Tag Archives: travel

Eugene Marathon Training Week #5

I’m baaaaack!

I almost didn’t come back—somewhere between the noon mai tais and the 80 degree weather, I tried to contrive some way of prolonging my stay indefinitely. Fake a horrible swimmer’s ear condition to the point that I could never again get on a pressurized plane? Become an overnight hula-dancing sensation so they practically beg me to stay and perform in nightly luaus?

I gave it my best effort, but all good things must come to an end. I’ll do a whole Hawaii post shortly (pictures included), but for now I’ll just say that Maui is seriously the best. Mr. BF and I had a magical time.

Last week was a cutback week which was perfect timing with our trip. I did still run a bit, and here’s a look at how training shook out:

M: spin + 30-ish min stair-stepper

T: 12 miles pre-plane flight

W: REST

T: 9 miles w/ 4 @ hmgp (5 outside with BF, 4 @ 7:30 pace on treadmill)

F: 6 miles easy

S: 14 miles, (10 outside, 4 on treadmill, overall ~8:10 pace)

S: REST

Total= 41 miles

Two rest days up there people, I’m patting myself on the back.

Saturday’s long run was no joke. It was HARD. Running in Hawaii is beautiful, however it is also incredibly sweaty and difficult. I was only able to force out 10 miles before I had to call it quits on the humidity and head indoors to finish it off. Not the most ideal way to long run, but I’m glad I got it done. Here’s a look at how running in Hawaii always ended up:

image photo

So pretty.

But who doesn’t love a good soaker sweat, right?

Time to get back to real life for now. Sad faces all over. Have a nice Tuesday!

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Chicago, the rest of it.

It was a whirlwind trip to Chicago, and before we were even halfway through it—I told BF that I wished we had an extra day.

I don’t know if it’s that I didn’t know enough about Chicago, or I was simply distracted by the whole marathon thing, but I truly underestimated the magnitude of this city.

Hello Chicago!

It is HUGE. Next to New York, I don’t think I’ve ever been so amazed by the size of a city. The juxtaposition with the crystal blue Lake Michigan was such a sight to be seen as well, and I fell pretty hard for this city. (I know, I know…the city-by-the-water thing shouldn’t get me so giddy any more, but I still can’t get enough.)

unrelated Friday night airport bar photo..

We arrived LATE Friday night, and after a little sleeping in, a 2.5 mile treadmill run, and a trip to the complimentary breakfast, we were off on the Blue line of the “L” headed toward downtown.

Ever since I studied abroad in Europe, I have a very deep affection for efficient and accessible public transportation—and Chicago was definitely not lacking in this regard. It was so easy to navigate our way around, and I can imagine you wouldn’t even need a car if you lived in the city.

Once in the city, we dropped our bags off at a friend’s apartment, and we jetted to the expo. I’m not going to do this expo justice in words or photos, but just take my word for it when I say that it was enormous. They held it in the convention center, and they used up every last space available. Hundreds (yes, hundreds) of booths were set amongst the packet pick-up areas, and you definitely needed a map to quickly find anything.

Other than a few samples we grabbed along the way, there were only two booths I wanted to visit: Runner’s World and Girls on the Run. And look who I found at the RW booth…

Hal Higdon! This meant so very little to most people I tell, but most runners I know have at least heard this guy’s name. He was much friendlier than he appears in the photo as well.

They also had food everywhere, music, shoe testing, etc. It was a party. Although it would have been fun to hang out more, I wasn’t really in the business of staying on my feet for too long—plus we had more of Chicago to see!

With not a ton of time left between the expo and dinner, we decided to head up the Hancock Center. The building has 94 floors, and unlike the Sears tower—it’s free! The views at the top were unreal, and it helped us get a sense of just how huge Chicago really is.

View from floor 94.

Looking out at Lake Michigan.

As I said in the last post, BF made me dinner as opposed to going out. It was simpler, cheaper, and given the amount of carb-hungry runners flooding Chicago restaurants that night—I’m glad we avoided the crowds.

On Sunday, I decided to jog around the city to explore a bit. After 26.2 miles, I figured I ought to include BF in all my sight-seeing, and we went to the infamous Chicago Cloud Gate. I actually knew it was “the bean thing,” but I guess that’s not accurate.

This was the only tourist attraction I actually knew about before coming to Chicago, and I have to say it was pretty dang cool. I was also riding a marathon high and chowing on donut holes, so that helped with the “omg so impressive!” factor.

Where’s Waldo (RB/BF)?

Reflection photo! I told BF he wore the least obvious marathon spectating outfit in the word. He agreed. He also didn’t take up my offer of an enormous pink shirt. Rude.

BF told me I smelled, so I decided to shower before we ventured out to see more things. We had a bit of a time crunch before we had to get back on the train to head to the airport, so we narrowed our exploration down to two things: the Navy Pier and pizza. I really wanted to go on the architectural boat tour, but there wasn’t time—and admittedly I cared more about cheese and crust than pretty buildings.

The Navy Pier was definitely cool, and I loved being close to the lake and seeing all the different boats. Because the pier juts out so far into the lake, we were able to see a lot of the skyline.

Stop your showing off Chicago, you’re making everywhere else look bad.

 

Now comes to only disappointment from the trip…

So, we had just enough time to get to our chosen deep dish joint, eat, go back and get our things, and head to the airport. As we sat down at the restaurant (Ginos East of Chicago), and we ordered our delicious deep dish selection…our waitress informed us that the deep dish took SEVENTY-FIVE minutes to make, so we might want an appetizer. We didn’t have 75 minutes, and so we mournfully opted for the regular thin crust instead.

boring

I realize to a normal human this is a very first world problem…but for two people who were intent on Chicago pizza (one of whom just ran a marathon), this was equivalent to a small pet dying. Sure, thin crust was fine…but this was definitely a disappointment. Don’t worry, I still ate more than half.

Delicious 312 beer helped *a little*.

However, the good thing about missing things while visiting a popular destination is that it gives you a reason to go back. Chicago is definitely a city I’d love to see more of, and I’m very keen on visiting again.

By the time we got to the airport and were waiting for our flight…I was beyond spent. Two nights of little sleep in a row, plus a marathon, plus lots of travelling= a very, very sleepy bird. I can’t sleep on planes too well either, so needless to say after a FOUR hour plane flight home, I was ready for some horizontal time.

Note to self: when travelling for a marathon, don’t be a hero and take the next day off work.

The travel exhaustion, however, was insignificant compared to how great the rest of the trip was.

You put on a good show Windy City, thanks for being awesome.

In a non-related but kind-of-related sidenote, I am almost  pain and soreness free today from the race on Sunday. It’s kind of a miracle, and I credit it to all the walking necessary afterward. That—and all the rest I allowed/am allowing myself before and after the marathon. I also have zero blisters, very little chafing, and all my toenails in tact. Little victories…I accept them all.

However, the combination of little sleep and the marathon has resulted in a fairly heavy cold I’m currently sporting. But, I’ll take a sore throat and headache  if it means I get a race like Sunday’s any day. Does that make sense? I’m sick, don’t judge.

I might try running today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week…who knows. Right now, I’m soaking in some bonafied laziness right now. On Monday, instead of a “shake out swim” or “shake out walk” I decided a “shake out grilled cheese and chocolate” was a much better idea. That theme continues through today…and I could care less.

Have you been to Chicago? What did you love most about it? Would you have been as sad about the pizza as we were? Do you think I overreacted? Mom, you don’t get to answer the last question…

Friday Favorites: Massages, Wanderlust, and Metabolism Overload

Good morning! I hope everyone’s excited for their weekend endeavors—I for sure am. Some upcoming highlights will include seeing one of my best friends perform in Footloose, lots of spinning, trying some local brews, and (hopefully) painting my new garage sale purchased dresser.

I rage. That’s what I’m really trying to tell you.

No running in there, but it’s okay…

I had my first experience with a sports massage yesterday, and although I went into it expecting to shriek in pain and hobble out crying, it really wasn’t so bad. Sure, it wasn’t necessarily pleasant, but homegirl masseuse (Nancy) definitely knew her stuff and she worked the crap out of my IT band and other muscles I don’t remember the names of. I’m wonderfully sore today, and she said with rest and icing and rolling and all that jazz —she gives me a quick recovery time.

Note to everyone: If you give me these kind of diagnoses, I will love you forever and we will be BFF. Even if you don’t have a PhD, that is overlooked for the sake of positivity.

She was fairly certain that standard IT band tightness is my issue, and she was pretty quick to blame the hills during the marathon for igniting all these leg problems. INTERESTING NANCY, ME TOO. In fact, I plan on blaming those hills for every problem that has and will ever happen to me from now on.

….kidding. But only kind of.

Let’s stop all this injury rubbish though, shall we? Injuries go away, running will return, and right now it’s Friday.

Friday Favorites have been gone for far too long, so let’s hop to it eh?

-The Pandora App

For those of you with a smart phone, who do not currently have this app, I highly recommend it. It’s probably my most used one (with the exception of my email and probably Scramble with Friends), and ever since I got it I’ve had a lot more music going on in my life. My favorite new habit is playing it while I’m in the shower—making cleaning time all the more enjoyable.

Although it’s already pretty enjoyable, seeing as it doesn’t happen as often as it probably should.

I have a very specific routine of listening to the Glee Cast radio while in the shower (songs from musicals and Disney movies are clearly the most belting-worthy), and then I switch to some country crooners for the rest of my preening process.

By preening, I mean getting dressed and putting my wet hair in a bun.

And by country crooners, I mean holy hell I am completely a country music person how did this happen and will it ever stop?

And speaking of musicals…

-Spring Awakening

No matter who you are—Broadway fan or no—if you get the chance to see this show, GO. You may have heard all the hype behind it that took NYC by storm a few years ago, and I can assure you that the actual show delivers. I saw it for the second time a few weeks ago, and I was even more impressed than the first time—which never happens.

It’s wildly scandalous, in the best kind of way. It’s not really a family show—so don’t say I didn’t warn you—but I think it would be hard to find another stage production that gets more  passionately real than this coming-of-age story.

– This Quinoa Creation

Remember when I said that recently I’m doing things I don’t normally do? Well I’m about to do something else…give you all a recipe!

Now, the “cooking” that goes on in our household normally consists of either rotating between the same 4 meals, making green smoothies and pb&j on rice cakes, and going to our local grocery store for pre-made food. There’s rarely something new and exciting, however there is one thing we consistently have that is one of my absolute favorite meals. It’s easy, it’s great for runners/athletes, and it makes me think that I have a bit more of a culinary repertoire than steaming vegetables and cooking rice. Which sometimes doesn’t even work.

Anyways…lots of protein, lots of different flavors, and LOTS of leftovers.

1 cup quinoa

1 can black beans

1 can corn

steamed greens- we usually do kale or spinach

1 zucchini, sauteed or steamed

dried cranberries

sunflower seeds

Instructions: Put all ingredients in bowl. Mix. Serve! BF and I normally put this mixture in some tortillas for a quinoa taco concotion, but it can easily be done in a bowl. Also, I recommend some sort of dressing—we use the Goddess dressing from Trader Joe’s, but it’s up to your preference. Also, there will be a lot of leftovers—which is one of the best parts.

-Garage Sale purchases

This is the aforementioned dresser that I bought last weekend. West Seattle was having 360 garage sales on Saturday, yes you read that number right, and some of the proceeds were going to various worthy causes. In other words, there was mayhem all over my neighborhood in the form of crazy people scuttling around in search for other people’s junk. I really didn’t want to be one of these people, however there was one item I was in some desperate need of and had been putting off for far too long.

My current dresser from IKEA is about one loose screw away from completely dismantling and falling apart. The bottom drawer is completely dysfunctional, I can only open one drawer at a time or else it will fall over—standard, “I only wanted to pay $100 for this and didn’t even put it together right” first-world problems.

So, off I went into the garage sale inferno, coffee and neighborhood map in hand.

Not kidding, the THIRD house I drove by had the above dresser sitting right in front, and about 3 minutes between seeing it and making sure it was use-able, cash was exchanged and now she’s mine.

Suggestions for a paint color?? I’m thinking of getting all Pinterest-creative with this endeavor. Something not too girly, but something that will dress up a nearly all-white room.

-Traveling

Now, I’m adding this to my favorites list with some bittersweet-ness. Does that even make sense? I don’t know, go with it.

I love to travel, and when asked what my favorite things are—it is definitely high on my list. In fact, next to running…traveling may be a contender for the top spot in my favorite things.

However, this is making the list this week specifically because I am experiencing some big time nostalgia for Europe and intense wanderlust. I made the mistake (was it a mistake? maybe just a tease?) of reading one of my friend’s blogs this morning—and she happens to be living, traveling, and experiencing Europe completely independently, and it all sang to a deep yearning within me.

Honestly, if I were single and without a job, I have a very strong feeling that I would be far out of the U.S. When I was abroad, I was close to the happiest I’ve ever been, and I promised then myself that I would see more of the world. I loved the feeling of being self-reliant, navigating my way through new places without knowledge of the language, all by myself. It was liberating, it gave me a whole new appreciation for just how wonderful this world is, and it’s something I dearly miss.

Truthfully, no one really wants to hear about abroad experience…with perhaps the exception of your grandparents and other people who visited the same places as you. So I’ll spare you the details. However, I’m making you look at some of my favorite photos from Europe—hey, I needed an excuse to look at all my old photos.  I’m really gunning to get the opportunity to scratch this itch before too much time passes. I feel like part of me is missing, and while I am so appreciative of all that I have here, I do know that there is a lot more I want to see.

Trevi Fountain, with gelato in hand. Apparently I painted my nails then also?

In Prague—my 21st birthday. Splendor.

Santorini, Greece. DONKEY RIDE!

The best beer, the best chocolate, and the best roommates. And Mean Girls.

my backyard in Prague, NBD

Ferry boat off of Athens.

On a Greek island, drink in hand, broke as crap, and in love with life.

 

That’s all for today! I would also like to state that I had one of those unending hunger streaks last night when I got home, and it still hasn’t let up. After snack after snack after dinner after frozen yogurt, I’m still a bottomless pit. Which is kind of fun, but a little daunting. A massage effect maybe? I took today off from any activity in hopes of slowing down my appetite…but this feels like a very belated post-marathon insatiability. GIVE ME ALL THE FOOD.

NOW YOU! What are your favorite things this week? What are the best places you’ve traveled to? Paint color recommendations for my dresser?  Fun weekend plans? If you have a long run, just don’t tell me. Or lie. 

 

 

 

Friday Favorites: Comfortable Pace and Being Kind

We made it to Friday. Did this week seem especially long to anyone else? I’ve been thinking it’s Friday since about Tuesday night, and I’ve been pining for the weekend ever since.

Sweet, it’s nearly here.

This weekend has some serious running endeavors planned out, and I’m a little afraid. Mainly because Sunday is supposed to be a—GAH—20 mile run.

Damnit. I said it, therefore I’m accountable.

I’m planning on approaching it with this mindset: I’ve done it before, it’s only two miles more than I ran two weeks ago, and there will be many cookies on either end of it.

Also, I have this new strategy in tackling long runs—or any run, for that matter—and it’s new to me. It’s called: Running at a Comfortable Pace.

Groundbreaking, right?! I have this really horrible fixation on running at or below MP(Marathon Pace) on, oh, every run I do. It’s not an extremely difficult pace, but it’s not exactly comfortable either. This habit is so silly. Runs do not always need to be as fast as you ideally would want, and in fact it’s good for you to do some slow and steady miles in addition to quicker runs.

Blah, blah, blah…I know this, and I need to get better. Unfortunately, I am a distance runner who still has the brain of her former sprinter self. However, yesterday morning I was incredibly intent on running at a comfortable pace. I knew not checking my watch and panicking if I wasn’t around 8:00 minute miles would be hard, but I really wanted to just “feel it” instead of push it. Highly successful run; I finished 12 miles in 1:41:30, and although it’s not MP, it’s not bad for being a very comfortable run.

Let’s get to some favorites though, and I’ll leave 20 sweaty miles for Sunday AM.

– $5 round-trip airfare

HOLLA

Thanks to lucky timing and to my Alaska Airlines credit card, I ended up paying out-of-pocket FIVE DOLLARS for my spring vacation to my home turf of Los Angeles, CA. Okay, yea sure, that also means that I won’t have another free flight until I purchase thousands of dollars worth of things on my card—but the novelty of a $5 flight is still awesome.

That being said, I am PUMPED for this trip. I love to travel, whether it’s to a place I’ve never been or to a place I’ve been dozens of times. I’ll be meeting up with my family for a week of desert camping (better than it sounds) and perusing through Lotus Land looking for Seth and Sandy Cohen.

– My Timex watch

This was a 10 miler I clocked recently. NBD

You can keep your fancy Garmins and heart rate monitors. My little blue Ironman Timex and I are just peachy-keen happy with one another. I got this guy(or maybe it’s a girl, I actually never thought about it) a little over three years ago, and s/he’s been kicking ever since.

Don’t tell my baby blue, but I have toyed with the idea of getting a real Garmin watch. I know it all—keeping logs of my heart rate, my splits, my mileage, etc. would be an ideal addition to training. I know someday (don’t tell lil blue!) I’ll get one, however for right now I like not knowing my miles and calories burned on a moment’s notice. There’s something fun about doing the math after a run to figure out my pace and rate, and even when I do get all fancy and digital I plan on keeping my trusty Timex sidekick around. She(I decided female feels right) and I have been through a lot together in my life as a runner, and I could never, actually, let her go.

– Holiday Appropriate M and M’s

If you ask me to make dessert, I WILL make too much and I WILL bring options

Correction: Accessorizing Desserts with Holiday Appropriate M and M’s

BF and I decided that for V-day, we would make dinner together and he would provide the libations and I would provide the dessert. Obviously I was torn with this task; not because it was too daunting or I didn’t have time, but because the possibilities were too endless. In the end, I couldn’t decide and ended up just supplying us with two options. This was a very good idea, despite the fact that I think I’m still sweating brownie batter.

And yes, the plate above was originally intended for the two of us.

And no, we did not finish all of it. I do have some self control people—and plus, the best part of making yummy things is having BF bring them to his office and therefore winning girlfriend points.

– My Car

{This isn't actually my real car, but it's pretty darn spot on}

So I didn’t actually own a car myself until I graduated college, therefore buying this car was not only a milestone in becoming an adult, it was a milestone in gaining automotive liberty!

I absolutely love this little Toytoa Corolla, named Glinda, and she’s been a trooper ever since I got her—off Craigslist, I’ll have you know. Sure, she’s had some interesting moods at times, as in she doesn’t feel like starting, or she doesn’t feel like shutting down the engine when the key is out of the ignition…THIS HAPPENED.

BUT this little girl has been quite reliable, and I still perk up whenever I see her ready to take me all the places I need to go.

– Random Acts of Kindness

This photo is completed unrelated. But it works for some reason, doesn't it? Also, you're welcome.

Listen up: Today is National Random Act of Kindness Day!

I will fully admit that I think this recent onset of “National” holidays is a bit fishy, but as someone who both loves holidays and communal kindness, I’ll pay attention to this one.

Something I wholeheartedly believe in is the concept of Paying it Forward. We live in a world where approximately 99% of our energy is focused on Number One. We are self-serving creatures by nature, and in a lot of ways we cannot help it—it’s how we’re hardwired in order for survival. However, since I’m pretty sure that the majority of Americans aren’t currently being run down by lions and are within 50 miles of some source of food, I think we can take at least a day to do something for someone else.

{And if you are currently being hunted by safari animals or you’re in a desolate region without food or water, WTF are you doing reading this blog? Also, I know you have either a smart phone or a laptop, therefore I don’t really feel bad for you.}

Moving on, I dare you to try reaching outside of yourself to do one nice thing for someone else. It takes such little effort, but it can make—in my opinion—all the difference in the world. It’s as simple as giving the change in your pocket to the homeless man you pretend to ignore every day, complimenting a stranger on their bag (this should be genuine—btw), or paying for a stranger’s coffee. I am convinced that acts of kindness have a chain reaction, and they are a perfect example of small efforts making a big difference. Paying it Forward is one of the most accessible and simplest ways in which we can make a change in our world. And frankly, with all the hostility, anger, and self-absorption that clouds our outlook on society—we could all use a little more kindness. I truly believe this, and I think you’ll find that doing something nice for someone else will bring a spring to your step as well.

Kindness doesn’t need to be altruistic. But we do need more of it.

 

5 more faves in the bag! I hope you are getting psyched for your weekend ahead, and if you’re willing to share…

What Random Act of Kindness have you received before? What are your Friday Favorites?