Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Race Report: Mountains 2 Beach Marathon

Posted by Chen

This race report could also be titled: “That time I signed up for a marathon and didn’t tell anyone about it (except for Katie, because she was online right after I signed up, and I felt the need to tell someone about the dumb thing I just did, and Brandon, because we live together, and I’m pretty sure he would figure it out eventually).”

Let me back up.

As you saw in my Boston race recap, that marathon didn’t exactly go as planned for me. While I still maintain that I had a fantastic weekend and that the race was a great experience regardless, I still knew I was capable of a much faster time given my training cycle.

So when I was sitting in my friend’s NYC apartment three days later and discovered (while three drinks deep, mind you) that Mountains 2 Beach had opened up several spots in the marathon after having been sold out for a while, I decided that this was my chance! I’ve known for a while that M2B has one of the best BQ courses around and had been hoping to do it someday – well that day could be today! #winning! I immediately filled out my info and pressed “register” without another thought and then giggled to Katie about it over a quick gchat conversation. She laughed and told me that while most people impulse shop, I impulse sign up for marathons. She was not wrong in her assessment.

The next morning, I woke up with only one thought running through my head: “Well that was dumb.”

As I was signing up, a delusional part of me thought that I’d be able to recover and train up in time to shoot for a PR / sub-3:30 again, but as the days went by, my legs continued to feel fatigued and not-at-all ready to train. So I continued to keep the race a secret for five weeks and focused instead on the other two tri sports that I still had (have) to learn.

Looking back at my running Excel sheet, I ran 21 times between Boston and M2B, with most runs totaling 5 miles or less. In fact, I only ran double digits 3 times: one 10-miler, one 11-miler, and one 16-mile last-ditch attempt at training, 2 weeks out from the race. No track or tempo workouts to speak of. I’m not sure what a smart training plan looks like between close marathons, but that wasn’t it.

To complicate matters further, Brandon and I decided to do a three-day juice cleanse during the week leading up to the race (as I’ve mentioned before, logical decisions aren’t always my strong suit, especially when it comes to running). I’ll do another post on the cleanse later, but it essentially equated to me consuming fewer calories over a 3-day span than I normally consume in a single day (sometimes in a single meal). My shake-out run at the end of the cleanse felt incredibly sluggish (shocker), and I became seriously concerned that I would literally pass out on the course.

Still, I knew that some of my Boston training was likely lingering somewhere in these legs of mine, and I knew that if I played it smart (and ate everything in sight to make up for the cleanse), I could still pull off a decent time.

On Saturday morning, Brandon and I woke up, went for another quick shake-out run (which felt much better due to food consumption the night before; funny how that works), and started the drive down to southern California.  We made it to the expo by mid-afternoon and easily navigated the low-key expo to pick up our bibs (Brandon signed up for the half marathon waiting list once I told him what I’d done and managed to get in a few days before the race).

Small, simple expo at Ventura High School

We headed to our hotel and then eagerly drove to dinner, as we had been anticipating a visit to a particular restaurant for weeks. Which restaurant, you ask? The one, the only – Olive Garden. 

I know – with all the great food we have in the Bay Area, who goes out of their way to eat at Olive Garden? WE DO. We were both huge fans of the chain as kids, and neither of us had eaten there in at least a decade. When we got there, we were a bit shocked to see how many people were waiting in line, but I suppose I was glad to see that Olive Garden continues to prosper!

We were seated within 15 minutes and immediately started chowing down on the unlimited salad and bread sticks. I ordered seafood parpardelle for my main, while Brandon had chicken and fusilli. We both emerged from the meal PAINFULLY full, but hoping that the extreme round of carbo-loading would help us out the next day. We also had ice cream from one of my favorite SoCal spots, McConnell’s, and we headed to bed early with an extremely early wake-up time looming.

So many childhood memories… minus the giant beers.

2:50am Sunday morning came around quickly, and it was time to get ready and head to the shuttles that would take us to our respective starts. Because we signed up so late, we were assigned to the earliest shuttles, meaning we had to wait an hour and a half at the starting area. I used the time to visit the porta-potties five times – not the worst thing in the world. If I do this race again, though, I’ll remember to bring a blanket, as lying directly on concrete wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world.

At 5:45am, I ditched my hoodie with the bag check folks and got into the starting corrals. It was already relatively warm by the time we started, and I knew the temperatures were forecasted to linger in the 60-65 degree range, so I reminded myself to stay controlled and do everything I could to avoid the bonking I endured at Boston. While I hadn’t set a goal up until that point, based on how I was feeling, I decided to aim for 3:40 or less.

The race started right on time, and we started our tour of Ojai for the first 9-(or so)-mile loop (such a cute town, by the way!). I knew that this was where all the “climbing” would be, so I kept my pace conservative until we started down the bike path that would take us to the ocean. Similar to what I did during the first half of the Presidio 10-miler, I controlled my pace by making sure I was never breathing too heavily at any point, especially during the two mile climb during miles 6 and 7.

I have “climbing” in quotes above, because as you can see, climbing wasn’t really something we did throughout the race. This was by far the fastest course I’ve ever run!

Mile 1: 8:18
Mile 2: 8:09
Mile 3: 8:06
Mile 4: 7:59
Mile 5: 8:07
Mile 6: 8:26
Mile 7: 8:22
Mile 8: 8:14
Mile 9: 7:59
Mile 10: 8:09

I watched a lot of people pass me during this first loop but didn’t let it get me down or deter me – I had (somewhat of) a plan, and I was sticking to it. I crossed the halfway mark in 1:47:07 feeling good. Anytime I started to feel at all fatigued, I would focus my attention on keeping my cadence high and my steps light. It was a good distraction that quickly changed my mental state to a positive one every time.

One thing I found interesting was that I actually felt better and more controlled on the flatter sections than the ones that were noticeably downhill. It’s not actually surprising, as I only ever train on the rolling hills in Golden Gate Park or the perfectly flat Bay Trail along the peninsula. For anyone thinking of doing this race, it would definitely be a good idea to find long gradual downhill stretches to train and practice on – your quads will thank you!

I started to feel really good around mile 17 and started passing all the people who had passed me earlier. I was still a little nervous that I would blow up at any moment, but I went with it anyway. The 3:35 group had been far ahead of me the whole time, but I started to catch up to them slowly but surely and started to entertain the idea of trying to BQ. I knew if I just maintained my current pace, I could do it, but again – blow up fear remained.

Mile 11: 8:16
Mile 12: 8:12
Mile 13: 8:03
Mile 14: 8:12
Mile 15: 8:03
Mile 16: 8:06
Mile 17: 7:57
Mile 18: 7:57
Mile 19: 8:06
Mile 20: 8:02

I continued to feel really strong through mile 22.5 or so, when I stopped briefly to drink some water and electrolytes. I always walk through water stops, so this was no different, except that this time, I had a REALLY hard time getting going again. I knew that because the electrolytes on the course didn’t have calories, I hadn’t taken in as much fuel as I normally would have by that point, so I decided to break out an unprecedented 5th Gu (I’ve only ever had 4 or less in my 22 previous marathons) and downed it in the hopes that it would pull me through.

It took a few minutes, but it seemed to do the trick. I certainly slowed a little bit in the remaining miles, but I was able to hang on and avoid any major bonking episodes. After my Garmin beeped at the 26th mile, I picked up my pace as much as I could for the last stretch and crossed the finish line in 3:33:52 (3:33:53 official time).

Mile 21: 8:09
Mile 22: 8:05
Mile 23: 8:24
Mile 24: 8:18
Mile 25: 8:09
Mile 26: 8:14
Mile 26.24: 7:31

Garmin stats:
26.24 miles
3:33:52 (~8:09.0)
First half: 1:47:07
Second half: 1:46:45 (the closest I’ve ever come to even-splitting!)

I was really happy with the way I ran this race, and even though it wasn’t a PR, it was still my 3rd fastest time ever. I really couldn’t have asked for a better outcome given my lack of training and cleanse stupidity. The race itself was also beautiful and well-organized, and it’s definitely one I will do again if given the opportunity.

26.2 / 13.1 miles done!

Brandon and I spent the rest of the weekend in Santa Barbara, where I and several of my fellow blog authors went to grad school. I hadn’t been back in quite some time, so it was great to visit again and show Brandon all of our old spots. Our time was mostly focused on eating and drinking, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking there:

Post-race shrimp cocktail, lobster tacos, more giant beers, and mint chip ice cream, consumed atop the Santa Barbara pier

Obligatory selfie, taken from the aforementioned Santa Barbara pier

Delicious Vietnamese food the next day: fresh spring rolls, curry noodle soup, shrimp stir-fry, more McConnell’s ice cream

Since this is still a triathlon training blog, I’ll mention that before leaving Santa Barbara, we went for our first open water swim. My thoughts:

  • Rachel was right – wetsuits ARE like a flotation device! It’s nice to know that if I get tired in a tri, I can just flip onto my back and float for a while
  • Wetsuits also keep you warm and cozy – despite water temps of 57 degrees, I felt completely comfortable temperature-wise the entire time
  • East Beach was particularly calm that morning, and it made for an ocean swimming experience that was far less scary than anticipated

  • Salt water. I managed to inhale / swallow a lot, and I found myself missing the familiar chemical taste of chlorine
  • NO visibility. Santa Barbara waters aren’t exactly clear, and I found it frightening to look into the water and see nothing below me. Sometimes I’d even have to close my eyes and only open them while breathing to prevent myself from getting too scared.
  • Lack of sighting skills. I thought I was bad at swimming in a straight line in a pool, but my goodness, I’m terrible at sighting buoys. I'm surprised I didn't swim straight out into the ocean, never to be seen again.

All in all, we had a fantastic long weekend down in SoCal! And I’ll try not to sign up for anymore surprise marathons anytime soon...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day in the Bay (part literal)

Posted by Rachel

After our excursion to New Orleans a couple of weeks ago, we decided to stay around home this weekend. Luckily since CA is amazing, that doesn't mean we had a lame weekend, at all!

On Saturday we did a 42ish mile ride up in Sonoma. You know it's a good start to your day when the following happens: After a 1.5 hour car ride, you go pee under a well-hidden tree that is in the middle of NOWHERE. You come back and tell the others (since everyone has to go) "that's a good spot to pee, it's really isolated back there". One of your fellow riders (a guy) who goes to do the same quickly returns, without peeing, and says "don't get creeped out... but there's a man in the tree". Sweet. Anyway, we all got a good laugh (except me) and when the man emerged from the tree it didn't look like he had any personal possessions, video cameras, etc; so no harm done I suppose.

So onto the ride. The distance and amount of climbing weren't anything out of the ordinary, but there was a 1.5 mile section that averaged > 10% grade (up to 20%, I hear) that was PAIN.FUL. Had I been moving any slower, I would have been going backwards. It was also about 90 degrees and the ride was very remote, so needless to say by the end we were all pretty tired, hot, and thirsty. This ride was called "The Geyers", and this was the rewarding view from the top(ish):

Panoramic views of somewhere in Sonoma County (I think). Either that or it's the county north of Sonoma County, directions aren't my strength.
Of course, after a huge bike ride in Sonoma followed by lunch, the logical thing to do is go wine tasting so we did a little of that as well.

The guys are a little tired after the bike ride

On Sunday, Sandi and I met up on a whim/unplanned and got in a nice 12 mile run on the Bay Trail while wearing the same outfit (also unplanned). Afterward we hit a couple of local wineries on bikes (on Saturday 50% of us had been DDs, so this was a little more fun). Then my neighbor invited us to a picnic on Lake Merritt, which seemed like a great idea!

Turns out there are things to do at Lake Merritt other than run!
The BBQ/picnic was really fun. You know it's a good party when it lasts into the night, and when you frequently hear the phrase "we should've brought more than 1 bottle of wine per person".
BBQ/wine on the Lake @ night
Then it was up early again this morning for an open water swim in Aquatic Park in SF (this explains why our Memorial Day weekend was in fact, part in the Bay). Co-blogger Sandi did her first open water swim here and did awesome- even though the water was cold and the current definitely wasn't fun! My swim was actually a little bit tougher than I expected based on how strong I've been feeling in the pool lately. Since my face was so cold I couldn't feel it, it's hard to evaluate whether a hangover had something to do with my struggles. This was a great chance to try out my Garmin 910XT in the open water (first time I've used it swimming) and it seems to work fairly well. The data (although slower than I'd like) is very believable, although the lines it draws on the map are a little off.
 I'm actually not THIS bad at sighting. Also, I'm fairly certain I started and stopped at the same buoy. Otherwise, the data seems reasonable.
Looks like I better practice this a little bit more before attempting to swim from Alcatraz. That's all for now- I hope everyone had a great weekend and happy birthday to my sister!

Race Report: Bayshore Marathon

Posted by Katie and Matt

Now that we are walking a little better it is time for a race recap! Personally I can’t believe the race is over, I was so psyched up and nervous for this race that it seemed to fly right by. Well… not every mile, but overall I would say it seemed to be over so quickly. I really didn’t know what to expect from this marathon based on my training as I mentioned before so I was super happy to run with Emily the whole time and finish feeling strong with a PR of 7 minutes! I have to admit Matt was right, the weather was perfect, cool at the start, not too windy, basically cool the whole time, until the last few miles when it started to get a bit warmer but not too bad. We had a great cheering squad of parents and it was such a huge boost to see them at 10, 16 and the finish. Also with an out and back course I was able to see Matt (sooner than I expected of course) and give him a big high five. The course itself is gorgeous, right along the East Traverse Bay, great views the whole way and very gently rolling hills. Usually I whine about any sort of incline late in the race but this course really was gentle. I have been really focused on running by heart rate the past few weeks, especially as race pace was so hard to predict, running by feel and by heart rate seemed more reliable. My entire race plan (made night before) was basically to keep the first 2 miles at around 10 min/miles and then see what happens. Overall I think that strategy really worked out, this is definitely the strongest I have felt finishing a marathon so far and I was happy with my heart rate and consistent pace.

Pretty consistent! 

I think this has definitely been my favorite post-race day. Immediately following the race we got the usual food stuff, bananas, cookies, pretzels etc and then huge iced creams (Moomers was a race sponsor and let’s just say they were not skimpy with the free iced cream!). After getting cleaned up (the race provided showers at the high school) our first order of business was lunch. We made a beeline to North Peak Brewery which had amazing beers and food. Then we went back up the peninsula that we had just run on and stopped at two wineries. I know California friends, I can hear you cringing internally… well fear not, this wine was really good! We went to Peninsula Cellars which has a tasting room in an old converted school house, and Two Lads which is perched high up on a hill looking over the course we just ran. Back to our rented lake house, we enjoyed BBQ, more iced cream, and ended the night with smores by the fire. A perfect post-race day.  Spirits are high and we are already plotting our next race (and vacation). 

Post race Moomers!
North Peak Brewery
Best pizza ever consumed.
Relaxing back at Little Traverse Lake. Life is good :)
Matt's comments:

Every time I finish a Marathon or other endurance event, a feeling of Euphoria overcomes me. It's stronger, of course, if the time on the clock is under your goal time, but, even if not - as in Traverse City - it's still a moment of pure happiness. There were plenty of signs in my training that 3 hours was too high of a goal, but I ignored that in my race plan (starting out too quick for too fast of a goal) and paid the price by hitting a wall way earlier than planned.  Nonetheless, Traverse city has been one of my favorite marathons - it ranks as one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful courses, I've ever ran and we had a great cheering squad of family on the course. And of course, a truly awesome post-race experience, as Katie wrote about above. We got to see a gorgeous area of the country I probably would not have visited otherwise and learned that Michigan wine can actually be pretty tasty! 

I've been making a new training plan since about mile 23 of the Marathon - can't wait for the next one! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pre-race thoughts: Bayshore Marathon

Posted by Katie and Matt

Tomorrow Matt and I are running the Bayshore Marathon held in Traverse City, MI. We picked this particular marathon in order to run with my cousin Emily (who flew out to meet us in Santa Barbara, CA for my 2nd marathon). This race is a flat out and back race along the East Grand Traverse Bay. Weather for tomorrow looks to be chilly at the start (47F), which to me sounds REALLY COLD but Matt assures me that is "perfect running weather".

Obligatory starting line photo
My thoughts are definitely mixed for tomorrow. This training cycle has been a bit hit or miss for me. I was finishing my PhD through most of it which in retrospect was not a great idea and definitely caused me to miss a few runs. Naively I thought that training for a marathon while writing my thesis would be great...start writing, get stuck on some wording, head out for a run, and boom, brilliant idea comes to mind. In reality I just felt guilty when I was running, and stressed that I had missed too much running when I wasn't. I did manage to complete most of the long runs, and I am hoping that all that skiing we did this winter counts for some major cross training points!

As far as my goal for the race.. I would be happy with anything under 4:41 (my current best, at Santa Barbara in 2012). Last fall I finally broke 2 hours in the half-marathon distance, something I had always been close too but never quite there. For the previous Christmas, Matt had given me the gift of a personal pacer (and mp3 player) to finally break the 2 hour barrier that I had so struggled with. Best. present. ever! So based on that time, I had set my training paces to target a time of 4:10. That time is now definitely out of reach given how hard it was to hold the right paces on my long runs. Then I had taken stock and decided 4:25 would be a great goal (1 hour faster than my first ever marathon 5:25 back in 2009). Turns out I was severely anemic at the time and did not know… spoiler alert: running WITH hemoglobin (like I do now) is MUCH easier than running without (like I did in 2009). Unfortunately I think that goal might be out of reach at this point too so I've decided I will be happy with not exploding and hopefully a PR of anything.. 1 minute... 10 seconds... I'll take it! I am also really hoping to run with my cousin and best friend of 29 years Emily. We ran together the whole time in that Santa Barbara marathon in 2012, though we were both struggling with various injuries. Hopefully we are about the same pace tomorrow!

I mean how could I resist "everything good blended together"?
Everything good = espresso and vanilla iced cream!
 Traveling to Traverse City by way of the east coast means that I have been carb loading for about a whole week. First in Mass for a good friends wedding, then in NYC to see my sister (YAY BAGELS), then out to Michigan. Today we got to explore the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore, which was really fun. The dunes are enormous, ~500ft max elevation. We did the "climbing dune" which is just like it sounds... you climb right up a giant sand dune and were rewarded with some amazing views. Matt had a great time log rolling down the dune on the way back.

View from the top of the Climbing Dune hike.
Nice form on the log roll!
Lake Michigan (or is this a tropical island?!)
Matt's pre-race thoughts:

I am excited to be running in a beautiful new location (although I may not agree completely with it's slogan "Most Beautiful Place in America"). The dunes and the Lake are picture perfect. We have fantastic weather lined up for the morning and will have a great cheering squad of my parents, Katie's mom, and Emily's mom out there on the course. We also have carb loaded very appropriately (see pictures below). I'm hoping those combine for a PR and a sub 3 hour marathon tomorrow. My training cycle was pretty good - life (and skiing) got in the way a bit so I did not hit the track as religiously as I had planned in the beginning of my training. I did manage to get four 20+ mile runs in - the last time I got that many long training runs in, I qualified for Boston for the first time back in 2009. My last 20 miler was at a reasonably brisk pace of my goal marathon pace + 15 seconds. I also successfully managed to fly near 10,000 miles in the last week and half and not get sick during the taper (which, despite rarely getting sick, I've managed to do for ~33% of the endurance races that I've done). All and all, I think I have about a 50% shot of pulling off my goal, which, for a Marathon, is about all you can ask for. Here we go!!!

A lunch fit for a marathoner
Official carb loading by chef Matt

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Volunteering with a view (and weekend workouts)

Posted by Rachel

To avoid boring everyone, I won't go into too much detail about what a productive weekend I had. I'll just show some pictures as a quick update on my weekend workouts and miscellaneous.

Yesterday (Saturday) we went on a 40ish mile bike ride in the East Bay hills. Traffic was minimal and the views were great. I really enjoyed the ride, especially compared to our near death experience on the peninsula a couple weeks ago.

Up in the hills of Tilden Park, wearing 3 different shades of blue
The reason we ride- steak sandwich and iced chai at Stags. Oh yeah, and to train for our future Ironman.
Then, this morning the Ibergs and I wanted to get a run in before our volunteering time slot, so we started running at 5:30 am (yes, you saw that right.... on a weekend) to complete a hilly 9 miler before our 7:15 am assignment. The run went pretty well and I actually suggested we come back and double the route for a long run sometime. I'm not really sure what has happened to me, but now that I'm putting that into writing it sounds like a terrible idea. Anyway, then we got a water stop near some great views. 
View over Orinda and the reservoirs

Good morning, SF bay
This was my first time working water and it was a little bit stressful, especially when the fastest guys were coming by. Who knew they would go at the water with such force? Otherwise it was fun cheering and hydrating people. 

To round out this multi-sport post, I'll leave you with a picture of me open water swimming (kind of).

 Why am I including this picture? Well, we finally got those crappy disposable under water camera photos from our honeymoon developed (yes, it was in November 2012) so I figured I'd throw in a swimming pic for good measure. My favorite sport has been highly underrepresented in my blog posts, anyway. To leave you with a cliff hanger, I found a new home for my old bike. More on that later!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Running and not running in New Orleans

Posted by Rachel

Last weekend we took a five day trip to New Orleans and it was a blast! What an interesting city filled with history, culture, and drunk people. I can see this entry possibly getting lengthy, so if you don’t have a lot of time just skip down to the pictures of food.

Here are the tours we did:

New Orleans food tour (“Tastebud”): I would highly recommend this tour. Even though the style of food in the tour wasn’t my favorite (read: low in carbs, high in protein), we got tastings at five different places and learned the history of the food. It was a good time, which I’ll represent below with the pictures of the two sandwiches from the tour (gumbo, jambalaya, beignets, coffee, and pralines not shown).

 Muffaletta. A rough choice for a no olive fan, but it still wasn't bad.

Roast beef po' boy- a sandwich I don't mind eating

Haunted History Tour: This tour was hilarious, probably because our tour guide was hammered. And to catch up the rest of the group, she stopped us at a bar (“haunted”) in the middle of the tour and recommended that we order a hurricane. This strategy worked- the whole tour group had a lot more fun after that! (Except for the teenagers of course, who were pretty much just embarrassed that their parents were so wasted.) Here’s a picture of the “haunted bar” we stopped at:

I think the hurricane was strong enough to count as >> 1 drink, but Travers and Kristen disagreed with me.

Plantation tour: We got a tour of two plantations- Oak Alley (traditional) and Laura (creole). This was super educational (and of course, appalling at the same time).
 Oak Alley
Swamp tour: This was just cool. Our tour guide was hilarious and we got a lot of neat pictures.

Travers holding a baby alligator. I think it's funny how the random girl behind him looks completely disgusted by what is happening.

World War II museum: this wasn’t a tour, but we did it the last day and it was neat. There is also a Civil War museum but we didn’t go so I have no idea if it’s any good. 

What I liked:

-All the tours we took

-The Garden district: one of the 3 runs we did was through this neighborhood. There are beautiful houses (although if you look at one for too long you’re sure to trip over the sidewalk). We actually went back to this neighborhood later in the day by taking the famous (?) St. Charles street car. We saw Archie Manning’s house and contemplated loudly declaring our love for Tom Brady on his front yard, but we ultimately refrained.

-The River Walk: Although only long enough to run about 1.5 miles, it gets you out of the craziness of the French Quarter and onto the water. A nice space, and I would highly recommend to the City of New Orleans that they extend this path along the full length of the Mississippi River. That would be great. 

Travers on the River Walk

-City Park: Once we survived our trek (see “biking” below), the park was really nice!

Me on my sweet rental bike in City Park (no gears included).

-Frenchmen street: Slightly off the beaten path, with live music at every bar. 

This is the good life. I made the error of splitting this small plate of beignets with Travers. If there's ever a next time at Cafe Dumonde I'm getting my own plate, and recommend that anyone else who goes here does the same.
-Pretty much everything else that is not listed in “what I didn’t like”. 

What I didn’t like:

-The weird smell: At first I thought it was drunk people’s fault, but even outside of the touristy areas you’d catch a whiff of it every now and again. In all fairness, they did wash their streets with soap (which of course, Travers tried to cost-analyze and determine the benefits of fragrance versus no fragrance while we were eating breakfast).

-Some of the running: There are very few paths built for running longer than a mile, and the “sidewalks” are either packed with tourists, completely torn up (even in the nicest neighborhoods), or have cars parked on them (was this because of the heavy rain?).

-Some of the biking:  Lesson learned- if the city paints a bike on the road, it does not necessarily mean that you should bike there. It probably also didn’t help that Travers took us down a scary ass road to get to the park. In addition to cars trying to run us off of it (it was a main-ish road), let’s just say it was a questionable decision. We took a different way back. 

-The bread: The bread in New Orleans is freakin awful. It tastes like dry air. Not to mention, carbs (other than beignets) are really minimal other than a few grains of rice here and there.

-Lack of healthy food: On the last day I ordered a sandwich called the “greenie” (a turkey po’ boy). The only thing green on it was iceburg lettuce, and when the lady brought it out she said “oh honey, you must be watching your figure”. She handed it to me with a look on her face that said ‘I have no idea why you would order this sandwich when it’s the worst thing on the menu’, and if I had to do it again, I would just get something fried.

-The formality: Many of the restaurants we considered going to had a dress code of “jackets only” for men. Are you kidding me? Why would a man wear a jacket when it’s 80 degrees out? Flip flops should be allowed everywhere, period. So to wrap up this novel of a blog post, here’s a picture of Travers in I in one of the fancy/historical establishments in NO- Antoine’s. Luckily we went there for lunch, which served 3 purposes: (1) the meal was cheap, (2) martinis were even cheaper ($0.25!), and (3) we didn’t get laughed out of the restaurant because of what we were wearing.

Us at fancy Antoine's taking advantage of the lunch special :p