Ragnar: The Adventures Outside of the Race

Ragnar weekend simply had too much going on to capture in one post.  I try not to be to wordy (SERIOUSLY, I try) and hitting all the highlights of the weekend would have made yesterday’s post too long.  Plus, I can’t focus on that much info at once.  #ADHDProbs

I started out the trip with my Shiner. #likeaboyscout #alwaysprepared
I started out the trip with my Shiner. #likeaboyscout #alwaysprepared

Fredericksburg: Just drink beer

When we arrived in Fredericksburg early Thursday evening, there wasn’t much time to do anything except drink beer and eat.

In Fredericksburg, it is legal to walk around drinking.  When this was discovered, Dara and I had to buy a beer to drink while we searched for a restaurant.

Always a good beer to start out on.
Always a good beer to start out on.

I can’t even remember what I ate.  I remember it was some pizza joint and I didn’t have pizza, but for the life of me I can’t remember what I ordered.  I’ll blame it on the beer.

My RE bunch stalked me on Facebook and caught up with me at the pizza place….so much fun and it was the first time for me to meet many of them.  I look forward to the next time we meet so that I can hopefully spend more time talking to everyone! 😉

I may not have taken a picture of my food, but I took a picture of my next beer.  Sadly, I can’t remember what it was, either, although I am fairly certain it was also a porter….I do remember that it was extremely tasty!  img_8319

After the Race

Massage – what a great idea!  NOT

My pre-massage happy hour Austin hotel beer.
My pre-massage happy hour Austin hotel beer – not a fan of Amber.  Wouldn’t care to have it again. 

I know what you’re thinking.  WHAT A BAD IDEA!  Yes, I know massages post-race are no-nos.  Yes, I know they aren’t good for recovery.  Yes, my brain was detatched (once again) from making coherent decisions.  But a massage sounded so divine!  I shouldn’t have mentioned my hip flexor issue….

Actually, it felt REALLY good.  When I got up, though….the fact that this was all a mistake was confirmed.  He must have irritated a nerve or something.  I could barely put weight on my leg at that point.

I had a choice.  I could be angry and continually mad at myself for all the stupid decisions I make (at least my coach keeps me from making as many stupid decisions…he really has his work cut out) or I could just deal with it and enjoy what was left of the trip.  I decided to enjoy the rest of the trip.  I know I will be back to normal in no time and I have to accept that I can’t save me from myself every time.  Wasn’t that grown up of me?!? 🙂

BBQ – It’s what’s for dinner

After our massage, we went back to our hotel to change and get an Uber to our place of dining, Scotty’s BBQ.  Apparently Scotty’s has quite a reputation in the Austin food service industry.

Let me preface this next paragraph by saying that it had been rainy/raining on and off all day.  Our Uber driver rolled up to a lot (NOT in the best part of town) with picnic tables littered about and food trucks lining the boundaries.  It took a minute to process what was going on, and I laughed a bit when our drivier said, “this is the place?”img_8467

We got out of the car, ordered and started praying that the coming rain would hold off until we got our orders and had time to eat.  It started sprinkling about the time we got our order – I have NEVER eaten a meal so fast in my life!

Best cole slaw I've ever had! And the pulled pork was good too :)
Best cole slaw I’ve ever had! And the pulled pork was good too 🙂

Honestly, we swallowed our food whole, just in time for Uber to pick us up before the bottom fell out of the sky.  The experience was unexpected and way more fun than going to some stuffy restaurant!

Twitter friend meet-ups

Our Uber driver dropped us on 6th Street, where we were planning to meet up with an Austin Twitter runner friend, Kolbe.  We ended up going to a couple of different bars for drinks.  After the rains subsided, we ended up on a rooftop bar overlooking 6th street.  It was just beautiful, and I was too tired by that point to care about snapping a pic.

I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we thoroughly enjoyed meeting and spending time with Kolbe.  She is absolutely amazing and a beautiful soul inside and out.  I will definitely try to connect with her next time I’m down in Austin! img_8481

While we were strolling up and down 6th Street, we couldn’t help but notice Voodoo Donuts.  This had been a place the girls in our van wanted to visit before going to the finish, but it was too far out of the way.  OF COURSE we stopped and got some!!  What kind of quesiton is that?!?img_8469

All I know is that the top right was called "Old Dirty Bastard" and it was by far the best donut in this box.
All I know is that the top right was called “Old Dirty Bastard” and it was by far the best donut in this box.

Time to head home

I MUST mention Dara.  She packed like a Girl Scout and everytime ANYONE needed something this weekend, she would always chime in, ‘I have that.’  Seriously awesome, even though I have to admit I was a little concerned about her baggage!  I HAD to take a picture of her bag of chargers.  She was totally and absolutely ready for every charging situation imaginable!img_8472

We had breakfast before hitting the road home early.  We wanted to get a head start on traffic and I knew that heavy rain showers were forecast to be moving through our path on the way home.  Of course, I should have known how the day would go when I had to endur this:img_8473

Smucker’s peanut butter.  NOT Jif.  I put A LOT of strawberry jam on top of the PB on my English muffin and it made it barely edible.

We made very good time until we got to Waco, then the heavens opened up on us.  At times, we were driving around 45 mph.  We made it home safely, though, and that is all that counts!!

I’m still playing catch up!  I could sleep for days, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything!  Loved this race and I hope to do it again!

Happy Hump Day!

Jen

Blowing through the Windy City

Last Thursday, the girls in my family flew up to Chicago for the Windy City National Qualifier.  Alli and her teammates were looking to get a bid to Nationals in the 12s division.  Luckily, I was able to meet some Twitter running friends and squeeze in some sight-seeing and drink A LOT  of beer before the whirlwind trip was over!  The weather was so cooperative and beautiful – it was *almost* like Texas!!

The Important Stuff: Volleyball

After a series of unfortunate events, we finally opened the door of our hotel room at 11:30 PM Thursday night.  (Hint: this was NOT the way to start a weekend of virtually non-stop volleyball.)  Luckily, Alli was asleep before midnight.  Those few extra moments of sleep didn’t help much, though, because the team was meeting for breakfast in the lobby at 6:45 AM before heading to the convention center to start day 1 pool play.

We were at a disadvantage, as our first 2 matches were scheduled back-to-back.  Our girls played like zombies, as if they had never seen a volleyball before in their life.  We lost the first match in 2 sets (should have easily won) then had to go right into the next match, which would be the most difficult team in our pool.  The girls still didn’t have their wits about them because they had not recovered from the first shocking loss and lost in 2 sets….again.  Me?  I was in my own zombie-like state court side, too tired to care that we had just screwed ourselves for THE ENTIRE TOURNAMENT.

Alli has....defensive issues. I get SO EXCITED when she digs the ball!
Alli has….defensive issues. I get SO EXCITED when she digs the ball!

After a break, we played again and this time, won easily (LIKE WE SHOULD HAVE THE FIRST TWO GAMES!!).img_8001

Saturday proved to be much better and we easily won all 3 matches, even though they still didn’t play up to their normal level.  Sunday play was the same – the competition was a tad bit more difficult but we still pulled off wins easily.img_8007

When it was all said and done, we ended up 9th.  Not too shabby, but still disappointing because we know how much better these girls can play – how much better they actually do play!!img_8029

Running Friends are THE BEST

I have some Twitter friends in Chicago that I was hoping to connect with and…..it worked out!!

Jenn came up on Friday after the tournament and drove me all around Chicago showing me the city.  She even brought me some protein balls so that I could have healthy snacks for the tournament!  She is just as fun and sweet as she comes across on Twitter!  We made it back just in time to have dinner with Alli’s team.  I enjoyed visiting with her so much and am so thankful that I was able to get that opportunity!img_7946

On Saturday, Elizabeth and her husband, Steve, drove in and actually spent the afternoon stuck in the convention center with me!  I am so glad that I was able to meet them both!!  I LOVE Elizabeth and would have been so sad if meeting up hadn’t worked out.  She came bearing gifts as well.  She definitely knows the way to my heart!  (I feel the need to confess that we also had a beer in the hotel bar that is attached to the convention center! LOL)

I shared Jenn's protein balls with Elizabeth :)
I shared Jenn’s protein balls with Elizabeth 🙂

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SO. GOOD!!!

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Wisconsin beer. Pretty damn good.
Wisconsin beer. Pretty damn good.

I am SO LUCKY that my running pal, Rebecca, came along on this trip.  I actually met her through this team and am SO THANKFUL that our paths crossed.  We are actually very compatible runners (or at least I think so), and we had the most wonderful time running along the lake and river fronts early Saturday morning.  This was the highlight of my trip (besides meeting new friends), for sure!!img_7954

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Beer, Beer, more Beer and Other Things

I am not going to lie – I drank quite a bit of beer in Chicago and it was all DELICIOUS!!!  In between my beer breaks, I managed a little sight-seeing.

I downed this in the airport before leaving Texas. It just seemed appropriate.
I downed this in the airport before leaving Texas. It just seemed appropriate.

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The Poet Oatmeal Stout. You can never go wrong with an Oatmeal Stout.

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Eh. I drank this one because it was Easter weekend and this was called Messiah.

Left Hand Milk Stout - my new favorite!
Left Hand Milk Stout – my new favorite!

I took Alli to Dylan’s Candy Bar on Saturday….not surprisingly she claims this as the most treasured part of her trip!img_7979

Sunday included a MUST – deep dish pizza at Giordano’s.  It was SO GOOD.  If I lived in Chicago, I would have to work out a lot more because I would be eating ALL THE FATTY FOOD!img_8044-1

Taylor and I managed to get to “Cloud Gate” in Millennium Park on Sunday before leaving for the airport.  Most people call it “The Bean”, because of its kidney bean shape.  Whatever you want to call it – it was cool!img_8054

And, of course, couldn’t resist a pic of the famous “L”!!img_8031-1

I still haven’t recovered from the trip, but it was so worth it!  We had a great time!!

Happy Hump Day!