Super Fast Recap: A Girls Trip to Charleston

Last Thursday, eight of us ladyfriends packed ourselves into two cars and traveled down to Charleston, SC, for a girls weekend celebrating Jessie’s upcoming wedding. We stayed in a beautiful home on Folly Beach with the two most important amenities: a big couch and bathroom space for all of us.

In Folly, we ate dinner at Taco Boy and grabbed rainy day carry-out from Woody’s. I had a pimento grilled cheese (which I intend to perfect) at Blind Tiger, we entertained collegiate nostalgia at The Brick, and rounded out the weekend with an amazing southern meal at Poogan’s Porch where I attacked a bowl of shrimp and grits the size of my head.

We visited the Bourbon selection and tasted classic cocktails at The Bar at Husk. We stuck our toes in the sand, took a historical walking tour of Charleston, wandered through the  Charleston City Market, hunted for the best ice cream, sampled some fudge, judged several versions of pimento cheese, spent a rainy day on the couch, played some games, danced the night away in our matching t-shirts, and sufficiently toasted the bride.

I recommend everything. The whole trip from pre-dawn Thursday to unpacking the car Sunday — perhaps with the exception of some bad weather — was perfect.

[click on a photo in the gallery to view in a slideshow]

This May Be Out of The Blue

We met at a party at my apartment. It was August 2006, my roommates and I had just moved in and we were celebrating Jessie’s 21st birthday. I was standing in the hall outside our kitchen when someone introduced me to a few friends they’d brought.

Hugh was tall and thin and played trumpet in the Marching Virginians. I, having been raised with the absolute knowledge that the Hokie Pokie really is what it’s all about, found this an attractive quality in a person. We small talked about my being a campus tour guide and I implored him to do the Thriller dance in our living room.

It wasn’t love at first sight or anything far-fetched like that, but it was something.

So when, more than a year and a half and a few more run-ins later, Hugh approached me at a friend’s St. Patrick’s Day party and said, “This may be out of the blue but…” my immediate thought was no it’s not, this totally makes sense.

“This might be out of the blue, but I was wondering if you’d maybe like to go out sometime… like to dinner…” Hugh said.

“It’s not out of the blue,” I said. “I’d love to.”

Last Friday night, on the fifth anniversary of the awkward conversation that began our relationship, we discussed his question and my response over sushi.

photoHugh remembers swapping phone numbers and making a plan to be in touch about dinner the next night. I remember trying not to make him feel more nervous, which I now know only made it worse. It was awkward, as was our first date and pretty much everything that followed for the next year or so.  But it made sense.

Then our anniversary nostalgia session was cut short by a rogue jalapeno in Hugh’s sushi. Five years later, we still go on awkward dates. But it makes sense.

Hips, Hamstrings, Knees and Quads… KneesandQuads

I have admitted that I am not a runner, but that when I learned how to run I eventually learned to like it.

I have also admitted that I am not training for a race because of my own motivation or desire to be fit — I am running because I was peer pressured into it.

It’s been a mostly successful venture back into running for the past few months. Thanks to the Nike Running app (which is a great motivator), I know I’m getting faster — the past few weeks have seen my fastest 10K, 5K, and 1 mile — and thanks to my friends I haven’t let my low-motivation days totally devolve into couch potatodom.

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But now there’s only three weeks left until our 10-mile race, my long runs are getting longer, and I’m starting to feel the burn for real. Wednesday night my triathlon-training friend Jason graciously slowed his pace enough to run about 7.5 miles with me.  We ran along the Mount Vernon trail, paused to appreciate the LBJ Memorial Grove, turned around at the Pentagon, and had great views of the river and the city the whole time. Despite being an out-of-shape slow poke running with an actual runner, it was a really good, not-too-difficult run.

Except for the freezing cold wind we ran into for the last 3 miles.

And the last miserable uphill half mile back to my apartment.

Jason had to shame me into not stopping to walk up the hill by reminding me that my apartment was literally within sight, and I only whimpered about my knees once two or three times.

Yesterday I was acutely aware of every muscle, bone and tendon that run had stressed. I winced with every step down the Rosslyn escalator as my knees reluctantly bent and my left hip tightened its grip on my flexibility. I was in pain.

If this is how I feel after 7 miles, I thought, how am I going to make it through 10?

But here’s the best thing about this exercise nonsense — I kind of thrive on being pushed.

Even though yesterday I thought for sure I’d lose all or part of my legs, today I feel great. My hip isn’t sore, my muscles rebounded after loads of stretching, and as far as I can tell my knees are still intact. And that’s the reminder I always need — that I can run and my body will survive it.

And then I can run again. Maybe even further or even faster.

 

PS: Good luck in the Rock N Roll Half Marathon tomorrow, Elizabeth. You are more awesome than I could ever hope to be.

Welcome to Our Love Affair With Delta Rae

Two years ago, Hugh and I met up with some friends at Jammin’ Java to see our friends’ band One City Mile in a battle of the bands. I blogged about it and raved about the band from North Carolina that ended up winning the battle.

We picked up Delta Rae’s free CD that night and haven’t stopped listening to it since.

When they came to DC to perform at the 930 Club in January (coincidentally exactly two years since we first saw them), we couldn’t buy tickets fast enough. Even better — my girlfriends Devon and Elizabeth and their men joined too.

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If you have a chance to see them, I promise you their show far exceeds even the loftiest expectations.

My hump day gift to you is a playlist of their album, Carry the Fire. Yeah, I listen to these 14 tracks on loop and can often be heard belting parts of them while in the confines of our apartment where no one (but Hugh) can hear me.

If you only have time for a sampling, choose Bottom of the River, Dance in the Graveyards, If I Loved You, and Morning Comes.

Actually, just listen to them all.

PS: The a capella song I raved about in the blog post from two years ago was Bottom of the River, which much to our dismay was not included on the free sample CD we had. Thankfully, the eventual release of the song was accompanied by this amazing music video and now all is forgiven.