Staying fit while travelling

As we approach our last destination of our adventure, I find myself reflecting back at the past month’s challenges to stay healthy.

I know I had to let go some to enjoy the trip. Allow myself to taste all the food and beverages as well as understand that my home routine wouldn’t be as simple to achieve while exploring Europe. 

But as someone who has worked so hard to lose the 60 pounds I’ve lost so far the past 3 years and as someone who has felt the amazing results of what exercise and healthy habits brings, I can’t deny that each deep fried speciality or every pint of cider or beer makes me ponder how much work I’ll have when I get home. But the pants haven’t felt tighter so I haven’t done so bad. It was a balance I had to learn. Enjoy a special supper and have a salad for lunch. Have a big lunch, have something smaller at supper. As I feel more energetic with less carbs, that has been the difficult part. In Europe… everything is carbs. Our free breakfast buffets at hotel each morning were loaded with baking goods. I was pretty good and tried to keep to eggs as much as possible. Finding fresh fruit was rare and fresh vegetables was even more rare. I never thought I’d say I miss my daily container of vegetables for a snack.

I can’t be too hard on myself. I’ve made really good efforts to keep up my running training. But yesterday on a 4k run in York, England I felt rough and each step seemed to be a struggle. But I had to remind myself… I did it. Then today I ran basically the same route and the 6k was easier. So just like at home, each day brings you something different. 

Strength training has been more challenging to keep up with. I feel weaker arm wise and abs wise. It may also be why running is a bit more difficult some mornings. My routine has changed – in May and June, I had finally developed a good routine of doing strength training 3-5 times a week even on top of running 30-40k 5 times a week. But after I squeeze in a run each morning, we are pretty much go go go until bedtime. I miss my kettlebell workouts and other strength training workouts. But I know I can restart and I will see the changes that strength training has once given to me come back.

As I look over the past 25 days of our 28 day journey, my totals are so far:

– 92.11 km of both running and walking activity…and that is actual logged activity. Doesn’t include all our walking while sightseeing which is an insane amount. I’ll add that up and tell you about that when we get home.

– 80.41 km of running (both outside and treadmill)

– out of the past 25 days so far, I’ve managed some type of run 14 times. Typically I don’t run twice a week so that is 20 runs typically in a month. So I’ve only missed a few more than when at home. 

So looking at these numbers, I can’t be hard on myself. I’ve made a point to run whenever I could and that is enough. And we still have one more stop to make and I plan to get in at least two runs there. It sure isn’t easy between the travelling – catching trains and planes, and the  early morning excursions. But I’m proud of myself for running across Europe. I’ve managed a run in each city and country we have been to. 

I ran the streets of Paris.

I ran the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in Nice. 

I ran the streets of Vienna.

I ran lots of miles on the treadmill in the Munich hotel. 

I ran in the rural coastal side of Ireland.

I ran the treadmill in London and the running paths of beautiful York. 

And now, I will soon get off the train in Edinburgh, Scotland and I will badger our tour guide about a running route here just as I’ve done in every other place. 
Welcome to Scotland! 




Blimey! Bloody good time in England. 

Our England tour has really “taken the biscuit”. It has a been a lot of fun. We did London for 3 and half days and York for a day and half. We leave for Edinburgh, Scotland tomorrow. Our last adventure before returning home. I found touring England to be the most welcoming to tourists. They wanted to show off their country with pride. 

We didn’t get to see all of London that we wanted. There is just too much to see and not enough time. We saw many of the need to see items. Parliament, Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminister Abbey, Buckingham Palace (with also a viewing of the changing for the guard). 

London site seeing
Changing of the guard ceremony

We did a Jack Ripper history tour one night and saw some of the oldest parts of London which is called White Chapel area.
We visited the Tower of London and saw the Crown Jewels.  

Waiting to see the Crown Jewels

We did a full day excursion  to Stonehenge and the city of Bath. Stonehenge was as expected… a pile of stones but it was amazing to finally visit it. Bath was beautiful. It poured when we arrived for about 30 minutes and then cleared up. Our excursion included a tour of the old Roman baths that was there during the time when Romans lived in the area before it was even know as Bath, England.

Stonehenge

The old Roman baths in Bath, England

This excursion day was our last full day in England. We took off the next morning very early for York from Kings Cross station… the station they use in Harry Potter series. Unfortunately our train did not take off from platform 9 3/4… it went from platform 2.

With only a day and a half, we have had a very short time in York but we found the history is extensive and intriguing. It goes back to the times of Vikings. We have loved strolling the streets of this town and popping into museums. We went on a ghost storytelling walk last night. It was actually very good. Our storyteller had such character about him. Today, we climbed the stone wall that surrounds the town, visited the train museum and the Viking museum, we went on the hop on/hop off bus to learn  about the history of the city. 

Site seeing in York

More sight seeing in York

And of course,  we have found time for a pint or two. 

Mmmm…cider

We will be soon heading out for supper in our last night in York and off to Edinburgh, Scotland tomorrow. I’m excited for Scotland! However, as the British say… I’m also quite “zonked” and the idea of going home also sounds pretty good too. We’ve been away now 24 days and it feels like forever. However, one more adventure to be had.

For more British slang…go here:

http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/slang/common-uk-expressions-slang.html

 

Slàn Ireland…Hullo London 

So we took a break from the busy monograms tours we used for our first 2 adventures. Brad’s parents (my amazing in laws) rented a cottage on the coast in Ireland so we met up with them for few days. It was simply amazing. We visited Aran islands and Cliffs of Moher. We rested and relaxed. And we took great advantage of their laundry at the cottage. 

I loved Ireland. All of it. Probably my favourite part of trip. I hope to return again  and explore it more. I even managed in 3 runs. One being 10k! 

Views of some of my runs. Last run ended with a rainbow.

Some highlights of the trip: 

Photos of Brad and I at beach in rossaveal, next 2 are from the Cliffs of Moher, last one is at Dun Aengus
Tasty Irish food. I also fell in love with a cider. And vegetables returned to plates!
Shot from Cliffs of Moher
Beach near Brad’s parents rented cottage
Amazing sunset view from the cottage
View from Dun Aengus

We had a special friend named Sciob  (Gaelic). It is pronounced Snap in English and means snatch. He liked to check in on Brad’s parents’ cottage every morning…I think because of the treats he was given. It made me miss Ginny more but we had a photo update from her kennel and she looks like she’s enjoying her vacation. 

The cottage pet Sciob
Ginny on her dog vacation

It’s funny how dream vacations are. You count down until they arrive…you enjoy them but a part of you still misses home. You don’t want your dream adventure to end but you also have a bit of homesick for those you’ve left behind and long for the normalcy of home. 

But we’ve arrived at London and our final leg of our adventure begins!!! We have London, Stonehenge, Bath, York, and Edinburgh planned before we return in 10 days from now. 

Arriving in London

Don’t let terrorism define Nice…don’t let terrorism define us

I wake up early this morning at 4:55am in Munich, Germany to get in a run on the hotel treadmill. After the run, I made my way to the lobby where the WiFi is offered for free. I connect to the WiFi, and suddenly my phone goes off in numerous chimes and beeps. Facebook posts to my wall, Facebook messenger posts, snapchat conversations, emails. If any texts, I won’t know until back as I turned off data and calls and text while out of country. Overall 80 different messages asking about my safety. 

As I start scrolling through them, I have no clue what my friends and family are referring to. I’m fine. Nothing seems amiss in my Munich hotel lobby. You can usually sense when something is wrong in the behaviour of local people and that wasn’t the case.

Finally I find a news article posted on Facebook about the attack in Nice. 

http://www.leaderpost.com/news/world/98dozens+dead+after+truck+runs+into+bastille+crowd+nice+france/12059154/story.html
We were in Nice just a week ago. We arrived last week on Thursday and didn’t leave until Saturday. 

I loved Nice. I ran twice on the Promenade d’anglais that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea. This is the very spot that last night some coward chose to perform attack. 

It is funny to hear people mention now how travelling can be unsafe and that they can’t believe I was there. I wouldn’t have never have guessed last week that this could happen. I’m sure citizens of New York wouldn’t expect 911 to happen. Or Paris to expect it’s terrorist attack last year. You don’t expect it. Police and firefighters and paramedics and first responders can train for it. But you can never actually be fully prepared for it. 

This person used a weapon of a vehicle. Something you can’t expect. This is also why I find the discussion on gun laws intriguing. Anything can become a weapon if the person chooses it to be one. It isn’t the trucks or the guns that are dangerous. It is the person who makes that choice to make something become dangerous. 

This attack won’t stop me from wanting to visit Nice again. I said before I want to go back one day. I still do. I won’t let one person define, what we found last week, a beautiful city (a bit crowded) with people that seemed kind. 

As I end this post, I wish all the people affected by this the best. I send my sympathies to those who lost someone. I’m sure it will take time for the people of Nice to process the grief and terror of this tragic event. But when it does, I still recommend to you to visit this gem of a city in the Cote d’Azur (French Riveria). 

Swimming in the Mediterranean in Nice. The Promenade is right by beach.
Part of the Promenade d’anglais
View of Nice from a cliff

Nice & Vienna

After we left Paris, we jumped on a train south to Nice. It was so hot, sticky and humid in Nice but I loved it. It was slightly less crowded than Paris which was a treat. I ran a couple times while we were there along the Mediterranean Sea. It was heaven. One morning we even went (carefully and painfully) down the rocky beach so I could take a dip in the sea. I couldn’t leave without experiencing even one short swim in the sea.

The “beach” in Nice
Swimming in the Mediterranean

We had a great time in Nice. So much great food…we had pizza as this was the closest we would get to Italy during this European adventure. Italy is minutes away from Nice and Nice actually used to be a part of Italy.

Pizza in Nice cooked in wood oven

We took a night excursion to Monaco. It was lovely but I definitely did not feel as if I fit in there. Beautiful yachts and cars and the most glorified casino. 

Monaco

Walking the streets of Monaco

I look like I could fit into the millionaires and billionaires of Monaco?

After we left Nice, we hopped on a flight thst had a 4 hour layover in Brussels on our way to Vienna. So we had a bit of Belgium…in an airport. We used our time wisely. Well, Brad did. I haven’t yet been sold on beer drinking.

Beer at airport in Brussels.

Now Vienna…oh Vienna. It is considered a top 10 city to live in the world according to a survey done. This city is simply amazing. If you ever go to Europe, Vienna has to be on your list. It is so clean and not very crowded. The things the government does for the city seems to be in favour of its citizens. For example, a transit pass is 365 Euro a day. A euro a day for all the transit you want. And this reduces traffic and pollution a lot. You could tell Viennese people take advantage of this. They had many transit options too… underground metro, a tram and a bus routes. Simply flawless.

And the buildings. Brad and I fell in love with the history of this city. 

We visited the Hofburg Palace, the twin museums (one was fine arts and one was natural history. We only went inside the history one), Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna in the woods (which included two monasteries and an underground cave lake that resulted because of mining mishap), Stadtpark (statue park) and so much more things we just went and looked at.

The two monasteries and the grotto we visited in Vienna woods.
Inside of the first larger monastery we visited.
Mozart statue, Belvedere Palace, Parliament and then horse carriages were all over.
Hofburg Palace, building I forget but is beautiful, Queen Maria Theresa statue, Johann Strauss statue
Fountain near our hotel, a Mozart concert hall, and last photo is park near hotel

Brad and I joked about moving to Vienna. I would seriously consider it. What a place. 
And the food…oh the food. 

Food in Vienna

Brad and I have made it a point to eat local foods as much as possible. And it’s delicious. 

Thank goodness Vienna is considered very safe…low crime rate. I ran almost everyday here. And it was weird running by such important buildings. I could run by three different castles, opera house, so many Castle gardens, and numerous monuments. It was great.

Now off to Munich where Brad apparently plans to spend a lot of time in the Hofbräuhaus.

Staying fit while travelling 

Our European adventure is the longest I’ve been away from home. Each day is filled of adventures and sightseeing. At least twice a week we are either on a train to get to our next destination or a flight to a new country. 

I seriously debated bringing by running gear with me. It was just one more thing to pack. But I did it anyway. It isn’t like I’m gone just for a weekend. This is a whole month of travelling. 

I love scheduling things and having a plan. After my first week of our adventure, i be learned to just lace up the runners whenever I can. It may not be the time of day I like to run  (I love early mornings). It may not be the weather I like  (I like sunny and no more than 20 degrees Celsius…so far I’ve been running in sweltering heat and humidity so strong it makes places sweat you didn’t know could! TMI…sorry). It may not be the days you like to run on (Sunday is 10k or more long run usually for me with Monday and Friday rest days…4k-7k runs will fill up the other days.) It may not be the view you want (I love my park at home. Paris was so dirty and gross running in area by my hotel, Nice was gorgeous, and in Vienna it isn’t bad…near a park…but so many hills). You may have to give up the type of running…for example I like outdoor running way more than treadmill. Once already I had to chain myself to the machine just to get a run in as it was not suitable to do an outside one. 

So I don’t always get the perfect conditions. But you know what? Once I return to my hotel room, I feel this weird sense of pride. Like yeah… I so just ran this dirty streets of Paris and only screamed out loud once and jumped away from the creepily tame pigeons who flock the streets. Or the views I had running along the coast line of Nice. That was something. Vienna…people watching is fun especially when I’m people watching people who are people watching me. It was apparently on of their hottest days today and even a policemen stopped me in English and said “You know you’re running on one of our hottest days. Good job.” He also said something in German after which I’m sure may have been crazy fucking tourist but he had a smile one his face so maybe he was cheering me on.

No matter what. I’ll keep it up. I may get it only 1 run a week or 3… I may not do my 35km ish average of running. I may not get in all my long distance running I love to do. I may not be training well for my September half marathon. But I’m still doing it when I can, however I can and where I can in Europe. Not many can say that. 

I used to think how can you stay fit when travelling. Not enough time. Too many things to do. Too tired from flying. No way to do it. But there are actually limitless options. 

I’ve ran outside. 

I’ve ran on a treadmill. 

I’ve walked for sightseeing. 

I’ve gone for a walk just to walk.

I’ve walked circles in airports just to be moving. (I have considered running laps in airport but don’t want security chasing me). 

I’ve used hotel towels as my mat for stretching, yoga, strength training, and cardio exercises…though I do miss my kettlebell haha.

Using Sworkit app for strength training in my hotel room.
My “exercise mat”

So is staying fit while travelling easy? No…you just have to make a point to take the moments you can to do it. And if you do, how awesome is it to say you’ve ran here? 

Besides…with all this special local cuisine, beer and wine to sample and enjoy…I need all the help I can get from some exercise!!!

Food is the other challenge of staying fit on vacation. But this is not an adventure that will happen often. I’m allowing myself to indulge a a bit. I want to sample what I can while I’m here. I’m keeping up with exercise. I may not lose weight…I may be even gain a bit even with all the exercise. But this trip will eventually end and I can get back into my normal eating routine. I’m not going to miss out on something local and tasty just because I’ve been so successful with what I eat and my exercise plan. 

So on your next vacation, allow yourself to enjoy and just try to find time to exercise however you can! 

Bonjour Paris!

We have been in Paris for 2 nights and 3 days already. We are about to head off to Nice tomorrow.

Paris was pretty much what I expected. It has been a dream of mine to come here since I was 12. As a French teacher, I think I see this part of our travels in different eyes than my husband’s. Paris really isn’t clean and fresh. It’s overcrowded and the streets are filthy. But it still somehow shines for me. Brad even enjoyed many parts of it.

We enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Seine, a bus tour to Notre Dame Cathedral and Eiffel Tower and so much more, an excursion to Versailles, actually going to Eiffel Tower on our own and going up it, and finally the Louvre. 

Our first night in Paris – a dinner cruise on the Seine River.
Brad and I at the Arc de Triomphe on Tuesday, July 5, 2016.
View of Eiffel Tower from below – July 5 on a river cruise with tour group.

Les Jardins at Versailles

Me in front of the famous Versailles gardens.

Madonna on the rocks
I fell in love with this one. The dogs just connected with me. Probably because I miss my pup a bunch!
Inverted pyramid at the exit of the Louvre.
Cathedral Notre Dame
Eiffel Tower at night. Note the soccer ball hanging from it honour of the Euro soccer 2016.
After crossing “going up the Eiffel Tower” from my bucket list. So happy.
Enjoying a sunny beautiful day on the Eiffel Tower.
My last photo of the Eiffel Tower with me in front of it.
Entrance and the pyramid of the Louvre
The Mona Lisa- was hard to get a good shot of it.
Front of Versailles

And oh my…the food…we have definitely enjoyed so much French food and wine during a 3 day visit in the capital of France. 

Some of our food experiences in Paris.

As for fitness, Monday was my rest day but we did a LOT of walking. I didn’t get to run yesterday. I had hoped to do one after getting back from Versailles but a demonstration in Paris slowed down our return to hotel. Instead of being back at 6, it was just after 7pm. So we went for supper. I ran the streets around my hotel this morning. Not bad. More hills than our flat Saskatchewan land. Streets smell as that isn’t fun while running and breathing heavy. But I did 4k and happy I did.  I wanted to run in that park near my route (which is also a cemetery) but it was closed at 6am. They lock up their parks here at night. 

A bientôt! I’ll see you next time from Nice. 

Au revoir from Paris.