Morning Run Lost In Montreal

Bon Jour!

Katie and I have ventured to Montreal for a few nights.  We had a nice drive up from Portland (a post on that to follow ASAP).  After checking in to our downtown hotel (great location right near Old Montreal), we wandered around a bit and found some nice treats for a dinner in our room then turned to get some rest from our travels.

This morning I woke up around 5:30am and decided to set out on a short run around our area.  I decided to skip C25K training for today and headed out to run and take in some scenery and see if I could stretch out a little distance:

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I’m happy to report that I’m showing signs of progress with this round of C25K.  Started Week 5 yesterday and based on this run, my distance and pace are improving.  Still a long ways from where I want to be and the scale has yet to descend (@%#$!!!!), but it feels great nevertheless.

After seeing the evening crowds around town last night, it was peaceful to run about the city with little vehicle and pedestrian traffic.  I had no specific destination in mind, but once I caught sight of the big ferris wheel on the river La Grande Roue de Montreal, I decided to head in that direction. Plus, it was a huge relief to be running downhill after a killer hill into Old Montreal from our hotel.

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My two favorite times of day to run have to be dawn and dusk.  Love the lighting and quietness.

 

 

 

 

The run took me through parts of Old Montreal (watch out for those cobble stone streets!) and down to the riverfront.  I did a short run on the river walk because I was approaching the point of no return endurance-wise and then meandered my way back to the hotel.  There were some great sights along the way including great architecture and beautiful fountains (Montreal sure loves its fountains!).

Thank goodness for the Maps App.  I did get myself turned around a couple of times and ran a few circles, but finally made my way back to the hotel.  A cool finish was running the perimeter of Place des Arts, which has a couple of cool fountains of its own.

On se voit sur la route!

-Mike

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Bike for Breakfast? Time for a Sip of Europe.

Somehow a Sip of Europe has been in Portland for three years with us knowing. It was my charge to find a new breakfast spot for the morning and I came upon this spot through some online research during the evening while at work.  Sip of Europe specializes in crepes, so while I’ve been failing at trying a Keto Diet, Katie suggested that I could just dump the ingredients out of the crepe and enjoy.  Once I saw the crepes (and an another item), I was like, “Screw that!”

We hopped on our bikes and ventured forth for a Bike for Breakfast:

I just love those green rims on my Fixie!

On our ride to breakfast, we were passed by a parade of antique cars, which was cool to see (the pic doesn’t do it justice).

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I’ve probably gone by Sip of Europe dozens of times the past three years and have not noticed it.  Not surprised since the signage does not exactly shout out to you.

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The other thing is that I’m not a pancake person.  Give me three slices of French Toast and I’m in breakfast heaven.  I suppose that crepes are not pancakes, but Sip of Europe was enough to make me a convert!  First though, I have to address the opener which was this beautiful pitcher of Mimosa’s made and served by the owner herself, Yulia.

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The mimosa had nice flavor and the addition of lemon gave it a nice tartness.  I’d usually go for a Bloody Mary for breakfast, but will definitely repeat this on our next visit.  One side note is that Yulia and Katie did scold me after my initial order for Margaritas.  Not sure where that brain cramp came in.

So…about the menu.  Not the actual offerings (which you will see, are fantastic), but the printed menu itself. It had the feel of a dumpling restaurant in Boston’s or NYC’s Chinatown.  Maybe I’m off here, but take a look:

No doubt that the description were perfect of the offerings.  I guess the pictures threw me off.  They were unexpected, and the first I’ve seen for breakfast, but they did represent the product well.

So, on to the main event.  Not realizing that the $19.99 for two special (three crepes and 2 drinks) was only available Tuesday-Friday earning me another scolding from Yulia, we ordered two savory (the Hawaiian and Mustard of Ham -with goat cheese replacement with Yulia’s permission-) and one sweet (the Baklava).  It was a bit of a wait as Yulia served two regulars, but no doubt we were very satisfied as the crepes came out one by one:

Top left is the ham and cheese.  The ham was top shelf (I’m guessing Boar’s Head) and with the addition of the balsamic glaze on the side it was a taste explosion.  Next came the Hawaiian which was fantastic with the only drawback being that the pesto drowned out the pineapple flavor some.  Finally, the Baklava crepe was otherworldly as a sweet end to our feast. We ended up taking some of our treats home in to-go containers, but I’m sure they did not make it to the afternoon before being devoured in a second round.

A pleasant surprise was that our total bill came to $37.00.  I thought this a great deal for a very satisfying meal with the pitcher of Mimosas despite a another minor scolding (joking?) from Yulia about drinking and driving biking.

We will return to Sip of Europe and hope to bring friends.  Next time I will be sure to read the fine print on the Specials Board.

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BTW, starting week 3 of C25K today!

See you on the road!

-Mike

Bowling Not Running

I have to say it, 33 Elmwood bowled me over was AWESOME!  Yes, this a running-eating blog, and yes, we did not run there, but we will set PRs going there a second time.  Great food, great adult beverages, and a fun time on the lanes.  Not to mention that the lane was super cheap ($15 for one hour with shoes included) for a Wednesday night.  I did manage a Bowling PR of 150 too.  We gathered with our four offspring to celebrate Frank’s 18th(!) birthday.  A $10 bottle of Presecco  paired nice with a Fried Green Tomato sandwich and the pizza was great!

Redemption (again?)

Well, you can always start again.  Surprised to see my last post was Thanksgiving.  Actually had a failed running reboot in March, but it only lasted into April.  I love the Runkeeper app because it archives all of the activities that you track.  Often, I like to look back on my past accomplishments (cue: Glory Days) and think what I can do and hope to improve upon.  This time, I was curious about my last run:

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So, that was a neighborhood run during our chilly spring.  I had a rebound March and completed 65 miles, which was a nice improvement from the ZERO miles that I did in January and February the start of the year.  That last run put me at 55 miles for April and I had dreams of 100+ months leading to a goal for 1,000 miles for 2019.  Let’s just say now, that’s not happenin’.

I’m trying to remember what was going on.  Still was teaching and must have just completed April break the week prior.  The biggest change at that point was that I was assistant coaching Addie’s softball team.  Not an excuse, mind you, but I was certainly was (am) lazy and did not even attempt to do early morning runs. At least it turned out to be a fun season and the team won the city championship!  Championship game was quite exciting.  We were down 6-0, but we came out on top in the end.  That’s Addie down below.  Quite the Beauty, but not (yet) into running.

But I digress…Thing is, there has a been a lot going on in both our lives that has interfered with our running. There has been injury (Katie has a serious case of Plantar Facitis), family changes (high school graduations, ups and downs of Joe and Maggie’s college years), professional highs and lows (mostly high for Katie, downs a disaster for me), and the realization that we’re a lot closer to 50 now.

I don’t know what to say.  I just read back to the start of this blog in 2015.  We were both running the 2015 Maine Marathon and feeling on top of the world; completing double digit runs at the drop of a hat, and having great meals, while all else was great.  Now it as if we we’re both like this:

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I’ll point the finger at myself.  I’m at a low point personally and professionally (I recently left teaching for the final second time and don’t know what to do) and I am fully ready to admit that MY alcoholism is ruining our lives.  I’m an alcoholic and I admit it to our scores handful of readers out there.  It is ruining our relationship, my friendships, my career, and my running.  Heck, I’ve probably been an alcoholic since my binge drinking at 18 years of age, but now it brings the whole house down. 30 years later I just see myself as a broken down drunk. This won’t cover it, but I apologize to all I’ve wronged with my drinking, but most of all to Katie. Anything I’ve accomplished is due to her and her inspiration.  You can put it in perspective of this blog: It was her idea to start it and keep me motivated to run and write.  I’ve been able to bask in great accomplishments and tell brag about great adventures, but none of them would have occurred without Katie.  All people should be as lucky to have such a great partner.  I hope to recover and be a good person and partner.  If I don’t, I know Katie will make a great path in both running and in life.  I don’t know where my path will go, but I hope it is by her side…

OK, that was a lot to dump load on everyone, so back to running.  I was convinced that new shoes would be the magic cure to my lack of running since April.  My sister was kind of enough to give me a Visa gift card that would have covered the cost of some new shoes, so I was all prepared to hit Fleet Feet and start logging some miles.  Instead, I ended up with these:

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Ignore the ghastly toenails (and Gosh, are those really my ankles? Look away, I’m a creature).  It took a while, but Addie convinced me they looked cool, and now I’m wearing Birkenstock’s.  I don’t recommend them for running, but they feel awesome post-run.

Katie actually convinced me to be smart patient and try one of my old pair of running shoes to start a new running program.  How right she was.  I uploaded the Couch to 5K (c25k) app to my phone and then dug out these Hoka Clifton 5’s (I know that I don’t need the apostrophe there).  IMG_0772 (3)

A little history on these shoes: I purchased them at the 2016 San Francisco Marathon Expo (which I did not run -a bit of a long story, a little bit due to the above narrative) and they carried me through training for the 2016 Maine Marathon, which I was able to complete using the Galloway run-walk plan.  Pretty sure they logged 500+ miles until I replaced them with a pair of Saucony’s, which in the end were not a great fit for me.  Turns out that these old Hoka’s still have some life in them.  So, a little over one week in, I have completed two weeks of C25K.

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Yes, those times are ugly, but remember there is a lot of walking going on.  I’m doing it right this time.  Walking when called for and running at a good pace (sub 10:00) when instructed.  Next week some longer runs that may be ugly difficult.

It’s a start.  Will this be redemption (running and otherwise)?  I can’t say.  So far it has not been for our relationship, but I hope and pray for the best.  Will it be for running?  The same answer.  Last time to success was a long haul, but I made it.  The lesson I know now is to take it day by day and not rush the process.  The only thing I can say is to keep moving.

See you on the road!

-Mike

 

A Rangeley Run and Some Thanksgiving Cooking

After the Birthday Celebration at The Farm, we made our way back to Portland on Sunday morning and decided we should make the treacherous drive to Rangeley the same evening.

A shared 5 hour terror drive across ice covered roads in pitch-blackness wilderness brought us to the warm confines of our Rangeley Lake Resort cabin on a cold Sunday night.

We celebrated our arrival with some Perogies and onions…

Rangeley is a western mountains town known for its snow and cold temps and it certainly lived up to both for this Thanksgiving trip, but I did set out for a Tuesday morning run.

We also had some wildlife visitors…

I do admit that Addie can be wild, but she is not local wildlife in the 2nd pic above.

Our tradition at Rangeley is to have Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday night with a full compliment of Arlington Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” and Ray Davies’ “Thanksgiving Day” while I cook. We fulfilled that promise as the pictures below share.

We ended up having a, “Thanksgiving Feast that couldn’t be beat” with many toasts and lots of good conversation.

Thanksgiving Day was low key watching plenty of football and enjoying leftovers. No running that day, but we did manage to work off some calories at Moose Alley. Katie and Maggie managed to bowl the top scores.

I hope you also enjoyed a great holiday, and see you on the road!

Running at the Farm

The weekend before Thanksgiving, we all ventured to New Boston, NH to celebrate the 70th Birthday of Katie’s dad, Tex (aka Peter). We celebrated at Tex’s own Swallow Ridge Farm where he raises cattle. The Farm, as we call it, has been a place of many memorable events including holiday celebrations, a large family reunion, and my favorite, Maple Syrup Making weekends. It is an amazing place to visit and even more amazing is that Tex (with some family help) has rehabbed a once long abandoned property into a working farm virtually on his own. Some images of this great place:

That truck is especially awesome. It’s a 1948 (not sure of make and model) that Tex bought and had customized for the Farm.

Running in New Boston is always beautiful, but it does have a couple of drawbacks. 1) The roads are quiet, but mostly lack a shoulder which can make things scary against oncoming traffic. 2) New Boston puts the HILL in hilly. A great workout, but some of those climbs are soul-crushing! The route I took is a peaceful run mostly along one of the many dirt roads in the area. It was a chilly morning, but I was thankful for my new Smartwool PhD running tights (more on them in a later post). Things were so pleasant that stretched the run to 5 miles, which I had not achieved on some time.

It doesn’t look it, but that the road in the top picture is up a seemingly endless hill. One bonus: I hit my fastest pace of the run on the way down.

See you on the road!