Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Workouts July 21-27

Hi there!  Better late than never with the weekly workout recaps.

Surprise about last week: I RE-JOINED G FIT! :) After all my debating, after all my "cons" about it, I can't stay away.  I just love that it forces me to do HIIT and strength training, because if it were up to me, I would just run and spin at all times.  Secondly, it is something that I can do with a GROUP.  A group of lovely women at that.  During the week I spend I spend a lot of time by myself outside of work.  I feel like I really need that social time.  So we're back on the G FIT train officially!

Last week I didn't run until the end of the week.  As I mentioned last week, my legs were hurting from my Eurotrip, and I hadn't done any cross training or strength that entire time.  So I took last week to do some other things and let my legs recover.

Monday, July 21 - REST
I walked the dogs in the morning but took another day off after getting home from Europe.  I spent the evening getting my life together.

Tuesday, July 22 - evening g fit
First day back!  This workout was awesome.  I hadn't done pull-ups since October.  I was happy to see I could still use a small-ish band.  Man was I sore.

Wednesday, July 23 - AM spin class
This wasn't as good as the first class I went to by the same instructor, but it did the job!

Thursday, July 24 - AM g fit
I have a phobia of going to the 6 am class because the workout is rarely posted beforehand.  I like to know what I'm in for!  Luckily this was posted at 5:50 am.  I must say it's hard to do a partner workout at the crack of dawn - not in the mood to socialize! Ha.  It was fun though, my partner was counting down to her wedding that's THIS FRIDAY!  Congratulations to her.

PP = push press; vups = like a crunch, with your legs in the air too
Friday, July 25 - AM g fit
On Friday morning I was debating between a run and g fit.  I decided that because a) I told myself I'd cross train this week and b) I was craving g fit, to go with the latter option.  But they didn't post the workout first, eek!  Turns out it was PERFECT.  I loved that it was just cardio, but more intense than my slow 3 mile run would have been:  I started with sit-ups and squats (50-50-50-50) because I am SO SLOW at sit-ups.  Then I did the entire row, then ran 2400 meters, then 250 jump rope, then 800 m, then 250 jump rope.  Yeah, it was random.  (Have I mentioned that the meter count is very inaccurate at gfit?  I don't mean this as a criticism, but it's important to note.  I didn't run 2 miles in reality.  At gfit there is a "400 meter" loop that can be easily sectioned into 200m and 100m.  I suppose it's easy to identify by them by meters, but there's just no way they're accurate.)  ANYWAY, who cares.  It's still tiring as heck.

Saturday - 6 mile run around town
This run was GREAT.  I hadn't run in over a week, so my legs were nice and fresh (even with all the gfitting).  It also started to pour down rain while I was running.  It was hilarious - my shorts literally had a puddle in them by the end.  Also, Drew was here for the weekend, so he was waiting for me when I got home - it was a nice reward.  I feel like every run I post I say, "It wasn't my fastest run but..." but I'm not going to say that this time.  Perhaps around a 9 min/mile is just where I am right now.  And that's okay.

Sunday - REST

1. Best workout this week?

2. Do you like running in the rain?

3. Do you do HIIT workouts?  What's your favorite?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

PARIS! And Champagne (the region and the drink).

Hello friends, I'm finally back with Part 2 of 3 of Europe.  I hope you're ready for an extreme photo dump!!  On Sunday afternoon, after my race, we got on a train to Paris.  I had never been to Paris before, and although I've never been dying to go for some reason, I thought I'd be missing out if I didn't.  Well, in my extremely informed and well-traveled opinion, Paris wasn't as magical as I'd heard, but it was still fun to see everything that I'd been hearing about my whole life!

On Monday we walked around all day, seeing the sights.  Turns out it was BASTILLE DAY!  It was pretty amazing to say I was in Paris on Bastille Day, but it was a lot different than say, DC on July 4th.  Yes the city was extremely crowded, and the Eiffel Tower was closed for fireworks, but all in all there wasn't much patriotism to be seen.  I feel like most of the people I saw were tourists, with very little evidence of French pride.  Basically, if I didn't know it was Bastille Day, I would never have noticed anything out of the ordinary.  Just a lot of people.

Moving on, here are a fraction the photos I took!

View from our hotel.  It rained the night we got there but was beautiful for the rest of the time.

After the rain cleared up we went for a walk in the nearby Luxembourg Gardens.  The night cleared up nicely!

My first meal in Paris.  Clearly we started every meal with a ginormous cheese and baguette plate.  I am normally one to avoid white bread, but not this trip.  No sir.  Bring on the BAGUETTE!

I had no idea that almost all of Paris is this lovely beige architecture.  I thought of it was just "quintessential Paris," sort of like brownstones in NYC.  But no, the entire city looks like this!  It's pretty amazing.

We started the next morning with a walk down to Notre Dame.

Apparently, the cathedral in my home town can fit INSIDE the nave of Notre Dame.  Holy moly.

Next we stumbled upon a bridge with love locks!

Clearly I had to be a sap:

Okay, Emily and Ryan, way to make us all look bad.
 We couldn't get very close to the Eiffel Tower so I was forced to pose awkwardly on a bridge:

And take selfies.  It's a rough life:

Next we walked to L'Arc De Triomphe.  This was one of my favorite sights.  It's just amazing!  I actually had no idea it was a WWI memorial and site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Bastille Day evidence

After strolling down Le Champs Elysees and buying 8lbs of chocolate, we took the metro over to the Sacre Coeur.  Holy beautiful!!  This may have been my favorite sight in Paris.  However, at this point it was late in the day and I was very hot and tired.  That's just part of traveling though...and this view was worth it.

Both of my parents ended up in the panorama.  Can you find them??

All in all it was a great, tiring, satisfying, day of sight-seeing.

The next morning my dad and I went for a run in the Luxembourg Gardens, then we headed to Epernay for the day.  Epernay is a region of Champagne, and wow is it gorgeous!  I loved getting out to the country for the day.

I didn't get great pictures of the landscape, but here's an example:

Turns out most champagne houses are closed from 12-2ish each day for lunch.  We got there at noon, womp.  We stopped into Georges Cartier and made a reservation for a tour later in the afternoon then decided to just stroll around the Avenue de Champagne.   We were lucky enough to find a champagne house that was open, so we had a mini tasting right off the bat.  SCORE.  Drinking perfect champagne, IN Champagne, at noon, with my parents - this is my life :)  We had a blast.

I really like these two:

After lunch (bread and cheese mostly), we headed back to Georges Cartier for our official Champagne Tour.   We went down into the caves and learned all about the process of making champagne.  It was fascinating, but I won't try to regurgitate it here.  Our tour guide really made the experience well worth-it.  She was a super cute French girl a little older than me, and was so funny about her "poor" English skills.  They were fine, by the way.

Dad rubbing the belly of this lucky Champagne god thingy.

These Champagne houses really know how to sell product.  Get your guests nice and buzzed in a room surrounded by fine champagne.  We left with two bottles.

I loved our day in Epernay!  

Last thought about Paris/France:  I had a great time recalling my French 1-level skills in multiple situations.  It was slightly hilarious.  On the other hand, I was very happy to be back in an English-speaking country.  Native Engish speakers out there:  do you ever feel "bad" when you're traveling and can't speak the language?  I find it odd that English speakers are able to navigate the world with the majority of people they meet being able to speak English, regardless of where in the world they are.  It gives a definite sense of privilege.  You feel me?

Ever been to Paris?  What'd you think of it?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Workouts July 14-20

Hi there, I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of my vacation!  Parts 2 and 3 are coming, and I'm sure you can't wait. :)

Here the rest of the workouts I did while in Europe.  Let's keep in mind we were talking A TON!  Holy moly... by the end of the week my legs were absolute lead.  Turns out walking endless miles on concrete city streets in semi-supportive shoes at best isn't good for the old leggies.  I have been cross training/resting since last Friday.

Monday, July 14 - REST
By rest I mean walking evvveryywherrreeee in Paris all day.

Tuesday, July 15 - 3 mile run with Dad in Paris!
We woke up bright and early and ran in Luxembourg Gardens, which was about a half mile from where we were staying.  We ran from the hotel, did two park loops, and ran back.  It was exactly 3 miles.  My dad will not want me to post our mile times...and I don't want to either.  It was just a little jaunt - with this view!

Wednesday July 16 - REST
We came home from Paris that day, then I spent the afternoon leisurely strolling in London with mom.

Thursday, July 17 - 4 mile run
This was my first time setting out by myself in London (besides the 10k, which was hardly "by myself").  I ran an out and back on the Thames Path.  The Thames Path runs is a walkway that runs along the river, on both sides (?).  It's great, you can go for miles and miles.  I left from my parents' house, which is literally right on the path, and ran 2 miles toward the Waterloo Bridge, and turned around.  I ended up deleting this run from my GPS because it went all wacko again and said I ran 2 miles in 4 minutes each!  So weird.  This is what the view looks like stepping out of my parents' house.

The path, like I said, is a great place the run, but the surfaces aren't ideal.  It is slanted at parts, and made mostly of concrete and slate.  I wouldn't want to run on it exclusively.  By this point in the week I was really starting to feel the toll taken on my legs.

Friday, July 18 - 5 mile run
On Friday I had big plans to knock out my "long run" (6 miles) in Hyde Park.  My dad mapped a loop for me, so I took the tube to the park and got started.

About a mile in I was like " shins hurt..this isn't that fun."  By the end of mile 2 I was thinking "Wow, this might be the worst thing ever.  This is park is pretty, but hell, I'm done with this."  Yup - fun huh?? My shins really did hurt.  See above, explaining how my legs gave out by the end of the week.  I was still in the park at this point, and had to walk a while to the tube stop.  Yes, I was going to go home - I thought it just wasn't worth it to keep going at such a pitiful, painful clip.  As I continued walking out the park the path changed to a much softer surface, and it was slightly down hill, and in the shade.  I started to feel like running again, so I did.  By the time I was out of the park I was feeling better, so I continued, past Buckingham Palace, and down The Mall.  Instead of trying to figure out how to get back on my route (I had no idea where I was going), I decided to just start running back towards my parents' house.  I crossed the "Wobbly Bridge" at Waterloo and was back where I had turned around the day before.  My pace was horrid, but as the miles ticked by I was feeling okay!  I hit 5 miles at London Bridge, and was feeling more accomplished.  My shins were still sore so I called it a day there and hopped on the bus for the last mile home.  All in all I call it a success.  At that time I knew I was done with running in Europe though...sheesh.

Saturday, July 19 - REST

Sunday, July 20 - REST
Flying for 8 hours definitely constitutes rest.

1. What's been your best workout lately?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

LONDON Part 1: Cambridge and the British 10k

Surprise!!  I just got back from a wonderful vacation visiting my parents in London, with a quick jaunt to Paris.  Here is Part 1 of the trip, including a recap of the British 10k!

Ready to go...

I was flying all of Thursday night, and arrived in London at the crack o' dawn on Friday morning.  It was literally planes, trains, and automobiles to get to my parents' house.  Good thing my mom met me at the train station, then led my exhausted self to her house, where she had fresh berries, toast, coffee, and yogurt waiting!  Oh my was the best :)))  Oh and it didn't hurt that I was greeted by this - just down the street!

The rest of Friday I napped a little, and mom showed me around her neighborhood (or "neighbourhood" as the Brits would spell it).  My dad was working all afternoon then we all went to dinner.  I crashed EARLY though.  We had a long day ahead of us in Cambridge!


On Saturday my dad and I went on a run, see the little blurb here.  Then it was off to Cambridge for the day.  Sitting in the front seat of the car on the left side was mildly terrifying.  I don't know how my dad drives on the left side of the road...he doesn't know either...

Cambridge is beautiful.  I had no idea that Cambridge University is actually made up of a number of unique colleges...together called the University.  Did you know that?

Mommy and me:

The square.  It was crooooowdeddd that day.  I guess a beautiful Saturday in the summer is a good day to visit Cambridge.

You just don't get this in the US!

It was a great first day.

The British 10k London Run

The British 10k is a huge race that is run almost entirely for charity.  I was lucky enough to join my dad's corporate team, running for London's Air Ambulance.  I didn't know until the day before the race that it was so tough to get into the I'm so thankful to my dad for hooking me up with their charity team!

Before - walking to the start.


I had SUCH a good time!  My official time was  51:57 - about an 8:23 min/mile pace.  I am happy with that because 1) I really wasn't running for time - just to have fun and 2) there was LOTS of dodging people... That's one of the first things I noticed about the race experience - the whole corral system in this race was pretty much non-existent.  I was weaving between walkers from the first 100 yards.  It didn't matter too much though...see point 1 :)

Here's the course.  They call it Britain's Most Iconic Race Route.  We ran past a number of landmarks, as you can see.  My favorite part was  crossing Westminster Bridge towards the London Eye and turning around to see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.  Right after that we ran by Westminster Abbey.  It was beautiful!

You'll notice I ran a 9:33 mile and then picked it up to bust out a 6:43 mile in the middle.  THAT IS NOT TRUE!  I wish the 6:43 was... But anyway, we ran through some tunnels around that part and my satellite went wacky.  The total time on my watch worked out to be pretty accurate, but those middle mile times are DEFINITELY wrong.  Who knows...

So you can imagine that the race was marked in kilometers, not miles.  That was interesting!  It was mentally pretty nice to see the kilometers keep ticking by more frequently than a mile would.  But that last 2k was brutal...I think by that time I was expecting a kilometer to be shorter than it really was.  That was also the most scenic part so I don't know why it felt so long.  Oh yeah, it was because I was tired.

Here is me being awkward on the walk back to the tube (that's the subway, for us yankees).  Behind me is the London Eye and Big Ben, with the bridge connecting the two that I mentioned above.  It was quite cloudy that morning, which was great for running.  It even rained a little in the beginning.  It was sunny for the last mile or 2, but clearly it went back to being cloudy.

 My loving spectators!  I saw them twice during the race, which was AMAZING considering there were 14,000 people!

The British 10k was definitely one of my favorite recent races.  I had a great time.  I'm still figuring out how much I really like the 10k distance...but I'm leaning toward liking it.  

1. Have you ever run a race in a new city?

2. Favorite place you've raced?

3. Have you ever been to Cambridge? 

4. What's you're favorite race distance?