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Monday, July 16, 2018

marine corps marathon training, week 1: hello there!

Helllooo structured workouts! It is finally time to start marathon training again, and this time, the Marine Corps Marathon is my goal race! 

(ICYMI: I used a different training plan this past winter to train for the Glass City Marathon in Toledo. The training plan focused on a lot of easy running and hardly had me run at race pace...so confidence wasn't there as it usually is. Additionally, I spent the last month leading up to the race traveling for work, then personal life events happened in the last week up to the race, including hitting/killing deer in Oklahoma on the way to my last long run...so...my mental game was weak.)

The Marine Corps Marathon is on Sunday, October 28th in DC. We start and finish at the Arlington Cemetery and run through Georgetown, the National Mall, by the Washington Monument, the Capitol, and the Lincoln Memorial. 

There is a significant hill in the first few miles that will be a challenge, but hey...maybe I will actually run smart, conserve energy in the beginning and have some negative splits! #positivity

Would it be weird if I ran with a flag of Ollie's face? Probably.
I entered the lottery for the marathon on a whim. I think it is like a 50% chance that you would get in but I may be making that up. Regardless, I tend to run well in places I don't know, and with a ton of other people and support along the course. I've been to DC once for like a day and a half so basically I don't know it at all/it will be nice to not know where I'm going. 

On that note, I also low-key will be running a marathon the weekend after Marine Corps. I signed up for a virtual marathon put on by the New York Road Runners...the organization that coordinates the New York City Marathon. 

The deets.
As long as I run 26.2 miles in one go under 6.5 hours, sometime between Nov 1-Nov 4, I will be running the New York City Marathon in 2019. A marathon to run a marathon. Logical, right? 

Anybody want to join me for a part of my "virtual" marathon in November? Taking volunteers to distract me from the pain!
Additionally, the odds of getting into the NYC Marathon is 18% through their lottery. And it's one of the World Marathon Majors I want to run..and hello, it's New York City. I'm done rationalizing.

Anyway, how did my first week of training go? I have been pretty good about not taking selfies, but now that blogging is back...prepare for a lot of sweaty faces.
Very attractive.
Run 1: Speed - 3x1600m (1mile), total 5.76 mi, overall 8:32 pace

Well, I was fully expecting to be around 8:10s for these mile repeats but hey, I was able to get 7:52, 7:51, and 7:45. Goal is to eventually have these around 7:00 (chuckles). Good starting point though! 

BTW, I got a new Garmin thanks to my April in Oklahoma.
Run 2: Tempo - 2 easy, 2 tempo, 2 easy ; total 6.12 mi, overall 8:46 pace. 
I actually stretched right after my run. This is groundbreaking.
Once again, I was surprised to hit sub-8s for this. 7:43 and 7:45 for the tempo miles. These would ideally be at 7:22 pace for these "short tempos". 

Run 3: Long - 12 miles ; overall 9:12 pace.
I caught the tail-end of an epic sunrise. I have missed seeing sunrises!
 I knew I should have started earlier than 6:45a to avoid the heat...but oh well. It was 77 degrees and a 69* dew point. The goal pace was 30 seconds over my goal marathon pace. Which... taking the weather into consideration, this was actually a better overall pace for where I estimate my current fitness at - though a lot of room for growth to get to that BQ. 
There was not a dry spot on my body. My hat was still dripping on the drive home. 
I am including a long hill in most of the beginning of my long runs in order to prepare myself for the same circumstance at the marathon. Even though I wasn't feeling it with the heat at all, I made sure to include it for this first long run.
The hill is harder than it appears. I am slightly biased.
+ Rowing, Biking, Spinning, Hot Yoga, 4 lifting sessions (2 upper, 2 lower inc. 2 core).
(My once per week yoga sessions for Glass City Marathon training were not happening so I have promised myself that I will stick to it this time like I did for Berlin and Milan)
 I was still getting in around 20 miles running per week during my non-marathon training time after Glass City. And bike rides!
I have been better about not eating out as much. (STL was my peak besides college). Though this bowl was delicious.
I am estimating that I am currently at a 3:50ish marathon capability and I would love to work it down to sub 3:35 (Boston Qualifying). 3:39 is my PR from this past September in Berlin. This training plan is my favorite that I have used and I am excited to see what progress I can make towards my goal! 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

bavaria + munich

After a cozy train ride with fellow Americans (which had Ohio ties), I arrived in Munich.

First off, I noticed that people were dressed in the Oktoberfest attire. I did not think this was actually a thing. But it definitely was. Also, Sarah informed me that there was a little show of sorts in the city center at Glockenspiel that only happened twice a day. Knowing I wouldn't see it the coming days, I dropped my stuff at the hotel and booked it. and by Booking it I mean just grabbed the next train and sat on it for 30 minutes as it headed down to the city.

I just caught the end of the show!

From there I was hungry and stressed about the Oktoberfest attire. then I stumbled upon Eataly and that became my priority.

They served this awfully fast..like too fast.

From there, I headed out to shop for my Oktoberfest lederhosen. Which was a very stressful experience as the store I picked had only 3 tiny dressing rooms and several females trying to mix and match the most revealing outfit. I went conservative.

The commute back to the hotel was ridiculous. I saw someone puke. Then the train never came. So I found a bus and took the bus back. (can you tell my patience was getting thin near the end of this trip? just wait..)

The hotel I picked (expensive thanks to Oktoberfest), had a wonderful view of the city actually. The sunrise on Saturday was fantastic!

Then I headed to the airport to retrieve my friend so we could get our Bavaria on.

We rented a BMW 530? I think that's what it was? The GPS was all in German and we could not figure out how to change it. Also the speedometer and speed limits for the road actually showed up on the windshield as like a reflection for him.. Pretty cool.

The drive was gorgeous! It first started off looking like Ohio..and then we headed towards the Bavarian Alps! The fall colors were just starting.

We got to the Neuschwanstein/Hohenschwangau Castle parking area then started the little trek up to it.

It was quite the hike. We got a little sweaty. Naturally, it is Europe, so part of the castle was under construction.

Could not find Sleeping Beauty.

View of the Hohenschwangau castle.

I'm glad my friend was with me because I was kind of done after getting up to the castle but then he reminded me that there is a famous view of the castle... so we hiked up a little more to this bridge..

On your right..

On your left!

I look gross but it was like noon, and so the sunlight didn't really help. Also do I look hungry? Because castle happiness quickly turned into:

Hanger. Miss "Cintia" the waitress at this place was only capable of serving one table at a time though having responsibility for the entire balcony. Needless to say, impatience settled in quickly and we headed down to get a different lunch.

I needed a beer after Miss Cintia. And plus come on, the beer has the castle on it!

So...the plan was to go to Dachau Concentration Camp, however.. we were cutting it close on time since we had a bit of late start from the airport (rental car lines will be the death of me) and you know, Miss Cintia didn't help. So we decided to move that to the next day and head to Urban Chestnut's little brewery in the middle of nowhere. Which.. we couldn't really get into but luckily the adjoining restaurant served their beer. It was very good naturally.

Then we went back to the hotel, recovered, and then headed out for dinner at Konigsquelle. You could tell it was a local place and the service was actually the best I had all trip. This is a weinerschnitzel (breaded veal). It reminded me of pork chops. I was so stuffed after this. But we had room for affogato of course.

Then...the next morning..

So.. I thought Oktoberfest opened at 11a but it turns out it opened at 9a. Every single person tells you to go first thing if you don't have reservations (we did not) because it fills up quickly. 

9:30a. That was an accurate statement.

I have never had beer this early so I thought it would be kind of gross. No. It was wonderful. The pretzel was a bonus.

This song was stuck in our heads for days after. Between every song (live music started in each of the tents around 10:30a-11a, they would play/sing this song).

No, I'm sorry, I did not get a pickle. 

However, we got one of these powdered sugar pretzels of happiness and it was incredible.

After a beer and a half, we went to the Hofbrau tent. It was crazy. I can only imagine how insane it is at night. 

And then we went to another tent. (We were splitting the beers after our first tent). 

Then another. (We went to other tents in between just to see them all)

I... don't know what this is. I only had a bite because well... look at it.

Look at the merry go round!!

We had every intention to stay at Oktoberfest for an hour then go to Dachau and maybe the BMW Museum. However 5 hours later...

We settled for the urban surfers in the Tiergarten, lol.

My friend had to head out late that evening so I finally caved into fast food and had a footlong Subway sub and a massive amount of Pringles to finish off the trip. It was glorious.

The last sunrise...and then headed home back to the US!

Saturday, October 28, 2017


After missing my connecting train, almost leaving my credit card at a random Czech train station booth, and then taking a fancy cheap business class train in to Prague... I had arrived!

Apparently Czech beer is the best beer in Europe. I stumbled upon an outdoor market within 15 minutes of leaving my AirBNB and tested that statement and grabbed a tomato mozzarella panini. It was very good beer! And the prices were great. 

So I knew nothing about Prague honestly besides that there was some kind of famous clock. I soon discovered that the architecture of the city is quite famous for being charming (truth, it's so pretty!), it has a pretty famous bridge (St. Charles), and there is A LOT of cobblestone (ouch).

There were a lot of tourists here but it was still a fun city to explore by all means. I did find a super hipster craft beer bar and enjoyed a beer with some kind of cheese and bread platter for dinner number 2.

I stumbled upon the famous clock. It was under construction. I should probably look up why it's famous. Also, I took a really great selfie with it the next morning but I'm saving that for a Europe 2017 outtakes post. 

For the record I averaged 6-6.5 hours of sleep each night this trip, except for the first three days (jet lag recovery + pre-marathon sleep). I was very excited to get out and photograph during golden hour and see sunrise. This does not bode well for my trip idea next year.

I asked foreign strangers to take my picture which was a rather amusing experience. In hindsight, I should have moved a little farther away from the cigarette butts. But hey, look, Prague Castle behind me!

St. Charles Bridge - go in the morning...or else. I went later this day in the afternoon and it was INSANE. So many touristy vendors, tourists - it was very difficult to move. The night wasn't as bad surprisingly.

The walk up to Prague Castle is uphill by the way. On cobblestone. I was so excited the night prior, I actually did go up there that evening. Then I went again this day because I actually wanted to go into the complex when it was open. There was a Starbucks up here that probably has the best view of all Starbucks (pretty much the view above). 

It wouldn't be a Europe trip without visiting a cathedral or 3. This is St. Vitus Cathedral.

Oh hey that's me.

I got there 5 minutes before everything opened because I am that person. It was a very pretty morning.


Violence with a hint of charm! Not pictured: Mulled/Hot wine with spices. I don't know why that's not popular in the US but it needs to happen.

The Lennon Wall. Smaller than anticipated and a little more graffiti than one would prefer. 

If you don't take a picture in front of the Lennon Wall, it didn't happen.

Then I walked over to Wenceslas Square. Generally another touristy shopping area by the City Hall. 

And with some creepy art installations.

I had lunch at 2:30p because what are meals? The AirBNB host recommended Kolkovna Celnice - a Prague chain with Czech food so naturally I got the Czech sampler platter. Yes, that is meat. It tasted so good for the first 3 bites then I was over it. I enjoyed my beer and the cheese at the top there the most.

It was actually a national holiday - St. Wenesclasus Day so I could only go into the Cathedral during a specific time in the afternoon. So yes, I made the trek back up the cobblestone hill to the Castle complex to check out the inside of the cathedral. It was worth it and beautiful naturally. 

I am also glad I went back up because I totally missed that you could climb the South Tower of the Cathedral for a wonderful panoramic view of Prague. It was 297 steps. The girl in front of me really struggled in her platform flip flips and it probably took 100 steps of me following her very closely before she gave up and let me pass. 

These views!

Hi Spire!

From there my daily grumpiness started to settle in post-this epic sunset and I couldn't even tell you what I had for dinner but I can tell you it was NOT pizza. This place seated me..then let me sit for 10 minutes and then I went up and asked for a menu and they said they were closing in like 45 minutes and didn't know if they could serve me. I was peeved. Anyway.. now that I think about it, I had a veggie wrap that was pretty solid however not enough food for how much I walked that day. 32k steps and it felt like it!