Workout Recap 11/22-28

Things are getting back to normal here running and training wise.  This week is a holiday but that has never really gotten in the way of training for me.  Bonus, my sister in law is cooking thanksgiving this year so I can sleep in a little and run a little later than normal on Thursday!  Its the little things in life.  Saturday is also official mileage ramp up for marathon week which means its back to running with the running club!  Its been far too long since I’ve hung out with those guys.  Lets talk about the week.

Tuesday:  Regular run today 45 minutes, 3.77 miles average pace 11:54.  Yup that was pretty slow but that’s what my coach gave me and my body is still getting through this cold so the pace was perfect for me today.  I even did the run 10 minutes walk 1:30 which I think is going to be the perfect ratio for me.  Luckily I will have plenty of time to test that theory before the marathon and make adjustments if needed.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.  Extra stretches for the back, all that christmas decorating is working some strange muscles 🙂  Do you like my new shirt?!  I wish it glowed in the dark like the medal does!

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Wednesday:  Track workout today.  Lucky for me school isn’t in this week so I headed over to the track to get a change of scenery for once.  I had a rough time today with my hip so I only got in 2x800s at a 8:14 pace.  I tried to do a third but my hip was having none of it.  I headed back home and babied my poor little hip.  Yup 15 minute stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses plus lots of bio freeze!  Love that stuff.

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Thursday:  Have I mentioned I LOVE “winter” weather in the south.  Got to sleep in (well for a thursday) and get a run in before it was time to cook.  Super sunny but thank goodness it wasnt that hot!  Just a regular recovery run today with 4 miles at a super slow pace of 12 but its all good my body is tired.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses before heading out to the sister-in-laws for some turkey!!!

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Friday:  Rest day!!!  I of course went black friday shopping but guess what, this year even more stores had a the same sales (or better) online so I got all my shopping minus one person done online then headed to Home Depot at 6am.  It was great!  I got home and took a little nap with the pups then did Christmas decorating!  Ok so I already started earlier in the week but this was the “heavy duty” stuff.  I love Christmas time!  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night, bio freeze, KT Tape and an early bed time before my long run tomorrow.

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Saturday:  Today marks the longest run I’ve done since 2010!  14 miles on deck today with an average pace of 11:47.  Spoiler alert…I made it!!!  I ran the first 3 miles with the running group then started my run 10 min walk 1:30.  Around mile 9 my hips got super tight so I had to mix in some extra walk breaks but I ended with an average pace of 11:36!  Awesome right?!  I didnt think I was going to make it but mission accomplished.  I did my standard detox bath then brunch and a movie with Summer!  Fantastic Beasts was awesome…a little dark…but awesome.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

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Sunday:  Easy 4 mile shake out run with 5×20 second pick ups.  This really helped shake out the legs from yesterday.  Dont get my wrong, Im sore and tired but a quick easy run usually helps with that.  I even did the run at 10am!!!  Crazy time I know but I was tired but also needed to get a run in.  Hello cool weather can I keep you forever.  15 minutes stretching / yoga poses / foam rolling that night.

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Monday:  Back to traveling.  Im in South Padre this week for work with not a bad view if I do say so myself.  Rest day, although I was going to do a blogilaties video but I ate something at lunch that didnt agree with me at all so Im giving my body a little break instead.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.  This hip is going to get all the TLC these next few weeks!

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CHIME IN!!!  Did you cook for thanksgiving?  Do holidays mess up your training schedule?  Do you like things that glow in the dark?

Everything You Need to Know About a Day Trip to Champagne France

We have finally come to our last day in Paris.  We planned a nice relaxing excursion for our last day and this was one of the best days we had!  In all fairness all of our Paris trip was wonderful but tasting champagne IN champagne is extra special.

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I knew I wanted to do a day trip to a wine region when I originally decided on Paris for our trip but didn’t know what locations were close to Paris.  Luckily I work for an international company and during a training met someone from Paris!  She highly recommended Champagne since it was only an hour from Paris and its a quaint town to spend some time in.

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After a little research I found that Viator had the best tour options for the best price.  We landed on a semi-private tour (only 6 other people) with hotel pick-up.  On the morning of the tour the van picked us up right on time and we were off to Reims a city right outside Champagne.  We took a quick tour of the chapel there (which is very similar to Notre Dam) since we had a few minutes before our scheduled tour of Tattinger.  Once we got to Tattinger we watched a short video then began our tour of the cellars.

The cellars here are in old chalk mines and date back pre AD.  There were so many carvings in the walls with dates and it was just so surreal to be walking where people from other centuries have been.  Walking through the cellars we got a brief history on how champagne is made and the special process it takes to cork a bottle.  It was quite interesting to learn about actually, but I do love wine!  There is a guy who’s job is to rotate the champagne bottles to slowly bring sediment to the bottom.  I want that guys job!  I mean, tedious yes, but fun!

After we went through the cellars we came back up to the tasting room and had 1 glass of Tattinger’s signature champagne.  Fun fact, the best way to drink champagne is not in a flute but in a champagne glass similar to the one below.  These glasses are specifically designed to work air through the glass and bring up bubbles.  I was surprised because in the USA we drink out of flutes.  Who knew right?!

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Leaving Tattinger it was time to head to the countryside and visit some smaller champagne houses (thats what our guide called them).  Before we went to the second location we actually drove out to their vineyard and got to taste some grapes.  The white grapes are chardonnay grapes, I don’t remember what variety the red grapes were.  I don’t know why but I was expecting a very bitter inedible grape.  Boy was I wrong!  These grapes were sweet and delicious, and these were the rejects from the harvest.  Super bummer note right now, we missed seeing the harvest by a week!  Its not anything special but I’ve always wanted to see the harvest in action.  Its ok though the experience was great no matter what.

After visiting the vineyard we went to the champagne house and had lunch.  The food wasn’t anything amazing but it was warm and paired very well with the 3 different champagnes we had.  Now I hope I’m not the only one but I had no idea there were so many variations of Champagne!  We had by now 4 different glasses and each one had a unique flavor.  In my very limited champagne experience most of what I’ve had has tasted pretty similar to each other.  These we had in France each had their own distinct flavor just like wine does.  I shouldn’t have been surprised by that knowing what I do about wine but I was.  You learn something new every day!

After lunch we headed on to the 3rd and final house which is totally organic.  Personally I don’t really know what that means but apparently not many champagne houses do this nowadays so its more of a specialty champagne.  This house was my favorite mostly because they had an adorable border collie that sat by me and Joe almost the whole tour.  She must have know we missed our puppies back home.  With this champagne house we got to tour their vineyard as well and taste some of their grape “rejects”.  We then got to tour where they actually make the champagne.  Since the process had just started the day before the scent of fermenting grapes was very strong.  It was pretty cool actually.  I’ve never been to an in-process wine making cellar, so to see everything in action was fascinating.  My bad on not taking pictures but they had formulas written on the barrels and I didn’t want to look like I was stealing trade secrets.

Once the tour was over we got to taste 4 of this house’s champagnes.  By the end of the tour we had 8 champagnes and I’m still not a big fan.  Yup you read that right, I took a tour of champagne without really liking the drink.  Why?  Because, if you didn’t know, Champagne is a class of sparkling wine all of its own.  If you get a “champagne” from California (or anywhere else besides the champagne region) its actually a sparkling wine and cannot be called Champagne.  They take their grapes and distilling process very seriously.  So while sparkling wine is not my go to wine of choice, I still appreciate the history behind it.  I absolutely loved spending a full day out in the country soaking up some wine culture.  Bonus points that Joe loved it too!

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After the last champagne house, sadly it was time to head back to Paris.  I mean, sadly back to Paris, that’s a sentence I never thought I would write!  It was a beautiful day both in terms of weather and overall experience.  The best part was our tour guide was actually a certified sommelier so he had some really great insights to share about the whole champagne making process.  During our hour ride to and from Champagne he had a ton of interesting information and bonus gave us a great dinner recommendation!  I loved this tour and was so happy we decided to end our trip to Paris this way.  This tour I would recommend over Versailles as a day trip from Paris in a heartbeat.

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CHIME IN!!!  Do you like champagne?  Have you ever toured a wine region before?  What’s your favorite adult beverage?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day!!!  I hope you are spending time with the ones you love and are remembering all that you are thankful for this year.  I know I have a lot to be thankful for and wanted to share a little of that with you today!

Things I’m Thankful For:

  • The fact that I know I am saved (the big G-O-D, we’re pals)
  • Supportive Husband that lets me plan all these crazy vacations
  • Supportive family that is helping me grow my vacation planning business (check me out here, shameless plug)
  • Dream Come True Vacations for giving me the change to have a job I love and not “just a job”
  • A body that can handle all the stress I put it through with countless half marathons and now marathon training
  • 2 beautiful puppies that drive me crazy and keep me sane all at the same time
  • A roof over my head and 4 wheels to take me places
  • The means to live a life we enjoy
  • YOU!  Thank you for being here and giving me support and encouragement 🙂

This list could go on forever but those are my tops.  I hope you have a lot to be thankful for this year and remember that today is not just about eating delicious and fattening food but also taking time to be thankful.  Not everyone is as fortunate so to me its important to acknowledge that we are truly blessed.

Enjoy the day Friends 🙂

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Workout Recap 11/15-21

Now that the whirlwind of travel and races is over its time to get back to the beast that is marathon training.  Although apparently my coach forgot I was training for a marathon…whoops!  Good thing I reminded her!  I decided to train with the run/walk method since my hips give me so much trouble when building up the miles.  I think this will be easier on my body and still let me reach some time goals.  We shall see!!

Tuesday:  Today is still recovery mode so it was just a 20 minute walk to get the muscles moving and work out the tension.  Easy because that’s my walk to and from the bus stop to work!  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.  It hurt so good to get back on that foam roller.

Wednesday:  Rest day!  I am still so tired from waking up at 3:30am over the past 2 weekends my body would never have been able to wake up to run today anyway.  I have also been sleeping like crap so blah on all of that.  Still did 15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night because I kinda like it 🙂

Thursday:  I was scheduled to do a 40 minute shake out run today but I’m coming down with a cold and was up all night coughing 😦  I was much too tired to get up and running with respiratory crud is never recommended.  I slept that extra hour and a half and still woke up exhausted.  Poor body needs some rest people!  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that nigh.

Friday:  Another rest day and my cold is getting worse 😦  I’m exhausted and cant breathe and am now officially stressing about the mileage for marathon training.  My coach says since I ran 19 miles 2 weeks in a row I should be fine…but since I’ve never run a marathon before I’m still stressing.  Someone please tell me I’m not crazy so I can get some sleep!!!  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses tonight and bed early so I can try and get 6 miles in tomorrow morning.

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Saturday:  6 miles today and it was nice and uneventful.  A very chilly 40 degrees this morning and I’m so happy for the colder weather.  I had a massage after my run for much needed work on my legs.  We had 2 thanksgivings to go to today so it was a crazy busy day.  So busy I almost forgot to take a picture!  Our first fire of the season 🙂  Don’t be fooled though, we still have the AC on, this cold weather isn’t going to last long.

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Sunday:  Another 6 miles today but I made the bad decision of taking cold medicine and my anti-inflammatory  medicine.  I got 3 miles in and was so dizzy I called Joe to pick me up.  I was feeling great though and was doing well with the pick-ups I was doing (30 seconds with long rests in-between) but its always best to listen to your body when being dizzy could cause you to pass out or fall.  Not wanting either of those things to happen I went home and took a nice hot shower.  Too bad too because I went for a run at 8:30am and it was still cold!  Yay for cold weather meaning I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn all weekend long!!  After the shower it was christmas light time.  Don’t worry, this is only one of the buckets of lights we have.  Griswold status yall.

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Monday:  Back to blogilaties!  I’m glad because after these 2 back to back trips to Disney I can definitely see the difference having a strong core makes.  I’m looking at you Amy Fincher!!!  Last August when I went to Disney I was having such back pain I had to hobble back to the hotel room.  Now that I’ve been doing core 2-3 times per week I didn’t have those issues at all.  I will definitely be keeping up with these workouts so I don’t lose the strength I’ve worked so hard to gain.  Oh and since I’m not hosting Thanksgiving this year that means I get an earlier start on putting up the christmas decorations!  Yup I’m pretty excited about that!  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

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CHIME IN!!!  Is it still warm where you are?  When do you put up Christmas decorations?  How was your week?

Versailles, yay or nay?!

When I think of Versailles I will always think of Doctor Who.  Wait, what?!  Doctor Who?!  Yup, forget Marie Antoinette, I remember the episode of Doctor Who with Madame de Pompadour!  Le sigh, I love David Tennant as the 10th Doctor.  Anyway, where we were, oh right, Versailles!

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Fun fact, the house that Marie Antoinette lived in was actually built for Madame de Pompadore but alas she was exiled before she could live in it.  Guess where I learned that fun fact?  From Fat Tire Tours!!!  I’m getting ahead of myself though, lets start at the beginning.

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One can hardly think of the French court and not think of Versailles.  Its a palace of opulence and is know for its grandeur.  Its on MANY top 10 lists of things to do in France and is highly recommended as a day trip from Paris if you have time.  As luck would have it, we had a day trip planned for just such a location.  After doing a lot of research (of course) I decided the best way to get a wonderful experience was to book through Fat Tire Tours who I was already using for a tour of Notre Dam.

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Here’s how the tour went down:

  • Check in at the office before 9am
  • Walk to the train station and take the train to Versailles
  • Walk from train station to bike depot
  • Ride bikes to Versailles Market and get food for picnic
  • Ride to Marie Antoinette’s house, take a tour of said house and gardens
  • Get back on bike, ride around giant lake then eat picnic
  • Ride bikes back to depot and walk to Palace
  • Tour palace and gardens on your own
  • Walk back to train station and take train back to Versailles

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Obviously there is more detail than that but I wanted to give you a basic run-down of the tour since for whatever reason these tour websites just don’t give you a good itinerary.  Travel Planner problems 🙂  Its also important to note that you will be taking public transportation to and from Versailles.  I thought it was a private bus like our trip to Champagne.  Sadly mistaken friends.  Not that I mind, we were taking public transportation this whole trip, I just wasn’t prepared for it.

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For Versailles, be aware that even on a bike tour there is a good amount of walking.  I would say minimum 3 miles of walking not including time spent on the bike.  For me this wasn’t an issue but there was a gentleman in our tour with bad knees that was struggling.  Make sure you wear comfy shoes and are prepared for time on your feet.  If you don’t do the bike tour just double that 3 miles because OMG the property is HUGE.  Oh and I am well aware that I wore a skirt to ride a bike, that was intentional.  When going to Versailles you dress the part.  Granted I was the ONLY woman in my group not wearing workout pants but hey I was happy and felt fancy.  PS- Tieks do make great casual bike riding shoes in case you wanted to know 😉

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Now lets get into the meat and talk about our time in Versailles.  This little town is straight out of a fairy-tale complete with markets, old churches and of course a grand Palace.  I was impressed with how clean and quiet this neighborhood was but it should be no surprise.  Our guide told us its the most expensive place to live in France with minimum rent at 5,000 Euros.  YIKES!!!  It costs a lot to live in an idyllic place I guess.

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On our bike ride to the Palace gardens and small-house we stopped at the oldest market in France to get our picnic lunch.  You guys, this was the highlight of the tour and I’m not even joking.  We went to a meat market and got the BEST prosciutto de parma I have ever had.  In the meat market there was also a produce section and we grabbed some grapes which were so delicious is should be criminal.  We went to a cheese market and based on a recommendation got truffle brie that was to die for.  The we went to a wine shop to get a delicious french chardonnay.  Finally we went to a bakery and got a loaf of french bread and of course some pastries.  I should point out we did all of this in French!!!  Yes those french lessons paid off my friends.  I was so beyond ecstatic to be buying food in french that was fresh and delicious.  So stupid happy!  Ok back to the tour.

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We made our way to the small house and took a tour (really it was a walk-through) which took all of 5 minutes its so small (and a little boring).  You do see Marie Antoinette’s chambers which is nice and all but I was under-whelmed.  After we left the house we took a tour of the english style gardens and the provincial village that was built for Marie.  It was beautiful and peaceful but again under-whelming.  We did not get to go into the french garden section of the small house which I was disappointed about but we still had the palace to get to.

Back on the bikes we rode right past the pink palace and even though I asked about it our tour guide didn’t say anything about it.  A quick note about our tour guide…apparently it was his last day as a tour guide and you could tell.  While he did have great information to share he was sporadic and wasn’t great at answering questions.  There were also times when we were walking that you couldn’t hear him because he was facing forward and the wind was carrying his voice away.  I really wish they would use those headsets all other tours I have been on use but alas they did not.  Don’t get me wrong I liked our tour guide, but these guys make or break your tour and I think he just fell short.  You’ll see more examples later.

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We rode our bikes around the giant lake and set up a picnic.  MMM that food we got in the market was delicious.  We drank that whole bottle of wine and ate every single morsel we bought #winning!  Someone (*cough JOE cough*) didn’t share their eclair with me even though someone promised me they would…sore subject 😉  It was such a nice day we really enjoyed sitting on the grass eating our food and enjoying the day.  When we go back to Paris we will definitely be having a picnic on the river just like this.  This moment was such a highlight and it was just eating lunch!

 

After lunch we took our bikes back around the lake and back to the depot.  I was pretty confused at this point because there was only about an hour left in the tour but we still hadn’t seen any of the palace or large gardens yet.  We walked back to the palace and got our “front of the line” ticket to get in.  I use quotes because at 3pm there was no line.  When we rode our bikes past that morning yes there was a long line, but in the afternoon, nothing.  I don’t see the value in the front of the line pass but maybe it was just a slow day in general.  We get into the palace courtyard, our guide gives us a quick 10 minute speech about the french revolution then he says goodbye and we are left to tour the palace and gardens on our own.

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Ok…wait…what?!  Maybe I was just under a false impression but I thought the tour included a guided tour of the Palace and gardens.  I could have gotten a bike and rode around the lake and Marie’s place on my own (you can do this).  After the guide left us in the courtyard I was totally confused.  I thought he was going to walk with us in the rooms, tell us some history about the palace and all that then take us through the gardens.  This totally didn’t happen.  I will recommend Fat Tire Tours but I still didn’t love this tour.  I didn’t and still don’t see the value for the price I paid.  I could blame it all on the tour guide (he wasn’t great) but that still didn’t change the fact that the tour doesn’t go through the actual palace or large gardens.

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With that being said, we took maybe 10 minutes to walk through the Palace.  Spent a few extra minutes in the hall of mirrors then walked down to the gardens.  Folks, all I saw was dirt and a few shrubs.  Where the heck were the gardens that were supposed to be immaculate?  This is what I thought the guide would help us with, to see beautiful spots in the gardens.  Not to mention walking through the palace is totally useless (to me) if you don’t get to hear the history behind it.  Otherwise its just like a home tour and that’s just boring.  At the end, I left confused and disappointed.  Not just because the tour didn’t live up to my admittedly high expectations but also because everyone had hyped Versailles up so much it just fell flat for me.

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Which brings me to my post title.  Versailles, yay or nay?!  I’m still on the fence on this one.  On the one hand the market experience was fantastic, riding bikes through trails was fun and we learned about french history.  On the other hand it was quite a lot of money to not get the full tour experience like I had envisioned.  I think if I were to do this again I would book either a different tour or company.  There were tour groups inside the palace so I know it can be done I’m just confused as to why ours didn’t.

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All of this to say Versailles was flat for me.  I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, I don’t think I would go back.  It was great to get out of the city and experience something different but I’m not sure I felt like I got a return on my investment.  I think a lot has to do with the tour guide.  I have a fear of missing out of things so when I couldn’t hear what he was saying it was very frustrating to me.  He also had a bit of an attitude that I attribute to being his last day.  If we had a different guide I think the overall experience would have been better.

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While the tour left a lot to be desired Joe and I had a great time together and enjoyed the beautiful day.  If one day you find yourself in Paris and have a moment to spare on Versailles, do it.  If only for the sake of being able to say you’ve been.  I don’t regret going I just wish the day had gone differently.  If you do go to Versailles, you MUST check out the market and get lunch there.  That is one experience you will not regret.  You don’t need to speak French but it does help tremendously.  To quote Doctor Who “This is Versailles, and we are French!”

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CHIME IN!!!  Have you been to Versailles?  Do you like architecture?  Have you ever bought food in another language before?

 

2 Course Challenge Accepted! Race Weekend Recap

A little while back I took part in the inaugural Lumiere’s 2 Course Challenge at Walt Disney World.  This challenge is running Remy’s 10k on Saturday then running the Wine and Dine half marathon on sunday.  Disney has a challenge for every race weekend now but this was the first year for wine and dine and I knew I had to participate.

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Since this wasn’t the first year for the race in general the expo and packet pick-up ran smoothly.  This isn’t the first challenge Disney World has done either so the 10k went off without a hitch and the course was a pretty decent course with quite a bit of time spent in Epcot.  I decided to run with Brittany for this race #1 because she is my good friend and we don’t get to spend much time together and #2 she does the run/walk method which my coach said i should do this weekend to keep my legs fresh.

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For the 10k I cant say I noticed any pain or issues.  I took water at all the water stops, we had a solid pace and finished with a 1:12 time which is a solid 10k time.  I think the biggest thing to note here was I felt great physically and mentally.  It was so nice to run with someone to keep my mind off the pain and frustration I normally experience on runs by myself.  It was so great i decided to run with Brittany for the half on the next day.  I knew she was going to do the run/walk method again and I knew I didn’t want to be by myself again for the half.  Decision made to have a running buddy, photo-op with Remy, then later that night pizza loaded that night at dinner and an early bed time set us up for a great race.

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Sunday started off great because its daylight savings!!!  We got an extra hour of sleep and it was much needed.  Those 3am wake-up calls are no joke.  We get to our corral and almost right away we are off!  The weather was great, albeit a little warm and we plugged along.  Unfortunately this was the most boring Disney race course I have run almost to date which made me even more thankful I had Brittany to run with.  There were a few characters but none I really wanted to stop for.  We did make a quick stop for Darkwing Duck but that was the only one.

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About mile 9 we hit a stretch of solid highway and full sun.  At this point the sun just zapped us and the pace slowed but we kept going.  2 more evil overpasses later and we are in the final stretch.  We cross the finish line and just like that the race is over with a 2:37 time.  I can honestly say running with Brittany helped me break through that horrible mental block I’ve been struggling with and made me realize the benefits to the run/walk method.  I plan on training like that for the marathon because I have never felt better post race than I did Sunday and the subsequent days.  THANKS BRITT YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR!!!

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After we got our medals it was photo-op time and we stood in line to meet Lumiere (it was his challenge after all) and then Donald because Donald is #1 yall!.  After pictures it was a race back to the finish line to see Brittany’s husband finish his first ever half marathon and yall, I had all the emotions watching him finish.  It reminded me of mine and Joe’s first half marathon and made me wish my husband was still running with me.  It was bittersweet but seeing someone you know finish their first race is heartwarming.  Things like that remind me why I love to run.

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Overall it was a great race and relatively un-eventful.  Using the Galloway run/walk method really helped me not be sore and miserable after races like I usually am so I will be using this for Avengers weekend as well.  This is the most fun I’ve had running in a very long time so mission accomplished for my race goals!  Here’s hoping the legs hold up for next weekend!

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CHIME IN!!!  Do you run with friends?  Have you tried the galloway method?  What does you perfect race day look like?

Workout Recap 11/8-14

Plane hopping fool this week.  Just finished Wine and Dine Half in Walt Disney World and now I’m heading to Disneyland for Avengers Half!  Who does this, oh right this crazy person!!  Lets see how this week went.

Tuesday:  Rest day.  My feet are still tired and need a break.  For once I’m glad I have a desk job so I can put my feet up and give them some rest.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night to work out these tired bones.

Wednesday:  Well…its a rough day for a lot of us out there.  I woke up and was disheartened by the choice America made.  You know what the solution to depression is…RUNNING.  I went for a quick 35 minute run with no agenda or pace to shake out the muscles and clear the mind.  It was good to get the body moving and the blood pumping.  Now to just get the weather to continue to cool off and I will be so happy!  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

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Thursday:  Travel day today!  We are heading to the expo today and Downtown Disney but other than that not much is planned and thats how I like it 🙂  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night to keep my limbs limber 😉

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Friday: I went back and forth on if I wanted to add another day to our Disneyland trip and finally decided yes I did.  So today we did some walking around Disneyland but not too much since we will have another day here to do whatever we missed tonight.  I need to get in bed pretty early so it wasnt a long day at the parks anyway.  I had a 2 mile shake out run but since we are spending time walking around Disney I skipped it.  Still did the 15 minute stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.  Stretching game is on point right now!

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Saturday: 10k day!  Today I raced the course to go for a time under 1 hour and I finished in 1:01:17 which was 1 minute 18 seconds slower than I wanted but I had to stop twice.  Once because my feet were so swollen my shoes were now too tight and by mile 4 I couldn’t feel my toes so I had to make an adjustment.  Then I saw Doctor Strange at mile 5 and had to stop.  This is actually what cost me my PR but I have made peace with it.  This is still my best 10k time ever at Disney and I’m happy with that.

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Sunday:  Half marathon day and the last race until marathon day in January!!!  I was actually really happy with time and ended with 2:29:55!!!!  Full recap to come soon!

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Monday:  Travel and rest day.  Phew!  If I sleep for 3 days straight I will be happy!

CHIME IN!!!  Would you sacrifice a PR for a character stop?  Have you seen Doctor Strange yet?  Day of rest or a Day at Disneyland?

How We Did Paris in 3 Days

Most of you know by now but I am a Vacation Planner with Dream Come True Vacations.  Dream job status achieved I know.  What does that have to do with Paris though?  Well, I planned out entire Paris trip and we saw every single thing we wanted to and more.  Yup, planning and organization are my bag and I’m not afraid to use those skills to my advantage 🙂

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Technically we were in Paris for a week but only 3 of those days were spent in the city.  2 days were at Disneyland Paris, 1 day in Versailles and 1 day in Champagne.  I already posted about Disney Paris here and have posts on Versailles and Champagne coming soon.  Today is all about the city of lights.

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Before I get into all the details here is a quick list with most of what we did:

  • Arch de Triumph
  • Angelina
  • Tuileries Gardens
  • Champs-Elysees
  • Flamme de Liberte
  • Luxemborg Gardens
  • Love Bridge
  • Notre Dame
  • Saint Chapelle
  • Louvre
  • Montmartre
  • Saint Germains
  • Photoshoot
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Galeries Lafayette
  • Sacre Coure
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Eat all the Pastries!!!!!!

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You may notice there aren’t many art galleries on my list, and, don’t stone me for saying this, I don’t love art museums they are really boring to me.  I think when we go back to Paris we can make some time for that but I really had no interest.  I don’t think we could have done as much as we did if we went to art museums so that was a deciding factor as well.

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Instead of a long play by play I’m going to group this into days.  From experience with my “not so magical day job” I know that planning things in the same area saves A TON of time.  So each day I planned things as close together as possible.  That way we could walk if we wanted to or take public transit and it wouldn’t be a big deal.

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Day 1:  Today was the day of the half marathon so we had to also plan for traveling to central Paris from Disneyland which is about 45 minutes by train.  After checking into the hotel we went to these places in this order: Saint Germain (neighborhood), Colette (clothing store), Angelina, Tuileries Garden, & Other Stories (clothing store), Laudree (macarons), Champ-Elysees, Disney Store, Arch de Triumph, Flamme de Liberte, Cafe for dinner.  It was a great first day in central Paris.  The weather was gorgeous, the sun was shining, we were exploring and in no hurry.  Simply put it was magical.  I will add though that by dinner my foot felt like it was broken and Joe had to support my weight around the city for a while.  He is a trooper Ill tell you!  Dinner wasn’t anything special because we were hungry and I couldn’t make it to the back-up location I had for dinner (the other place was fully booked).  Still though, the cafe was delicious and we had a great view of the sunset.

**Planning notes from Day 1—we bought the Paris 2 day museum pass which included unlimited transportation and free entry into dozens of Paris museums, the Arch being one of them.  Don’t forget that a lot of Paris isn’t touristy so stores were closed on Sunday.  I did window shop though!

Day 2:  Today we had a tour booked and a relatively leisurely day, here’s what we did: Luxembourg Gardens, Love Bridge, tour of Saint Chapelle and Notre Dam, Conciergerie (didn’t go in but we walked by), Shakespeare & Company (bookstore), Au Vieux Paris d’arcole (lunch), Louvre, Pierre Herme (macarons), meet photographer in Montmartre for drinks.  The tour was the highlight of the day because we walked to the top of Notre Dam and had a beautiful view of Paris right as the sky was clearing up.  I was actually a little disappointed with Notre Dam I thought the stained glass would be more impressive, but thank goodness we went to Saint Chapelle because that stained glass was absolutely stunning.  Truth time, we only spent about an hour inside the Louvre because we had to get to Montmartre by 6pm so that is definitely on the list to go back for Joe.  Lunch was wonderful and apparently is the oldest cafe in Paris!  Dinner was non-existent because of how late we stayed with the photographer but that’s all right there is plenty of food tomorrow.

***Planning notes from Day 2—Tour was booked through Fat Tire Tours and was wonderful, our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly.  You cant put locks on the love bridge anymore but people are still finding ways to leave their lock.  If its really important to you bring your own lock.  I didn’t see any vendors selling them anymore.  There was no line at all to get into the Louvre in the afternoon but it did close pretty early at 5pm.

Day 3: Early wake-up call but another leisurely day with a photoshoot thrown in:  3 hour which turned into 4 hour Photoshoot with Magdelena (check out her site here, full post coming soon), Chez Janou (lunch), Carette (dessert), Galaries Lafayette (shopping), Sacre Coure and Montmartre, L’Affable (dinner),  Carette (dessert), Eiffel Tower sparkle show, Moulin Rouge.  This day was a little all over the place in terms of location but it was everything we hadn’t done yet that we wanted to.  Montmartre was beautiful and worth all the hiking we did on San Francisco-esk streets.  Watching the Eiffel tower sparkle though was a highlight, its just so magical to watch the gif below just doesn’t do it justice.  Most of the day though was spent at the photoshoot which was fine by me, we went to the Eiffel Tower, Palais Royale, and a cafe so we still got a nice little tour of Paris along the way.  Oh and I almost forgot, Moulin Rouge.  The show was beautiful, the costumes spectacular, but I will say the show was a little long.  I think it ended up being around 90 minutes which was just a tad bit too long for me.  The show was very tasteful and I enjoyed the performances but I think if they cut 1 number it would be the perfect length.  I definitely have no regrets on seeing the show though, the entertainment value was definitely there.

***Planning notes from Day 3—Sacre Coure is free entry and the stair climb isn’t bad but there is a gondola that will take you to the top.  We bought our tickets in advance for Moulin Rouge from their website.  The tickets were cheaper this way and I found that they offered a discount for mid-week shows and a bottle of champagne.  You can get tickets from other places but their website was the better deal and value.

If you want to know exactly how I plan my international trips click here for the excel file I use.  The only tab you cant see if my travel details because that has personal info on it 🙂

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You may be wondering how I decided on places to go.  Well I’m glad you asked because that is also a key part of how to do Paris in 3 days and be happy with your trip.  First, I read Lonely Planet’s Paris guidebook.  I went through every page and book marked places that sounded interesting.  After that I went down the rabbit hole in pinterest.  I actually have a board with a lot of articles I found interesting (link here) but a lot of articles are just repeats of the same information.  I saved a few blog posts from some bloggers I trust (World of Wanderlust and Hand Luggage Only) and got planning.  From there I narrowed down my list to things I HAD to see and do.  Then I found food recommendations and added those to the plan as well.  For food, I had more dessert places than dining places which to me isn’t a bad problem to have.

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I have my “favorites” saved but now I had to make my plan.  After I had my list of things to do and eat I put it all into a custom map on google.  This is really old school but you can still make maps in google with custom icons and layers and such.  I use the icons to help me tell the difference between a landmark, food, hotel, etc. After everything was in the map I was able to easily see where everything was and make the plan you see on the excel file.  Like I mentioned I planned my days with things to do in the relative same area.  This also helped me remove some items from my list because they were too far and not feasible for a short city trip.  For example, I wanted to go to the catacombs but it was too far away.  That’s on the list for our next time trip.  Same for some of the places to eat they weren’t close to anything so they were removed because I’m not about to take a 60 minute train ride round-trip just for food.  At least not on this trip anyway 😉  My days are finally planned with back-up food options and necessary notes, now I just needed to email it to Joe and print a copy for backups.  It sounds like a lot of work I know but believe it or not this is what keeps me relaxed during the trip.  The peace of mind that comes with a well laid plan that allows us to see and do everything we wanted.  I slept like a baby you guys 😀

Lets talk about food!!  Learning from Italy I had 2 options for each meal time that way if one was closed or we couldn’t get in we had a back up already.  I think the most stressful thing with international travel for me is finding a place to eat.  I feel much better knowing where to eat. Quite a few places took reservations through open table or their own website so only once on day 1 did we have a hard time finding a place to eat.  I know a lot of people think its much more fun to fly by the seat of your pants and just eat wherever but I love food too much and want to make sure I have a nice experience.  Because of this, every meal but 1 was AMAZING.  We had great wine, delicious entrees and out of this world pastries.  You know, even if the food was bad I would have been fine because the pastries were even better than I had imagined.  Expectations exceeded friends!

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I wanted to take a quick second to talk about transportation in Paris.  I think this was the biggest concern because of all the strikes you hear about in Paris.  While strikes do happen often, we didn’t experience it on this trip and the metro ran extremely well.  The bus was a little confusing because they can drive in the opposite direction of the car traffic so that threw us off.  We didn’t take a cab but the Uber driver we had didn’t really speak English.  Other than the Uber driver everyone spoke English in the city and we had no problem getting around and doing what we needed.  The metro is a lot easier than New York City so for those that have experienced that you are good to go!  If transportation is on strike this is where the “plan everything in the same area” comes in handy.  Just sayin’.

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I don’t want to end on a sad note but I do need to talk about pick-pockets.  You know I’ve been to quite a few tourist destinations and have heard the same song and dance about pick-pockets before.  In Paris, Montmartre specifically, we actually witnessed someone being pick-pocketed and it was a little scary.  This was down the steps of the Sacre Coure where it was a little dark and not very traveled.  Luckily my guardian angel was with us and the guys left the couple alone who they were targeting when they saw us walking down the stairs but things could have escalated.  I was also personally targeted in Notre Dam.  Thank goodness I was wearing a dress with no pockets because that could have ended poorly.  This wasn’t everywhere in Paris but it was the worst around the Eiffel Tower.  I don’t know if they were pick-pockets but people trying to sell things were everywhere and very pushy.  If I wasn’t with Joe or had been alone I think i would have been very uncomfortable.  Moral of the story here is that yes this does happen, be aware of yourself, don’t engage with strangers especially around dusk where there aren’t many people around.  Don’t carry your whole life with you in your bag and don’t keep things in your pockets if you can help it.  Know that these things are actually happening and do your best to protect yourself, don’t be naive to whats going on.

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To completely change gears now that I’ve gone full “mom” on you…what would I do differently.  NOTHING.  I know that sounds crazy but everything about this trip went just as well as it could have possibly gone.  I saw everything on my Paris bucket list and so did Joe.  What I will do is come back!!!  London, meh, I could go back but its not on the list, but Paris.  Yeah Paris is right under Florence on places I want to visit again.  Next time we go will be all about exploring to get lost, find some beautiful art on the river and just take Paris in without an agenda.  Plans are great for a first time if you don’t know when/if you will be back, second times are for really soaking in the culture.  I cant wait to go back!

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Just remember, this trip was what made me and Joe happy.  For you, that could look completely different!  These 3 days in Paris are some of my favorite days in memory.  I am so glad we have been blessed to take trips like this a really enjoy ourselves.  There is so much more I could share with you but I think almost 2000 words are enough.  I hope you find yourself one day in the city of lights and love it as much as I did.

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If you find yourself in need of vacation planning services give me a call/email/message.  I would love to help you make your next trip the perfect one for you!  You can find me on facebook or email me at Rachael@DreamComeTrueVacations.com 888.642.5398 ext 797

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CHIME IN!!!  Have you been to Paris?  What pastry would you most like to try?  Whats one thing you HAVE to do in Paris?

Avenger’s Infinity Gauntler Challenge Race Goals

Are you getting a sense of de ja vu! Well no wonder, I just did this song and dance last week but for Wine and Dine!  Yeah I know I’m crazy for running back to back challenges and for the life of me I cant remember why I did it lol.  Oh well, race day is here and its time to put down some goals.

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I’m writing this before Wine and Dine has been completed so my body may have different plans but for right now the goal is to treat the 10k like a race and the half like another training run.  Why race the 10k and not the half, well in all honesty I’m not ready to race another half.  I’m sure my legs are ready but my mind is not.  I’m still getting over the pretty horrible outcome of Disneyland Paris and I need more time to adjust my mental game.  Its getting better but I want to give myself more time and have my mind gear up for the full marathon.

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You may recall I did this race last year (recap here) for the inaugural race challenge.  You could say I’m a sucker for an inaugural race…and you would be correct!  This year I signed up because its a great course, decent weather and smaller crowds than Walt Disney World.  Also because I really enjoyed it last year and had a great time.  I’m hoping that will be the case this year and really get me back in the “i love running” game.

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These are my goals for the 10k

  • Finish under an hour
  • Don’t get injured
  • Have a good time
  • Finish under 1:05 if my body is just not having any of it

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These are my goals for the half (pretty much the same as wine and dine):

  • Finish with a smile
  • Stop at whatever character stops I want to
  • Don’t get injured
  • Take the race at a training pace
  • Finish in 2:30:00 or less.

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These two races I have two completely different approaches mainly because I have no intention of racing the half but the 10k I would love to break an hour finally.  The 10k and the half run pretty much the same course and if last year was any indication, will have the same character stops as well.  That means I don’t have to worry about missing a character in the 10k because ill see them and can stop for the half.  Priorities people, I have mine in order 🙂

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Don’t forget, I can help you plan your vacation to Disney, Universal or cruises!!!  Here is the link to my facebook page or email me at rachael {at} DreamComeTrueVacations {dot}com

CHIME IN!!!  How is your week going?  Any goals you have of late?  What super hero would you be?

Workout Recap 11/1-7

Its back to back race week!  Training is a little lighter preparing for that.  Its also get excited time because for basically 2 weeks Ill be at a Disney park.  This weekend at Walt Disney World and next weekend at Disneyland!!!  Coast to Coast in less than 2 weeks.  Silly, yes…worth it, ABSOLUTELY!!!  Let’s talk training shall we?!

Tuesday:  Regular run today with a focus on form.  Well it should have been a focus on form but I always forget to pay attention to my feet when I run.  I know I should but when I get in the zone I just forget I cant help it!  Ended with 3.5 miles for an average pace of 11:17 and didn’t feel too bad for once!  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses.  I will not skimp on the stretching this week my body needs all the TLC it can get 🙂

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Wednesday:  Taper run today, although someone explain to me how this is a taper…15 minute warm up with 4x90second pick ups and 10 minute cool down.  Ended with a 10:43 average pace and completely drenched in sweat.  Come on winter where you at?!  Oh and I voted today.  Yup just put that into a workout post #sorrynotsorry.  Make sure you get out there an exercise your right as a US citizen.  Anyway…15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

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Thursday:  Rest day and travel day.  IM GOING TO DISNEY WORLD.  Today is all about the expo, Magic Kingdom and spending time with Amy and Brittany!!!  You know Im a happy camper when Im at Disney.  Still managed to get 10 minutes foam rolling / stretching / yoga poses in.  No slacking I told you!

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Friday:  Today is a short run day but I ditched that in favor of walking around the food and wine festival with my girls.  Its always more for to exercise when you have a drink in your hand right 😉  10 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night and off to bed early for a 3:15am wake-up call.

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Saturday:  Today is race day #1!  10k day yay!  Im dressing up as Megara because she is sassy and fun.  Full recap to come soon but my time was 1:12:23.  This run was a “training” run so no PR or time goals this go around.  I ran with Brittany since we were in the same coral and she does the run/walk method which my coach said to do this weekend.  Its been so long since I’ve run with a friend I forgot how nice it is!  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

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Sunday: Race day #2 and half marathon day!  I decided during the 10k to run the half with Brittany again and Im so glad I did.  Running with a friend got me out of my head and focused on running with her instead of how miserable I was.  I also really enjoyed the run/walk method.  I did it in the past but stopped for some reason.  I think Im going to start training that way again because I felt great after the race.  Full recap to come soon but its the best I’ve felt after a race let a lone a long run in a very long time.  We finished in 2:37:07, which was a little slower than we were hoping for but its ok it was really sunny at hot the last 4 miles and that always takes a toll.  10 minutes stretching / foam rolling that night.

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Monday:  Well deserved rest day but we are still at Disney so there was still a little bit of walking.  Today I also head back home so its also a travel day.  Only a few more days until I do this all over again in California lol.

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CHIME IN!!!  Have you done back to back races like this before?  Whos your favorite person to go to Disney with?  10k or half which do you prefer?