Monday, July 20, 2009

She Came, She Ran, She Conquered

This weekend, Derek and I went up to Vermont for my 8 mile road race in Stowe. We drove up late Friday night and stayed at his friend Peter's gorgeous house in Waitsfield. I woke up Saturday morning to discover that the house was very secluded, up on a hill with an amazing view.

You can see Sugarbush from the front door.

Derek went for a hilly bike ride in the morning, while I explored the local farmer's market and picked up a jar of zucchini pickles. The we grabbed lunch at the Green Cup Cafe on our way to check out Burlington. I had a Thai shrimp sandwich with spicy kimchee pressed on whole grain bread.

Not your average sandwich! We were pretty impressed for rural VT. We spent the afternoon exploring Burlington, a funky college town on Lake Champlain. I had wanted to stop at the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory on our way up, but we ended up nixing that and heading straight to Burlington. Of course I was now craving ice cream, so I got a cone of cookies & cream when we arrived.

I also got some on my shirt. We took our cones down to the waterfront and watched the boats coming in.

And we saw some tents set up for a huge beerfest along the harbor.

We weren't interested in drinking any beer, but were quite pleased to find a swing where we could sit and watch the drunk festival goers passing by and look out over the lake.

I think we sat here for hours! The weather was perfect and we were very content to just people watch. I realize I'm stating the obvious, but there are a lot of dirty hippies in Vermont. I mean, I consider us to have a little bit of a hippy side, but we're nothing compared to these folks. We also discovered this weekend that Vermont men really don't like to wear shirts. I don't think I've seen so many shirtless men in my life. Luckily, Derek didn't try to blend in and kept his on. I kept mine on too, even though it was covered in ice cream splotches.

After walking around Burlington a bit more and buying some truffles from Lake Champlain Chocolates, we drove over to Stowe to check out the race course and have dinner. I was nervous that the course was going to be really hilly, but it actually didn't look too bad. We had dinner at The Partridge Inn, which is a nice seafood restaurant. I know it seems kind of silly to come from Boston to Vermont to eat seafood, but it was actually really good. They gave us popovers to start the meal and I had trout stuffed with crab and basil.

Sunday morning we got up early to drive over to the race. I was hardly able to sleep at all the night before, so I was a bit nervous before the run since I did not feel well rested. I faked it for the camera!

Then headed to the starting line.

Derek was an excellent race photographer.

He rode his bike along the course and would stop and wait for me to come by, then ride up ahead and wait for me again. It definitely helped motivate me, knowing that I would see him along the way. And once I got going, I actually felt pretty good!

I started the race towards the back of the pack, but quickly realized I was running way too slow and started passing people - which was fun!

I lead the pack powering up the first little hill.

Overall the hills were not bad at all. Somehow, it seemed like there were more downhills than uphills, which doesn't really make sense. But all the uphills were either very gradual, or steep and very short, so they were manageable. And the scenery was beautiful! The worst hills were actually in the last mile, which was just mean.

I still finished strong!

I came in a little over 1:17, which I was quite happy with. My goal was to break 1:20 and run faster than 10 minute miles, which I did!

After stretching, refueling and cleaning up, we started the drive back to Boston. On our way home, we stopped at The Farmer's Diner in Quechee, VT.

Its a classic diner that prides itself on serving only local food from Vermont farmers and suppliers. They support their local community and serve delicious, fresh food.

I love their motto - "Thank Locally, Act Neighborly"

Derek and I both ordered thick chocolate milk shakes.

Which, of course, I dribbled on my shorts. To match Saturday's ice cream stained shirt. To eat, I got a black bean burger topped with Great Hill blue cheese - one of my favorite blues!

It came on a freshly baked bun with amazing fries. So much better than your average diner food! This place was great - I highly recommend seeking it out if you're ever in VT. They also have a location in Middlebury.

By the time we got home, I was exhausted and did not feel like cooking or eating a lot. So I made up a very French dinner with an assortment of goodies we'd picked up over the weekend. Appropriate since we ate while watching the Tour de France.

This board includes sliced apples, radishes, chopped olives, the pickled zucchinis I got at the farmer's market, 3 VT cheeses, and some amazing butter from Vermont Butter & Cheese. The cheese includes a cloth wrapped cheddar which had a very earthy flavor, along with a soft, stinky cheese similar to camembert, and a maple smoked gouda. But the butter, which was spiked with crunchy bits of sea salt, was definitely the highlight. I just finished Molly Wizenberg's book A Homemade Life, which is just adorable. She talks about how the French eat hunks of baguette spread with butter and topped with thinly sliced radishes. I served this tray with a crusty whole grain baguette, and Derek and I agreed that we would have been content just eating the bread with butter and radishes. Honestly, I could have been content just eating the butter!


  1. Congrats on the race! I watched the weather throughout the week and they had always been predicting rain, but it looks like you got a great weather weekend.
    After reading of your woes with iced cream products, perhaps the next time I get you a gift, I shall consider a bib.

  2. Thanks, Seth! It ended up being perfect weather. Staining my clothes with ice cream and chocolate seems to be my lot in life. I don't think there's any way to avoid it, unless you can find me a bib that is more of a poncho.


  4. yay Gretchen! 8 miler complete... half marathon next.