Monthly Archives: February 2013

And we’re off!! :-)

Minneapolis is sure sending Aliesha and I off in good old-fashioned Minnesota style!

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Hopefully we’ll be able to take off tonight after all this snow we’re getting. Let’s keep all of our fingers and toes crossed that the MSP grounds crews are in top form today.

I can’t even express how SUPER excited I am for this trip – the safari, day trips, the marathon and then Zanzibar.

Unfortunately there is no real-time tracking for the Marathon (imagine that) and I don’t even know what my bib number is yet. (Frankly, I’m not even 100% sure when and where I’m supposed to pick it up, but I still have a week. ūüėČ Anyway, I did map the course on MapMyRun¬†and here’s a screen shot of the route and elevation:

YIKES!! :-)

YIKES!! ūüôā

I received the most appropriate encouragement from Dr. Annebelle earlier this week:

You will kick ass in the marathon (and by that, I mean you will finish in an upright position!)!

This will be the first marathon with out you buddy! :-/

I also got a most appropriate piece of advise from Dr. Allison last night:

Have fun! Be safe! Run Slow!

Yes! Yes! And yes! ūüôā

Alrighty, have a great two weeks everyone and prepare yourself for an arsenal of travel and run updates/recaps/reviews starting March 10th!

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Packing!

I’m typically not the best about preparing for trips in a timely manner. Rather, you’ll find me tending to laundry, packing and last minute runs to Target the night prior to departure. This time it is going to be a bit different. ūüôā If for no other reason than to do something besides look at my frustrating manuscript, I’m going to be ready to go by Thursday. Being that it’s only Tuesday, I’d say so far so good…

Air plane outfit

Air plane outfit

The flight is going to be 36 hours with one stop in Amsterdam so I am definitely wearing comfortable clothes! Much to poor Al’s dismay, I am also wearing very colorful clothes! (I don’t want to get lost after all!)

Since planes are always so chilly I’ll wear my Nike Relay – Women’s Running Capris¬†and my bright pink Pro Compression marathon socks on the bottom. A) Everything else that I have for bottoms come down only to mid-shin at best and B) I will never fly without wearing compression again! Compression both makes the low cabin pressure much less¬†uncomfortable¬†during the flight and also significantly reduces the recovery time that (at least) I require coming off of a long flight. Given that we’ll be on our feet a lot over the next few days at altitude and that the marathon is in less than 2 weeks, I’ll take all of the help I can get! On top I’m planning for three layers of tanktop-tshirt-long sleeved tshirt. I’ll also have my¬†Mountain Hardwear super power hoody. This little friend is the¬†thickest extra/outer layer that I’m¬†bringing¬†with to keep me warm at night in the mountains while we’re camping and as a first line of defense against any nasty weather that we encounter. I’ll wear my Wave Creation 12s to top off the outfit ¬†because they’re the pair of shoes that hog up the most space in my pack, and then a headband for when the hair gets too greasy of course.

Now considering it’s going to be ~95 F during every day of the trip and then ~60s at night, packing actual clothes is a bit tricky. Never mind that the malaria and dengue fever ridden mosquitoes don’t help one bit! As of now, I think this is going to be the plan of action…

tank top, t-shirt, long-sleeved t-shirt layers

tank top, t-shirt, long-sleeved t-shirt layers

lower shin length skirts, floppy pants and maxi dresses

lower shin length skirts, floppy pants and maxi dresses

mama's wool hat and wool travel blanket and then a wool scarfs for wrapping up in at night

mama’s wool hat and wool travel blanket and then a wool scarfs for wrapping up in at night

the shoes--Mizunos, Vibrams and grandmas Tevas

the shoes–Mizunos, Vibrams and grandmas Tevas

and swim suits for Zanzibar!

and swim suits for Zanzibar!

And then there are all of these…

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There are few things that can make you feel as old as a bag full of life-saving prescription medications can!

But, I should be able to distract myself with the¬†entire¬†“Tanzania” section of the Minneapolis Public Library that I have borrowed…

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While this is already a whole lot of shit very important stuff, I’ve totally saved the best for last…or last for the best…hmmm… Regardless, I am very pleased to introduce my…

Mt. Kilimanjaro Marathon Outfit!

Mt. Kilimanjaro Marathon Outfit!

 

I still haven’t totally decided on whether I’ll wear the Nike Relay – Women’s Running Capris¬†or the Champion skirt, but I’m pretty sure I’ll go with the skirt. It’s going to be really f#c%!n& hot warm and humid throughout the run (even though it’s starting at 6:30 am!) so I think the skirt is probably the best choice. My only concern is chafing, but lord (and my jeans) knows that these trusty little legs can deal with chafing and I’d prefer to avoid the heat stroke. Anyway, lets say purple¬†Champion¬†skirt and tank top with bright orange trim and running bra, either bright green or pink¬†Pro Compression marathon socks¬†(I can’t decide which will maximize the outfit until I put it all on the morning of the race…although…maybe I should avoid the decision and just wear one of each! I’ll also choose the preferred headband and lace up my lovely Mizuno Wave Creation 12s.

The awesome¬†yellow Suunto Vector¬†(on loan courtesy my generous friend B) will be along for the ride in addition to my new pair of Women’s Tifosi Slip Wrap Sunglasses. I’m¬†super¬†excited to check out this watch. I’ve been playing around with it a bit over the last few days and it’s¬†totally awesome¬†to say the least. I’m also stoked to try out my snazzy new shades. They are a very recent purchase and had good reviews online so my fingers are crossed.

My little stash of snacks must not be forgotten either. Both Jelly Belly Sport Beans¬†and Clif Shot Bloks¬†will be getting me through the energy crashes and the walls that I hit. I sure hope they’re up for the challenge. Also, and these are very important although they aren’t pictured here, I will be carrying two 4 oz water bottles from my¬†wretched¬†not particularly wonderful running belt. I’m not sure what the water situation is going to be and I’d rather carry 8 oz of water¬†unnecessarily¬†than not have enough. Plus, If I find the extra hydration to be unnecessary, I can always just chug it and stuff the bottles in my bra. At least I’m bringing two, I wouldn’t want to do the whole run with lop-sided boobs!

The only other item that isn’t pictured that is an absolute MUST¬†for the run are my tunes. My trusty Sandisk will be facilitating the all important sing along with Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Pitbull, Akon, Fun , Nicki Minaj, and whoever else happens to partake.

Ok, so what’s left? Let’s see, I’m going to pack some snacks (Clif Bars, Luna Bars and mixed nuts) just in case I really have issues with the food and need emergency fuel the day(s) leading up to the run. I’ll also have my trusty purple Nikon Coolpix camera from about a million years ago. Although, Al will have her brothers¬†far¬†superior camera so I’ll probably get lazy and depend on her and her photography skills. :-/ (Just for the record, she does have mad skills. She’ll take on¬†anyone¬†in a go-go-gadget-extendo-arm-self (or two-person) portrait. We have these from all of our vacations, and from many other random social events when everyone else is too clumsy and/or drunk to take a good picture. I swear, she is spot on every damn time.)

With that, I think I have most of it covered! I guess my Passport and Visa are also essentials and then I have my travel notebook and a couple of beach reads stashed way too. Speaking of reads, it’s time for this kid to pull out a bed time journal article to fall asleep to and get some pre-trip rest!

 

 

 

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Deals!

It’s a good day when you can get both Sigg bottles and Pro Compression socks for cheap! Way to go Active Gear Up!

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Leftovers sandwich

Leftovers that can be turned into a sandwich are great. Greatness recently happened twice as follows:

Southwestern Open-faced Sandwich

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  1. Corn and black bean mixture (~1:1), sauteed
  2. 1/4 avocado, diced
  3. ~1/2 tsp sriracha sauce (more or less to taste)
  4. Salt and pepper
  5. Cheese (I’ve done a slice of Havarti – just go with me on this one – or¬†shredded marble jack, both were super yummy
  6. 1/2 tomato, sliced
  7. Slice of bread

Combine items 1-5 (or 1-4 if using sliced cheese) and mix

Spoon mixture onto bread and press/smoosh to stay (if using sliced cheese put cheese on first)

Layer the tomato on top

Toast over low heat for ~5 min until toast is crispy, cheese is melted and toppings are warmed through

Remove from heat and smother in salsa

What are your favorite leftovers?

Do you have any favorites that make great sandwiches?

 

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Saturday score!

So Andi, my buddy for at least the last 25 years, got me some sweet running stuff for Christmas. Running treats – delicious. Foam roller – where have you been all of my life? Running lights – perfecto! Running belt (however) – just not my deal.

I have a totally genius and practical and fashionable mindset that is something along the lines of if it doesn’t fit in my bra, I don’t need to bring it with me. I do have a water belt that’s an exception to this rule and while I definitely enjoy avoiding dehydration and all the perks that come along with this I hate the damn water belt.

Now Andi’s belt is a much different story. I could actually tighten it all the way in my waist so it isn’t totally flopping everywhere. There wouldn’t be 16 heavy ounces of water bottle volume flailing at 4 different (yet all equally irritating and inconvenient – as luck would have it) locations around my waist. And it was pink. ūüôā

I gave the belt some serious, thoughtful consideration. I honestly did. (It is February after all, and I got the belt for Christmas.) However, in the end I just couldn’t take the plunge. Sorry Andi.

Anyway, on Saturday I decided to trot on down to the Running Room and exchange the belt for a new pair of running shorts or something to this effect that would get much more use over the year(s). But, as I looked around, there really wasn’t anything that jumped out at me, nothing really caught my eye. (Let me emphasize how totally freaking strange this felt!) Of course I then diverged from the task at hand and wandered over to the oh-so-tempting wall of shoes. As I began drooling over the new Mizuno Wave Creations I heard the fateful words, “Do you have any of last year’s model on sale?” creep out of my mouth.

What the…? I totally don’t need new shoes! (By my standard anyway.) My current pair of WCs are just entering midlife and my Wave Elixers only have one run on them! But of course, as luck would have it they¬†did¬†have last year’s WCs on sale…in my size…and for $49!! OMG!¬†These would be a strong contender for the cheapest Wave Creations known to man! AND I had just about half of that covered by my Andi’s belt! I might as well have stolen them right off the shelf!

The rest is history of course. I bought the shoes before anyone could second guess the price sticker (along with a Margarita Clif Shot Blok for the marathon) and took off like a mad woman! So Andi, thank you so much for the running treats, lights, foam roller and my absolute favorite pair of running shoes!

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Pay it forward

In preparation for the Mt Kilimanjaro Marathon that is going to murder me be an¬†unforgettable¬†adventure on March 3rd, I recently became obsessed with the idea decided that I would greatly¬†benefit¬†by wearing a watch during the run. Now doing this probably goes without question for most runners, but I’ll leave that for another post (aside from just saying that I prefer to run by feel – and I think that it makes me a stronger runner as well). Anyway, upon coming to this conclusion I had only 10 days until my departure. This means that I didn’t have much time to thoroughly research a¬†good¬†running/athletic/outdoorsy watch and order it and receive it in time. So what to do?

  1. Buy something quickly that looks good based on a few reviews?
  2. Buy something cheap that will be good enough to get me through (and thus it doesn’t really matter how good it is)?
  3. Borrow something?

So I quickly struck #1 off of the list. I’m not big on impulsive/non-anal-retentively¬†thoroughly researched purchases, I can’t afford a¬†new good¬†running watch, and I do actually already have a good (Garmin Forerunner 305)¬†watch that is with my sister right now (someone who strongly prefers to run by feel does¬†not¬†need two watches).

Frankly, #2 was struck from the list even before I completed the initial thought. If you haven’t noticed already, I’m a bit of a hippy. I don’t like to use things that are disposable, I’m a big advocate of reduce/reuse/recycle-ing, I bring my own bags to the grocery store and I prefer my bike and public transit to driving my own car. (No offense Beetle. Honestly though, you have been a real pain in the ass lately…but never mind…)

That left #3. The question then was simply from who to borrow said watch. Who did I know with a (potentially nice) watch that they would be willing to borrow me to take to Africa for 2 weeks? I asked around at school. No luck. I asked around among my non-school friends. Same. The fam? Nope.

Damn.

So, I decided to turn to the rather embarrassing (yet effective) default of so many of us 20’s-yr olds…Facebook!¬†I posted the following:

Does anyone have a plastic digital watch that they’d be willing to borrow me from Feb 21st – March 10th? If beggars can be choosers, I’d be thrilled if it had a timer and a lap function. Your watch will have the opportunity to travel to Tanzania, to “run” the Mt. Kilimanjaro Marathon and will be returned in the same condition as when it left.

To my delight, with-in an hour I had enough smart ass comments from DFR to fill up most of one hand¬†3 seriously offers from 2 friends that I hadn’t thought to ask and one very random¬†acquaintance, B,¬†from high school! After a handful of messages, B and I decided to meet the next day for the watch hand off.

And what a watch I was handed–a brand new yellow Suunto Vector!

Please excuse the pasty skin, extra long arm hair and sad case of a rosemary plant

Please excuse the pasty skin, extra long arm hair and sad case of a rosemary plant

B is letting me a (brand new) BMW of outdoorsy watches to Tanzania!

I could not¬†believe¬†my fortune!¬†THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!¬†This was the best that I could come up with (over and over and over again) to express my appreciation. Why would B borrow me this? Money isn’t growing on the trees in his back yard (…at least I don’t think it is…hmmm…maybe I should go for a spin in his neighborhood…oh yeah, that’s right the GD¬†poor Beetle is sick again…anyway…), we are definitely not friends much less good friends (…we were hardly acquaintances¬†in HS…not that we had anything against each other…at least I don’t think we did…we were just a few years apart in a big-ish school…) and I have no idea what could be in it for him in return from me.

Unfortunately, I’m apparently a total open book (even when I do manage to keep my big mouth shut) because by the time I got back to my office B had left me a message explaining himself (not that he needed to).

Medium/long story short, pay it forward. This is B’s philosophy. He saw that he could help someone out – family, good friend, friend,¬†acquaintance or not – and felt that it was his responsibility to do so because that’s what people¬†should do for each other. People should not look to see what’s in it for them or what the other person has done for them to¬†warrant¬†such a favor. People should look around them, take note of what is going on, what other people are doing and dealing with, and take every reasonable opportunity to lend a hand and extend them selves to make someone else’s life easier. Now we are just talking about ¬†a silly watch in this case (as B pointed out¬†numerous¬†times) but maybe next time I come across someone who needs a hand it will involve a bit more than a watch, maybe a bit less. Regardless, I should¬†pay it forward. Step in when or before I’m asked to make someone’s life a bit better.¬†I LOVE THIS AND I COULD NOT AGREE MORE!!!¬†

Not based on any religion or religious beliefs, I think this is a fantastic mindset to have. While many times – and for many reasons – people won’t help, won’t come through, won’t do whatever it is – however big or small – to help a fellow human, to make their life easier, sometimes people do. If we all were that person that does, just a little bit more often, this world would be a much better place!

So please, pay it forward. Do something for someone else today, this weekend, every day, every weekend. Do something for family, friends, acquaintances, strangers. If we all chip in we will be able to share a world that is a much better place.

What cool things have you done lately to pay it forward?

What cool things have been done for you?

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Valentine’s Day (and post-Valentine’s Day)

As much of a Hallmark holiday as Valentine’s Day is, it is a¬†fantastic¬†opportunity to capitalize on the tasty fixed menus that fancy restaurants put on for all of the hungry, happy, romantic couples. So this year my best eating buddy and I fed our fat faces¬†indulgent¬†in 5 courses of the finer things in life via the Union Restaurant. The menu that twisted our arms with was as follows-

Union Valentine's Day DinnerOf course, words do not do the same justice as pictures. Thus, I was that person snapping photos of each and every course along the way. Enjoy the vegetarian prix fixe menu below. Aside from the 4th course, the carnivore menu looked impressively similar-

pre-course

Hawley wine and grandma's cheese curds

Hawley wine and grandma’s cheese curds

1st course

charred avocado & yellow beet tartare with frozen red beets, citrus kosho & toasted coriander

charred avocado & yellow beet tartare with frozen red beets, citrus kosho & toasted coriander with cornbread

2nd course

slow-roasted sunchoke confit with brown butter, cashews & apricot preserves

slow-roasted sunchoke confit with brown butter, cashews & apricot preserves

3rd course

fried organic egg with heirloom corn grits, black truffle, frisée & mimolette fondue

fried organic egg with heirloom corn grits, black truffle, frisée & mimolette fondue

(Or the carnivorous version and its ecstatic recipient. To be fair, how often do you get to eat both liver AND bone marrow in one meal?!?!)

grilled beef rib eye with smoked bone marrow, lobster, red wine & velvet pioppini mushrooms

grilled beef rib eye with smoked bone marrow, lobster, red wine & velvet pioppini mushrooms

4th course

swiss chard & ricotta dumplings with roasted garlic, red wine & velvet pioppini mushrooms

swiss chard & ricotta dumplings with roasted garlic, red wine & velvet pioppini mushrooms

intermezzo

hibiscus sherbet with crispy meringue

hibiscus sherbet with crispy meringue

5th course

blood orange mousse with caramel-almond crumble & milk chocolate ice cream

blood orange mousse with caramel-almond crumble & milk chocolate ice cream

(This one took more to figure out than either of us will ever admit.)

blood orange mousse with black pepper caramel cake & milk chocolate ice cream

blood orange mousse with black pepper caramel cake & milk chocolate ice cream

And with that, it was time to waddle home and slip into the beloved food coma! ūüôā

While this should have been sufficient indulgence for 24 hours, tonight Samia and I went to town on her left overs from last night. To be fair, I think any sane person would have given in-

chocolate fondue with strawberries and the last (I swear) of grandma's cheese curds, Lunds Bailey's cheesecake, and Hawley wine

chocolate fondue with strawberries and the last (I swear) of grandma’s cheese curds, Lunds Bailey’s cheesecake, and Hawley wine

What Valentine’s Day (or any other day) goodies have you enjoyed recently?

 

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