A couple seeking a cure for the travel bug

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Life is a Highway

Per usual, I've gone M.I.A. because work picked up and we've had lots of time with family and friends in the past few weeks. As I've said before, work and family far outweigh the blog and their priority outweighs running as well.

Most tours we are traveling across the country from coast-to-coast. This particular tour has been incredible because we are the "West" team and if you've read this blog long enough you know it's our favorite part of the country. However, it turns out we have spent more time in California than any other state (granted, we've been up and down from SoCal to NorCal) and haven't moved as much as we normally have on past tours. So it was refreshing to finally leave The Golden State and hit the road a few weeks ago. Our first stop was Las Vegas en route to our next events in Colorado. 

Such a gorgeous hike at Mt. Charleston. Not to mention, it was about 30 degrees cooler
here than on the Strip. 
Stunning views. It's hard to believe this is in Sin City.
We spent time with my best friend and she showed us there's much more to Vegas than just the Strip. 

But of course, we still spent some time in the heart of the action.
Who can resist?

Then we made it back to our Colorful Colorado and the place we consider to be "home." My family came to visit and it was so refreshing to see familiar faces and loved ones. My family is my everything, so spending time together and building new memories in my favorite state made this visit one to remember. 

My everything.

My brother had never been to Casey and I's favorite town, Winter Park, and my mom is already head over heels for this mountain resort so we took both of them up there to spend some quality time together on our day off. 

The following day we made our way to Fort Collins for our event. We went out in their downtown area called Old Town Square and y'all have to visit these killer hotspots: Social, The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen, Blind Pig, The Town Pump, etc. 

Casey and I are very blessed to have such amazing friends. My former co-worker Matt and his lovely girlfriend Felise even made the trip up to FoCo to hang with us!

Thanks, Matt and Felise!

More Colorado memories (more on these in a separate post)...

I met my running idol, Ms. Kara Goucher! Pinch me!

We worked an event in Aspen and visited the most beautiful place I have ever been to. Welcome to the most photographed peaks in North America: 
And from Coloradical, we traveled to Boise en route to Tacoma/Seattle, Washington. In the Evergreen State we visited my sister (my dad was married before my mom) where I met my nephew for the first time. He's going to be a little heartbreaker. Meanwhile Casey entertained and chased my niece. I miss these kiddos already.

Lastly, I received permission to run a marathon I stopped training for because I didn't think I was going to get to run it. So, I'm under trained and attempting to run 26.2 in less than 2 weeks. Neat. With that said, I was lucky enough to be in the state of said marathon so I previewed a portion of the course with Casey. I may have to crawl to the finish, but holy cow it's going to be one helluva gorgeous race. 

I may not blog often, but I post on Instagram like it's my day job.
To keep up to speed on our travels, follow along on IG.

From Washington (I swear this post is almost done) we cruised over 1,100 miles on I-5 to Los Angeles with a stop in Sacramento to see our good friends Amy and Clint. 

Thanks to my dear friend, Amy, for scoring me this killer
Oiselle #AmericanRunner tee when she was volunteering at
the USA Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, CA. 

Again, I hope to include separate posts on many of our stops but we have more family coming in this week and it's crunch time for the marathon. Casey's parents are making the trek to Tinsel Town and we cannot wait to see them and spend some quality time together. 

Although cheesy...for us life is one big highway. We're constantly on the go, traveling at least 300 days a year for the past 3.5 years but dang it, we're having the time of our lives and we're going to enjoy this ride for as long as we can. 

I hope you all have a beautiful week filled with family, friends, miles and adventure!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

National Running Day Discounts!

Happy National Running Day! 

Here is a list of deals I've compiled from companies celebrating this special day (each bullet point is linked): 

I run to be at one with nature, to challenge myself, to explore, to make new friendships, reduce anxiety, to encourage others to lead a healthy lifestyle and most importantly I run because I CAN



Weekly Mileage: 5/26-6/1

This Last week, my intention was to up my mileage but it just didn't happen. We had a long work weekend on our feet and with my past experience when I try to add in miles before or after standing on my feet for 10-12 hours it's a recipe for injury. However, at the end of the day that can't be an excuse. I didn't plan properly and should have gotten more miles in during our days off. Each week is a clean slate, so I'll start over and properly plan to reach my goal of 40+ miles this week. 

Last week, we had some free time and enjoyed some rest and relaxation at the beach. We are staying in the Redondo Beach/Manhattan Beach area so we've been running along The Strand, watching the Blackhawks (then mourning their game 7 loss), hanging low and just preparing for more adventures this week.

Our schedule is very flexible and constantly evolving, but we received some really exciting news last week that one of our events was changed and we'll actually be heading to Colorado a week early! Casey and I can't wait to return to the state we call "home," Colorful Colorado. Plus, my mom and my brother are going to come out for a short visit to see us (just in time to celebrate my mom's 3-year anniversary of being cancer-free). 

June is shaping up to look like this: LA, Malibu/Santa Barbara/Ojai, Las Vegas (en route to Colorado), Fort Collins/Denver/Boulder/Glenwood Springs/Aspen and Tacoma/Seattle, Washington. I am smiling just writing this out. I still have to pinch myself that I'm getting paid to travel throughout my favorite part of the country with my significant other slinging a product everyone loves. This has been the BEST tour yet in our four years of #tourlife. 

Just a reminder that you can do anything you put your mind to; with great risk comes great reward. 

Anyway, before I get even more off topic here is my weekly mileage for 5/26-6/1: 

MONDAY 5/26: Rest. 

TUESDAY 5/27: 11 miles. 

Go for the Tropical Cooler.

WEDNESDAY 5/28: 5 miles. 


THURSDAY 5/29: 4 miles. 

I love running with this guy.

FRIDAY 5/30: 12 miles. 

SATURDAY 5/31: Rest. Worked the LA Wine Fest (set up + festival). 

Follow @CupcakeVineyard on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to see where we'll be next!

SUNDAY 6/1: Rest. Worked the LA Wine Fest (festival + breakdown). I was following the Rock 'N Roll Instagram account and checking in on runners racing at RNR San Diego. They (and Runner's World) posted about this AMAZING WOMAN, 91-year-old cancer survivor Harriette Thompson who became the second oldest marathon finisher in U.S. history and set a new age-group record with her time of 7:07:42! This woman in such an inspiration and doesn't she look INCREDIBLE? I would never guess she's in her 90s. My hat's off to you Harriette, you're an idol to all. 

TOTAL: 32 miles + 2 veggie burgers and countless smoothies. 

If you're ever in the area you have to eat at Fish Bar. As you can imagine great fish and fish tacos, but insanely delicious veggie burgers. Nom! And after a scenic run, stop by Nektar to refuel with a smoothie (our favorite is the Tropical Cooler). 

On tap for this week: We're leaving LA Wednesday for Malibu/Santa Barbara/Ojai. We've been all over the State of California in the past few years, but we've actually never been to the Santa Barbara/Malibu area so we're pumped to explore it. I am really stoked to visit the Santa Barbara Running Company's store to restock on Picky Bars and to buy more Oiselle gear see their Oiselle display. They also have a great reputation and a couple weekly group runs, so I'm thrilled to see this store and chat with their employees. 



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Weekly Mileage: 5/19-5/25

One of our many gorgeous views during yesterday's drive from Sacramento to Los Angeles.

Note: I wrote this post yesterday, but did not publish it until today...

We are currently en route to Los Angeles from Sacramento, so I am using the Blogger app. to write last week's mileage post. In the past 24 hours we've been in San Francisco, Sacramento and soon to be Los Angeles. The life of a roadie, I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

I took it easy last week in preparation for upping my mileage this week...

Monday 5/19: Rest. We had a lazy day and did absolutely nothing. It felt amazing.

Tuesday 5/20: Rest. On Tuesday, I had a phone call where I received some really exciting news. So exciting that I hopped around with a big cheesy smile on my face more than Tom Cruise hopped around on Oprah's couch. Unfortunately, I'll have to keep this information secret until I can announce it late June or early July. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

San Dieguito Half Marathon Recap

Date: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Location: San Dieguito County Park in Del Mar, CA
Start time: 8 a.m.
Course: HILLY (perfect training course for Boston)
Field Size: Close to 1,000 half marathon participants
Price: $50-$70 depending on when you register
Packet Pick up: Road Runner Sports (5553 Copley Dr.)

This post is almost three months overdue. I'm late to the party but I still want to include it because the San Diego Hash House Harriers (a drinking club with a running problem) and Kathy Loper Events threw one heck of a shindig.

In February, I celebrated turning 28 with back-to-back half marathons. It may sound crazy but running on my birthday weekend...running in general...is my kind of fun.

I had already registered and planned to run the Mermaid Series San Diego Half Marathon on February 8th because I ran it in 2013 on my birthday (Feb. 9th), but then like any crazy runner I got down on myself that I wasn't running on my actual birthday. Seriously, who thinks like this? All runners are nuts.

So, the mind began to turn. A balloon of thoughts began to form:
I'm not in shape to run a marathon...
What if I ran back-to-back half marathons? 
I've never done that before.
What a great way to kick off 28, with back-to-back halfs in San Diego!

Insert logical thinker, Casey, with a needle ready to pierce that balloon:

You're just getting back into running [post injury], I thought you said you were going to come back the 'right' way and slowly build your mileage?
I think if you want to stay healthy and not be injured again, then this is a bad idea.

Casey won for a brief moment. After all, he had to deal with the repercussions of me being sidelined from running for 7 months. Listening to me complain, and watching me burst into tears on numerous occassions when I'd try to run again but it just wasn't happening. He would feel guilty going for a run when he knew that's all I wanted to do. He's pretty much a Saint.

Usually when my mind is made up I'm going full steam ahead with no emergency break, but this time Casey's wall of realism blocked my tracks...

for a few days...possibly even a week (that's a record for my patience).

Monday, May 19, 2014

Weekly Mileage: 5/12-5/18

Giants, and tigers, and sharks! Oh my!

MONDAY 5/12: Rest. Drove from Santa Ana (Orange County) to Brisbane, California (San Francisco). With traffic, the trip took us about 7.5-8 hours.

TUESDAY 5/13: Hit up a small portion of the massive San Francisco Bay Trail with this guy; 5 miles total.

Later that day, we ventured into the city to enjoy the beer garden at Zeitgeist (featured on The Layover with Anthony Bourdain). It didn't disappoint. A perfect place to relax and meet new people. There were plenty of brewskis to choose from, community tables for making new friends and a beer garden you just can't beat. 

Afterward, we walked to nearby Pica Pica (featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Divesfor the most amazing arepa we've ever had. Seriously. Casey and I can't stop thinking about it. 

Here's another video featuring this Venezuelan street food on the local program, Best of the Bay

Our order: Vegetariana Arepa-sweet yellow grilled corn pocket filled with grilled tofu, avocado, plaintain, black beans and garlic aioli. 

What dreams are made of...

We finished off the night by watching the Blackhawks win the series at Giordano Bros. This Pittsburgh bar in San Fran serves sandwiches reminiscent of the Steel City's well renowned Primanti Bros. It's like a rite of passage in Pittsburgh to have fries on your sandwich. 

WEDNESDAY 5/14: 8 miles along the SF Bay Trail by our hotel. That afternoon we made our way to Oakland where Casey and I crossed off our 19th ballpark together (Casey's 20th). We've officially been to every MLB ballpark in the West. I hope to do a separate post about the stadium, but let's just say it was everything I expected from Oakland and more...

THURSDAY 5/15: 7 miles. I love having a trail right outside of our hotel. Here are some of the views I captured during my various runs...

The flowers are still blooming, but the drought here in California is very real.
In this picture you can see exposed pipes that were once buried under water.
Along the trail you can see the receding water line and the effects of the drought.

FRIDAY 5/16: I try to never miss a chance to run with Casey, so when he said he wanted to run for about thirty minutes I joined him; 3 miles then I topped it off with 30 minutes on the bike at the hotel gym. 

SATURDAY 5/17: "Rest." I put that in quotes because although I didn't run at all, we had a long day of work at the Uncorked! San Francisco Wine Festival. We arrived around 8:45 a.m., had our usual 1.5 hour set up, worked the event, tore down our event site and headed home. It was an awesome activation and we had the most incredible view of Alcatraz from our footprint! I love experiential marketing/touring for so many reasons, but this is definitely one of them. Where else can you work and get a view like this...

Our truck with Alcatraz in the background.
Follow @CupcakeVineyard to see where we'll be next! 

SUNDAY 5/18: Capitola Half Marathon in Santa Cruz (recap here) followed by an event in Salinas, CA. 

TOTAL: 36.1 miles + 30 minutes on the hotel bike

This week we'll be bouncing around from San Francisco to Sacramento. We're stoked to make our way back to "Sac-Town" to spend some quality time with our friends, Amy and Clint! Plus, I have another half marathon on tap for Saturday. 

Cheers to another great week on the road! 


Capitola Half Marathon Recap

Race: Capitola Half
Date: Sunday, May 18, 2014
Start time: 7 a.m. 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA 
Course: Rolling Hills
Field Size: Close to 2,000 runners (Marathon + Half + Relay)
Half Marathon Price: $70-$80 (depending on when you register)

Yesterday, I squeezed in the Surfer's Path Capitola Half Marathon in Santa Cruz, California before our event in Salinas. Casey and I woke up at 4:30 a.m., finally peeled ourselves out of bed, and departed around 5 a.m. 

Note: I never sign up for these races expecting Casey to go. This was a spontaneous race registration so I told him multiple times he didn't have to tag along. I told him I'd meet him at our event, but he insisted on going. Seriously, I am such a lucky girl. You may get sick of hearing it, but I am so grateful for this man. Thank you, Casey!

Back to the race...

It was about an hour and fifteen minute drive from our hotel in Brisbane (just south of San Francisco) to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk but our commute was a breeze. 

From start to finish, this race rocked. Here is every reason why you should add this run to your 2015 race calendar: 

-Race day packet pick up: I absolutely love it when races allow runners to pick up their packet/BIBs on race day. If it weren't for this option, I wouldn't have been able to run this race because I was working all day on Saturday at the Uncorked! San Francisco Wine Festival during the race expo. Not only was it awesome that they allowed race day packet pick up, but the process of actually getting it was painless. The team was set up with volunteers near the starting line so they were easy to find. The entire process was speedy and within 60 seconds I was given my race t-shirt, BIB and timing chip. Amazing.

-Parking: With multiple lots near the boardwalk, finding parking was easy. The lots were close to the starting line which made it easy to drop off my race shirt and shed layers before taking off. We drive a branded sprinter van (one of our two vehicles on tour), so this lot was a major bonus as we are were able to easily park our oversized vehicle. Only catch: parking in this lot came at a price of $12. 

-Distances offered: Marathon (Surfer's Path Marathon), Half Marathon (Capitola Half) and Relay. 

-Course: I'm from the Midwest, where elevation charts look like a flat line on a heart monitor. I absolutely love California for its perfect year 'round weather and its hills. This course is touted for its beach views (which were beautiful) but I was diggin' it for its hills. I didn't prepare or do my research on this course (hence spontaneous registration) so I was pleasantly surprised with the rolling course. They weren't as severe as the hills in the San Dieguito Half, but big enough to make you work for it. Hills are so rewarding mentally and physically. When others stop or slow down, you have to remind yourself to keep chugging along and shorten your stride. You have to be fearless on the downhills and coach yourself to lean forward instead of being cautious and naturally leaning backward. Your legs are worked in different ways going up and coming down and the pain makes you feel euphoric because you know it's only making you stronger.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Weekly Mileage: 5/5-5/11

South Carlsbad State Beach.

I'm trying to revive my weekly mileage/adventures post, but we'll see how long that lasts. I really have to hand it to bloggers that post daily and sometimes twice daily. How do you do it? 

I can only sit in front of a computer for so long...which is probably why I hated working a traditional 9 a.m.-5 p.m. but for those that have the focus and discipline to post frequently, my hat is off to you. 

With that said, here are my running stats for the week and a short synopsis of our travels. I swear we actually work too, but I've spared you from listing all of our retail events.

MONDAY 5/5: 8 miles at South Carlsbad State Beach. We were lucky this was in close proximity to our hotel, so we made a few trips to either run or walk along the beach. I have to say, there's nothing better than a nice run on the sand followed by an ice bath in the Pacific. The water is still pretty cold so it feels amazing and does wonders for muscle recovery. 

In other news, we rented a car to use on our off days instead of driving around in our branded vehicles and decided to finally hit up Pizza Port Monday night. We've been wanting to go to this place for quite some time and finally made the effort to do so. Casey opted for a flight in which he chose four beers (all brewed by Pizza Port) and I chose their Mangosaurus. He wasn't too impressed by his selection but I was diggin' my brewski. It greeted my tastebuds with a fruity punch and finished with the standard bite of an IPA. Some fruit flavored hefeweizens can be too much and too heavy, but this mango laced IPA was just right.  

My kind of fun.
Pizza: green pepper and pineapple.

TUESDAY 5/6: 10 windy miles at one of my favorite places in San Diego, Mission Bay Park. Afterward Casey finally tried a double cheeseburger from San Diego staple, Hodad's. He didn't realize how big the double chee was going to be and immediately wished he had ordered a single. Also, the fries were ridiculously awesome. There's your tip: start small and leave room for the potato wedges.

Later that evening, we dropped in at Petco Park to watch the Padres dethrone the Royals. This ballpark probably sits in our "top 5" (I've currently been to 18 parks, and Casey: 19). This year the stadium has added more local beer and craft breweries which is always a great addition and a huge draw in my book. The only problem is that they're team is still terrible and they have no marquee players. We had great seats in the second row for $25/pop which was nice and easy on the wallet, but it was one of the most boring games we've ever seen. We left early before it went into extra innings. Moral of the story: I'm a spoiled Cardinals fan and if I'm going to attend a game, I'd rather pay a higher price (I'm talking $$ not $$$) for my ticket to see a winning team on the field. It's a give and take. However, Petco Park is definitely a must-see if you're a baseball fan or visiting stadiums is your jam.

Cliff's Notes version of why you should visit Petco: fantastic seats for an affordable price, perfect weather, great location near Gaslamp, craft beers and the widest and albeit healthiest selection of food you've ever seen. I even had a veggie hot dog!

Baseball and boys. I'm always in good company with Casey and Sal. 
The view from our seats. 

Wednesday 5/7: Rest. Wednesday rocked because we started it off with breakfast at one of our favorite places. If you're a regular reader you know this is one of our top spots from when we lived in Denver. Snooze now has additional locations outside of Colorado in San Diego (Hillcrest), Del Mar and we found out on this visit that they just opened a location in Phoenix!  

Snooze Del Mar.
Just LOOK at those Sweet Potato Pancakes.

Thursday 5/8: 6 miles at South Carlsbad State Beach. 

Sometimes you just have to stop and take it all in. 

Casey has many hidden talents, one of them is that he is a master at finding amazing places to eat on Yelp! I can search Yelp! for hours and never come up with the places he does (and yes, I use the 'most reviewed' filter). He's a stud and he picked out this incredible place called Pure Burger for a fast casual meal after work. Case ordered the veggie burger and I ordered the vegan burger. You could pick your own bun, toppings, etc. It was DELICIOUS. As both of us were eating we kept exclaiming mid-bite "this is so good!" If you're ever in Carlsbad, hit up this joint for a quick, delectable and healthy meal.

Friday 5/9: Rest. Another stellar day because I had my favorite dish (for the second time) from CBW. Crazy Bowls and Wraps is a Missouri chain with two locations in Illinois, one being close to my mom's house, and a handful of random locations in California (one of which neighbored our hotel). I frequent this place more than I'd like to admit when I'm at my mom's, so it was nice to feast on one of my fave meals and get a little reminder of home. 

Organic (non GMO) tofu vegetable bowl with quinoa and teriyaki sauce.

On top of that, I added another half marathon to the race schedule! We'll be working in Salinas, CA next Sunday afternoon so I was able to find a race in Santa Cruz to squeeze in beforehand. 

Saturday 5/10: 5.5 miles + The Flower Fields. On our last day in Carlsbad, I ran to The Flower Fields and back before we had to check out of our hotel and get to work. We had passed them every day and I had wanted to go, but Casey wasn't too interested. Admission is normally $12.00 for adults, but I had a coupon from a magazine in our hotel room for $2.00 off. I knew I would regret it if I didn't go, so I packed my coupon and some cash in my water bottle and hit the pavement to visit the fields. I love the outdoors and I have a serious crush on Mother Nature. 

I mean c'mon, is there anything better than this? Here are just a few of the million pictures I took. I only wish I could have bottled up the smell and taken my mom to this magical place. If you're ever in Carlsbad when the fields are open, you HAVE to go! 

On the run home, I picked up a few golf balls from the side of the road overshot from the course nearby. Casey threw two of them away but I found at least one winner!

Running can lead you to some of the best places. 

The Titleist ball was the clear winner.

SUNDAY 10/11: 10 miles after reuniting with this babe in Santa Ana. 

Side note: We were definitely missing our moms on this day. Casey and I were both raised by two very special women and it's definitely tough when we can't pamper them and spend time with them in person. Happy Mother's Day Mom and Cari!

TOTAL MILES: 39.5 Miles + 3 cities (Carlsbad, San Diego and Santa Ana) 
Tip: I was able to alleviate some of the pain in the ball of my right foot by picking up these pads from Road Runner Sports. The adhesive doesn't last very long, so if you have a sewing kit I'd suggest hand stitching it to your insert. 

Now we're off to San Francisco and Northern California for the next two weeks! 

I have to say the last seven days were pretty incredible and I am so genuinely grateful for the opportunities Casey and I have been given. We chose to ignore our fears and society's standards, and we've made this beautiful nomadic life together. We are so very, very, blessed. 

"Success is doing
What you want, 
When you want, 
Where you want, 
With whom you want, 
As much as you want." 
-Tony Robbins

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