Saturday, March 8, 2014

Nearly 6,000 miles later...

Hey guys, it has been a LONG few days since I last wrote and I'm catching you up on it all from nearly 6,000 miles and 9 time zones away from where I wrote last!  But, let's start at the beginning, shall we?

On Wednesday morning I got up early for a 9-mile run in Tehachapi, California, where I was last week for work.  I ran with my coworker again, who really helped to push my pace to something that was a little more uncomfortable for me.  We did 9-miles averaging around a 9:40 pace, which is really fast for me at that distance!  I finished my run needing to take in huge deep breaths, which is unlike how I have finished a run in a while, so it felt good.  It was also an incredibly beautiful morning for a run with a gorgeous sunrise, bright sky, and not much wind whatsoever.

Also, am I the only one that totally hoards food from the hotel breakfast bar like it's going out of style?  I carried the following armload of food back to my hotel room, feeling like a complete crazy.  I was straight out of a Rachel Ray TV cooking show walking with all of this in my arms!

The lack of wind made for a nice run but a slow day on the wind farm.  I don't like to talk much about work, but I work in the wind industry and therefore have a love-hate relationship with the wind.  I love wind energy and the fact that it essentially pays my salary but hate the wind when I am running!  However, it was beautiful to see turbines along my morning run... I personally think they are beautiful and majestic.  And when you spend so much time talking, writing, and reading about wind turbines, it is pretty exciting when you actually get to see them in person!

My legs actually got quite a workout on Wednesday because in addition to the 9-mile run at a fast pace, I actually got to get up close and personal with one of our newest turbines and climb to the top of the 97-meter tower.  It was exhausting and I was a bit nervous about doing it, even though I have climbed turbines in the past.  My legs were totally shot after the turbine climb and 3 days later, my legs are still feeling the use of those different muscles!

But once you get to the top of the turbine, it's such an incredible view, it makes it all worthwhile!

I had a great business trip out to California and Wednesday evening I caught a red eye back to Albany, arriving midday on Thursday.  I actually got a decent amount of sleep, went into the office on Thursday, and worked the day before going home and passing out.  On Friday morning, I got myself up at 5:00 a.m. to go meet my friends for our regular Friday morning run!  We did 5-miles, per marathon training, and then went to get coffee because come on, it's ritual :)

This Friday was a little bit sentimental for me in both the run and the coffee however because it was the last run I would do with Aubrey before the marathon and my last run with Jess before meeting up in Paris.  These girls have been so helpful and inspirational throughout this marathon training process and I am going to miss them over the next few weeks.

Thinking to myself, "next time I see Aubrey, I will be a marathoner!" and coming up to the climax in my training (this week is the longest mileage week!) I've started to feel nostalgic about the training process and almost even a little sad that this is coming to a close so soon!  It's made me start to think about my "next" marathon -- which is something that has NOT been in my mind until just now.  In fact, whenever people would say I was training for my "first" marathon or ask if I had done a marathon before, I have had a hard time saying that I am "running my first marathon" because saying it is the first sort of implies that there will be a second or a third or some sort of future marathon... which I hadn't been convinced yet that there would be!  Now I am starting to think that it is definitely something that's on my mind.

How will I ever top a marathon in Paris though?  I really make things hard for myself, huh? :)

Anyways, I said bye to the girls after coffee and then went home to unpack, do laundry, and repack to catch a 3:00 p.m. flight.  This time from Albany to Newark to Barcelona, Spain -- which is where I write to you from today!  Oh, and since I won't be back in the U.S. until post-St. Patrick's Day, I had to get my little ritual of a once-a-year McDonald's milk shake in the form of a Shamrock Shake!

I arrived in Barcelona on Saturday morning (this morning), which is nearly 6,000 miles from California and 9 hours apart via time zones.  Yikes!  I barely know what hour it is, but am just trying to sleep when it is dark and be awake when it is light.  That works, right?

As I've discussed, I'm going to try my best to eat right while I am here, and get in exercise and running.  I brought a lot of bars, picked up some apples and bananas from the grocery store, and am drinking as much water as I can possibly find and fit in.  Today I am pretty proud of how I did -- it wasn't perfect but I did avoid a lot of temptation.  Although I did have a snack of popcorn that I bought for 2 euros off the street.

I walked all throughout Barcelona's Las Ramblas, gothic section, and along the beach.  It was a beautiful, sunny day with all around not much to complain about.  Had it been a tiny bit warmer, than i would have called it a totally perfect day, but I guess you can't have everything!  But let me tell you, one thing I did have today, was a short massage on the beach.  I was sitting with a coworker on the stoop by the beach just people watching and a female vendor came up offering neck and shoulder massages for only 5 euro.

Still being sore from the tower climb, all the running, and being cramped up on airplanes, it only took a few minutes of hemming and hawing to decide that it was worth it!  I thought she was going to just run my shoulders while I sat there, but instead she lay a blanket down and had me lay face down on the beach.  I was a little surprised but it was actually so relaxing to lay in the beach in the sun and get a massage!!! It was a good amount of time and a refreshingly good massage for just 5 euro.  Best money I've ever spent!!

My coworkers and I ate dinner at the hotel restaurant and I had the seafood paella -- something that would be a sin to miss out on in Barcelona!  I am not a HUGE seafood person so I did avoid a lot of the seafood on the plate... there was lots of crazy stuff all thrown in there, but it had a great taste and filled me up enough to be full but not overwhelming.  And I went with some berries for dessert!

I've got a 14-mile run in the morning that I am actually really looking forward to!  As I was walking around today I kept thinking to myself, "I cannot wait to run around Barcelona!"

Another thought I kept having today as I was walking around had to do with the last time I was in Barcelona.  And yes, I am lucky enough to be able to call this my second trip to Barcelona in my short life.  A few years ago I went on a Spain and Italy adventure with two of the loves of my life, E and Teenie -- part of that group of girls who are my lifelines.  We had such a fun time exploring Madrid, Barcelona, Florence and Rome together and as I walked around Barcelona today I thought a lot about those memories.

Barcelona Bike Tour Fall 2010
I am fortunate enough to travel a lot and have been many wonderful places, but the memories of that trip kept flooding my mind today and I just kept feeling overwhelmingly grateful that the three of us went on that adventure together.  It is something that we will ALWAYS remember and there are so just so many great moments that keep coming to my mind from that vacation -- from the bike tour we did in the rain (see above photo!) to our night of drinking "authentic" mojitos and wine on the beach to our gross hostel, Erin's money belt, struggling to keep souvenir vases from breaking, and causing a scene at the cannon in Montjuc-- the memories are absolutely priceless.  I love those girls to pieces and being here for whatever reason is just making me feel so thankful to have them in my life!

Hope you are all having a great weekend where ever you are around the world!

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