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Paris Wrap-Up

3 Oct

First of all, if you’re just joining me, WELCOME!!! And go call your friends, I bet they’ll enjoy it here too!!

Wrapping up my Paris marathon trip – but first, if you want to catch up (or refresh your memory!!)  here are the links to all my Paris posts!!

The Official Start of my Trip

Some Filler…. 🙂

Flying to Paris! 

Marathon Expo!

Saturday in Paris

Le Marathon de Paris

Time to Shop!! 

It’s Always a good day for Champagne

Another day of shopping 🙂 

Cooking School!!!

So, our trip ended with the usual trip to the airport, lines through Passport control, security and of course some Duty Free shopping. And the lounge. And I had on some fancy footwear!

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That’s right…this really happened!

My trip ended like it started 🙂 In the Star Alliance lounge. There were yummy snacks and beverages but mostly there was some sad…..

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A few random thoughts:

I had a really nice time, and sometimes it pays to splurge and stay in an awesome hotel that you might have otherwise overlooked.

This was the first time that Eydie and I had ever been on a trip together (not counting Girl Scout camp!) and we should do it more often!

E is not a runner but did the 5K with me and did AWESOME! And one thing we talked about, that is really so true: When the bombing at the Boston Marathon happened, Eydie said she was kind of surprised by the response, mainly from the running community. How everyone seemed to be affected, like they’d been there or had friends/family there. After hanging at the expo and doing the 5K she simply said “Now I get it”. Runners are family. A tribe. No matter where we are.

I can’t wait to go back to Paris, to France. And take more cooking classes and learn more about wines. And, yeah, to eat more of those…..

And, yeah, I definitely need to head back and do that marathon thing the right way — there is definitely a PR waiting for me in France!!

And now, some shots that I maybe didn’t share with you earlier…

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One of many views of the tower

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The Cathedral at Reims

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One of many failed “jump shot” attempts!

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We climbed up these stairs in one of the champagne houses, up from the cellar

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Didn’t actually make it to the Louvre but…

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French onion soup…in France.. 🙂

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Tasty short ribs

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Marathon spectators…and entertainment!

This was a really great trip, and I can’t believe it took me six months to finally finish the story!!! But there you have it – thanks for coming along with me!

 

Cooking Like the French Do!

3 Oct

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When we were planning this trip, one of the very second things we decided to do, after running a marathon and drinking the champagne of course!, was to take a cooking class. I mean…really…how could I not?!

One thing that we knew we absolutely HAD to do in Paris was take a cooking class! Now, I love to bake but I’m pretty plain Jane when it comes to actual cooking grown up food. I enjoy reading recipes and thinking I’ll make some more fancy stuff, but I never do. This would be a chance to learn some new stuff that I’d hopefully be able to use.

Eydie thought I might want to do something related to baking but real food seemed to be the way to go (though, trust me, there were a lot of baking offerings as well!!)

We registered in advance and on our final day in Paris got up early for breakfast and headed out to meet the rest of our group at an outdoor market. The plan is that you shop for your ingredients then head back to the school to do the actual prep and cooking. And EATING!!

As a side note, to continue a recurring theme of this trip, our chef/teacher was from…yes, you guessed it….Texas 🙂

After deliberation, we selected to make scallops (the other options were lamb and veal, which BLECH!). We shopped for our scallops – in the shells still mind you! – as well as some veggies to roast, some cheese and berries for dessert.

It was really interesting to learn about some different and new (to me) veggies as well as hearing about how cheeses are made and aged and what makes them different.

Once back at the school we unpacked our goodies and started the prep work. With 8 of us things went pretty quick and it wasn’t long before we sat down to enjoy our scallops and roasted veg. We were also able to enjoy some nice wine.

The scallops were cooked very simply – salt and pepper and seared in a hot pan. The veggies were tossed with olive oil, some herbs and salt and pepper and stuck in a hot oven while we did the work on the scallops All of this was served with a really delicious, and surprisingly easy, hollandaise sauce – all plated in  a very lovely manner…

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A stack of veggies in the middle with my three scallops…notice the artful “smear” of sauce…

Remember the scallops were in their shells? Well…you know we had to clean those suckers ourselves!! I seemed to be the only one having trouble even getting the darn thing open! I got some help with that and was soon cleaning away with everyone else.

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Our main course was followed with the cheese plate that we had put together in the market and also our berries with whipped cream. One thing that made the whipped cream really tasty was that we added lime zest when whipping. By hand.

Once lunch ended and we said goodbye to our new friends, and took the mandatory medal selfie,

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And medal shot….

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Eydie and I headed back to E. Dehillerin so I could pick up a Staub coquette – I had gone in looking for Le Crueset but really liked the simple black Staub. And, bonus, we had a coupon from the cooking school so once again, my procrastination and indecisiveness paid off! And I also decided to get a set of grown-up tongs!

 

After wandering around a bit (okay, I got us a little lost!) and found this park….

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we headed back to the room. I still needed to get some Eiffel Tower medal shots. E was tired so stayed in and I headed out once again making a stop at M. Georges for some macaroons for Phred’s babysitter (and, who am I kidding, me!) and of course the kouignettes which totally lived up to the reviews!!

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This is a pastry that is Right up my alley — slightly crispy puffy pasty with chewy gooey caramely goodness

Once I’d stocked up I wandered to Le Tour…where I hung around long enough to see them lighting it up for the night!

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The medal visits the Eiffel Tower

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I am not smiling because I have to leave tomorrow…

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There’s a great light show that ends with this!!

I didn’t hang out too long, since I still needed to finish packing and get some sleep – the shuttle was coming pretty early in the morning and after our trip FROM the airport, we were prepared for a very long ride out!

Up next, my final (sob) Paris post – really a wrap-up and recap along with some extra pictures that will hopefully make you smile!!!

I would HIGHLY recommend finding a way to take some sort of class on YOUR next trip to Paris! I know that I plan on it!!

 

Paris Marathon – And Then, We Went Shopping

3 Aug

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I’m not normally a big shopper, but hey, I was in the shoppingest city in the world so…when in Rome. Or, Paris….

My interests were in cooking supplies and Hermes scarves. And, possibly something sweet. Plus my medal needed to see the city!

On Monday after breakfast we made a plan! There were a few shops we for sure wanted to see and then we planned to roam a bit.

Our first stop was the Dyptique candle shop at St. Germain — such lusciously fragrant candles.

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After looking in here we wandered along.

and eventually made our way to Le Bon Marche but not before we found ourselves at the Mothership — Hermes. This was certainly going to be a window-shopping only situation!! But such gorgeousness, right?

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I could just roll around in these…

We headed over to Le Bon and roamed the several floors and made a stop for lunch

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Lunch, Paris style…

 

We made a couple of stops in smaller shops (chocolate maybe?!) as well as a walk over the Pont des Arts – also known as the “Love Lock” bridge

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A week after we were here they started taking down all of the locks….

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Then on to the Cathedral of Notre Dame where my medal had a chance for a picture with Pope Saint John Paul II as well as the rose window..

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With Saint Il Papa

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We had been wandering most of the day and knew that we’d be getting up early to take the train to Reims for champagne tasting so dinner was a baguette and some cheese we picked up in the local market – along with some wine we’d gotten on our first day in town!

Tomorrow, it’s off to Reims and some champagne tasting/tours – along with a lunch stop in a beautiful garden setting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday in Paris – Breakfast Run, Breakfast Fun

4 Jul

We woke up on Saturday, ready to get out and get our 5K in!

Eydie had decided back in the fall that she’d like to do this with me so when registration opened we were on top of it!! NB: This would be her first “official” 5K – and quite likely the first 3 miles she’d run voluntarily!

I thought it would be fun for us to Sparkle on this run, and then back in February I decided to grab some Flowers for us to wear.

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Flat Anne and Flat Eydie

We went with the turquoise Sparkle Athletic skirts and after a “consultation” with the awesome ladies at Fellow Flowers, I chose the Orange flower. “Fiercely United”. Eydie and I have been friends since first grade and through anything that comes up, I always know that there is someone I can count on. If you saw us on paper, we’d probably be quite different. But as is often the case, it works!

We had our pre-breakfast run breakfast in the hotel. I’m pretty sure that the official fuel of any 5K should be a tender flaky croissant with Nutella. And coffee. Lots of coffee! There was another woman in the breakfast room who was also running the 5k AND she was from Houston! Our ‘waiter’ at breakfast each day was a HUGE fan of TX basketball, specifically San Antonio, so he was excited there were so many Texans in the hotel that weekend!!

We headed down towards the Arc de Triumphe where the run was going to begin.

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The flags of our countries – USA and Texas

It was pretty cool running through a small part of Paris –

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Oh look! There’s the Eiffel Tower…in person! Right There!!!

After much trial and error, we were able to get a pretty awesome “jumping picture” –

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Timing is everything. We did not have timing here….

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Almost there….

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Et – Voila!!

The 5K was great fun even with the drizzly crowded weather – though when we got to the finish there wasn’t a lot of the Breakfast portion available (we remedied that with a stop at a cafe on the way back to the hotel!).

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Cappucino

 

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What’s that? Another croissant?

After a shower and a change of clothes we headed out to check out a couple of places Eydie had researched – one of them was one of the oldest cooking supply stores in the city!

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This place definitely caters to the local restaurant crowd – but…O. M. G!! I was wishing I needed a tenth of what they offered!! There was definitely a plan in place to return!! I had found something I’d been coveting for awhile now!!

Later in the afternoon we decided to head back to the hotel and grab some dinner. I had 26 miles to run in the morning and she had to keep up!!

Naturally, as we climbed out of the Metro on the Champs Elysee, it was pouring rain! And, contrary to my usual nature, I was prepared with an umbrella!!

Now, my normal pre-marathon dinner is all about the meat and potatoes these days. I’ve done okay with some meatloaf and potatoes. Or, a burger and fries. That didn’t seem to be in the cards, so Italian it was. Some pretty amazing gnocchi. And, it’s a pretty good guess that I had a glass of wine too 🙂

After dinner we just went back to the room to veg – and watch the German versions of some of my favorite crime shows! I set the alarm for 7 just to make sure I’d have time for breakfast

After all, I didn’t even have to be in my corral until 9:50!!

Up next, The Big Day!! The plan was to go in slow. Isn’t that always the plan? I was shooting for 6:15 which would be a record for me by 3 minutes and would get me the t-shirt and medal I had traveled so far for!!

A Family Weekend Away

12 Aug

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So maybe they aren’t family, but they’re darn close!!

Most summers, my friend Kathy and I (along with Earnest Phred) take a trip to visit friends in Pennsylvania. Usually it’s a quick QUICK trip – Friday afternoon to Monday morning – but this year we extended by a day!

Of course the drive was super super exciting* and it took us a bit longer than expected to get there (Thank you NY State Road Works team). NB: I will never in all my life EVER understand how traffic can come to a full and complete stop on a highway. For half hours at a time!! But, I digress!

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*not actually exciting at all!

When we got to Harrisburg, our friends were at a neighborhood block party so we joined them at their neighbor’s house for burgers and dogs. Okay, technically just a burger (half a bun, thankyouverymuch!). Then we headed back to Jenn and Mark’s house to unwind on their porch.

We had no real plans for Saturday so after moseying around the house for a bit, we went out to a local farm and picked blueberries. Ya’ll! I haven’t ever seen such big berries before!! And so many of them!

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And that would be my fabulously blueberry stained hand there…

And then we came home and baked a gluten-free pie!

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And by “we” I mean Jennifer…

 

Which was quite tasty!

It was a lazy stay in night and we ordered up some pizza.

Got up Sunday morning and when Jennifer asked about my training run scheduled for the weekend I was truthful and said 3 miles – so we laced up and headed out. It was really a nice run, and not too hot and not terribly humid (though sweat *did* happen!) Got in a bit over 3 and had a decent pace – I think Jenn’s long legs helped with that!

That evening, as always seems to happen, it started to rain while we were getting ready to head to dinner and then Hershey Park (to ride the rides you don’t want to take a 3 year-old on!). But we got to see this on the way to the restaurant so – bright side!

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Dinner was great! And naturally by the time we were ready to head to the park the weather cleared and we were able to get on a few coasters before the rain started again. While it was raining, Jennifer kicked some butts in air hockey.

Headed home because Monday was going to be our full park day!! All the roller coaster-y fun is recapped here! We ended the day with the family picture above, but then I had to get a picture with my other main man — Sorry Goofy

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After a stop at Chocolate World to see the singing cows

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it was definitely time for home and getting ready for the drive home on Tuesday! And I can’t wait to get back to Hershey Park in October!!

Tuesday we decided to take a different route home, hoping to avoid all of the road “work” that was going on when we drove over Friday. This led us to a little place called Kitchen Kettle Village and did some browsing and tasting. Quite a bit of tasting actually!! And, of course a little picture taking 🙂

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Phred seems a little unsure of that big cookie!

 

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OMG!!! He was there in person!!! (I’m holding Phred mainly so he doesn’t try to pee on the big cookie…cause…he might…)

Then it was straight on to home, which was a much MUCH nicer trip than on the way over!

Heading back in October for the Hershey Half Marathon and more fun with friends – and I can’t WAIT!!

 

Thank You Twitter

27 Apr

Sometimes I feel like I live in a vacuum. Not because everything sucks, no!! That’s not it at all (cause really, things are pretty darn good). But a lot of times I’ll throw stuff out on the internet just to get it off my chest – not thinking that anyone is really reading it or paying attention. I mean, *you’re* reading this now…but…Facebook and Twitter… you know how it is. Maybe

Anyway, last night I learned that there are some pretty amazing people hiding out here in my computer! And I’m going to tell you about them. But of course there’s some background first 🙂

As you know, I’m diabetic. I’ve been on insulin now for about 9 years.  I take an injection at night before bed (in addition to some new ones at meal times – but yesterday was actually a really good day – sugar-level-wise) and generally go to what passes for sleep these days and wake up and re-start my day!

For the uninitiated, insulin smells like bandaids. Go ahead. Go open a box and take a big sniff. I’ll wait…

To continue, about a month after I started the insulin routine, I did my usual injection and almost immediately could ‘taste’ the insulin in the back of my throat.  Went to bed, as usual. Unusually, about 2 hours later I woke up with my heart racing, sweating like I’d just walked to the starting corrals at Disney (haha!) and shaking. I knew something was wrong so grabbed my glucose meter. First indication that I was in trouble was that I couldn’t figure out how to use the meter. Eventually I got it together enough to test and my blood sugar had dropped to 25. Now, my doctor would get worried if I fell below 65 or so, so I KNEW this was bad. At the time I had small cans of real soda in my fridge so I drank one and waited for the magic. Then I had some milk and waited some more. I may have had some candy around at the time and had that as well. Slowly my numbers crawled back into normal ranges and I went to bed.

Since then, it hadn’t happened again. Until last night. I had that same taste in my throat as I went to bed so grabbed some leftover jellybeans from Easter. Just in case. And then a couple of hours later, it happened. I woke up, heart pounding,sweating, and shaky. This time I had more of my wits about me and tested and was low – 37.

The difference this time was social media. I made a random comment on the Twitters that my sugars were low and that I would call 911 if it didn’t come up. Then I put my phone down and started eating jelly beans. And waiting. And testing. And eating more jelly beans. And waiting. And eventually my symptoms went away and my numbers returned to low normal numbers. And I went back to sleep.

Until the door bell rang. And Phred started barking. And I looked at the clock and it was 1-ish in the am. The bell rang again. And then again. Finally I figured I should get up and see what was going on. Looked out the window and there  was a Middletown police car in my driveway.

My first thought was “oh shit”. Figured either they had the wrong house or someone’s dog was out.

As I was heading downstairs, they turned their big spotlight on lighting up my whole bedroom and rang the bell again! I opened the door to a young officer. After some initial confusion we confirmed that someone from Indiana had called and they were concerned – and THEN the lightbulb went on (I’m sure the handsome young officer saw it go on!) and realized that I should probably check back in on Twitter.

Special props to Kate and Patty for getting in touch with my local police department. And Jenn for, as always, being there even from Mexico.

As soon as I realized that these fabulous women were worried I checked in.

I don’t think I can apologize enough for making them worry — and there are no words to express how thankful I am to them and how much I appreciate their concern. And can’t wait to give both of them a huge hug the next time we are running Disney together!!

Thanks so very much Kate and Patty. Ya’ll are AMAZING and I’m very lucky to have ladies like you watching my back

xoxo

Legends Were Born Here!!

11 Apr
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Exciting to see these signs when I was out walking Phred the week before the race!

This weekend, I was really proud of my adopted hometown.

First off, I have to say, that I LOVE the little town I live in. We’ve actually been voted to have the most romantic Main Street in America. I can’t attest to that but I can say that it’s a really great Main Street!

The race – the Hartford Marathon Foundation, Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half Marathon and Legends 4-Miler (phew!)0 was a late starter (11:30 I think!) and when I got to the end of Main Street where packet pickup was taking place there was a really festive atmosphere. I learned late last week that runDisney coach Jeff Galloway would be joining his old college roommate Amby Burfoot and Bill Rodgers in the half marathon so I was kind of excited to say hi!

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Running Legends and Wesleyan alums

Picked up my bib, found Meg and eventually Kim, and we went over to the tent to see the Legends! Now, lately I’ve just been tossing my race bibs (if they aren’t from Disney) but I had Jeff and Bill sign this one, so it’s a keeper!

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And, I committed to #Dopey15 out loud to Coach Galloway so…I’m committed!!

On to the actual race. There was a 4-Miler and a Half Marathon. I live here, so I knew about the hills. And the half had lots of extra hills! So I picked the 4-miler!! Oh…there were hills in this one too. In fact, within the first quarter mile we hit one of the biggies!

 

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Big crowds, big hills!

It was really a pretty course (but I knew it would be!) and there were some folks out watching and cheering. Once we left “downtown” we hit roads that I use for training so it was all familiar terrain. There were a few more pretty significant (to me) hills and I admit that I was was thrilled to get back into town and hit the final downhill. The finish line on Main Street was a welcome sight! Once I crossed and got my medal, I grabbed some snacks (and said hi to Kim who was serving snacks!) I hurried back to the car. My plan was to head home, grab Phred and go cheer on Meg and Sara who were running the half – and the 8 mile mark was right up from my house! Traffic was kind of not great but once I got close to home things opened up and I actually had plenty of time before I saw them heading up the street! Then it was back to the house, hop in the car and back to the finish line!!

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Meg and Sara in the distance!!

And ya’ll know I’m all about the post-race goodies, right?! Well, they did it right this time! NoRa Cupcakes, Eli Cannon pulled pork, Mondo pizza, tasty little baguettes!  In addition to the actual race provided snacks for runners, there were also food trucks lining the street next to the park (we didn’t hit any of those but they all looked really good!!)

Eventually it was time to say good bye to my running pals after another really great weekend! But we’d definitely be doing this again. And again!!

 

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Another Kim Markey original photo!!

Overall, I think this was a great event and I do hope it comes back year after year! There was really a sense of excitement along Main Street, it is a beautiful (but hilly!) course, and the post-race snacks were amazing. PLUS having the Wesleyan Legends there was amazing!! The only thing I think I would change is making sure that someone is monitoring the street closures – LOTS of cars were going around barricades and ignoring speed limits which put runners in danger. I know that the Hartford Marathon Foundation was looking for volunteers as late as Saturday afternoon so hopefully there will be more excitement around this next year and the volunteers will flock to help out!!

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