October 31, 2013

Three Things Thursday: Running Shoes Edition

Let's talk running shoes.

After all, my blog is called 'Planes, Trains and Running Shoes.'

When it comes to running shoes, I haven't always been the smartest runner. I tend to run my shoes to the ground, realizing one day on a run that's 2 or 4 weeks before race day, that I desperately need new running shoes now.

This has happened for almost every race I've ever run...since I started running...and it needs to change. It isn't healthy and I'm pretty sure is a huge reason for the various issues I've had this year (plantar fascitis, IT Band strain), etc.

For the last year and a half, I've run in the Saucony Guide 5s. Four different pairs of them. Before that, I was running in the Nike Pegasus. I tried the New Balance 890s for a bit but they didn't even last 200 miles and I thought that they were a waste of money. The Nike Pegasus is a Neutral running shoe. The Guide 5 is a Stability shoe.

I'm not necessarily sure that I need a stability shoe. I tend to overpronate very slightly on my right side and I am definitely a late stage pronator. Since backing out from Marine Corps, I haven't done too much running, but I've been doing a lot of research into running shoes, something I've never done before, and looking into not just one training shoe...but possibly three. These are the shoes that are currently on my radar.

1. Newton Gravity - Newton is doing something really interesting with their shoes. The deep panels along the balls of your feet encourage mid-foot striking. Prior to my IT band (and simultaneous hip issue), I was a pretty solid mid-foot striker. The reason I'm looking into the Gravity is to try and correct my form and get back to that. Right now, I think Stability shoes are just allowing my feet to continue to pronate, rather than correcting the issue. Newton describes the shoe as a daily training shoe that is both supportive and structured and perfect for the runner who does tempo runs or intervals every now and again...aka me. So, I'm looking at the Newtons as my every day running shoe...something that I wouldn't run anymore than 8 or 9 miles in and would also use for tempo runs and maybe speed work.

2. Mizuno Wave Sayonara - This is a beautiful shoe. Not only does it come in amazingly fun colors, but this is a shoe that was built to be a running shoe. It's extremely light, has excellent traction and has the cushioning that you need for higher mileage (something I'm used to from running in a Stability shoe). I have yet to confirm this, but someone told me that the Women's shoe is entirely different from the Men's...that it's specifically designed to be a Women's shoe, which is an interesting feature. The Sayonara is designed for fast training and racing, so I 'm looking at for tempo and mid-distance runs (9-16 miles) and possibly as a race day shoe.

3. Adidas Energy Boost - Adidas is making a huge push into the running shoe market and I think they're on to something. For years, running shoes have been made with a standard EVA foam. The Energy Boosts are made with their boost technology which is designed to be soft and springy, but still supportive. The arches have low support to design for a more fluid stride. I spent some time talking to a marathoner who runs in these and he said that your foot will feel the same at Mile 1 as it well at Mile 26...which is crazy impressive. These shoes just look comfortable. I'm looking at these for long runs (18 and up) and possibly as Race Day shoes.

Now, I haven't gotten into any of these shoes yet. I KNOW. But, I'm doing my research which means I'm learning what I both want and need out of a running shoe, so I think that even if these particular shoes don't do the trick, I have an idea of what I'm looking for. Either way, my goal for next year is to train smart...and that starts with the most important element of my training...running shoes. I'm determined to not only have a full, successful training cycle next year but to finally, finally get that sub-4 I've been chasing for three years.

Do you run in any of these shoes? Thoughts? Opinions? I'd love to know!

October 29, 2013

The Weekend

This weekend was entirely too short. I felt like I didn't have much of a weekend at all, in fact! 

I can't even remember what I did on Friday night...clearly it was eventful.

Saturday morning, The Pilot and I were up early to clean the apartment before we had a baker come over to bring us samples of all of her fun and delicious treats! A cake tasting that comes to you? I love it! 

I wish I could say I took pictures...but we dove in before I even thought about it! Let's just say that our wedding is definitely going to cater to both of our sweet tooths...teeth?

Saturday night, I headed over to Leanna's for Game 3 of the World Series...aka the game with that awful Obstruction Call...ugh. That happens maybe twice a year. What a terrible way to end a game!

Sunday morning, I was up bright and early for the Marine Corps Marathon! Except this time, instead of waking up at 4:30am to toe the line, I was up early to spectate...which I am terrible at. Not only did I forget my cowbells, but I completely missed Jenna running the 10k...and my chance to jump in with her.

Clearly I am much better at running these things than spectating them. 

Oh well, I still had an absolute blast spectating with three of my favorite people. 

Peyton came too!
She loves cheering on all the runners chasing after all the squirrels.
We were stationed in Crystal City right between Miles 22 and 23. 

We saw the wheel chair division come through first, followed by the male lead (who was leading by over 2 minutes), the 2nd and 3rd place male runners (who were neck and neck) and a handful of other men before the women started coming through and the rest of the pack. 

My goodness to be that fast and have that much of a lead. 
I kept cheering until shortly after the 4:00 pace group (tear!) came through before heading over to Eastern Market for celebratory brunch with Jenna and friends.

Sunday afternoon, The Pilot and I lounged around watching football before heading to church. I was feeling absolutely terrible and skipped out on my Sunday school classes...which I was super bummed about, but I needed to just come home and go to bed. We picked up some soup from Whole Foods for dinner and called it a night. 

Monday, I was cranky and not feeling well at all. I worked late and was exhausted, but today, I'm feeling a million times better. I'm hoping to get in a much needed run tomorrow and try out some new shoes I've been eyeing. I'll keep you all posted on that!

October 24, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. Marine Corps Marathon - I've calmed down a little bit since Friday in my itch to be part of the race. Mainly because I did some sets of straight dead leg lifts on Monday and my hamstrings are still recovering. In all seriousness though, I'm ok with not running the marathon. I'm still up in the air about the 10k but whether I'm running my least favorite distance race that morning or on the sidelines spectating, I'll be happy either way. This was the smart decision to make and I just need to keep that in mind amidst all of the race excitement.

2. Coffee - I am not one of those people who can't start the morning without a cup of coffee. More often than not, I drink coffee to keep warm than to wake up. Every once in awhile, I'll need that morning boost. On Monday, my coffee maker exploded. Literally. After brewing my morning cup, I went to turn it off and it went up in smoke, sending sparks flying everywhere. This was not only terrifying, but it has left me without a coffee maker.

Thankfully, I live in a building where I can get coffee before work if I need it, but I do need a replacement. I love brewing coffee and my little 4 cup coffee maker, but I'm the only one who uses. The Pilot doesn't drink coffee, but will occasionally drink tea. I have a tea kettle that I use for such occasions. I don't think I want something like the Keurig, but I'm wondering what kind of coffee makers everyone out there uses?

3. Blog Redesign - Thanks to the fabulous Sarah over at Venus Trapped in Mars and her Saturday Sessions, I'm in the process of redesigning my blog. I've had the same look for the last year or so and it's time for something fresh and new! I'm working on everything in a Test Blog but here's a little peak of what I'm working on!


So that's what's going on this Thursday! I hope you're all looking forward to the weekend as much as I am!

October 23, 2013

Can we go back to Paris?


I love Paris. Love. I went there for the first time in 2007 with friends and went back again last year with The Pilot. We spent the entire weekend eating macarons and delicious French food, strolling the Seine and getting lost in the gardens at Versailles.

It was the perfect vacation.

Lately, I've had such an itch to get back to Paris and maybe even take some time to head to the south of France. Visit the French Riviera, see Cannes and Nice...take a ride to Monaco or Marseille.

But let's get back to Paris for a minute....I love it. Take a look at my bedroom.

Ahhhh Paris. Those lamps? Eiffel Towers.

So where am I going with all of this? Well, Go with Oh, my newest favorite website and the place to go to scout out apartment rentals all over Europe, is having a blog competition. All you have to do is pick your favorite apartment in any one of their 17 European cities and write a post about why it makes you go weak at the knees.

So, after spending countless hours scouting their apartments all over Europe, I kept being drawn back to the Parisian apartments. I spent even more hours scouting out the almost 400 Paris apartments before finally settling on one that I absolutely adored.

Described as a 'Charming studio ideal for couples in the Ile Saint-Louis area,' this apartment first caught my eye (or, should I say click) because it had the same portrait of Paris as the one I have in my bedroom.

The apartment is a small studio on the Ile-Saint Louis, which is just across the bridge from Notre Dame and very close to Pont Marie Metro station, making it very accessible to the rest of Paris.

I absolutely adore this studio. The accents on the Juliet balcony, the wooden beams on the ceiling...it's adorable.

It's small and doesn't have a full kitchen...but who needs a kitchen when you're in Paris? The last time The Pilot and I were in Paris, we ate all of our meals out and spent almost all of our time exploring the city that we only really went back to the hotel to sleep before heading out again the next morning.

The apartment is on a quiet, shop-lined street on Ile-Saint Louis and it just looks like the perfect spot to go for a morning run while The Pilot is still sleeping.

Even the bathroom is perfect. Sleek glass doors with a double shower head? There is nothing better than a long, hot shower after a full day of walking around sight seeing.

There isn't too much to this quaint little studio, but it's perfect and I love it. Excuse me while I go book two tickets to Paris so that we can jet out tomorrow. I would love to test out this apartment and peruse the quiet little streets of Ile Saint-Louis. Not to mention that my wardrobe could use a little European refresher.

So, Go with Oh, there you have it...this is the apartment that makes my heart skip a beat...and the destination at that!

Tell Me: Have you checked out Go with Oh? Have you ever stayed in an apartment versus a hotel while traveling? If you could guest test a Go with Oh apartment, which of their 17 cities would you go to?

October 21, 2013

Thoughts on a Monday

It's Marathon Week in DC and I'm not running. I'm fine with this decision...the lingering knee pain I still have is enough to make me think twice about toeing the line, but I'm still bummed about it. I posted a message on Twitter this morning to see if anyone knows anyone with a bib for the 10k because the idea of the race floating right past my apartment without me having some part of it is heartbreaking.

So if you know anyone with a 10k bib, please send them my way!

It was a horribly gloomy weekend in DC but The Pilot was home for his last weekend of vacation before heading back to work yesterday, so Saturday, we headed out to Old Town Alexandria for some window shopping.
The tree lined streets of Old Town.
I love heading into Old Town and perusing all of the little shops! You can get some great finds there and I'm definitely planning on doing some of my Christmas shopping in Old Town!

I was super excited to find that they have a 10,000 Villages there! If you've never been to the fair trade shop, I highly recommend it! It's one of my favorite places and I always find great gifts there!

Colder temperatures have hit DC and I am not happy about it. I am not at all one of those "OMG I LOVE THE FALL! I LOVE IT WHEN THE MORNINGS ARE 42 DEGREES" type of people. Yes, the leaves are pretty, but when I have to start layering my clothing, my mood starts to go south pretty quickly. I am very much prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder and want it to be summer again now, please and thank you.

This week is going to involve a lot of late nights, but that's ok. I'm determined to make the best of it. Hope you all have a fabulous week!

October 16, 2013

Wedding Things I: Getting Started

Friday night, I came home from work, put on sweat pants and a t-shirt, turned on my TV and watched several hours of Four Weddings and Say Yes to the Dress while playing around on the internet and looking at pages upon pages upon pages of wedding things.

Now, before you go running over to my Pinterest page, you should know that I haven't actually pinned very many wedding things and those that I have are on a secret board. I will scatter this post with some pictures of things I do love though, to keep it interesting =)

Baseball Stadium names as Table Numbers? LOVE!
It's been almost 3 months since The Pilot and I got engaged and in that time, we've gotten quite a number of things planned for our wedding. When we first got engaged, I wanted to take our time planning things and not rush into it. He had other ideas. We had to nail down our date by mid-September because he has to request his vacation time a year in advance.

We knew we wanted to get married in DC. That was easy. It's our home and with our families living all over the country, everyone was going to have to travel anyway, so why not just do it here?

How AMAZING would it be to take all of our wedding photos on the National Mall?!
The church was the easy part. We're both Catholic and belong to a church, so shortly after getting engaged, we made our way over there to register for pre-Cana (Catholic marriage prep) and look at available dates.

When it came to a reception site, we knew we wanted something that was quintessentially DC and after one hiccup with the venue we originally wanted, we found an amazing site that, while not a traditional wedding venue, has done some incredible weddings and meets our requirement for being very DC.

Once we set our date and picked out our locations, we we decided to tackle some other things on our list like booking a DJ (super easy as I went with one I had seen at a wedding in August), a photographer (after looking at like 30 different photographers' websites and blogs and chatting with about 10 of them, we ended up booking the first guy we met, who I love) and a hotel for our wedding guests.

How fun are these maps from Laura Hooper Calligraphy to show your guests where all of your wedding festivities will be taking place?
Easy. Peasy. I've even gone wedding dress shopping with Mom and chosen the ladies who will stand by me on the altar (when you have a bunch of sisters, that's really easy to do).

So, there you have it. The Pilot and I are planning a wedding! We've gotten a lot done, but have a lot to do...and a lot of time to do it. So far, we're having way too much fun planning and I hope it stays just like that, because after all...we're just throwing a big party and it's going to be a blast!

Tell Me: Are you currently planning or have you planned a wedding? Your own? Your BFF's? Your sister's? What were your favorite (and least favorite) parts of the process?

October 14, 2013

The Last Few Weeks

Thank you all for the sweet comments on my last post about my grandfather. It's been a really difficult couple of weeks and it's nice to have so much support from friends, family and the internet.

I'm exhausted. I don't think I've been this exhausted in years. Backing out of Marine Corps was one of the best decisions I've made, and a decision that I'm no longer upset about with the way the last two weeks have gone.

When my mom called me to tell me that my grandfather was in the hospital and not doing so well, I hopped on the first flight to New Jersey the next morning. I was already planning on heading up that weekend, so I just made my way up a day earlier than planned.

The Pilot's sister was getting married and I was in the bridal party. I spent three days in the hospital with my family for between 12 and 15 hours per day. It was exhausting. My grandfather was moved to the hospital's hospice unit on Wednesday and he passed away on Thursday evening. Those 3 days were really, really difficult.

The rest of the week went like this:

Friday - Rehearsal Dinner
Saturday - Wedding
Sunday - Wake
Monday - Funeral

The wedding was beautiful. I tried really hard to have fun. I danced for a little bit, but spent most of the evening being a little bit of a wallflower. Grief is an overwhelmingly powerful emotion and overshadowed any joy that I could feel for the happy couple. I felt terrible. As a bridesmaid, I tried so hard to be cheerful and happy. Everyone understood what was going on, but it was really difficult all the same.

Here's a picture of The Pilot and me on our way to the reception.

So that was last week. The Pilot and I made our way back to DC on Tuesday and after being away for the entire week, it was so.good.to.be.home. I spent the next five days (Wednesday - Saturday) on my feet for 9 hours a day at work and coming home and basically vegetating on the couch.

I haven't worked out in almost 2 weeks. I don't think I've gone that long without exercising in almost 4 years. I'm so grateful to have a day off today. I tried to sleep in, but being awake at 5:45am the last few days, set my internal clock to waking me up at about 8:30am.

I'm excited to get in an easy run today, to do a little cleaning and lounge around the house, maybe see some friends. Lord knows I need it.

So that's that...I have over 500 unread blogs in my BlogLovin' account and there's no way I can catch up on all of them, so let me know what's been going on in the internet world! Hopefully my last two weeks of Radio Silence have come to an end and I'll be back to my regular posting this week.

Cheers <3

October 9, 2013

Radio Silence

Sorry for the Radio Silence over the last two weeks, it's been pretty overwhelming here in PTRS land.

Last Monday, my sister called me to tell me that my grandfather was in the hospital and not doing well. After getting details from my mom, I decided to take an early flight out to New Jersey on Tuesday morning.

I spent the next three days in the hospital with my mom, grandmother, aunt, uncle, sister and cousin...basically my whole family.

Thursday evening, my grandfather passed away.

I'm extremely fortunate to have grown up with all of my grandparents. This made his passing that much more difficult...I've never had to do this before. The hardest part of it all was trying to hold it together and be strong for my mom and grandmother.

The week was incredibly difficult. Spending 12+ hours in the hospital for 3 days straight was exhausting...but it brought my family together in a way that we've never had to be together and I'm grateful for having been able to spend the entire week with them and not having to worry about work or anything, looking at old pictures, sharing memories, laughing together, crying together...it was a lot.

My 8th grade graduation
My grandfather was an unbelievable man. We called him Abuelito. He was born in the Dominican Republic and brought his family to the US in the 1960s. Under the Trujillo dictatorship, he was a political prisoner. He served a term as mayor of Santo Domingo (the capital city of the DR). He instilled in me my love of politics and world affairs and always said I would be the first woman to be president.

He was, as my mom describes him, old school Hollywood class. He was unbelievably distinguished and the perfect gentlemen. He dressed impeccably, even when he was just lounging around the house. He always had perfectly pressed shirts and slacks when we came over. He was a man who believed in family above all things. He adored my grandmother. While looking at pictures, I found a picture of him that he had written on the back. The picture was dated 1951 and it said, "Dearest Martha, save this as a dearest reminder of the most perfect love a heart can hold."
My grandparents in DC, circa 1971
He is the reason I love Apple Jacks and Apple Juice. He was an amazing cook, and his house was never the same once he stopped cooking. He was 89 years old. He lost a long battle with Alzheimer's and he's finally resting. Saying goodbye has been tremendously heartbreaking, but I'm incredibly fortunate to have had him for this long, and to have been with him, and with my family, holding his hand in his final moments.
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