Posts Tagged ‘travel’

here’s to good friends 2014

I was going to start this post by commenting about the long weekend I just had, but I realized this post will be seen by post of you on Thursday…so for some reason that seemed a bit irrelevant.  But since that’s what I was going to talk about…last weekend I had a fun long weekend!  Last year, I headed up to Maine for the first time (minus one day at the beach when I turned 26…) for Sara’s husband’s annual Here’s to Good Friends weekend.  I believe Scott said that this was the 15th year that he’s hosted it (his parents had their own version in years past), which is pretty amazing.  The idea is basically that anyone and everyone can head up to their “camp” in Maine for a weekend of reuniting and just having fun together.  It’s called camp because when his family bought the land, it was literally just that…so people came up in tents and peed in the woods.  A house has slowly been built throughout the years, and the biggest addition this time around was wood floors and doors on the rooms.  I missed the years without running water, so I’ve never really had to rough it…and I’m sure it would have been cool to see the transformation over time!  The house is really beautiful with an amazing view of the lake.  Life is pretty good up there.

Of course, camp isn’t exactly accessible by public transportation, so Eric (he flew up the night before…when I was working…night shift fail) and I took a train up to Boston where we met other people who needed to fly in.  The plan wasn’t to hit the road with a rental car until after midnight, so I figured this would be a wonderful opportunity to hang out with Amy for the afternoon/evening!  After a nice nap on the train, we met up with Amy, ate some food, and then headed to Harpoon, one of my favorite breweries!  I’ve been on the tour before (and Amy’s been on it so many times that she could probably give the tour…), but recently Harpoon has opened a beer hall so you can hang out and drink their beers.  LIFE IS GOOD.

Photo: Why hello there! #harpoon #beerIt’s so delicious.

IMG_5652 Favorite people!

We sampled many beers from the many taps that they had – Amy and I both got a flight which allowed for maximum tasting potential.  Our waitress was also really knowledgeable about the beers on tap and made suggestions based on what we were interested in.  She also gave me a tasted of the “Fruit Salad” when I asked for the UFO White (one of my favorite beers!).  The Fruit Salad included the UFO White, UFO Raspberry, and Harpoon cider, and it really did taste like a fruit salad!  I enjoyed the sample, but it was a bit too sweet to drink an entire beer of it, so I went back to my original choice.  The beer hall also added pretzels, which looked delicious, but somehow we ended up not ordering them.  I guess we’ll have to go back…

After another stop for food, we parted ways (bye Amy!), and Eric and I headed to the airport to meet up with some of the group to drive up to Maine.  Luckily, someone else was driving because I was running on about three hours of sleep…and we got to Maine at 4am.  Yikes!  Let’s get some sleep and let the fun begin!

I could give you a play by play of the time at camp, but this is about how it goes:

  • Wake up and drink coffee/eat breakfast by the lake.
  • Some people swim, some people fish, some people run (or…people think I’m crazy for running), sometimes the dogs chase balls thrown into the water, some people play board games/cards, some people read, people talk to each other.
  • This goes on most of the day, including lunch in there somewhere.  “Showering” takes place in the lake.
  • Dinner occurs.  We had taco night, lobster night, and grill night.
  • Hang out by the fire and make smores.  The key to a good smore is letting your chocolate melt by the fire a little bit to make it even more gooey.  We also tried peanut butter cup smores, which were tasty but the PB was a little overwhelming.  Worth a try, though!
  • Ask Sara a million questions about Mississippi/internship/fellowship.  (Okay, only I did that.)
  • A game of Nerts.  I don’t even know if I spelled that right, but it’s like solitaire with however many people you have.  It’s vicious but fun.
  • The annual walk to ice cream…there’s a delicious ice cream place maybe ten minutes away, and I’m certainly not going to miss that!


image Campfire goodness.

My athletic pursuits were a bit different than last year when I was marathon training and ran around the lake.  My main goal this year was to try and get in some swimming since I haven’t really been in open water lately, so that will be good for the triathlon.  Luckily, a few people thought it would be fun to swim across the lake, so we did just that!  I’ve been testing out the new Bia GPS watch, which was triathlon features in it, including open water swimming!  I was interested to see how the watch would work in open water, so I wore it while we were swimming.  (I’ll review the Bia later!)  We certainly took our time and did plenty of doggy paddling.  Although we had a canoe with the group (just in time!), I was terrified that motor boats would run us over.  I did do some real swimming, which reminded me how different open water swimming is than swimming in a pool.  You can’t really see anything, and whenever you look up, it feels like you haven’t moved!  The water was also kind of choppy, so that made it a little more difficult.  Overall, a good experience.

image Not bad for an easy easy swim?

image GPS was pretty good.

image Minus that little bit…oops.

Overall, swimming was good, and I realize I need to get in the pool more.  (At least more than once per week…yikes.)  Other than swimming, I headed out for a few runs and was met with the hills of Maine.  OH THE HILLS.  They really ate my soul.  About half a mile away from the house, there’s a half mile long hill.  It has a little over 200 feet of elevation in that half a mile…which to me sounds like a lot.  And feels like even more.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take a break halfway up because…oof.


It was one of those hills were I couldn’t even fly back down the other side because it was a little too steep for my quads.  Yikes!  Also, I don’t know if I was residually tired (pretty sure that’s not the right way to use the word “residual,” but I like it) or if Maine made me feel weird or what, but I was really tired and dragging on these runs.  Maybe that first hill just got to me.  I certainly didn’t feel awesome on these runs, but I always think it’s fun to be alone on the run.  I didn’t pass a single person (except for a few cars) when running, which is much different than NYC running.  My introverted running self is happy.  Plus, so many trees and lots of green and the ability to jump in a lake when done is definitely a plus.

Otherwise, the weather was pretty perfect for most of the weekend, except for some rain that kicked in on Sunday afternoon.  This led to me reading The Fault in Our Stars in just about one sitting…and I didn’t cry although it pulled at my heart strings.  (Like the chordae tendinae! – Anyone?  Anatomy humor?  No?  Okay, moving on…)  Although the storyline is meant to be sad, parts of it were actually rather humorous…and I will admit that I even laughed out loud.  Impressive combination.  Read it if you haven’t…and let me know if you want to go see the movie!

The rain continued through the night, cleared up a little bit in the morning, but kicked in full gear for parts of the drive back to Boston.  (Again, glad I wasn’t driving!)  We stopped in Kennebunk to get sandwiches at Bennett’s…so much giant deliciousness if you’re ever anywhere in the vicinity.  And it will keep you full for hours…which I know mainly because it worked for me!  The rest of the trip was uneventful, ending with our cab driver telling us he was from the South Sudan and he came to the US to run cross country…and of course I was convinced he was some sort of all star, but that was never confirmed or denied.  So it goes.

So overall, another fun Here’s to Good Friends up in Maine where I got to see some of my favorite people and hang out with people I don’t really know all that well but we’re all just enjoying life.  Until next year, Maine…


07 2014

miami definitely brings the heat

For some reason, whenever I come back from vacation in beautiful locations, NYC likes to greet me horrific weather.  Is this a sign?  Do I need to move south/west?  What is the universe trying to tell me?

But seriously.  Add this to the fact that I can’t seem to fall asleep before 3am when I’m in my apartment, but can fall asleep by midnight anywhere else, I’m beginning to think something is wrong.  That or I need to get a new apartment or stop working nights.  (Spoiler alert:  Both of those might be happening this fall!  Emphasis on the “might,” especially for the night shift thing.)

So yes, Sunday night I arrived back in NYC from Miami for Abbe’s bachelorette party, and it’s supposed to rain/storm Monday-Wednesday.  HOORAY.  But let’s backtrack and discuss Miami.  I was in Miami (left for a cruise out of there) once before in January 2009, right after I finished nursing school…and not too long after I started this blog!  Crazy times, people.  I will admit I was a little skeptical of going to Miami in July, as last time I was in Miami was in January and it was plenty hot then.  Let’s just say that Miami did not disappoint and the heat was most certainly raging.

Since this is (supposedly) a running blog, we can talk about that first.  On Friday morning, Abbe asked if we’d like to join her for a run.  Bojana was smart and said that she was heading to the beach while one of Abbe’s other friends, Katie, also said she’d like to join.  I don’t quite remember what time it was, but it was still in the morning (9?  10?), and we headed out to the beach.  The first part of the beach had pretty packed sand, so it wasn’t bad to run on.  Once it got a bit softer, we darted over to the boardwalk and eventually the sidewalk when the boardwalk area was under construction.  (Newsflash:  Half of South Beach is under construction, apparently.)  It was SO UNBELIEVEABLY HOT.  Some storefronts were opening up, and it was great to run past the AC when the doors were open.  The plan was to run four miles, but I had high hopes for adding on a little bit to make it five or maybe even six (getting crazy in here…I mean, it is Miami), but once we got back to the hotel after four miles, I called it quits.  I really have no idea how people in Miami run in this heat…if I ever lived there (which I’m 99% sure will never happen), I think I’d just give up running.

photo 3 (9) Boardwalk running.  It does look pretty.

photo 2 (15) And the beach view from the boardwalk.  Life could be worse.

Once we determined that we would be crazy to run the rest of the weekend (props to Claire for getting her 14 miles done on the treadmill), we spent the rest of the time on the beach, in the ocean, on the rooftop of our hotel, eating, or partaking in the night life.  Our hotel was right across the street from the beach (we stayed at the Betsy, highly recommended!) and we certainly took advantage of that.

Photo: Catching some rays! #miami #makeherabakerStolen beach picture.

Growing up in Chicago, I don’t have a ton of experience with the ocean, but Miami was fabulous.  It is hot on the beach, but the water is warm and lovely to float around in and jump over the waves.  It’s also pretty clear with soft sand, and I could have spent hours in there.  If I worked three 12 hour shifts in Miami, I’d spent the rest of the time floating in the ocean.  I’d also be the most tanned raisin known to man.

Side note:  Starbucks was on the way to the beach, and this is where I learned that no one in Miami knows how to spell “Susan.”  The hotel people put both “Susane” and “Susana” on my luggage tags, and Starbucks took it a bit further…

photo 3 (10) SOUSON!  With palm trees.

When we were done with the beach, we headed to the rooftop of the hotel for some cooler breezes and lovely views.  (You could also have coffee up there in the morning, which I certainly wouldn’t complain about if I had to do that every morning…)

photo 1 (13) Rooftop life.  Better than fire escape life, which is what I have now.

Otherwise, we spent our time eating.  We had tapas (Tapas and Tintos), Asian gatropub/tapas (Pubbelly), and Cantonese inspired/Asian fusion (Hakkasan).  I don’t know if I could pick a favorite because they were all so delicious…the benefit of having the guest of honor being a chef!  It was also great that we had a large group of lovely ladies so we got to try many different dishes at each place.  Check them out if you’re in Miami!

The evenings, of course, allowed us to enjoy the Miami nightlife where I learned that I am not suited for the Miami nightlife lifestyle, but it was fun for a couple evenings.  (Much like Vegas.)  But it was fun for everyone to get dressed up and head out!

Photo: Abbe's Bachelorette weekend in Miami!Abbe has wonderful friends.  (Seriously, they’re all awesome.)

And because this will be the one time in three years you see me in heels, I must give proof that I don’t always wear running shoes, Danskos, or flip flops:

photo 2 (16) Is that a tricep?  I can’t tell.

So that was Miami…and what happens in Miami stays in Miami, right?  (Newsflash:  Nothing that crazy happened, ha.)  But once I got back to NYC, it was back to business.  And by business I mean triathlon training because this half Ironman is coming up and I only ran and biked once last week.  Oops?

I thought I was going to end up heading to the gym because of the threat of rain, but luckily it was clear in the early afternoon, so I took my bike out for 25 miles of glory along the Hudson.  I’m learning that riding is much easier than running in the heat, as moving faster gives you a nice breeze, and I can carry plenty of water right on my bike with me.  Another bonus is that I loosened the tension on my right pedal, so it is now much, much easier to clip in and out of…which makes riding less stressful.  Life is good.

After a couple hours where I didn’t even bother showering or changing my clothes (I never said I was good at this double workout thing), I headed out for a run.  My legs felt a bit tired from the bike ride/general lack of activity the past weeks/maybe walking distances in heels, but my pace was about 7:45 so maybe it’s just the heat making me feel like a slug.  Then I took the coldest shower and it felt lovely.  Looking forward to a solid week of training this week!

And speaking of that, it appears that there’s a break in the rain that is resulting in flash flood alerts, so I’m off to the gym to get a swim in before work tonight!  (Back to the real world…sigh.)

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07 2014