we run dc: day 2: pandas, blogger brunch, and pasta, oh my!

Saturday, April 26-Another day of adventures!

We woke up somewhat early and started our day by heading to the zoo to see the pandas! This was one of the requests I made on the trip (luckily, Kathleen wanted to go to Georgetown Cupcakes also, and we didn’t have time to make it to the Martin Luther King Monument, which is one of the few stuff I haven’t seen in DC since it’s more recent.)

Off to the metro we go to head to the zoo! The metro, what an experience. I can’t believe how deep and STEEP the metros are in DC! And that fares are different depending on the times and days, and distance! Very different from Chicago-it’s one flat rate and you can go anywhere!

Kathleen read that we needed to go EARLY for this gets crowded pretty fast!

I’m just happy I was able to see the Pandas, since they’re my favorite animal! And they are only in 4 zoos in America (Atlanta, Memphis, San Diego, and DC) and now I’ve seen them all but Atlanta.

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Can I just say-I know pandas are awesome, but I had NO IDEA the amount of attention they get! The amount of cameras there that were like paparazzi lens made me think TMZ was there and that someone famous like Oprah was out there instead! I had no idea there was such a huge following! I never saw this at other zoos, but now that I think about, DC is probably the only zoo that has pandas and is free, so people can go there more regularly and practice their freelance photography skills…

Since my friend Paige wasn’t able to meet up with me last night, she decided to join us at the zoo! It was so great to see her! And then she lead us to the bloggers brunch location.

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The blogger’s brunch was held at Sequoia which was right back in Georgetown on Washington Harbour, and was hosted by Stephanie from http://catladyruns.com/ and Roaen fromΒ http://lovelifelogistics.com/

My BFF Lauren was contacted by Roaen to join, and signed us up to go! I’ve never been to this sort of thing, but I was excited regardless that I just started this blog weeks ago to meet other bloggers and hear about past participants about their experiences with this half marathon.

Brunch was awesome, you can’t go wrong with eggs benedict, and oh my goodness, did we get some swag or what!?!

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Everyone got everything in this picture but the glitter headband, the necklace and compression sleeves, I won those from the raffle! I’m so excited to try out this stuff and being a new runner, I have a lot of stuff to learn about still!

There was some confusion when it came time to pay, and therefore we did not have time to go to the Holocaust Museum like we planned to, plus we had so much stuff to carry, so we decided to head back to the hotel to rest a bit before we head back to Georgetown for dinner with another one of Kathleen’s friends.

But, of course, we looked at saw there was not much of a line at Sprinkles Georgetown, so we stop by for a little sugar high πŸ™‚

I got the special off the menu item that day-it was a carmel cupcake with brown sugar frosting! It was good!

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Then after a nap, we head to dinner, or as I like to call it, carbo loading at Clyde’s.

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Kathleen’s friend is Kathryn from http://dancingtorunning.com/, who along with her husband has had a lot of experience with run disney events. Kathleen is doing the Dopey Challenge, and Lauren is joining her just for the marathon part, so they found the information helpful! I’m not interested in that race (for Disney, I really want to do the Princess and Tinkerbell Half Marathon, in the same year so I can get the Coast to Coast medal). I’m not sure when I’ll do it, but since Lauren wants to do the Princess one also, I’m glad that they will both have run disney events under their belt so that when I do it, I can go to them for help also πŸ™‚

Then it was off to bed, we have an early day before the race! But, we then found out that check out time is 11am and they don’t do late check outs 😦 so along with the stress of pre race but packing up everything so we can check our bags before we head to the race.

The pre race packing stressed me out, I’m one of those people I don’t like to bring a lot of stuff with me on race day, I like to avoid checking a bag (ever since I did the Color Run and found out the hard way that not every race does bag check) but with a half marathon, that’s a bit more difficult to avoid, since you’ve been running longer and be in some pain also. I also for other races just mainly bring an ID, my iphone holder and earbuds, nothing else. But, this time around, I have a water bottle to worry about, fuel, cash for finisher’s apparel, and a bajillion other things! And my clear race bag was ripping, I just couldn’t handle it!

After talking to Lauren and Kathleen, I got a better sense of what I needed and I eventually made it to bed, because I have to wake up at 4 am for the race the next day!

And tomorrow, race day and traveling back recap.

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we run dc: day 1: travel/nike Georgetown/packet pickup/expotique and ostomy bag be gone!

I can now officially say that I completed my first half marathon! How exciting is that?!?!

This runcation was awesome and I couldn’t ask for a better one! I’m going to do a recap of the whole weekend by each day.

Friday, April 25

Travel day! And what better way to travel than after pulling an all-nighter and hoping on an airplane!? (Can’t you tell I am a little bit of a procrastinator? lol) I know this is strange, but during my undergrad years, I never pulled an all-nighter, so this was the first for me! Oh nursing school, what have you done to me!?

Since I was doing this half marathon with Lauren and Kathleen from sistertosisterrunning.wordpress.com, I was traveling with Kathleen and then meeting Lauren in DC! Lauren is one of my BFFs and I couldn’t wait not only to see her again but also to have two veterans of half marathons to help me out that weekend!

Me and Kathleen got to O’Hare in no time since we left my place so early, so we grabbed some breakfast and then waited for our plane. That was a little bit of a disaster, I guess they really needed two people to give up their seats and they were willing to give $600 in towards your next flight! I would of done it, but I needed to get to DC that day, and they weren’t getting me to DC until night time, and we had quite a day planned!

Once I got on the plane, I passed out until we landed in DC. We meet up with Lauren and then Kathleen’s friend Brandon picked us up from the airport. And look what the hotel had!

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After checking into our hotel, all of us headed into Georgetown to go to packet pick up, explore the expotique and get some race merchandise at the Nike Georgetown!

We saw Nike Georgetown first, and all of the merchandise was upstairs. I really had to restrain myself from buying everything! I ended up w/a quarter zip, a thank top and socks. I’m still considering maybe buying a pair of shoes and this sweatshirt I saw.

I love the quarter zip, and it has thumbholes! The tank I ended up wearing it for the race and loved it also, the same goes for the socks.

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And here’s the back of the quarter zip

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Next to Nike Georgetown is the WE RUN DC name wall on the side, so we went to look for our name! It’s in alphabetical order from left to right. My name was in a cool location, in the N of RUN, and it’s two colors πŸ™‚

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After that, we headed to packet pick up, and on the Washington Harbour is where we saw the WE RUN sign so we took a pic of that also. Here’s my fail attempt to look like a really cool runner.

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Then right down the hill was the packet pick up and expotique. Packet pick up went well, they scan your barcode that was your confirmation number for the race and then assign you a bib. And then you were sent to another tent to get your shirt.

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I’m not a big fan of the shirt. I feel like it’s kind of plain and I would of liked it better if it was in a different color. Also, you couldn’t exchange your shirt for another size here, if you wanted a different size, you could only do it on Saturday night. I didn’t have time to go to it 😦 Nike kind of fits funny on me, depending on the item, I can be a small or a medium and you had to put this information down when you are entering the lottery and there’s no way to go back and check to see you put down or change it later (at least for shirts and pace corrals, I had to change the date of packet pick up, which was easy to do, I just had to email Nike)

The expotique was interesting, it had it’s ups and downs. One cool thing right away I noticed is they had a screen that would scan your bib and right away your name would come up and say something to encourage you for your the race, and then it disappears too quickly for you to try to take a picture with it, so it’s a lot of people entering in and out of the lines in order to get their name to appear on the screen again.

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There was a Luna station for you to try different flavors and to make signs. There was also a Nuun station, which I thought was cool. I was able to try the flavors that they will have out on the race course and other flavors as well. I’ve never had Nuun before so I found this to be a pretty cool experience.

There was also a Paul Mitchell area for you to get your hair done, but that was a pretty long line so I passed on that and the next appointment was in 2 hours. There was also a mini Feet Fleet area for you to get some last minute race gear, but it was so small, I don’t know what you would of gotten there, mainly Nuun tablets if you found a flavor you really liked from the Nuun stations.

After that, there was a huge wall you could sign your name on it. I don’t know where people sign their name on Saturday, I came on Friday and it was full already!

Other things they had at the expotique was a Nike + Member services area, I didn’t go there, but it seem like an area you could get a gait analysis done. There was also a lot of modeling mannequins showing off Nike’s products and gear for the race.

The expotique was… ok. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either.

After this, we started to explore more of DC. We headed to BTS for some burgers.

And to Georgetown Cupcakes! I love cupcakes and I’ve watched the show too, so I was super excited for this! I got to try the cherry blossom and red velvet, both were good in my book πŸ™‚

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Red velvet on the left, cherry blossom on the right

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After this, we headed back to the hotel to rest a bit and then got pizza at PIOLA before meeting up with more of Kathleen’s friends in the DuPont area. I was excited at this point because I was FINALLY able to take off that ostomy bag!

Overall, my experience with the ostomy bag was just me being annoyed with it. I felt like it got in the way of picking my clothes and I didn’t like having random plastic sticking to me all the time. It did teach me some of the struggles a person having one has to face, I can’t imagine it being easy to get use to, I had trouble and I only had it for a day!

Whew! That was quite a Friday! Tomorrow, I’ll update on what we did on Saturday!