Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The good and bad of work travel

Hey gang!

I'm writing to you from Orlando, Florida where I have been since Tuesday morning.  Part of what I did over my birthday after I unpacked my bag from the wedding weekend was to repack my bag for the next trip. I flew early Tuesday morning to Orlando for a work trip, but actually planned to be in earlier than needed and took another vacation day on Tuesday!  When I found out I needed to be in Orlando this week for work, I first, tried to get out of it, wanting an easy week for my birthday, but then just decided to embrace it.

What made embracing a trip to Orlando easier was learning that my cousin Heather, who you know as one of the stars of the annual family music video, was randomly going to be in Orlando this week on vacation! I saw a post on social media about it and we chatted a bit and I learned that she was going to be here visiting the parks with some friends -- and also celebrating her birthday, which is the day before mine on August 23rd!

When we were little kids we used to always celebrate together with our families with a big end of summer pool party at my grandparents. It was always so fun and I loved those summer pool parties, but as the years have gone by and we've all gotten jobs and lives and moved away, they've become an impossible tradition to continue.

However, Heather was always my first birthday buddy and having the opportunity to meet up with her in Orlando was too much to pass up -- especially when I learned she was going to be going to Epcot on the exact day I was thinking of meeting up, which is a park I have always wanted to go to.

I flew in early, dropped my bag at the hotel, and head out to Epcot to meet up with my cousin.  We tried out the different "rides" and experiences throughout Futureworld in Epcot.  One of my favorite rides, which was a lot cooler than I thought it would be involved "designing" your own car and taking it on a test ride.  We made a very unique looking vehicle.

Another cool ride was getting to experience "the future" where we also had our futures explained to us and we got to view a cool video of ourselves in the future.  Things are gonna be awesome, guys.

We then walked through the different country pavilions exploring food, history and artifacts from around the world.  It was pretty cool to go from place to place and it was also pretty interesting as I am lucky enough to have traveled to most of the places that were in the exhibits.  It is crazy for me to say that but literally I have been to Canada, UK, Italy, France, Mexico, Germany, China, Japan, and of course the U.S.!

The countries I have not been to are Morocco and Norway -- and Morocco is on my list of places I want to go and Norway sort of reminds me of Iceland and I have been there.  I feel really lucky for the amount of travel I have had and I enjoyed reliving some of those experiences at Epcot.

It was BEYOND hot on Tuesday and I felt like I was melting for large majorities of the day.  There was nothing to do but embrace the sweatiness and it was one of the grosser hot days I have had in my life.  At one point we were sitting on the ground to watch a show and I felt like the heat of the ground was literally melting my pants and my butt.

After spending an awesome day with my cousin, I left the park and returned to my hotel to eat dinner, do some work, and get to bed on the early side since I needed to be up really early.  My work conference started at 7:30 a.m. and I had 8 miles scheduled to run in the morning!!

I knew it would be dark, had no idea of the location/area around my hotel in Orlando, it was hot as heck out, and also I had no desire to be able to say I "ran in Orlando" since I already did that earlier this summer.  So, I did those 8 miles on the treadmill.  Which is not ideal. Especially since I began my run before 5:30 a.m. so that I could finish and shower and be at my meeting by 7:30 a.m.

It was long and a little challenging mentally but I did it and I used listening to a podcast as a method to help get me through.  Listening to podcasts while I run is new to me but I actually like it a lot!  Let me know if you have any recommendations.  I'm still wishing that Serial was around because I loooved that!  But beyond that, to be honest, it wasn't really all that bad doing the miles on the treadmill.  I was trying to imagine myself doing a long run on the treadmill and sort of thought to myself, "Yeah I could maybe do that."

It is a good thing it wasn't too tedious to me because it won't be the last treadmill mile I run between now and the marathon!  I hate running on the treadmill because I feel like it isn't preparing me well enough or giving me a good marathon but it is better than nothing!

Afterwards it was work all day, lots of unhealthy food, and drinks in the evening.  A long and busy work day that had me taking the opportunity to sit whereever I could. I have been feeling a cramp in my right calf since Tuesday and I am wondering if it is from walking around on swollen feet but trying to take care of that and kept my legs raised for a portion of the day as well.  I'm glad I remembered to bring compression socks with me on the trip and am trying those out as well to hopefully help.

Hope you are having a great Hump Day and talk to you soon!!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me

Well, today marks my last birthday celebrating in my twenties and one year until this blog needs a new title!  It's funny to me that when I started this blog and chose this title, the end of my twenties seemed forever away.  I had no idea what this blog would become when I started it, so it wasn't really something that was on my mind.  I'd had two or three blogs previously at the time, none of which really stood the test of time.

However, this guy has been something I've been coming back to again and again.  This past year more regularly than ever.  It's evolved and grown as I have, from writing about friends and recipes to moving and running and races.  Even my running posts have evolved from "I don't know if I can run the 9 miles I am attempting tomorrow that I've never done before" and "I just ran 10 miles and am spending the rest of the day laying on the floor" to now "I just ran 16 miles and now am jumping up and down singing and dancing to "Jump Around!" at a 11:00 p.m. at night."

My mindset and attitude and personal and physical strength have evolved over time and with this blog so there will definitely be some changes to come in the future.

However, today for my birthday and for my last 20-something birthday celebration I want to say a quick thank you to all my family and friends and loved ones who have helped and supported me throughout age 28.  It's been an exciting and adventure filled year in the life of Katelyn with so many monumental things happening.

I mentioned the other day that I realized I have never really written about a birthday celebration on here.  So, today I will share a little bit of what I have been doing to celebrate as well. My celebrations have evolved over the years as well as my age and mentality.  From big parties to smaller gatherings from hungover mornings to sprint triathlons and from weekends at home to travel and weddings.

This year I celebrated last Saturday going out with some friends to a few different bars singing and dancing the night away.  I celebrated with my coworkers singing to me and with cookie cake at the end of  meeting. I celebrated with little presents in the mail from family. And withcelebrations and cards from the sweetest group of friends who did not want to let my birthday go unnoticed even during a wedding celebration weekend.  And today I celebrated with lots of messages, phone calls, social media posts, and sweet words from friends. I personally celebrated by taking a "me" day that included swimming, a run, lots of errands, the spa, and getting things done around the house.  With pizza and ice cream and wine too.  AND, with setting goals for the future.

Today I officially signed up for the next new race distance to challenge with my first 1/2 Ironman or 70.3 race!  I am now officially registered for the Chattanooga 70.3 race on May 22, 2016!!! So excited to already have something to keep me motivated for next year and to keep up my cross training and running through the winter.  Here's to the next new adventures in my 29th year!!!!  Happy birthday to me.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Syracuse Wedding Weekend

For those of you who are long time readers, you know that I went to Syracuse University for my undergraduate degree.  My love for Syracuse has no bounds.  I chose to go to school that was 5 hours away from home (by car) which may not be far for many people, but for me and my family was quite a distance.  It meant it was not always easy to go home for even a weekend (especially not having a car on campus for 3 years) and it meant that I was fully on my own for the first time in my life in a brand new place with nobody that I knew.

Beyond just cheering (or crying over) the basketball team at Syracuse, my love for the school is so strong because it is where I grew up, received an education that set me up at a job I love, and where I made lifelong friends who were a family, support system, and source of non-stop entertainment, love and laughter.  

My senior year I lived in an apartment with 4 other girls. Across the hall from us lived our 4 guy friends. The 8 of them had been living together since their freshman year and although I had been friends with everyone since that time as well, was a new addition to the living arrangement (except for one of the girls whom I had lived with for a semester in our sorority house.) 

From day 1 of this living arrangement, it was an absolute blast and amazing experience. I could write post after post about hysterical stories of encounters with neighbors, random dates, cooking disasters and victories, late nights studying and watching TV, snuggling in any of our beds, and just complete shenanigans and fun all around.  It was a crazy, wonderful, loving and fun experience.

This past weekend the entire group got back together again to celebrate the first wedding from our crew.  My former roommate Kristina, on Saturday was a glowing, beautiful, smiling and radiant bride, marrying her long time friend and now husband, Brian. Our crew traveled in from South Carolina, California, Atlanta, Puerto Rico and all over New York to celebrate the day and it was an absolute blast.

On Friday after work I flew to White Plains, New York and was picked up from the airport by my friend Kimmy, who I would be sharing a room with for the weekend.  She slyly told me that she'd seen a few of the others but everyone was sort of just laying low for the night and we'd meet everyone for brunch in the morning. Sounded okay to me, and we head back to the hotel, and to my pleasure when we walked into the room, I was greeted with a surprise birthday party, balloons, cookie cake and the most amazing t-shirt ever made.  This surprise seriously made my night after a somewhat stressful day!

We had a great time goofing off and catching up, before doing the responsible thing and calling it an early night (who have we become?!)  I knew I had to get up early to get a run in because even when you are traveling and celebrating, training does not stop!!

With the help of some of my friends I had done some research and found a few places to run nearby and ended up finding a local group run that started at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. That timing worked out well for me so I decided to give it a try.  I was up early, wanting to try and get there on time and ate my pre-run breakfast in the bathroom with my fingers because I couldn't find a spoon and that's how I roll.

I didn't end up meeting up with the entire group, but one of the local run club members met up with me and showed me a great path and run around Rockland Lake and down by the Hudson River.  He ran 14 of the 16 miles with me and helped me keep my pace up even when I was running on tired legs and through some tough hills.  My pace was not the same as it was the week before, which is fine - that run was likely a fluke.  But it was also coming off a step back week, flatter, and I was more prepared for it I think.  We did stop a few times on the run on Saturday as well, which I don't really like to do because it is not how I plan to run the actual marathon, so I don't really like doing that.  However, I felt good finishing my 16 mile run on Saturday and it was a beautiful place to log some miles!

Afterwards I showered and changed back at the hotel and gave Kimmy tons of gratitude for snagging me a pre-brunch snack from the hotel breakfast before then going out to brunch with friends around noon. My coffee, eggs and bacon were amazing and I continued to hydrate and recover from the run in the morning by doing a bit of lounging back at the hotel.

The wedding ceremony started at 6:00 p.m. so our actual festivities started around 4:00 p.m. with some drinks and getting ready before catching the 5:00 p.m. shuttle over to the wedding venue.

The ceremony was simple and beautiful, they were married by a close friend of theirs outside under a gorgeous sky and backdrop.  Every detail of the ceremony was gorgeous, from the lemonade and iced tea stand to the custom sunglasses they had for guests to the music playing.

Everyone in attendance I think fell in love all with Kristina and Brian's ADORABLE 8-month old baby girl Sadie, who was "flower girl" for the ceremony.  She was pulled down the aisle in a custom red wagon, pulled by Kristina's sister and maid of honor, Kimberly.  Sadie's gown was hand made by Kristina (she was a fashion design major at Syracuse) out of her mother and grandmother's wedding dresses.

Kristina looked absolutely stunning and was one of the happiest, most smiley brides I have ever seen -- which really is no surprise since she is always laughing and smiling as a person.

It was a gorgeous ceremony and an amazing party afterwards with tons of food and custom drinks and an insanely gorgeous cake made again, by the Maid of Honor, Kristina's sister, who is an incredible cake decorator/baker/pastry chef.  They have a talented family, what can I say?

Despite my tired legs from the morning's run, I danced my face off at that wedding, jumping up and down, getting low, spinning and twirling, and all around having an amazing time with some incredibly beautiful people that I hadn't seen in far too long!  All the feeling and memories of the year we lived together came flooding back and it was easy and comfortable and totally wonderful. It was even better as I had the opportunity to meet or spend more time with many of the significant others of my friends who I haven't been able to spend time with before.  It has been nearly 5 years since we were all together!

Of course, after the party was the after party. And the bride and groom were closing down the bar, which was amazing to see.

This morning Kimmy and I slept in before she took me to the airport where I've been forever due to some delayed flights.  However, it was great to be able to get the memories down and accounted for and relive through my photos the wonderful 48 hours that just transpired.

Congratulations to Kristina and Brian and their beautiful little daughter Sadie Maeve on the beginning of their marriage together!!! Thanks for including us hooligans in your day and throwing the best party of the summer.  XOXO.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ten Things on a Wednesday

So, I haven't done a bullet post blog for you guys in a while of just some random stuff that is off the top of my head going down and interesting to share.  If you haven't figured it out, I'm somewhat of a sharer and sometimes need to get things off my chest that have nowhere else to go in a post.

1.)  Lately I have been turned to the apple cider vinegar thing.  Oh you haven't heard about that?  Well, apparently it is amazing and is a magic liquid and keeps you healthy and burns belly fat and all this other wonderful stuff.  So, I have started taking one half shot a day.  It takes disgusting but I am hoping the magic happens soon.

2.)  You know how I mentioned I have been taking shots of the ACV (apple cider vinegar)?  Well yesterday I was doing dishes and went to put on the garbage disposal and it started to make horrendous noises.  Well, turns out my little shot glass fell down the drain and then when I turned on the garbage disposal it chopped the shot glass all up.  Woops.  That's good for a garbage disposal, right??

3.)  Over the weekend I installed some video cameras in my apartment for security.  Now, I get to watch when people come over to fix things like my garbage disposal.  I can access the camera on my phone at any time and it's pretty cool to be able to do that.  Sometimes I just like to check in and make sure my apartment is still there.  The notifications of when there is motion is pretty awesome too!

4.)  Cheez Its are delicious.  We all agree on this, right?  They are my blogging snack du jour tonight.

5.)  Speaking of which, I told you guys the other day that one of the things I eat during the day as a snack is hard boiled eggs.  Well, the other day at work, I peeled two amazingly perfect hard boiled eggs.  I cracked them and rolled them around 360 degrees like Coach Jess taught me to do when we were in Paris and then they both just popped out of their shells.  It was the most amazing experience of my life.  I was in awe.

6.)  You would have known about this miraculous egg moment already if you followed me on Snapchat.  Lately I've been getting really into Snapchat and enjoying what I otherwise saw as a pointless social media platform.  It can be really fun!!  I am HungryTwenties on Snapchat!

7.)  I am a bridesmaid in a wedding coming up and I had to bring my dress to get tailored recently.  Since you all know about my psoriasis now, I will share this story.  As the woman was fitting me and getting me sized into the dress she goes, "Pretty lady.  Need to see doctor about your skin."  Whenever things like that happen it is a little cringe-worthy because than you get into a discussion and also the subtext of that is, "Hey you're not bad looking if it weren't for your skin being all jacked up."  Anyways, I thought back to 2009 when I was a bridesmaid in my sisters wedding and went to a store to try and get fitted to the sample model so that I could see what size to officially order.  I promise you, I just walked into the store and asked about wanting to try something on before the lady said, "We have nothing here that fits you." since wedding/bridesmaid dresses run ridiculously small and they didn't keep the larger sizes in the store.  I remember going to the car and crying.  Now things fit me, but it is my skin.  It's always something, huh?

8.)  All that being said, I am trying to be a lot better at accepting myself and my flaws and owning all of it and all of me.  This weekend I posted a photo to Instagram where you could very clearly see a HUGE part of psoriasis on my leg.  It was really scary to me and made my stomach do flip flops as I was posting it.  I had to walk myself through it and get some reinforcement that it was okay, but it still scared me so much.  Today, I did another thing to push myself out of my comfort zone.

I had 8 miles to run this morning and did the first 4.5 with a friend.  Here is us pre-run.  We took our pic because we knew we wouldn't finish at the same time.

When I got to about mile 6.5 I was so hot as it was really humid this morning and my shirt was completely soaking wet and as it is a little loose was flapping against me.  I had the thought fly through my head, I wish I could take my shirt off.  Something like that isn't something I would ever even consider but as it was breezing by my train of thought a tiny little fleck grabbed on to it and was like, "Why can't you take it off?"  Well, people could see me.  I'm not in the right kind of stomach bearing shape.  I usually make fun of people who do that.   People who don't wear a shirt while they run have bodies that are a lot tighter than mine.  Then there's my psoriasis and all that.  Well, I told myself to screw all that.  I was the one that was out here in the morning running 8 miles, I should be able to do what made me feel comfortable and not worry about what people in their cars driving by were thinking.  I told myself if I made it to mile 7 and still wanted to take my shirt off, I would do it for the last mile.  Well, I did and I did.

I realized as soon as I did that I had a stained old ratty white sports bra on, so it was not a pretty sight.  But I felt much more comfortable the rest of the run without the soaking wet shirt on my skin and with the breeze hitting me.  It was a liberating moment (as I simultaneously kept hoping I did not see a single person who knew me) and something I probably would have sworn to you before that I would never ever do.

9.)  I have one year and a little under a week until I need a new name for this blog.  I've been starting to think more seriously about it lately and I may end up making changes beforehand.  The blog has shifted focuses quite dramatically since I started this little thing in 2009.  I can't believe I've been here in one spot writing for so long.  It's a bit amazing to me!

10.) That being said.  I have never done a proper post on my birthday on here.  How is that even possible?  I clicked back through all my August posts and I have never really talked about it before.  Weird!!! My birthday is next week and I celebrated it this past weekend with my friends in Atlanta.  As I have gotten older my birthday has become a little more anticlimactic but this will be my last birthday where I age into my twenties!!!

P.S.  This is a PS not a #11.  I actually just wrote and published this with the title of Ten Things on a Thursday thinking that it totally was Thursday.  Still another day to go. UGHHHH.