It's been a great couple of days in Virginia. As a place we called home for about 7 years, I took the opportunity to visit a few places. On Monday, the first stop was in a cool neighborhood in Norfolk called Ghent. In Ghent is the running store that started it all for me back in 1996. All of my running shoes, mid-week track work, tons of advice, and plenty of newsletter stuffings with the Tidewater Striders Running Club: Running, Etc. is the place. Since I was last here, they knocked down the side wall and doubled in size and still have 2 floors. Upstairs was this bulletin board with pictures both current and 15-20 years old.On the wall, I spotted the gem below. That's me, 2nd from the right, at the finish line of the Kiawah Island Marathon, my 6th marathon back on December 11, 1999. I ran it in 3:43. Kiawah Island Marathon is a very wealthy island just off the coast of Charleston, SC and the race sells out each year. Excellent "destination" marathon and normally, lots of local "Striders" make the trip. Lots of thoughts and emotions stirred up when I saw this photo stapled to the wall. I miss those people!
Afterwards, I grabbed some dinner at Kelly's Tavern, a placed that has gotten voted #1 for the Best Burger in Norfolk for years and years. They offer fresh ground turkey burgers (not the nasty frozen types) to substitute for beef burgers so I opted for their Gourmet Burger...avocado, sauteed onions, bacon, and feta cheese...accompanied by fresh cut fries...OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! So good!
Walking around Ghent to kill some time, I finally came to the Naro Cinema for the 7:30pm showing of "127 Hours"...the true story of a hiker who got trapped for 127 hours in the mountains back in 2003. Basically a one-man movie, starring James Franco. I'll just say this: Oscar. I predict he will get an Oscar for this and I give it 2 thumbs up...4 stars....or whatever rating system you prefer. The Naro is a very old cinema, locally owned, and very small and quaint inside. Baklava and other local eats are sold inside along with super amazing popcorn. The Naro is often the place you find many of the "artsy" movies and also plays home to local university's film series, like my alma mater's...Regent University. Love the Naro and always like to return when I visit.
Tuesday night was a fun night. I sneakily planned to surprise a great friend whom I had not seen in 9 years. He (Chuck) is the one responsible for getting Marjie and I to wake the heck up and get out of debt. Back when we lived in Virginia Beach, Chuck and I were in the church orchestra together (he plays trombone and me, trumpet) and our families spent a lot of time together. The Surprise: Cindy (his wife) and I worked together so I would arrive at a local restaurant and after they walked in, ordered, and sat down, I would just appear at the table. It went off without a hitch! Total surprise and over 2 hours later, we said goodnight. It was an awesome night, catching up on old times, and sharing "Debt Snowball" secrets and morsels of motivation. Just prior to meeting Chuck and Cindy, I stopped by my beloved alma mater at Regent University, where I graduated from back in 2006 with my MBA. I...love...Regent!!! The place just moves me, simply by walking around the campus. I got in the bookstore only minutes before they closed, grabbed some alumni gear, then walked over to the library. "Christian Leadership to Change the World" is still the motto and displayed in the photo below. I like this photo a lot, especially with the flag in it. This is inside the atrium of the library.
Also adjacent to the campus is the world headquarters of CBN. Out front of the CBN Headquarters is the flame that burns 24/7/365. Seen below.
To end the evening in fine fashion, I did something very "not Nick." Checking some status updates on Facebook before I called it a night, I noticed that Carmen checked in at a restaurant not too far away. Carmen is an avid multi-blogger who Marjie has been following for years. (Here's the main one the Marjie reads) Carmen also had me write a guest post on ultra-running nutrition back in the summer for one of her blogs. I had never met her and thought "Why not?!?!?" So, I commented on her "Check In" and a few minutes later, I was there, meeting her and her husband. I'm very much the introvert so Marjie was floored when I told her I was actually doing it. Great to meet you, Carmen!
A fun couple of days! Looking forward to the rest of the week!