Saturday, March 31, 2012

Monument Avenue 10K... My first Race

Every year here in Richmond there is a huge 10K race called Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K that goes right through VCU's campus! It grows each year--this year there were over 40,000 people that registered. My friend Melissa from Crew and I decided to run it back in December, so we registered back then. After that, a bunch more people from the team registered, too.

When I decided to register for the race, I really hadn't been running very much. About two or three miles was the most I had ever really run at one time, so I registered for the slowest "Joggers" wave, with a projected finish between 66 and 70 minutes. From December when I registered to today, I did a lot more running, and so when I started the 10K this morning my goal was to at least be under 60 minutes, and finish hopefully at about 52 minutes.

People have been preparing for the 10K all week, and it was exciting to see all the tents being set up in Monroe Park and the roads being blocked off last night. Thursday afternoon my friend Kavya and I went to pick up our race packets. We got our bib numbers, t-shirts, and a bunch of other random free stuff they put in goodie bags for the runners. So this whole week was definitely building up to the race! This morning I woke up about 7:30 and opened my windows to see people buzzing around getting excited for the race. They had a little one mile run for kids at 8:00, and then the 10K started with the first wave at 8:30. My wave started on broad street at 9:28, and I started with 4 other people--Khiem, Kavya, Melissa, and Abby.

The finish line

When the race started, we were going pretty slow because there were just so many people, it was hard to weave in and out of everyone and get past the huge clump at the start. However, once we got started, Khiem and I ended up running at the same pace, so we ran together at the front of the group. I'm glad our paces were about the same, because it was definitely good having someone there to push me a little bit! All throughout the course there were so many people supporting the runners and walkers and various bands every few blocks playing music. Probably one of my favorite parts of the race was just seeing everyone supporting complete strangers and just having a really good time.

After 6.2 miles, Khiem and I crossed the finish line. I finished the race in 52:54, and met my goal, so I was pretty pleased. It's officially the farthest I've run at one time, so I was pretty happy about that, too. After you finished, they had food (bananas, rolls, and waters for runners), various vendors, music, etc all throughout the park. I ran back to my dorm and grabbed my camera, and on my way I saw Kavya come through the finish like at 59:48!

All the water bottles after the race

I'm so glad I ran the 10K today, and it was the first official "race" I've ever done. I'll do it every year, most likely, so hopefully I'll be able to improve each time. The next race I want to do, however, is a Mud Race, and they look like absolutely so much fun. The girls and Mom and I are also (hopefully) running a 5K in DC called The Color Run, which looks like a lot of fun, too.

Me and Kavya!

Me, Khiem, and Kavya! So glad to have awesome people to run with!

On the finisher's platform :)

My results:
5K split: 26:46
10K race time: 52:54
Average Pace per Mile: 8:32
Overall place: 5351
Division (Women ages 15-19) place:112
Gender place: 1444

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Florida Wrap Up

Spring Break is now over, and the school week has returned in full swing. Thankfully there is only a little over a month before this semester is over for good. Then I roll right into some summer courses. Anyways, the end of the week in Florida was just as much fun as the beginning!

The view of Florida was much more pleasant than the view we have on the James (and the smell!). It was definitely hard to keep your head looking forward and in the boat at times (especially when there were dolphin sightings)!

On Thursday night, our coaches and coxswains cooked dinner for all of us. They grilled chicken and fish, corn, sweet potatoes, and had some vegetable skewers. It was so good--especially the corn! So yummy, and it was so nice! We all hung out around the pool and enjoyed that food!

Friday morning we had our last practice. Rather than doing pieces or drills, we had all the boats race 11,000 meters to an island. At the island, our head coach Yuriy was waiting with cookies and everything. Our Novice boat came in second to last, haha. At the very beginning we almost ran straight into a manatee warning sign, so we had to stop and spin around a little, which let two boats pass us. Oops!

On the way back from the island, our coaches let us mix everything up and basically do whatever we wanted, so Melissa and I took out the pair again. It feels so much lighter and faster than our eight! We were rowing really carefully (making us a little bit slow), so our coaches switched into the pair halfway through and we went into the launch boat so that everyone would make it home in time to make breakfast!

The whole team and our coaches!

Our coxswains! Emily and Kavya are our novice women coxswains.

Melissa and me :)

Friday after practice we basically just hung out at the beach all afternoon, and then around 6 we all went for ice cream at this little ice cream place. The store also had a little karaoke corner, so the whole team was in there rocking out. Also that store was like a little Asian market--definitely a weird combination!

The ride home was a little annoying. We had to jam 16 people in one of the 15 passenger vans because one of our coaches left early to run the Shamrock marathon. Also, because it was in deed a college spring break, most people started drinking Friday afternoon and who knows when they stopped. So I got stuck next to a person who was still half-drunk. Ridiculous. Friday night while everyone was drinking and partying, I watched Sons of Anarchy and went to bed at 10 :) I definitely had the better night! Although I am SO glad I went to Florida and had such a great time, I was ready to be back in Richmond and get back to finishing out this semester. Now, I am more than ready to go home tomorrow and see the family!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

the most delicious grapefruit

Last week while I was still in Florida, I bought a grapefruit. A giant grapefruit, at that. Right next to the hotel was this cute little fruit stand/store that sold only Florida Oranges and Grapefruits that were locally grown. They also had freshly squeezed Orange Juice that was so good, and I usually don't like juice! The grapefruits were so big, and just a dollar, so I got one to take home with me. Sunday I popped it in the fridge and ate it nice and cold that night and the next day!

Just a little size comparison... the grapefruit next to my retainer--a little gross, but it was all I had near!

So juicy!

On another note, today is the first official day of Spring! Thankfully the weather has been so nice--I hope it will stay just like this! The trees are all in bloom all around campus, and everything is becoming green once again! The little bit of spring right before the ridiculous heat of the summer hits is one of my favorite times of the year!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Break in Florida!

When I joined the crew team back in the fall, I heard about how the team goes to Florida over Spring Break. However, I always just assumed that I wouldn't go (knowing there would be some stereotypical college spring break nonsense going on). Well, I ended up deciding to go after thinking about it for a while, despite Mom not really wanting me to :). I didn't want to be way behind everyone else on the team when they returned--up until Spring Break we were still doing winter conditioning, so this was the first week we were able to get back on the water. Anyways, I'm SO glad I decided to come, and this week has been the best way to spend this Spring Break!

The van ride down was about 14 hours. We left Richmond on Saturday morning at 9:30, and got to Cocoa Beach at 11:30 that night. Stopping with a whole rowing team takes FOREVER. I'm used to our large family stopping for like fifteen minutes and getting back on the road... the two stops we made took an hour each! Anyways, the picture is really bad, but this was most of the girls team when we finally crossed into Florida!

We keep the boats at a little island/park called Kiwanis Island, which is where we have practice and launch our boats and everything. It is such a neat little place. There are some other teams here too: West Point (military academy), and Emory College. Apparently it's a well used little area for Crew teams. We practice from about 7-10:30 in the morning and again from about 2-5:30 in the afternoon. The boathouse is about 5 miles from the hotel we are staying in, so I like to run at least once a day. I've been running in the mornings because it is so much cooler out, so I usually head out the door at 6:15 to get to the island just before the vans do. The run is so peaceful and so nice because nobody is really around, everything is dark and cool, the ocean is all around you, cranes are everywhere, and a little breeze comes off the water. It's so nice! I was talking to Dad the other day and it just makes me laugh how much my body has changed since September... if you would've told me back in September to run 5 miles, I would've thought you were nuts! I love it!

Post 5-Mile run!

This is where we dock! Wet dock!

Silhouette from morning practices

It's so good to be back on the water again! But going back to Richmond is going to be sooo cold in the mornings!

Women's Novice 8--rumor is that we won't be racing anything but 4's this season, so hopefully we will split up into line ups pretty soon here! I was in a four this afternoon (the same line up I had for our last Regatta of Fall Season where we crushed our own Varsity boat!), which was awesome! We're just in an eight while everyone is working on technique and while we a new rower is learning the ins and outs of being in a boat.

After practice is over, everyone piles in the vans and races back to get some breakfast. The hotel extends breakfast hours especially for our crew team, and if we aren't back at 11, we don't get food. Naturally, we've always made it back on time :) It's ridiculous how much food gets devoured by the team! The poor hotel has 50+ smelly, wet, and stinky rowers plow through the hotel and head for breakfast in nasty clothes. I'm sure they just love it! After breakfast we usually have a few hours for some downtime--people head to the beach for a little bit, sit out by the pool, NAP, etc.

Kavya, Me, and Becca :)

The water here is still a tad chilly, but it feels so good once you're in! And feels amazing after we finish practice!

After the little break, we head back to practice. It's funny how different our Spring Break is from some of the other people in our hotel! Afternoon practices often last a little bit longer because we have no pressure to head back for food at a certain time :) Yesterday after practice my coach Sam let my friend Melissa and I take out one of the pair boats just for fun (two-man boat, no coxswain). It was so neat just to be messing around a little and work on our techniques without everyone else on the water at the same time. We were flying for a while there in the pair! Steering it was a little tricky, though!

Lucia and I!

So that's how my Spring Break has been spent so far, and I love it. I think we have one full day tomorrow left, and then one practice on Friday before we head back to Richmond and normal routine. I'm so, so glad I decided to spend the week here in Florida and joining the crew team has probably been the best thing I've done in college thus far. I love it :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today Dad is celebrating the start of his 44th year--he's getting up there. I can't describe how grateful I am for the Dad I have, and I love him tons. Hope you have a great day--even though you have to go to work and do all the normal stuff that keeps the family going! Can't wait to come home this weekend to celebrate a little bit and just to enjoy being with the family! Hopefully tomorrow will be a great start to another year!

Some pictures of Dad during the last year:

Dad and all of his boys at Evan's blessing in June. Dad is a great example to all of the boys, especially as a priesthood leader in our home.

One good looking family headed by two awesome parents

Lighting fireworks with the little boys

Dad with the Shields family before they left for Germany. Dad and John became good friends, and you wouldn't believe how many nights they sat and played a card game called Magic the Gathering before John left.

Me, Rachel, and Dad celebrating Rachel's birthday.

Dad loves his electronics. Can't wait until I join the iPhone club along with them.

Evan and Dad

Dad with Kyan, showing him how to fix a part of the computer--one of Dad's best talents :) I inherited zero of his computer skills...

Dad's a great dancer, too. He can crush on Dance Central, that's for sure.

Dad with my Grandma and Aunt Tara

Acting as doctor with Gray's sliced thumb

Helping me figure out the homemade pies for Thanksgiving Dinner

Playing Magic the Gathering--a lot of time spent doing this!

Playing Nertz... my current favorite game. Dad is ridiculously good at this game. And fast. Give me a little more practice, though... I'll catch up. After all Dad's been playing this game since Gray, Suzanne, and I were tots.

Dad and Mom visiting Mom's mom in the hospital--she's had quite the stay there this year!

Happy Birthday :)
Love ya!