Traveling

I’ve been neglecting my blog while I put to the test just how much I like to travel. I went on five trips in November, three by plane, one by bus and one by car, so it was a busy month to say the least.

Twins Game - September 2010

I took advantage of some rewards flights to book a pair of long weekends to Minneapolis where my boyfriend lives. Minneapolis isn’t anything like I’d imagined. My vision came mostly from Marshall’s descriptions of Minnesota on How I Met Your Mother. It’s a very cool, fun city, however I enjoy it a lot more when it’s not cold there! On my trips there, we’ve caught a couple Twins games; toured the Mall of America, including the aquarium inside of the mall; and checked out restaurants in different parts of town. Some of my favorites are The NookPsycho Suzi’s and Stella’s.

 

In between Minneapolis trips, I made it up to Hoboken for the first time to see my brother’s and his girlfriend’s new

NYC Skyline

place, and of course we made it into NYC also. Hoboken is small, but packed with people, restaurants/bars, shops and energy. There is nothing like New York pizza and bagels and we definitely ate well that weekend. My favorite pizza stops were Lombardi’s Pizzeria in NYC and Johnny Pepperoni in Hoboken.

For Thanksgiving I made the drive up to Syracuse. It’s always nice to go back home for a visit, but was especially nice given that the usual winter temps hadn’t set in yet, and we enjoyed 50s and even 60s with no snow the entire time I was home! My ride home was pretty tough, taking 2 and a half hours longer than usual while it rained the entire time, but my parents were waiting at one of our usual restaurant spots and had food and drink ready and waiting for me when I finally arrived. Thanksgiving was filled with some great food. My cousin cooked our turkey this year and did an amazing job, and my Mom made one of my favorites, a peanut butter pie!

Finally, I ended the month with a trip to Tampa for both work and fun. I got the chance to speak on a panel about mobile health at the National Conference of State Legislatures Fall Forum. I shared findings from a recent study on health technology that my company did. It was a really interesting experience, and I’m definitely intrigued by how this topic will affect our lives in the coming years. After the conference I headed over to nearby St. Pete to visit my grandparents. They spend the winters there and I head down every year to visit. It’s always a treat to be taken out to eat, go to the movies and lend my tech expertise. This year was pretty easy – I helped with a Netlix issue and added a bunch of pictures to their digital photo frame.

It was a fun month, and I do still love to travel and see new places, but I have to say I’m happy to be back home and staying put…well, at least for a few weeks.

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Setting A PR

For runners, setting a new PR is a big deal. We spend countless hours designing plans with extra speedwork and just the right amount of mileage in hopes of hitting a new personal best.

I ran my seventh marathon in the Twin Cities this past weekend and finally cracked the 4-hour mark by a good chunk of time! This race was actually part of my training along the way to the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October and served as the second of my three 20+ milers I have planned. I have a habit of signing up for these races and for one reason (read: excuse) or the other, not actually following through with the necessary training. Also, I did a few destination races that were more about the trip than the race, so I’d never been able to beat the 4-hour mark I’d hoped to surpass.

This race was different. Aside from an eight-day running hiatus around Labor Day weekend (yikes!), I’d done a pretty good job of sticking to my training plan. I felt great at the start and pushed a little harder than I planned finishing in 3:48:03. The course was beautiful. They’re not lying when they call their race the most beautiful urban marathon in the country. The weather was perfect – sunny with temps ranging from the mid-40s at the start to about 60 at the finish. The best part about it though might have been the start line. Staged at the Metrodome, we could wait inside in the warmth and use indoor bathrooms before making our way to the starting line! this probably made me way happier than it should have as I’m a bit of a cold weather wimp.

My boyfriend, who lives in Minneapolis, informed me that there were no hills there so I figured that would make things easier. This was not true however, I found out in the second half of the race as the course rolled up and down for about 10 miles – nothing too tough though or any uphills that left you exhausted. Any anger over this misinformation quickly went away when I spotted him and some of his family at mile 22 to cheer me on. I had slowed up a bit between miles 18 and 22, and that was just the boost I needed to get me moving to the finish line!

I don’t know why, but I started laughing for the last 50 yards to the finish line. I guess I did voluntarily sign up to run 26.2 miles, so clearly you know I am a little crazy, but it was also the overwhelming excitement of realizing I was crushing my pervious personal best by 25 minutes. The problem with PRs in running though is that once you get one, you just want another…and, well I’m only 13 minutes away from qualifying for Boston, so I guess it’s time to draw up another training plan.