Honeymoon Recap – Rome

Somehow it’s almost March and I haven’t gotten further than Ireland with my honeymoon recaps on the blog! Where is the time going?! You can check out my Dublin and Galway/Cliffs of Moher posts if you missed them, but there were so many more fun cities we visited on our honeymoon that I haven’t shared yet. One of my absolute favorites was Rome!

On day four of our trip we caught a 6 a.m. flight out of Dublin for Rome. A driver was waiting for us at the airport to whisk us off to our hotel just a block from the Vatican. All I can say is thank god we didn’t have to make that drive on our own – there appear to be no traffic rules in Italy!

We stayed two nights at the Relais Vatican View and I could not have been happier with this hotel. It was a small hotel with only a handful of rooms. After our tiny Dublin hotel room, this place seemed huge. We had a king size bed, a couch and room to spare – plus a very nice bathroom. The room was also stocked daily with delicious tasting bottles of wine. Coming from someone who normally hates wine, this is saying something. There was also a rooftop terrace all guests could use that you could see St. Peter’s Dome from. This was a bit of a splurge compared to our Dublin hotel, but worth every penny and I highly recommend it.

On our hotel rooftop terrace

On our hotel rooftop terrace

We arrived too early to get into our hotel room, but dropped our bags and quickly found a great lunch spot just down the street. We had the most amazing margarita pizza and pasta carbonara. It was definitely a great way to start things off in Rome and just a sample of some of the amazing food we would have.

RomeFirstLunch

We stopped for gelato after lunch as you can find it everywhere in Rome and we made sure to eat it early and often while there!

one of our several gelato stops

one of our several gelato stops

We quickly found the metro and made our way to the Colosseum. It was a really amazing structure and seeing it in person is the only real way to do it justice. Part of it was under construction, but given how old it is, it was still in really good shape. We took advantage of our Roma Pass to skip the line and head right in. It blows my mind how many people were waiting for hours in a line when the first thing I read in every guidebook was how easy it was to skip the line here. I guess not everyone else watched the Rick Steve’s videos!

Colosseum

Colosseum2

We also saw Constantine’s Arch here and wandered over to the Roman Forum, but it had just closed its gates for the day.

ConstantinesArch

We headed back to the hotel and cracked open one of those bottles of wine I mentioned earlier. This wine that we drank there must be magic wine because on top of tasting good it seemed to be hangover free and didn’t leave me with a headache or dry mouth the next day despite the fact that we may have indulged a bit too much.

magicwine

We set off for a dinner spot I found on Yelp not too far from Trevi Fountain. I have to say this is one of the first times Yelp has let me down. It was the only not so great restaurant we went to there although it was partially our fault as we got things off to a bad start when I accidentally ordered an anchovy pizza. Gross! Poor Ian had to eat most of it so they would bring us our next course. We also ended up not being able to find the Fountain that night, but that may have had something to do with all the wine.

Day two we got an early start so we could explore the Vatican. We started things off with St. Peter’s Basilica, which is an indescribably beautiful Church. It is much larger than pictures convey. We also made our way all the way up to the Dome. My fear of heights kicked in, but it was worth it. The view from the top of the Church was beautiful.

vatican

We didn’t stop there though. We kept climbing up narrow, terrifying stairs with a rope to get us to the top! The view from the top of the Vatican is one of the most amazing I’ve ever seen though. It was absolutely breathtaking. Ian snapped most of the pictures as it took me a few minutes to peel myself off the wall and inch toward the gate at the edge. It was so worth it – just beautiful and definitely a postcard type view.

viewfromtheVatican

viewfromvatican2

From there we headed to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. Again doing a little bit of research let us skip a line that was probably 3-4 hours long. We had printed off tickets we ordered online at the hotel and walked right in an empty online ticket entrance. The museum was very impressive. I don’t have the best knowledge of art history, but even I could appreciate how intricate many of the pieces here were. The Raphael paintings in the last couple rooms we checked out were incredible and then Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel was like nothing I had ever seen. I can’t even fathom how difficult that must have been to do.

By this point we were absolutely starving! Just around the corner from the Vatican Museum was a great little sandwich shop a friend had recommended called Ducento Gradi. This spot is worth putting on your list if you’re in Rome. It was inexpensive and delicious. After devouring our sandwiches, we stopped for some more gelato because as they say…when in Rome!

gelato

We headed out again that evening and managed to find the Trevi Fountain this time! It is much easier when you are sober, but it was closed for repairs so it wasn’t much to see.

trevifountain

We moved on to the Pantheon. This was an awesome plaza and an unbelievable structure. This was easily one of Ian’s favorites – he really liked that it has been a working building it’s entire life and was made around the time of Jesus! It  also has an intentional hole in the roof – that’s baller, he says!

pantheon

From there we wandered our way over to and up the Spanish Steps for some people watching before heading back to the hotel to crack open another bottle of wine!

Spanish Steps - great people watching here.

Spanish Steps – great people watching here.

We drank a bottle on our rooftop terrace taking in the incredible views before heading out for dinner. This time we went with a recommendation from the hotel and had a delicious dinner at Dal Toscano. So freaking good.

Before heading to the cruise ship the next morning we woke up early to get back over to the Roman Forum and take in some more cool sights before leaving. It was nice to walk around here when it was practically empty and very interesting that it is still an active archaeological site where they continue to find and learn new things.

We ended our time in Rome like we started it – devouring some pasta carbonara before hopping on a bus to our cruise ship. I cannot say enough about the food and the sights here – a place I would love to go back to and spend more time in for sure!

Ian made a last ditch effort to send some postcards from the Vatican (they have a special stamp since they are their own country) before we left as I packed up the hotel quickly before our ride arrived. His plans were thwarted though as it turns out it is much more difficult to get into the Vatican when the Pope is supposed to be speaking shortly than on a normal day! Let’s just say that is the last run in he wants to have with the Swiss Guards – don’t underestimate them even if they do wear funny outfits!

swissguards

Thanks for making it all the way to the end of this one with me if you’re still reading. More to come soon on our adventures at each port that our cruise stopped at taking us to Italy, France and Spain!

Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

Last week was fairly successful. I really wanted to get back on track with my 6 runs a week, which did not happen, but I got 5 solid runs for about 37 miles in so I am pleased with that. After a really tough, cold long run on Monday I spent the rest of the week playing mind games with myself as I worked out in the indoor comfort of a treadmill!

Here’s the day by day breakdown:

Monday: I got my long run in on Monday knowing that I was heading to New Hampshire for the weekend and it just wasn’t going to happen then. These 16 miles were so epically cold this run got its own blog post.

coldlongrun

Tuesday: I hit the gym for some hill repeats. After a quick warm up on the treadmill I bumped up the incline and put in 7 quarter mile hill repeats. I also got in my P90X core workout.

Wednesday: Today was more core and an easy 5 miler at the gym after work.

Thursday: Unplanned Rest day. I wanted to get up early to get a run in since I had plans after work, but I finally shut the 6 a.m. alarm off once the clock hit 2:30 and I was still struggling to fall asleep.

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: I got in a great 6-mile progression run at the gym at Plymouth State ending at a 7:47 per mile pace.

Sunday: It was back to the campus athletic center for another 6 miles (this time easy) on the treadmill. I was really pumped I was able to fit in these runs while up in New Hampshire!

I’m Not Cut Out For This – The Coldest Long Run

I’m heading up to New Hampshire this weekend so I decided to take advantage of my day off for President’s Day yesterday and get my long run in early. As I got ready to head out during the warmest part of the day it was 17 degrees with a real feel of 10. (Seriously – it is not supposed to get this cold in Virginia!)

This cold weather wimp was not excited, but knowing that temperature would be considered downright balmy in New Hampshire, I wasn’t putting it off. For those that run through winter weather like this all the time – I am impressed. As a runner I know I am in the minority, but I will take my 90-degree, 90 percent humidity DC summer runs over this any day.

I have always been one to wimp away from the extreme cold – don’t ask me how I survived my first 22 years in growing up in Syracuse, NY because I’m really not sure. I have done plenty of long runs on a treadmill including several 20 milers, but after a couple recent tough days on the treadmill, I was hesitant to go for 16 on one Monday.

I put on all the layers – a tank, Oiselle wool base layer, another long sleeve on top and my Oiselle Livinit jacket. I also had two pairs of socks on, a hat, neck gaiter and gloves. I was not messing around.

coldlongrun

I’m not cut out for this I thought as I waited impatiently for my watch to find the satellites. Who thought training for a spring marathon would be a good idea anyways?! I thought this again as my legs felt really slow and heavy just one mile in.

At about mile two I realized my brilliant plan to wear my hydration pack instead of carrying a handheld was not so brilliant. Two miles was all it took for the water in the tube to completely freeze making it impossible to get any out. See – I’m not cut out for this!

By mile eight the bargaining had already started. I could divert to the Rosslyn Metro, but no if I keep going it’s just a couple more miles until I could hop off the trail to the airport metro and get home that way, because no one is cut out for this cold. By mile 10 though, as I passed the airport, I finally lost count of how many other runners, walkers and bikers were out on the trail. I got to at least 50 so I couldn’t stop now. (Man, we are a crazy bunch!)

After passing the airport I told myself to go just a few more miles and I could hop off of Four Mile Run Trail and call an Uber to get home. At mile 12 as I was opening my backpack and trying to poor water out of it into my mouth, I couldn’t help but think again, what am I doing?! I’m just not cut out for this!

Can your eyeballs freeze? Serious question – because I think at this point in the run mine had. Everything was getting blurry and I was having a tough time blinking. (I think that it’s more likely that because I sweat so much even in this cold, my eyelashes were frozen – but still, it was a crazy experience that this fair-weather outdoor runner has not experienced before.)

During the final three miles I came up with every excuse in the book for why it would be OK if I just stopped running and got that Uber the rest of the way home. Then after what seemed like way too long (probably because I ran ridiculously slower than I had hoped) my watch beeped signifying the 16th mile.

Thank God! I was so incredibly happy to have this run over with. As I lay in the fetal position on my bedroom floor texting my husband that I had made it all 16 miles, I thought never again will I run in temps like this as I’m totally just not cut out for it.

Except that – maybe I am! I think one of the best things about being a runner is constantly pushing your limits and finding ways to do things you never thought you could.

Tell me about a time you did something you thought you weren’t cut out for!

 

 

Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

This week was another decent step in the right direction to getting on back on track with my training. I finished out with 30+ miles and even got a handful of social runs in! For someone who normally does almost all of their training on their own, this is a big deal! Here is the day-by-day breakdown:

Monday: With my Mom still in town, I was actually motivated to get up and get to the gym early. My gym happened to have free guest days on Monday & Tuesday too, so she was able to come with me. I put in five easy breezy miles on the treadmill to kick off the week.

Tuesday: We were back at the gym early and I attempted some speed work on the treadmill. As well as last week’s mile repeats went, this week’s did not. I got in just three and felt like I was going to die at what should have been an easy pace. I followed it up with a full body strength workout though, so that felt good. It also felt great to be done first thing in the morning. I wish I could do that more often.

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: I met a friend and one of her friends in D.C. for an after work windy, chilly run! I decided to park in Rosslyn and run over Memorial Bridge in to meet them by the Washington Monument. The winds were unreal! It was fun to laugh and chat as we tried to battle them. I somehow made it back over the bridge to my car after the run putting in a total of 8.3 miles.

dcrunFriday: Unplanned rest day. It was so cold again and after a long day at work I threw in the towel on today’s outdoor run and just headed home for a lazy night.

Saturday: My friend Lindsay was in town and she joined me at my first group run with the Potomac River Run training group. I signed up with them for their Cherry Blossom training program and it seems like a great group! We put in an easy 6 miles. It was chilly, but also sunny and not that windy so it felt great and again was nice to have my run out of the way early! We met up later too for brunch at Match Box in Eastern Market – always a great spot!

Sunday: I planned to get close to 12 miles in with 9 at tempt on the treadmill today, but it just wasn’t in the cards. I ended up running 8 miles pretty hard and calling it a day.

 

Marathon Training Check-In

I’m 12 weeks in to my training plan for the B&A Trail Marathon in Annapolis with six weeks to go. The first seven weeks went really well in terms of mileage and workouts. My lowest mileage week was 35 miles up to my highest mileage week of 54 miles. With plans to run six days a week, I was very pleased that I had only missed a small handful of planned runs over those first seven weeks.

goals1

I came into things after a bit of time off from consistent running though, so my base was not what it should be (read: mostly nonexistent). The lack of base really showed through in my speed workouts. They were all a struggle and off pace. I certainly started feeling better as the weeks went on and noticed some serious improvement, but I couldn’t seem to hit the marks I needed.

The next three weeks the wheels came off. I put in an 18 mile week, followed by a 27 mile one and then just 12. I missed most of my quality workouts and was eating great either as I was spending a lot of time on the road and eating out. It was really frustrating to watch that momentum slip and admittedly there were a few workouts I should have gotten in, but just didn’t because I wasn’t feeling it.

GenevaHotelGym

I’ve done a good job at getting back on track the last two weeks and putting in some quality mileage with back-to-back 30 – 40 mile weeks. Still, if my speed was hurting before, it is definitely hurting now.

I’m completely confident in my ability to finish the B&A race barring something totally unexpected on race day, but I have had to reassess my goal or reaching a BQ on that day. I’m going to continue to work hard putting in the miles over the next six weeks, but don’t think I can get myself to the speed I need without risking injury in that amount of time.

nightrun

I hope to come away from this with a great base though and am on the hunt for a back up qualifying race sometime May or later. I love running in the heat, so summer marathons don’t bother me. I’m eyeing Steamtown as my fall marathon, but want to take one shot before then if possible. I’d love to hear your suggestions. My ideal would be something semi-local to DC or at least within a 5 or 6 hour drive tops.

I hope your spring race training is going better than mine has! Tell me about your goal races and how your training is coming along!

Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

Last week was a great start at getting back on track. I put in 40 solid miles with a mix of speedy runs and one brutally cold long run! I’ll have a post later this week on my race schedule and updated goals for the spring.

Here is the day-by-day breakdown:

Monday: I put in just over 6 easy paced miles on the Mt. Vernon trail after work in some major wind gusts and chilly weather. There were a couple gusts that seriously felt like they stopped me in my tracks! P90X core routine.

Tuesday: I hit the gym after work for a full body strength workout followed by my P90X core workout.

Wednesday: I put in a 9 mile tempo run along the Mt. Vernon trail on a beautiful night. It felt so great not to have a winter hat on for a run! Quick core workout.

Thursday: As good as Wednesday’s run felt, today’s was awful. The temps were in the low teens with wind chill and the wind never let up. I was so cold by the end of my 14 miles – I don’t know that I’ve ever willed a run to be over so badly! My route took me over both the Memorial Bridge and the 14th Street bridge where it took all my energy to keep running forward and not get pushed sideways by the wind! It had to be amusing to onlookers! It was nice to have the long run out of the way early though!

Friday: Rest Day.

Saturday: My Mom was in town, so we hit the gym together. I put in a quick warm-up followed by five 1 mile repeats with a 2-minute recovery. I got it a quick upper body workout as well!

Sunday: Today was the highlight of my week. Temps reached 65 for my late afternoon 5 miler along the W&OD in shorts!! My excitement got the best of me on what should have been an easy run and after starting out at a 9 minute pace each mile got progressively faster finishing with a 7:20 one. Boy did it feel good though! P90X core routine.

febheatwave

Getting Back on Track

Life has been a bit crazy these last few weeks and I have definitely let my training suffer as a result. My last recap had me tallying 53 miles in a week, which was almost as much as I totaled for the last three weeks combined. Yikes!

There is no sense if beating myself up for it though. That won’t let me add runs back in that I missed. I am two months out from my marathon and I need to get myself back on track and quickly. Sunday I recommitted to my strength routine and am going to really focus on that to keep myself strong and healthy over these next eight weeks.

shoesandcap

As for my 2,015 miles in 2,015, I ran 127.66 miles in January. I’m a little bit behind, but my plans for the rest of this training cycle should have me back on track in no time!

I’ll be back next week with my regular weekly check-in.

Here goes!