Germany Vacation Recap – Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Part 2

Missed Part 1

Berlin was an amazing city (and I look forward to returning in September 2017), but Cliff and I were super stoked to begin our trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber along the Romantic Road <– cue awww.  The Romantic Road is a 200 mile + highway between the cities of Wurzburg and Fussen, linking dozens of towns and castles. These small towns are quintessentially German – if you close your eyes and think medieval Europe or Barvaia, this is what you will see.  

The Romantic Road was the trade route that connected the center of Germany to the south in medieval times. The Romantic Road term was coined in the 1950s as part of a tourism effort.  How did we pick Rothenburg ob der Tauber out of the dozens of towns along the road? My friends Rosie and Jon visited the town earlier in the year and recommended it when we were planning the trip.   She also suggested staying there over night as the town empties out of day trippers in the evening. Okay… enough background and back to the recap! 

We checked out of our hotel on Monday morning and made our way to the Avis in Mitte to pick up our rental car.  I made our reservation a few months in advance because we needed an automatic (I do not know how to drive stick shift).  Cliff and I were excited about our road trip! We imagined ourselves in a cute little Mini Cooper or Fiat, you know like in all the movies that take place in Europe, scooting down the Autobahn and cutting through narrow alleys.  Well to our surprise, we received a Ford Focus sedan, which is a pretty good sized car.  Our Avis representative said that was the only automatic car available, womp womp.  

Image: Ford 

Travel Tip: Avis had a couple of add-in options such as GPS or Wi-Fi for an extra $7-$10/day.  I chose the latter so we could use our cellphones during the trip!  The Wi-Fi was portable, so we even had connectivity when we left the car.

It was fun driving on the AutoBahn (yes, there were stretches you could drive really really fast) and we even went through some small German towns and country roads.  I found German drivers to be more courteous than U.S drivers.   When we signaled to change lanes, they would let us in vs. speeding up.  We also noticed that all the trucks were driving in the far right lane (usually the “slow lane”), so we didn’t have to worry about them erratically changing lanes and felt much safer. 

We made a few pit stops, including one at McDonalds (we noticed there weren’t many dining options for random stops – I suppose we could have researched in advance).  The menu was pretty much the same, but the ordering experience was different.  Cliff and I noticed that the cashier was confused when we tried to order by number (even though it was on the menu), instead we had to order each item by name.   

It took about 5 hours to drive from Berlin to Rothenburg ob der Tauber (note: there is another Rothenburg in Germany, so be careful when entering your final destination). The town is a popular desitnation along the Romantic Road and is a well persevered medieval town.  I got so excited when I saw the buildings peak up behind the city walls. We had a little minor issue getting to our hotel.  The GPS took us down a hill towards a small dirt road (see below).  We thought it was a strange entrance and realized we were heading in the wrong direction when we saw private driveways!  I had to drive in reverse for about 200-400 meters before I could turn around.  I was so nervous I would scratch the car. 

We found the correct entrance to the town! 

After another scary driving moment (squeezing through an alley with the Ford Focus is no fun), we found the Hotel Gotisches Haus.  It is the building in the middle – isn’t it the cutest?!?! I booked this room per the recommendation of We Took the Road Less Traveled By.  It also received glowing reviews on multiple review sites.  I emailed Alex, the nicest hotel manager, if there was parking nearby. He said street parking was limited, but to check-in first and then he would help us with parking.  

Image: Hotel Gotisches Haus 

The hotel, originally a house, was built in the 13th century and served the nearby Franciscan monks as a bread house. Emperor Friedrich even stayed in the building during a visit in 1474! There are 11 rooms in the hotel with varying sizes and amenities.  We stayed in one of the smaller rooms, number 33.  How adorable is the room key? 

There was a cool hanging light fixture/artwork of the town near the entrance. For some reason it reminded me of Hogwarts! 

We brought the luggage upstairs (there was an elevator/lift) and we ooohed and ahhhed at the architecture.  The room was small, but it had so much character! The bathroom was spacious and there was even a large soaking tub.  They also placed mini bags of HARIBO Gummi Bears on our pillows.  I had no idea that HARIBO was a German company. 

After we dropped off our backs, we went downstairs and Alex gave us a map of the town and showed us where to park (there is a huge lot near the church).  It took us a good 15-20 minutes to find the parking lot, even though it was only a  5-10 minute walk. There were narrow streets (some one way) and tourists were walking around.     

The parking lot was next to the city wall! I can’t believe they are over 800 years old. 

It took a little shuffling, but I made it up the stairs so we could check out the view. If my foot was not sprained, I would have loved to walk around the entire circumference of the wall. 

We walked towards town and made note of potential dinner spots.  I originally made dinner reservations at Zur Höll (the building dates back to 900), but we were running behind.  

I was loving every inch of this small town.  By 5:00 the tourists (via bus) were clearing out.  

Two of my favorite buildings. You will see them again later in this post. 

Next up was the Plonlein! It is one of the most visited and iconic images of Rothenburg.  I wanted to take a picture of my own postcard before sunset.  We met another nice couple that took our picture and we did the same for them. 

Sigh… I wish I could go back! 

Doesn’t this remind you of Belle’s town from Beauty and the Beast? Although Rothenburg was not the town in that movie, it was the inspiration for Disney’s Pinocchio.  Harry Potter was also filmed there. 

Another point of interest.  

Typical Bavarian buildings.  

After some…ok tons.. of picture taking (thanks Cliff) we went to Hotel Reichsküchenmeister for dinner.  It was a beautiful night, so we chose to eat on their patio.  Our table overlooked St. James Church (not the church pictured below).  

The food was delicious – I had beef stroganoff and Cliff had the schnitzel. Cliff also enjoyed his dunkle! We saw the Nightman Watch Tour convene outside the church during dinner.  The tour was highly recommended and on our to-do list, but our stomachs won out.  

We walked back to the hotel after dinner.  The town was so empty and we loved it! Here is town hall and the main square. It felt like we were the only ones there (sort of haha).  

The old apothecary buildings again.  The lights made them glow! 

We were exhausted.  Once we got back to the hotel we watched some television (German coverage of the U.S. Presidential debates) and tried a schneeballen before going to bed.  If you Google Search Rothenburg ob der Tauber you will find many references to their famous schneeballen or snowball.   It is a small round pastry traditionally topped with powdered sugar. There are also tons of other flavors such as nutella, chocolate, nuts, and the list goes on.  So how was it?  

It depends on where you went! I read online reviews there were two stores that specialized in the Schneeballen – Diller Schneeballentraume Cafe and Zuckerbackerei. They were literally across from each other.  Schneeballen – Diller Schneeballentraume Cafe opened late and we purchased one for a post dinner treat.  It was a little disappointing.  They were pretty hard and fell apart easily. Did they all taste like this? 

The next morning I purchased a schneeballen from Zuckerbackerei (they close much earlier than Diller so we were unable to pick one up the night before).  Cliff and I were a little hesitant to try it at first, but we were pleasantly surprised! It was soft and flavorful. We wish we bought some more! The online reviews were spot on, I thought Zuckerbackerei was the better of the two. 

After our schneeballen adventure I wanted to check out some of the shops for gifts, including the Christmas stores! 

A store full of ornaments and nutcrackers! 

I purchased two mini nutcrackers – one as a gift and one for me 🙂 

I loved everything about this town and highly recommend it if you are traveling through Bavaria.  We also enjoyed our stay at the Hotel Gotisches Haus – it was clean, cute and comfortable (note: it also comes with a free breakfast).  Next up, Fussen/Schwangau and Neuschwanstein Castle!

Here are two great blog posts I read while researching for this portion of the trip: 

Catching up? 

Do you have any travel tips? 

Do you know how to drive stick shift? 

Germany Vacation Recap – Berlin – Part 1

Cliff and I spent nine fun days exploring Germany despite my little fall.  I posted a recap of the 2016 Berlin Marathon + Spectating last month, but in order to share ALL the details and pictures (this post is picture heavy) I wanted to document the trip in a four part series (by city).


 I know several of my running buddies and readers are planning trips for next year’s marathon, so I wanted to start off with our trip city itinerary: 

  • September 22-26: Berlin 
  • September 26-27: Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Romantic Road) 
  • September 27-28: Fussen/Schwangau
  • September 28-30: Munich  

We considered visiting Prague for a day, but there was already so much to see in Germany (and we didn’t get to see the western half of the country). 

My mom dropped us off at Washington Dulles International Airport on Wednesday evening.  We arrived three hours early, but there was still a line to check in at the British Airways counter womp womp (we had plenty of time).  I was quite happy with the airline and our flight (we purchased our tickets in April).  I selected our seats ahead of time using Seat Guru (it is an extra charge with British Airways to select seats ahead of time).  We sat in a three row seat, where there is typically four seats.  Lucky for us, no one joined our row…time to spread out! Each seat also had their own tv and the food wasn’t bad either.  

We arrived at London Heathrow Airport in under seven hours.  I forget how “close” we are to the U.K.  We had to go through security again to get to our connecting flight to Berlin.  I am a bit of  geek when it comes to lines and I loved that Heathrow had the new automated lanes.  The new lanes enable up to five people to fill their individual bins at the same time and push it onto the conveyer belt they are done.  This way you do not get stuck behind that one person who is holding up the entire line because they are taking off their jewelry, belt, or jacket etc etc.  Glorious! Okay enough with lines! 

We landed at Tegel Airport late Thursday morning.  I was surprised how old and small the airport was, even the old Reagan terminal is nicer than this airport.  The city is building a new international airport, but it will not open for a few more years.   

We picked up our bags, withdrew some money from the ATM (better rates than the foreign exchange tellers) and went outside to hail a cab.  I wish I grabbed a photo, but all the cabs were either BMWs or Mercedes, funny picture, right?! It was about a 20 minute ride  from the airport to our hotel, the Grant Hyatt Berlin. It was beautiful!!  We checked in at the front desk and met our Marathon Tours contacts in the lobby. 

If you recall, I signed up for the Berlin Marathon through Marathon Tours based on the recommendation of my friend/former manager, JR.  Marathon Tours & Travel is a Boston-based company that specializes in travel services for runners.  It is a bit pricey, but my friend JR said, “Jennifer, they take care of you.”  

Image: Marathon Tours & Travel  

They had three hotels to choose from (Grant Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott) and I selected the Grand Hyatt because it cost the “least” (looks like they increased the prices for the 2017 packages).  The package included: four nights stay (there were options to add on, including an extension trip to Oktoberfest), daily buffet breakfast (so good), welcome happy hour, half day city bus tour, a pasta dinner, and a marathon entry for me.  I made an initial deposit in November 2015 and paid in full in July 2016.  The company was very responsive in answering all my questions and it was a well organized trip.  The hotel was amazing – their staff is top notch and even the hotel Instagram account is well curated and interactive. 

I think the bear was happy we made it to Berlin (or was it Cliff)! There were bear statues all over the city (read the story here). If you are from the Washington or Baltimore area, it is very similar to the panda or crab statues in the city.  The hotel is close to the theater, casino, mall, grocery store and the business district. It is located in an area called Potsdamer Platz. After we settled in we were famished! Funny story – we got a little disoriented and we could only find an “American Diner” for lunch.  Yup…our first German meal was at a diner.  I did order a schnitzel though! 

Friday morning we boarded our buses for our half day tour of Berlin. My foot was extremely happy we were not walking all over the city (as a runner I also appreciated that).  Our tour guide was Matt from Australia.  The first stop was the Altes Museum and the Berliner Dom.  Hitler would use to hold several of his speeches at this building (Matt is holding a picture of one of the speeches).  Such a sad time for the country and the world! 

If you look closely, there is some restoration work in progress.   

The Cathedral of Berlin, or the Berlin Dom, is the largest church in the city. Apparently the allies dropped a missile through the main dome during World War II. It destroyed that portion of the church and the rest of the building remained undisturbed.  I wish I took a picture that Matt shared with us. 

Across the street there is construction at the former City Palace.  When the Soviets occupied East Berlin they turned the building (damaged during the war), into the Palace of the Republic (think boxy and boring).  Architecturally it transformed into a typical Soviet building that resembled the rest of the buildings in East Berlin.  Once reunification occurred between East and West Berlin, a debate emerged as to whether the City Palace should be reconstructed (it is…for a small $600M+).  

The second stop was the Konzerthaus Berlin or concert hall.  The building is beautiful! 

The next stop was the Tyophraphy of Terror, which is an indoor/outdoor museum. There is a preserved section of the Berlin Wall. Many lives were claimed here as people tried to cross the it during Nazi occupied Germany.  

The museum – I wish we had more time here.

The fourth stop was Checkpoint Charlie, which was the crossing point between East and West Berlin.  

I was actually unimpressed with the area – a little bit touristy with all the fast food and souvenir shops around the site.  On the other side there were actors in uniform posing with those who would pay.  

The next stop was the Holocaust Memorial, which included over 2,000 pillars of varying heights.  

We drove by the Victory column. 

And the Deutsche Bahn, which is their subway system.  Much nicer looking (and modern) than the Metro! 

The last stop before the Expo was the Reichstag Building, which is the seat of the German Parliament.  This was not on the original itinerary, but someone asked if we could make a 5-10 minute stop and the tour operator obliged.  See the glass dome on top of the building? Cliff and I visited there! More on that below.  

After a quick photo opt, we were dropped off at the Berlin Marathon Expo and walked back to the hotel for a quick nap before our visit to the dome of the Reichstag Building, also known as the Bundestag.  When I first started researching for our trip, I found a picture of a beautiful glass dome on Instagram.  A quick Google Search later, I learned you could visit the building for free!  All you had to do was register for a type of visit (tour or self tour) and date/time on their website.  Registrations are accepted about 4-6 weeks before your chosen date and I brought a printed copy of our confirmation.  

I selected a self tour option (so we could go straight up to the dome) at 6:45PM CET so we can watch the sunset! We arrived a 1/2 hour early and got in line.  There were multiple lines (one for the full tour) and several people lining up who did not know that reservations were required and would later get turned away.  Do not be afraid to ask if people they have a reservation or not, that way you are not waiting in a line that goes no where.  Once we entered the building we took an elevator to the top. Stunning, right? 

We walked up the spiral staircase. I looked like a super tourist. My phone camera, selfie stick, and Go-Pro 🙂 We made it to the top and enjoyed the views of Berlin. 

We went back down and explored the balcony area.  

Gorgeous! One of the best “date nights” we’ve had. 

Afterwards we walked to the Brandenburg Gate, which was nearby.  You could feel the marathon excitement in the air and it was definitely bittersweet to walk around here.  

See the blue line in the picture below?  Marathoners run through the gate towards the finish line.  

What to do after a long day of touring? Eating our first “real” (I don’t count the American Diner haha) German meal.  Close to our hotel there is a restaurant called Alt-Bayern.  I researched it ahead of time and it had several positive reviews – especially for their pork knuckle.  It was DELICIOUS! It was one of our favorite meals throughout the entire trip.  

We actually returned here for another meal and some drinks on Marathon Sunday.  I am not a huge beer drinker, but the beers were definitely tastier in Germany.  

Overall, Berlin was a great start to the trip.  I was happy with Marathon Tours & Travels and would use them again (not all the time as I would like to plan everything on my own depending on the race/city).   I am excited to return here this fall to explore other parts of the city and get a chance to run the marathon 🙂 Next up, Rothenburg ob der Tauber and the Romantic Road. 

Catching up? 

Have you visited Berlin? 

Running Berlin this fall? 

Year in Review – 2016 Running by the Numbers

A double post for the last day of the year (again)!  If you have been following my Running by the Numbers posts the past few years (2013, 2014, 2015) I introduced an infographic last year to highlight my year in running.  I decided to do the same for 2016! (my poor poor Excel spreadsheet, it will be revived one day).  I am also linking up with Courtney for the Year of Running 2016.  

If I were to choose one word to describe my 2016 in running it would be meh.  My top goal for the year was to PR in the marathon distance and I didn’t even get a chance.  Even though the year was not what I envisioned it to be on January 1, 2016, there were some fun memories: 

  • Traveling to Jacksonville and spending time with my friends Sean and Brittany for the Gate River Run 15K. 
  • A hilly and humbling experience at the Marine Corps 17.75K – in which I gave my Guaranteed Access to Erin
  • Watching Meb speak with my pals Courtney, Erica, Caitlin, Pam, Becca and Emily. Finally meeting Kim 🙂 
  • Frederick Running Festival Team Relay with Emily! 
  • ARRC Run to Teens Run DC 5K with Ivey and Courtney.
  • Struggling through the Fit Foodie 5K, but having Caitlin run along with me. Catching up with Mar and Kathryn afterwords! 
  • Running with my Oiselle pal Laurie on the Mount Vernon Trail and Redskins Dash 5K. 
  • Running/walking the Cherry Blossom 5K with Cliff and not getting blown off the course 🙂 
  • Visiting Vermont with my mom for the Covered Bridges Half Marathon. 
  • Spectating the Crystal City Twilight 5K with Becca. 
  • Watching the Berlin Marathon and road-tripping Germany with Cliff – fun!
  • Hanging out with my Oiselle teammates – dinners, happy hours, bbqs, Adele! 
  • Attending Oiselle Running Camp at Zap Fitness (more walking than running for me) + road tripping with Caitlin, Tara and Kelly! 
  • Cheering on Laurie, Kristin, Mary and Tammy as part of the Oiselle Baltimore Marathon Relay Team.  Thanks to Laurie for subbing in at the last minute.  
  • Visiting Tennessee with my buddies for the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon. My longest mileage since my injury. 
  • Cheering for the Marine Corps Marathon runners. 
  • Running 900+ miles with 8-10 weeks off of running.  
  • Working with Mollie of Piece of Cake Running
  • Adventuring with my best guy, Cliff! 

I look forward to a redemption year in 2017!  Happy New Year and thanks again for following along!

Year in Review – 2015 Running by the Numbers 

Year in Review – 2014 Running by the Numbers

Year in Review – 2013 Running by the Numbers

What was your favorite race this year?

What distance did you race the most this year?

PS – Germany recap coming! I intended to work on them this year, but bogged down with this cold.

Year in Review – 2016 Medals (Bling Bling)

Happy New Year’s Eve! Keeping with tradition, here is my 2016 medal collage (smaller this year).  If you would like to see 2014 and 2015 they are here and here. Enjoy!

My Favorite Medal: Marine Corps 17.75K

Largest Medal: Gate River Run 15K

Favorite Maryland Medal: Frederick Half Marathon Relay 

Most Unique/Favorite Runner Up: St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon 

This one is also a spinner medal!

What was your favorite medal this year? 

2016 Berlin Marathon Expo + Good News + Spectating

This year the Berlin Marathon Expo also known as the Expo BERLIN VITAL was held at the Station de Berlin.  In previous years the expo was located at an old airport hanger (which looked so cool). I am not sure why they changed the location, but Station de Berlin is much closer to the city center.  Here is an excerpt from their website for a little history 101: 

The history of STATION-Berlin begins around the same time as the birth of Thomas Mann, the great German author. The grand opening of the Dresdener Bahnhof took place on this site on June 17, 1875. The station was the starting point and destination of the new Berlin – Dresden – Berlin railway line, which was 12 kilometers shorter than the old connection. The station served trains headed to Dresden as well as the through-coaches continuing to Vienna and Prague.

Source: Station Berlin 

Under the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the site was rededicated in 1907. Thereafter, it served as the Postbahnhof, supplying Berlin for the next 90 years with packages and goods imported from throughout the entire world. During the postwar period, when Germany was divided into East and West, the train station attained special significance: it was the end stop for one of the most important arteries that connected West Berlin to West Germany. 

There were three opportunities to attend the expo.  

  • Thursday Sept. 22, 2016 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Friday Sept. 23, 2016 11:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Saturday Sept. 24, 2016 9:00 am – 7:00 pm

Cliff and I decided it would be fun to pick up my bib even though I was not running + I wanted to make sure my champion timing chip was returned so I was not charged.  I debated whether to attend the expo Thursday or Friday afternoon (earlier = less crowded), but decided on Friday after our half day city tour.  Marathon Tours arranged to have our group dropped off at the expo, which was really nice.  I made sure I had my passport and Berlin Marathon start card with me – which was sent about 2.5 weeks before marathon weekend.  Marathon Tip #1: Make sure you check you spam folder.  

Entrance to the expo! 

Where do we go? 

This is where I had to split from Cliff (different from Chicago and New York). He was allowed to go into the expo area, but could not accompany me to the bib pickup section.  Marathon Tip #2: If this happens to you, make sure you designate a meet up spot because the expo is crowded and there is no free wifi. 

Once I entered the building I was given a wristband so I had access to all things marathon.  How cool is this machine? The cloth wristband was on top, I slid my hand through the band, and the machine secured it for me.  

So bright and airy! This was a long hall.  I was confused at first because the booths did not have numbers corresponding to my bib number.  Where should I go? 

Turns out I could get in line anywhere (as long as it said running because they were also distributing the bibs for the inline skating marathon). Marathon Tip #3: Walk towards the back of the hall, there were plenty of booths with little to no lines.

Now onto the cool part. How did they distribute bibs without assigning numbers to particular booths? The volunteer scanned my start card and my information appeared on the screen.  I verified the information was correct as she looked at my identification. 

Here is the best part….they print your bib right there!! Cool, right? The only weird thing is the size of the bib – it is huge! 

After I picked up my bib, I went to the information area to find out where I could return my champion chip.  The volunteer delivered some surprising news.  She told me I was likely eligible for a medical deferral.  What a what?! I had no idea this existed.  I was directed to the medical area in the expo area and they had a doctor on staff to assess if a runner was eligible for a medical deferral.  I was taken behind a curtain where the doctor could exam my foot.  I also gave him my paperwork from Georgetown Hospital.  “Yeah you can not run” and he signed off that I could receive an entry for next year. Woo hoo! I did not expect that at all.  I returned my bib, chip and wristband to the staff. 

The expo was large (spanned a few rooms), but was too crowded for my liking.  I ran into Sheena, which was nice meeting her for the first time.  You may have noticed I did not pick up a race shirt.  The Berlin Marathon entry does not come with a shirt, it is an add on which you can pre-pay in advance.  I was told there would be plenty of merchandise at the expo (there was), so I did not pre-pay for a shirt or jacket. I’m glad I did that.  

Everyone was given huge plastic bags when we entered bib pickup area.  It came with body wash, sponge (you can carry it with you during the marathon) and beef jerky.  I had no idea Adidas was in the body wash business.  

The Berlin Marathon was held on Sunday September 25.  Several of my Oiselle friends/teammates were running, so I let them know Cliff and I would be cheering for them around the 38K mark, which happened to be outside our hotel!  We had a free breakfast everyday at the hotel, so we snuck a few alot of bananas back into our room for the marathoners.  

When we left the hotel for spectating, we saw this nice set up for the runners. Bananas, sports drink, water, and oh of course… beer! I thought that was a really nice touch. 

We walked around the corner to our cheering spot and I realized I forgot the bananas.  Cliff ran back to the hotel to get them so I wouldn’t have to walk more than I needed to.  It was bittersweet to watch the runners near the 24 mile mark.  I teared up a little bit thinking I should have been out there (well…technically I would have been at the half way mark at that point haha).  I composed myself and watched the runners go by – for a stretch I knew all of them would get BQ times.  

I saw Torrie, Lena, Sheena and Tami.  Spectating was fun and tiring!  I thanked Cliff for spectating two marathons.  He must get super tired when he spectates because he meets me 3-4 times along the course.  

Watching a World Major Marathon was inspiring! 

Bananas anyone? We successfully gave away all the bananas we hoarded.  

Next up, my travel recaps! There will be four of them 🙂 

Bananas on the course – take them or leave them? 

Have you received any fun items in your swag bag recently? 

Before the Fall – My 2016 Berlin Marathon Countdown

Editor’s Note: Hello everyone! Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving with your friends and family.  The 2017 Berlin Marathon lottery results will be announced over the next two days, how exciting! I thought it would be a good time to share my 2016 Berlin Marathon Countdown post that I prepared before the marathon.  I was planning on sharing it before our flight to Germany, but we all know what happened the night before.  I have some fun posts lined up (foot update, bird camp, running plans, travel recaps, and tons of race recaps) over the next couple of weeks.  Enjoy! 

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Five days until the 43rd Berlin Marathon! The past two years I’ve written a series of countdown posts ahead of the 2014 New York City Marathon and 2015 Chicago Marathon specific to logistics, packing, motivation and the oh so important race day outfit.  Since I had my unplanned (lengthy) blogging hiatus, I will be writing one super post for Berlin.  

Image: BMW Berlin Marathon

Logistics

  • Flights – I started researching prices early on.  I referenced Kayak, downloaded Hopper, and searched flights using different arrival destinations in Germany. For example: Was it significantly less to book a roundtrip ticket to Munich and take the train to Berlin? Was the price differential worth the cost of a ticket and time? One of my friends found $500 RT tickets from California to Nuremberg in June.  I booked our tickets in April from Washington Dulles and it was approximately $700 RT per person.  
  • Hotel – Lucky for me, this was all organized through Marathon Tours & Travel.  We will be staying at the Grand Hyatt Berlin, which is about a 15-20 minute walk to the start.  The Marathon Tour package includes the bib entry (if not through the lottery), lodging, welcome reception, breakfast, half day city tour ending at the expo, transportation to the Breakfast Run and a pasta dinner.  I am looking forward to the stay, my friend JR highly recommended them. 
  • Expo – This year the expo will be held at the Station Berlin, with opening ours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We are going to pick up my bib and timing chip <–yes timing chip on Thursday afternoon after we arrive.  Initially we were planning on going Friday afternoon after the tour, but I figured it would be more crowded then.  
  • Breakfast Run 6K – Is a free run held the day before the marathon. It starts at Schloss Charlottenburg and ends at the Olympic Stadium, where Jesse Owens won his gold medals! As the name suggests, a breakfast is available after the race.  I imagine it will be light and easy fair such as bread and fruit. We will see.  
  • Post Berlin – The day after the marathon, we will leave Berlin for Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Fussen and Munich.  I will post travel recaps once I return.  

Packing

I tweaked my packing list a bit.  Perishables are out – I plan on buying them in Berlin…or…snag a few extra bananas/bread from my hotel’s breakfast buffet 😉 My trusty foam roller did not make the list.  We traveling for more than a week, so I needed extra space in my suitcase.  I am packing my Roll Recovery instead.  

Motivation

love race recaps! There are a number of Berlin Marathon recaps on the web, but not as plentiful as Chicago and New York. Can’t wait to add mine to the interwebs soon 🙂  Here were the ones I found most informative/interesting: 

Race Day Outfit

Five day forecast states it will be 73F, another warm up. Oh man!  

This means I’m going to rule out my Oiselle singlet – I prefer wearing it in cooler weather for longer distances.  I think I may wear it for the Breakfast Run though. 

Here is the winner: 

Oiselle Winona Tank | Black Joggings | Brooks Adrenalines GTS

I will also bring a visor, arm sleeves, poncho, throwaway clothes, and a gold headband.  See what I did there? I wanted to coordinate with the Germany flag colors of red, yellow (gold is yellow’s sparkly older sister, right?) and black. 

Did you enter the 2017 Berlin Marathon lottery? 

Do you have any races left this year? 

Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland – Goodbye Germany

Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland – Goodbye Germany! Whenever I say goodbye in German I automatically think of Heidi Klum at the end of a Project Runway episode.  Anyways… I’m back home (we actually returned home Friday evening).  Overall it was a fun trip despite the bum foot.

Toeing the Berlin Marathon blue line.   

Next week I’ll share my marathon planning post and my travel recaps (including all things Berlin Marathon and some exciting news I learned while I was there).  My foot is feeling much better each day, but there is still some slight pain when I flex or put weight on it.  I actually have Oiselle’s Southern Bird Camp (aka adult running camp/retreat) this weekend (planned on attending almost a year ago). What timing right? I emailed the director and told him I would likely stick to walking and if my foot does feel better, maybe work up to a mile.  Luckily there are other activities that I will be able to partake in that is not all running.  Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to ease into things.  I do not want to re-injure the foot. 

What’s new? 

Did you ever watch Project Runway? 

 

Berlin Marathon Update

Hello from Berlin.  I have a mini update for everyone.  If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the below picture on Wednesday morning.  What happened?!

Tuesday evening I was going downstairs to throw the trash away (gotta keep the fruit flies away).  I was on the third to last step and, for some reason, I thought it was the last one.  I stepped down, anticipating the floor, and I fell.  The top left foot bore the weight of my fall.  There were sharp pains, accompanied with loud screams, and I laid on the floor for about ten minutes.  I got up carefully and walked upstairs to ice my foot.  I told Cliff what happened and he came over to drive me to the hospital   

When Cliff picked me up it was painful to put any weight on my left foot + it was swollen.  We arrived at Georgetown University Hospital around 10:30PM and left over five hours later.  I had multiple crying episodes (including the ugly ones) while I waited for the doctor and x-rays.  The doctor said I did not have any broken or fractured bones, but I had a foot sprain.  She confirmed what I did not want to hear – no running.  It was okay to travel, but make sure to keep it easy on the foot.  

So that is that, I am not running the Berlin Marathon. We had an option of staying home since I purchased trip insurance, but once I was given the okay to travel I knew I wanted to go.  If I stayed home, I would have had a week and a half pity party.  We will enjoy our vacation and cheer on my Oiselle pals (Torrie, Sheena, Tami, Lara, Jacqui, Melinda, Lena, Jessica, Stephanie).  I know I will be a little sad come Sunday morning (all that training + years worth of excitement), but I would have been a whole lot sadder if I ran and further injured my foot. 

Forty-eight hours later, I can put weight on my left foot and walk slowly.  It is feeling a lot better, but there is some pain when I flex it or move it certain ways.  I’m hoping it will feel even better in two days so I could maybe walk in the Breakfast Run (marathon shake-out event).  My foot as of Friday morning (look away if you do not like bruising): 

Thank you for all your kind notes, messages and texts! I was planning on sharing a countdown post that discussed logistics and details of my trip/marathon weekend, but figured an update would be more appropriate. I will share it when I return. 

 

 

2016 Annapolis Running Classic A-Team + Discount!

This past May the Annapolis Running Classic team asked if I was interested in returning as an Annapolis Running Classic Ambassador Team member aka the A-Team (search #NapRunATeam on social media). Of course I accepted! 

The Annapolis Running Classic will be held on Saturday November 19, 2016.  There is a post race party with soup, beer and oysters.  I ran this race for the first time in the fall of 2013 – when I started getting into running again and blogging and again last year.  This year I signed up for the 10K, which was sold out in 2015! Below is more information about the race and a 10% discount code.  

When: November 19, 2016

Where: Annapolis, Maryland

Length: 10K or Half Marathon

Registration: https://runsignup.com/Race/MD/Annapolis/AnnapolisRunningClassic

Code: JENNIFERRUNNING16  for 10% OFF! 

You can find more information about the race here: 

Hope to see you there in November running the 10K or the half! 

Have you ever participated in the Annapolis Running Classic? 

Are you signed up for this year’s race? 

Disclosure: As an Annapolis Running Classic Ambassador I receive a complimentary race entry.  All thoughts and opinions on the blog are my own.

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again

Jennifer’s back, tell a friend! Sorry for the corniness I couldn’t resist a little Eminem.

I can’t believe I went (blogger) MIA! As most of you know, I started a new job in April. I thought a mini blogging hiatus may occur (mini as in a couple weeks) so I could acclimate to the new role and organization.  Well a couple weeks turned into a month, which turned into a couple months, and now five months. Don’t worry, I’m not working 24/7, I just got into the habit of not blogging.  Here is a quick recap of what I would have shared:  

Marathon Training 
Check and check! In fact, we leave for Berlin this Wednesday. I’ll share some additional details about that tomorrow.  While I’m a little sad I don’t have a week by week recap of my training, I’ve captured it in my running log I share with Mollie.  

  • I typically run 5x/week – 2 speed-type runs, 2 easy/recovery and 1 long run 
  • I think I’ve hit 90% of my workouts, not at 100%…I’ll recheck my log later
  • Long runs topped at 16 miles with multiple cycles 
  • Jennifer the “lone wolf” returned and a majority of my long runs were solo. Courtney + Leeann…I’m gonna make ARRC happen this winter 

Races
I’ve run 9 races this year (there were some DNS due to illness and oversleeping) compared to 24 races this time last year. My fall/winter should pick up, but I should finish well below my 30+ count I had in 2015 (which was needed). 

  • April – Redskins Draft Day 5K with Laurie 
  • May – Teens Run DC 5K with Courtney and Ivey 
  • May – Frederick Half Marathon Relay with Emily
  • May – Fit Foodie 5K with my mom, Caitlin, Mar and Kathryn
  • June- Covered Bridges Half Marathon with my mom 
Fitness
This year I opted out of personal training sessions and I notice a difference with my overall fitness and strength (I tire more quickly during my runs).  Those sessions held me accountable with weight and strength training and HIIT workouts.  Less weight/HIIT workouts + driving to work (sometimes) + overindulging (office snacks) = extra pounds…ugh! I’m going to reset once I get back from Berlin and touch on it more during my lessons learned.  
 
While I’ve been inconsistent with those workouts, I have been cross training (spinning, barre, reformer). Here are some highlights: 

Source: Pilates ProWorks Alexandria 

  • Zengo cycling and brunch with Mar
  • FlyWheel classes at their new City Center studio 
  • Tried Solidcore with Emily….ummm soo HARD! 
  • Checked out another new reformer studio in Alexandria, Pilates ProWorks.. I would describe it as Solidcore Junior
Fun
A hodge podge of fun from the past few months: 
  • Celebrated Cliff’s Masters graduation from Georgetown in May 
  • Traveled to Austin for a wedding…I use to babysit the bride…who has completed multiple Ironmans! We stayed at the Lakeway Resort and Spa, it was beautiful. 

  • Met Joshua Molina aka Will Bailey (West Wing) aka David Rosen (Scandal) at the airport, he was so nice
  • Attended Oiselle Happy Hour and BBQ <-which included horses and donkeys! 
  • Went to the Kennedy Center for the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) Pops House of Cards in Concert
  • Visited my good friends in Richmond and met their adorable pug
  • Started bullet journaling 
  • Saw the new Jason Bourne movie at Atlantic Plumbing Theater in the Shaw neighborhood of DC.. so nice! 
  • Watched Game of Thrones, Polo, Sopranos, Stranger Things and Narcos 
  • My bangs are back
Food
Of course…I would not leave this out 🙂 Unfortunately my beloved Samsung 4 died on me a few weeks ago, so I lost a lot of my photos (they were not backed up to the cloud)..for now.  So alot of my food and running pics are temporarily missing.  

  • Ate oodles of (ramen) noodles at Chaplins and Haikan…the latter is owned by the same team at Daikaya 
  • Had a delicious dinner at Tail Up Goat – which was nominated as one of the Best New Restaurants of 2016. If you go try the lamb, you will not regret it.  
  • Discovered Takorean right by my DC office and one is opening up in my neighborhood soon
  • Tried District Taco for the first time ever with Kelly 

Okay, that is a wrap! My goal is to make blogging a habit again, I missed it! I am going to aim for at least two posts a week and increase it if I can.. I have so much content I like to share.  

Shoutout to Julie for her first half post baby, Kathryn on her RnR Philly PR, and Cynthia and Tracy’s Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City finish.  Also congrats to Brittney on finishing her first 20 mile training run for Chicago.  Check out her hilarious Instagram post on how to make an ice bath without any ice. 

What are you training for this fall? 

How how was your summer?