After polishing off a bowl of Skyline Chili’s Vegetarian Three Way Chili (served over spaghetti noodles and topped with a humungous mound of shredded cheddar of course), we made a stop at Graeter’s for a Cheese Crown pastry: Cincinnati at its finest. We left our Myrtle Beach hide out last Friday and made the drive to Cincinnati, OH to begin a series of get togethers with family and friends across the state, and as usual with us, it’s at a torrid pace.
The first leg of the journey is in Cincinnati where the bulk of Julie’s family lives and where she grew up. It’s also where we first met almost 9 years ago as we were both finishing up college. We always set up home base at Anita’s, Julie’s mom, and spread out from there for the Cincy parties.
Saturday was the Christmas decorating day as Julie and her Mom put up the Christmas tree as well as lights outside. We then went over to our friend Chris’s new place (in the Skyline pic with Julie above) to be part of his first tree decorating. We basically watched as he and Leah got it all put together. We were part of the peanut gallery telling him if it looked good and whether or not he had the star straight on top. We spent the night and went to Hyde Park the next morning to meet up for a run with a good size group of local runners.
Sunday was a family day as Julie’s Aunt Teresa and her family came over for a little holiday celebration. Nearly everyone brought some vittles for the occasion and we had a nice party. It’s always good to see the cousins and their kids. I made a somewhat untraditional meal by making falafel in pitas with all the fixings. It went over well, at least it seems that way because everything was eaten.
We met up with Chris again on Monday morning for a run. We picked the bike trail close by and had an awesome run. It was awesome because as I expected, Chris and I ran together and without noticing the pace, were running sub-7 minute miles the last half. We had a great conversation and I am now more optimistic about what I can do for the upcoming Marathon Madness. It was also an awesome run because the bike path is totally flat.
The Monday rush then really began as we hurried to get cleaned up so we could meet with our friend Jon for lunch. We hit up a local place none of us had tried before and chatted it up for a good 2 hours. We love catching up with him as we feel we have much in common with him and he’s the type of guy that has the ability to motivate us to do cool things.
We then went to Grandma’s house on Monday night for dinner with Grandma and Papa, along with Julie’s Dad, Bob, and his girlfriend Sue. Grandma always cooks a special vegetarian meal for us and this time was no exception. We had a good time and visited for nearly 5 hours before calling it a night and heading back to Anita’s.
Tuesday gave us a bit of a rest in the afternoon with no lunch plans. It was needed as we were both worn out from the first few days of the Ohio Round Up. We worked on some to-do list stuff and generally laid low most of the day until dinner time where we headed over to Julie’s sister’s home for dinner. We picked up my favorite Cincinnati pizza, Adriatico’s (old college stand by for me) and had a nice visit with Laura, Sam, and Clark. It’s the first time we’ve visited Laura in her home. She’s lived in Texas for many years so we didn’t see her much but her and Sam are now in Cincinnati and have a nice home.
Wednesday was another morning run with Chris at the trail and again, we cruised at 7 minute pace for 17 miles. Again I didn’t look at my watch as we had another good conversation. I am very much encouraged by these runs not only for my fitness, but because Chris plans to pace me for some of the latter stages of the 100 mile Leadville race this summer. I know I can run with him and we have tons to talk about so hopefully as I’m struggling and dying out there on the trails, I won’t think about it too much because I’ll have Chris to keep me going.
Last night, we went to another of our Cincinnati favorites for our Christmas dinner with Anita. She knows the way to our heart is food and for a gift, she took us out to Ambar India, our favorite Indian place in town, and possibly anywhere we’ve actually been. We were not disappointed as we downed some spicy dishes. I loved it and was thankful I met my three hour exercise quota for the day so I could eat without restraint.
Today we’re getting reorganized and packed for the second leg of the Ohio journey. We have a brief stop in Columbus to see some of our favorite cousins, Justin and Allison before heading up to Findlay to spend a few days with my family. Justin and Allison are famous for their yarden. This isn’t a typo, they turned their yard into a garden. So no mowing grass, but instead, the entire front yard is a working garden that they live off of much of the year. They actually get to eat the rewards of their yardwork. We love it and we love visiting with them because they always challenge us to think a little differently.
So the Ohio party rolls on! We’ve had a great stay in Cincinnati and are ready to move north for a few days before turning again to head south to begin Marathon Madness 2012. Thanks to all for the great visits and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.