Friday, May 31, 2013

Fabulous Friday

Happy weekend everyone! It's been raining and grey here again this ready for some sunshine and summer weather. Can you make that happen mother nature?!

The fabulous parts of my week were:
  • not feeling the pressure to get my training runs in. I took it easy on Monday and Tuesday, returned to CrossFit on Wednesday and did one of the Insanity workouts last night.
  • going to bed early and catching up on my sleep from Sunday
  • going for a massage on Monday. My legs were so thankful for it!
  • all of your wonderful comments on my marathon recap
Mr.D and I have been looking for places to stay in London, Paris and Rome for our trip in August. We've found a couple nice places to stay, but are looking for input into neighbourhoods/areas to stay in. If you've been to any of these places, let me know where you have stayed and if you would recommend it. Thank you!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ireland 2013 {part four}

You can find the first posts here, here and here.

On our last full day in Ireland, we drove from Killarney to Killiney which is on the outskirts of Dublin. It was another exciting drive as our route included some windy roads! We stayed at the Fitzpatrick Castle, which was an older hotel. It wasn’t the nicest place we stayed in, but it was only for a night.

In the afternoon, we took the train into Dublin which was about a 5 Euro round trip. Much easier than driving into Dublin and trying to find parking. We looked around on Grafton Street and wondered through Trinity College.



Loved this sign we found!



The view from our room of Dublin Bay

We didn’t end up spending too much time in Dublin as we were all pretty tired and it was busy in Dublin. One more day to spend time in Dublin would have been perfect!

The next day we made the long trek home Sad smile

A few tips:

  • our car came with a GPS, but they oddly don’t use addresses in Ireland. A lot of the hotels we stayed at weren’t in the GPS, so we had to either search for them or ask for directions. Stop and buy a map of Ireland to help you.
  • it was very windy and rained most days we were there, so bring a good rain jacket with a hood, boots and an umbrella. Oh and dress in layers!
  • all the places we went to used Euros. Only Northern Ireland uses pounds.
  • bring a converter for your flat iron, chargers, etc
  • most rooms didn’t have the hair dryer in the bathroom. They were always randomly in the desk drawer or closet. Make sure you check there!
  • stop in at the information centres for maps of the area you are in and for things to do, places to eat, etc.
  • the speed limit is in kilometers per hour. Lots of areas were 100km/h, but there was no way you could actually go that fast with the sharp corners!

Overall, it was so worth the money and time to go to Ireland! If you have any questions about the places we went or stayed, feel free to ask!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ireland 2013 {part three}

You can find the first two posts here and here.

The next day we made the drive from Galway to Killarney. Along the way we stopped at the Cliffs of Moher, which were gorgeous! We didn’t know this, but you have to pay (I think it was six Euros) to park and walk across to the cliffs. Just as a heads up if you ever go Smile It was super windy that day, but worth it.


After stopping at the cliffs, we stopped in a little town called Adare, which was super cute. We wondered around for a little bit and grabbed lunch at a pub.



Once we made it into Killarney, we made our way to our next hotel, which was the Muckross Hotel. The hotel has a pub attached to it, and they had an Irish band playing that night, so we decided to hang out and listen to the music.

The next day, we grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel and then headed out to the Dingle peninsula to explore. Highlights of the day include a scary drive down a single lane windy road from a mountain and a random stop at a gorgeous beach.


Everything was so green!


In Dingle


What? You don’t take jumping pictures with your mom on the beach? Smile

After our exploring, we were all tired so we decided to head back to the hotel. There was also a spa attached to the hotel, and they luckily had some open appointments, so we all decided to get facials. They had a pool, hot tub, sauna and these amazing heated lounge chairs which we spent the afternoon in reading before our appointments. I think we all decided it was the best decision of the trip!

Next up…our last day of the trip, which included a trip into Dublin

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Scotiabank Calgary marathon: race report

Before I launch into my race report, I need to say thank you to everyone for all of your text messages, Facebook messages, tweets, etc. They definitely made my day! I also a big thank you to Erica for being my training partner and to Mr.D for meeting us at various points on the course.


I was nervous in the days leading up to the race because it rained for close to two days straight. The sun came out on Saturday, but it hailed/rained that night. Luckily, the weather ended up being perfect! A little chilly at the start, but definitely warmed up by the end.

Race morning started bright and early at 5am! I got up, ate breakfast and got ready before Erica picked me up at 5:50am. We took the c-train to the Stampede grounds and arrived around 6:35am. By the time we got the bag drop, they were just telling us to leave our bags on the table so we could make it to the start on time. We quickly joined the start line and before we knew it, it was time to run! Erica and I had planned to run the whole thing together unless one person was having a stellar day and they could go ahead.

The race heads out of the Stampede grounds and heads toward the zoo, before heading back downtown. The marathon and half marathon split around the 10km mark and I was expecting for it to thin out a lot, but there was surprisingly always others runners around us. Shortly after the 10km mark, we started climbing. The climbs weren’t super steep, but some of them were long and killed the legs! The climbing lasted for about the next 10kms and thankfully there were no major ones after that. We saw Mr.D for the first time around 10kms as well.


Just passed the half way mark, we stopped for a bathroom break and I noticed that my hip and knee were giving me some grief. It felt fine while running, but started to hurt if we stopped and then started running again. That pain really got me later in the race and caused some tears! To be honest, I don’t remember a lot about the course except for the hills, the awesome cheering sections (East Village) and the awesome spectators.

After the half way point, I just focused on getting to the 27-29km mark so I could see Brian again. Then it was to get to the 32km mark because I knew I only had 10 more kms to go. Even though Erica and I ran the whole thing together, we didn’t talk much. More just randomly asking how each other was doing and to ask to take a walk break. I think we were both struggling at points, but it was nice to have someone by your side! After the 32km mark, we were both in a lot of pain and took more walk breaks. We definitely slowed down, but we decided even if we shuffled, we were going to get to the finish line!

One last uphill (so mean!!) and we were coming into the Stampede grounds and I couldn’t believe the marathon was over. The best feeling was seeing Mr.D again right before the finish line and then everyone cheering us on. It was cool to finish in front of the grandstands again and I couldn’t believe it was all over. We definitely gave it our all! After crossing the finish line, we made the slow hobble back through the grandstands to meet with Mr.D. Our finish time was 4:29:51, which I am proud of Smile


Erica & I after the race. We didn’t move for awhile!


Coming into the finish line. Thank you Nicole for the pictures!


I have a feeling that I am leaving something out from the recap, but hopefully not. Overall, it was definitely the hardest thing physically and mentally that I’ve done, but so glad I did it. Even with my sore legs and abs, I will say that I will do another one someday Smile

Monday, May 27, 2013

Highlights of the weekend

Happy Monday everyone! The sun finally came out to play yesterday just in time for my marathon, which was perfect. Oh and yes, I am officially a marathoner! Full recap to come tomorrow :)


Erica & I after the race


With my huge medal

This weekend, we:

  • Mr.D had a work thing on Friday night, so I just hung out at home reading and catching up on shows
  • Saturday morning I took Harley for a walk as the rain finally broke. In the afternoon, Erica and I headed down to the race expo to pick up our race packages
  • Around dinner, Erica and her husband came over for a pasta dinner. The boys were sympathy carbo loading with us Smile
  • Sunday I was up bright and early for the race! The rest of the day was spent lounging, sleeping and hobbling around

Tell me: how was your weekend? What were you up to?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fabulous Friday

Happy Friday everyone! It's been so gloomy and rainy here for the past day or so. I am ready for some sunshine and rainbows. 

Let's talk about the fabulous parts of this week:
  • that it was a four day work week
  • having extra time each night because it's taper week! But on the flip side, I really just want to do a hard workout and feel sore the next day. 
  • finished reading two books
  • great text message conversations with Erica about the race on Sunday!
 This weekend, we are:
  • having a laid back night tonight as Mr.D has to do something for school
  • going to the expo on Saturday with Erica and then she is coming over for a pasta dinner
  • running my first marathon on Sunday!
  • relaxing and recuperating on Sunday afternoon.
Tell me: what was a fabulous part of your week? What do you have planned for the weekend?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ireland 2013 {part two}

You can find the first post of my trip here

After exploring around Donegal, we made our way to Galway. On the way, we stopped at Carrowmore megalithic tombs, which are located in County Sligo. I will admit that it wasn’t typically something that interests me, but it was neat to see.


After that, we continued onto our next hotel, which was the Glenlo Abbey. It was located not even a ten minute drive from downtown Galway and was located on a golf course. This was an older hotel and they had actual keys to the rooms, not swipe cards!


After getting out stuff all settled in, we headed into the city centre to look around Galway. It was such a neat little city with lots of shops, pubs, etc all in one area. We grabbed a bite to eat and then headed back to our hotel. Later that night, we headed back into the city centre for dinner and to a pub for some Irish music. Jen and I (it was my mom, her good friend Jan and her daughter Jen that all went on the trip together) decided to stay out longer than the old gals, so we decided to go on a pub crawl to a couple different pubs. Such a fun night!


The next day, we were back in the car to do some more exploring! We headed to see the Kylemore Abbey Castle, which was 12 euros to get in. It was a gorgeous place to see, but I wouldn’t spend the money if you are near there.


After the castle, we stopped in a little town called Clifden for some looking around and for lunch. It was a super cute town!


The rest of the night was spent hanging out at the hotel and ordering pizza to our room which was an experience!

Next up….Killarney, Cliffs of Moher, and Adare

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ireland 2013 {part one}

As I sat typing up this post last night, I was struggling about where to start recapping such a fabulous trip. I am thinking my recap might end up being 3-4 posts, but I don’t want to leave anything out!

Starting from the very beginning…..we left Chicago flying into Dublin on May 8th. The flight was just over six hours long and wasn’t as bad as I though it was going to be. We arrived in Dublin just before 6am and headed to pick up our rental car. Once we had our rental car, we headed to our first stop which was the Dunboyne castle hotel, which is located just outside of Dublin. They luckily had our rooms ready at 7am, so we were able to crash for four hours. Once we caught up on sleep, we sat down and started planning our next couple of days. The rest of the day was just spent hanging out and then we went into the town centre for some dinner at a local pub.



The next day, we were off to make our way to the city of Donegal. That day, we saw two castles. One was called Tully Castle and it was located off this back road that we just happened upon. The second one was located in the centre of Donegal called Donegal Castle.


Tully Castle



Donegal Castle

We spent that night and the next night at the Lough Eske Castle, which was beyond gorgeous! If I could have stayed here for the rest of the trip, I would have. Everything about it was beyond gorgeous.


The front of the castle


Our beautiful room

We also did some touring around, which included seeing the highest cliffs in Europe (and no, not the Cliffs of Moher!) called Slieve League. The drive to the cliffs was seriously crazy, but so so worth it. If you go here, make sure you stop and drive through the gate that is close to the top. It’s only there to keep the sheep in the right area, and you will regret not driving all the way up!



The gorgeous views!


Baa baa


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