Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Hampshire and Vermont Here We Come

Looks like a "girl's weekend" has been confirmed! Me and my little princesses are heading out to New England for a little girly fun, which includes watching Mom run. On the plus side, this little weekend jaunt will also include lots of fun, food, shopping and giggles! Can't wait! I've never been to Vermont and I'm looking forward to having some Ben & Jerry's (in their home state).

So I will leave you with some fun Vermont facts (who says traveling and running can't be educational, too?!):

1. Montpelier, VT is the only state capital without a McDonald's and, until 1996, VT was the only state without a Wal-Mart (I'm loving this state more and more).
2. In ratio of cows to people, VT has the greatest number of dairy cows in the country.
3. And my favorite fun fact: Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream company gives their ice cream waste to the local Vermont farmers who use it to feed their hogs. The hogs seem to like all of the flavors except Mint Oreo (really? I love Mint Oreo).

Now, we can't leave out New Hampshire:

1. In 1833 the first free public library in the United States was established in Peterborough (I love the library).
2. Levi Hutchins of Concord invented the first alarm clock in 1787 (can't say I'm a fan of alarm clocks).
3. New Hampshire adopted the first legal lottery in the twentieth century United States in 1963 (looks like I have to buy at least one lottery ticket while there).

Road trip here we come! Time to put together the iTunes playlist!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Race Report: Delaware Trail Triple Crown Race

Loved Newark, Delaware. All four of us loved the town and we were surprised by that as we didn't really think Delaware (the state) would be that interesting. I love it when we're wrong! The University of Delaware campus reminded us of an upscale Athens. Meg and I stopped in at the Flip Flop Shop and each bought a great little pair of flip flops - Reef for her and Sanuk for me (footbed made with yoga mats!). I'll break our little weekend and our 22nd state (my 12th half marathon!) down into three parts: the drive (it was 7 hrs each way), the town, and the race.

The Drive. I let google route us - very interesting route! Highlights included the scenic drive along the Susquetana River, hearing Modern English's Melt with You so many times it became our trip's theme song, and Bridget's "I have to potty!" urgent announcements (oh the joy of a recently potty-trained 3 year old).

The Town. Newark was fantastic. We dined Friday at the Iron Hill Brewery and we all four enjoyed our meals (even Bridget). Their Ironbound Pale Ale was a treat as well! We even checked out the Brewhaha for a good cup of Joe. I love hitting up independent coffee stores whenever I can. While I was running Saturday morning, Meg, Greg and Bridget knocked around the town and checked out a cool record store. They shared the story with me afterwards that Bridget went straight back to the store clerk and asked "Where's the girls section?" Too damn funny. Just think about it, in Bridget's teen years, she will not know about cassette tapes (ah, is there any better gift than a mix tape? Seriously!), LPs, 45s, or even CDs. Post-race we hit up Pita Pit for lunch where our devoured my pita like a ravenous pit bull and then off to the Flip Flop Shop for our unusual treat.

The Race. Mixed feelings here. I guess I'm spoiled by the trail racing events here in Northeastern Ohio. The trail markings are spot on, but were lacking at the Delaware race. A group of us came to this intersection lesstha. 3 miles into the race which had no pie plates or chalk/flour and we had to make a decision. Luckily, a fisherman pointed us in the right direction toward "the other runners who scared my fish away!" I also noticed the 10k lacked some key markings when a marathoner and I were confused about which direction to take. I also would have liked chips or D-tags because after I finished the half marathon, any transition time I took actually counted toward my total race time. Rats. The course itself was beautiful and very challenging. It was everything the website said and more - roots, rocks, trees, branches, flora, downed trees, huge creek crossing ranging from ankle to knee deep icy water, hills, rollers - everything you could imagine. I was exhausted (plum tuckered out, to be honest) after the half marathon distance, but decided to complete the 10k in spite of screaming calf muscles (and they were screaming profanity to me I'm sure). I did learn an important lesson about nutrition. Don't deviate from what works! Which I did and paid dearly for it with cramps and stomach discomfort. I won't make that mistake again. Overall, I enjoyed the 19.3 miles completed and had an absolutely wonderful time with my family - potty breaks and all!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

That Was Hard

And no, it's not another Michael Scott "that's what she said" invitation! I ran the Trail Dawgs Triple Crown trail run and successfully completed both the half marathon and 10k races. Smartly, I opted not to torture my calves and an "unknown" muscle by running the remaining 5k. The course was tough (I'll write up a proper post later), but I am happy with the 19.3 trail miles I completed. And even happier that I packed advil in my suitcase!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Funny

Let's hope this isn't your doctor's office! Happy Hump Day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Review: Dinner at Dante's

Friday night was a date night with husband to celebrate his birthday. To do it up in style, in other words to wear our good jeans, I made reservations at Dante's in Tremont. We were big fans of his previous restaurant in Independence and were excited to try out his new place. As a warning: do not read this if you're hungry!

We started out with a round of fun, adult drinks. I had a Shiso & Grapefruit martini and Greg had a Rum-something. Amazing, yummy and potent-a wonderful combination!

For starters, Greg had the calamari and rock shrimp with chili spice mayo and I had the 7 winter vegetable salad. My salad included beets, leeks, celery, mesclun, endive, and potato shavings (but was missing the brussel sprouts). Next, we each ordered an entree dish as well as a "tasting" size dish. Greg had the braised short ribs with lemon thyme gremolata and a tasting of pasta bolognese. The pasta has always been one of favorites and it didn't disappoint. I had the sea scallops with clamshell mushrooms, potato strudel in a chorizo vinaigrette and a "tasting" of Bhutanese red rice with asparagus shavings. The scallops were succulent and full of flavor. As if we had any room, we agreed that the Hot Caramelized Bartlett Pear with cardamom ice cream had to be sampled. It was amazing. We probably sounded like food porn at our table from the pleasure we got from this simple dessert.

The atmosphere is noisy, but we love that. We love going to places where you just know the conversation is lively - at all the tables. We can't wait to go back and sample more of the "tasting" size dishes and would highly recommend supporting another one of Cleveland's wonderful local chefs!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pajama Brunch

Great way to start a Sunday morning!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bridget's First Dance Class

This morning was Bridget's first dance class and she loved it! Megan and I laughed at how thrilled Bridget was to wear a pink leotard and pink tights - she is such a girly girl! She got to dance around the room with ribbon, have round-circle play, dance on her tippy toes, walk on a balance beam, jump on a trampoline, and tumble. Afterwards, we all went to breakfast to listen to Bridget share with us how exciting her dance class was!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Flying Solo

Just booked my flight, car and hotel for Grandma's Marathon. Due to the logistics and expense of checking off the state of Minnesota, it just was too cost prohibitive for all of us to travel. So I'm traveling sans kids and hubby. Most moms would probably be thrilled at the thought of having 2 days and 2 nights all to themselves. But not me. I actually love traveling with my girls. And to be honest, I haven't a clue how to entertain myself. I'm trying to book my time so that I take a bus tour of the course and get to listen to Dick Beardsley and Kara Goucher speak. So instead of whining and whimpering about being by myself, I'm actually going to go to my first carb-loading pasta dinner and I will plop myself down at a table full of strangers and hopefully be able to blog later about making new friends!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Atlantis Vacation: Part Two

Warning: Long Post! Read at your own risk!

Atlantis was a week of wonderful sun, food and family time. Our flight was pretty uneventful and landed on time in Nassau. The cab ride from the airport to the resort was enjoyable because we got to sit back and take in all the beauty of the island (even though we were driving on the wrong side of the road). Upon arrival at Harborside Resort we checked into our villas. Wow - fantastic accommodations with an equally great view. The kids were anxious for some pool time before dinner so off we went. Sunday dinner was at Mosiac, which would be our best dinner place by far. Sushi, fresh grilled vegetables, wonderfully prepared meats, amazing salad ingredients and a yummy dessert bar. I wished I had snapped pics of this culinary piece of heaven! Below is a great picture of the family taken by Kim after dining at Mosiac!

Monday started with an early cab ride to the grocery store with Kim for breakfast, lunch and snack items. Very strange experience. Our cab driver insisted on coming inside and pushing the grocery cart for us. After $235 later for $7 milk, bread, waffles, snacks and pasta (seriously, we didn't cart home that much!), we left the grocery store only to be told that our 20 minute roundtrip cab ride (and our cabbie's grocery cart time) was $55! After that gouging, I was definitely in need of a good run. So off Greg, Kim and I went for a 3-4 mile run exploring Atlantis. Came back, hooked up with Meg and Bridget and the four of us took off to get "mommy's starbucks". Too much pool time today because we all got the ouchies from the sun! Dinner was at Bimini Road - food was so-so, but the mojitos were magical! So perfect that we would stop back throughout the week to get our mojito fix.

Since B got up so early on Tuesday, the 3 of us headed out for more exploring and let Meg sleep in (after all, it was vacation!). We walked around the marina checking out the yachts (Gallant Lady, Blind Date), the casino, shops, the Cove. Royal Towers and the ocean. We decided on pool tine near Dolphin Cay since we were scheduled for the 4pm dolphin interaction. The kids waterpark was cool and B and Ben couldn't get enough of the water!
The dolphin interaction was a must-do activity! Each of us got to pet and kiss our dolphin Kelly. For dinner, we kept it simple with pizza back in the room. So much fun! A funny note about Tuesday: Meg and I kept trying to get some computer time. The lobby had 2 computers with a 15-minute time limit. Each time we tried to get online Tuesday, we would have to wait behind the "skinny bitches". Funny thing, we saw these 2 waifs EVERYWHERE we went at the resort!

My best morning run was Wednesday. Greg, Kim and I tackled the Paradise Island Bridges. Each loop was 1.75 miles and we knocked out 3 steep, long, hilly loops! Afterwards, mommy needed her Starbucks fix so Greg gave Meg and I a little girly time while he and B went to the pool and raceway.
Later we all joined back together for lunch at the Lagoon Bar & Grille and to walk trhough the Predator Tunnel - very cool! Bridget and Cousin Ben enjoying one of the fish exhibits
Dinner was at Carmine's for family-style Italian with delish veal and pasta dishes and yummy breads (love my carbs!). After dinner, the kids joined in the music at the marina playing drums and dress up.
Thursday was a much-needed lazy day. Spent a little time at the ocean making sand castles, but tried to take it easy and limit the sun. Megan and Greg got their adventure fix by going down the Leap of Faith!
Checked out an early movie (astro boy) with the kids - mmmm popcorn! Had dinner at Murray's Deli where Bridget had her face painted with a pink giraffe!painted giraffe in her favorite color, pink
On our last full day, we had breakfast at the Royal Towers next to the fishes. This was Meg's big treat/request. I'm not sure who ate more: Meg or Bridget! After we toured the Dig, which was amazing with stunning views of tropical fish.

For our last night we dined buffet-style at Seagrapes restaurant so we could check out the stingrays and turtles. Meg then graciously gave Greg and I an hour to go to Mesa grill for drinks and some adult time. Mesa is one of our fav places in Vegas and the Atlantis version didn't disappoint. It was nice to have a good glass of Cabernet and people watch from the bar. Perfect ending to a perfect trip!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Week in Review 4/5-4/11 & Atlantis Part One

This week is proof that you can still train for a marathon while on vacay. Week in Review 4/5-4/11:

Monday - 3.5 mile run around Atlantis resort with Greg and Kim - what a great way to get to know the grounds.  The elevens in 6:57 - I actually did 5 man pushups!!   

Beautiful view from our room

Tuesday - 2 hour walk around resort for about 4 miles. Got up at 7 am with Bridget. 4 miles might be on the low end. We tried to let Meg sleep. Not walking THAT long in flip flops ever again...ever!
Love this family vacation picture

Wednesday - 3-1.75 mile loops over both bridges on Paradise Island plus additional flat mile to Starbucks & back for much needed coffee! Wow, no kidding that the bridges are steep. I found the first bridge steeper than the second, but the incline on the second lasted longer. It was still pretty damn cool to tackle both bridges THREE times!

Paradise Island Bridges

Thursday - 2 mile walk around resort.  We made a point to walk whenever we could rather than to take the shuttle, unless B was tired. In that case, since she's about 40# and tough to carry long distances, the shuttle was sometimes the smart choice!

Friday - swam laps for about 300m give or take.  Without goggles, I am a train wreck. I can't even tell you the number of laps I swam on a diagonal! My father always said I ran like a Singer Sewing Machine on zigzag stitch. My swim line is worse than my running. Still, I really enjoyed being in the pool everyday with the sun shining warmly on me (yes, of course I was slathered in sunscreen!). 

Saturday - flight back home. 

Sunday - long run! I tried to run consistent or even splits on my 20-miler. This time around training-wise, I'm trying to get in at least four-20 mile runs so that I don't fall apart in the June marathon. Today's run showed my workouts are paying off. I kept a steady 5mph pace and finished in 4 hours. (My race day goal is to run at a steady 5.5mph rate.) What felt good about this is that I know I can go a little faster race day. What felt bad is that I still don't have the food thing down and spent the last 3-4 miles with stomach discomfort. I just don't like gels (Gu) and have got to quit using them. I also don't stomach the sweetness of Gatorade. I might try Nuun on my next run to drink. Sour gummy worms are great but, come on, they lack in any nutritional value (although I do love them!). Fortunately, I have about 10 weeks till race day. Total miles for the week (walking/running): 35.5 miles.

On the agenda for Monday: yoga and new shoes! Can't wait!

Atlantis Trip Summary Part Two with the dolphins within the next day or two.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

An Egg-citing Day

Corny, I know, but I couldn't resist. Today was Bridget's first Easter egg hunt and all four of us were excited!

Week in Review for 3/29 - 4/4:

Monday - rest and recovery from Sunday's 25k race.

Tuesday - 4 mile tempo run. First two miles in 19:32 and second two miles in 18:38! The "elevens" before work.

Wednesday - shopping with my girls for resort wear (talk about a real workout!).

Thursday - 1600m row in 7:37. 3 sets of 20 each of box jumps and kettleball swings. The elevens followed by 20 lunges.

Friday - 18 mile long run. The first 10 were right on target or goal pace. But the 77-82 degree heat was draining me. I packed two water bottles on my fuel belt and ran out. Fortunately Big Met Golf Course had indoor water fountains. Miles 13-15 were ugly and I considered quitting. But Greg and Bridget met me and Meg for a picnic lunch at 15.5 miles. Turned out my last 2.5 were pretty good. I iced my knees later in the day, but recovered pretty well.

Saturday - 3 miles walking with the family. Legs feeling surprisingly well.

This week's total miles: 25 miles.