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... 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hip alignments, learning to paw, and my first run back

Ever take a break from running and are too scared to try again for fear that despite taking 3 weeks off, icing every night, and doing all your foam rolling / stretching/ and strengthening exercises that you won't actually feel better? 

Last week was a test run (pun intended) on the treadmill at the PT office to not only see how the knee pain felt, but also for Leah to get a better idea of my hips / pelvis / knee alignment during actual running. Knee pain came on toward the end, but more importantly everything felt 'unnatural' and weak- after a few minutes my body remembered again what it should be doing and it did feel a little better. 

She used this AWESOME app, Coaches Eye, which allows you to break it down frame by frame and highlight areas for improvement. She was able to send me my video as well but unfortunately the edits don't save when you share the video. For $5, well worth the money if you're trying to analyze your form and make changes.

My biggest offender is I have a misalignment in my hips that cause them to drop when running (top photos) My left hip sits higher than my right, but its not that my pelvis or leg is longer, its more that I've always favored it and my body naturally has a lean, over time my back has tightened up and now the lean is just natural- I can't believe I never noticed this before.  I have exercises to help with this, but I have a feeling this is a long road to correction as it will always have to be something I'm conscious to correct. 

The next biggest offender is my stride length- aka when I plant my foot, my stride is too far out from my center of gravity. Most people assume that when you're tall, you're automatically a faster, more efficient runner, when in actuality its the opposite. We can take long strides,  which in turn means a slower turnover unless we remember to bring the legs back in closer to our body before taking the next step--- this definitely does not come naturally and the only time I ever do this is when I'm feeling fresh and am going for a certain time. The more tired during a run I get, the lazier I get with my stride, thus a contributor to my reoccurring knee pain as you're putting more force on your knees the farther away from COG they are. 

I've found that if I continually run on the treadmill I naturally adjust my turnover and stride length to avoid hitting the plastic shield at the front of the treadmill--- last year I did a lot of treadmill running during the winter to avoid darkness after work as well as avoid the ice. The stride did transfer over to  races and I actually ran my 2 best times during that 1 month stint fresh into spring. 

Although I could re-visit switching all my runs to the treadmill again for a bit, thats not realistic so I did learn a drill to help correct this, the art of "pawing".  You basically stand in place like photo below, and quickly go through a fast full rotation at the hip to imitate a running motion. Do this for one full min on each side. 

I haven't mastered doing this in place, so I have to have something nearby to balance on. Leah also mentioned that when she was  in college (she ran for Stanford), they would do several sets of these drills right before speedwork to get your legs used to the fast rotation. Let's be honest I don't do speedwork, but I can keep this in my back pocket if I should choose to do it in the future. 

So Labor day was the big plunge to take all this into action and actually go out for a real run. The plan was to do 3 miles with at least the first mile focusing on the art of 'pawing' and  adjusting my stride. Not only was I pain free, but I was actually able to do this for the full mile! I wasn't sure if it was the adjustment in stride that caused me to go a little faster, the not running for 3+ weeks, or the high humidity at 9am (typically need to do 6am runs in the summer), but I was WIPED after that first mile.  The rest of the run was a walk run combo as to not jinx myself and to find my rhythm of breathing again.

I can't remember the last time I felt proud to finish 3 miles, despite the walking, and was just so thankful that I felt semi- normal. I still have a lot of work to do as I can definitely feel the weakness in my left leg since I've been babying it, but happy to finally at least be able to try to get back on track. 

Heres to a continued recovery so I can be back at it come October for both Bourbon Chase and Ragnar TN!