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live life healthy and happy


Snails on a trail are better than…

snakes on a trail.

I think this is one area where running/walking in California wins over running/walking in Texas. So far so good. No snakes on any of my trails in California (yet)!



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Eating my way through Austin, Texas

I used to live in Austin, Texas. So every time I visit now, I want to eat at all my favorite places. I usually don’t get to hit up all places. This time though I managed to get to quite a few.

Mighty Fine – I actually don’t go for the burgers (don’t tell my friends!), I love the fries and their shakes!

Chuy’s – You can’t not go to Chuy’s while you are in Austin. That just would be wrong on all different kind of levels. So I went twice, You can’t beat the Chick Chicka Boom Boom. And don’t forget to order the creamy jalapeno dip with your chips.

kerby lane pumpkin pancakes

I couldn’t finish my pumpkin pancakes at Kerby Lane’s.

Kerby Lane – Breakfast at Kerby Lane’s and right in time for my favorite pancake season: pumpkin pancakes.

Amy’s ice-cream – I am not a big fan of vanilla ice-cream, too boring really. But the Mexican vanilla ice-cream at Amy’s makes a vanilla ice-cream lover out of me.

Whole Foods – Their salad and other food bars are just amazing. The one in London is trying to, but is just not getting there. So I got my fix here.

Cafe Mozart – On Lake Austin. I love the coffee and the atmosphere. It’s always full of people reading, chatting, studying. I think this would be a great place to write a novel.

El Arroyo – They nearly freaked me out. New menu and my favorite wasn’t on it. But as I asked about their BBQ Chicken Quesadilla they were happy to make them, being on the menu or not.

Rudys BBQ spicy chopped beef breakfast tacos

Yummy! Spicy chopped beef breakfast tacos at Rudy’s BBQ

Rudy’s BBQ – I couldn’t leave Austin without having my very favorite breakfast tacos: spicy chopped beef tacos. Yummy!

I missed out on a few other favorite places, but I am happy to have gotten to all of these in just over a week. ­čÖé Of course, I am about 5 pounds heavier now. LOL. And of course, my healthy eating plan was suspended for my time in Austin! Though I discovered flavored oatmeal and brought back a whole bunch of them.

Happy eating!


Running in the dark

It only took me a few days to get used to the warm November weather again. The one thing I totally forgot to bring was running clothes that reflect light though. I don’t like running in the dark and that’s something I can not get used to. There was a team run earlier this week – hills in the evening. I knew the route and wasn’t too afraid of getting lost, but more afraid of what I may step into…. specifically, with my recent run-ins with dead snakes… I only once stepped onto something that I’d rather not go back and check on what it was…

As you can imagine, the only real reason to run in the dark is the promised social dinner afterwards. I am happy to report that El Arroyo still offers BBQ Chicken Quesadillas. They are not on the menu anymore though, so you better ask for them… They are goooooooood! ­čÖé

This weekend, I am running the Rock ‘n Roll half marathon in San Antonio, Texas. It is the fourth time I have been running this race. The weather forecast is a little too warm for my liking with t-storms. Hopefully, it will hold dry during the race. I noticed that the weather on race day is unpredictable. The first year I ran this race, we started with near-freezing temperatures. The second year it was hot and a record-high humidity. Last year it started off cloudy and near perfect only to have the sun come out half-way through and ruin a great race so far. I like the sun, don’t get me wrong, but she could have waited another hour… Let’s see how the t-storms hold up this year…

Since I can’t share a photo of my running route in the dark, I’ll show you one of Austin in daylight. Enjoy!


Just a regular taper run

I know I am running in Austin, TX, when during the run, someone starts to scream and jump up high. It’s a real bonus if that someone is not me. And it wasn’t me this time.

I am back in Texas, visiting my old home for a short while. Next weekend I will be running the San Antonio Rock ‘n Roll half marathon with my Team in Training running team. I have been a part of Team in Training since 2009 and this is my sixth season as an active member. I have been mentoring a flex team (which is a team that doesn’t meet up locally as opposed to the local teams that meet up for training runs each week) and I am looking forward to meeting my mentees next week at the race.

Back to my run on Saturday. This was the last long team run before the race and as part of tapering it was a 6-mile run only. Our coach decided that a hilly workout would be a great part of a taper run. But I think, he just really picked a hilly run for me, so I could appreciate the humidity and heat much better.

The morning greeted us with humidity in the 90%es and a fog that would shame London to the ground. I missed the meeting point as I couldn’t see where my rental car was taking me (the car and I are still working on our relationship…).

After the screaming and jumping episode (please take careful note – it wasn’t me this time!), because someone nearly stepped on a dead snake (welcome to running in Texas!), we had just a regular run, where we nearly got lost once, got overtaken by the runners who ran 8 miles, were in desperate need of a porta-potty and found a stinky one at a construction site only to turn around a street 100 yards up to see a gas station which probably had nice and clean restrooms…

How I miss running with the team!


Be warned about pre-flight margaritas…

It’s been a weird week.

I traveled back from Austin, TX to London on Monday/Tuesday. And let me tell you what maybe not to do.

As I was waiting for my flight from Dallas back to London and already missing my Austin friends (yeah, guys, I miss y’all), I looked down at the complimentary drinks ticket I got in the AmericanAirlines lounge. And thought, “what the heck”.

So, I ordered a last margarita for this trip (more margaritas on my next trip). Now, I have had my share of margaritas, but this one was out of the ordinary. A full pint glass of margarita and I am not sure what was in it, but after a few sips I was already all happy with the world (well, not quite happy about leaving my beloved Texas…, but you know what I mean). By the time I finished the drink and reached the gate, I was drunk!

I don’t know how drunk, but the guy sitting next to me on the 9-hour flight avoided all conversation with me… I fell into a drunk sleep before we even rolled away from the gate. I woke up for dinner and then… of course… I couldn’t sleep for the rest of the flight. I sobered up at this point and was totally mad at myself. I am usually a good sleeper on a long flight and don’t suffer from jet-leg (mostly).

AA didn’t show good movies in the cheap seats, so I finally settled for the Iron Lady and was happy I didn’t see it in the theater. Meryl Streep is great, but I don’t like the way the movie portrayed one of the most powerful women of her time. You may not agree with her politics, but she is a female pioneer in politics.

I am digressing though…

Not having slept much during the flight made me arrive in London pretty groggy. I threw all my own rules out of the window and took a daytime nap and set myself up for bad jet-leg. I have been working night hours this week (most productive time of the day) and slept all pre-lunchtime morning hours.

I am blaming the margarita!

So, be warned! Very potent margaritas in the AA lounge in Dallas, Use this piece of advice however it works for you…

I have only been out for a short very slow run today and am tackling 10-12 miles tomorrow. I may be walking some. But hope the fresh air (no rain this weekend in the forecast!) will blow my jet-leg away.

Happy Running!


Nike+ is my new therapist

Last night. Watching American Idol. No, Ryan Seacrest, you are not live. And, no, I am not going to look online who has made it already… Oh no, I just did. Oops…

As a side note, there were some good performances. They love Adele. Singing one of her songs seems to automatically qualify for the next round… Is this really J.Lo? What happened to her face?? This is a really ill-fitting lipstick!! (she is also lying to contestants, telling them they could win the show when – I can clearly see into the future – I know they will not make it into the next round…)

Anyway, I was REALLY updating my NIKE+ challenges and American Idol just happened to be running on TV…

So as I am looking through my challenges and withdrew from a few that are really not challenges for me, I signed up for some new ones (new to me) and suddenly it dawned on me. I have very split loyalties.

My NIKE+ challenge loyalties:
GERMANY – EU Member State challenge
TEXAS – 2012 State Run challenge
MICHIGAN STATE – Run for March Madness Challenge
ROYAL BOROUGH OF RICHMOND – London Boroughs Annual Challenge 2012

I often don’t feel very settled. Looking at the above, I kind of get why. Thanks, NIKE+, for pointing this out clearly.

Or maybe I should look at this of being privileged of calling all these places my home?

By the way, all you Richmond runners. I see you every day running the Thames path. I need your help with the London Boroughs Annual Challenge 2012! Are we going to let Hounslow win??

Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest.
~ Henry Van Dyke