Category Archives: Travel

General travel

Rock ‘N’ Roll San Antonio Race Weekend

Are you ready for some pictures??!!  Because you know me… my race weekend recaps usually contain more pictures than words, sooo… here we go!

James, AJ and I left a cold, wet Seattle on the morning of Friday, Dec 1, and touched down in warm, muggy San Antonio around 6 p.m.  There is a two-hour time difference between Texas and Washington, which is kind of a big deal come race day.  Getting up at 5 a.m. Texas time is equivalent to getting up at 3 our time.  Painful.

Anyhoo…

Our first night there we left AJ to enjoy some peace and quiet in the hotel room (which is what he wanted) while James and I started to explore downtown San Antonio.  Mostly, we walked the famous River Walk looking for someplace to eat.  If you’re visiting S.A., definitely try to stay close to, if not on, the River Walk path.  They have absolutely everything you need.  We were mesmerized.  With it being the holiday season, there were lights hanging from practically every tree, and the city was lit up in red and green (is this year ’round?).  There were even carolers riding in the boats singing away.

The next day was reserved for the race expo and a river boat tour.  Have you ever been to a Rock ‘N’ Roll race expo?  They’re huge and so much fun.  Here’s a bird’s eye view:

A couple of hours later, and after spending a small fortune at the expo, it was time to round up the child for lunch and the river boat tour (we don’t drag AJ through expos anymore; they’re quite boring for him).  We settled on Mexican food for lunch.  Okay… being born and raised in Arizona and eating Southwest Mexican food my entire life, I miss it greatly living in the Pacific Northwest.  Needless to say, my taste buds were squealing with delight when the plate of rice and beans were placed in front of me!  And I know what you’re thinking… Mexican food the day before a race!?  Yeah baby!  The key is to eat early.

Race Day

As I mentioned before, it was an early start.  We were meeting up with another Bib Rave Pro before the race for photos.  Ta-Da!  Meet Kolbe from Dallas.

I was in corral 16, and the following is what the start line looked like from way back there.  If you notice, it was quite misty and overcast, for which I was thankful as it had been hot-hot-hot that weekend (80s) and I was slightly concerned.  At least the clouds hid the intense sun.

I was about a mile into the race when the heavens decided to open up and bring forth a monsoonal type of rain.  I’m used to the rain, so no big deal.  I wear a visor to keep the rain out of my eyes, and I was thankful to be comfortable and not hot.  The Streets of San Antonio, however, were not so forgiving.  It poured down solid for at least 1/2-hour, hard and fast, which was just enough to flood the streets.  I was jumping through puddles where the water came to my shins.  Enter the reason why I lost two toenails.  My socks never dried out, so my feet remained wet until I reached the finish line.  My two little toes blistered so severely that it lifted the nails right off the nail bed.  Funny enough, this has happened once before… both times I was wearing Balega socks.  Is it the socks?  Maybe.  Or is it operator error as I know I have sensitive toes and forgot to tape them beforehand?  Most likely.  C’est la vie.  I finished.

I loved this course.  It was flat!  What a great way to end the year… with a flat course!!  Okay, there was one hill that stretched from mile 10 to mile 11, but what goes up, must come down, so it made for a fast finish.  I also had zero fueling issues and zero GI issues.  I ate 2 quick dissolve glucose tablets every 20 to 30 minutes to keep me going.  I even had a shot of coffee out on the course at mile 7.  Minus the painful feet, it was a fantastic time.

After a nice long nap, we had dinner with my high school friend, Mindy, whom I wrote a little bit about here.  She just recently moved to San Antonio from Arizona to be with her boyfriend and loves it.  We met them at Margaritaville down on the river (yes! more Mexican food!).

Monday was spent touring the Alamo and flying home.

When we left San Antonio, it was 85 deg F.  When we landed in Seattle, it was around 36 deg F.  Apparently two days later, it snowed in San Antonio.  A fabulous weekend, but there’s no place like home.

If you haven’t already, go check out James’s post on the race itself and for all the finite details that I tend to miss.  After being injured and flat on his back for a few months, he somehow managed to complete the half marathon.  Muscle memory is a beautiful thing.  Don’t ever get down on yourself for being injured because, if you have the drive within you, you WILL come back.  In spades.

Happy running y’all!

Whistler, BC

Whistler, fondly nicknamed Bear Country, is one of the largest ski resorts in North America, located about 75 miles (125 km) north of Vancouver, British Columbia.  It hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics and is home to Ironman Canada.

While skiing and snowboarding are its main attractions, there is also a myriad of things to do during the summer:

  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Ziplining
  • Bungee jumping
  • Bear watching
  • Peak 2 Peak Gondola
  • Golf
  • Canoeing, kayaking, SUP
  • Cross country biking and road cycling
  • Rock climbing
  • Glacier Tours
  • 4×4 Jeep Tours

The Valley Trail runs all throughout Whistler and surrounding areas.  On the below map, the yellow indicates the trail system.  The orange circle indicates the area I covered on my run while we were there.  We covered a larger area with the bikes.  Alta Lake is where the swim for the Ironman takes place.

The day after my long run, we had plans to go up the mountain, go hiking, and ride the gondola, but we didn’t account for the thousands of people that were there.  The lines were crazy long, so we were unable to do that.  There was also a mountain biking/BMX event going on and lifts were extremely busy. Whistler has dedicated parks/trails for mountain bikes which is a big draw in the summer.  I wish I had taken a picture of the event as it was quite fun to watch.

A million and one people in the village.

The day we were to go up the mountain, we decided to rent bikes instead and go for a nice long ride.  If you read my previous post, you saw the elevation profile, so lots of hills, which were actually quite fun on a bike (what goes up, must come down…and fast!).  Me being the old lady I am, poodled along quite nicely behind James and AJ, eventually catching up to them when they would stop to wait for me.  Hey, if I wouldn’t have taken my time, I wouldn’t have been able to see that sweet little black bear crossing the trail in front of me… for which I couldn’t grab my phone quick enough to get a picture (but then again… I’m thinking it’s not very safe to take a selfie with a bear).  Okay, honestly, it scared the ever-loving hell out of me and I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

The following day was dedicated to me and AJ going for a horseback ride.  Once again, the old lady (me) reared up the back.  My horse was named Sam, extremely tall, and took his time on climbing the hills (sound like anyone you know?).  I don’t know how the stable owner managed to match us up so perfectly.  Even on a horse, AJ was saying, “Mom, you’re so slow.”  I get my money’s worth, what can I say.

See the white horse way up there? Yep, that’s my son’s, and that’s how far behind Sam and I were. Sam and I had an understanding… I wouldn’t make him go faster and he wouldn’t turn around and nip at me.

Anyway, a great and exhausting little holiday.  If you’re close enough and ever looking for an outdoorsy type of vacation, I would highly recommend this place.  There are activities for everyone to enjoy and the weather is gorgeous. I’m sure we’ll be back… time and time again (especially given that it’s only about 4-1/2 hours away from us).

We Have Arrived…

… in Reno, that is.  I probably mentioned it like once a long time ago, but we are here for the Reno 5000 Series Downtown River Run.  I may have even possibly mentioned (or not) that both James and I have dropped down in our categories… him to the half, me to the 10K… this won’t count towards our 50-state goal for either of us.  James wants a PR this spring, so we’re holding out for a race closer to home… the North Olympic Discovery Marathon and Half in Port Angeles; one that is at sea level as opposed to 4800 feet.  (Reno is in the mountains… I never knew!) We’ll go to Las Vegas to eventually conquer Nevada, but for now we’re just here to have a good time.

We’re staying at Harrah’s Downtown, right at the start line and super close to the river.  After getting off our little propeller plane (I kid you not) and checking in, we took a lovely walk to see what the downtown had to offer.

I’ll say this… Reno is clean.  The only other downtown that I’ve seen this clean is Tulsa.  But downtown Reno is a happening place.  It’s beautiful, and it’s so refreshing to see people and government officials taking pride in their city (as opposed to Seattle which… never mind, don’t even get me started).

Anyway, the river overfloweth.  A dam floodgate near Lake Tahoe has been released to allow for melting snow over the next couple of months; therefore, the river is flowing high, fast, and furious. Wouldn’t want to be on it, but it is a beautiful sight:

#spottedthebird!  He was patient and posed nicely for me until I was done taking his picture. I’m out of my element, so I don’t have a clue what he is… where is my Sibley bird-watching book when I need it (and if any of you actually know what that book is, you’re my new BFF)!

As for news from the home front… the child is leaving Sunday on his first trip without Mom or Dad. He’s going with a friend to Maui for the next 2 weeks. I think I forgot to tell him he’s not allowed to grow up.

Now I’m off to go explore Reno and the raging river some more.  After two leg cramps in the middle of the night last night from being poorly hydrated, I’m sucking down the Nuun and water, and need to stretch out the tightness.  I logged 4 miles yesterday… we’ll aim for another 4 today, then the race tomorrow.  Should be a great time!

#spottedthehusband 🙂

 

Hurricane Ridge

We’ve left the real world for a few days and have hopped on over to Port Angeles for a short break before school starts up again.  Port Angeles is about 100 miles from where we live (by ferry) and it’s right next to the Olympic National Park.  It sits  on the Strait of Juan de Fuca (the waterway that represents the border between the U.S. and Canada), and Victoria, B.C. is only 20 miles by ferry.

Okay, all that being said, we had a very full first day.  Before heading up to Hurricane Ridge, we stopped in Sequim (pronounced ‘skwim’) at this charming little ’50s diner to have lunch.  AJ wants to go back for the milkshakes alone:

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After lunch, we headed up to Hurricane Ridge for a little hike.  They call it that because of the 75+ mph winds that blow through there.  It was indeed a hike, and once again, I wish I hadn’t worn my running shoes (she will never, ever learn).

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The views at the top were just amazing:

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You can look down and see Port Angeles, as well as Victoria, B.C. on the other side of the water.

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Views of the strait:

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You can just see the hiking trail we used to get to the top of the mountain (there are fires burning on the range right now, hence, the haze):

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Going back down, James made a comment that the only exciting animal we got to see all day was a chipmunk.  Not 5 minutes later, we got to see this (can you see him?):

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James found a charming, 2-bedroom, vacation home to rent while we are here.  So after a long day of being out, tired and grimy, we got to come back to this (which was a very pleasant surprise as we hadn’t seen it yet):

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With fabulous views of the water (#spottedtheship):

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Next up, Lake Crescent… 🙂

 

Meanwhile in Scotland…

Check out these desserts my in-laws are enjoying while on holiday!

  • First up, from the Brig O Doon in Ayr:
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My mother-in-law, Janet, who recently visited us in June. No, she didn’t eat this all by herself, 🙂

  • From Souter Johnnie’s Inn, Ayr.  The dessert so big, two pictures had to be taken so we could see the beauty of it all:

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Oh hey everyone… this is my father-in-law’s first appearance on my blog!  Meet Alan!  Hi Alan! Great dessert you have there!  Care to share?  

Brag time:  Alan ran a 2:58 London Marathon in the early ’90s.  He was in his 40s.

Fact: My son is named Alan James, or A.J. as we call him… unless he’s in trouble, then all the syllables in his name come out.

What’s on your dessert plate today??

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Credit of all pictures go to Janet and Alan… unfortunately I was nowhere near the above desserts.

Seattle’s Columbia Tower

Today was good and hot, and clear, and a great day for a trip to the Columbia Tower. On the 73rd floor, there is an observation deck where you get the best views of the city and surrounding area… you can see forever.  Well… you be the judge…

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The address of the Columbia Center. And what category does this also fall under? Numbers for the The Daily Post Photo Challenge!

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Going up?

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First thing’s first… coffee at Starbucks on the 40th floor!

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Mount Rainier… 65 miles from the Columbia Center…

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… and to the north is Mount Baker which is 136 miles from the Columbia Center

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Century Link Stadium and Safeco Field

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We are about 400 feet above the Space Needle

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City of Bellevue

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Seattle Skyline… from above

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The Puget Sound with the Olympic Mountains in the background

It was a great day, and I have so much more to share!!  🙂  Hope you’ve had a great Saturday too!

Seattle Date Day

Even though we live about 35 miles from Seattle, it’s not often we get to go spend the day there and just have fun.  Saturday was originally planned as a family outing, but the child was invited to a birthday sleepover party with bowling, so he much preferred that as opposed to spending the day with his parents, go figure.  We’re fun, I tell ya, really fun!!

20160430_190358.jpgSo James and I had a wonderful date day out all by ourselves without any cares or having to worry about being home at a certain time, so much like the carefree days of our younger years! (Or our racecations sans child, hehe).  First stop… hopping the train to Seattle to go watch the Sounders soccer team play!

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After visiting the Pro Shop to buy a hat and eating a fabulous hot dog from a local vendor, we made our way to the nosebleed section, known otherwise during Seahawk season as the ‘Hawks nest.  Great view though.  We could see all the action happening on the pitch.

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After the Sounders won against the Columbus Crew 1-0 and we enjoyed some post-game festivities…

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…it was time to make our way into the city to see what trouble we could get into.  There’s some interesting people and stuff to see in downtown…

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Then we found Pike’s Place Brewing Company, and that’s all she wrote.  A great place for a bite to eat and a few cocktails!

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I had a couple Celestial Cosmos, their house special.  Wouldn’t want to light a match near me though… the fumes alone would’ve ignited.

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Afterwards, we stopped in at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory to get treats for everyone, then headed to Westlake Center to catch the bus back home.  Interesting things going on there as well. Lots of pot smoking, game playing, people preaching about Jesus, people preaching about the first ever Hemp Fest in Boise… it was a menagerie of misfits.  Even a band playing in the midst of it all… I wonder if this is how Nirvana got their first nightclub gig?

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It was a great day out!  Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend as well!!