable to any mileage. Not beyond my own self-recrimination, anyway.

When I run, I still am filled with joy and a feeling of completion I can't articulate. It's getting started that's tripping me up.
Running is still the only time I truly feel unencumbered. The heat, though, certainly cumbers me.
Of course, the bottom line is that I just have to shut up and run, shut up and run, shut up and run until it gets easier. So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to hit publish on this post and get out the door. (I'll let you know if it works.)

Thanks for letting me whine.


Friday, July 27, 2018

Seattle Vacation: Part 3 - July 16 & 17, 2018

My formatting is super messed up on this post because my photos were corrupted somehow and then somehow the paragraph spacing got weird. Also all the photos are unedited because when I try to edit them, they get wonky. I'm not sure if it's the photos or the program. Anyway, I'm too lazy to rewrite this entire thing on a new post, so...bear with me.

The day after the wedding, most of the family and guests were heading back to the mainland. I had had the genius idea, while in the preparation stages of our trip, to extend our stay at the Rosario another night. My thinking was that our flight out wasn't until 10pm on Wednesday, July 18. We had two more full days to enjoy the area, and we hadn't had any time at all to explore Orcas.

Why not really take a day to enjoy the resort and this beautiful little island?
On this map, you can see where the Rosario is located and Moran State Park, where we played in the lake on the Saturday before the wedding. The ferry drops off at the bottom of Orcas near Shaw Island; it takes about 30 minutes to drive from the harbor to the resort. Small.
On Monday we joined everyone for the goodbye breakfast at the mansion (the main building at the resort) and then headed out to Moran State Park. I was dead set on getting a run in, especially because Megan had told me her mom ran on Orcas and it was gorgeous. Moran has something like 28 miles of trails!
We did #10, the Mountain Lake Loop...which said "easy" with 200 feet of elevation gain and was NOT.
We grabbed a map and I chose a running trail based on what looked like it would be "easy" for my Florida legs.

I am not a trail runner. Pretty early on I realized I was going to have to be very laid back about my pace and walking. Matt got distracted by the beauty of our surroundings and twisted his ankle within the first half mile. I was better about my footing but definitely had to slow down on the inclines.
I mean, how could you NOT love running in this?
I especially loved racing down the switchbacks.
Matt running down a switchback.
The trail we took was supposedly 3.9 miles but my watch clocked it at 3.4. Either way, it was a fun, beautiful "run". (Run/walk/hike/climb?)
Afterward, we went down to the dock and put our feet in the water of the lake. It was freezing but felt so good. My left ankle was so swollen from wearing heels the night before and running in the ice bath was necessary.

A lady and her daughter came up on paddle boards and she offered them to us while they went to lunch. I was like "You don't know who you're asking..." and Matt was like "THANKS I'M ON IT!" So I lounged on the dock while he paddled a bit.
We went to lunch in town, eating at this place called The Kitchen with yummy rice bowls filled with all local produce, proteins, and sauces. (I had tofu, Matt had chicken.) We picked up some dinner for later from a co-op grocery store, then got ice cream (two scoops each of blueberry and strawberry, made from local berries and dairy) at the Clever Cow Creamery, which we took back to our room and stuck in the fridge before heading back to the park.

My legs were totally done, but we were able to drive most of the way to Mount Constitution, the highest point on Orcas. We did, of course, climb the tower for the full view. The summit has an elevation of 2399ft...You can basically see Canada from there. (I really can.)

We returned to the resort to eat ice cream (which, despite being melty, had amazing flavor) and take a dip in the pool and spa before calling it a night.

The next morning was our last day in Washington. We caught the ferry around noon and drove back in to Seattle. Our flight out wasn't until 10pm, so we had time to kill. We briefly checked out Discovery Park and then went back to Olympic Sculpture Park to read and relax.

We had dinner at Broadway Poke and Sushi, which is kind of a little hole-in-the-wall but was honestly so good it surprised me, and then we were airport bound.
All good things must come to an end; thus ended our epic vacation to the Pacific Northwest. Now maybe this blog will get back to being about running.


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Orcas Island - The Wedding!

I couldn't wait to share this post, but obviously the professional photos aren't available yet. That just means I'll get to write a follow-up later on to share more pics!

On July 14, Matt and I arrived for the ferry to Orcas Island bright and early. We pulled into the line and immediately saw that Robby's rental car was right behind us! We had some time to kill before boarding, so everyone popped out of the cars. It turned out quite a few attendants and guests (and Scott!) were taking the same ferry over, so we all kind of mingled while we waited to board.
The 1.5-hour trip over to Orcas was smooth sailing. We didn't see any whales but we got to enjoy the views.
Driving onto the ferry
That skyline though...
Pretty much our first view from Orcas. Beautiful!
We drove straight from the ferry landing to the resort. The boys got married at the Rosario Resort and Spa, which was absolutely picture-perfect and really forced us to enjoy the festivities without distractions because there was no cell service at all. (We had spotty wifi at the actual resort but the surrounding parks were dead zones.)

We ran through rehearsal first. Scott and Robby had three aisles to walk into the wedding, and had to time our walks and make sure we all knew where to stand. I loved this set up - they each walked down the outside aisles with both parents, then met together in the middle. When they walked out, they walked up the center aisle together. Two equal men coming together and leaving as one. The symbolism was beautiful.
After practicing, we had some time to hang out. Matt and I didn't have a room ready for us yet, so we hung out with his dad until it was time for the rehearsal barbecue at Moran State Park. Because this was a destination wedding, everyone was invited!
I wasn't planning to get in the water because it was so cold, but I had bought a new bathing suit just for the lake day, so finally Matt convinced me to hang out on a float. It was a fun way to relax and meeting everyone before the big day.
Matt and his dad testing the water. Verdict: It was COLD
Robby and his dad tending the grill
They kill me
We ended the night with a late dinner in town with Matt's cousin Dylan and his wife Christine.

Wedding day arrived bright and early. Robby's best woman and I were the first two to get our makeup and hair done, so we had to be at the guys' suite between 8am and 8:30. I had been concerned that my hair would be too short for a cute updo, but the stylist did a great job! (I am so forgetful - I didn't get a picture of the back!)
Finished look
I was also nervous the makeup wouldn't last all day, and that the false eyelashes would irritate me. But of course, everything went smoothly! By 10am I was completely wedding-ready above the shoulders.
Robby kept us stocked in mimosas
Dylan and Matt
Copying their vows into little journals for the ceremony
I passed the time reviewing my speech. The guys had asked me to write something about love and acceptance, but I struggled to keep it light. I ended up writing a poem for them. Their friend Paloma was officiating the wedding; she and I had been texting and emailing for awhile to make sure everything ran smoothly. We took some time after hair and makeup to walk up to the wedding site to run through the entire ceremony.
I love this photo
Afterward, I felt super emotional but also very calm. I knew we'd be fine.

Finally, after getting some pre-wedding family pictures, it was time for the ceremony. Everything went so smoothly, and it was just beautiful. I was choked up the entire time. I had to avoid eye contact with the grooms during my reading, and I nearly lost it during their vows. They have just been so good for each other and their love and commitment is so genuine.
To see them so confident and unapologetically together was just...the best thing in the world.
I believe this was caught at the moment Paloma quoted Britney Spears.
With Paloma, feeling relieved and ready to party after a job well done
After the ceremony, we took photos with the wedding party and then walked to the reception site, which was a building on the resort called the Beach House. From there, what can I say? The decorations were sophisticated, the DJ was awesome, the mother-son dances were touching, the food (served family-style) was delicious and all gluten free, the toasts were tear-inducing, and the father-son dance (to YMCA) was hilarious.
They changed into hanboks for part of the reception.
Robby and Scott each had two attendants give toasts. Leighanne, Scott's best woman, delivered the first funny, poignant speech to get the ball rolling.
I pretty much managed to stay dry-eyed until Matt's toast.
They had a Jenga set for us to write memories on to help them "build memories"; so cute! 
We found this photo in one of their displayed scrapbooks and recreated it in their photo booth.
Matt and Dylan gave into temptation and spent some time skipping rocks.
We had a fantastic night. I hope it was everything Scott and Robby were dreaming of. I know it will certainly be an experience they won't ever forget, and it was a beautiful start to a long and happy life together.


Monday, July 23, 2018

Seattle Vacation: Part 2 - July 10-13, 2018

We spent the afternoon of our anniversary driving straight from Vancouver to Seattle for dinner. We had plans to see my friend Emily and her husband Adam; the last time I saw her was 8 years ago to the day, at our wedding! (The minute Scott and Robby gave us their wedding date, I messaged her to let her know I'd be in town a year in advance so we could make plans.) There was some really bad traffic getting back to the city, and Matt and I ended up at the wrong restaurant, but eventually we made it to Purple and had a great time!
After dinner, we found our Airbnb and settled in. Matt surprised me by finding Hot Cakes, a dessert restaurant that serves molten lava cakes and has gluten free options. We walked over and shared a chocolate lava cake and strawberry milkshake. It was the perfect end to an already perfect anniversary.
I am channeling my inner-Gollum here. My preciousssss.
The next day, July 11, was another things-on-my-list day. We started with the SkyView Observatory, which is on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center. We had heard it was less expensive and higher up than the Space Needle, and because the Space Needle was under construction anyway, we opted to skip it.
Spot the Space Needle!
I was not disappointed. Seeing the city from so high up was breathtaking. I had chills the first moment I looked out! The observatory has lots of interactive information, so you know what to look for in each direction. We spent about an hour enjoying the view.
The freeways look so cool from this view!
Afterward, we headed to Pike Place. Emily had warned me to avoid the famous market on the weekend, and I totally get why. Even on a Wednesday, it was incredibly crowded. We picked up some snacks (mozzarella, salami, fresh fruit...yum!) and ogled the oversized pastries.
Donuts as big as his FACE!
We picked up some sushi for lunch, then walked over to the Seattle Aquarium...which, in retrospect, seems cruel. The aquarium had been on my must-do list, and I was not disappointed. I am terrified of sea creatures, so aquariums are kind of like haunted houses for me. I love them!
We saw all kinds of fish, including jellyfish and the resident octopus. We got to see the sea otters being fed and visit some puffins.
Some kid stuck his hand in the one good pic I managed to get of the octopus.
This shirt really spoke to me.
We headed home from there. Matt was meeting a local paddling club for some outrigger canoe fun, so he left me at home to enjoy that. I was happy to have some quiet time to put my feet up and catch up on Netflix. (I am watching The Santa Clarita Diet but Matt won't watch it with me!)

We ordered in from Jai Thai when he got home; we had an early, big day ahead of us!

On July 12, we drove out to Mt. Tacoma (Rainier) for a hike. This was Matt's #1 must-do on the list and I'm so glad we were able to fit it in. I told him the night before he'd have to remind me periodically that I love him; during the hike, I threatened divorce three times. Mostly joking.
We pulled over on our drive to the Paradise Inn, our starting place for the hike. This was before I knew the pain I was in for.
Tacoma is another one of those many places that European explorers pretended they found first. I looked up the original names of the surrounding mountains so we could try our best to respect the history of these natural marvels.
The loop we took is at the bottom of this map, in red. It's VERY small and nowhere near the main summit, as you can see. It certainly felt like a lot while we were hiking, though!
We took the Skyline Trail up to Panorama Point. There was way more snow than we were expecting, and some of the hike was really tough! I was sliding a lot, and my ankles really hurt toward the end from trying to balance myself. Some of the hike up the mountain was narrow and extremely rocky, too. I hadn't expected it to be quite so intense.
The foothills at the beginning of the hike were actually the hardest part, even though they were paved! But the atmosphere was just phenomenal.
That said, it was awesome. The temperature was gorgeous, probably in the low-70s, and the snow acted like natural AC. The sun was shining in a cloudless sky. We spotted hundreds of marmots and chipmunks, birds, and even a mountain goat on our way back down!
Panorama Point earned its name, of course. At an elevation of 6800 feet, we had a gorgeous view of Wy'east (Mt. Hood), Pahto (Mt. Adams), and Lawetlat'la/Loowit (Mt. Saint Helens). I had no idea that this mountain range had a rich history in Native legends, giving the mountains personalities and relationships.
We made it!
I made  friend while I elevated my feet.
From our final summit, we tracked down the mountain using a few different trails; the descent was longer but easier. (I found out halfway through our trek that the Skyline Trail we hiked up is one of the "strenuous" hikes from our starting point at the Paradise Inn. At least that explains why I found it so challenging!)
It was like being in the Shire!
Still smiling!
The entire 5.5 mile hike took us about 4.5 hours to complete. Toward the end, I started running down some of the slopes. It made my achy calves and ankles feel better!
Photos really do not do this mountain justice. The waterfalls and creeks, the vibrancy of the trees, glaciers all around, the distant mountain ranges all along the horizon...cameras really can't catch all that. I can see why Matt was so insistent we make this trip. It was worth it.
We made it back down!
The next day was fairly easy. We picked up Matt's tux downtown, spent some time at the Seattle Public Library, and visited Nuflours, an all-gluten-free bakery where I indulged myself in pastries I'd never had before. We walked around the UW Botanical Gardens a bit before heading out to Anacortes, where we would be reunited with the family and would catch the ferry the next morning for Orcas Island.
Somehow, the end of our vacation had sneaked up on us! Next's wedding time!