Monday, January 23, 2017

RnR DC Training Week 3

Ugh.  Week 3 was a complete loss.  As in I didn't work out even once.  My stomach was not feeling well at all for the beginning of the week.  Maybe it was just because of all the rich food I ate over the weekend in NYC?  I'm not sure.  At least this was supposed to be a cut back week anyway so I just had a more extreme version!  But here's a brief synopsis of what I did end up doing during the week.

Thursday, we went to the Peace Ball at the new museum of African American History in DC.  It was a wonderful event and we had a great time.  There were some amazing speakers and some great performances.  Plus, it was nice to have an opportunity to dress up in our fancy clothes that otherwise just sit in the closet :)


Saturday, we woke up early and went to the Women's March in DC.  This was another incredible experience.  It was crazy how many people were there and how crowded it was but everyone peaceful, patient, friendly and positive.  It was a long day, we were on our feet from 9:30am to 2:30pm and then again from 3:30 to 5.


All of that to say that Sunday, my feet were in pain!  I tested my friends to let them know I wasn't going to make it to our 6 mile run. Instead, I spent the day icing my feet and resting.  The only time we left the house was to get groceries.  But I did manage to get in some progress done on a training course I'm working on for a volunteer assignment next month so there was some productivity!

Here's hoping this week goes better.  My stomach seems back to normal, I've lost the extra weight from vacation, and we should be good to go!

I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

 Weekly Wrap 51 Taste the Rainbow

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

RnR DC Training Week 2

Week 2 is done!  I'm a day late on the review since we just got back from NYC yesterday evening but here is how last week went.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - strength training (jumping jacks, squats, crunches, glute bridges, clamshells, push ups, planks, calf raises and lunges)

Wednesday - rest day

Thursday - 45 minute walk.  It was so beautiful that I opted to go outside after work instead of on the treadmill at the gym.  But it was so dark that it was mostly walking since I wasn't sure of my footing on the sidewalk in the dark.

I have to admit I enjoy the houses that still have Christmas lights up!

Friday - 3 mile run in the neighborhood.  My first time running outside this Winter.  And Friday was still pretty warm so it wasn't actually cold, though I did struggle a bit with the drier air.

Had a problem with the Garmin and had to re-start it mid -run

Saturday - rest day since this was the day we drove up to New York.  I still managed to get in more than 10,000 steps once we got there with all the walking around.

Walking around Times Square in the evening snow

Sunday - 8 mile run in Central Park.  This was a beautiful run!  My first run out in the cold but I'm thankful I had beautiful scenery to distract me.  There was a bit of snow Saturday evening and it stuck in the park so that made it all the more picturesque.



So that was my week!  I hope all of you had a great week too.  This week is going to be a both off schedule too with all the inauguration stuff making things complicated.  But I'm hoping to get in strength training today, a run on Wednesday and Friday, marching at the Women's March in DC on Saturday and a long run on Sunday.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Costa Rica trip review - Part 2

Back to finishing up my Costa Rica trip review!  Part 1 was about our trip to the Arenal Volcano.  We left off with lunch at the Sky Adventures Park and driving to our next destination at the beach.  We were staying at the J.W. Marriott, Guanacaste and it took us about 4 hours to get there.  We arrived right as the sun was setting over the ocean.

The hotel had an amazing pool that overlooked the beach

Guanacaste is a province right by the Pacific Ocean and has a lot of beach towns.  The resort we were staying at was beautiful but pretty remote.  It took around 30 minutes each time we wanted to go to the closest town, Tamarindo.  We were definitely glad to have the car.  The resort was beautiful and had everything you could want but we also wanted to get out and explore the area while we were there.

 Plenty of opportunities to relax at the hotel

The first evening, we just settled in, had a swim at the amazing pool, had a relaxing dinner at the hotel, and then called it an early evening.  Friday was our first full day in Guanacaste.  I woke up early and went out to explore the beach.  I meant to go for a run but the beach was really rocky so it was definitely more of a walk as I had to watch my footing.  Still, it was beautiful.

My dad joined me at the beach later in the morning for some photos

We spent some time enjoying the pool, had lunch at one of the poolside bars, and then spent some time at the spa for massages.  It was a gorgeous spa, with a lot of connection to the outdoors.  There were outdoor showers and even our treatment room was like a huge balcony with one side facing the outdoors.  The sound of the wind and water added extra relaxation to the massage.

Lunch at the poolside bar

In the evening, we got dressed up and drove into Tamarindo to check out the town, do some shopping, and get some dinner.  We found a sushi place that had good reviews and a lot of vegan options in addition to the seafood.  Tamarindo is known as a surfing town so it was pretty laid back.  We also found a mini-golf place so spent some time enjoying friendly competition.

Another beautiful sunset

Saturday started the same way.  I woke up early for a swim.  The pool was pretty quiet in the morning and I got in a nice work out. 

Compilation of pool time photos

We had breakfast at the hotel restaurant again and then Mike, my dad and me drove off to the Monkey Jungle Canopy Tour for some zip lining.  This was a lot of fun!  It seemed like a pretty small operation but that just meant a lot of individualized attention.  There ended up being a group of 6 of us and three guides.  They drove us up on ATVs to the start of the zip lining.  There were 7 different zip lines and we ended with a "tarzan swing."  Afterward, we relaxed back at the main area with some water and freshly cut fruit.  We heard howler monkeys while we were zip lining though didn't actually end up seeing them.

Mike's first time zip lining

Saw this guy while we were having lunch at the hotel later

We went back to the hotel to clean up and relax before driving back into Tamarindo for dinner.  I had read about a Mediterranean restaurant that had good vegetarian food so we tried it out and it did not disappoint!  They even had amazing vegan options for my mom, including an Apple Crumble with coconut ice cream for dinner.


Sunday, I started the day with another walk on the beach for around 3 miles and pool time. 

There were cows grazing by the beach during my walk

Then we went off for a sunset cruise that started around 1.  It was a beautiful ship and it included an open bar.  We drove out to a nice cove and people were able to jump into the ocean for a swim or snorkeling.  Mike and I went into the water but after 15 or 20 minutes we noticed the jelly fish.  I ended up getting stung by one but it wasn't too bad.  We got out of the water after that but it was good timing as they were setting up lunch on the ship.  Lunch included rice and beans, chips, salsa, chicken for those that wanted it, lots of fruit and home made cookies.  Yum!  Then we took our time sailing back to town.  We saw whales on the way back and it was amazing.  The sail ended with a stunning sunset over the water.


We went back to the hotel and cleaned up for dinner at one of their fancier restaurants for our last night in Costa Rica.


And that was it!  We got up early on Monday to drive back to the airport, maybe a 90 minute drive.  We got there pretty early and then had to wait around a bit before the airline opened up their desks so we could check our bags.  We did some last minute souvenir shopping (definitely more expensive at the airport so get stuff in advance if you can), had some lunch, and then boarded the plane to fly back home.

So that was Costa Rica.  We all absolutely loved it.  It's a beautiful country with really friendly people.  We had a lot of fun and it was a nice blend of active things and relaxation.  I would highly recommend it as a vacation spot to anyone.

Monday, January 9, 2017

RNR DC Training Week 1

Well, this was not an ideal first week of training.  The weather really got to me this week and all my training was indoors.  But it is what it is.  And it's actually probably a good thing.  I haven't been running since my last half marathon on December 3rd so it's probably smarter to ease back into the training a bit.  Here's the summary and hopefully the upcoming week will be a bit better.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - strength training at home

Wednesday - rest day

Thursday - 3 miles on the treadmill


Friday - strength training at home.

We had a sprinkling of snow Friday but then a lot more on Saturday, when I forgot to take a photo.

Saturday - rest day.  We had an all-day, open house sort of gathering at our house with movies.  People came and went as they wanted and we had movies playing on our big screen downstairs as well as room for socializing upstairs.  This is the second year we've done it and hope to make it an annual event as it's a nice, post-holiday sort of gathering with friends.

We start out with kid friendly movies so people can bring their kids, the Lego Movie this year

Sunday - I had 7 miles on the training plan and it was super cold out.  Given the temperatures, the wind, and the lingering snow on the ground, I took it back to the gym.  I split it in half again and did 3.5 miles, took a break to refill my water bottle, and got on a different machine for the last 3.5 miles.  And I tried out a new Netflix show which was fun.  It's called Crazyheads in case anyone is looking for a new show.


So that was my week.  2 runs and 2 strength training days.  So just one run off the schedule was missed.  I'm hoping to get all my runs in this week as it should be warmer mid-week, almost up to 6o degrees!  And my Sunday long run will be with a friend in NYC so we're planning to run around central park.

I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

 Weekly Wrap 51 Taste the Rainbow

Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday Five - 2017 Goals

Now it's the first Friday of 2017 and that means it's time to link up with Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 to talk about my 2017 goals. 

Friday Five Linkup 2.0

Last week I discussed my 2016 goals and the fact that several of them ended up being goals I just didn't care about that much.  I think that's because I was trying to come up with 5 fitness related goals.  This year, I'm not going to force myself to make all the goals related to fitness and instead try to make sure they're all goals I care about.

1. Train for a marathon - Yep, I've decided to give a full marathon a try!  I know that I tend to train better in the Summer for a Fall half rather than in the Winter for a Spring half so I assume the same will hold true for a Full.  I'm still not sure which marathon I'll choose but it may be Disney, which would technically be in January 2018, so that's why the goal is to train for the marathon in 2017 but not necessarily to run it.  This will be my main fitness goal for the year.

2. Two new types of workouts - I failed at adding variety to my workouts last year but I'm adding it in this year because I do think variety is important.  And I need to continue pushing myself out of my comfort zone instead of just sticking with things I'm already familiar with.

I've enjoyed new things I've tried in the past, like aerial yoga

3.  Try a challenge race - Continuing on with the theme of trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone, I want to try a challenge race weekend this year where I run multiple races in one weekend.  While I did technically do the 5k and half at RnR Vegas, we mostly walked the 5k with my dad.  Also, I didn't get the challenge medal!  It doesn't count without the bling :)

The RnR Vegas 5k 

4.  Read more non-fiction:  This is my first non-fitness goals.  I'm planning to read at least 6 non-fiction books for the year.

5.  Be more fiscally responsible:  Mike and I both want to work on saving more money and being more intentional in our spending.  We actually started working on this in November and it went well in November.  December was tough with the holidays and our vacation but we're back on track in January.  Hoping to keep that going for all of 2017.

So those are my goals for 2017!  Wish me luck and best of luck to all of you for a happy and productive 2017 as well :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Costa Rica trip review - Part 1

I've had a chance to breathe after my trip to Costa Rica and I'm ready to write about it!  It's long so I'm going to split the post up into 2 parts, this part will talk about our time at Arenal and the second part will be about our time at Guanacaste.  The trip included me, Mike, and my parents. 

Sunrise during our flight

There are multiple international airports in Costa Rica, with one being in the capital city of San Jose and one in Liberia. We flew into the Liberia airport as that was closest to our 2 destinations.  We rented a car after much debate.  We wanted the flexibility but there were definitely pros and cons.  Read up on this carefully if you decide to rent a car so that you are aware of all the fees, there are potentially large insurance fees and a large security deposit.  The security deposit is refundable.  But the roads can be small and windy.  There were bridges that were one lane only so you had to wait for any traffic coming the opposite way before you could cross the bridge.  I would definitely say try to save any long drives for daylight.

We were in Costa Rica for a week.  The first part of the trip was spent near the Arenal volcano, which was previously active but has been dormant since 2010.  However, there is still plenty to see!  First, logistics.  It took a bit more than 3 hours to drive from the rental car place in Liberia to our lodging by Arenal.  It was a beautiful drive but again, the roads were a bit challenging.  There was a lot of vegetation and beautiful mountains and lakes.  We even saw monkeys crossing the road at one point.

A rare moment without rain at our hotel

We stayed at a 2 bedroom villa we booked through VRBO.  The best part is that it was on the grounds of the Arenal Volcano Inn so we also had access to the hotel facilities.  The hotel grounds were beautiful, the villa served our purposes well, it wasn't luxurious but About the best pit also couldn't be described as basic.  It was a good middle ground and the service was good.  It also included a buffet breakfast which was appreciated.  We ate at the restaurant a couple times and the food was pretty good.

The first night, we got to the hotel a bit after 5:30pm.  It had just gotten dark and we were happy to be off the roads.  They even greeted us with fresh passion fruit juice, which was a nice touch.  Once we settled into the villa a bit, we went to a local store to buy some fruit and snacks to keep around the villa.  We also had dinner at the hotel's restaurant that night since it was the easiest option.  Plus, they had 2 for 1 drinks!  We had a nice dinner and an early bedtime so we were ready for the next day's adventures.  It had started raining in the afternoon but we were hopeful that the rain would go away the next day.

About the best photo we could get given the rain on the river

Unfortunately, no such luck.  But in spite of the rain, we still had plans and things to see.  We had booked a tour with Anywhere Costa Rica and they picked us up at the hotel promptly at 7:45am.  We were prepared with water shoes and rain coats because our first stop was a Safari Float on the Penas Blancas River.  There were 6 of us as well as a guide and we floated down the river in a Raft.  I was worried we wouldn't see any wildlife because of the rain but we saw monkeys, an alligator, iguanas and of course, lots of plant life.  The guide was really knowledgeable and very entertaining.

 Cute puppy we ran into counts as wildlife too, right?

After ending the safari float, we stopped at a local Costa Rican home where we were provided with coffee and some snacks.  We also get to play with a friendly puppy!  We drove from the home to the next stop on our tour, which was a cocoa plantation.  On the way, our guide spotted a sloth so we stopped the car so we could all get out and take photos of the sloth.

Coconut bread, farmer's cheese and plantain slices 

Next, we were at the cocoa plantation.  This was really interesting!  I had no idea how cocoa beans turned into chocolate and it was really cool to learn about that process.  We also had the opportunity to taste the various fruits grown on the plantation, including the fruit of the cocoa plant.  The tour ended with the opportunity to taste some of their fresh cocoa in chocolate bar form as well as in hot chocolate form.  Delicious!

Just hanging out by the road

The tour bus then picked us up and took us to a local restaurant for a buffet lunch.  After lunch, we were all ready for a nap and that was good timing since the tour dropped us back at our hotel.  We had the opportunity to nap and get dry (it had rained pretty much all day).  Then we were off to see some local hot springs.  We had an evening pass to Tabacon hot springs and it was thankfully only about 5 kilometers from our hotel so it wasn't too bad driving there at night.  Of course, it started raining again as we got there but we had no choice but to roll with it!  

It was beautiful and we really enjoyed exploring the different pools.  Some of them were fed from a natural spring heated by the nearby volcanic heat and some of them were man-made pools heated artificially.  There was also a lot of variety in that some of the pools were crowded and some were secluded.  There was even one with a full bar and a tv playing football.  The only downside is that it wasn't well lit at all so we had a hard time really appreciating the full beauty of the area.  Once we were done with the hot springs, we changed and went back to the main building since dinner was included in our evening pass.  It was a delicious buffet dinner that had a lot of vegetarian and vegan options.

There are a lot of options for activities around Arenal.  I was trying to stick with ones that weren't too active since my parents were with us.  But there are plenty of more active things in the area like sip-lining, river rapids, horseback riding, waterfalls, hiking, etc.  The next morning, we explored a bit of the more active side of the area.

Mike and I on a hanging bridge

Beautiful view from near the top 

We drove to the volcano area and the Sky Adventures Park.  Be warned that this was a bit of a tough drive, even in the daylight.  It was a climb on some unpaved, narrow roads.  They had a lot of options ranging from a calm sky tram to zip lining, hanging bridges, and even rappelling down a waterfall.  Mike, my dad and I chose the hanging bridge walk.  It was a bit more arduous than I expected and it definitely tired my dad out!  A 5k hike through the jungle is not the same as a 5k walk.  It also continued to rain so it was muddy and slippery in places.  But it was beautiful.  We saw some amazing views from the hanging bridges.  We learned a lot from the guide and we really enjoyed it overall.

My dad by the waterfall at the end of the hike

And that was it for Arenal.  We had lunch at the Sky Adventures Park and then got back into the car to drive to our hotel by the beach.  More on that to come next week.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Weekly Review

It's 2017!  I had a great New Year's Eve and hope everyone else did too.  Here's my review of last week.

Monday - spent the whole day traveling.  We left our hotel at 8:30 am and we were at the airport in Baltimore at midnight.


Tuesday - first day back at work

Wednesday - strength training in the evening at home

Thursday - around 40 minutes on the elliptical


Friday - drove out to meet friends at a cabin in Virginia for the weekend.


Saturday - My first time running since the December 3rd half marathon! I went to the fitness center associated with the cabins and did 6 miles on the treadmill. 


Sunday - We drove back home from the cabin in the morning and I did some strength training at home in the evening.

So, two days of cardio and two days of strength training.  This week I start training for the RnR DC half!  

I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

 Weekly Wrap 51 Taste the Rainbow