Monday, September 15, 2014

Rehearsal BBQ

One of the early dilemmas Sara and I faced when planning the wedding was the rehearsal dinner.  Our wedding party consisted solely of immediate family and we didn't want to limit the night to just those in the wedding.  Protocol dictates that all out-of-town guests (or at least all out-of-town family) are invited to the rehearsal dinner.  Given that over 80% of our guests were from out-of-town, this just seemed to exclude a few friends.  So, we decided to do something a bit different and we had a low-key "Welcome BBQ*" at the house my family rented for the week.

*I am using the word "BBQ" to mean grilling burgers and sausages.  I know this offends many southerners who have a more specific definition of what BBQ means.  Sorry.

Other than renting the house with its awesome yard, renting a few tables and chairs and making a rough mental sketch of the menu I was planning, I hadn't really done much in the way of planning for the BBQ.  I am now pretty confident that Sara thought I was planning the details with my family and my family thought I was planning the details with Sara.  Whoops.  We bought most of the food on Wednesday and Thursday and set up the house for the event on Friday.  Despite the on-the-fly planning and a few short tempers during the week, we pulled it all off.

Friday afternoon was brutally hot and humid - the high temperature was in the 90s.  A few hearty guests who walked the mile (uphill) from the metro arrived drenched.  Ice melted almost instantly.  The margaritas disappeared quicker than we could make them.  A special thanks to my cousin Dave and brother-in-law Paul who manned the grills in the high heat.  Despite the heat, the BBQ was exactly what Sara and I had hoped for.  We got a chance to talk to friends and family in a more relaxed atmosphere than the wedding reception would allow.  Ask anyone who has gotten married how quickly the time flies at the wedding reception.  We were so grateful to have an extra three hours on Friday night to chat with friends and family.

I especially loved meeting some of Sara's high school and college friends.  I had heard stories about these girls for the last two years, but had not met many of them.  We had also invited a number of these girls' parents who had all watched Sara growing up.  I loved seeing the pride and love in their eyes when they talked about Sara.  It was fascinating putting faces to names that did not at all match the mental image I had had in my head.  There were brunettes who turned out to be blonde; people were taller or shorter than I had imagined; accents galore.  It's like when they cast an actor for the film of the book you loved - they don't look like what you imagined, but it soon becomes impossible to remember what you had imagined to begin with.

After most of the guests had departed, Sara and I stole a few minutes together to exchange some small presents and letters we had written each other.  In the chaos of the whole week, it was really nice to have a few minutes together with just the two of us.  Several married couples had told us to take this time together and I am really glad that we did.  After Sara left, a few of my cousins and two of my high school buddies were still hanging around.  We cleaned up a bit (Sam and Kris both worked for my father as teenagers, so they knew how to clean up after a party) and chatted for a while.  I don't think the three of us had hung out together since Kris's wedding almost five years ago.  As it has always been with those two, you couldn't tell that time had passed.

The rental house for the week

Belize crew

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Off to Get Married!!!

In twenty minutes, I leave for the airport to fly back to America for my wedding.  I am so excited.  I love this girl and can't wait to spend the rest of my life with her.
Our first photo together

Isn't she gorgeous?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Half Marathon

I traveled to Nuremberg this weekend to run another half marathon.  I wanted to run another half a few weeks before the wedding in order to have a goal to work towards to lose weight for the wedding.  Training was easier this year than last year's marathon prep and I was probably more prepared for this half than the last one.  It still sucked.

My preferred race situation is a road race with lots of runners, lots of spectators, lots of things to distraction, cool, but not cold weather, flat and dry.  When I chose this race, I chose based on the date and nothing else.  So when I got there today, there were only a few hundred runners, running through the forest, virtually no spectators, relatively hilly (although not too bad), and it rained for about 20 minutes half way through.  The worst part, however, was that the road was compact gravel which means that 30 seconds into the race I had pebbles in my shoes which remained there for the whole race.

Despite all my bitching, I ran well.  My (apparently, slightly inaccurate) GPS on my phone told me I was running a good pace - just over 10 minutes/mile and despite not normally being able to keep that pace up, I was feeling good.  Turns out that the GPS was not exactly precise and ultimately had me running 13.48 miles over a 13.1 miles course, so my 10:06 pace was really about 10:18.  Still, this was almost five full minutes faster than last year's half marathon and 3 minutes faster than my best split from the marathon.

I leave Thursday for the wedding.  I am getting super excited.  Most of the wedding planning is moving along smoothly and I think everything is going to be really awesome.  I'm also bidding for my next tour right now.  So, basically, putting all the big life things at one time.  Kind of puts a half marathon into perspective.