13.1 miles around my favorite city

February 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

I ran the half with my good friend and co-worker last Sunday and it was an incredible experience. We finished in about two hours and ran the whole time, which was my goal. I’ve never been much of a runner, only doing it to stay in shape and as a supplement to dance classes. It was always a tedious half hour that involved schlepping out to the treadmill and burning off a few hundred calories. THEN one of my best girlfriends and I were convinced by another friend that we should do the Cap 10K. We started running together about four times a week outside and the whole sport became a lot more enjoyable.

Running was no longer this awful way to burn off dinner, it was an hour that I got to spend with my best friend gossiping and enjoying each other’s company. We ran the 10K and were proud of ourselves for finishing 6 miles. Looking back, 6 miles doesn’t seem that hard, but at the time it was a major milestone. If running one mile seems challenging right now, just push yourself to make it that far and keep building off of that momentum. Each week you’ll feel stronger and have more energy.

 Training for the half was a whole other beast in itself because I trained by myself and it required a larger time commitment. When I signed up, I was about to graduate and the idea of not having any extracurriculars terrified me. Free time?!! I thought the half could serve as an outlet for my spare energy. When December hit and I graduated, I did start enjoying a bit more free time. Most of my life was (still is) filled with work and other obligations, but my weekends are fairly open. However, forcing myself to get out in the cold and run for what seemed like forever was not incredibly enjoyable. Sometimes it was raining on top of being cold and all I wanted was my bed and a book. Or my fabulously fun co-workers would talk me into happy hour and putting on my tennis shoes and running 5 miles after drinking a couple of margaritas almost made me die. I did it, but I was hating myself the whole time.

Basically I wasn’t exactly as dedicated as I should have been to the whole training thing. One of my friends stops drinking completely when she’s training………………………….this is fine, except I only turned 21 in July and I’m having fun exploring the whole new world of cocktails. I’m not willing to give up that part of my social life to run and I don’t think you have to.

About two weeks before the half, Scorcese and I went on a long run. We only did 10, because I was told that the extra 3.1 would come when it was time. I’m glad that I waited to run the whole thing because those last 3 miles were the best. They sucked big time for obvious reasons, but the high I got from completing them put me over the top.

The actual race was more fun than I had anticipated. I was looking forward to it, but I was more like, “Okay here we go. Let’s get this two hours over with. It will be 9 a.m. before I know it and I can eat whatever I want.” BUT, it was really a good time. The path went throughout my favorite parts of the city, hitting South Congress, the lake, Enfield and of course, the capital. Cheering crowds covered the sides of the course, helping with adrenaline and encouragement. Signs like, “You’re almost there!…That’s what she said!” made me laugh and forget about any physical pain for a minute. I also bonded with my co-worker on a level that we can’t just get from working together. We had to encourage each other throughout and I was so thankful to have her with me.

With the finish line in sight, all pain disappeared because I knew my parents, boyfriend and best friend were all waiting for me and cheering me on. A surprise extra surge of energy pushed me forward and in a second it was over. Depleted and disoriented, I got my medal and found everyone.

Scorcese told me that the best part of running that much was that I could eat whatever I wanted after. We went to Austin Diner and while the food was great, I mostly enjoyed seeing my family. I think I’ll definitely keep running these things if my parents come up!

If you have any inkling of a desire to run a half marathon, I highly recommend it. Training helps you stay in shape and running the actual marathon makes you feel powerful and strong. I wish any future runners the best of luck! You can do it!

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Cereal, Tex Mex and Dancing

February 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Cereal, tex mex and dancing. The only three clues Scorcese gave me for our Valentine’s Day weekend. Despite my consistent prodding, he wouldn’t tell me anything else. His ability to keep secrets when I can’t drives me bananas, but I love the anticipation!

Saturday morning I was told to be ready by 11 a.m. for cereal. Scorcese drove us down to 6th Street as I got more and more confused. Cereal on 6th? Then…TA-DA! We arrived at Alamo Drafthouse for the Cartoon Cereal Party: Boys vs. Girls!!

Cereal is one of my very favorite foods and I eat it for almost half of my meals. Cheerios are comforting and reliable, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is like a surprise in your mouth and Rice Crispies feel like fireworks. Cereal is just the best. Scorcese knows this and planned the absolute perfect best date ever.

Once we got inside the drafthouse, the colorful cereal boxes lined up in the front of the theater just about made me die from happiness. There were so many to choose from and they were all wonderfully unhealthy! We made our first selections, with everyone lined up, pouring their milk. It was like a big Austin sleepover at the drafthouse. I got Captain Crunch because it was always a special treat at my house when I was little.

Curled up in our seats with our big bowls of cereal, we settled in to watch cartoons. The extra fun part was the girl vs. boy cartoon contest. Girls totally won because Josie and the Pussy Cats and the Power Puff Girls are way better than GI Joe. Obviously.

I won’t get into the other mushy gushy aspects of our Valentine’s celebration because that’s cheesy and annoying, but our trip to the drafthouse was awesome! If you’re looking for a cozy way to spend a Saturday afternoon, the Cartoon Cereal Party is for you!

Feeling Very Brunchy

February 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Pretty much my entire childhood, my mom would always tell me that the time between college and having babies was the best time of her life. I used to take offense to this seeing as I like to think that her life got infinitely better when I arrived, but now I understand.

I could list 50 kajillion reasons why this is probably the best time of my life, but one of my favorites is definitely going to brunch.

Weekend mornings are just perfect because you can stay in bed as late as you please and then mosey on over to your favorite brunch spot for coffee and pancakes. There’s no rush to get pretty or even move, because those eggs and that mimosa aren’t going anywhere!

I meet my girlfriends for classy brunch, I take my parents to really expensive brunch (they pay, duh), I go to brunch with my man when I don’t feel like chatting…brunch is just a happy, relaxing weekend activity that preps you physically and emotionally for a day of errands or a night out.

This brings me to my new favorite brunch spot…Bouldin Creek Coffehouse. It was so good!!! I had the El Tipico and the flavors from the hot salsa combined with the fluffy, light eggs and fresh tortillas made for a filling, delicious meal. Tortillas and eggs are difficult to mess up, but the spicy, natural tasting salsa woke up my mouth and made everything else taste even better. My friend ordered the Granola Sunrise cereal and loved that as well. She wasn’t that hungry, but still felt completely satisfied. I avoid things that involve granola, but if you’re a healthy person, you’ll probably love this place. Our waitress told us that she was a vegan for five years and that their veggie burger is her favorite in Austin. I’ll take her word for it.

In addition to excellent, unique food, the coffee was perfect. I don’t actually ever enjoy coffee all that much. I drink it socially or if my third or fourth diet coke just isn’t cutting it for my caffeine fix. But this coffee didn’t make me want to gulp it down as fast as possible because drinking it was an enjoyable experience. I had three cups, which was dumb, but I got a lot done the rest of the day!

I tend to think that the atmosphere of a place can make the food taste even better. As I drove down by South First, I got a little lost in a neighborhood behind the coffeehouse. Cute, older homes, similar to Hyde Park or Enfield houses were sporadically mixed in with apartments. I loved the feel of the area. The coffeehouse fit nicely with its surroundings and the décor was quirky and fun. Lighting is really important to the feel of a place and I loved what was hanging from their ceiling.

One of my favorite DIY chandeliers courtesy of Apartment Therapy:

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/sf/diy-mason-jar-chandelier-kara-pasley-designs-123835

The people all looked relaxed and everyone was laughing and enjoying their company. Wait for food was pretty long, but they warned us and we were so comfortable that we appreciated the extra time to talk. We sat inside, but if you have a dog I recommend bringing him and sitting in the sunshine.

Think about Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse next time you’re in the mood for original Austin fare in an artsy, laid-back environment.

Back to the future with a blast from the past

February 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

One of the best parts about this great city of Austin is the abundance of creative businesses. There’s a buzz in this town that feeds a passion for unique, exciting ideas. When I was planning Scorcese’s Valentine’s date, I researched drive-in movie theaters in Texas. I knew there was one about an hour away and thought we could take a little road trip. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised when the first thing that popped up in Google was for a new Austin drive-in called Blue Starlite Mine Urban Drive-In. Absolutely thrilled with this new addition to the city, I knew we had to go. To make it even more perfect, one of his favorite movies, Back to the Future, was playing.

After bragging to my co-workers about the completely ingenious Valentine’s date I planned and showing off my prowess as a true Austin explorer (not really, but I did tell them all they should steal my idea) I told Scorcese to get pumped for the best date of his life. He hates Valentine’s Day and I was on a mission to change that. This was supposed to be a surprise, but seeing as how I can’t keep my mouth shut about anything, the little sneak got it out of me.

You’d think that a drive-in smack dab in the middle of the city looking out over gorgeous downtown couldn’t get any better, but it did!! In addition to concessions, there are about five or six delicious food trucks for your enjoyment. I got a yummy grilled cheese, the boy got a meatloaf sandwich and we both devoured delicious fried okra. The atmosphere surrounding the whole place was just perfect and made me never ever want to leave Austin.

There are a few options for shows:

– Walk-in and sit on the grass ($10)

– Car space without a speaker – tune in with your radio ($20)

– Car space with an old-fashioned speaker that attaches to your car ($25)

About every great movie you can think of was listed on the site and it’s perfect for all types of Austinites. Bring your kiddos, your boyfriend, your best friend, your grandma and the homeless guy living around the corner because you’ll all love it.

As with any start-up, opening night will certainly have its glitches. There were a few audio problems at first and then halfway through the movie, the fire department shut everything down. Definitely a bummer, but they promised to give everyone vouchers to come again. Their website is currently just showing a message saying to check back in a few days once they’ve figured everything out. I don’t doubt that they will. This theater is way too awesome to not make it.

We still had a really good time and overall it was a successful Valentine’s date. We’ve both seen Back to the Future about 50,000 times so it was more about the experience than the movie.

Get excited for snuggling in your car with your honey or sitting outside on a blanket with your dog. Thank you to the people behind this idea. You’re the type of people who make this city what it is with your creative ambitions. Kudos to your hard work and I’m looking forward to frequent visits!

P.S. Did I mention it’s BYOB?

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