Sunday, April 7, 2013

March Adventures

The end of March was busy with a lot of traveling around, so be prepared for a lot of pictures in this post.  I have not posted since my 10k race on March 9.  The following weekend, Daniel and I traveled north to Oklahoma City for a good friend's wedding.

The bride and me

Allison (bride) lived in my neighborhood growing up, so we have basically been BFFs since birth.  We spent many afternoons playing Barbies and Mall Madness at eachother's houses while growing up.  I'm so happy for her and her new husband, Chris.  The wedding was beutiful.  The ceremony took place in the church where her grandparets and parents had both been married, and the reception was in the lovely Sheraton hotel downtown OKC.  The food was great, the cake was yummy, and the dancing was fun.  It was the first wedding I'd been to with a date and it was so nice to dance with Daniel and enjoy the night together.

Since Oklahoma is not my top travel desitination and I wasn't sure when I would go visit again, we stopped  by a few tourist destinations on the way home.  First we stopped at the Oklahoma National Memoiral for the Okalahoma City bombing.  It was a beautiful and touching memorial to visit.

A look across the reflection pool next to the site of the original building
Next we drove around the Oklahoma University campus after having lunch in Norman.  Not an exciting stop for a former Texas Longhorn (Daniel), so we didn't stay long.  Before crossing the border, we stopped at the famous Winstar World Casino.  We learned that it is the 2nd largest casino in the world and right next to the Texas border (how convenient).  I have never been to a casino before, so I was super excited! 
So excited! I posed at least 5 minutes for this picture.
Unfortunately, even though it was St. Patrick's day, the luck o' the Irish was not with us.  I lost $20 in an hour playing slots.  I was entertained though, and made the smart decision that gambling would not become my new hobby.  Winstar was the last stop on our Oklahoma adventure.  I had to rush home to get a long run in before the sun went down that Sunday.
My next March adventure began one week later on the 24th.  Daniel decided he wanted to go on a camping trip with his brother to Big Bend National Park.  Not going to lie, I wasn't completely on board with this plan at first given Big Bend is a 9 hour drive from home, there was no electricity at the campsites, and the website said the shower facilities were coin-operated.  But I'm glad Daniel was persistent and I didn't back out from going.  The drive to Big Bend was a boring drive across West Texas, but my favorite city was the one closest to the park.
I happily ran across the two lane road to get a picture with this sign.  The people working at the gas station across the street probably thought I was crazy.  Oh well. #runnerproblems
We stayed for three nights in Big Bend.  The park was HUGE.  I don't think we even saw half of it while we were there.  The highlights were the sunsets over the cliffs, climbing to the top of Emory Peak (7,825 ft), hiking Bocadilla canyon and watching Mexicans cross the river, hiking to Balanced Rock, and relaxing in the natural Hot Spring.  I could go on for a while about everything we did, but instead I will just share a few pictures.
 The park entrance. We finally made it!
 Starting the Emory Peak 10 Mile Hike with Daniel
 Bear Country? Sounds like home for a Baylor alum. Sic 'em!
 Right before the top of Emory Peak, but I liked the view from here.
 Bocadilla Canyon trail head with Daniel
 Standing in front of the Rio Grande. The cliffs behind me belong to Mexico.
 Balanced Rock.  I know, this picture makes me look so strong.
Night Hike to the Hot Spring
The weather was pretty good for the duration of our trip.  It was dry - no rain (major plus).  The nights were cold as temperatures dropped down to the 30s, but the days were very nice and highs were in the 70s, low 80s.  We met people from all over on our trip (Canada, New York, Kentucky, name a few).  It was amazing how different the scenery was on each hike.  One day we were hiking up a mountain, the next day we were hiking in a desert, then by the river, then near some volcanic boulders.  Pictures can't capture all the beauty of the park.  And it was the perfect break I needed from work.
The last weekend of March was Daniel's birthday (Saturday) and Easter (Sunday).  Both events were cause for celebration.  We went to Daniel's favorite restaurant on Friday night, where they made him a free photo cake with his face on it (so cool!).  Saturday was a laid back day since Daniel was recovering from the Friday celebrations, but we did go out to see Warm Bodies.

On Sunday, we went to mass with my parents.  Then my mom made an Easter feast for lunch.  We had ham, sweet potatoes, and green beans.  It was delicious.  She made Angel Food Cake for dessert and partially for Daniel's birthday.  Since I'm a kid at heart, I made everyone decorate eggs after lunch.  It was a small Easter (no big family gathering), but a good one nonetheless.

Mandatory Easter picture after Church
A sampling of our egg masterpieces
And now the first week of April is over.  I can't believe it!  My half marathon is next Sunday.  This is the third one I will complete.  My first and most important goal is to beat my PR of 2:28.  I'm pretty confident I can do that.  My other time goals are a little more of a stretch, especially after my recent training set-backs, but I will do my best!  Expect a race recap next Monday.  I hope everyone is having a great start to April.
Did anyone else travel during March?

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