Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon Race Recap

Here it is! My last race of the season and my first official half marathon!

In a fit of delusion just before the marathon I decided to sign up for this half to round out the season. I posted about it on Facebook and my friend Katie and her sister decided they would run the 5k - Katie's first! So I was able to start the day out cheering them on...but you'll read about all of that as we go!

To get this out of the way: This race had a half and a 5k option. Packet pick up was available Wednesday, Friday, and day of the race (not Thursday because it was Thanksgiving). The race benefits the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America.It was held at Busse Woods in Elk Grove Village (a familiar stomping ground for my summer training) and was point-to-point, meaning you start in a different spot than you end. No big deal, I guess, but I was definitely glad Anthony was there to meet me at the finish instead of having to walk or bus back to my car! I'd classify the course as easy rolling hills and flats with little crowd support (there is some at various parking lots close to the course). There were a combined 2,738 participants for the 5k (1,254) and half (1,484). For it's size it was well staffed, and there were plenty of amenities (food, port-a-potties, etc) for the runners BUT I found out that they ran out of medals at the end. Not cool at all!

On top of that: I have to admit that I was totally confused by the actual course for this race, and the physical start arch-area-thing just confused me even more.

Back in June I did the Volition America 5k, which included a 5k and half marathon option - this even was also held at Busse Woods and both races started and finished in the same area. The 5k was an out-and-back, and the half was a loop. I honestly expected this course to be the same. I'm guessing they did not use the same course so that they could use the parking lot at the end for the post-race set up rather than on the grass where the Volition would have ended in the case of inclement weather. That said, there are still plenty of parking lots near where the race started, so I don't understand why they weren't utilized for a loop course instead.

The weirdest thing to me was the forced bottleneck at the start (you can see it in the picture of Katie and Annie below). The area we all had to cross to start was the width of a double wide stroller (which I know because a woman with one barely scraped through). I truly don't understand why they didn't just get a wider timing mat!

I guess I just feel like the course itself could have been better...and the start definitely could have.

Also note: TONNNS of goose poop on the grass at Busse Woods at this time of year.

Anyways...on to the recap!

Friday - The Day Before
I took it easy on Friday. Anthony and I woke up really late - 10:30!! Thanksgiving had been a long, long day (up at 5:30 for me) and ended with us babysitting his nieces so his sister and BIL could make it to his family's. Around 12:30am the youngest started crying so Anthony brought her into bed with us where she proceeded to toss around for well over an hour. After some back and forth between beds I finally got her to fall asleep in her own bed, and spent the next few hours not sleeping great...but I figured that would mean an early night and some good rest before the half!

We went out shopping on Friday, and also made a stop at Dick Pond, where I'd done packet pick up on Wednesday.

The pickup itself had been very smooth. I had told Katie that the store was literally right on my way home from work so I could pick up for all of us so I stopped on my way home from work on Wednesday to do just that. I had all of our signed waivers, and in less than 5 minutes walked out with all three packets. However...I got home, pulled out the fleece in my pack and was sorely disappointed to see that it had the wrong race on it! The fleece I'd gotten was for the Long Grove Turkey Trot, not the Schaumburg! So I called the store to see if I could return it, and they said to stop by on Friday (which I obviously did).

When I exchanged the fleece I also bought a 5k magnet for Katie, since it was her first one! After that we went to Dick's so I could look for some Black Friday deals on cold weather gear, and I bought the tights and zip-up that I wore for the race (both Reebok with style and stitching that match gear I already own).

After that we headed back to Anthony's and hung out the rest of the night, which of course included ordering thin crust sausage and onion pizza for dinner!

By 9pm we were in bed, and I slept like a rock!

Saturday - Race Day
I woke up on race day with only one thought in my mind: Whyyyy??????

After the marathon I was ready to be done with the season. About two weeks ago I realized I wanted to be lifting more and not so concerned with running - maybe have a long run max of five miles a week, plus a couple other runs mid week. I was not excited about running thirteen (point one!) miles on Saturday...but I was excited that I would finally be tackling a sponsored 13.1 mile distance: My very first official half marathon!

I stretched and foam rolled in Anthony's living room, I made (and drank) some coffee and then suited up and gathered all my race essentials before we headed out. The half start was at 9:15, but the 5k started at 8:30 and I wanted to see Katie and Annie before they went off.

After parking (super super far away) and walking to the start point, we found Katie and Annie and chit chatted while they waited to start. When they were ready to line up we grabbed a picture (and sneaky Anthony took one of himself when I thought he was taking a goofy picture of me!):
Doesn't he look thrilled to be up early trekking around through goose poop and taking pictures??

Look at Kates in the middle, all excited for her first official race!!!

Also, I told Anthony not to get my feet since I didn't want to take the sweatpants all the way off...and he ignored me haha.
When the 5k started, I snagged a picture of my girls...
...and then Anthony and I wandered around, periodically cleaning mounds of goose poop off our shoes and taking selfies (and I also ate a Clif bar):
A few minutes before lining up I told Anthony I needed to take care of some runner's biz in the port-a-potty, and after doing so we walked over to the start. I pulled off my warm clothes (Anthony's sweatpants and sweatshirt) put on my FlipBelt (with two gels and some salt sticks) and kissed my man for good luck before lining up near the 10:40/mile pacer.

Note: I had no intention of running a 10:40 pace, I just did not want to move further back.

The final countdown counted, and we were off!

The Race
As with all races, I started just a tad too fast, clocking my first mile at 10:52. My intention was to run an 11:30 pace, on target for a 2:30 half (as well as a PR for the distance...I'd achieved a 2:33 time during my 18 mile training run in September).

Right after hitting the 1 Mile mark I ran into a guy named Fred, who I know from the Wellness Committee at work. He told me he'd run hard for a 10k on Thanksgiving and was planning to take this race easy. His easy pace happens to be slightly faster than my comfortable pace, but I decided to try running with him anyways (and he was determined to stick with me!).

The miles passed and I knew I was moving a bit too fast and I'd be feeling it by mile 9 or so, but I kept going anyways, striding over the familiar bridges and through the trees and fields of Busse Woods. Home turf, for sure:
  • Mile 2 - 10:50
  • Mile 3 - 10:41
  • Mile 4 - 11:05
  • Mile 5 - 10:32
  • Mile 6 - 10:42
At Mile 6 there was an aid station and I could feel that I needed a gel. Normally I would have taken it at Mile 5, but I'd forgotten my hand held water bottle and needed water with the gel. As soon as I slurped it down I felt better and had more energy. My 10k split was 1:07:03.2, a distance PR.

Miles 7-10 got progressively harder:
  • Mile 7 - 10:36
  • Mile 8 - 11:01
  • Mile 9 - 11:14
  • Mile 10 - 11:09
...and by 11 I was cached and ready to be done. I could feel myself slowing down, but as we passed the race start I somehow found some extra gas and managed to negative split the eleventh mile by almost 14 seconds:
  • Mile 11 - 10:55
The next mile slowed me down, and as we came to the end of it we walked an aid station and then started climbing the bridge over Higgins Road. Fred was slightly further ahead of me than I'd let him get the whole race, and as we crested the bridge he slowed down for me to catch up and said, "Now it's downhill. We have one more mile and we finish strong!"
  • Mile 12 - 11:20
It was mostly downhill too...except for that last little hill at the end, that I've had for every race this season! I didn't hit a wall all season, but between the Chicago Triathlon 10k and this race I came very close. Going up that last incline we sighted the finish line, which barely seemed to inch forward with every step. But finally we were there, mile 13, then 13.1:
  • Mile 13 - 10:50
  • Mile 13.1 - 1:32
I crossed the finish line in 2:23:16 - a ten minute personal record on my half marathon distance. 

I grabbed my medal and immediately found Anthony and gave him a huge hug and kiss, then bent over to relieve some of the pressure on my knees, haha.
Me and my support crew/sherpa!! 

I thanked Fred and snagged a picture with him too - going into the race I was pretty sure I would PR, but I never would have crushed the goal if he hadn't been (unknowingly) pacing me the whole time. And mentally the race would have been way tougher if I hadn't had the distraction of someone to talk to the whole time!

I grabbed some water and Anthony and I headed out...and when we got to the car he surprised me with flowers AND chocolate cake. Best sherpa ever!

Post-Race thoughts

Mentally this race was tough - doubting if I could hold a (very) sub-long run pace (10:56 vs 11:30) for the majority of the race, forgetting water, wondering if I'd hit a wall...there was a lot of room for doubt.

But I realized during this race that I have been selling myself short with running. A lot. My average pace for the 13 miles of this race was 10:56. Before Saturday I would have told you that was my "comfortable fast" pace that I'd only be able to sustain "comfortably" for a few miles...not a long run pace. Well, it was slightly uncomfortable, but I held that pace for over13 miles, and it showed me that I'm capable of way more than I think I am.

Next season will definitely be different that this season. So far, I've only got a few for-sure races lined up (and I'll be posting more about all that later). It's been an amazing year for me though...I have tackled more than I ever thought I'd be able to, and I was very, very happy that I was able to end on such a great note! A 10 minute PR?? I'll take that!

Until next time, friends!


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Eurotrip Days 13 & 14: Harlow and the Trip Home

Here it is. The very last post. The last few days. The wrap up of my trip to Europe. How all the fun and visiting came to an end. Read on for the emotions, the fun, some pictures, and a wrap up! Just a note: I've put a sidebar on my blog next to the archive list if you'd like to go through and read any posts you may have missed (for those of you coming from Facebook, I know I didn't post all of these there so you might want to check it out)!

Thursday (Day 13)
Thursday morning I woke up (first again!) to the mad clucking of hens in Katie's backyard, and made my way downstairs for some tea and blogging. When I got to the kitchen I thought to myself that it would be lovely to feed the chickens since it was my last day there, and it's not something I normally get to do. So I went outside and...

...the back gate was open.

Katie has four hens, and only one was still in the yard. She was the timid 'runt' of the bunch, and I'd seen the other hens bullying her for food. I think she was hoping the others wouldn't come back...but I wasn't going to leave them to the wilds of Saffron Walden, and I walked out front looking for the others.

It didn't take long to find two of them pecking around the neighbor's car, and I lured them back to the garden with some chicken feed (note: chickens are super dumb). I could NOT find the fourth though. The largest, 'alpha' hen was still missing. I went back inside, resigned to tell Katie I could only find two of the three when I heard cooing and clucking, very obviously coming from the front garden. So I went back out and peeked into the front hedge, and there she was. Sitting on a little nest she'd made for herself a mere 50 feet from her coup in the backyard. I bullied her into the back and shut the gate...and thus ended my unexpected foray into hen hunting!

Four hens, collected again. Little miss in the back was the only one nice enough to stick around while the others ventured off.

A little roost for a rogue chicken.

Fortunately for me, the rest of the morning was much less eventful. Katie had worked a nightshift so we all agreed Matt should drive me to the train station, and in no time I was on my way to my Aunt Margaret's, just a few stops down the train line from Katie. I'd decided to end at her house because my plans got changed so suddenly and I knew it would be easiest to get to the airport from my Aunt's since I could walk to the train station and not disrupt anyone's day. (Hah. More on that later.)

My 'Auntie M' picked me up at the station and we made the short walk to her house - another place I feel totally and completely at home. It's like walking into a living memory every time I go there it's like no time has passed and I pick up with my aunt right where we left off. That said...SO much has happened since I visited two years ago, so we spent a good chunk of the morning catching up, enjoying tea (and biscuits) in the garden.

While she prepared lunch, I set to taking pictures to share with all you lovely people. My aunt will probably be mortified that I'm sharing the VIDEO I made walking through her garden, but I absolutely love her garden no matter what time of year it is, and I wanted to share a little bit of that with you. It truly is one of the most peaceful places I know! Enjoy!

This oversized urn was a gift from my mom after we stayed with my aunt one year.

After my dad died my aunt took a small portion of his ashes 'home to England' with her - so a piece of him could rest where he was raised. She planted this magnolia over the ashes, but this year the magnolia died. My aunt decided to leave it to return to nature, and said she will plant something in it's spot when ready.

Runner beans!!

More runners!

The reading room.

The living room...on top of the chest is a picture frame that has a collage of pictures of my dad... :')

Storytime: When I got home from my study abroad my mom threw a 21st birthday party for me with all my family and friends since I'd missed Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas, and New Year's while abroad. After I'd opened all of my gifts, she brought out a huge box and handed it to me. Inside was a quilt, made of squares with all different plaid, striped, and solid patterns. I was at a loss for what it was, until my brother said, "Do you recognize the patterns?" and my heart stopped as I realized the entire quilt had been made out of my dad's old shirts. I (naturally) burst into tears while everyone in the room gradually figured out why I was crying, and then started crying with me.

The next time I went to England (for Hannah's wedding in 2010) I told my aunt this story, and she left the room, tears in her eyes, and stoically continued making dinner while she cried over that living memory of her brother. It took me over four years, but when I went over in 2014 I was finally able to gift her two pillowcases out of the same shirts.

And yes, we all cried when she opened them...

I tell you this story because, when I am in England with my aunt, I can allow the world to stop and let the memories we have of my dad feel real and alive. She helps make them feel that way, and I will always be grateful that she loves and misses him the way I do.

After lunch I asked my aunt to take me for a walk, which is only kind of a joke. My aunt has retained her youth and vigor, even at 72, by walking a lot. Like, take what you think is a lot and multiply it by 3, then add in some long walking holidays and you'll be about where my aunt is with walking. Every trip over includes walks every day, and one year she and her friends took me on a great walk/hike through Epping Forest that still tops my list of favorite walks because at one point a 65 year old man helped me cross a wide stream after he leapt over it in one bound. Fun times!
A picture from said walk in Epping Forest, which my aunt keeps in her office/guest room :)
Anyways, we walked about (in the hot and humid - I definitely broke a sweat!), I got to help lock a dam, we spent some time looking around a small independent art gallery, and then stopped for a pint at a pub along the path.
Before I helped with the locking! When the men at the lock saw I was curious they told me I could help!
It was a fun little walk (always is), and I was grateful to have that time with my aunt. When we got home we had a cup of tea and talked some more, then she started on dinner while I went through my pack again, preparing for the trip home.

We had a classically delicious dinner of bangers and mash...

...and I left a note for my cousin Molly...

...and then we popped to the Snooker club for an evening pint before climbing into bed for the night...

In short...a perfect last day of traveling.

Friday - the trip home
Oh, Friday. Oh oh oh oh OH.

It was a day. A long, loooooong day.

I've mentioned plenty of times on Facebook that it pretty much never rained while I was on my trip, which is unheard of in Europe. I think it rained very early two mornings in Germany, but absolutely nothing that upset any plans.

Well. The rain caught up with me on Friday morning. Very, very early.

It had been warm all week so before bed I threw open the window in my Aunt's guest room for some fresh air, at at 3am awoke to pouring rain coming down outside. I shut the window a tad just in case, but the cool breeze felt nice and it felt cathartic. Like my last day in England gave me rain, as every trip to England should include.

Well. A little later I didn't feel like that.

I wanted to get to the airport at least 3 hours early so I gave myself nearly 5 hours for the trip to the airport. After breakfast my aunt walked me over to the station and as we got closer it looked like there were a lot of people standing outside, to which she commented, "It always worries me when the people who work for the trains are standing outside the station..."

When we were within view of the turnstiles to go to the platforms I realized that every one of them had a bright red "X" displaying that they couldn't be used. The (very nice) woman in a national rail vest told us that there would be NO trains from Harlow Town. None in, none out. There was debris on the tracks.

Because of the rain.

I looked at her and said, "NONE? None at all?!" and she confirmed, to which I responded, "Fuck."

Of course, the one time I relied on the ease of the train journey from my aunt's the fates decided to mess with me.

I asked where I could get a train into London, and the woman said the Epping station was open, so we walked over to the first cab in line and my aunt said, "How much to Epping?" Which I promptly followed up with, "It doesn't even matter, I need to get there no matter how much it costs."

However, if you're wondering: In heavy traffic and rain, adding a stop at a cash point, and with a cabbie who knows the back roads to Epping because his sister lives there...it costs £30.

The cabbie was super nice and put up with my slightly panicked and distracted demeanor as I sent my mom text after text about my super exciting morning and PS-Mom-I-might-have-to-put-a-bunch-of-extra-charges-on-the-NatWest-card...but he got me as close to the station as possible which was a feat given that busloads of people were being transferred there from other stations. It turns out the rain ruined a lot of Friday morning commutes. I made my way into the station and asked the first employee I could find how to get to Heathrow. He told me to change at Holburn for the Piccadilly line to Heathrow.

Alright. Sounded easy enough.

The ride to Holburn was a good 40 minutes, but I made it and hopped off ready to get on the train to LHR. At which point I was thrilled to see this sign...at 9:40am:
Daniel Radcliff's photobomb face is basically what I looked like when I saw this sign.

I followed the signs to transfer anyways, and when I got to the area blocking the halls to the Piccadilly line one of the tube agents said, "Well you can just hop on this one and transfer here and..." and I cut her off (politely) to say that I would just wait. She was shocked and said, "But it's 20 minutes!" and I was like, 'Yeah...but I KNOW it will get me to Heathrow. My flight is in 3 hours. I'll wait the 20 minutes."

She still seemed shocked, but a lot of people had the same idea as me, and elected to wait (what ended up being only 10 minutes) for the gates to open. I was able to hop on the first train that came through, and another 40 minutes later was at the airport. Here are some pictures for your enjoyment:
This guy was actually barefoot the entire ride. On and off the train and up and down the escalators...he was also wearing a VERY tight and uncomfortable looking outfit...think a wrestling onesie. And he had no shame. Okay dude, you do you!

What two hours of slight panic looks like.
I made it to the airport and sent my tenth text to my mom to let her know I had arrived, and also found out that my flight would be one hour late to depart. Yay, just what I was hoping for. I checked my bag and went through security, then got coffee to calm myself, did some last minute candy buying (what else do you spend the remainder of your money on?) and eventually meandered over to my gate, ready for my flight home.
Less panicky now.
 Fortunately, everything after that was smooth sailing. The boarding and taxing were normal. The flight to Reykjavik went without a hitch. I spent $18 on a terrible chicken wrap and orange juice during my layover (and I thought US airport food was a ripoff) and did not have any un-do seat changes for the last leg to Chicago - which also boarded and left on time.

By the time I got to Chicago I was ready for landing. I waited and waited at baggage claim and then realized our corral had been switched and easily found my bag and made my way out of the airport...where Anthony greeted me with a kiss and a steak burrito. Both were very, very welcome.


I can't believe I left on this trip almost three months ago. Everything leading up to it was crazy, the days I traveled between continents was stressful and aggravating...but the time with my family and friends was absolutely worth it. I never know when I'll be back overseas or when I'll see these people again, so I hold onto the memories from these trips. It took me forever, but I'm glad I finally got all of these posts up so I can remember everything just a little bit better, for longer.

Hopefully you enjoyed these posts - if you made it through how crazy long they are!

And with that...


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Eurotrip Days 11 & 12: the English Seaside and Biking South Suffolk

I am still determined to post about the rest of this trip I took to Europe. I can't believe I got home two months ago and I'm still not done! Life has been so busy that I can't even explain it all! There are literally so many posts spinning around in my head that I want to write, but finding the time is quite a problem. I want to write about everything from my company's new building to camping trips to days out doing random stuff..and now the holidays are coming and I want to write about that too! I have so many pictures to share as well...I need to get on it!

So...without further ado, the second to last post about Europe!

Tuesday (Day 11)
Leaving Hannah's is never easy, but leaving her to see family made it slightly easier ;)

To get to my cousin's I had to take the train into London from Grays, and then back out again on a different line to my cousin's. I also had to find my way from Fenchurch Street station to Liverpool Street, and I completely lucked out...somehow my GPS and Google Maps worked even though I didn't have my data turned on! I'm not even kidding...I was blown away that I could still use it!

While I meandered through London, I stumbled across this super cool building too!
The Gherkin!

Getting up close to this building was on my bucket list! Check!


Catching up on some note taking.

I loved this bike rack at the station...it would be so cool to see something like this at my office, full of bikes! I hope to be a cycling commuter some day!
My train journey took me to Audley End - the nearest station to Saffron Walden where my cousin Katie lives. She picked me up at the station (I swear, I'm always so happy to see her that I almost cried), and took me 'home'. Really, hers is another house where I feel completely relaxed and at home, and I love staying with her!

I was very excited as well, because the weather was stunning and we (Katie, her boyfriend Matt, and I) decided a beach day was in order. After some breakfast and a trip to the shops, we piled into the car and started on our way to Aldeburgh, a seaside town in Suffolk.
All the places I visited are on this map. Just for kicks I put a red dot at Grays, where Hannah lives. And I spend my last day with my aunt in Harlow, just a few clicks south of Saffron Walden.
I wish I could say the drive out was uneventful, but there was an accident and a huge slowdown on one of the roads and we ended up sitting in traffic - literally not moving at all - for nearly half an hour. And I realllly had to pee!

We finally got out of traffic, stopped at a petrol station (for petrol and potties) and then continued on our way, arriving with enough time to have some lunch, bathe in the sea, and make the walk to Thorpeness (next town north) and back.

Per the usual with my trip, I have lots of photos. My phone never rested!

It all looks so English and seasidey!!

Because why not just have sailboats sitting around?

This dog looked like Nigel's twin, only blonder!

Had to snag a selfie with my cuz!

Ohhh rock beaches...

Funny story...the sun was out ALL DAY and then we got to the beach. Oh England... -_-

Artistic and stuff.

I kept this rock.

I was lucky enough to get to use one of the boys' Bart Simpson towel...that you can wear.

Trying not to bust a gut laughing.

I feel like these multicolor houses define every English seaside town I've been to!

The trek to Thorpeness! (You can see the town in the distance, a bit to the right of the path.)

Apparently I like to take pictures of other people's dogs.

He was so cute!
We got to Thorpeness and found this Peter Pan lake to sit down next to and relax for a bit. We didn't stay long since everything had already closed, but it was fun to see the swans and cygnets!

Feathers everywhere.

Peter Pan lake (I'm positive that it's not actually called that).

Katie breaking the rules for a cute picture.

Another selfie, this time with the sea in view as we walked back to Aldeburgh!

I love this picture...

Fun fact: They used to burn 'witches' outside this church.

Walking back into town to find some fish and chips!! (Katie and Matt taking the lead!)

While Matt queued for fish and chips, Katie and I found a pub to grab a pint. This is definitely a traditional English pub, complete with outdated booth fabric and everything! I love pubs like this :)

I don't drink beer, so it was cider for me :)

Matt prevailed for us, and came back with plenty of fish and chips, which we sat by the sea to eat. The sun had gone down, the moon was out, and it was the perfect way to end a warm, active day at the seaside.

(Naturally) I fell asleep on the drive home. I'm not a person who excels at staying up late, especially in cars during long drives. But it was all for the best, because the following day we were planning a nice bike ride!

Wednesday (Day 12)
I don't have many pictures from Wednesday because we were more focused on riding! I'd brought my tri shorts with me because I figured I'd be riding in Germany (note that I did not, haha), but they came in use in England! It turns out Matt is really into cycling, and Katie has picked up interest as well. He happened to have an extra bicycle that I could use - it was a tad too big for me (the frame was both a little high and a little long), but for a short ride through South Suffolk it did the trick!

I was the first one up on Wednesday, had some tea and did some blogging, then hung out while Matt and Katie got up. When the time came we loaded up the car, then popped into town for a few necessities...like a new helmet for Matt (though he let me use it for this ride, and he used his old one).

Everything just fit, including us!
We drove about an hour away...apparently we started somewhere called Edwardstone, rode to Stoke-by-Nayland, and then back to Edwardstone:

Unlike our beach day the day before, it was hot for our ride. And aside from a foresty area we went through, it was mostly farmland (=sun). Now, it wasn't as hot as a majority of the riding I did during the summer (averaging 90 + humidity), but the temperature crept near 80 and for England it was humid.

Notes on cycling somewhere with completely different 'Rules of the Road': Our average speed wasn't super fast, but I was kind of grateful since I was on a bike I wasn't familiar with and riding on the 'wrong' side of the road. I told Matt he had to take the lead otherwise I'd end up turning into the wrong lane and kill myself. We had a few close calls on extremely narrow roads with vans and SUVs, but for the most part we had the roads and trails to ourselves. There were a few times that I wanted to 'open up' on Matt's road bike and see how fast I could go, but it's probably way better that I didn't!

We stopped for a light lunch (some delicious marrow soup and salad with homemade bread for me!) and then made our way back to the car so we could get home in time for Katie to get to work.

When we got back to the car I snagged this picture with Katie so I'd have at least something to show for the day!

It took us a while to get home because of construction in Saffron Walden, but we got some shopping done and made it home with enough time for Katie to take a nap before her nightshift, for me to pack up my stuff, and for Matt to make some super-delicious fish pie for dinner!

Before Katie went to work we hung out at a park for a while, then Matt and I headed back and decided to watch a movie (for those interested, we watched Waffle Street).

After that it was off to bed for me, using the time difference to catch up with Anthony (and I didn't need the time difference to catch up with Hannah, but I did that anyways :P).

The following day was going to be my last full day in England...(so stay tuned and maybe I'll post about that in like another month)