Thursday, May 28, 2009

First run in months!

It's true, this morning, I took my first real run (more than a few flights of stairs on the way to a train with a 30 lb bag on my back) in two months! Truth: it wasn't perfect and my lungs kind of burned, but I made it. I woke up early with A still sleeping and the whole city of Geneva, SZ out there waiting for me.

I pulled on my running shoes, sports bra, shorts, t and sunglasses and hit the road. Geneva is a gorgeous bustling city right on a huge lake so naturally I had to run along the water. 830am is a great time for a run as a tourist because you get to see all the locals heading to work in their suits and ties.

By the way, I absolutely love how Europeans don't mind hopping on their bikes in a $500+ suit to head to work. In the U.S. it just doesn't happen. Ah, the things we could learn from Europeans. Yesterday the ticket guy at the train station started talking about how bad our Pres Bush was and how Americans work all the time.

So yes, America, the whole world knows, we're overworked and underpaid and we don't stand up for ourselves. A and I were shocked to find the grocery store of all places, closed last night at 8pm. Of course, we should have known. The workers have to go home and enjoy life too!

But the running, the running was fabulous. My right knee hurt a bit, but it felt good to push the bod just a bit harder. It's amazing how quickly you lose your aerobic fitness.

Well, after a long, fun day of bike riding, touring the United Nations building, having another fabulous mazarella/salami/basil panini and enjoying views of the water (and even a few naked Europeans sunning themselves), I'm burned and tired. Tomorrow we're on our final day of traveling, heading back to Rome before flying out Saturday morning. On the books is one last taste of Italian gelato and the yummy goodness of a trattoria before an EARLY flight back home. Ah, home never sounded so good.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I just wanna run

I'll agree that yes, my friend A and I are on the trip of a lifetime. I mean, when else would we be so free of responsibilities that we could just up and leave for three weeks? Yes, I saved up my vacation and hard earned $ to make it happen, but with other commitments it just wouldn't be possible.

But all this walking, bike riding and lugging a 30lb backpack around just has me aching to run. At the end of every day, the bottoms of my feet, my low back and my knees all hurt from the 5-10 miles of walking or biking we are doing. The runners were out in full force throughout Paris training for their various races and it was all I could do not to run after them. Plus, we had museums and cathedrals to see and gelato and crepes to eat.

The knees are still not 100%, but reading my recent Runner's World on the train to Munich today had me promising myself that when I do come back to running (as soon as I land in the states), I'm going to take it easy. Just slow and steady, 15-30 min at a time, three times a week, until my knees are happy and my body is feeling strong again. I always overdo it, but not this time. This time I'll follow the tortoise's game plan because what I've been doing hasn't been working. I'm going to allow myself a rest day here and there, and so should you.

Cheers to beers! We are taking full advantage of the beer gardens here tomorrow night and I can't wait!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Skipping ahead to Berlin

Well, honestly, Aix en Provence and Paris were fun, but Berlin has been awesome, even in the 28 hrs or so we have been here! We got here 3.5 hrs later than expected on our night train. We lucked out by getting a compartment all to ourselves on the night train for just 4 euro each and were even able to lay out and get some sleep. About an hour into our rest, we must have arrived into Germany and all of a sudden these scary military men barged into our compartment demanding our passports. After that bit of surprise, we fell back asleep and traveled on.

We arrived in Berlin around 1pm and got some great help from the ticket people to book our next train down to Munich (which happens to be tomorrow morning...i know, we never stay long in one place, but we have a lot on our agenda). We easily made our way to our City Stay Hostel near Alexanderplatz station. i highly recommend this place if you're heading to Berlin. It's affordable, clean and fun (bar and food downstairs and fun music playing as i type this) and a great location!

We are literally a mile from all the sights you can't miss in Berlin. After grabbing some real German food, checking out the local market, walking around a bit and looking for some Euro fashion in H&M (didn't find any), we made our way to some cabana chairs for happy hour drinks. Finally, had some dinner. The food selection here is cool because they do everything well here...italian, german, indian, asian, etc.

Today we went to top of the Reichstag, the German parliament building which looks over the whole city before heading on ANOTHER Fat Tire Bike Tour from 11-4pm. We did a night one in Paris, which was awesome. Our guide, Frances, was an attractive New Zealander, former history major with a great accent. He clearly knew his stuff and made the tour fun. Some of the main stops we made included: Checkpoint Charlie, what is left of the Berlin wall, the Jewish war memorial, Tiergarten park (about half the size of central park), a few old churches and museums and more. About half way through, just as it started pouring, we stopped at the beer garden for German sausages and beer. I tried the beer/sprite mixture that is popular here. Pretty good actually! The rain wasn't the most awesome, but i have to say our ponchos were sexy and the shower after the mud and rain was oh so fabulous.

Well, on to enjoy more of the city and grab some more beer and food! And if you get a chance some day, i highly recommend Berlin! Can't wait to catch up on all your blogs soon...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Guest blog: Focusing on happy moments

Please welcome Kayla from Writing in Public as one of my fabulous guest bloggers! I admire Kayla for the way she's able to analyze herself and her actions in order to become the person she wants to be. I also enjoy hearing about her crazy juggle of a full time job AND grad school.

Right now I'm probably eating a crepe and sipping on a late or climbing some unwieldy steps, dripping sweat, with a backpack the size of me on my back. Don't be jealous. I'll upload photos and an update when I get a chance!


When Sassy asked me to guest blog during her trip to Europe, I was so excited. I’m not really sure who my blogging audience is (or that I even have one), but I love reading the comments on Sassy’s posts because clearly a lot of her readers share a lot of her interests – running, baking, and coming soon – traveling!

And even though I’m not an athlete (or even that keen on exercising), and I can only bake two cookie recipes, reading Sassy’s posts and the comments have made me realize that the one big thing we all have in common is by far the most awesome – most of us are young, driven, and have every opportunity open to us.

Now is the time in our lives to do whatever it is we’ve always wanted to do. Which is why I’m so happy that Sass is lugging around that heavy backpack right now.

It’s also inspired me to ask myself about things that have historically made me happy, with some answers that surprise me.

1. What job has made me the happiest?
Honestly? It was working at a craft store in high school. I loved that job. I met a woman the other day who is a freelance graphic designer who has a part time job at the local Hobby Lobby, and I realized that’s what I want to work towards! Maybe if the right opportunities present themselves, that’s a direction I’ll take.
2. What do I do when I need to pick myself up?
Even though I’m not an exercise fan, getting on the elliptical machine always makes me feel like I’ve done something worthwhile for myself. It’s a lot of small things, like listening to music at my desk (which I do all the time now thanks to my iPod and Pandora), cooking dinner and having a glass of wine, watching one of my favorite movies, or just sitting out on my balcony with my laptop on a nice day. My future needs to include me-time things like this.
3. What am I good at?
I felt the most successful and at the top of my game when I was an undergraduate student in professional writing. I constantly felt like I was moving towards a better version of me. So this summer, I’m taking a class outside of my Master’s program to work with people in the English department again, and am on the hunt for other learning opportunities like this.
4. What have I got to lose?
Right now, not much. And I keep reminding myself that this is a very powerful and promising place to be in my life.

If you’re interested in focusing on what things make you happy, I strongly recommend Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project:" She has great tips and insights for keeping a positive outlook and working towards happiness.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Guest blog: what peeves the nutritionista?

Welcome Heather again from Trials of Training as my guest blogger today! I have always pondered with the notion of becoming a nutritionist b/c I love all things health related and this great runner is doing exactly that!

So, Sassy asked me an interesting question. ”What are daily or regular occurrences that you see in society that make the nutritionista in you want to scream or help someone out immediately?”

Oh, Sass. Where do I start?!

There’s definitely an inner-‘Nutrionista’ (ha, I love that term) that has a Very strong voice sometimes. I’ll try to steer clear of the things you can (probably) safely assume bother any Dietitian – like a Big Mac Value meal, or something like that. These are a few of the ‘bigger’ things that I just don’t get……

100 calorie snack-packs. The IDEA is good (portion control), but you’ll Never find one of these in my shopping cart. The majority of them are cookies (that are a real stretch from the original product, in my opinion. Oreos, with no cream?! psh) or crackers, providing basically zero nutritional value. And honestly – who feels snack-satisfied after eating a handful of non-Oreo Oreos from a little package??? No protein, no fat, no vitamins/minerals……Not worth your money.

Progresso Soups that are scored as a “0” on the Weight-Watchers scale. I’ve only tried these once, and seen way too many commercials. I wasn’t impressed. It’s basically a can of broth. I won’t say this is “unhealthy”, but personally I got nothing from this. I didn’t feel full, I didn’t feel like I had a good “meal”, and I didn’t feel like it was worth my $1.50. This goes back to the same point – why eat something that really doesn’t taste great and doesn’t hit that “satisfaction” factor?

Nutrisystem (weight loss program) – This idea probably seems great in theory; you don’t have to cook, you pick out what you want, somebody delivers food to your door…....sure, I see the appeal. But personally, I love grocery shopping and cooking! I love looking through grocery ads to see what’s on sale, browsing aisles for fun new things to try, buying seasonal fruits and vegetables, grabbing random spices/herbs to try with a new dish, etc! So, where’s the fun and creativity in this “System”?! How good can these frozen foods actually taste on a daily basis?! And what happens when you stop getting meals delivered to you and start back at square 1??? Nope. Not a fan of this.

Slimfast shakes – Even before I studied nutrition, I was baffled by these drinks. Yes, they are low in fat, have some protein, are fortified with nutrients left and right, and are “only” 220 calories. Awesome. Would I really rather drink a shake than eat real food?! Are people so worried about dieting that they choose this in place of enjoying something equally as nutritious (i.e. an actual meal)?! Ugh. I don’t get it.

Are you seeing a pattern?? Hm, I could probably go on with this list of products/ideas, but that could get old.

Basically, I think it’s important to enjoy what you eat. Food can taste Awesome and be healthy. “Dieting” all too often leads to a bad relationship with food – thinking you can’t enjoy things you want, being fearful of calories, and consuming ‘empty calories’.

Alright, that’s my speil. Like everything else – there’s not one way to “eat right”. People enjoy different foods, have different lifestyles, and should know what works for them!

On that note – I am absolutely in Love with these two web sites, and could browse them for hourssss when I’m hit with a sudden cooking and/or baking ambition!

www.cookinglight.com

www.kraftfoods.com

Beautiful Cinque Terre

This is going to be short because my internet time is almost up here at our dumpy hostel in Paris, but I wanted to check in!

Cinque Terre was a place I had been dreaming about now for a few years. It grew slowly into a love the more people I chatted with who had visited this five quaint little Italian coastal towns of no more than a few hundred people each. We stayed in Vernazza, the fourth town from the south, said to be the cutest and most expensive.

i can't wait to upload my photos for you and show you not only the houses and gorgeous views from our 4 hour hike along the meditteranean that connects all the cities, but the cappucinos we were served each morning! The owner would bring them with our fancy feast of breakfast with FRESH FLOWERS FROM HIS GARDEN on top. Just a little slice of heaven.

Paris is treating us well! Last night we went on a bike tour around the city and had some wine too!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Guest blog: from two miles to a half marathon

Please welcome Amber. Remember when I guest blogged for her not too long ago? Well now she's returning the favor and I couldn't be more excited! I think Amber might love Jillian's 30 day shred workouts as much as I do.

Hey guys, Amber from Amber Alert here. I’m blogging for Sassy while she’s gallivanting around Europe (lucky b*tch!). Since Sassy is such a hardcore runner, and her blog is one of many things that inspired me to start running and training for my first half-marathon, I thought I’d talk about my half-marathon experience a couple of weeks ago. And most importantly, what I’ve learned from it since!

On May 3, I ran my first half-marathon in Vancouver. Stumbling upon running blogs, like this one, is what first motivated me to train for a half-marathon. Even though I’d been going to the gym and playing numerous sports since I was 13, I’d never been a runner. I didn’t have the endurance or the patience for it. So, I decided I’d try running again; maybe having something to work towards would make all the difference.

It really did. Back in January, I struggled to run two miles. I thought I’d never be able to run an entire half-marathon. But I kept working at it, building my mileage, week by week. Without even realizing it, I fell in love with the training and running. It wasn’t the running part that I loved, it was the feeling I had after I’d finished a run, even when I was dripping sweat and gasping for breath, I felt accomplished and I felt really good.

I was hoping to lose about 10 pounds over the four months that I spent training for the marathon. Unfortunately, mostly due to relaxed eating habits, that didn’t happen. At first I was really disappointed in myself for not losing the weight then I realized how much stronger my body had become.

My arms had more definition, and my legs were 100 times stronger than they were before. When I used to look in the mirror all I could see was my flaws: my too-big thighs, my belly pooch and my underarm sag. That’s all changed since running my half-marathon. I pushed myself hard for four months, and my body delivered. It carried me through the marathon and allowed me to finish strong. Yah, I still have a tummy pooch, and a little too much fat on my hips and butt. But ya know what, this body got me through 13.1 miles and hopefully, one day, it will get me through 26.2 miles. I’m proud of my body, love handles and all, and I owe this newfound self-confidence to running!

How has running, or any exercise, improved your self-image?

P.S. I'll be back from this little vacation on May 30. I go right back to work on June 1 so let's just say I might be a LITTLE jet lagged, but it's worth it.

P.P.S. I second that running has given me a lot of self confidence that I wouldn't otherwise have. No matter how I'm feeling about myself or how behind I am with a project at work, knowing that this bod can survive 26 miles makes me feel a little more unstoppable and not gonna lie, damn proud.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Firenze! (otherwise known as Florence)

We arrived in Florence, Italy yesterday. After an hour or more of frustration with language barrier, a lovely English speaking ticket attendant finally helped us validate and utilize our spendy eurail passes for our journey to florence. We took a free train (with our passes) that took about 3 hrs to get to a place that could have taken just 1.5 if we had wanted to pay extra for the speedy train.

We arrived hot and tired, but easily made our way to the hostel, which was just four blocks from the main train station! it's clean and includes breakfast and a free pasta/pizza dinner daily, but full of youngins quite into the partying. ok by us, we're just not interested in joining them. we reserved a five person girls only room, which has definitely been nice in the noise and cleanliness factor. Hostel Archi Rossi is just a few minutes walk from the center of town.

We arrived and quickly headed for gelato as our lunch/pre-dinner snack. Then grabbed paninis and a bottle of wine to share on the steps of the Duomo (old gothic cathedral at the center of town) to do some serious people watching. This morning we woke early to head to the Museum of Accademia to get a good look at Michaelangelo's David sculpture, along with others. Then it was off to grab some lunch and rent bikes for our own tour around the city.

Seven euros each got us great cruiser bikes and freedom to see so much more of the beautiful city, river and old buildings that we wouldn't have had time to see otherwise. After 3.5 hrs of cruising (and of course a stop for gelato) we dropped the bikes off. Then on to the duomo area for more people watching. Tonight we went el cheapo for dinner and had the free pizza. Not fabulous, but quite a bargain of a day.

Florence has been fun and beautiful, but we're ready for the small towns of Cinque Terre and the slow life those towns will bring. Hoping for some great hiking, beautiful cliff side views of the meditteranean and some great home style local cooking. I will upload pics when I can. They don't allow it here so maybe soon.

*And, if you're looking to be ahead of things in the fashion world, the MC hammer/genie pants are popular with the women here. Both knee and full length. You won't catch me in them, but just wanted to give you all a heads up for what's to come. :)

Ciao bella!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Guest blog: Nutrition

Please give Heather a warm welcome as I asked her to guest blog for me on nutrition while I'm off galavanting in Europe! Where am I now? Somewhere between Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Switzerland, Paris, Berlin, Munich or Venice! I'll try to check in when I can!

Hi! This is Heather from trialsoftraining. Last May I graduated with a BS in Nutrition from Penn State. And, Sassy asked…

Why did I become a Nutritionist/Dietitian?
Was there something/someone who inspired it?


Well, meet high-school me: I played soccer for 10+ years. I very rarely thought about anything on my plate unless my parents said something like “eat something green!” Ugh. Between a Doctor (dad) and a Runner/Teacher (mom), we just ate pretty healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables were always available, fried foods were kept at a minimum (as long as you ignore chicken fingers…) and most nights we had a home-cooked meal. Not to brag, but my Mom was totally on top of things.

Plans were basically set in stone by the spring of my senior year– I was heading to Penn State and majoring in Architecture! Then, flipping through a Fitness magazine one night, I read something that caught my eye. It was a quote about whatever random nutrient, followed by “says ____, a professor of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State University”.

Wait. Professor of Nutritional Sciences??! Meaning this is an option as a “major”??!

I entered my Freshman year as “Undecided”, explaining to my Advisor that I couldn’t decide between Nutrition and Architecture. It’s safe to assume she thought I was crazy. Could I possibly pick two things more different from each other? Probably not. But looking at the requirements for both didn’t lean me one way or the other. Nutrition was a Lot of science that I didn’t think I was up for. Architecture meant 20-22 credits per semester to graduate in 5 years with my Master’s, as well as ‘rumored’ all-nighters all semester to get projects done in the Studio. It’s a grueling choice, only for those who are 110% committed to that field.

I absolutely loved, and excelled in, my Intro to Nutrition class. I also loved my Architecture-Theory and Art History classes. The first is the reason that I decided to suck it up and declare my major Sophomore year. The latter is the reason I absolutely can’t wait for the day I finally visit Italy to see the beginning of Classical Architecture and the heart of architectural wonders.

Anyway.

Turns out I’m a total science nerd, and I love knowing the ins and outs of every nutrient – why we need it, where it goes, how we use it, etc. I love how important Nutrition is during pregnancy and childhood development. And I love that fluids and food play a vital role during Exercise, Endurance, Strength, Training, Sports, etc. I love how good I feel when I know I’ve been eating healthily, and I love coming up with fun new meals/snacks/desserts that use a variety of foods.

On the other hand, I’m ridiculously excited for the day I can afford a house because I plan on buying some “blueprint” paper and planning it out myself. I’ll use all the official ‘symbols’ for door/window/etc and get out my ruler so it’s drawn to scale. I’m also slightly obsessed with all crafty things.

It’s all about balance – the field of Nutrition interests and fascinates me. And my hobbies make up for the fact that I’ll never be an architect!

Roma!

Hello my lovelies! Things are going well so far. Friend A and I really got our sight seeing in over just a few days here in Rome before moving on to Florence, Italy today. It's crazy to see all the history here and buildings that are absolutely breathe taking.

Yesterday, we went to Sunday morning mass at the Vatican in St. Peter's Cathedral. It was absolutely amazing. When the organ began to play and the priest and others started walking forward it brought tears to my eyes and I'm not Catholic. It was just one of those moments. Then we headed to the Vatican museum to see the rest of the Vatican and the amazing painted ceilings and detail in all the construction.

After a quick rest it was on to the Colloseum. It was about a 45-60 min walk, but we did't mind. We stopped on the way for lunch at a cute little Italian place in a back alley/side street that I found recommended in my Lonely Planet guide book. Although the menu was all in Italian, we managed to pick out the ravioli and rigatoni and a half liter of red wine safely off the menu. "Fat and happy" as I like to say it, we moved on for a few more miles of walking in the sun to see the Colloseum. Then it was more sight seeing of old brick/rock structures, which all have a story behind them, and finally a walk home.

We arrived back at our "hotel" around 7pm for a short rest. After showering for the second time, we headed out for a Rick Steeve's recommended night tour of the Spanish Steps, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. Oh and gelato only for dinner. We've had gelato both days so far. I kid you not, there are several gelato stores for every block in this city. And the other amazing thing is that people don't eat dinner here until at least 9pm. So when we went on our night walk and were roaming the streets at 11pm, it was packed and lively...on a Sunday night! Now that wouldn't happen in the U.S. Or at least not where I live. Oh and I can't fail to mention that we probably walked 11 miles yesterday, in my best estimate.

My friend A and I haven't figured out if the people of Rome ever actually work because they seem to stay out so late and therefore have to get up late, but it's a fun lifestyle to see. We're both ready for our journey to Florence today. I've heard it's gorgeous. Stay tuned for the next report and a few guest bloggers!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mom's Day!


Even though I'm somewhere in Rome, Italy by now, I wanted to give a shout out to my madre and say I'm so lucky to have a mom who wants to be involved in my life, who is supporting, loving and always encouraging.

If you haven't done so already, tell your mom you love her today!

Love you ma!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

sayonara, plus tard, arrivederci...later!

Ok, I'm signing off for now. A few more hours of work and then some final packing/unpacking and I'll be driving north to meet my high school friend and traveling buddy, Annie! We'll fly out from Seattle, WA tomorrow afternoon.

I say unpacking because last night I did a trial run and couldn't even fit everything in my big ole North Face backpack! WHAT?! I seriously thought those innocent piles of clothing on my bed were modest, were sparse, but no dice.

So, I'm removing the mini blow dryer I had packed, I'm not taking makeup (gasp!), I'm exchanging my New Balances for a lighter pair of running shoes (my old Nike Structure Triax's) and still need to remove shirts and pants/shorts. Gah!

Oh, and because I'm leaving the man friend for a few weeks, I'll be stopping by his house later today to drop off a little surprise. I'm leaving a framed pic of the two of us, as well as a bunch of other cute photos of our time together, and a little note on his nightstand. So when he goes to bed tonight, he'll look over and be like, WHAT?! I love giving people little surprises they're not expecting.

Bon voyage! I'll try to check in when we splurge to pay for internet at cafes. And, keep your eyes peeled for some guest blogs coming your way in the next few weeks! I return to the U.S. on May 30 and will do some serious reporting shortly after. I'll miss you all, my little blogosphere!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Packing: a sneak peek

You know it's my faaavorite part of a trip. Not! So, I wanted to give you a sneak peak at how it's coming. Things are pretty organized and ready to go.

I've definitely bought my fair share of travel size items from the bins at Target (face wash, detergent, kleenex, etc), stocked up on Clif/Luna bars when we need a snack or cheap meal, and called my banks to tell them I'll be out of the country and please DO NOT shut off my accounts when you see charges from Europe. Tonight I need to do a trial run and see how things fit and just how HEAVY this darn thing I'll be carrying for 21 days will be.

1. Shoes
Shoes are big for me. I'm a shoe girl (ok, and a athletic apparel girl, and a jean girl, but who's counting?!)Bottom line is, I've been thinking about what shoes I'd wear in Europe longer than anything else I have packed. Why? Because my feet suck. And one thing I know is that when I'm walking for hours on end, I need support and comfort and maybe a little bit of style. Here you'll see: no heels, flats or leather, but you will see comfort, a little bit of color and athleticism.


2.Travel books, maps, scarf and journal
Let's just say, several friends lent me books/city guides/shopping and my mom bought a few for me. Surprisingly enough, I wasn't able to get through 10+ books, several of which are 400 pages long. These are some of the smaller one's I'll read during our very LONG plane ride. And of course, I can't be gone without a journal to record this crazy adventure and a scarf to make me look just a little with it, fashion wise when we're out touring le Louvre or having a pint with new friends.


Now I'm just trying to determine what shirts I can do without, even though I want them ALL! Typical...

Yesterday afternoon, while running an errand for work, I was all of a sudden STARVING and walked into a little market and grabbed this. Not sure why, but both things that I love and bring me comfort. Golden grahams (packed into some sort of chocolatey/marshmellow goodness) and Kombucha tea. It's cold and comes in many flavors, tastes good and is good for you and has limited sugars! The weird part is it gets a bit fermented and has naturally occuring alcohol. The percentage isn't listed, but every time I have it during a work day I think "wow, this should be in the beer aisle rather than next to the Lipton iced tea."

Edit: Kombucha does list in the ingredients section that "Due to the fermentation, this product may contain a trace amount of alcohol ( less than 0.5%)." Just weird that it feels like a whole lot more.

Has anyone else tried Kombucha Synergy?? My favorite flavor is Mystic Mango!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The irony of it all

Sunday, I had planned to ride my bike about four miles to watch some friends run the local half and full marathon. So the man friend set the coffee maker for 5:30 AM so I'd wake up to the brewing, sputtering and fabulous aroma. Trust me, it makes 5:30 AM seem a bit more manageable.

You know what else makes 5:30 more manageable? A donut. A cinnamon sugar cake donut and a few donut holes with said coffee in travel mug on the way home to pick up your bike and ride in the rain. YUM. Yeah, so I'm not EXACTLY following that "no crappy sugar" rule I put in place a few weeks ago, but I am being a bit more careful.

So I got home, had a bowl of real food (total bran cereal) to fill me up and pulled on the Goretex. I made my way to the start of the marathon and met up with my friend Stef. We had planned to bike around the course and see the runners a few places as we had last year. Only this time it was rainy. Go figure.

Well, after making a few stops, we parked our bikes at mile eight for 30 min or so. Lately, my back tire hasn't been holding air too well so I had pumped it pretty good before leaving the house. I'd been meaning to take it to the bike shop to get a new tube (because I surely don't have any mechanic skills even if my dad is a heavy equipment mechanic), but just never got around to it.

Friend C came to join us and after a while S and C left to head to the finish and I stayed to watch for a fellow running group member who is 75! I kid you not this guy is so impressive. I want to be running 1/2 marathons at his age and have is awesome attitude to boot! After seeing John's smiling face go by I hopped on my bike. Well friends, by this point my back tire had gone completely flat.

As I rolled off the curb on to the street, the flat tire caused my bike to go one way and my body to go another. Result? I fall off my ugly purple mountain bike I've owned since high school and directly on my left knee (the right one has been injured from running) and then the rest of my body in front of a crowd of spectators. Fabulous.

I start walking limping away just trying not to sob. You know that feeling. Your breathe gets short, you're gasping for air and your eyes start filling with water. A college kid (whom I definitely would have had a crush on if I were still in college) runs after me and asks if I'm ok because he saw me fall and now sees me limping. I shake my head and do my best to assure him I'm fine and I'll have a friend pick me up (which at this point was a total lie. I was going to walk the mile or so to the finish line).

I grab my phone and call C (who has a big SUV) and ask for a ride home after the race. C realizes something's wrong and asks if I'm ok. I manage a "yeah, I'm fine" for about two seconds and then I start sobbing. C, an expecting mother, insists I'm not fine and comes to the rescue to pick me and my sorry bike up and we head to the finish line. We miss our friends (and C's husband) finishing thanks to my damn accident, but I really appreciated having friends nearby at that moment.

So now, two days later, my knee is scraped, has some fluid in it and is starting to bruise, but I think it's healing. Just in time for Europe. How ironic is it that I managed to have two bum knees before I go traipsing around Europe for three weeks? I'm crossing my fingers I don't need any medical assistance while I'm there because this girl is not buying international health insurance.

Euro vacation countdown: 3 days!

P.S. Packing is going well. Everything is laid out. I'll take pics tonight and give you a little more in depth report on my backpack soon (because I know you're sitting on the edge of your seat just waiting for it).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Guest blogging today...

Happy Monday everyone! Check me out over here at Amber Alert's blog as she's recovering from her first half marathon. Amber's blog is always fun to read and inspirational with reports of her training and preparation for the real world. I'm getting ready for my own little half marathon of a week here.

Yesterday, I spent several hours putting hand sanitizer, tums, travel kleenex, bandaids, advil, ear plugs, etc in zip locks and organizing everything. I have all my clothes laid out and I'm feeling pretty organized, but work is CRRRRAAAZY busy just trying to wrap all these important projects up before I leave. And on top of that try to spend time with the runners and the boy/man friend and finish all last minute details.

I guess it's too late to start reading those eight to ten travel books everyone has loaned me. At this point, I'm just ready to be on the big bird in the sky, leaving all my worries behind.

Countdown to Europe: 4 days!