Category Archives: Travel

Hamptons Marathon Training – Week 2

Sunday 5/25
Recovery from Saturday night day

Monday 5/26
7 warm, informative, evening miles
Lessons learned:
1) No running on the tow path with out glasses in the summer
2) No running at night without glasses in the summer
3) No running after a rain without glasses in the summer
4) A gazillion little bugs feel good in neither the eyes nor the lungs

Tuesday 5/27
3 afternoon miles — without glasses.
Lessons learned:
4) No running in the afternoon without glasses in the summer
5) Dr. Trot is an idiot

Wednesday 5/28

Thursday 5/29
CA travel day with Penelope ūüôā via EWR ūüė¶


Happy Reunion!

(+ futile 2 mile walk to and from the Tiger Card and transportation offices in hopes of getting my new ID card and parking pass given my new appointment extension through January…which is apparently NOT in the system yet. ūüė¶

Friday 5/30
5 morning miles down to the bay and back
It was a cool morning — requiring long sleeves for the first few miles (thank you California! :-/ The run was nice, through residential areas and on a slow but steady decline all the way out to the bay. Good thing it took me ~2.5 miles to finally warm up so I could handle the climb home!

This was followed by refueling with a most excellent brunch at Squat and Gobble


Veggie Crepe @ Squat and Gobble

and then a trip to the SF Zoo for some QT as a butterfly!

Who needs to trot when you can fly instead?!?!

Saturday 5/31
More refuling?

With salads and beers ūüôā
This counts, right?

Total: 15 miles
Not exactly high milage, but this was just the way it had to be this week. Low milage and a lot of good RnR and delicious refueling ūüôā

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Filed under CA, Marathons, Running, Travel, Trotting, Work out

Thanksgiving 2013

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this year. I had an awesome holiday and an absolute shit-storm of a week to follow (see Week 18 + 1), hence this being just a bit belated. The good news is that rattling on and on about good food never gets old for me, so I’m perfectly happy sharing all of the delicious details re: my Thanksgiving over a week after the fact ūüôā

To begin, everything is yummier at a balmy 65 F with the sound of the ocean in the background. (And no, I do not miss the cold and snow during the holidays one damn bit, they do not make it feel more festive and Thanksgiving/Christmasy, they just make it feel cold and snowy.)

Next, everything is yummier when it is prepared for you by a personal chef and his first mate…


To acquire the strength to get through this most strenuous day, we first made a batch of homemade mac-n-cheese for lunch. That’s exactly what one needs for lunch on Thanksgiving day, right?


mmmmmmm ūüôā

Then it was on to the more serious tasks of the day…


You can never have too much stuffing!

This is the vegetarian's  assignment?

This is the vegetarian’s assignment?



...and after!

…and after!

Dr.T: Maroof, can you beat two eggs for me please? **five minutes later Dr. M: Maroof 2, eggs zero! Dr. T: sigh

Dr.T: Maroof, can you beat two eggs for me please?
**five minutes later**
Dr. M: Maroof 2, eggs zero!
Dr. T: sigh

Never-the-less, our beautiful tripple berry and pumpkin pies

Never-the-less, our beautiful triple berry and pumpkin pies

Can you guess whose is whose?

Can you guess whose is whose?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you negate 18 weeks of marathon training!

In addition to a most gluttonous Thursday, we took the next 3 days to do nothing but eat and drink our way through Napa Valley. (See above comment.)

We managed to hit 4 wineries on both Friday and Saturday and two on Sunday before heading home in our understated vehicle…


Out of character at all?

1. Laird


That’s a little more like it!

Laird is small, family owned and operated estate vineyard and winery. You get a very nice tasting for $20 and a list of recommendations that should be taken with a grain of salt.

2. Domaine Chandon
Domaine Chandon was an over-commercial, over-plastic, under-authentic, non-appreciated experience. We tasted 4 sparkling wines here for $20, all of which I could have done without. I would not suggest visiting if you are looking for good wine or interesting vineyard/winery experiences. I would however recommend stopping here to survey both employees and clientele for who NOT to trust with your next cosmetic surgery.

3. Turnbull
Turnbull is a medium-sized family owned and operated vineyard and winery. For $20 the tasting was great, one of the best of the weekend, and the self guided vineyard tour was a pleasant way to sober up before getting back behind the wheel.



I kid.


Given the chance to ride a Ditch Witch, you’d be stupid not to!

(Just not now.)

4. Cosentino
Cosentino was a great way to end the first day of tasting. It’s a relative new (1980) but has quickly become regarded as a top winery in the valley. And for good reason. Again, they offer a very nice tasting for $20.

5. Mumm

Mumm Winery was the first stop of day 2. We took the ~1 hr long tour and tasted 3 wines. The tour was very well done with the right amount of info and entertainment. It kept moving without feeling rusehd or lagging. Plus, we got our glasses refilled 3 times en route, which didn’t hurt I’m sure. Regardless, not half bad for $25 each.

6. V. Sattui


V. Sattui

V. Sattui was great. We got to taste just about everything on the menu for our $20 tasting and had fantastic help. This is the one place that we ended up purchasing something, to be cracked open next time I’m in CA. Here’s to hoping it lasts that long!

To complement the fun tasting, there was a retail shop with a bunch of chocolates and cheeses to pair with the wine and a BBQ outside for lunch if you were hungary and around during that part of the day. We were and got a lamb sandwich + a margarita pizza. Both were super good.

7. Prager Port

Prager was maybe my #1 pick of the weekend. It’s a little tiny family owned and operated port winery. Now I¬†love¬†port, so this might be skewing my opinion just a titch, but they had really great Port.



AND, their back tasting room was covered¬†in dollar bills from around the world. (This totally makes the wine that much better…even when you buy it to drink at home…) Of course we signed a dollar and hung it next to the Zimbabwe dollar so we could hang out with Master David and the Fresh Prince of Delaware for eternity in the port cellar. Or until we get stapled over…


Evidence that we were here! (Until we get stappled over by the next port-loving drunk…)

8. Castello di Amorosa

Now the Cstello di Amorosa is very new and a bit over the top for me. It’s an (admittedly beautiful) replica Italian castle.¬†But,¬†it is a¬†replica¬†castle. In California. Maybe this objection makes me a bit of a Italian castle snob, but it just isn’t my deal. (And of course my deal is the right deal….right?) That being said, we took some really nice pictures and had a great time walking around the castle grounds…


Castello di Amorosa


Our new dining room.


Yummy ūüôā

The wine tasting was in a cellar tasting room and while the ambiance was great, thea assistance left something to be desired.¬†We split 2 tastings and sampled all of the reds and all of the desert wines…none of which I can complain about.

4x dessert wines

4x dessert wines ūüôā

After all of these adventures, we found some feathery and/or furry friends and gathered our strength for the drive back to Napa.


The week’s survivors…


…and their goat and sheep friends.

9. Hess

The Hess Vineyard, Winery and Art collection was a bit off the beaten trail and came to us upon the recommendation of Laird (one of their better suggestions). The grounds were beautiful, the 3 stories of modern art were super fun, the free personal vineyard (with 90 yr old vines!!) and winery tour that we went on was most informative and the wines we tasted (for $20) were delicious. This is another top hit of the weekend for me.


Cold Hess


Pretty Hess


PSA: Every vineyard/winery should also be an art museum.

10. Domaine Carneros

Now for some reason I wasn’t nearly as offended by Domaine Carneros as I was by Domaine Chandon, but it had the same vibe — oversized, plastic and commercial. On the bright side here, we had a table to ourselves on a patio with a beautiful view on a beautiful day. The tasting menu was also sparking wines. The three that we tasted were definitely not my top wines of the weekend, but a hell of a step up from Domaine Chandon.


Domaine Carneros

And with that it was back to Berkeley and then back to the reality of NJ and my F32. Joy.

It was a wonderful 5 days holiday regardless of what was waiting for me. For next time we have learned to scout out the small, less advertised and less traveled options. We will also have to incorporate sections of both Sonoma Valley and the Russian River Valley. There is so much wine tasting yet to be done!! ūüôā





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Filed under Food & Restaurant, General, Travel

Week 16

Mon 10/28 – rest

Thank you.

Tues 10/29 Р6ish mi 

A lovely early morning in lab lit the fire under my ass to get the run done early. The cooler weather is nice, but it does necessitate a bit more though to go into dressing and a bit more time to get the stiff joints and tight muscles all warmed up. That, and I’m old. ūüė¶ Now I’m probably the only one saying this, and I will probably eat my words later, but it’s nice that the winters¬†here are still rather damp. I can feel even this very modest drop in humidity (coupled with the cooler temps) through out my lungs. MN, how did I ever survive you?!

Wed 10/30 – rest

Thurs 10/31 Р8ish mi 

There is something very satisfying about bailing out of work from 8-9:30 am to get my run in during daylight hours. Although I felt like I was working harder than I really should’ve had to, it was a beautiful morning, I didn’t get lost and I finished the run all toast warm in my ruffled skirt and tank top. Once again, my complaints are unwarrented…I suppose…

Fri 11/1 – rest

Off to AICHE for the annual (oversized) national chemical engineering conference! (And some serious mischief-making around San Francisco of course.) For example…


…early on the first evening of the conference…


…and a bit later in the evening. (Don’t worry, we were all seeing double at this point.)

Dr. Maroof and Queen Penny were absolutely gracious hosts for the two days that I spent in Berkeley before heading into DT SF for the conference. They made me a most fantastic dinner for me when I arrived on Friday night.





They also gave me a most totally perfect belated birthday gift – a purple marathon Camelbak!


My super sweet new purple marathon Camelbak (and me on the side)

What a great way to start off my pre-conference weekend! I could get used to CA!!

Sat 11/2 –¬†cross –¬†20 mi biking¬†– HILLS!!

On Saturday morning we got up and turned dinner left overs into an awesome brunch of south Asian seasoned rice + beans and shrimp + potato + cauliflower + cheese quesadillas. We might be kinda into weird fusion foods. Maybe.


Fusion Brunch

Then, we got all suited up


Us…all suited up…


…and a close-up of my new glorious compression socks from Aki. Happy Birthday to my feet!!

and took out the bikes (thank you Noem for lending yours to me, it was awesome!!) for a leisurely 10 mile ride along the north coast of the bay, 


bike trail + SF Bay

and then a grueling 10 mile battle up to the top of Berkeley, to Tilden Park


Tilden Park

and then back home.


The climb up was honestly the most challenging and treacherous bike climb I think I have ever done. The perpetual gradual incline wore you down while the wicked steep sections totally blew out your quads in no time. And then the switchbacks. Ahhh yes, the switchbacks (at this point, why not?). They made everything super precarious, just to ensure you were actually being challenged.

Also, once we conveniently arrived at the farthest point from home in our route, we had an unfortunate spat between Dr. M’s ankle and his bike pedal clip. ¬†(Apparently frantically trying to clip in before you roll backwards down the damn hill is not the safest.)



Luckily there were some EMTs in the area (originally called to help with “a dog that was having a problem in the lake…” WTF?!?!…) who helped us bandage things well enough to get home. Thank god it was 5 miles DOWN the mountain to get back. :-/

So (of course) this was not the most ideal Saturday workout to do two weeks out from marathon weekend, but who is going to pass up on a day long SF Bay Area biking expedition? The only people who come to mind are total idiots and professional athletes. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t find myself fitting well into either category.

Sun 10/6 – 10 + 3 = 13ish

I started the day with a beautiful early morning run along the bay, taking the same route that we biked yesterday.


Good morning San Francisco and SF Bay!

In case you’re interested, there is a positive correlation between ones amount of Facebook posting while running and the likelihood of appearing to be still drunk from the previous night. I may (or may not) have been both one of those…

After getting back from these first 10 miles it was time to dash off to SF for the first day of the conference. In contrast to Drs. S & M, my talk was not until Tuesday afternoon, so I did the only rational thing upon arriving at the hotel – I dashed out the door for 3 more miles through Golden Gate Park and then a 3 mile walk home. (I sadly don’t think I get to count these last three towards my daily mileage though…)

Total mileage =  27 mi

So obviously this mileage is quite low, even for the beginning of the pre-race taper. On the bright side, was able to take advantage of the northern Bay Area and get a beautiful, and extremely challenging, bike ride in (yes, I am telling myself that this counts for something) as well as my long run for the week (albeit only 12 miles and broken into 2 segments, but never mind…) On an even brighter side is that there are only two more weeks until the marathon!! (Ok, fine, there is really only one more week now that I’ve finally gotten this damn thing written x-(

Threads ‚Äď tanks or tees (+/- arm warmers), running skirts or capris for the chilly mornings, + compression for the long runs and Mizunos (Wave Creation 11s and Wave Elixer 6s)

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Filed under Food & Restaurant, Marathons, Travel, Trotting, Work out

Panga Chumvi – Zanzibar Tanzania

I’ve been as bad at cranking out hote/restaurant/race reviews as I am ___(fill in the blank with one of many appropriate choices)___ . So, here is the beginning of what will hopefully not be a futile attempt at catching up…

Panga Chumvi on Trip Adviser

Panga Chumvi

Our stay at Ponga Chumvi was great! The photos online are very accurate from what we experienced. At this point in our vacation we were very ready to kick back and relax for a few days in peace (we’d been on safari for 4 days and I’d survived the Mt. Kilimanjaro marathon) and that was exactly what we got.


Our bungalow at Panga Chumvi was beachfront with a great big covered front porch, perfect for watching the sunrise and reading in the morning and unwinding at night.

porch view

Inside it was simple and quaint but lovely. The sleeping area and private bathroom (with warm water!) were very clean and very well-kept. The beds were comfortable and the mosquito nets worked well.


The common sitting/relaxing area also doubled as the seating area for the restaurant and was also beach front.This worked quite well actually. The chairs and tables were covered in bright fabrics and were comfortable. There was reliable wireless internet when we needed it and adorable kittens keeping us company.


All fo the dinner options that we tried were great at the little beach front restaurant. Of course they were all fresh fish + accompaniments of some sort. Coming back home it was hard to not compare the seafood here with what we were spoiled with there…

octopus, salad and chips

octopus, salad and chips

fish, salad and chips

fish, salad and chips

prans, salad and rice

prawns, salad and rice

As if this wasn’t enough, the icing on the cake at Panga Chumvi was the¬†wonderful¬†breakfast served every morning. It wasn’t anything extravagant, but it was absolutely perfect. First there was fresh mango, pineapple and watermelon with coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice.


And then tomatoes, cheese and sausage with toast.


Very few mornings will be able to beat waking up to the sunrise and a good book on the porch and then breakfast at Panga Chumvi.

Management and staff

The owner, Rebecca, and the rest of the staff were great. All of our questions and concerns were addressed right away during our stay.

There were also tour guides and masseuse associated with our hotel and the other similar little get aways that dotted the beach in either direction of us. I’m not sure how tightly/loosely these people were associated, but they were all quite helpful. One tour guide arranged for a spice tour and a trip in to Stone Town for us.

Nutmeg and mace!

Nutmeg and mace!

Fresh coconuts!

Fresh coconuts!

Another guide arranged our transportation to and from Stone Town when we were coming and going and with yet another we arranged a 2 hr snorkeling tour. Prices between different guides varied quite a bit (by a factor of 2 in some cases…$20 USD/person vs $40 USD/person for snorkeling and $50 USD vs. $60 USD for a ride into Stone Town for example) so shopping around is worth while. We didn’t do multiple tours so I’m not sure how the quality also varied with the price, but I’m pretty sure that the rides into and out of Stone Town were all pretty comparable. Unfortunately we also¬†didn’t have a chance to capitalize on a massage. ūüė¶ ¬†This is one additional thing that would have been great to include during our stay.


Panga Chumvi is located ~1 km from the (very¬†hidden and very¬†small and¬†very¬†hard to find town of Matemwe on the eastern coast of Zanzibar (Tanzania). It takes about 30 min by cab ($50 USD) and 1 hr by daladala (although we never did this) to reach from the main port Stone Town. While it is very near Matemwe, this town is so small it really didn’t make a difference. There was no market (no fruit) much less anything else to buy, see or do. The town was populated by maybe 1000 very nice people (non-English speaking), but definitely not a resource for a traveler. Overall there was not much to do or see right around Panga Chumvi, the majority of the tourism on Zanzibar is over on the west side in Stone Town or up on the northern side of the island. Rather than being the sight of lots of tourism, the east side of the island seems to be the working part of the island. The locals were farming sea weed from in front of our hotel and all along the coast. In the mornings they would pull it from the water and hang it to dry for the day on fence like structures built back from the shore.

Sea weed farming

Sea weed farming

Now this wasn’t the beautiful, picturesque sight that one often finds when searching for images of Zanzibar, but it was super interesting to see and the solitude, calm, local feeling that we experienced was just what we were looking for.

During the day we enjoyed walking up and down the beach, shelling and taking in the sights, sounds and smells. There were miles of wonderful beach in both directions to explore.

Sea shore going north

Sea shore going north

Sea shore going south

Sea shore going south

In doing this though, one has to be mindful of what season they are in. We were there at the beginning of the rainy season, so just about every day we got caught in some degree of torrential downpour. There are a number of very similar little hotels/restaurants along the coast. These were fun to check out and stop into for a quick refreshment.

beachside joint 1

We went snorkeling with a small group for ~2hrs just off of the cost one day near a few little islands. The outing was about 2 hrs and equipment was provided for about $25 USD/person. I have to admit that the experience didn’t measure up to the snorkeling in Belize, but I don’t think that any snorkeling that I ever do again will measure up to that experience. To be fair, the cost was also a fraction of what we ¬†threw at the entire day of snorkeling (with private tour guides and a fresh beach side¬†lobster lunch…but never mind…) in Belize.


Filed under Tanzania, Travel

PHL:1, EWR: negative 9 gazillion (+ please help!)

So Dr. trot likes to think that she learns from most of her, however rare, less than genius decisions (I can image your surprise, but they do exist). Today has provided a particularly lovely example of this…

1. Decide when you “should” leave for the airport and then tack on an extra 2×30 min.
2. Print directions for the parking lot you plan to use, pull said directions up on GPS and then call said parking lot to confirm that they are in fact where aforementioned sources claim. (3 of 3 must match before proceeding.)
3. Do not, under any circumstances, go anywhere near Newark, NJ, much less the abyss known as EWR.
4. Instead, proceed to PHL for an on time (or at least well above 2 standard deviations from the mean) flight to MSP (or some other second class city if you must I suppose)
5. Wait until your ass is actually planted in your most comfortable seat and the aircraft has reached a cruising altitude before you start making claims about that being your current status
6. Fire up the MP3 player so you can curse, rather that Applause, your supposed bestie for releasing the most atrocious new single your buddy Rihanna can keep you company for the flight

And with that, my ass is firmly plated on a MSP-bound airplane for what should be a most exhausting exciting weekend back home. ūüôā I mean really, why wouldn’t one take the weekend of their partner in crime’s PhD defense and cram it full with a meeting with the former boss, a reunion of childhood friends and a wedding reception. Do the ~20 miles need to be included in that list too? I guess I just assumed that they were…well…just assumed…

As if the weekend isn’t going to be packed with enough action, I think/fear that the flight home actually be the icing on the cake. Why is this, you ask? Well, it’s because Pheona is moving to New Jersey! ūüôā Now I couldn’t be more excited to have my baby back “home” with me. (Until I buck up and at least get license plates, I think I can still use “home” instead of home. But, little Pheona has taken advantage of every possible previous opportunity to prove that she is an absolute terror when it comes to vehicle rides. As you’re assuming that I’m being dramatic/exaggerating/being a big baby, I’ll have you know that she has destroyed not one, but TWO (sorry Penny) soft-sided pet carriers and is diligently working to break down the hard sided dog carrier that she has since been chauffeured in.

The current plan of action is freshly trimmed nails, a kitty cat harness for going through security, a kitty cat dose of Benadryl (trial run tonight), and a stiff drink for mama once we are all aboard. For anyone with more experience than I with this sort if thing (that is experience > ZERO), HELP!!! Any suggestions, advise, recommended dos or do NOTs would be much much much appreciated.

And with that…please power down and stow all portable electronic devices…blablabla…and HELLO MINNEAPOLIS!! ūüôā

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PSA: Newark is the devil

Full disclosure: my last post began with a big fat lie. I said it was high time I catch ya’ll up on what has been my I’m-just-glad-my-head-is-still-attached life over the last few months…and then I cracked up at my own joke as I was in the process of flying back to MN for my little sister A’s wedding. Truth be told, I was only getting onto the plane when I so foolishly typed that statement. After composing that most witty and even lengthier update I AM STILL ON THE FOTHER MUCKING GROUND!!! First, before this all even started, we waited 2 hrs at the gate for our plane to show up — how nice of her to join us, right? Then there was a 1 hr thunderstorm delay…and then a 2 hr tornado delay. And now we have been informed that the crew has timed out and we will be returning to the gate!! x-(

Fast forward 5 hours…

The good news is that I’m small enough to sleep layed out totally flat on either my back or my stomach across four airport chairs and underneath their very hard, immobile arm rests. The bad news is THAT I KNOW THIS!!!


Fortunately, even better news is that after our flight was finally canceled last night an absolute godsend got me on the first flight out of Newark this morning while everyone else was being told the earliest they could leave the northeast was at 3 pm out of La Guardia! So with that, my sleepy but thankful and optimistic ass is firmly planted in (an exit row seat!! …a godsend I tell you…) 12C finally about to depart for Minneapolis. So Anna, it looks like I may make it to the wedding after all! ūüôā

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From defending to New Jersey (but not yet defending NJ)

It’s really high time (literally, I’m trapped in an airplane for the next 3 hours! …hahaha…never mind…) that I fill in some gaps that I’ve left, well, gaping, over the past few months. Per my most “recent” (think loose definition of the word here boys and girls), however untimely, post we re-hashed the lovely experience of my PhD defense. As of May 31st it was official! Dr. Trot has her PhD in something besides finding her own jokes entertaining and bad story telling (it is in chemical engineering to be exact…and yes, this does help explain the aforementioned odd sense of humor and questionable social skills). This information was happily received by moi en route to Princeton, NJ. So what the hell happened between May 3rd & May 31st, you ask? That’s a very good question! Thank you for inquiring! Let’s take just a second to catch you up to this point then, shall we?

So after the defense and after party on May 3rd, May 4th was spent with a monumental hangover and cruising around the Festival of Nations in St. Paul with Dr. Wil, Katie (who was part of a number of irish step dance performances…which, PS, are VERY cool!) and Krsna. Sadly I have ZERO photos of all the fun foods we tried. The only real don’t-need-to-try-this-again was the Tibetan coffee (which I think is actually supposed to be consumed more like a soup) that was made with cream, salt and butter. You could distinctly taste each and every ingredient. BLEH! After the FoN we hit up the Minnesota Historical Society (Katie is a historian here and totally hooked us up…also, fyi, she will totally whip your trail every time in a who-can-recite-more-fun-facts competition…) for a Civil war + Abe Lincoln exhibit.


Krs, Dr. T, Katie, and Dr. Wil…errr….I mean two brave Civil War soldiers and two beautiful women from the late 1800s…all looking damn good for their age!

Very cool! We wrapped up the day with a walk around the beautiful St. Paul cathedral and a stop for coffee. Heading home I was finally starting to feel like a normal human again!

Ov the next few weeks there were too many celebratory lunches, happy hours and hours and hours… and dinners to recount them all. Let it suffice to sat that it was great spending overdue QT with a lot of peeps that I’m really going to miss :-/ Let me also note a couple of particular outings that warrant special attention…

1. Lady’s night at Alma with Ladies A & A
These two have been my friends since before I can remember. Ironically while I have lived within 100 miles of my home town my entire life, both A & A have lived all over the place. Now though, they are both back in Minneapolis, and I’m leaving! Yeesh! Anywho…on one delicious/generous Friday evening, they took me out to a local French restaurant, Alma, for their 5 course tasting menu. AMAZING I had been here once before an am now wondering why the hell it was only once. The place is speedy (let’s be honest / point out the obvious) but it is damn good. After dinner we went to the Marvel Bar for cocktails and atmosphere. This place is totally hidden in the basement if an old building in the wear house district. You have to go in the back, basement door and down a hall to an unmarked door. You open the door…and…SURPRISE! there is a spunky, charming, cocktail bar filled with out of the ordinary. It was a great way to spend the evening with two very above ordinary women!

2. Rooftop wine and sushi
May 23rd was a rough day. This is when it really hit me that I was leaving this MInnesota graduate school ChemE world, that has been my whole world for the last 6 years, behind and starting up something totally new, totally alone and totally far away. I was hit by this ton of bricks as I watched (and video taped, like the very good friend that I am) my close friend and favorite groupie Dr. K defend his PhD thesis. We have seen each other just about each and every day for the last five years. We’ve helped each other with the personal and professional bullshit of work/school/life and enjoyed our successes side by side. AND THEN BOOM!!!! IT’S ALL OVER!!!! Or so that was how I felt. Maybe Of course I was being a little over dramatic. We all move forward in life (obviously this is a good thing) and we will continue to stay in touch and be part of each others lives as good friends do. Now, what the hell does this have to do with rooftop wine and sushi? My buddy Mr. M and I decided to celebrate the this process of moving forward by doing something that both we (and coincidently Dr. K) have very fond memories of, rooftop wine and sushi at Seven. Two glasses of wine, a nice breeze, agedashi tofu, a summer roll and a winter roll were exactly what I needed.


Agedashi tofu (read: heaven)


Winter and summer rolls

Never mind that afterwards we strolled over to The Local Irish pub for some Guinness and a dessert sampler platter (meant for at least 4). Waddling home fat, tipsy and happy was fantastic.

3. Smack Shack snack
One place Mr. M and I wanted to go for a special night out before leaving Minneapolis was the Smack Shack. To celebrate my moving half way across the country to be all by lonesome wonderful post-doc opportunity on the east coast we went out for a very crabby dinner ūüôā We split the famous crab cakes, lobster roll and lobster mac-n-cheese (stop judging, it was delicious) and washed it all down with a couple glasses of wine.


Crab cakes


Lobster mac-n-cheese


Lobster roll!

This was sooooo my kind of Sunday night!

In addition to pigging out at every opportunity, I also had to pack up my entire professional and personal life for the 1300 mile relocation. NBD, right? Wrong.

Thanks to my awesome group mates, passing work stuff on went as smoothly as one could hope for. I will miss the Kaznessis group loads though.

Packing up the personal life though…man…that was tiring and expensive! I was quoted between $900 (for essentially a Fisher Price tent) and $3.5K (for what should include restoration services for my items in addition to their relocation) to transport my belongings to NJ. In the end I argued a lower-end-of-the-cost-spectrum company down to $1,400 from their original ~$2K for a 7x8x9 pod to pack all of my precious material items into. Let me just say two things: 1) Dr. Trot has a lot of shit aforementioned precious material items, and 2) 7x8x9 is the size of a small bathroom! Have you ever tried to move all of our stuff into the bathroom? I wouldn’t recommend it! First of all, it’ll make using the toilet a serious challenge and damn is it a lot of work! Thankfully, I have the world’s most amazing friends and brother and we worked it out. Everything besides the second hand Ikea couch and shitty Target kitchen chairs made it in!


Lady A (from dinner at Alma) even helped me with the cleaning (and may “helped me” read : did just about all of, and a better job than I would have). Everyone was awesome. Seriously awesome!

My final food-and-drink-centric farewell party was at the Loring Kitchen and Grill the evening before I left. I would totally not recommend planning things this way as it is just that much more exciting to be on an additional self-imposed time crunch during endogenously (ask Google) stressful processes. Again, it was a night filled with totally awesome company that make leaving a whole hell of a lot tougher.

Thursday morning, departure morning, came very bright and early (true to form after a late night of farewell partying). Mr. M and I had the car loaded (precious Bianchi and all), tires pumped, oil checked, kitties off at Miss Kookie-the-Kitty-Sitter’s and were on the road by 8 am.


Truth be told, this is nothing short of a miracle. Subsequent miracles include making it through Chicago with only one Dr. Trot screw up by mid afternoon and then to Callehan’s in Elkart, IN by dinner time. This is my adviser’s family-in-law’s family restaurant, just off of the IN turnpike at exit 42. We were advised to stop in for steak and eggs (M mixed it up and got the Greek chicken) and ask for Kostas.



May the record show that Dr. YK was a very good adviser in this matter. The atmosphere was charming, the food was delicious and Kostas was second to none.


…and after.

If you are ever making your way though Indiana, in the vicinity of Notre Dame, do take a side trip to Callehan’s. Turnpike…Elkart exit 42. Now we/mostly I were bound and determined to make it to Cleveland by the end of day 1. An extended dinner at Callehan’s + the dark + the rain + the 15 hours since we had left home all conspired to convince us to pull over for the night about half way between Toledo and Cleveland. Over all a freaking expensive Holiday Inn Express good decision I believe. Dr. Trot, Mr. M and the precious Bianchi all slept like babies.

Day two started a bit later, 10 am, and was only an 11 hour day of driving. Ohio is boring, Pennsylvania is beautiful and New Jersey, for better or worse, is home now. And this brings us back to May 31st – when I, (officially) Dr. Trot, (officially) moved to New Jersey, yo!

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Filed under Dr-ing, General, Travel, Trotting

Mt. Kilimanjaro Marathon Review

Date and time: March 3, 2013, 6:30 am

marathon morning

Sunrise at the start

Location: Moshi, Tanzania (beginning and ending at the stadium on the north side of town)

Weather: Hot and still. 80-95 F. No shade.

Threads and treads:  Champion tank and running skirt, bright pink Pro Compression marathon socks, Suunto Vector super watch, pink Tifosi Slip Wrap Sunglasses, LOADS of sun screen and my wonderful Mizuno Wave Creation 11s.


Field: Mostly southeast African (surprise surprise) and a number of non-African transplants to the area. There were <300 for the full marathon, but many more running the half and the 5k fun run. Although there was often a language barrier, everyone was very friendly and encouraging. 

Support: There were 7 water stations, one with straight sugar to refuel with, but that was it. I packed my bra full of jelly beans and Clif Shot Blocks though, thank god. There were also daladalas around to cart anyone back to the stadium who was in need of medical attention (I have no idea what this actually would have entailed) or could not continue the run.

Pre-race Expo:¬†hehehe…this was the most quaint and low-key expo that I’ve ever been too. Now this isn’t a slam (I feel like it kind of sounds like one) it’s just the way it was. There were two or three folding tables outside of the Key’s Hotel and another few tables inside. There were maps showing the 2013 5k, 21k and 42k courses with seven…that’s right, SEVEN¬†water and aid stations labeled. This is the first time that it was actually confirmed – at least for me – that the course was the same as last year, and really did only include¬†SEVEN¬†water stations throughout the 42 km! Yikes!

Race start:¬†The “race” started at 6:30 am from the stadium on the north side of town.

Ignorance is bliss.

Ignorance is bliss.

We¬†luckily¬†were staying just about 1 km away and were able to walk there (in the dark) in about 15 min. All of the runners piled on to the track behind the starting line and waited for the “ready…set….go!”¬†

Lining up...kind of...

Lining up…kind of…

It was a very mellow start to a marathon but with ~300 participants that’s about what you can expect. It was already about 80F as the sun was just starting to come up so there was no need for pre-run warm up clothes or anything like this.¬†There was no bag drop off, but at least I didn’t need one. As noted above, there was no need¬†for¬†pre-run warm-ups or clothes for later.

The Run:¬†The run began by leaving the stadium and going on a 10mi/16km out and back loop. We headed east out of Moshi towards Arusha along the main Moshi-Arusha highway. There were rolling hills and many well wishers along the way. The surface was either the road’s black top or gravel on the ditch, not bad. Personally though, I began struggling with the altitude right away. My big (ignorant) plan was to hold a “conservative” (hahahahaha) 10 min mile for these first “flat” ~10mi/16km. It was everything I could do not to dip into the mid 11s – thank you Suunto Vector ūüė¶ My lungs were on fire – I couldn’t get the oxygen that I needed to save my damn life.

And then it got hot. 

By the time we got back into Moshi it was about 85 F and the sun was up. There were two water stations on the out and back (one we hit twice) and the another one in town. One of these stations also had straight sugar to fuel up with but this was it. The water stations were just that, water stations. I was carrying one of the bottles from my water belt and filling it up at each stop Рalong with chugging 1-2 cups of water as I walked through and dumping another 1 or 2 over my head. We spent about 4 miles weaving through town Рand town was getting busy! Roads were totally not blocked off and we just froggered it through the normal Sunday morning bustle. I made it through town and back to the stadium which is at the base of the ascent up Kilimanjaro in just over 2:30 according to the Suunto Vector. OUCH!

And the it was up the f#@%ing mountain!

The final ~12 miles were an out and back UP¬†and then DOWN¬†Mt. Kilimanjaro at ~5% grade. This is where the wheels really came off for me. My bat shit crazy goal was to 3 min on, 1 min off run/walk up the mountain and then crank it up and run back down. How hard could it be? 3 min running? That’s nothing, I can always slow down, and then I can even walk for a min! And then coming down, it’s 5% grade!¬†All I have to do is put one foot in front of the other and gravity will practically do the rest…at a 9 min mile or better I bet!¬†I’m not sure if I’ve ever been SO WRONG¬†in my life! It was HOT¬†now. There was NO¬†shade, no breeze, 90-95F and only a 4 precious water stations remaining. The 3 on 1 off crap lasted about 15 min and then I walked (aside from a few flat areas and slight down hills). I held ~10 min/km on the ascent (thank you¬†Suunto Vector).

So that’s it, right? The hard part is over! It’s literally all down hill from here!¬†Or this is what my dumb ass thought from the top of the climb. I cranked up my tunes and proceeded to trot off down the mountain like it was my job. How quickly I was reminded that no, in fact this was NOT my job. However, what I actually am is a nerdy graduate student in chemical engineering who quite frankly had¬†NOT A DAMN CLUE¬†what she was getting herself into! If I thought breathing was rough at 3000 ft, breathing at 4000 ft was impossible! So, I slowed down and proceeded to shuffle/walk theh 6 mi back down the mountain. Damn.

All wasn’t lost though – the scenery was beautiful, the little kids that came and tagged along with me were adorable and according to my (very frequent) calculations – thanks again¬†Suunto Vector¬†– I was still going to make it in under the 6 hr cut off.¬†By the time I made it back through the last water, they had run out of cups and were fishing dirty cups back out of the ditch and filling them with water. I was sooooo close to snatching one up and guzzling it down before I noticed this! Not cool. After spending 5 hrs on my feet in the direct sun (now it was ~95F), I am very glad I didn’t test my immune system and go for it anyway. I was tired, hot and dizzy enough that it may have seemed quite rational. And let’s be honest, I’ve probably done crazier shit in my (relatively) right mind.¬†I finally finished in 5:45ish (in the same vein as running water stations, Tanzanian time keeping isn’t the best) and never thought I’d be so happy with a 5:xx marathon as I was when I came back into that stadium.



Lucky for me I had a very patient/understanding buddy waiting for me with water and cookies to help drag my ass back to the hotel for a shower. (Thank you Al!!)


The rest of the day was stretching, leg rubbing, a very slow shower, some toenail surgery and a very very slow walk into town for the best pizza and milk shake for dinner. While I will never do this marathon again, I am SO SO SO glad that I did do it once.

Executive summary:

HARD. Hot (95F and no shade), at 3000-4000 feet, 12 miles at a 5% grade Рup then down, 7 water stations and no fuel.




Very, rewarding.


Filed under Marathons, Tanzania, Travel

Herbs and Spices – Arusha Tanzania

Herbs and Spices on Trip Adviser

So we found Herbs and Spices listed as a hotel in one of our travel books as we were preparing for our trip. On Trip Adviser (and frankly everywhere else that I’ve looked) it is only listed as a restaurant. I assure you however, it’s definitely a hotel as well!¬†Our stay at the Herbs and Spices Hotel was very nice.


Our room at Herbs and Spices was clean and welcoming. The beds were comfortable and were¬†equipped¬†with nice mosquito nets so we could open our big windows at night for an evening breeze. We had a private bathroom that was clean with a western toilet and a shower. Now we were supposed to have warm water, but there always seemed to be one reason or another why it was not available. I think I had one shower where it wasn’t totally cold, but that was about as good as it got. Considering the ~90 F temperatures, this definitely wasn’t the end of the world.

The common lobby and restaurant area was welcoming and clean. There was a lovely ¬†front porch, shaded by tall trees and vines, with tables and seating for meals and a nice place just to take a load off. We had breakfast (included with the room) here every morning and dinner a few times as well. Breakfast included coffee and tea, eggs, sausage, toast and jam. It was a nice way to start the day. For lunch and dinner, traditional Ethiopian options were available as well as European style meals. We¬†obviously¬†had Ethiopian dishes for the two dinners we ate at Herbs and Spices. Both were injera with some sort of veggie preparation. We had beans, spicy lentils, potatoes, and a few other things that I can’t remember any more :-/ Shame on me…

Management and staff

The staff at Herbs and Spices was courteous and helpful. Our interactions with them were rather limited however.


Herbs and Spices is located on the main road just on the southeast corner of Arusha. While the street is busy, it has a nice walking path to town. It is about a 20 minute walk into town, with many friendly people along the way. There is also a well stocked convenient store about 10 minutes away by foot.

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Hotel Hibiscus – Moshi Tanzania

Hotel Hibiscus on Trip Adviser

Our stay at the Hotel Hibiscus was awesome. 


Our room at the Hibiscus was clean, spacious and totally charming. The beds were comfortable and had nice mosquito nets conveniently suspended on wire tracks from the ceiling. We had a private bathroom that was very clean with a western toilet and a shower with¬†warm water!!¬†(Note: There was one small issue with the shower here. The hot and cold water nobs were¬†reversed!!¬†We didn’t notice this until well into our stay unfortunately. Once we figured this out though, the showers were fantastic.)

The common areas were welcoming and clean. There was a comfy front porch that was great for read on during the day and a fire ring out back that looked like a lovely area for night time activities. (The evening temperatures of +80 F and previous engagements prevented us from checking this out during our stay.) Inside there was a living room with plenty of seating, a little library with books to share and a sizable community dining area.

A really delicious breakfast spread was served each morning in the indoor common area. Options included, coffee and tea, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt and toast with jam and peanut butter. It was a great way to start the day, it was also a great way to meet and get to know other guests staying at the Hibiscus.

Management and staff

The owner, Rebecca, and the staff Rosie could not have been better! They were sooooooo welcoming and friendly and helpful. You could really not ask for better hosts! Rebecca even drove me to the packet pick up site for the marathon when she found out I had no idea where I was going. They were absolutely fantastic.


The Hibiscus is located just north of the main part of Moshi. It is a quick (15 min) walk to the town center and the dala and bus stands or a 5 min (3000 $TSH) cab ride if you have lots of luggage. It is also just a quick (10 min) walk to the start of the (2011, 2012 and 2013) Mt. Kilimanjaro Marathon! This was a very luck coincidence for us as we just selected The Hibiscus based on its reviews and adorable pictures on Trip Adviser (which it totally lived up to). SCORE! Unfortunately, it is also about 1 American block away from Zumbaland Рwhich is rather loud all day and late into the night. This would probably be my one and only complaint.

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Filed under Tanzania, Travel