Training Week 280

By , March 1, 2015 5:11 pm

Highlight of the Week: Kelly coming over at the crack of butt light* to do most of my long run with me Wednesday am / my dad coming to my Friday and Saturday Efit classes / my mom coming to the indoor track with me Friday!

Week280

Monday | February 23, 2015: teaching strength class
Strength: Body bars, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: hyper
Tuesday | February 24, 2015: 8 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 30°/25°, Time: 1:11:02, Pace: 8:53 avg, Difficulty: first 6 easy, last 2 medium, Felt: surprisingly good
Wednesday | February 25, 2015: 14 m run (3-13 w/Kelly)
Loc: hood, Temp: 12°/4°, Time: 2:19:29, Pace: 9:58 avg, Difficulty: easy-ish, Felt: good once Kelly joined me!
Thursday | February 26, 2015: 3 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 13°/13°, Time: 36:15, Pace: 12:04 avg, Difficulty:medium, Felt: unsafe in the dark and on the snow
Friday | February 27, 2015: teaching strength class + 4.2 m run (incl. 2×1 mile)
Strength: Body bars, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: great
Loc: LSC, Time: 35:40, Pace: 8:30, Difficulty: medium, Felt: sluggish, slow
Saturday | February 28, 2015: teaching cycling class (20 m)
Loc: Efit, Bike Time: 53:27, Pace: 22.5 avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: good
Sunday | March 1, 2015: 6 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 24°/24°, Time:5:24, Pace: 9:24 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Notes:

  • Ugh, this work week! My schedule got the best of me (I did my three hour commute Monday-Thursday) and I couldn’t get much in! I hope I don’t have another week like this for a while. I’m grateful I usually work from home and don’t typically waste so much time commuting (and feel so exhausted from it – how did I ever do it every workday for four years?!).
  • Awesome part of the week(end) – my parents were in town to visit (ha ha, okay, with the purpose of helping fix the brakes on my car), and I got to work out with both of them! Mom and I played Wii tennis Thursday night and went to the indoor track together Friday afternoon, and Dad came to my Friday morning strength class and Saturday morning cycling class!
  • I’m not sure what I was thinking, scheduling 3×1 miles repeats the week after a 5K! Oops! As it was, when I got to the indoor track to run, they told me it closed sooner than they did when I called to check closing time, so I was short on time to warm-up and get the entire workout in. After the second repeat was slower than the first, I took it as a sign to call it. Hope the next session is better! (Eating better would probably help, haha)
  • Ahh! It’s already March!!! Time for February recap. I ran 156.1 miles in February, and (indoor) cycled 46.4 (less than January for both). I taught eight strength classes, two fitness boxing classes, and one cycling class (exact same numbers as January!). I did zero strength sessions on my own. And I did not snowshoe. Ha ha. Slacker month? Eh, let’s blame it on the week long vacation!

*Ha ha, my mom said this once by accident, instead of the “buttcrack of dawn,” and it kind of stuck.

Link to Training Week 279

Playa del Carmen Día 6 (la piscina y date night)

By , February 24, 2015 5:18 am

Once it dawned (ha, pun) on me that we were by a body of water that faces east, I knew I’d have to get up for a sunrise run.

The thing is though… you can’t really run along the beach to see the sunrise unless you are running in the sand (because all of the buildings along the beach front block the view of the water). Yeah, I actually wanted to move, so I wasn’t doing that! So my run to see the sunrise included a lot of me running to the peer, seeing it wasn’t up yet, running up and down the street, and coming back. It was worth it, though (when isn’t it?!)! This brought back memories of when my dad and I got up early to see the sunrise over the Alboran Sea in Spain!

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After a few miles on my own, I stopped back at the condo to see if anyone had bitten on the note I left “running a few, back at 8:00 if anyone wants to join me!” I got back and Steve was in his gear, ready to go!

I took him to a street Gina and I had discovered a few days earlier. I mentioned the owner of our condo told us a few places to run – Playacar, the bike path along 10th Avenue, and a track, north of the condo. Err, even with my best intentions, I never made it to the track! But I think Gina and I may have run close to it, when we took the 10th Avenue bike path north, and discovered it stops pretty soon after it leaves the touristy area.

But on that run, we cut back over to Fifth Avenue, just north of where the touristy part of it ends, and discovered a paved trail that runs along the road. We saw lots of other people working out there, and felt safe.

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And we got to see lots of beautiful tags as we ran! So I took Steve there, to see it, as well.

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I am surprised the condo owner didn’t tell us about this street, as well! It seemed like you could run out a good amount on it!

The rest of this day was laaaaaaaaaaazy. We hit up the pool around midday. I read a bit, swam a bit, knitted a bit…

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I managed to get an AWESOME sunburn, which just peeled last week. If you look at the photo below, it’s the two red marks, under my shoulders. Yeah… I put some sunscreen on my shoulders, and didn’t get much further than that! (Ignore the weird dark lines on our backs – that’s a shadow!)

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The afternoon included me teaching Gina how to knit!

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She got off to a great start! Unfortunately though, I didn’t get to show her too much, because Steven and I had a date to go to that night… with Luca!

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Date night included a stop to see Pedra, and give her treats:

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table-made guac at dinner:

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a Mayan Flyer show (yes, they climb up that thing then swing their way down!):

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We also had tips from our condo neighbor to see the “fire show” – a Mayan dance show!

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first dance without fire

second dance with fire

Luca really got in to the dancing! It was so cute (I was dancing with him too… I won’t be posting that video, ha ha!)!

Obviously, date night needed to include some sugar, right before bed time:

Ha ha!

Luca is such a good boy! He listened to us the whole night, and was very good about going to bed when we got back. We had a lot of fun taking him out!

When Gina and Steve came back from their date night, they had a gift for me and Steven: tía and tío bracelets they had custom made (Gina also got me a beautiful scarf, too!!!)!

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Those are the Spanish words for aunt and uncle, and it really meant a lot to me that they got those for us – I cherish that Luca calls us “Aunt Kim” and “Uncle Steven”! (Ha ha, as I write this, I am remembering he asked on this trip, what “aunt” and “uncle” mean, and I said “it’s your mom or dad’s brother or sister.” We were all like “he’s asking tooooo sooooooon!” But earlier that day I had called myself his honorary aunt (when someone called me his mom), so we used that word. You know. Since little kids understand the word “honorary.”)

Steven, Gina and Steve and I stayed up a bit after they came back, being giggly and sharing stories of our nights and planning future get-togethers. Also, as I write this, I realize we didn’t have a ton of that sitting around and chit-chatting, like we typically do during our get-togethers, probably because we were on the go quite a bit, and the four of us weren’t always together. I hope our next trip includes more of that! More goofing around, please!

Frosty Footrace 2015 5K Race Report

By , February 23, 2015 4:41 am

Ahh, the Round Lake Frosty Footrace*. My town’s 5K. A race I’ve run every year since 2009.

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This used to be my goal 5K race, yes, every year. I love running in the cold, and like training hard in the winter.

But you know what I don’t love, in a 5K? Hills. This course has them, sprinkled in the first and last mile. And they don’t get easier, year after year (Wait! Should I be hill training?! Ha ha).

So this year, I had this race planned as a speed workout/tune-up for my goal 5K in three weeks. My plan (hope) was an average pace of 7:15 minute miles.

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Ha ha, this photo reminds me that there were children lined up at the start line (this race is not chip timed) and that I kind of had to … nudge a few of them out of the way to get going at the start

I came very close – about 7:20/7:25 pace average with a 22:58 finish – a course PR by 29 seconds and a second place age group placement!

My first two miles were on track, like I thought they’d be – 7:05 and 7:12. I knew to push it in those miles, on the flats and downhills, and whenever the wind was at my back. Oh yeah. The weather. 13° F with 11 mph winds from the NW. Fun.

I knew I’d slow at the hill in the third mile. I did – 7:49 (eek!). I tried to push it for the last .1(3) – :50 (6:46 pace) – just to finish under 23:00! Success!

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Steven caught my “I gotta finish under 23:00″ face

I had almost the same finish time as the flat 5K I did in Dec (22:57 then vs. 22:58 now), so this is promising that the speedwork is helping, since I could do that time on a harder course.

But… I just wasn’t in to it during the race. I was out there thinking “why do I do this?!” and “do I want to do this again in 20 days?!” (now 19!) Ugh. We’ll see.

Tidbits:

  • We got a mug and stocking cap! I love mugs! And they had a hot chocolate bar after the race. Fun!

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  • Three other people from Efit raced and everyone placed (and finished in front of me!)! I knew I may have started out too fast when Yvonne ran with me for a bit. Oops!

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  • At least 30 people complimented me on my tights!
  • Steven spectated/took pics AND my older brother and his girlfriend were there! They happened to be in town this weekend and spent the night and stayed for the race! How sweet!

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  • I got much needed redemption from the December 5K at this race! That’s all I’ll say about that.
  • Yeah, not sure about another 5K in 19 days. I was 20+ seconds slower than my PR at this race and want to run a 21:59 for my next PR. Seems like a long shot. Although I’d probably actually rest for it and not run 16 miles the day before like I did for this. And… I did run a PR at this race in 2013 then take almost 50 seconds off it, just under three weeks later, at the course I am thinking about running for this year’s attempt. So. We’ll see.
  • The girl who normally wins this race wasn’t at the starting line when the race started. I saw her pass me in the first mile and was shocked she was behind me. She still won, and was third overall. I think she started behind everyone!
  • I love that the proceeds from this race benefit the seniors’ programs at the park district! It’s nice the money goes back in to the community!

*renamed the Frostie Bites Hot Chocolate Footrace 5K this year because of the sponsor

Training Week 279

By , February 22, 2015 6:38 pm

Highlight of the Week: A fantastic long run and a course PR at my 5K! And getting back on track with my mileage after vacation!

Week279

Monday | February 16, 2015: 12 m run (w/Kelly) + 10.1 m ride + teaching strength class
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 8°/8°, Time: 2:02:20, Pace: 10:12 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Bike Time: 39:11, Pace: 15.5 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, sweaty!
Strength: Body bars, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: okay
Tuesday | February 17, 2015: 5 m run (w/Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 15°/15°, Time: 48:37, Pace: 9:43 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: tired
Wednesday | February 18, 2015: rest
Thursday | February 19, 2015: 8.1 m run (first 7.3 w/Kelly) + teaching strength class x2
Loc: LSC, Time: 1:12:07, Pace: 8:54 avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: so thirsty/dry mouth
Strength: Medicine Balls and Boxing, Difficulty: Medium, Felt: good
Strength: Medicine Balls and Boxing, Difficulty: Easy, Felt: regretting going so hard in the first class, ha ha
Friday | February 20, 2015: teaching strength class + 6.3 m run (w/Dawn)
Strength: Boday Bars, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but tired (sleepy)
Loc: LSC,  Time: 1:02:08, Pace: 9:52, Difficulty: x, Felt: good, but tired (sleepy)
Saturday | February 21, 2015: 16 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 21°/26°, Time: 2:35:32, Pace: 9:43 avg, Difficulty: mostly easy, Felt: surprisingly good!
Sunday | February 22, 2015: Frosty Footrace 5K (+ 1 m WU)
Loc: Round Lake, Temp: 13°, Time: 22:58, Pace: 7:20 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: okay!

Notes:

  • The top of my ankle hurt a bit when I wore my running shoes in Mexico, and I thought it was because I got a pedicure that included a foot massage the day before I left. I noticed when I got back though, that the newest shoes I was wearing (in the newest model I have of the shoe) rub me a bit in that spot, especially with thicker, winter socks on. I’ve had to loosen all the laces on my right shoe only! Weird!
  • I had a little panic this week about the ultra on April 11, because, 1. I seemed to somehow forget about it. AGAIN.2. I realized I would run a lot more 20s and 22s for a marathon than I am for this ultra, and 3. I pushed the previous week’s long run to this Monday because of the weather and felt like a lame-o for it. But… I feel better this week. I keep reminding myself that I wrote a plan, and remembered I was running the ultra when I wrote it, that the ultra is for FUN, and that, yes, the weather SHOULD get better in March so longer runs outdoors are safer <— being super optimistic here.
  • My Saturday long run this week was fantastic. The weather was AMAZING – in the 20s the whole time and hardly any wind. What a treat!!! And I did something I would never do in the summer – left my fluids and food in a bag by my front door and only ran to it three times during the run. I just felt so lazy and didn’t want to carry anything! Ha ha. It worked well, minus my honey stinger waffle completely freezing!
  • Teaching four times this week after essentially not doing any strength training while on vacation? Yeah… not the best idea I’ve had in awhile. Follow that up with a long run and a 5K race? I am surprised those both went so well! Ha ha! (I’ll have the 5K race report published tomorrow!)

Link to Training Week 278

I knitted a scarf!

By , February 21, 2015 7:54 am

After I was done practicing the washcloth pattern I learned at Unraveled Yarn Shop, I was eager to start something different. Something someone might actually use!

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Like… what am I going to do with this? Ha ha – I think I will give it to Data to keep him warm. It seems silly to “waste” an entire skein on learning the basic skills of knitting, but I am happy I did it so that when I started my next project, it wasn’t a complete mess!

Who did I pick as my first victim? Muah ha ha, my snister! She has made me things in the past, and I’ve never been able to do the same for her… until now! I was really excited at the possibility of FINALLY being able to make her something.

So I picked out this seed stitch infinity scarf pattern, and asked Christina what color of scarf she needed – ruby red, or gray.

I went to the yarn shop to buy the yarn and pick their brains about the pattern – this would be my first time using more than one skein on a project, and I had no idea how to bring a new one in.

In fact, there is SO much I don’t know. Ha ha. When I walked in, the Cascade Yarns rep was there, and saw me come in with the orange yarn in the photo above. “That better be Cascade Yarn!” Um… what is that?

Funny enough, it was. And, that is the brand of yarn I ended up buying, in “Data” gray. Oops, I mean “charcoal” gray.

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I was super eager to get started! I wanted to have a bit done before I left for Mexico, and took the project with me!

Christina knew I was making it for her, so I sent her lots of progress pics (annoying, much?)!

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I know it’s dorky, but I was so excited to be making something for Christina for the first time, and couldn’t wait to get it to her (I wanted to make sure she could wear it when it was still cold out)!

I started the scarf on Saturday January 31st and finished it on Monday February 16th. I ended up making it longer than recommended in the pattern (mostly because the yarn was so thick) – well over 70 inches long! And I used almost all of the five skeins (or whatever they were called… not hanks… who knows)!

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We mailed it to my snister this Tuesday and she got it on Thursday. Yay yay yay! And she wore it to work on Friday! It looks great on her!

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Now, let’s see if she holds up to her promise:

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Ha ha!

I enjoyed making this even more than those silly washcloths, because it had a purpose – it was going to someone! The whole time I was knitting, I just couldn’t wait to get it to her!

So… what’s next? Steven asked me to knit him a hat. Eek! Can I do it? We shall see! I really want to get started on something new, soon – I miss it! After I drafted this, I found myself pursuing the yarn aisles of Hobby Lobby (OVERWHELMING!!!) and ended up getting another thick yarn to make a similar scarf for… me? Someone else? Mostly for practice! Next up, I DO need to learn how to use circular needles so I can make that hat, and maybe a blanket!

Playa del Carmen Día 5 (Tulum y Snorkeling)

By , February 20, 2015 4:31 am

I had a very short “must do” list for Mexico, that looked like this:

  1. Beach
  2. Ruins
  3. Snorkel or Scuba

We got the beach taken care of right away! Then it was on to the next two things!

Playa del Carmen is relatively close to the Tulum and Chichen Itza ruins. Before the trip, we were undecided on which to visit, but had a recommendation for Tulum. Tulum was 40 miles away (Chichen Itza was 112), located right on the coast (potential for water activities after seeing the ruins), and a cheap Colectivo ride away. We went with Tulum!

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At first we weren’t sure how to get there, but Steven did a bit of research and found out about Colectivo – a shared van that drops and picks people up along highway 307 between Cancún and Tulum (and beyond?). Cheaper than a taxi, and quicker than a bus… and the price was right at 40 pesos per person one way (about $2.70). AND – it gave us control over the schedule. I didn’t want to sign up for a tour and have to be on someone else’s schedule. This is my vacation, damnit!

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That doesn’t mean we didn’t get up early, though. Ha ha, that was our earliest day there! We had read online to get to the ruins before the tour buses showed up and the sun got too hot, and that was a good tip. We got there around 8:30 am, right after they opened, and got to enjoy the ruins a bit before the crowds arrived.

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The Colectivo dropped us off on the highway, then it was about a ten minute walk to the ruins site. You pay to get in (64 pesos), but I didn’t pay for a guided tour (and as it turns out, a lot of the English portions of the signs, explaining what things are, were rubbed away), so my only knowledge of what I was looking at was what I had read before the trip (and what I overhead English-speaking tour guides say, ha ha):

  • (I think) Tulum was the only walled Mayan city – tulúm is also the Yucatan Mayan word for wall.
  • Tulum was an important trading post, as it had access to land and sea routes.
  • Only the important peeps got to live in the walled city – the rest lived outside of it.
  • Yep. That’s all I knew.

Upon returning to the states, I read more about Tulum on wikipedia (where else?) which was more interesting for me to read, after being there.

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These pics make the space look kind of small, but if you check out this map, you’ll see it’s quite large!

We spent an hour or so walking around, which was just the right amount of time for me! Then we ventured out of there. The ruins have some touristy shops close by, but the city of Tulum is just down the highway, about 1.7 miles from the ruins, so we walked there to check it out. There was actually a paved path along the highway, the entire way!

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It would have been helpful to have data (the service, not our cat, ha ha) on my phone when we got to Tulum. Before we went to Mexico, I downloaded an “offline” map to my phone of Playa del Carmen (using the Google Maps app) but couldn’t get it to work for Tulum on our very limited wifi in the condo (I should note, the internet is very unreliable in Mexico, where we were). So… we weren’t quite sure where the town center was, and ventured off the highway too soon. I stopped at a little shop and asked in Spanish where all the restaurants and shops were. They kind of directed be back toward the highway, but said to go the opposite direction, back toward the ruins. Maybe that is what they thought we wanted?

Anyway. We eventually figured it out, and found some lunch,

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then split for the day, after. Steven and I wanted to walk around and find out about diving or snorkeling, and Gina, Steve and Luca were going to go to the beach.

And what Steven and I found out about scuba diving is that most of the places wanted to take us to dive in a cenote, and that most of the trips started at 8 am and ended at 1 pm – we had already missed them for the day.

The idea of getting up early the next day (when I knew we had an am excursion the following day, our last day there) was NOT appealing to either of us. And we weren’t sure if scuba-diving in a cenote was, either.

So we decided to hit up the beach, and see what we could find there for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Oh gosh. So we got a taxi, from the funniest old Spanish dude who didn’t speak much English at all.

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I asked him to take us to the beach (in Spanish), to which he asked “which one?” (makes sense to ask that…). I said, “no sé,” so he starts rattling off lists of names of local beaches… eek. I had no idea! We just told him to take us to the best one and that we wanted to snorkel, so he took us to El Paraiso.

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The first thing that happened when we walked up to the beach was a waiter from the local restaurant/hotel asked us if we wanted to pay to rent an umbrella or table (lots of beach clubs do this so you don’t have to haul your own stuff around). I actually told him we wanted to snorkel, and he took us over to this little table that we probably never would have noticed, and we found out a snorkel adventure was leaving in 10 minutes!

Ha ha, again, these conversations were all in Spanish, so that meant I was only getting the gist of them (but I felt comfortable with that). I knew we were paying about $30 a person to go out on the boat and snorkel, and that we would be gone just over an hour. The woman telling us about it mentioned something about a ride then snorkeling,  but I wasn’t following, and didn’t figure it out until we were out on the boat.

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Oh my gosh! They took us right by the ruins! That was so darn cool! I actually thought it was neater to see them from the sea, than to see them up close, in person!

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And after that, they took us over to the reef, which is apparently part of the second largest in the world. For about 35 minutes we followed our guide around (trying hard not to swim over the coral, or choke in too much salt water) while he showed us different things.

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See the blue fish between the corral and rock? I kept thinking “Dory! I found you!” Ha ha. 

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I brought the GoPro just for this, and am so happy I did! We took a ton of underwater pics when we were snorkeling!

The snorkel trip was just what we wanted – short and sweet, and we got to see some corral and fish! Steven and I were so happy we stumbled across it (thanks to that taxi driver)!

We had a few drinks and a snack on the beach (it felt so funny to be ordering from a waiter, wearing only a bikini, ha ha!),

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before we took a taxi back in to town then rode Colectivo back to the condo (and yeah, the taxi ride cost more than for both of us to ride Colectivo home)!

We got to the condo (after saying hi to Pedra, of course),

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and it rained for a few minutes. That was the only time we had “bad” weather while we were there. And that certainly wasn’t bad!

Steven and I went out for dinner and got something we hadn’t had in awhile (since arriving to Mexico, I mean) – Middle Eastern food!

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Ha ha. So, the owner of the restaurant was sitting out in front of the shop with his family and all these people would come up to chat to him while we were there. Every once in awhile, he would get up, walk to the back of the restaurant and turn up the radio really loud – which was miserable – I couldn’t hear Steven, and it wasn’t coming in. Then as soon as the owner sat back down, our waitress would turn it down. This went back and forth while we were there, and made us giggle (and grateful the waitress kept turning it down).

We also stopped for gelato/sherbet, after!

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It was fun when we got back and got to hear about Gina, Steve and Luca’s adventures for the day! They ended up on the beach really close to the one we went to. I still need to figure out where it was, exactly – that would be funny if they were somehow on the same beach, or in our beach pics from the boat!

The Oscars this year

By , February 19, 2015 6:28 am

The Oscars are this Sunday! At this time last year, Steven and I were prepping for our first ever Oscars Party, and had seen quite a few of the films nominated for best picture.

This year? Um… chirp.  We’ve seen ONE of the films nominated for best picture (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and yeah, definitely not having a party!

I didn’t feel like planning something the same month we were gone for a week for vacation, and didn’t even know if Steven would be in town this weekend. He is going to be in town, so our grand plans are to make vegan ribs and nachos and watch as much of the Oscars as we feel like (maybe with a break at 8:00 pm when Downton Abbey comes on, ha ha).

Do you plan on watching the Oscars? Have you seen many of the films nominated?

Last year was the first time I watched every film nominated for best picture (some in the theater, some at home). Those films typically aren’t the ones I gravitate to in the theater… or always enjoy. I do want to watch all of this year’s list, at some point!

Playa del Carmen: Días 3 and 4 (La Playa!!!)

By , February 18, 2015 5:02 am

Maybe I should have saved this post for tomorrow, when my area has a high of 3°F for the day (9°F today isn’t much better!)? Ha ha! That’s okay, I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing since we got back – looking at vacation pics for virtual warmth!

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Our weekend in Playa del Carmen was all about the beach (la playa)! Each day started with a run:

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Food consumption:

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And meandering over to the beach:

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I did bring my GoPro to Mexico! More on that in later posts!

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You can’t really tell in any of the pics, but I wore these bikinis (tops here, bottoms here) while in Mexico, and really liked them (I bought them just for this trip – looking forward to wearing them this summer, too!). 

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One day we got crazy, and went to the pool, after we got back from the beach. I was amused by the fact that I was working on knitting a super warm scarf, while wearing a bathing suit:

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This is exactly what I wanted most of the vacation to be like – totally chill (ha, relaxing, not the temps). No schedule. Lazing about. Getting to things, eh, whenever we got to them. Perfection.

We did have a few adventures other than the beach. On Saturday night, we went to Babe’s, a Swedish owned restaurant with a specialty for Thai noodles and “Asian European” cuisine. I got the recommendation for Babe’s from a super enthusiastic coworker, who said it’s the best Thai food she’s ever had.

I used my Spanish a bit there (with a lot of mistakes, but more on that in a later post!) which was fun. And I did find out that almost all of the dishes had fish sauce in them, so they made a special dish for me and Steven!

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That was not the highlight of dinner though. The first was this Daiquiri:

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Then Steven and Gina working on this masterpiece:

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And Luca asking if he could use my phone to take pictures. So I gave it to him and asked him to take a picture of the four of us.

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Oh my gosh, we were laughing so hard. And that got the attention of the ladies at the table next to us who did come over and take a picture of us five – now it’s one of my favorite pics!

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We had a fun time at Babe’s.

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And after, Steven got what he said was the best thing he ate the whole time in Mexico – a Marquesita – a sort of crepe (made with flour and milk), cooked on the spot, then filled with something sweet or savory of your choice (Steven chose Nutella).

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And our wild adventure the following day (Sunday)? Prepare for this folks, I party hard.

Laundry.

Ha!

Steven and I packed with the intent of doing laundry while we were there. And there was a laundromat right by our place! Gina and I bought soap on Saturday and headed over on Sunday to check out the laundromat… only to find it closed. Drat! I spoke in Spanish to the lady at the smoothie shop next door to ask here if she knew of another – no luck!

But! We had passed a laundry place the day before, that was also really close. Would it be open? Ding ding, it was

And. AND! I didn’t even have to wash it! I gave my instructions in Spanish (lavar en frío, secar en delicado), with some use of writing on a notepad too, and paid, with instructions to pick it up at 8:00 pm.

GUYS. I paid the equivalent of, like, $4 USD for someone to wash all these clothes (my bag only) and fold them so nicely!

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Does that service exist in the states at that price?! Gina and I were a bit excited!

Oh, and since you can’t have too much Mexican food (wait! you CAN!), we made it for dinner that night, too! It wasn’t getting old to me… yet…

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Don’t worry, we saw Pedro on the weekend, too. Only, we figured out she might be a girl, and re-named her Pedra. After that day, every time we left the condo, Luca would call for her. So darn cute (and super funny to me to imagine what the locals were thinking to hear a little boy call “Pedro! Pedro! Where are you?!”)!

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We bought her some cat treats and started carrying them with us (just like I did in Rome, ha ha). She would see us and come running to us! It’s dorky, but it made me miss Data a bit less (and feel guilty for giving another cat some love at the same time)!

Sunwarrior: My protein powder of choice (sponsored post)

By , February 17, 2015 6:23 am

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine. I received ten Sunwarrior products to try (including a shaker bottle). This post contains UTM links but my only compensation was the ten products.

Hey! How can the word “choice” and phrase “sponsored post” be in the same title? Because I have been using Sunwarrior protein powder since a friend introduced me to the brand in March of 2011! At the time, I had tried several vegan protein powders and didn’t care for any of them. I kind of had my doubts when she made me a smoothie with Sunwarrior in it, but lo and behold, it had a good flavor and blended well!

Steven and I have been using Sunwarrior ever since, and we always buy the Classic Protein Powder in vanilla. I’ve been using it a lot lately. I’m working on toning up a bit, and one thing I’ve done is replace one carb-y snack a day with a protein shake.

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Working at it! A ways to go!

In fact, I was actually drinking a smoothie with Sunwarrior protein powder in it when I got the email about reviewing Sunwarrior products! Ha ha!

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Yeah, I don’t typically do product reviews (see here), but I wanted to try some of the other protein powder flavors, without making a huge investment in a big bag of it just to discover I didn’t care for it! Of course, this was before I saw that the sample pack I received is available for purchase on their website, too (along with a few other sample packs)! <— Good to keep in mind if you want to check it out.

I’m not sure why I hadn’t heard of Sunwarrior before my friend introduced it to me four years ago. Maybe because they were a bit overshadowed by another vegan protein powder company whose products I did not like and will remain nameless? Ha ha.

Sunwarrior has exactly what I want – vegan, plant-based protein powders THAT TASTE GOOD. But they have a lot of other credentials too – raw, gluten free, non-GMO, and their products are (from here) “clean and completely free of solvents, radiation, artificial flavors, artificial preservatives, artificial colors, soy, yeast, wheat, or added sugars.”

I didn’t realize this until I got my sample packet (see below), but they have a lot more products than I knew about (more than just protein powder!).  Entire lines focused on recovery, endurance, and immunity.

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I was mostly in it for the protein powders (CHOCOLATE!!!) but it was a treat to try the other products, as well. My full review is in the images below, but my overall conclusion is that I definitely enjoyed the chocolate protein powder and will be buying some. The other stuff was decent, but I can’t see myself using it on a regular basis.

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I enjoyed the taste of the Warrior Blend protein powders, but not as much as the Classic, hence, less stars, and the “maybe.”

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Supplements aren’t my thing, so I don’t see myself buying any of these. If I were though, I would definitely pick peppermint Ormus over the natural one. And NO, no way to the Liquid Light. I almost threw that back up.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine. I received ten Sunwarrior products to try (including a shaker bottle). This post contains UTM links but my only compensation was the ten products.

Playa del Carmen: Día 2 (Cozumel aka “Cozuhel”)

By , February 16, 2015 9:40 am

Day 2, first things first, let’s get a run in!

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Yay! First run in a foreign country, for both of us!

The person who rented our condo to us is a runner, so when Gina inquired about the condo and told him we are runners, he gave us some great recommendations for where to go! The first place we checked out was Playacar – a gated resort community that was just south of our condo, and easily accessible from the bike path that runs along 10th Avenue. The community was one big loop, and there and back was just about 5 miles (oops, should I be putting that in kilometers?! ha ha!).

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We had plans for the day but weren’t in too much of a hurry when we got back from our run (ahhh, I love vacation pace). The night before, we decided to go to Cozumel. I had said “Let’s get Cozumel over with.” Ha ha. I felt obligated to go there. Not by anyone in our group, but by many people I told we were going to Playa del Carmen – “It’s so close to Cozumel! You have to go!” Okay, then!

The walk along 5th Avenue to the ferry included a lot of people calling out at us to buy things, Steven and Steve deciding to get hats at one of the shops (after some hardcore bargaining, ha ha),

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And note, Luca’s new hat from Walmarto

me and Steve stopping to buy ferry tickets (they seemed to be leaving every hour, on the hour), Steven and Gina doing some Jeep rental bargaining, and a stop for lunch, then we made our way to the ferry.

Ahh, the ferry. El barco.

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El barco del barfo.

The day we chose to take the ferry from Playa del Carmen to San Miguel de Cozumel was probably the windiest day we were in Mexico. Something about the wind shifting direction? The waves were a bit… intense.

As was the ride over.

Just watch the horizon line in that video – see how much it moved? The whole trip was like that. Did I mention we went right after lunch? Gah. Pair that with being a bit enclosed with not much air and a live band… wow. Most of my senses felt assaulted. That ride (about 40 minutes, eek!) could NOT get over fast enough.

Luckily, none of us left any lunch behind on the ride over… but I did feel a desperate need to get something like Gatorade to drink when I got off (it didn’t help I woke up with a bit of a headache that day!).

So yeah. The boat ride was rough.

We didn’t have plans on Cozumel. It’s known the for diving and snorkeling, and as a cruise stop, with a touristy shopping area. There are a ton of excursions you can do – ATVs, swimming with dolphins, and so on. But it was our first full day there. We didn’t really feel like that. We wanted to explore.

Steven and Gina had spoken with someone in Playa del Carmen who swore he’d get us the best price for a Jeep in Cozumel. Better than any price we could get on Cozumel. We suspected he might be full of it, so one of the first things we did when we got off the boat was talk to someone about renting a Jeep. Yep, as we suspected, the price was the same on Cozumel (and better after using the bargaining tactic of walking away). Ha ha.

But, no Jeep. We decided to just walk a bit, on foot. We visited a few shops, found a bakery,

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It was Gina, Steve and Luca’s first time at a Mexican Bakery! I can’t believe we’ve never taken them to the one by our house! It’s so fun – you grab a tray, and some tongs, and load up your plate. Stuff never tastes like you think it will. As a general rule, things that look sweet, aren’t, and things that look bready, might be sweet. It’s so fun to try it all and see what turns out to be your favorite! This would not be our only bakery trip in Mexico!

and wandered to a few more shops. I think we were all a bit “this is it?!”

We probably should have done a bit more research before going. Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have been so eager to “get it over with.” But! Things started to look up!

The boys found a cigar shop to check out, and while we waited, we noticed we were right next to a bar/restaurant, so why not order some drinks?

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We didn’t even look at the menu. Just asked for two piña coladas. Um. We were pleasantly shocked when they came out. Wow. And the price? I think less than $4 USD each!

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Luca had a snack too (we helped).

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Um. Oops. Maybe that wasn’t a good idea for the Barco del Barfo ride back…

Wait! One last pic to prove we were there!

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I was feeling all optimistic about the boat ride back. We were in a lower part of the boat, and it was enclosed and air conditioned. “Hmm, maybe this will be better? Less waves since we’re not so high up? And not as stuffy! No band, either!”

Errr… um. Nope. Two in our group fell victim to the Barco del Barfo. Why’d we eat all those fries again?!

Ha ha. This post makes it seem like Cozumel, which Gina aptly renamed Cozuhel (jajajaja), was a bust. But it wasn’t! The boys got the cigars they wanted, and Gina and I found drinks the size of our heads. And, on the way back in Playa del Carmen, we noticed how beautiful the beach looked to the south of the pier, so we ventured to check it out.

Someone had told me that the beach there gets better as you go south of the main area (probably closer and closer to Playacar, and even in Playacar), and they were right!

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We decided then to go back the next day and be beach bums!

There was a bit of goofing around on the way home.

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Our friend from the day before! We decided to name “him” Pedro.

And I had to stop to get this!

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Since we had Mexican food for lunch, we decided to get something different for dinner – pizza! Which we ate on the rooftop patio!

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Apparently we missed all the excitement up there – after dinner, Steven and Steve went back up to smoke a cigar and a bachelor party was up there! Don’t worry, Gina and I were being equally as exciting – we were chatting and I was knitting. Ha ha.

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