Friday, May 16, 2008

Muddy Buddy Rocked!

The Orlando Muddy Buddy race was held last Saturday, May 10th, at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex. Chris and I were team "Muddy Cotton" as a tribute to my thesis research, and we drove over to Disney the night before to pick up our race packets. At six o'clock the next morning, we met up with team "Giggly Girls", also known as Tonya and Diane, and Kyle, who came to take pictures. The place was packed with people and bicycles. There were soooo many amazing costumes! I have a picture below of two girls who wore "Wicked" costumes as well as one of the Lindsey's in a Hershey Kiss costume. I was very envious of the costumes, and I told Chris that we definitely need costumes next year!

Everyone started the race in waves which were first divided into teams based on gender. The male teams started, followed by the coed teams, and finally the female teams. Each of those was divided into number ranges that were based on your teams combined ages. The bicycle riders for each wave would start and two minutes later the runs began. The race officially started at 7 am, but my team didn't start running until around 7:30. In fact, by the time we finished (it took us an hour), there were still teams waiting to start. I would not have liked that at all. The temperature had definitely climbed by that point.

I started the race on the bike, which meant I would ride the bike a total of three times and run twice. Chris would do the opposite. Since I don't even remember the last time I rode a bike other than a stationary bike, I discovered how much I missed it. It also took a minute for my vision to adjust to bouncing up and down on the bike (the entire course is off road, including lots of sand which was a bit challenging). I rode the bike to the first obstacle, where I had to set down the bike and then climb over a rock wall with netting on the back. Then I started running to the next obstacle. Chris had the added difficulty of finding our bike (which we decorated with crime scene tape). For those who plan on running this race, don't bother trying to come up with a plan of always putting the bike in a particular location, because the volunteers moved the bikes around. Definitely make sure your bike is well decorated (and several of them were!). I ran to the next obstacle which was a giant rope net that lead to an amazing blow-up slide! That was fantastic! I had just finished that obstacle when Chris made it with the bike. Then I hopped on the bike and took off while he had to climb the obstacle. The next obstacle was a balance beam. My legs were shaking like crazy when I climbed onto the beam, but then I made it across without any problems. After grabbing some water (which I did after every obstacle), I ran to the next obstacle which was some "over-under" metal structure. At this point we only had a mile left, and I was going to be riding the bike. Kyle definitely wasn't joking when he warned us about the transitions from running to biking. My legs were tired. I definitely appreciated all the spin classes that I took; otherwise, I think I would have hurt significantly more. I rode the last mile and waiting for Chris to finish running it, then we crawled through the infamous mud pit! It was FANTASTIC! Absolutely disgusting but so much fun! We finished in an hour and a few seconds, according to the chip time. Unfortunately we couldn't stay around to see team Giggly Girls finish, because Chris and I had to run to get to wedding that was 40 minutes from his place and started at noon. Kyle took a some pictures of us, then we rushed off to the "showers" (really a bunch of hoses with spray nozzles). We quickly rinsed off enough to be able to back in the car, then headed back to get ready (Tonya and Diane took our bike for us).

When I went to climb in the shower, there was still mud caked to my skin. It was pretty disgusting, but the race was worth it! Chris and I made it to the wedding just in time. The wedding and reception were fantastic, but we were both pretty tired by the end. That night we drove to a local hotel where Chris's parents were staying for Mother's Day weekend. The next morning, Chris and his dad went to play golf. While the boys were gone, Chris's mom, his sister (also a Jessica), and I went to the spa. I had the most amazing massage ever! Then I spent the afternoon being relaxing and finished reading the book Marley and Me. It was a spectacular book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has an old dog like I do; however, I will warn you that I cried like a baby at the end. That night I managed to avoid the chocolate fondue fountain at dinner, but I had some delicious fruit and a really good tuna appetizer.

As far as this week goes, I have managed to do my 10 girly push ups and 2 minute plank every week day. I ran two miles on Monday, four miles on Wednesday, and two miles yesterday (Thursday). So I at least have my three days of running in. I also went to spinning yesterday, which was quite tiring but fantastic. There is talk of going hashing this Saturday, so I'll give updates if that happens. This week has been full of lots of studying, and I'm looking forward to a break over the weekend.

I hope everyone is doing well!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Godson and Graduation!

First of all, I must announce that my godson was born April 29, 2008! His first and middle name is Nicholas Danger. Yes, Danger. I love it!!! He was 8 lbs 10 oz. Unfortunately he lives in Austin, TX, so I haven't seen him in person yet. I'm hoping to take a trip next month or the month after. He needs to meet his "Aunt Jes" in person!

The past week and a half was very busy but wonderful. The Wednesday before last my mom came into town. That Thursday we went to lunch with my friend Diane then mom and I got pedicures. It was my first pedicure, and let me tell you just how spoiled I am! Between the massaging chair, foot spa, and foot rub, I was in heaven! That night, me and my cute toes got dressed up to go see the play Wicked with my boyfriend and a bunch of friends. IT WAS AMAZING!!!!! My cheeks hurt from smiling too much! Below are a couple of pictures from that night.

Friday morning we had to wake up very early for graduation. The ceremony seemed to last forever, but watching the doctoral students get "hooded" was very inspiring! This past of studying non-stop for proficiencies has proven to be quite draining, so I'm glad I had that inspiration to keep me going! Below are some pictures from graduation. Diane graduated the same day (different ceremony), but we met up after for pictures. Also, I am now the proud owner of an ipod nano (THANK YOU CHRIS!). It is fantastic! I have become addicted to running with music! It really makes a difference. My mom made me a wonderful gift! She wrote a poem and put it in a frame along with a bunch of scrap booking items.

My friend Kyle also gave me a card with a very nice poem in it. He altered the poem slightly to make it more personal, and I think it is very good advice:

"Always Be A Student"
By Joanna Fuchs, Edited by Kyle

Keep on learning, Jes,
Though your graduation's done;
Your whole life's an education
That has only just begun.

Your diploma is another big step,
For knowledge is the special key
To winning what you want in life
And being who you want to be.

If you'll always be a student,
You'll find the secrets to success
And travel on the golden road
To good fortune, peace and happiness.

My "baby" with his graduation hood made especially for him by Chris's Mom

With my brother and youngest sister

Diane and I

Mom and I

Chris and I

Saturday was the "Nine Miles To Mexico" party, that the boys throw annually. It doubled as my means of celebrating graduation. I had a lot of fun, and definitely slept in late on Sunday! This Saturday is Muddy Buddy. Kyle isn't running in the race, so he said he would take pictures. I will be sure to share. The race should be interesting considering I haven't run much due to the crazy-busy schedule. In fact, I've run a total of 4 miles since the 7 mile bridge. Yeah... that is not good; however, I vow to go back to running three days a week starting next week. It will be a good release at the end of a day of studying and working. Especially since I have that half marathon to train for. I discovered yesterday that I can still ride a bike without falling over (YAY!). I forgot just how great riding a bike feels....

Well I need to get back to studying, but I wanted to post an update. I hope everyone is doing great! and running more than I am!