24 June 2012

Visiting a palace

My first week in England on this visit was absolutely gorgeous--sunny skies, hot temps (in the 80s), everyone had a smile on their face and most were sporting a sunburn or in the process of trying to get one.  In other words, very UN-typical UK weather and it was a perfect day to visit Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.  Fitting since on the last trip I visited his gravesite, eh?  Yes, I did opt to stand in line and get the annual pass since it was free other than getting my mug-shot and a little bit of time, kinda cool carrying that around in my wallet.

very imposing

side view and the moat depression

intricate ironwork

fearsome! looks like something out of a video game

looking up at the eyes looking down in the main entry


Doesn't she look so elegant?

lush, I probably overuse it but it so applies to quite a lot of the UK

One of the areas we couldn't enter: the maze

love the ducks

Watching the sunbathers

silly pic of me trying to hug one of the giant trees :-)

More sunbathers

We toured much of the interior also but like most places they wouldn't allow photography on the inside (want you to buy the books from the gift shop). Parts of Blenheim Palace can also be rented out for weddings and other events but honestly I wouldn't want to be married there unless it was out in one of the amazing (and extensive) gardens.  Next visit there will be to run the Blenheim Palace half marathon in the fall and I'm hoping to ride the miniature train and play in the Marlborough Maze afterwards--yes, I am still a kid sometimes, lol.

20 June 2012


Wanted to share a couple of songs/artists that have been on repeat on lately. Enjoy!

Icona Pop's "I Love It" has been making the blog rounds lately and rightly so, it's incredibly catchy and upbeat and this would make an awesome pick up the pace addition to the running playlist

Antero Lindgren "Cigarette Stump" for those days when you're feeling mellow or melancholy. Works for either mood or at least it does for me

It's not much of a secret that I loves me an accent and have a boot obsession that's a bit crazy so hearing the gorgeous and hilarious Craig Ferguson ruminate on about HIS boot obsession equals a very happy Gabby.  Fast forward to around 6:19 to hear only that part. Huge thank you to TWBrit for sending me this link!

A PR at last!

PR for those who don't know is personal record, or if you're European, it's known as a PB--personal best.  PB just makes me think of peanut butter though which makes me hungry which doesn't do well for losing weight. Enough which(es)?  Arrrgggghhhh, now I have a Which Wich craving.........Right, where was I? Lol, I'm sure most people have quit reading by now in aggravation.

 So yeah, a personal record was finally attained this year even if it was in a distance that I haven't formally raced in prior to this year, the MILE! Or in this case the Go!Mile.  For the Women Can Run clinic we had 3 timed miles, my best being a 6:56 so Saturday I was hoping to get under 7 minutes again.  Obviously I managed to bust that 7 minute mark again, this time with a 6:43!!!!! Can you tell I'm happy?  A huge thank you goes out to Brenda, Vicki, and Ginny for all the quality training and advice I received from/with them this year so far. No way would I have gotten this pr without them.

Elsie in the corner checking out my sweaty towel and cute t-shirt

And the Go!Running Go!Mile race is a must-do! It's gonna hurt but it's over quickly. Very well organized (except for the one delayed starting gunshot, lol), loved the separate heats and being able to cheer on my friends.  Watermelon after a race is divine and the towel at the finish line was very welcome to mop away the sweat.  I think most of my fellow running club members had pr's or close to it and our women's team took 2nd in the state RRCA Grand Prix points, woot!  Congrats to all :-).  

Love the Brooks Running Green Silence, those are my speedy shoes

I normally won't post pics of when I'm racing because quite frankly I look absolutely horrid when I'm pushing that hard.  I'm swallowing my pride on this one because I love my form on this shot (thanks Arland!) and how me and the woman in the green shoes are almost exactly in the same pose. Looking back through the photos, we were pretty much synchronized through the series, at least at the halfway point of the race.  Too bad I couldn't have kept that up, she finished 10 seconds ahead of me.  

A surprise visit to Cambridge

I'm going to blog about my visit to the UK as the mood hits, probably won't be in chronological order but more as I sort through my photos and something strikes a chord.  This one does just happen to be sorta in order because it came on the evening of the day of the Google Big Tent Event, my first full day in England.  It wasn't a planned visit to Cambridge but it was en-route back to where I was staying while there.  Beautiful city full of students and universities, gorgeous architecture, amazing window shopping, and a meal so spicy from Bill's cafe (the piri-piri chicken) it put anything I'd ever eaten in Texas or Louisiana to shame.

Closing time, streets were emptying

I could live here!

I so wonder what this guy was thinking other than "damn tourists"

Hmmm, wonder what happened here ;-)

Because Cambridge is dominated by students, cycling is the primary mode of transport.  As a matter of fact, cyclists seem to have the right of way over everything and everyone, including pedestrians on the sidewalk, I was nearly plowed over several times before I started paying closer attention

I absolutely love this shot, easily one of my favorites of the entire trip

Daisies in multiple forms were scattered everywhere. Can anyone enlighten me as to the significance of them? 

Cycles and red phone boxes

Art Gallery chickens, taken especially for my sis

Adding a few more pics that I took of Bill's cafe that I found today :-)

Bill's Beer

Very cool light fixture

Looking down into the dining area

19 June 2012

BarkBox Review

Last month one of the coupon/deal sites offered a 3 month subscription for BarkBox and I bought it thinking that even if there was only one product that I ended up using then at least part of the proceeds went for a good cause (10% to a local animal shelter or rescue) and I could donate whatever I (or rather Elsie, lol) didn't use to my local rescue.  The first box arrived on the same day I flew out so I forgot to photograph the contents before unwrapping everything and doling out some of the treats to Elsie but I received the second today, and it's quite interesting.

The thing in the front is a soggy paws towel from farfetched and is going to come in so handy!! It's going into my pickup for cleaning up Elsie after our trails runs, there are two pouches on either end for your hands so that you can clean/dry around paws more easily. I just checked the site and there are no retailers in Arkansas  for this so I'm even more pleased I got this today.  

There was also a gimme gummy treat holder/chew toy, a Cool Treats smoothie, a freeze-dried (????) dinner by Stella & Chewy's and a packet of Tumbleweed & Eddie's double nut super boost treats.  So far we've only tried out the last, Elsie wholehearted approves of them and TWBrit said something about wanting to eat one (bit appropos, eh? lol) when I showed him what I'd received from BarkBox.  The ingredients are quite simple: oat flour, ground peanuts, quinoa, flax, and coconut oil and they look like tiny gingersnap cookies.  Hmmmm, I might be after sampling those too after reading that.  

I don't get any kind of referral bonus if any of the links are clicked, was just sharing what I think is kind of a cool program that's giving me exposure to some products that I normally wouldn't know about.  

More, please!

18 June 2012

Open post to the trucking industry

I've been doing a bit of research on trucking companies lately and oh wow, for the most part they seem to be lagging behind on useful content for the drivers. Site after site simply state (paraphrasing here) call for more information.......Guess what, while there are still some luddites in the industry, quite a large percentage of us ARE tech savvy and we wish to do our research online without the bias of a recruiter who is paid bonuses on the number of bodies they get into orientation--quite a few of whom aren't actually qualified which is sussed out within the first day.  So come on, let's get with the program and put at least a little more data on what's required, pay rates, benefits, etc without time and money being wasted on both sides to find out if it's a viable option for either.

Second grumble........the health and fitness issues facing drivers.  Even though this is a major cost it doesn't seem like many trucking companies are doing anything more than superficial "band-aid" lip-service to solving the obesity and inactivity status of their employees/team members/associates/whatever the current human resource term is.

Sure there are a handful that offer fitness centers but usually only in the main headquarters where drivers are not exactly encouraged to utilize them or they are so under-stocked with out-dated equipment that they are nigh on useless.  I'm not hearing many drivers talk about their companies actively offering programs to help lose weight/get healthy/start fitness routines.  And yes, between the social media outlets like facebook, blogs, and twitter I am still in touch with a fair number of drivers.  To go even further, of the drivers I know who are proactive in taking their health and physical fitness very seriously, most of their employers seem to be quite blase in recognizing or even wanting to hear about those achievements they've attained in spite of the challenges of the industry.  This industry needs to get with it and start providing information/support/facilities/motivation to ALL their employees, not just the ones they see every day walking into the office.

Mini-rant over, there are several resources available for truckdrivers who want to take charge of their health, Sparkpeople is a great place to start and there is a Truckin' Runners group on facebook while the Ride and Roll provides info for the cyclists (which is also useful for the runners/walkers).

16 June 2012

Last Run in the UK

Yep, radio silence has ended and I'm back in the states recovering from a wicked case of jet lag. 3 weeks was more than long enough to get adjusted to UK time--it didn't help that the sun seemed to rise around 4am there and not set until nearly 10pm.  Not quite ready to be all verbose so just gonna post a few pics of where I ran most days while there (there might have been a run to the banks of a famous loch but that's a separate post).

misty morning

hopefully if you zoom this up you can see the church steeple in the middle


a sidetrack that led to a dirt road

glimpse of the reservoir

shhhh, the ducks are still sleeping

There's a swan swimming about

which way?

so peaceful

sheep pasture on other side of this

this is a subway........as opposed to a tunnel

These were all taken with a Sony Ericsson Experia that I bought for use while in Great Britain so quality is a bit off on some of them.  It didn't help that it was misting rain and was a bit dreary. These pics were all taken on Tuesday morning on my last run there before being chauffeured to Heathrow for my flights back.