Coastal Delaware 9k Recap

Over the weekend, I ran my first race of the year. It was much shorter than I had originally planned, but I’m thankful I was able to run at all. It was exactly three months from my first day of absolutely horrible shin pain to the day I crossed the finish line in Dewey Beach, Delaware. Pain free, and wearing this biggest smile I’ve had in months.

Pre Race

When we planned this trip back in the winter, we decided we’d make the 8 hour drive. As it approached on Friday, it seemed a lot more daunting. We left Friday night after work, and made it about 3 hours before we decided to stop for the night. We picked up on Saturday morning, and made the rest of the drive through Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. Thankfully the packet pickup and expo didn’t start until 2:00pm, so we didn’t have to rush.

After a few stops for food, gas and outlet shopping, we made it to Dewey Beach. Packet pickup was held outside of The Starboard restaurant, and gave the event a bit more of a beach feel. Packets came with our bib, official race shirt and a custom Tervis cup.

Beach town packet pickup

Beach town packet pickup

Pick up your packet, head to the beach!

Pick up your packet, head to the beach!

From here we stopped at the beach, dropped our bags off at the hotel and went to find something to eat. We had been given recommendations to stop at The Lighthouse, but after stopping in, it wasn’t a place we wanted to test the day before a race. Instead, we crossed the street to the Rusty Rudder, and after a few turns down a few hallways, we found the pasta dinner and buffet that was set up for the race. The food was great and we had some amazing views of the sunset.

The views are ok...

The views are ok…

The only thing left for the night was to lay out our outfits and try to get some sleep!

Race Day

We woke up between 5:15am and 6:00am on race day. The marathon, half and 9k had different starting times, which was nice because I got to sleep in a few extra minutes. Michelle and Mo left early to catch the bus to the start, while Mallory and I took our time getting ready before heading outside to watch the marathoners run by. Luckily we were able to see Michelle and Mo run by before we headed down to the start for our own race.

Looking goo at mile 1!

Looking goo at mile 1!

The bus line was quick and fairly empty, and the ride last 5 minutes at most. We were dropped off at the start, and had plenty of time to use the porta potties, relax and get in line.

Not your typical Ohio start line

Not your typical Ohio start line

At almost exactly 8:00am, we were off. We didn’t really have a plan for the race, other than to take it easy and walk if we needed. I had hoped to stay under and hour, but wasn’t going to put too much pressure on myself.

The first mile we ran along the coastal highway from the watch tower to a little outside of Dewey Beach. We had some views of the water, but it was mostly filled with high grass and some houses. I felt pretty good, but noticed I had some tightness in my left calf. It eventually went away and didn’t bother me the rest of the race.

Strong start to the race

Strong start to the race

From here we continued on into town seeing more shops and restaurants, showing it’s true colors of a little beach town. We also noticed how flat the course was, almost too flat. Which, had we been in perfect shape, it would have been perfect for a PR. We also had a bit of a headwind, but with the sun out, it kept us cool and wasn’t too much of a bother.

Mile 1 – 10:23

Mile 2 – 10:29

We pulled off the Coastal Highway and now we were running down Silver Lake Drive. We were able to run next to Silver Lake, which was absolutely beautiful, and picked out a few houses we wouldn’t mind buying. We still felt good, and didn’t have a need to push it at this time. Runners were starting to spread out, but it was also starting to warm up a bit.

Halfway there!

Halfway there!

From here we turned into a housing development and ran through a few different streets. We had a bit of shade from time to time, but nothing too helpful. We didn’t see too many people outside, but noticed a lot of cars and furniture on the side of the streets.

Mile 3 – 10:32

Mile 4 – 10:20

We turned back onto the Coastal Highway and knew we were in the home stretch. I grabbed a water and took a few sips at the water stop around mile 4. It was starting to warm up and I didn’t want to be too dehydrated.

We ducked off the highway again and back into some more housing developments where we finally had a decent amount of shade. Then suddenly, the first place half marathoner passed us. He was the only one we saw, and wondered where everyone else had gone. (He ended up finishing in 1:20, 6 minutes ahead of second place).

Mile 5 – 10:20
Once we hit mile 5, I knew we only had about .6 left to go. We were out in full sun and all of the tan colored buildings looked the same. Finally we ran past our hotel and all that was left was a turn to the finish. I couldn’t help but get excited and had the biggest grin the whole way to the finish. I think I almost started to tear up a bit as well.

All smiles into the finish

All smiles into the finish

I was so excited to cross that finish line that I completely forgot to stop my watch, so I have no idea what my last split was. We grabbed our medals and water and headed to the beach. It was still relatively empty so we had plenty of room to spread out. Luckily they had a computer out where you could check your time, I finished at 58:33, meeting my goal of under 1 hour!

I ran the entire race without walking or stopping and I had no pain at all. Despite the fact that I was running a 10:27 pace, I could not be happier. A month ago, I had no idea if I’d be able to run, let alone run the entire race. I’m far from PR shape, but I’m running again and building myself back to where I used to be.

Finished!

Finished!

Medal and beach, all you need post race

Medal and beach, all you need post race

Overall, I think this was a great race. The packet pickup was easy and went fairly quickly. The race was very well run and according to Michelle and Mo, the full was the most beautiful race they’ve run. After the race, they had a huge party on the beach which included music and a full buffet of real food including chicken, pasta, salad, bread deserts and a few others. Plus, every runner was able to get three beers for free after the race.

I would highly recommend this race, especially since they did such a wonderful job and it was only their second year. The full and the half are a bit expensive, so signing up early is key. The 9k option was a lot cheaper, and almost an automatic PR for everyone since it’s not a common distance. If the drive wasn’t so far, I’d consider doing it again in the future.

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Results:

Official Time: 58:33 (First 9k, automatic PR)

Overall Place: 223/517

Female Overall: 142/375

AG 25-29: 16/27

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Honeymoon in St. Martin

A very delayed post, but our honeymoon recap is finally here!

We chose to go to Sint Maarten/St. Martin for our honeymoon. Located about 190 miles East of Puerto Rico, and just South of Anguilla, this beautiful island is both French and Dutch. We flew out on Monday, which gave us Sunday to relax and pack before a week away.

Monday

We flew from Cleveland to Miami, Miami to Sint Maarten, arriving around 2:00pm. Once we landed, we grabbed our bags, took a taxi to the resort, and headed to the pool.

Flying over Malo Beach

Flying over Maho Beach

We didn’t stay at the pool too long because Tropical Depression Danny (formerly hurricane) brought in some rain. Because we were both quite exhausted from a 3am wake up call, we kept the first night low key and checked out SkipJack’s for dinner. The food was great and after spying some giant lobsters, we knew we’d be back later in the week.

First night in paradise

First night in paradise

On the way back, we stopped at the Casino outside of the resort, but didn’t spend too much time there. It was fairly empty, but I guess that’s what you get for a Monday night.

Tuesday

Tuesday was our first full day on the island and what better way to kick off the honeymoon than spend the day on the beach! We started at Bon Appetit for breakfast, then headed down to Simpson Bay.

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The beach was basically empty, but we scored two chairs and an umbrella anywhere we wanted for just $5.00, so it was a win. It was amazing to sit back with views of crystal clear water, a good book in hand and tropical drinks at a moments notice. We spent all morning on the beach, took a break for lunch at The Greenhouse, then ended the afternoon with a little Stand Up Paddle board action on the bay. The water was a little rough, and the wind was definitely stronger than we thought. We kept getting pushed out toward the ocean, and it was more of a workout than expected.

Yes, please!

Yes, please!

 

After the beach, we went back to the pool, then got ready for dinner. This time we tried The Stone, which was located on the water. I tried escargot for the first time (not my favorite) and had some delicious shrimp cooked to perfection on stone!

Next up we ventured back towards the resort, but not before stopping at The Red Piano. It wasn’t quite like the piano bar in Columbus I’ve visited, but the longer we were there, the better it got. Or maybe it was the help of a few glasses of wine…

Wednesday

We were supposed to head out on a boat trip on Wednesday, but because of the rough waters and wind ahead of Tropical Storm Erika, our trip was canceled. Instead of stressing about it, we decided to rent a car and head over to the French side of the island. We made our way up along the East side of the island and started at the famous Orient Bay Beach. We walked our way down looking for the perfect spot to sit, including passing by the famous nude beach. We finally settled on Kakao and started the morning with some Bloody Mary’s and beautiful views.

Orient Bay Beach

Orient Bay Beach

The water was beautiful, but it was also starting to collect seaweed on the beach from the storm. We didn’t grab any chairs, but we stayed long enough to enjoy the sun and some amazing shrimp and mussels!

Can I have this everyday?

Can I have this everyday?

Next as we continued our tour of the French side, we decided to stop at the Loterie Farm. I reviewed the website before our trip and hoped it would be as good as I imagined…it was. It was absolutely beautiful and so relaxing. Loterie Farm is tucked in the side of the mountain and offers swimming, lounging, zip lining and private parties. We took some day beds in the l’eaulonge section and soaked up as much sun as we could get. We enjoyed the swimming in the main pool as well as smaller jacuzzi’s further up the hill. And of course we couldn’t pass on some snacks, so we ordered the smoked fish platter which included swordfish, tuna and marlin. Amazing!

Can I move here?

Can I move here?

 

And the view from the top

And the view from the top

After a light sprinkle, Loterie Farm decided to close to prepare for Erika, so we packed up and headed to our next stop of the French side…Pic du Paradis! Standing at 1,391 feet, Pic du Paradis is the highest point on the island. The drive to the top was a little sketchy and very steep, but the views from the top were beautiful.

Top of the island!

Top of the island!

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After a short stop, we headed back down and around the island to Simpson Bay. Tropical Storm Erika was due to hit the next day, so the entire island was starting to shut down. Because of this, we stopped at the supermarket, grabbed some essentials and made our way back home. But before we got back to the resort, we stopped at L’Isola and I got to enjoy some seafood linguine and tiramisu!

Almost as good as the Seafood Diablo from Thyme2 ;)

Almost as good as the Seafood Diablo from Thyme2 😉

On the walk back to the room, we stopped at the casino (it was just next door anyway) and spent some time on the roulette table. We both ended up winning, which seems to be a trend for me everywhere except for the Cleveland casino.

Thursday

I woke up Thursday with the expectation that it would be raining and miserable out. Fortunately this was not the case and it was actually partly sunny. I turned on the tv (for the first time all week) to check the status of the storm. Sadly, coverage of the storm hitting Dominica was all over the Weather Channel, and I couldn’t help but be a little concerned we’d have the same.

Due to the storm, everything was shut down. That included schools, businesses, restaurants, stores, basically everything. The wind was relatively weak still, so we decided to venture out and headed down to the beach. The waves were starting to pick up, the current was getting stronger, and spots of dark clouds would roll in and out. When the waves became a bit too much we headed over to the pool.

Hunting for a storm

Hunting for a storm

When you can't swim well...you don't test the waters

When you can’t swim well…you don’t test the waters

After a while, we started to get hungry and luckily found a place open with food. Unfortunately, it was the worst experience we had on the entire island. It was a little restaurant just down from The Stone ( the name I can’t find yet). The line was a bit long, but understandable considering the elements. We ended up waiting about 45 minutes in line just to take our order, only to find out that half of the menu was unavailable. Hoping the wait wouldn’t be too long for our food, shrimp and mahi mahi, we stood around with everyone else.

Another 40 minutes later, we finally got our food. It wasn’t the best, but it was fresh and we lucked out that somewhere was open. We were disappointed with our experience, and hoped the day would turn around.

We spent the rest of the day in the room watching the storm from the balcony and checking updates on TV. We stayed in for dinner and I cooked my specialty, pasta for dinner. Domestic wife over here 😉

Watching the storm come in.

Watching the storm come in – afternoon.

Storm watching a few hours later.

Storm watching a few hours later.

Friday

On Friday we tried our shot with the boat tour again. Post storm, we had rain overnight, but no damage other than some palm tree branches down. We made our way to the boat shop and secured two spots on the catamaran trip to Prickly Pear Island & Anguilla. They let us know we may not be able to reach Prickly Pear Island due to unknown conditions of the water and that snorkeling would not be happening. We decided to continue regardless.

Onward!

Onward!

We started on our way out and moved to the front of the boat quickly. It was quite cloudy, a bit windy and we didn’t have too rough of waves. Even though the sun wasn’t out, the views were still beautiful and it felt great to have the ocean air surround us. Luckily the water was calm enough to make it to Prickly Pear and we were even able to snorkel.

Welcome to Prickly Pear Island!

Welcome to Prickly Pear Island!

I panicked a bit when I first got into the water, and struggled with the whole breathing into a tube idea. The only other time I had snorkeled was in Bermuda about 10 years ago, so this was not something I really had any experience with.

Darren led the way and we swam over some reefs watching fish swim in and out of the coral. The views underwater were beautiful and I wish I had an underwater camera. We were given 45 minutes to snorkel and it was just about all the time I was interested in. Snorkeling is a bit out of my comfort zone, but it was a great experience. Even better were the views of Prickly Pear Island. The sand was white, the water was teal, and it was absolutely the most beautiful view of the entire trip.

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Up next on the boat tour was Anguilla. As we made our way back, I began to notice my skin felt a little warm. I’d been careful all week to wear SPF 80+ to avoid the harsh sun, but forgot to put it on due to the cloud coverage. Rookie mistake. My face, arms, legs, and chest were real burnt, but I didn’t let it stop me from having a good time.

Once we reached Anguilla, we docked the boat and could either swim or take the life raft over. Darren chose to swim and I took the boat. We had a great meal at a little restaurant in Sandy Ground Bay. We didn’t get to explore the island, but we did get to enjoy the water for a bit and even played a game of corn hole.

Anguilla

Anguilla

Back on the boat, I hid myself from the sun for a bit before joining everyone on the front of the boat. The views back were just as beautiful and I felt so lucky to be able to enjoy this wonderful trip so far.

Blushing or sunburn?

Blushing or sunburn?

 

Approaching St. Martin

Approaching St. Martin

Once we made it back to Sint Maarten, we cleaned up, changed and got ready for our lobster dinner. We made it back over to SkipJack’s and ordered ourselves some oysters and a 6lb Caribbean lobster. Our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs and we struggled to eat the entire meal. Still, we knew it was an experience we needed to try and what better time than on your honeymoon?

Just Darren and two lobsters....ha...ha...

Just Darren and two lobsters….ha…ha…

Saturday

Saturday was our last full day on the island. We started the morning back at Bon Appetit and I had an amazing chocolate croissant, seriously the best thing I had all trip. Next we drove over to the famous Maho Beach. Do yourself a favor and look for videos on YouTube.

Incoming planes fly over Maho Beach just feet above bystanders on the ground. There used to be a beach, but it has since been covered in giant rocks. It was such a neat experience to watch the planes go over, each time wondering how close they’d get to the ground.

Amazing and terrifying.

Amazing and terrifying.

Next we drove to Phillipsburg to check out the capital and what we expected to be a busy city. Surprisingly, it was very empty, almost a ghost town, which is apparently normal when it is low season, or when cruise ships aren’t docked. But I have to say, it was nice to have lots of room and not worry about other tourists.

Philipsburg boardwalk

Philipsburg boardwalk

We walked around, checked out a few shops and eventually made our way to the Guavaberry Emporium! Throughout our trip we had tried RumPunch, Best Friend, and Guavaberry Colada, all drinks that had guavaberry rum in them. We tried a few different flavors of the rum and since it’s not available in the US, we decided to stock up on a few bottles. It was surprisingly good, and much better than the last time I had rum in college.

Yum!

Yum!

We stopped for lunch on the boardwalk before we headed out and had a light lunch of calamari and some more mahi mahi. We made a plan for the rest of the day and tried to figure out what else we wanted to see before we left. We decided to head back to the Loterie Farm, but it was closed for an event. So we drove around Marigot for a bit, then down to Mullet Bay Beach.

We ended up staying there until about 6:30 or so, just long enough to catch the last sunset in paradise. We stopped at 3 Amigos for dinner and had some great shrimp tacos before heading back to the resort.

Final sunset, what a view!

Final sunset, what a view!

Sunday

Our flight wasn’t until 3:30pm so we tried to cram in as much as we could before we left. We packed our car and drove around to the West end of the French side to see if we missed anything we wanted to see earlier in the week. After a while, we decided we’d seen everything we wanted and headed to the airport.

We were told it takes 3 hours to get through checking in and security. When we got there the airport was empty, so we checked our bags and got a cab over to Maho beach. We sat around for about an hour and a half, watching planes come in and out, and absorbing the last moments of vacation.

Final guavaberry rum punch of the trip!

Final guavaberry rum punch of the trip!

Our tip to Saint Maarten was absolutely amazing. The island was beautiful and everything was more than I could have imagined. If you ever get the chance to take a trip down there, I highly recommend it. It was hard to leave, but we can wait to visit again in a couple years!

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Seattle Half Marathon Recap

When we first starting planning our trip to Seattle back in the spring, I naturally looked up to see if there were any races during that weekend. Aside from some Thanksgiving Day races, I found four half marathons over the long weekend, and finally set my sights on the Seattle Half Marathon. I didn’t register at the time, but still planned on running it. When we got around to booking our flights, my fitness level was at it lowest. But over the last couple of months, I worked my way up in mileage and completed a half marathon. So I registered.

Going in, I didn’t really have any goals other than to finish. I was on vacation, this was going to be a fun run, and the perfect opportunity to cross Washington off my list of states. But since I had to have some plan in mind, I decided to stick with a 9:30 pace and see what would happen. But I also reminded myself that if I didn’t run well, it’d be ok.

I woke up Sunday morning around 5am, got ready, was extremely nervous and got down to the start line just in time for the race to start. I planned on getting there a little earlier, but those nerves got me. I was hoping it’d be a clear morning like the rest of the week so I could see the Space Needle next to us, unfortunately it was pretty foggy so you couldn’t see anything.

Ready to race!

Ready to race!

The half marathon started at 7:30 and the full marathon at 8:15. This was a wonderful idea since the starting area was less crowded as well as hopefully the race. I lined up between the 2:05-2:10 group. Honestly, I didn’t really check the elevation chart beforehand, it never occurred to me until we got there, and I heard from others, that it was a hilly course. I decided to stick between the two and let things happen. The National Anthem played, I still get goosebumps and almost tears before every race, and then we were off!

I spent most of the first mile just looking around. We started downtown and worked our way through the streets. I wasn’t familiar with the area, so I had the chance to see the city in a new way. I felt pretty well and my pace was good. I was a little concerned I was overdressed-two long sleeve base layers, but knew I’d figure it out later when I needed to.

We ran down 5th and had the monorail right above us. I didn’t see it moving, but thought that would be a neat sight for passengers to view. Right after the first mile marker we had our first hill, and it kept going for over a quarter of a mile. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, and kept trucking along.

Mile 1-9:20

Mile 2-8:52

We continued down 5th until we made our way to the Express Way. We started to have some incline and some great views of the city as it twisted around. I still couldn’t see as much as I hoped since it was foggy, but it made it somewhat more enjoyable. It was somewhere along here that I had a tap on my shoulder from a fellow Oiselle bird. We chatted for a bit, and she told me to save my energy now and that I’d need it from about mile 8 and on.

We parted ways, and continued along, still feeling pretty good and enjoying the chance to run. It was around the 4th mile marker that we made our way into the tunnel. I can’t remember really ever running in a tunnel, so I thought this was pretty neat, and it was, at least for a little while. I started to get warm and thought maybe I should take a layer off, but decided to wait until I got back out in the fresh air. I was also getting to the point where I was over the tunnel, and I just needed to get out. Finally we were out and back into the cold, crisp air. Perfect!

Mile 3- 9:58

Mile 4- 9:26

From here we turned left onto Lake Washington Blvd. But I was pretty jealous of the marathon runners, they’d get to go onto the floating bridge and down to Seward Park. I thought about taking pictures, but I was in a pretty good groove and didn’t want to mess things up. Google Maps does a good job capturing it, but just imagine that it was foggy and gray, and the water was barely visible.

This, but foggy. Photo cred: Google

This, but foggy. Photo: Google

We had a few rollers along the way, but nothing too crazy. I actually prefered the slight up and down so my legs wouldn’t get too bored with a completely flat route. I was still really enjoying myself, singing in my head to a really good iPod playlist and taking in the sights. I loved seeing the different style of houses on the waterfront and trying to sneak views of the lake.

I took my Honey Stinger chew a little after mile 6, still feeling good, still amazing at how beautiful the area was. But I was also aware that the hill would be coming up soon, so I started to brace myself for it. It was also around this point that Lake Washington Blvd. turned into McGilvera Blvd, which we followed until we turned onto E. Galer.

Mile 5-9:23

Mile 6-9:26

And this is where it hurt. We hit a hill, and it was not fun. It kept going and going, and I kept wondering, is this the big hill everyone talked about? It has to be. But I had no idea what was in store for my poor, little legs.

Just part of the up! Photo cred: Google

Just part of the up! Photo: Google

We turned onto E. Madison, and the hill continued to go up, and up. But I kept my head up, turned my legs over and made it to the top somehow. For a moment I wasn’t sure how I’d keep going, but I did. And I was greeted by the Oiselle Cowbell Corner, a nice reward for the treacherous hills.

Survived the hill! Photo: Sarah H.

Survived the hill! Photo: Sarah H.

Mile 7-9:51

Mile 8-9:54

 

Madison wasn’t too memorable, just a bunch of houses and a main street. I suppose I was a bit tired from the hill, but even so my legs were feeling good and I didn’t want to stop. We continued along to Interlaken Blvd. and I was surprised with how green and lush everything looked.

We passed by the Japanese Garden and Washington Park, I couldn’t help by smile was we were surrounded by trees, the vibrant green just standing out from the slight fog that still lingered. It was about this point that I truly felt like this was exactly what I was hoping for. It was cool, crisp, foggy and the fog was in and out of the course. When I imagine Seattle, this is what I thought of.

I could run this every day. Photo: Google

I could run this every day. Photo: Google

Mile 9-9:13

Mile 10-10:05

At this point I knew I had a 5k left, and I knew it wouldn’t be as hard as the final stretch in some previous races. We made our way onto Boylston and headed back towards the city. My legs still felt strong, but I was reaching the point where I could probably stop for a quick port-a-potty moment. I thought about holding on until the finish, but every time we went downhill, I knew I should stop sooner than later.

I finally made the decision to stop, but it was occupied. Luckily a volunteer told me about one down the street, so I continued along to the next one. It was occupied as well, so I about two minutes waiting in two lines.

After, I felt much better, and we made our way back onto the Express Way towards the finish. I wanted to pick up the pace a bit, but not too much where I would be too worn out. However, I couldn’t help but get excited as we got turned onto the city streets, knowing the finish was close.

Mile 11-9:49

Mile 12-12:38 (bathroom stop)

The final mile seemed to take forever. We were winding through downtown, but since I wasn’t familiar with the area, I still wasn’t sure where we were. I kept checking my watch, thinking I should see the stadium, but it was nowhere to be seen.

It wasn’t until we actually passed the mile marker that I realized how far off my Garmin was. When we passed the marker, my watch was already at 13.19, no wonder that last mile took forever. But I knew I couldn’t give up, I had just .1 to go!

Mile 13-9:05

Coming into the finish

Coming into the finish

I rounded into the stadium and was taken aback at everything. I looked around the crowd and searched for my sister and Darren. I didn’t seen anyone, so I kept going and crossed the finish of my 24th half.

Last. .1-.2? 9:20 pace

Seattle Support Team!

Seattle Support Team!

Overall I really enjoyed this race, and honestly it was probably one of my top 10 favorites. I barely looked at my watch or checked my pace, instead I just enjoyed what I was doing. It was such a fun course that had a variety of views and areas around town, but was also a bit challenging with some of the hills. It was a bit chillier than I had hoped, but it turned out it was perfect weather and I felt like I had the complete Seattle experience.

Definitely not flat

Definitely not flat

The only thing I had an issue with was my Garmin and course length. My guess is that the tunnel may have skewed things a bit and that I may not have hit the tangents properly. But not big deal.

Race swag

Race swag

I highly recommend this race if you’re looking for a destination race. Everything was put on well, from the expo to the race to the finish/recovery area. I never had any issues, and don’t remember hearing any complaints. I will certainly be back out there to run it, as long as I have family in Seattle!

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Results:

Official Time: 2:10:36

Age Group 25-29: 201/444

Female: 1,115/2,678

Overall: 2,466/4/758

 

 

Seattle Trip

Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, Darren and I took a mini vacation to Seattle. My sister moved there back in September for college, and since neither of us had been there before, we thought it’d be the perfect time for a trip away. In the months leading up we had made a list of things to see, as well as recommendations from friends and Claire’s personal favorites. We ended up covering a lot in just four short days. Here’s a look at our trip and everything we got to see.

 

Thursday

We flew out Wednesday night after work and arrived around 12:15am, so Thursday was our first full day out on the West Coast. Because it was Thanksgiving, we knew much wouldn’t be open, so we opted to head outside and go for a hike. We decided on Tiger Mountain, which gave us beautiful views of both Mt. Rainier and Seattle.

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Looking towards Mt. Rainier

Looking towards Mt. Rainier

Looking down on Seattle

Looking down on Seattle

We also had a chance to check out some para gliders taking off at the top, which was amazing and a bit scary. Once we finished our hike, we made our way back to town, but stopped by the Fremont Troll to snag a picture.

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From there, we grabbed a light appetizer from our hotel, cleaned up and relaxed a bit before heading out to dinner. We ate at Palomino, which had a special Thanksgiving menu. I’m not a huge turkey person, so I opted for the Salmon, and it did not disappoint!

After dinner we headed back to the hotel, between the three hour time change and the hike, it was a miracle that I stayed awake during dinner.

 

Friday

This was probably our busiest day of the trip. Our day started with the chance to see the Macy’s parade as it started right outside our hotel. I haven’t been to a parade in years, so it was a nice little surprise.

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Next we went to pick up my sister and got a tour of Seattle Pacific University. It was a beautiful campus, and it was nice to see that my sister has found a good home away from home. It certainly didn’t have the rural feel that Muskingum had, but their dorms where much better, including a mountain lodge look and feel in the lobby.

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From there, we took a drive out of town to check out some wineries. Chateau Ste. Michelle was our first stop, and it was pretty busy. The wine was ok, I’ve had it many times before, so it was nothing new and as expected, you didn’t get too much of a personal feel with your tasting since it is such a large brand.

Chateau Ste. Michelle

Chateau Ste. Michelle

Instead of going across the street to Columbia Winery, we decided to venture around and were referred to Airfield Estates Winery. We were greeted and given the history of the vineyard and some of the wines. We must have made a good impression because we were able to try a few extras that weren’t on the list. The personal feel, similar to the wineries we visited in Napa, had us enjoy this one more than the first, and we may or may not have bought a case to ship home…I wish we would have skipped Chateau Ste. Michelle for a smaller known winery, but we learned for next time.

At this point we were getting pretty hungry and decided to head back to town. We settled on eating near the water and got our first view of Pike Place Market and the famous Starbucks. We had lunch at Cutters Crabhouse and had a beautiful view of the water and Great Wheel.

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After we were stuffed with more seafood, we decided to venture down to the market and check everything out. I never realized it was more than one level, and just how large it was. It makes the Medina Farmers Market look so tiny! We made our way around and found the Gum Wall, which was recently cleaned off for the first time in over 20 years! I was a little disappointed that it was so empty, but I made sure to add my contribution for the next generation.

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That's my piece!

That’s my piece!

Next up was my sister’s favorite coffee shop in town, Storyville Coffee Company. It had a comforting set up, which reminded me of Caribou. We lucked out because we ended up with the perfect view of the sunset, and their free, amazing chocolate cake.

Perfect sunset!

Perfect sunset!

It was still early in the night, so we decided to wander town and check out a few of the shops, Lush, Fireworks Gallery, Columbia, to name a few. Some were national brands, some local, but another good way to see the city.

 

Saturday

Naturally we had to start Saturday with the Buckeyes. Thankfully the game started at 9am out there, so it didn’t cut into too much of our day. We watched the game at Spitfire, which was nice because each of us had our own TV’s for our individual games.

Next up with headed over to the Westin for the Seattle Half Marathon Expo! The expo was a good size without being overwhelming and bib/bag pick up was fairly easy. I also managed to pick up some new gear, that I most likely didn’t need 😉

Ready to race!

Ready to race!

After a quick stop at Verizon, we headed out to lunch at Ivar’s Acres of Clams. I was a little hesitant on what to get for a pre race meal, but decided on the fish tacos as they’ve been a safe bet in the past. It was another delicious meal, and we got a head start on watching the sunset. Seriously, such beautiful sunsets in Seattle, even if they start at 4pm.

Before dinner

Before lunch

And after

And after

We finished up the day with a trip to University Village. With a similar setup to Crocker Park and Easton, I was certainly in my element. We had a chance to check out some shops, including the Oiselle Store, Fireworks Gallery (again, but it’s so neat!), and SODO (Darren’s favorite).

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For dinner we ended up at RAM Restaurant & Brewery, which was actually a lot better than I expected. I also think it was the first lunch or dinner that I didn’t have seafood! I ended up with the Mac & Cheese for a little bit of extra carbs to help me through race day.

 

Sunday

This was the day I was most excited for, and also most nervous for. I was excited to check out the city by foot and see areas we hadn’t seen, but I was also second guessing myself, thinking that maybe I should have signed up for a 5k instead. The main goal of the race was to have fun. I was on vacation, my eating and sleeping patterns were way off, and I hadn’t run much that week. I’ll have my recap tomorrow, but I can say that it was a great race and I highly recommend it. I may even have to sign up again!

So foggy you can't see the Space Needle to the right

So foggy you can’t see the Space Needle to the right

And done!

And done!

After the race, I cleaned up and we headed to lunch at Homegrown. It was a very neat set up, and I probably would have eaten more, but just wasn’t feeling it post race. From there, we stopped over to another Storyville location before heading to Kerry Park. We were lucky to have perfect weather our entire trip, but unfortunately, the clouds were covering up Mt. Rainier that day.

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My sister informed me that the Intern’s house from Grey’s Anatomy was just down the street from Kerry Park, so naturally we had to stop there. After all these years, I still love this show! From there, we headed over to Fremont Brewing Company. With a very industrial, yet laid back environment, it was the perfect way to wind down the weekend, and it had some delicious beer!

Hi Meredith!

Hi Meredith!

For our final dinner in Seattle, we went to McCormick and Schmick’s on the harbor. Even though it was dark, the views of everything lit up were beautiful, and the food was amazing as well. More seafood, more amazing West Coast seafood!

We flew home on Monday morning and got back to our regular schedule on Tuesday. It was such a wonderful time spending the holiday out in Seattle and I can see why my sister enjoys it so much. We got to see so many things and experience many parts of the city. However, we still had a few things on our to-do list that we never got to. It looks like we’ll have a good starting point for the next trip out there!

See ya later Washington!

See ya later Washington!

 

Weekly Fitness Recap

This was not your typical week. I spent part of my week in Ohio and part of it in Seattle, Washington. Thanks to the holiday, we were able to turn the long weekend into a mini vacation and visit my sister for Thanksgiving. I didn’t get as much running in as I had originally planned, but we did a lot of walking, including hiking a mountain!

Monday: 0
Tuesday: 3 Miles + Abs
Wednesday: 0
Thursday: 4.5 Miles Hiked + 3 Miles Walked
Friday: 7 Miles Walked
Saturday: 5 Miles Walked
Sunday: 13.39 Miles – Seattle Half Marathon + 4 Miles Walked
Total Miles: 16.39 Miles Run + 4.5 Miles Hiked + 19 Miles Walked
Tuesday I stuck to the treadmill and did an easy three miles. Like last week, every half mile I would up the speed. It certainly helped to make time go by quicker, but I’ll need to look into more treadmill workouts if I want to survive another winter. Any suggestions on treadmill workouts? I followed my run up with some ab work and a side of Cheez it Grooves. All about balance, right?

Thursday was our first full day in Seattle. Instead of running, we took the day to go hiking on Tiger Mountain. It was an absolutely beautiful day, completely clear of clouds. It was a steep hike at times, but the views were worth it.

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I’ll trade sidewalks for this view any day!

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Seriously? So much better than Turkey dinner.

We followed that up with an additional 3 miles of walking around the city. I typically don’t log my steps/miles walked, but wanted to keep track this week since we did a ton of walking around Seattle.

Friday I didn’t get a chance to run, I was pretty sore from the hike so I decided to take a rest day. We ended up with around 7 miles of walking in the city. I have to admit, I’m not used to so much walking, so my legs were getting tired, I even starting getting a few almost blisters on my feet. Vacation is hard sometimes 😉

On Saturday I had good intentions of running, but the lazy factor kicked in. We ended up walking 5 miles around the city, and checked out the race expo. By this time I was a bit nervous for Sunday’s race. I’d done barely any running all week and spent a ton of time on my feet. I felt like I was setting myself up for a disastrous race.

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Ready to race!

Sunday, I ran the Seattle Half Marathon. I’ll have a recap up later this week. It ended up being a great race, one that I highly recommend. It was also a lot hillier than I originally thought. And if that wasn’t enough, we walked (hobbled) an additional 4 miles.

Overall my running mileage was low for the week, but I walked a lot more than I typically do, I hiked 4.5 miles with 1,770 gain, and ran a hilly half marathon. It was an active week, but spread out among many activities.

Wedding Wednesday – Bachelorette Party

Today’s Wedding Wednesday is a special post to reflect back on the amazing weekend that was my bachelorette party! With all the stress of planning for the wedding and busy schedules, I’d been looking forward to a weekend away with some of my favorite ladies. Not everyone could attend the trip, but I still had a great time and enjoyed the company.

The bachelorette party took place in Watkins Glen, New York. This place holds a special spot in my heart as we used to do family vacations here when I was younger, and it is nearby Corning, where I ran my marathon last year. So I was extremely excited to go back to a place that held such great memories.

We drove up Friday and enjoyed a fun night in; eating, drink and playing typically bachelorette party games. It was a good evening to relax and unwind after the long week. The girls even set up a theme as Chelsea’s Race to the Date, including a course map and race bibs to wear during the weekend!

When we arrived, I was asked to leave while everything was set up, so my sister and I headed into town. We went down to the dock on Seneca Lake and spent some time soaking in the sun and fresh air. We also were able to take a picture to replicate our trip from 2002.

Thankfully we aged well..... 2002 vs 2015

Thankfully we aged well….. 2002 vs 2015

Saturday was our only full day in the area, so we had a lot on the schedule. We started the morning with a hike around Watkins Glen State Park. The parking lot was still very empty when we arrived so we had most of the park to ourselves. We hiked for about 3 miles and it was absolutely beautiful. I’ll let these pictures speak for themselves.

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After our hike, we cleaned up and started on the next adventure, a six hour wine tour! We had a bit of delay, but we still managed to keep right on schedule and even added in an additional winery. Each winery was unique and as always, a great way to try all kinds of wines. The wines near the Finger Lakes can sometimes be a bit sweeter than I like, so for once I tried a few red wines and may have enjoyed one or two.

If you’re interested, here are the wineries we visited. I had visited Red Newt and Chateau Lafayette Reneau before, but that was back when all I could drink was sparkling grape juice. The trip this time around was much more fun!

  • Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards
  • Hector Wine Company
  • Red Newt Cellars
  • Chateau Lafayette Reneau
  • JR Dill Winery
  • Atwater Estate Vineyards
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After our wine tour, we came back to the house, vegged out and enjoyed our final night before heading back to Ohio. Sunday morning, I managed a short three mile run before the trip back and it was the perfect way to end the trip.

Even though the drive was long and tiring, I had such a wonderful time in the Finger Lakes. This trip was absolutely perfect and more than I could have asked for. I’m so lucky to have such amazing friends who gave me the perfect bachelorette party!

Souvenirs ;)

Souvenirs 😉

Akron Half Marathon Training: Week Eight

We’re halfway through training for Akron Half, and although there have been a few tough weeks, I’ve still had some really good ones. This week was a little tough to plan around. I’m starting to run into the point where we have meetings at least three times a week for the wedding, so getting my workouts in is a little challenging. Plus I was gone for my bachelorette party weekend, so I knew I wouldn’t be doing my best running while gone all weekend.

Monday: 0

Tuesday: 0

Wednesday: 2.5 Miles

Thursday: 0

Friday: 10 Miles

Saturday: 3 Mile Hike

Sunday: 3 Miles

Total Miles: 15.5 Miles + 3 Mile Hike

Wednesday was the first time I was able to get a run in due to Monday and Tuesday’s meetings running long. I decided to stick with the treadmill since it was so hot and humid outside. I only managed to get 2.5 miles in because I had a few other things that needed to get done. It’s clearly not the mileage I should be doing, but it was better than nothing.

Going into the weekend, I knew that Friday would be the only time I’d be able to get my long run in. So a few of us met up early for our long run before heading to New York. As usual, we started our run with the Medina Half course-the Square to developments to Lake Medina to developments- then cut through Roscoe Ewing Park and back up to the Square. We started at 6:30 so the weather was still pretty cool, and pace was around 9-9:10. We started to slow a little after mile 6, but it was also starting to warm up a bit too. We finished up 10 miles in 1:34, which is just two minutes off my 10 mile PR. Considering the route we took was hilly and I wasn’t pushing it, I’m certainly seeing myself getting faster. Hopefully this will translate to some fall PR’s.

I didn’t run on Saturday, but I did hike for about three miles. We were up in Watkins Glen, New York for my bachelorette party, so we were lucky enough to spend some time at the Watkins Glen State Park. There were plenty of stairs and hills to challenge us and it was the perfect way to cross train.

This view is worth the hike.

This view is worth the hike.

Sunday’s run was a short run out on the back roads of Watkins Glen. I was out the door around 7:30 and headed south from our house. It was the flattest area around and it was relatively quiet still. I headed out for a mile before turning around. I was by myself in a new area, so I didn’t want to be too far from the house. Then I went another half mile in the other direction, which was all downhill. I made it far enough that I could see the lake from the road, along with plenty of trees and silence. Coming back to the house wasn’t so easy as it was all uphill and much hillier than Medina and Hinckley.

Seneca Lake...way down the hill

Seneca Lake…way down the hill

 

Week Eight Thoughts:

  • I’m starting to become a little concerned for my mileage. Looking out on my calendar, August is extremely busy. The closer we get to the wedding, the more we have going on after work with final meetings. Running at 8 or later is not ideal, but sometimes it’s the only option. Like I had mentioned in the past, I’ll most likely be running what I can, when I can until the wedding is over. I’m still getting my long runs in, and I’ll have a month to get back on track after the honeymoon.

September Rewind

One of my favorite months has come and gone, but before recapping the marathon, it’s time to look back at the past month.

Miles run: 89

Races run: 2 (River Run Half Marathon, SF Aloha Run 5k)

Miles biked: 0

Favorite Workout: 9/16 – 10×800 repeats

Books read: Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?

Place traveled: San Francisco & Napa, California

This month’s mileage was lower than the previous months, but mostly because of taper. I definitely missed the challenge of hitting another 100 mile month, but by the end of the month, my legs felt fantastic. Hitting almost 90 miles was a stretch in the past, so it feels good that I was able to get it even while cutting back on mileage.

I ended up racing twice this month, one a half marathon, and the other a 5k. The River Run Half has always been a favorite of mine and I was excited to have a chance at it again. I ended up with a 2:01, and it was hard to believe, but it was my 20th half marathon! My other race was a 5k in San Francisco, and even though it wasn’t my best, it was great to race along the Golden Gate Bridge and change up the scenery of my normal races.

Despite spending half of the month in taper, I had a fantastic track workout, which turned into one of my favorite workouts. My final hard workout was my last set of 800 repeats, all 10 of them. I hit the splits exactly where I wanted them, and even finished the last one in 3:34, something I definitely didn’t expect.

September also brought a vacation, where I knocked out Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? during the flights, which was absolutely hilarious. We spent time in San Francisco and Napa, enjoying the sites, nature, wineries and more importantly, getting engaged! It was a wonderful trip, and I definitely recommend visiting them both.

So September ended up being a pretty great month, and it will be pretty hard to top. October brings the marathon, cooler weather, and picking out what races I’ll be running next!

How was your September? What big plans do you have for October?

Vacation Part 2: Napa

There was no doubt that while visiting San Francisco we’d spend time in Napa. We decided on two days, and wanted to visit as many wineries as we could. Napa held up to and surpassed my expectations, and I almost can’t believe we spent a few days in such a beautiful place.

Sunday:

We drove up to Napa where we spent the day on a wine tour. Rather than worry about who would drive, we joined Platypus Tours, who picked us up, drove us around, fed us lunch and dropped us back off after the tour was done. They took us to four small wineries and each was unique in it’s own way.

Welcome to wine country!

Welcome to wine country!

So much wine, so little time

So much wine, so little time

Leave me here all day

Leave me here all day

Last winery made for a memorable one!

Last winery made for a memorable one!

Wineries we visited:

Judd’s Hill Winery– Our first stop on the tour with some beautiful views. We tried mostly reds, which I wasn’t a big fan of, but the whites were pretty good.

Rutherford Grove– This place reminded me of a cottage nestled in the woods. The views were pretty and the picnic our drive prepared for us was spot on. The wines were mostly red, so I didn’t enjoy the wine too much at this one.

Hagafen Cellars– This was my favorite winery because they had a large selection of whites. The winery had a unique feel but was also very cozy.

Razi Vineyard– The last stop for the day was very chic, but private. It was again mostly reds, but I surprisingly enjoyed a Chardonnay, a wine I typically don’t like. This winery will always hold a special place in our heart because it’s where we got engaged!

Where we ate:

Ristorante La Strada– A celebratory dinner with some delicious pasta and local wine. The service went above expectations when our taxi driver never showed up, so our waiter ended up driving us back to our hotel. Risky, but we survived.

Monday:

Monday was our second day in Napa, but since we were up so early, we started with the Jelly Belly factory before visiting some more wineries.

Quick tour and time to stock up!

Quick tour and time to stock up!

The view at Artesa....I could live here

The view at Artesa….I could live here

Mountains and wine..these are a few of my favorite things

Mountains and wine..these are a few of my favorite things

Jamieson Ranch, metal horse included

Jamieson Ranch, metal horse included

Wineries we visited:

Artesa Vineyards & Winery– Everything about this place was amazing. The views where breathtaking and the wine was our favorite of the entire trip. We could have easily spent all day there.

Etude Wines– This winery was decent, but it was probably our least favorite of the day. It didn’t have a warm, welcoming feeling, but I was able to find some pretty good Pinot Gris.

Jamieson Ranch– This winery was beautiful and had some amazing views. We both enjoyed many of their wines and learned about the new trend of wine on tap. (Note to self, add one when we remodel the kitchen).

Where we ate:

The Market at Caneros Inn– We stopped here for a light lunch after visiting Artesa. Everything was healthy, and some of their food was even grown outside of the store, which was pretty neat.

After we finished our wine tours, we headed to the hotel, dropped of our rental car, and sadly got ready to leave. Without a doubt, I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation. Next time we go back, we want to spend more time in Napa, two days just isn’t enough. I’ll be counting down the days until I’m back in wine country sipping on my wine….

 

Vacation Part 1: San Francisco

A little over a week ago, we packed up our bags and headed to the West Coast for a six-day vacation in California. Luckily vacation lined right up with taper, so I didn’t feel too guilty about getting away. We flew in Thursday, spent the first couple days in San Francisco, and then finished out the trip in Napa. Rather than write a novel, I’ve picked my favorite pictures throughout our trip.

Thursday

Spent the night in Pacifica, but unfortunately no time to explore

Friday

Toured the city of San Francisco by GoCar Tours. I was definitely shocked by how much I enjoyed it, and within the time frame of a normal work day, we saw every major point of the city and a few hidden gems. I’d definitely recommend looking into this if you visit a city where it’s available.

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A must stop while touring the city

Our little GoCar to tour the city

Our little GoCar to tour the city

This beautiful view

This beautiful view

Another must see

Another must see, but no sighting of the Tanner family

Where we ate:

Fly Bar & Restaurant– We stopped here for a light lunch and the food was just right. It had a fun atmosphere, and great service.

Saturday

We used Saturday as a way to explore the outer limits of the city. We started the day with my Aloha Run 5k, and then headed up to Muir Woods to check out the redwoods and take some time to explore nature.

Massive beauties

Massive beauties

7.5 hours of these wonderful trails

7.5 hours of these wonderful trails

Top of the trail views

Top of the trail views

Surreal views

Surreal views

Where we ate:

Alioto’s Restaurant- I had some high expectations going into this restaurant based on the menu and the fact it was in the heart of Fisherman’s Warf. Unfortunately, the service was horrible, and the food wasn’t anything to be excited about. Maybe it was an off day for them, but I wouldn’t go back anytime soon.

Where we stayed:

Inn at Oyster Point- I picked this place for two reasons, it had a running path and the funky decor. Both did not disappoint, and surprisingly, the restaurant/bar attached had some amazing seafood as well. It was a fun hotel, and I’d definitely go back to it again.

The two days we spent exploring San Francisco were amazing. Even though our vacation still had a few days left, it was already the best vacation we’ve ever had. The city has so much to offer and exploring the trails made me feel healthier than I have in a long time. If it’s not already on your list, you should certainly add San Francisco to you bucket list.

Stay tuned to hear about the second half of our vacation….Napa!