Update: D.C., ATL, STL, Cupcake Training and More!

First Lady Michelle Obama's [second] Inaugural gown.

The blog has flatlined and it's time to resuscitate it. Keyboard, please! 

Any time this teeny tiny fraction of space on the worldwide web falls silent, it's usually because we are back on tour. Since we last chatted, we've been to D.C., Winston-Salem, Atlanta, St. Louis (Chicago for Casey), back to Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, Tempe/Phoenix, Gilbert and now Tucson, AZ. Phew!

We wrapped our previous tour, started a new one and it's been go-go-go ever since. And just like you rocked Cliff's Notes of required text books in high school and college (oh please, I know I'm not the only one) this post is going to highlight only the fun/important stuff you need to know to get caught up.

D.C. AND WHY RUNNING FRIENDS ROCK

As you can see by the above photo of Mrs. Obama's ravishing red dress, Casey and I spent one of our days off by attending the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History (FYI, it's free).


They offer free "highlight" tours which is just as it sounds, highlighting the most popular or well known exhibits on display. Three floors can be somewhat overwhelming, so we hopped on the 2 p.m. tour. As we were walking from one exhibit to the next, I tweeted former D.C. resident and blogger Emily from Sweat Once a Day. We were starting to get hungry and plan our post-museum dinner/drinks and I knew she'd know just the right spots.

I maybe blinked and she already responded. See, this is why having running friends (even on social media) totally rocks.

You're a rockstar, Emily! Can't wait to hit up your other
 recommendations the next time we're in D.C.! 

We chose ChurchKey and headed there for some brewskis and grub. The food was okay, but the beer was on point. Looking for a happy hour spot with hundreds of beers to choose from? This is your place.

Yum.

Afterward, we thought we'd be all romantic and walk the National Mall at night. Apparently, hundreds of teenagers had the same idea. Ha! It was still less crowded, a pretty awesome sight and I'd highly recommend going for a run or scoping out all the monuments in the evening.

Goodnight, Moon.
From my Instagram

ANOTHER D.C. SPOT I'M STILL DREAMING ABOUT... 


Founding Farmers.
Order the Butternut Squash Ravioli.
Commence drool.
Side note: they bring your check in these cute mailboxes.

Oh yeah, why were we in D.C. in the first place? To work the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit with special guest speaker, First Lady Michelle Obama. NBD. Just another day at the office. ;)

ON THE ROAD AGAIN...
ADVENTURES AFTER D.C.


We stopped to see Clemson play at Wake Forest.
Tip: I'd stop for a game, but we wouldn't recommend staying in Winston-Salem. 
We annihilated Banana Bread French Toast from our favorite breakfast
joint in Atlanta, West Egg Cafe.
Tip: The Banana Bread French Toast is only served on the weekends.
Arrive early, it gets packed! 

HOME SWEET HOME

We flew "home" (a.k.a. our parent's houses because we live in hotels) for a week in between tours to regroup, see our family and unpack/repack. I lined up another doctor's appointment for my knee, and long story short the PT told me the following:

1. I'm old. I needed custom orthotics. Apparently, my arches are so high (especially my left one) that it causes my foot to flatten out upon impact (with no cushion) which then causes my kneecap to shift inward. He could see my kneecap shifting inward when I was just standing. FINALLY, ANSWERS.

2. I'm weak. I told him I had been trying to work on building my quads/calves to protect my knees. He told me to keep working..."Your quads are almost the same size as your calves." Thanks, buddy.

3. When I mentioned my left knee is often irritated more by treadmills he responded with "Treadmills are bad." Again, thanks dude. To each, their own on the great treadmill debate. I affectionately refer to them as "dreadmills" but a lot of the time on the road, when we're in an unfamiliar area, driving vehicles too large to take to the local park...sometimes hotel dreadmills are my only option.

Anyway, why is any of this relevant?

Well, I finally got some answers from a PT that works with athletes on a daily basis versus docs that kept contradicting each other and giving me cortisone shots like they're candy. Secondly, I went from running in minimalist shoes (Brooks Pure Project line) like my favorites the Brooks PureConnect to the extremely cushioned Brooks Glycerin 11 + orthotics. Needless to say, I feel like I'm running with bricks on my feet and it's taking some time to get used to.

I don't know if any of this will help, but so far so good.

Meet my old lady shoes:

Brooks Glycerin 11
My newest overpriced accessory. Woof.
I'm cheap and tried Dr. Scholl's first, but just as the PT told me there was
nothing for sale at a local pharmacy that was high enough to touch or support my feet.
The guys at Good Feet passed around my foot imprints.
"Your left arch is so high you could put a pencil under your foot and never touch it!"
"Look at this! It's like an island" one employee exclaims to the other as he circles
my heel and my forefoot as two separate entities with nothing in between.
Okay, I got it. 

MORE FROM STL...


This will be the first season since leaving Denver that I won't be able
 to attend multiple Cardinals home games.
Although it wasn't open yet, I had to check out the highly anticipated Ballpark Village.
Super jealous of anyone that gets to experience this incredible addition to Busch Stadium
and the city of St. Louis!
My Coloradical "mystery box" came in with these goodies.
Urban Chestnut Brewery with the fam.

BACK TO ATLANTA...

After I got my dose of nonstop Nelly on the radio, it was time to get back to Hotlanta to start training for our newest client, Cupcake Vineyards.

Wine tasting.
It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it. 
Come see us on the West Coast or find an event near you to get
FREE samples of Cupcake Vineyards wine by visiting our tour's
official website

Introducing your West Coast team + Ryan (East Coast) in the plaid.
Side note: Thanks to Mary Beth, I found my favorite
fro-yo in the Southeast--Yoforia

AND WE'RE OFF...


Amarillo, TX.
Home of the free 72 oz. steak.
#tourlife
We finally departed Atlanta to head west to launch the 2014 Cupcake Vineyards Live Deliciously Tour! 

FUN IN THE SUN | TEMPE, AZ

But before we started we had a few days of fun to burn, so we stayed in Tempe (one of Casey's faves)...

USC vs. ASU at Packard Stadium
The last year for this ballpark, these kids have no idea how lucky they have it.
This stadium is nicer than most MiLB parks. 
Final Four spectating + local brew on Mill Ave=Stellar Saturday.
It was only 2.5-3 miles from our hotel to downtown Tempe (Mill Ave/ASU campus) so we did a lot of walking and running and it was fabulous. I love Tempe! 

I also downloaded the Charity Miles app. and joined Oiselle in running for Every Mother Counts. If you don't have this app, connect to wi-fi and download it now. For every mile you walk/run 25 cents (10 cents if you cycle) is donated to the charity of your choice (they have a list of participating charities once you open the app). 

Sure it uses your data, but if you're going to go for a run...and you're going to carry your phone...why not do it for a good cause? Solid, right? 

Over the next couple of days, I ran for Every Mother Counts, SU2C (Stand Up To Cancer), Girls on the Run, etc.

Top: Oiselle's Cross Top Mesh
Four Charity Miles with Casey for Girls on the Run.
I love running WITH him.
Having a running buddy is the best! 
I like to visit and revisit local running stores when we're on tour. While we were in Phoenix, I stopped by a store I had been to before, iRun Phoenix, and exercised my wallet. 

I have an addiction. It's name is Oiselle

The Mac Roga shorts have quickly trumped my Flyte shorts
as my new faves.
I love Oiselle because I can wear running clothes all day,
every day.
I always say, their duds are perfect for running AND running errands.
Speaking of addiction, Casey and I found a new fix in Tempe--Chop Shop. Nestled in a cute house practically on campus where Pita Pit used to be located, this new pressed juice-smoothie-real food-heaven is simply amazing. We swung by a few times to get our Chop Shop fix and we're already missing it! 


MUST EAT: Sweet Potato Hash for $1.50.
Chop Shop, I love you!

Traveling to Phoenix/Tempe? We have a bonus restaurant that you must stop by. First of all, have you ever heard of a pasty? And no, I'm not talking about what Janet Jackson flashed at the Super Bowl. You know what, I'll leave it as a surprise. Just go to Cornish Pasty Company. It's in a strip mall, but don't Google strip mall and pasty in the same search or you may get more than you bargained for. 

Walk into this urban diner, order a Thanksgiving pasty and let me know what you think. "Thank you" postcards are always welcome. ;) 

We've been to Phoenix quite a few times and I need to do a separate "Things to do: Arizona" post, but since I can't even manage to blog in real time that may be a lofty goal.

FIRST EVENT | FLORENCE, AZ

Finally and almost up-to-speed, we spent last weekend at Country Thunder kicking off the first event of our 8.5 month tour. We worked 12-15 hour days, but to be in the industry we're in--it's all worth it. It's always tricky and an evolving process that I haven't quite mastered yet to find a balance between touring (long hours on my feet + manual labor for set up/breakdown) and running, but again I'll handle the give-and-take any day to continue to lead this lifestyle. Often times I have to pinch myself that I get paid to travel with my significant other, talk/meet new people, hand out free stuff and work outside (versus being chained to a desk). It's a dream come true and we're going to enjoy every second while it lasts.

Watching and listening to Jason Aldean while breaking down our event site.
Not too shabby. 
He's a popular fella.
And I'm a lucky lass.

Casey and his ladies.
Plus, our extremely sweet local staff member Gigi.

NOW WE'RE IN...

Tucson, Arizona. Starting tomorrow and for the next six days we'll be working at the Pima County Fair slinging free alcohol to the masses introducing more fine folks to Cupcake Vineyards wine. Stop by to say "hi" and score some free samples! 

Side note: Tucson has a rad 100+-mile cycling/pedestrian path called The Loop
In the meantime, I visited Fleet Feet Sports Tucson (on the anniversary of 4.15.13 is there a better place to be than with fellow runners at a running store?) for some more retail therapy and picked up that Oiselle vertical drop top on the left. I met and chatted with a lovely employee Jan, who is not only a fellow fan of Oiselle but she also hails from the St. Louis Metro area. It truly is a small world. Meeting new people is one of my favorite parts of traveling. 

Anyway, she was so sweet and such a wonderful lady. Be sure to stop by and shop local at Fleet Feet Tucson if you're in town. 

BEST FOR LAST...

After tweeting about my visit to Fleet Feet...


I received this response...

Running idol and woman crush.
Oh ya know...just a tweet from pro athlete, Picky Bars Co-Founder, 2x U.S. Champion, Runner's World Columist Lauren Fleshman. No biggie.

Major fan girl. 

Thanks, Lauren for making my night. 

THAT'S ALL, FOLKS!

Well, in the most winded post to date that's what we've been up to for the past month. If you've read this entire post, you deserve a medal

And because I'm not the most frequent blogger and my grammar sucks, keep up with our adventures in real time by following us on Twitter/Instagram (tabs/links on the blog). 

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