The Places Running Takes Us

Imagine my surprise when I sat down to write my latest attempt at literary mediocrity, only to find this is my 500th Post!

Say WHAT???!!!

Yes ma’am. 500 posts about running, Disney, dogs, travel, opinions, memories, reviews, recaps, and a general overview of all things shenanigans.  One name change, a couple of breaks, a few years later and here we are.  What have we learned along the way?  Not much.  That’s okay though because it’s been a fun trip and I don’t plan on that trip coming to an end any time soon.

In honor of this not so momentous occasion, let’s dive back into the archives and take a look at where this crazy sport of running has taken me.  As a true Sagittarian, I have an ingrained love of travel.  So combining my two loves has always been a no-brainer.  So grab a margarita, step into the Black Dog People Mover, and enjoy the ride.

One Happy Wonder Mutt.

Vero Beach, Florida

Not exactly a destination running beach, but definitely a happy place for the Black Dog family.  Thanks to a family connection, we spent many a great weekend at a beautiful beach house walking some serious mileage along Vero Beach in Florida, conveniently located about 4 miles away from Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.  The sand was too soft for running – unless you’re a glutton for punishment – but a decent hour’s walking in that stuff was enough to make you feel like you’d run a good half marathon.  Not to mention that if you went at the right time of year, the turtles are laying eggs all over the beach.

#adorbs

Washington D.C.

Once upon a time, a certain Grouper had the opportunity to attend a session at the FBI Academy in Quantico.  Just before he graduated, we had the chance – ironically on September 11th, 2010 – to run a memorial 5k that started/ended in Arlington VA, and ran through a small section of DC, including past the side of the Pentagon that was struck on that tragic day.  It was a bit surreal to say the least, and plenty of tears were shed as we slowed down passing the Pentagon.  To this day we are still so proud and honored to have been able to participate in such an amazing event.

All’s good in the Big Easy.

New Orleans

Where do I even begin with this wonderful city?  The people are SO fun, the food is out of this world, and the music?  All I can say is you’ve never heard such a mix of every genre out there.  Running along Canal Street can take you to Louis Armstrong Park, along the Mississippi, back to the French Market, (Bloody Mary to burn your lips off anyone?), up Bourbon Street, past Marie Laveau’s Voodoo Shop, (which sadly has become very commercialized), and through the French Quarter.  The roads and sidewalks are horrible running surfaces, but the color and flavor of the city cannot be beat.

Hang on little grapey friends.                              We’re on our way!

Napa, California

Being the wine freaks that we are, it was only a matter of time before we decided to fly the friendly skies to the west coast and indulge ourselves on all things grape.  The best part of staying in Napa is a miles long paved fitness trail that runs right through the main stretch of the town and continues into the start of the vineyards located in the center of the valley.  We visited in August, so while quite toasty for those of you more “thick-blooded”, we were right at home in the warmer temperatures.  And what’s better than being able to run off all of those wine induced calories?

Best. Bling. Ever.

Disney World

It always makes me smile to think of all the amazing people I’ve met simply by the need I’ve had to reign in the game show dollar machine I have for a brain and let what’s racing around in there spill out onto this blog.  Lisa is one of those people.  We may live 2,214 miles apart (give or take a few), but our common love for running has bonded us probably for life.  She is the hare to my turtle when it comes to pace, but having someone as obsessed about pace, finish times, and injuries as I am, makes all the conversations we have daily – thanks to Google chat – that much more fun.  We were finally able to run Disney’s Wine and Dine Half back in 2016 together, and to this day, even though it was my slowest half ever – because who can resist stopping for ever silly photo op possible? – it was one of my favorite races ever.

When it all comes down to it though, as much as I suffer from a never-ending case of wanderlust, I love coming home just as much.  Who wouldn’t with sunrises like this and little furry friends who are only too happy to keep you company on a cool tropical winter morning?

Home. Sweet. Home.

The best advice I can offer you is this:  explore the world.  There is so much out there to be seen, heard, tasted, and experienced and life is way too short not to do all of it.  Even if sometimes that experience means simply turning left instead of right.

Enjoy the ride.

 

Where is your favorite place to run?  Do you explore new places by running through them?  

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Friday Funny

As I’m currently on my yearly jaunt to the City of All Things Shenanigans, I thought I’d start off your Memorial Day weekend with a little taste of the Crescent City.  Happy weekend everybody!

FF NOLA cat

 

Enjoy the ride.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!  Let the good times roll on this holiday weekend everyone!  What kind of shenanigans do you guys have planned?

 

Let The Shenanigans Commence. Again!

Once again, Black Dog Productions is making our annual jaunt to the scene of the crime…and our favorite place for Black Dog shenanigans.  Because that is what we do best.

HERE. WE COME.

HERE. WE COME.

Want to be a part of the shenanigan making?  Want to feel as though you’re RIGHT THERE WITH US?  Then come along for the virtual nuttiness tour via FaceBook, Twitter, or Instagram.  From the food, to the drinks, to the food, to the drinks, to the….well, you get the idea, you’ll feel as though you’re right in the middle of the insanity that is sure to amuse, bemuse, and – let me just throw it out there – very possibly shock you!  Because that is how we roll here at BDRD.

Hang on.

It’s gonna get a little crazy.

Life is short.

So make sure you…

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever been to New Orleans?  Did you partake of shenanigans NOLA style?  Did they involve Hurricanes, horses, or perhaps an unfortunate incident with a horse wearing Mardi Gras beads?  Don’t ask, just go with it…..

N’Awlins Is A-Callin’!

Unless you’ve been under your residential rock, then you know I’ve been cranked up to hit the friendly skies for a quick trip to New Orleans.  Being the quintessential Sagittarian, traveling is an obsession with me.  I actually start to hyperventilate if more than two months go by and I haven’t skedaddled more than 100 miles away from the humble abode.  Really.  I do.  It ain’t pretty.

I really feel like an idiot right about now.

I really feel like an idiot right about now.

So thanks to the generosity of friends with gobillions, ( yeah, GOBILLIONS), of air miles, the plan to hit up the Big Easy quickly fell into place.  Images of freaky people, (love’em!), food with creepy names, (turtle soup?!), and just general creepiness (voodoo curses anyone?), is right up this Black Dog’s alley.  Nothing is better than soaking in the local flavor of a place.  In this case I believe soaking will be the operative term.

Keep it comin'...

Keep it comin’…

The only downside to all of this?  The alarm going off at 4 freakin’ o’clock in the morning.  Downside as the hubby HATES flying and the airport bar isn’t open that early.  Maybe I can go all ninja on him once we’re seated and put him out for a little nappy nap.

Hyaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

Hyaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

So as we head into a nice, well-deserved long weekend, amidst all the nonsense and debauchery (if you’re lucky), please remember to take a moment and be thankful to those who have so generously given us the reason for an extra day off.  After all, we wouldn’t be able to indulge in so much nonsense if it wasn’t for them.

Thank you.

Thank you

 

Enjoy the Ride.

What kind of trouble will you hopefully be getting into this weekend?  Anyone racing?  Happy Memorial Day!

Vacation Temptations and Scary Taste Bud Adventures

In a few days, I’ll be checking one more place off my travel bucket list.

Whoo hoo!

Whoo hoo!

We usually plan our trips about a year ahead of time, (makes it a little easier to budget for essentials like food, booze, food, booze, food, booze, and, um, oh yeah, ice cream).

Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about.

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Pretty, isn’t it?

However, like any normal weight-watching person, vacations always present a special challenge.  And for someone like me – you know, one of those annoying types who don’t even use normal, everyday black pepper on ANYTHING – a trip to the world’s capital of Cajun cooking is going to present more than the normal amount of cuisinarious (?) challenges.

Ouch!

Ouch!

That being said, I’m always up for trying new foods – as long as they aren’t pain inducing.  One of my favorite pre-vacay time killers is to peruse menus of local restaurants and see what gastronomic delights my ever-expanding waistline will be welcoming.  As my travelling companions are all meat-obsessed carnivores, great steakhouses are typically on the agenda.  Thankfully though, I’m always able to find something to satisfy my finicky palate.  As long as there’s a good bottle of red wine and an ice cream scoop lying around in the kitchen somewhere, all is good in Black Dog Land.

NO 1

The goal is to actually eat enough shrimp that I’ll eventually have a slight pinkish hue and sprout my very own little flappy tail.  Provided of course, that I don’t end up on somebody’s plate.

Hi there!

Hi there!

I’m quite familiar with the old saying of everything in moderation  and I am going to try to keep that in mind over the next few days as I’m surrounded by beignets, praline pecans, and New Orleans libations.  Well, maybe not.  Had you for a second there, didn’t I?  Yeah, c’mon admit it!

Really.! I'll be good....

Really! I’ll be good.  Promise!

Wherever my appetite escapades may lead me this weekend, you can be sure I will torture you with each and every one of them on social media, along with the appropriate facial responses.  Or not.

Yum Dog1

Either way, feel free to social media stalk me this weekend as I run, eat, and drink my way around the city.  Who knows, I may even run into THIS guy.

streetdude

 

Enjoy the ride.

Do you always try the local cuisine on vacation or look for the nearest McDonald’s?

Happy Fat Tuesday!

It’s that time of year again when drunkenness and debauchery is not only allowed, but required!

Whoo hoo!

Whoo hoo!

(source)

As many of you know, I love, love, LOVE to travel.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find myself in The Big Easy, but that is not to say Nawlins is not on my travel bucket list.  I can say with all confidence that I truly believe I will find a home away from home when my meanderings finally take me there.  How can you NOT love a city filled with amazing food, even more amazing music, and this?

Ooohhhh, pretty.

Ooohhhh, pretty.

(source)

Since the dollars are whipping around my brain at light speed this morning, (can anyone say Wine and Dine registration opens today?), I don’t have the attention span to go into a lengthy history of Mardi Gras.  Thanks to the ever-handy internet, let’s just suffice it to say it has something to do with French-Canadian explorers, bull heads, and bourbon.  Along with some very strange looking nuts…

Don;t even want to know what that guy on the right is supposed to be.

Don’t even want to know what that guy on the right is supposed to be.

(source)

For the 2.7 seconds I was able to focus on the traditions of Mardi Gras, I did find it rather hilarious that there are actually a number of articles as to why women flash themselves in an attempt to obtain the ever-popular beads.  Who knew?

You want me to WHAT?!

You want me to WHAT?!

(source)

Drunkenness and debauchery aside, you have to admire a city that was able to come back after a beat down by Mother Nature.  Hurricane Katrina passed through south Florida as little more than a tropical storm.  Which, let’s face it, after Hurricane Andrew, a little rain and wind doesn’t do much to strike fear in the hearts of south Floridians.  After a few days of brewing in strength over the warm waters of the Gulf,  Katrina was loaded for bear when she pounced upon the woefully unprepared party city.

katrina damage

(source)

Sadly, the storm seemed to bring out the worst in people.  Every night you would hear news stories about pets being shot in front of their faithful owners who refused to leave them behind.  Beatings, rapes, and even murders seemed to become commonplace inside the Superdome.  Looters were seen pushing overflowing shopping carts out of grocery stores left standing, never paying for a thing.  Burglaries, robberies, assaults, and seemingly every horrible act possible dominated the news every night.  Then, the indomitable spirit of the amazing New Orleans residents once again proved to be unbeatable.  Neighbors came together to rebuild.  And rebuild they did.

Post Katrina

Post Katrina

(source)

A community comes together.

A community comes together.

(source)

If any city deserves to throw a party to end all parties, it’s definitely the birthplace of jazz.  So as you go about your day, keep this incredible city and it’s even more incredible people in mind.  And as your day comes to a close, I don’t think anyone would mind if you raised a Sazerac or a Ramos Fizz in their honor.

Happy Mardi Gras everyone! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Enjoy the ride.

How will  you be celebrating on  this fine, Fat Tuesday?