I Did Not Retire in California…

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Although the thought crossed my mind : )

I didn’t forget about you guys either!  We had the most amazing trip to  Northern California, and it’s taken me a week to adjust to being back in the real world (but we’ll get to that). 

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The BOY and I began our trip in San Francisco…

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Eating Dim Sum in China town…

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Biking across the Golden Gait Bridge…

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Hugging trees in Muir woods…

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And eating and drinking our hearts out! Then, we headed out to visit the BOY’s aunt in the suburbs where we continued to eat, drink, and enjoy the unbelievably perfect California weather.

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Even tacking on a bit of hiking…

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Before driving further north to wine country.  It has been a dream of mine to visit Napa and Sonoma for years.

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Our first stop was Castello Di Amorosa and the trip only got better from there.  Between the wine tastings, picnics, and homemade antipasto plates, Napa did not disappoint.

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We toured fancy wineries, tasting delicious wines, and discovered some hidden gems.

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But, it was the laid back vibe of Sonoma that won our hearts!

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We spent a day in the Alexander Valley, sipping red wine and picnicing next to the vineyards.

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It was everything I imagined and more!  We bought so many bottles of wine, we’ll have enough for a year!  And we are already talking about our next trip back.

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We packed a ton into our 8 day trip, but the highlight…I would have to say…

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We got engaged in Muir Woods!!!

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And we couldn’t be happier!!!

Let the wedding planning begin (oh wait…it already has)…hence my lack of blogging!

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I’m Still Addicted to the Tour!

After not getting to watch much of the tour this week, I arrived home from work last night with Chipotle for dinner declaring that I would be watching hours of the tour to catch up before today’s time trials.  The BOY was too exhausted to fight and knew that not only was he outnumbered (Cooper is now a fan) that he really should be studying!

My triathlon friend had a last minute change of plans and invited me to join her on her longest BRICK this morning.  I confessed that I was nowhere near 100% and with my company may come a few snot rockets.  She didn’t seemed phased and we agreed to meet at the River path near my house.

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As I fell asleep last night, it occurred to me that I didn’t have anything to eat for breakfast and was lacking the usual fuel I would bring along for a training ride.  When I woke up, I decided to go to one of my favorite training breakfasts, the Dough Boy Smoothie.  Typically, I would set everything up the night before, but instead, I threw the ingredients (using a peach and some blueberries instead of banana) into the blender first thing this morning.  Then, got about feeding Cooper breakfast and pulling together my gear for the BRICK, before blending it all together.

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Breakfast was lacking some protein, but super delicious and exactly what I knew my stomach would need on a day like today.  And, I found a few Kind Bars in the pantry to nosh on during the ride.

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I met my friend at the Dairy Queen and we took a quick pre ride selfie before riding north.  This is the same path I rode a few weeks ago at the start of the tour.  I made it farther north today than last time, but still didn’t find the mountains : )  We had a time goal instead of a mileage goal, but after 3 hours, we had almost 33 miles behind us.  We rode a pretty slow pace, which was perfect for my body, but I had more energy than I expected.  Finally, some benefit of sitting on the couch for a few days!

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It was quick switch out of helmets before making our way back to the trail for a 30 minute run jog during which we talked books.  I raved about Reconstructing Amelia and she told me how funny Bossy Pants was.  I need to pick that up before our trip to California!  I was definitely tired when we strode back into the Dairy Queen parking lot, but not nearly as wrecked as I expected.

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Post Brick Selfie

I stopped at my favorite sandwich shop (Which Wich?) on the way home to grab a warm chicken pesto on wheat that I devoured during the start to today’s tour on the DVR.

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After lunch and a shower, I wanted nothing more than to sit back and watch time trials.  But I had a first birthday party to attend!  I was able to watch Tony Martin and saved the rest for tonight, which I knew might take some convincing when the BOY returned from the library.

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The First Birthday Fiesta was super fun!  It is always wonderful to catch up with my high school friends and clown around a bit. 

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On a fun note, the uncle of the birthday boy is a chef in Napa Valley.  He and his girlfriend cooked up the most incredible fiesta meal complete with homemade churros.  Of course, I introduced myself and they had a few suggestions for our mostly unplanned upcoming trip.  The BOY returned from the library with food on his mind.  I’m sure you guessed it, but he called in an order for Thai food, which I happily scooped up on my way home.  Even though I ate at the party, I always have room for a few bites of Thai.

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We ate dinner in while watching the nail biting finale of today’s time trial, and I’m sure I won’t make it up late tonight after this morning’s LONG workout.  I am looking forward to a revitalizing morning yoga class.  On a totally different note, thanks to everyone for the pep talk after my running woes. I have no expectations for this upcoming half marathon, but appreciate you letting me vent about my lack of training and cheering me right along!

 

Have you been following the tour?

What was your workout today?

I am Not the King of the Mountains

I was so inspired by the first half of the Tour de France Stage II this morning, that I had to get out on my bike!  After our Saturday night festivities, nobody was jumping out of bed this morning.  Slowly but surely, my brother and his fiancé emerged and joined me watching the start of stage II.  My brother is just as into it as I am and his fiancé thinks he’s just as crazy as the BOY thinks I am!

 

As everyone made their way out the door, it was just me and Cooper watching the TV.  Feeling encouraged by the extreme athletic accomplishments of this hilly course, I pulled myself together with thoughts of a longish bike ride.  I paused the tour about half way through and decided to drive out to the Fox River Trail.

 

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I think it’s been about 2 years since I’ve been riding or running out in this area.  I kind of remembered how to get there and find the trail.  What surprised me was how close the trail actually is to my house (only about a 12 minute drive).

 

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I began riding north planning to go about an hour and then turn around and head back.  My bike computer is still out of commission, so I wasn’t sure how fast (or slow) I was going or what my exact distance would be.  As I rode into McHenry county, it appeared that they’ve redone their trail.

 

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The pavement was smooth and the views beautiful as I weaved away from the river and up north towards the big open fields.  The clouds were dark and thick, threatening rain, so I was tempted to turn around at about 30 minutes when I saw a trail detour.  Instead, I pressed on knowing that there were big hills ahead.  I have vivid memories of walking my bike up these hills as they may be the biggest I’ve seen in this area.

 

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Before I got to the big hills where I was planning to ride for the polka dot jersey, the skies got darker and the wind stronger.  At about 50 minutes, I decided it was smarter to turn around leaving the hills for another day.  With the wind at my back, I sailed back south towards my car.

 

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I cruised back appreciating the views on this rustic trail.

 

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When I arrived back at my car after about 95 minutes of biking, the sun was shining and I forgot that I was ever worried about the weather.  Despite having 3 strength training days prior to today’s ride, my legs felt surprisingly strong.  My next stop was the bike shop.  I have an appointment this week for typical maintenance.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had my hybrid fixed up and after much thought, I decided that I would take it in this summer instead of my road bike.  Mostly because I am not doing a triathlon this summer and also because the people I have been and will be riding with don’t have road bikes, it makes the most sense to spend this season on my hybrid.

 

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Then, it was back to the grocery store before returning home for lunch, a shower, and of course the second half of this morning’s Tour de France.  I can’t wait to see who really is the king of the mountains!

 

 

Is anyone else watching the Tour de France?

What did you see on your bike/run today?

Summer Saturdays

Ahh…one week into summer and I am loving me some Saturdays!

This morning, I woke up, got in a good cuddle with Cooper, and then made breakfast.

 

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Instead of my usual eggs, I went with a Quinoa Cake.  Yum!  Although I didn’t have any bananas, so I smothered it with almond butter, agave, and coconut.  It was fantastic!

 

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And gave me more than enough energy to power through an awesome and inspiring hot yoga class.  Let me tell you…my dancer pose has never looked felt so good!  After yoga, I spent some down time on the couch watching trashy TV.  Then, packed up my car to meet a friend for a bike ride and a run.

 

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She is training for her first triathlon, so I offered to tag along to keep her company and live vicariously through her since this is the first year in a few that I am not training for a triathlon.  This is the same friend that I ran the 10 Mile Coffee Date with, so there is always plenty to talk about.

 

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We rode along the Des Plaines River Trail, which was beautiful.  It was really fun to ride a different trail and get a new perspective and of course, workout with a friend.  There was a little flooding, so we got slightly sidetracked on our way north, but easily made our way back.  We were talking so much and enjoying the sights (we saw a deer) that I barely took any pictures.  After our 130 minute bike ride (a little over 20 miles), we locked up our bikes and set out on the next portion of our workout, a 20 minute run.  This was my first BRICK since last summer and my legs felt heavy and slow, just like they were supposed to.  And I felt happy and strong, just like I expected!

 

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After our 2 plus hour workout, we knew we deserved smoothies and fro yo samples, and there was a place just across the street to serve up both.  Then we said our goodbyes and I drove back home.  The BOY and I brought in dinner from one of our favorite restaurants and the rest of my evening is looking like this…

 

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Now that’s one happy day!

 

 

How do you like to spend your summer Saturdays?

Wow! I’ve Been Productive this Weekend…

Goals for the Weekend…

 

Make large deposit into sleep bank-CHECK

Get house organized-CHECK

Run and Bike-CHECK and CHECK

Go to farmer’s market-CHECK

Catch up on emails, DVR, bills, and work-CHECK

Cook-CHECK

 

Are you exhausted already? I also had time for a dentist appointment, yoga workshop, lunch with my parents, shopping with my mom (I bought 3 new dresses which will be perfect for wine tasting in California), and laundry.  There is still plenty to do tomorrow, starting with getting my bridesmaid dress fit for my brother’s wedding which is 3 weeks away, but after working through my to do list, I feel better already!

 

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I slept until 9am this morning, which felt incredible!  I ate breakfast and headed out into the humidity for a bike ride.  I haven’t ridden in a few weeks, so I was excited to take my bike out.  My legs, however, were not so excited! 

 

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After Thursday’s leg workout complete with lots of lunges and squats and yesterday’s run, my legs were done.  I felt like I was pedaling against the wind 100% of the time, which considering I was biking in a loop couldn’t really be possible, right?!

 

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My bike is also making some strange noises, so when I got back home, I tried to schedule an appointment at the bike shop.  Not surprisingly, they are booking about 2 weeks out, so I will have to wait.

 

After a shower, the BOY and I ate lunch together before he went off to the library, and I hung out with my parents.  I was really eager to go to the farmer’s market since it just opened and they had limes for 7 cents each!  The market is dangerously located in the middle of a mall, so my mom and I also found ourselves at Sur La Table, The Loft, and a few other stores.  My parents went on about their way and I hit up my last stop, the grocery store before making my way home for the day.  Since we had a quiet night in last night, I used that time to plan out this week’s meals.

 

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The BOY was home from the library when I walked in, and I found him napping upstairs.  I have been pretty spoiled with the BOY grilling dinners and making many of our meals, but as each week goes by, he is studying longer and getting home later.  So, I went back to some of our favorites (with the help of my crockpot) for this week’s meal plan.

 

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To go along with tonight’s meatloaf, I picked up some beautiful looking potatoes at the market.  Rosemary potatoes is one of our favorite sides, especially during grill season.  They are so easy to make in the oven and are usually a crowd favorite.  I love to make extra too to enjoy with my eggs as leftovers the next morning.  Yummy!

 

 

Meal Planning 6/22/14

Sunday: Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf with Rosemary Potatoes

 

Monday: Girls Dinner

 

Tuesday: Kung Pao Chicken

 

Wednesday: Seafood and Veggies

 

Thursday: Pork Tenderloin

 

Lunch: Crockpot Green Chicken Curry

 

 

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

 

Ingredients

About 6 small yellow or red potatoes, sliced (per one large baking sheet)

2 tbsp olive oil

Sea Salt

Rosemary

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place foil over a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.  Place a single layer of potatoes, overlapping a little as needed, across the baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and use a brush to spread evenly over the potatoes.

Sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary.  Place in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Then remove potatoes and flip them over adding more sea salt and rosemary.  Return to oven for 15 to 20 minutes until crispy along the edges.  I like mine well done!

 

Were you productive this weekend?

Riding Free

Soldier Field 10 Miler + Bike the Drive

I wouldn’t have Memorial Day Weekend any other way!!!

 

This year, I’m going backwards with my recaps.  And since this is my 5th year in a row doing Bike the Drive, I attempted to get some different views from the drive.

 

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My alarm went off at 6am this morning.  I was surprised to discover that I wasn’t at all sore from yesterday’s 10 mile run.  I dressed in my festive (and very appropriate) Bike the Drive socks and was fueled, covered in sunscreen, and on my bike heading east towards the drive at 6:30am.

 

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This was only my second ride of the year, and I was psyched for the perfect biking weather.  During my first ride, my bike computer battery appeared low and this morning, it was downright dead.  I was annoyed for a second and then decided that it would be fun to just ride free.  No knowledge of speed, no knowledge of distance!

 

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I entered the drive at Addison heading south.  There were already tons of riders out enjoying the beautiful morning.  I think this event may have gotten more popular over the past few years.

 

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I got a chill as I pedaled quickly down towards Michigan Avenue.  I really was riding FREE!  Free to ride my bike through one of the busiest streets in Chicago, free of stress, free of expectations, free to go as fast or slow as I wanted, and free to make the day my own!

 

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I rode south towards the Museum of Science and Industry observing the famous Chicago landmarks and new parks and buildings on the way.  I saw this sign yesterday during my run but didn’t have my camera.  I was happy to be able to snap a photo of it today.  It just makes me smile!

 

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The museum was crowded as expected as everyone stopped to refuel and take photos in front of the museum.

 

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Including ME!  I didn’t stop long before starting my 15 mile trek north to Bryn Mar.

 

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One of my favorite things about Bike the Drive is watching every age, size, and ability come together on their bikes that also come in tons of different shapes and sizes.  This year had its fair share of dogs in costumes on bikes and people in costumes on bikes.

 

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I rode all the way back north to the next rest area where I took a little snack break.

 

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Then rode back to my starting point where I exited the drive and rode west to where we were staying.  After 3 hours on my bike, I felt awesome and super strong, but didn’t want to push past ~32 miles for just my second ride.  Yesterday, I refueled with beer carbs and today I went with the Starbucks run on our way back to the suburbs.

 

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I still feel surprisingly good for such an active weekend, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to stay awake much longer : )

 

 

Did you ride or race this weekend?

Do you have any Memorial Day traditions?

 

 

4 Years on the Drive

Bike the Drive 2013

Bike the Drive 2012

Bike the Drive 2011

Double the Workouts…Double the Fun!

Winding down a 4 day weekend is never easy!  Who wants to go back to work?!

And after the weekend we had, I would have preferred to keep the celebrations coming!

 

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We got home late Sunday night and both crashed into bed.  Monday morning, the BOY was awake and wired with lots to say and discuss at 5:30am.  Which then led to him inviting Cooper (also wide awake) into our room where he immediately decided he wanted to make up for a weekend’s worth of cuddling.  Then there was apparently more to discuss….Ughh! 

 

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At 7am, the BOY mentioned breakfast, so we made our way to the grocery store.  Do you know how empty the store is Monday morning before 8am?  We stocked up for the week and the BOY found a HUGE cinnamon roll for breakfast.

 

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My goal for the morning was to get my bike up and rolling.  So after unpacking groceries, I cleaned organized the garage and pumped my bike tires full of air.

 

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I was beyond thrilled to be reunited with my bike after the long and grueling winter.  I immediately found my way back to the path.

 

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I rode along enjoying the perfectly spring like weather, complete with a cool breeze.  The wind was tough to pedal against, but in the end, I rode a lovely 9.5 miles.  A wonderful first ride of the year.

 

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I had just enough time to freshen up and grab a bite of leftover pizza before heading back out the door for an eye doctor appointment.

 

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A years worth of contacts and (finally) a new pair of glasses later, I was back on the move.  I dropped the BOY back off at home and then went over to the yoga studio.  I was meeting my mom for a session with my trainer.  We talked a bunch about health and wellness before diving into some challenging strength moves.  We were both sweating by the end and decided to hit Starbucks for a post workout beverage.  I had a bunch of errands to run and coupons to spend and my mom decided to tag along.  We went to the huge mall by our house which was nice and empty on a Monday.

 

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I had an awesome Kiehl’s coupon and as I was walking out of the store, I spotted a huge area of red.  I knew exactly what it was and after years of complaining that this huge, popular mall didn’t have a Lulu, finally here it is!  Well, almost!  The door is still locked : )  I walked in the door to my house at 7pm with an enthusiastic welcome from the guys (BOY + Cooper = Guys).  The BOY made the most delicious dinner and I settled in for the night.  I had planned on making a cookbook crockpot recipe for lunch this week, but it was too late in the evening.  I guess I will have to get to it later in the week (hopefully recipe to come).

 

This morning, I was back on the path (with tired legs) for a 6 mile run.  I think this will be my last run before this upcoming weekend’s 10 miler, so I was happy to get in a middle distance before work.  Officially, I have now run, lifted, yoged 8 days in a row.  I am looking forward to a well deserved rest day tomorrow!

 

As for meals this the week, the BOY has started his Bar Review class so we are as usual adjusting to a new schedule.  We thought we’d keep meals easy, except for the curry.  We’ll have to see how that turns out : )

 

 

Do you ever exercise twice in one day?

 

 

Meal Planning 5/20/14

Monday: Mediterranean on the Grill

 

Tuesday: Asian Salmon Salad (and steak and potato for the BOY)

 

Wednesday: Tilapia Curry

 

Thursday: Potato Bar with Chicken