a non-running vacation: seattle and portland

It’s been almost three weeks since I posted about quitting a few things and how running seems to be quitting on me.  I pondered leaving it out there as a cliffhanger, maybe quitting the blog and having people wonder if that was it.  (All seven of you who might notice if I never blogged again, ha.)  Mostly my writing slumps come around when I’m not running much, and I definitely haven’t been running much…so not writing much.  Here we are.  I missed Nurse’s Week this year as well.  Although I usually do a week of nursing-related posts, I sat down to write and didn’t feel too compelled on anything.  I always have some ideas floating around in my head, but putting my thoughts into words didn’t quite come to me…so I didn’t.

So anyway, yes, I’ve been on hiatus from the blog.  And from running.  And from New York, as I headed to the Pacific Northwest for about ten days.  Originally, I planned on running the Eugene Marathon and hanging out in the PNW afterward, but injury led me to DNS the race and instead just have a non-race-related vacation.  Of course, I’m really sad about not being able to run, especially since Eugene is on my bucket list, but I know it’s for the better.  This also allowed me to enjoy delicious food and beer without second thought.

Recapping the entire vacation isn’t really my thing, so I think I’ll just do a top five from the two cities/areas we visited, and probably not in any particular order.


My brother lives just outside Portland, and my parents flew out to visit as well.  (They planned to watch the race, oops.)  It should go without saying that hanging out with my family was certainly a highlight!  After a bit of a rocky start where I learned that I’m still allergic to cats (hello, swelling eyes and emergency 11pm trip to CVS…), we had a lovely time.  Highlights include…

1.  Voodoo Doughnuts


I’ve heard of the famed Voodoo Doughnuts from other people who have traveled to and/or live in Portland.  On Friday, we had some time to kill between my mom’s flight and my dad’s flight landing, so we took a quick trip into the city for deliciousness.  Then we happened to be nearby the next day and stopped by again.  I don’t love doughnuts, but they do have a ridiculous variety…although I stilled opted for vanilla with sprinkles.  We waited in line for awhile the second time, but they entertained us with trivia, and Eric and I both won tshirts.  HOORAY.

2.  Portland Saturday Market


The Portland Saturday Market (which also runs on Sundays, ha) is basically a gigantic craft/food/random clothes fair.  It was a nice day (read: almost 80!) which was excellent for wandering.  At the first booth, we found this elephant tank and my trip was complete.  The market was also great for people watching…Portland is certainly keeping it weird.

3.  Portland Sightseeing! – Forest Park, Pittock Mansion, Japanese Tea Garden

forestpark Urban hiking…ish.

Many people mentioned Forest Park to me as something to do in Portland, and I wasn’t quite sure what it entailed…but I loved it.  We went on a hike (and ended up visiting the International Rose Garden…which will be really pretty in a week or two!) and kept commenting on how tall the trees are!  I’m used to tall buildings, but not so much all the tall trees.  Some people were running on the trail, which basically made me want to move out there and run there all day every day.  Although I’m sure people who live there don’t do that…


IMG_8223 Our new house!  hahahhahaha.

Pittock Mansion is a huge house that overlooks Portland.  It’s quick to go through (maybe an hour-ish?) and was pretty cool…it had some furniture from its original time period and some neat gadgets.  Worth a trip!

IMG_8286 Just hanging with the family in the tea garden.

The Japanese Tea Garden was something we kind of added in just do it – but it ended up being really cool!  Apparently Japanese ambassadors have said it’s the closest they’ve seen to a real tea garden in Japan, so it must be good.  It was really quiet and tranquil, as noted by the picture of my family staring at a waterfall.  Thanks to Eric for capturing the moment.

4.  The Coast

In Oregon, they don’t call the area where the land meets the ocean “the beach” as anyone else would, since you don’t really go sit on the beach.  The water never gets warm enough, so it’s just “the coast.”  While I certainly enjoy a day in a swimsuit in the sun, it’s still pretty even though it was a misty rain most of the time…

We headed to Cannon Beach, home to the Haystack Rock…and apparently where the Goonies was filmed, but I’ve never seen the movie.  (I know, I know…)

IMG_8371Mom and I at the coast!

Just taking a picture of my elephant…

5.  Hanging out with Portland friends!

I have no pictures because I’m a terrible blogger.  Oops.  Anyway, after “knowing” Jen for almost seven years, we finally met!  Jen had one of the first running blogs I ever read, and it was one of the blogs that inspired me to start my own.  She stopped blogging a couple years ago, but I get to keep up with her adventures (and cute kids!) on Facebook/Instagram.  We chatted about my upcoming trip to Portland, and she invited Eric and over to dinner, and it was lovely!  It was great to meet her and her family, and we chatted for hours.  It’s always a little strange to “meet” someone you feel like you know, but it’s pretty cool too.  I had a lot of fun – thanks again to Jen and her family for having us over!  I hope to see you again before another seven years pass by…

I have another friend, Jason, who lives in Portland, who I also met on the internet.  (I’m so cool, I know.)  We met up with him at 10 Barrel Brewing for dinner and some of the local craft brew scene…then headed over to Rogue to try to find one of Eric’s favorite beers.  It’s been three years since I’ve seen Jason, and hopefully we’ll be able to catch up in person in less than three years as well.  (This whole east coast/west coast thing makes it rough!)


After five days in Portland, we dropped my parents off at the airport before Eric and I headed up to Seattle by train.  I would definitely recommend train travel – it was about 3.5 hours, $29/person, and such a beautiful trip!  We only had one rainy day in Seattle (the first day…), so we lucked out.  Most days we spent playing tourist and then hung out with Eric’s friends in the evening – nice to have the local touch.



I don’t know how you feel about Duck Tours, but I think they’re great.  It’s a fun way to see the city and learn a little bit about it.  Eric and I splurged (ha) for the quackers, and we were the only people on the tour with them.  Our tour guide was full of puns, which was hilarious because I have a terrible sense of humor.  Highlights of the tour including driving by the Brooks headquarters (it wasn’t part of the tour, but I still got excited…) and seeing the houseboats on the lake.  They’re super cool and will cost you a pretty penny…yikes!

2.  Chiluly Glass Museum


I think my mom talked about going to the Chiluly Glass Museum every day we were in Portland.  I didn’t know much about him, but he does some mighty fine work!  He had all sorts of glass projects, from the balls in a boat pictured above, to vases/baskets, to gardens made of glass, to huge chandelier type things.  Super impressive and pretty.  At the end of the museum, they had a glass blowing demonstration…based on how long it took them to make one vase, I can only imagine how long it took to make some of his displays!  He has work in a bunch of cities across the world – check it out if you have a chance!

3.  Swinging by the Nuun office!

Nuun Platoon Van 2!

The two other things I’ve been in Seattle were compliments of running Hood to Coast with Nuun, which are experiences I still hold near and dear to me.  The picture above is of my original vanmates – including our awesome driver, Casey!  Eric and I stopped by the Nuun office in hopes of catching Kim and Casey, but Kim was out – but it was good to see Casey and how Nuun has grown since the last time I was there!  Big things are happening, as they just released Nuun Plus and just keep gaining speed.  With the summer heat heading our way, the visit was definitely a good reminder to stay hydrated.

4.  Hiking – Boulder Canyon River

I knew the PNW was a good spot for hiking, so I did some research before heading out.  Fodors had a list of “10 Best Spring Hikes,” and Boulder Canyon River was on there.  Done!  Eric’s friends like to hike (and have a car – double win), so we headed out  with them.  It was an easy hike, and we only did about the first 1-1.5  miles of it…as the waterfall was right there, and we spent some time climbing down/around the water fall.  Plus, it was misting a bit and apparently there isn’t too much past the waterfall.


Hanging out with Eric in a giant tree…

Ah, the outdoors.

5.  Baseball!


Last year, Eric and I headed to California for the California Baseball Tour, hitting all the stadiums in the state.  You may remember my epic reviews of each stadium, and I still dream of Taco Tuesday at Petco Park.  One of the main reasons for heading up to Seattle was that Eric had never been to SafeCo Field, and when you’re THAT close, you might as well make the most of it.  So we did!  It was a rainy day, but luckily the field has a cover so we stayed nice and dry…and didn’t get rained out!  Smart move, Seattle.  The Mariners lost, but we had some awesome seats about six rows from the field…no foul balls came to our section, but maybe next time.

6.  BEER!

I’ll add in a sixth point for Seattle, as it happened to be Seattle Beer Week, so that was a win!  Plus, Eric’s friends happened to really like beer, so they had the inside scoop.  We checked out a bunch of different places, but Black Raven had a special at a bar, and their Kitty Kat Blues took the cake.  A pale ale with blueberries, vanilla, and catnip (yes, catnip), it tasted like a blueberry pancake, but not too sweet.  Give it a try!


So, that was that!  We ended up with a redeye where I didn’t sleep at all…thanks to the airplane being a bit like a sauna and a four year screaming behind me.  (Please don’t let me suggest that a redeye is a good idea ever again…)  Otherwise, a relaxing, not too crazy vacation with family, friends, and fun times!  Luckily, the next trip is right around the corner…stay tuned!

i’m a quitter

When you hear that someone is “quitting” something, you probably think it’s a bad thing.  It certainly has a negative connotation to it, like the time I time quit karate after promising my mom I wouldn’t – not too long after my parents bought me the expensive sparring pads.  (Sorry, Mom and Dad.)  However, I don’t necessarily think being a quitter is always a bad thing.  (Quit smoking, you fools…although I doubt many smokers are reading a running/nursing blog, but nevermind that.)  (I should also quit using statement in parentheses all the time, but I never said I was a journalistic genius.)  Moving on.

I’ve quit a few things over the past year, and I think it’s time to talk about them.  Or I don’t have too much to say while injured, so you’re subjected to my thoughts.  Away we go.

diet pepsi

People have so many opinions about soda, even whether to call it “soda” or “pop” or “soda pop” (or “Coke,” which I’ll never understand).  Beyond the naming of it, the health issues with drinking soda are not-so-debated topics with dietitians and population health people.  However, I always figured that if drinking diet soda was my big fault, then so be it.  A 2am Diet Pepsi was my night shift reward and gave me something to look forward to in those wee hours where you’ll use anything to get you through.  Coffee is great, but many times I just wanted something cold a refreshing.

Which was great until I realized that it was less than I wanted it and more than I needed it.  I’ll admit, I love the taste of Diet Pepsi.  (Not Diet Coke, although I’d drink it.)  But on my days off, I’d be walking past Duane Reade and want to stop for one.  Need to stop for one.  Not a terrible thing, I suppose, but after awhile I realized that maybe “addicted” would be a word to describe this and it needed to stop.  My night shift life was coming to an end in August 2014, and I definitely wasn’t going to stop when that little bottle was all that would get me through.  Then, of course, shifting from staying up until 9am to waking up at 6am wrecked havoc on my body, so I wasn’t ready to give it up upon leaving night shift behind.

Luckily (or not so luckily at the time), I got really, really sick after the half Ironman I did in September 2014 – as in, please just give me Sprite and chicken noodle soup.  Or forget the chicken noodle soup, that’s too much work, I’ll just take the saltines.  I went a few days without Diet Pepsi and decided that was the best place to start.  It was definitely rough at first – those first few afternoons where I wanted to head to the vending machine with two crisp dollar bills took a lot of resistance.  I drank a cup of coffee instead, and it just wasn’t the same.

It’s been about seven months, and I haven’t had a Diet Pepsi since.  My soda has been limited to the one time I got nauseated in a cab en route to the airport, so I bought a ginger ale…that’s fair, right?  I can’t say I feel any different – I didn’t lose weight (wasn’t trying to), I didn’t feel less bloated (is that even an expected change?), and I don’t crave sweets less (quitting candy is hard…).  I can’t tell if my gums are better or if I’m drinking more water.

I can’t tell if it even makes a difference that I quit soda, or if I’m just tooting my own horn.  (Kelly and Betsy, please weigh in!)  I don’t know if it’ll be forever or if one day I’ll order a soda and not think twice about it.  It was a tough habit to kick, and I’m not ready to tempt myself quite yet.

picking at my nails

Okay, this might gross some of you out.  I apologize.  For years, I’ve lived with deformed thumbnails.  I’m not sure when I first noticed them – late high school?  Early college?  I think more toward early college.  My thumbnails grew thick with ridges and concave looks to them, which never really bothered me until someone would ask, “What happened to your thumb??” and I never thought it was weird until I realized that it was both thumbs.

I remember internet searching for a reason one day, and koilonychia, or the spooning of nails, came up as an answer.  Koilonychia tends to result from being anemic, which I was in high school.  So I attributed it to that.  I read it might never go away.  But my nails had these horizontal ridges that didn’t quite fit the bill.  Still not being too bothered by it, I moved on with my life.

The only time that it really bothered me (read: embarrassed me) was when people would notice.  I tend to shy away from things like manicures for this reason, as I feel like the nail techs are silently judging me.  (Maybe they’re not, it’s all in my head…and at least I don’t have a nail fungus?)  Embarrassed when my friends would want to go get manicures, I did another round of research and found something called “habit tic deformity.”  When pictures showed up (thank you, google image), it was exactly what my nails look like.

The cause?  Damage to the cuticle, mainly from picking at the skin.  Well my friends, I tend to spend all day every day picking at my thumbnails, so why that never occurred to me before is beyond me.  I do it without thinking about it and even more so when I’m nervous about something (which is just about all the time), so it’s a hard habit to crack.

It seems like an odd New Year Resolution, but I finally decided to tackle this problem.  It’s purely cosmetic, so I don’t really ever need to stop, but it is kind of embarrassing.  The tips for fixing habit tic deformity are very simple – just stop picking.  If only it was that simple, my friends.

I put super glue on my cuticles (or, where the cuticles are supposed to be).  I covered them with Bandaids.  Ultimately, the second those Bandaids came off, I was back to ripping my skin to shreds.  (It doesn’t hurt, in case you were wondering.)  Finally, I decided to do one nail at a time…to ease myself into this.  I covered my left thumb nail with a Bandaid for about a month straight (I should have bought stock in it…), and eventually I stopped.  Nails take a longggg time to grow, so it was hard not seeing the fruits of my daily labor.  It wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized my nail was smoothing out and I actually had a cuticle on my left hand!  It’s the little things in life.


Of course, I’ve started and failed at working on my right hand – I just need to buy seven boxes of Bandaids and go for it.  Maybe by the end of the year I’ll be successful.

photo 1 (46) So much fail.  And it’s really hard to get nail polish out of those ridges.

So this wasn’t quite as successful as the soda situation, but I’m working on it.  These subconscious habits die hard.


Wouldn’t this be a great way to be like, “PEACE OUT, BLOG!  I QUIT RUNNING!”  Bet you wouldn’t see that one coming, mainly because I like to run too much.  So, I’m not quitting running, but running seems to be quitting me.  Namely, I’m not even going to try to run Eugene (even the half), which works out okay since they’re are plenty of fun things to do in Portland.  I still want to run Eugene some day, but this year apparently isn’t my year.  (In more ways than one, #dramatic.)

I’m still not quite sure what is going on with my hip/groin, but it has been suggested that perhaps it is my SI joint, so I’ve been doing exercises for that.  And Pilates.  And yoga.  And yes, running sometimes.  The x-ray and MRI ruled out a stress fracture, so I suppose that’s a good thing.  When I do run, I don’t run for very long…it’s actually a bit self-limiting because it’s been about a month and it’d be painful to run “long” anyway.  We shall see.  I’ve been told you can get cortisone shots for your SI joint, which might be an option if this pain doesn’t go away in the near future.  I did a whole bunch of squats/lunges/etc on Tuesday, and now my entire body hurts, so I’m not sure what pain is what, ha.  Hopefully some more pilates/stretching/strengthening will help.

Running, you can’t quit on me.

Now taking suggestions for the following:

  • Things to do in Portland
  • Things to do in Seattle
  • Ideas for Nurses Week posts
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