Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pikes Peak Challenge: A little humor, and those famous donuts

Training for the Pikes Peak Challenge has been a journey.

Along the way, by reading up on the Barr Trail and hiking '14er' mountains like Pikes Peak, I've collected great advice. Some of it has been really humorous as well.

From the Pikes Peak homepage (yep, the mountain has a website), regarding safety on the trail: For your own safety, it's best not to feed wild life. Mammals may have fleas that carry diseases like the bubonic plague. Also, ground squirrels may accidentally bite the hand that feeds them.

I definitely don't want to get the bubonic plague next weekend, so I guess I'll skip handing out snacks to critters along the way.

From Celebrazio, via a suggested pack list for hiking a '14er': Small daypack: 2000-3000 cu in. minimum for summit attempt. Fanny pack also a consideration.

I would love to see my sister's reaction if I brought a fanny pack on this hike.

And thanks to the Colorado GuyI am now mentally prepared for the very end of the hike:
I was warned about the 16 Golden Stairs, but as painful and steep as they were, by then I had some adrenaline going because I knew the hike was almost over. By the way, I counted the switchbacks to the top and I it wasn't 16 ... it was more like 27 or 28 staircases. ;)

And finally, though this will be a strenuous 13+ mile hike covering 7,400 vertical feet, there is a shop at the summit house that sells donuts. This is America, after all.

Apparently they are quite famous. I found a donut blog that recaps an experience with them, where they were served by EMTs.

The aforementioned Colorado Guy loves them. And this food blogger claims they were the best donuts she's ever had, ever.

I'm thinking that trying one of these donuts is a must. I even found a coupon for a free one.
Hilarious. I printed 4 copies so that I can share with my team. We'll need to replace those calories torched by the hike somehow, right?

Question: What food item would you most want waiting for you at the top once you summit a mountain? Donuts are pretty great, however I'd love to find cupcakes or perhaps smoothies as well.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

White Russians, magic carpet rides

Another weekend is coming to a close. Say it with me - ahhhhhhh... the sound of a relaxed exhalation.
This was a pretty good one, starting with The Big Lebowski outdoors on a giant screen and a few White Russian cocktails,
Coworker Andrew and me
Complete with goofy robes worn by most staff members. Classic.
Saturday morning, a challenging hike through Lapham Peak State Park.
Zak and I did the 'Moraine Ridge' trail, ~ 7 miles, not counting going off the trail about a mile uphill to climb an observation tower.
Toward the end I of the trail, I noticed this sign.
Alas, there were no 'Magic Carpet Rides' to be had. At that point of the hike, we could have really used one. What gives!!??
The rest of Saturday was spent with friends and this baby, and later - a great meal with Zak. Baked salmon with savory swiss chard and roasted broccoli.
Nutritious and delicious.
I am hitting the hay early tonight as I have a 6AM yoga class at Bikram Yoga Milwaukee. This is extraordinarily early for me, however I've been curious about 'hot yoga' for some time and my Groupon expires on Wednesday.
And - major bonus - I will be meeting Alison from Post-College Kitchen at the studio!
Question - Have you tried 'hot' yoga? Likes / dislikes?
I am most excited about the detoxifying and deep stretching.
Due to the fact I have uber-long hair and have to head to the office after class tomorrow, I am concerned about the sweat factor.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Final Countdown!

Greetings! How is everyone doing tonight?

Today was a lovely day, kicked off with a 2(ish) mile run. I have attempted several times in the past to fit in a run before work, and today was the first day this year I have actually done it! Felt great and I can't wait to do it again tomorrow.

The day was a blur of rock show planning and other work-y stuff. Nothing new to report :-)

Side note: I. Love. This. Song. My friends recently had this as their 'Grand March' song at their wedding. Awesome. But seriously, it's stuck in my head as I think about the Pikes Peak Challenge. I am starting to get really excited / anxious as it's just 16 days away (!!!). Literally, it's 'The Final Countdown'.

Since the big hike is getting so close, I am re-vamping my training program to include an emphasis on cardio, strength and stretching exercises in near equal proportions. There are two long-distance hikes, which are exciting to think about, in addition to my favorite form of cross-training: horseback riding!
Obviously I've improved as a rider since last year when this photo was taken. I am also gonna request a horse that's a bit larger next time.

Oh yeah, and there's a Lady Gaga concert and a very special wedding in there too. Gotta love dancing as cardio :-) Especially when it's high-intensity booty shaking like I'll be doing at Gaga!
Yoga will also be important in leveling out my anxiety and getting in some much-needed deep stretching. I am not used to running so often, not to mention dancing in stilettos, so yoga should help immensely.

Here's le Grand (training) Plan for the final stretch:

DAY 16
Fri. 8/27 - AM: Run (30 min, 2+ miles) + Squats / lunges / calf raises (50 ea.)
(Point Fish Fry & A Flick - The Big Lebowski at work)

DAY 15
Sat. 8/28 - AM: Hike through Lapham Peak (~7 miles)
PM: Yoga (40 min.)
(Weird Al Yankovic, Trampled by Turtles shows at work)

DAY 14
Sun. 8/29 - AM: Horseback riding (~2.5 hours) + Squats / lunges / calf raises
PM: Rest :-)

DAY 13
Mon. 8/30 - AM: Run (30 min, 2+ miles)
PM: One hour walk / run (5+ miles)

DAY 12
Tues. 8/31 - AM: Run (30 min, 2+ miles) + Squats / lunges / calf raises
PM: 30 minute walk around Downtown MKE + Stairs at Riverside?
(Alice Cooper show at work)

DAY 11
Wed. 9/01 - AM: Run (30 min, 2+ miles) + Squats / lunges / calf raises
PM: One hour walk / run (5+ miles) + Yoga (40 min.)

DAY 10
Thurs. 9/02 - AM: Run (30 min, 2+ miles)
PM: 2+ Hours of DANCING at the Lady Gaga concert!!!

Fri. 9/03 - AM: Rest / Recovery from Gaga :-)
Throughout the day - Squats / lunges / calf raises
PM: Rehearsal Dinner / Jem's + Kevin's wedding

Sat. 9/04 - AM: Run (30 min, 2+ miles) + Squats / lunges / calf raises
PM: An entire evening of dancing and celebrating at Jem + Kevin's wedding

Sun. 9/05 - AM: TBD Wedding activities?
OR ~7 mile hike at Lapham Peak OR Horseback riding (2.5 hours)
PM: Rest / Yoga (40 min)

Mon. 9/06 - AM: ~7 mile hike at Lapham Peak OR Horseback riding (2.5 hours)
PM: Yoga (40 min) OR Squats / lunges / calf raises

Tues. 9/07 - AM: Run (30 min, 2+ miles) + Squats / lunges / calf raises
PM: 30 minute walk around Downtown Milwaukee
(Crowded House concert at work)

Wed. 9/08 - AM: Run (30 min, 2+ miles) + Yoga (40 min)
PM: One hour walk / run (5+ miles)

Thurs. 9/09 - AM: Run (30 min, 2+ miles) + Yoga (40 min)
PM: Squats / lunges / calf raises before hopping on a plane to Colorado Springs!!!

Fri. 9/10 - AM: (Hopefully) 3 Hour Horseback ride through Garden of the Gods!
PM: Pre-Hike Rally at the Olympic Training Center, then REST

Sat. 9/11 - 3AM wakeup call! 4:30AM - Pikes Peak Challenge hike begins!

It's now time for Jersey Shore, so I shall leave you with some food porn. In honor of my work showing The Big Lebowski tomorrow, I give you my signature White Russian Cupcakes.
Until tomorrow, friends!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A beautiful weekend

A newborn.
A wedding.
Horseback riding. A 5.2 mile run / walk that still has my muscles reeling. A home cooked, wholesome and nutritious meal.
Life is beautiful.

Friday, August 20, 2010

When weeds attack.

Yesterday morning while watering the garden, I noticed that skipping a few weeks of garden maintenance caught up with me.
Where do the weeds end and the carrots begin? Why is it that the cucumber vines, which are somehow still pumping out pickle-sized cucumbers, keep spreading and snuffing out the other plants?
And my goodness - what to do with all of this purslane (an edible weed)?
I couldn't help but laugh. The situation is pretty ridiculous.
After watering, I grabbed a few cherry tomatoes, fresh off their vines, for breakfast.
Back inside the house, I packed some portable eats for work.
Two half-sandwiches with crunchy PB.
Chobani and fruit.
Blueberries topped with frozen, home-grown raspberries.
Work went by in a blur, and Zak and I did a ~ 7 mile training walk. It was a warm, pleasant night and didn't feel like we walked such a long distance.
Tonight it's time for another Point Fish Fry & A Flick... the feature tonight is Inglorious Basterds. Should be interesting!
Question of the Day - What's your favorite Brad Pitt movie? Mine would have to be Snatch or Fight Club.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sunny, with a chance of Chana

Good afternoon!
It's another sunny, breezy day here in Milwaukee. For today's lunch break, I ran an errand about 10 blocks away (walked instead taking my car), enjoying the sights along the way.
Afterward, I picked up my very favorite takeout lunch... Chana Masala from Shah Jee's!
Enjoyed at the lovely Cathedral Square Park.
Chana Masala, peas and cheese, basmati rice with cilantro chutney, roti. I am 99% sure the lovely oily spots you see are from ghee (clarified butter) in the recipe, and I enjoyed every last buttery bite.
Question of the Day - What is your favorite lunch? I love me some Chana Masala from Shah Jee's! If I pack a lunch, my go-to favorite is a good old fashioned PB&J sandwich on whole grain bread.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rooftop cookout

Today, my work organized a cookout, which is always a treat.
Ours are unique because they take place on a rooftop balcony, overlooking a busy intersection of Downtown Milwaukee.
A few years back, the BoDeans played a concert on this same space.
Coworkers bring their dogs to work, and they were out in full cuteness today.
A couple fire trucks went past with their sirens on, and this one started to howl along.
While mingling with my coworkers, I had a veggie burger and a few chips.
These happened to be Frito Lay sour cream & onion chips, and when I checked the bag's code, I found they were indeed made at the Beloit Facility! I just toured that location last week as part of the Healthy Living Summit. It was pretty neat to know that the chips were likely made with Wisconsin-grown potatoes. My coworkers probably thought I was nerdy for mentioning that fact, but they think I'm nerdy anyhow :-)
After the cookout, I was still a little hungry so went for some Smartfood popcorn clusters (from my HLS swag bag). The cranberry almond flavor is pretty good!
Dinner tonight was simple, but packed a nutritional punch.
Whole grain pasta with marinara sauce, steamed broccoli, a Laughing Cow light cheese wedge.
Question of the Day: How do you deal with dietary preferences / restrictions at cookouts? Typically, if I have plans ahead of time I'll bring a dish to share that I know suits my needs. Today the cookout was announced mid-morning, however I was able to request some veggie burgers from the coworker picking up the grillables.