Saturday, August 30, 2014

This week in running 8-24 to 8-30

Day Mileage / Workout Comments
Sunday Off On a cruise
Monday Off On a cruise
Tuesday Off On a cruise
Wednesday Off On a cruise
Thursday 4 miles Fairly easy. Everything was okay but I felt sore afterwards
Friday 7 miles Solid pace for a morning run although faded fast at the end
Saturday 14 miles Long slow run of 14 miles. Averaged about 10 minutes / mile.
Total miles for the week: 25 - YTD: 1117.75

Being that I was on vacation and resting a bunch of nagging injuries, the amount of running I did this week wasn't much.  I am just so glad I had the wisdom to NOT register for a race this weekend.  I was inches away from signing up for a half marathon before I left on vacation but decided not to on account that I had no idea what sort of shape I'd come back in.

Suffice to say that I let gluttony get the best of me.  I left for the trip weighing in at approximately 173 pounds.  I came back at 179.  I certainly felt heavier too.  I think it is going to take a week or two to get back to 100%

But with marathon training and some smart eating I know I'll get back to normal.  Right now I am focusing on the Las Vegas Marathon which is about the 3rd weekend in November.  If I feel I am ready to run something in October (i.e. a marathon) I'll do that.  Whether it be another destination race or something, will remain to be seen.

Either way, the extended break from running did help my knee.  The first three days on the trip I could feel an occasional twinge but after 5 days at sea and no running, my knee quieted down.  My calf, on the other has been a bit more problematic.  While the discomfort is down significantly, I don't feel like it is 100%.

Upcoming Races

The next probable race for me is the Ely Half Marathon.  Before I left for vacation, I did book my hotel, but did not register for the race. This race is set for September 20th.  I'll register for the race the week of.  It looks like a small race (looking at last year's results) and I am sort of using it as a destination race.  I'll spend two nights in Ely and hope to do some of the other tourist attractions.

I also got an email about a price increase for the South Davis Thanksgiving 5K. It is the week after the Las Vegas Marathon (and held on my birthday, November 27th).  So I plopped the money down on that.

Photos of the Week

This morning's long run brought up a couple of photo opportunities.  I spotted a beaver on the Jordan River Bike Trail.  He was hanging around where the horse was last week and he was just minding his own business doing his thing.

Since I ran 14 miles, I ran 7 miles out and at the 7 mile mark is a newly constructed pedestrian bridge.  It connects the bike trail to a train station.  While eating a gel I walked the wobbly bridge and got a picture of it.

There is a beaver on the far side of the river

Friday, August 29, 2014

British Isles 2014 Trip Day 9 - Back in Dover and Return to the United States


In the morning we arrived in Dover and it was an absolutely beautiful day.  I had set my alarm for 5:45 and I quickly showered and hit up the buffet.  I was surprised to see that on the last day of the cruise they didn't skimp out on the buffet.  It was the standard fare and I loaded up on the goodies that I normally eat. After eating I quickly got some pictures of the Dover coast:

Skyline of Dover, UK

Skyline of Dover, UK

Skyline of Dover, UK

Skyline of Dover, UK

Skyline of Dover, UK

I did hear from some of the cruise members that once we disembarked another group would embark and that the ship would be heading to the Mediterranean.  So it was no surprise to see them in full swing.

By 8AM we were aboard a bus to London, Heathrow airport.  Unfortunately the bus's air conditioning wasn't working well and it was super stuffy and sweltering for most of the way there.  Somehow the driver figured out what was wrong, but for the first hour people were complaining and fiddling with their fans.

The driver figured traffic would crush us and was anticipating a 3 hour drive.  We wound up arriving in 2 hours and I actually found the trip quite enjoyable.  The scenery on the way there was pretty and the time went by very quickly.

Heathrow Airport

We arrived just after 10:30 AM and our flight didn't leave until 3PM.  Ouch. That meant killing a lot of time. We wound up sitting outside for a while breathing in second hand smoke (after checking in) before realizing we were hungry.  We went through security and quickly found an Italian restaurant inside the airport.  I had a seafood linguine and it turned out to be pretty good (as well as pretty expensive).  This was only the second meal I paid out of pocket for the entire trip.

Lunch. Yummy.

We then browsed the shops and duty free sections.  Amazing the amount of alcohol that was on sale (and they were even giving away free shots). 

Booze browsing at Heathrow

Booze browsing at Heathrow

Booze browsing at Heathrow

Booze browsing at Heathrow

The airport is really quite stunning and somehow the time seemed to fly by.  I also managed to snag a British newspaper.  Definitely a different writing style in terms of slant and voice.

Flight Home

The flight back to Dallas was actually pretty uneventful.  Since it was mid afternoon I didn't sleep much at all on the plane and managed to rip through a ton of movies: Godzilla 2014 (awful), Days of Wines and Roses (good), Ace in the Hole (fantastic), and The Players (French with subtitles -- goofy but mildly entertaining).  I am still shocked that they show unedited versions of films on those screens.  The Players movie was pretty graphic in spots and people a few rows behind me could clearly see the adult themes.  Luckily the flight was sparsely populated.

I also had my legs in the aisle at times and I got smacked with a beverage cart right in the knee.  Good grief I thought I had re-injured it.  It felt bruised but luckily by the next day I was 100% fine.

I also wound up getting a massive case of heart burn on the plane.  I am so glad I had anti-acids with me, but it felt like a vice gripping my chest.  I think it was a combination of stress of the trip, eating WAY too much, and not eating my normal food.  Either way a strong anti-acid pill stopped the pain.

We arrived in Dallas on time and did the customs / immigration jump with little hassle.  Good old American know-how got us through the checkin process a LOT faster than what we experienced in the UK.  We had about 2 hours between flights, which was just enough time to get to the new terminal, grab a bite to eat and take care of bathroom stuff.  I broke down and ate at McDonalds.  I eat there once in a blue moon and it always seems to be at airports.  I will say this: the Dallas McDonalds actually had well made food and cheap, only $7 for a combo sandwich.

Afterwards, we boarded our flight to SLC.  I was exhausted at this point and somehow managed a fitful 2 hours of sleep before arriving home once again on time.  

I was so glad to crash in my own bed that night, but I had a super fitful sleep and I woke up with a massive charlie horse. I don't do well in planes and I had had my share of them.  Also for the next 24 hours I felt like I was on a ship.  I think the constant bobbing had affected my equilibrium.  

British Isles 2014 Trip Day 8 - Travel Day


The next day was another day at sea.  The previous night we had left Rosyth and headed south along the western coast of England towards Dover, our original port. 

Having partied the night before I slept in way late but still managed to wake up early enough to catch the morning buffet (of course).  

It was a partly cloudy day out and there wasn't much on the agenda until in the evening.  I wound up getting a few pictures of the blue sea and some of the oil platforms in the North Sea:


I wound up hitting the casino with Shari for a bit.  I reluctantly put in $20 into a machine.  I did get some play out of it, but no profit.  Shari tried a machine and put in $10 with about the same result.  They make it *too* easy to gamble there.  When you put in your room key, you can literally charge your gambling to your room. Shari tried that out and room charged $10.  This type of gambling would make for some very serious problems if I could do this in Wendover or Las Vegas (good thing that isn't possible).

I wound up hitting the pool deck and worked on my tan and did Sudoku puzzles.  I also hit the lunch buffet and pigged out some more.

Late in the afternoon they had a piano show dedicated to the music of Cole Porter  The music was pre-recorded but the dancing and singing certainly wasn't.  They kept to the American Standards and this was one of my more favorite shows as I knew 90% of the songs

Cole Porter Tribute Show

After that show, I jumped into an encore performance of the magician who had performed earlier in the week.  I felt sort of bad as the show had only a small amount of people and he was looking for volunteers as many of acts involved "reading of minds" 

I wound up getting picked and was on stage.  I should've left the camera with Shari who probably could've gotten a picture or two, but I didn't.  Basically I was told to write my best friend's name down on a slip of paper, spell it in my mind and he would guess my friend's name.  Sure enough he did.  I don't know how he did it, but I suspect he had help when I wrote down my friend's name.  He also guessed a girl's 4 digits of her phone number when she write it down on a piece of paper as well.  Either way it was quite exhilarating to be on stage, even though it was a small crowd.


Being that this was the last night of the cruise, this was our last night to hang with our dinner waiters as well as enjoy the dinner offerings.  It was really sad parting ways with the group as they seemed like chums and friends rather than employees.  They were wonderful in every regard.  

They also served baked Alaska for dessert and made a big production out of it.  Knowing I have a prodigious appetite the guys got me a double helping.  Sadly, I ate it all.  Sigh.

Shrimp with avocado appetizer

Linguine Appetizer II

Muscles with fries for dinner

Bring on the Baked Alaska!

Our team of servers

A double serving. yes I ate it all.

View of the dining room.

We headed up to the lounge to see if anything was going on, but sadly the place was a ghost town.  We parted ways with the bartender who had kept us well hydrated.  On the way back to the room I snapped this photo of the pool area.

We packed our stuff as we had to be up early the next morning.  We had to be off the ship by 8AM and we had a very long day ahead of us as we returned back to the United States.

British Isles 2014 Trip Day 7 - St Andrews


Today was our last day in Edinburgh and our tour didn't start until 1PM.  This was the first afternoon tour we had it enabled us to sleep in late and leisurely enjoy a breakfast buffet without having to deal with throngs of people trying to eat at the same time we were.

The trip to St Andrews was actually very interesting.  When I first heard it was an hour to get there, I was like, good grief, this is going to be boring.  But our tour guide was absolutely fantastic (and I loved her Scottish accent) and she kept it very interesting.

Once again, we didn't stop but I did manage to get in a few pictures of the rolling countryside from my bus window:

Back at the Boat

I have written about St Andrews in a previous post and we were the last tour to get back to the boat.  In fact, the captain was calling our bus driver as I think he was eager to leave port and it wasn't soon after that we were back on board that the captain took off.

I was hungry and while I didn't want to spoil my dinner I did waddle up to the buffet (where I was a frequent denizen) and loaded a small plate up.  

Once the boat started moving, I headed on top of the ship and took some pictures of the Forth Bridge as we passed underneath it.  I also took pictures of the previous Forth Bridge which now serves train traffic. It was extremely windy up there and it was tough to get good shots without feeling like you were going to be blown overboard.

Forth Bridge

Forth Bridge

Rosyth in the distance

Old Forth Bridge - built in the 1800's

Old Forth Bridge - built in the 1800's

Old Forth Bridge - built in the 1800's

Old Forth Bridge - built in the 1800's
We also passed by a cool lighthouse on an island. 


Soon it was dinner and my appetite had returned so I went up for the sit down dinner.  They had a wonderful Indian flavored shrimp dish that was very appetizing. 

Another yummy Mohito

Sushi for an appetizer

Spicy Shrimp

Creme brulee

After dinner we saw another dance show: a dedication to the hits of Motown.  This was another wonderful show where they had a live band playing hits of the bygone era.  They also had singing and more dancing by the members of the cruise:

Finally, to celebrate nearly the last day of the cruise there was a late party in the Tahitian lounge where they had a large champagne pour.  Normally the lounge was a ghost town in the evening, but tonight there were a ton of people up there and actually people on the dance floor.

The cruise was primarily filled with older folks though but some of the younger folks came out of the woodwork.  I wound up hanging around for an hour before hitting the hay well after midnight.

British Isles 2014 Trip Day 7 - City of St Andrews


The second part of our tour was set in the city of St Andrews.  St Andrews is mostly noted for its famous Golf Course as there is a venerable and pretty course there.  Built in the early 1900's the area around it is extremely majestic.

There is also no shortage of golf shops -- particularly around the course.  As a matter of fact, after getting dropped off from the bus I started to dart in around the city only to discover that 90% of the shops in the first block or so were all related to golf.  

We had about an hour to tour the town and that mostly meant that you could either explore the golf course and all of its trappings or hit the shops and walk the city streets.  I am not much of a golfer but I managed to snap a few pictures before hustling my way through out the town.  I managed to duck into whatever was open: whether it be the university, the waterfront or random chapels.  

Of note: they did have a tiny casino there.  Throughout many of the larger towns I visited they either had Ladbrokes or Paddy Power.  It looks like sports betting is widely accepted there (unlike the US).  I didn't visit the casino as they looked small and not terribly interesting.

The main area of the city wasn't terribly hard to navigate and probably a solid mile or so could cover the entire city so I was moving without too much rest.  I did stop in a store or two but my primary objective was to see the sites. 

Enjoy the photos:

Shari in front of St Andrews Golf Course

The coastline off St Andrews

The coastline off St Andrews

The golf course at St Andrews

The golf course at St Andrews

The coastline off St Andrews

The golf course at St Andrews

The golf course at St Andrews

Shopping corridor in St Andrews

University of St Andrews

University of St Andrews

Old bridge / arch in St Andrews

St Salvatore's Chapel