Monday, May 23, 2016

Berlin- where the vacation began and ended

On a Friday afternoon we took Air Berlin to.... Berlin. It was a nice experience and had no complaints about the flight/food whatever. I even slept for a few hours which was amazing.


Upon landing in Berlin, we headed to the hotel and then met up with the Berlin Chapter of the Mikkeller Running Club. Post about that experience {Here}


We passed by Kaiser Wilhelm Church multiple times- it was damaged by a bombing raid in 1943. It was definitely a bit jarring to see the effects of war.


We walked around a lot and took tons of photos- and also got one with one of many of the "Berlin Buddy Bears." They are painted in different themes to promote events under the theme of peace and understanding.


We also saw the Brandenburg Gate at dusk. It was beautiful.


For dinner, we ate a Doner Kebap plate. It was so amazingly delicious- I've had similar plates in the USA, but they don't hold a candle to any of the ones I had in Berlin.


I really liked this sign- a bear (symbol of Berlin) breaking off the famous TV tower.


For breakfast the next morning we went to Curry 36 and got a curry wurst and fries.


I was shocked to see that dogs were allowed on the subway cars. The ones we saw riding, were so well behaved. CB would have freaked the eff out.


We went to the Berlin Wall memorial. I cannot wrap my mind around how Germany was split until almost 30 years ago. Families were separated and unable to visit each other- and the division of east vs west side is still so prominent in the architecture.


To see these historic monuments in person was overwhelming.


I cannot imagine what life would have been life before the wall came down in 1989.


We walked a lot and eventually made our way to Stone Brewery.


Stone is a 15 min walk from the end of one of the subway lines- it's an absolutely gorgeous space. When we visited, only the library bar was open. By fall, the main hall and outdoor space will likely be open and able to accommodate 1000+ people.


Stone has its work cut out for them since craft beer is a relatively new thing in Germany, plus the German Purity Law for beer is ingrained in most people's thoughts concerning beer. Most people love their go to Berliner Weiss, pilsners, but I'm sure with some craft beer education/acceptance, and time spent out on this amazing beer garden, it will be a popular place.


We flew to Copenhagen on Monday morning- and then back to Berlin the following Monday. We stayed in a different hotel for our 2nd set of nights. Clearly this hotel was built in the East Germany side- with a very communist aesthetic.


We went to the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe.


We ate more Curry wurst.


And saw more buddy bears.


We walked by Checkpoint Charlie.


And had an amazing simple breakfast before walking around Kreuzberg.


We waited in line for 40 minutes to get arguably the best Kebap in Berlin at Mustafa's. It was pretty damn good so I'd say it was totally worth the wait.

We met some of our Brasilian friends who now live in Germany for dinner one night- homemade pizza- which prompted me to get a personal pizza maker upon my return because it was so good.


Our last evening in Berlin, we went to Monterey Bar and had some fantastic beer and had some great conversation with the bartenders.


For dinner on our last night, we had more Kebap, because it is delicious and because I haven't found a suitable equivalent in Chicago.


The 9 hour plane ride was long- but worth it for all of the amazing memories which I glossed over here. Berlin was really great. It was definitely not the picture of a traditional German city I had in my head- it was way more culturally diverse and metropolitan than I had thought. The food and people we encountered were all amazing, and I wouldn't hesitate to go back here- but I'd want to brush up on some more German words first since depending on where you go, many folks don't speak English. Duolingo came to the rescue when I needed to buy a bottle of water and the cashier didn't speak English. I'll always remember "wasser."


I stocked up on 3kg (6.61lbs) of the freshest gummies, but also wish I had bought some of the other Haribo varieties before we left since the airport had a crap selection. But I also didn't want to carry a ton of gummy bears around with us while walking all over Berlin.


During the return flight, I drew a photo of CB on the plane because I was sick of watching old TV shows and movies.


A few hours after we landed, we got CB from boarding. He was super happy to see us. We also missed him a ton. It was nice to be back.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Running with Mikkeller Running Club in Berlin and Copenhagen

A few Fridays ago we took a long flight to Berlin to start our vacation. Upon landing early Saturday morning, we got to the hotel and then headed to meet up with the Berlin Chapter of MRC. We met at the famous Alexanderplatz square- with the iconic TV tower and clock.



We ran a few miles with the group through a park which contained a huge hill- it was amazing.



We chatted the entire time during the run as if we had been friends for a long time- I mean we kinda were. We had been stalking each other's Instagram for a while before actually meeting in real life. We ended the run at Bierlieb bottle shop and met Richard, the brewer of Berliner Berg beer who sponsored our run. His pale ale and Irish stout hit the spot post run. It was a great way to kick off our vacation. Thank you Theresa and Daniel for being amazing hosts!


On Monday we flew to Copenhagen. Tuesday evening was the 2nd Mikkeller Beer Run 5k. I was the defending champ from last year's run- but had no intention of pushing too hard since I had just ran a marathon a few weeks prior and hadn't run much in between.



We got our game faces on, all ready to run.


There was a 10k happening at the same time as the 5k- they were going to do 2 laps of the course, and I was thankful I only had to do one.



Pre race, they announced that I was running the race again as the defending champ- which made me smile. Soon the gun went off and I found myself right behind Mikkel and Søren dropping 6:20 pace like NBD. Ruh roh. After 800m, I backed off on the pace like a sensible smart person. I was having a blast running through the streets of Copenhagen. I stopped at the 4km "aid station" which was fully stocked only with beer. My mouth was so dry and the beer was much needed at that moment in time. After 50 seconds, I picked up the pace and continued on to the finish.



I came in 4th woman overall and had a blast during this race. I think I PR'd at having fun during a 5k.



Post race we rehydrated with beer and enjoyed hanging with friends.



We got to see friends we made last year as well as meet some awesome folks who we had been following online for quite some time.


Despite not "racing" this race, I feel I gave a solid effort- 5k pain face as proof.


We also got to run with the MRC Copenhagen crowd again on Saturday for a special edition of their monthly runs.


It was awesome getting to meet so many people from MRC chapters all over the world.



It's wonderful to be able to have running and drinking buddies in 100 cities around the world now. We are all about the #mrcTourism


MRC Prague, Chicago, Liverpool and London.


Running with people in a new place is a great experience- you see places you wouldn't normally visit and get to connect with some amazing people.


Thank you Mikkeller Running Club for for all the amazing memories from this trip.

Can't wait to return next year.

Skål! Cheers!







Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ironman Wisconsin: Week 1

One week down and 19 more to go! Yay.

Since I was only 1 week removed from the marathon, I amended my training plan so that I would not over do it and cause injury. The 2 year anniversary of the reappearance of the peroneal tendonosis was fresh on my mind since it was during this week that it happened- yes I keep track of it. (I also felt some twinges in my ankle which spooked me even further- I gave it some extra TLC and it went away just as fast as it came. Thank god) I will continue to amend the training plan as necessary- especially the next few weeks because of travel, and because of marathon recovery. Even though I physically felt 100% a few days post Carmel, I know there's a lot more at play during recovery. No need to rush it. I'm not concerned at all.

When all was said and done, I had worked out a total of 6:06:21 for 59.3 miles. It was a good start to IMWI training.

Swim: 46:50 for 2300 yards

Bike: 3:04:31 for 41.23 miles

Run: 2:15 for 16.76 miles



I'm starting to incorporate specific workouts and drills while I'm at the pool vs just swimming random yardage. It felt good to swim fast for 50 yard intervals- especially since I won't be getting that rush from running for a few more weeks. I'll start doing the same for cycling soon also.

Snapshots:

Soldier field had a nice firework display for the NFL draft.



Saturday we went to Three Floyds Dark Lord Day. It's a day where FFF releases their Dark Lord Stout- they have bands and people share bottles of beer- it's a cool festival. We rode to Munster, IN in style on the Reggies bus.



And waited in a long line to get in- but we were sharing beer with people so the time passed relatively quick.





It was cold and rainy the entire day- luckily there were tents.




We were thoroughly soaked after a while. But, we were having fun hanging out with friends and sharing bottles.




We picked up our allotment of Dark Lord and then got our variants- and went back into the rain.



I'm firmly convinced these events are 100% better with friends. Yeah, the rain and cold sucked- but we still had so much fun.





Yay Dark Lord, yay.




It was pretty sweet, but good. I can't wait to try some variants on tap next week.





DLD is best enjoyed with friends.




Thank goodness for tents.




And then we decided to go home back on the Reggies bus. We pushed our way on because there were easily enough people for 3+ buses. It was eat or be eaten at this point. Luckily we got on and were on our way home and not stuck waiting for the next bus.




Despite the shitty weather, we had a fun time, but were exhausted. Even though we said at the time we likely wouldn't go back, I have a feeling we will be buying tickets again once that time comes next year.




Looking forward:

Train as much as I can while traveling but don't beat myself up over it.



--Xaarlin