Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Solo Running Vacation - (Mostly) Hold the Solo

Me with Jen, a fellow DS spouse,
blogger, and friend.  We love
And Starbucks.
How often does a crazed, sleep-deprived Momma get the opportunity to take a weekend for herself, no kids involved?  Rarely!  So when the chance to take a weekend for some running in the D.C.-area came up, my parents offered to take the kids off my hands so I could enjoy the weekend.  Alone.  All by myself.  Solo.  Seriously good stuff.

I've traveled on my own before.  In 2008, I did an RN contract in Bakersfield, CA while the hubby and kids stayed back in Ohio.  For four months.  During that time, I traveled to San Francisco and did a bike tour of the Bay.  I also drove out to Redondo Beach (Los Angeles) to spend a weekend and do some running.  I like running especially on vacations, because it's a great way to see an area.  I've run on nearly every vacation we've ever taken - Orlando, Williamsburg, San Diego, Sequoia National Forest; if we've been there, I've run it.  But whether I'm alone or on a family vacation, I pretty much always run solo.

Yesterday I did something different than I usually do - I signed up for a group running tour.  We started in Georgetown (I LOVE Georgetown!), running our way up the hill to the University, then the National Cathedral, and finally the National Zoo.  We finished out a few miles in Rock Creek Park.  7.5 beautiful miles total, with 7 other runners.  And I mean full-one, 100% legitimate runners who discussed their next ultra-running events (50+mile races).  I totally felt out of my league, but I ran it anyway, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  No iPod to listen to; instead, I chatted with my fellow runners and enjoyed the company.  Even sorta started to feel like a legitimate runner myself, as I was able to keep up with their pace.  I usually run solo, but this group run was a great part of my running vacation.  

I had anticipated heading off to the National Mall and running a few more miles, taking in some of the sights.  But I was honestly tired after the Georgetown run and didn't feel up to  fighting the high-travel season traffic.  So I found a Starbucks, grabbed a frappaccino along with a chicken pita, veggie and humus plate and headed down to the Potomac.  I had a picnic lunch with a gorgeous view of the Key Bridge and Roosevelt Island.  Did I mention I had no kids with me?  The most relaxing lunch!  NOT lunch spent trying to save three lovely children from nosediving into the river.  Good stuff.

After lunch I headed back to the hotel for a shower.  Faced with almost two hours of free time, I did what any self-respecting, totally exhausted, haven't-slept-in-eight-years Momma would do.  I took a nap.  And didn't awake to screaming children. Then I headed off to the mall and treated myself to a nice little gifty: a matching wallet for my much-loved Juicy Couture purse that Jason got for me last Christmas.  More. Good. Stuff.  What girl doesn't love stuff?

Finally for Saturday, dinner.  Dinner was spent at Maggiano's with some fellow DS spouse friends.  I'm not gonna lie. I was a bit nervous meeting everyone "in real life".  One friend is also an RN (works Trauma, too.  Coincidence?  I think not!) and we've referred to each other as pen pals for the past year.  Another friend is a fellow blogger and WordsWithFriends aficionado.  We've played countless games together.  What if we all didn't 'click' and get along?  Well, not to worry.  The seven women who met up that night got along so well that we were in the restaurant for over three hours.  Maggiano's was not pleased.  But we had a great time!

And Sunday?  The perfect ending to the perfect weekend.  A non-solo run (5K) with the DS Divas, a group started up this year for all the Diplomatic Security Spouses world-wide who wanted to be a part of a running group...just for us!  We have 30 members world-wide.  Six of us were able to meet in DC for a run.  It was great.  Fellow spouse and blogger Jen has taken up running the past year and we finished the race together, never stopping once to walk.  Not a single bit!  As for those spouses scattered throughout the world?  I set up a page through Running-log.com where everyone could log in and input their miles.  So far for the day, we have nearly 40 miles world-wide.  Our logo?  "DS Spouses RUN The World!"  (And on T-Shirts no less, thanks to the hard work of three other spouses!) Super chicks.

The final icing to my weekend was a solo run I did on a whim just before I left.  I was heading out from Rock Creek Park (where our Diva run was held) to McClean, VA where my hotel was.  I decided to drive by the National Mall and see if I could find a cushy parking spot to do a quick run.  Success!  I found one between the Washington Monument and the White House.  Definitely NOT coincidence. I took it as Divine Intervention.  I had always wanted to run the National Mall, but have never had the opportunity. So I grabbed my iPod and did a loop around the White House, the Washington Monument, and past the front of the Lincoln Memorial.  Even BFF Latte got his picture taken in front of the White House.  Super duper good stuff.

I grabbed a shower at my hotel, ordered a quick room-service lunch (awesome) and then hopped on the road back to Ohio.  It was a short but absolutely perfect weekend.  Completed over 13 miles of pavement and trails, and had the opportunity to meet up with some friends offline and in real life.  Really, perfect.

Oh, and an update (7/12/11)!  I was so focused on the running weekend that I can't believe I didn't even mention my Friday night! I arrived at my hotel at 3:00pm and got settled in and headed right out - because my friend, Connie, had made arrangements for us to get facials and massages!  How did I forgot to include that?  We had a spa day, and then dinner and ice cream.  It was great to catch up with her.  Again, a perfect, PERFECT! weekend.
Georgetown University.  Beginning of tour.
Tow path. End of tour and 7.5miles!

BFF Latte in front of the Key Bridge.  See the helicopter?
I do believe that was Marine One!

Lunch solo at the Potomac.

DS Divas D.C.  There are lots more of us world-wide!

Swanky parking spot. This is right by my car!

One very special house.

There's an obelisk growing out of my head.

Another view of the White House.

BFF Latte gets all the fun.

This is what I came home to.
A standing baby!  Next up
is walking.  ::sigh::


  1. It was AWESOME! Thank you for organizing, thank you for the Starbucks and it was so amazingly wonderful to meet you in person. See you in August!

  2. What an awesome trip! I agree, running is a great way to experience a new city. I'm so sad I couldn't be there to run the race with you guys.

  3. Sounds like an amazing weekend! So glad you were able to enjoy a quick getaway by yourself (but with awesome new friends as well). Love the pictures on the Gtown campus (my alma mater) - made me sing the fight song in my head!

  4. Sounds fun! Well, except for the running part.