Stuff from the Weekend

Remember how I bought two books to read on vacation and then did everything on vacation but read? Well, I finally finished the second one (The Strain) and good news: it didn’t piss me off like The Lovely Bones!

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There’s a new show on FX starting in a few weeks called The Strain that I wanted to check out because Guillermo Del Toro’s name is attached and I love most of his stuff (he did Pan’s Labrynth). I had no idea it was based on a book until I ran across it in the used book store so of course I had to read it before the show started. Toward the end, I discovered it was a trilogy.

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Why can’t I read one book and be done with it? They all have to be trilogies?

Anyway, the book is basically about a virus that’s turning people into vampires and a few people are trying to stop it from spreading outside of New York City. The story isn’t anything super original but man, I really liked it. So now I’m really looking forward to the show and feel all sorts of pressure to read the other two books soon.

Last Thursday night, hubs and I went to see Godzilla. It was ok. Not a lot of Godzilla for a Godzilla movie. Plus, he came out of nowhere. There’s another monster that is fully explained and he breaks free and is all “see ya Japan, I’m heading to San Fran” and the scientist dude is all, “let Godzilla hunt him down.”

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How does everyone already know about and are ok with this giant sea lizard? I mean, I don’t expect an amazing story from a Godzilla movie but you’d think they’d explain where he came from. Then, hubs was annoyed that Godzilla never ate anything, which at first I thought was a strange thing to notice. But then, the other monster was always feeding on radiation while Godzilla ate nothing. I mean, elephants are huge but still smaller than Godzilla, right? They spend 18-20 hours eating a day. That’s right. I looked it up. So why you no eat, Godzilla?

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On Sunday, I decided to check out my free credit report. These are the things I do for fun when I’m alone. Also, I hear it’s a good idea to check your credit report yearly. Since I last checked mine never, I figured now is as good a time as any. Everything looked normal until I noticed that all three credit bureaus have my brother’s address listed as one of my former addresses (nope) and my current employment is listed as Best Western. I worked there 13 years ago.

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Some good current stuff on that report.

Lastly, you probably remember I’m running the Chicago Marathon in memory of my dad. (That’s a link to the post about my dad.) Well, thanks to a lot of you, I am less than $200 away from my goal! It’s not a goal I set for myself. It’s a goal set by the American Heart Association that I am required to fulfill. So, needless to say I was a little worried I could do it. I wasn’t sure if I could raise $500, much less $1500, so I have some pretty awesome readers and friends that have been so incredibly supportive. So thank you so much for that. If I could give you all a kiss, I would.

I’m still trying to reach my goal (so close!), so if you have the means and would like to donate, YOU CAN DO THAT HERE. Even a $5.00 donation is appreciated. <3

Update: It looks like the site doesn’t take less than $25.00 donations. :-(  I emailed the AHA and asked about other options.

Mother’s Day Eve

Hubs and I aren’t big fans of celebrating most holidays on the actual day. Mainly because every restaurant becomes so crowded with people and our desire to be around people is usually low. So, we decided to celebrate Mother’s Day on Saturday instead of Sunday and picked up the in-laws for a night out on the town.

New hair shot for you.

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It’s so easy to style now that I curl it almost every day, which is way faster than the 15 minutes I used to put into “styling” it, followed by the 30 minutes I’d spend crying in the mirror.

We took the in-laws to Rocco’s Tacos, a really fun Mexican restaurant with an awesome, trendy atmosphere and a huge tequila bar.

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Instead of getting pictures of that awesome atmosphere, I took one picture. Of the wall.

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I don’t know why I try anymore.

Anyway, this was the first time any of us had been there and we heard great things about the guacamole. So we started with that.

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They make it at the table and you can get it mild, medium, or spicy. We ordered medium and it tasted mild to all of us. But whatever, it was still delicious.

I ordered three tacos (mushroom, chorizo, and shrimp) for my main dish with a side of spicy white rice. I didn’t take a picture, but it looked like tacos and rice. So get your imagination on. The spicy white rice and mushroom taco were amazing, but the other two tacos? Meh. The chorizo was awful. I ate half of it and hubs inherited the other half. The shrimp taco was so bland that I just ate the shrimp. Disappointing, but I was already getting full from the guac and chips so it’s not like I left weak and hungry.

Hubs and I both think Mucho (my favorite place that I take every friend that comes into town) is still the best in town. I’d give Rocco’s a second date, but I’m going home with Mucho if you know what I mean.

After dinner, we noticed there was an outdoor area in the back of the restaurant, so we walked over there to check it out only to find a pretty lake view and tons of open tables. So we were basically seated in the shittiest spot in the restaurant – right by the front, close to the hostess and where everyone walks by to get to their table.

We hung out by the lake for a bit and my MIL showed off her photography skills.

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I swear she took that picture three times before we got one with my eyes open. I had to take matters into my own hands.

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I’m awake!

After we left the restaurant, hubs asked the in-laws if they had ever been to Lake Eola. Even though they both said yes, we thought it would be nice to take them there anyway for a walk, and then stop for a drink along the way. While we were walking, my MIL mentioned that the tall buildings weren’t around the lake last time she was there (they aren’t new) and when we told her about the farmer’s market every Sunday, she thought that was new (nope). Then she mentioned her last visit to Lake Eola when my sister-in-law had just started walking – forty-two years ago.

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Then, I look over to see my FIL taking pictures of the fountain like a tourist.

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Every time the fountain changed color, he had to get a new picture. We might as well have taken them to the ancient ruins because I felt like they had never been there before. So it’s safe to say it was a good choice on the hub’s part. We know they don’t get out much (or at all), but Lake Eola is 15 minutes away from their house. Now we’re on a mission to delight them with all things Orlando.

The next afternoon, hubs and I went to Ollie’s Public House for lunch. Ollie’s in my new favorite.

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I thought the newspaper presentation was really cute. That’s corned beef, swiss, and spicy mustard minus the sauerkraut because no. No sauerkraut ever.

The food at Ollie’s is amazing and beers are cheap. Plus, they give you a FREE JAR OF PICKLES when you sit down.

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Free pickles with beer is my dream. My other dream that doesn’t involve binge eating cupcakes, that is. I have five friends that live or work within a two mile radias of this place and I’m just finding out about it, so I’m going to have some serious talks with them about their communication skills.

 

 

 

By the Numbers

1. My training plan for Chicago is donezo.

This plan is a combination of a Smart Coach plan and last year’s Marathonfest plan (my old running group). This time around my training is six weeks shorter (so I don’t burn out again), I’m dropping one day of Crossfit (Friday) for rest, replacing one speed run for an easy run (Tuesday), and adding a short run on Sunday if I feel like it. Which I probably won’t. My main focus will be on that Thursday run, which will likely be tempos unless I’m bored, since my goal is to get faster this time around and tempos have worked for me lately.

2.  I got new hair and an ombre.

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And then I went out for a beer afterwards, so I forgot to get a picture of the finished product. So my head in tinfoil is all you get for now.

3.  I moved to a new building at work. That makes four moves in seven months, not that I’m counting.

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4. I finished reading The Lovely Bones. (Sorry in advance for this one.)

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I wish I was part of a book club so I could bitch about this book for hours on end. A lot of people told me the book was haunting and that it really stayed with them after they were done reading it and I gotta say, that got me excited to read it.

Well, it stayed with me alright. Only because it annoyed the shit out of me. I didn’t find it haunting. That’s a strange word to describe it in my opinion. Anything that could have been haunting was described in such a sugar-coated way, that it took all the impact out of the words. It was definitely disturbing –  for about three pages, but beyond that I felt like I was reading a bunch of useless information to eventually get to a paragraph that forwards the story.

Oh, and the end…

***Spoilers***

First, the dad takes the mom back.

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She was a cheater and a barely-present mother. In fact, she left him for FIVE years and during that time, he fell in love with her “all over again” by looking at her picture. Pllleeease.

Then, Susie, who was raped and cut into pieces at 13 yrs old by the way, comes back from the dead briefly by inhabiting Ruth’s body and has no problem using Ruth to bone the guy she had a crush on before she died. So when it’s someone else’s body, I guess it’s ok.

Speaking of that ghostly sex scene, this happened.

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And the killer dies, not because he’s killed tons of girls and gets caught, but because he loses footing and freezes to death after an icicle falls on him?

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I can’t even with that book.

***End Spoilers***

5. Here’s Pants being punished.

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She’s been a pain in the ass lately by digging out all the litter in her litter box, so we make her cuddle when she’s bad. She hates it so much, which you can tell because her ear is back. She knows when it’s coming too because she tries to hide. YOU CAN’T HIDE FROM MY LOVE, PANTS.

6. I was behind this car the other day.

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Is that, like, the divorced version of the family sticker? Or the single parent version? Because it’s awesome and more men should let us know if they’re single by displaying it on their car.

Getting Faster

It was nice pretending this was a vacation blog for awhile, but it’s time to get back to some running stuff mmkay? I’m taking some time off for the next two months before marathon training starts, so the most I’m running are three milers. Nothing really to report there. But a bunch of you asked what I did differently to PR my last three races since I’ve been so good about not PRing crap for three years. So I thought I’d share my deep, dark secrets.

Oh, and when I say a bunch of you asked, I mean one.

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I didn’t follow a plan, I just changed a few things that I thought could use improvement. I all but gave up on PRs, so I didn’t really expect these things to work. In any case, here they are:

1. I ran outside more and on the treadmill less.

I know a lot of you hate the treadmill but I love it. I like AC and I like nearby toilets to poop in and I like TVs in front of my face. So as much as I hate running outside, I swapped one (sometimes two) treadmill runs a week for an outside run. Not for speed. Just for more outside running.

2. I added one tempo run a week – on the treadmill.

My speed runs were sporadic at best so I made sure I did one  a week. I ran all my tempos on the treadmill so I could keep my pace consistent. I ran one warm-up mile (always a 10:00 pace) and three miles at a faster pace (usually a 8:50). I picked a faster pace that was challenging but not so hard that I needed to walk. Some weeks it was easy and others I could barely make it though.

3. I was uncomfortable during all three races.

None of the races were easy, even at the beginning. I feel like, in order for me to PR a race, I’m going to hate the during part. I know it’s not like that for everyone. Some people feel omg amazing the entire time. Some people can’t believe they magically got so fast when they were just running the race “for fun.” That’s not me. I’m putting in a lot of effort the entire time and it sucks until I cross the finish line and see my finish time. And then it’s amazing.

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I did the first two things for two months and it worked somehow. Not really crazy or complicated, which I like, so I’ll make sure to add it to my training plan for Chicago.

The Rest of the Fun

Now that I’ve told you about all our cruise excursions, you’d think I’d be done talking about this vacation. But nope. We had three full days at sea that I haven’t even mentioned. I had two more posts drafted, but I felt like that was a little excessive. So instead I’m going to sum up the main points in one post. One. long. post. See? You don’t have to hear about my vacation any more after this. Unless you want to… (call me!)

1. I bought two books before the cruise in anticipation of reading by the pool for hours on end.

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That didn’t happen. I never even went in the pool. I walked by it many times to get to the bar but actual relaxing by it didn’t happen. We spent most of our time eating (so, so much eating) or hanging out at a pool deck table chatting with Linda and Jimmy.

2. OMG. The eating.

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That’s our waiter, Anthony, posing with us. He helped us all eat five meals a day. It was ridiculous. Even when we tried to be good, it was impossible because he was hell bent on feeding us. If one of us didn’t order a certain course (like a second appetizer or meal *gasp*), he’d bring out what he thought we might like so we wouldn’t be “lonely” watching everyone else eat.

3. I ate something I said I would never eat. Snails, dude.

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I’ve been saying no to trying escargot for 10 years. I cannot deal with little, black, slimy things that look like hot garbage on a plate, but Linda insisted. So I gave in. The verdict: I ordered them every day for the rest of the cruise. Damn those things are good. Where have you been all my life you delicious, butter-drenched delights? If cruise escargot is that good, I can only imagine what non-cruise escargot tastes like. Also, that picture should explain why I’m not going to do a food post.

4.  At the Belly Flop contest, I captured this amazing shot of a man giving birth to a leg.

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5. This is Deck 5.

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Deck 5 is important for 3 reasons: Irish Pub, 24 hour pizza, and cupcakes.

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We spent a lot of time on Deck 5. The cupcakes were not included with the cruise food which did not deter me. I still bought many of them.

6. Linda and I worked out five out of the seven days on the ship since we pretty much stuffed our faces for all seven days. It is unusually hard to eat that much. That it something I never thought I would say. I mean, I wasn’t so hard that I didn’t do it. That would just be ridiculous.

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7. Our stateroom was on Deck 2.

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That means hubs and I were climbing a ton of stairs daily to get to Deck 11, which had the breakfast and lunch buffets, and Deck 12, which had the pools. By the time we climbed nine flights of stairs, we were panting and sweating. I have never worked so hard to get to a buffet. We did this at least three times a day. All the Crossfit and running do not prepare you for stairs. Stairs are the devil.

8. We went to four shows while we were on the ship. We saw a variety show, a comedy act, an ice skating show, and a dating game type show that was pretty entertaining. I didn’t take any pictures of them, so here’s a picture of Linda and I instead.

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9. We spent most nights at the bars. Although, I feel like that goes without saying.

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10.  Speaking of bars, hubs, Jimmy, and I all got the Premium Inclusive drink package.

Premium Package ($55 per day): includes house and premium cocktails (up to $10 value), frozen cocktails, beers, premium wine by the glass (up to $12 value), nonalcoholic cocktails, bottled still water, fountain sodas with a souvenir Coca-Cola cup and a 20 percent discount on wine bottle purchases.

Not cheap, but I still thought it would be cheaper than paying as we went. The package equaled about five drinks a day from my online research estimation. I didn’t plan to drink every day, but I’m no lightweight so I thought I could easily average that and make up the difference with bottled water.

Turns out drinks were way cheaper than I expected (and they had happy hour drink specials). So the package is worth it if you can drink eight drinks a day. Drinking eight drinks a day is hard, ya’ll. Of course, we didn’t want to lose money, so it became a challenge to drink as much as we could to get our monies worth. So yeah. Bad idea with the drink package. It would have been way cheaper to pay as we went. Live and learn, I suppose.

11. If you go on a cruise, bring cold medicine just in case. NyQuil was nineteen dollars on the ship. NINETEEN! Dying was cheaper, so I drank orange juice and suffered.

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12. I saw Frozen. We all watched it on the big screen at the pool the last night which was a fun way to watch. So now I’ve caught up with the rest of the world.

13.  Our last day on ship, we went to Johnny Rockets.

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We needed a break from the buffet and dining room but I think our JR waiter was friends with our regular dining room waiter because he kept bringing food we didn’t order too. We wanted a burger each and chili fries to share. We ended up with chili fries, regular fries, a bowl of ranch dressing, onion rings, four shakes, apple pie, and an extra burger. I ate all that in a bikini and felt extra sexy afterwards. Try that out if you want to feel super sexy too.

Our vacation was so fun. I’m sad it’s over. Although, I may have convinced Linda and Jimmy to join us on next year’s vacation to *fingers crossed* Ireland. My passport is lonely for its first stamp. :-)

Wandering Around St. Maarten

Our last, and most favorite stop, was in St. Maarten.

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St. Maarten is an island divided by two nations: a French side (Saint Martin) and a Dutch side (Sint Maarten). They are so split in two, they don’t even want to spell it the same. We visited the capitol, Phillipsburg, which is on the Dutch side.

Our visit to St. Maarten didn’t really go as planned. We tried really hard to book a snuba tour but there were only two spots left and we needed four. We even tried the wait list with no luck, so we decided to cancel our original tour (to a butterfly farm) and wing it since I really wanted to watch planes land at Maho Beach after hearing about it from my friend, Kate.

Maho Beach is a 30 minute cab ride from the port and right in front of an airport runway. Because the runway is so short, planes have to fly really low over the beach to ensure the wheels hit the runway as soon as possible. That makes plane watching extra interesting, especially when signs like this are posted.

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We hung out at the café on the beach all morning sipping Pina Coladas. I was starting to get a cold so I rationalized that those were the only things that felt good on my throat. Vacation logic. Hubs, Jimmy, and Linda ate lunch but I wasn’t hungry so I had more Pina Coladas to help my cold.

A lot of smaller planes land at the airport but the big ones are the most fun to watch, so the bar has a daily flight schedule posted so you know when they are coming in.

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After watching planes all morning from the beach café, we decided to get a little closer.

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See the plane approaching in the background?

This should be where I explain to you what Jimmy is doing. He decided at the beginning of the trip that he was going to pose like this for as many pictures as possible. He calls this pose “the erection.” So it was a delight when Linda would ask before someone took our picture, “are we going to do “the erection?” Always a crowd-pleaser.

Anyway, standing under those planes as they are passing over is a way different experience than watching from the café. It is freaky and cool. I took video of one of them but the video does nothing to capture the sound level and jet blast of a plane flying that close over you.

If you can’t see that video, you can click here too.

After watching planes all morning, we found a guy selling coconuts (illegally, because he ran when the cops drove by) and bought some.

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Well, everyone did but me because I hate coconut water. But it was still cool to watch this guy machete a coconut like no one’s business.

After that we caught a cab downtown for some shopping.

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St. Maarten is known for its shopping. There were a ton of cute shops selling all sorts of touristy stuff. It was fun checking them all out. Plus, fun fact about St. Maarten – you can walk around outside with alcohol like in Vegas and New Orleans. Basically my dream.

Downtown was about two miles away from the ship, so we just slowly made our way back stopping in just about every store on the way. I was hungry since I didn’t eat lunch, so I made everyone eat lunch #2 with me. We stopped at this awesome little beach restaurant.

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I wanted a cheeseburger in a bad way. So I ordered one because I’m an uncultured American. But I’m telling you, the burger was freakin’ amazing. (Hubs agreed.)  I was a little worried the waitress didn’t ask how I wanted it cooked, but apparently they only cook it one way: delicious.

Hubs, Jimmy, and Linda got this awesome beef plate so I ate that too because I like to eat off of other people’s plates.

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After lunch, we did some more shopping. I bought a bathing suit top and hubs bought some coconut rum with actual coconut pieces floating in it. Also, cigarettes were really cheap. (No, I didn’t buy them.) They were $17.99 a carton and $3.00 for a single pack. I think if I lived in the St. Maarten, I’d take up full-time smoking since it’s so cheap.

Oh, another interesting thing is that cigarettes had these giant warning labels all over them that we do not have in America.

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I was explaining to the lady at the store that our warnings are very small and she was like, “so that’s why everyone points out those warnings out to each other.”

Anyway, we all loved St. Maarten. Jimmy was already planning his trip back while we were there. We commented on how nice all the locals were when we noticed on the license plates that St. Maarten is called The Friendly Island. They definitely live up to that. I would really recommend visiting if you have the chance.

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I can’t get over hub’s face in that picture. He INSISTED on being the goat.

Jet Skiing and Stingraying in the Bahamas

Now we’re gonna back up to our first port stop in Coco Cay, Bahamas. I’ve been to Coco Cay before and it’s meh if you ask me. It’s Royal Caribbean’s private island and it’s pretty because it’s the Caribbean but it’s small and boring unless you like sitting on a beach chair for 8 hours. So, I was a little bah hum bug about going back. We ended up booking two excursions for this stop and it was a lot of fun and I got to eat my words.

Our first excursion was jet skiing. Or Sea Dooing. I guess those are the same thing.

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Holding on for dear life.

Jet skiing has always been on my “too scared to try” list because falling into the water at high speeds and dying (in my scenario, I die) does not sound like a good time. So I made hubs drive and I hung on tight enough that if I was going in, he was going in with me. #thatslove. Once we started jumping waves, I starting dropping expletives. It was fun and scary and besides feeling the need to crap my pants, it was awesome!

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We followed our guide to a few spots where we stopped and waited for everyone else in the group to catch up. She’d tell us a few things, probably about the island or the ocean, that I didn’t hear because I was too busy trying to stay alive. Then we’d do it all over again. It was a good time. There was even a 70-something couple with us that hadn’t jet skied in 40 years. That’s the couple I want to be when I’m old. Smile  So overall, I didn’t die, which I like, and I’d do it again.

After the first excursion, we had some time to kill, which we did with many rum and cokes under a shade tree on the beach. We ate lunch after our morning boozing and then met up for our second excursion  – swimming with stingrays. After a briefing on what not to do around stingrays, we took a five minute boat ride over to the stingray area.

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We got into this big fenced in area where there were tons of stingrays swimming around our legs.

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It was kinda freaky and cool at the same time.

Then we got to feed and hold them which was just…omg.

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If anyone wants to style their hair like mine, send me an email and I’ll tell you how. It’s a delicate balance of wind, water, and not looking in a mirror.

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Those things weigh 100 lbs and they are all slippery and weird and interesting. They are all like, sure, hold me, it’s cool.

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There were all sorts of other things to see while we were there like sea cucumbers (so gross), starfish, and sea urchins, which suck on your hand while you’re holding them. *shudder*

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I did not hold that thing for long.

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sea cucumber

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After about an hour, we headed back. We wanted to see the pictures the guides took of us but we only had about 20 minutes left to catch the last tender back to the ship, so we skipped it. Boo.

We all loved both excursions and of course all the rum, so my second trip to Coco Cay was much better than the first.

Snorkeling in the Virgin Islands

I’m going to talk about this cruise for a bit because it was awesome and there’s a lot to talk about. So get ready for my vacation shenanigans. I might even be able to talk about it in less posts than this girl talked about her Cuba vacation, but I doubt it.

Anyway, like I mentioned before, hubs and I went on a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise with our friends, Linda and Jimmy. The cruise had port stops in Coco Cay, Bahamas, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and St. Maarten (in that order). I was a little apprehensive about going on a 7-night cruise. I’ve been on two cruises previous to this – both only three nighters – and both times I was bored half of the time and ready to GTFO by day three.

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Well, I had nothing to worry about. I had an awesome time and I was never bored. I wasn’t too excited about our stops at first. I wanted to do the Western Caribbean cruise but Linda and Jimmy had already done that one last year which kinda bummed me out. But, the fact that I LOVE vacationing with friends won me over so I got over my snobby Eastern Caribbean ways and decided to go anyway.

If you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning of time (or 3 years, whichever), you might remember that Linda was our personal trainer for several years (that’s how we met). This is the second time we’ve been on vacation with her and her husband. The first time was a Carolinas road trip about four years ago, so we already knew we could spend a lot of time with them and not want to shiv them in the kidneys. We also knew they liked to have fun.

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See? Fun!

Anyway, our first stop was in Coco Cay, but since I’m waiting to get few pictures from Linda, I’ll move on to stop #2 – St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Lots of ships ported at St. Thomas.

Can’t take him anywhere.

Originally, we had planned a snuba excursion in St. Thomas. Snuba is apparently a thing and I had never heard of it until we got on the ship. It’s not quite snorkeling and it’s not quite scuba diving. When you snuba, you explore 20 feet below water and the oxygen tank floats above you. All four of us were more psyched for snuba than any of the other excursions we had booked. So of course it was cancelled because the ship was an hour and a half late into port because of heavy wind.

We booked another excursion, our distant second choice of snorkeling. We picked a tour with Cool Boats USVI that went to Turtle Bay. We sailed there on an actual ghost ship called Blackbeard’s Revenge. The ship sunk in the 80’s and then was resurrected six weeks later and refurbished. It looked like a bad ass pirate ship.

There’s nothing like the feeling of sailing on a ship that once sunk.

The trip started out pretty well other than the fact that the water was super choppy and there were at least two people barfing into buckets and two others that didn’t look so hot. Those people were not us, by the way. Other than that, it was a good 30-minute sail.

I can’t say enough good things about the tour guides, Shy and Amelia, and Capt. Jim. They were amazing and funny and told stories like they haven’t told them 1000 times before. They did things like scale the boat to open the sails while the boat was in motion.

See Shy up there? You could not pay me to do that. He didn’t even use the ladder. He climbed up by one using one of those thin ropes. Crazy mofo.

We got to Turtle Bay and I was happy the boat had finally stopped. I was starting to feel a little sea sick even though I was sitting in the middle of the boat, which moves the least. We all jumped off the boat and started our snorkel.

The snorkeling selfie.

The water was beautiful but it was so congested with people that I couldn’t swim without hitting someone with my flipper or someone else’s flipper hitting me.

See what I mean?

I bought a GoPro camera right before the trip and I’m an absolute idiot using it. I thought I was taking pictures when I was actually taking video for half a day. Then I had it set on 10 pictures per second for another part of the day and ended up with tons of the same picture. The jury is still out on that camera.

Ok, so back to snorkeling. Besides being congested, there wasn’t much to see except a lot of flat sea floor and a fairly lame coral reef.

A few others saw some turtles and a stingray but I wouldn’t have been able to get there to see them unless I started taking down little children, which normally I would do, just not with that many witnesses. So I saw nothing unless you count the shadow of a turtle in the distance, three fish, and then a turtle once I got back on the boat that mocked me with its frocklicking.

So basically, the snorkel portion of the trip was a bust and I didn’t use much of the free snorkel time after we went on the “tour” where Amelia told us about parts of the reef.

We got back on the ship and our guides started serving us many of these fruity rum drinks called Painkillers (for FREE) and that significantly improved our moods. I was looking the other direction at one point, holding my drink, and felt Capt. Jim filling up my cup. Man after my own heart right there.

Also, our guide Shy memorized all FIFTY people’s names on the boat. He went around, asked everyone their name individually, and did some weird pneumonic thing in his mind for a few seconds each time. Then, after he asked everyone their names, was able to call everyone out in order. He even knew our names when we swapped positions on the boat and were coming out of the water wet and unrecognizable with our snorkle gear on. Crazy. That dude was pure entertainment. I’m sad I didn’t get a good picture of him because he reminded me of Aaron Paul. (Hubs said he reminded him of Dominic Moynahan.)

Everyone being entertained by Shy.

We left a good tip because we loved, loved the guides but the tour itself was meh. I would have preferred a snorkel trip that carried less people and had something to look at. You go to Turtle Bay, you expect to see turtles. Amirite?

We had a little time when we got back to shore before all-aboard, so we stopped at a cute beach pub called Fat Turtle and had a few more drinks and appetizers (to prep our stomachs for dinner, of course). We asked for a local rum suggestion and the waitress recommended Cruzan which is made in the Virgin Islands. We have that all over the place in Orlando, so no. No Cruzan rum for Paula. I went with a Moscow Mule instead (my current favorite drink). I didn’t take any pictures toward the end of the day, so imagine me enjoying many more adult beverages. Pretty much like you imagine me on any normal day.

St. Thomas wasn’t our favorite stop, but we still had a great time. We heard from the locals that if you’re going to go to the Virgin Islands, that you want to take the ferry over to St. John. Apparently St. John is amazing. St. Thomas was beautiful BUT super touristy, which isn’t my thing since I already live in the land of tourism.

Ok, so that was our second stop. I’ll be back with more in a few days. :-)

Back to Real Life

It’s been a little quiet on my end for a bit. Hubs and I got back this morning from a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise with our friends Linda and Jimmy.

Middle of the ocean means no internet which was kinda nice. There’s nothing like going back to the olden days of using lobby phones and needing a watch to tell time. We had a lot of fun and I so needed a vacation in a bad way. More on that goodness later.

Today has been hectic with getting off the ship, driving home from Pt. Canaveral, unpacking, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, picking up Jon Hamm from the hammysitter, and picking up Pants from the bunnysitter. I always worry about Pants when someone else is watching her. Apparently I had nothing to worry about as she was feeling right at home.

I got that picture from our friend who was watching her. I’m glad she put her best foot forward. Thanks Pants. Way to represent us.

Hubs and I are still playing the game, “Am I drunk or is it the ship?” because everything is moving and I’m pretty sure I’m sitting still. It’s a super freaky feeling. Anyway, it’s time to finish some chores and watch all the season finales I missed while we were away.

Storm the Campus 10 Miler

Sunday, I ran the Storm the Campus 10 miler at the University of Central Florida.

It was my last race of the season *sniff* and now I’m all alone and raceless until October. In the meantime, I’ll need to find another use for my treadmill.

The usual happened race morning – woke up, got ready, ate a PB&J for breakfast, and picked Michelle up. Ok, picking M up is not the usual. She always picks me up because I am spoiled. But Sunday, M got to be spoiled because, for once, the race was on the way to her house instead of the other way around.

Once we arrived, we immediately ran into our new race friend, Tyler.

That’s him vogueing on the ground for Michelle. (Do you drop the e in vogueing? These are things I’m too lazy to Google.)

I think Michelle finally found a pace twin in Tyler. We met him at Best Damn Race, then saw him again at the Winter Park Road Race. Now, we’re Facebook friends and meeting up at races intentionally. So yeah, it’s getting pretty serious.

We also ran into my insanely fast friend, Brian, at the start. He was so fast, I didn’t get a picture of him. (He ran the race in 1:01:09 and came in third overall because he’s a super badass.)

This was an inaugural race and a lot smaller than I expected – only 229 runners, but that’s cool with me because I love small races the best. This is what the start line looked like pretty much until someone yelled “go!”

The start wasn’t clearly marked so I was a little worried about the course markings. M and I even made a joke about having 16 miles on our Garmin at the end. Turns out, it was one of the best marked courses I’ve ever run that included signs for all upcoming bathrooms. All races should have signage for bathrooms. I zone out so easily that someone could be stabbed to my right and I probably wouldn’t notice so the signs were appreciated.

The race started at 7:30, which is late for a March race in Florida. We really lucked out with some cooler weather, but I think  it should start 30 – 60 minutes earlier in the future. Anyway, the race winded around the UCF campus, so it was really pretty.

(source)

And because the race was on a Sunday, it was nice and quiet.

I ran one other 10 miler before this and that was a year and a half ago. I ran it in 1:45:52, so I was using that as my basis. I was pretty sure I could run a 1:40. I would have loved a 1:35, but I hate having goals. If I’m being honest, I suck at reaching them and I just end up letting myself down unless that goal pertains to alcohol or cupcake consumption. So, I was cool with a 1:40. Which I guess is a goal, but one I thought I didn’t really have to work for that was still a PR.

Just like my last two races, I felt like I was putting in a good amount of effort. It was manageable, but not exactly enjoyable. There was some nasty wind, and a couple turn-arounds that really screwed with my pace – one just after a water stop in which I almost ran into an oncoming car because I thought the last cone was the turn-around point and not a separating-runners-from-traffic cone. Everyone else was doing the same, so a cone for the turn-around would have been good. Or maybe a chalk marking.

I saw Michelle (and Tyler) three times during the race, which was fun. Usually I don’t see M at all, so I felt like I must have been keeping up pretty well. She even snapped a picture of me just before the finish.

Right in front of the burger place which seems about right.

Finish time: 1:31:15.  A fourteen minute and 37 second PR. And 7th in my age group! I’ve never been 7th in anything. (There were not seven women in my age group by the way. There were 29. That was my first question too.)

I loved this race and I’m so happy with the way I ran it. It gives me warm running fuzzies. If it were a half marathon, I would have had my sub-2:00. #bittersweet. Three PRs in a row is more than I ever thought I would get so I’m happy to end the season here and look forward to working hard to make next season even better.