Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What I Did on my Summer Vacation... So Far

Over the past two months I've had a bajilion blog posts pre-formed in my head that never made it onto the screen so instead of slogging through them all one by one (which face it, will never happen) I've decided to do a a "Summer Recap" of sorts to bring everything here up to date. I feel like so many things have happened the past eight weeks that if I wait until the actual end of summer to recap it will go on for days and days. Now, where did we leave off? Marathon time? Ok, ok, here we go:

The Great Milwaukee Race

The scavenger hunt race that Fit Milwaukee organized with InStep was rad. We had 50 teams (nearly 200 people) sporting our colorful shirts as they ran to various downtown landmarks, solving clues and playing games. Sure, it was a hot, miserable day but it ended with beer at the Ale House! The race itself drew lots of attention and we're already planning for it to be many times larger next year. It looked so fun that I actually kind of wished I could have run in it- but luckily a similar-style race has since been announced and the all of us GMR organizers are planning to participate. The Beer Runner wrote a really nice recap of our race if you are so inclined to check it out.

Chicago Mini-Trip

Because my sister-in-law Michelle is a saint who apparently loves having her house overrun with children, she offered to take my kids not for one week but TWO weeks this summer. The first week was in June and though Jason and I didn't plan a large vacation for this one we did spend a few days in Chicago. I drove in and met him at the Google office and we headed down to Millennium Park to catch a free show by The Books. The next day I got to spend a little time shopping on Michigan Avenue where I bought toys for the girls. Because when I finally get a break from my children I immediately miss them and need to buy them stuff. We also spent some time at the Lincoln Park Zoo. But the highlight of the trip was a meal at Graham Elliot. We had seen him on Top Chef Masters and were excited to finally make it to his restaurant. We had heard that in addition to offering a more laid back, accessible way of fine dining, he also likes to incorporate thing like candy into his dishes. Yes, weird but intriguing. I actually had pea and mint marshmallow soup and it was divine. I also ordered a lovely Alaskan Halibut dish and some sorbet for dessert. Yum, yum and more yum. AND, the restaurant had rock and punk music playing the entire time. Win!

*Photo by Rebecca Anne.

San Francisco

I am so lucky. Not only did I get treated to an excellent dinner in Chicago but in July we planned an entire weeklong vacation around food! Good thing I packed my running shoes. Michelle took the girls for week number two and we headed out to California. I have to say that this was probably the best vacation I've ever taken. Since the girls were born we've only ever gone away for a few days at a time without them and those vacation have always seemed sort of rushed. It's always go-go-go-hurry-and-fit-everything-in. (And truthfully, before they were born we were probably just too poor to travel anywhere.) This week we were able to take our time and lounge our way around San Francisco. We visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Cartoon Art Museum, shopped in the Haight, ran through Golden Gate Park (well, I did), and had fabulous food and drinks while visiting fabulous friends every night. (Recommendations: Michael Mina, Fleur de Lys, Bourbon & Branch, and Comstock Saloon.) Heaven. I can't remember when I felt so relaxed. I even found time to work out every day but since I wasn't trying to squeeze it in alongside a thousand other things I still felt at ease. Then for the weekend we headed out to:

Wine Country!

See now why this is the best vacation ever? At the end of the week we trucked up to Geyserville, CA to stay at a bed and breakfast. We were given probably the most embarrassingly large rental car in California and we tackled the long, winding road up the coast, We even stopped at the beach in Point Reyes National Park where I got my first look at the Pacific Ocean. Yes, ever! The Hope-Merrill Inn in Geyserville was adorable and we spent the weekend touring a winery, going to local tastings and yes, eating. I'm tempted to say that I had the best meal of my life at Cyrus in Healdsburg- and that's saying a lot because I'm a spoiled brat who eats a lot of good food. I even went for a beautiful (although HOT) 8-mile run on Saturday alongside the fields of grapevines. This all led up to Sunday and the

Wine Country Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon

What's this? A race I didn't run in? Well, a bunch of my bestest running buddies were at this race. They were a part of Team Challenge Wisconsin and fundraised for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America for months, culminating with the half marathon in Napa. My awesome friend Amy, who just began her fitness/weight loss journey in January ran/walked the entire 13.1 miles- her first big endurance event- and since we were "in the neighborhood" I was dying to come cheer her on at the finish. I have to say watching all the walkers finish after three or four hours out in the heat was kind of more inspring to me than seeing the runner who won. Not that running a half marathon in 1:04 isn't impressive (because Holy WOW!) but I found myself tearing up seeing the back-of-the-pack runners and walkers who were completing the distance for the very first time. Plus, the large presence of Team Challenge for CCFA got me all worked up to join the team for the next round in Las Vegas.

Rochelle, Sarah and Amy at the finish.

So, I'll say it again: I'm the luckiest of ducks and this summer isn't even over yet! We're headed to Maker Faire in Detriot this weekend and then in August it will be lucky anniversary #13 for me and Jason, followed by Juliana's 10th birthday. All the while I'll be training for the Lakefront Marathon in October. All I have to say is, keep it coming.


  1. Tracey, I'm finally catching up on my blog reader and thank you so much for the shout out and for cheering me on. It means more than you could know to have friends like you who'd be there for my first big race! THANK YOU!