the long way home.

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2 sisters
1522
miles
21.5 hours of driving
1 bag of swedish fish consumed
times i considered buying additional bags of swedish fish
4 extra hours spent in cedar city, utah with a broken a/c compressor
110 miles with no services, the longest stretch in the country
5 state lines crossed

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in a world where everything is moving so fast and there doesn’t seem to be enough time for anything, sometimes it’s nice to take the long way home.

highland, california –> omaha, nebraska // august 2015

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kansas city

A couple weekends ago we went down to Kansas City for a couple of days to spend some time with Kevin’s parents. We kicked off Saturday morning with a long run (16 miles for me, 13 for Kevin) and despite super hot and humid temps and the fact that it was raining the majority of the time, we got it done. I always think it’s going to be such a bummer to run when we’re out of town, but usually I really end up enjoying the sights and sounds of running in a new place. Our route in KC took us along a trail in a really pretty park and also up some pretty killer hills.

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After getting back from our run and a delicious lunch with Kevin’s parents, Kevin and I decided to head down to the Plaza for some shopping and walking around. We scored some awesome Lululemon items on sale. Earlier in the day, I’d see this delicious concoction on my friend Ruth’s instagram and knew we had to have one, so we made a stop. Yep, it’s as good (better?) as it looks. And who doesn’t love a pink drink?!

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We had our fill of the Plaza after awhile and headed over to Fervere, a small bakery in the Crossroads District. On Saturday nights in the summer, the bakery opens up for a couple of hours and exclusively sells their cheese slippers (ciabatta bread stuffed with various cheeses) topped with ingredients from local farms. The events have become rather popular, and the other time we tried to get one, they ran out before our turn in line. We got there much earlier this time and got in line with the rest of the crazies.

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Thank goodness Little Freshie is just a couple shops down. Their blackberry lavender and mango ginger snow cones really hit the spot while we waited…and waited…and waited in line for our bread.

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Finally we got closer to the entrance and it seemed pretty likely there would be enough for us to get a couple. They had run out of one of the types we wanted, but we were able to snag two others – an heirloom potato, and a peach. There’s no seating inside the bakery so we followed suit and did what the locals do — found a spot on the sidewalk and ate them right then and there. Totally worth the wait, and I think heading here at least once each summer is going to become a tradition. I mean, just look at those things!

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Still on our cheese slipper high, we decided we’d check out a couple of breweries on our way back to Kevin’s parents house. First up was Cinder Block Brewery. It was in a weird industrial area so we didn’t expect much but when we got there, there was a food truck outside, a band playing inside, and the place was packed! We shared a flight here and really liked their Weathered Wit and the champagne cider.

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Next stop was Big Rip Brewing Company, not too far down the road from Cinder Block. A much smaller, calmer feel here, but we were able to talk to the bartender a bit about their beers and also catch the end of the Royals game on TV. We shared a flight here, too; we really liked the Sweet Brown and ended up getting a mini growler of that for later that night.

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Sunday morning we got up early for a recovery 5-miler before church, followed by mass and brunch. Then we headed home to get changed and headed out to Kauffman Stadium for the afternoon Royals-White Sox game. My first time seeing the Royals play at home!

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It was raining up until the game started but cleared up just in time and eventually the sun even peaked out. We enjoyed a giant bucket of extremely salty popcorn, a couple of hot dogs (a must for any baseball game), and a few $11 craft beers (I know, so painful, but you have to have a Boulevard at the Royals game!). I always tell Kevin that I will sit with him at a baseball game as long as I get my hot dog and remain sufficiently buzzed on overpriced beer, so he did his job and we both got our way.

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Overall a really fun weekend visiting with the in-laws, eating lots of delicious food, checking out new breweries, and of course, seeing a Royals game!

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hk runs: favorite fuels

fuels

I’ve been wanting to do more running related posts on here for a while now, especially since it’s becoming an increasingly larger part of our lives now that we’re training for our first full marathons. In the inaugural “hk runs” column, I thought I would talk about a few of our favorite fuels to use before, during, and after our runs. There are endless options on the market for endurance activities, and fueling is definitely not a “one size fits all” approach – what works for us might not work for you, and it can take a lot of trial and error to find what you like best. However, I always like getting other runners’ opinions on products before buying them, so I can make an educated guess as to whether it’s something I might like to try out. All that said, here are a few products that we have tried, liked, and currently use in our training:

honey stinger waffles | We bought a couple of these at our local running store on a whim and were instantly hooked. I usually wake up hungry, and when we run in the mornings, I don’t like to go on a totally empty stomach. These waffles are easy to eat and digest in the early morning and make a great pre-run snack — they are about 150 calories, so oftentimes Kevin and I will split one, and it provides the perfect amount of fuel to get through a 3-5 mile run. There are several different flavors of these – I like the original honey the best, but the chocolate and caramel are great, too.

KIND bars | I like to keep some granola bars around for healthy snacks, and KIND bars are one of our favorites. We don’t typically eat these before morning runs; we’re more likely to have these as an afternoon snack a couple of hours before an evening run to get some good protein and carbs to sustain our workout. I really love these because the ingredients are minimal and the sugar content is relatively low. Again, tons of flavors to choose from, but I like the cranberry almond, almond & apricot, and dark chocolate cherry cashew.

salted caramel GU energy gels | People seem to really love or hate gels in general. The consistency does take some getting used to, and I tried a lot of brands/flavors before finding one that wasn’t overly sweet, actually tasted good, and didn’t make me want to vom. Salted caramel is the winner for me. I would legit eat this over ice cream. These are not organic and have a few more ingredients than I’d like, but they are great for races in particular because they’re easy to open and eat on the run. I typically open one and eat a little bit at a time over a couple of miles so I don’t upset my stomach. Although these are by far our favorite gel, we’ve also tried and liked these and these.

nuun active | A coworker of mine has used nuun for awhile and I was intrigued, so we decided to check it out. These are electrolyte-enhanced tablets that you add to your water and allow to dissolve. I find that replacing at least some of my water with an electrolyte-enhanced drink, especially on long runs, helps keep my energy up and makes me less likely to get that dreaded post-workout headache. Although nuun doesn’t taste as great as Gatorade (I would equate it to an unsweetened, flavored sparkling water, but less fizzy), I love that there’s no sugar and very few calories. They also have an “all day” product line that they market as a multivitamin and that you can mix into your water for the workday.

honey stinger energy chews | Same brand as the waffles above, and also organic with a pretty short ingredient list. These come in one-serving packages that typically have about 10 chews in them, for a total of around 150 calories, and provide just the right amount of carbs and sugars to keep you going. Some of the flavors have caffeine added, which I like. Basically, these guys are an excuse to eat (the world’s most expensive) fruit snacks and call it healthy. I’ve loved every flavor of these I’ve tried, but especially like the grapefruit and pink lemonade varieties.

gatorade endurance carb energy chews | I decided to buy a box of these after reading that they’d be available on the Chicago Marathon course. (I’ll probably bring my own as backup, but it’s always nice at races to grab an unwrapped version that’s ready to go instead of having to slow down and fiddle with getting stuff out of your pocket). Aside from the fact that the packaging on these is kind of hard to open, we love these. The flavor is good, they are super easy to chew (i.e., don’t feel like you’re going to choke on it), and feel pretty light in your stomach. They come four to a package and are 120 calories. Because these are part of the ‘endurance’ line, they can be harder to find in regular stores — Amazon is the best bet.

gatorade endurance formula powder | This is going to be the sports drinks available on both the Chicago and Des Moines courses, so again, we figured we would try training with it. Ideally, I’d like to alternate drinking water and gatorade, but carrying one water bottle on a run is annoying enough, so usually we’ll start off with our bottles filled with gatorade and then refill with water somewhere along the way. This tastes pretty similar to regular gatorade, but has more carbs and electrolytes, and is designed for longer distance activities. I despise carrying a water bottle while running, but for marathon training in the summer, it’s a necessary evil. We recently got these, and it’s the first thing I’ve tried and haven’t totally hated – easy to hold onto, doesn’t leak, and stays cold.

krave jerky | I first discovered this product after reading Meb Keflezighi’s book, Meb for Mortals, when he talks about his nutrition. If it’s good enough for Meb, it’s good enough for me. I’ve always liked jerky, but it wasn’t ever something we bought a lot of. Now we keep a couple bags of this stuff around for afternoon or weekend protein-packed snacks. It’s a little pricey, but they carry most of the flavors (there are turkey, beef, and pork options) at Target which is convenient, and I especially love that it’s easy to chew and not super tough like more conventional jerkies.

Any favorite products you like for before, during, and after workouts? Share in the comments — we’re always looking to try new things! 

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california, part 2: santa barbara + ventura.

So it’s been over a month since we’ve been back from our trip to California and I’m just getting around to sharing more of the photos…June was a whirlwind (but fun!) month, to say the least. One of the things I love so much about where I grew up is that you can get to so many other places within just a few hours, making for countless day trip opportunities. Santa Barbara has always been one of my favorite coastal cities, and Kevin had never been, so we decided to make a day out of it before heading south to Ventura later to meet up with Jolie. It was pouring rain for the majority of our drive, which made for a stressful trip, so by the time we arrived we were good and ready for some food and a drink! We grabbed a seat at the bar at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., tried a couple of beer flights, and ordered a pizza from a nearby shop.

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After lunch we headed over to the Santa Barbara Mission. I’ve been a few times but this was Kevin’s first California Mission visit! It was still raining so we didn’t do much exploring but enjoyed checking out the museum, gardens, cemetery, church, etc. All of the missions are gorgeous in their own way but I’ve always really liked this one, and it was fun showing Kevin around!

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After exploring the mission for awhile, we headed back down the 101 to Ventura. We spotted a brewery right off our freeway exit so we decided to check it out! It turns out they had just opened a couple days earlier! All the staff were super friendly, and we really liked all of their beers!

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After trying out some beers at Topa Topa, we met up with Jolie at her apartment and ate and drank our way down Main Street – sangria and pizza at Cafe Fiore, beers in mini boots and pulled pork nachos at Saloon BBQ, and a dessert trio with wine at Paradise Pantry. Everything was delicious, and I loved getting to experience downtown Ventura – such a cute area and super walkable! Of course, the highlight of the evening was getting to spend some quality time with my bff.

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We spent the night at Jolie’s and got up early the next morning to head out for a beachfront run – it was a little humid, but otherwise perfect breezy running weather, with gorgeous views!

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A great overnight trip filled with lots of delicious food and drinks, ocean views, and time with two of my favorite people in the world!

A few places to check out if you find yourself in Santa Barbara or Ventura:

santa barbara: figueroa mountain brewing co. | lucky penny | old mission santa barbara
ventura: topa topa brewing company | cafe fiore | saloon bbq co. | paradise pantry

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twenty-eight.

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I’m so behind on blog posts documenting our summer travels and life lately, but I had to squeeze in a birthday post before life gets in the way and I turn 29 ;) We celebrated my actual birthday last week with a dive bar crawl with a few friends. It was simple, fun, cheap (why don’t I drink more crappy beer?!), and apparently 28-year-old hangovers kind of suck. This past weekend, we celebrated just the two of us with an overnight glamping trip to Slattery Vintage Estates, a vineyard and acreage in Nehawka, NE, about 45 minutes from Omaha. We sampled some Nebraska wines in the afternoon, enjoyed a bluegrass concert and wood-fired pizza in the evening, stayed in one of the four adorable bungalows on the property, and woke up to a cool breezy morning and a three-course breakfast. Definitely my kind of camping. We had a great time, and I highly recommend it for an overnight getaway or a special occasion (we hope to go again in the fall when it’s cooler!).

I have to admit, I wasn’t psyched to turn 28. It sounds silly, but 27 was an overwhelmingly positive year in my life, and I wasn’t ready for it to end! (I also like the idea of being in my “mid-twenties” a little bit more than being “basically 30″). But alas, 28 is here and I’m holding my breath that it brings just as much happiness as 27. Cheers to a new year, and below, a few more photos from last weekend’s adventure.

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