Tag Archives: run

The Graduate

28 Jun

Well, it’s almost that time. I’m almost a full-fledged Crossfit member!

onramp

 

I’d like to do a full review of the On Ramp class, because I really think that people need to know what it’s like. I feel like there are two camps of people: One group who see “Crossfit” and think they aren’t ‘fit enough’ to do it, and another group who thinks the On Ramp class won’t be a good enough workout. Prior to signing up for the On Ramp classes, I wasn’t brand new to Crossfit, and there were several people in my class who were pretty new to working out in general. I feel like we all benefited from the On Ramp month equally, and that really was amazing to me.

Although I wanted to take the On Ramp class, I’ll admit that I was a tiny bit worried that I would be bored, or I wouldn’t get a great workout. I was definitely wrong on all fronts. The instruction on form was unparalleled in the class. I think the form on my Olympic lifts has improved about a million percent or something from going to the classes. The coaches are so focused on your form, and there was never a moment where they didn’t work with someone until they got it right. Coach Zack and Coach Katie were so good at explaining the form, and there was never a disconnect — even when we had Coach Jeremy or Coach Brad, they explained the form the exact same way, so you know that they are well trained. Their main goal is for you to do the lifts the right way and prevent injury. I have a very bad habit of using my lower back too much on my deadlifts, and every time I did that in class, the coaches were right there to correct it. Very, very helpful.

As for those who think they aren’t fit enough to do Crossfit, my favorite quote that one of the coaches said during On Ramp was, “You get in Crossfit shape by doing Crossfit.” — enough said.

If you’re thinking about doing Crossfit, and you think it’s something you would enjoy, I can’t recommend this On Ramp class enough. I don’t care what fitness level you are, you will never feel uncomfortable or new. The coaches and members are super friendly, and it never felt ‘clique-ish’ which is one thing I was worried about. If you do decide to try the On Ramp class (the next one starts Monday, July 8th), please mention that I sent you! The first week is free, and I’ll get a free t-shirt if I recommend someone! 🙂

At yesterday’s class, Coach Jeremy gave us the go ahead to attend a ‘real’ WOD this morning, so I jumped at the chance — Benchmark Friday!

Today’s WOD was Nancy:

Photo Jun 28, 6 38 13 AM

 

…and like a big kid Crossfitter, I got a photo on the Facebook page:

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It’s pretty fun seeing myself doing something like that! I used 35 lbs total — not even close to Rx, but I’m ok with it. Overhead Squats are no joke. I felt very shaky the whole time with the 35 lbs, but I was able to do the 15 unbroken each round, so I think I picked an appropriate weight. I finished the WOD in 17:21, which is about 3.5 minutes per round. Not bad — definite room for improvement, but a solid attempt at a first Nancy.

Photo Jun 28, 6 38 16 AM

 

One thing I love about Crossfit is, even though everyone puts their times on the board at every WOD, it never feels like you’re competing with anyone but yourself. Trying to out-do that last time or setting yourself up for something you know that will challenge you is the main goal, and there is never any question. I never worry about being the slowest one, or using the lightest weight — I just focus on proper form and working as hard as I can. I totally get it now, I get why people are so Crossfit-obsessed!

Ok, while I was re-reading this post to edit it, I realize I sound like a Crossfit cheerleader, but I want to assure you that I’m not being paid to do this or anything. I really just enjoy the program that much!! ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I know I haven’t posted in a while, so I just wanted to mention that I ran in the WV 5k Championship this past Saturday and share one of the official photos from the race:

Photo courtesy of Mark Webb Photography (I was given permission to share this photo)

Photo courtesy of Mark Webb Photography (I was given permission to share this photo)

I was so disappointed in my official race photos last year, but this one more than makes up for it. Love it! More importantly, despite the heat and humidity that day, I was able to eek out a PR of 27:13! That’s a 33 second PR, if you’re counting (and I am!)

Unfortunately since the race, I haven’t logged much mileage. I’m about to eat my words and cancel my gym membership to focus on Crossfit, so I’m not going to have access to a treadmill for a while in this heat and humidity, so it all depends on how often I’m able to get out there.

Question of the Day:
Would you ever give up your gym membership? 

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I Need to Run 37 Miles in 12 Days

18 Jun

Running.

With the Crossfit On Ramp classes taking up 4 days a week, going out of town this past weekend, wedding planning and trying to buy a home, June hasn’t quite been the powerhouse of mileage that I had hoped it would be. I’d really like to be at 300 miles by the end of June, so that my goal of 600 miles in 2013 is pretty on track. Especially since I have a fun out of town trip planned for the 4th of July, and then we’ll be moving shortly after that, and then we will be on vacation, and then we will be getting married — there are a lot of running distractions planned for this summer/fall!

Just keep this in mind, Kristy.

Noted. 

So far I’ve done about 24 miles in June, which is decent considering all that has been going on. It’s been pretty rainy as well! I was lucky enough to get almost three miles in yesterday because of a quickie run before Crossfit and a mile of running between the warm up and the WOD. We also played a really fun game that I’d love to share with you.

One of our WOD skills was burpees, and while going over form, Coach Zack turned on The Police song, Roxanne and our task was to do a burpee every time they said Roxanne. Try it! It seems pretty easy until you get to the chorus 🙂

After that it was a pretty tough WOD: 15 dead-lift high pulls with a kettlebell, 15 burpees and a 400 meter run — 3 times. Doing 400 m after 15 burpees is pretty rough, let me tell you. I’m actually really looking forward to going to Crossfit each day. I have a 5k planned this weekend, and I think I’m just going to go ahead and go to Crossfit afterwards. I could make up the Saturday class, but I always really enjoy a marathon workout session on Saturday, so I think I’ll bike to the 5k, run, then bike to Crossfit for the WOD, then bike home. Then take a huge nap and eat all the food I can put in my stomach. Sounds like a perfect Saturday to me!

Speaking of the 5k on Saturday, I’m so pumped:

wv 5k

 

The WV 5k Championship is a race I’ve done for the past few years, and I can’t miss it! This year, I was online to register as soon as registration opened so I could get the free tech-t upgrade. The past two years, my times have been:

2011: 27:31
2012: 27:28

So, at least I’m consistent. I’ve really stepped up my running this year, though, and I’ve been running 5k’s nearly that fast just in training, so I’m anticipating a PR this year! Fingers crossed! I may even try to pace myself to a 1 minute PR and see how that goes.

So, this is a random post!

Question of the Day:
Any races coming up?

Crossfit Thunder: On Ramp Class #1

11 Jun

Apologies for a very wordy post. If you’re a local or interested in joining a Crossfit box, I think it’s worth a read, though. 

Since January, I’ve been attending “Crossfit” classes at the YMCA. It’s not officially Crossfit, but because we’re doing the same skills as we would be doing at a Crossfit box, I’ve always referred to it as such. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to join the On Ramp classes at my local Crossfit box, Crossfit Thunder: 

Because health and fitness is my main hobby, I read a lot of fitness blogs, and I talk to a lot of people about Fitness, so I know that the main benefit of going to a real Crossfit box is the support of highly trained coaches and the comradarie of the people who you are working out with. At the Y, our Insane Fitness Training classes were more independent and a scaled back version of Crossfit. The coaches, while totally great — I really like Jodi and Noah, weren’t Crossfit certified, although they were personal trainers (and very good ones). I learned quite a bit about Olympic lifts and the Crossfit skills. However, a few friends of mine are members of Crossfit Thunder and they saw how interested I was in the classes and they knew I would benefit from coming to the box, at least for a while. 

I’m going to be completely honest here — I can’t afford the fees of joining a Crossfit box. It’s expensive, and I’m not willing to give up my YMCA membership. I’m a runner at heart, and having access to the treadmills in bad weather is reason enough for me to pay the $44/month I pay to be a member of the Y. I will not argue that the membership fees of a Crossfit box are too high — after attending just one class, I’m convinced that this is not a rip off. You get access to a plethora of highly-skilled coaches, a nutritionist, and you have unlimited access to the box. After class, Coach Katie was talking about how different coaches will do different kinds of classes based on what fitness goals various members have — and that’s amazing! So yes, after one class I will say that the tuition is worth it — however, that money has to come from somewhere and with buying a house, planning a wedding and trying to still have somewhat of a life, there just isn’t enough money to go around, so the $44 gym membership is going to have to do for now. The only reason I have this opportunity is because a friend has offered to sponsor my On Ramp month as a wedding gift. I can’t even express how generous this is and how grateful I am! Thank you, Shannon and Ben! When my expenses calm down, I’m sure I’ll consider becoming a full-time member, but for now I’ll take what I can get. 

So, I’d like to just take you through my day at Crossfit Thunder. Starting with the drive there. 

Although I knew where the box was located, I realized only after a torrential downpour started that I had no idea where to park or how to get into the building. Luckily, I saw a friend’s car (he is a member) so I found a place to park and sat in the car. It was POURING! I saw a garage door open in the back of the box, so I gathered my things and prepared to make a mad dash to the entrance. Once I got there, however, the garage door had been closed and the door  next to it was locked. It was raining so hard, so I dashed back to the car. At that point, I was literally soaked through and not in a good mood: 

Photo Jun 10, 6 07 43 PM

 

Seconds after I got back into the car, the rain stopped. Sigh. I’ll tell you, I was tempted to hightail it back home and eat a pint of ice cream, but I sucked it up and walked inside. I immediately saw some friendly faces (Hi Shannon, Ben and Garrett!) starting their own WOD, so I felt a little better. I saw the newbies standing off to the side so I walked over to wait with them. A few introduced themselves, and I busied myself with intently looking at the Coaches’ profiles on the wall (I’m shy in new situations). 

After a short wait, Coach Drew came over and gave us a bit of a love story about Crossfit. The one thing I really like about Crossfit in general is how passionate the devotees are. When so many people love it, you know there must be something great about it. He also had us sign an insurance waiver for our first week (since the first week is free, you aren’t covered like the paying members are, hence the waiver). Then Coach Katie came over, holding her 2 1/2 month old son. I don’t know if there is a better endorsement for Crossfit than a really fit-looking girl holding her newborn son! Katie ran us through a quick foam rolling exercise and then we moved to the kids Crossfit room. She had us write our names on the white board in order to track our times for our WOD, and then we met Coach Zach. After a 200 m warm up run, he led us to another room to learn form for our first skill of the WOD — air squats. 

I love squats. Have I ever told you that? I’m a squat master. I don’t blink an eye at a WOD with 100 squats or more. So, we started squatting and Coach Zach and Coach Katie walked around fixing our form. I didn’t think I had much to learn, being the squat master that I am, but Coach Katie came over and told me that I should push my knees out just slightly and I was pretty impressed with how much better my squat instantly felt. At first, I wasn’t sure what she meant, but she put her hand where my knee should hit, and once I did that, I got it. Impressive. 

Next we learned push-up form. Again, I’ve been doing push ups forever and didn’t think I had much to learn. Wrong again. With just a few tweaks to my form, I felt a difference. You can tell when you’re doing a skill right, because it becomes easier and also feels like you’re getting more of a workout. 

Finally, we learned a bit about jumping pull ups. In the Insane Fitness Training classes, we went right to pull ups with a band, but I can totally see how jumping pull ups would help me become better at pull ups in general (they are my weakest skill). Basically, we used a bar that was low enough for our feet to touch the ground and we held onto the bar with a full extension on our arms (so our knees were bent), then we would jump so that our chin comes over the bar. Seems really easy at first, but once you get into doing a lot of them, it gets harder to reach the bar. I’m excited to try these at home to work up to where I need to be. 

After we had covered all the skills, it was time for the WOD: 

200 m run
15-12-9
air squats
push ups
jumping pull ups
200 m run

We did it in two heats. I was in the second heat. At this point, we had been there for over an hour and I was READY TO WORK OUT, so waiting for that first heat to be over was a struggle! I finally got my turn and I powered through the workout: 

Photo courtesy of the Crossfit Thunder Facebook Page

Photo courtesy of the Crossfit Thunder Facebook Page

The results are a bit skewed, because while I’m not entirely new to Crossfit, a lot of the people in my On Ramp class are new to working out all together. I will say, though, the workout was no joke. I was definitely huffing and puffing at the end.

 

After our WOD, we had a bit of a Q&A session with Coach Zach and Coach Katie, and then it was time to call it a day. I was surprised when I got back to the car that it was after 8:00 pm!! I got a little frustrated that we were there all that time for just a 7 minute workout, but I know that comes with the territory of an intro class, so I’m not too worried about it. I was mainly just mad that it was well past my dinner time. When I got home, I made this amazing salad and I felt better once I inhaled it:

As a Pittsburgh native, I highly suggest putting a few french fries on your salad next time. Yum!

I swear, there are a ton of greens under all that protein and french fries (they are baked!)

I’m excited to go back to class tonight. I hope I get to work out more, and I also hope I get out of there just a tad earlier!

Question of the Day:
Have you ever tried Crossfit? Would you join a box?

 

Out of my Comfort Zone

6 Jun

I’m a solitary runner. It’s not so much that I don’t want to run with others, it’s more of a confidence thing. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with their pace, or the logistics – headphones in or out? Will they be offended if I don’t talk? If I do?

The local running shop in Huntington, Robert’s Running and Walking Shop, hosts a group run every Thursday at 6. I always thought it sounded fun, but I never took the chance to go. When they posted on their Facebook page that they were having a Saucony demo at tonight’s run, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally try it.

I walked over after work and I was the first one there, so I flipped through a Runner’s World and perused the merchandise. I felt a little awkward at first, but eventually I got more comfortable. The Saucony rep came right up to me and asked if I wanted to try out a pair of the shoes he had brought along.

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Of course I did! He looked at the wear on my current shoes and watched me walk and before I knew it, I was wearing the Saucony Kinvara 4, and it was comfy!

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He also gave me a cool little mug with some Clif Builder Bars!

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….and talked a little about Clif bars and the shoes.

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Then it was time to run!! I was a little intimidated at first because there were so many serious and speedy runners there, but I quickly found a few others who wanted to cover about 3 miles at 9:30/10 minutes a mile.

I had a great run. It felt easy at first and hard at the end, which is just how a run should feel. I really had a nice time with my group. I think this is definitely something I will do again.

As for the Kinvara 4, they were definitely a comfortable minimalist shoe. The uppers almost feel like socks, and the colors of the shoe were great. I’d definitely consider Saucony for my next running shoe.

Question of the Day
Do you ever go on group runs, or do you prefer to run alone?

The Night is Right….for Running

29 May

When I last spoke to you, I had made the hasty decision to run a trail race — in the dark — and was waiting on a confirmation of the results of my Diet Bet. I learned on Friday that I had indeed won my Diet Bet and the total amount I won was $57.11! The original buy in was $35, so I’d say that was definitely a worthwhile experiment. Shortly after claiming my winnings, a friend from High School invited me on Facebook to play another game for a $25 buy in. Since Diet Bet credits your account for your winnings, you can use them to play other games or request a Pay Pal payout. After I joined her bet and requested a pay out on Pay Pal, I ended up only being down $3 total. I’m pretty determined to win this next game too!

On to the night race! I’m sort of embarrassed about how naive I was about this race. When I heard “trail race” and “moonlight”, I assumed that we would be running on maybe gravel roads, but that ended up not being the case. This was a full-on trail race, with fallen trees that we had to climb over and duck under, narrow trails, steep uphill climbs and everything! I’ll attempt to recap the race without getting to rambly. Please note, most of the following photos were borrowed from the Kanawha Trace Trail Running Club‘s Facebook group, due to the fact it was PITCH BLACK and I couldn’t get many photos:

boy scout camp The race was held at Camp Arrowhead, which is  a local Boy Scout camp. I’d never been out there, but it’s just a lovely area. glow stick   The trail was marked by these orange flags and glow sticks. Leading up to the race, my thought was, “Well, it won’t be TOO dark, because it’s a full moon and there will be glow sticks!” — you guys, glow sticks aren’t that bright. I was straining my eyes to see them, mainly because once darkness fell and I was running, I was deathly afraid of getting lost. My worst fear was ending up away from the pack, which inevitably happened — at one point everyone who was in front of me was WAY in front of me and there was nobody behind me. That’s when I took this Vine video:

Click on the picture to go to the video!

Click on the picture to go to the video!

Oh, and the headlamp? Well, see, here’s where they naivete really comes into play. I didn’t even think of taking a light source with me until my friend Sarah tweeted that she was worried her headlamp would fall off. I immediately texted her and asked, “Should I get a headlamp!?” and she said, “DUH! of COURSE you should you big dummy!!!” — I”m totally kidding, she did not say that at all, but she really should have. Thank goodness I was headed to my friend Mandee’s house to do some wedding related things, and I’ve been camping with her enough to know she owns a headlamp, so I snagged that. Sarah never would have let me run without one, but thinking of running that race without one kind of cracks me up. It was SO dark! In fact, despite the headlamp, I downloaded a flashlight app for my phone while we were lined up waiting for the gun, just in case.

So, back to the race. I mentioned before that I’ve never run trails. The start of the race was on a gravel road much like the one I run on in the park so just after we started I was thinking “Oh, this isn’t bad. I can do this!” — and then we made a sharp left into the woods and immediately starting climbing a mountain! No joke. There was no choice at times but to walk (although I’m sure the 14 year old cross-country racers who won the race sprinted up the hill), but for those of us who are of normal fitness levels, walking was the only option. Not only were we running through uneven terrain, up steep hills and under giant fallen trees:

Imagine coming up on this guy in the dark!

Imagine coming up on this guy in the dark!

…..but there were also giant mud puddles, creeks, slick rocks and all the normal trail obstacles — with the added challenge of complete darkness. I fell twice — once was very minor, but the second time was right at the end of the race while we were running around that giant pond you see in the first photo on this post, and I swear I came pretty close to falling in. I was holding my phone at this point because I was checking our mileage (running in the dark was so disorienting, I wanted to see how close we were to finishing), and I fell directly on my thumb. It still really hurts! Once the finish line was in sight, I couldn’t imagine taking the 7 mile option (I did 3.5, so it would be like doing the whole thing again!) — I was wiped out!

I ended up finishing in 46:25 — about a 13 minute pace, and only about 4 minutes behind Sarah, who had just run a trail race the previous weekend, so I felt pretty good about that. I was the 8th female and 22nd overall, which is probably the first time I’ve ever been in the top ten (females) in a race, so there’s that! It was very cool after I finished watching the runners come down the trail — all you could see was headlamps and flashlights bobbing in the trees.

The overall verdict is: If you ever have a chance to run a trail race it the dark — DO IT! It was seriously scary, really, really hard, but one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had! Also, the organizers of the race did an amazing job setting everything up. For only a $5 entry fee ($20 if you wanted a t-shirt), we had a very well organized race. Furthermore, at the finish line we had music, a bonfire (complete with s’mores!):

The only decent photo I managed to take!

The only decent photo I managed to take!

…vegetarian chili, water, coffee, hot dogs and some pretty great prizes (although I didn’t win any!)

In fact, I was so inspired after the race that I woke up the next morning and was raring to go for a long run, so I did just that:

long run

I can’t tell you what a great time I had on Saturday night. I’ll definitely be participating in the moonlight race again in November, and I’m considering signing up for a 10k trail race that’s coming up. I’m even browsing trail running shoes in my spare time 🙂

For no reason at all, here’s a picture of Frank:

This is post-dog park, his favorite place on Earth.

This is post-dog park, his favorite place on Earth.

Question of the Day:
Would you ever run a race at night time?

On Track

25 Apr

In my old position at work, I was the Wellness Coordinator for our office. My job is to inform our employees of opportunities for preventative health programs with our health insurance provider, promote wellness in the workplace and set up our annual health screening.

Our health insurance provider offers a $10/month premium discount for all members who participate in the annual health screening. If you get a score of “green”, you get to keep your $10 discount automatically. However, if you get a score of “yellow” or “red”, you must first participate in an “engagement” program. This year one of the engagement programs that was offered was that an Exercise Physiologist would come to your workplace and evaluate employees to see where they could improve in their fitness. All employees were welcome to participate (regardless of their health screening score) and I was able to garner quite a bit of interest.

Charles, our EP, put us through a series of tests to evaluate our fitness. He took our blood pressure, our body fat percentage, resting heart rate and waist circumference. Then he had us use some equipment to test our grip strength, we had to step up on a step for 3 minutes to test how quickly our heart rate falls after exercise, and tested our upper body and ab strength with a push-up and sit-up test. After we finished, he would go through our results with us and tell us what we could do to meet the goals we stated to him when we first started.

One goal is to get my resting heart rate down to the 'well trained athlete' section :)

One goal is to get my resting heart rate down to the ‘well trained athlete’ section 🙂

As expected, I scored very well in everything but it did show that my body fat percentage, BMI and waist circumference could use some work. Basically, I’m very fit, but I could stand to lose a few pounds. But those are vanity pounds, because all in all I’m in excellent health  — which is all that matters! 

I was really excited to bring this program to my coworkers, and I hope to do it again next year to see how people improve their scores.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In other news, I got up early this morning to hit Crossfit and the workout was a doozie:

800 m run
80 air squats
8 pull-ups

We did this twice through, but with a rest between. The goal was to do it once through, and then try to beat your time the second time through. You would think with all the running I’ve been doing lately, the run would have been the easy part, but it wasn’t! My legs felt like lead through the run and that was definitely the part that held me back. I did the first round in 9:10 and the second round in 8:50, so I was pretty pleased to beat my score, even though I struggled a bit through the workout.

This is definitely a fun workout you could do at the gym or at home! You should try it. I really liked trying to beat my time the second time through, as it forces you to really push.

After Crossfit, Frank and I went for a nice long walk! I’m glad the weather decided to shape up again today. Frank had some pent up energy that needed expended!

Question of the Day:
Have you ever met with an Exercise Physiologist? Did it help you meet your fitness goals? 

I Can’t Control My Eyebrow!

8 Mar

Happy Friday!

I woke up at 6:00 this morning and truly thought it was Saturday. Whomp whomp: What a bummer, right?! But that means I still have a full weekend to look forward to!

Here are some random things I’d like to talk about:

The sun came out to play today!

sunshine

 

I just love these big, giant windows outside of my office! After two dreary, grey days, the sun has finally decided to grace us with its presence. It’s still pretty cold, but at least there is sunshine. Also, the weather forecast for the weekend looks like this:

weekend

 

…which means there is at least 1 outdoor run on my agenda this weekend!

In less exciting news, I think I may be coming down with a little cold. I’m definitely a little sniffly this morning. Hopefully it stops there!

Speaking of running, I’ve been really good about getting my miles in this week. I’ve done a 2 mile, 3 mile and 4 mile treadmill run so far this week. Yesterday’s four-miler is thanks to the ABC app on my phone and catching up with this week’s episode of The Bachelor: The Women Tell All.

tierra

Holy wow. Now, I just started watching The Bachelor this season, and I definitely see the appeal. It’s like a trainwreck! It’s so awkward to me. Sean will be on these intimate dates and the whole time I’m thinking, “He’s doing this with x other women….” — I just can’t see the appeal of being on that show! Watching it, however, now that’s a different story.

How about Tierra, huh? Could that girl be any more delusional? Before watching this episode, my favorite Tierra quote was:  “I can’t control my eyebrow! I can’t control everything on my face all the time!” – but now it’s, “I didn’t call you a liar, I said you lied to me.” and when someone explains to her that it’s the same thing, she says, “See? Everything I say is WRONG!” — oh man. I think it explained a lot when she said she was Little Miss Nevada when she was a child. Now we know what happens to Toddlers and Tiaras when they grow up!

I only watched through Tierra’s part and covered about 4 miles. I’m excited to finish it off, can’t wait to see what Ashlee has to say to Sean!

run walk

 

I noticed when I was walking back from the gym how bright it still was outside! It was almost 7 pm! After we turn our clocks forward this weekend, we will have so much daylight left in the evenings! Yay!

shade

 

My Shade order arrived this week and I’m loving what I got. For how inexpensive everything was, I’m loving the quality. I wore the top above to work yesterday (sorry for the awkward selfie, I’m still working on it) and I got a lot of compliments on it. I love the trendy chevron pattern.

Ok, that’s enough random for one day!

I hope you have some nice weather this weekend wherever you are!

Question of the Day:
What are you most looking forward to this weekend?