13.6km Race Recap, wait what?!

Last week, my FitBit Semi de Paris half marathon training program required a 10km race. I could not find a local one, but did find a 13.6km race this past Sunday only 15 minutes away. The price was right (9€) along with the location, so I said close enough and signed up. It took me about a day or two to realize the odd distance but they advertised a ‘royal buffet’ at the end and thought, “yes, this is the race for me”!



La Ronde du Val Saint Pierre, I realized is a race in a series of races put on throughout the year with a high attendance of local running clubs. This meant fast runners, a lot faster than myself. With only 574 participants, my main goals were to try to test my speed for as long as I could and to not come in last. I’m proud to admit, I achieved both!

The 10am start began in a small village called Mécleuves, 15 minutes south of Metz, France. Parking was tight and you could see several of the neighbors looking out the windows trying to figure out where the mass of people were coming from. A small community center that even had coffee to start and bathrooms with no lines, made the bib pick up, which included a paper time tracker to attach to your shoe, quick and flawless. To my surprise, we even received a simple, black, cotton long sleeve shirt which I graciously offered to Julien for Valentine’s Day. Love ya babe 😂😍.

The morning was cold (32F/0C) with a light, wintry mix to start. Not terrible conditions but the winds were somewhat unwelcome with gusts up to 15mph/24kph. The race began on time as we started with a gradual uphill into headwinds, the first of many. Attempting to stay in the middle of the pack, I quickly realized I’d need to put my best foot forward as I was up against experienced racers.



The course moved along in and out of quiet neighborhoods and picturesque countryside of surrounding villages (Chesny, Peltre, Jury, Frontigny). However, the winds and rolling hills questioned my abilities to keep up. I tried not to think too much about that and focused on my breathing and rhythm. With little markers at almost every Km (there may have been a few I personally missed), the time was passing rather quickly when all of a sudden we hit our first of two water stops at 5km in (2nd at 10km). The station consisted of a couple of table with several volunteers handing out water cups plus additional options for juice and cola, and plenty of snacks including granola bars, oranges, bananas, crackers, cakes, and sugar cubes. I thought, “Sweet. If this is just the water stop, I can’t wait for the buffet”!

At the 11km point, you pass through a tiny, one person at a time, have to duck your head tunnel, which luckily at this point the crowd was spreading thin. The final push of the last 2 km seemed to be all uphill. This was tough. I had a girl riding my left shoulder with a neon pink hat that, unknowingly to her, pushed me to keep going because I easily wanted to slow my pace on this uphill but I did not want her to beat me, so I chose to push. At the top of the hill was the race photographer where he caught photos of you either completely exhausted or thrilled to have reached the top. My photo was a small combination of both.



Finally finishing the loop course back at the small community center, I was thrilled with my time of 1:13 as it was my first ever race finish with a sub-9 minute per mile pace (8:44mpm/5:24mpk). No medals but all the women received a rose at the end. Besides I was anticipating the ‘royal buffet’. My hangry side got the best of me as the buffet was exactly our water stops. No pizza, pasta or champagne or bagels as I had been envisioning. With a PR in my 5k and 10k times I tried not to think about my hunger pains and irrational buffet beliefs and grabbed a piece of cake and tea and made my way back home.



Close Out the Year with Self Love

As the holidays approach, media and marketing will sell you on thinking it’s the most wonderful time of the year (and hoping you spend that pretty penny too). While I hope nothing but good cheer for all, sometimes this time of year brings forth heartbreaking reminders of those we’ve lost, failed resolutions, being stuck in careers, relationships, or unsatisfied life choices, or just simply feeling lonely. I’m here to remind you that even though these times may play havoc on your emotions, you’re still amazing and now, not just January 1, is the perfect time to practice some self-love.

I’ve come up with some practical ways for you to bring back that lovin’ feelin’, woah that lovin’ feelin’:

De-stress Monday’s

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There’s an account on Instagram I follow called @destressmonday and they also have a webpage here. Stereotypically, Monday’s are the “worst” but the account gives you little reminders to breathe, smile and think positively, not just on Mondays but for everyday of the week.

 

Start Saving Weekly to Give Yourself a Present/Trip

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Chanel Boutique in Paris

It may seem ironic to put away money when you know you probably should spend it towards the gifts for others this holiday, but how can you be your best for them if you don’t take care of yourself once in a while? Practicing some budgeting and rewarding yourself for making the means to grab something you really love or a getaway you’ve been craving for is not selfish, it’s making a goal, being diligent, and taking pride in your work. That’s an achievement!

 

Pay it Forward

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Be Kind from Momentum Jewelry

If you are feeling slightly guilty for thinking about yourself, which you SHOULDN’T, you can always give back to those in need or just do random acts of kindness. Smile and hold a door open for someone, buy the person’s coffee behind you, volunteer at the local food pantry, give to charity. There are literally millions of ways to help and be kind and in the long run, you’ll feel better because you brightened someone’s day!

 

Listen to Inspiring and Interesting Podcasts

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This American Life Podcast

I might get a little heavy here. Personally, losing 3 family members over the past 5 years actually makes the holidays suck, to be brutally honest. My mom was the champion of Christmas with the decorations, several little ceramic villages, lights, dinners, pies, and presents. She made the holidays feel lively, animated, and she made everyone around feel loved. This will be my 4th Christmas without her. It doesn’t get easier, but I know that by holding everything in could be disastrous. When I’m out on long runs, I like to listen to podcasts to pass the time, like This American Life with one episode in particular talking about a way to speak to loved ones who have passed and reconciling with others who are still here. The first act is discusses a documentary in Japan about the Wind Phone. It’s a non-working, old, rotary phone in a white phone booth box on a man’s garden that over 10,000 people have visited or used. It’s popularity began following the 2011 Tsunami and became a way for friends and family members, of those lost or taken from the disaster, to find a way to speak to their loved ones and grieve peacefully. I did end up watching the documentary here at this link, but be forewarned if you’re human, you’ll probably cry. The second act is about two elderly brothers, in their 80’s, who held a somewhat unknowingly grudge and hadn’t really spoken in about 20 years. The son of one helped to reconcile them, knowing time was not on their side and helped guide them to have an adult conversation about their grievances which helped to take some ‘weight’ off their shoulders. Both stories are healthy reminders to allow for time to think about your loved ones who are no longer here and to not wait to reach out to those who still matter to you while they are still here.

 

#12days12ways

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Brady the Cat, named after the GOAT Tom Brady

On a lighter note, because there are only 12 days left until Christmas there’s a hashtag going around called #12days12ways. It’s a reminder to reflect back and document, however you wish, 12 ways your life has changed positively over the past year.

Here are mine:

January: Got to celebrate the new year with my friend Liz, who visited us in France from NYC

February: Watching the Patriots win the SuperBowl

March: Spending a week in the Swiss Alps snowboarding

April: Completing my 9th Marathon in Rome, Italy and during that same week watch Julien crush his PR in the Paris Marathon

May: Completing the Luxembourg night half marathon, the hottest race I’ve ever done in my life

June: Growing my influence in the running, fitness and wellness community on Instagram and having my hard work, “little hobby”, get recognized with sponsorships and ambassadorships from companies like Under Armour and Nordstrom

July: Getting a new kitten and fur baby, Brady

August: Visiting my one of my oldest friends Dorothy, in Rotterdam, Netherlands while at the same time being lucky enough to have her on this side of the pond with me

September: Twofer, sneaking home on a super discount flight for Labor Day weekend to go on, one of my best friend’s, Katie’s sailboat and completing my 10th marathon and 3rd World Major in Berlin

October: Having my Dad visit for a couple weeks and then all of us flying back to the US for 3 weeks, 2 weddings and an east coast adventure

November: My birthday in Budapest, Hungary with my American bestie here in Metz, Carmen

December: Having Julien’s family embrace and welcome me into their home for Christmas this year

Here’s to ending the year on a positive note and feeling optimistic for what is to come!

 

Sweet Oporto

What an amazing week I’ve had! Not only did I begin training for my 10th marathon for Berlin in September and adapted my nutrition to start following a ketogenic meal plan (high “good” fat and low carb), more to come on these on later posts, but I also spent a long weekend visiting Porto, Portugal. 

Visiting the 2nd largest city in Portugal started as a trip to visit a couple of American friends traveling through. However, a friends flight got cancelled twice, due to strikes, cutting 4 days out of her trip so she decided to stay back, meaning I was venturing on my own. I took a 2 and a half hour direct flight late Thursday afternoon from Luxembourg to Porto. From the airport I was able to get a metro ticket for less that 2€ to get me towards Trindade stop in the historic portion of the city, and also where my airbnb was located. After a quick check-in and shower I took to Google trips to get myself acquainted with sights to see nearby. Here’s a recount of what I did daily:

Thursday:

Livraria Lello

Famous Bookshop

Famous Bookshop

Red Staircase

Red Staircase

 

The Historic District

Town Hall

Town Hall

Ingreja da Santíssima Trindade

Ingreja da Santíssima Trindade

Typical tiled buildings

Typical tiled buildings

Praça de Carlos Alberto

Praça de Carlos Alberto

Igreja do Carmo

Igreja do Carmo

French inspired architecture

French inspired architecture



Street Art 

Street art is legal with a permit. It brings bright colors to the already lively city.

17th Restaurant & Bar

Views of Porto

Views of Porto

Rosé on steroids

Rosé on steroids

 

Dinner at O Buraco

Fresh and inexpensive traditional Portuguese restaurant

Fresh and inexpensive traditional Portuguese restaurant


Porto Walkers Pub Crawl
I signed up for a pub crawl for 12€ which started at 11pm going til 5am, if you could make it that long. With 5-6 stops visiting bars mostly on Galeria de Paris, a drink special was included at each stop. I’m glad I went because I met a bunch of English speaking backpackers from US, Canada, and Australia. Albeit, I was the oldest by 10+ years, but was able to dance the night away (or at least until 2:30am, I admit I couldn’t quite hang as long).

Friday:

Early Morning Run

Free Walking Tour
I can’t recommend enough taking this free 4 hour walking tour with a passionate local from Porto Walkers (Do this!) I learned a lot and felt it was necessary to share a few important points…

1. Porto’s tourism is relatively new (think 15-20 years new). Thanks to UNESCO and budget flights like RyanAir, the city has seen an influx in visitors and most of the locals are appreciative for the economic boost but…

2. In the poorer sections of town, where the buildings create narrow, quaint winding, colorful, clothes-lined drying alleyways, some families monthly wage is 500€. There used to be laws to protect them, where monthly rent was grandfathered over to keep prices low to protect them from losing their homes. Due to greed and a change in law, rents have skyrocketed from 50€ per month to 800€ per month, to create Airbnb’s for tourists like myself. This results in families getting kicked out of Porto or ultimately leaving them homeless.

3. Here’s what we can do to help: Don’t rent Airbnb’s within the Riberia district or support the overpriced, tourist restaurants and shops along the river front. Do eat at local Portuguese restaurants and shop off the typical tourist beaten paths. You’ll know the difference immediately because there will probably be a wait to get in because they are small and the prices will be extraordinarily less expensive.

Ponte Luís I

Ponte Luís I

Ribeira District

Ribeira District

Ribeira District

Ribeira District

Ribeira District

Ribeira District

View of Douro

View of Douro

Old Tram

Old Tram

Igreja paroquial de Santo Ildefonso

Igreja paroquial de Santo Ildefonso

Inside São Bento Train Station

Inside São Bento Train Station

 

Port Wine in Vila Nova de Gaia

I did a self tour visiting several wineries of the sweet port wine.

Ramos Pinto

Ramos Pinto

Croft

Croft

Inside Taylor's

Inside Taylor’s

Taylor's Courtyard

Taylor’s Courtyard

Taylor's

Taylor’s Port Wine

 

Saturday:

Praia do Molhe
I got up early and took the old Tram line 1 along the river to where it meets the Atlantic Ocean and spent most of the day at the beach. 

Dinner at Tapabento
Ranked #1 Restaurant in Porto, there are advantages to eating solo. I didn’t need a reservation! Fine dining in a quaint restaurant, you’d never know from the outside. 

Seated Tuna

Seared Tuna

Red Mullet

Red Mullet

Pistachio Sufflé

Pistachio Sufflé

 

Sunday:

Last day in Porto and started it with another early morning run. Expecting to find the streets deserted I was actually weaving in and out of the drunks making their way home at 6:30am.

Breakfast at Zenith
Best Brunch Ever

Detox Smoothie bowl (I also got 2 eggs with avocado not pictured)

Detox Smoothie bowl (I also got 2 eggs with avocado not pictured)

Armazém
Vintage Flea Market and bar. Cute, artsy and unique.

Portobello Rooftop Bar

Finished the trip with a couple cocktails at Base

I hope you all get a chance to visit and take into account the need to respect their culture, heritage, and people. And drink all the port wine 🍷. If you’re waiting for a reason to go, the weekend of June 23rd is a huge street party for Saint John (Sao Joao) with plastic hammers, drinking, dancing, and fireworks. A celebration not to be missed 🎉

Calling all Luxembourg Foodies!

Being a newbie to the Luxembourg area (reminder to my US followers, Luxembourg is a small country sitting on top of France and between Belgium and Germany), I have to admit I haven’t found that Luxembourg has any famously known cuisine. In fact most restaurants I’ve visited, have been borrowers of surrounding palates (like Italian and French). And on another note, I’ve not found a huge array of options for the health conscious individual.

Bearing in mind, I’m one to try to cook everyday (inside joke with my French friends but I’ll let you know the secret…I was in the middle of, what I thought, was an interesting French conversation that I thought I understood and I thought I was asked about my cooking/eating habits. I answered, “I cook everyday”. And unbeknown to me, the subject, which I can’t even remember, was not about food at all. This probably doesn’t even sound funny…guess you had to be there). But in all honesty, I do try to cook each weekday meal with my goal being that the food is fresh, local, and organic if possible, while trying to cut out processed foods. This is to try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, assist in workout performance, and help maintain my weight.

I, from first hand, know how sometimes recipes can get monotonous and buying groceries can get expensive when you are trying to plan ahead or it may even be difficult to find certain ingredients, ex: like what the heck is saithe!? It’s a fish, I had to google it. Where can we find a solution for fresh, local food, to create homemade recipes in less than 45 minutes and for as low as 7.50 euros a meal per person??

Fear no longer, as my peers in Luxembourg has created Avocado.

Avocado.lu is a food box home delivery service for all of Luxembourg. Providing fresh, bio foods and inspiring recipes that cater to your preferences whether it be low-carb, vegetarian or vegan, with the flexibility of frequency of delivery, all your anxieties on meal preparation can be taken care of. What a grand idea!

My readers even get a lucky 30% discount on their first order (new customers) if an order is placed before the 30th of August! Use this promotion code (PR16N-N-30).


My first US Visitors

Last week I mentioned that my dad and sister were coming to visit me during the marathon and to do some additional sight seeing. My dad, Bob, had already planned on coming but my sister, Julie, needed needed a day of coaxing to make the decision to make her first international trip ever. I had mentioned to her that WOW airlines runs bargain round trip flights from Boston to Paris (with a short layover in Iceland). I’m talking half the price (even with the extras of checked baggage). I knew she would be hesitant because her oldest daughter was expecting her first baby (my niece, Heidi, who’s wedding I was in in West Virginia last August) and her other daughter Kailee, in Pennsylvania, is engaged and planning her wedding. But happily, she made the decision to come and now I was in the driver’s seat to help both of them see as much of Europe in 12 short days.

DAY 1-4: PARIS

They arrived on a red eye flight from Boston-Reykjavik-Paris getting in at 11:30am our time (we are 6 hours ahead of east coast time) so 5:30am their time. We were only spending 4 days in Paris with one day being the marathon and the last day leaving early to catch a train to our next adventure, thus only really leaving us with 2 days.

Friday, April 1, we checked into our Airbnb near Place de la Republique and I double checked with them if they wanted to rest or start seeing the sights and like the troopers they are, we were off to explore Paris by foot. The Republique is centrally located so we were never too far from the main sights; however, I don’t think any of us planned on the amount of walking we would be partaking in during our trip which consisted of about 10k each day.

First we had lunch on a corner cafe near our apartment with my friend, Dorothy, from home who currently lives in London and her friend, Flavia, from Rotterdam, Netherlands. Both were in town, luckily, to visit me and celebrate Flavia’s birthday.

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Dorothy, Flavia, me, Julie 

We walked from the Republique -> Centre Pompidou -> Hotel de Ville -> Notre Dame de Paris -> Musee du Louvre -> then took a Batobus boat tour past Musee D’Orsay and Tour Eiffel -> back to Notre Dame and walked back to the Republique.

We all started to crash at that point and went back to rest. I bought some Champagne, Cheese, Chorizo and a baguette. My dad stayed in for the rest of the night and me, my sister mustered up our last bit of energy to meet up with Dorothy and Flavia to celebrate Flavia’s birthday at AG Les Halles.

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Flavia’s Birthday

Saturday, I attempted a short run with Dorothy in the morning but was experiencing a combination of sciatic pain and panic attack so we cut it short and picked up some croissants. Juju arrived Saturday afternoon and we all made our way to the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles to pick up our marathon numbers. The expo was huge but thankfully with only one exit as we lost my dad for about 30 minutes, without a smart phone, and he was smart enough to wait at the exit. After that moment of panic, we could go back to enjoy the exhibitors in which we tried some wine from the Alsace region, picked up some Kinesiotape for my sciatica, my sister grabbed some new sneakers and Juju and I re-stocked on our goos and energy bars.

That night we all met up with Dorothy and Flavia at La Massara for an Italian carb loaded dinner before the race. We went to bed early and JuJu and I got up around 8am to head to the start of the marathon while my dad and sister met up later with Juju’s sister, Magali and boyfriend, Jeremie, and their daughter to do the spectator routine. After the marathon and recovery we went the the bar across the street from our apartment and celebrated with everyone.

Day 4-6: HOLLAND

Monday morning we checked out of the Airbnb in Paris and headed over to Gare du Nord to catch our train to Amsterdam. It was a 3:30 hour journey but the trains are pretty comfortable and stocked with food and beer 🙂 We passed through Brussels half way and made it our final destination around 3:45pm. I booked a really cheap room at The Frisco Inn, only a 5 minute walk from the train station. Upon arrival, we soon discovered why it was so cheap. I had requested a double bed and cot for a 3rd person. They missed the cot comment and put us up in the smallest room they had. First, the flight up the stairs was a challenge as the steps were as narrow as rungs on a ladder, so bringing 3 heavy suitcases plus ourselves seemed to be an acrobatic feat. Then the room…it fit a double bed. And that’s it. Needless to say, the other rooms were completely booked and I slept on the floor for 2 nights. Not my first time and probably won’t be my last – all the the namesake of a bargain, am I right?

Monday night we walked a bit to see the Anne Frank House, canals, and, of course, the Red light district. We were told to get the best dutch apple pie in the city at Winkel 43. Upon arrival, there were several picnic benches for outdoor seating that was minimally full. We opted to eat inside as the weather was spring-like but cooled off a bit when the sun went down. The place was pretty quiet and I was concerned that the only food options were bar apps. The waitress put away our fears and brought out the chalkboard menu with an array of options, that I guess is an ever changing menu. I went with the dutch speciality of mashed potatoes with broccoli and Rookworst sausage. My sister opted for the goat cheese salad and my dad got the sweet and sour chicken. And of course all 3 of us got the famous Dutch Apple Pie that was not the least bit disappointing.

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Tuesday we got up early to reserve a bus to Keukonhof where the Tulip festival is about 45 minutes away from the city. This festival only occurs between March and May. It’s like a Theme park for flowers. Before we had a hearty pancake breakfast that literally could be made up of anything you wanted, think more crepe style. I got veggie pancake with fresh mint tea, my sister got bacon and cheese, while my dad opted for apple and ham. Then we started the party early with some morning alcoholic beverages at the bar at our hotel and sneaked a few nips on the way in the bus. We were feeling good! At the festival, right off the bat we were able to grab a couple bottles of Rose and prance around the festival. It was beautifully entertaining and we did as much touristy things imaginable. After a couple hours, we ended up in the cafe and had some beef stew and started to make our way back toward the bus. Catching the bus close to the last minute, because we had to buy our dad a collection pin, we made our way back to Amsterdam and spent the rest of the evening talking it up with the bartender and some patrons in the hotel bar and, due to the “pungent air”, ended up having McDonald’s. That’s what a day of drinking will lead to, not my proudest moment but better than dealing with a hangover.

Wednesday the weather finally took a turn for the worst. I think it was really our only day with rain but it was just miserable, cold and windy. We decided to take the covered boat cruise through the canals. We made one pit stop to see the I AMSTERDAM sign. Last time I visited the Netherlands the sign was behind the Rijksmuseum. Unbeknownst to me, the sign moves every year and this year it was on City Hall grounds. Because of the weather we were lucky enough to get pictures with the whole sign without anyone else in the picture. I was pretty happy about that. The fatigue was starting to set in and we opted to forego seeing the Rijks and Van Gogh Museums and the Heineken Experience and also, we were running out of time. We then took our train back from Amsterdam to Paris, walked two blocks to Gare de l’Est to get our train to finally my home in Metz, France where Juju picked us up at 10pm and had made lasagna for us.

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Day 7: Metz, France

We finally took a break from travel but that didn’t stop our 10k per day walking excursions. We took the local bus to the Metz Gare then walked our way -> Centre Pompidou-Metz Museum -> Porte des Allemands -> Cathedrale Metz -> Le Temple Neuf   -> Place de la Republique where we shopped met up with my American friend, Ashley, and her son who live in Metz. The presidents of France and Germany were in town celebrating the Franco-Allemande relationship and closing off some of the streets in the neighborhood. That night Juju came home and cooked us salmon and we all went to bed early.

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Metz, France

Day 8: Reims, France

Friday morning we woke up early to catch a Megabus (same as the Megabus you would take from Boston to NYC) from Metz to Champagne-Ardenne/Reims. This is the champagne region of France. The bus dropped us off at the main train station a little bit outside the city. We discovered the 20 minute tram that would take us into the city. Once in the city we would, of course, walk to the closest Champagne cellar we could find. On our walk we passed the Notre Dame Reims cathedral, which was like a miniature version of Paris but was being renovated. Our walk ended at Champagne Taittinger. We made it just in time for the beginning of the hour long tour. It started with a short video then a walk through the 13th Roman Century chalk caves that houses 2 million bottles of champagne that take anywhere from 15 months to 10 years to produce. At the end, of course, were tastings and this stuff is the best, sorry Korbel, but you have some work to do 😉 After the tour we had just enough time to walk, catch the tram and take the 2:30 Megabus back to Metz. At this point, the traveling was starting to catch up with us and my dad in particular, who was getting a head cold. We all passed out early again Friday night.

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Champagne Taittinger

Day 9: Strasbourg, France

With my dad staying home to rest, me, Julie and Juju drove 2 hours to Strasbourg, France. It’s part of the European Capital and home to the half timbered houses, le petite France, and Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg. We experienced alsatian gastronomy in Winstub Meiselocker which included escargot, foie gras, and the best Cordon Bleu I’ve ever had in my life. We then took the petite train tour around the city to get a view of the distinct architecture. We came back after a couple of beers and my sister rested and Juju and I went out in Metz with our French friends to again celebrate our Marathon completion.

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Day 10: Hestroff, France

Sunday Funday in France is mine and Juju’s favorite day of the week. We typically start off the morning by hitting up the farmer’s market across from our flat and to get fresh fruits, veggies, baguettes, eggs and cheese. We cook up a brunch accompanied with champagne. In the afternoon, we drove 30 minutes to Juju’s parents home in Hestroff, France located 12 miles from the German border. Here we drank more Champagne and walked around the village to a point in the forest that brought us to a WWII bunker called Fort aux Fresques Ligne Maginot Hestroff connecting local villages by underground tunnels to protect from Germans (that thankfully never came). After this history lesson, we had a 5 course meal made by Juju’s mother and did as much communicating as you can between English and French only speaking families with the help of more wine and some sign language and, of course, Juju’s translations.

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Hestroff, France

Day 11: Trier, Germany and Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Monday was our last day of touring and what could be better but to have all 3 meals in a day, each in a different country. We started with breakfast in Metz, France, then took a 45 minute train to Luxembourg, Luxembourg and switched to take another 55 min train to Trier, Germany. Walking continued to get from the gare to the city center where we saw Porta Nigra -> Hauptmarkt which contained shopping, colorful architecture, cathedrales, and a delicious traditional german meal of dumplings and meatloaf -> Kurfurstliches Palais -> and Imperial Roman Baths. We were able to grab a beer stein for my nephew, Nick, and we speed walked .8 miles to catch a 3:30pm train back to Luxembourg.

In Luxembourg, we took the bus to city plaza and walked to the Chemin de la Corniche and to Place d’Armes and drank a beer out in the open. We hopped on the bus and I showed them Kirchberg and stopped by Auchan until Juju was done with work. We had our last meal at Chimichurri which serves platters for meals, so needless to say there would be doggie bags of food being brought home.

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Chemin de la Corniche, Luxembourg

Day 12: Back to US

The last day approached and we sadly had to send my sister and dad back by train to Paris. They were able to get a quick look into EuroDisney before reaching Charles De Gaulle Airport. It was great to show my family where I lived and the neighboring attractions that makes Europe so great. And we got my sister back in time before her first grandchild and my great-niece, Lillian, making a 4 week early arrival on April 17th. Congrats to mom, Heidi, and baby who are both healthy and the family of 3 are doing well.

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My great-niece, Lillian Taylor

Tips to stay healthy while traveling

Over Memorial Day weekend, I spent 6 days with a crew of friends, from France to England to Boston and sometimes New Orleans, in Nantucket for the yearly Figawi boat race event. This was the crew’s 8th year at the best barn-looking house on the island. 31 York St has a “president” and the crew has changed a little bit over time but the crew is still pretty tight and loyal for the most part. I have been lucky enough to experience my 4th Figawi weekend. While I was gone I was worried about my health and fitness maintenance that I’ve been working so hard to maintain especially the past 6 months and since becoming a Beachbody coach. I didn’t want it to go out the window because of a bunch of drinks and bar food. So here are some of my healthy tips I used while I was traveling.

1) Pack your workout gear

I actually hate packing and yes I usually over pack. I plan well but I like my options too. Typically, I go shopping for cute dress up vacation clothes (which I still did and those were my go-out clothes). However, this year I planned sneakers, yoga pants, tanks, and sports bras to wear each day for lounging around the house. I mean if you are at least going to dress the part, you’re half way to a good work out. Am I right?

2) Bring your ipad/laptop/tablet

Beachbody on Demand will travel. This means you can stream up to 1000’s of routines from well-known programs such as P90X, Insanity, 21 Day Fix, etc. Most of the programs can be done with your own body weight and are typically only 30-45 minutes. This means you only need wifi and you. Click the link if you want more info on Beachbody on Demand

Beachbody On Demand

3) Make a music playlist for the weekend

Honestly, music feeds the soul. It makes people dance (as does alcohol). It makes you move. So whether you have your favorite beats to get a good run to the beach or dance late night with your friends around the kitchen, having good music will be motivating.

4) Eat in, if you can

Of course it’s considered a nice luxury to eat out while vacationing. You don’t have to do the work or sometimes it can be reimbursed on a business trip, but if you are trying to watch your diet, it’s important to stick to your meal prep as closely as you can, if possible. 31 York St provides us with a beautiful, huge kitchen and our group has some incredible french friends who are amazing cooks, so in this part we are lucky. They created 5 family style home cooked meals for 13 people! In doing so we had a grocery list and was able to maintain fresh ingredients including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and healthier homemade lasagnas to our good body building friend Chi-Burgers. And we got to enjoy each other’s company for $70 for food for the weekend instead of one meal out at a nice place.

5) Cocktails with fresh fruit

Now while I’m on vacation, I’m definitely going to let loose and relax with a couple of adult beverages. In the past we would rock several 30’s of light beer and not even bat an eye. As we “mature” and some of our metabolisms aren’t quite what they used to be, we’ve calmed down in our partying ways and opt for fresher cocktails. This year we made several concoctions of homemade fruit daiquiris including fresh strawberries, pineapples, kiwis, bananas etc. We even allowed ourselves to indulge in our favorite mudslide but made from scratch instead of at our beloved Gazebo where more than likely a syrup, artificial base is used. Don’t get me wrong, we still had one or 2 when we finally did make our way to the Gazebo and still had light beers but doing most of the work at home saved a hole in our wallets and our stomachs.

6) Enjoy each other’s company

In the past, our goal was to party, get out, dance, meet new people. For the most part, most of us were single so doing all of that was incredibly fun. BUT it more than likely led to overconsumption and careless late night binge eating. The past couple of years have been a little different, we have been enjoying ourselves instead of seeking who we were bringing back to the late night kitchen dance fest.

7) Pledge to stay committed

It’s so easy to lose your focus and to slip from the exercise routine when you are not working and having fun. It’s easy to get swept up into other people’s, lack of a better term, laziness or eating habits when you are traveling with others. I find keeping an exercise journal or calendar can help keep myself in check. I also will just straight up tell people what my plan for working out for the day is. By saying your workout routine out loud, you have set yourself up for accountability and no one likes to fail. Who knows you may even end up with a workout partner…which leads me into my last tip.

8) Invite your friends and take pictures

What’s more fun than doing something alone? Doing something together of course! Invite. The worst thing you might hear is no. Don’t let someone’s judgement of your routine defer you from maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Often naysayers or judgey mcjudgey’s are just jealous of your commitment and are actually upset with themselves internally. I’m not saying workout to make your friends jealous or upset, but do so to maybe motivate and inspire. This at least provides an opportunity for you and them to burn some extra calories from the previous late nights indulgence. And if they are so willing, take pictures, laugh, have fun and enjoy the moment and each other. This is what life’s really all about!

Grocery Shopping!

Grocery Shopping!

Family Dinner

Family Dinner

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Homemade Mudslides

Homemade Mudslides

Chi-Burgers

Chi-Burgers

Easy Riders

Easy Riders

Yoga with Beer

Yoga with Beer

Watermelon

Watermelon

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Nantucket, thanks for the memories!

Nantucket, thanks for the memories!