Hark! I hear the call of the finish line

After an outward (and quite vocal) objection to ever running another marathon, I’m less than five months out from taking on another 26.2 mile journey.

Now that I have recovered from the initial race (over three years and counting), I feel that I’m in a better place emotionally and physically to run a second. With all transparency, I also feel that I have something to prove – to myself, mainly.

Looking back, I am so different from the person who ran the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon in Arizona (in some ways – the good ones, hopefully!). With a couple of years added to my age bracket registrations, an entirely different eating lifestyle, and a deeper and more in-tuned understanding of my body, I think this will be a healthy challenge that I plan to enjoy.

mizouno

I even bought some new kicks for the journey. The Brooks Ghost 7 series have been wonderful for me, but I did pick up a deeply discounted pair of Mizuno Wave Runner’s (pictured above) to serve as the yin to the yang of my well-worn Brooks.

Time. For me, it’s one of the biggest burdens of signing up for any major race. The sheer willingness to devote hours upon hours, logging miles on trails, streets, in the rain, in the dark, and up hills. In the past, I have trained predominantly in Durham, specifically on the American Tobacco Trail. However, the hilly course of Knoxville requires me to take the training to a similar landscape.

Hello, Raleigh.

I’ll be gleaning insight from some of Raleigh’s top runners (in my humble opinion) on best trails to build endurance for the cascading waves I shall face in March.

While training “officially” starts on November 30, I’m spending this month building my base. That means Pilates, yoga, and core work: oh my. I picked up another Groupon for Arrichion hot yoga classes. If I could afford a monthly subscription, I would purchase one in a heartbeat. I absolutely love these classes: 45 minutes of demands, depending on the class.

Plus. when it’s 40 degrees outside and dark, the ability to sweat in a tanktop and shorts sounds pretty blissful. No, really.

Recap: Navigating My First Wedding Expo

This past Sunday, five of my kindest, up for anything girlfriends joined me at the Jim Graham Building (NC State Fairgrounds) for The Wedding Show 2014.  I did register beforehand, indicating myself as a “Bride To Be” (this will be important later), but had not looked into much else regarding the vendors slated to be in attendance. I received some GREAT advice from my friend Dani and various wedding blogs. One pro tip Dani gave me was to make labels ahead of time with my contact information and share them with the girls to enter contests, provide info to places, etc. I received many compliments on this technique (so cheers to you Dani!)

1554413_10201550424186207_207527824_nDo I look…excited? Scared? BRIDEZILLA IN WAITING??

I did have a few categories on my list to visit: DJs, tuxedo rentals, decor ideas, invitations, and photo booth inspiration. We wandered down the rows, taking in the myriad of pitches and hearing the sound of dollars going cha-ching. There were some food samples available (alas, very few vegan options), so I implored my friends to try, try, try away and report back!

1538657_10201550422266159_742035538_nChocolate fountain FTW!

One of the highest praised cake samples was a chocolate stout cake made by Teal Petal Cakes in Raleigh. Keeping that on the radar, for sure. About midway through our journey, we stopped to watch the bridal show sponsored by David’s Bridal. Who stole the show? It wasn’t any of the brides. It was the adorable five-year-old boy rocking his tux with STYLE (alas, no photo to prove his ridiculous cuteness but take it from me: he was legit).

1488658_10201550400545616_1743293315_nThis was one of the most highly rated dresses among our crew. Her hair is pretty adorable too!

After two hours, I was exhausted, which seems almost impossible for the extrovert. I talked up DJs left and right – from those who offer dry ice dance floor (what year is it?) to those who focus on making unique mixes to radio personalities, all I could up with was: DJs are really expensive.

1501796_10201550404705720_401710920_nSo, you want to be my DJ? Can you remix O.A.R. with Al Green?

And where were the free mimosas?! Of course, we found the Korbel table. I imagined towers of glasses with flowing champagne. Those are likely the shows that cost more than $12. We did walk away with tons of fun, reasonable ideas for transforming our vintage, burlap theme into a reality. I was so thankful to have such good companionship through this event in the wedding planning process. What else to do after attending a wedding expo than lunch? We spent the next two hours laughing, eating, and laughing some more at Neomonde Deli. I am such a sucker for all things Neomonde, especially its beet salad. Mmmmmm….

Here are some of the highlights that you may see again come September. Time to get the pursuit of crafts on….or farm those out and take on a supervisory role (I’ll be sitting in that chair, cheering you all on!)

1488874_10201550420226108_793208426_nVintage signs – soooooo hipster!

1510535_10201550418906075_1104722878_nFun way to display photos, and a much better use of chicken wire, no?

1521772_10201550394665469_818525915_nWe LOVED the “LOVE” sign – some tea lights and we’ve got this

1527100_10201550397985552_1646555914_nLiked both the sunflowers and the wood carvings used for bases

1538635_10201550395065479_58766977_nBURLAPPPPPPPPP!

1511667_10201550392265409_1282216938_nMore Mr. and Mrs. and chalkboard signs!

For those of you who have done this before, what’s one piece of advice you wish someone had shared with you? For those of you who have not or will not, what is your “must have” or “must see” when you attend a wedding?

Top 10 Highlights from this week (a la #SCTopTen)

Call it the #PaulsonTopTen. This week’s work/life balance was…less balanced. A lot more work and lot less play. One night, I was in bed by 8:10pm, just drained. I’ll get back to my writing ways this weekend, but for now, here are the top 10 key moments from this last week:

 

1) Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Autumn Vegetables and Ginger-Scallion Dressing:

QuinoaSalad

So full of flavor! Brussel sprouts were a bit expensive, so I opted to substitutes cauliflower and broccoli. You can’t go wrong. Simple, delicious, and tastes great for leftovers.

2) Our new coffee maker has changed our mornings for the better. Smooooooth coffee:

Cuisnart3. Achieved longest held plank: 4 minutes. New goal: 5 minute plank.

4. Actually taking a break two days for lunch and reading “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg. Extremely inspirational and enlightening.

5. Narrowing down wedding venues to the top three choices. Budgets outlined, catering calls in. This thing is slowly, but surely, coming together.

6. Recognizing that I have not bitten my nails in over three weeks. As a life-long proclaimed nail biter, I have tried, and tried, and tried, to stop. This is the first time, in my entire life, that I have made it this far. Childhood bad habits, be gone!

7. Fullsteam Brewery’s Coffee is for Closers (coffee porter) is on point.

8. Took a PiYo class on Sunday for the first time in two months. It’s hard to believe how the tiniest movements can create such lasting aches in muscles for days to come. Good aches, of course, but feeling a bit cowboy-esque nonetheless.

9. An impromptu date night with Aaron on Wednesday made this week. I had to travel to Raleigh (second time that day) to bring supplies for a conference, and Aaron kindly accompanied me for unloading purposes. Post-work responsibilities, we ventured over to Guasaca (seriously, this place can do no wrong, and so much of the menu is vegan friendly) and then a shopping adventure over at our favorite Bottle Revolution.

10. Spent much of yesterday reflecting, listening, watching the world of President John F. Kennedy. He was a tremendous orator with the gift to inspire, to call people to act, to invoke feelings inside of all us and implored us to remember that we are not one; we are not silos; instead, we are all in this together, as people of a nation and of a planet. Rest in peace, President Kennedy, and thank you for leaving such an impact on our world, 50 years later.

JFK_One Person Can Make A Difference