Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quebec City

Running in a new place is rapidly becoming one of my favorite things to do on vacation.  It is such a great way to see a city.  Since I run in the mornings, it is usually pretty quiet on the streets, perfect for sightseeing and taking things at your own pace.
Quebec was a great city for running and sightseeing.  The apartment my family rented was in the perfect location and I took advantage of this with an early morning run on Tuesday.
This is a gorgeous city with a European flair to it... enjoy the pictures below!
Saint-Jean Gate
Rue Saint-Jean, nice shopping street
around the corner from our apartment
Beautiful flowers in Place d'Youville.
The round sign reminds me of Paris
Hotel du Parlement, the National Assembly building 
La Fontaine de Tourney 
Park across from Parliament building
Saint-Lawrence Gate
Very easy to walk around & sightsee in Quebec
Pictures of the architecture & streets around town 

Place d'Armes
Chateau Frontenac 
Another shot of the Chateau, which is a Fairmont hotel 
Terrase Dufferin, the boardwalk in front of the Chateau
The oldest part of the city, down along the river
St. Lawrence River 
The Funicular you take from the top of
Old Town (Haute-Ville) to the lower part
of Old Town (Basse-Ville)
Rue Petit Champlain, main street in Basse-Ville
Chateau Frontenac
Notre Dame Basillica
My mom's maiden name is Cote, which we saw
all over town.  It means "on the side" in French, so the
sign above is for the street along side the Citadelle

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Vacation

I thought 9 days at home would be enough time for a leisurely vacation.  Was I wrong.  My vacation was so great, but so busy every day.  I definitely had a great time!!
My flights on Friday were ridiculously delayed so instead of getting to Maine by 2pm, I didn't get there until 9pm.  Yeah, that was a long day.  I was really mad about the flight situation so I complained to US Air and received some miles (as requested by me) as compensation for my troubles.  Since I work in the hospitality industry I usually hate complaining about things like this, but the day I had on Friday really put me over the edge.  I'll spare you the details, but am glad with the miles since I was flying on a free ticket and would not have earned any otherwise.
My first night was in Portland at my sister's since we were running the 10K the next day.
Sarah, Greg & I went out to dinner once I got there.  They took me to Pan Mei Miyake, a delicious noodle bar with yummy Japanese inspired small plates.  We shared a few of plates (tuna roll, pork buns, ribs & gyoza) and they also had this great ginger beer from Japan.  Unfortunately I can't remember the name, but it was delicious.  Portland has so many great restaurants, I wasn't surprised this place was so good.
Saturday morning was the 10K and later that day we headed down to my parents house in Wells to see our friends Derek & Celeste for a lobster lunch!  They were delicious as always!  
One sad thing that did happened was that my parents had to put one of their cats, Lizzie, down on Friday night.  She had developed a blood clot in one of her legs and there was nothing to be done.  Poor Lizzie, she was the sweetest cat, just had a really good disposition.  It was sad because it was so sudden.  I was sad I didn't get to see her that day since my flight was delayed!  I was also sad when I saw her mug on the kitchen counter at my parents house :(  
Yes, she would jump on the counter and drink out of that mug... probably not the best cat behavior, but what can you do.
Saturday night was my cousin Amanda's going away party.  She moved to San Francisco the next day.  Love San Francisco!  Can't wait to go and see her in October!!
No this wasn't an earthquake themed cake
On Sunday 10 of us drove up to Quebec City for 3 nights.  I drove in the car with Sarah, Greg & Lily.  So basically I was Lily's slave for the 6 hour drive.  More binkies, change the movie, read the book.  For a two year old who rarely sleeps in the car, she did really well on the drive.  She even slept for like 30 minutes.  
Aside from bossing me around, Lily also took my pillow & watch!
Quebec City was really beautiful!  It's a very walkable city and after 3 days here, I felt like I had seen it all.  
and a few more....
I have more pictures of the city that I took on my run one morning and will post those tomorrow.
My parents, Sarah, Greg, Lily and I had rented a 3 bedroom apartment through the website (Vacation Rentals By Owner).  It was a great place and worked out perfect for us.  It was within the walled portion of the city and was a block from Rue St. Jean, one of the main streets in the city.  It was great to go outside and just walk wherever you needed to go.
On Wednesday we headed back to Portland where I stayed for the next two nights because I got to babysit Lily on Thursday & Friday!  My sister is an RN and was working the night shift on Wednesday and Thursday nights, so while she slept during the day on Thursday & Friday, I watched Lily.  I was definitely excited for some one-on-one time with the little Lilster.  She is the only child in my family so when others are around she gets so much attention from everyone.  I was really looking forward to having all her attention on me! :)
We played with Play Doh, colored, played with dolls, made a puzzle she got in Canada like a  million times, played in the sand box, colored with sidewalk chalk out in the driveway, played with bubbles, went to the park, went out to lunch, read books... man that little girl has lots of energy.
After the park on Friday, we went out to the Lobster Shack at Two Lights for lunch.  It's a cute little restaurant overlooking the ocean.  The place is always crowded, like a line out the door to order.  While we were waiting I asked Lily if she wanted a hot dog, cheeseburger or hamburger for lunch.  She said cheeseburger.  Right before I ordered I asked her one more time.  She said cheeseburger.  So that's what I ordered her.  As soon as she saw it she said "I don't think I like that".  My sister later tells me that Lily has never even had a cheeseburger before in her life.  So much for listening to a 2 year old.  For lunch that day she ate french fries and pickles.  
After lunch she wanted to "look at the waves in the ocean".  Actually she wanted to climb down the rocky cliff to the water because she saw some other (older) kids doing it.  I told her you had to be 5 to walk down the cliff  and she was only 2, so she couldn't go.  She stopped asking... I can't believe that worked.  We then went into the little gift shop and Lily walked out with a new pen that she used to write on herself on the drive home.  She dropped the card I had got for her to write on, so obviously writing on herself was the next choice.  That little girl cracks me up!  I was so glad to hang out with her for a couple days!
Friday night I headed back down to my parents for the night.  My aunt, uncle and cousin had driven up to go out for dinner with us.  We went to The Gourmet Express in Ogunquit.  It is a casual little place where you sit outside and bring your own wine or beer.  It was a fun evening!  
Saturday morning I went back into Ogunquit to get some delicious coffee at Bread & Roses Bakery (love that place) walk around Main Street and look in the stores.
Before I left on Saturday night, my family headed down to Auburn, NH to spend the afternoon with our old neighbors, the Harris family!  It was great catching up with them, I hadn't seen them in almost two years and I hadn't seen their parents since my sister's wedding back in 2005.  It was great to meet little Ava!  She is so cute and at only 8 months old she was so light and cuddly to carry around!  You forget just how little babies are when you are not around them.  They treated us to a delicious lunch of lobsters!  What a good way to end my trip!
By the time I was on the plane that night, I was ready to crash... 9 days gone in a blur. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Beach to Beacon 10K

Well after three weeks away from blogging, and after three GREAT Guest Posts (thanks ladies!), I decided it was time for me to get back to writing!  My vacation was so great and as soon as that was over I got to spend 4 nights in Vegas for work.  That meant long and tiring days, but hey, I was in Vegas baby!  More on that work trip later...
First up is the 10K I ran in Maine on my first full day of vacation.
Back in March, I was lucky enough to have gotten into the Beach to Beacon 10K.  Registration opened at 7am and by 7:08am it was sold out.  7,000 runners were in and it was awesome that it included me, my sister, my brother-in-law, my cousin and my uncle.
This race takes place in Cape Elizabeth, Maine... a beautiful little town along the Maine coast.  This race was established 14 years ago by Joan Benoit Samuelson, Cape Elizabeth resident and winner of the 1984 Gold Medal in the first Olympic Women's Marathon.  Dave McGilvray is the Race Director (as in he is the Race Director of the Boston Marathon), so you knew this would be a first class event.  
There were elite athletes from all over the world running for the money.  The winner (from Kenya obviously) got through the 6.2 miles in 27:46.  Amazing!!  14 seconds separated the male runners 1 through 4.  Would have loved to have seen that coming down the home stretch!  Rumor had it, Dana Kastor was suppose to be running, but we couldn't find her in the results afterwards... well it was my brother-in-law looking up the results.  I was drinking coffee and relaxing :)
The course starts outside the entrance of Crescent Beach State Park and finishes at the Portland Head Light, the nation's first commissioned lighthouse and a really beautiful spot!
The below two pics are from Brightroom's Beach to Beacon 10K promo site:
Start line outside of Crescent Beach
Finish line at Portland Head Light
The race is described as a fast point-to-point course along the Maine Coast.  Ok, yup, I agree with that.  It is also said that it is a net downhill course.  The first mile... all downhill, great!  The rest of the course... rolling hills.  This Florida-living girl was not prepared for the ups and downs of this course.  I did great my first 5K... regular race pace, right on track and then the last half, my legs were just shot.
It got to the point where I was not dreading the uphills, but the downhills.  Usually when running down a hill, I just drop my arms to the side and enjoy the ride... weeee!  The 'weeee' factor was done after the like the gatrillionth (you didn't know that was a word?!) hill.  I walked a couple of times, yet I was excited approaching the finish area.  I had practiced running the last 800 meters of a long run as fast as I could on tired legs and that is what I wanted to do during this race.  I was fine until I saw one last, steep hill at about mile 6.1.  I definitely said "F*CK" as soon as I saw it.  Man that last little hill really blew.  They actually keep a paramedic at the top of the hill because there has been a history of people going down at that spot.  Anyways, I did get through it and finish, a good 5 minutes slower than I wanted, but what can you do.  I am use to running a quick, little hill and then have a mile and a half to recover before getting to the next quick, little hill.
The rest of my family were all fast and awesome!  They had all run the race last year and I heard a lot of "It wasn't as bad as I remembered".   Yea... whatever...
Here's me barely making it
into the finish line photo
You know when you are done a race some of the things you say are negative, "Heat, humidity, hills, blah, blah, blah, crab, crab, crab" but then right after you say all that, you are ready for the next race?!  That was me, my sister and brother-in-law that Saturday.  It was a pretty funny drive home.  
Honestly none of my complaining was towards any of the race organization... it was a fantastic race!  I recommend it to anyone who wants to try signing up at 7am on a March morning.  Great crowds pretty much the entire time... my favs were the house that had 'YMCA' blaring, so fun!  People had their garden hoses out and were showering us with much needed cold water, thanks!  Parking was easy, buses were easy.  The course was really nice and Joan was at the finish line congratulating runners.  I missed her, but my sister saw her.  Water, bananas and watermelon (score!) post race, loved it all!
I hope to run this again one day... I WILL be better prepared for those hills!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Guest Post: Cousin Mandy!

I have one more guest post for you before I get back to actually writing this blog myself.
My cousin Amanda (who I call Mandy), has written a great post for you all!  She regularly writes a blog over at - go and check it out!  She started that blog to document her training for the Boston Marathon (which she ran in April!), but will now keep you updated on her new life in San Francisco.  She just moved at the beginning of the month and is happy to text me every time she has an Alaskan beer (they sell it in California, but not in Florida).  I am super jealous.  California really does have it all :)  Enjoy her post!
How long have you been running?
I have been running on and off for about 7 years now.  I started running in college to get back and shape and lose some weight.  I had some periods where I didn’t run but I have been running very consistently since October 2007.

What do you like about it?
I love running for many different reasons.  It really depends on the day.   I love starting my day off with a run.  It gives me a chance to reflect on the day ahead, what I want and need to accomplish. I try not to focus on work when running because it’s “my time” but sometimes I can’t help it.   Often my most creative work ideas or solutions  are an outcome of my runs. 
Running has always been my go to when I’m stressed out or upset.  It clears my head and the runners high at the end always makes me feel better.  When the going gets tough you can guarenttee I’ll be putting in extra miles.
Finally, I love how I feel physically after a run.  My muscles are fatigued and sometimes sore.  It’s a reminder that I’m taking care of myself physically.  You only have one body so it’s important to treat it well so you can live a long and plentiful life.  I want to be running or at least exercising well into my 70’s and 80’s.
My niece Lily was so excited to see Mandy running in
the marathon, she jumped right into her arms - so cute!
Have you run a Disney race before?
The Disneyland Half Marathon will be my first race!  I’m very excited to finally participate in a Disney event!

What are you looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to the Disney Medal!  I’ve always admired Heather’s and now I finally get my very own Disney Medal!   I’m also looking forward to running through the parks.  It will be fun to be inside the park before it’s open and it will certainly pass the first few miles quickly! 
I’m also really looking forward to a fun weekend at Disney and celebrating with a day in the park and of course a few beers to rehydrate post-race :)  ***This is Heather - hopefully the beer will be of the Alaskan variety!

Any other running-related stories?
I moved to San Francisco at the beginning of the month and just signed up for the Big Sur Half Marathon in November!  I will keep you up to date on my training and, of course, definitely post a re-cap of the race on my blog!
2011 Boston Marathon finisher!
Thanks Mandy!  Can't wait to hang out with you in your new home state in less than two weeks!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Guest Post: Annette!

Once again, I am MIA this week since I was in Vegas for work.  This is the third time I have attended this particular conference; it is great, but exhausting!  Very glad to be home and no longer living out of my suitcase.
While I get unpacked and caught up here at home, I have another Guest Post for you!
Today I have one of my BFFs, Annette.  She's also my running buddy even though she lives in Tampa and I live in Miami... at least we get together for the races!  Enjoy!
How long have you been running? 
I have been running since May 2009.  My best friend Heather (me!) convinced me we could totally run a 5K in October 2009 (Tower of Terror 5K) and we have not looked back since. 
Tower of Terror 5K, October 2009
What do you like about it? 
I love the rush of adrenaline you get the day of a race.  I love the sense of accomplishment you feel after you finish a race whether it is a 5K or a half marathon.  I love the feeling knowing I am setting a great example for my kids.  And of course, I love receiving the bling at the finish line.   

Have you run a Disney race before? 
Yes, I have a number of Disney races before.  My first 5K was Tower of Terror 5K, Princess Family Fun Run 5K (Jogging Stroller Division) in March 2010 . ***This is Heather – remember that story I told you about the Princess 5K?
Expedition Everest Challenge 2010 & 2011, partners with Heather and our team name is “All About the Medal”.  Read that story here.  Wine and Dine Half Marathon Relay in October 2010.  My husband, Brian, was my partner.  My first half marathon was the Disney Princess half marathon in February!  ESPN 5K in March this year where I got my PR for 5K.  Plus there are a couple more Disney races coming up this year!            
Princess Family Fun Run 5K, March 2010
What did you think? 
I love Disney Races!  Disney knows how to put together a great race!   

What are you looking forward to? 
I am looking forward to running the Disneyland half marathon with Heather, Jamie and of course having Leah there to cheer us on.  I am so excited a race weekend could bring best friends together.  I am also excited that I can share the experience of the Wine and Dine half marathon with Heather and Leah, and of course Brian, since we will be running the half marathon Relay together again this year.   
Wine & Dine Half Marathon Relay, October 2010
Any other running-related stories? 
I have tons of running related stories.
***This is Heather – I guess she’s not going to share any of those stories here :) 
Thanks again for the great guest post Annette!  Two weeks until we are Disneyland-bound!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guest Post... Little Fruit Fly in Rainbow Colored Socks!

Hey there!  While I am on vacation this week and traveling for work next week, I figured it would be a great time for a couple of Guest Posts!  
My first one is from Ronda at Little Fruit Fly in Rainbow Colored Socks.  I asked her to write a post for me because of our shared love for all things Disney!  Enjoy her post below, and go have a look at her blog.  She is an enthusiastic, entertaining writer and has shared lots of great stories on running, working at Disney and her life in general!
Hi! I'm Ronda, otherwise known in the blog world as Fruit Fly!  I'm so happy that Heather asked me to write a guest post for her ... and when she said I can write about Disney, running or BOTH I was very excited to see what I could come up with!  I spent 3 and a half years of my life working for the Mouse in Walt Disney World (in both Magic & Animal Kingdom, on-stage and in a lovely air conditioned back-stage office). And I've spent the last 2 years of my life trying to be a runner. Nothing pleases me more than when these two passions mix. But this wasn't always the case!
Disney Internship 1997...
remember that Birthday Cake Castle?!
The first time I worked in Walt Disney World my internship ended right before Marathon weekend. I didn't even know there was a WDW Marathon, and if I had known I wouldn't have thought twice about it! After college when I returned to Florida (I am an Oregonian) to dedicate myself to Mickey again, it didn't take long before I was smack dab in the middle of this bizarre group of people called runners.
My mom and step-dad came to visit me in January of 2002. I had been in Florida for a few months and was so happy to have my mommy in town to see where I lived and what I did every day. To start off their vacation I insisted they first visit Disney's Animal Kingdom (and soak in every inch of Asia because it IS the best land -- not that I am 100% biased or anything!) **This is Heather -  she use to work the Kali River Rapid ride! It was early morning, still feeling kind of dark outside, and cold. We parked in the Cast Member parking lot and I was going to escort them to the main entrance on my way to work. Then those darn runners ruined my plans. I can't even express how annoyed I was when I had to detour and stop and just wait. I had to get to work, but I also was being forced to watch people run. Even later on a bus when we saw guests in their Mickey and Donald medals I had to vent. Why?? Why on earth would anyone ever want to go on vacation to Walt Disney World and then get up at some ungodly hour just to run around ... and it was so cold!! What is wrong with these people?
Fast forward to 2009. After reading about a friend's journey to become a runner, and seeing other friends that I adored had completed marathons I thought that maybe I should buy some shoes and give it a try. So I went to the Nike outlet, found a cute, comfy pair of shoes and a Nike+ sensor and started. Because I am ultimately a total slacker I knew I had to register for a race. I feared if I didn't have a goal and a date for a race then I would just give up and never be able to run even a mile. I was bored and decided to search for races that appealed to me. I found a 5K fun run that finished on the 50 yard line of my college. Perfect! I immediately registered and was so excited that I had to look for more. (I may as well point out now that I think I might be addicted to registering for races!) I started aimlessly looking and for whatever reason (I like to vacation!) I looked up Disney races.
It didn't take long and I saw there was this event called the Disney Princess Half Marathon. That didn't exist when I was in Florida, so I had to look further. Hot dog! They had a 5K race. Immediately I had convinced my mom that I HAD to run in this and she HAD to come with me to cheer. And there I was, registering for a Disney race. I was going to be the one vacationing in WDW just so I could run at some ungodly hour when it was cold!  I ran it all. It was the first time in my life I had run 5K non-stop, and I was thrilled to achieve my goal!  However, I needed more.  It was that weekend at the Fit For A Princess Expo in 2010 that I was suddenly embarrassed that I wasn't going to be running THE big race. That day I looked at my mom and said, "Next year that will be me. I will be here and I will run the half marathon."
I spent all of 2010 preparing for February 2011. I raced nearly a 5K every month, as well as some 10Ks thrown in for good measure. By the time the Princess was here I was more than ready! It was the most amazing experience unlike any other. I met so many awesome fellow bloggers, I stood right by Jeff Galloway, I earned my huge medal!  
Woohoo for all 2010 Princess Half Marathon finishers!
Because we goofed off during the race and took pictures at probably 95% of the photo stops, I knew what I had to do. I had to redeem myself. I haven't yet figured out what I'll be wearing that day, but come January 2012 I'll be back in WDW on another one of those vacations where I am there to RUN!! And if that isn't enough, in just one month I'll be down in Disneyland getting my Coast to Coast medal! (If you are there, and happen to be running the 5K as well ... look for the lizard and the dino...that'll be me and my racing partner!)
So I guess the moral of my babbling story is, you just never know! Don't make fun of those crazy, annoying runners because some day you might be one, too!
Thanks Fruit Fly for putting together such a great guest post!  For all you readers, don't forget to check out her blog.  For a quick link to her Princess Half recep, click here and for her pictures of the race, click here.
Only 24 days until the Disneyland Half Marathon!  Coast to Coast Medal, here we come!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Week Before Vacation Blahs...

Why is the week before a vacation the worst week ever!?  Please tell me I am not the only one who thinks this.  Peace will come at 6am on Friday morning while I am sitting on the plane reading 'The Help' and watching 'How I Met Your Mother' on my iPad.  Can't wait.
So, I know some of you have seen my "Sweat!" tab above.  It has been a good way for me to keep myself accountable for two things.  1 - Running 3 days a week and 2 - Working out 5 days a week.  I know I will never be an every day runner or a 6 or 7 day a week worker outer (I stand by this choice of words), so I am happy to get moving at least 5 days a week.  Granted, I have had a few fails, but I just move on to the next week and do what I can.  Writing everything down does motivate me to get it done. 
What are some ways you motivate yourself to work out?

Last night I committed to the Spin Challenge on the blog Run with Jess.
I want to be a SpinStar, so I will need to attend 6 spin classes in the month of August.  Sounds good to me!
On a totally random note, the college I attended, Florida Southern College in Lakeland, was named the Most Beautiful Campus in this year's Princeton Review.  It is a really gorgeous campus and is the largest single site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world.
Aaaahhhhh the memories of the good ol' FSC days!
T-minus two days until vacation... I've got a lot of countdowns going on.