Monday, June 26, 2017

If We Were At Happy Hour Together....

I love these posts. We go to happy hour and I spill my guts to you and you look at me like I'm a freak, but pretend to be interested anyway. Thanks for that. Today I read something that gave tips if you don't know how to make conversation (loser!). Ask about FORD:

Family
Occupation
Recreation
Dreams

So, I'll tell you about some of these things tonight at happy hour and don't be offended if I don't ask you one f*cking thing about yourself. Because it's my blog, dammit.

If we were at happy hour together, I would tell you that running and I are having a true love affair lately. No, we don't make love in the middle of the trail, but we do connect and feel good together. Part of this is that I'm not forcing it - I'm just going with what feels good. It's not all perfect and it's not all fast, but it's working. This is me running. Because you've never seen a picture of me running before.



If we were on our second drink, I would tell you that I love doing hospice volunteer work, but this week it kind of got to me and I just didn't want to be with dying people. As much as it is uplifting to be with Heidi and to make someone feel better, the weight of everything kind of got me down. I know there will be weeks like this. Weeks where witnessing someone suffering in their last days and trying to comfort their loved ones who are watching them dying is just too much. This week was too much. I will take a break next week and come back ready to do the job and to move beyond my own discomfort. It truly is a privilege to be with people and their families in their last days, hours and moments. I hope the same grace will be given to me someday. Wow, that was heavy.



Speaking of taking a break...if we were at happy hour I would tell you I am going to Vegas tomorrow with my two dear friends, Clair and Erika, and there is no better therapy. Well, yes, running is therapy and so is wine -and then there is REAL therapy, but these two girls give me so much. We spoil ourselves staying in a nice suite at the Wynn, laying poolside drinking $20 gin coolers and losing way too much playing blackjack. And, it's one of my favorite times of the year.

On the High Roller above Vegas - 2015, Are my armpits hairy?

If we were ordering a third round I'd tell you that I'm trying to read books because I love books, but I always fall asleep. Maybe I am old. Or maybe I spend too much time at happy hour. Recent books I've read, you ask? You - captivating, somewhat disturbing, When Breath Becomes Air - such a must read - a memoir. Just read it. The Under Ground Railroad - you can guess what this is about. 




If we were finishing our third drink I would probably disclose to you that I've been reading through old journals of mine (like from 8th grade) and I am surprised I've turned out as well as I have. Sample (with my comments in red):

Jan. 18, 1980 (13 years old; almost 14)

"Hi! Have I got a lot to tell you! First - boys- I like Eugene (who names their kid Eugene?) and everyone was telling me he was gonna ask me (ask you what? Why you like him even though his name is Eugene?) which turned out o be a bunch of bullshit (wow, language) cause the next day he ignored me. But meanwhile Thad (we are Facebook friends now) has been giving me all these flattering comments like 'your hair looks good' (which it definitely did NOT look good - I've seen the pictures) which he never does to anyone. So I got the feeling he was gonna as me (ask me what? Where I get my hair cut?) The next day on the bus he came and sat by me and he told me once again my hair looked good (what's with the hair?) he said also he wasn't going to let me get off the bus but he did (I should have filed a restraining order). I know he's gonna ask me! Dammit! (language!)What the hell am I gonna say? I'm not at school today cause I have...ahem..diarrhea GROSS. (Some things definitely don't change)."

So basically when I was 13 going on 14 I was boy crazy, had great hair, had a trash mouth and had diarrhea. Hope that gives you some insight into a younger me.

Well, the bar is shutting down and I've got to go! Nice talking at you. Remember FORD.

Did you keep a journal when you were younger? Do you keep one now? I kept one diligently from the age of 8 (yes!) until about 35. I have volumes. But I don't keep one anymore

Favorite book you've read lately?

What's one thing you would tell me at happy hour?

Vegas - love or hate it? 

SUAR


Friday, June 16, 2017

Utah Valley Half Marathon Race Report (2017) & My New Swimsuit

I ran a race last weekend, but something tells me it didn't really happen unless I blog about it.

Have you noticed I haven't been blogging as much? I didn't think so. Hard to imagine you don't live and breathe by my blog. Life gets in the way. Like work and teenagers and dogs and cats and running and cleaning up the soy sauce that spilled all over the fridge that no one else seems to want to clean up.

Then there is a part of me that wonders if I've jumped the shark here on this blog (< that's an old expression from Happy Days, which only old people like me know. Click on it if you need to know what it means you young shit).

I mean, I think I've written about every running angle possible on this blog from soiling oneself to Ironman reports to how one's period affects their running. And, I'm not paid to blog. Ad Sense stopped paying me a while ago. I think they thought I was too raunchy. Well, screw them. PENIS! BUTTHOLE! And, I don't love sponsored posts. So, there you have it. I'm blog poor.

But, I hang onto this little corner of the Internet because I like you all - my few readers who have stuck around. I like sharing with you. And I like your comments. And I love to write.

Back to the race report.

Pain you Enjoy. Brilliant.

The folks at the Utah Valley Marathon were kind enough to comp me an entry this year. The race is in Provo (about a half hour south of Salt Lake) and I've never been there, so I envisioned a family road trip (because yes everything has to revolve around my running and racing. Remember who cleaned up the soy sauce you spilled?). We spent a night and day in SLC. We learned a lot about Utah liquor laws. Such as, you can't sit at a bar and have a drink without ordering food.

The second night we stayed in Orem outside of Provo. I ate a grilled cheese and fries from Culver's in the hotel room, drank some wine, put in earplugs and a washcloth over my eyes and promptly went to bed at 8:30 pm while the rest of the family partied (by partied I mean watched The 40 Year Old Virgin and ate Goldfish).

My 3:15 a.m. wake up call sucked (duh) but I am tough and I managed. The way this race works is you get on a school bus in Provo that drives you 13.1 miles to the start line up the Provo Canyon. I love the bus ride because the whole time you get to think about how long it takes to just DRIVE 13.1 miles, let alone run it. I sat on the wheel well of the bus because...well, you know why, it's thrilling. And, the seat beside me was the only empty seat on the bus because I have no friends.

Got the start, in the dark, at 4:45 a.m. and found a spot by a fire. I loved that they had dozens of campfires going because in my mind there is nothing worse than being cold (or not being able to order a beer in a bar without ordering food).

I choked down half of a banana (very hard for me to eat before races), dropped some kids at the pool and seeded myself at the start around the 1:50 pace group. I didn't bring any fuel because the race info said there would be Clif Shot gels at mile 6 (tragic foreshadow) and I usually take in one gel during a half, so perfect. 6:00 a.m. sharp, and we were off.

There's me. Right side. I'm going so fast I'm barely in the picture.


The course was gorgeous as we ran down the canyon, alongside a river. The sun was just starting to come up and temps were in the 50's. I kept thinking what ideal running conditions these were. And downhill to boot!

I was clicking off 8:15 to 8:30 minute miles consistently and my effort felt totally manageable. I was looking forward to a gel at mile 6. But guess what? I got to mile 6 and no gels! I thought maybe they were at mile 8. But guess what? I got to mile 8 and no gels! That's when I knew I'd be running this race on the fueling of a half a banana and some water. Go me!

Proof in case you think I made it up.


The last 4 or so miles are out of the canyon, running on a main street into the center of Provo. I hit the finish in exactly 1:50. Not a PR, but a solid race for me and I felt great. And, hi to Mindy who introduced herself in the last mile as she whipped by me!






About a quarter mile before the finish, I passed an older man who was somewhat slumped over and running at an angle. Some people have odd running styles, so I assumed he was okay. ASS-U-ME. But as I watched my finish line video, I see him come up a few seconds after me and collapse at the finish (in the bright shirt to the right- can't miss him).If anyone knows if he is okay, let me know. I can't stop thinking about him. Look HERE.



Overall, I loved this race. It was very well organized, beautiful and fast. The swag was awesome - we got this running jacket in lieu of ONE MORE race shirt:



My only gripe is the gel thing. It was a good reminder to always have a back up plan when racing. 

Oh, and one last thing - I'm going to Vegas in a couple of weeks and think I might need this suit. Thoughts?





Ever had a race situation where they ran out of water or did not have the fuel stuff you expected?

How much would you have to be paid to wear this suit?

SUAR

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

This Word Can Change Your Life

Today I was listening to a podcast - Tim Ferriss (one of my most favorite authors and pod casters, and I dare say I would definitely love him in person) was interviewing Phil Keoghan, host of the Amazing Race. At first I was like...meh...not too exciting, but I knew if Tim had that guy on the show - well, he must be something. Because Tim only has people who are influencers - people who can change the way we think and act for the better.

And Phil is something. Damn. Go listen right now.

I haven't quite finished the episode, but one of my take-aways is in regard to optimism.

Optimism. Do you have it?

op·ti·mism
ˈäptəˌmizəm/
noun
  1. 1.
    hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.


Phil talks about how when raising his daughter, one rule was that one could never say, "I can't." One could re-frame it to something else like, "I might be challenged by..." but saying flat out "I can't" was a no-no.

He then goes on to say that his motto is, "Don't think about what you don't have and what you can't do. Think about what you DO have and what you CAN do." This is true optimism in my opinion. When faced with adversity, you problem solve and fight your way out instead of giving in to the negativity.

Needless to say, I was applying this to running in my mind the whole time. MIND and mentality and attitude are everything. When running the Paris Marathon, I simply gave up. That giving up was 100% my mind and not my body. Mind has power. And the focus on what we can do and what we have is everything.

So, as I head into a half marathon in Utah this weekend (Utah Valley Half, anyone?), I'll be remembering to stay optimistic. To train my mind to have confidence and hope for a successful outcome.

Because "can't" is not a word I want in my vocabulary. Or my daughter's.

Running the Bolder Boulder 10K last week. Shirt from Walmart.

My mini me. Also outfitted by Walmart

Are you a glass half full or half empty person?

SUAR

Monday, June 5, 2017

6 Facts About Running That Will Make You Say, "You're Kidding Me, Right?"

Just like most of us don't want to know the ugly parts about having babies (what? You sometimes shit the table when you push?) or the gross things that can happen to your food in restaurants (wait - there's pubic hair in the deep fryer?), we probably don't want to know the less desirable facts about running. But, trust me, it's not all awful! Maybe it's just a few things that might have you raising your eyebrows because it's new information to you. And then, yes, maybe some of it is disgusting.

Read on.

1. If you are nursing your baby after you run, did you know running can make your breast milk taste sour? That's because that lactic acid stuff can be absorbed into the milk and make it taste down right icky. No wonder your baby cries so much. At least it's not cause he/she hates you - just your sour milk!

2. Scientifically speaking, running really does make you poop your pants. That's because when you run, the blood that normally goes towards digestion instead gets pumped to your muscles. Plus, running jostles your guts and then, well...GRAVITY. So, don't dismay if you soil yourself. It's not ideal, but it's also POL (Part Of Life).

Phew. I made it THIS time.

3. Apparently when you ladies run, your boobs just don't bounce up and down they move in a figure eight pattern. Think about that. I wouldn't know because I am still a member of the IBTC (Itty Bitty Titty Committee) so no figure 8s here.

4. When we run, the human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet. I am not sure how this was discovered, but I'm not going to try it at home.

5. Ever have a metallic taste in your mouth when you finish running? I do. And, it wasn't because I was sucking on keys while I ran. The true reason is that when you push yourself your blood cells can release iron, which tastes like metal. If this happens on occasion or during particularly hard workouts, it's nothing to worry about, but it shouldn't be happening on the regular (so see your doctor! I am not a doctor! I am a social worker! I'd be happy to provide talk therapy about that taste in your mouth, but that's it!)

6. You've just started a run and are feeling on top of the world. Then something happens. Your thighs start itching like hell. No, you don't have crabs/fleas/lice. The itching is related to the fact that when our bodies start to warm up, our arteries and capillaries expand and this causes the itching. Who knew?

Ever have any of these odd things happen to you? 

SUAR

Friday, May 26, 2017

Currently....

Happy Friday folks bitches!

Time and Place: 4:24 p.m. At my computer in my home office looking at my dog and counting down 36 minutes until happy hour.


God help my neck

Celebrating: My first in age group (50-59) win at the a 5k in Denver this last weekend. 1st out of 147! This dirty old man was also first in his AG (80+). I call him that because after this picture was taken he told my husband, "All the women think I'm harmless because I'm old, but they really don't know what I'm thinking." Hmmmm..he does appear to be holding onto my waist pretty tight.Then I went home with him (JK).



Loving: These new shoes I bought (Nike Free RN) because I will never have to wear a headlamp again when I run at night.



Drinking: I am trying very hard to drink two 32 ounce bottles of water a day. I never do. I am also trying to drink 2 bottles of wine a night and have success (JK, but I do love my wine).



Snacking: I am becoming a really weird eater. I crave the dumbest shit. Pickles. Edamame. Almonds. No not pregnant, just odd.

Watching: The Bachelorette (Rachel is too good for that show). Better Call Saul. Fargo. The Leftovers. Just finished documentaries - Serving Life and Newtown (sad, sad, sad).

Planning: For the Utah Valley Half Marathon in 2 weeks. I'm signed up for the full but after my Paris experience, f&ck that. I'm just hoping for a dirty old man at the finish. And beer. Is there beer in Utah?



Reading: (Not to be mistaken for the Girl On the Train. I might write a book called the Hussy on the Plane or the Whore on the Bus).




Losing: The big toenail on my left foot.It is gone now. I painted over it. Can you tell? Damn I have the most attractive feet. Something about that long finger toe and those weird crooked toes and that callous on the side. Sexy.



Well, it's now officially 4:51 p.m. so by the time I open the wine it will be 5pm. So, I'm off.

Wait! Check out my Instagram for a video of me dancing. You won't be sorry and you will learn that White Girls CAN Dance. Go HERE.

Tell me on thing you're doing lately!

What are you watching/reading these days?

Next race?

Last time you lost a nail?

How much water/wine do you drink in a day?

Are you pregnant?

SUAR


Friday, May 19, 2017

What's the Most Random Thing You've Found on a Run?

Yeah, I've been MIA for a couple of weeks. That's because I've being doing really important things like getting the wart on my dog's head frozen off, finishing Shameless (I miss you already Frank) and helping my 19 year old son find a car to buy when he would settle for nothing less than a Crown Victoria, a Lincoln Town Car or something similar. He ended up with a Mercury Grand Marquis. I truly had no idea I gave birth to a grandmother (or a pimp?). He does look cute though:

So what if it's 17 feet long?

This post has been brewing for awhile. During marathon training, I had a lot of time to myself while pounding the pavement to ponder on the really important stuff such as - "Why are there so many mini, empty bottles of Fireball along side the road?"

You know what I mean. As you put one foot in front of the other, maybe you are noticing a trend along the road or trail. Maybe the pattern of the shit you spot on the ground makes you wonder a bit about human nature and why people toss the the things they do. Clearly, alcohol bottles are to hide evidence. I know this because I've watched Cops and other similar shows that basically make me an expert in law enforcement.

Case in point. By far the two things I see the most while running are:

-Empty airplane sized bottles of liquor (Fireball being a favorite)

Image result for empty fireball bottle

-Those flosser things. You know the ones - I think they are called flosser picks

Image result for flossers

I'm pretty sure these things do not go together, unless of course there is a new phenomenon that involves flossing one's teeth, then chugging Fireball like Listerine, then littering. Possible for sure. I know that is what my dentist recommends.

Less common things I've noticed on occasion.
  • Condoms - used or still in the package (making love on the side of the road is romantic)
  • Underwear (understandable, accidents happen in the car)
  • One sock (I don't get it. Unless you're a teenage boy, then I get it)
  • One shoe (there is a ballet flat that has been along side this one stretch of road for awhile)
  • Change (pennies, quarters, etc)
  • Bags of fast food trash (do you think people who eat fast food or more likely to litter? Someone should do a thesis on that)
  • Ponytail holders (totally understandable, they just fall out sometimes)
  • Vomit (very unfortunate if you're an emetophobe like me)
  • Feces - human and otherwise

By far the most random thing I've ever seen while running was...

A live parakeet. I shit you not.
Image result for parakeet

I live in Colorado and as far as I know, parakeets are not indigenous to this part of the world. My guess is this little guy escaped and was just having a little walk in the sunshine before he got eaten by a large hawk or mountain lion.

I have yet to find a dead human body (and I feel cheated because apparently runners are the ones who always find dead bodies), although I have found dead raccoons, cats, squirrels, deer and snakes (I prefer my snakes dead, so that's good).

Stuff on the road tells a story, people! Are you listening?

Enough about me. Tell me what the most random thing is you've found when running? 

SUAR


Thursday, May 4, 2017

10 Reasons Why It's Okay to Be a Mediocre Runner

I got the idea for this post after reading an article entitled, "What If All I Want Is a Mediocre Life?"
This got me to thinking that maybe I (we) do the same thing with running.

There is so much commotion these days around the act of running - races to sign up for, social media accounts to update, running groups to join, training plans to conquer. But, what if we are okay with being an average Joe or Josephine runner? What if we don't care about all of that noise and we just want to run without all the bells and whistles, with no time or pace goals in mind? After all, there is nothing wrong with being content where you are. In fact, it could bring us a ton of peace.

If you're feeling it's all gotten to be too much - you're sick of comparing yourself or putting pressure on yourself,  read on...

1. What if I don't post any of my workouts on social media because I'm not the type to want external motivation or appreciation? Maybe I don't care about the number of likes I get or what anyone else is doing. My runs are for me and I don't really want to share them. This doesn't make me any less of a runner.

Great article about running motivation http://www.shutupandrun.net/2013/12/6-reasons-youre-not-runner-you-want-to.html?m=1:
NOOOOOO!! Boycott!

2. What if I'll never have a "runner's body?" but I've got legs so strong they can carry me many miles, stretch marks as a reminder of they glory of giving birth and big old breasts that fed my kids and entertain my husband?

3. What if I never run a half marathon, marathon or any race because I don't like to have set goals for my running and I don't want to pay to run. Perhaps I don't like the craziness of race courses with their crowds and bands and ringing cowbells. Maybe I hate porta potties and how gross they are. Running's supposed to bring me peace away from the at time obnoxious busy-ness and over stimulation of life. Races stress me out!

Image result for crowded marathon

4. What if I'm injured and can't run for awhile, but I view that as I way to spend more time with my family, or to try a new activity (bowling anyone?) or simply take a break? Not every injury is a reason to panic. Our bodies try to teach us things and we should listen.

5. What if I don't run every day or even every week, but I run when I feel like it and that's when I have my best runs.

6. What if I don't belong to a running group or have tons of running friends but I enjoy the solitude of running so much and I come home from my runs refreshed and ready to take on the world. Just because I don't run with friends doesn't mean I don't have friends.

7. What if I don't have the cutest running clothes but I've got these old shorts that never chafe and fit me just right and an ancient sports bra that can hold my ladies properly in place?

8. What if I don't subscribe to any running magazines and don't really care about the "five tips to get faster" or the "7 ways to strengthen your glutes?"  Maybe not everything has to be researched to death and written about. Maybe not everything has to be improved on all of the time. Maybe it can just be enjoyed for what it is.

Image result for grandma magazine
Now, this one might just be worth subscribing to

9. What if I never qualify for Boston, but in my mind I'm qualified already as a strong runner and I don't care about the numbers all that much.

10. What if I have no desire to wear a GPS watch because I like running based on effort and I enjoy going as far and as long as I want without the pressure. Plus, those babies are expensive and I really want new Aviators.

Give yourself permission to let all the "shoulds" go and just say "f&ck it!"

The bottom line is, that here is no "right" way to go about running. What matters to you is what is important. If that makes you a so-called mediocre runner, so be it. You just may be infinitely more content than people out there killing themselves to reach certain goals or wear certain clothes. Run on friends!

SUAR

PS: If you really want to make running all about fun, think about signing up for Camp Runabout (see details HERE). Use code BETH2017 for $25 off.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Only Read This if You Like Running, Cocktails and the Outdoors

How's your week going? Splendid over here.

I'm slowly reintroducing my body back to running and it's going surprisingly well. I've had some really peppy and decent runs since Paris and am getting my groove back. Even though Colorado is entering into a snowstorm this weekend (WTF?), it's starting to feel like spring and I'm loving the thought of summer running (shorts! water fountains! sweating like a mother eff'er!).

Definitely glistening

Speaking of summer -

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that you, my readers, like the same things I do.

  • Running
  • Open bars 
  • Good food
  • Being Outside
  • Like minded people
  • Peeing in the woods (optional)

Even if you only like 3 or 4 of these things, we still have a lot in common. That's why I wanted to entice you to join me on an adventure.


I didn't come up with the concept, but my friend, Bill, did. You see, Bill is a retired American long distance runner. In 1991 he was ranked the second road racer in the world by "Runner's World" magazine. In 1985, he finished in second place in the Honolulu Marathon, with a 2:14:39. Bill might not still be competing, but he still has a love for all things running and for runners. That's why he created this camp.

The concept is simple - spend a long weekend in the typical camp experience - doing outdoorsy things like zip lining, ropes courses, running, dodge ball, even floating on a flying trapeze (or just sleeping if that's your thing). Listen to motivating guest speakers. Sleep in cabins. Enjoy fantastic meals including mimosa/bloody Mary brunches. All meals are included and there will be an open bar every day beginning in the afternoon and continuing through the late night s'mores/campfire. 

Wait! Did someone say "flying trapeze?" No joke, this is part of the camp. Definitely a bucket list item for me.

This is an all inclusive weekend. Leave your electronics and wallet at home.

If you liked summer camp as a kid, you will probably love this. If you are me and you never went to summer camp (truth), then you're curious what it's about and get a re-do on your childhood only without homesickness and creepy camp counselors.


Who? You, friends, family (21+ years)
What? Camp Runabout
Where? Pocono Mountains
When? September 21-24
Why? Duh
How? Register HERE
Get $25 off when you use promo code BETH2017

You can find tons more info on the website which can be found HERE. Be sure to check out the FAQs. 

Don't delay. I have a feeling this is going to fill up fast.

Let me know if you have questions. I think this is going to be one epic time.

Did you go to summer camp as a kid? No. Wasn't something my family did. Always wondered if I might be missing out. Time to find out.


SUAR

Saturday, April 22, 2017

12 Tips/Tricks for Affording and Enjoying Paris!

It's not like I'm Rick Steves or anything, but I do have a few trips to maximize your money and your fun in Paris. I lived there in college and just traveled there so basically I'm a travel expert (not).  I'm a huge fan of not being a typical tourist, and seeing the real ins and outs of how "real" people live in a place. Of course you've got to hit some of the tourist spots, just because you DO, but then it's fun to do things the locals do too. Here are some tips to actually be able to afford your trip and what to do once you're there:


1. Book Early: The one and only reason we could make Paris happen financially was that back in October I got wild hair and checked ticket prices. We could fly United/Lufthansa round trip for only $450 per ticket. That was insane. You can hardly go from Denver to anywhere, USA, for that. (btw, Lufthansa rocks. After they feed you, they come through with Baileys and Cognac. The flight attendants also wear cute hats).

Image result for lufthansa flight attendant
Not my flight attendant. Not my pillow.

2. Use VRBO, AirBnB or One of Those: There were going to be four of us, and the thought of being in a hotel room for a week with four people wasn't that attractive. Plus, hotels in Paris are stupidly expensive. So, to VRBO I went, having had good luck with this service in the past. Turns out we could rent a 2 bedroom apartment with a full kitchen and amenities for $185 per night (that includes the cleaning fee). Way cheaper and roomier than a hotel.

Our Place - VRBO 432355
3. Know Where to Shop: I did some research on our neighborhood beforehand and found local grocery stores that were for "real" people, not tourists (we liked Carrefour). We shopped there for the basics like wine, cheese, bread, produce, coffee and snacks. I actually found a kick ass bottle of Chardonnay for 4.5 euros (about $5, I don't remember the name because maybe I had too much of it). A huge wedge of brie was $2 and baguettes were about $1, if that. While we didn't cook in many meals, we saved a lot by eating breakfast, snacks and coffee (Nespresso!) in the apartment.

One thing to remember! When buying produce, you weigh and price it yourself. Don't forget to do this or the check out person will be really mean to you (I took the wrath of that one).



4. Use Local/Public Transportation. We rode our butts off using the metro. Fares were about $1-$2 per person. Much cheaper than a cab or Uber. Plus, you really get to mingle with the locals (and smell their B.O.) and there are often musicians on the trains. We did use Uber twice when we were all so exhausted we could barely stand up. Uber rides were only about $13 for four people from one end of Paris to the other.

At first, the Paris metro is kind of intimidating because there are so many stops and lines, but you get the hang of it. There is an app (I'm sure most cities have them) where you can type in your location and where you are going and it tells you the best and most direct route.

Image result for paris metro map
Looks confusing, eh? The app helps. And glasses.

5. No Tipping! We weren't sure how this worked, but we did some research while we were there and found out that in general, the tip  is included (service compris!) in your meal price, so no extra for that. Certainly, if it's great service we would leave a couple of extra euros. Cab drivers do expect about 15%.


Just yum. I drank this in a minute.

6. Check Your Phone Plan Before You Go. If you have T-Mobile, for example all texting and data is included in your plan. Ken has Verizon and he had to pay an additional $10 per day for data, talk and text.

7. Consider a Mini Photo Shoot for a Special Occasion. My daughter, Emma, turned 16 the last day we were in Paris. I wanted to mark it by something special (cause you know, being in Paris isn't enough). I found a local photographer who did "photo shoots." I booked the day before and we met him at the Eiffel Tower on her birthday morning. It was really unforgettable. You can check out his work and website HERE at I Heart Paris Photography. Here are a couple of pictures I took (these are obviously not his professional photos!)




8. If You're Going for the Marathon, Also Do the Breakfast 5k. This is the best deal around. For about $10 you get a cool tech shirt and croissants/coffee at the end. Also, you get to run through the streets of Paris with a flag representing your country!


9. Avoid the lines at the Louvre. Okay, well it may be impossible to completely avoid the lines, but we went inside (underneath the Pyramid) waiting for about ten minutes to buy tickets and then waited in line inside to get in (about 10 minutes for security and another 5 minutes for the entrance). The longest lines were outside by the Pyramid.

My friend and his penis

It was crowded! By this time we were sick of all people!

10. Do the Fat Tire Tours! A friend recommended with do a bike tour in Paris with Fat Tire Tours. This meant having a guide to take us on about a 10 mile bike ride in the evening from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame. We stopped at Berthillon the most famous ice cream place in France (omg the salted butter caramel is orgasmic). Then you take a one hour nighttime cruise on the Seine. If you add on a tour of the Eiffel Tower summit for another day (with no waiting in line) then you get an additional 30% off. Both were amazing tours.




One of the many sites we took in on the bike tour. Le Louvre Pyramid at sunset.
I'm basically a professional iPhone photographer

11. Be Sure to Frequent the Patisseries and Boulangeries (bakeries). Here is where you get the best deals. Satisfying mini quiches, melt in your mouth almond and chocolate croissants, Croques Monsieurs (grilled ham and cheese) - all for each under $3. And, these are pretty much on almost every corner.

At the Patisserie up the street from us.
12. Always Wear a Scarf. Just trust me on this one. All men, women, children and babies do it.



Well, that's all I've got. I am in love with Paris, but more so, I'm simply in love with traveling. One of my favorite sayings is "Travel is the best education anyone can have."

What's the last place you've traveled to? Any tips to share?

Where would you go on your dream trip? Probably India or Africa

SUAR

PS: And a bonus tip. If you eat a really big kebab sandwich for lunch and are walking around Paris and need a bathroom ASAP, Chipotle has nice, warm restrooms to accommodate your emergency. Not that this happened to me or anything. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

2017 Paris Marathon Race Report (aka "Personal Worst" Race Report)

We got back on Tuesday night after 12 hours of flying, which included:

  • Watching two movies (Why Him? and Manchester By the Sea. Why Him? had me busting a gut and nearly wetting myself. Sorry other Lufthansa passengers).
  • Eating two large helpings of pasta, 3 cookies, 2 glasses of wine and two beers. 
  • Finishing a book that had me sobbing in seat 33K (If you must know the book is called Lily and the Octopus and don't read it if you don't like books about loving dogs and then them dying).
  • Flying over Iceland, which made me want to claim I had actually been to Iceland. 

I still don't understand why the f&ck they call it Iceland


I have spent the past two days trying to wrap my head around what happened on marathon day. In the title of this post I wrote "Personal Worst" - which only refers to how I felt on the run physically and mentally. Honestly, in many other ways (running through the streets of Paris, having my family and best friends with me, the gorgeous weather) this race was actually a personal best. Just depends on your perspective and what the focus is.

What keeps running through my head is: why did I spend all that time training, all those Saturday mornings running my ass off, all those speed workouts on the treadmill - just to run a time I could run with likely no training at all? Why the eff did I PAY for a training plan for this personal worst scenario?

But, I suppose that's how it goes. The input we give does not guarantee a certain outcome.

I know my body pretty well. Going into the race I knew that running a sub-4 might not happen. This training cycle was not a strong one for me and I'm still not quite sure why. I could blame it on age, but I think it's more than that. Truly I think more the blame is linked to two words: BURN OUT.

Since I started running about 8 years ago, I've never taken a substantial break (except when injured, but even then I was training in any way I could). This past year alone I did 2 marathons, a 6 day/120 mile trail race, an ultra relay, a half marathon and a few shorter races. Then I jumped right in and started training for Paris.

Standing on the Champs Elysee (the start line for the race) I was in heaven despite jet lag, walking 10 miles per day in the days leading up to the race and feeling just generally tired. My goal/focus shifted from racing to enjoying the day and taking it in. There have been what feel like hundreds of times over the past few years when I was so fixated on my time. In that moment I was weary of all of that and sick of it too.



The first 10k felt effortless, cruising along with 47,000 of my friends (75% of them men!). I hit the 10k in about 55 minutes. Aid stations were every 5k and I would grab a bottle of water and carry it with me. The aid stations had water, oranges and bananas. Some had raisins and sugar cubes. The mixture of water and banana peels on the cobblestone made for the perfect storm to break a hip, which I nearly did a few times.



It was some time after the 8 mile mark that I could feel it happening. My pace was slowing and my drive to hold onto my goal was slipping away. Guys, it is the weirdest thing, but I just stopped caring. I stopped caring about my pace, my goals, running. I started slowly walking through the aid stations and in between. When I walked, a random woman would invariably come up behind me and gently put her hand on my back and say "Allez!" (go!). There was so much sweet encouragement from others and I loved that. I hit the half in about 2 hours. Still not caring.

I saw Emma and Ken at mile 15. Usually in a race I will dash by them with a quick wave and smile. This time I stopped and hung out for a bit, telling them that it wasn't my day, but I'd see them at the finish. Still not caring. My feet were killing me and some cramps were setting in. No bathroom emergencies, thank God. Taking a crap wouldn't have made the day any better.

It was getting hot, about 75 degrees. We were about 8 miles from the finish. I continued to not care about my slow pace.I took in the sights, the people. I listened to the spectators shouting "Allez Beth!" and telling me to have "courage" (the French way of saying "be strong!"). I felt the energy and good love from the crowds. At mile 18, my watch suddenly died out of the blue. WHAT? And, with that my music was gone too, since it's loaded onto my watch.

I crossed the finish, happily. But then I couldn't find friends and family and I was emotionally/physically spent and hot. I kept holding back tears and borrowed someone's phone to text Ken. By the time I found them I was a bucket of tears.

But, nothing a beer and sitting spread eagle in a French cafe couldn't cure.



A cute French runner saw me rubbing my feet and gave me some cream for them. Then he commented, while looking at my disgusting black toenails, "But I don't know vhat to do with zee toes!" Made me laugh

Oh, and then a huge Moroccan chicken kebab sandwich in from of the Arc.



Congrats to my two dear friends Julie and Erika for finishing as well. Julie kicked ass doing a 3:32 and Erika ran her first marathon!

Right when Erika finished!



So, there you have it. During the race I swore off running for a minute, but now I just know I need a break to find the love again. I feel this drive to find some redemption emotionally and physically. There is always another race and always lessons to be learned. I could have dropped out and I didn't. I could have had a pity party and I didn't. I could be unable to run at all and I'm not.

I want to reclaim that girl who has that DRIVE. She'll be back.


In the meantime, time to rest. And, because this trip was bout SO much more than them marathon, in the next few days I'll post some general stuff about Paris and how we did the trip on a pretty decent budget. Let me tell you - we saw and did so much - and I've got some great tips (like don't change your dollars into Francs, because France uses Euros!! < someone in our group did this - honest mistake but he'll never live it down).

If you are at all considering this race, DO IT. The energy, the sights, the people - it was all a dream.

What was your personal worst race? What did you learn?

SUAR