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.

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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:

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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!

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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!).

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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.

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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.

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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?

A long vacation

The title is a little bit of a misnomer, I don’t know that I’d call what’s been going on this summer a “vacation,” but I sure took one monster of a vacation from blogging.  It started innocently enough, we moved two weeks after we got back from Austria so we had a TON to do, then the next two weeks were spent getting settled back in Virginia.  I planned on getting back to blogging once things had quieted down, but what you don’t all know (unless you’ve seen me mention it on instagram or twitter!) is that I sustained one giant pain-in-the-butt of an injury that just won’t leave me alone.  My motivation to post on my running blog while injured was pretty much zero, so I let it go while I focused on all the work I’ve been doing since we moved back.  It’s been so good for me, and maybe it’s even been good for me that I couldn’t run.  I have gotten so much work done and been so insanely productive, so while it has been frustrating to heal slowly, I also didn’t miss running as much as I normally would.  And I’ve even been weightlifting a decent amount recently, which is pretty much a sentence I never thought I’d say.  I usually avoid strength training like the plague but I’ve been enjoying it, if only because it’s the only place I’m seeing measurable progress 😉  I’ll go into a little more detail on the injury later this week but I am running again and excited for all the cool weather miles coming my way.

 

So, since you all don’t want to hear about work or non-running, I’ll do a little recap of some of the stuff I was up to this summer.

 

birthday

Spent several days at the adorable ice cream stand near my house where you can play games under the umbrellas while you eat homemade ice cream.  SO GOOD.  This was Joe’s birthday, with salted caramel flavored ice cream on his sundae.  I had a Kahlua milkshake, which I still remember vividly because it was SO DARN GOOD.  There was a lot of ice cream eating this summer.

 

 

 

 

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Went to a brunch with this girl that was a little about the delicious and a lot about the unlimited booze.  We made friends with our waiter and he brought us shots, which leads to wandering around the museum afterward like this:

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She’s too much fun for her own good.

 

And Joe and I had quite the awesome day at a baseball game!  Another sentence that isn’t something I thought I’d say…I’m definitely a football girl, baseball usually bores me to death.  But baseball is significantly more fun when you’re three rows behind home plate and there’s unlimited food and beer!

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And that’s us on tv!  I’m noticing a theme with my highlights…unlimited food=fun.

 

Just a few of my highlights but I’m so happy that it’s finally fall and I’m excited to be blogging again 🙂

 

Tell me some of your favorites from this summer!

What’s your number one favorite thing about fall?  (Mine is football, but a very close second is the gorgeous weather!)

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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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:

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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.

 

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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:

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

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The view to my left wasn’t bad either.

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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.

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

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

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Carrot and thyme soup.

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Quiche lorraine.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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

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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:

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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.

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

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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:

 

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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? 

 

A little bit of everything

My internet was down yesterday and it taught me very quickly how much I rely on it for a million little things.  For some reason, this only affected my computer and Joe’s was doing just fine.  I managed to steal his for a few minutes and read a few blogs but I couldn’t transfer my photos or anything so today you get a bit of a catch-up.

 

Monday was GORGEOUS out so I had a sunny and fantastic easy 5 mile run then did 20 minutes of core.  Then I had my favorite post-run food:

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Toast smeared with creamed honey, avocado, and poached eggs on top with a little bit of garlic salt.  Yum.

 

And we just couldn’t say no to my craving for more pizza.

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I also tried to take a little picture for you guys to prove that I do sometimes wear a little makeup and straighten my hair.

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It’s sort of ruined by a few things: a) my mirror is spotty as heck  b) I may have on some makeup but I’m still wearing a sweatshirt and c) I’m really awkward at taking photos of myself

 

Yesterday for no good reason my hips were CRAZY sore so I took the day off and am moving my interval workout to today.  I actually get excited when 400s are on the schedule because they go by so quickly that I can convince myself that running that fast isn’t so terrible.  12×400 as soon as I digest this oatmeal.

 

Oh…I almost forgot!  Super fun news…we are going on vacation!  In TWO WEEKS!  Yes, that’s very last minute (or at least it is for me! I like to plan things) but we got an amazing deal that we couldn’t pass up to visit another country we haven’t been to yet.  So I’ll be practicing my running at altitude and blogging to you from AUSTRIA in the very near future 🙂  We are spending the whole week in a small town in the Alps with access to 50+ miles of hiking trails and hope to spend all our time outside exploring if the weather cooperates…apparently, it rains a lot.  But you can hopefully expect some pictures like this:

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What is your workout plan for today?

Have you ever taken a hiking holiday?  Or just an outdoorsy holiday with no other plans than to explore the area?

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!

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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. 

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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

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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.

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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. 

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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:

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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

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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

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City view from the top of a hill

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Beautiful church

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Same church in the morning fog from the hill

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View from the top of the church tower!

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

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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)

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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?

 

 

Another day in Switzerland

Woke up and had an amazing 8 mile run right next to Lake Zurich on a gorgeous 45 degree morning.  I could get used to running to this view:

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Those are my fingers in the corners…it’s harder than you think to run and take photos at the same time.

 

We had lunch at a gorgeous little cafe all decorated for the holidays

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The hot chocolate was literally just melted Swiss chocolate.  Insane.

 

Then we went to do this game and took the tram 20 minutes to a different part of town

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You get locked in a room in the dark and have an hour to try to figure out how to get yourself out with hidden keys and secret codes and the like.  It was just Joe and I and would have been even more fun in a big group but it was neat to try to figure out how to get past all the locks and weird codes.

 

We did dinner at a place that specializes in local Swiss dishes

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And I had a steak tartare as big as my head

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Joe’s appetizer was a blue marlin carpaccio which was super different.  He had a giant mess of delicious meat and potatoes which is a Zurich specialty for dinner.  The picture isn’t very pretty so here’s his appetizer instead:

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And of course, more mousse for dessert because when in Rome…or Zurich, as the case may be…

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I really need to move that lake to my house.  I don’t have anywhere that peaceful and beautiful to run so it was such an amazing treat to be able to do it on vacation.  Best 8 miles in a long time. 

 

 

What was the best thing you ate this week?

Favorite vacation run?