Coffeeneuring with Addie – Tiqa Cafe & Bakery

Trip Number: 2
Where: Tiqa Cafe & Bakery, Portland, ME
Date: Saturday, October 15, 2016
Katie: Latte
Addie: Hot Chocolate
Mileage: 3.74 miles
Bike Friendliness:  Good.  There is one bike “post” right out front.  You can also keep an eye on your bike from the outdoor patio.  One guy we saw while we were eating didn’t seem to feel the need to lock his bike at all – guess it doesn’t get much bike friendlier than that.  There’s also a larger bike rack on the other side of the park.


This was our best Coffeeneuring experience so far.  It was hard to get going because the temperature was in the 30’s, but we bundled up in all of our wool base layers, down jackets, hats, and mittens.  It didn’t end up being too bad cold-wise, but I knew Tiqa didn’t have much indoor seating, so I wasn’t quite sure how it would work out to actually consume our coffee.

Addie did great on the bigger downhills than what we’ve done so far in our neighborhood, and we both appreciated the bike lane along Deering Ave.  We enjoyed our ride through Deering Oaks park, but because it was also Farmer’s Market Saturday, we had to keep a close eye on cars pulling in and out of parking spaces.

I was surprised to see that Tiqa had moved much of their operation outside, possibly in anticipation of the Farmer’s Market crowd.  I was a little confused about whether to order outside or in, but I think it would have worked out either way.  I decided to try to use my Coffeeneuring experience to try something other than plain old coffee, so I went inside.

My plan B for if it was too cold to drink our coffee on the patio was to walk around the farmer’s market while we drank it, but we were excited to see space heaters and a roaring fire on the patio.   Untitled
It was so comfortable!  We’ve been freezing in our house the last few days or so since the weather’s turned cold, so we parked ourselves as close to the big fire pit as possible.  It was glorious.  The first time I’ve felt my body fully relax in days.
After a few minutes we actually had to move to a table farther away because we were too hot! I will definitely go back on a cold day with Mike for lunch and a glass of wine or two.  You almost feel like you could be in Europe when you’re there.

I ended up getting a Latte, and it was delicious!  Addie cannot be convinced to try anything other than hot chocolate, so she went with that.  Neither one of us could pass up the beautiful and sinful looking Cinnamon Babka, so Addie had that, and I had a Za’tar bagel with cream cheese which I had had before and enjoyed.

Their breakfast sandwiches are also delicious, but I skipped that for today.  I loved my bagel and latte, but Addie kind of struck out.  The frosting on the babka was great, reminded Addie of the base for a Gelato Fiasco gelato, but the rest of the babka was a bit dry.  Her hot chocolate was also a little watery, but I’m not sure that hot chocolate is a specialty at very many places.

Honestly, the atmosphere was so great, that nothing else really mattered.  I was tempted to take a baguette home but opted for some veggies at the Farmer’s Market instead.

Untitled We were late for the mandatory family apple picking that I had instigated, but we were enjoying ourselves so much, we decided to wander through the farmer’s market. Untitled

Such a great vibe there.  I really love the drummer that often plays there.  Addie dropped some money in his basket.

Untitled We bought some fun stuff, some Portsfield Dry Cider for Mike – such gorgeous packaging, some husk cherries which we’d never tried before (delicious but weirdly taste like Captain Crunch Crunchberries), some beautiful little tomatoes, and some funky decorative something-or-others. Untitled

We powered up all the hills that we’d ridden down on they way there and still managed to go apple picking.  What a perfect fall day!

Coffeeneuring with Addie – Black Cat Coffee

Trip Number: 1
Where: Black Cat Coffee, Portland, ME
Date: Monday, October 10, 2016
Katie: Decaf with Cream and Sugar
Addie: Hot Chocolate
Mileage: 3.35 miles
Bike Friendliness:  Decent.  There are a couple of street signs out front you can lock to, but there’s almost always another bike there.  A very short distance down the street are a couple of actual bike racks.


So I got a new bike back in June and quickly became obsessed with biking.  Not racing, just riding my bike places.  But give it time.

Usually when I get obsessed about a new thing, I try to find as much to read about it as possible – not so much technical reading as reading about other’s experiences with my new obsession.  I love reading blogs for that reason.  One blog that I stumbled across, Chasing Mailboxes, has this great idea of going Coffeeneuring.  You’ll have to check out the blog post yourself.  I’ve tried to explain it to my entire family, and no one gets it.  I guess they get it, they just don’t understand why it has “neuring” at the end.  The gist of it is that you bike to a different coffee shop 7 times in a period of 7 weeks.

I’m hoping to actually get close to 14 visits; one set of 7 with my 9-year old daughter, Addie and another set a bit farther afield with my husband.  Addie is my constant companion and not as busy as Mike, so I’m a little more confident in accomplishing the first set.
Even though we had a four day weekend this weekend (3 for me), we struggled to fit it in.  We had a big party on Saturday, so we were getting ready for that then it rained ALL day on Sunday, and we’re just not that hard core (yet).  I decided to work from home on Monday, so that we could squeeze it in on a work break.

We decided on Black Cat Coffee since it’s the closest to us in The Deering Neighborhood’s cute little “downtown”.  The Coffeeneuring rules call for a minimum of a two mile bike ride, so we took a “longcut” through Evergreen Cemetery.  The cemetery is one of my favorite places in town.  It’s where I run all winter when the roads are too messy everywhere else.  It’s where Addie learned how to ride her bike.  And it’s beautiful this time of year.

There’s a little loop that goes from one of the entrances to the chapel and back.
Addie and I often race that loop together.  Her rules – I have to do 5 loops to her 4 AND count 5-Mississippi’s before I start.  I haven’t beaten her yet.  Yesterday we did four loops and just chatted it was nice.  She talks to me non-stop when we’re biking, and I can hardly ever hear her.  It’s frustrating.  In the cemetery, it’s great though because there are no cars and we can ride side-by-side, so I actually can hear her.

We ventured down to the duck ponds, so she could practice going down some bigger hills before we expand our biking into downtown Portland.  She did great.

We finally made our way to Black Cat and were pretty hungry by then.


We each ordered bagels.  One of my favorite things about Black Cat is that they bring in bagels from Union Bagel and toast and butter them perfectly.  My favorite is the sesame.  Addie went for a plain with cream cheese and a hot chocolate.  In spite of being very excited about Coffeeneuring, I’m really not much of a coffee connoisseur, so I just got a plain old coffee.


Black Cat has a lot of interesting looking options though.
Untitled I’ve also been excited about trying their homemade ice cream sweetened with honey, but coffee time never seems to be the right time for ice cream – for me anyway.  One of these days I’ll try it. Because I was working from home, I brought my laptop to do some work, and Addie brought her tablet.  We felt very hip working from the coffee shop. Untitled

Looking forward to our next adventure!  Thanks for reading!

One Last Austin Post

Our last day in Austin might have been our best, most memorable day.

If you’ve read anything about the food scene in Austin, I’m sure you’ve heard of Franklin’s Barbecue.


If you told me I’d have one of the best times ever waiting in line for food, I would not have believed you.


But this wasn’t just any old line.  Chairs were provided (at least for the first 50 or so line-waiters), and not only was drinking allowed, but drink orders were taken and fulfilled.  Since it was a Tuesday, we felt comfortable getting there on the late side – around 8:30.  We managed to snag some of the last few available chairs and a shady spot under the stairs.  Mike set off to find some snacks and (adult) beverages for us while I held our place in line.  (I didn’t realize until after he’d left that you could order drinks from Franklin’s while you were waiting.  We needed breakfast, anyway.)


At first, the line was pretty quiet, but three hours and a lot of beer later, we were all fast friends.


Almost at the door!


It was amazing how friendly the servers were considering how many people they must have to deal with each day.


We were feeling pretty victorious at having conquered the line and made it inside.


Our glorious, delicious haul.


We tried pretty much one of everything, but if I ever go back again, I’ll just get brisket, brisket, and more brisket, and maybe a rib or two.  (Everything was great, but the brisket and ribs really outshined everything else.)  The brisket had a wonderful, black pepper crust and just melted in your mouth.

We had to head home the next day to the snowy, Northeast.


We stickered up our cars – a lot of work for a sticker!


And  handed out our Austin souvenirs.


Ready as I’m Going to Be

Or at least I’m packed.

We’re leaving tomorrow morning.

I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time and big chunk of change at the Expo.

Then carb-loading and meeting some past winners at the pre-race dinner.

Then finally getting the show on the road on Monday.

And especially post-race celebrating!

Austin Boot Shopping

Do you have a bucket list?  I do.  I made it years ago and add a new item to the list every once in a while.  I admit that some of the items don’t appeal to me so much anymore, but #18 was still definitely on my radar:


(It’s supposed to say “Buy and wear”)

After the previous day’s marathon, I had half of that mission accomplished, so I was really looking forward to completing it.

We needed some fuel first though, and I had spotted a Voodoo Doughnut shop earlier in our explorations.  I wanted to be sure to check it out post-marathon.  (Heavy donut in the belly beforehand probably not a good idea.)


Look at those beauties!

We ended up with a maple bacon and a Crunchberry.

Then we decided to stretch out our sore legs and walk the 2-ish miles to Allen’s Boots.


We were slow, but it was a beautiful day, and it was nice to revisit our running route with a more relaxed pace and mindset.


I was pretty overwhelmed by Allen’s vast selection of boots, but the saleswoman, Elise gave me some few tips, and I was ready to dive in.

I narrowed it down to about 3 or 4 pairs and tried those each on a few times.  Putting on and taking off boots is hard any day, but with post marathon soreness, it was not pretty!  I was glad no one was watching.  Elise checked on me a few times but didn’t hover which I liked.

These were the winners.

I couldn’t even wait to get back to the hotel to put them on.

Even in their first wearing and with a mile or so to walk back to the hotel they were comfortable.

Someone had recommended Hopdoddy’s to me on the pre-race shake out run.  It just happened to be right down the street from Allen’s, so we popped in there for an early lunch and managed to just beat the long lines.


The burger was amazing.  We got the “Primetime”.  It was the best burger I’ve ever had.

But the fries . . .


Wow!  Just wow!  So good.  These were the truffle fries with a healthy helping of some kind of deliciously salty Parmesan cheese topping.  I forget now what the dipping sauce was – truffle aioli maybe.


Mike met some new friends on the way back to the hotel.  We did go back to the hotel after lunch to rest up a bit and make a plan for the evening.  A plan that was supposed to involve much less walking.  However . . .

Mike, who, as far as I know has no bucket list and up until that day had no aspirations to buy or wear cowboy boots.  I mean, I couldn’t even picture it.  Somehow the hour we spent in Allen’s must have rubbed off on him because he wanted to go back for a pair of his own.

So back out we went.  We had to stop and “rest” on the way there.


We enjoyed these drinks at a cool little place called The Snack Bar.  I’m not sure if it was part of it, but it was right next to The Austin Motel which looked really interesting in a hip, nouveau retro kind of way.  I’m going to check it out as a place to stay if/when we go back.


Mike got his boots.  We got so into the whole Western thing at Allen’s that we almost bought the hats, too.  I planned to dare to wear the boots when we got back home to the Northeast no matter what, but I knew I wasn’t brave enough for the hat.


Mike couldn’t wait to get home to put on his boots either.  (He’s worn them almost every day since we’ve been back.)


Our plan was to try them out dancing at The Continental Club.


The band, The Peterson Brothers, was great, and we did dance just a little bit, but we were the only ones dancing.  The music was pretty blues-y.  Maybe you just don’t dance to that.  At least we didn’t very well.

It was a great day!  I think we put in at least 8 miles on our tired legs.  Not the brightest idea, but we had fun.  Next time, we’ll Uber at least some of it.

Finally – Austin Marathon Recap

Wow, this post has been on my mind for such a long time.  I was on a roll blogging about our trip in February then kept finding excuses to put this one off which pretty much prevented any other blogging because, of course, I wanted to be chronological.

Don’t worry, we’ve still been running and definitely eating just not necessarily at the same time.  I finally lost my tolerance for cold which has reduced the appeal of the breakfast run for me.  I just can’t warm up again once we stop to eat.  Thank goodness warmer weather is just around the corner.

So, The 2016 Austin Marathon . . .


The Before Pic

One of my favorite parts was milling around in the middle of the city with thousands of other runners while it was still dark.

There was no traffic, of course, and even though there were a lot of people, there was plenty of room to spread out, so it just seemed peaceful.  The capitol building was beautifully lit up at the top of Congress Street.


See the Capitol Building in the Background?

There seemed to be a feeling of relaxed anticipation – the calm before the storm.  Maybe that was just my feeling, but after months of getting ready and thinking about the race, (agonizing over my training times, wishing I’d skipped a few more cookies, etc.) and getting more and more nervous by the day, I was relieved to be on the verge of just. doing. this. thing.


Once the National Anthem started, my nervousness came rushing back.  Then finally the starting gun went off and minutes later we crossed the start line, and we were RUNNING!  Even though I could swear it was still dark when we started, it felt like sunny midday by the time we crossed the bridge and started up South Congress street.

My first mile was great, but by mile 5 I was kind of falling apart.  I hadn’t been able to eat much before the race – too nervous – so I had my first Gu.  I knew Mike was somewhere behind me.  I thought about trying to wait for him in hopes that he would help motivate me to keep going.  By mile 7 or 8, the Gu kicked in, and I felt okay.  (Note to self – eat before the race – no matter what!)

My confidence really wavered during the whole race – feeling great one minute, feeling like I couldn’t finish the next.  I think it was around mile 12 when the half marathon split off.  It was so hard to make myself stay on the left for the full!

We had a friend there cheering us on at around mile 18 or 19.  Looking forward to seeing him really helped.  And it was a pretty great feeling once I reached the last 6 miles.  I took about 3 or 4 walk breaks which I’d never done before, but it sure did feel great to walk and drink my water and eat my Gu without being out of breath.

Finally, I was running through the UT campus and on the last stretch.  There was one more really ugly hill during the last mile then I was able to sprint down the hill to the finish.  What a relief!  My slowest marathon and probably my hardest.  I finished in about 3:58.  Nice to stay under 4 hours but almost 15 minutes slower than my previous slowest marathon.


We made it!

And you know what?  It really didn’t matter.  I was still just as ecstatic as I was when I completed my other, faster marathons.  I had exactly the same feelings of relief, accomplishment, and that indescribable post-race euphoria.  As I get ready to run Boston IN TWO DAYS, I keep trying to remind myself that.

The race itself was really well organized.  I actually can’t think of a single thing to improve in that area.  The spectators were awesome.  I was pretty jealous of quite a few groups that were partying in their yards while watching the race.  One group was drinking mimosas, and I almost stopped and just hung out with them for the rest of the day.  The signs were all very entertaining.  I can’t believe I’d never seen this quote before, but there were quite a few signs that said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right”.  That hit home for me, since I was having such a mental struggle during the race.

The course was really hilly!  It was described as having “rolling  hills”.  We both thought that Texas was super flat, so it couldn’t possibly be as hilly as The Maine Marathon.  We weren’t worried about the hills at all.  Apparently, Austin is in “Hill Country”.  Oops.  There weren’t any hills that I remember that were particularly steep (although I hear there’s a killer one on the half marathon course) – it was kind of like the accumulation of them just snuck up on you.  The first 2 miles or so were almost all uphill (which I had read), and I started too fast as usual which I think might have been part of my problem.

We had been more worried about the heat.  You can’t exactly train for that in Maine in January.  It turned out to be quite nice – in the 50’s with a bit of a breeze.

We will definitely do this race again!  Well, maybe.  Lots of other places to visit.

Whew, finally finished a blog post.  Thanks for reading.


Don’t worry we didn’t pull a Pheidippides after Austin.  We’re really still here, and I still plan to blog about the marathon and the rest of our trip because it was really great, but life moves on.

I’m in the midst (or really end) of getting ready for Boston.  I finished my last long run today.  It was supposed to be on Sunday, but it was Easter and we were visiting my dad in major-hill-country, so I postponed. (I’m following the Hanson’s training plan which has you run 16 for your longest, but psychologically, I feel like I need to do at least 20.  This is my shortest long run, since my first marathon.  Eeek!)

I even decided to take the day off of work for it.  Got to get those priorities straight, right?  It was pretty nice not to have to rush.  Sadly, my pace shows that.  Oh well.  This Boston is not going to be my best.  My training has kind of fallen apart since oh, about Thanksgiving time.  I just can’t seem to hit my miles per week.  Maybe it’s time to capitulate and switch to just 5 days a week?  My current thinking is that fall marathons will be my thing.  So much easier to train in the light and warmth of summer mornings.

It was a nice run today anyway.  My toenails hurt.  It’s our second 60 degree day so far this year, so I’m wearing my flip flops.

I ran to Higgins Beach.  My first time running to Scarborough.  I remember the first time I ran out of Portland into a different town.  Seemed like a major big deal to me to run all. the. way. into. ANOTHER. town!

12/21 Bridge Run

Terrible Pic but Mike’s First Crossing into SoPo 12/2014

Since then we’ve run to Falmouth, South Portland, and Cape Elizabeth a gazillion times, Westbrook once or twice, but never to Scarborough, so that was kind of cool.


Here’s Higgins

I wasn’t really sure where I was going, but when I reached the little (closed up for winter) store where Mike, Frank, and I got highly-recommended onion rings a summer or two ago, I knew I was close.  It was nice to hear the crash of waves as I approached the beach.  As I ran by Higgins Beach Inn, I remembered being near there on a summer evening and hearing live music on their porch.  I have to investigate whether you can go there for a drink (and music).

As I’ve mentioned, I love an out-and-back because it’s so nice to be on the way back, but I swear I don’t remember going down the hills on Sawyer Street that I had to go up on the way back!

I’m not sure if it’s a best practice, but I recovered with a hot bath and our last Shiner Bock (we purchased here in Westbrook Hannaford of all places as a nod to our Texas trip).  We were out of protein shakes.  Beer is the next best thing.

So tomorrow is April.  Yikes!  As soon as that calendar rolls over, my nervousness (“nervcited” as my 8-year-old calls it) for Boston is going to increase exponentially.  Still, now that I’m a veteran, I don’t think I’ll be as nervous as last year.  Plus, there’s not much I can do now to change my fitness level.  Just got to do those last few runs (not that I’m counting, but 106.5 miles left) and try not to pig out too much.  I’m enjoying a mimosa to celebrate my last long run, but no more until April 18th.  Anyone else out there doing Boston?  Want to meet up?  Ride the bus to Hopkinton together?  I’m in Corral 3, Wave 1 (Wave 3, Corral 1?)

I’m excited about the expo.  I’m planning to set aside $200 from my next two paychecks to blow there.  Funny thing about last year. We looked around at the first “room” and were surprised that that was “all”.  Then we crossed some threshold, and it was like an oasis of running paraphernalia in the desert.

If you haven’t gone to the pre-race dinner, definitely do that.  It was pretty awesome to have previous winners and Olympians plop some pasta and salad on your plate.

And, hey, have you seen this?  It’s got to be a joke, but when I first started reading, I was like, “wait, what?”.

Happy Running.  Hope to be back soon with the rest of Austin and some Boston adventures.  Next up after that, Chicago.  Anyone else in?

Mike got in to Beach to Beacon.  I didn’t.  Typing on my dang phone was just too slow.