Austria Days 6&7

I thought about skipping these recaps but these were some of my favorite days on our vacation so I decided that it’s better late than never.

 

On day 6, we decided to take a trip into Germany on the recommendation of Joe’s mom who visited this part of Austria/Germany almost thirty years ago (with baby Joe, who doesn’t remember!).  She wanted us to check out Lake Konigssee and Berchtesgaden so that’s what we did.  The lake was beautiful, a super clear turquoise or green depending on which part of the lake you visited but we only had the day so we didn’t spend a whole lot of time there, though I would have loved to take a kayak out there.

photo 4(21) photo 1(30) photo 3(23) photo 2(32)

So pretty!

 

We then visited this gorgeous little bridge which gave me some good vibes about what we’d see in Berchtesgaden, which was just a little walk up a hill from here:

photo 5(11)

This is pretty much exactly how I expect this part of the world to look.  Everything we saw here was so beautiful.

We made our way to the town but we couldn’t figure out why everything except some restaurants/bars were closed!  I voted we just sit and have a beer, given that it was 96 degrees outside, but Joe wanted to make sure we weren’t missing things that needed to be seen.  Well, we quickly found out why everything was closed!

photo 5(10)

We turned a corner and literally smacked into a parade, I had to stand in a window to avoid standing in their way!  It was a national holiday, it turns out.  We listened to their music and watched the parade file by but I have no idea where they marched on to, the town wasn’t very large.

 

Since now we knew that everything was going to stay closed, my logic won out and we picked a place to sit and have a beer.  It turned out to be the best decision.  Not only was it super refreshing to sit in the shade and enjoy the gorgeous sunshine but have a little respite from the heat, but we had the most awesome waiter who came by often to chat with us about German customs and just make us laugh.  I had been dying for some real German pretzels and he brought some out for me, though he thought that it was downright hilarious that I wanted mustard with them (apparently, butter is what you use unless you’re American!).

photo 1(29) photo 2(31)

We ended up staying there all afternoon, trying all the local beer and eating lots of pretzels (me) or crazy desserts (Joe) and making friends with the waiter.

 

On day 7, we wanted to stay local but we had already climbed the biggest mountain twice and wanted to tackle one of the smaller trails for something that wouldn’t leave us too sore on the flight home.  It didn’t help that it was in the mid-90s again so we definitely wanted to stay in the shade so we located some waterfalls on a trail map and decided to find them.  Side note: this part of Austria is crazy amazing with how well they mark everything, there are trail markers EVERYWHERE.  We ended up in what I ended up calling the Enchanted Forest.  This place looked like something out of Fern Gully the whole way.

photo 3(24) photo 5(12)

It was just so beautiful.  And so hot, so I kept taking my shoes off to play in the glacial water.

And eventually we ended up at the waterfall we were looking for.  It wasn’t anything like some of the big ones I’ve visited in Hawaii or even the ones in the Shenandoah, but it was so fairy-tale-forest and I ended up taking some photos that I just loved thanks to the freak of nature lighting we had in this little secret spot in the forest.

photo 2(33) photo 4(22)

I have always wanted to go to Austria but I was still impressed by absolutely everything we saw and did.  Our last day was so low-key and close to where we were staying (the whole outing was about a two hour walk) but it was no less amazing than everything else.  I’d go back in a heartbeat 🙂

 

Did you take any vacations this summer?

Has anyone else been to Austria?  What part?

Advertisements

Austria Day 5

This was definitely our most strenuous day of our active vacation.  We found out that there is a route from the mountain we’ve been climbing to the next peak over (which is a little taller) and obviously, we just needed to do that.  Even though it’ll make our roundtrip hike 14 miles and it was predicted to be 89 degrees and bright and sunny.  Oops!

 

I probably should’ve been a little smarter and done zero running, but it is just so hard to turn down the gorgeousness of this scenery.  So hike, then 4 miles on the mountain thinking that I was keeping it pretty light for a full day’s worth of hiking.  Joe caught one picture of me again.

photo 5(8)

Then we started really booking it to the top, we were pretty much experts at the main part of the mountain by now.  We made it to the top about 30-40 minutes quicker than the previous tries and that was a very good thing because it was getting HOT.  We had to stop to fill our water bottle with snow!  We knew the new route at the top would be an extra couple hours but we weren’t quite prepared for how steep, how slippery (lots of loose rocks), and how very very little room you had on the “trail” before massive drop offs off the side of the mountain.  In places, it was just one foot in front of the other and a whole lot of me not allowing myself to look 6 inches to my right.  I stared at my feet an awful lot.

 

Luckily, the views were pretty awesome whenever I found a place I wasn’t scared to take a pause and get a picture.

photo 4(19) photo 3(21)photo 4(18)

Once we got close, I felt like I was on top of the world.

photo 2(29)

And we got a pretty awesome view of the valley from the top.

photo 3(20)

All the snow was pretty enticing, it was 90 degrees!  It was quite funny though, this side of the mountain (from the other peak) was very gently rolling downward and looked completely different from the rugged and steep climb we had from the other side.  You could tell who came from each side at the top, children and dogs had made their way on the other side and the ones with hiking boots and poles and covered in sweat had come from our side.

 

We had a pretty uneventful hike all the way back down, and I repeated “ice cream and diet coke” over and over in my head when I was starting to get tired and my feet were hurting.  I had been planning since about 10 minutes in to have that as soon as I got back.  We definitely made good:

photo 5(9)

Except Joe decided ice cream and beer made a better combo.

photo 1(27)

 

 

Does anybody else crave a soda when they’re eating ice cream? I very very rarely have a soda but I always crave the carbonation when I’m having ice cream for some reason!

What was your run today?

Austria Day 4

After the leisurely river run, I was really eager to hit the mountains again (whether this was a good decision or not is yet to be determined).  We followed the same pattern as the first time and hiked for about an hour, then I ran, then we hiked the rest of the way to the top and hiked back down again.

 

The views were pretty awesome again.

photo 3(27)

And I decided to find a new portion of the mountain for my run.  Joe couldn’t catch pictures of me this time since I wasn’t running the same stretch over and over but he did manage to get one.

photo 5(7)

And I found a tiny waterfall/stream and of course had to touch it.  It was cold and perfect to pour over my head.

photo 1(26)photo 2(28)

We started our day super early but it was quickly getting VERY hot, with temperatures in the mid-80s even on the mountain.  So I was pretty happy when we reached the false summit and only had another 90 minutes to the top!

photo 1(21)

 

Luckily, we got to the top and were able to head back down before the sun came out strong and the heat got even crazier.  I almost stepped on this guy on the way back down:

photo 2(23)

I thought he was a rock!

 

Obviously, the best way to refuel after 5.5 hours of really steep hiking is with Austrian beer.  I was a big fan of the local brewery, Huber, and particularly the lighter of their two hefeweizens.  Joe liked the Egger, but I think mostly because it was served in giant 1 liter stone steins.

 

photo 3(15) photo 4(13)

 

We bought two steins to bring home, Joe got one of the Egger ones he loved so much and I got one with a painting of the town on it.  I have a tradition of drinking the local beers when we go on vacation and if we are at the beach, I fill up an empty one with sand from the beach I’m visiting.  I’ve got some from the Bahamas, Honduras, Belize, etc.  I figured the stein was a pretty good addition to the collection even if there’s no sand!

 

 

Do you have any souvenir purchase you always make on vacation?

Or a tradition of always tasting the local food/drinks?

Austria Day 3

After the hell that was running on a mountain, I decided it was best to stay flat the next day.  We had seen a river from the top of the mountain that flowed all the way through the valley, connecting town to town so I thought that seemed like the ideal place to run.  I wasn’t wrong.  It started in a nice, shady part of town:

photo 1(33)

And I quickly headed out of town and along the crushed gravel path running right beside the beautiful and incredibly clear river.

photo 4(15) photo 3(17) photo 1(25) photo 2(25)

The view to my left wasn’t bad either.

photo(67)

It was seriously one of the most beautiful places to run I’ve ever seen.  I must have said to Joe 50 times that I could live in this town.  Obviously, one of the most compelling reasons would be the perfect running– this trail goes on forever and ever and no chance of getting hit by cars, just perfect scenery and a beautiful, flat trail.  Bonus: Even in the heat, the water was FREEZING (being glacial water and all) and made the perfect ice bath for my super sore muscles.

 

Obviously, the best way to recover was a gelato in town.  I got lemon and mango, Joe had hazelnut and blueberry (we only discovered this afterward, we basically guessed at the German words and what we thought they might be).  Best lemon gelato ever, it was super sour and felt so good on a hot day.

photo 1(24)

We spent the afternoon being lazy and resting our sore bodies, which meant I got some serious sun time with my beer.

photo 2(26)

Before we knew it, it was dinner time.  Started with a salad with blueberry dressing.

photo 2(27)

Carrot and thyme soup.

photo 3(18)

Quiche lorraine.

photo 4(16)

Delicious fish and roasted veggies.  I would have felt pretty healthy if it wasn’t for the liter of beer and gelato I had earlier.

photo 5(6)

 

Where was your prettiest run?

Favorite flavor of gelato?  I really like fruity flavors like lemon, mango, raspberry in the summer but cappuccino is my favorite if it’s not as warm out

 

 

Austria Day 2

I said I was going to run in town then hike the mountain, what ended up happening was a little different.  We decided to combine the two since it was 10 miles round trip up and down this gigantic and STEEP beast.  We hiked up the initial part, which varied from 17-25% grade (ouch) then we hit a more gentle 3% section and I did a one mile warm-up.  Next up was a switchback half a mile in length at 5-8% grade so I ran 4 miles by going up and back down this section.  Up was an awful lot of work and down felt like I might fly off the side of the mountain but you couldn’t beat the view.

photo 1(22) photo 5(5)

 

And because Joe was just sitting and reading while he waited for me to get my run in, he caught a few photos of me every time I ran past him (sometimes I was going up, sometimes down).

photo 3(16) photo 4(14)

He took about 10 pictures and they are the only pictures I think I have ever liked of me running but I like all of them.  Must be the mountains.

 

I did a cool down mile then it was back to hiking the rest of the way to the summit together.  The actual hiking time was 2.5 hours to the top and 2 hours down and 10.2 miles.  The steepest sections were 25% grade, the vast majority at 15-18% grade, and the nice “flat” section where I ran in the middle was 3-8% but covered such a tiny portion of the actual mountain.  Let me tell you, my hill repeats did not prepare me for that workout, I was sore in places that I didn’t know I had.

 

And I was so ready to eat all the food.  Thank goodness for a big meal.

Chicken pate and beef broth with horseradish dumplings

photo 1(20) photo 2(22) photo 3(14) photo 4(12)

And pork with balsamic onions followed by vanilla ice cream with sea salt and pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil sauce.  Everything was delicious.

 

 

What was the hardest workout you’ve ever done?  This didn’t feel like the hardest necessarily while I was doing it, but I was more sore afterwards than I was after my marathons!

Do you like pictures of yourself running?

Austria-Day 1

Greetings from Austria!  Yesterday went by really quickly once all the travel nonsense got finished.  After the plane and the nearly 2 hour drive to the hotel, we had a walk around the tiny town while we waited for our room.  It was small but very cute:

Image

Image

The town is so small that after about 20 minutes there was nowhere new to walk so we decided to try our first Austrian beer to kill the last half hour before we could check in.  Spoiler alert…it took me way more than half an hour to finish that thing.

Austria4.JPG

we entertained ourselves taking goofy photos and sending them to friends back home who were just arriving at work.

Austria1.JPG

Austria2.JPG

Austria3.JPG

When we finally finished and got our room, we took a little nap for an hour and then got ready for dinner.  Food is going to be one of my favorite things on this trip because I speak zero German and have no idea what any menus say, I just have to receive the food and try it.  Our trip includes a 4-6 course dinner each night so we don’t have to worry about anything except going downstairs and sitting down and just enjoying.  I forgot to take a picture of my mozzarella and tomato salad last night but here was the rest of the meal:

 

Food1.JPGFood2.JPGFood3.JPG

Today I’m going for a short run around town and then we are going to hike up the mountain directly behind our hotel.  We are surrounded on all sides by mountains so we are going to just keep tackling different ones each day.

 

Have you climbed a mountain before? Which one?

 Ever had to eat food and have no idea what it was? Did you like it? 

 

So many questions!

I had three very sweet blogger friends nominate me for Liebster Awards last week so a big thank you to Lauren, the Half Mad Runner, and Kristina for thinking of me!  So, lucky you, you get to read THREE sets of answers and learn way more about me than you thought you would today.  You all probably already know the drill by now, I answer the questions put forth by these ladies, and then nominate a few blogs of my own and give them a different set of questions to answer!

Lauren’s Questions:

1. What is your favorite sport to watch on tv/in person: Ouch.  This is a tie.  I’m a HUGE football fan and remain glued to the tv all day every Saturday in the fall (yes, Saturday, NCAA>NFL).  But I grew up playing and watching soccer and I don’t know that even football ranks above it.

osu4

2. Pancakes, waffles, or french toast?  Waffles!  I make good pancakes though 🙂

3. Do you have any interesting nicknames? I don’t think any that would qualify as “interesting” but my nickname in high school was “Duchess,” often abbreviated to “Dutch.”  One of my best friends started it when she met me at age 14, but it was picked up by my soccer and basketball teams and boyfriends too.  Bonus points if you can guess why Katie started calling me that.

4. What is your biggest running-related goal?  Hmm.  Well, I have a secret one that I’m not sharing but I’d really really really like to win a race.  And not just win because there are 20 people and I ran a slow time but not the slowest (though I’ll take it for now! haha) but win a decent sized race because I put up a great time and beat some serious runners (not Kenyans though, duh…I’m not that fast).

5. Do you run before or after work? Because of grad school, it changes.  I’ll run before I have to hit the library but after early meetings, it all depends.  And if it’s a day that I’m just home writing or researching, I love just going whenever I’m feeling the most pumped to run.

6. What was your high school mascot?  I have two, special me.  Panthers and Bruins!

7. Have you ever lived in another country? Indeed I have!  France just for a summer for study abroad but England for a total of 3 years.  Living in another country for at least a year as an adult was on my bucket list so I’m really happy to say I’ve done this.

56 59

8. How many alarms do you set in the morning?  Most days, zero.  I just wake up early.  But one is enough if I need to be up for something specific, I’m a very light sleeper.

9. What are your top three pet peeves?  This is hard to think about off the top of my head.  One is definitely misspellings.  I can’t think of others but I know there are many haha.  Lots of things I hate aren’t really pet peeves, it’s more frustration with people who can’t follow basic rules of human decency.  When I think of pet peeves I think of people who say “quote unquote” or “intensive purposes” and just make me want to crawl in a hole and hide from them.

10. How do you feel about the new “Girl Meets World” show? I have no feelings on it really, I watched BMW a bit when I was younger but I was never that big of a fan and it’s unlikely I’ll ever see an episode of this new one.

 

Half Mad Runner’s Questions:

1.  If I was coming to your city and could race only one race, what would you recommend?  Haha if you’re talking about where I live specifically, you are out of luck, we have no races.  The closest race to me is a 50 mile trail race so I hope you’re an ultra fan!  It’s beautiful here though, I love the forests and trails 🙂   If you’re looking for the closest big city, I’d give the win to the Marine Corps Marathon and recommend it to anyone.

2.  Almond Butter or Peanut Butter?  Almond butter.

3.  Your favorite running shoe company has just offered to sponsor you to run 50 halves in 50 states.  It’s all expense paid, plus you get to bring a friend.  Who (dead or alive, famous or not) do you want to run with?   Ok, this just sounds awesome in general.  I’d actually just want to run with Joe but Brooks better have some magical powers that can turn him into a runner first!  I just prefer to travel with him, I have more in common with him than with my friends so we tend to agree all the time on what to see/do.

3133_623878091297_7035935_n

At a soccer game in Italy 2006

 

4.  What is your must have, can’t  live without running gadget?  Garmin.  I hate not knowing how far/fast my runs are and I’m such a dork about analyzing my stats and making sure I’m staying right where I need to in my training.

5.  Dream race-station location?  Race-station?  Like an aid station?  Or just dream race location?  Okay since I don’t know which one (and the first one makes no sense to me haha) I’ll say middle of nowhere Iceland.  I know Reykjavik has one (and I’d still like to do it!) but I really want to run out in the middle of nowhere in the beautiful countryside rather than amongst the city buildings.

6.  Runderwear or no?  I wouldn’t rule it out, but I prefer the tiny spandex shorts.  I just think it looks better on me (and most people).

7.  Are you as annoyed as I am by the signs & shirts that say, “Run like Ryan Gosling is waiting for you at the finish line?”  I don’t want him to see me all sweaty and gross.   Haha well, I’m not attracted to him so it doesn’t motivate me in the slightest.  I don’t like the idea of those signs in general though, that kind of thing would never motivate me.  But I firmly believe you should do whatever motivates you to push harder at the hard parts in races so if you need someone to hold up a sign like that for you at mile 22, by all means GO FOR IT.   I’m a competitive freak so one of my favorite signs was one that had race times of a bunch of famous people on it and I loved feeling like I was ticking off targets as I ran.

8.  How many running related stickers do you have on your car?  Just one!  26.2.

9.  What’s the most annoying thing you’ve had to deal with on a race course?  Clearly the idiot who knocked me over and tore my knee ligaments.

10.  Pen and paper or technology?  Pen and paper.  I still write all my notes out in longhand for my research and only type them up right before I submit.

11.  How far out do you start your training schedule?  16 weeks for a marathon, usually 12 for a half.

 

 

Kristina’s Questions:

1.  Where do you draw inspiration from?  For just about anything, from someone who is successful at whatever it may be.  For my professional work, from people who were in my position and are now established in the field and from my supervisors.  In running, from elites and sub-elites, but particularly those who started later in life like me or who have achieved a lot despite continuing to not be professional and/or still work full-time (people like Michael Wardian, masters runners, sub-elites who win races but aren’t sponsored, etc).

2. Stolen from Leigh Anne- you favorite vacation spot?  This is hard because I don’t like to go back to the same place.  Not that I wouldn’t, so many places I’ve loved so much and would love to go back, but I make the choice not to because there is so much of the world left to see and a second trip to Australia, for instance, means I might never see Cambodia.  So I don’t have a recurring favorite vacation spot, but my favorite places I’ve been are South Africa, New Zealand, Rome, and Croatia.

Africa 753 dubrovnik26

I must really like taking photos at sunset.

 

3. Food you will never, ever try?  EASY.  Balut. Or anything currently alive as I eat it.

4. Food that you haven’t tried, but are totally desperate to try?  Hmm.  Not one kind of food per se, although I’m sure there is something I can’t think of at this moment, but I’m so desperate to eat sushi in Japan.  I’m a massive sushi fan and Joe and I really want to go to Japan one day and eating at one of the Michelin-starred sushi restaurants is a must for us.

5. Most memorable “foodie” moment/ most memorable meal?  THANK YOU FOR THE BEST QUESTION EVER.  I am a massive foodie, not that you could tell from my pizza and cake issues.  I’ve eaten at several Michelin-starred restaurants and had some great meals, including two Michelin meals on our last trip to Paris but my favorite meal was at a little place in Paris with no stars and simple decor that serves only duck.  Well, all but one or two things on their menu anyway.  Both Joe and I think it was the best meal we’ve ever had and the service was great, too.  It was the best, most romantic night in the most casual setting.  There was a toaster on every table!  We had duck appetizers, duck main courses, and creme brulee for dessert.  I’d go back in a heartbeat and it’s on our must-do list for every time we are back in Paris.

Paris 024 Paris 023 Paris 025

6. Have you climbed/hiked a mountain?  Where? I have!  I climbed Mount Washington with a good friend when I was 18.  It holds many of the records for awful weather (wind, cold, fog) in the U.S. and was really interesting to climb as two rather petite girls.

7. What accomplishment are you most proud of?  I think graduating at the top of my class with my M.A. degree, I worked my butt off for that and I was so proud of the work I did throughout the program.

8.  A goal of yours that makes you shake in your boots, just a little?  Publishing a book someday.

9.  Place you would move to if given the ideal opportunity?  There are so many places that could be my ideal but Park City, Nashville area, or somewhere in Texas.

10. Celebrity that makes you cringe?  Lindsay Lohan.

 

 

For my nominees, I’d like to pick some of the people I’ve discovered more recently (in the last month or two) so I’m sorry if you’ve done this six million times!

Brianna

Salt

Cat

Karen

Andrea

Nicole

 

I know it’s not 10 but almost everyone I know has already been nominated recently!  I guess that’s why this exists, so we can find new blogs and runner friends 🙂

 

Your questions:

 

1. You have unlimited space and resources, how many pets do you have and what kind?

2. What sports/activities did you do as a young child (prior to age 12-ish)?

3. What is the first thing you do when you visit your hometown? (other than seeing family/friends)

4. You get an all expense paid vacation anywhere you want but only for a week (no around the world trips!), where do you go?

5. Favorite American city to visit and why?

6. What’s the craziest thing on your bucket list?

7. What novel has been the most influential at any stage in your life?

8. You can choose: be able to run for life but never get faster than a 9:00/mi or you get the next year to be amazing and win marathons but then you can never run again.  Which do you choose?  (aka the Achilles question)

9. Do you have the same favorite color as when you were a child? What is it now/then?

10. Favorite article of clothing?

 

Everyone else: answer one or all in the comments!

 

 

Fact (not) Friday

I was going to post this Friday but then Friday was all super busy and Fact Sunday sounds ridiculous.  But I did 10 miles this morning and was obviously dehydrated because I have a post-run headache so rather than come up with something new and save this for next Friday, I’m going to post it today. 

First, though, a little roundup of the first week of Insanity: I’m skipping the cardio recovery days in the program, but doing the rest.  I like the Plyo workout the best, even if it makes my butt hurt like crazy for the next 2 days.  In general, it’s hard without being so hard that I need to take extra breaks and it’s definitely working on areas I need to improve strength-wise, so I think it’s a good fit for getting me into strength training and making me stronger before my spring races.  I’ll definitely update you all with actual statistics on how much I’ve improved when I reach the end of the 60 days.

 

So 5 more random facts about me!

1.  I’m known to some as a picky eater, mostly because I have certain foods I’ll never touch (hotdogs, mushrooms, formerly Chinese and burgers though now I eat those sometimes).  BUT, I’m also a relatively adventurous eater.  Some of the “unique” foods I’ve eaten are alligator, kangaroo (in Australia), bear (in Estonia), wild boar, emu, kudu (in South Africa) and ox.  I bet you’re wondering how these things taste… kangaroo stew was excellent, our kudu was prepared by an amazing chef (hi Ian, you’re the best) and was SO FREAKING GOOD, and fried alligator is awesome but also a lot like popcorn chicken.  Those were my favorites, emu is by far my least favorite and I couldn’t even finish it.

 

2.  I’m a HUGE soccer fan and even though I’m American, because the best soccer is European (duh), I grew up watching the EPL and Italian soccer on the weird channels and have considered myself a Liverpool fan since I was about 7 years old.  I converted my husband to the cause when we met (and lucky him, his first season as a fan saw us win the Champions League, which is the biggest deal ever).  If you ever wondered why our youngest pup, a girl, is named Stevie, it’s because we named her after this superhero:

Image

He’s the captain of both Liverpool and England and his name is Steven Gerrard, but they call him Stevie G, which is now the name of our little girl.  Our backup name if she didn’t look like a Stevie?  Carragher.  We would have called her Carra for short.  He was a central defender for Liverpool his entire career.

 

3. I have an irrational fear of sharks.  What is irrational about fearing a terrifyingly large creature that can kill you, you ask?  Well, I’m so convinced they want to eat me that I don’t get in water I can’t see through…including lakes and rivers.  Yes, I know there are no sharks in lakes.  But because I’m a genius, I’ve watched every episode of River Monsters and now I know that fish want to kill me too so I’m sorry, there’s just no way I’m getting there.  Clear bodies of water as can be seen in Jamaica and Hawaii only, and very close to shore. 

 

4. Stevie isn’t the only dog with a name that wasn’t just pulled out of a hat of “dog-sounding” names.  Our 7 year old is Slider and I get asked all the time where that comes from.  Despite one or two guesses that he was named after the baseball pitch (ha, no, I hate baseball), a shocking number of people between 25-40 guess this correctly.  Any thoughts, fellow 80s movie lovers? 

Image

I’ve seen this movie WAYYYYY too many times.  Love it love it love it.  Slider is the name of Iceman’s co-pilot.  He’s most famous for this scene:

Image

Slider is our little co-pilot in life.  We were going to name our next dog Goose if it was a boy so they would be named after both co-pilots in the movie.  We’re still saving both Goose and Maverick for future pups.  Not sure Iceman is ever gunna happen 😉 

 

5. I love France.  I fell in love with it the first time I went at age 15 and studied abroad there in college in a tiny town in the Alps (I love Paris to death but I’m soooo not a city girl, I couldn’t have spent extended time living in one).  When it came to picking a wedding location, we knew it would be France.  We had an amazing wedding in rural France and spent 10 days there between the lead-up and the wedding before going on our honeymoon.  Best. Decision. Ever.  Here are some pictures I took in the week before the wedding:

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

 

 

Pet owners: Why did you choose your pet’s name?

Tell me one random fact about you!

Goodbye, 2013!

I’ve seen a bunch of running-related year in review posts on other blogs but I’d like to make this an “everything” year in review instead.  So I’m going to recap my favorite things about 2013 in general, then take a look at goals and plans for 2014 for both life and running. 

 

In 2013, I completed three chapters of my PhD dissertation and the end of the year marks roughly halfway through this whole PhD process.  Getting so much done this year is definitely my biggest accomplishment of 2013 and I hope everything continues to go well so that I can get that degree in hand sooner rather than later!

Image

Image

We also had Joe’s parents come out to visit for about 5 weeks this summer and my parents were here over Christmas so we got to show both families around and spend time with them which was great, especially now that we live so far away from everyone.

 

In November, I traveled to Ireland to visit a friend from my master’s program and had an         awesome weekend in Dublin with one of my favorite people 🙂 Claire is awesome and you would all love her.  And she totally indulged me walking around for 40 minutes all over these     little alleys because I had heard there were burritos.  There were in fact burritos, and they were delicious. 

ImageImageImageImageImage

 

We also traveled to Greece so I got to see the Acropolis (which I’ve always wanted to see but particularly after a Greek architecture elective I took in college) and play on the beach in Mykonos

ImageImageImage

 

On the same trip, we visited Croatia over Joe’s 30th birthday and now I can say Croatia is        definitely one of my favorite places I’ve been.  Plus, we were lucky enough to travel with our good friends who we hadn’t seen in 9 months so it was definitely an incredible trip.

Image

ImageImage

Image

 

And we managed a tiny trip to Venice but it’s a city I’ve loved since the first time Joe and I went there back in 2006.  It was fantastic to be back and of course, I had pizza, and it was AMAZING. 

Image

ImageImage

Image

 

Those are my highlights 🙂  Progress on my PhD, lots of time with friends and family, and four new countries! (Ireland, Croatia, Greece, and Switzerland…I had already been to Italy)

 

I had no PRs in 2013 because this year marked my comeback to the sport after much time off, mostly due to injury.  So 2014 is ripe for many PRs (hopefully!) and I intend to go get them.  My goals for 2014 are:

-Consistent running aka NO MORE INJURIES!  That means being safe with mileage increases, stretching, and strength training and I really need to work on those last two.  I’d like to aim for 300 days of running this year but I hope it will be much more, just a safe estimate if I can remain healthy.

-Half-marathon under 1:30!

-A good showing on the track in what will be my first outdoor track season

-See more of the world!  I really like to travel and have so many places I’d like to see.  I’d like to see at least one new place in 2014.

-Finish my dissertation 🙂  This would be huge and my goal is to finish in December 2014. 

-Get better at photography.  I really like to take photos, especially when I travel but I have never taken the time to learn much about it and I’m not very good.  I’d like to get a little better this year so I can do some of these amazing experiences justice– I really loved the view of the sun/castle in that photo above in Dubrovnik and it’s my favorite picture I’ve taken but I know in the hands of someone experienced it would be a million times better.  I’m hoping to get only maybe 10x better 😉

 

And for those of you, like me, who didn’t have PRs this year thanks to injury, life taking over, or any reason at all, I leave you this from professional runner and general awesome lady, Shalaya Kipp:

Image

 

What were some of your 2013 highlights?

Biggest running-related goal for 2014?

 

 

Another day in Zurich

Got to do a 5 mile fartlek run at my new favorite lake and it was gorgeous

Image

It was outstanding and the sky was all crazy but the weather was perfect so pretty much the best ever.

 

I’m just going to do the rest with blurbs and photos because this pretty city will speak for itself 🙂 

 

City views on the river

Image

City view from the top of a hill

Image

 

Beautiful church

Image

 

Same church in the morning fog from the hill

Image

 

View from the top of the church tower!

Image

 

Morning view from the top of the city (complete with crazy clouds and light)

Image

 

Me walking by the lake in afternoon sun (and yes, I did stick my hand in the lake to see how cold it was…obviously)

Image

 

 

I always climb up towers/churches/mountains when I travel to try and get better vantage points for photos…but I’m not the biggest fan of heights.  In Croatia this summer I massively chickened out halfway up a tower because I just couldn’t handle the rickety metal stairs.         Thankfully, everything in Zurich has felt very stable so I’ve been a little more adventurous 😉

 

Favorite time of day to run given all-day freedom?

Any slight (or severe!) phobias?