Category Archives: Travel

My Other Hobby

As you know, my main hobby is running.  But another small hobby that I have is taking pictures of things that I see that are either amusing or interesting.

Yesterday, I saw the cutest  little bunny devouring my day lilies.  He was so cute, I let him continue to eat my flowers.IMG_20160609_074111

I usually send these pics to my kids.  Sometimes my husband.

My 21 year old said I was immature when I sent him this one.IMG_20160611_200947

 

Here are a few classics from my archives

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What does this mean??  I can’t come up with any theory to explain “NO FEATHERS”

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An Old-Timey console TV that someone had just left on the concrete divider in the center of a busy road

But…the one that got away this morning may have been the best ever.  I just couldn’t safely get a photo of him while I was driving:

 

It was a man, out for his morning run….wearing a rubber horse head mask over his head!!

What?? Had he just robbed a bank?

 

 

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A Squirrel on Safari

We have A LOT of squirrels here in Georgia.  They are everywhere. And while at first you may think they look cute with their little hands holding acorns up to their mouths, really they’re not.  They are  dangerous and expensive pests. In the winter, they like to come into houses for warmth and nesting.  Once they’re in, they do damage by nibbling holes into your roof which in turn allows water in…

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For several years, we had an on and off problem with squirrels in our attic.  We cut down 2 beautiful trees that were too close to the house which allowed the squirrels access to our roof.  Eventually, we had to get a new roof, which was hugely expensive!  (Not all due to the squirrels, it was also an old roof).

One time I saw a neighbor’s beautiful new Porsche Cayenne with its front end smashed in.  He had rear-ended a car in front of him that had unexpectedly and suddenly braked for a squirrel crossing the road. So overall, we don’t like squirrels.

As I mentioned last week, we went on safari in Botswana several years ago.  It was an amazing trip where  we got to see many rare and beautiful animals.  Some of the highlights were the African wild dogs, an elephant family with a baby that was only about two weeks old, and a male lion.  DSC_0477DSC_0478DSC_0176DSC_0397DSC_0398

When you go on safari, the very best (and almost only) way to see all of the animals is by open air Range Rover.

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The Range Rover fording a river

Some of the time, we had the Range Rover, driver and tracker all to ourselves.  Other times, we shared the Range Rover with others.  For two days, we were paired with a nice couple from South Africa.  Luckily, my children behaved, so I think that this couple was able to have a nice time too.

While you’re out driving around, the tracker is hunting for animals for us to see and photograph.  If there is an animal that we are particularly interested in, we can request that the driver stop, or give us some more time for photographing.  One of the days that we were with the South Africans, we saw an African wild dog pack kill an antelope.  It was gruesome but amazing to see the whole thing.  Not only are the wild dogs very rare, but to see them hunting was even more rare!  On the same day, we also saw TWO honey badgers.  These too are very rare.

And now here’s the funny part…After seeing some of the most amazing sights and animals, the most enthusistic reaction all day from our traveling companions was when we saw a squirrel!! We had to stop for a good while for them to take pictures.  We tried to be polite and not laugh, but I’m sure we failed.

 

A Trip to Africa and a Race in Atlanta

This blog is entitled travelrunstyle.  My original intention was to have a combo blog that featured all three of those subjects.  Somehow, I haven’t really lived up to the name of the blog, especially in the style area.  Mostly, this has become a blog about running, with a little bit of travel too.  And that’s what this post is going to be about.  (Maybe someday I’ll write a style blog).

A few years ago, we went on safari in South Africa.  My family flew ahead of me and broke up the long flight with a stopover in Paris.  A few days later, I took a direct flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg.  This was by far the longest flight I’ve ever taken – 17 hours! We also had a 2 hour ground delay in Atlanta due to rain!!  19 hours sitting in coach was a really really long time!

I had a window seat, which I prefer.  The seats were off-set a bit, so the person in the middle seat in front of me was visible as well as audible.  At first I was excited when I overheard him talking to his seat mate about running.  I hoped that maybe I could get in on the conversation!

Then he started talking about religion too. He kept on talking about running, and religion. And ON and ON and ON. FOR HOURS.  And I don’t sleep on planes.  Oh my goodness.  I can safely say he NEVER shut up.  Well…ok he did for a bit after he took a sleeping pill.  But still.  And it was loud!

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Eventually, I made it to the lodge at Krueger Park and met up with my family.  I had travelled with my running shoes, in hopes of getting a few miles in Africa.

Ya…No.

You don’t run while on safari.  Too dangerous.  Even without a run though it was an awesome trip.  So awesome, that we went again the next year to a nearby country, Botswana.

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African wild dogs…very rare.  We watched them make a kill, which was really gruesome.

In between the two trips to Africa, we ran some races here in Atlanta.  One of them was a small local race.  Both my husband and I usually line up towards the front in local races.  While we were waiting to start, I noticed someone on the front line that I recognized.  When I asked my husband who the guy was, he said he didn’t know.  Even before I could think to stop myself from talking, I thought I recognized that he was the loudmouth from the plane, and I asked him if he’d gone to Africa last year.  It was him.

Oh geez…why did I strike up a conversation with him?? What if he started a loud on going conversation that lasted the whole race.  I felt panicked!! Luckily, he must have been nervous about racing because the conversation was brief.

Small world…but I don’t think I’ve seen him since.  Or at least I know I haven’t HEARD him!

Hope you all have a nice weekend, and I’m looking forward to catching up on your posts!

Big Adventures Re-Cap 2015

So overall, some pretty good adventures this year.  In no particular order, here they are:

April 20, Boston Marathon

By far the biggest highlight for 2015! In fact running in the Boston Marathon is in my top 5 of ALL lifetime experiences.

I was so fortunate that my mother and daughter came with me. wp-1451316402051.jpeg

The whole trip was such and awesome experience!

I went to high school outside of Boston, and it was the first time my mom and I had been back in over 30 years! Someone had bought our old house…and then tore it down and put up a new one!!

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Replacement house

The day before the race, the weather was beautiful, sunny and high 50s.  Race day, not so much.  Heavy rain and REALLY cold (low 40s).  But so what?? It was the Boston Marathon!

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Crappy pic…screen shot from Marathon photo.  Still too cheap to spend $30 on a single photo download!!

I finished the race with a less than speedy time (4:18).  My BQ was 3:49, so I was a little disappointed…but not really. Again, it was the BOSTON MARATHON!

Spring Break In Costa Rica

Fun trip with 2 dopey teenage girls.

Snorkeling, jet skiing, white water rafting, horse back riding, mud baths, zip lining…Great adventures!

Rolling Stones Concert, June

My husband and I had each seen the Rolling Stones once before…when we were teenagers back in 1981.  The 1981 concert was pretty awful.  We were in Dallas, TX on Halloween and the weather was absolutely horrible. Flooding, cold rain and the concert was outdoors. The rain was so intense that the concert was cut short.

This time…AWESOME!  The weather was perfect. And the Rolling Stones were fantastic.  It was my teenage daughter’s first concert.

The Rolling Stones

June 9, 2015 The Rolling Stones Bobby Dodd Stadium, Georgia Tech

 

First High School Cross Country Race

Our son ran cross country when he was in high school and we had become huge fans of the sport.  We hoped that our daughter would  run too when she got to high school.  We knew she would be fast, but she doesn’t often  do what we want…

But she joined the team, and quickly became one of the top performers! Her first race was in Florida, and we drove down there to watch her.  She did great, and placed, and helped their team win 2nd place overall!

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Aren’t they so cute??

 

Thank goodness we took the time to drive to Florida (6 hours) to watch her run!  That  turned out to be her only race of the season.  She got a stress fracture, and missed every other race.

So those are the highlights of my year.  I’d love to hear about yours!

Today I am trying a link up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin.   See rules here. Thank you ladies!

WeeklyWrap

Changing the Title to: Close Encounters with 2 Olympic Runners

As you may know, we are huge high school cross country fans.  Our son ran, and now our daughter is running.  We avidly follow the speediest runners in our state.  And we have even gone to watch races in the gap years when neither child was racing.  For instance last year (our son had graduated, but  our daughter hadn’t entered high school), my husband and I ran a local race.  We knew I had placed in my age group, but decided to skip the awards ceremony so that we could get to the nearby cross country races.  Believe it or not, FRANK SHORTER was giving out the age group awards at the ceremony that we had skipped!!

We continue our fandom even after  cross country season ends. Around Thanksgiving, there is a regional race open to all.  The speediest high school runners from all over the Southeast attend. The Footlocker SE Regionals are held in Charlotte, NC.  Each year, we follow the results of the regionals through twitter feeds, live updates, and Facebook posts.

There are 3 other regional races held in other parts of the country.  The top ten finishers of each regional race then participate in the Foot Locker National race held in Balboa Park in San Diego, CA.   Each year we watch the live feed of this race over the internet.

When our boy ran, we mostly followed the boys.  Now that our girl runs, we mostly follow  the girls.  This year, there have been several speedy girls in the state of Georgia  that we have enjoyed watching.  We were thrilled to learn that THREE Georgia girls made the top ten at the SE regional!  This is unheard of!  Three girls from Georgia going to San Diego!!

The Footlocker National race was held this weekend.  We were able to watch it over the internet, and were once again inspired to watch these high school athletes compete at such an intense level.  The girls winner finished with a time of 17:09…on a HILLY course! The Georgia girls did well too.  15th, 19th and 39th. I get nervous and inspired and happy every time I watch the Footlocker races!

Several years ago we were able to attend and race in the SE Regionals! When our son was a senior, we took him to Charlotte.

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2012 SE Footlocker Regionals (can’t believe he allowed me to take his pic!)

Before the high school athletes race, there is a race open to any non-high schooler.  My husband and I signed up for it.  Talk about NERVOUS!  But the race was awesome!  For the most part, the runners were  former high school or college runners.  It was a very fast field, with very few females.  Normally I put myself toward the front of a race.  Not here!  I looked around and felt slow even before the race started.  I backed up and made a joke with the middle aged woman next to me about letting faster looking young men get to the front of the start line.  She laughed but didn’t say much.

The race itself was tougher than I’d expected.  Running cross country is harder than running on pavement.  Some of the terrain felt like sand, and it was hard to get a good foothold.  The fans were very supportive though.  High school girls that I didn’t know yelled encouragement to me as I passed…”Go MOM!”.  At the time, my finish time disappointed me.  During that Fall, I had finished several races in the 22s.  This one was 23:40.  (In retrospect, I’m perfectly happy with this time).

Next up was  our son’s race.  While we were waiting for his race to start, I stopped by the awards table to see if they had any results.  Amazingly, I had earned an award!! Twenty three women raced in the entire Master’s category.  The top 20 finishers received awards.  The top ten were gold medal winners.  The next ten received silver medals.  I finished 9th!! A Gold Medal!

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My favorite medal EVER!

 

The top lady in the category finished 6 full minutes faster than me.  Yes, a woman over forty finishing with something starting with a 17!! Amazing.  I later googled her name.  Zola Pieterse.  Maiden name BUDD.  Yes, she ran for the UK in the Olympics in the 80s!  She is the one who had a collision with Mary Decker on the track that caused Mary Decker to not finish.  WOW!!  I wonder if that was the middle aged lady that I had been joking with at the start.  She must have thought I was an idiot!

Our son ran, and did fine.  His finish time also started with a 17.  He was just barely faster than Zola!  He wasn’t pleased with his time though.  (They never are). One of the boys from our high school finished second!  He had been the fastest boy in Georgia for the past three years.  So with his second place finish, he earned a gold medal (I like to joke that Josh and I were the only 2 from our high school with the gold medals), and a spot in the Footlocker Nationals!

Today I am trying a link up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin.   See rules here. Thank you ladies!

WeeklyWrap

 

 

 

 

A Trip and Race in Barcelona Spain

Several years ago, my husband and I had the huge great fortune of having a friend invite our daughter to go on spring break with them.  All of a sudden, we had an (almost) empty nest.  My husband decided we had enough travel points to take an extended weekend trip.  He is an awesome trip planner and asked me where I wanted to go.  My only request was that he find us a destination with a race.  So on Wednesday, we booked a trip for Barcelona Spain…and left on Friday!

View from the (then) brand new international terminal in Atlanta

View from the (then) brand new international terminal in Atlanta

The race (Cursa El Corte Inglés), an 11k,  is the 5th largest race in the world with 65,000 runners. It is a free race, without T-Shirts, or bling…..or starting waves.  But, if you had one of those permanent round plastic chip timers that gets tied onto your shoe, you could start in the single corral reserved for ‘real’ runners.  We didn’t have the timers, but got SUPER lucky and found the importer of them right here in Atlanta!  I drove over and bought 2 from them.  The lady who was helping me cracked me up.  She said “You middle aged ladies are SO competitive!”  I thought to myself ‘Yeah, I could kick your AS_ in a race’. (So…I guess I proved her point!)

The race was on Sunday, and we arrived on Saturday.  We picked up our race bibs and did touristy things the rest of the day.  Our hotel was on the famous La Ramblas blvd, which is a pedestrian only walkway with hotels, markets, restaurants, cafes and museums on both sides.

La Ramblas

La Ramblas

marzipan that looked like produce in a La Ramblas market

marzipan that looked like produce in a La Ramblas market

Race day was cool and sunny.  We lined up to start just as the sun came up.

Race Start

Race Start

The race itself was awesome…through downtown Barcelona, left turn towards some beautiful, palace looking place, right turn up a giant hill that eventually dumped us into the Olympic Stadium and around the track (big thrill).

The Olympic Stadium

The Olympic Stadium

Then downhill, and finish at a park near the start in downtown again.  It was SOOO funny, there weren’t ANY spectators.  And in fact, near the finish, the was an elderly couple crossing the street right in the middle of the race (of 65,000 people).  They looked a bit bothered.

My husband and I didn’t find each other at the finish, but met up again at the hotel (which was pretty close).  Showered and food time.

Lunch at an outdoor cafe

Lunch at an outdoor cafe

Discussed our race...we don't run together, but we both had to walk up that big hill before the stadium

Discussed our race…we don’t run together, but we both had to walk up that big hill before the stadium

After lunch, we wandered back to the park where the race ends.  There were still people finishing!

Photo op at the race finish

Photo op at the race finish

The rest of our trip was more touristy stuff, and tapas bars!  Good Times!

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Where is the most ‘Exotic’ place you have ever raced?  What are your exotic race destination goals?  I want to run the marathon in Istanbul…it cover 2 continents in 1 race!

 

Trip of a Lifetime Part 8 – Peru.

After returning to the Luxury Starwood Resort in Urubamba (link here http://www.tambodelinkaresortview.com/) for the Inca Trail hikers to bathe and sleep in a real bed, we had another day of adventure the next day.

My husband does all of our trip planning – and does a fantastic job.  This day’s adventure was mountain hiking, zip lining, and repelling.  Here is the link to the tour that we took.

http://www.naturavive.com

We enjoyed the adventure, and I would recommend this tour group….however you really need to be in shape and not afraid of heights to do this trip!

Zip lining Photo from tour web-iste

Zip lining Photo from tour web-iste

The side of the Mountain that we repelled down

The side of the Mountain that we repelled down

Done Repelling down the side of the mountain

Done Repelling down the side of the mountain

After our adventure, the tour operator drove us to Cusco where we would be spending the night before beginning our journey home.

The hotel was beautiful, new (built inside an old building), and of course a Starwood resort (Thank you Starwood Amex for the Points!) Here is the link: http://www.palaciodelinkahotel.com/

Lobby of our hotel

Lobby of our hotel

In the evening, we sampled Pisco Sours at the bar — delicious, but dangerous!

Pisco Sour - Delicious and Dangerous!

Pisco Sour – Made from Fermented grapes and top with frothy egg whites

Our last morning in Peru, we did some sight seeing in Cusco.  We are NOT SHOPPERS…but spent the entire morning shopping!  I have read reviews that say the shopping in Cusco is too touristy, but we really enjoyed ourselves.

There are so many hand made, high quality items available at fairly reasonable prices…from hand knit items to colorful hand woven textiles to unique sterling silver jewelry.  We indulged.

Girls shopping

Girls shopping

Hand Knit Hats for my nephews

Hand Knit Hats for my nephews

My treat for me - Sterling Silver at fantastic prices!

My treat for me – Sterling Silver at fantastic prices!

A Mirror withhand made shadow box scenarios of Peruvian life built into the frame

A Mirror with hand made shadow box scenarios of Peruvian life built into the frame

And then we were done.  Headed for a flight from Cusco to Lima. Then Lima back home to Atlanta.  A really great trip, and truly a trip of a lifetime!

Waiting for our flight

Waiting for our flight

Trip of a Lifetime Part 6 – Peru

Gabby and I took the train to Machu Pichu to meet up with the hikers and see the ruins.

The morning train to Machu Pichu

The morning train to Machu Pichu

Our ride took us through the sacred valley, the beautiful Andes on either side of us.  Gabby fell asleep, I watched the mountains go by.  They were so awesome, I had tears in my eyes.

Our train stopped in Aguas Calientes, where there are some hot springs.

Aguas Calientes. The village below Machu Pichu.

Aguas Calientes. The village below Machu Pichu.

From there we boarded a bus that took us up a windy, scary one lane road to Machu Pichu. We met up with our hikers!

The hiker plus Gabby

The hikers plus Gabby

Machu Pichu was indescribable.  So much to see…!

Machu Pichu

Machu Pichu

Machu Pichu

Machu Pichu

Our hiking guide gave us a tour and taught us about the ruins and the civilization that once lived there.  We kind wished he’d shut up so that we could enjoy the experience with out BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

Our Guide teaching us about Machu Pichu and Incan civilization

Our Guide teaching us about Machu Pichu and Incan civilization

Really though he was an excellent teacher and guide for the hikers.

Spring Break 2015 in Costa Rica

Hi….I’m taking a break from the Peru posts.  I feel a little bored of them.

This past April, I took our 14 year old daughter to Costa Rica.  And, as I have mentioned in the Peru posts, since 14 year old girls are completely incapable of going ANYWHERE by themselves, we brought a friend.  This friend was different than last year’s friend because another known fact about teenage girls is that usually friends from when you are 13 aren’t the same friends as when you’re 14.  But I digress….

Once again we used travel points that we’d earned from our business purchases to stay at a very nice resort.  We stayed in Guanacaste, Costa Rica after having landed at the Liberia airport.  It was less than an hour from the airport to our hotel which was on the Papagayo Bay of the Pacific.  The resort was a Hyatt property which I would recommend.  Here is the link:

http://papagayo.andaz.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

Our room was very nice

our room

our room

Our Shower

Our Shower

and the staff was helpful and kind.  I did notice some ogling of the girls by some of the young male staff members…but in defense of the staff members, these girls paraded around in very small bikinis.  And the young men stopped staring as soon as I gave them the old-lady-stink-eye.

The surrounding area was beautiful. And we spent our first day snorkeling at the beach and exploring.

snorkeling

snorkeling

hammock on the beach

hammock on the beach

view of Papagayo Bay from a pavilion

view of Papagayo Bay from a pavilion

The second day was an adventure day.  We booked a tour we’d found through TripAdvisor with a fantastic  tour guide.  Our tour would include a stop at a waterfall, a zip-lining canopy tour, hiking through a rain forest, horse back riding and a dip in volcanic mud baths….all for a super reasonable cost, and with lunch included!

First Stop:  The waterfall

waterfall

waterfall

We swam out to the falls and climbed under them.  The only picture I have of this features a stranger’s rear end.  So you’ll just have to imagine us swimming and climbing.

Next Stop: Zip Lining

Getting ready to zip line

Getting ready to zip line

No pics from the actual zip line tour…but it was awesome!  And then we found some puppies at the zip line hut afterwards.

Puppies at the Zip Lining Place

Puppies at the Zip Lining Place

Next Stop…Lunch.

The tour info described the lunch as ‘typical’.  For some reason this became a funny thing for us.

'Typical' lunch (grilled chicken, black beans, macaroni salad and cheese...delicious)

‘Typical’ lunch (grilled chicken, black beans, macaroni salad, rice and cheese…delicious)

Horseback riding

I dislike horse back riding, and made this clear to our guide.  As I result, I was given the most docile horse to ride.  I swear I could have hopped off his back and walked faster!

Horseback riding

Horseback riding

Rain Forest Hike

Rain Forest

Rain Forest

Mud Bath

The area in Costa Rica where we stayed has many active volcanoes.  The mud bath was part of a sulfur vent associated with one of these volcanoes.

sulfur vent

sulfur vent

wallowing in the mud bath

wallowing in the mud bath

 

After the mud bath, we rinsed off under human shaped water fountains.  The water spurted out of the male part of one of the fountains, which was pretty humorous to all of us!

The whole day was a fantastic adventure!  I’d highly recommend our tour guide and his tour company for an awesome day at reasonable prices.

http://www.costaazultravels.com

The Trip of a Lifetime Part 4 – Peru

After our first evening in Urubamba, Gabby and I HAD to find some money.  In the morning, we walked into the town searching for an ATM that would work with my card, or a bank.

It was market day in the village, so we got to see the preparations underway.

Bags of Potatoes and other vegetables were dropped off here in preperation for market day

Bags of Potatoes and other vegetables were dropped off here in preparation for market day

Peruvian lady selling chicks

Peruvian lady selling chicks

Market Day Kiosk

Market Day Kiosk

It was also some sort of celebration day.  There was a parade of school children in their uniforms around the town square, and a stage set up for dignitaries on the church steps.

Parade of school children marching through the town square

Parade of school children marching through the town square

Dignitaries  on a stage at on the church steps, watching the parade

Dignitaries on a stage on the church steps, watching the parade

We found some ATMs, but my card didn’t work in any of them.  We found a bank, but weren’t allowed in because it was for Peruvians only. In the meantime, we were living off the cash that Gabby’s dad had given her.  Thank goodness he was generous!