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San Antonio Trip

As I had mentioned earlier, Amy had gone to San Antonio before me and I caught up on Tuesday.   While it was a super quick trip, we had a real nice time.  I worked all day Monday, came home and did some laundry, did  a little cleaning up around the house.  Oh yes, I also had to pack (good thing I’m a guy and don’t need that much stuff for a 60 hour trip) .  By the time I was done with these tasks it was around 1am, set the alarm for 5:30 and crashed out.  Woke up late when my dad, who gave me a ride to airport, rang the doorbell!  Jumped out of bed, got dressed, fed and medicated the cats, grabbed the bag and out the door I went.  Fortunately the entire rest of the trip was much more relaxing…

Slept most of the flight (best way to travel) and  Amy and her Mom picked me up.  After that we went to a really cool, super hole in the wall Mexican restaurant.  The place was packed with a wide mix of people, from business men to construction workers to families.  It was the kind of place where you have to ask for a menu, I think most people have been coming there for years and years.  Tacos seemed like the choice and the Puffy Tacos were awesome, a light airy tortilla with shredded beef and a spicy salsa. I added a little of the guacamole to it as well, made for a nice lunch.  Amy and her parents know of a bunch of these places in San Antonio, it makes for great eats whenever we go there!  We ate really well at quite a diverse selection of restaurants while we were there.

After that it was nap time, while sleeping on the plane makes the trip go faster the sleep is not that great.  Slept for over 2 hours, much longer than planned, to help get going again Amy, her dad and I took their dog for a nice stroll to get the blood flowing.  There is a nice green belt area being developed in San Antonio right now. Phil Hardberger park is an open space area with nice running/walking trails, it’s being developed at about 20% per year and they’ve got a nice thing going there.  We went on about a mile and a half walk, saw probably 20 deer and 20 or 30 people running.  When cities make the major commitments to open space projects that are needed to make them happen it’s great to see the public take advantage of them!

After that it was off to dinner. We went to what seemed to be another San Antonio staple, Josephine Street Cafe  , this place oozed Texas and was packed on a random Tuesday night.  The place has a tree growing in the middle of it and the floor is wavy because of the roots growing underneath.  While the steaks were not the best I’ve ever had the atmosphere combined with the “Austin Hoffbrau” Style Lemon butter each steak was topped with and the mashed potatoes with gravy made for a really enjoyable experience.  You can tell Amy’s parent really love San Antonio, after dinner they took us on a cool driving tour of the downtown area. We saw the riverwalk all lit up for the holiday’s, the hotel and theater we’d be at the next night and of course, The Alamo (they wouldn’t let me get out and look for my bike in the basement).

The next day we chilled out until it was time to check in to our hotel for the night, Hotel Valencia.  We really didn’t have enough time to fully appreciate this place, but it had really cool rooms and a neat vibe.   We went for a little stroll along the riverwalk, always a good time!  We cruised around for about 1/2 and hour and wandered to Crazy Sam’s for a drink, Amy had a Sangria Margarita that was super good!  The funny thing about this place was the servers out on the edge of their patio enticing people to step up to the bar and grab a drink. While we sat at the outdoor bar I noticed that their “grab a margarita to drink while you walk around the riverwalk” sales pitch worked quite well!

Back to the hotel to get ready for the show…

Took a shower, got dressed and headed to The Palm to meet Amy’s parents, Ashley (Amy’s best friend and Maid of Honor in our wedding) and her husband .  This place was also pretty cool, while it is a chain they do good work here.  The restaurant was started in Manhattan and the walls are covered with the caricatures of the many famous people that have dined in the different restaurants. We enjoyed a Woodford Reserve at the bar while we waited for everyone else to arrive, that 2 minute walk from our hotel was an easy commute. I had a great, rare filet and the creamed spinach was awesome.  They definitely have established a culture of service there, as the entire staff was excellent.  I finished things off with a little port, my favorite end to a nice meal!  It was a very nice experience, but their mark up on bottled wine was ridiculous.  I completely understand wanting to achieve a good  wine cost and want them to make money on it, but I am also familiar with the cost of many of the bottles on their list and it seemed excessive (Regular Caymus Cab was well over $200 and Flora Springs “Trilogy” was $139).  Overall very nice nice meal with the new in-laws and friends though!

After dinner it was off to the Majestic Theater for my first time seeing Les Miserables.  This theater is awesome, and the performance was unbelievable!  The pics to the left are of the sides of the theater, it is a really cool place!  Some of the special effects they used really added to the realism, my favorite was the way they projected the city streets and sewers on to the back wall and moved it  to give the appearance of them walking through the city.  The front row seats we had didn’t hurt at all either…

After the play we found an Irish bar on the riverwalk where I enjoyed a couple Guinness and then headed back to the room.  The next day we chilled out with Amy’s  family, visited with her grandfather for a while (he had a bunch of cool stories about  his many adventures), and then headed to the airport.  It was a really fun trip but it’s always nice to get back home!

In with the new!

2011 is gone and now it’s time to enjoy 2012! It was a relatively good year for us, we had a great wedding with close friends and family, got in a nice trip to Vegas, and I signed up for IMAZ 2012! We’re going to start 2012 off with a quick trip to San Antonio to see Amy’s parents. Among the highlights are: staying down on the riverwalk and seeing Les Misérables at the Majestic Theater. Hopefully the trip with produce some nice times worthy of a blog post.

Sweet 360 degree view of the theater just move your mouse around on the pic.

Amy has been in San Antonio for a week and I’m headed there for just a few days. As my job requires me to be here on New Year’s Eve, I had to celebrate the new year with out her. I’m not really a huge New Year’s Eve partier, too crowded out and cabs are almost impossible to get, so I just chilled out at home.

Here’s how I rang in the New Year:

Here’s to a year of fitness and fun!

IMAZ and the past week

After a great trip to Vegas, things are settling back down for us!  Everything went very smoothly for our wedding and honeymoon trip but it’s nice things are finally getting back to normal.  We don’t have an event to plan or worry about contacting vendors, such a relief!

This past weekend was Ironman Arizona, always a fun weekend.  Myself and my friends Len and Bill volunteered at a run aid station to guarantee a spot for next year. We got a great shift, 10am-1pm.  Mainly we set up the aid station: unloaded the truck, set up tables, hauled ice and things like that. Then we hung out for about 2 hours before the first of the pros came through on the run. We handed out water to about 20 of the front runners and then we were done, pretty easy compared to the 1000’s of people coming through for the later shifts!

The pic to the left is our Aid Station almost ready to go! After our shift we biked over to the Draw 10 for a couple beers, then headed out for a little Ironman spectating.  Had a great spot to see the winner come in at a amazing 7:59! The guy ran a Boston Qualifying Marathon after a 112 mile bike ride, always impressive. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see any of my friends finish, but was glad to hear that everyone I knew that was racing crossed the finish line.

The next morning I woke up and headed down to register for IMAZ 2012.  While I expected to stand in line for a while the over 3 hours I spent waiting to register was crazy!  But, after a long wait and kicking down $682 I had my spot for next year. I’m excited for the year for fitness I have ahead of myself. I’m also stoked that I have 2 good friends to train with for this race, it helps so much!

A few relatively easy days at  work and it was Thanksgiving time! We went over to our freinds, Brandy and Panos’s house and had a great time.  After some fine apps and a few mimosas it was time to fire up the turkey deep fryer.  A few rousing games of bags (or cornhole as it is called sometimes) later, we sat down to a great meal with good friends! After dinner we had a few more games of bags, and Amy had a little nap on the couch! All in all it was a great Thanksgiving, now looking forward to a nice weekend with a little bike riding and hanging out at home!

Vegas Honeymoon

We drove up to Vegas for a couple days for a honeymoon! Pretty fun trip that allowed us to still have a few relaxing days at home before we both have to go back to work. Headed out Wednesday morning in Amy’s car, stopped at Hoover dam on the way up. Quick overview: got upgraded to a sweet suite at the Palazzo, went to Fremont St, got numerous drinks bought for us because we were on our honeymoon, saw dolphins, lions, and tigers, had dinner at Zeffirino at the Venetian, went to the Cirque du Soleil show “Love”(totally awesome), didn’t win a dime, and had a great time with each other!

A few pics in no particular order:

Amy after the “Love” show

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Enjoying a Vodka Redbull looking out our 43rd floor window

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Room view #1

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The Palazzo Tower

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Room View #2

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Standing on the Hoover Dam

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Some Dolphin and Tiger Footage

and we’re married!

After months of planning, a few days of some serious errand running and some weather worries, Amy and I were married in a perfect, beautiful ceremony in my parent’s backyard!   It was definitely a sprint getting the backyard all set-up but it really came together well.  The best decision we made in the few days prior was the renting of patio heaters and having a fire, it got pretty chilly for we Arizonans.

While there were some stressful times as we navigated the problems that come up as an event comes together, it was cool as family and friends from out of town started to arrive.  My parents had a small get together on Friday night, everyone seemed to have a good time even though a pretty substantial dust storm blew through that day and evening. It would have been a serious challenge if  the storm had of come through on Sunday, we dodged a bullet there!  On Saturday we got the rental items delivered and set-up and had the rehearsal. While there was some good natured ribbing of Amy for her information folders that everyone got, these proved to be infinitely valuable as the event approached so everyone knew the tasks they had been assigned.

The rehearsal went smoothly and afterwards we adjourned ourselves to The Living Room for the rehearsal dinner.  This place did a great job and we had a really fun night. We wanted to have a nice relaxed atmosphere and be able to just hang out with our wedding party, the two sitting areas with couches worked perfectly!  It was some great noshing on bruschetta, cheese trays, cheese fondues, spinach dip and a chocolate fondue to finish things off.  We all had some wine and great conversations! After that party broke up Amy and her bridesmaids headed to the hotel and I went home looking forward to the big day ahead.

The day of was a whirlwind of activity! We started putting the finishing touches on the yard around 8:30 am, since some tables had to be set up after the ceremony we organized boxes for each table’s items to make it easier for the caterer to set them up.  This was key in making it a smooth transition and Amy’s bridesmaids and the caterer did a great job making it happen.  After we got most of the things set up I was off to run my final errands, this took much longer than planned.  Had to pick up tables from the restaurant, stock the coolers for the bar and get ice, pick up the keg, and get the tables set-up for the buffet. Then get cleaned up at the barber, take shower and make it back to my parents house to get dressed and be ready for our guests to arrive.

The cocktail hour started at 3:30 and we had a great showing! It was a nice way to start things out, seeing everyone and people catching up and enjoying some tasty beverages. The specialty drink, The Kentucky Classic (Maker’s Mark and Ale-8-One) was very popular, so much that the bartender had to run out and get more Maker’s during the ceremony!   That hour flew by and all of a sudden it was time to start the ceremony.  Everyone took their seats or found a spot to stand and we were ready to go!

Sage Gentle-Wing, our musician played a nice guitar rift during the first part of the processional, after our wedding party was set he busted into The Beatles song “Here Comes the Sun” and Amy and her dad walked out, she looked amazing in her dress! Our minister, Phil Waring, did a great job, the ceremony was perfect and not too long. We were announced and Sage busted into “When I’m Sixty Four” as we walked away finally married.

We headed out for some pictures and the guests got to enjoy some appetizers and drinks for a bit. I have really enjoyed working with our photographer, David Orr.  He and his wife have been super easy to work with and we’re excited to see the the pictures they captured!  After that we all enjoyed some great food prepared by Creative Hands Cuisine, Chef Doug and his team did a fantastic job, from the quick table transition to the seamless service it was top notch! Highly recommend these guys!

After we ate we began the rounds to hobnob with everyone, it was so nice to see all of the people who came out to help us celebrate. There were some nice toasts and then some great hanging out, the fire pit has a bench and was a great place for people to talk and stay warm and the patio heaters worked perfectly!

A few other vendors of note: Bloom Events provided some beautiful flowers, and Sugar Lips Cakery cupcakes were amazing!

All and all it was great day, here’s a few pics from family and friends (David Orr photos still to come):

Chair set up for the ceremony                                     Tables and the fire pit

We’re married                                                    Here we are!

The Toasts

1 Week to go!

Only one week to go until we get hitched! Fortunately, we’ve gotten a lot accomplished in the past few weeks. While we definitely had some stressful times it’s nice to see it all come together, I really think its going to look nice.
Yesterday we went to my parents to start the backyard decorating and haul somethings over. We got a lot done and my parents have really done a great job getting their house ready. So nice of them to let us take over their house, really allows us to create the intimate feel we want.
Our earlier planning (mainly Amy) has really allowed us to start to relax as things come together. Guests start arriving Thursday, so it’ll really start up then!

Some of the lighting we did last night:

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Nice Day on the Bike

Pretty nice day to ride, my friend Len and I did the ride to Maricopa today, it’s a flat forty mile round trip to a town a little south of the house.  Felt much better on the bike today than the last ride, really enjoyed just cruising down the road and being on the bike.  For so long I was addicted to riding with my Ipod, after some time riding without it I kinda of miss the silence and sounds of the bike and tires rolling down the road.  I rode with it today, mainly I just had to put the ear buds back in numerous times, for some reason those things hate staying in my ears.  Anyway here’s the ride, still have a ways to go to get back to proper form but felt pretty good and had fun…

So far in August

So far August has flown by, I can’t believe my birthday is tomorrow!  It’s been a pretty chill month so far, got in some quality workouts but I have been slacking a little!  Overall I have kept up my treadmill running and that is the main goal, everything else will come around once it cools off a little.

Wedding Plans:

We’re making good progress in the wedding planning: Invitations ordered, got a quote on tables and chairs from Classic Party Rentals (very nice to work with),  Amy designed a great backyard layout and we found and purchased my suit for the wedding.  Pretty happy with the way things are coming together, hopefully we’ll get everything pretty much finalized by the end of the month!

Wedding Specialty Beverage and a fun afternoon:

A few weeks ago I had heard that a restaurant downtown was carrying my favorite Ginger-Ale like soda from Kentucky, Ale-8-One.  Usually I only get to enjoy it back in Kentucky so when I heard it was available here in Phoenix the thought of a Maker’s Mark and Ale-8-One was in my head!  Amy needed help setting up the booth for her work at the Phoenix Convention Center and the restaurant, District Kitchen is right around the corner.  Unfortunately we arrived downtown right as the Diamondbacks game was starting, parking and navigating down there was a challenge.  After finding the correct place to park and unload and a quick but sweaty booth set up we adjourned ourselves to the comfy bar area of the restaurant.  Besides getting a drink I rarely get to have we had a fantastic lunch!  I had the Grilled Short Rib Sandwich on a nice Brioche with some excellent Tater Tots.

The whole experience was very nice, downtown Phoenix has some cool places and we just don’t get down there enough.  Since I now know Ale-8-One is available here we decided to make Maker’s and Ale-8-One our Specialty Drink for the wedding. I thought it would be cool for the Kentuckians that are traveling here for the wedding as well as introducing our friends here to a part of Kentucky.  Twitter was very useful in interacting with the District Kitchen folks and they got me the name of the company they get the soda from, a few phone calls later we’re all set to get in a few cases for the wedding.  Maybe I’ll order some sooner than that just to have…

The coming weekend:

As I mentioned earlier my birthday is this weekend so we’re taking advantage of some nice summer rates at The Boulders up in Cave Creek.  We head up there tomorrow and come back on Monday, should be a nice relaxing time – pics to follow!

And finally: I’m all for this log-in screen for the internet!

The weekend and Must Go Running!

Pretty much slacked off in the training department this weekend.  On the upside, Amy and I had a pretty relaxing weekend together!  On Saturday night we were at a house warming party for one of Amy’s friends.  Amy’s friend and her husband are from Alaska and there were some other Alaskans there, they were discussing how you seem run into others from Alaska all over the place even though the state has a relatively small population.  I told them about a guy who I went to Western Kentucky University with, who is a triplet from Ketchikan, Alaska.  One of the girls from Alaska asked “Was his name Brad?”, he had been her high school swim coach in Valdez.  Sometimes the world is pretty small!

Running:

I’m going to make this week a run focused week.  I feel like I’ve done a good job easing my way back into running but now it’s time to get in some distance!  Most of the runs will probably be treadmill runs but I would like to get in at least one decent outdoor run.  Feeling the need to do a running race sometime soon, maybe one of the ARR 5Ks, that always helps with the motivation!

Also, my friends  Len and Bill and I got registered to volunteer for IMAZ coming up in November.  This will guarantee us a spot for 2012 (sub 12 hours will be the goal)!

Someday this man will lose a limb!