South Carolina Trip: Part 2

I ended Part I at Saturday night, after we’d gotten some good advice about escaping Bike Week by heading north. On Sunday, after another sticky run and breakfast with the turtles and ducks, we loaded up the car and cruised up to North Carolina.

We started our day at the USS North Carolina, a battleship-turned-museum that now resides in its namesake state. J and I are both museum nerds, so we had a really great time,  but I think most people would also enjoy this shipseum (I made that word up, clearly). Basically the entire ship is open for visitors to explore, from the big guns and anchors on deck
photo (2)USSNC2 USSNC1to the powder kegs and missile rooms
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USSNC4to the bunk rooms down below.
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The whole self-guided tour was interesting and informative, and it made me respect our military even more. Seriously, can you imagine living for months in that ship? And, you know, getting shot at? Wow.

If you’re in the North Carolina area, I definitely recommend that you visit the USS North Carolina. But don’t wear a dress. That made all the ladder-climbing an awkward and unladylike pursuit. 🙂

Once we’d finished at the ship, we ate our PB & Js at a nearby park, then decided to check out Airlie Gardens. Airlie’s website describes it thus: “Celebrating more than a century of gardens by the sea, our history dates back to 1886. Join us then in a self-guided walking tour of these 67-acres of historical gardens of mighty live oaks, tall pines and lakes which are abundant with colorful wildlife. Airlie Gardens, where history, art and nature come together to create a destination spot for garden lovers throughout the world.” The gardens were stunningly beautiful, as was the stainless steel artwork that was their current exhibit. Ready for a flood of pretty pictures?
aerlie magnolia aerlie pond aerlie plant aerlie metal treeaerlie flower aerlie butterfly aerlie bench We really enjoyed Airlie; it was well worth the $9 tickets, as we spent several hours walking the trails and enjoying the gardens.

Once we finished at Airlie, we headed back to South Carolina, stopping for a stroll on a North Carolina beach (so we could bring home sand from both states. We are nerds.) before driving to Little River, a small town north of Myrtle Beach, where we had dinner (fresh fish, of course) at a quiet waterside restaurant — a nice end to a fun day.

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The next day was Memorial Day Monday — i.e. the last day of Bike Week — so we decided to spend the day in Charleston. We were kind of stupid about our Charleston day — there were several things we wanted to do that were half-day excursions, so instead of just picking one or two, we didn’t do any. That was dumb, but we still had fun. We ate our sandwiches in Battery Park, explored some old neighborhoods while eavesdropping on horse-drawn wagon tours, and walked Charleston’s Museum Mile — a string of old houses and museums that you can walk while reading information about each.

charleston house

 

That picture was across from Battery Park. We also saw the famous Rainbow Row, and I took a marginal picture of it:
rainbow row
When we finished the Museum Mile, we stopped at the Old City Market, where I was tempted to buy this sign:
happy sand
Instead, we bought some pictures for our house, and then left the market and ate some frozen yogurt before heading back.

We had heard that Murrells Inlet, near Myrtle Beach, was the best place to get seafood, so we decided to stop there on the way back from Charleston. Unfortunately, we didn’t consult Yelp and the restaurant we chose was not very tasty (so. much. oil.), but the views were pretty and we still had a good time hanging out together, so it was a win.

This post is getting long, so I’ll leave off here for now. Check back tomorrow to hear about the rest of the trip (including my new favorite place on Earth).

South Carolina Trip: Part 1

This is the first of what will likely be several vacation recap posts. It’s also the least photo-filled, but you’ll understand why as you read. The good pictures are coming later!

Though all our information said vacation started Friday, it technically started Thursday night for us. We left the house around 8:00 to make sure we had time for a quick Target stop, parking, and checking in for our 1:00 a.m. flight. Yeah, that part was rough… but it saved us a significant amount of money, so whatever.

After a  night of fitful (i.e. nonexistant) airplane sleeping, we landed in Charlotte for a 2.5-hour layover (in hindsight, we should have just driven from Charlotte. Next time, we will know), during which I was super classy and stretched out on the airport floor for a catnap. A short flight later, we landed in Myrtle Beach (I love landing at airports that make you feel like you’re landing in the ocean. Is that weird?), grabbed our rental car, and vacation truly began!

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It was too early to check in to our resort, so we instead found some lunch (with an ocean view, of course), then checked out the shopping center near our resort. It was built over a lake, and in that lake lived a ton of turtles.

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There were dispensers all around in which you could drop 50 cents to get a handful of turtle food. Feeding those turtles was seriously one of the highlights of the trip for me. We may have stopped here almost every day to feed them. They’re just so cute and turtly!

Anyway, I eventually had to stop feeding turtles so we could go buy some groceries and check into our condo. We really like to stay in condos or cabins with kitchens when we travel. That way, we can save money on breakfast and lunch, then have a nicer dinner out… which we did that night, at the House of Blues. There was no live music that night, but it was still fun!

The next morning, we slept in a little to make up for the sleepless plane night; then I got up and went for a run. I was a little sad that we weren’t staying near the beach, but running along the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway each morning was nothing to complain about!
intercoastal waterwayWhen I got back, J and I whipped up some eggs and ate them on our patio, where we discovered that there were more turtles living in the pond outside our condo, along with some rather aggressive ducks. This one bit J’s toe when we wouldn’t share our breakfast.
toe duck
Once we finished breakfast, we were ready to hit the beach! But first we had to hit a local farmer’s market, where we were pretty excited to buy some fresh strawberries and cantaloupe (which we won’t have here for another couple of months). We then smothered ourselves with sunscreen and cruised down to Myrtle Beach State Park, where we spent the next several hours enjoying some long-awaited ocean time.
beach toes at mbspOnce the sun got a little too powerful for my uber-pastiness, we decided to head back up and see the boardwalk. Yeah, bad choice. Turns out, it was “Bike Week,” which meant that thousands of crazy motorcyclists were swarming Myrtle Beach, weaving in and out of cars, creating all sorts of stressful traffic. It took us three hours to get from the south end to the north end of town, and we didn’t even try to go to the boardwalk. It was nuts, and definitely the least-fun part of the whole trip.

By the time we got back to our resort area, we were just happy to get out of the car and move around … and when we saw a wine shop advertising tastings, that sounded like exactly what we needed, so in we went. As we tasted, we talked to the proprietor, who explained that by Monday (Memorial Day) afternoon, all the bikers would be gone, and getting around would be much  easier. She suggested that the next day (Sunday) we head up to North Carolina instead of fighting to get back down to the Myrtle Beach stuff.

After leaving the wine shop, we had a delicious fish dinner at Flying Fish Market (my goal for this trip was to eat fresh seafood every night. I’m proud to say I met that goal), then headed back and crashed hard — the sleeplessness and the long drive caught up with us, at last!
jordan at flying fish restaurant
The next day, we took the wine lady’s advice. We had a great time in North Carolina on Sunday… but I’ll tell you about it tomorrow, as this post is getting pretty long.

The Training Begins: Goals for This Training Cycle

Hi friends! We’re back from vacation (recap coming soon, I promise) and settling into the summer routine (it’s an awesome routine, for now, since it’s 9:45 a.m. and I’m chilling at home with some coffee). Did you enjoy the three guest posts while I was gone? Thanks again to Logan, Tina, and Rachel for filling in with your awesomeness!

Vacation was a blast and provided some needed rest for my body (I ran almost every day, but only 5-7 miles. Also, humidity is evil). Now I’ve got 15 weeks until the Colorado Fall Classic Marathon, so it’s time to kick my training into high gear. Though I’d been building mileage and incorporating some marathon-specific workouts for a few weeks pre-vacation, today was the first on-the-schedule run, so it feels like the “official” start of training.

Now that it’s official, I want to lay out my goals and plans for this training cycle. I’m really mostly writing this post for accountability for myself, so if you don’t really care, I won’t be offended… come back later this week for lots of beach and flower pictures like this:

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Here are my goals:

  • Train on downhills and trails. This race is all downhill. Check out this elevation chart (from the race’s website):
    If I don’t specifically train downhill, my quads are going to burn out way too fast, and I will gimp my way to the finish instead of finishing strong. I’d really like to run the Slacker Half Marathon this month to gauge how the steady downhill will feel and give me an idea of a suitable marathon goal time, but I’m not sure if it’s going to work out. It’s on our anniversary, and also I’m broke because we just took an awesome vacation.
    I also need to run some trails. The marathon is not a trail race, but I have this crazy relay coming up in July, so I need to get my trail skills at least kind of up to par. (Colorado friends: Who wants to run some trails with me? Or some long downhills?)
  • Strength train, stretch, and foam roll. I enjoyed the Nike Training Club program I did last month, and it was really convenient to do my strength workouts at home during those last few busy busy weeks of school. But I’m ready to get back into the gym (believe it or not). My goal for each week is to do two full-body, in-the-gym strength workouts and three core, stretching, and foam rolling workouts at home. Next week, the 8 a.m. summer course I’m teaching at the local community college begins, which means I probably won’t have time to do the core and stretching stuff right after runs on those days. That’s not ideal, but I figure that doing it later is better than not doing it at all.
  • Figure out nutrition and hydration for during the race. As this will be my seventh marathon, you might think I had the nutrition and hydration thing figured out. I do not, and it’s definitely affected my performances. Since this race is in September, too, it might still be toasty out, which will also affect my hydration and electrolyte needs.
  • Recover smart. If you read Tina’s guest post last week, you know why this is so important. But I’m really bad about proper post-workout nutrition. And stretching. And foam rolling. But if I want to get faster and stay healthy, I’ve got to recover properly, so that’s a major goal this time.
  • Eat smart in general. I’m going to start using my LoseIt app again to make sure I’m eating enough calories and the right macronutrient ratios (carb needs increase as mileage increases). It’s also important that those calories are coming from high-quality sources — whole grains, veggies and fruits, nuts, and lean proteins, not sugary desserts, cheesy appetizers, and wine (all of which I indulged in on vacation).
    Yep, that's a wine slushy beside me... I'm pretty sure it was equal parts wine and sugar... obviously a nutritionally sound snack choice.
    Yep, that’s a wine slushy beside me… I’m pretty sure it was equal parts wine and sugar… obviously a nutritionally sound snack choice.

    So those are my goals and priorities this training cycle. Keep me accountable, friends, okay?

What’s your favorite indulgence?

Any tips for downhill running? 

Anything important in your life that I missed while I was gone? I’ve tried to read up on the blogs I missed, but there are just too many posts!