What Have I Gotten Myself Into

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Not only am I running on an uneven surface for this marathon relay, but check out this elevation! Eek!

P.S. I figured out how to take a screenshot…on my own. I could’ve asked the two boys in the car but I was a big girl and watched a YouTube video.

Any advice for a trail running newbie? If so, I need that advice in the next two and a half hours. :)

Last night, in my apparent typical pre-run fashion, I drank wine and didn’t get enough sleep. We had our new neighbors over to grill out; Brody made burgers and I roasted potatoes and onions from our CSA. Emily brought over the Cupcake Moscato wine and it was delicious. Brody and Tim cleaned out the beer in our fridge, including the Stella and Guinness that had been in there for months (maybe years).

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Just after midnight, our guests left and I crashed only to wake up at seven. Darn those early weekday mornings. Attempting to sleep any longer was pointless; once I’m up, I’m up. Breakfast was the standard toast with peanut butter, a banana, and an iced coffee.

And now we’re on our way to Kettle Morraine State Park. We may or may not have gotten a little “lost” on our way there. I think I have made every mistake (alcohol, lack of sleep, semi-charged Garmin and iPod, etc.) in preparing for this race except for wearing new clothes. At least I have Brody and these guys to cheer me on.

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They will continue to love me no matter what.

Wish me luck! Hopefully I don’t get lost, roll an ankle, need to pee in the woods, or run slower than a 13:00 minute mile. At least I have tailgating and the Badger game to look forward to. If I suck big time, I can always drink away my embarrassment.

Questions:
Doing any races this weekend?
Have you ever done a relay? I would love to do Rangar one day.
What football team do you cheer for?

I Heart Sailboats, Caves, and Sunscreen in Croatia

While I am not having the perfect Friday like I did last week, I am still having a decent day. The tummy troubles are a little better (knock on wood) and haven’t required me to lie in bed watching a My Mom is Obsessed marathon again. That is progress.

One thing that has helped my mood is looking at pictures from our trip. When I left off last time, we had just finished up our time in Dubrovnik.

We took a ferry from Dubrovnik to Polace on the island of Mljet. I loved this place; it was quiet, beautiful, and not touristy (at least when we were there). The boys spent the afternoon hiking in the National Forest while Bridget and I rented a two-person kayak, paddled around, sunbathed on some semi-flat rocks, and swam.

Then our boat and captain arrived!
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We met our captain, Maladin, checked out our new home for the next three and a half days, and left the bay we were in.
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Maladin’s buddy owns a restaurant that we could eat at and dock at, so we sailed (motored actually) thirty minutes to get there.

Watching the sun set before dinner and our first night sleeping on the boat

After the sunset we ate octopus, squid, potatoes and zucchini all cooked “in the bell.” Delicious and filling! Plus we had lots of house white wine.
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Sleeping that night, and every night, was hot. As you can see from the picture above, the sleeping cabins are small, and the room we had only had one small window. Brody slept on the couch in the living room every night. We are both furnaces when we sleep.

Captain JP was in heaven


Our actual captain/skipper, Maladin, didn’t really need our help operating the forty foot boat (he’s on the Croatian National Sailing Team), but JP was always happy to help out. This was great because the rest of us were happy not helping if we weren’t needed. Me = lazy.

Incredible scenery as we sailed every day


I often sat up on the front of the boat, slathered on sunscreen, and read. Over the entire trip I finished two books: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Little Bee. I started The Birth of Venus but finished it last week.

I did my fair share of relaxing

The days kind of run together from here on, so here are the highlights and more beautiful pictures that will make you want to visit Croatia yesterday.

We saw dolphins! I was positively giddy and squealed with delight. The day before I had asked Maladin if we’d see any and he thought there was a good chance.
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This was WAY more than just seeing them; one “played” with our boat and swam right in front of us, swimming back and forth and jumping up often. It was only ten feet from us. I know anyone can see a dolphin at Sea World, an aquarium, or in Florida, but this was authentic.

The Green Caves


We spent a couple of hours at the Green Caves; the boys jumped off those cliffs (around forty feet) and we all swam and snorkeled.

Who is the snake and who is the mongoose?


Of course we got silly, often after some euchre and wine.

Although I don’t have a personal picture of it yet, we visited the Blue Caves also. They were beautiful and I am excited to see the pictures JP took with his waterproof camera. For now here’s a picture I borrowed with the link.
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The last night on the boat, Maladin brought us to a fairly secluded bay. Other than the boat of naked French men (true story), we had a quiet space to snorkel, swim, summersault, and watch the sun set over the trees. We joked about buying the house for sale and having this piece of paradise to ourselves. Obviously that would never happen but it was fun to dream.

A crazy coincidence: I had a foreign exchange student from Croatia in one of my classes all year long. While showing her photos, she, ALLASUDS, freaked out. Her friend’s parents own that house! She pulled up her Facebook account and showed me pictures of her there two years ago.
Mildly embarrassing story: When she saw a photo of the wine we bought the first day in Dubrovnik, she giggled and told me that was the wine young kids drink to get drunk. We could tell – it was pretty bad.

Phew! Quite the post. I am kind of sad I am done recapping the vacation.

If you want more of our vacation, and I know you do, check out Bridget’s posts here, here, here, and here.

Have a fantastic weekend!

I Heart Castles, Mountains, and Fennel Wine in Switzerland

I am FINALLY posting some quality (aka not iPhone photos) of our trip. We’re starting with Switzerland.

Brody and I are so fortunate to visit his dad and stepmom every summer. This visit was sadly shorter than normal because of the flight times to Croatia, but we still had lots of fun with them and Bridget and JP.

We ate good food.

Mmmm…Swiss Grill – good thing no one is a vegetarian

We hiked.

Hiking the Swiss Alps

Brody’s dad, Bridget, and I relaxing on a rock where we ate lunch while the boys hike up to the waterfall

Pretty waterfall

We drank wine in the cave (pronounced with an a like avocado).

Check out all that wine! Sorry, but you won’t find any fennel wine* in those racks – JP polished it off.

*The fennel wine comment deserves an explanation. Brody’s dad purchased a whole case of red wine from a local vineyard because he had tried their other wines and enjoyed them. This particular red wine, however, was not good. Someone, maybe JP, decided it tasted like fennel, and the wine was called such from then on. After quite a bit of red wine one night and many games of euchre, we attempted to finish the last bottle or two, but only JP could stand it. He was a trooper; Brody’s dad was very happy when he found out he no longer had nasty fennel wine on his hands.

We visited castles.

We walked for about thirty minutes along Lake Geneva from the Montreux Jazz Festival to this castle

While JP visited (as in looked, not used) the ancient latrines (the holes went right into the water!), the three of us took a break in an open section of the castle.

We took in the incredible landscape.

Can you imagine waking up to this view every day?

For Bridget’s vacation recap of Switzerland, head here. She is WAY funnier than I am and she already has her Croatia posts done. She has a full-time job and I only nanny a few days a week. Me = no excuses.

Have a fantastic Tuesday!

Question:
Have you ever been to Switzerland? Where’d you go? What’d you do?

 

Vacation Update: Switzerland

Hello from the Swiss Alps!

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This rainbow appeared Friday afternoon

After three days in the Valais, we will be saying goodbye to Brody’s dad and stepmom tomorrow morning and flying from Geneva to Dubrovnik. We’ve had an awesome time, and we’re sad to leave already. Brody has been taking lots of pictures, so once we get back to the States, I’ll do a few posts using those images (food and mountain porn). But for now, here’s a brief overview of our visit.

Thursday
-drove from Geneva and sat around in the late afternoon
-ate “Swiss Grill” which is a smorgasbord of meats (various sausages, lamb, and pork)
-drank good red wine

Friday
-woke up around 8am and read on the patio
-went hiking up the mountain and had a picnic lunch
-drove to a mountain village where we had a drink, shopped, and drooled all over a bakery
-Bridget and I both “shut ‘er down” (napped) for an hour and a half
-ate veal, pasta, salad, and tartes (and I had my first French macaroon!)
-played euchre and drank wine in the Cave (a wine and drinking cellar in the basement) until 2:30am…oops

Saturday
-slept until 11am (combination of late night, wine, and jet lag)
-drove to Montreux, which is on Lake Geneva, to check out the Montreux Jazz Festival
-walked to the Chateau Chillon and toured the castle
-ate roasted chicken, salad, raclette, and apricot sorbet with raspberries

There is so much I have left out, but like I said before, the pictures will tell a better story. I have no clue if I will have access to Internet or time to post from Croatia, so if I don’t check in, assume I am on a sailboat in the Adriatic Sea. Sounds incredible, I know. I can’t wait to see Croatia!

Goodnight!

I Ran Ten Miles and Saw The Hunger Games

Note: I realized the morning after I pub
Usher this that a better title would’ve been “Katniss and I Both Ran Ten Miles Yesterday”

Where to start? It was quite the busy day.

One great part of my day was seeing The Hunger Games with some colleagues. I read the books over two years ago and told everyone I could about them, including my friend Bridget. Like the Twilight series, I credit this series with showing students how amazing books can be; many students told me they hadn’t read a book for X years, but they read these three books and actually enjoyed reading. Because it is my goal as an English teacher to help every student fall in love with reading, I often recommend The Hunger Games to reluctant readers.

As for the movie, two of my students saw the midnight premiere (and came to school the next day) and had good things to say. One boy was disappointed, but I said there was no way the movie could ever live up to the books. My opinion? I was very pleased with it. The film didn’t blow me away, but I thought it was a good adaptation. The casting was fantastic (loved Katniss, Effie, and Cinna) and the cinematography was well done. Not knowing what was going on in Katniss’ head left out a lot, and I wonder if they could’ve included her inner thoughts.

Once we got out of the theater, my work friends and I headed to the Culver’s for a late lunch, but since I had a green monster smoothie after my run and some popcorn trail mix (chocolate chips, cranberries, almonds, and sunflower seeds) during the movie, I wasn’t especially hungry. It had been a long time since I had had custard (which is different and a little fattier than ice cream), so I had a small cone with the flavor of the day: chocolate Heath bar. It was creamy with lots of Heath pieces.

Before all of that, I had my run. Ten miles. Mel mapped out a run that started at Bluephie’s on Monroe street. The first two miles were miserable; it was an uphill climb and the humidity was high. Once the ground leveled out and we were in the Arboretum, I felt better. We met up with a bunch of other runners Mel and I know though Dailymile and continued on. Some miles felt good and some felt crappy. I took a Gu, Tri-Berry flavored, around mile six and sipped water most of the time. I altered my training schedule to match Mel’s, so even thought I was supposed to have a fourteen mile run today, I dropped down to a ten. Next weekend I will run fifteen miles instead of the ten or twelve I was supposed to do. Did you follow that?

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source

Napping and eating took up the rest of my Saturday afternoon. It was glorious.

Earlier in the day, Brody went to the store and got chicken to grill out. While the grill heated up, we drank wine (Menage a Trois) and Brody played with the dogs.

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Along with the chicken, we had alfredo noodles, and peas.

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I had a little, tiny bowl of the Ben & Jerry’s Greek yogurt for something sweet. Now Brody and I are watching a couple episodes of Lost before calling it an early night.

Questions:
If you saw The Hunger Games, what do you think?
Do you prefer ice cream fro yo, or custard?

Hey, It’s Ok!

In a magazine a while back (Glamour?), I saw a feature called “Hey, It’s Ok!” and began to think of some my behaviors and choices that may be considered strange or “wrong.”

Hey, It’s Okay

To iron your clothes with a flat iron
It works! I rarely iron (takes too much time), but this morning the bottom of my shirt was wrinkled and crumpled. My trusty Babybliss (sp?) straightener came to the rescue.

To wear workout clothes multiple times
This one probably isn’t that crazy for most people who work out regularly. Washing your clothes often wears down the elastic, especially if you put them in the dryer (which I do not – I try to air dry all workout clothes). I would rather be stinky than need to spend more money on sports bras.

To only drink two glasses of wine out of a bottle
Brody and I do not drink often or much at home. Friday night we each had a glass with dinner…and the bottle has not been touched since. I thought about drinking a little last night, but it just didn’t sound good. It does hurt a little to dump two-thirds of a bottle down the drain, but it’s not like we buy expensive wine.

To have people whose blogs you read show up in your dreams
This one hasn’t happened to me for a while, but it has happened at least twice. I often catch up on blogs before going to bed…maybe this has something to do with it? Or maybe I know too much about random people who I will likely never meet?

To play rap music really loud with the car windows open
I had a rough afternoon and brought my iPod to the dog park to help me zone out and get out of my head. As I was getting back into my car, a Jay Z and Kanye West song came on. I plugged my iPod into the auxiliary cord and turned up the volume. When I am a little down, I either like sad music (“Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum) or rap music (“Gucci Gucci” by Kreayshawn).

To fall asleep within a minute of closing your eyes
“Experts” may say you should take about ten minutes to fall asleep, but I crash almost immediately. I cannot remember the last time Brody fell asleep before me (unless I stayed up to read). Apparently falling asleep this quickly means I am sleep deprived, but I don’t know if I would say I am deprived of sleep. I think of it as maximizing my sleeping time. :)

*****

It has been a long day both physically (four mile run outside with a neighbor at 5:15am and two laps at the dog park) and emotionally (work-related). At least the weather was incredible. Is it bad that I am already looking forward to the weekend…and I still have two days?

Question:
What is one of your “Hey, It’s Ok!”?