April 2021 Check-In

Well here we are again!  How is it already MAY!?!

March ended with me in a weird place yet again so we started the month out with a short trip up the coast to Marina del Rey & spent some time on the beach & trails in Malibu.   I splurged and used some of my Marriott points and we stayed at the Ritz Carlton, our first hotel stay outside 2 nights in October when we stayed in hotels on our Moab roadtrip.  It was a nice getaway and I was pleasantly surprised to see that people in this area were serious about staying safe.  95% of the people we encountered wore masks, even when walking by themselves, coming out of their homes, etc.

We got takeout from some yummy vegan restaurants & donuts from one of my fav places Blue Star on the way home.

Oatmilk lattes from the Hive.  Drunk Cauliflower & Saint Louis No 2 Vegan Shrimp Poboys from Variable Cafe – we had a small issue with delivery and our order was delivered about an hour after we ordered.  The cauliflower was amazing but the poboy was quite soggy because it had been sitting for a while.  I’m sure it’s amazing when it’s hot & fresh.

Breakfast was from Marigold Cafe, we both got the breakfast sammy which  had scrambled just egg, mushrooms, green onion, vegan cheese, vegan mayo, vegan bacon & everything seasoning.  It was super yum!

When I checked in at the hotel, the front desk agent recommended a place called The Butcher’s Daughter for dinner so we tried that out.  Funny name for a vegetarian/vegan restaurant but we had an amazing burger!

We got the Impossible burgers & they were topped with red-wine caramelized onions, arugula, fig mustard,  harissa mayo & on a vegan brioche bun. The Rosemary potato wedges left something to be desired but that could have been due to the take out aspect.

Anyways, I always get caught up with food LOL but let’s get to what I did this month.

Running: Well running & I are still not 100% seeing eye to eye.  I had a few really good runs.  Like the 7 miles we did by the water in Marina del Rey at the beginning of the month & the 8 mile run the Sunday after I got my first vaccine shot, but the rest of the month?  Hit or miss due to knee pain, shin pain & just overall lack of motivation.  I also don’t love our old treadmill, the new one had a problem and we were waiting on a replacement so we were using the older one that’s super loud.  I ended the month with maybe 55 miles?

Peloton: Due to the knee pain I was feeling, I took a 10 day break from the bike to see if that was an issue.  I ended up with around a 100 miles for the month, way down from the past few months but 10 days off will do that.

Overall, I’ve determined that if I do a little glute activation, it’s better but I still think I need to get a professional fitting because it’s still not perfect. A few people have mentioned Team Wilpers (PZ Instructor Matt Wilper’s coaching group) as a place to go for that & I might try and schedule an appointment to do so in May.

Strength Training: This is the only piece of my exercise routine that I have been 100% consistent with.  I’ve been working with Nicole @heartndsolerunning since March & I feel like this has really been helping me to get stronger.

Knee: I have been dealing with a knee issue for  while now, there’s been a sharp pain by the top bone on the inside of my left knee and after sitting &/or tough climbs the back of my knee feels really stiff & tight.  So after dealing with this off and on for a little over a year, I finally went to get it looked at.  X-rays showed that my bones were perfect & I had plenty of cartilage between my bones.  But an MRI showed that there were some microtears in the cartilage and that the stiffness in the back of the knee was actually swelling from the front of the knee that’s being pushed back.  Official diagnosis Chondromalacia aka Runners Knee.  So I’ll start a few weeks of PT in mid May and once I figure out my real areas of weakness, I’ll be able to incorporate more exercises into  my strength workouts to help correct those imbalances & hopefully get rid of this pain before I start training for actual races.

I said this year was going to be all about recovery & I’ve been serious about doing more about recovery so I’ll just keep that going as the year progresses!

We got our first vaccine shots!! That made me soooo happy – we’ll get our second Pfizer shots in early May and be fully vaccinated by the end of the month!  Which is good because we have a lot of fun outdoor activities planned for this summer!!

Campaigns: This month was shock full of fun campaigns that I got to work on.

I worked with iwi to share an awesome vegan omega 3 product.  I tried out and gave away $100 of Thorlos’s socks to a lucky IG follower. I tried and shared No Cow Protein Powder (my verdict as someone who doesn’t really enjoy protein powder? the bars are better).  I did a fun review of rabbit’s new trail line (this wasn’t sponsored but I wanted to share).  I got to try some new lounge style outfits from Tasc Performance. PS the crop is absolutely incredible!!  I tried out some of Coola’s new SPF skincare products.  I shared more about how much I love Sunbeam‘s GoHeat™ Cordless Heating Pad .  I’ll be sharing a new product in May!!  I partnered with AllTrails to share the Rumpl National Parks Collection of blankets & the Leave No Trace shirts that they created with The Landmark Project.  I have an AllTrails giveaway coming up in May so get ready!  And we kicked off the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Runner’s Month this week!  I’m super excited about this challenge and look forward to sharing with you all.

I also got to work on a super cool product that I can’t quite share yet but I can’t wait to show you guys!

I shared the thoughts of others & then myself regarding race swag.

Oh and I almost forgot but we did a Road Trip to Joshua Tree National Park & celebrated National Parks Week there!  This was my first time to Joshua Tree and while it’s a beautiful park & so different from what I was expecting, the attractions were all super short & it was somewhat crowded which mean that we didn’t get to go to all the spots we wanted to see.  We did check another National Park off our list though.

Wow!! Going through all this, I’m like WOW – April was busy!!

Vegan Eats in Switzerland

After thinking it over, I decided to split this blog into two parts.  Part one will be Switzerland & then I’ll share Chamonix in a separate post so this isn’t too too long.

I was a little concerned about finding food in Switzerland but surprisingly had a great experience.  I have the Happy Cow app & then of course I would google vegan food in whatever place we were in.

We landed in Geneva early on a Saturday morning, after getting the car, our first stop was a Starbucks downtown near the famous found in Lake Geneva.  We were able to get our normal soy lattes, although, word to the wise, the US Starbucks app doesn’t work, at least not at the location we went to.  I wish I had grabbed a mug when we were there because we didn’t see another Starbucks during our trip.  They also had a vegan chocolate raspberry cake which was nice, a little dry, but a nice treat especially since you can’t find vegan cake in the US stores.

Next stop was lunch.  We stopped in a little town called Thun on our way to Grindlewald.  We found a vegan spot called V-mOnd.  They had 2 specials (that was the entire menu – at least that she gave us) so we got one of each.  One was a mushroom & veggie stew with forbidden rice & the other was a couscous with fresh veggies.  Both were quite good, but my preference was the stew.

On to Grindelwald where we stayed for a short visit.  We ate at Barry’s which looked quite fancy when we arrived, but it was pretty casual.  They have a special vegan menu, that is in German, with four options on it.  The server explained them all to us.  In addition, they have a salad bar & a Mongolian bar that they said we could have as well.

Sean & I both choose to have the vegan burger & fries.  It was very good although the bread was super soft which made it hard to eat.  The fries were very goo & the burger came with various sauces on the side for dipping.

The next day we stopped in Interlaken on our way to Zermatt.  We had lunch at Velo Cafe.  When we initially walked by the cafe, there were a ton of cyclists outside making it really uncomfortable, to me at least.  We walked on to look at another restaurant, that was significantly more expensive, when we went back, the cyclists were gone.  A note to anyone allergic to bees, there were a ton of bees flying around their outside tables.  We even saw a few by our indoor table.

They had a few vegan options, and one of the servers was quite knowledgeable and shared with us exactly what was 100% vegan.  We choose a falafel wrap that came with a salad & a lentil shepherd’s pie type entree with potatoes on the top that also came with a salad.  They also had smoothies & the absolute best coffee I’ve had in a long time.  I got an oat milk latte and it was amazing, so smooth & flavorful.

Next up is Zermatt, where we stayed for the next few days.  We had dinner our first night at Brassiere de Uno.  They had a few vegan starters & 2 vegan entrees.  They do have a few items that are always on the menu, but they do change the menu every day.

First up was an amuse bouche, onion tart topped with avocado.

We skipped the starters and went straight to dinner.  We decided to try both the vegan options & share them.

We got a yummy gnocchi with an amazing vegan pesto & the vegan balls which were served with mashed potatoes & lingonberries.  Both were really good, but I’m going to pick the vegan balls as my favorite.  They were the vegan version of their moose meatballs that they are known for.

For dessert, they didn’t have any baked goods unfortunately but they did have homemade apricot & strawberry sorbet.

One of the reviews we saw said that they wished they could eat there everyday and Sean & I definitely agreed, it was so good.  Note, at least in the summer they were only open Thur – Mon.

We stayed in a very nice hotel called Hotel Matthiol, which was at the back of the town, right near trails.  They included breakfast so we went down each morning.  The first day we went down and the server was like, oh, you are vegan, we don’t have many options.  I did tell them ahead of time that we were vegan since they asked when they sent me a pre-stay email.  I guess that didn’t get passed on but no worries.

The server went to chat with the chef after showing us the fruit cups they had & the coffee machine.  She said the chef would make us some veggies & some fresh bread since they weren’t sure if the breads on the buffet were vegan.  She brought us plates of yummy veggies & steaming fresh bread and assured us they would be better prepared the next day for us.

The bread was amazing! And it only took 15 minutes to make!

For dinner that night after a long day of hiking & running we headed to town and had dinner at an Italian place called Molino.  We didn’t even change, but went in our running gear with our packs in tow.  Molino is an Italian chain restaurant and it was ok.  The servers were a little snooty & I did get to speak Italian to them so that was cool.

In any case they had several vegan options on the menu, including a yummy focaccia bread with tomatoes & olive oil and then Sean & I both got the penne all’arrabiata.

After dinner we started walking home and I saw that the creperie was open! so we were able to get a vegan crepe for dessert from Stefania’s Creperie. They only accept cash but there is an ATM not far from the shop.  I talked to the guy for a short bit, there were quite a few vegan options, including 3-4 chocolate options.  After a bit of discussion, we decided on a lemon sugar crepe using brown sugar (they could use either brown or white – I wasn’t sure what the difference would be the crepe not having had either).

Now the guy who worked there was quite opinionated.  After finding out that we lived in San Diego, he was like well I guess not everyone can live here.  He also tried to convince me that Banff was in British Columbia, spoiler alert, it’s not, it’s in Alberta.

And note for vegans, he told me that I had picked the two hardest crepes to make, vegan is harder than regular and lemon sugar is even harder.  There was no line when we were there but he said that if there had been, he would have told me that they were out of vegan crepes so he didn’t have to make them.  I hope he was joking but you never know.

Back to the hotel for our second breakfast & last meal in Switzerland.  The hotel had soy milk & soy yogurt for us.  They made us soy cappuccino’s, sauteed veggies & more bread.  The bread was full of seeds and to me a bit too heavy, but I’m so appreciative of that fact that they were so accommodating.

Overall, I was quite impressed with the food that we ate in Switzerland.  Everything was fresh, well made and super yummy.  I don’t think I had one thing that I didn’t enjoy & I didn’t feel like I was going hungry at all.

Next up, Chamonix.