Sunday, January 27, 2013

Trip Summary: San Antonio

This past week I was in San Antonio, this time for real work. I was at a planning conference for an upcoming exercise for two of our battalions, so I had a full 2 days of planning and work groups, bookended by travel days. The guys I went with and I definitely made the most of the short trip, though.

First stop in San Antonio is, obviously, the Alamo!
It was actually pretty small, considering all the big talk and that it's in Texas! Walking around the grounds was nice, though, and the preservation of the area was well done. I didn't get to do a battlefield tour because of the planning conference, but it was nice to see.

After busy days of planning, my friends and I had to make some decisions on food. The first night we had Zushi Sushi, the second night was Dick's Last Resort on the Riverwalk, and our last night we splurged on the Chart House in Tower of the Americas. The view was amazing, and my meal of scallops with wasabi mashed potatoes was delicious.

Thursday afternoon I snuck away to get in some LSAT studying, and walked alllll the way across town to the Madhatter's Tea House & Cafe. I ordered the tea for two, though it was just me, and a pot of the decaf Earl Grey. It came with 2 scones, tea sandwiches (smoked salmon and cucumber, lots of cream cheese), and a few small pastries. There wasn't any fancy china (I picked my own tea cup from a rack near the other beverages), and the place felt more like a local cafe than tea shop. Nothing too special, but well presented:

Another highlight of this trip was getting in a Crossfit workout with an old friend, and watching my guy friends sweat through it. Very entertaining indeed.

I think San Antonio would be nice for a weekend visit, but I wouldn't go for more than two nights or so. Maybe I'd come back for a race though!

Week Summary

I was traveling again this week, but still made it a priority to keep working out. Here's my week:

Monday: 4 mile run on the Augusta Canal
Tuesday: travel day: resistance bands and stretching in my room, plus lots of walking around San Antonio
Wednesday: 30 minute spin in the hotel gym, plus 15 minutes of weights
Thursday: Crossfit
Saturday: 30 minutes of P90X Yoga (I can't focus that much!)

I'd say I will definitely be looking into incorporating more Crossfit into my training, even if it's just once a week. I really enjoyed it. I also found out they have a Crossfit Endurance program, which would fit in nicely with my training this summer.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Travel try: Crossfit!

This week I'm at a planning conference in San Antonio, Texas! One of my friends from high school lives here and is an instructor at a Crossfit box, so she invited me and my friends to come try out one of her CF 1 classes. Of course I jumped on it!

First, my options were either 0515 or 0615 on Thursday morning. EARLY! We opted for the 0615, even though it would be cutting it close to get to the conference work groups on time. The weather was gorgeous! It was still dark that early, and just foggy enough to provide a nice misty feeling outside.

The workout started with a warmup of some dynamic stretching and running, then moved on to a short class on the push jerk and a few reps. Next, we moved into the Workout Of the Day, or WOD. The WOD for us was:
5 rounds for time (or 20:00)
400m run/sprint
30 situps
15 deadlifts

This was definitely one of the best workouts I've done in a while. I love doing short, intense workouts, especially if it helps my running. I kept my weight on the deadlifts low so I could focus more on technique. My friend, who is a beast, is a great instructor, and made sure we were all doing everything right. I finished my 5 rounds in just over the 20 minutes on the clock, and beat out 2 of the guys in my group (they had a little more weight though :p ).

We were all definitely walking around a little funny for the rest of the day, and decided to reward ourselves with dinner at the Chart House on the top of the Tower of the Americas, San Antonio's 'space needle.'

One of the things I really like about these kind of workouts is how it really helps me find my weaknesses. I know I've been avoiding weight so I can focus on running, but the pressure on my back after all those dead lifts was an eye opener. Maybe I can incorporate a few intense weight lifting days in the next few months while I start training again for all those events this summer!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Trip Summary: Charleston!

Sometimes my husband likes to plan weekends. This weekend he planned a two night trip to Charleston, one of our favourite places to visit together. He did not, however, plan on my brother and his new wife (see previous post, my brother's wedding) calling up a few days before and saying they were going to join us. It didn't particularly screw up any of our plans, and was definitely a lot of fun.

This weekend also happened to be the Charleston Marathon weekend, third annual. When Kevin first gave me the dates for this weekend, I did some research, and briefly considered signing up for the half. I then decided to stick to my plan of no long distance races until the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February, and gave it a pass. It did give me the idea that maybe next year I should just make a list of random cities, and do at least a half marathon in all of them.

We did luck out that this weekend was the tail end of Charleston Restaurant Week. We didn't make any big plans, so most of the places were already pretty booked when we got into town. Friday night we did go to the Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse in North Charleston, which is literally a meat buffet. More meat than you can shake a stick at. Definitely a good choice, though, I just wish it were a little closer to down town. For Saturday night, we tried to get a table at Basil (2 hour wait), Stars (no table til after 10), O-ku (2 hour wait), and Macintosh (completely booked through Monday). Oh well. We ended up at a little Thai place that was only moderately overpriced and under serviced, but still pretty good. Next trip I definitely want to try Husk, though.

As far as night life, my brother and I both admit to being early sleepers. We did manage to stay out past midnight both nights, however, and hit up a few places. Of course we made the obligatory stop at The Cocktail Club, right above Macintosh, and my favourite bar in Charleston. If you ever get to go to a cocktail class there, do it! We all shared a bowl of punch, then moved on towards Bay St. Social was very packed, so we went to the Gin Joint, a first for me. I LOVED the S'mores dessert I got there, with homemade marshmallows and a little square of chocolate ganache. Too bad the light was so bad I didn't get a good picture of it. The second night included a sparkling drink at The Belmont while trying to decide what to do for dinner, and then reservations at Social Wine Bar after. I love the concept at Social, and always get a bubbly flight, but I was so full from my dinner I didn't get to enjoy any of the great snackies. We finished at Gin Joint again after meeting up with another friend who was also in town. This time I got a gin and tonic made with Rogue Pink Gin. It's pink gin, c'mon!

As far as cultural events go, this was the first time I've been able to make it all the way out to Fort Sumter! It's completely surreal to stand there and imagine all the times it's been attacked, and what it must have felt like to be so completely trapped on a little island with no escape. The preservation there has been amazing, and the whole trip was great. Less culturally, we did a little shopping on King St. and the outlets before leaving. I got some new "law wardrobe" shirts at Brooks Brothers, and we also got about 10 pounds of chocolate at Lindt's going-out-of-business sale. I plan on giving them as presents. For real. Not even I can stand having that much chocolate just sitting around.

Today was a holiday, so no work, and I got to go on a short run at the Augusta Canal in the gorgeous weather. I really do prefer running when the sun is out! It didn't do nearly enough to work off all the delicious food I had this weekend, but it was a start. I unpacked, did about 5 loads of laundry, finally took my Christmas tree down, and made my packing list for my trip to San Antonio for the rest of the week. I love to travel, but really, tripit.com is starting to laugh at me.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Week summary

I'm here I'm Charleston, SC, for the weekend, so I'll be posting randomly, but here's my summary for the week:
Monday: 3 mile run, 800m swim after work
Tuesday: 50 minute prt session of conditioning drills, including climbing drills and pull ups
Wednesday: 2 miles of sprints, running the light poles on Barton field
Thursday: 3.5 mile trail run, in the rain

While looking things up for this weekend, I find out the Charleston marathon is tomorrow morning! Too bad I didn't have time to sign up for the half, but the t shirts looked pretty ugly anyway.

Here's a pic from my room st the King Charles Inn, definitely the nicest Best Western I've been at:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Trip Summary: Home for a wedding

I just got home Sunday night from a very short trip to Ohio for my big brother's wedding! How exciting is that. I'm afraid I may have picked up a bug from all this plane time, and am trying to drink enough to stay hydrated, and definitely taking my emergen-c packets.

Kevin and I flew out of ATL Friday night, and landed at CAK around midnight. We got up early Saturday for the wedding, danced all afternoon, and then went to Panini's in Belden Village with family for a mini-after party. I popped some tylenol PM that night after the Miss America pageant, and slept in til almost 11 the next day. After a quick breakfast with family, we were back on the plane and back in Georgia. I packed super light for this, since I really only needed a dress for the wedding, and didn't want to carry too much.

Can I just add, Georgia weather this past week was AMAZING! Kevin and I got to fit in a bike ride on the Greeneway Thursday night, and I wore shorts. In January.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Trip Summary: Blogworld Las Vegas

Shortly after returning from adventures in California, I got to head back West, to Las Vegas! This time for "work," however, and the New Media Expo, formerly Blogworld. I write another blog for Army Strong Stories, and they asked me to represent them in their booth at NMX, so free trip for me! 

This is the first time I've been to Vegas on my own here, and these are my highlights:
- Going on the Eiffel Tower Ride at Paris hotel! You get a great view of the strip, and I even got to see the water show at Bellagio across the street from up here:
- Mussels and champagne at the bar at Mon Ami Gabi, also in Paris. I absolutely love this restaurant. And the bartender was very nice.
- Winning $17 in slots! Wo0t!
- Conference social at Lavo, and getting in with a wristband wearing jeans and a sweater, while all the hot girls in high heels waited outside. Haha.
- Drinks at the Chandelier Bar in Cosmopolitan Hotel, which is basically a three level chandelier. So sparkly.
- Working all day long at the booth at NMX, and meeting some awesome people.
- Literally sprinting through the LV airport trying to make my flight home, then sprinting through ATL to make my connection back here. At least I got a good number of Delta skymiles out of this trip.

The conference was at the Rio hotel, somewhat off the Strip, and a slightly older hotel. Even though they gave me a "renovated" room, two of the lights were out, the bedside lamp was broken and rather cockeyed, the mini bar was never stocked, and there were only 2 towels in the bathroom. And room service is ungodly expensive. The toiletries were ok, though, despite the ugly packaging. I'd probably never choose to stay at the Rio of my own accord, but for a conference it was fine.

I did not completely avoid working out on this trip. A pass to the Rio gym is something like $29 a day, but as part of the conference, I got to demonstrate a real Army PT session. Drill Sergeant Heilman and I led a group of about 20 attendees in PRT-style warmups, movement drills, and then a cooldown, with some sprints in between. Even though these are exercises I do frequently, my hamstrings were completely shot the next day and after such a long flight. Running Wednesday morning was another level of painful. I've been stretching out a lot since, but I still have no idea why that happened.

So, note to self: always stretch when you're traveling, especially if travel involves airport sprints.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Packing light

As you have seen, I've been traveling a lot lately. This is what I've been carrying around for most of it:


Yep, that's it, a 17" Vera Bradley rolling suitcase, and my trusty TNF Big Shot. Sometimes I switch out the backpack for a Vera Bradley duffel bag, but, for the most part, this takes care of everything. Here's my breakdown:

Backpack:
- clear, zip bag for carry on size liquids
- reading material (currently, my Nook and a folder of law school applications, plus any magazines)
- water bottle and neck pillow on the outside
- any fragile items, such as gifts, I might be carrying
- grid it with phone charger, Nook charger, pen
- my clutch or purse, whatever I plan on carrying day to day

Carryon:
- larger toiletry bag with hairbrush, makeup, toothbrush, etc
- clothes, 8 pieces or less, in individual travel pouches
- shoes or slippers, as needed
- pouch of underclothes
- extra pair of eye glasses, camera, and battery charger
- netbook and charger in front pouch, with moleskine notebook
- extra reading material

I can carry both as carryons, but, if I'm not in a hurry, I might be willing to check the rolling carryon and still have enough entertainment on the plane, and know I won't lose anything too vital. This has been my standard packing system for the past month or so, and it seems to be working out. I even packed my ACUs in here for my Vegas trip, and everything still fit.

Trip summary: Winter Break/NYE 2013

Finally, making some time for a trip summary post for my Winter Break this year. I took 8 days off of work, and went to Southern California with my husband to see my in-laws, as well as spend some time with KLH, my college roommate who lives in Huntington Beach.

Kevin and I took the late night flight from Atlanta to LAX, and decided last minute to go ahead and use my airtran points to upgrade to business class. Despite the guy next to me getting up every half hour to stretch his legs, the flight was fine, and Kevin definitely made up for his seat with copious bothering of the flight attendants and eating pretty much the entire plane's stash of milano cookies. KLH picked us up at LAX a little after we landed at midnight, and let us crash at her place.

The next day we went to the Huntington Beach Pier, one of my favorite places on earth. Here we are, enjoying sunny 70 degree weather in December:


 After that, husband and I took the Pacific Surfliner train down to San Diego for some quality family time. We spent one day going to different breweries in San Diego (Stone, Offbeat, and Ballast Point), picked up some cupcakes from Cupcakes Squared, had the 50/50 burger, and then spent New Year's Eve in the Gaslamp with some friends:

Finally, it was time to head back to reality, after a good week of messing up my internal clock. Getting up 5:30am for a run the Friday after we got back was definitely tough, but nothing some Starbucks couldn't fix.

I will add that I successfully made it through the entire trip with only 8 pieces of clothing, plus pajamas. I will admit that I did switch out one piece that I brought for a new sweater that I purchased during the trip. This might be a good rule of thumb for all future packing.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

On the road again

Back at ATL heading to Ohio for my big brother's wedding! I got an m&m froyo blast at freshens, and am charging my dying phone while sitting on the floor of D terminal, since this one apparently isn't updated yet.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The inbetween time

I had a little bit of a breather today in between trips. I got in yesterday morning from SoCal, and had a day at work. Sunday, though, I'll be off again for the Blogworld conference in Las Vegas! I've been running around doing laundry, unpacking and airing out my luggage, and trying to organize everything before I leave again. 

Some of the highlights of my trip, unfortunately without pictures:
- San Diego brew tour (Stone Brewing, Offbeat Brewing, and Ballast Point)
- New Year's Eve in downtown San Diego with my husband and best friend
- Getting a new smashed penny on the Huntington Beach Pier
- Visiting the Chinese American History Museum in San Diego
- Plenty of dim sum

Despite this being an inbetween time, I did fully unpack all of my bags when I got home. I hung up my clothes (I made it through my entire trip with only 8 pieces, plus pajamas!) and unpacked and repacked my travel toiletry bag. I also changed out the perfume sample in my luggage, which I use as a better-smelling freshener for my packed clothes. 

Now it's time to work on a healthier new year! While working on all my new races (training plan for Disney Princess Half coming soon!), I'm also studying for the LSAT one last time, finishing my law school applications, and building up to my training plan for the Augusta Ironman Half. For now, I am trying to increase my vegetables every day, cutting out empty liquid calories, and cutting down on snacking at night. 

My run this week was just a 3 mile trail run, which still hurts my knee more than I'd like. Hopefully tomorrow I can fit in a good bike before leaving on this next trip!