Get ready for an epic length post of all the fun that was had this past weekend in Phoenix, Arizona. For those who want the spark notes version (you miss out on awesome desert views), we ran a half marathon (got 3rd in my category and almost PR’d), had beyond amazing meals that were way cheaper than what you would find in New York City, and just had too much fun talking and catching up. This is yet another trip that has reminded me how blessed I am to have found such clutch friends with whom I can spend my time, open up about anything, and just be myself.
Sam and I arrived late on Thursday night and were greeted by our friend Zara in the amazing rental car she had picked up for the weekend. CLUTCH move. I didn’t really consider how we would get around otherwise and well, that would have been bad news bears. We had so much more freedom to go where we wanted when we wanted and it was all relatively inexpensive!
Friday morning jog and walk around the local canal. It was a whopping couple of miles in the heat and we were ready for breakfast. Hey, didn’t want to work too hard before Saturday’s race 😉
Snooze Phoenix (on ASU’s campus)
A bright, retro chain right out of the movie Cars, serving breakfast & lunch & cocktails.
2045 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016
*Possible wait because it’s oh so popular. Put your name in, fill up on some complimentary coffee and sit outside to enjoy the sunshine.
Coffee and Donuts Pancakes
Buttermilk pancake “donuts” filled with spiced granny smith apples, topped with chai glaze, walnut streusel and accompanied by a wee cup o’ espresso cream.
Winter Harvest Benny
Griddled sun-dried tomato and parmesan grit cakes topped with a ragout of brussel sprouts, kale and cannelloni beans with poached cage free eggs, cream cheese hollandaise and toasted fennel crumb.
*Breakfast hack: sub out the side for a specialty pancake and you get pretty much a FULL SIZE TREAT 🙂 This is also clutch if you are looking to be thrifty (full meal perfect for splitting) or get your bang for your buck (and a full stomach)
Chile Verde Benny
Slow cooked pulled pork over a stack of green chile sauced tortillas and melted cheese with poached cage free eggs and green chili hollandaise, pico de gallo and cotija cheese.
Once adequately stuffed, we rolled our way to bib pickup, walked around the expo, wandered through Target, picked up some excellent quality magazines and went to chill on the ASU campus. We really didn’t have any plans besides hanging out, staying outdoors, and eating an early dinner. Our bedtime was around 9pm (social butterflies) simply because the wakeup was around 4am.
Here we are pre-race and post-bathrooms. Boy was that one of the more stressful moments…waiting to get a porta-potty in hopes you still make the start. I did strike up a conversation with a few runners because why not.
Fueling Habits: (4:30am) small banana, Honey Stinger Waffle, and cold brew >> Mid race (after 60 minutes running or 8 miles) Honey Stinger Gel w/ a swish of water at every 2 miles. The race started at 6:30 but the heat was already rising when the gun went off.
No pictures were taken during the race simply because…it’s a race. I considered going out and maintaining a 8:30 – 9:00 pace but when the race started, I felt so good that I ended up pacing around 7:45. Once I reached 8 miles and knew I could maintain that pace and possibly hit a personal best, I really decided there would be no photography (like the street sign that said Pasadena) or goofing around.
In the end, raced 1:40:58 and while I missed a PR by about a minute, buuuut I felt amazing, my nutrition was spot on, and because I was entered in the Athena category, I placed 3rd with my time! Note, the time above was a little off since I had to manually stop it after I crossed the finish line.
^^ BEST BREAKFAST EVER. BEST PANCAKES EVER. MUST GO BACK (and go back to get the water bottle I left behind…oops). But back to the main point here. I am picky about pancakes. I went on a limb and ordered the Sante Fe Scrambler (chorizo, pepper, onion, cheddar cheese) and exchanged the hash browns for the Wildberry Bliss Cakes (stuffed with blueberries, layered with vanilla mascarpone, topped with vanilla cream, fresh wildberries & glaze). So basically all those calories burned from running, were eaten back plus more. #runtoeat
8390 East Vía de Ventura F108, Scottsdale, AZ 85258
*Like all fabulous brunch spots, there will be a wait. Arrive early and grab a cup of coffee at the adorable java station next door.
The rest of the day was spent lounging by the pool (thanks to Zara’s friends for letting us chill out 🙂 ), digesting the enormous brunch, and digesting all of those gossip magazines. I rarely buy magazines but it just sounded like a perfect girls weekend.
Later in the afternoon we got cleaned up, had a perfectly filling Mexican meal (me eating my weight in sugar with a virgin piña colada) and then set out for Scottsdale to explore.
^^ Taking a trip down through Scottsdale. We had heard there were a few hot spots for kids our age but for the life of us, we couldn’t find them! Not that we didn’t have a good time wandering and exploring the art shops that were still open, or walking along the canal. I just wouldn’t recommend it for those looking to really “go out” 😉 Of course, three girls who had been up since 4:15 didn’t really need to go clubbing.
After a couple of hours in Scottsdale, we made our way back to the hub of Tempe and met up with some of Zara’s friends/acquaintances on Mills Ave. This is THE bar/club scene and yes I really meant to write club scene. We started a brewery like place called The Handlebar and ended up wandering and dancing our way through quite a few others. Let’s just say my outfit was totally my style (jeans, jacket, Sperrys) but I did not fit in one bit with the rest of the crowd (booty skirts, obnoxiously high and skinny heels, and crop tops).
I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted to post this, just because of the angle of the camera. Superficial as it may be, but it’s not the most flattering. But, running a speedy half marathon made me grateful for such a strong body so why not post proof of my few seconds on the mechanical bull. Bucket list item CHECK.
^^ Oh the party animals that we are 😉 We ended up staying out until 1:45, about 3 or so hours after we normally go to bed. No regrets, just good times.
Sunday was spent with a quick breakfast at a local Mom & Pop shop (though we were still full from Saturday) and a walk around Papago Mountain before heading back to the east coast.
^^ The NP_PHX (November Project Phoenix) location where Zara and crew workout every Wednesday. It’s actually located a mile or so away from the parking lot and requires you to jog across gravel and rocks – requiring way more dedication for folks to show up! Apparently it’s also pitch black when they work out, so every member of the tribe shows up with a headlamp. While I wasn’t able to make it there this week, I did leave my passport shirt with Zara in hopes of getting another tag 🙂
It would have been wonderful to continue the trip, hike out in Sedona or even make it back to the Grand Canyon or Lake Powell. But for now, it’s back to reality with the good memories of the weekend and the excitement for future adventures that await.
“Explore. Dream. Discover” – Mark Twain