Monday, June 18, 2018

Triathlon Training : Week 4

Ok everyone- it's week four of training and I think I'm officially obsessed with biking.  This week, I managed to go three times, and I wish that I could go even more!  It's such a fun activity to do in the summer, and it's becoming more thrilling and enjoyable to me rather than just scary.  I guess that's a good thing to feel at this point in training, right?

Here's how my week of training went, which included my first brick workout, a new distance record for biking, and my first experience with biking in traffic!

Monday

12.5 mile bike
This was such a great bike ride!  I can really tell the difference in my comfort level now, because I was able to work on taking my hands off the handles (something I was terrified to do just last week), and worked on speeding through turns instead of braking.  Plus- it was my longest bike ride ever, and is the distance of my race (12 miles)

3.25 mile run
For some reason, Dan thought it would be fun to go running after the bike ride, so this was my first ever "brick" workout!  We ended up doing a little over a 5k.  It was crazy how my legs felt like jello when I started out...definitely have to work on this transition.


Tuesday

BarreAmped Express / 45 minutes
I had a wine club event at the Pittsburgh Winery after work, so I decided to sneak in a barre workout on my way there.  The class was really good and had me shaking the whole time!  During the ab portion, we put the little barre balls under our butts and did ab exercises while balancing on it.  It made it a lot harder but also more fun!  I was also happy to have Alexa doing this workout with me, so it was all around a great night.


Wednesday

Rest Day!
I was actually planning on swimming and made my way to the gym, but it started to storm as soon as I got there and the pool was closed for the day.  Bummer!! 


Thursday

7 mile run
I met up with Steff after work to go for a run around the lake. It was super warm and sunny out, but not much humidity, so it actually felt really great out.


Friday

Rest Day!


Saturday

1050 yard swim
I made it out to the pool in the afternoon to go for a 20 minute swim.  I was lucky to have an entire lane to myself, and had a great swim.  It's crazy to me how I'm able to swim this far non-stop now when a few months ago I could barely even do 100 yards with breaks at each end!

6.2 mile bike
Dan and I met up with my friend Amanda and her boyfriend Daniel for my first street riding experience!  We started out at the Millvale Riverfront Park, and made our way to Allegheny City Brewing.  It was such a fun ride and wasn't scary at all to go on the road.  Plus, the beers at ACB made the trip well worth it!


Sunday

2.5 mile run
I had a few things to do in the morning, so I was happy to have an excuse to wake up early and get in a run before it got too hot out.  Even at 7AM, it was already sunny and humid, so I took this run nice and easy!  I got to see a deer super up close and personal, and spotted a few cute bunnies and ducklings as well.

12 mile bike
Once again, Dan and I decided to bike for beer!  We were meeting up with my family for a late lunch at the Hofbrauhaus, and decided to park about six miles away in Homestead.  There's a trail that runs that entire distance (and is the start of the GAP trail!) so it was a great ride!  Plus, refueling with amazing German beer is always a good idea.


Do you like to bike commute?
What were your workouts like this week?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Top Five Friday : Blue Skies

Well guys, it looks like it's going to be one of those perfect weekends!  There is not a cloud in the forecast, and I'm planning on taking full advantage of this weather.  I see a lot of bike rides, SUPing, dog walks, and outdoor runs in my future!  Maybe even a summery cocktail on the hammock?  Who knows!  I hope you all enjoy your weekend, and hopefully there is sun in your forecast as well.

Here are my favorites from the week!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five


Song

Ariana Grande - No Tears Left to Cry
I think that I found my official summer jam!  I absolutely LOVE this song and blast it when it comes on the radio.  Speaking of Ariana Grande- have you guys been following her whirlwind relationship with the guy from SNL?  $100,000 engagement ring after a few weeks of dating.  Celebrities..they're just like us.


Podcast

Need Suggestions!
Unfortunately, this week I don't have any new podcasts to recommend!  I feel like I'm in a rut with them and don't really feel excited to listen to new episodes lately.  If you have a show you really like to listen to, please let me know in the comments!


Product

Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun
I'm one of those people that doesn't really naturally tan.  For one, I usually burn immediately, and for another I slather myself is sunscreen constantly to avoid said burn.  So, for the last few years, I've been using various sunless tan products to make myself look a bit more lively in the summer.  I noticed a friend with a gorgeous tan at a party the other day, and she told me it came from this product!  I immediately bought it, and am in love with it.  You get an immediate color pay off, but it looks very natural, and doesn't leave your skin feeling sticky or smelling bad.  Plus- you can buy it at the drugstore so it won't kill your summer budget.


Random

First Garden!
For the first time, Dan and I planted a garden at our house!  For the past few years, we kept visiting nurseries and home improvement stores, but ended up going home empty handed every time.  This year, Dan did some research about different plants, and we finally picked some up.  We ended up getting a few perennials (azaelea and hydrangea) along with some annuals (inferno, impatien).  Along with a truckload of mulch, our front yard got a lot more curb appeal and I love it.


Do you take TV breaks during summer?
Who do you pick to win the French Open??

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Triathlon Training : Week 3

Week three is now in the books for triathlon training!  With the big race only 2 short months away, it's starting to feel real. While I'm starting to feel more confident in my ability to actually finish the race, I'm still anxious about trying something new.  Training has been a ton of fun, though, so if nothing else- I've enjoyed the experience!

Here's a look at how my third week of training went-

Monday

1500 yard swim
This was my first swim where my average pace was under 2:00/100 yard (I snuck right under at 1:58!).  My plan for this was to swim easy for 10:00, then alternate 100 yards swimming hard with 100 yards easy for 800 total yards, then cool down until I hit 30:00.


Tuesday

Strength / 1 hour
I took a class at Beat Fitness, which is a boot camp/circuit-style class.  There were four different stations, and each station had two exercises.  We would do three 3:00 sets with a 30 second rest in between each set, for a total of 12 sets.  The exercises were all really fun and hit different muscle groups- dumbbell row, deficit lunge, bar row, weighted club swings, ski erg/rower, sit-ups, toe touches, and lateral lunges.  Another interesting aspect of the class was that we did the exercises barefoot, which made it even more challenging!  I really liked the class and the upbeat atmosphere, so I'll definitely be back.


Wednesday

 5 mile bike
After work, Dan and I went over to North Park for a loop around the lake.  This was my first time doing a full lap around, which I've always been a bit afraid of because at one point, there's only a small pedestrian lane and bikers ride out on the road.  Plus, it gets a bit hilly which means I'll be going faster!  Dan gave me a challenge of not braking on the downhills, but I ended up surprising myself by feeling completely comfortable the whole time!  My overall pace was a lot faster than usual, so I was really proud of myself for this ride.

Thursday

Rest Day!


Friday

1000 yard swimming
This swim felt really great!  I went after work, and the entire pool was pretty much empty.  I was able to swim non stop and added in a few sprints in the middle.

Saturday

10 mile run
I woke up nice and early to run with my run squad at the soon-to-open Pro Bike and Run at North Park!  There was an run organized by the store with lots of different course options, and we chose to do a lake loop with Irwin Road added on.  We had a mix of road and trail, and had a great run as always!  The miles always fly by when I run with those girls.

2 hour hike
After the run, Dan and Selma wanted to get outside too, so we went to recently re-opened Fall Run Park.  It was my first time there, and I loved it!  The trail was beautifully maintained, and the creek/waterfall was gorgeous.  I'll definitely be back. 

 

Sunday

1.5 hour SUP
Dan's dad was visiting for the weekend, so we all went down to the lake for kayaking and SUPing.  It was an overcast, slightly chilly day, so we were pretty much the only ones on the water.  It was a lot of fun!


What new experiences have you tried lately?
Are you a water person?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Reading Lately #4

Lately I've been going through a reading phase.  This usually happens when I'm taking the bus a lot, because it's the best way to pass time (or at least feels more productive to me than watching Netflix).  It seems like I'll go through one of these phases, add a bunch of library books to my Overdrive queue, then have them all become available at the same time, with only 2 weeks to get them read.  Does that happen to anyone else?

So, today I wanted to share what I've been reading lately!  With so many books on my list (and being kind of a slow reader), I've adopted a system of only reading books that I like through the first chapter.  If it's not catching my attention, I move on to the next one on my list.  With that being said, you'll notice that I mostly only have good things to say about all of the books.  If you're looking for good summer reads, I would highly recommend all of these (except maybe Deliverance...a bit dark). 


Deliverance - James Dickey

This was one of the books on the Times Best Novels list, and I honestly didn't know much about it.  Funny enough, right after I finished, I started seeing lots of references to the novel.  This was a pretty easy read, with a few graphic and intense scenes.  It kind of scares me away from ever wanting to go on a kayaking trip though!  


Flat Broke with Two Goats - Jennifer McGaha

One of my favorite genres to read is autobiographies, and this one is always in the "most popular" section of my library's Overdrive.  Without knowing anything about it, I just checked it out and jumped right in.  The story follows a husband and wife who lost everything because of some bad financial decisions, and end up living in a cabin in the woods and pick up two goats (among various other farm animals).  The book is a very easy read with lots of interesting stories, and I love how the author sprinkles in recipes at the end of each chapter to tie together what she just talked about.


Almost Missed You - Jessica Strawser

I actually wanted to read this last year, after reading about it on Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Summer Reading Guide.  The premise drew me in right away- a seemingly perfect couple go on a vacation, where the husband ends up kidnapping their child and the wife has no idea what secrets he's hiding.  The story jumps around timelines and narrators, but it's really easy to follow (thanks to a relatively short list of characters).  While the ending isn't jaw-dropping and the novel doesn't have too many twists, it's an easy read and fun book.


The Selection - Kiera Cass

I found out about this book from the podcast by Young House Love, and when it was described as the Royal Wedding meets The Bachelor I had to check it out.  The story follows a society years in the future after America becomes a new land with royalty and a new caste system.  The royal family puts a call out for young women to enter "The Selection" to get the chance to marry the prince.  We follow a feisty main character who is caught in a love triangle.  Since this is a series, we are left with a major cliff hanger at the end, and I'm eager anticipating my turn with the book!


Born a Crime - Trevor Noah

Another great autobiography!  This one follows comedian Trevor Noah's childhood living in South Africa during apartheid.  Since his mom was black and his dad was white (which was illegal), he was-as the title suggests-born a crime.  The stories he tells are both horrifying and hilarious at the same time, and he takes on such an intense subject matter in a light-hearted way.  This is SUCH a great read, and I highly suggest it.  Plus- the book is being made in to a movie, and Trevor is working on a second book!


You - Caroline Kepnes

Honestly, this book is REALLY creepy and made me feel uncomfortable pretty much the entire time.  We follow Joe, who meets an aspiring writer at the book store where he works.  What starts out as a simple Google of her name turns into stalking and there are deadly consequences.  The book has so many insane moments that made me question encounters that I've had in my life, but I still couldn't put it down.  Apparently the book is now being turned into a movie, which I think would be interesting to see how some of the narrative details can translate to screen.


What should I read next?
What is your favorite genre? 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Triathlon Training : Week 2

Week two of training is officially in the books!  I hit a few milestones this week during training, in both my longest swim and longest bike ride.  Since I don't have much experience with either, pretty much every week is going to be a new PR!  It's been so much fun training so far, and I love the mixture of all the different activities.  

Here's a look at how my week of workouts went:

Monday

4 mile bike
I went out for a quick nighttime bike ride with Dan.  It was great and nothing too exciting happened!  We did get to see a pretty sunset, though :)

 

Tuesday

Rest Day!

 

Wednesday

4 mile run
This was such a hot and horrible run!  I was definitely struggling the entire time and took a few walk breaks.  Still adjusting to that heat, but I'm trying to remember how awful the winter was. That helps me not complain too much about the heat.

1425 yard swim
My plan was to swim for 30:00, which is my longest swim ever!  Every 500 yards I would take a quick break to walk a lap of the pool, but otherwise I swam nonstop the entire time.  I was really proud of myself for this swim! 


Thursday

Rest Day!


Friday

4.11 mile run
If you ever want to run early in the morning- make plans with friends!  I planned out a run with Jessie earlier in the week, and by the time I woke up on Friday morning the last thing I wanted to do was go for a run.  But, I couldn't ditch her, so I complained a bit and got out there.  The weather was pretty cool but humid, but by the end we were both happy to have a run out of the way.  If it was up to me, I would have gone back to sleep and then probably skipped my run later in the day!  Yay for friends!


Saturday

8 mile run
Once again I got out of bed early for a run in the humidity by making plans with friends.  I ran with Jessie and Maddie for 8 miles along the river (and ran into speedy Annette and Crystal!).  It was great to catch up with both of them and enjoy all the hungover people in their boats getting ready for the Kenny Chesney concert.


Sunday

10 mile bike
This was my first double digit ride, and it was so much fun!  I basically did the same route as my run (plus two miles), and it was a perfect day out.  I practiced standing up while pedaling up hills and riding through rough terrain.  I had my mom and Dan along with me too, so it was a great ride all around.

1 hour Barre
In the evening (after doing some gardening) I went to a local studio for a barre restore class.  We did about 45 minutes of barre work (working the core, arms, butt, and legs in different segments) then 15 minutes of stretching.  It was a great way to end the week!


Do you like to bike ride?
Do you run with friends?

Friday, June 1, 2018

Top Five Friday : Change is Coming

It's the weekend!  I love short weeks, and this one is even shorter because I'm at home today to get new windows installed.  Yay for home ownership!  This was kind of a stressful week with some big projects going on at work and a vendor meeting that I was in charge of, but luckily everything went pretty well.  Now I'm looking forward to spending more time outside, and hopefully getting in some gardening, and overall relaxation.

Have a great weekend!

(also, just about missed this, but HAPPY JUNE!!)

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five


Song

Road Trip Playlists
I'm a big fan of all of the pre-made playlists on both Amazon Music and Spotify, and lately I've been listening to a lot of their "road trip" playlists.  They're also perfect for listening to during work or on a run, and I don't even have to worry about selecting a good mix!  One of my favorites is Classic Rock Road Trip, which has over an hour of fast and slow rock songs. 


Podcast

The Habitat
I recently found out about this podcast, which follows a group of astronauts who are living in a controlled habitat in Hawaii to prepare for life on Mars.  The group has to stay inside for a year, and the podcast is a set of recordings that they make.  There's drama (as to be expected) as well as a bit of romance.  The episodes are really easy to listen to and each one has a different theme about life in the Habitat.


Product

I don't typically blow dry my hair, especially in the summer, so I'm always looking for good air dry products to use.  In this humidity, my hair can get pretty frizzy and messy, so I was hoping that this product would help out.  The verdict- I love it!  Not only does it help get knots out easier and make it easier to brush, but it somehow makes my hair look sleek and freshly washed when it's dry.  There's also a light scent when you use it that also smells clean, so overall I'm a fan.   


Shows

Spring/Summer Break
This summer, Dan and I decided to take a break from shows and have a little Netflix/Hulu sabbatical.  There are some outdoor projects that we want to work on, some trips planned, and want to spend more time outside in general.  So- no show updates for me for a while!


Random

French Open
One week into the second Slam of the year and there's already so much drama and action! Unfortunately I haven't been able to watch any matches live (time zone / work problems) but hopefully I can catch some this weekend.  On the women's side, I'm pulling for Halep (and of course Serena, even if she doesn't seem fully back to her regular level yet.  But WOW that superhero outfit and comeback yesterday!!).  For men, it's not as exciting to follow since it seems destined for Nadal to win again (or at least make his way with no problem to the finals).  That's the beauty of tennis though- you never know what'll happen!


Do you take TV breaks during summer?
Who do you pick to win the French Open??

Monday, May 28, 2018

Triathlon Training : Week 1

Ok everyone- it's official..I'm training for my first triathlon!  Not going to lie- I'm kind of terrified and very intimidated.  I'm still not a great swimmer, and I'm learning to be comfortable on my bike.  But, I know how to run, so I'm already 1/3 of the way there, right??

I decided on a local sprint triathlon in August, so training starts now.  There are a few good things about this race- the swim is in a pool, and the course is right by my house so I can practice the bike and run as much as I want.  I have about 11 weeks until race day, so it's time to get myself in gear!

I'm following a beginner triathlon plan, and will also be training for a half marathon in the middle of July.  Should be interesting to mix the two, and I'll be sure to talk more about my plans for both sometime soon.  For now, here's how week one of tri training went!


Monday

1 hour SUP
Honestly, my plan for the day was to go for an easy swim.  But, the weather was beautiful and Dan wanted to go out to the lake with Selma, so I changed up my plan and we did some paddleboarding and kayaking!


Tuesday

3 mile bike
For this ride, I stuck around my neighborhood and did a nice loop around.  I'm working on getting comfortable with going faster, so today my goal was to not brake going down hills.  It was definitely scary for me and I got up to 25 MPH (super fast for me) but it's a work in progress!

Barre/Yoga class
I went to one of my favorite classes via ClassPass for my second workout of the day.  Sadly, the studio is closing so this will be my last class with them.  It was a great one to end on- the barre portion was really challenging and worked every muscle, and the yoga flow had lots of balance and good stretches (my favorite).


Wednesday

Rest Day!


Thursday

4.75 mile run
This was the first time in a LONG time that I ran before work, and it was so great.  The weather was perfect (mid 50s and all sun) and I even remembered to bring water along!  I kept the pace nice and easy which ended up at around a 9:30 pace.  This was definitely one of those runs where everything clicked.


Friday

20 minute swim
I headed to the gym by my work to swim during lunch, and sadly it's the final day it'll be open!  Unfortunately the gym has to shut down, so I have to find a new place to go in the next few weeks (as you can tell I'm not having good luck with my favorite workout spots staying open).  On a positive note, I had a great swim and pushed myself to go non-stop for the entire 20 minutes.  I managed to get in about 900 yards, so I'm pretty happy with that!

1 hour SUP
I got out of work a little early thanks to the holiday weekend, so I grabbed Selma and headed to North Park for some paddling.  She was doing great for the first half, but quickly became bored and decided we should both go for a swim.  Fun times :)


Saturday

2.5 hour kayak
Dan and I headed up north to Moraine State Park for a nice kayak ride.  I've actually never been to the park before even though it's only about a 45 minute drive.  The lake is huge, so we barely got anywhere in 2.5 hours!  It was such a beautiful day and we had a great time though.  Definitely want to go back again soon.

5.25 mile bike
The weather was perfect when we got home, so I decided to go out for a quick neighborhood bike ride.  I kept it nice and easy and just enjoyed the great weather and all the pretty flowers and trees in bloom.


Sunday

7 mile run
Dan and I got up pretty early to get in a run before it got too hot out.  We did about 2 miles together then I did 5 by myself.  It was really humid out, and kept raining off and on.  I love to run in the rain, and it helped pick up my pace a lot.  My final two miles were both under 9:00- loved feeling some speed coming back.


Have you ever done a triathlon?? I need advice!
What's your favorite way to cross train?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Top Five Friday : Long Weekend Edition

Summa, summa, summatiiiime.  I hope that song is now stuck in everyone's head, because I am in full on SUMMER MODE, just in time for Memorial Day weekend!  The weather has been so beautiful lately and I've been enjoying outdoor time as much as possible the past week.  I'm looking forward to a relaxing and chill long weekend while I plan out my next adventure!  Let me know what your plans are, and enjoy!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five


Song

Everything Country!!
To me, country music is the perfect summertime music.  I love the messages of being outside and drinking a beer on the water (sounds like a perfect day to me!).  Some of my recent favorites are Zac Brown Band, Luke Bryan, and Florida Georgia Line.


Shows

 Westworld
Once again I am way behind the times, but I'm finally beginning my quest through the wild world that is Westworld.  I'm still early on and keep hearing that I will be SHOCKED by the ending, but I'm really enjoying it so far.  I have to admit that it's kind of giving me nightmares and making me question what's real and what's not.  That's normal, right?  As a bonus favorite- I've been loving listening to the Westworld podcast (by Shat On TV) to help explain some of the scenes and discuss random theories. Really entertaining and a perfect complement to the show.


Podcast

The Tennis Podcast
There are a number of tennis podcasts that I listen to, but this has emerged as my favorite.  For one, it's hosted by two Brits, so it's just fun to listen to.  Two- both of them have great personalities are are hilarious together.  And finally- the podcast is regularly updated (my main complaint with the other ones I listen to) so I know that after every tournament I'll get an update on what's going on in the world of tennis.  I'm especially excited to follow along during the French Open, because they typically do daily episodes to recap all the action! 


Random

French Open
Perfect lead-in to my next favorite- the French Open begins this weekend!  There are so many great matchups that I'm looking forward to, and this is sure to be a wild tournament.  Serena and Vika are both back on the women's side, and Maria is seeded for the first time at a Slam since her suspension.  On the men's side- will Sascha finally get some Slam success?  Will Rafa continue to dominate the clay?  Are Kyrgios, Djoker, and Stan fully healed?  I CAN'T WAIT!!


What are your plans this weekend?
Who do you pick to win the French Open??

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Scotland Highlights

Hi everyone!  Sorry for a bit of radio silence on the blog the past few weeks, but if you've been following me on social media, you know that I was on a bit of a vacation!  Back in August, I found a great deal on Groupon for a trip to Scotland and Ireland- two places on my dream travel list.  I have to say that both places exceeded my very high expectations, and I'm excited to share my trip and some pictures!

Today I'll be talking about Scotland, which was the first stop on our trip.  We flew from JFK to Edinburgh, where we picked up a rental car and set off for a 300-year farmhouse-turned-Bed and Breakfast nestled in the Carron Valley between the two biggest cities in Scotland (Glasgow in the west and Edinburgh in the east).

source
From there, we were able to venture out for day trips and beautiful drives throughout the Highlands!  It's definitely a trip that I'll always remember.  Here are a few of my favorite places that we got to see-

Edinburgh

Our first stop was to the capital of Scotland- Edinburgh.  The city feels very historic, and every time you turn a corner you're met with an old stone building or quaint alleyway.  We started out at the Edinburgh Castle, and made our way down the Royal Mile towards Arthur's Seat (which, sadly, we never got to hike, but it looks gorgeous!  Next time!!).


Along the way, we stopped at medieval armor shops, kilt factories, listened to bagpipers, popped into churches, and explored the various alleyways (or 'Close' as they call it).  We also got to see lots of Harry Potter shops, and the cafe where JK Rowlings apparently started writing the series!  One of my most beautiful streets in town (Victoria Street) is even said to have inspired Diagon Alley.



Stirling

Our Bed and Breakfast was really close to the town of Stirling, so we had to make a stop there! Like pretty much every town in the country, this one has a castle.  There is a saying that "He who holds Stirling holds Scotland" because of its important location (the River Forth starts in Stirling and flows straight to the North Sea/Atlantic Ocean) and gateway to the Highlands.   We explored the area after completing a Park Run in the beautiful Callendar Park, and stopped by Church of the Holy Rude, the old jail, and castle.



We went for a short hike up to an overlook with a beheading stone (!!!) and some cannons.  There was a beautiful view of the entire area, including the Wallace Monument.  I still haven't seen Braveheart, but I kept seeing monuments and statues for William Wallace, so it's on my queue.



St. Andrews

Next up was a drive to the eastern edge of Scotland, to the tiny University town of St. Andrews.  The town is famous for a few things- it is regarded as the "home of golf" and has one of the oldest golf courses in the world, and for the West Sands Beach.  If you've ever seen the famous running scene at the beginning of Chariots of Fire, that was filmed on West Sands Beach!  It was also featured in the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony...pretty cool.


I really liked the town- even though it was really tiny, there were tons of shops and pubs.  There are also lots of pathways and other beaches to explore, castle and cathedral ruins, and the University grounds.  We also found a brewery (St. Andrews Brewing) that had some great drafts!  I had the Crail Ale and really enjoyed it with a vegetarian Buddah Bowl.



Glencoe

The next day, we set off for the West and a drive through the Highlands!  Our end destination was the town of Glencoe.  While I was researching the trip, I came across the most incredibly beautiful pictures of mountains and lakes (pretty much exactly what I pictured when I thought of Scotland), and knew we had to stop there.  The town is kind of famous as well, because it's been used for filming- Harry Potter (Hagrid's home!), Skyfall, and the opening credits of Outlander.


It definitely didn't disappoint, and the drive there was amazing as well!  We got to go through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, and kept pulling over to take in the views.  Once we got into town, we went on a hike through An Torr, up to Signal Rock.  We ended up taking a wrong tour and accidentally trespassed on someone's farm (whoops) but it was really fun and beautiful!


As we drove towards Glasgow, we made a few other stops- the Castle Stalker (we stopped at the nearby cafe for a quick pick-me-up)


Kilchurn Castle (all ruins, surrounded by water, and required a quick hike through a field filled with Highland Cattle.  The parking lot is easy to miss and isn't marked, so be on the lookout!)


Inveraray Castle (gorgeous building with meticulous gardens, and the filming location of a castle in the show Downton Abbey)


After seeing all of the beautiful natural sites and having a wonderful drive, I was a little overwhelmed by Glasgow (Scotland's biggest city).  We came on a Sunday night, so I was expecting it to be a little quiet and dead, but it was just the opposite.  Monday was a bank holiday, so it seemed like everyone was out celebrating the beautiful weather.  There were so many people, and we were kind of exhausted from driving all over, so all I wanted was a quick meal and to go back to sleep.  We ended up going to Brewdog Dog House, which had some great beers and amazing Seitan burger.  I definitely want to give Glasgow another try when I'm not as tired!

Melrose Abbey

On our final day in Scotland, we took a trip south to the little village of Melrose to visit the famous Melrose Abbey.  This is a partially ruined monastery that was built in the 12th century, and (despite part of it being destoryed) is still in amazing condition.  There was a bell tower that we got to go up, and the heart of King Robert the Bruce is said to be buried on the grounds.  Just look at the meticulous details that are STILL prominent- can't even imagine how awesome this must have looked in its heyday!


Elsewhere in town, there were lots of cafes and coffee shops to visit. There was also a river walk that went across a historic bridge, which we enjoyed strolling along.  Side note- one of my favorite things about Scotland is the abundance of walking and biking paths.  It seems like they're everywhere, with detailed maps and lots of parking spaces so that we could pull over and explore.  People in general seemed really active, and I didn't really notice many indoor activities (movie theatres, bowling, malls, etc), but lots of things to do outdoors!  It's easy to understand why, with such a beautiful country.



There you have it!  The trip was truly incredible, and I don't feel like I could even capture the beauty of the place or even express how much I love it!  All I know is, I want to go back ASAP :)


Have you ever been to Scotland?
What's on your list of must-see countries/cities?
Have you seen a castle in real life before?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Week in Workouts [April 23-29]

Hi everyone!  What a week this was...I got to run my first race of the year and had a great trip with friends!  This was the race where I was originally planning on doing the full marathon, but doing the half was so much more fun.  Here's a look at how my week was and a quick recap of the race:

Monday

3 miles / 9:44 pace
I got to do this run with Dan!  We just went around the neighborhood, and ended up with a nice negative split run (our mile splits were 10:01, 9:41, 9:31.  Not bad!)


Tuesday

1200 yard swimming
I did another breathing workout for my morning swim.  Here's what it looked like-
200 yard warm up
200 yard with no breath at the wall
4x100 yard breathing every 4 strokes
4x50 sprint
200 yard cool down


Wednesday

Rest Day!


Thursday

3.30 miles / 9:10 pace
I was working from home for take your kid to work day (NO THANK YOU) and got to run at lunch.  It was such a beautiful day and I was just smiling and waving at everyone out in my neighborhood.  I did another unintentional progression run, with splits at 9:37, 9:18, 8:47 and 8:26.

Reformer Fusion / 1 hour
I made it to another reformer class, and this time there was a different instructor.  The class was fun again- we started with some yoga moves, then moved to the reformer, then finished on foam rollers.  We got to roll out, as well as do some core work using the roller (try doing a plank, putting your foam roller under your forearms.  SO HARD).


Friday

Rest Day!
I had plans to go for a bike ride, but of course it decided to rain all day.  Oh well!  I got some yard work done between rain, so still got in some exercise.

Saturday

 Rest Day / Travel Day
Early in the morning, Steff, Jessie, Maddie and I met up for cinnamon rolls and mimosas before setting off for Canton!  We went to the race expo to pick up our packets, then checked out a local brewery (Royal Docks- highly recommend) and then checking in to our Airbnb.  We stayed in and just had a blast hanging out, trying some Rose (#AllDay), singing karaoke, and just having good old girl time.


Sunday

2 mile warm up + 13.1 mile race / 9:49 pace
I can't hang like I used to, so getting up early for the race was a bit of a struggle.  I felt pretty awful the entire race, but luckily all of the girls kept me going!  I hung with them for 12 miles and then coasted in to the finish line while Maddie crushed her old PR by over 8 minutes.  It was a perfect ending to such a fun weekend!