Sunrise on a run

Sunrise on a run

Friday, August 19, 2011

Beat the Heat: Week 6

1. What have you done to help you achieve your goals?

Last week was an adjustment back to the working routine and timezone. I completed a session of circuits courtesy of Jillian Michaels, a session at the gym using my new shoes (Vibram five fingers) and a 10k run on Saturday morning.

2. What have you done to make you feel fabulous?

Going out for the run. I'd run out of contact lenses and was thinking about ditching run on the grounds of not wanting to run in my glasses. I decided that was a feeble excuse for not going running and went out. I was pleased a did.

3. If your house was on fire, and you could grab ONE thing (outside of people and your computer/laptop, they are all out) what would it be?

I think I'd be too busy worrying about getting out safely to grab anything. We had a fire alarm go off in our hotel when we were on holiday and all we took were keys to the car and hotel room, our passports and cardigans.

4. Tell us about your blog. Treat it like a book, what’s happened so far?

We were given a domain name as a wedding present. I never quite got to grips with the uploading etc although had great fun designing and planning it. Around the same time we discovered Blogger and this discovery coincided with our six month sojourn in Philadelphia.

There's not huge amounts from our Philly adventures looking back, it saw something of a revival when I was on maternity leave a second time and DH was in Mexico for five weeks. It's great fun looking back, I have used it as a record of various running events I've taken part in, and I've tried to revive it periodically. This is why doing this challenge has been great as it's provided an opportunity for revival!

I use Blogpress on the iPad which makes it easier to blog on the move, another means of keeping this up regularly.

5. Fun Question: Tell an embarrassing story about yourself. No dodging.

Dodging is an apt phrase. About five or six years ago, the Garfield Movie came out. I can't remember what we were going to see but there was a giant inflatable Garfield in our cinema foyer. I've always been a big Garfield fan so clearly had to run over to the Garfield and give him a big hug. He was quite bouncy and the force of my hug saw him rocking like a giant weeble and me laughing feebly!

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beat the Heat: August

This was the last week of my holiday, so a bit late in posting this.

1. What have you done this week to help you achieve your goals?

A little lax in last week of holiday but made it out for an evening run along the beach while we were still in Cape Cod and had a fab 90min yoga session with Tara Stiles at La Strala Yoga while we were in New York.

2. What have you done this week to make you feel fabulous?

The yoga session was great. It was the first time I'd been to a formal class for about six years, most of my sessions tend to be short sessions in the morning or evening, this was 90mins. There was a great mix of formal poses with a couple of freestyle sessions where you basically did your own thing. That could be a handstand or something more challenging or just a medley of your favourite poses! I spoke to Tara afterwards, hope I wasn't too starstruck as I've been following her podcasts and the video she did with Deepak Chopra since getting the iPad last year.

3. Do you feel you get everything out of your life? Would you like to change things or are you happy where you are (I know a bit deep but I’m thinking about major life achievements this week achieved and not!)

Happy where I am. I think my problem might be trying to do too much and not having enough time to just do nothing.

4. What’s your ultimate favourite food? Is it healthy? Can you make it healthy?

I don't know that I have an absolute favourite. I try and aim for the healthy side of the spectrum but a little of what you like now and again is no bad thing.

5. Fun Question: What do you want to be when you grow up J ?


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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Long weekend in Cape Cod: Saturday 30th July - Monday 1st August

We spent three days in Cape Cod, we could have easily spent longer there but three days gave us a taste of the area and provided a welcome contrast to the two city parts of our holiday. Our visited included: a trip to Provincetown, Whale watching, an evening at the Drive-In, Chatham and the Marconi Museum as well as lots of time on the beach.

Provincetown is a very pleasant town right at the end of the Cape. Based on the number of drag-artists handing out flyers it looks as if it has a lively nightlife... We didn't get there in time for the 2:00 sailing so we had ice-creams and then went for a wander, including a visit to the shell shop which was a treasure trove for the girls. It was time to board the boat for our three hour trip to see the whales.

It was great to be on the water and enjoy the view of Cape Cod from the sea but the Whale watching was amazing. We were there at tea-time so we saw huge numbers of whales all very close to the boat. The girls were also v excited, definitely an experience of a lifetime. I was a bit trigger happy with the camera, some of the whales to follow.

We went straight from whale watching to smurf watching, at the drive-in, complete with Hot Dogs and bad popcorn. The Girls' car certainly enjoyed the experience: me in the back with the girls and their new friends in the front.

Sunday saw us drive to Chatham, firstly to the Marconi museum where Mr S was in his element and then into Chatham itself - lunch and then a browse around various stores.

Monday was a beach day. We met up with Mrs L and the girls and she smuggled us into a private beach! Some of the local beaches are for local people only, which seems fair enough really. After the beach, we headed into Hyannis for a browse followed by more beach action back at the hotel. The girls enjoyed digging sandcastles, especially the moat, while I flew our little 99p kite. Well it flew itself really.

I had a final run along the beach, much cooler in the evening and that was the end of our Cape Cod section. Very enjoyable, we could have happily spent longer there, we didn't really explore route 6A or the national park area.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Philly-Cape Cod via Princeton: Friday 29th July

We had a very early start, partly so we could see Annie, Parker and the boys in Princeton and partly because we had such a long journey ahead (350miles).

The pause in Princeton for breakfast and a catch up with old friends was great. Last time we visited A and co, they had just moved into their house in Princeton and A and I were talking weaning and bouncers. Six years later and we're now talking extra-curricular activities for the kids and playrooms! It was lovely to see them and the boys before they headed off to camp for the day (although not the littlest, he looked as if he had a busy schedule of cuddles ahead).

Lunchtime saw us stop in Stamford for a break, including a run around for the girls and a trip to Barnes and Noble to buy maps and make use of their wifi.

I took charge of the wheel once we'd refuelled and hit the road. My first proper drive on the US. Speed limits are slower so it's good we had a car with the acceleration of a small elephant - foot down and eventually it speeds up, but not by much. The drive was fine, the girls slept, Mr S was forced to keep me company and therefore was not allowed to sleep!

We had something of a race against time to get to our dinner date but we had a brief stop in Starbucks - refresh the girls and change drivers. After a brief conflab by phone with our hosts for the evening, we decided to head straight for the hotel, unload and quick change before heading into Hyannis where we were meeting our friends.

Girls did very well considering the lateness of the hour so we stayed to listen to Rick and his band while I enjoyed a Mai Tai! Boo discovered a newfound love of Jerk Chicken - well, more like chicken with barbecue sauce.

Back to the hotel and then it was time for bed, punctuated with a couple of fire alarms. Hotel is basic but has everything we need and is a shell's thrown from the beach.

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Beat the Heat: Holiday time!

I'm on holiday this week so this week's BTH comes to you from Cape Cod.

1. What have you done this week to work towards your goals?

I'm on holiday in the US at the moment (Philadelphia, Cape Cod and then onto New York). While I therefore have the perfect excuse to eat over-processed rubbish choc full of high-fructose corn syrup and not do any training, I've actually done OK: visit to the hotel gym in Philly, a run along the beach yesterday and circuit training thanks to Jillian Michaels on my iPad.

The run was hot, I just spent about 18-20 mins running from the beach outside our hotel, where the girls and Mr S were playing. I got them to time how long it would take me to run along the beach and back - around 6-7 minutes.

2. What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

I'm on holiday, that's all I need! It's great just switching off from work and spending quality time together as a family.

3. How are you finding your goals? Do you think you can still achieve them?

Once I get back from holiday I really need to get focused on the cycle training and aim for either two spin classes or a spin class and a cycle ride each week. I've got the added challenge of sorting out logistics for the actual day as Mr S will be abroad at a work conference. Finding a willing grandparent shouldn't be too difficult but it's just an extra complication.

4. Freebie! If you want to change one goal, change it.

I'll stick with the Duathlon but if the logistics don't work out then my new goal will be completing a half marathon in 2hrs or less.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Listening to the sounds of the waves from our hotel then it would have to be here in Cape Cod. Really beautiful part of the world. The next stage of our holiday takes us to New York. It's going to be an assault on the senses are this.

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Philadelphia: Thursday 28th July

Thursday morning and another buffet breakfast - a good selection, I've been in US hotels in the past where their idea of breakfast was doughnuts and coffee.

The drawback of only spending a few days in one place where there is so much to see is trying to decide what to go for. We took advantage of our location and went to the Academy of Natural Sciences: the lure of the Dinosaurs was what clinched it for us. A particular highlight was watching people working on the Dinosaur bones from Argentina: an entirely new Dinosaur, not yet named and apparently very large. He will be going back to Argentina but it will be interesting to read more about him.

Another highlight were the summer interns, all school kids desperate to impart their knowledge of the dinosaurs. It only seemed fair to stop and listen.

Next stop was the Butterflies, a particular favourite of mine and I spent quite a bit of time trying to get photos of a spectactular blue one in flight. The pictures weren't quite so spectacular, so I thought I'd share a shot of this giant.

There is a great area upstairs for children: lots to touch and explore. My favourite was looking at the slides under a microscope, especially the ant head. Mr S' favourite was the moose antlers.

After a final visit to the dinosaur area, this time to the big dig, it was lunchtime. We had a voucher (due to the hotel's mess up with our room on the first night) to TGIs. It was ok but not the best TGI I've ever been to. The wedge salad really was just a big wedge of lettuce and I'd forgotten how much dressing they drown it in (note to self: ask for it on the side).

After lunch, we decided to go for a bus tour. The highly detailed tour was probably going to be lost on the girls so we opted for the Philly Phlash and our own commentary, including an account of the store (Wholefoods) where we bought Boo's first foods!

We headed up past the Rodin Museum, the Museum of Art, the Zoo and the Please Touch Museum. It was a shame we didn't make it here as it had moved to a much bigger location and looked quite fab.

We couldn't keep away from Reading Terminal Market so we headed back to the candy store for more Lego sweeties. Once we'd stocked up on gifts, we picked up the remains of our picnic and headed back to Rittenhouse Square for one last visit. Again the girls had a fantastic time, they seemed to spend much of it picked up dried leaves and pretending they were going to the Antartic.

After that it was time to say our farewells and pack up the hotel room in readiness for our long trip to Cape Cod.

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Philadelphia: Wednesday 27July

So here we are, summer holiday time. The first leg of our holiday has seen us revisit Philadelphia, six years after I spent a good 5-6 months of my maternity leave living in Rittenhouse Square while Mr S worked on a project over here.

We arrived late on the Tuesday evening, after a comfortable flight and a less comfortable drive (JFK to Philadelphia during NYC rush hour) to our hotel. We'd booked into a place just on Ben Franklin Parkway so easy to get around.

After breakfast at the hotel we headed out into the City heat - first stop Reading Terminal Market. Visiting it with Boo and Pip meant that the stalls selling sweets were more a prominent feature of our visit than I remembered. We got there during its busiest time, a lot of people must visit there during their lunch hour. I'm trying to think where is comparable in the UK, maybe Borough Market, although Borough Market is not a permanent fixture and is much smaller. We settled on Cajun for lunch. Pip was not that impressed so I tracked down a ham and cheese sandwich, they certainly didn't skimp on the ham!

After this we wandered up to Rittenhouse Square in an attempt to find the Ben and Jerrys we used to visit. Unfortunately it was no longer there but we did find a frozen yoghurt place so stopped there to cool down.

Later in the day, we'd arranged to meet a friend and her daughter who is the same age as Boo and who we used to hang-out with. First stop was Di Brunos, our favourite Deli. It took quite a while trying to decide what to have but we got there in the end. Picnic procured, we headed back to Rittenhouse Square.

It didn't take long for the girls to all warm up and spend the evening running around and chatting with the lady who was hoola hooping in the park. We finally dragged the girls away and tentatively arranged to meet again the next evening.

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