Friday, April 27, 2012

30 Days of Biking: Week 3

This 30 days of Biking thing is still fun and exciting, but 30 days in cold Cleveland with work commitments, dinner to fix, and night falling within 2 hours of me getting home has made biking EVERY day not exactly easy. But we're still hanging in there!

Late night, 6-mile ride just as dusk was falling. It was such a cool picture to take of the traffic lights and overhead road lights.

I kind of cheated on Day 18 by taking a quick spin around the block after fixing dinner. I was too tired to take a long ride and knew it would be dark soon, so I hopped on the bike while Meg took this picture as proof. I'm wearing my new Terry Cycling dress that I bought as part of their Terry Mondays special. Love the comfort of the dress!

Day 20 was probably my favorite long ride so far - although, I only biked 9 miles. I took a ride during my lunch through the Metroparks and wandered along a new path/direction toward the Toboggan Chutes. I came across this great scene of Canadian Geese nesting. My picture doesn't do the scene justice as there were at least 20 ducks nesting throughout the large grassy area. Great stress relief to take a midday ride!

Total week 3 miles: 15.5 miles

Total April cycling miles: 42.5 miles

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Scioto Miles: First 10k of the Year

When I signed up for the Scioto Miles two-race package, I originally selected the 5k as Race #1 and 10k as Race #2 since there would be 4 weeks between the two races. In my advance-planning-mind, I figured 4 weeks was PLENTY of time to ratchet up the mileage from being 5k-race-ready to 10k-race-ready. Where did the time fly?! I don't know who was more surprised - me or Megan - regarding my finish time! I figured the 6.2 miles would take me 70 minutes due to only completing 3-4 miles runs the past couple of months. Surprised myself when I finished in 1:05 and still felt fresh. It has to be the cycling that gave me the legs to finish this 10k. Thank you 30 days of biking! I have to say, I really enjoyed the course provided by the Scioto Miles Challenge. Runners are offered the option of 5k, 10k or 15k distance on a 5k course starting and stopping at COSI. The course has a nice mix of rolling hills, straight sections, and plenty to see along the Scioto River and downtown. I would recommend the series and, best of all, I snagged a wonderfully bright, and highly useful, Brooks windbreaker jacket, which I've used for both cycling and running this season so far. Looking forward to more races this summer!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fort Collins and Laramie

Fort Collins, Colorado may be my favorite weekend getaway spot. I can't say enough good things about this wonderful town! We arrived Thursday afternoon and thought we'd check out Old Town for a lunch spot. As soon as we arrived, we found out that we were 10 minutes away from the start a Reading Flash Mob. So much fun - we grabbed a free book (which we got to take home), popped a squat around the fountain, and read for 15 minutes. Simple enough. So I found a great little Meg Cabot paperback for Bridget and read aloud to her. A photographer from the Coloradian even took our picture. Unfortunately, another picture made it's way into the newspaper the next morning...but we still had great fun!

Headed over to Coopersmith's brewery off the main square and I had the most delicious vegetarian burrito and a great ale.
Settled into the hotel, scouted around the town, then dinner at Uncle's Pizza where B slept on my lap would round out nicely our first day in Fort Collins. 

Friday began with a trip to Firehouse Books for B to get a Fancy Nancy book and to pose in front of Ladybug Girl picture. If you remember, we dressed as Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy for our Albuquerque 10k costume race in 2010. Firehouse Books is also interesting because the gentleman who designed Disneyland's Old Town Main Square used this building as well as Fort Collins as his basis for style and design.

After we drug B out of the bookstore, we headed over to Fort Collins Bike Library and rented fixie bikes so we could enjoy Fort Collins on 2-wheels. We somehow managed to pile on 12 miles with those little legs of B's. We stopped at Cheba Hut on the Colorado State University campus for yummy subs where Greg told me the meaning of 420. What rock have I been under all these years? And George, quit laughing!

After completing all those exhausting miles on a bike with no gears, we decided we needed a beer. Off to New Belgium Brewery we pedaled! The tour was all booked up, but we got lucky when someone didn't show up and got in to the tour within 15 minutes of arriving. Awesome tour with great samples of Abbey Ale and my new favorite, Shift beer in a can. I have seriously become a fan of this brewery.

Since B was such a sport, we then treated her to ice cream at the uber expensive Walrus ice cream store. Greg is still in shock with the $9 price tag for 3 small cones! But the girl earned her ice cream today!

Dinner was at Rio Grande, a mexican restaurant. After an hour wait, we ravaged the chips and salsa like we hadn't been fed in 5 days! I inhaled so much salsa that I was barely hungry enough to enjoy my spinach enchiladas. And poor B was almost asleep from her exhausting day and long restaurant wait. Time to go home, set the alarm and get ready to run!

The drive to Laramie on Saturday was interesting. We both commented on how beautiful the West is when driving. We even saw a gazelle running! Race was simply fantastic (except for the searing lungs) and can be read here. 

I had emailed the race director requesting breakfast spot recommendations and she really delivered. At her request, we tried out Turtle Rock coffee for great coffee and delicious breakfast sandwiches. Greg got the chorizo, eggs and potato wrap and I got the peanut butter crunch wrap with PB, granola, bananas and drizzled honey. Mmmm! I'll definitely try to make this sandwich again at home!

After the race at Bridget's request, we went back to Firehouse Books for another Fancy Nancy book. And at Greg's request, we headed over to Odell's brewery for some sampling. Talk about luck. Instead of a brewery tour, we got there just in time to enjoy Wendy Woo performing while enjoying so many wonderful beverages! Since it was now raining outside, a brewery with a band was a perfect place to plant ourselves.

Fort Collins was fantastic and very kid-friendly. We were a little nervous at first wondering if we'd have enough to do over the 3 days, but nicely filled the units. The food, entertainment and people are some of the best we've found in our travels. We couldn't believe our luck in stumbling across a reading flash mob. We loved our time at all three breweries. And, most of all, I loved that we got to enjoy family time on 2-wheels. 

Can't wait for the next adventure!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

100 Miles of Nowhere

It's official. I managed to snag one of the 500 slots for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. I enjoyed this event last year, for the first time, with my friend, Karen. She and I spent 3 hours spinning our way to 50 miles on Mother's Day. We figured 50 times 2 equals 100 so problem solved! This year, I think, I'll bike the Emerald Necklace here in Northern Ohio...or at least portions of it over a 2-day period. Maybe I'll talk my family into meeting me for a snack and lunch at the "finish line." Lots of possibilities!

Thanks, Fatcyclist, Twin Six, Banjo Brothers and Specialized for hosting another wonderful event!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

30 Days of Biking - Week Two

Week 2 is working out nicely. Started off Monday with Bridget asking me where we'll be biking today. I love it. She asked if we'd be going around the neighborhood or in the Metroparks. I think I'm doing something right as a parent when my kid wants to have mommy time by riding with me. Swoon!

Day 9 was another chilly ride. It sure didn't feel like 52 degrees! Bridget tackled a full mile - Yay, Bridget!

Day 13 was spent riding 12 miles around Fort Collins on a fixie! So proud of Bridget for riding like a champ on her first time on a tag-a-long and kudos for Greg for towing the extra weight on a fixie!

Got home from the airport kind of late so we had to settle for one mile bike ride around the neighborhood at dusk.

Didn't bike everyday this week due to a couple long days of traveling during the week, but will be more consistent during week three!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Wyoming Was a Success

What a fun way to knock out the 43rd state in our quest to reach all 50 states! We got up bright and early Saturday morning and left our hotel in Fort Collins, Colorado to begin the one hour trek up to Laramie, Wyoming. I knew the weather was going to a bit chilly, which didn't worry me...until I woke up and heard there would be snow flurries. Ouch! I had brought shorts, planning on the high 40s, but Mother Nature had other plans. No worries, I did have a pair of yoga pants and a wool black turtleneck. I'd be stylin' out there at the University of Wyoming School of Law Ambulance Chase.

The race started with runners being led by an ambulance. That's right - an ambulance! Afterall, it was an "ambulance chase" with lawyers! I started out at my usual 5k race pace, but then a few minutes in to the race my legs started to feel like lead. Then I began sounding like a prank caller with my heavy breathing. Wait - how high were we in Wyoming. Ahh, a little over 7,500 feet. Damn you altitude!

I decided that if I was going to finish this race without my heart exploding, then I'd need to take strategic walk breaks. I've never felt like such a wuss!

So how was it even possible that I finished 2nd in my age group of 40-49 year old? I dunno, but it happened and I couldn't be more thrilled! My second place finish earned me a large University of Wyoming College of Law coffee mug! I can't wait to drink my morning cup-o-joe now!

Welcome to Wyoming (I'm holding my treasured coffee mug).

Bridget hanging out with Socrates at the law school.

Great day and we are over 80% to reaching our goal!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wyoming, Here We Come

This weekend, our family will travel to Wyoming to knock out our 43rd state. Can you believe it - 43 states?! Unbelievable. I still have to pinch myself that we're really doing this. And no thanks to the exhorbitant airfares either!

So let's throw in some fun facts about Wyoming - a sprinkle of education with fitness is a wonderful combination.

1. Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote. The state motto is "Equal Rights".
2. Yellowstone is the first official National Park (1872), which is interesting since the state was not admitted into the Union until July 10, 1890 (44th state).
3. The first Dude Ranch in Wyoming was the Eaton Ranch, near Wolf. The Eaton's also came up with the term "dude".
4. Wyoming has the lowest population of all 50 United States.
5. The JCPenney stores were started in Kemmerer.
6. The average annual preciptation is 14.5 inches (Cleveland averages 38.71 inches), which is ironic since it is expected to rain the day I'm there (yep, this Clevelander is bringing the rain to ANOTHER race).
7. A bison is on the state flag and is considered the monarch of the plains.

And a few weird facts as well:

1. If one is drunk in a mine, he/she could land in jail for up to a year.
2. Junk dealers may not make any business transactions with drunk persons.
3. It is illegal to wear a hat that obstructs people's view in a public theater or place of amusement.
4. Using a firearm to fish is strictly forbidden.

I'm off for another run the...and maybe pick up Bridget a cowgirl hat while we're in Laramie. Happy Trails!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey-What's On Your Nightstand?

I'm clearly late to the party, but Greg recently read to me that this book has been referred to as "mommy porn." Hmmm...let's go back there...what? There's such a thing as Mommy Porn? Good grief, I have a plane ride coming up and I needed a book to read. Light bulb!

ABC News reported that Fifty Shades of Grey is "heating up bedrooms across the country." Several women interviewed stated the book was poorly written, but admitted to being on the third book. No surprise it's a trilogy - isn't everything nowadays?!

Not sure it would be appropriate plane reading material, but maybe it would be a nice addition to my Kindle reading list? Hmmm...we'll see.

In the meantime, I'll proudly read Chrissie Wellington's new book. At least I don't have to slide it in a brown paper bag while reading.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wonderful Little Quote

"The health of a man can be judged by which he takes two at a time - pills or stairs." (Joan Welsh)

Love it. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Egg Hunt

Having a small one in the house means ALL the holidays are exciting. Thanks to the wonderful town that we lived in, they sponsored a commmunity Easter Egg Hunt. And I couldn't believe just how "charged" she was to scoop up as much candy and eggs as possible. Best of all, she ran into one of her friends, making this hunt that much more exciting for Bridget.

Monday, April 9, 2012

30 Days of Biking - Week One

The first week of 30 Days of Biking ended on a good note. Between April 1-8 (Easter), I managed to get in 5 days of riding - interrupted only by working till dark one night and a meltdown by a nap-deprived 5-year-old on the other day. Not bad. And best of all, I've had so much fun becoming friends with my hybrid again. So here's my first week of this 30 Days of Biking challenge in pictures. As you can see, I co-opted the whole family into this challenge. One point to Robin!

Day 1 and it was chilly at 36 degrees. I had to bundle up with gloves and a down jacket for a quick ride down the street. Where did those summer temps go from last week?!

Day 2 didn't feel any warmer, but I managed to at least increase my mileage to a full mile. Watch out Schleck brothers, with training like this, I'm sure to win any race!

Day 3 included a trip to Starbucks with Megan for a piping hot green tea. She would never admit that she's enjoying this and voluntarily wanted to be a part of the challenge. 2 miles completed. I can feel the burn, wait...that's just me getting acclimated to the seat!

Skipped Day 4 due to work commitments, but managed to get the youngest daughter to join me on Day 5 for a nightime ride around the block.

Day 6 was the best riding day yet. I had the day off and managed to work in a 3 mile run AND a 6 mile bike ride. Very cold and windy on the ride, but just look at how blue the sky was - I just HAD to be out there!

Didn't get in a ride on Day 7, but Greg powered up the old Trek with the trailer attached and I joined on my Giant hybrid for Day 8 (Easter Sunday) and we tooled around the town, checking out houses and just enjoying the spring temps while knocking out 3 miles.

13 miles completed during week one. It's not too late to join in the challenge!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Introducing Bridget to Harry Potter

It was time. Bridget had turned 5, so it was time to introduce her to the magical world of Harry Potter. I started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to Megan in 1998. I can still see her sitting on the arm of my oversized red plaid chair, slowly sliding into my lap as she was getting tired, but refusing to be too tired to hear the rest of each night's chapter. We have introduced Bridget to Hagrid, Dumbledore, Harry, Ron and Hermione. She already doesn't like Draco Malfoy and knows from last night's chapter on The Potions Master that Snape is a bad guy. Bridget knows that the smart kids are in Ravenclaw, but the brave kids are in Gryffindor. She hasn't tried Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, but I'll find someplace online and order them.

What a magical world J.K. Rowling welcomed us into! Megan has been sitting on the bed while I read the night's chapter to Bridget and we've so enjoyed this time. I love introducing B to HP, but I sure am going to miss my little pumpkin when she dashes off to college. But hey, we'll just Facetime or Skype her and read every night. Greg, does AT&T have a plan for that?!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

COSI, 5k and Visit with My Sister

Saturday was an action-packed day with a 2+ hour drive down to Columbus, a 5k race, a few hours spent at COSI, a wonderful lunch, then another 2+ hour drive back to Cleveland. Phew, I sure was tired!

The morning began with a 5k race sponsored by Premier Racing. The race started and finished at COSI with an option of completing the 5k, 10k or 15k, you determine the number of loops you're up for. Such a fun concept. I opted for the 5k distance - not too long and not too short considering I just started back to running regularly the beginning of March. The course had rolling hills and featured a nice run along the Scioto River with periodic views of the Columbus skyline. The start began pretty close on time and had a nice compliment of post-race goodies with water, bananas and oranges as well as chocolate milk from the Creamery. The tech tee was pretty cool as well and I'll even wear it (bonus!). Best of all, for everyone signing up for both runs (3/30 and 4/22), you get a Brooks running jacket. You can see the guy wearing it in the picture below. I finished in 31:47, which was a big improvement from the St. Patrick's Day run. Not bad - in the 10:13 ballpark - I'll take it!

I don't have a sour look on my face - honest! My sister snapped the picture as I was listening to Bridget's story about the best chocolate milk :)

After the race, I ran back to the car to slide into my warm yoga pants and off we dashed to COSI. Love that place. Bridget got to explore all the great little areas, which encourages kids to touch everything. She went into a submarine, hula hooped in Progress Town, and enjoyed tactile overload offered in the Kidspace. Awesome time!

Bridget and Megan playing around with robot helmets at the COSI gift shop - so cute!

If you look closely in the top right of this picture, you'll see that Bridget, Megan and their cousin Zack were posing like the restroom sign. Such jokesters!

Bridget enjoying the water play area in the Kidspace.

After all that fun at COSI, we were famished! With Spaghetti Warehouse next door, and the fact that Megan and Bridget love plain pasta, I knew it was going to be a win-win for lunch. Being so tired from the 5:30am wake-up call, the 2+ hour drive, completing a 5k, then walking for 3 hours at COSI, I completely lost my mind when ordering and ordered Bridget buttered popcorn instead of butter pasta! Phew, this was going to be a long drive back!

I'm pretty sure I can speak for everyone and we had a great day! Thanks, Aunt Angie!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Munchies

Went to Trader Joe's yesterday and succumbed to the "end of the aisle" temptation. I should be smarter than this age-old trick, but I'm glad I gave in! Both Megan and I agree that it was the best damn fig butter! And this morning, it tasted marvelous on my english muffin. Run out and buy some!