Thursday, July 29, 2010

Biking to Work

Today I biked 15 miles each way to work. I cant believe how peaceful it was in the morning at 7am and how hectic at 5pm. The weather was perfect, the wind was welcoming (a little exhausting on the way home, though) and a great way to sneak in some exercise while also being kind to the environment. It was humorous to see my coworkers look at me as if I had just popped out of the hole in Alice in Wonderland!

Looking forward to driving legs, arms and back will be happy :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Muddy Paws

Puppy had his first DNF. We've all been there, having thoughts of "can I finish". But puppy's paw was causing him to limp so Greg took him out at the first opening around 2-2.5 miles in. After I knew he would be ok, I ventured on and in spite of slowing down to a walk while we figured out what to do with Jameson, I still managed to beat my time from last year by 2 minutes.

Another nice race event by Vertical Runner!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Top 5 Funny Things Bridget Did on This Trip

Bridget was the best entertainment Megan and I could have hoped for during our first girls trip. Below are the top 5 funny things she did!

1. At our first hotel, she opened up the nightstand, grabbed the book (the Gideon Bible) and said, "oh, a big book. Let's read it!" I politely told her to put it away, it was just too much for mommy to read. Mommy still likes picture books.

2. Meg and Bridget were playing "which hand is it." Bridget marveled at how Megan could always guess which hand was hiding the object. Nevermind that Bridget's right arm is in a cast and she can't make a fist!

3. Listening to Bridget tell our foreign (non English speaking) driver that she was 3 and her birthday is in March. When I interjected with "ok", she blurted out she was talking to HIM and wanted HIM to answer not me. This went on about 3-4 more times before he dropped us off. Meg and I could hardly control our snickers.

4. Seeing Bridget sample fresh pressed apple juice. During her first cup, she responded with "mmmm, this is sweet." On her second cup, she said it was sour. She then poured a third, which she said was delicious. After her fourth, we cut her off!

5. Watching her and Megan play tag at the airport to burn off excess energy and listening to them giggle. That made the whole trip wonderful!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Our First Girls Trip - Boston/NH/VT

Not to complain or belabor a point, but flying during the summer takes an exercise in patience.  Putting that part aside, everything else about our trip was wonderful. Because of our flight "issues", we didn't check in to our hotel in Bow, NH till 8:30pm. We were so ravenous that we took the hotel's advice for a pizza delivery place and, if I may say so, was the best damn pepperoni pizza EVER! we were that ravenous. Meg and I devoured a 12-inch pizza so fast you would have thought we hadn't seen food in 3 days! Bridget had her plain pizza (seriously, no toppings, just crust) and we had our pajama and pizza party on top of the bed - complete with hand towels as placemats!

The next morning, we had a quick breakfast in the hotel lobby (pocketing a couple cereal boxes for the road trip -come on, "everyone" does it!) and took off for the 5-mile morning race.  I loved this race. Meg came up with the idea of me holding this sign  i loved he pic and check our Bridget's hair - she's channeling her inner Keith Richards!  

The course reminded me of my cross country training runs back in Wheelersburg on the county roads. The best part was that Coach Bill Luti was actually giving out 2-mile splits and I so so so wanted to take a picture with him! The course ran through a private school grounds-just beautiful!  The finish was at the Concord High School and reminded me of trail racing. Lots of runners sitting around in the grass just enjoying each other's company. Great atmosphere and wonderful race experience. Thank you New Hampshire!

Afterwards, we immediately found a playground foe Bridget to burn off some energy, then trecked to Hanover for a visit to the beautiful Dartmouth campus.
Boy did we score. Hanover was having a street fair on Saturday! We each got some dartmouth gear, had a fantastic lunch at Molly's where Meg had the "best burger ever" and Bridget did her monster impersonation with penne pasta fingers, then capped off our experience with lattes from Dirt Cowboy. Thanks, Karen, for the spot-on recommendstions! You know us perfectly!

Next stop: Ben & Jerry's to sample their yumminess. Meg got her shirt, Bridget picked up a cow bell (to cheer me on at my races!) and we all sampled  yummy ice cream. Bridget had strawberry cheesecake, Meg had their chocowlate chip and I had imagine whirled peace. We checked out the graveyard, played on the playground (all of us) and the girls tried their hands at spinner art! Great afternoon!

Headed down the road to Stowe, checked into our room and decided to go for a quick swim before dinner. We had pasta at Pie in the Sky - great little pizza and pasta joint. We laid out a map of Stowe, read the travel book and made our food/shopping plans for the next day. Can't wait!

Got up early Sunday morning to pick up my race packet/bib. The website listed Ye Olde English Inn, but it was wrong and I had to hike it over to the start location. The sun was already pretty hot so I knew I was in for quite a race. I won't go into more detail, other than to say I was terribly disappointed with the course and its organization.  Post-race wasn't anything to write home about. With a vibrant New England craft brewery scene, we were served PBR! No thank you. So us girls headed down the road to the Stowe Harvest Market (think Dean & Deluca!) for morning treats and Green Mountain coffee.  Then off to shopping. The rule is we each get to bring home one nice thing on each of our trips.  This way, you get something special, but you have to be mindful that you only get one thing.  Bridget got her beautiful dress at Bumblebell with her very own hot pink ice cream scooper. I found a versatile (and on sale) scarf at In Company and Meg got her "one thing" at Dartmouth - a beautiful rugby stripe  hoodie. To finish off our Vermont experience, we stopped at Black Cap for a maple latte and Cold Hollow Apple Cider Mill for the 4th best donuts in the U.S. And to sample apple cider. It was priceless to watch Bridget sample the fresh pressed apple juice and comment after each sampling. It was like being at a wine tasting for toddlers!  It was truly a perfect afternoon!

We then made our way back to Boston. Room service was just what we tired girls needed and it didn't disappoint!

Looking forward to making this an annual tradition!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday's Race

LOCO Racing put on the Stowe8-miler race. They are the same group that organized (loosely worded) the Maine Half Marathon race I ran back in November. Thank goodness, from my past experience, I ran this race with my hand-held water bottle. The race started with temps in the low 80s with little to no shade and they didn't have the first water stop till almost 2.5 miles into the course. When I arrived, the few volunteers announced that we runners needed to take only what we need because they were almost out of water! Are you kidding me? It's not that hard to plan liquids for 1,000 overheated runners. Sadly, this was the first race that I saw 2 runners being treated for heat-related issues mid-course. I slowed my pace down by 30 seconds per mile and still felt the effects of the sun. The finish line was disappointing, consisting of warm bottles of water, half bananas, and sample bags of Bare Naked granola (which I do like). The redeeming part is that the town of Stowe is simply amazing. We cannot say enough good things about the wealth of activities, shopping and dining that can be found in Stowe as well as the incredible hospitality of the town. So a big YAY that Vermont is done!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hot, Hazy & Humid

Greg calls it his three "H's" and I experienced all three today, but I still rocked it today (for me)! It was high 70s at the start and low 80s when I finished. As promised, Coach Bill Luti was giving out the 2-mile splits and it wa the coolest to hear runners yell "hello, Coach Luti!". I finished in 52:49 and was more than happy with that since it's a PR. My trip with the girls is shaping up wonderfully, but that will require a separate post.

24th state completed. The 25th state will be an 8-miler in the morning. Can't wait!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Saturday's Race

I will knock off our 24th state tomorrow morning by running the Bill Luti 5-Miler in Concord, New Hampshire. I chose this race after I read about who Bill Luti is. He helped organize this race in 1968, which is now known as one of the oldest foot races in New England. Bill coached the Boys' Cross Country at Concord High School from 1957-1982, winning 13 state championships and 4 New England titles. He returned from retirement to bring more state titles to the girls' cross country. He will be the official starter, will give the 2-mile splits, and present awards to "Luti Alums". I look forward to this local race in the morning! Best of all, it will be another wonderful morning with my girls!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Happy List

I'm a big believer that each day we wake up and decide whether we're going to be happy or miserable.

1. My oldest had a great day of volunteering and realizes the good in helping others.
2. My youngest is curled up next to me andher breathing is beautiful.
3. I had lunch with my sister, simple and wonderful.
4. I saw old colleagues today and it brought such a smile to my face.
5. Me and my girls had a nice trip to "mommy's bicycle store" to get Meg a proper helmet and lovely old-fashioned basket and handle streamers for Bridget.
6. Lance hasn't given up. Basso is in the top 10. And the new boy wonder (my new fav) Schleck is kicking ass. I love love love the Tour. I could listen to Phil, Paul and Bob all day (not so much Craig Hummer).

Hopefully, you've found your "happy".

Friday, July 9, 2010

Simply Put - It's Been a Good Week

Fitness-wise, I had a challenging 20-mile bike ride with my husband on Monday. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would find biking to be "quality time" or that I would consider a bike helmet as a cool accessory! Wednesday, I swam 800 meters and it felt wonderful and I still marvel at how relaxed I feel afterwards. I'm also learning not to cringe or criticize when I see myself in a swim suit. This morning, I treated myself to a short 4-mile run while dodging rain and it was just wonderful time spent with my thoughts. It was good. I got back to the quiet house, gave the dog some attention, had a warm cup of Joe, then woke up the kids. Beautiful.

Leave you with an inspiring quote: "I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well." Diane Ackerman

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Funny Conversation

Trying to get ready and out the door with a 3-year-old can be tough. But this totally made the morning rock.

ME: Come on, girlfriend, let's get out of here.

BRIDGET: Ok, Robin, let's do it!

Figures I end up with a kid that goes with my real name and she finds it even funnier that my name is also a kind of bird. What a great and funny way to start my day.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Weekend of Spontaneous Fun

While we were originally planning on hanging out in Chautauqua for the holiday weekend, we made a last minute decision to stay put. And so glad we did. But I am exhausted! Friday was a wonderfully relaxing evening enjoying the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom. This was a first for us and we found out we were novices with respect to our "picnic" supplies. It was a spontaneous, unplanned activity so we thought we were prepared with our blanket, bottle of wine, 2 platic red solo cups (remember, red solo=part supply at OU), corkscrew, Bridget's Dora cup and goldfish crackers. We entered the land of professionals with THEIR picnic supplies ranging from cheese trays to dessert options to catered dinners from Whole Foods. People actually had those metal wine stands that insert into the lawn. I didn't see any other solo cups *giggle*. But we had fun and so did Bridget. Beforehand, I tried a Heavy Seas IPA and I strongly recommend this lovely liquid goodness.

Saturday we rode our bikes to Blackbird Bakery for morning yumminess. Afterwards, I primed and sealed one side of the garage (can you say beast of a project?!). On the Cleveland Foodie website, Michelle challenged her readers to eat and buy local from July 3-10 to help infuse more economic gain into the local community. So we had breakfast at Blackbird, lunch at TJ's Butcher Block in Lakewood (amazing) and dinner at Johnny Mango in Ohio City (one of my favs). After dinner, Greg surprised us with a trip to Tremont Scoops for ice cream for Greg and Bridget and Banyan Tree for me! Woohoo new earrings (local).

Sunday was my 10-miler, which has become a medium distance run anymore. It felt wonderful. Just. Simply. Wonderful. We met for breakfast on Herb's patio. Then more garage priming-ugh. Greg and B had a little pooltime then a nap. And I was still priming. And I was still trying to remember why I was doing this project instead of contracting it out? Hmmmm.

Monday I had a cycling date with my husband. We biked 20 miles with the Rock Hall as our destination/turn-around point. It was so neat to see the downtown skyline from the gold coast and then to see the gold coast skyline from the Rock Hall. We capped off our ride with drinks at Erie Island coffee shop before heading back to be parents and homeowners. And then I primed the garage some more. Only today I battled a group of wasps. I hate those things and shot half my wasp/hornet can periodically throughout the afternoon. Damn insects. Tonight we grilled out - all locally owned foods. So this weekend, no chains and no Starbucks. It feels good actually.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Go Lance!

So excited-my 21 days of July is beginning right now. Very excited to see Lance kick asphalt and looking forward to seeing Basso ride again, the Schleck Brothers, and hearing Bob Roll say Tour de France so it rhymes with sewer say pants! Here's the Prologue in Rotterdam!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Read My Pins

What a wonderful week for reading books. A couple days ago I finished Molly Ringwald's new book and enjoyed the illustrations as much as the written content. Today I finished Madeleine Albright's Read My Pins and not only did I view her beautiful pieces, but was amazed at the political and historical significance of her pins while she was Secretary of State. Both books are great reads coming in at plus or minus 200 pages.