I feel like a ridiculous Sex & The City episode right now.
I’m currently sitting in the corner of a cafe in Eugene right now reminiscing about the weekend that was and trying to find the right thing to say. There’s a fire next to me, vegan pastries and green tea in my belly and I am literally peering out the window as rain lightly drizzles over all of Eugene. The ridiculousness of my statement above is even making me gag, but I can’t help it: it was a an amazing weekend!
Let’s start by saying sometimes I wonder why I blog. I talk about myself far too much and I take painfully embarrassing selfies. But then I remember about all of the people I meet because of it and then I’m back at it. This weekend was an example of just that.
Over the past year, I started chatting with Nicole over the Interwebz as we were both training for an Ironman. We had met once IRL when she was in SF for a wedding and in that one meeting, we had decided that we should do a girl’s trip to Eugene. Through Nicole, I started following her friend Asia’s blog and that is how team NAP was born. Thus, I met Nicole for the second time and Asia for the first time ever in Eugene. Who’s ready for a four day weekend with strangers from the Internet?! (Don’t worry mom, I checked ’em out beforehand to make sure they weren’t crazy.)
Our adventures in Eugene began with a questionable motel in (what we would later learn) a questionable part of town. This includes lovely citizens shouting, “I’m DRUNK, but I’m not high…” to her mom at 5 a.m. (we later learned that the mom had just picked up her little angle from jail that morning), an apartment complex that I’m sure was a meth house and other such gems. However, I will say that the motel was clean for what it was and was quite close to other popular restaurants in the area. You win some, you lose some I suppose.
I’ll spare you every detail, but I will say that Eugene is full of veggie and vegan friendly food (to clarify, no, I’m not vegan. But I can’t do dairy…more on that another day). Nicole, Asia and I all had similar and adventurous food preferences so we sought out different restaurants, of which, almost all of them proved to be amazing.
Our favorite: Laughing Planet.
The worst: Cornbread Cafe.
Awesome breakfast: Morning Glory.
Amazing pastries and homemade breads: Hideaway Bakery.
Vegan pizza that worried us but ended up being drool-worthy: Pizza Research Institute.
A good brewery with great outdoor space and only $4 pints: Ninkasi Brewery.
Outside of eating, we ate some more. But then again, that’s one of my favorite things to do while traveling: explore new restaurants to get a taste of the city and Eugene is definitely a city open to strange diets. Asking for dairy-free in California or Nevada still leaves people with question marks across their face. Eugene? It’s almost expected.
But I digress. After our first round of beering and fueling, we made our way to Hayward Field. I knew that Hayward Field was famous for having some of the fastest runners in the world run here, it being the home of the Olympic Trials, and was where the half/full marathon finished. But the idiot in me didn’t realize that Hayward Field is solely a track field. None of this “football in the center” crap with an all-weather track around it. Nope, it’s purely dedicated to all things track and field. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
The next morning, we made our way to meet a gaggle of runners/bloggers/tweeters for a shake-out run on Pre’s trail. Running on that trail finally gave me some understanding why people love Eugene as my super awesome view from our hotel and surrounding area left me quite confused. We soon made our way to brunch, lolly-gagging around Eugene for a bit and the expo, where we met many more new running/blogger/tweeter friends.
I’ll save the Eugene Half Marathon Race Recap for the next blog post as I felt this weekend with strangers earned it’s own post. Meeting people you’ve been chatting with over the past year, like Holly, from the Internet isn’t all that bad. Eugene, I thank you for that.
Some strange guy just sat down next to me because I’m sitting next to an outlet and is trying to talk to me. Maybe this is my cue to sign off.