Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Running Around Europe

We are back and settled into normal (semi-normal) life again after 2 weeks of trekking around Europe and my sister visiting for a week...which was awesome but it is nice to know that we are now going to get back to a routine. I so badly need to get my body and speed back before the Hartford marathon. I didn't think I would get as beat up as I did after my 2 races but the body really got beat up. I started up my training this week and I officially feel like a slug. Usually it takes about 2 weeks into training to feel back to normal and firing consistent workouts. Now, I need to buckle down on nutrition and lose a bit of the jiggly and remind the legs we need to run fast.

Europe was amazing. It is so nice to break up the training block with some travel and hang up the constant running for a bit. I know people always say the world is a small place but I am always struck by the vastness and differences all these little corners of the world hold. It's beautiful and always seems to spark a bit of creativity and drive when I get home. Racing is always a blast in another country because it feels like a mini adventure. I'm never actually sure what's going on and even though, most people speak English not everything is presented in English. It can be quite funny at times. It was just so nice that our routine, for awhile, was about experiencing and soaking in the culture and surroundings and we were able to not worry about workouts, classes, and making sure we're in bed on time.

I had an amazing race in Bad Pyrmont trail marathon...legs felt amazing and were feeling so strong from start to finish. I am very grateful for the 1pm start as it meant we all had plenty of sleep. My taste-buds were completely confused by the bubbly water but managed to gulp it down. I was worried that the sparkling water would mess with my stomach but it wasn't CO2 carbonated water but natural sparkling water so absolutely no stomach issues. Still, weird (do Germans really love that stuff during workouts?!) The course was up and down and all around. Not many spectators out there though there were aid stations every 2 miles so gave a bit of energy every time I ran through. Loved being the #2 runner (how often does that happen?!) and was truly soaking in the day. Happy to set the course record and smash my legs on the 6-mile descent home, chasing all the lead half-marathon boys.

The next we were off to Berlin and trekked around the city for 3 days with Anders on my back for most of it. We actually had a wonderful vegan dinner in a back alley restaurant. At first, I was honestly creeped out by the entrance and walking up 3 flights of stairs in the dark with trance music. I looked at Mike with my 'we're going to get killed' eyes. Once we got into the restaurant, I quickly realized my fears were irrational because the place was overly fancy, top notch, eccentric type dining. To give you a picture: Dessert was orange sorbet served on top a finely ground mixture of coffee beans, almonds, raw cacoa and chopped cherry tomatoes. Odd, right? But so fun and yummy.

After Germany, we headed back to Sweden (our first stop was southern Sweden so we were able to swoop into Denmark for the day). WOW – Stockholm is gorgeous, breathtaking, a bit surreal. A must see city! I was completely blown away and simply soaked in every minute. The colors and old buildings and picture perfect harbor – LOVE. The Stockholm 50k, you ask? Hard. I mean 7:15-7:20 type pace doable but that's not what I was after. I know it's a double weekend but I still wanted a 3:30ish and ended up with a 3:47. I did love the race and had a blast. We looped 6x with one mini loop in the beginning so was able to see Anders and Mike the entire time. Mike's 2nd cousin once removed started the race with me and actually did the first loop with me but then piddled out. I mean, he's purely a tennis guy so I give him credit for giving it a go (think he just wanted a weekend break from his kids, haha). It was fun though to loop him and get some words of encouragement. I think he happily pulled the plug after loop 3. I blasted the last loop (felt great) then realized, when I finished, that I now really shattered my legs. The worst part? Literally hobbling home 2 ½ miles the minute after I finished . I needed food, was tired, and hated the world for that 45 minute walk. So painful. So evil. What a trip! Love, love, love my boys. We have quite the adventures and mishaps.