Double Wow! Eastern Trail + Palace Diner = Amazing!

Both of us had recently been suffering from a Running Slump.  My problem has been laziness boredom with the routes in our neighborhood, so we have decided to branch out for some destination runs.  Not far from us is the Eastern Trail down in York County.  It’s an old railroad line that has been converted to a running/biking/walking trail.  A couple of  major pluses are that it has loads of shady stretches which is a plus during July morning runs and it’s really flat terrain.

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We are two weeks into some marathon training that schedules long runs on Sunday, but fortunately the long July 4th holiday allowed us to flip our excruciating long run (7 miler) to Monday morning.  That allowed us some annual Strawberry pickin’ and jammin’ on Sunday.

The newness of the trail for us has been invigorating and has rekindled some passion to log some miles.  It’s also nice to be off well traveled streets and enjoy some quietness other than good conversation which Katie proclaimed that I had to improve upon during our runs (sometimes I get in the zone and put on a thousand mile stare). Our long Monday run crossed three town lines and then this morning’s run gave us some adventures in Saco only.

I got a nice runner’s high from these runs, but the real reward was our post-workout trips to the Palace Diner in Biddeford.  All I can say is Wow!  We had been talking about going here for a couple years and all I can say is that I wish we went sooner! There was a wait to get in since it is counter service for about a dozen people, but they are nice to provide coffee service during your wait. On Monday, despite our 8:30am arrival, I ordered a hamburger and to quote the movie, Cocktail, “Beer is for Breakfast” a Coors Banquet Beer. The burger and fries were amazing and Katie ordered a breakfast sandwich that is beyond compare.  Jalapeños will definitely be a staple for our homemade breakfast sandwiches now.

Then this morning we dragged brought our younger son, Frank, for another Eastern Trail run (Frank did a walk) and Palace Diner adventure. I don’t usually like Tuna, but the Tuna Sandwich I had was pure ecstasy!  Frank ordered the Fried Chicken sandwich and it was Heaven.  Katie was unadventurous and went with the breakfast sandwich again and it still impressed.

Once again, Palace Diner impressed and I know it will be great motivation to run more sections of the Eastern Trail!

FYI: They are cash only for payment, but there is a Bangor Savings ATM nearby on Main Street.

See you on the road!

Errandonne 2017…A ride for some take out pizza from OTTO (Read Street)

Not really a breakfast run, but I did manage to squeeze in my first double digit run of the year after work today.  It had been a while, but I managed to run across to Falmouth on a mild March afternoon, although it was chilly on the way back.

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Was pretty worn out after, but Katie convinced me to set out on our first Errandonnee 2017 Challenge event of the year to bring home dinner from OTTO Pizza on Read Street.  We’re no strangers to OTTO, in fact in my own unofficial ranking of Portland pizza, OTTO is on top (followed closely by Pizzaiolo and Portland’s newest, Tipo).

There was some chill to the night air, but we had a pleasant ride there.  We put in our order for a large cheese and small sausage with Vidalia Onion.  Otto has some fantastic speciality pizzas, but it is their basic pies that really sell me.  Our only concern about the order was securing them to our bike on the way home, but bungee cords did the trick.

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We decided to order at door for the pizza rather than ordering ahead, so we would have an excuse to enjoy a libation or two while we waited it would be fresh and hot for the ride home.  At the bar we enjoyed a couple of local brews and I had an extra special treat of UFF dry cider (more on them in another post soon).  We also ordered the bruschetta appetizer, which was OK.  The balsamic had a nice flavor, but I prefer my tomatoes chopped smaller and the bread was a bit dry.  That did not stop us from eating all though since we earned the calories on our ride.

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We made the ride home and like usual, the kids (and us) made sure there would be no pizza leftovers for lunch the next morning.  OTTO’s pizza continues to impress even when delivered by bike on a chilly March evening.

Saturday Tri…Run, Bike, Eat at Schulte & Herr

This winter has proved to be a tough one to run through.  After finally crawling out of bed we decided to get out and at least do a morning 5k.  Fortunately, our conversation about Katie running this year’s Boston Marathon carried us to 4.5 miles.  After a quick shower for Katie (I tend to go without until Sunday night), we set out on our bikes for Schulte & Herr.

Katie had the spaetzle (think the most amazing Mac&Cheese ever with Emmantaler) and I had the German Breakfast Plate. The ham and sausages were great although I did order some mustard to enhance the flavor.  A hard-boiled egg would’ve been a nice addition, but overall the breakfast was fantastic!

Ready as I’m Going to Be

Or at least I’m packed.

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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:

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(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.)

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Look at those beauties!

We ended up with a maple bacon and a Crunchberry.
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Then we decided to stretch out our sore legs and walk the 2-ish miles to Allen’s Boots.

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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.

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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.
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These were the winners.

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

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

But the fries . . .

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

 

Austin Marathon – Pre Race Day Continued

We were feeling pretty good about everything after our great pre-race shakeout experience.  We ran back to our room to shower and change then headed back out to meet Mike’s best friend since kindergarten, Pat, who drove from Houston to meet up with us.

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We met up on 6th St.  We were pretty hungry so we hit up the first place we came across, B.D. Riley’s.  The food was not great, but we enjoyed our local beers and some various whiskeys.  With the high from our great morning and the celebratory feeling of being with an old friend, our vow for a low-cal, chem-free day went right out the window.
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It didn’t take Mike long to get pretty jolly and hit up the musician for requests.

After lunch we moved on to Banger’s.  I had heard overheard someone talking about their “Manmosas”.  It turns out those are only for brunch on Sundays, but we loved the place anyway.  They had like a million beers on tap, so we tried Pat’s recommendation of St. Arnold’s Lawnmower, and later Mike picked us out a Fat Bastard.
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I loved the boiled peanuts which I don’t think I’ve had since we lived in South Carolina over 17 years ago.
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I’m not a huge fan of sausage, but we had to try it at a place famous for it’s sausage.  Mike picked out the rabbit sausage, and it was actually very good.

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The live music was great.  I wished I’d stopped to appreciate it more, but I was too focused on having fun with Mike and Pat.  After a while, I decided that I’d had too much fun and headed back to the hotel to chill and hydrate.  Mike and Pat continued the fun but still managed to get back in time to run a marathon the next day.  More on that another day.