Thursday, November 6, 2014

October Rewind

October I'd like to think is where I started to find my groove again. Not only was I slowly adding more miles back in, but my knee pain started to be just a slight pang and more manageable to deal with. My paces are coming back every so often, however I'm still having runs that are completely "off" and seem harder than they should. Time and consistency should help to alleviate those.

Total Mileage:  78! Daily Mile tells me that this is the highest mileage month in over a year. A year people!!! Should I be excited I'm getting back into the swing of things, or ashamed at the last 12 months??

Highest Mileage week: 22- I attribute that to Bourbon Chase

Races Planned / Completed: 2/2

Bourbon Chase the 2nd time around- Recap
Team "Ball so hard we ran our HasselHoff"

Ragnar Relay TN 4th time going strong-- recap to come, but spoiler alert- we took 1st in our division
Team "Comin' in Hot!"

New to Me: (Because you should always be trying something new) 

October wrapped up my #30dayofnew challenge, so once that was complete, I was MORE than happy to just lay low and be a hermit for a bit. I think 4 weeks of something new deserves a break  

Other fun ventures in October:
  • Pumpkin Patch Season!!! Until I have kids, there is nothing wrong like acting like a kid :) 
  • After continually attending the cornhole tournament at fat bottom and never winning a single game (embarrassing), we finally managed to squeak out a win. I'll be practicing for when this starts up again in the spring.
  • Learning to spend some quality time with my hot glue gun to finalize my Halloween costume. 

  • And although no photos, I did a LOT of organizing, purging, and switching out the summer wardrobe for fall / winter--- call me crazy but thats still exciting to me!!! 

Current Excitements/ Obsessions:
  • Leaving today to St. Louis to meet up with 2 of my high school buddies (one of which I haven't seen in 10 years) to catch up and even do a Cupcake 5k. I signed up as an "eater". Apparently I can choose to have a small cupcake where I'm given a 2 min deduction from my time or a large cupcake where I'll be given a 5 min deduction from my time. Go big or go home--- with all these deductions this should be my fastest 5k EVER! 

  • Excited to go home for Thanksgiving. Although I've been home more this year than I have in the last 5, its still nice to go back every so often. I'm glad to continue the tradition with my brother in doing our Turkey Trot 5 mile race together. 
So far every year I've gotten faster, initially I thought I couldn't do repeat this trend, however looking at my recap of last year I see I ran a 7:25 pace. My 4.2 mile run last weekend in Ragnar was exactly that, so maybe there is still a chance?
Current Songs

Have you seen the new Chanel No.5 commercial with Giselle? They use a remake version of Grease's "You're the Want" that I adore. Give me a guy with brown hair, blue eyes, and facial hair and I will melt...

Current Treat
There is something about cold weather that makes baked goods more appealing. I made 2 delicious treats I loved so much, they were repeated and then brought into the office for all to enjoy

  • Pumpkin Muffins made with Schlafly Pumpkin Ale 

I had a lot of people ask for this recipe--- honestly I just took a box mix and replaced the water portion with beer (and added a little more for good measure) and instead of egg I replaced with 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree and a little bit of applesauce. 

  • Lavendar Sugar cookies

Back in May I purchased this delectable lavendar vanilla sugar from a spice shop here in Franklin. I loved it so much that when my parents came to visit in August I took them to said shop again and stumbled across edible lavendar. I tried to make them in pancakes however I used too much which caused terrible indigestion and 'heart burn' for me. Weird right? Aside from that, pancakes just weren't the right vehicle as they were too heavy. It dawned on me later that sugar cookies might be worth a try and OH MY GOODNESS - YESSSSS!!!! Again I just took a sugar cookie recipe and then did about 1 tablespoon of lavendar and rubbed in my palm before mixing into the batter. Once I put on cookie sheet I then sprinkled with my lavendar vanilla sugar and put in oven. They are so unique and delicious. Everyone in my area now thinks I'm this advanced baker, jokes on them. 

Current Goal (s):  

I think the fact that I'm even ready to start making goals is a huge step in the right direction. For now I'm going to keep them simple:

  • Find / Organize a team for Ragnar Trail ATL
  • Scope out and decide when I want to tackle the half marathon distance again
  • Run consistently 3x week
  • See more of those 7s on my watch
October Takeaway
I can say first hand that there is nothing more frustrating (to me) when it comes to running to know what you're capable of and being so far from hitting it. This has been my story since about February. Rather than do anything about it, I just accepted I needed some time off and until I make running a priority I shouldn't expect anything grand. Something changed in my mindset in September, I'm thinking it was the fact that I had 2 relays to run, but I started to care again. I have to say it feels good and bad all at the same time. Good that I WANT to run and have actually made an effort to rearrange items to make that happen vs. only doing it when its convenient. Bad in the sense that I am competitively natured and I want to push myself to get to where I once was but the practical side in me says "too much too soon = further injury". 

While I try to find my balance and place again in the running world, I'm just happy its starting to click!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bourbon Chase, a second time around- recap

Bourbon Chase.

For the last several years I've always been drawn to this relay:

  • 6 years ago the CEO and leadership team from my company ran it, loved it so much, they decided to see how they could bring a relay to Nashville. After reaching out to Ragnar Relay and helping form a sponsorship,  Ragnar TN came to  life!  
  • 3 years ago one of my best friends joined a team and was trying to find a spot for me on his team, 1 month before the race there was finally an opening, but I had given up and scheduled another race that weekend. 
  • 2 years ago I captained a team and a few days before race day 2 of our runners (they were married) had to bow out due to a family emergency. I agreed to pick up an entire runner and treat it as an ultra, but no one else was willing to run extra so we had to cancel- major bummer. 
  • Last year I joined a team one week out and I can honestly say it was the worst relay experience I've ever had.

Needless to say when a mutual friend reached out to me in July to join her team, I was more than ready for a redemption. Considering the lack of mileage leading up to the race + tending a knee injury, I had mixed expectations of what my body and endurance could deliver.

Similar to last year the  weather was cloudy, rainy, and temps were continually dropping. The big difference this year, was instead of being in the 2nd van and runner 12 where I missed out on seeing the other van at major exchanges, I upgraded to van 1, runner 4.

Van 1 kicked things off at Jim Beam Distillery

For this relay we had 1 runner in our van and another runner in van 2 download this app, relay tracker to help keep tabs on when runners were anticipated to come in. 

It was pretty awesome because you put in everyone's name, each of their distances, and what they're average time was going to be (I said 8:15 for mine)  and then it did all the work. Below are just screen shots from google 

While a current runner is out on their leg it will tell you how many miles, what they're predicted pace is, how long they've currently been running, and when to anticipate them coming in. As you get 5 min in the window of when you're coming in, the "due in" time turns yellow. Once you pass your window it turns red. And as you can guess, when you pass off the baton you hit the exchange made button and it starts the countdown for next person. 
This was neat because our vans were synched on the app so it was easy to coordinate (despite them showing up late to one of the exchanges since it changed from last year). There were a few instances where it froze (bad cell connection), so make sure you're still looking at the time when your runner leaves. What made it slightly stressful was that your teammates knew if you were slower or faster than what you said, so it was more pressure to be accountable to hit your times (for me) 

Run 1: 5.2 miles / 8:25 pace 
By the time I was ready to run we were at our 2nd distillery stop, Heaven Hill Distilleries (not as grand as some of the others, and instead more of a distribution building) 

This was the run I was most nervous for due to the fact it was the hardest leg of all 36 legs. Bourbon Chase is unique in that each runner is rated from easy to difficult, along with each individual leg. The majority of the run looked manageable according to the elevation map, however it was the last 3/4 mile that was straight up hill that had me worried and told my team I'd for sure be walking. To take the edge off I took one of the volunteers up on their shots of bourbon they were giving out (and I do not like Bourbon) 

Going into the run I thought my mileage was 4.1 (it was originally when I first was assigned this leg), so I just went out a little quicker then what I normally run to make up for the time I planned on walking. 

Surprisingly my legs felt good and because it was so cold my breathing was in check. We weren't supposed to have headphones, but given this was my first 'race' since May I needed the extra motivation so I was going to chance it. The first several miles were spent constantly switching my 1 headphone into the ear not facing traffic (there were a lot of turns) as to not get caught #rebel. 

I was feeling great but was continually looking ahead for when this climb was supposed to start. I kept looking down at watch and even when it said 4 miles and no climb yet I started to get worried that I took a wrong turn since the run was just over 4 miles. I see a sign and start picking up the pace so I could read it--- immediate deflation when I see the "One mile left" sign. How was this run over 1 mile longer than I thought, and I still have the major hill to hit?

Since I was getting tired, I decided to just pick up the pace so I could take my time on the uphill--- so glad I did.  My calves were burning just walking up the darn thing. There was 1 runner ahead of me and I told myself that when he started running, I would start--- I did this off and on for a few minutes and decided to screw it and just walk until my watch read 5 miles.

Once it beeped 5 miles I started a shuffle until I could see the peak, then picked it up for a "strong finish" into the exchange (and my team was none the wiser!) 

Night Run - 5.5 miles; 8:04 avg pace 
Due to the continuous rain all day, the field that was supposed to be for vans parking was blocked off, thus the exchange officials were making vans drive through in a single file line which caused a huge standstill of vans 1/2 mile from the exchange point. One of my teammates agreed to hop out with me and we jogged to the exchange to make sure we would be there in time (good thing we did bc my van still hadn't made it to exchange for when I took off) 

As with all night runs, I felt GREAT. I opted to put my phone on speaker and hold in my bra - stillness of the night made it easy to hear, and probably  even more entertaining for people as I approached them (lot of kills on this run) I did manage to accidentally step in cow / horse poo (hard to tell), so I pulled to the side and used corn stalk leaves to wipe everything off.  One of the perks of night running is it makes hills more bearable to run since you can't see them ahead of time. As long as I don't psych myself out, I'm decent at hills since they are everywhere in Nashville--- this run didn't disappoint and its where I passed most of my kills. 

I knew I would be coming in sooner than 8:15 pace, so I texted my team just in case they were relying on the app. Thankfully I did because they were barely ready in time before I handed off. So happy and grateful the run went well and was painfree--- starting to feel like my mojo is coming back!!!

Last run 3.8 miles; 8:07 avg pace 
I couldn't have asked for a better lineup this race--- hardest first, longest at night, shortest for last--- the ultimate strategy for being pain free at end of relay!! I always like to save a "fun" outfit for my last run to keep me energized. Since I've only worn my stars skirt once, 50th state 1/2, I figured it was time to break it out again. 
My TN tank + pro compression USA socks completed my 'Merica outfit and definitely got a lot of cheers from other runners, spectators, and vans driving by. 
I'm not sure what happened on this run, but I had a hard time catching my breath. I did have to stop quite a bit, however I only allowed myself 10 sec walk breaks at a time. My legs were heavy, but still turning over and pain free, so it was just a matter of stopping occasionally, regulating breathing, then carrying on. 
As we approach the small town where my exchange will be made, this guy caught up to me, smacked me on my butt, and told me "nice work wonderwoman!" Unless you know me, don't smack my butt. That gave me all the motivation I needed and I pushed through and passed him in the final stretch. After I handed off the baton I turned around and told him I wasn't wonder woman and walked back with my team. Is it me or is just satisfying to "chick" douchey guys???

After we all finished our van 1 legs we made a beeline for the hotel where a hot shower never felt so good. We ate, drank, then made our way to the finish line to cheer on our team to the finish line. 

Ladies and men of team "Ball so Hard we ran our Hasselhoff" 

Group Photo 

Thankfully we finished early enough, 330, to go back to hotel while van 2 showered that I could catch a quick nap before we made our way back to the bourbon tent at finish line and then on to dinner. Every runner gets a wrist band with 4 tear offs for free bourbon tasting. I had 1 honey wild turkey with several ice cubes that I managed to choke down and 1 Woodford Reserve that made me almost vomit. I don't think I'll ever be a Bourbon gal, but it doesn't mean you still can't have fun at the race. 

This year was SUCH a different experience than last year--- no getting lost, chased by stray dogs, being in last place, having to skip exchanges, or finishing 1.5 hours before they close everything down. I knew 2 people on this team prior to race, and both were in van 2. Although relays are always fun with some of your best friends, I think they're pretty fabulous with strangers as well!!!
Thanks for redeeming yourself Bourbon Chase--- maybe we'll meet again next year!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Final Countdown of #30daysofnew Recap

Little behind on the recaps, but heres the rounding out / completion of my #30dayofnew challenge. Feels good to be done and not feel the pressure of always doing something, but in my time doing research of what is happening in the Nashville, I learned quite a bit about different activities, thus more on my list of items to check off...

Day 20 - Rock Climbing at Climb Nashville
COST: $17
Every Tuesday, Team Green Adventures teams up with Climb Nashville to have a beginners climb night with a discounted rate  for both members and non-members. My upper body strength definitely could use some work (hence the falling off the rock and landing on the ground), but I still had a grand time. It's hard to get to that part of town by 6pm, but I'd definitely like to re-visit this activity again.

Day 21- Nolensville Running Club
COST: Free ($5 toward pizza afterward) 
The last of my Nashville running group explorations! I was blown away at the large turnout for a Wednesday night- just shy of 100 people. There were a few runners who were at the Southside running group (day 16) I went to the previous week, and they were kind enough to show me around. This club is notorious for having some fast runners and some killer hills in their route rotation. I lucked out and the day I joined was the only flat route to the track and back, thus not an incline in site--- nailed it! Afterward they ordered pizzas for everyone and helped make signs for the Nashville Women's 1/2 marathon that was in town that upcoming weekend. 

Day 22- Jackalope trivia + cards against humanity
COST: Free ($11 for 2 beers + mac & cheese)
This is a classic example of why i wanted to do this challenge in the first place. I was near downtown getting my haircut when I decided to stay down there to see if anything was going on. I happened to see using the app Wannadoo --- best app for finding activities to do-- that the Jackalope brewery does trivia on Thursday so I texted a few people to see if they wanted to join. Michael (plaid next to me) said he would be interested IF I found others to go so it wasn't just us. I struck out with everyone else and made the executive decision to just go and randomly join someone's team. Since Michael knew I was going regardless he agreed to join and as I was waiting for him in walks Jesse (green shirt) who I met during my #30daysofnew on both day 4 and day 7 so I joined him and his friends. We rocked the first round and were in 1st place at halftime, but unfortunately dropped the ball on the last few questions and didn't place 

Day 23- Lightning 100 Friday Afternoon Live
COST: Free
I see a pattern with all the lightning 100 sponsored events! Every monday evening there is a 1 hour spot on their radio station starting at 6:15 (for those that don't know, Nashville area code is 615) featuring only local artists. During that show, they announce who their artist of the week is. The rest of that week they play them in heavy rotation and then on Friday that band plays a free concert for anyone that shows, along with plenty of opportunities to win tickets to other shows. I played rock, paper scissors for Broken Bells tickets, but I lost in the 2nd round :(   The band, Vinyl Thief was pretty darn good. I have to say the topper of the night was Becca walking away with the digits of the guy who I beat in rock, paper, scissors who happens to be an ex-lightning 100  worker and friends of my dj :) 

Day 24- Nashville Symphony free day of music
COST: Free
No idea if this is a new concept or something that is done annually, but the Nashville Symphony announced that they were having free music all day a few saturdays ago. I have never been to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, let alone been to the symphony, so I was pumped I got to experience this without spending a dime. In addition to the Symphony performing, there were a lot of local songwriters and performers who we were able to watch as well. When we went, most of the performances were outside and it was a SCORCHER that day, so we only lasted about 2 hours before meeting up with friends for dinner.  Occasionally we'll have big artists that team up with the symphony- Ben Folds is the most recent, so I'm going to make sure to be on the lookout so I can experience the true Symphony experience! 

Day 25- Sky High Trampoline Gym
COST: $14 / hr
So many of my friends have been to this trampoline gym, some even are on a trampoline dodge ball league, but for whatever reason I've never taken the plunge. A few of my PT friends warned me to be careful since they have treated several people who have been injured here, so I was actually a little nervous in going. Kristin and I went one sunday afternoon and it was kid birthday party central,so we decided to come back late on a weeknight- best decision ever! Between trying to move around in the foam pit and racing in the giant trampoline area, we were wiped within 40 min- no idea how people spend more than an hour here! After conquering my "your going to sprain an ankle fear", I think I may be ready for a pick up dodgeball game here soon! 

Day 26- Checking out old theater, Sinema, turned restaurant/bar
COST: $5 for beer
The Nashville restaurant / bar/ local scene is absolutely exploding. Everyone is trying to take a unique spin on venue or food to get one step ahead of the rest. Ever since I've lived here there was an abandoned theater on 8th just screaming be be renovated, and earlier this year thats exactly what happened. I'm told its extremely hard to get in, so we winged it by going late on weeknight to avoid the dinner rush and were able to walk right in. Unbeknownst to us, we were actually crashing the tail end of a Ferrari party and were severely underdressed, but no one gave us grief until we got to the bar to order a drink. Apparently we missed Taylor Swift and two of the cast members from Nashville (Chloe and Gunner) who were there earlier--- timing is everything! I took full advantage going through all the rooms each with their own unique twist, perfect for lounging and having great conversation. I'd like to come back to actually enjoy a meal and not feel like all eyes are glaring on the girls in jeans. 

Day 27- Joining a random pick up game for night kickball.
COST: Free
My gf Danielle had texted me earlier in the week that her bf's team needed 2 girls to round out there male dominant kickball team and asked if we could join. I've been on a kickball league before, however I'd at least known / met/ or talked over email with my teammates prior to a game. Showing up only knowing Danielle + completely different rules from what I was used to was intimidating, but I  got in the swing of things and actually played outfield pretty well. We ended up losing so it was decided we can either be in our 30s and have the time to practice and dominate in kickball, or we can show up do our best and not care if we lose because we have more going on in our life--- the latter is the better option ;) Since then they've asked me to sub in twice more, however I had conflicts both times and was unable to make it. 

Day 28- Trivia at 3 Crow
COST: Free
I'm convinced now that not only could you play trivia every day of the week in Nashville, but also choose from different venues on the same night.  I REALLY did not want to go out this night, but Kristin mentioned a bunch of her friends were meeting up in East Nashville and she had wanted to play since she's never taken part in trivia, whaaaaat?? I've played at a LOT of different venues with many different announcers and this was probably the most annoying of them all as it took extra long to play since they were slow with calculating points, waiting for the entire song to be over no matter what before next question, and even doing half time giveaways which ate a big chunk of time. This was also one of the first times I've played where I didn't know many of the answers, so I felt like I wasn't contributing.  I'd go back once more to see if its any better, but otherwise I'll stick to the Thursday night triva at Jackalope instead. 

Day 29- Full Moon Pickin' Party
COST: $20 (includes entry + 4 beers)
Starting in the late spring one Friday a month when there is a full moon, Percy Warner Parks hosts their pickin party for anyone to come enjoy live folk / bluegrass music. This one  was the last pickin' party of the season, so I was determined to go, rain or shine.... and yes it rained on all of us! I always enjoy live music, but what I loved most about this is how you can walk around, pet some horses, watch pop up jam sessions with other music lovers who brought their own instruments, and mingle with others. Event was both kid and dog friendly, hence a lot of families, which adds to the laid back environment. Unfortunately for us this was a pop up FREEZING day so between the rain + not being equipped for cold temps we left early. I'm anxious to go back this spring when its dry and warm to see how that changes the crowd and atmosphere entirely. This is worth at least checking this out once if you're in the greater nashville area. 

Day 30
I received a lot of suggestions of different grand finale items to close out this challenge, but ultimately I decided not to 'officially' do a 30 day. I wanted this to serve as a reminder that we should always be striving to try new experiences since that helps us grow and meet new people.  I've done quite a few more activities that are new to me since this challenge ended, so I don't think i'll ever close the book on this concept. I've noticed my attitude has changed toward going out as well. If someone asked me to meet up for dinner / drink / etc and I was tired, I would immediately just take a rain check. Now I feel like Jim Carey in the 'Yes Man' and remind myself you never know what will happen or who you'll meet when you venture outside the home. 

I highly recommend this challenge for anyone looking to get outside their comfort zone, expand their social circle, or just get out of a social rut! It is exhausting as well as challenging to constantly be looking for items last minute, but in the end totally worth it!

Monday, September 22, 2014

#30dayofnew Week 3 Recap

Rounding out week 3 of 30 days of new and I have to say September is a challenging month to find new, albeit cost effective, items to do... there is ALWAYS something going on, just maybe not in the $20 price range!  Here in the south, but not quite the deep south, September is a transition month. We still have days in the 90s, and then a sporatic day in the 70s, so the weather doesn't want to fully convert. Fall isn't quite here yet and therefore all the festivities that go along with it don't come around in full swing til October--- helllllllllllllo pumpkin patches.

Day 13- 12 South Run Group
COST: Free ($15 for dinner afterward)
My old roomie Leah's new boyfriend introduced her to this run group that meets in the trendy 12 south area of Nashville. Apparently there is an incredibly tall & funny guy who goes regularly that she keeps telling me I need to meet, so I finally made it out for the 6:30 run. As luck would have it, he randomly didn't show up this night, but I met some other cool folks as well as reconnected with a few runners I hadn't seen in awhile. As I imagined, it was hills galore and the knee pain set in about mile 2, thus felt like the longest 4 miles of my life. Leah actually ran with me since she is nursing a hamstring injury and we've NEVER run for longer than 1 mile together- was kind of nice.
Day 14- "Beer, Bands, & Bingo"
COST: Free ($4 for beer)
Every Tuesday, lightning 100 hosts free bingo, cheap beer, and of course great music, at Tin Roof for the chance to win different tickets to concerts or other events that are going on in the area. This is WAY easier to win tickets vs. Wed night cornhole, yet after 7 or so rounds NONE of us won anything. I'll be going back again tonight with a few of my gfs in an attempt to come out this time a winner. 

Day 15- Renting B Cycles and cruising around East Nashville
COST: $5
Ok so this doesn't necessarily fit my "social" rule as it was just the roomie and I, but we did come from cornhole and then rode our bikes to another establishment to meet up with some other friends to watch a band play--- so the before and after were social. I haven't ridden a bike in YEARS and have always wanted to rent one of our bike shares but was afraid to do it during the day in case I fell. I did lose control once and Kristin rode right into a bush.... 20 min of practice and we were good to go 

Day 16 - "Southside Runners" run group
COST: Free ($10 for dinner afterward) 
I was nervous to go to this run group since I didn't know a soul who took part in this one, but it turned out that Jamie, the guy in the kilt, I've met at my original Monday night run group so he introduced me around. Whats interesting is the past 2 "new to me run groups" were all individuals around my age yet REALLY fast--- this one was mostly middle aged and medium paced to slower. I can't tell you the last time I heard "you're too fast for us", had to chuckle at this one. Although these were my stomping grounds the first year I lived in Nashville, this was prior to me really running that much or exploring the area- every sec of this run was brand new scenery for me which was a nice change of pace. 

Day 17- Nashville Night Market
COST: Free ($8 for dinner + 4 bell peppers- what a steal)
For a few Friday nights in the fall, the Nashville Farmer's Market also opens at night in addition to their normal hours on Sat / Sunday. I was FLOORED at the cheap prices--- bell peppers 2 for $1?!?!! There were several bands playing, craft booths set up, and even met some local runners who were mutual friends with who I brought--- I may or may not have scored a Ragnar teammate from this. If I can make it downtown this friday, I will for sure be heading back to make a small investment in bell peppers- cant beat that price!

Day 18- Comedy Interactive skit "Bye bye Liver"
COST: $12
Becca turned 31 and the festivities that kicked off the night was a drinking interactive play "Bye Bye Liver"- such a neat concept and not to mention funny. Unfortunately I never got chosen from the audience, which actually may have been a good thing as there would have been more drinking involved.  

Day 19- Jazz concert along river front
Sunday nights there is free jazz along the river from 530-8pm. What I didn't realize was that it was held at a park called Cumberland Park (never heard of it) which is on the LP Field side of the river. I mistakenly thought it was at river front park (the downtown side) like all the other concerts so it was a LONG walk but well worth it when I discovered this 'new to me' park. Turns out, everyone else that I talked to at work had never heard of it either.  Event itself is kid friendly as there was quite a bit for them to do- slides, play football, rock climb, roll down hills- so with that being said it was mostly a family type event. I walked around a bit and even had someone buy me a snow cone because I "was a pretty white girl who likes jazz"---- needless to say I did stand out in the crowd haha. Never saw this view of the city before and I LOVE it. 

All in all, a good week. I did manage to meet a few more people and even became facebook friends so you know it's official. I've found myself opening up more and most importantly, being the one to initiate conversation. I don't think I'll ever be that girl that can just walk up to anyone and act like we're best friends, and thats okay. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 2 of #30daysofnew challenge

Another week down of trying new things. Since all my events this week were free, I decided to be more 'robust' with my reporting of what was spent and document anything that was purchased while at said activity. Here is a more accurate look while rounding out the 2nd week of #30daysof new challenge.

Day 7- New Running Group - Craft Brewed 
COST: Free ( 1 beer afterward totaling $3)

Back in the winter Elizabeth mentioned she had a friend who was being re-located to Nashville for her husband's work. I got her information and then met up with Char (black tank) and husband Jesse (white t shirt) to show them around town while they visited. She officially moved here in the spring and in that time frame we've met up on a few occasions. I actually spent day 4 last week with her and hubby and since I mentioned I was in process of checking out new run groups, she extended an invitation  to join her run group that meets at Craft Brewed. I have to say that I dig the smaller run groups as they are more intimate and I actually run with people <gasp> I've actually spent very little time running in the city, so it was a nice change of scenery, albeit un-relentless hills.

Day 8- Harvest Moon / Blue Moon Rooftop Party
COST: FREE (had 2 beers, after tip $7) 
Acme Feed and Seed is Nashville's newest bar on Lower Broadway- PRIME location as its the last building before you get to the Cumberland river. What's unique about this venue is that its 3 floors each featuring a different concept + a rooftop bar overlooking the river--- my favorite part is that its not a honky tonk and people that live here actually go there- minimal tourists! The full moon party was basically a free event Blue Moon hosts offering crazy cheap Blue Moon brand beers, listen to music, stare at the sky, and even dance once the dj starts up (I left before that happened). My favorite part was they had a giant canvas of the Nashville skyline that you could contribute your artistic skills. I'm terrible at painting and drawing, but gave it a whirl and worked on the beer itself. I went to the event solo  and told myself goal of the night was to talk to 5 different people. 

Day 9- Fat Bottom Cornhole Tournament
COST: Free ( dinner and drinks there- $38 after tip) 

Ok so I've been to Fat Bottom Brewery multiple times, AND I've played cornhole more times than I can count, however I had never been to the weekly tournament that lightning 100 sponsors. Since I'm pretty competitive at games, I knew this would be a good way to meet people and it did not disappoint. The winning team gets to choose from a list of different events and concerts in town and then as their prize they get the free tickets. Since there weren't as many teams this week we got to play 2 rounds. In talking to the winners of the first round (bottom left), they found out my 30 days of new goal and said if they won again we could have their tickets. Low and behold they won, and we chose the Chicken Wing festival since it was this upcoming weekend + 2 of my girlfriends were performing there. 

And of course if you saw my last post, my true highlight was meeting my radio dj crush, Wells!

Day 10- Bocce Ball at Pinewood Social
COST: Free (tried fried okra for first time- $10 after tip)
If you're ever in the Nashville area, Pinewood Social is a "must" on the venue list. Aside from the swanky menu, drinks, and coffee shop inside, there is also a vintage bowling alley and karaoke room indoors. When it opened this winter, the outdoor venue wasn't finished so I hadn't yet got to check out the  2 dipping pools, bocce ball, and ping pong all in the courtyard. My roommate from 2 years ago, Krista, told me she was in town and heading there so I knew I had to meet her and check out the additions. Surprisingly I had never played bocce ball nor knew any of the rules. Her friends were all from the country where apparently its heavily played, so I learned in no time and even got to show a few people how to play that were watching. 

Day 11- Concert at the Basement
COST: Free (had someone pay my cover and drinks)
Went to check out a mutual friend's band playing at The Basement---this is one of Nashville's local staples for just good live intimate music. Venue is in a basement, shocker, so it doesn't hold many people but ranges from big names that pop in to local artists trying to get their name out there. Chuck Adams, who we went to check out, initially started  as an r&b artist and then morphed into country and folk. Such an interesting transition but man did he rock it.

After the concert I met up with Krista again at a different venue and actually managed to initiate conversation with a group of guys who were playing shuffle board and joined in their game. Turns out 2 of them went to Miami University (my alma mater and is RARE when I find someone in the south who went there) and one was even from Dayton. We hung out for a few hours and then parted ways... nothing like a twofer night of new. 

Day 12- Music City Hot Wing Festival
COST: Free (bought 2 beers + photo booth picture, totaling $13)

As mentioned in day 9, we were given free tickets to the hot wing festival for Saturday. Little did we know the tickets were just for all you can eat chicken, but we still needed to buy our own beer wah wah. About 2 hours in I happened to see one of me exes- for those that have been reading for a bit, the "not an asshole, asshole" type. We're still friends and occasionally talk, so when I realized he was with my best friend's wife (she introduced us), it wasn't a big deal to approach and say hi. So glad I did because he had 2 extra VIP tickets which meant that Kristin and I now could eat AND drink as much as we wanted for free, along with access to the VIP tent. And who should I happen to see in the tent... low and behold dj crush Wells... life is funny. 

Rest of afternoon was spent meeting people, seeing how many free sunglasses we could acquire, and then watching my ladies show off their aerial skills. It was Sarah's first performance, so I'm glad I got to see her in action

As I figured they would, the chicken did run out so after everything was dying down we headed to dinner followed by meeting up with some friends downtown. We ended up at the same bar as night before, Rebar, and I tested my "make friends with stranger by playing shuffle board" theory again - worked like a charm. We ended up crashing a bachelor party of a bunch of Texans and did karaoke and dancing with them at a few other places... I can truly say that is another first.  It was a LONG day so I spent Sunday catching up on chores, errands, and just relaxing- I scolded myself for nothing 'new', but I did go to breakfast with some friends so I got my social interaction in for the day! 

Last week my focus was heavily on the new 'activity' whereas this week I took a different approach and really focused on the meeting new people part of the challenge.Total amount spent for the actual events- 0- amount for activities during event,  $71- not bad at all. 

Week 2 un-expectantly revolved around playing games, which is always a great catalyst for interaction. This upcoming week with what I have planned out it seems there are  a few more 'fitness' items on the agenda, gotta burn those calories! 

What's your favorite outdoor / social game?
For me I think cornhole will always be a favorite past time, but I'm learning to really like shuffle board as it requires such a finesse which makes it challenging. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Finding Confidence with men through cornhole

Earlier this week I blogged about my #30daysofnew challenge and have been documenting each day on facebook and instagram. I've had a few of my girlfriends reach out and asked if I was meeting any hot guys during this process. Although that was not my initial intent, I decided 'why not', and see where it goes by testing it out Wednesday. 

Yesterday I had already planned to take my roommmate, Kristin, with me to Fat Bottom Brewery for their Wednesday cornhole tournament hosted by my favorite radio dj, Wells Adams. To better understand where I'm going with this- I have a minor crush on Wells. I've been listening to his morning show for years and dig his snarky personality and how many of his interests align with mine. 

I'm sure like most people, we just assume everyone on the radio is unattractive or fat, so we don't really give much thought to what they look like. And if you don't assume that, you are a better person than me... 

 Within the last month I was at our local concert series, Live on the Green, when he happened to come out on stage to present one of the artists and I realized he was actually good looking AND TALL. For those that have not spent some time in Nashville, we have a lot of shorties here and an attractive man with height is rare- if they're single and normal, they're a unicorn and should be captured immediately. 

It was my goal last night to talk to him and get a photo. I know I sound juvenile but I'm INCREDIBLY shy with meeting someone new whom I find attractive, so this would be my ultimate test to see if I'm getting better at coming out of my shell. Luckily we made friends with one of our competitors in the tournament and they happened to be regulars every week so they already knew him and have talked with Wells on occasion. 

After they introduced us I nonchalantly asked if could get a photo with him--- don't worry I prefaced it with "I'm not trying to mack on you, but can I get my photo with you?" as to not appear creepy. Much to my delight he did laugh and asked if I just used the word 'mack' and he hasn't heard it in years. I let him know it was making a comeback and to tell his friends. 

I got the photo and I actually accomplished my goal for the evening <insert patting myself on the back>  Kristin made phone of me when I started jumping up and down after he liked the photo on instagram.... its the little joys in life! 

Icing on the cake is the team that won the tournament, Micah and Matt, knew about my #30daysofnew and once they found out my 2 rules (social event + under $20), they decided to give me their tickets they won to the Hot Chicken Festival this Saturday (tickets are $50 a piece) how awesome is that?
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They even took us out after the corn hole tournament to a concert their friend was playing downtown at a venue I hadn't been to before (twofer on the new things!). Yes mom and dad, Kristin and I were safe!

I know this probably seems like such a minuscule thing to blog about, but for me its baby steps in working on initiating interaction with others and truly creating memorable experiences. 

Kristin and I both agreed we'll return next Wednesday as it was one of the best nights of the summer thus far... yes as long as its still in the 80s/90s, I'm calling it summer! Now to find something new to do during the day next Wednesday since the cornhole tournament can't count twice...

I can't be the only one alone in the 'hard time initiating conversation piece'?

Are there any local celebrities you have a crush on / would love your photo with?

Monday, September 8, 2014

#30daysofnew Challenge

A couple weeks ago I visited home for my nephew's 4th birthday party. One of the nights my sister in law made a comment to me on how she envies my life because its so carefree- I get to do whatever I want, try new experiences, and have the opportunity to meet new people. She went on to say that although she loves her life and her family, her day-to-day is very routine and it doesn't allow for much change.  I couldn't help but laugh because I don't think my life is particularly exciting, and coincidentally I was actually beginning to feel like I was in a rut.

Truth is I'm actually pretty shy around new people, so although I live in this amazing city and have a lot of different friends, more often than not I find myself at home  just vegging out solo with very little interaction with others on the weekends. I attempt to go to restaurants or shopping and will myself to talk to strangers, but it just doesn't go over well and therefore I just don't open up as easily as I should.

I always try to be appreciative of what I do have vs. focusing on what I don't, so I starting thinking that I should live my life more how others such as my sister in law view it. I could really start taking advantage of my situation of not having any attachments that prevent me from going out and embracing new experiences, meeting new people, and just living life.

I decided to try a social experiment to get me out of my shell, but to also bring some pep back into my life. 30 days straight of trying something completely new within the Nashville surrounding areas. It will be 5 years in January since I've moved here and there is still so much I want to do.
My hope at the end of this is to walk away more confidence is new social interaction thus making  some new friends I wouldn't have otherwise met, as well come across something that I would do again in my rotation of activities.

The two rules I have is it has to be an experience that is social and calls for interaction with others, and the actual activity I'm trying to keep under $20 since 30 days in a row can get pricey.

Recap of week 1 (9/2-9/7)

Day 1-  New Running Group
COST: Free

There is a running group that meets every Tuesday 2 miles from my current house, and less than 1 mile from my old apartment. Despite the proximity and convenience, I never managed to make it to any of their runs. Since it was a smaller turnout this evening, we all ran together--- that in itself is a new experience to run with 8 people and carry on multiple conversations. Everyone was so welcoming and LOVED the idea of #30daysofnew, a few even offered some suggestions for later in the month. I'll definitely be back (and the free beer afterward doesn't hurt)

Day 2
COST- $15
Ever since I've been in Nashville (and for many years prior to that I'm sure) Music City Roots has been a staple live music and variety show every Wednesday for bluegrass, folk, and Americana music. Often I would listen to it on the radio, but told myself I needed to see it live at some point. Up until a few months ago it was held at the infamous Loveless Cafe which is on the opposite end of town so I hadn't yet made arrangements to leave in enough time to catch the show. Randomly the show moved to the Factory in Franklin--- literally 2 miles from my house. The acoustics were amazing and I now have a new appreciation for banjos! 

Day 3
Johnny Swim and Cage the Elephant Show
Cage the elephant became popular when I was living in Louisville and my roommate and I were going through a 'party phase' after we quit our jobs and blared their self-titled album daily. I'm the type of person who attaches memories and periods of my life to music, thus they played a pivotal role of me coming into my own and my change in direction with my life. I've always wanted to see them perform, however like many other things I wanted to do the past few years, I was away for a race anytime they played nearby. 

Day 4
Checking out new restaurant in the ever popular 12 South neighborhood- Flipside 
COST $20 (Dinner + 1 beer) 
Initially I wanted to check out the full moon pickin party this day (everyone plays banjos, harmonicas, washboards etc under the moon light) however the rain kept me away so backup was to cross off eating at one of our newest venues in greater Nashville area. Everything on the menu features breaded chicken beat really thin with different toppings- I was more drawn to the 50s decor than the food itself, so as far as going back, it might be awhile before I return. 
Photo: Day #4- rain foiled my original outdoor plans, so instead checked out one of Nashvilles Newest restaurants Flipped #30daysofnew #50svibe

Day 5
COST:  Free
One of my girlfriends works for Nissan (who is one of the sponsors of the festival, thus they get a free boat), and they were looking for another girl to meet the minimum requirements,so a few days before the race I joined. Each boat has 20 rowers + 1 drummer--- out of the 21 of us. only 6 knew what we were doing or had any prior experience. Good thing we were all fast learners- our first and 2nd race we got 2nd in our heat. Out of 44 teams,  our combined average time allowed us to break into the top 12 which moves on to the semi -finals. We didn't do so well in our last race, thus we never made it to the actual finals. Such a fun and unique experience, I'll be back again next year FOR SURE! 
Photo: Day #5 of my #30daysofnew challenge - dragonboat racing! got 2nd in our first heat. Excited to race @beyondwingsemily in next run #dragonboat #teamnissan

Day 6- Grape Stomping competition 
COST: $2 to get into festival, $10 to enter in the competition
Fall is real big on different festivals, and since typically I've spent the last few falls out of town , I wanted to take part in what I've been missing. The draw for the Italian Lights festival was purely for the grape stomping competition.... I immediately knew this would be my Sunday's "new experience", and just hoped and prayed I didn't fall on my face and make weird noises like the blooper made widely popular years ago

I didn't fall, however I almost had to take a break. The competition was for 2 full minutes and man is that tiring. I TOTALLY one in terms of how much grapes were liquified after my stomping, however afterward you had to get the juice into pitchers via the side hole in the barrel--- I didn't realize there was a technique to this so my first 30 sec I was barely able to transfer any of the juice. I did end up 2nd though, so I'll take it! 
Photo: Day 6- entering in a grape stomping competition at the Italian Lights Festival #cardioworkout #30daysofnew #2ndplace #ilovelucy #feelssogoodbeyweenthetoes

I started my challenge on a Tuesday, thus my first week was only 6 days. Total spent was $47. I had an absolute blast with each experience, met tons of new people, and even met an actual Italian at the festival who gave me his number haha. Can't wait to see how the rest of this challenge will pan out...