Anniversary Bling.

This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of our engagement – one whole year! Even though Saturday was our official anniversary, Friday felt like our anniversary, since he proposed last year on Friday when I got home from work. So I decided we might as well celebrate it all weekend.

Friday after work we headed to the jewelry store to look at wedding bands! I tried on two different styles, one just plain white gold and one white gold with diamonds to match my engagement ring. My engagement ring is so sparkly already, I’m not sure that I really need another band of diamonds. We’ll see – I’m still trying to decide between the two. It was fun to see what my ring will look like with it’s married counterpart! And honestly, what girl doesn’t enjoy trying on some bling?

Saturday morning we were up bright and early for the Emerald Miles 5K run. We did this race last year too, so I had a good idea what to expect. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was the COLD! I’ve been doing so much of my training up until this point on the treadmill, and my lungs were definitely not expecting the 30 degree temps. Last year, Casey won a 2nd place medal for his age group in this race, and he was hoping to have a personal best time this year. We both lined up in the front, prepared to give it our all for three miles.

Over the course of training these past few months, I’ve gotten a lot faster. I’m not sure exactly what to attribute it to, but I’m guessing it’s a combination of losing weight (less to haul!) and doing a lot of strength training. I’ve done a lot of treadmill running this winter, which feels very different than running on the sidewalk. While I knew my treadmill pace was faster than I typically run outside, I didn’t know how that would translate to outdoor running. Turns out I’m even faster outside than I am on the treadmill! I haven’t done a competitive race since last summer, so I had no idea what kind of time I should expect to run the 5K, but I knew I was going to give it everything I had.

When the gun went off I started running fast, but not my fastest, because I was really afraid of burning out after a mile. It was so cold running over the bridges and with the wind whipping in and out of downtown. That whole first mile I felt like my body was in shock from the cold temps and lack of warming up. I got to the first mile marker and heard the guy yell out 7:15 – holy crap. I knew I could not hold that pace, so I tried to slow down a bit to conserve energy. At the same time, I kept reminding myself, “it’s only three miles” – a much shorter distance than I’m used to running. If I could just convince myself to hold on for 15 or so more minutes, it would all be over.

After the second mile marker (14:30), I could feel my body starting to slow down. I was so tired. I just kept screaaaaming at myself (in my mind) and willing my legs to keep moving at that speed. The final push was the purple people bridge – all up hill. I lost a lot of momentum going over the bridge, and did my best to sprint to the finish for an official finishing time of 23:28 – a personal best by over three minutes. Casey met me at the finishing line, and gave me all sorts of hugs and praise as I rolled around on the ground gasping and threatening to vomit.

Casey had also run a great race – 19:29 – craaazy fast! We knew he had probably won an age-group award, so we hung around for a while until the awards ceremony, enjoying coffee and bananas, and avoiding the 700-calorie bagels they were handing out. They announced the age-group winners, including our very own “male 25-29 1st place winner” – Casey Malone! Casey got his medal and I cheered and clapped and beamed with pride. But what came next was totally unexpected. “Female 25-29 2nd place winner” – Emily Holcombe! H-O-L-Y-C-R-A-P!

If you had told me two years ago when I started the Couch to the 5K training program, that I would eventually run a 5K at a 7:34 pace and win a freaking medal – I would have laughed in your face. Running has changed my life in ways I never thought possible.

I was on cloud nine and wore my medal around with pride. The rest of the day was a perfect anniversary – relaxing, celebrating, eating, and simply enjoying each other’s company. We stayed in Saturday night and made a delicious dinner together. Casey baked a loaf of whole-wheat bread from scratch – awesome!

Before and after the rising and baking…

We also had fantastic ginger-soy salmon and brussels sprouts, and I made a low-calorie version of a creamy spinach, mushrooms, and onion sautee. Mmmmmmmm…

It was the perfect ending to an awesome anniversary. I went into the weekend expected to get a wedding band, and I ended up with a race medal instead. We will still (obviously) get our wedding bands, but it was the bling that we earned that made our weekend so special.