Off to Paris & Dinner at Eiffel Tower

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

We slept in again and had lunch with Cathy before we ventured down to Lyon to catch the train to Paris. It was a quick 2-hour trip. We meandered through the train station to find the subway to our hotel. It was a bit tricky and I got very frustrated. I finally found our way and before too long we were at the hotel. Our hotel location was great. It was close to a subway stop, blocks away from Notre Dame and lots of restaurants, bakeries and shops. It was perfect, I would stay there again!


After an hour to freshen up, we went to the Eiffel Tower for dinner. Michael purchased dinner at the Restaurant 58 on the second level of the tower. It was very good. I saved Michael from the nuts in the desert! It was my first and only save. Michael is allergic to nuts. We asked the waitress if there were nuts in the desert to which she reply, but of course it is praline. Michael told her he was allergic and she had a look of worry on her face and asked how allergic was he. Haha. All is well, he didn’t actually eat it. 

We took the river cruise after sunset and enjoyed the sites at night. We got back to the hotel around midnight and were starving. We found this cute pizza place by the hotel and had a midnight snack. It was a very nice day!


Tour of Lyon

Monday morning, we slept in a bit and met Cathy at her school at 11:30. We had lunch with her and a couple of the teachers. It was very interesting! They drank wine with their meal! We all had the pork chop and potatoes. It was very good. I’m not a huge pork fan but this was amazing. I really enjoyed our lunch.


We walked down to the train station and got the next train to Lyon (about 15 minutes away). We went to the main square and got on the Open Top Lyon Bus Tour. It was nice. We got to see a lot of the city. Some of those streets were very narrow and steep and nerve-wracking! The tour lasted about 2 hours. 


We had to rush from the bus to the train station to meet Juliette and Michael. They arrived a bit early. We took a train back to Saint Germain and walked up the long hill to Cathy’s house. We had another great dinner. And Eric drank a lot of wine, haha!


Beaune, Saint-Vallier & Mont-Saint Vincent

Day 2 of our vacation we got into Cathy’s car for a trip to Beaune, France. We did a tour of Hotel-Dieu, an old hospital. It was a very neat place. We had another traditional French lunch and we were off to the Patriarche. Patriarche has been producing Burgundy wines for 230 years. Jean-Baptiste Patriarche of Savigny-lès-Beaune in Burgundy founded his family wine company in 1784. He bought the convent of the Visitandines which was founded in 1632. The nuns were run off during the French Revolution and Jean-Baptiste moved in. We got to do a tasting of many fine wines. I still hate wine though. Haha!

After that we drove to Saint-Vallier to Cathy’s parent’s house. We met her parents. They didn’t speak English so Marie was our translator. She did a great job. We had some cookies and water and stayed for about an hour. 


After that we drove up to Mont-Saint Vincent. It was an incredible view.


Once we got home, we had more French food and cheese. It was delicious. It was an early night for us as both Marie and Cathy had school in the morning. 


Lyon

We had a very tight schedule from the moment our plane touched down in Paris to getting on the train to Lyon. We had less than an hour if there were no flight delays. Of course, we were delayed 30 minutes…CRAP!  Thankfully I purchased the train tickets ahead of time so we didn’t have to waste time at the ticket counter and we didn’t check our bags so we didn’t have to wait for luggage.  We got off the plane and meandered our way from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 at Charles de Gaulle airport which isn’t an easy task. Ran down the steps to the train station, looked briefly on the board for our track number. Let me tell you, that wasn’t very easy since the train didn’t say anything about Lyon. It listed a whole lot of cities and one was Brussels which made no sense to me. But we got on and before long we were on our way. I didn’t get much sleep on the plane so I napped a bit on the train. I was also hungry so I had a chicken Caesar salad sandwich and some chips. And in less than 2 hours we were in Lyon.


Cathy met us at the platform. She was beyond excited to see us. She was with her daughter Elodie. We got our hugs and kisses in and we were off to tour Lyon. We went to the old city and walked around the very narrow streets. We went into the two big churches, one of which we had to take a funicular up to. Very cool! The church on the hill had a fabulous view of the city. We took the funicular back down and had dinner at traditional Lyon restaurant. We drank wine, ate cheese, ate steak and had sorbet. So French! I even downed a few shots! It was a great start to our European vacation!


Europe 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I must have lost my drive to write blog posts. I didn’t have a lot of down time on this trip so I didn’t get a chance to write about our days. I’ll try to get through in the next couple of days but no promises. Haha! Overall we had a great time. I got to meet Cathy, Eric’s French sister while in Lyon. He hadn’t seen her since he was kid. We had 3 HOT days in Paris and 4 HOT days in Brussels. I managed to run a 20KM in 90 degrees and eat more chocolate than my stomach can handle. I tasted a lot of different types of wine, champagne and Belgium beers and even had a few shots. It was quite the adventure! 

EC 5K, TC 1 Mile and Donut Dash 5K

Monday, May 15, 2017

I had three races in 7 days this past week.

Eau Claire 5K
It started with the 5K a part of Eau Claire Marathon. My race was ok. Nothing fantastic but it was one of my fastest this year. I was just 13 seconds shy of breaking into the 38s again at 39:12. I want to get under 39 minutes so bad! I really want to get down to 33 but that requires more training. The weather was perfect for the race and the post-race root beer was delicious. After the race we had to rush to Target Field for a Twins game. The Twins lost. :(

TC 1 Mile
On Thursday we ran the TC 1 mile race. It was such a fun night! My mile came in at 12:01:05. I was so close to getting into the 11s. My goal was less than 12:15 so I made that goal!  Yay! We stayed to watch the Women and Men’s Pro Races. They were incredibly fast. The top male finished in 4:01. That was 6 seconds slower than the record.  Amazing! This was also my 100th Race!

Donut Dash 5K
Two days later we ran the Donut Dash 5K. It was bit on the warm side but otherwise a great morning for running. The amazing thing happened at this race. I managed to run each mile at a consistent pace. I’m seriously look at this:
I can’t believe I did that. All my other races I plummet during miles 2 and 3. But this race was the same. I don’t know how I did that. I was very happy with this race and the post-race donuts were great!



Oshkosh Half Marathon

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Wind…and Cold

Half marathon #9 is complete. It was probably the toughest as far as weather conditions are concern. I’ve never ran in that strong of wind (20-25 mph sustained) and it felt like it was always coming at me. It was rough. The temp was around 38 degrees so it was cold. I never took my long sleeve shirt off. It was also a very lonely race for us slow people. I followed a woman from Trinidad and Tobago the entire time. She was always right in front of me. I was really by myself for most of the 13.1 miles.  There were only 582 finishers. I was 563. I was a minute behind the finisher in front of me and a minute ahead of the next finisher. Like I said I was alone.

The Beginning
The first 2.5 miles were paved. Mostly it went through University of Oshkosh Campus. After that we went on to gravel. Thankfully the rain held off so we weren’t running on mud. It did rain all night so it was wet but not horrible. This part of the race was next to Lake Butte des Morts. The only thing that was memorable was the old man (the guy that finished right behind me, he is 74 years old!) pee next to a tree. It took me a while to figure out what he was doing. LOL! I have to say I have never seen that at a race. Anyways, my first 4 miles were fairly consistent. Not as fast as I’d like but they were all under 14 minutes, which lately is a good thing. ARGH!

The Middle
At the start of mile 5 we ran out of the woods/gravel and on to a road that goes over the interstate. This was where I was seeing all the really fast half marathoners going back to town. I was so jealous! Haha! Most of the reason mile 5 was slow is I had to stop and tie my shoe, three times. And then of course my shoe had little rocks in it so needless to say I wasted 30 seconds at least fixing my shoes. So really my first 5 miles would have been under 14 if I didn’t have to do that. This road that we ran on for the next two miles was very long service road next to the interstate. So I wasn’t really lonely, I had cars and semis whipping past me going 70 mph. Not cool! We turned to go back on the trail. I was so glad I could turn left to go back to town. The marathoners turned right and ran another 4 or 5 miles on gravel on in the country. Yuck! After a mile or so on the gravel we crossed a very long bridge over the Fox River. Again, it was interstate bridge so lots of cars whipping past me. Ugh. The view was great though on the other side. The bridge was miles 8 and 9. I was glad to get off the bridge and on to city streets. The only bad thing is they didn’t close the road so we were running in a lane and there were cars always driving past us. Not my favorite. Miles 5-9 were all under 15 which is pretty good considering it was so lonely. Haha!

The Finish
More gravel trails, more bridges. I think there was more gravel than paved. But I’m not sure. I was passed by the marathoner at mile 10.5, his mile 23.6. Yep, I’m really slow! The good thing is I was never passed by the first women marathoner! Haha! Miles 10-13 were rough. I was trying to run the best I could but I did a lot of walking. I tried to keep them consistent and I did for the most part. For some reason I was having swollen issues with my hands. My hands were so swollen I couldn’t make a fist. I still don’t know what was going on there. I ran to the finish and had a time of 3:10:42. ARGH!

I’m looking forward to the next long race. It is a 20 KM in Brussels and there are 40,000 runners. I shouldn’t be alone and there are a lot of slow people like me. YAY!