Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy 33 to Lukas and a fun 1/2 marathon to boot :)

Last week was Lukas' birthday ~ he turned 33 on Thursday! His parents were able to schedule their annual USA trip to be able to be here to celebrate with him which was wonderful. We had so much going on - I think he had a great week of celebrating with people who love him :)

On Thursday we spent a liesurely morning at home and then went out for a late lunch to the Cheesecake Factory. Lukas is in love with their strawberry lemonade - as you can tell by this picture.

Good food, good company, and plety to drink made this a memorable birthday meal for him :)

Afterward we headed up to Longwood Gardens for a nice festive stroll checking out the lights and Christmas displays. There were lots of beautiful trees and flowers and the grounds were stunning with the light and fountain displays. Here are some of the highlights:

Us with Luke's mom

Luke's parents

Pink Poinsettas... who knew?! Love them!

Poinsetta tree

Fountain show to Christmas music

My favorite Christmas tree

Christmas dinner party ~ Longwood style :)

A couple years ago they had a music room where someone played on the piano and everyone sang Christmas carols. Luke was really looking forward to that part of the evening but alas, it was not scheduled on the day we went so that was a little disappointing. All in all tho, it was a lovely day celebrating the birth of my favorite person in the whole wide world :)

Friday we headed down to Rehoboth Beach ~ it was a little chilly for a swim in December but I decided to run in the freezing water up to my calves anyway. I can't resist the pull of the ocean... atleast at this beach where I've never seen a shark or jelly fish or any other creepy thing haha. We had a good time checking out the outlets and going to dinner with his parents and then relaxed at the hotel to prepare for our big morning.

Saturday Lukas and I ran the Rehoboth Seashore Half Marathon - our goal was 2:30 and we finished in 2:26:40. I'm very happy with the time ~ it was in the mid 50s and humid and my IT bands decided they hated me around mile 9 so we did pretty awesome all things considered. It was also a lot of fun to run somewhere new in a much bigger crowd this time - 2000 people between the 1/2 and full!

Pre-race in hotel room

Walking up to the starting line behind the huge crowd

Giving one last kick for the last .1 of the race

Heading into the home stretch (those are my pink socks sticking out behind Lukas haha)

Finished - alive and well - whooooo hoooo!! :)
The official race pictures are not up yet, I may have more to share when those are posted. It was fun having Lukas' parents waiting for us and cheering at the end - having fans helps you push on to the finish line instead of falling into a pile on the ground just before you get there lol. They had a good experience checking out the race atmosphere and cheering us on too which was nice.

The race was well organized and the course was fantastic. Water stations every 2 miles approx., beautiful route through downtown Rehoboth by all the big expensive beach houses and then on into Cape Henlopen State Park on a nice flat path that was just beautiful and inspiring to run on for 3/4 of the race. I absolutely want to come back and run this one next year - 1/2 or full marathon option!

I was pretty sick for the rest of the day ~ like someone please kill me type of sick ~ so that wasn't too fun. Fortunately Luke was fine so he drove us all 2 hours back home and they hung out without me while I tried to not keel over. Not a nice way to end our last day with his folks but sometimes that is just how the cookie crumbles :-/

It was a long fun-filled week and now everything is back to business as usual and Luke's parents are safe and sound at home in snowy Germany. Winter is still holding off here, glad we didn't have a white weekend but maybe we'll get lucky enough for a white Christmas afterall!

We are taking an easy recovery week so far. My IT bands are calming down a bit and Luke's hamstring is loosening up a bit so we might go for an easy 5k before work tomorrow. No plans or major training until an 11k on the trails in January and then marathon training begins!

... The New Jersey Libery Run on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend is our next target. We'll have 20 weeks after the 11k to get ready for that beast. I'm nervous, Luke is excited, and either way we are both on board this crazy new rollercoaster... wish us luck!

**This race supports charities for Hurricane Sandy victims and other clean-up projects along the Jersey Shore. As that is where Luke has been serving the past few Saturdays as a volunteer with the Mormon Helping Hands organization through church, we thought that would be a meaningful race to participate in and a good cause for our race fees to be donated to. **

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