Category Archives: On the Road

Where to Run in Westchester? Try Waveny Park in New Canaan, CT!

Waveny Park path

Ok, so Waveny Park is in Connecticut, not Westchester, but it’s close enough.  And I did this run in late August, a little over a month ago (the week before my long run in Pound Ridge Town Park).  The color of the leaves might have changed in a month but the trails are still there!

 

In a turn from the usual, I’m trying to do at least a little training before my next marathon (Twin Cities in Minneapolis/St. Paul on October 4th).  So this week I forced my lovely family to go to Waveny Park so I could do my long run and they could run, too (… and wait and mess around on the exercise equipment and wait and watch the model airplane people and wait).

 

This was kinda neat to see - tons of people had their airplanes out - and it looked like something they did every weekend.

This was kinda neat to see – tons of people had their airplanes out – and it looked like something they did every weekend.

Wavney Park is in New Canaan, Connecticut, not far from the downtown and just off the Merritt Parkway (you can actually see cars on the Merritt while running).  The high school is inside the park, along with a track, a pooltennis courts, a grand old house, and a theater theatre.  I did my entire run inside the park on the various trails – I did not run on the roads as it seemed dangerous and I seem overly cautious.

A lot of the trails looked like this, but narrower and more crowded as the morning passed.

A lot of the trails looked like this, but narrower and more crowded as the morning passed.

Unfortunately, the trails in the park do not form any sort of coherent loop or route (see map here).  So I spent 10 miles going up and down and back and forth and left and right depending on my mood and how crowded certain sections of the trail seemed to be at the time.

Like the path of an insane person, which I became by the end of this run.

Like the path of an insane person, which I became by the end of this run.

 

The good:

  • The trails were easy, in the sense you could wear road shoes and be fine.
  • Hard to get lost, despite all the random turns and dead ends.
  • Lots of shade.
  • There’s a real bathroom inside the park (near where they fly the model airplanes – it looks like a maintenance shed and isn’t too far from the parking lot near the “house”).

The bad:

  • No loop!  Surprisingly frustrating and made the miles creep by.
  • Kinda crowded.  If you start early in the morning or go on a weekday, I imagine it would be much better.
  • No loop.  Seriously, I decided to run in Pound Ridge Town Park the next weekend because I just couldn’t face running random paths in Wavney again.
The Wavney House on a hill.

The backside of Wavney House (on a very gradual hill).

I also tried listening to a book on tape for the first time during the run (Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan – it’s ok, but his stand-up is better).  I enjoyed the experience enough that I listened to Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch during parts of my next two long runs (Girl was easier for me to listen to than Dad, for some reason).  Right now, it’s more appealing for me to listen to comedy than music during my long runs, since I have such a slow pace and upbeat music can be irritating after a while (well, anything can be irritating after a while, which is why mostly I run in silence).  Anyway, if you’re looking for something to pass the time while running, I’d say try it out!  There’s usually a special on Audible memberships (at least one month free but often you can find deals like 3 months for $3 or something), and their different membership levels are explained here (1 credit is basically 1 book).

 

After the run we all went for a big lunch at Le Pain Quotidien and then bought candy at a candy store, where I found my future everyday outfit:

I'll take 100 in my size, please.

I’ll take 100 of these in my size, please.

Back to real time = Tomorrow is the Bronx 10-Miler!  See you there!

 

Do you run on open roads?  What do you listen to while you run?  Where should I try running next time I’m in Westchester?  Share in the comments!

Where to Run in Westchester? Try Pound Ridge Town Park!

This is not the section where I fell down.

This is not the section where I fell down.

I’m a little behind on posting – here’s a mini-review of one of two locations I ran in Westchester County, NY, (about 1 hour north of NYC) in late August.

 

For my long slow distance (LSD) run this week, I did 14 miles of 1.5 mile loops in Pound Ridge Town Park, which was not quite as mind-numbing as it sounds.  I enjoyed the company of my niece for the first 6 miles (she was kind enough to slow down for me), then promptly fell down, then finished another 7 miles before driving back home and doing nothing for the rest of the day (some things never change).

 

Yes, I fell during this run.  Hard.  But let’s run a few loops first, shall we?

Yes, it was a lot of loops.

Yes, it was a lot of loops.  No, it did not stay 57 degrees for very long.

We started the 1.5 mile loop by running along the small pond in the park (the same pond over which the town shoots their amazing 4th of July fireworks every year).  It’s a mostly shaded paved path that has a couple of minuscule hills, heads past the police department, then unfortunately dead ends at Fancher Road.  We’d double-back at this point, continue past the pond and head up a gravel fire road-type thing, through the trees uphill of the baseball fields, then turn right and up another gravel road to pass the basketball courts.  Then we’d head into the woods for a couple short blocks downhill before spilling out onto the tennis courts.  We’d run on/past the courts, veer left on the paved road, run past the playground, past the grassy field, around the parking lot, and start the loop all over again.  One loop down, 8.5 loops to go…

 

After my niece finished her miles with me and went to the playground, I was feeling pretty good as I headed into the woods for the downhill trail portion.  I decided to pick it up a bit on the downhill – just for fun, you know?  I promptly tripped on a rock and went tail over teakettle.  I had a split-second moment of clarity as I went airborn, knowing I was going to fall and trying to figure out how best to fall without seriously injuring myself.  My years of being a terrible snowboarder helped me, as I was able to roll once before coming to a stop, relatively unscathed.  I sat there for a few minutes, pressing hard on my scraped leg and palm, as that always seems to help the pain for me.  I stood up, brushed off, used my hydration pack to irrigate the small wound on my hand, and slowly walked downhill out of the woods back to the tennis courts.  That’s where I shook out my legs and tried trotting around the safe, stable surface of the courts.  I felt fine, no worse than during any other long run, so I continued running the remaining 7.5 miles to finish my LSD run of the week.

By the end of the run, I was this slug.

By the end of the run, I was this slug.

 

Pound Ridge Town Park is not a bad place to run.  We saw several other runners that morning, lots of dog walkers, and lots of people playing on all the various courts and fields (little league, basketball, and tennis).  I’d definitely run there again, but next time I’ll watch my footing.

 

Where do you run in Westchester?  Are you annoyed I posted this route review almost a month after I ran it, or do you not mind?  Are you being inconvenienced by the Pope today?  Share in the comments!

Candy Review – Russell Stover Dark Chocolate & MARSHMALLOW Pumpkin

Too soon.

Too soon.

Today is August 11, 2015.  It’s 90 degrees and sunny here in Portland, Oregon, and people are frolicking on the sandy beaches of the Columbia River, since it’s hot and it’s summertime and that’s what you’re supposed to do on a hot summer’s day.

 

Today is also the day I stopped by the drugstore for some ice packs and happened upon a Halloween Candy display.  Halloween.  As in October 31st.  As in the second best candy holiday in America, but one that is firmly rooted in the chilly fall.  Nevertheless, I purchased one of these Halloween candies for (cough cough) research purposes.  Here are my findings:

 

Pumpkin-ish.

Pumpkin-ish.

The Russell Stover Dark Chocolate & MARSHMALLOW Pumpkin is 110 calories of sugary goodness.  There is no actual pumpkin involved in the treat.  Except for the fact that the candy is vaguely pumpkin-shaped (although, let’s be honest, pumpkins come in a wide variety of blob-like shapes and almost any candy could arguably be called pumpkin-shaped), this tasty treat has no connection to pumpkins or Halloween or summer or food.  I’m also not sure why it must yell MARSHMALLOW at me, but that’s an issue for another day.

 

Cross section candy marshmallowAs for the candy itself – the dark chocolate coating is wafer thin and the marshmallow is soft, gooey, and as fresh as only a 2.5 month premature marshmallow can be.  It was so sweet it actually hurt my teeth, which is worrying on a number of levels, but it was also exactly how I expected it to be.  It was like eating the candy incarnate of diabetes itself, and it was delicious.

 

For those who want a more descriptive account of the taste – are you familiar with soft marshmallow, more firm than marshmallow fluff but softer than your typical store-bought bagged marshmallows and minus the powdery exterior?  Are you familiar with briefly running your tongue against a cheap bar of dark chocolate?  Can you imagine combining those two experiences and injecting them into the center of your teeth where unborn cavities live?  Can you also imagine some small part of you enjoying this experience in a deeply guilty way?  Then that, my friend, is the Russell Stover Dark Chocolate & MARSHMALLOW Pumpkin, enjoyed on a hot summer’s day in mid-August, after a big lunch and before a long nap.

 

How early do you think it’s acceptable to start selling and/or consuming Halloween candy?  How many naps will it take before my EMT camp sleep debt is repaid?  Did you know Easter is the best candy holiday in America?  Share in the comments!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Where’s The Finish!

Worth bursting my lungs for this view (behind the cabins at "EMT Camp").

It was worth bursting my lungs for this view (on the trail behind the cabins at “EMT Camp”).

It’s the second anniversary of WheresTheFinish.com, and much like the clock in a marathon, I don’t know how the time went by so fast.

 

I haven’t posted in a while because I spent the last month in Leavenworth, Washington, learning how to be an EMT (with some wilderness/remote skills added for good measure).  It was an amazing course full of amazing people, and I already miss being there.  If you have any interest in that sort of thing, I highly recommend it.

 

This is the kind of thing you come across while running around an EMT learning center.  (Don't worry, the blood was corn syrup.)

This is the kind of thing you come across while running around an EMT learning center. (Don’t worry, the blood is actually corn syrup.)

 

On the running front, I only managed to run 6 times over the entire month, and those runs were mostly walking up a steep trail and then picking my way carefully back down.  I have a lot of work ahead of me to get ready for my 4 marathons in 4 months this fall/winter…

A small segment of the "blue" trail behind our cabins at EMT camp.

A small segment of the blue trail I “ran” behind our cabins at EMT camp.

 

One of the reasons I wanted to become an EMT was so I can volunteer at the medical tents at races.  I hope to do that for the upcoming NYC Marathon and other NYRR races – but I also hope to see exactly none of you at the tents!

 

Otherwise, compared to a year ago I feel pretty good about the whole running thing.  I’m still woefully out of shape, but I’m not super injured right now (I always feel a little bit injured, as any runner can probably relate) and I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll get into better shape over the next year.  I’m still working on my full marathon in every state goal and I’m still having a lot of fun doing it.  I’m going to try to do more group runs (and runs in general) and I might sign up for a NYRR class again to gain some speed.  And I just registered for both the NYC Pizza Run and the NYC Cupcake Run because those races are basically made for me.

 

As for this website, I hope to do a bit more with it but I also said that a year ago.  As always, let me know if you have requests for particular content and I’ll do my best.  Until then I’m getting this shirt and living in the 32%.

 

How’s your summer going?  What races or goals do you have planned for the rest of 2015?  How much cake am I allowed to eat this week because of a website’s birthday?  Share in the comments!

Austin’s Town Lake (aka Lady Bird Lake) Trail

In honor of my friend’s new blog, runningroutesreviewed.wordpress.com/, or rurore.com for short, here’s a brief, illustrated review of Austin, Texas’s Town Lake Trail, also known as Lady Bird Lake Trail, also known as the Roy and Ann Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail (Austin loves multiple names for things). It’s a 10-mile, mostly flat, mostly cinder path that loops around the lake/river that bisects Austin.

 
There are multiple access points to the trail and multiple bridges that cross over the lake, so you can tailor a loop to suit your distance needs, but I went for one full loop, plus I got lost when I headed off on Barton Creek Trail instead of staying on Town Lake trail, so I did a total of 14 miles.
 

Note – if everyone is turning in one direction, and you don’t know where you are exactly, you should probably also go in that direction instead of heading off into the woods. On the plus side, I got to see Barton Springs and added in the extra miles I wanted. On the minus side I ran through more gross spiderwebs/tree worm webs than I could count, and I was also scared I was running through poison ivy (several signs said it’s present along both trails), so it was a bit of tense running experience. But I also got to feel a million miles away from the city, even though I was less than 4 miles from my downtown hotel at that point.
 

Let the photo journey begin! Note that I started downtown on the north side and ran counterclockwise, but runners and bikers were going in both directions and I don’t think there was a right or wrong way.
 

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This is near where I started downtown – one of the many cute bridges you cross on this trail. Notice the construction crane in the background – Austin is booming!

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Most of the path is cinder but there are some concrete sidewalks like this.

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Some pretty landscaping under a footbridge crossing the lake.

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Some super cool bathrooms along the trail. There were multiple bathrooms along the 10 miles but these were by far the coolest.

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Some nice cactus along the cinder trail. This is still on the north side.

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The western “end” of the trail as it loops under MoPac Highway (aka Loop 1). The footbridge connects the north and south sides.

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Looking back at the city from under the highway. It looks so far away but it’s only actually a mile or two from here.

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One of the many water fountains along the trail. In the background is Zilker Park’s huge lawn which hosts the Austin City Limits Festival.

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A cute mini railroad. Don’t mind me…

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This is the point I got lost – I turned right while everyone else turned left.

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If you see this cool spot you are not on the Town Lake Trail.

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Barton Springs! It’s a quarter-mile long natural spring-fed pool that’s 68 degrees year-round. I thought I’d loop back onto Town Lake trail at this point but instead I went further along Barton Spring Trail and into Barton Hills.

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This is not Town Lake Trail.

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Unfortunately neither is this. (BTW the wildflowers are in a riot around Austin right now. Just beautiful.)

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Nor is this. After running through the umpteenth spiderweb I checked my phone for directions and backtracked to Town Lake. Luckily I had already broken through all the webs so the way back wasn’t as panic-making. Also, you’re welcome whoever ran that trail today after me.

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Back on Town Lake Trail! Notice any differences between this and the spider trail above?

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Just south of Congress Street Bridge (the bat bridge) the trail turns into a concrete boardwalk, which is pretty but wasn’t my favorite to run along.

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The eastern “end” of the trail, where you cross the spillway bridge.

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Looking back at the spillway bridge.

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My spirit animals for the day. I was soooo slow even with the helpful overcast day. I barely managed 14 miles and my knees were hurting by the end, so this will have to do for my last long (and longest) training run before Wisconsin. Yipes!
 

Overall, I enjoyed the Town Lake Trail by any name. It reminded me of the loop in Central Park (no cars, no smoking allowed, lots of people and bikers, lots of water fountains and restrooms, customizable distances) but it was totally flat, so if you need to do hill work you have to look elsewhere. The biggest advantage over Central Park? This trail never has snow or ice!
 

Have you ever visited Austin? Have you ever run this trail? Have you subscribed to rurore.com yet? Share in the comments!

I finished the full!

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I finished the full Houston Marathon! Full recap tomorrow or Tuesday, whenever I’ll be able to move again. Actually, I don’t feel any worse than I normally do after a marathon. Which is to say, I spent the entire afternoon laying in bed and watching my tablet (finally saw 22 Jump Street).

Thanks for your support and goodnight!

What do you like to do after a long run? Have you ever seen 22 Jump Street? What do you think of Channing Tatum’s, um, running? Share in the comments!

Race Recap & More – ABB 5K, Butterflies, & Burritos

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Today I had a little too much fun running around Houston and eating burritos and chocolate and now I feel like these taxidermied animals, but less mobile.

The ABB 5K was plenty of fun and easy – starting and ending at Discovery Green next to the convention center, it was a flat, looped course out and back through downtown. It had a lot of kid and charity runners but was a wide course so it didn’t feel too congested. At the end you got a medal (from men and women in army fatigues), a bottle of water, a banana, and a mini muffin (had to brave a chaotic line for the food). Post race I had to look up what ABB is – apparently it’s a “global leader in power and automation technologies” based in Zurich, Switzerland. It’s the largest supplier of industrial motors and drives, wind generators, and power grids. It’s also the main sponsor of a 5K in Houston for some reason.

 

The weather today is supposed to be the weather for tomorrow’s marathon – warm and sunny, supposedly in the 50s at the start but it felt even warmer. I tried to hold back but the excitement of the race and the appreciation of my metallic costume got me a little revved up, and I averaged 11:30 minute miles, about 1.5 to 2 minutes faster than I want to go tomorrow. (I freely admit and acknowledge I am too slow for my age and non-injured status – something to work on in 2015?)

Where's the Finish in silver outfit

Channeling my inner astronaut. This is actually a toned-down version of what I wore for the Marshall Marathon at which I got about zero comments on my costume. Today I had many, many glove admirers. They are available at Amazon!

After the race I had a quick shower and some oatmeal at the hotel, where I asked the concierge how to get a taxi to the Museum of Natural History. He told me to take the Metrorail (aboveground light rail) instead. I told him that if I got lost and a missing person alert went out on me it was on his head. He laughed since there is only one track that goes north and south so I’d have to be an idiot to get lost. He didn’t say “idiot” but I saw it in his eyes. He gave me a map and circled the two stops I should use (Main Street to Museum District, easy enough). I asked him how to buy a ticket and he was a little cagey and unclear about that process, even though he said he took the train every day to work. I thanked him and went off to have another public transit adventure in another US city.

Metrorail in Houston

(This was actually the train I took back home (northbound). Trains come about every 10-15 minutes.)

I managed to find the station with one detour (I initially stood at the northbound stop before realizing, but another woman did the same thing and she was a local so that made me feel better. We ended up chatting the whole ride.) I also learned why the concierge was so cagey about the ticketing – there are machines at each station where you can buy tickets ($1.50 per trip) but there is no one on the train that collects or checks for your ticket. I assumed it’d be like a NYC bus – you swipe your metrocard (or give your ticket) as you get on. Nope – you just get on and ride and don’t see anybody official the whole time. I think I was the first sucker all year to actually buy two tickets. That’s three dollars to honesty. Thank god for that gas card.

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I was instantly rewarded for my journey with some beautiful gardens next to the Natural History Museum (the circular hill with a winding path and waterfall is the “Garden Mount,” part of a $31 million 2014 renovation in Hermann Park). I didn’t walk the path or spend much time in Hermann Park (or visit the Japanese Gardens there) because I was desperate to see the butterflies at the museum, and I wanted to spare my legs for tomorrow.

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Before you enter the butterfly garden ($8 admission, separate from the $20 admission to the main Natural History Museum, and you don’t need a main ticket to access the butterfly garden), you walk through some informative exhibits about insects and see some incredible (HUGE) specimens seen here.

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The butterfly garden itself is hot, humid, and filled with greenery & butterflies. They were difficult to capture with my iPhone but they really filled the air. It’s a lovely spot and I’d highly recommend a visit if you’re into that sort of thing.

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When you exit the garden there’s a vending machine that sells edible bug candies and products. (Do those live butterflies know they are bookended by dead bugs? Bit creepy, no?) I got some ant candy for my niece who ate a cricket lollipop once (she said the cricket part was like horrible-flavored dust). This is one candy I won’t be personally reviewing.

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Then I went into the main museum for a whirlwind tour. That place is a labyrinth and I had no idea where I was half the time. I crisscrossed more than I should have and stopped to read (aka learn) almost nothing.

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I’m pretty sure this was a movie.

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This was my favorite part of the museum. It was like being in a really nice Cabelas or Scheels minus the camo clothing for sale. Look at that crocodile pose! Awesome.

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I saw a bunch of other stuff too, but I promise I didn’t learn a thing. The gift shops (two!) were nice but they didn’t sell any pins, just buttons and jewelry (and a million other things, including a lot of dead bugs in lucite). The only food option at the museum is a small McDonald’s (which had a crazy long line at lunchtime, surprise). I’d recommend going to the museum as early as possible as there was a long line at the ticket counter when I left and the place was filling up.

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By noon I was starving and the ladies at the gift shop directed me to a Mexican place two blocks away. I got a burrito and sat outside to eat it while reading texts from my friends who were freezing in NYC.

 

I took the train back to downtown, visited my new favorite grocery store for more treats, and finally headed back to the hotel. I was so exhausted I fell asleep for almost two hours. Oops. Definitely overdid it a bit today, then ate too much candy for dinner, so it was not the most prudent of pre-marathon days but I had a super great time.

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I also got the most amazing souvenir at the Phoenicia – this little gold dinosaur planter. I love it more than a grown woman should love a plastic dinosaur anything. When I feel tired tomorrow, I’m going to draw strength from my gold dinosaur. Wish me luck!

 

What’s your most favorite souvenir ever? Have you ever visited a butterfly garden? What’s your go-to order at a Mexican restaurant? Share in the comments!

On the Road in Houston (Pre-race Hubris)

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Lots of free stuff at the giant Houston Marathon Expo!

I woke up at 4 am today and arrived in Houston by 11 am (with the 1 hour time difference, huzzah!). Since it was too early to check into my hotel I dropped off my luggage and went straight to the expo where I encountered the longest line I’ve ever gotten into in my life – no exaggeration. Even though I got there at 11:10 and they said they opened at 11:00, the line wasn’t moving. Luckily I chatted with some other lady runners and the time passed quickly (and once the line did start moving it also moved quickly enough).

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I could not capture the enormity of this line with my cell phone camera. It was about 3 city blocks long when I got in it (and of course my route started at the front so I passed everyone in line while searching for the end).

Bib pickup was also a bit of a pain (a very long & slow line for 5k pickup) but I got all my materials (5k bib and cotton tshirt, marathon bib and cotton tshirt) and then wandered the expo for fun and profit. I was not the most aggressive collector, but even still I walked away with all the free stuff you see in the photo above. It’s probably the most I’ve ever gotten at any expo, and repeat runners said it was the stingiest one yet. Everything really is bigger in Texas!

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Front and back of both the 5K and full marathon tshirts – just boring cotton tshirts. Supposedly there are finishers shirts for the half and full on Sunday (no second shirt for 5K). And of course the medals – 3 total medals if you run the both the 5k and the half/full!

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Idyllic ice skating scene just outside the convention center – slightly less crowded than Rockefeller Center.

One of the runners I met in line told me to go to the Phoenicia grocery store for lunch. I headed there (only a few blocks away) and was immediately overwhelmed by their selection. It made Whole Foods look like a crummy bodega. I kinda chickened out and got a flatbread with feta and veggies instead of the hot schwarma, which I still don’t know what is (despite it being discussed in Iron Man or Avengers or something).

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I also got all this candy. So! Much! Candy! (Large bag of chocolate covered pretzels not pictured.) I limited myself to candy bars I hadn’t tried before (and I left some on the shelf) but it’s still a bit much even for me. When in Texas!

I chatted with another runner at lunch (a 76-year-old multiple marathoner from Boston) who also encouraged me to try finishing the whole thing (but also emphasized that there’s no shame in a DNF, nor does anyone care what time you get in any race). Chatting with all these runners, walking around the expo, visiting a new city, buying lots of snacks and getting my outfits ready — all this has once again gotten me all hyped up on marathoning. I love this part!

So this evening, two nights before the marathon, while I’m full of chocolate and happily resting in my hotel room, I feel more optimistic about going for the full than I was a few days ago. It will still be a game day decision, but I’m not going to sabotage myself by going out too fast or not carrying enough Gu (I stocked up on some fun salted caramel, caramel macchiato, and espresso flavors at the expo).

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This is it – the marathon course “circled” at the half/full split. Yes, the 5k is tomorrow morning, and it’ll be a good test to see how I feel after basically not running for a month, but my mind is on Sunday. Sunday. Sunday…

What are you doing this holiday weekend? Have you ever tried any of the candy bars pictured? At which expo have you scored the most stuff? Share in the comments!

Boudin Bakery Display Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco

A San Francisco Treat

I went for a 3 mile run in San Francisco today – my first since the Chicago Marathon.

I saw a pretty beach.

San Francisco Beach

I saw a cool boat.

San Francisco Harbor

Then it started to rain.  I ducked inside the Boudin Bakery on Fisherman’s Wharf.

Boudin Bakery Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco

Boudin Bakery Display Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco

And got a bunch of treats.  The end!

Treats from Boudin Bakery

Have you ever been to Boudin Bakery in San Francisco?  Occasionally, is your only motivation to run so you can buy treats?  More than occasionally?  Share in the comments!

Day 25 of Holiday Run Streak – Whistler While You Run

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The closest I’ll ever get to the Olympics.

I’ve crossed the border into Canada, and am currently enjoying beautiful Whistler, BC. My knee, however, is not enjoying it back. Today was the one day I was going to go snowboarding (after I don’t know how many years of not snowboarding), but my joints had other plans.

 

I’ve been faithfully putting in my one mile every morning, despite some knee pain returning over the past several days, and despite a travel schedule that includes early breakfasts and a lot of driving. Today was no different, except that after my (slightly painful) mile on the treadmill, I was going to go check out the awesome Canadian mountain on a snowboard.

 

I got all layered up (wool tights under fleece tights under snow pants, with two long-sleeved running tops under three jackets, plus gloves, goggles, neck gaiter, hat), went through the rental process (boots, board, and helmet for $68), and schlepped myself and my gear to the lift ticket kiosk (one adult for one day $114), to stand in line for the gondola to the top of the mountain. At this point, my knee was already screaming from the boots and the awkward knee-bending stance they give you, and even my good knee got tweaked while walking across the parking lot. Then, it started to rain.

 

I knew the rain in the village was snow on top of the mountain, which meant the conditions were probably awesome, but at the moment I was sweaty, in pain, and waiting in a line that made the TSA lines look like a foot race. After 20 minutes of waiting to get halfway through the line, during which I gave myself endless pep talks that weren’t working, I flexed my knees and went through some of the typical snowboard motions. Nope nope nope. Not happening. I ducked under the metal barrier and sat on the curb. Sunk cost? Should I wait it out and try again later? Should I try a short run off a smaller lift to see how it goes? Should I just try to return everything and skip my one shot at skiing Whistler?

 

I asked myself, how would I feel if I inured my knees, not even so badly as to need surgery, but just enough to take me out of commission for a couple months. That’s when I finally pulled the plug and went back to the rental shop. I explained that my knee was in too much pain to even try boarding and they were nice enough to give me a full refund (it helped that I walked out of the shop seemingly only moments before, and I had obviously not used the gear). I then went to guest services to see if I could get a refund on the lift ticket (not thinking it was likely) but lo and behold, they could tell I never even scanned my ticket (yay technology!), so I got a full refund on that, too.

 

I’m disappointed I couldn’t go snowboarding today, but after squeezing into all my layers and heavy boots, sweating into those heavy layers, (almost) spending a lot of money, waiting in a long line while inching a heavy, sharp-edged board forward, and then returning everything, I feel like I got an authentic ski experience anyway. Plus, I had newfound time to wander the village shops and buy some foreign candy bars I hadn’t yet tried.

 

Eat More Wunderbar Coffee Crisp Cadbury chocolates

I like the instruction on the first candy bar. PS The Wunderbar was delicious.

Crossing my fingers my knee(s) will feel better tomorrow. I did walk a lot today, and it didn’t feel great, but I’m also icing it for the first time since New York, so I hope that helps. I’m so close to the end of this Run Streak I can taste it. And it tastes like a foreign candy bar.

 

How’s your streak going? Have you ever skied Whistler? Want to tell me what I missed? Share in the comments!