Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rendezvous in Richmond

For those of you who don't know, I currently work as a substitute teacher. While on a day-to-day basis, the job definitely has its ups and downs.

One of the positives is the schedule. Every day I'm off by 3:00 p.m. and I have weekends off, unless I'm hanging out at my alma mater on official school business.

And the best thing is I have still have Spring Break! Who says you have to give up Spring Break once you graduate from college. Last year I spent my break in Harrisonburg.

This year Spring Break was last week, April 9-13. I spent my entire break in Richmond. From Sunday to Thursday, I was helping Lynn make over and paint her new condo. I got paint all over myself.

On my skin...

On my clothes...
Even in my hair!

Exhibit A:

I was talking to Patti one day while I was painting and she mentioned that she had Friday off of work. She also mentioned that she didn't have any plans. Since it's been far too long since I saw Patti (okay it's been since St. Patrick's Day), I took it upon myself to make plans for us to hang out.

I toyed with plans of going to the beach or spending the day in Washington, D.C. but these plans sounded both expensive and exhausting. Then I thought, well I've been in Richmond every day this week, what's another day?

It took me awhile to narrow down what I wanted to do.

We decided on Carytown, since I hadn't been there except briefly since my senior year in high school. Then I wanted to check out Hollywood Cemetery.

I met Patti in Richmond with some directions from Google Maps since I'm not exactly the best at driving places I've never driven before or city driving. But I successfully got us to Carytown.

We decided to walk down one side of the street from end to end and then hit the other side on the way back.

Some of the highlights:

Cops on horses.

For the Love of Chocolate a.k.a. my new favorite place in the world. Think of any candy you've ever had (remember Warheads, anyone?), it's here.

Patti with a York Peppermint Patty.


Charms from the bead store

and Sweet Frog, which there are no photos of because it's so good and there's no time to take photos when you are that hungry.

Then we headed over to Hollywood Cemetery, except we got there at 4:40 and they close at 5p.m. So I only got to explore for a little bit! There are awesome views of the city and the river from the cemetery.

I'll do some more exploring next time!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Year of the Runner (A Monument Avenue 10K Story)

5K, 8K, and now 10K.

I'm not athletic. Ask anyone who has known me for awhile. While they will rave about my many exemplary characteristics, my athleticism is not one of them. 

I'm the girl who avoided doing anything in gym class like it was the plague. Dodgeball? I hid behind the tall people until I realized that this kept me in the game longer. Then I would just pretend I got hit. "Oh that ball came within a 3 foot radius of me? I think it did hit me...somewhere...I'll just sit down now." 

We had to run the mile at least every year for our athletic tests. My fastest mile was in seventh grade: 9:22. That time was thanks to me running with J. Wray.

This year I've decided to take on athletic accomplishments of monumental (like what I did there?) proportions. First I ran the Sweetheart 8K in February, which marked the longest distance and time I've run in my life to that point. Then I was prompted to run the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K. I mean, it's go big or go home, right?

My Monument Avenue 10K story starts the night before. (Or actually it starts in the weeks after my 8K where I could not bring myself to train regularly. But enough about that.) I sat at home while Lynn and Dani went to Richmond to grab our bib numbers. At first, I was upset that I did not go with them. But afterwards, I was glad I stayed. I got extra rest and got to eat dinner first!

When I got out of the shower that night, my Monument Avenue 10K bag was sitting on the bed. I looked inside and found my bib number.

To be honest, I chose the wave "TB" because those are my initials. It's the 66-70 minute wave.

My souvenir Monument Avenue 10K shirt and another shirt! Turns out that at the expo, there was a company selling cute shirts with running slogans on them. Lynn and Dani picked out this one for me.

We all decided to wear our shirts for the race on Saturday. On Saturday morning, I woke up at 5:45. Got dressed, ate breakfast, and we were headed for Richmond by 6:30! The first wave of runners were set to begin at 8:30. Mine and Dani's wave wasn't set to start until 9:31. Lynn was in an earlier wave but decided she would wait and start with us.

Race outfit!

Pre-race photo
We sat in the car when we got to Richmond for awhile but then decide we should probably head to where everything was going so we wouldn't miss our start time. By this time, it was raining; it rained from that point on until at least my second mile.

I ran the first two and a half miles with Dani and Lynn and then went off on my own. I could definitely feel that my second half of the race was much faster than the first.

The Monument Avenue 10K is probably the most amazing race in the world. There is so much going on around you that you forget you're running. There are bands playing, people lining the streets cheering for you, and people just sitting on their porches watching all the actions. Some people dressed up in costumes for the race and it was exciting to check out their outfits as I ran by them.

While I still felt strong at the end of 6.2 miles, I can't say that I wasn't happy to see the finish line!

Post race photo!
And while my finish time was nothing to write home about if you're a real runner, I was quite pleased! (69:41)

I actually finished in the wave that I signed up for! =] And the rest of Saturday I rested. Because I could literally not walk. At all. At my mom's boyfriend's house I actually crawled up the stairs and slid down them on my bottom because my ankles were in such pain!

All in all, it was an amazing experience! Prior to the Monument Avenue 10K, I decided that it was going to be my last race for awhile since I couldn't find the motivation to train. However, then I remembered how much I love the feeling I get after I run! Now I need another race to train for!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

True Life: I Get to Visit My Alma Mater for Work

About this time two weeks ago, I received a phone call in the middle of fourth period.

"Tiffany, I'm sorry to bother you during class but I wanted to see if you were interested in doing the school a favor," said the voice on the other end of the phone, that belonged to the athletic director/director of student activities. 

(FYI, I am not retelling this story verbatim.)

"The Forensics Coach is unable to attend the State Forensics Competition due to a family emergency and we need someone to go in her place. It'd be a Friday/Saturday trip."

At this point, I am thinking, "Why is work trying to cramp my weekend as well as my week?"

Then the magic words.

"I know you don't know anything about Forensics but the competition is up at JMU. It's being held at Harrisonburg High School."

My love of the gold and purple is well-known in my workplace. My answer: "Yeah I'm interested. Let's sit down and talk about the specifics after school."

That's how I ended driving to Harrisonburg on Friday (the 23rd) afternoon to act as the Forensics coach for the DHS Forensics Team. As acting Forensics coach, I was in charge of our three young ladies who made it to States. Except all of their parents were going, so I really wasn't in charge of them. 

I met them on Friday night at the hotel. Yes, the hotel. It was weird staying at a hotel because Harrisonburg feels so much like home to me. However, the hotel was super nice.

 After we went to the JMU Opera, I attempted to sleep in my amazing hotel room; but I just couldn't. I was nervous that I would oversleep for the competition that was slated for early Saturday morning. 

Saturday was an eventful and long, long day. We were at Harrisonburg High School for 12 hours! 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Forensics, it's a competition made up of 10 individual events and 2 duo events. Each student on a team competes in one category. The young ladies I accompanied were participating in Humorous Dramatic Interpretation, Serious Dramatic Interpretation, and Storytelling.

Luckily, I got to see each of the ladies perform and I am glad I did. These girls had performed their pieces with such poise and precision. I was truly amazed by all of them. One of our students made it into the finals and took home second place in her category. (She also found out two days later that she had been accepted into James Madison University.)

When I was finally released from my duties as Forensics coach. I had less than 24 hours left of my weekend. What were my first priorities? 

Food and sleep! 
Jeremy cooked me dinner and let me crash on his couch.

The rest of the weekend, I spent shopping at the mall, the bookstore, and the outpost with Jessica and Jeremy. I visited with Beau and Josh for 15 minutes. Then I headed east and southwards back to Dinwiddie making a stop at the Green Valley Book Fair on my way home!

All in all, it was a busy, eventful weekend and I was glad I had the opportunity to attend.