Thursday Thoughts: September 18

Last weekend, I ran the Plaza 10k, and had a 31 second PR! Read my race recap here!  I’m also still doing the September Run Streak, and have ran 18 days in a row! Before this month, 5 or 6 days in a row was the most I’ve ran… it has been really fun doing a run streak.  I’d seen others do run streaks before, and they never really appealed to me, because I love my rest days!  Now that I’ve run nearly 3 weeks in a row, it has opened my eyes to a new challenge, and I’ve enjoyed it!  A running club in KC tweeted this to me, and it made me smile the other day.

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James and I ordered a new print to hang above our fire place.  It came this week, and I LOVE IT.  It is gorgeous… and the different lighting throughout the day and evening makes different parts stand out.  I feel like such an adult, ordering art and hanging it above the fire place.  Who would have guessed, art over the fire place.

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Jasper has taken over the box that the painting came in.  James tore the edges and set it on end, like a tent.  He’s a happy kitty.  There are a few toys in there.  We’ll have to keep the box forever.

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Mom and Dad are visiting this weekend, and we’ll see the Royals play Detroit on Saturday.  Grandpa was supposed to come too, but he’s dealing with some medical issues and is staying home to stay healthy and get stronger.  I’m sad he won’t be able to visit, but we are going home next month and will get to see more family then.  I’m really excited to see my parents, it’s been over a month since I have seen them, by far the longest I’ve ever gone without a hug from my mom!

I’m going to the KCRC Groupies run tonight, and should be able to bring Mom along for the Sunday Runday Groupie Run, which I think will be awesome!! I find myself looking forward to Thursday nights, for Groupie runs and to post my weekly Thursday Thoughts!

The countdown begins… 1 month until the Kansas City Marathon 1/2 Marathon! Eeeekk!  I have thought about going into the half with a run/walk strategy, but after PRing my 10k I kind of want to see how far I can run and if I can PR the half also… But part of me (the realist part of me) knows a PR is all but out of reach with the running shape I am in, and if I run/walk it will be a much more enjoyable race. I guess I have a month to decide, and a month to see where I can get my fitness.

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Are you running a fall race? What is your best distance?

Thursday Thoughts: September 11

Last weekend, James and I and a close friend went to a wine and painting bar.  It was so much fun! We drank wine, and the teacher walked us through how to paint a fall tree.  Definitely something we will do again!! (Side note: How great does James’ new beard look? I love it!)

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It has been just great getting back in touch with our friend, we were friends in college, and kind of lost touch for a few years.  Since we moved to KC, we’ve gotten the chance to hang out a couple times, and I, for one, have very much enjoyed it, and can’t wait to do it again!

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There are several painting bars in the area, and it seems to be the new “thing” to drink wine and do “art,” I think there are wine and pottery classes in the area too.  The place we went to was called Pinot’s Palette.  I recommend trying something like it if you get the chance, it was a fun way to spend the afternoon.

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The weather has been absolutely gorgeous here lately.  The temperatures have dropped, and the fall weather is here! Amazingly enough, my running has been GREAT lately, my pace has actually dropped about 45-50 seconds per mile!  I’ll certainly take it!

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Jasper has been loving the weather too, he’s got to spend more time outside, and has been stalking bugs.

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At the KCRC Groupies run tonight, I had the chance to try a pair of Altra Zero Drop running shoes.  I’d never tried any other brands besides Saucony, Brooks, and Nike.  They were very different than the Saucony Kinvara’s I currently use, but I really liked them.  I will keep them in mind when I need a new pair, and I will at least consider the zero drop shoes if I don’t pick Altra.

Speaking of KCRC, I LOVE THE KANSAS CITY RUNNING COMPANY!! They are some of the nicest people I’ve met, and the entire atmosphere is fantastic.  Before the group run, I picked up my packet for the Plaza 10k this Sunday, it’s my first bib with my name on it! I couldn’t be more excited.  I’ll be sure to post a recap after the race.

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Can you believe 9/11 was 13 years ago? I wrote a short remembrance piece this morning.  It is nice to see the outburst of American Flags and patriotism, and I wish there would be more patriotism present during the rest of the year, not just on holidays and days of remembrance.

DAD, Happy Birthday tomorrow!! ❤

Cinda the Elephant

A week ago, James and I were very lucky, and were able to feed, pet, and get up close and personal with an elephant.

First, let me back up and explain what’s going on.  For Valentine’s Day this year, James gifted me an “Elephant Kiss” from the Sedgwick County Zoo, which means the elephants had paint on the end of their trunks, and “kissed” the canvas, leaving a gorgeous and totally unique art piece.  My aunt, Debi, volunteers at the zoo, and was able to set it up for us to meet the artist herself.

My “Elephant Kiss” print was done by the elephant Cinda.  Cinda is about 42 years old, and has lived at the Sedgwick County Zoo for most of her life.  She and her elephant buddy Stephanie are about the same age, and were both brought from Africa to reside at the zoo.  The zoo-keepers told us that Stephanie is the smaller elephant, but she is the boss, and though Cinda is larger, she is pretty timid.

We got to pet, feel, and feed Stephanie, as Cinda was being weighed (monthly weigh-ins to ensure the elephants aren’t gaining/losing too much!).  Then we got to pose with our “Elephant Kiss” artist, Cinda.  It truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I cannot express how excited I was to meet both of the elephants!

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It was amazing to see and feel first hand how gentle and intelligent these great animals were.  We watched their training, which is done daily, to keep their minds sharp and to keep them active.  The keepers said they know about 80 “tricks,” including “dance,” “march,” “sit,” and “salute.”  We only saw a few minutes of training, but the elephants are very smart.

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James feeding Stephanie. Both elephants ate a mixture of potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and apples.

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Selfie with James, Debi, and me, photo bombed by Cinda the elephant!

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The Artist herself, Cinda the elephant!

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Cinda and me!

The zoo-keepers surprised us and also offered for us to meet and feed BiBi the Rhino! I was nervous at first… a few years ago I was partially sprayed by a rhino at a different zoo (not a fun experience!)  Turns out BiBi was super nice, and gentle, and we fed her a bucket of bananas.

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The entire day was just amazing.  After we fed and met the elephants and rhino, we saw the penguins get fed (it was World Penguin Day), and we saw the orangutans and chimpanzees that Debi volunteers with every week.

I have always loved the zoo, and it was such a unique experience to do something that not everyone can do.  It is a memory I will cherish, and I look forward to taking our children to the zoo someday and hopefully they will share the same love of animals that I do!

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James even bought me a stuffed elephant, and I named her Cinda, of course.

If you ever get a chance to meet an elephant, TAKE IT!! It was a fantastic experience, and I’m so happy I was able to do it with James and Debi.

Have you ever gotten to feed or meet a rare animal?