Tuesday, September 1, 2015

32 hours of travel later - I am in Bangkok

Hey everyone! I wanted to pop in quick as my availability to post and share is probably going to be pretty tight for the coming week. And well, it really was for the last week as well as I’ve had a bit of a crazy travel schedule.

As you know, last Tuesday I flew to Orlando and after spending a day on vacation enjoying a park, I then spent the week at a conference for work with days at a booth in a hotel conference center followed by evening dinners and events. It was a week of squeezing in runs where I could and for me, that meant doing them on the treadmill. On Wednesday, as I mentioned, I ran 8 miles on the treadmill and then on Thursday morning started the day with 5 miles on the treadmill. I tried listening to new podcasts during both runs, trying out a NPR podcast about a tyrannical janitor in the town where I used to live (I had no idea about this story!) and one about a “mystery” of how Britney Spears ended up with a specific book. That second one was terrible.

After the work week, I flew on Friday from Orlando to Boston, MA to meet up with my friends for the bachelorette party of one of the girls in my childhood crew, Meaggie. It was a wonderful weekend that I will write about at another point to capture the details and memories.

Unfortunately I had to leave the weekend a bit early – in the middle of the night between Saturday and Sunday, to be precise, to drive back to Boston from Newport, Rhode Island to begin a +24 hour journey from Boston to Atlanta to Tokyo to Bangkok for another week of work conferences.  It was a long, long trip that started at 3:00 a.m. where I got up to get ready, then left the hotel at 3:30 a.m. to drive to Boston, arriving at around 5:00 a.m. for a 7:00 a.m. flight to Atlanta.

I did not get to go home, but just connected long enough to get a 13-hour flight from Atlanta to Tokyo, then a 6-hour flight from Tokyo to Bangkok and then a 45 minute taxi ride to my hotel.  A journey that began at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning ended at around midnight on Monday night.  Even with the 11 hour time difference, that is a trek of more than 32 hours.

After going to bed, I woke up early to do a little e-mail and then be at a 7:30 a.m. breakfast meeting before hanging out at the work conference all day.

It certainly is a lot and my training schedule is going to be all over the place this week with my runs, as I am just hoping to get them in whereever I can.  However, I am not complaining whatsoever and am thrilled to have the opportunity to be in Thailand and explore the city of Bangkok a little bit.  We are staying north of the actual city and have very busy days, but have already had an adventure or two that I will share with you in an actual post about the trip.

Hope you are enjoying the week and I will check in more when I can!  Happy September!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The good and bad of work travel

Hey gang!

I'm writing to you from Orlando, Florida where I have been since Tuesday morning.  Part of what I did over my birthday after I unpacked my bag from the wedding weekend was to repack my bag for the next trip. I flew early Tuesday morning to Orlando for a work trip, but actually planned to be in earlier than needed and took another vacation day on Tuesday!  When I found out I needed to be in Orlando this week for work, I first, tried to get out of it, wanting an easy week for my birthday, but then just decided to embrace it.

What made embracing a trip to Orlando easier was learning that my cousin Heather, who you know as one of the stars of the annual family music video, was randomly going to be in Orlando this week on vacation! I saw a post on social media about it and we chatted a bit and I learned that she was going to be here visiting the parks with some friends -- and also celebrating her birthday, which is the day before mine on August 23rd!

When we were little kids we used to always celebrate together with our families with a big end of summer pool party at my grandparents. It was always so fun and I loved those summer pool parties, but as the years have gone by and we've all gotten jobs and lives and moved away, they've become an impossible tradition to continue.

However, Heather was always my first birthday buddy and having the opportunity to meet up with her in Orlando was too much to pass up -- especially when I learned she was going to be going to Epcot on the exact day I was thinking of meeting up, which is a park I have always wanted to go to.

I flew in early, dropped my bag at the hotel, and head out to Epcot to meet up with my cousin.  We tried out the different "rides" and experiences throughout Futureworld in Epcot.  One of my favorite rides, which was a lot cooler than I thought it would be involved "designing" your own car and taking it on a test ride.  We made a very unique looking vehicle.

Another cool ride was getting to experience "the future" where we also had our futures explained to us and we got to view a cool video of ourselves in the future.  Things are gonna be awesome, guys.

We then walked through the different country pavilions exploring food, history and artifacts from around the world.  It was pretty cool to go from place to place and it was also pretty interesting as I am lucky enough to have traveled to most of the places that were in the exhibits.  It is crazy for me to say that but literally I have been to Canada, UK, Italy, France, Mexico, Germany, China, Japan, and of course the U.S.!

The countries I have not been to are Morocco and Norway -- and Morocco is on my list of places I want to go and Norway sort of reminds me of Iceland and I have been there.  I feel really lucky for the amount of travel I have had and I enjoyed reliving some of those experiences at Epcot.

It was BEYOND hot on Tuesday and I felt like I was melting for large majorities of the day.  There was nothing to do but embrace the sweatiness and it was one of the grosser hot days I have had in my life.  At one point we were sitting on the ground to watch a show and I felt like the heat of the ground was literally melting my pants and my butt.

After spending an awesome day with my cousin, I left the park and returned to my hotel to eat dinner, do some work, and get to bed on the early side since I needed to be up really early.  My work conference started at 7:30 a.m. and I had 8 miles scheduled to run in the morning!!

I knew it would be dark, had no idea of the location/area around my hotel in Orlando, it was hot as heck out, and also I had no desire to be able to say I "ran in Orlando" since I already did that earlier this summer.  So, I did those 8 miles on the treadmill.  Which is not ideal. Especially since I began my run before 5:30 a.m. so that I could finish and shower and be at my meeting by 7:30 a.m.

It was long and a little challenging mentally but I did it and I used listening to a podcast as a method to help get me through.  Listening to podcasts while I run is new to me but I actually like it a lot!  Let me know if you have any recommendations.  I'm still wishing that Serial was around because I loooved that!  But beyond that, to be honest, it wasn't really all that bad doing the miles on the treadmill.  I was trying to imagine myself doing a long run on the treadmill and sort of thought to myself, "Yeah I could maybe do that."

It is a good thing it wasn't too tedious to me because it won't be the last treadmill mile I run between now and the marathon!  I hate running on the treadmill because I feel like it isn't preparing me well enough or giving me a good marathon but it is better than nothing!

Afterwards it was work all day, lots of unhealthy food, and drinks in the evening.  A long and busy work day that had me taking the opportunity to sit whereever I could. I have been feeling a cramp in my right calf since Tuesday and I am wondering if it is from walking around on swollen feet but trying to take care of that and kept my legs raised for a portion of the day as well.  I'm glad I remembered to bring compression socks with me on the trip and am trying those out as well to hopefully help.

Hope you are having a great Hump Day and talk to you soon!!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me

Well, today marks my last birthday celebrating in my twenties and one year until this blog needs a new title!  It's funny to me that when I started this blog and chose this title, the end of my twenties seemed forever away.  I had no idea what this blog would become when I started it, so it wasn't really something that was on my mind.  I'd had two or three blogs previously at the time, none of which really stood the test of time.

However, this guy has been something I've been coming back to again and again.  This past year more regularly than ever.  It's evolved and grown as I have, from writing about friends and recipes to moving and running and races.  Even my running posts have evolved from "I don't know if I can run the 9 miles I am attempting tomorrow that I've never done before" and "I just ran 10 miles and am spending the rest of the day laying on the floor" to now "I just ran 16 miles and now am jumping up and down singing and dancing to "Jump Around!" at a 11:00 p.m. at night."

My mindset and attitude and personal and physical strength have evolved over time and with this blog so there will definitely be some changes to come in the future.

However, today for my birthday and for my last 20-something birthday celebration I want to say a quick thank you to all my family and friends and loved ones who have helped and supported me throughout age 28.  It's been an exciting and adventure filled year in the life of Katelyn with so many monumental things happening.

I mentioned the other day that I realized I have never really written about a birthday celebration on here.  So, today I will share a little bit of what I have been doing to celebrate as well. My celebrations have evolved over the years as well as my age and mentality.  From big parties to smaller gatherings from hungover mornings to sprint triathlons and from weekends at home to travel and weddings.

This year I celebrated last Saturday going out with some friends to a few different bars singing and dancing the night away.  I celebrated with my coworkers singing to me and with cookie cake at the end of  meeting. I celebrated with little presents in the mail from family. And withcelebrations and cards from the sweetest group of friends who did not want to let my birthday go unnoticed even during a wedding celebration weekend.  And today I celebrated with lots of messages, phone calls, social media posts, and sweet words from friends. I personally celebrated by taking a "me" day that included swimming, a run, lots of errands, the spa, and getting things done around the house.  With pizza and ice cream and wine too.  AND, with setting goals for the future.

Today I officially signed up for the next new race distance to challenge with my first 1/2 Ironman or 70.3 race!  I am now officially registered for the Chattanooga 70.3 race on May 22, 2016!!! So excited to already have something to keep me motivated for next year and to keep up my cross training and running through the winter.  Here's to the next new adventures in my 29th year!!!!  Happy birthday to me.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Syracuse Wedding Weekend

For those of you who are long time readers, you know that I went to Syracuse University for my undergraduate degree.  My love for Syracuse has no bounds.  I chose to go to school that was 5 hours away from home (by car) which may not be far for many people, but for me and my family was quite a distance.  It meant it was not always easy to go home for even a weekend (especially not having a car on campus for 3 years) and it meant that I was fully on my own for the first time in my life in a brand new place with nobody that I knew.

Beyond just cheering (or crying over) the basketball team at Syracuse, my love for the school is so strong because it is where I grew up, received an education that set me up at a job I love, and where I made lifelong friends who were a family, support system, and source of non-stop entertainment, love and laughter.  

My senior year I lived in an apartment with 4 other girls. Across the hall from us lived our 4 guy friends. The 8 of them had been living together since their freshman year and although I had been friends with everyone since that time as well, was a new addition to the living arrangement (except for one of the girls whom I had lived with for a semester in our sorority house.) 

From day 1 of this living arrangement, it was an absolute blast and amazing experience. I could write post after post about hysterical stories of encounters with neighbors, random dates, cooking disasters and victories, late nights studying and watching TV, snuggling in any of our beds, and just complete shenanigans and fun all around.  It was a crazy, wonderful, loving and fun experience.

This past weekend the entire group got back together again to celebrate the first wedding from our crew.  My former roommate Kristina, on Saturday was a glowing, beautiful, smiling and radiant bride, marrying her long time friend and now husband, Brian. Our crew traveled in from South Carolina, California, Atlanta, Puerto Rico and all over New York to celebrate the day and it was an absolute blast.

On Friday after work I flew to White Plains, New York and was picked up from the airport by my friend Kimmy, who I would be sharing a room with for the weekend.  She slyly told me that she'd seen a few of the others but everyone was sort of just laying low for the night and we'd meet everyone for brunch in the morning. Sounded okay to me, and we head back to the hotel, and to my pleasure when we walked into the room, I was greeted with a surprise birthday party, balloons, cookie cake and the most amazing t-shirt ever made.  This surprise seriously made my night after a somewhat stressful day!

We had a great time goofing off and catching up, before doing the responsible thing and calling it an early night (who have we become?!)  I knew I had to get up early to get a run in because even when you are traveling and celebrating, training does not stop!!

With the help of some of my friends I had done some research and found a few places to run nearby and ended up finding a local group run that started at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. That timing worked out well for me so I decided to give it a try.  I was up early, wanting to try and get there on time and ate my pre-run breakfast in the bathroom with my fingers because I couldn't find a spoon and that's how I roll.

I didn't end up meeting up with the entire group, but one of the local run club members met up with me and showed me a great path and run around Rockland Lake and down by the Hudson River.  He ran 14 of the 16 miles with me and helped me keep my pace up even when I was running on tired legs and through some tough hills.  My pace was not the same as it was the week before, which is fine - that run was likely a fluke.  But it was also coming off a step back week, flatter, and I was more prepared for it I think.  We did stop a few times on the run on Saturday as well, which I don't really like to do because it is not how I plan to run the actual marathon, so I don't really like doing that.  However, I felt good finishing my 16 mile run on Saturday and it was a beautiful place to log some miles!

Afterwards I showered and changed back at the hotel and gave Kimmy tons of gratitude for snagging me a pre-brunch snack from the hotel breakfast before then going out to brunch with friends around noon. My coffee, eggs and bacon were amazing and I continued to hydrate and recover from the run in the morning by doing a bit of lounging back at the hotel.

The wedding ceremony started at 6:00 p.m. so our actual festivities started around 4:00 p.m. with some drinks and getting ready before catching the 5:00 p.m. shuttle over to the wedding venue.

The ceremony was simple and beautiful, they were married by a close friend of theirs outside under a gorgeous sky and backdrop.  Every detail of the ceremony was gorgeous, from the lemonade and iced tea stand to the custom sunglasses they had for guests to the music playing.

Everyone in attendance I think fell in love all with Kristina and Brian's ADORABLE 8-month old baby girl Sadie, who was "flower girl" for the ceremony.  She was pulled down the aisle in a custom red wagon, pulled by Kristina's sister and maid of honor, Kimberly.  Sadie's gown was hand made by Kristina (she was a fashion design major at Syracuse) out of her mother and grandmother's wedding dresses.

Kristina looked absolutely stunning and was one of the happiest, most smiley brides I have ever seen -- which really is no surprise since she is always laughing and smiling as a person.

It was a gorgeous ceremony and an amazing party afterwards with tons of food and custom drinks and an insanely gorgeous cake made again, by the Maid of Honor, Kristina's sister, who is an incredible cake decorator/baker/pastry chef.  They have a talented family, what can I say?

Despite my tired legs from the morning's run, I danced my face off at that wedding, jumping up and down, getting low, spinning and twirling, and all around having an amazing time with some incredibly beautiful people that I hadn't seen in far too long!  All the feeling and memories of the year we lived together came flooding back and it was easy and comfortable and totally wonderful. It was even better as I had the opportunity to meet or spend more time with many of the significant others of my friends who I haven't been able to spend time with before.  It has been nearly 5 years since we were all together!

Of course, after the party was the after party. And the bride and groom were closing down the bar, which was amazing to see.

This morning Kimmy and I slept in before she took me to the airport where I've been forever due to some delayed flights.  However, it was great to be able to get the memories down and accounted for and relive through my photos the wonderful 48 hours that just transpired.

Congratulations to Kristina and Brian and their beautiful little daughter Sadie Maeve on the beginning of their marriage together!!! Thanks for including us hooligans in your day and throwing the best party of the summer.  XOXO.