Wandering with a Purpose

Tag: charlotte

2016 Charlotte Marathon

I wouldn’t consider myself a runner, but I do love how it feels after I run. I used to think running a half marathon would be impossible for me, but today I proved myself wrong – I finished running the 2016 Charlotte Half Marathon!

In 2010, I had my first chance to see a half/full marathon. It was my last day in Las Vegas, and my friend and I were drinking on a patio outside of Paris watching the runners. By the time we were on our way out that evening, the marathon was still finishing. My second time watching one was the NYC marathon in 2013 – talk about good runners. Something I liked about watching these events was anyone (who trained) could do it. It’s not like watching a basketball game; we can’t all play basketball. I am lucky to have a lot of friends who run, and their advice and experience persuaded me to try it out. I had gotten out of shape and was looking for something to motivate me – that’s when I signed up for my first half.

The first chance…

img_0181Savannah was my pick because it was flat. I was nervous to run it, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t have added obstacles to block me from finishing. When training for this race, I made sure to do all of my long runs, but I didn’t always do my short runs. Long story short, I did a long run in NYC one weekend (one of my dreams was a long run in Central Park) where I pushed myself harder than expected AND then continued to walk around. Turns out, I developed a stress fracture in my foot. I wasn’t supposed to run the half, but I decided to walk it because my brother was running. It was a great experience.

…and the next!

But Charlotte 2016 was my chance. Unfortunately, I didn’t stick to my training plan. I ran short runs, but I just couldn’t get motivated for the long runs. As is the motivation for all procrastinators, the deadline started approaching, and I had to get serious!! Two weeks ago, I did a 10-mile long run and then again last week. I did well to mile 8, then it got tough.

half marathon bibThere were no words to describe my nervousness for the actual race. An additional 3 miles is a lot, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I woke up this morning at 5 am to each breakfast and have a little coffee. Before I run, I have a waffle with peanut butter and cinnamon. I usually put a banana on it, but I forgot to buy some. I walked my dogs and hung out before driving Uptown. Charlotte isn’t as big of a race as Savannah is, but it sure is cool being in your home city. Soon enough, the race started. It’s hard at the beginning –

Soon enough, the race started. It’s hard at the beginning – everyone is excited and full of energy. Since I’m not a strong runner, I have to watch myself because I can’t go too fast. It’s literally a marathon, not a sprint! It’s tough to have people pass you, but I just zone into my podcasts and worry about myself. I did a great job running to mile 8, that’s when things got tough. I had to run/walk the remainder of the race. My legs were like Jello!

As I went up Mint St. and could see the Panther’s stadium, I got excited. I had a pick up in my run. Then – there it was! The finish line! “Keep going, keep going,” I told myself. As I did, I started to increase my stride and sprint! Then VICTORY! I was over the finish line. 13.1 miles were conquered, and I could say I ran a half marathon. My goal was to finish in less than 2:45 – I finished in 2:35. A MAJOR accomplishment for me.

half marathon finisher medal

2016 Charlotte Half Marathon Finisher Medal

Takeaways

half marathon victoryI do enjoy these races. Disney is my next event, which will be fun because I am doing it with a group of friends. And it really isn’t impossible. If you want to run a half, you can! If I can do it, I truly believe anyone can; you just have to want to do it. Halfs are nice because you have to commit to training, but you don’t have to modify all of the details in your life.

I have a lot of respect for full marathoners, but I don’t have a desire to run one. If my finish line was the halfway point, I don’t know if I would have made it. A marathon is also different because you have to watch your diet and long runs are more than a half marathon. It’s a great goal, but I don’t think it’s something I’ll do. More halfs, on the other hand, yes, I will definitely do this!

Schatzi Resting

Such a cute face to look at when recovering

Foster Pup – Luigi

“Oh, Luigi.” I’ve been saying this several times a day for the last month. Exactly a month today, actually. I thought he would have found his fur-ever home well before this point. I mean, he’s cute as a button (I call him Buttons sometimes).

img_1862They say Luigi is 2-3 years old, but I really think he is younger. He is all puppy. Everything about him is puppy, and if I had that expectation and more patience, it would be adorable. There is a big difference between a puppy and a mature dog, and through this experience with Luigi, it frustrates me that people don’t know the difference. People, if you plan on adopting a puppy please know they want to play and their energy is boundless! Even the cute ones can be crazy!

When Luigi got to our house, his skin was irritated and he had kennel cough (actually passed it on to Schatzi and Amie). It turns out he had a flea allergy, so we had to doctor him up and get him healthy.

Finding a Home

Luigi needs an active home. He loves to be involved in everything in your life. Whether it is going on walks, riding in the car, sitting with you on the couch, I mean, he even swam in the laimg_2022ke to be with me. He didn’t love it, but he didn’t hate it either. The boat on the other hand…he loved the boat. I’ve never had a dog who wants to be a sidekick. It’s the only word I can think of to describe him. Even when he rides in the car, he perches next to you (see picture!) I mean, he is just so darn sweet!

Since he has so much energy, and his previous family didn’t do any training (besides house training), we are working on commands. He is doing well with them. He lays down and stands up now. He’s catching on quickly.

If you or anyone you know is looking for an adorable, sweet-tempered puppy, Luigi is on PetFinder.

But let’s be real, he’s too adorable to not post a bunch of pictures. How can someone not love him?!

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He loves, loves to play with toys. He can’t get enough of them!

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What a boat dog! He loved the wind blowing in his face

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Even puppies need their sleep! It’s tough boating all day. He was too sweet looking…but I woke him up because you should sleep at night.

 

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Just a funny guy

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Luigi loves the furniture! This is one of is favorite places to sit…he even taught Schatzi how to sit like this. Oh dear…

 

 

Foster Pup – Becky!

Last week I volunteered to be a foster mom for the Charlotte SPCA. I have a weak spot for animals, but dogs just do me in. Whether it’s in a movie, on the news, or in person, if there is a dog in danger, I can’t handle it. Poor innocent things need a nice home and place to stay! I gained a bigger appreciation for rescue organizations, when my dog (Amie) was rescued from a puppy mill in 2011. She went to the Wake County SPCA when I adopted her. As I am establishing roots in Charlotte, I knew it was time for us to get involved in the community and start making a difference!

The Charlotte SPCA is a mostly-run volunteer network. They don’t have a physical shelter; all of the dogs they rescue from Mecklenburg County Animal Control stay with people. We communicate over Facebook in a private group that numbers almost 700 people! That is so fantastic! That many people believe in this cause enough to volunteer their time. I am very excited to be a part of this busy group of volunteers. But now the important part! You want to see the cutie…

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This is Becky. She is a 4-6 year old Lhasa Alpo, and she is as sweet as can be! I don’t know her backstory, but she was definitely someone’s pet before she came to live here. She LOVES to snuggle and be held. She has take on a new job as my shadow. She follows me everywhere. Even when she is sleeping, if I move just a bit, she has to get up and follow me – even if it’s to the other side of the couch. She’s shy, but she isn’t scared of people (men or women) and is okay around other dogs. She was spayed yesterday; not sure if that is why she hasn’t played with my dogs. I think she is just mellow. They like each other just fine. She will be posted on PetFinder at some point, and I’ll make sure to share the link. In the meantime, the rest of this post should be pictures and captions!

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The first day was an exhausting day. By 9 pm, this is the first time I saw her lay down. Of course, she found a safe, narrow spot on the carpet.

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Day 2 – look who is getting comfortable! I hope her new home doesn’t mind that she likes to be one of the group. I was cooking in the kitchen and couldn’t find her…look here she is!

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Everyone had an interesting first night adjusting to another pup in the house. So worth it. She is going to be a great guest, but we cannot wait for her to find a forever home! She is going to make a family very, very happy.

The Stay-cation – MeckDec Day

Since we didn’t get home until late, I slept in on Saturday morning. (a.k.a. productivity would be missing from my day.) Since I was still tired when I got up, the puppies and I snuggled and watched some silly TV shows instead of running. Eventually, I got going and stopped by work for a bit, then it was back to my stay-cation. May 20 marks MeckDec Day here in Charlotte. MeckDec Day celebrates the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, rumored to be signed about 400 days before the American Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. It’s a rumored, but a reason for a celebration, nonetheless. I guess it used to be a big celebration in the past – presidents have come to visit the city for this occasion. The most recent visit was Lady Bird Johnson, so it has been a while.

I noticed information about MeckDec Day when I was researching museums. I love museums when I travel, so it only seemed appropriate that I make a point to visit all of Charlotte’s museums. The Charlotte Museum of History advertised a MeckDec Day celebration on Saturday, so I wanted to take part. Best surprise – they had free admission!

This is not the first time I have lived in Charlotte, and is a city I have spent a lot of time visiting over the last 9 years. Most people would never associate Charlotte with history. Its growth is relatively recent and its sparkly skyline is quite new. That being said, I’m learning Charlotte has a lot of history, but it’s quite different than what you’ll find in Northern Virginia or New IMG_9515England. The Charlotte Museum of History helped put this in perspective, and it really exceeded my expectations!

(I need to confess that I had incredibly low expectations for this museum. I’ve been blessed to visit some of the biggest and best museums in the world. This was Charlotte.)

First off the museum was much larger than I expected. IMG_1339I didn’t expect much more than a general welcome center, but it was a large building with several rooms for exhibits and the ability to host events. The main attraction for the museum is the Hezekiah Alexander house. He was a wealthy blacksmith and magistrate living in Mecklenburg County in the 1770s. I was really impressed by this house. I enjoy touring historic houses. My experience with Revolutionary War-period houses is limited to Boston, greater-DC, and a little from Charleston. This is unique because Mecklenburg County/Charlotte was “the West” and not inhabited. Everything else I visited was an urban area and quite a different lifestyle. If you’re in the arIMG_1347ea, I highly recommend visiting. The restoration work has been done well and a lot of research on the house. There is even a spring house which is very cool (even on humid Carolina summer days), which they used as a refrigerator (though not that cold). This desk was also original to the house. Just to think of all of the great work that happened on this desk and the impact that had to his family and the surrounding citizens.

After my visit and informative tour, I decided to have a late brunch somewhere. I ended up at Crispy Crepe in South End. I had a savory crepe and a creme brûlée latte. The latte had cartelized sugar on top – my favorite partIMG_1356 of creme brûlée.  Quite delicious; just wish I would have given myself more time to enjoy.

Then I realized, this isn’t a stay-cation! This is just what people do when they stay home for a weekend. Something I am not familiar with! Man, I can’t wait to get to know Charlotte better and make it home 🙂

The Stay-cation – Kenny Chesney

The way things fell this weekend, I was going to be in Charlotte, so I decided to have a stay-cation. I recently moved to the city, but I haven’t had a lot of chances to explore. Then as I thought about it, I moved here about 5 months ago, which isn’t that recently, so I really needed to step up the exploring. I needed to approach Charlotte like I would any city where I decided to go for the weekend. This included the Kenny Chesney concert on Friday and exploring the city on Saturday.

A little clip of Kenny…

Kenny Chesney is my FAVORITE singer. There is something about his music that just wraps me in and can’t be out done. Friday was one rainy mess in Charlotte, but that wasn’t going to get us down! If it rains, there is nothing you can do but embrace it! We got there late because we had to work, but still had a chance to do a small tailgate in the parking lot. A guy that we parked to was complaining about the rain. I mean, please. We knew all day it was going to rain, t’s an outdoor concert pavilion, AND attending is completely optional. Just saying, but you can’t complain when you make the decision to go. And if you make the decision, best to change your mood/perspective and just go with it. Life will be much happier. Anyway, the concert was fantastic! He played hits from 15 years ago that I hadn’t heard in concert before. Way to go, Kenny! I’m probably your easiest fan to please, but I think my friend, Dan, had a good time, too. We looked like we went swimming by the end of the night – COMPLETELY worth it!

Looks like we just went swimming, but super happy!

Looks like we just went swimming, but super happy!

 

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