Monday, June 1, 2015

How to have a healthy, fun, balanced weekend in Atlanta

Hey guys, so I wanted to recap my weekend a little bit and all the fun that happened after my bike was purchased on Friday night!  It was a great weekend in Atlanta that really made me happy because it was so fun but also active and healthy.  I was able to have a great time, see friends, enjoy good food and drink, and still stick to all of my goals that I have for myself and my life.  This summer I've got a really ambitious schedule of running, training, and races planned for myself -- and of course because you all know me, I also will be having a lot of fun and being social!  This weekend helped me realize that maybe that will all be a possibility.

On Friday night we have our run group's monthly "Catch Up" which is one night a month where everyone really is encouraged to get out and be social.  We met at a bar and had an awesome time chatting and I had some great conversations with some of the people in the group that I didn't know as well.

There was also a game portion of the evening - and for those who know me, you know I LOVE a good game.  This was extra fun because it was personalized and made up, titled, "How well do you know the people you run with?!"  There were different panels of people that went up and a clue would be called such as, "This runner is most often found on the basketball court." or "This is the Movers & Pacers favorite shot." and the question had to be answered in Jeopardy format.  It. Was. Hysterical.

We had such a fun time and there was a great turnout for the event!

From there, we all headed to a location to go roller skating.  Yes, you heard that right, roller skating.  I don't think I have roller skated since I was maybe 8 years old.  I was thinking that this was going to be some retro thing where we all sort of laughed and skated around sillily and had a good time.  But let me tell you, boy, was I wrong.  People here take their skating seriously!!!

I had, by far, vastly underestimated what the collective level of skating aptitude would be!  People had choreographed dance, crazy good skills dancing even while skating in circles, and were just all around incredibly impressive.  While I didn't put anyone to shame with my own moves, I did have a really good time on the skate rink!

Although it was a super fun night, it was also incredibly silly, included games and activities, good conversation and a couple beers.  Somewhat of an ideal night for me!  I was still able to get home and get to bed at a decent hour to be able to be up and ready for some good workouts in the morning!  

I had an ambitious day ahead of me and it started with a free boot camp class in a park, put on by a trainer that I saw when I was training for the Publix Half Marathon.  Group sessions with him came as part of the training package I had signed up for, and unfortunately it doesn't fit in my schedule to keep paying/going to classes with him.  But I had always loved training with him and he has such great energy that I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to do one of his free classes.  It ended up being a lot of fun as there were some familiar faces and it was a good time all around.

In full confession, I don't think I pushed myself as hard as I probably should have in the boot camp, but that was because I was still sore from some of my gym sessions from the days earlier.  Plus, I knew that I had another workout in the books after this!

From the boot camp I drove out to Stone Mountain where I went for the first time ever, and met up with the Movers & Pacers crew for a 5-mile run around the mountain.  Stone Mountain is a popular destination outside of Atlanta for all sorts of outdoor and recreation activities.  There is hiking, of course, but also a number of different amusements and attractions - including a laser show - that I have yet to check out but are all on my list!

The day was so nice and hot and sunny and it was pure madness trying to get in to Stone Mountain and park and find my crew, but once I did, it was good.  There were a number of other people who had already put in work that Saturday morning doing other workouts or extra miles and it made me so proud of the people that I choose to associate with.  Everyone is always pushing themselves to be better and stronger and opts to spend their Saturdays dedicated to fitness -- yet, I also know what fun and good people they are too!  It just made me happy to all be out there running 5 miles around a mountain the blazing sun.

The run itself?  Well that sucked though.  Oh my gosh, it was hard.  It was a struggle to get through that run.  I kept telling myself that it was just for fun and that I should slow my pace, just do what I could.  Which I did.  It was hard to keep my legs moving and on the last mile (where there was a giant hill) I walked a bit.  It was hot and sunny and I needed it.

On the way home from the run I stopped for an iced latte.  I had been thinking about this in my mind since the moment I woke up and I swear, coffee has never tasted so delicious in my life.  And yes, that is a towel I keep in my car to clean up after my runs because it is so hot and humid in Atlanta that I am sweating like a crazy person every time I work out.

As I was driving home and thinking about how tired I was, I was also thinking about my new bike sitting at home... I realllllly wanted to try it out!  

I knew that if I stopped moving I would crash, so as soon as I got home, I brought my things inside and then pulled out my bike and hopped on it for a 5 mile ride around my neighborhood.  It was quick and easy and just helped me to get a feel for the gears and how I felt sitting on my bike.  I was tempted, but also not, to go for a longer ride, and was happy to get 5 miles in and to feel ready for a longer ride the next day.

Since the sun was still shining and hot and it was midday, I decided to relax a bit by the pool in my apartment complex.  Having a pool was a MUST on the list of things I wanted out of an apartment and I really want to take advantage of it as much as possible.  I love that I have already spent days at the pool in May and am thinking that these elongated warm weather seasons mean that maybe for once in my life I might accumulate somewhat of a tan.

I grabbed a book (Everday Ambassador!), some water (stay hydrated!) and threw on a bathing suit to go relax by the pool.  It was so crowded there and everyone was pretty much in party mode but me.  I thought about trying to make some friends, being social, saying hello to the group of guys drinking Miller Lites next to me, etc.  But instead I just read my book and sat in the water.  I didn't have the energy for anything else and but also promised myself that I need to return to the pool and be social -- it would be really nice to have some friends in my complex!

Plus, my day was not over yet!  After some relaxing pool and book time, I got cleaned up and headed out to finish celebrating my friend Brick's birthday, with one last night of "Brickday Season" here in Atlanta.  We went out for dinner at a really delicious restaurant called JCT where I got the "Angry Mussels" and a side of kale and apples for dinner with a glass of rose.  It was delicious, not too damaging to the diet, and filling.  The hardest part of the meal was avoiding the warm bread and apple butter that was given to everyone and the warm buttery toasted bread that was served with my mussels to sop up the sauce.  

I ended up asking the waiter to take away the side of bread that they had given me.  Although I did have a few different bites here and there, it was better when the bread was just taken away from me!!  I focused more on the conversation, good people, and new friends of friends I was meeting.  I had such a fun time getting to know the people I was with even better over the meal, which is what dinners out should be really about!

Dinner led to what dinner naturally leads to... desssert... with a short walk down the road to Jeni's ice cream, a really cool ice cream place with lots of neat flavors and options.  The line is always out the door and they are a cool experience to get ice cream from.  I resisted the urge to get a massive sundae and instead just got a small cup of fruit flavored frozen yogurt.  And, although I could have literally devoured it in two spoonfuls, I ate it really really slowly.  I also caused all my friends to laugh at me by retaining the tiny sampling spoon to eat my ice cream with.

The fun continued heading back to one of my favorite's Orsmby's, for a beer and some games.  Shuffleboard, trying to throw a medal ring on a stick, and some board games had us laughing and having a good time all night.  It was a full, fun, happy day and I was home at midnight.  Seriously, not much in life is better than my Saturday.

And let's wrap my weekend up with a super productive Sunday, shall we?  I woke up in the morning after a leisurely morning of sleeping in to get ready to get out on my bike.  I put my rack on my car for the first time myself, loaded the bike up, drove to the Silver Comet Trail, put air in my tires, and head out on a 20 mile ride along the trail. 

The Silver Comet Trail in Atlanta?  It was AMAZING. I loved the shade, the wide, paved, FLAT path, and the beautiful trees and scenery.  I have no idea why I did not go to this trail to run or exercise sooner!!  I did 10 miles out, rested for a bit and had some water, and then returned to my car.  It was about 45 minutes each way for me and I spent the majority of the time trying to push myself to pedal hard, playing around with my gears, and getting comfortable breaking and riding the bike in general.  

I totally loved it!!!!!!!!!! I love my bike.  I love riding a road bike.  I love the Silver Comet Trail.  I felt empowered and excited by the bike and am so excited for the triathlons I am planning to do this summer and spending more time riding.  My butt hurt yes.  It felt awkward at times and took me a bit to get comfortable on the bike as a whole, but I loved it.  That's all.

I was comfortably tired at the end of the ride but also felt like I could keep going if I needed to.  I finished up after 20 miles though, packed up my gear back together, and returned home as it started to thunder out and the sky looked ominous.  I got really nervous that it would start raining before I got home and I did not want that to happen and for there to be rain on my new bike!!!!  But I made it and then continued my productive day after dropping off my bike by grocery shopping, cooking, preparing food for the week, and then heading out for Movers & Pacers flagship run.

I ran 4 miles and paced the group of runners at the end, so kept it at a casual pace, and also ran with another friend who came out for his second time running.  He was able to capture some sweet pics of me on the move.

So, with those lovely pictures I will sign off on the weekend!  The run ended with dinner out and i was the close to a perfectly healthy and happy and fun weekend.

Hope you had just as fun a weekend!

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