Olympic Cities

I’ve been on a bit of a travel binge for the last year or so, and while I’m looking forward to a November mostly free of travel, I have had a lot of fun and gotten to see some very cool cities along the way. Recently I visited two cities that have hosted past winter Olympics.

In late September my boyfriend and I rented a car and got on the road bright and early to head up to Lake Placid, New York for my friend Lindsay’s wedding. (Side note: The Prius is an awesome car – better than I’d expected and the gas mileage is incredible.) It was a bit of a rainy drive, but the views and colors of the changing leaves as we got closer were fantastic.

After finally arriving we settled in at the Crowne Plaza and met up with friends at the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery. This was a great little pub with just about anything on the menu. After a long day of driving, we were all ready for a couple beers, and well, we pretty much attacked the appetizer menu. Check out Ian’s review over at Croutons Stuck in Futons for more on the brewpub.

Lake Placid hosted the Olympics in 1980 and 1932. Logistically I have no idea how this small city was able to do so, but we took full advantage of getting some time to check out the Olympic sites. Ian and I stepped out onto the currently cement outdoor speed skating track and visited the Olympic Museum. Most exciting was checking out the ice rinks and stepping onto the ice where the 1980 Miracle on Ice took place…even if I did get yelled at shortly after doing so to get off the ice!

A few weeks later I was off to Vancouver, British Columbia for a conference. Vancouver hosted the Olympics more recently in 2010. Before the work part of the trip started I was able to spend some time checking out the city. I saw the Olympic Cauldron and rode by BC Place Stadium on a bus tour of the city.

I rented bikes with a few coworkers and took advantage of unseasonably warm weather to ride along the seawall and take in some amazing views around Vancouver. I also got in several runs along the seawall, which were some of the most breathtakingly beautiful runs I’ve been on.

I always look forward to watching the Olympics every two years. I was lucky enough to win a drawing to be able to carry the Olympic torch on its way to the ‘96 Olympics in Atlanta. While in Greece to run the original marathon course, I got to stand right next to the Olympic flame in Marathon. It was great adding Lake Placid and Vancouver to my list of marathon experiences.

Enjoy pics below including a couple flashbacks to elementary school – rocking the giant glasses and scrunchie!

Listening to An Olympian

I saw Magda Boulet, an Olympic marathoner, speak at Pacers in Alexandria last night and loved it! My only brush with Olympic glory came when I won a raffle in the sixth grade to carry the Olympic Torch as it passed through our elementary school grounds on its way to Atlanta, so getting to meet a real Olympian was pretty cool. Her story is really inspiring. She actually became a U.S. citizen on September 11, 2001. Magda shared details about her experiences starting with a disastrous race at the Twin Cities Marathon that left her thinking about giving up on professional running altogether to the race of her life in Boston where she qualified for the Olympics. She talked about the devastation of dropping out of the race in Beijing due to a fluke injury and her hopes for London 2012.

Magda provides training tips and stories from her own experiences.

Robert Gillanders, a local physical therapist (PT) and marathon runner, also spoke at the event. To say that I’m not really one to go to a doctor for injuries is a bit of an understatement, but I actually really liked what he had to stay. He talked about how common running injuries are, but noted that physically being in pain doesn’t have to be a necessary part of running. He views himself like a mechanic that can assess where you are weak and how you can get stronger in those areas so you can be more efficient, take on higher training loads and see performance gains. Magda talked about using a PT for “pre-hab” rather than rehab. She said she needed someone to look at all the pieces and see what was missing so she could get better.

Going to events like this always gets me all motivated to get out and run, but they also get me excited about new gear. Despite my background in communications and marketing, I’m a total sucker for these kinds of things. My favorite from last night – the 008 hydration vest from Nathan designed with input from Magda. Like me, she hates running with anything around her waist, in her hands or in her pockets, so this backpack is perfect. It’s super light and has pockets in front for easy access. We’ll see how long I can hold off before making this my next purchase!

Check out video of the event at MoveForwardPT.com.