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GWRT part 01 – Zion National Park

January 27, 2013

Back in May, we embarked on what would be our longest road trip yet of 3 weeks – deemed the Great Western Road Trip (GWRT).  It took us through 9 states, nearly 5,300 miles, and more National Park System sites than I can remember.

Being that long ago, and already with the Southwest Holiday Roadtrip 2012 behind us, I wanted to get some posts up from the GWRT stops, as they are not to be forgotten.  The first stop was Zion National Park, which we didn’t have enough time at (you’ll notice that theme throughout this entire trip) and we honestly didn’t have any expectations for.  Turned out to be a fantastic site, and a great way to start out our journey . . .

blog pics zion

monthly recap 11.2012

December 4, 2012

So, yeah… what happened to November & how did I not post a single thing? I even wrote out a little blog calendar with high hopes of plowing through our Great Western Road Trip blog posts. Ooops.  Ah, well… I’ve obviously been busy so there is plenty to share in the November wrap up pictures.

It’s been a great month & I’m excited that the holiday season is in full swing. We traveled a couple of times this month & are in the middle of the official countdown til our annual holiday southwest road trip. Good times!

sporkhashi - November2012

monthly recap 10.2012

November 1, 2012

I thought September was a quick month… well October set a new record. I honestly have NO idea why time is flying by so quickly, but I’d like it to slow down!  It was a great month for me in the exercise & training department. I spent a ton of time on my bike, in the pool, out for runs and even made it back to Bar Method for the first time in ages. It felt great.  Now as we head into holiday season I can only hope to keep the momentum up. We’ll see what happens…

swim | bike | run – San Diego sheRox triathlon

October 24, 2012

Sunday I completed my final triathlon of the season… the sheRox tri in Mission Bay, San Diego.  This was the same location as my first triathlon ever back in May. I know I say the same thing after every race… but it seriously was AWESOME! I think 2012 will go down as the year of the race and thus the year I discovered that 1) I love events & 2) I absolutely can’t get enough of the swim-bike-run rush of a tri.  I went into the race full of excitement & determined to push harder than I’d had in the past. I knew that I had trained more consistently than earlier in the year and since this race came a short 2 weeks after biking the marathon route and about a month after the Long Beach sprint tri, I also knew I was prepared!

The morning of the race it rained (southern california style… it was actually more of a drizzle) and other than needing a plan to keep my transition area dry it didn’t cause much of an issue. About 20 minutes before the start time the skies started to clear and with the exception of a bit of mist during the run I had perfect weather for the entire event.  I’ve been lucky with every race this season… I’m not sure how I’d handle any of this in the heat (I’m a wimp) but I’m sure at some point I’ll have to figure that out.

sheRox triathlon series is exactly what one would guess… an event designed for women (though no one would actually stop a dude from signing up I suppose). I was surprised that the atmosphere did actually feel a little different on race day. I’m not exactly sure what it was, but there was this light-hearted excitement in the air & it was pretty exciting. Everything was really well organized, the announcer was fantastic and I’m certainly planning on participating again next year.

The turnout for this tri was huge. My swim wave was certainly the largest I’ve been in (well over 100 ladies in my heat alone). Typically I stay to the back of the pack at the start of the swim to keep out of the crazy water churning rush at the front, but Sunday morning I decided to take a chance at the front to see how I’d do. As it turns out the crowding, swimming over people, getting bumped, pulled, and kicked is actually not so bad… dare I say it’s more exciting up with the masses?!  I kicked it into a faster pace from the get-go and did a decent job of not burning out during the entire 1/2 mile.  My time was a deceptive 5 minutes faster than Long Beach last month, but I know that about 1/2 that is due to the shorter run from the water to the mat. Still, a huge improvement in my time & I’m really excited about that.  I also had great transitions, cutting time off of both. My bike was a couple of minute faster, but the course was also flat, so I don’t think I actually improved much in my bike speed. I seriously just don’t know how to go fast!  I will say that I felt less like I’d hit a brick wall during the transition from bike to run so my legs must be getting stronger.  I tackled the final leg of the race with a 4.5 minute run / 1 minute walk method again.  The course wasn’t nearly as flat as LB and was certainly working the pep-talk in my head to keep pushing along. During the last mile I paced with another girl (again… this sheRox tri was FULL of friendly supportive & incredibly strong athletes) who helped keep my motivated to keep chugging along at the end.  I don’t know if it was the training, atmosphere, great weather, or familiar course but somehow I managed to chop 3 minutes off of my run time… bringing me down to a 9 minute mile pace!  That’s HUGE for me!!!  In the end I cut 13 minutes off my race vs last months time & I couldn’t be happier.

It’s sorta sad knowing that I have to wait until next year for tri season to start up again. I’m not sure what to do now that I don’t have a race lined up.  Perhaps it’s time to tackle that other 101 in 1001 item… run a 1/2 marathon?!

Swim (0.5 mile) 13:59

T1 – 2:07

Bike (12.5 miles) – 43:07

T2 – 1:48

Run (3.1 miles) – 27:39

1:28.36 (13 minutes faster than last time!)

Labor Day weekend v3.0

October 17, 2012

It’s become a bit of a tradition to drive up north to celebrate the long Labor Day weekend with the sights, sounds, and tasty eats of Northern California. This year we decided to do things a tad bit different and take the slow & windy coastal route up PCH to Monterey.  We’ve both done the drive before but never together & we remembered it being beautiful… but ya know what?… now that we’ve done the full length of the Oregon coast it’s sorta sad to say that California’s famous golden road isn’t quite as awesome as we had remembered!  Yes, it’s still a scenic drive but I think next time we’ll stick to the fast & boring route through California’s crop country so we can get the relaxing weekend started a bit quicker.

After our stop over in Monterey we spent two nights sandwiched between our other destinations of Napa/Sonoma valley and Point Reyes National Seashore.  Our days were filled with tasty snacks, good beer, hiking Muir Woods and plenty of relaxing. Which is just the way we like to spend the last weekend of summer.

On our way out of town we stopped off for a first for both of us… walking {half} way across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a chilly & foggy morning (of course) which made for dramatic views of the bridge towers as they came in and out of focus in the thick mist.

Road trips are our excuse to snack all day long! An ice cream or donut snack between breakfast & lunch, maybe some pre-dinner oysters and a beer as well!  We always run out of time to try new places & still hit up our favorites… a few of our recommendations are…

Dynamo Donuts  – maple bacon is a must try, but the surprising win during this visit was the toasted coconut.

Humphry Slocombe – Ice cream is a must for us when we travel. Our favorite stop in San Fran is bi-rite, but HS is a solid scoop as well.  Summer corn was our flavor of choice this time.

Whole Spice Company – I absolutely love this stall at Oxbow Public Market. The customer service is fantastic and the selection is so much better than any of spice stores here in LA. I restocked on my favorite blends… Vadouvan (secret to great chicken soup) pizza spice & Ras el Hanout, plus picked up some fun new mixes to test out… smoked sea salt and smoked tea leaves.

Hog Island – oysters are a must on our trips up north. Combine that with a cold beer and perfect weather to sit outside in Napa Valley… you’ve got the makings of a nice midday snack.

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long beach (marathon) bike tour!

October 16, 2012

I biked the Long Beach marathon route a couple weekends ago… and you know what…?  I learned that marathoners are more amazing & certainly crazier than I’d previously thought!  I signed up for the event for a couple of reasons, the first being that participating in a bike race is on my 101 to 1001 list and the second was to hopefully improve my time during the bike portion of my final triathlon of the season.  It’s been years since I’ve done any sort of distance on my bike… and yes I realize that 26ish miles is hardly “distance” to most road bikers, but I don’t pretend to be anything more than a casual biker gal.

So how was it? Well, at round mile 5 I seriously contemplated quitting.  I was passing back near the starting area & knew if I veered off course I could pedal home in just minutes.  No, five miles didn’t tire me out… but it did frustrate me. I was prepared for the idea of 1000’s of bikers riding at one time, but I wasn’t prepared for the fact that a bike tour (not race) means most people really are out for a casual ride. Seriously, I’m NOT a fast person but I could not handle the idea of waking up at 5am to simply coast along at well less than 10 mph. Not being a person to quit I sucked it up and settled into casual tour mode. Around mile 11 the course finally hit the open road (as opposed to the bike path) and I pushed my way into a bit of a clearing.  My time was already well over an hour but I decided that my under 2 hour goal was still doable.  So I pedaled and pedaled and found my way to the finish line in around 1 hour and 50 minutes!  For as much as I was frustrated for the first ½ it was well worth it to ride the closed course all over the city I call home.  For a split second I thought… wow it’d be cool to actually run this route some day. Then I realized that was crazy talk! I’ll stick to my bike.

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monthly recap ~ 09.2012

October 2, 2012

It’s only been 12+ months since I last did a monthly recap… but doing a year in review seemed a bit ridiculous. So it’s time to start fresh.  September will go down in the books as the fastest month of the year (thus far). I feel like summer was yesterday and here it is the second day of October. Of course the fact that in southern California we are “enjoying” 90+ degree weather doesn’t help with the transition into Fall!  As always my iphone & instagram were with us all month and I captured a few of our favorites below…