Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall 2011 Sweataway Part I: Friday

As you have probably noticed, I'm married. 

First dance at our wedding

Being married can be really rough or really amazing, and always takes a lot of work and the grace and power of Jesus. 

After 2+ years (I know, we're such sages), we've observed that real life can and will kill romance (and even plain courtesy) in your relationship.  You have to fight to make time to relax and enjoy each other's company.  Ideally, this happens everyday...but like most people, we are busy and stressed and tired often, so we have two ways we combat the real life blues.

1. Weekly Date Night - one chunk of time per week when we focus on each other.  Some people have hard and fast rules about their date night...we don't have as many, since we've found that some flexibility goes a long way.  For us, the key is "weekly."  No need to add stress to your already stressful life by saying, "We MUST eat at THIS restaurant EVERY Saturday at 6:05 SHARP."  Usually, we aim for Friday night to be date night.  However, sometimes things come up, or we're just too beat by the end of the work week to do much of anything, so we'll swap out for Saturday night or even Saturday morning. 

We can go out...but usually we end up staying in (we're homebodies who like saving Jared's a killer chef).  Going out we might see a movie, get dinner, or go shopping.  Staying in, we'll share a meal, watch episodes of our latest favorite crime-solving show, play card games or board games, or build a fire and chat by the fireplace.

We try to dress up a little, whether we're going out or not, because for us, that says, "You are still special to me and I still want to make an effort to look nice for you."  We generally don't take calls or texts, and we try not to talk about stressful or mundane things.  We do talk through things regularly, but date night is meant to be an oasis where we can refocus on what we adore in each other, and continue getting to know one another better.  These nights give us something special to look forward to every single week, and really help me get through stressful and exhausting days.

Husky basketball date night

2. Quarterly Getaways - 2+ days once a season when we focus on each other.  (Notice the trend here?)  These getaways are basically date night on steroids.  Again, the main point is to be consistent and to enjoy each other's company.  That's what we did when we were dating in college, only somehow when you're dating, it feels like it happens naturally.  Later on, you realize it takes some planning and work to continue reaping the rewards of a healthy relationship.

We can go away for the weekend (or week), or we can stay at home.  It depends a lot on our budget and the season.  We usually celebrate things at weird times for two reasons.  If you're going away, everything is cheaper and less crowded.  If you're staying local (especially for holidays and birthdays) you have to factor in families and friends.  Family and friends are a wonderful part of your life...but romance is exclusive.  There's a reason you picked that one person in the world to marry - you are choosing them over everyone else, and sometimes, you need to reinforce your vows with quality ALONE time.

Whether we go away or stay home, we always fuel up with killer eats and then work up a sweat together.  It's the perfect bonding time for us, since they say guys prefer shared activities and gals prefer shared conversations.  Running or biking or lifting or walking lets us move and talk - some of our best conversations are during training runs.

Trail run couple time!

That being said, here's the scoop on our latest adventure: fall sweataway in Bend, OR!

We love Bend.  We went for our anniversary this summer and loved it.  Kinda feels like Kirkland without the waterfront.  Lots of cute shops, good food, fit culture, and a GORGEOUS hotel.  Seriously, if you are ever headed to Bend, save up for the Oxford Hotel.  Every penny is worth it.  Their location is perfect for walking around downtown, and they offer complimentary cruiser bicycles (appearing in a future installment) for toodling over to the outdoor shopping mall (the Old Mill District).  The rooms are beautiful, the staff very kind, and their restaurant is amazing.

We knew we wanted to come back as soon as we'd arrived in June...we had booked one night and kicked ourselves for not planning a longer stay.

When planning our fall getaway, we decided to try to coordinate the trip with a half marathon.  I'd run my first in the spring, and Jared ended up being too sick to run with we wanted to train up again and finally race together.

Turned out, Bend was having an inaugural half and full marathon on October 1st, so we figured it was perfect.

Apparently, so did half the world.  I signed us up for the Saturday morning race, and as I was making our travel plans, learned that the hotel was booked up the two nights prior.  They were able to book us for Saturday and Sunday night, so I figured we'd come down Friday, crash somewhere cheap, race Saturday morning, and then enjoy the rest of our stay in the lap of luxury before coming home on Monday.

We got a bit of a late start to the fault as always.  "I'm almost ready!" is code for "Thanks, another half hour or so should do the trick."  We believe in packing a lot of mainly healthy food for car rides.  It saves money, extra delays, and makes you feel a little better about spending 6 hours on your butt.  Jared was kind enough to make smoothies to pack along.

Our trip down was really fun.  We listened to (what else) a tale of Redwall, read by dear old Brian Jacques and a full cast.  No need to say which book it was - they're sort of all the same, but so endearing and fun!

Jared helped me get some good scenery shots...I kept getting frustrated and putting the camera away, so he told me to keep it out and would give me a headsup when a good view was coming.

Artic Fox shot for Mom and the fam
We stopped at some little rest stop in the mountains and got to stretch our legs.  NOTE: don't dehydrate yourself on the way to a race in the name of fewer stops.  You will wish you hadn't.  Like we did.

The awesome thing about this drive is the wide variety of landscapes.  Everything from woods to mountains to farmlands.

Kinda weird seeing the smoke on our way...
they were controlled fires, though.
Upon arriving in beautiful Bend, we decided to head straight to packet pickup at Fleet Feet Sports so as not to have unnecessary hassle prior to the race.

The store was so cute!  And they gave us fun swag bags.

Jared also bought a commemorative technical jacket.  The beanies came in the swag bags (along with a first aid kit and some other goodies).

Then, we headed over to the motel to unload before doing our very last training run.

NOTE TO ALL PLANNERS OF TRIPS OF ANY SORT OR KIND: Other travelers do not always share your standards.  Here's how I know:
  • Oxford Hotel is booked Friday night
  • I prefer not to spend a lot of money to stay anywhere but Oxford
  • I look for cheap hotels or motels in Bend
  • I find a good price and positive online reviews for Motel 6 a quick drive from the start of the half
  • We show up on Friday late afternoon to check in
Apparently for everyone who is not me, cleanliness and a good price FAR outweigh the fact that the motel is directly across for a sketchy looking (probably strip-) club and an "adult superstore."

Sketchy club

For all your travel needs
I was so creeped out by all this that I was seriously thinking of forfeiting our money and heading somewhere else.  But Jared said he felt safe enough, so that made me feel better.  (Having your own personal bodyguard is a big perk of being married to a tall, ripped Norwegian who has vowed always to take care of you.)

We unloaded - and the room was, in fact, very clean.  So the reviews were honest about that part, at least.

Then we skeddadled away to run 15 minutes at an easy clip.  It was so good to get moving after sitting ALL day in the car.  We grabbed some groceries at Safeway and then tried to decide what to do for dinner.  We decided we wanted something cheap and easy, but still as healthy as possible.

Enter Baja Fresh.

We have an awesome resource we keep in our car - Eat This, Not That Restaurant Survival Guide

In an ideal world, we all can afford to buy organic at Whole Foods and have the time to prepare every snack and cook every meal at home.  In the real world, we're busy and sometimes eat out.  This book lives in our glovebox and helps us make informed choices when we go out to eat.  It offers some good options at each popular restaurant, along with items to avoid at the same place.

We ended up with some tacos and were actually pleasantly surprised with the food quality.  After that, we returned to the creepy motel for foam rolling, yoga, and a few episodes of Castle before calling it an early night.

Coming next...Half Marathon Recap

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