Tuesday, August 30, 2016

There's a Difference Between Living and Living Well

I've often blogged about my affinity for Norfolk, Virginia, a city I feel was my first grown up home. I've lived in Michigan for a decade, and it still doesn't feel the same way to me as Norfolk. As our plane descended into Norfolk International Airport two weekends ago, I teared up seeing the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, the world's largest Navy base and East Beach from the air. The only time I cry about Michigan is deep in the bitter cold of winter. And it's not a sentimental cry.

I got to spend an entire week with my siblings, sibs-in-law, niece and nephews (including meeting my newest one who's only three weeks old). Generally my trips to Virginia are over long weekends, and it's been a long time since I've gotten some serious quality time there. The last time I visited, nearly two years ago, we'd just found out we were matched with our son's birth mother. I knew life was about to change forever, and that visit had a desperate quality to it - trying to soak in my city for the last time as my childless self.  While traveling with my son is certainly different, the kid is a rockstar. Vacations now include nap time, but I've found that isn't the worst thing. It makes me relax too, something we know I'm not good at.

Our first full day there was super hot. We visited my old neighborhood, Ghent, for lunch and shopping. I can't possibly be there and not buy anything in one of the many adorable local stores. I coveted houses for sale and imagined how much I'd love to live in that neighborhood again. It cultivated my love of walkability, and it does everything - from street design to its dearth of off-street parking - perfectly. 

It was a busy week that in retrospect leaves me wondering how we filled our time. My husband and I knocked another state capitol off the list by visiting Virginia's State House in Richmond. Despite Richmond's relatively close proximity to Norfolk, I never visited there when I lived in Hampton Roads. I was there once for a debate tournament in college, but I don't remember much. It turns out I LOVE Richmond. Three years ago I interviewed for a job that would've been based in Richmond, and it wasn't a good fit. Now having visited Richmond I am kicking myself. It's a fantastic city.

My usual - jumping in front of a Capitol
After visiting the Capitol we drove down famed Monument Avenue on our way to lunch. It's a phenomenal street flanked by stunning southern homes and trees. It's a perfect boulevard with historical monuments in the center. It's one of two National Historic Landmark Districts in the city, and it's been named one of 10 great streets by the American Planning Association. Well deserved. Lunch was at the adorable Galaxy Diner in Carytown before walking around in dozens of great local stores. I realize I fall in love easily, but I love Richmond. Love, love, love.

We had a relaxing week spending time with family, playing at the park and pool, and visiting Nauticus in downtown Norfolk, home of the USS Wisconsin. Downtown Norfolk is one of my favorite places, and I got to spend some serious quality time there and in Ghent. I visited my former colleagues at city hall. My sister and I went out with friends at the Ocean View Pier. It was all in all a fantastic week.

Love this view of Downtown Norfolk from the deck of the USS Wisconsin

Drinks on the pier with my sister
I got in three runs while I was there, but given the heat and humidity they were all a little brutal. My IT band injury has also returned with a vengeance. I was having hip and back pain all week. I am popping 800 mg of Ibuprofen in the morning before starting the day and sometimes more after I run. I feel like a retired NFL player. I'm pretty sure this means I need to see my sports medicine doctor and probably need PT, but I'm putting it off. I switched shoes and veered from my usual Brooks Ravenna to try Mizunos. It's been almost two weeks, and I think I'll have to return them. There's not quite as much support, and I can feel the hip and lower back pain immediately at the start of my run. Half marathon training has seen better days.

Love our different philosophies. I think she's onto something.
For the first time in a while I feel really rested after a vacation. My cityphile needs are sated, and my heart is full after time with the fam. Next week I'll be spending a week in West Virginia, so I may be the most relaxed human ever later this month. Y'all will need to see it to believe it. 

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