Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

How well do you know the city you grew up in and / or the city you currently live in?  For me, I was born and raised in St. Louis.  It’s a city I love and, frankly, never plan to leave.  In high school, I couldn’t wait to get out, and just as quickly, I came running back directly after college.  Now as an adult and raising my baby here, I’ve grown to love it even more than before.  Growing up and living in St. Louis now, I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about our city.  At the same time, I feel like I’m constantly learning about it, as well!

When I began working with Phillips 66 on the 66 Reasons to Love St. Louis campaign, I discovered there’s actually quite a bit about St. Louis and numerous places within our city I never knew before.  One of them being Cherokee Street.  The other place I got to check out was the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge.  I went with a friend on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  I had no idea what we were going to do once we arrived besides walk across the bridge, so I did what I always do when I want to take a picture of somewhere cool:

old chain of rocks bridge

I jumped for a picture! 😛

And then you know what came next…

chain rocks bridge handstand

Handstand time!

It was actually really fun walking across this bridge, stopping to take pictures, and learning more about the history of St. Louis.  Like this tidbit of information:

Route 66 changed the American landscape. One of the first highways in the USA, it was established in 1926 and connected Chicago and Los Angeles. The highway cut straight through the heart of St. Louis, down Gravois to Chippewa and Watson. Route 66 inspired many songs and a 1960’s television show, some of which was filmed here in St. Louis.

chain rocks bridge phillips66

Where to go:  Follow the Historic Route 66 signs to the Chain of Rocks Road. This section of the route is full of relics of the pre-interstate Route 66 heyday. You can bike or walk all the way across the Mississippi River spanning bridge to the Illinois side and admire the river views.

chain rocks bridge route66

Did you know? Route 66 was realigned multiple times in St. Louis. The original river crossing was over the McKinley Bridge, later the MacArthur Bridge and finally the Chain of Rocks Bridge. 

It was a lot of fun walking across the bridge, more than I imagined.  There was a fair amount of people on it, too.  It wasn’t crowded, but there were people running, biking, and strolling.  It was pretty cool to be able to walk from Missouri to Illinois.

chain rocks bridge missouri66

The opposite side of this sign said Illinois.

For those of you in St. Louis, you should do a little day adventure there.  It’s definitely kid friendly and you can see the river on one side of the bridge and a highway on the other.  There are clearly a lot of neat places to stop for photo opportunities:

chain rocks bridge car

Speaking of cars, Phillips 66 is giving one lucky St. Louisan a chance to win 66 Months of Free Gas + The Ultimate St. Louis Experience!  Details HERE.  It’s really easy to enter and involves posting a picture on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #STL66 and #Contest, then geotagging the official location to enter.

How amazing would it be to win 66 months of free gas?!?!

chain rocks bridge cartwheel

That’s how I would feel about it!

So make sure you’re following Phillips 66 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Go check out the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge (or one of the other 66 awesome places in St. Louis!) and enter the contest!

chain rocks bridge jump

How well do you know your city?

Over the Edge

This past weekend I certainly got my adrenaline fix.  You can just call me Spider-Man as I rappelled down 17 stories!  Yeah, that’s right.  On Saturday, I was standing on the roof at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch, harnessed up, slowly backed my heels off the edge, and began my descent down.  What an experience!  And the best part was that all the money raised will fund programs that allow more than 16,500 Special Olympic athletes to train, compete and enjoy a lifetime of their own thrills.

This was the seventh year that the Over the Edge event took place in St. Louis.  It was my first year participating, and I’d like to stay involved with other fundraising efforts for the Special Olympics, as well.  The whole weekend (wine tasting on Friday evening!) was very organized, and the passion of the people helping with / working for the Special Olympics was evident.  It’s always neat to see community members come together for a good cause, and this was no different.

over the edge

To be honest, the whole rappelling from the top of the building wasn’t quite as scary as I had anticipated!  I felt so secure and strapped in as the police officers did an excellent job explaining every last detail of the harness and how rappelling works.

linking up with katie and erin

ote harness

We were checked, double checked, and rechecked before stepping over the edge.  After we received our initial harness, we went on to the roof where we practiced getting strapped in and learning how everything worked.  This was the first time where we picked our feet up and let the harnesses do their thing.  There were two different emergency catches, and the way they worked was quite simple.  You merely pulled a lever to release the tension of the rope.  If you pulled too quickly, one of the emergency locks would catch, stopping you immediately.  You would reset the device, and be on your way.

Two people went over the edge at a time.  They announced us down below so everyone knew who was coming when, as it was about an hour after the time from when we registered.  Looking down was probably the scariest part.

hyatt regency rappell

I’m on the right.  When you rappell, you have to sit back a little bit, which feels pretty uncomfortable when you’re 17 stories high in the air.  I kept my core so tight throughout the entire rappell because I was scared of falling backwards (which would have been impossible).  They reminded us to go slowly so we were able to stop and really take in the views.  Seeing downtown St. Louis from way up there was quite a sight!

rappell otestl

I really did feel like Spider-Man on my way down.  It made me a little nervous when my feet would come off the edge because I was worried I would spin around or something.  You were supposed to walk your feet down which was fine, but a couple of times my feet did leave the building.  Luckily, they quickly reattached and my heart slowed down.

rappell ote

The average rappell takes between five and 15 minutes.  I was definitely closer to the five minute time mark.  It wasn’t scary, but I also didn’t feel a need or desire to hang out up there; I wanted to keep going.  It was a very cool experience and I would recommend rappelling if you ever have the opportunity.  If you’re in or around St. Louis, be sure to like Over the Edge SOMO on Facebook, so you can get involved next year!

Have you ever gone rappelling?  Is it something you would be interested in?

I’m rappelling down a Hyatt!

So… I’m rappelling down a Hyatt!  Yep, you read that correctly.  This coming Saturday, I will be fully harnessed and jumping (more like stepping) off the side of a building and rappelling down 17 stories to be exact!  Why?  It’s for an AMAZING cause, and one that I hope you will get involved with, too.

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch will host the seventh annual Over the Edge, sponsored by Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO), on October 3, 2015 in downtown St. Louis. Participants who choose to sign up for the event will raise money to rappel from the rooftop of the property, overlooking the famous Gateway Arch, in support of the athletes and programs of the Special Olympics. This extreme, adrenaline-pumping experience will not only challenge participants to their own limits, but the proceeds raised will fund programs that allow more than 16,500 Special Olympic athletes to train, compete and enjoy a lifetime of their own thrills.

OTE logo SOMO

This is near and dear to my heart for several reasons.  First of all, you know how important fitness is in my own life and how passionate I am about helping others learn to love fitness and incorporate it into their lives.  I’m a big believer of “every bit counts” and everyone should move their body every day, if they’re able.  I’m also a big believer of EVERYONE should have the opportunity to participate in sports, no matter what their ability level.

Special Olympics Missouri

Special Olympics Missouri is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.  More than 17,000 athletes participate in 21 Olympic-type sports throughout the state.  Special Olympics provides people with mental disabilities continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their fellow athletes, their family and friends, and communities across Missouri.

Details About Over the Edge

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch is located in the heart of downtown St. Louis, adjacent to the Gateway Arch. Hyatt’s blend of unparalleled location and world-class service has established it as the city’s leading hotel. The property is within walking distance of Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village; Edward Jones Dome at the America’s Center; Washington Avenue and Laclede’s Landing; and just steps away from CityArch2015, a revitalizing new project connecting, invigorating and expanding the Gateway Arch’s grounds and museums. The 910-room hotel boasts picturesque views of the Gateway Arch, contemporary guest rooms with Hyatt’s signature Grand Bed and 37” flat screen TVs, 83,000 square feet of event space; Red Kitchen & Bar, Brewhouse Historical Sports Bar; Ruth’s Chris Steak House; Starbucks and a Hyatt StayFit gym.

The hotel’s restaurants, Red Kitchen and Brewhouse Historical Sports Bar, will have special menu items and discounts for the occasion, including a prize wheel at Brewhouse which guests can spin to get a variety of different offerings. The on site Ruth’s Chris Steak House will host an Over the Edge St. Louis Kickoff Wine Tasting and Silent Auction at October 2 and on the day of the event, there will be food trucks parked outside the hotel with culinary treats and beverages available for onlookers to purchase. People will also have the opportunity to buy $5 raffle tickets, with all proceeds going towards SOMO, for the chance to win a 2015 Black Chevy Silverado. Raffle tickets can also be bought online at http://somo.org/raffle through October 30.

Linking up with Katie to help spread the word about this marvelous event!

My Thoughts About Rappelling:

I am SO SCARED!  I am also beyond excited!  I’ve never done anything like this before.  Sure, I’ve gone rock climbing a few times, but nothing compared to the height of the Hyatt that I’ll be rappelling down on Saturday.  Bottom line?  It’s for an awesome cause and I’m honored to be a part of it and help spread the word.

How can YOU help?

To put it bluntly: DONATE DONATE DONATE.  I know a lot of people donate to many different causes, foundations, and events.  I am asking YOU wonderful readers, friends, and bloggers, to please consider making a donation, no matter how big or small.  Maybe forgo that Starbucks just one day this week and donate what you would have spent.  I would be thrilled if you would help me reach my goal and spread the word about this event.  My personal page where you can donate to can be found HERE.  Every little bit counts!

Have you ever rappelled before?

National Live Life Adventurously Day

There’s a day for everything, am I right?  Well, one that I just found out about that actually sounds awesome is National Live Life Adventurously Day.  Sounds way better than some of those ridiculous days, eh?  It’s a fun one to think about, too.  I’d like to think of myself as pretty adventurous.  Although I will say, last time I went on a roller coaster, which was probably over six years ago, it frightened me more than I ever remembered.  I used to love them.  That’s not to say I’m not up for a challenge.  Something I’ve never done before that interests me is zip lining.

There’s a fairly new (I think just a couple years old, if that!) zip line right here in St. Louis.  It’s called Go Ape, and it’s located in Creve Coeur Park.  They recently contacted me and invited me to try out the course.  To say I’m excited is an understatement!  Go Ape’s first National Live Life Adventurously Day is on Sunday, September 27th.

What is National Live Life Adventurously Day?  It is a celebration of outdoor fun and fitness. For each ticket used on September 27th, a ticket will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. <– AWESOME program!

_NLLA_logo

National Live Life Adventurously Day is a chance to make a positive change in your own life and in someone else’s. 

I’ll be checking out the course the following weekend.  Of course, I’ll be sharing my experience here and on Instagram!

Even if you can’t attend, Go Ape is challenging everyone to step out of their comfort zone and make a video promise to do something adventurous on September 27th. The video can be shared on social media using #livelifeadventurously.

To purchase tickets and for additional information, click HERE.

What’s something adventurous you want to do? Have you ever been zip lining?

Handstand Chalkgram

Why do weekends have to go by SO QUICKLY?!?! This was another awesome one in the books with absolutely amazing weather!  A bit cool in the mornings and then it warms up throughout the day; I love it and want this weather forever!  We spent a lot of time outdoors this weekend, ate good food, hung out with friends and family, did some site seeing, and got in a fantastic run.  And then there was the handstand chalkgram which is probably going to become the next big thing, thanks to my sister SCP.  More on that in a moment.  But first, weekend snapshots:

We went to our friends’ house for a play date dinner date on Friday evening.  No pictures were taken because we were too busy chasing after our toddler boys who are both complete bruisers.  They will be trouble when they get older!  And if we weren’t chasing after them, then we were eating.  No photos, mom fail.  We woke up bright and early Saturday morning (thank you, William!).  William takes after his momma in many ways; one of them is that he loves loves loves eating peanut butter off a spoon straight from the jar!  Lately he’s into the “I can do everything myself” phase, feeding himself peanut butter and all!

peanutbutter

Yeah, that gets real messy real quick.  Peanut butter is not fun to clean up.

After William fueled up on peanut butter, we went to his second soccer practice which went markedly better than his first.  He participated in all the “drills” and had fun the whole time!  Yay!  We visited Yaya and Pops while we were out that way before coming home to take a nap.

In the late afternoon, we headed to Taste of St. Louis for the second year in the row.  Last year, I was babywearing William and he was SO TINY!!! (Check it out HERE.)  This year, he lasted in his stroller for just a short time before he was running all over the place.  We met my friends there and I got a picture with crazy baby William and adorable [calm] baby Emily:

taste of stl 2015

We tried the sweet potato casserole from Ruth’s Chris and a couple donuts from Strange Donuts (maple bacon and gooey butter).  It was a really fun afternoon, and I headed out for the evening for some more delicious food.

Sunday was primarily spent outside which was perfect.  I think I could live outdoors if we had this kind of weather all the time.  On the agenda, we were going to visit another new-to-me location thanks to my partnership with Phillips 66 and their 66 Reasons to Love St. Louis.  Since we had a bit of a drive in front of us, we started out with some Starbucks.

white chocolate mocha

I went with the white chocolate mocha which is terribly unhealthy; however, I very rarely get Starbucks, so I enjoyed it.  Everything in moderation, friends.

Eventually we made it to our destination, and while I’m saving all the other photos for a different post, here’s a sneak peek of the beginning of our adventure:

old chain of rocks bridge

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun posing at different spots on the bridge.  You know I love jumping (and cartwheeling and handstanding and posing in general, haha).

From there, we headed to Forest Park for a run – five and a half miles to be exact!

run forestpark

When my running partner runs far ahead and I can’t keep up, I demand photos. 😉

Linking up with Katie & Erin.

And how I felt yesterday:

run yippee

The weather, the run, the weekend – couldn’t get better!  Well, my running can and will improve, but it’s moving along steadily.  Running is still challenging for me, very much so, but I finally feel like I’m getting my legs back.  My speed still isn’t where I want it to be, but my mileage is increasing and I’m getting there.  Like life, running isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.  It’s a journey.

We headed to my parents’ for dinner last night.  I pulled up and laughed as I saw my parents’ driveway covered in chalk drawings.  Stephanie had Instagrammed some hilarious photos (seriously, you MUST check them out – follow her at @scpstudio), and I had to get in on the fun:

handstand chalkgram

What were you up to this weekend?  Did you spend much time outside?

Cherokee Street in St. Louis

As someone who was born and raised in St. Louis, my love for our city runs deep.  There’s a reason we’re known to be the best fans in baseball.  Besides the Cardinals, there’s about a million other reasons of why I love St. Louis.  I’m sure part of it has to do with the familiarity, but a big part is that our city really has a lot to offer.  There are many unique areas, tons of attractions, constant events, awesome food, a lot of history, and the people give you that Midwest love and feel.

I’m working with Phillips 66 on the 66 Reasons to Love St. Louis campaign.  They’re giving one lucky St. Louisan a chance to win 66 Months of Free Gas + The Ultimate St. Louis Experience!  Details HERE.  It’s really easy to enter and involves posting a picture on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #STL66 and #Contest, then geotagging the official location to enter.  That’s my kind of contest!  (There are a few more details, so be sure to check it out!)

Anyway, one of the 66 Reasons to Love St. Louis is Cherokee Street, just minutes south of downtown St. Louis, and a part of town I’d never been before last weekend.  Right when we drove in, the fun murals and bright colors caught my eye and I was dying to get out, play, and snap some photos.  So that’s exactly what I did.

cherokee street

You know I can’t resist a good background to cartwheel, handstand, or jump in front of!  And I love love love that this has the Arch in it; it was definitely my favorite mural we saw!

Besides the views, what else does a cool part of town need?  Good shopping and good food.  You better believe both of those happened when I visited Cherokee Street.

First, we went into STL Style.  Their tagline is: You can’t spell style without STL.

style house

This is like the ultimate St. Louisan’s dream store as they had tons and tons of unique t-shirt designs specific to St. Louis.  Their story is a cool one, too.  There’s a blurb on their website about why they started Style House which is an awesome description of our town: This city is an original, and every corner tells a story.  From Downtown to Dogtown, Patch to Penrose, Saint Louis is both a work in progress and a work of art.  We are particularly enchanted by four-family flats, dudes in leisure suits, cobblestone alleys, graffiti walls, MetroLink trains, toasted ravioli, that muddy river, and over 250 years worth of soul packed into this city’s streets. (read more)

William definitely needed a St. Louis shirt, so we picked one that was all too appropriate for a baby:

highway farty

Highway Farty – This is a lot funnier if you’re from St. Louis and understand it 🙂

After some shopping, our bellies were rumbling, so we went to check out the grub.  There are tons of authentic Mexican restaurants on Cherokee Street; we settled on El Torito for lunch.  Per the recommendation of our server, we ordered the mother ship of the restaurant, the Parrillada Al Molcajete.  It was massive and had shrimp, chicken, carne asada, ground beef, Mexican cheese, hot peppers, onions, and this interesting green vegetable that I don’t know the name of (anyone know?).  Seriously, look at the size of this thing:

eltorito

Oh, and the margarita wasn’t bad either! 😉  The Parrillada Al Molcajetecame came with a side of rice, beans, the fixings, and a bunch of tortillas.  We left satisfied, for sure.

Fun fact about Cherokee Street: The Cinderella Building on Cherokee Street was built in 1913 where it first played host to a skating rink, then later a movie theatre. It became the corporate offices of Wehrenberg Theatre in 1932, which lasted until 1950 when the company closed the theatre and moved.

Besides Cherokee Street, there are tons of popular local spots on the 66 Reasons to Love St. Louis list. My personal favorite would have to be Busch Stadium aka “Baseball Heaven.”  Then there’s the infamous Gateway Arch which was significant to Westward Expansion. The Grove is an area of St. Louis that hosts PrideFest, which is one of the Midwest’s largest Pride celebrations.  Route 66 goes to the Chain of Rocks Road which is a bike path I’m going to test out this weekend.  Scottrade Center is home of the Blues if you’re into hockey.

Something else awesome about the 66 Reasons to Love St. Louis campaign is the upcoming events.  I’m most looking forward to the Ballpark Village Party on September 26th from 3-6pm where you can hang out at the Busch 2 Field and win lots of prizes and listen to Jon Hardy and the Public too!  You can check them all out HERE. (Taste of St. Louis is this weekend, too! I’m going tomorrow!)

And the cutest model ever on Cherokee Street:

cherokee street

What’s a cool part of your hometown?

Tour de Kirkwood Sprint Triathlon 2015

I’ve done lots of races.  Tons of 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, mud runs, and even one sprint triathlon in the past.  None were as difficult as the Tour de Kirkwood Sprint Triathlon 2015 that I completed yesterday!  The first time I did this same sprint triathlon was before William was here, so I had all the time in the world to train, and I did.  I worked out six or seven times a week.  Now?  Not so much.  I trained when I could, but in reality, I only got in a few swims, two long bike rides, and several runs.  When people asked how I planned on doing the triathlon without training, I kept saying how short the distances were and I’d be fine.  (400 yard swim, 10 mile bike ride, and 3 mile run)  After all, I ran an entire half marathon without running more than six miles prior.  I’d be fine.

When I woke up at five o’clock in the morning, it was thunderstorming.  Grrrreat.  I did my usual routine to get ready and left my parents’ house (they were watching William) by 6:15.  We were sent an email saying the event was still on, but they would make a decision about the bike at 7:00.  The thunder and lightning stopped, but the rain continued.  The race was postponed til 8:00 (rather than 7:30), but other than that, it was on.

triathlon

The “before” picture.  When I was still smiling.  And standing.

It was a pool swim, serpentine style.  We lined up according to the time we thought we’d get.  I guessed between 10-11 minutes, so I was pretty far back.  I didn’t get in the pool until 8:40.  Waiting at a race for two hours is not the most fun.  I don’t get nervous for races until right before.  Two hours is a long time to have jitters.  I just wanted to begin.

Linking up with Katie and Erin!

I felt good during the swim.  I passed a few swimmers, didn’t stop to take a break, but was definitely tired at the end.  I definitely felt it once I got on my bike.  Biking is probably my weakest sport of the three, and there were looooooong uphills.  Plus, we had to do two loops, so as if the first wasn’t hard enough, we had to do the whole thing again.  Oy.  My quads were on FIRE.

Then came the run.  I felt most confident for the run.  That is… until I started running.  My legs were jello and the beginning of the course was on mulch and through a trail and pretty hilly.  I struggled big time.  I literally couldn’t believe how much trouble I was having.  I mean it was THREE miles.  I could do three miles in my sleep, regardless of how little training I’d done.  Not yesterday.  I was spent.  The run was an out and back and we had to do two laps of the run, as well.  Killer.

How’d I finish?  Two minutes and thirty seconds faster than my last one!  That’s all I wanted – beat my previous time!  I did this race with a friend and was definitely pushed.  Otherwise, no way would I have beat my time.  Here are my results:

  • Swim Time: 10:46
  • Swim Pace: 2:42
  • Tran 1: 2:37
  • Bike Time: 53:17
  • Bike Rate: 11.26
  • Tran 2: 1:40
  • Run Time: 28:43
  • Run Pace: 9:35
  • Finish Time: 1:37:00

See my 2011 results HERE.

Bike was still my slowest and the run, somehow, was my fastest.  Other than that, my numbers were pretty similar to 2011.  Usually I take a million pictures, but I wanted nothing to do with the camera when I finished.  I was exhausted.  This was the most difficult race I’ve ever done.  I do want to do it again… and train a lot better.

For St. Louis friends or people near St. Louis, I highly recommend the Tour de Kirkwood Sprint Triathlon.  It’s a GREAT first race!  This is Big Shark’s 12th year hosting it, and they’ve got it down.  The atmosphere is very supportive, positive, and encouraging.  The race director was giving lots of tips before the race started, sharing proper race etiquette, and explaining parts of the course.  He said this is a great first triathlon to do because you really have to earn it; it’s not an easy race.  He was SO right!

While I kind of thought I was going to die during the race, I’m glad I did it, I’m happy I finished, and I’m definitely proud I cut down my time… even just a little!

Did you race this weekend? Have you ever done a triathlon?  Any desire to?

All American 5K | American Flag Tank

I love love love that I’m back into running again, particularly racing.  It’s so much fun, and I adore the atmosphere of race day bursting with excitement from all sorts of runners.  That’s yet another reason I love running and racing – the community.  It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, how big or thin you are, how fast or not you are.  If you run, if you signed up for the race, if you’re there at the starting line, you’re a runner!  Sometimes races can intimidate people, but don’t let it!  Every race I’ve been to has been full of supportive people cheering each other on with one similar goal – to cross the finish line.

Sure, some people are faster than others and race to compete, but that’s the nature of the sport.  You can be as ambitious as you want.  You can try to achieve a PR (personal record), you can try to place, or you can aim to finish. No matter what, we’re all running the same race!  That’s my take on it anyway.

My sister Stephanie and I ran the All American 5K in St. Louis this past weekend.  I ran as a Chipotle runner, and like I always do, I set out my outfit the night before.

A few weeks ago, someone from Tipsy Elves reached out asking to provide me with some of their new patriotic gear for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. You’ve probably heard of Tipsy Elves before.  Their brand and products were first featured on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank in 2013 and have received favorable press with the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, New York Times, and others. Tipsy Elves started as a Christmas sweater company, but has since evolved and expanded into a one stop shop for all fun and unique holiday apparel.

As I was browsing through their selection, I couldn’t help but chuckle.  I mean, they have everything from American flag tank tops to long sleeve shirts to fanny packs to dresses to jackets to FULL JUMPSUITS!  It’s funny, too, because Stephanie is kind of obsessed with all things with the American flag.  So much so that we often tease her about it and send her pictures of the most ridiculous American flag stuff we can find.  Anyway, I chose this American flag tank top.

It arrived just in time for the All American 5K. They kindly sent one for Stephanie, as well, which was a nice surprise for her.  She was ecstatic because the tanks really are so cute and crazy soft! They were perfect for the race!

fourth of july tanks

We were literally standing beneath the tiniest ledge on the side of a building before the race started as it was pouring down rain!  As we drove to the race, the skies were dark and threatening.  By the time we were on the shuttle, it was raining.  We stepped off the bus into pouring rain.  We tried to camp out under the ledge before the race began, but it was pointless as our shoes quickly became soaked with the standing groundwater.

The race was showcased as “The Fastest 5K in St. Louis!” as the majority of it is flat or downhill.  However, we didn’t want to bust our butts in the rain, so we stayed at a comfortable pace.  It literally rained THE ENTIRE RACE!  It let up a couple of times, and I would make some remark about how it stopped, and then instantly it would begin again.  It was unbelievable how hard and how long it poured.  Everyone, everything was absolutely drenched.  St. Louis is totally over this rain.  But… we finished and proudly sported our medals!

post race sisters steph

27:58 to be exact!  It is faster than our last 5K and not too shabby considering the torrential downpour!  Post-race goodies included ice cream which you know I was a fan of.  I can’t wait to see which Chipotle race is next in the Go! St. Louis series!

We raced (ha!) home and speedily showered and got dressed before heading to our parents’ house for a delicious Father’s Day brunch.  I was starving by the time we got there and ate a ton.  If you know my parents, you know what amazing food (and how much!) we always have, and this brunch certainly didn’t disappoint.  But more importantly, we celebrated my amazing father – the smartest, kindest, most selfless and talented dad we’ve ever known!

dad fathers day 2015

We love him so much and William has the BEST “Pops” in the world!

momma william june2015

How adorable is his outfit?! My mom got it for him! LOVE it!

No family brunch would be complete without some cousin love and William-squeezing:

cousins 615

(This was the best we got after many arguments of who got to hold William; they finally compromised on putting him in the middle, but they both got to “help” hold him. Must be touching baby at.all.times!)

Running in the rain – yay or nay? I don’t love it, but we survived!

Time to Tri Again

Back in 2011, I completed my first and only triathlon.  It was a sprint triathlon meaning the distances were short (and manageable, in my opinion!).  Now, four years later as I have restarted my running journey and upped my game with working out, I’m happy to announce that I’ll be racing this same sprint triathlon again this summer!  For all my St. Louis friends, it’s the 2015 Tour de Kirkwood Triathlon on Sunday, July 26th, and it’s a GREAT race! It’s perfect for first timers and seasoned athletes alike.

Why is this race so great for anybody who wants to tri? The distances and the swim.

The distances are as follows:

  • Swim: 400 yards
  • Bike: 10 miles
  • Run: 3 miles

The swim is in a pool (serpentine style) which is a big deal as most triathlons are in open water which kind of terrifies me. Eventually I would like to get there, but as a triathlon newbie, the pool swim is very appealing!

Big Shark is a local bicycle company and is hosting the triathlon and sponsoring me.  They have four locations in St. Louis and are a wealth of knowledge about all of your biking and triathlon needs. They hold classes and clinics and even have bikes, race wheels, travel cases, and wetsuits available to rent! Big Shark has bicycling and triathlon teams and truly are the go-to spot in St. Louis.

When I trained for this triathlon four years ago, I focused on swimming. I knew I could run and bike the distances, but swimming is one sport where I had never learned proper technique. I took swimming lessons to learn correct stroke and practiced several times a week.  I was the least confident in swimming, but surprised myself with how I did. I dug up some photos from four years ago.

Getting all set up, not really knowing what I was in for!

tri start

Not going to lie, I felt pretty cool getting numbers written on me.  It’s probably comparable to runners getting their first bib. Race official!

I wore a Reebok swim suit; the top was like a sports bra, so all I had to do was throw a tank top on. I’ll need to figure something else out for this year though since I’m post-baby and still nursing… Any race tops, tri suits, or swim suits you recommend?

Waiting in line for the swim:

tri swim

Attractive outfit, eh? 😉 I bought a pair of triathlon shorts which have light padding in the butt for biking, but less bulky than straight biker shorts. They’re really hot.

Since the swim is serpentine style, you line up by what time you think you will finish.  When I first started swimming lessons, I could literally barely make it one length of the pool without stopping. Swimming is HARD! I am proud to say that by the end, I could swim the entire 400 yards without stopping! Serpentine swimming means you swim up one side of the pool, then down the other, and continue moving lanes of the pool until you get to the other end. If you need to pass somebody, you simply touch their ankle and quickly pass.  I passed quite a few people which made me happy since I had underestimated how fast (for me) I would be!

Preparing for the bike portion:

tri bike

Since this was my first triathlon, I took my sweet time in transitions. Transitions are typically a time where you want to move as fast as possible to minimize time, but my goal for the event was merely to finish!  From the swim, I threw on a tank top, socks, shoes, gloves, helmet, and glasses.

Off I go for the final leg of the course, the run:

tri run

Switched shoes and swapped my by helmet for a visor. Finished and I remembered thinking that I would definitely have to do it again.  Four years later, and it’s finally happening!  My goal for this triathlon is to simply meet my times from the first one.

My 2011 Sprint Triathlon Results:

  • Swim Time: 11:16
  • Swim Pace: 2:49
  • Tran 1: (this was left blank – I don’t know why)
  • Bike Time: 53:49
  • Bike Rate: 13.4
  • Tran 2: 2:33
  • Run Time: 31:52
  • Run Pace: 10:38
  • Finish Time: 1:39:30

And I was still smiling at the end…

tri end

Have you ever done a triathlon? If yes, what tips can you give me for improvement? If not, do you have any desire to?

#WeHeartSTL

Well that was a fun weekend!  Now that I’m on summer break, I feel like every day is the weekend, and I’m definitely ok with that.  Regardless, it still was the weekend, so let’s recap because it sure was a fun one.  It started with me getting my makeup done by Emily Miller Makeup & Hair.  She needed a “model,” and since it’s summer and I have a flexible schedule, I was able to go.  Not to mention that I absolutely LOVE getting my makeup done; plus, I had an event to attend at night, so the timing was perfect!

I love love love wearing fake eyelashes!  They make me feel so glam. I wish I could do my makeup, especially my eyes, half as good as Emily did!

Emily rocks!  She does airbrush makeup, so even though I had it put on at nine o’clock in the morning, it was still pretty much perfect twelve hours later!  If you’re in St. Louis and in need of a makeup artist, I highly recommend Emily! She’s the best!

Friday evening I went to the #WeHeartSTL party put on by Alive Magazine with my friends Caitlin and Stephanie.

There was a photo booth with props that we had to take advantage of:

weheartstl

There were a few food vendors.

weheartstl food

  • Pepperoni or Cheese Pizza from Pi Pizzeria: they use cornmeal to make their deep dish crust. I’m not usually a deep dish kind of girl, but Pi never disappoints.
  • Salmon Chips by Three Sixty: these had quite a kick to them! Three Sixty is a cool rooftop bar in downtown St. Louis.
  • Roasted Beet Hummus, Edamame with Summer Squash Chip by Hiro: these bites were AMAZING and my favorite of the food!
  • Toffee Butter Brickle by Clementine’s: they had four flavors there, but this sounded the best to me. Clementine’s is St. Louis’ first microcreamery. They use local ingredients and have “naughty or nice” flavors.

It was a fun girls night out!

Saturday was pretty low key.  William did some work on his tool bench.

He makes his Pops so proud!  Pops will have to teach him how to really use the tools because this momma only knows the basics. Pops can fix anything (and he does).

William and I went to dinner with Poppy on Saturday evening.

I don’t take William out to eat often, so I was a little nervous, but he did great.  Poppy helped keep him occupied and entertained.  When William would let out a loud shriek, Poppy would follow suit resulting in endless giggles from William. He thinks his great-grandpa Poppy is sooooo funny!

Linking up with Katie and Erin!

The following night we went to my other grandparents’ for dinner.  William sat with Uncle Jason as they both intently watched Papa give Jackson a pool lesson.

William is mesmerized with anything having to do with balls: watching them, but especially throwing and catching them.  Following the pool lesson, Mama set William on the pool table, just as she has done with every other one of her great grandchildren.

She tried teaching William how to roll a ball on the table, but he thought it was way funnier to throw the balls off the table. He was belly laughing each time a ball thumped on the ground.  Our other cousins came over, too, so William was worn out by the end of the night!

We ended the weekend with bath time for baby William. As usual, I made the photo black and white because black and white bath pictures are just the best.

What’d you do this weekend?