Onesies and Fall Tour Recap

(The best purchase we've ever made: Onesies from Target. Don't act like you don't want one). 

Well, we I am officially the worst blogger of 2012. Thank you to those that have read our entries and kept up with our travels. I apologize for my sporadic posts and hope to achieve "daily blogger" status in 2013. Until then, here is a mishmash of travel fun from our fall tour: 

Our amazing St. Louis staff...
Crazy small world story...the girl on the very left, Miss Jillian Pye, and I used to be competitive figure skaters when we were younger and come to find out we were actually coached by the same person, took our lessons at the same rinks and had no idea until this event brought us together. Just another reason why I love my job...

A local STL beer that you should probably try...

A ring my very talented mother cute is she? 

After saying adios to St. Louis we were off to "Raleigh." I put Raleigh in quotes because we were actually all over the State of North Carolina from Raleigh, Durham, Apex, Wilson and even Fayetteville. Before our work schedule took over, we were able to squeeze in a delicious breakfast near Duke University at a place called Madhatter Bakeshop & Cafe...

Between the scrumptious cookies, chai tea latte and the organic oatmeal...this will be on my list of "Places to Return to" when we are back in the Raleigh-Durham area. I mean just look at Casey's dish of eggs benedict and tell me your mouth isn't watering. Madhatter's also has a cute patio area where you can sit outside and soak up the was a gorgeous day so we did just that... 

After breakfast (yes, we had to get all of our exploring in on one day) we went to Duke University to check out their campus and holy cow it is INCREDIBLE. Just the architecture on their campus is jaw-dropping. Their historic brick buildings just exude a plethora of antiquity. Now I realize why it costs $$$$$$$ to go to this insanley prestigious school...

I left Casey Oct. 6 to fly to the Windy City to run the 2012 Chicago Marathon. I know what you're thinking...he's a GREAT guy. I know, I am very lucky to have him! I actually raced with a gal that had worked for us in Sacramento, California and since has become a great friend. She flew in from SAC to Chicago, registered as a charity runner for the American Cancer Society with me and ran the entire course as my running buddy! She's my marathon idol as she is a Boston Marathon qualifier/finisher and is on a quest to race in all five World Marathon Majors (she's already completed Chicago, Boston and will be racing in Berlin in 2013). So yeah, she's pretty awesome. 

Here is a picture of us after the race. We finished in 4:22:05. I'll have a lengthier race recap on the Chicago Marathon, but until then this time was a disappointment for me as we were on pace to achieve 4:00 hours or just under however I encountered a terrible cramp at mile 20 which forced me to walk for the first time until it went away. To put it bluntly, it SUCKED. Luckily, mistakes happen so we can learn from them and now I know to run with salt tablets and more gels (which by the way, Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels are my favorite)! 

Goal for 2013: get my first sub-4 hour marathon. 

Another exciting part of the Chicago Marathon was that it was my sister-in-law's FIRST MARATHON! I was so excited to have Kate accomplish this goal of hers and to share a sport with her that I love so much. Our mothers joined us to make this the ultimate experience. 

This year's Chicago Marathon (my fourth Chicago and fifth marathon overall) was dedicated to my mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. After experiencing my father's death in 1999, and running three other Chicago Marathon's for the American Cancer Society in his honor/memory...I never thought in a million years our family would go through this again. Instead, I would be running in celebration of my mother...a breast cancer SURVIVOR! After sharing my mother's courageous story, we were able to raise $1,148 for the ACS to help other families fighting this horrific disease. I hope sometime in my lifetime we're able to take down cancer in a total knockout battle when a CURE becomes a reality and not a dream. 

My mom is the strongest woman I know, physically and emotionally. She is my idol. 

Oh yeah, and to backtrack even more...I got to see my cute friend Brittany at the marathon expo. She, too, is an angel that we were lucky enough to meet through work. 

After the race, I ran back to the hotel (yes you heard that right), walked to the 'L' and caught a flight immediately back to Raleigh where we closed out the NC market! 

I have to admit, I'd recommend walking or jogging after a really works the soreness out of your legs and helps to get rid of that post-marathon stiffness right away. 

The Monday after the race we set off for our next city; Buffalo, New York. En route to our new destination we stopped in Washington D.C. where we had dinner at a "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" restaurant called Comet (complete with a ping pong table). It was pumpkin beer season so I tried out the Saranac Pumpkin Ale (which soon became one of my fav pumpkin brews) and some of their most well-known pizzas....I mean burning 2,609 calories has to be worth something, right? 

After arriving in New York, it was clear to us that we were in the wings capital of the country and we set out on a quest to find the best Buffalo wings! 

It seems the wings war is waged between Duff's and Anchor Bar. We tried both places, and Duff's was the clear WINNER. We will be salivating over their wings for years to come...

We were also lucky enough to see Niagara Falls and by see, I mean we got to be IN the falls as we rode on the Maid of the Mist

(International Bridge)

Now, for my FAVORITE part of our fall tour travels....drumroll, please.... 

We were able to drive to Cooperstown, NY and see the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum! It was AMAZING! Casey and I couldn't get over the fact that the tattered uniforms, gloves, lockers, etc. in the museum were not replicas but indeed items worn or used by some of Major League Baseball's greatest legends! There was just so much to take in that it was overwhelming for the mind to process. I can't even put into words how incredible this experience was...

Dream. Come. TRUE. 

(Outside the HOF & Museum) 

After our time in Buffalo and Albany, it was time to close out our tour and drive back to Atlanta to drop off our chase vehicle. For the first time this year, my brother and his wife's tour crossed paths with ours so we had a merry time reuniting. Casey and I even visited some of our favorites spots including Tin Lizzy's and introduced my brother and Kate to my favorite seasonal, Shiner Holiday Cheer....

Once we were finished with work and our visit with Nate and Kate was over, we each flew home (St. Louis for me and Chicago for Case) to spend two weeks with our families before making the move to Winter Park Resort
(The first time just the three of us have been together at home in YEARS)

Before leaving I also squeezed in a half marathon (Schaumburg Half Marathon) on Nov. 24 and we went to the Vikings vs. Bears game on Nov. 25. It was a STELLAR Saturday as my brother ran his first half marathon with his wife Kate in the Gulf Shores while I ran in Chicagoland. So proud of both of them and I hope we make running a half marathon a Thanksgiving tradition. 

(Could the weather have been any more different for our halfs?)

It was 26 degrees for the half marathon and I finished in 1:52:27. I also found where Chicago is hiding their hills. If you're in need of some incline work head to Busse Woods. A great race and if I'm back in the Windy City for Turkey Day next year, I'll be sure to run it again. 

Although it was chilly for the race the weather could not have been more beautiful for the Bears game in which they destroyed the Vikings 28-10. 

(The view from our seats...Happy Birthday, Casey!)

And now after a lengthy blog post, here we our favorite place in the country...Winter Park, Colorado...enjoying EVERY minute and every breathtaking view. 

There's still time left in 2012, but right now I feel very rich in life, love, family and friends. This has been an incredible year and we hope to end it on a high note in our new mountain town. We are incredibly blessed to be on this amazing journey and we thank you all for following our travels. 

Which city was your favorite to visit in 2012? 

Any races planned for 2013? 
I'll be running the Rock 'N Roll Arizona Marathon on Jan. 20. 

What do you prefer? Mountain life or beach life?  

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