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A Fall Getaway

1 Oct

This weekend, Zach and I joined some friends for a trip to Marlinton, WV for their annual Fall Festival and “Roadkill Cook-off” — all of us had seen advertisements for the Festival when we’ve visited Pocahontas County, so our curiosity was peaked. Our friend Mandee’s husband Garrett’s family happens to have a cabin located right along the Greenbrier River and they invited us down to hang out at the cabin and check out the Festival.

See Zach and Garrett?

The cabin was great! All the comforts of home. We arrived on Friday evening and left Sunday morning, so minus our Roadkill Festival fare, we concluded that we would need three meals while we were there — dinner Friday, breakfast Saturday, and dinner on Saturday. So each couple was responsible for one meal. Mandee made us an excellent chili on Friday evening (I threw together a quickie cast-iron skillet cornbread also). I’m sad I didn’t take any photos, but I was ravenous and just inhaled it! I was responsible for breakfast Saturday morning. Since we were right on the Greenbrier River Trail, I wanted to get a run or two in, so I decided on a low-maintenance breakfast: quiche!

Mmmmm….

Quiche is the easiest. You just crack some eggs, add in some cream, cheese and veggies then cook it until it’s not runny anymore. I even used a store-bought crust because I was going for quick and easy. I love easy meals that are delicious and seem labor-intensive. This quiche turned out great. Usually I go the asparagus route with quiche, but this time I threw in some broccoli and peppers. It was very delicious. I made two, and we had plenty of leftovers to heat up and eat while we were packing up on Sunday morning.

Speaking of running (was I?), like I mentioned we were right on the Greenbrier River Trail. It’s a 78 mile trail that goes through the mountains of West Virginia, and it is breathtaking. On Saturday morning, I did a three-mile loop in one direction and then on Sunday I did a six-mile loop in the other direction. It was a really pretty run, and the weather was chilly enough that once I started sweating I was still comfortable.

I must have stopped to take a million photos.

Our cabin was located on mile marker 77, so on my six mile loop I ran until I got to mile marker 74 and then turned around. I love running in the solitude and nature, but do not try to do it without music. When I run in town, there is plenty to keep my interest, but miles and miles of river and trees, while lovely, can get pretty repetitive pretty quickly. The first morning I realized that I forgot my headphones, hence the shorter run, but then on Sunday morning I realized I brought that hat you see on my head up there, which has built in headphones. Luckily it was chilly enough to run in a hat.

Enjoying the view from the cabin porch, post-run.

Let’s talk about the Roadkill Cook-off, shall we? The Pocahontas County Autumn Harvest Festival and Roadkill Cook-off has been happening for 22 years now. The first rule listed in the WV Living Magazine article about it last year reads: The main ingredient must be any animal commonly found dead on the side of the road, including groundhog, possum, deer, rabbit, squirrel, or snake. Pigs, cows, chickens, horses, and goats are also acceptable. The animal need not actually come off the side of the road, and in fact, most of the judges prefer that it didn’t.

I’ll have to admit, I was pretty nervous. I’ve been a vegetarian in the past, so going beyond my usual chicken or fish was a bit of a stretch for me. But, these are once in a lifetime opportunities, people!

After a rainy Friday, we had some fabulous weather for the festival on Saturday. Blue skies, fluffy white clouds, hot sun and cool breeze — perfect fall weather. The Festival itself was pretty standard — crafts, food, etc. But the real fun was located in the town square. For three dollars, you got a wristband that allowed you to sample any of the food that was being judged for the cook-off:

 

The first line we got into was a booth that was serving “Possum Burgoo” I’m pretty sure they were trying to go for a traditional Kentucky Burgoo (which is amazing!), so I figured if nothing else I would like the stew itself.

This possum was incredibly life-like.

The stew itself resembled chili. I got a huge chunk of meat in mine, which I bravely ate. It tasted exactly like chicken. In fact, I swear it actually was chicken because possums are kind of gross and I don’t want to think about eating them. The stew itself, however, was bland. After that I went into it with a new attitude: Food Critic.

After the first booth, we got straight into line to try a squirrel meat rice dish. It was a little better than the Burgoo, but I was still searching for my favorite.

The next line we got into had the best presentation, in my opinion. They were serving “Porcupine Quill” which was basically a skewer of porcupine meat (are porcupines typically roadkill?) with vegetables and a yummy sweet and a little spicy sauce.

 

The boy in the middle said that Native Americans would use this recipe and use the porcupine’s quills as skewers for the meat and veggies. This was by far my favorite of the cook-off. They claimed to use the traditional Native American recipe, but it seemed a lot like teriyaki sauce. It was still delicious.

After that, we tried a bear meatloaf, which I found to be a little mushy, but everyone else seemed to like.

A few of the booths were closed down because judging was happening. This is the one I would have liked to try:

 

In case you can’t read that menu, they had a Teriyaki Venison, a Rabbit and Dandelion salad and Venison fried rice. Yum! I’m really sorry I missed that one.

All in all, we thought the Roadkill Cook-off was just so-so. While the food was interesting and exciting, other than the samples of the food being judged, there wasn’t many food vendors around. There was a stand selling goat meat sandwiches (not my thing) and a stand selling Polish sausage (so my thing). Everyone got a goat meat sandwich, but when I went over to get a sausage they were out of onions and peppers so I passed. We ended up going to a restaurant and having a few bites there before heading back to the cabin for the evening.

 

We got back to the cabin just as the sun was setting. I ran to the river to take some photos of the view, and I got the above gem. Despite the festival being kind of a bust, we had a great time hanging out, enjoying nature and each other’s company so the trip was a success!

Question of the Day:
Did you do anything fun this weekend? 

Post-vacation weight gain

4 Sep

I had the best of intentions for this blog while I was on vacation. I was going to post a few times, filling you in on my awesome adventures.

However, like I like to say, “Life got in the Way”

The vacation started off with a bang, with Zach asking me to marry him. After that, my goal to have a stress-free vacation was pretty easy, because I was floating on cloud nine. I’ve always assumed that Zach and I would get married, but the fact that he planned this all out and bought me a gorgeous ring made me feel incredibly special. Now, I get to plan a wedding! That’s actually not something I ever thought that I’d want to do, but recently the idea is growing on me in a big way.

We had the best time. Our house was out of this world incredible, with a pool, a hot tub and direct beach access. Besides a rainy day trek to the Aquarium and a night out for dinner, we spent most of  our time lounging around the house, alternating between the pool and the beach. For your viewing pleasure (and mine), here are some photos:

From top left, our beach, the sunrise, some boys lounging by the pool, sunset, more pool and our last evening at sunset.

Since we’ve been back in town, the weather has been overcast and very humid. I think now that my beach trip is over, I’m ready for cool fall weather!

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now, this is a health and fitness blog, so let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Weight Gain. I didn’t practice much moderation while I was away. I was happy and relaxed so I ate (and drank) whatever I wanted — and a lot of it.

I’m not terribly proud of this, but the important thing is to recognize it and move on. The other thing that happened was that I didn’t get my exercise in like I would have liked. I went for a run three times, once on the beach (that’s hard!). We got home Sunday evening and I haven’t done a bit of exercise since. I’m not going to panic, but I just don’t feel like I have it in me right now. I need to get on a plan, and quick. So, I present you with my my Plan to Lose the Vacation Weight and Prepare for my Wedding:

  1. Resume counting calories: As we know, no amount of exercise will cancel out a poor diet, so my first goal is to resume counting calories using My Fitness Pal. I have been successful using this app in the past, but once you reach a comfortable weight, there comes a time when you have to toss out the calorie counter and go with your gut, so to speak. I’ve done that, it worked, but now I need to lose a few pounds so I’m back!
  2. Get back on my training schedule: This is going to be hard. Exercise is a habit, and once you break it, even for a short amount of time, it’s hard to get back on track. So I will make my training schedule for the rest of the week and I will stick to it. I will report my food and exercise here to be held accountable.
  3. Cut back on alcohol during the week: Since vacation was a bit of a drink-a-thon, it won’t kill me to stop drinking alcohol except on the weekends.
  4. Reduce sugar and grains: As we all know, this is a sure-fire way to lose weight. I’ve become quite accustomed to dessert, and I’m going to have to start subbing fruit instead.
  5. Greatly increase my strength training: Even though I only want to lose a few pounds, I’ve noticed some extra flab and even after I lose those 3 or so lbs of vacation weight, I want to gain some muscle. So I will devise a strength training plan that I will stick to for 6 weeks. I will post a plan here tomorrow.

As a way to be held accountable, here are my stats:

My comfortable, usual weight is 148 lbs. This morning, I weighed in at 151.7. Not terrible, and definitely doable. The main issue I have is that I have some flab, so the strength training in addition to my half-marathon training will help with that.

Question of the Day:
What do you do when you know you need to lose a few pounds? 

Big News!

27 Aug

It has been quite the vacation so far! We arrived yesterday around 3 and after quite a long check in, we finally all got settled into our house. This house is so lovely. This is the view from the back deck: 

 

We are just in paradise. Emerald Isle is an adorable place. Apparently the whole island is a turtle sanctuary, and right up the beach from us, there are turtle eggs: 

 

We had a great time the first night, but we were sleepy from the long drive, so we hit the hay pretty early. Zach had mentioned that he wanted to take an early morning walk on the beach, so we headed out around 7 or so. It was a lovely morning and I was just busy watching all the birds and taking photos of the sunrise: 

….when Zach asked if he could ask me a question. And then, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!!! 

Photo courtesy of Zach’s sister Courtney, who might have been as excited as I was! (which is awesome, so glad to have a new sister)

I always knew that Zach was the one, but I never expected this or saw it coming at all. Apparently when Zach went golfing last week, that was actually code for ring shopping! And I bought it hook, line and sinker. It helps that I’m totally gullible!

Right now, my cheeks hurt from smiling so hard. I’ve never been so happy, today is the best day of my life. I can’t wait to marry the man of my dreams! 

Question of the Day: 
Are you married? How did you or your significant other pop the question? 

 

 

 

 

That’s just, like, your opinion, Man.

23 Jul

Maybe I should change the theme of this blog to something movie related? This is my second post in a row with a movie theme.

This weekend, Zach and I headed to Louisville, KY (you guys, this town is amazingly beautiful!) to attend the 11th Annual Lebowski Fest. In case you don’t know, Lebowski Fest was started in 2001 (I guess, since this is the 11th) for a bunch of nerds (I say that in the most adoring manner, considering I am one of those nerds!) to celebrate all things pertaining to the 1998 Coen Brother’s movie, The Big Lebowski. Have you seen it?

Basically, on Friday night, they have a party where they show the movie, and then on Saturday they have a “Garden Party”, with bands, beers and food and then they have a Bowling Party. People dress up like characters from the movie (people get really creative with costumes), they sell Lebowski merchandise. It’s basically just a big party.

A bunch of Dudes….

My t-shirt, Zach bowling (his jersey says “Seattle” and is #7. You might not get it unless you’re a superfan of the movie…), and my best bowling score ever.

I wish I could recap every second of the weekend, but we just did so much. We arrived in Louisville on Saturday (we decided to skip the Friday night festivities), and luckily we have some good friends who live there. They showed us a great time when we weren’t Lebowski’ing. They even knew some people who were working at the Festival, so they showed up at the bowling alley at the end of the night to hang out with us.

My Summer Shandy cocktail, the description and my friends

Saturday was basically just a party all day long. I ate and drank all day — not the healthiest! But sometimes it’s ok to indulge, and I had to try all the deliciousness that Louisville had to offer. I didn’t take photos of all my food and drinks (trust me, it would overwhelm you), but I’d have to say the two best things I ate on Saturday were the ice cream I had at the Garden Party, and the grilled cheese I got from a food truck outside of the bowling alley at the end of the night:

The ice cream was Dulche de Leche and it was amazing, and the grilled cheese had apples and brie on wheatberry bread. There was also this delicious, spicy and smoky sauce to dip it in.

On Sunday morning, I was feeling a little heavy and a lot hungover. As difficult as it is, I always like to go on for a run when I’m hungover because it makes me feel a lot better. So I chugged some disgusting coffee and headed to the hotel gym to run on the treadmill for a bit. I have to say I was missing the treadmill after a week of the gym being closed. I never thought I would utter those words! I did about 2 miles of speed intervals and then headed back to the room.

Sunday was such a nice day. Since we were tied up with the Festival on Saturday, we spent some time with our friends on Sunday. They made us a really delicious brunch, and then we headed to the Zappos Outlet store. I wasn’t sure what to expect at the store, but I knew I was going to keep my eyes peeled for some running shoes. I am so excited at what I found:

The color on the right is the true color…and I LOVE it!

Brooks Pure Flow! These babies retail for $90, the full price tag on them was $76. Everything at the outlet is 50% off the full price tag, so these shoes were only $39! I immediately fell in love. I love the new Brooks Pure line because I’m into the ‘minimalist’ style shoes. I like a light shoe, and while these have a little more padding than I’m used to, they are still super light and flexible. I’m a pretty neutral runner — even in shoes,  I have a natural midfoot strike, and I don’t tend over or underpronate much — and these babies are perfect for me. I actually had my eye on them before I saw them at the outlet — in my exact size — so it was downright serendipitous. I just had to take these babies out for a test drive this morning, even though I was looking forward to returning to my Cardio Sculpt class, so I headed to the gym early and did a fast mile on the treadmill before class. Maybe I’m still on a high from finding these and paying so little for them, but I swear, I was speedy and my run felt easier.

The other thing I bought at the outlet was this:

TYR hot pink/lime green reversible sport suit.

I’m really excited about this as well, for several reasons. One, because it was originally a $70 suit, and since all the swimwear was 70% off, I got it for $20. Two, I really, really, really need a new sport suit and three, this is cute enough to wear to work out OR on the beach. The photos above came out a little weird color wise, the true color is more like the one on the right than the one on the left.

Since I did so much indulging this weekend, this morning’s breakfast was a little light. I went with an Apple Pie Smoothie from Mama Pea. No pictures, because I drank it out of my camelback bottle and it didn’t look very pretty, but if you click on that link you’ll see the lovely photos Sarah took of it. You really must try this smoothie. It’s very filling, and tastes incredible. Plus, the oatmeal topping adds a little extra oomph to it to carry you through until lunch. Yum!

Here is my workout plan for the week:
Monday: One mile run and Cardio Sculpt class (check!)
Tuesday: Swim one mile/Chest and Back in the weight room
Wednesday: AM: Cardio Sculpt PM: 3 mile run
Thursday: Speed work on the treadmill (will plan out drills Wednesday evening)/Arms and legs in the weight room
Friday: Rest or yoga/Abs
Saturday: Long run — 7 miles since I haven’t done one in a while.
Sunday: Easy run or rest

I’m going to hit it a little harder this week because of the overindulgent weekend. Plus, I am almost officially one month from my week-long beach vacation so it never hurts to keep the nutrition and fitness level up in preparation for that. Not because I think I need to lose weight or “tone up”, but because it’s fun and it increases the anticipation!

Have a great day!

What’s the best deal you have gotten lately? 

What’s your favorite smoothie recipe? 

Do you like to work out a little harder in preparation for vacation? 

Camping Trip Recap

18 Jul

I took a lot of photos during our camping trip last weekend, and I’ve been dying to share them, but first I want to talk about my workout this morning (scroll down a bit if you’d like to get right to the camping goodies.)

Typically on Mondays and Wednesdays, I attend the ‘Cardio Fusion’ class at my gym. I’ve been attending this class for over a year, and I never get bored by it. It is taught by my favorite group fitness instructor. He really pushes us every morning. The class (despite being held at 6:15 AM) is always packed, and there are a variety of people. It’s lots of work with weights with cardio peppered in. As I’ve mentioned, however, my gym is closed for maintenance this week. SIGH.

I was really missing my class this morning, so I decided to try to do something similar. I picked out this workout on Netflix:

Looks a little corny?

The video was 44 minutes long, and separated into two sections. You could do each section independently, as there is a warm up before and stretch after each section.  I did the lower body section, then I paused it and went out for a one mile run, then I did the upper body section.

This was a good video. The lower body portion starts out with squats, then goes into lunges. Pretty basic stuff, but effective. The upper body section covers your back, shoulders, biceps, and chest. The shoulder portion is particularly grueling,  I had to step down the weights during that section. Speaking of weights, I find it hilarious that everyone (even the instructor) in this video appeared to be using 3 lb weights. I was surprised when I looked this up on Amazon and saw that it was released in 2006, because the fact that everyone was using puny weights and looked like this:

Nice outfits!

I would have pinned this as early 2000 at least. Unless you are completely new to weight lifting, I would definitely use heavier weights than what they use in the video (I used 8 lb weights, but went down to 5 lb on the shoulder section). Even without the run in the middle of the video, this would have been a good workout. I had already broken a bit of a sweat by the time I paused it and hit the road, but by the time I was completely done, I was drenched. If you have Netflix Instant, you should definitely check this one out. This was very similar to what I would have done at the gym, but with more cats:

The goblin cat stared at me, the lurking cat lurked and the fat cat laid directly in my way and protested loudly if I stepped on her tail.

Ok, on to the camping trip!

So, the plan was to leave Friday directly after work and make the three hour drive to Marlinton, WV, however, the rain on Friday was intense. After much texting back and forth between me, Zach and our friends Susie and Shane (who had made the drive up the previous day), and many, many checks of my weather app, Zach and I decided to stay in Huntington for the night and leave bright and early the next morning to head to the campsite. Everyone else got there relatively early in the day on Friday, and we just didn’t want to drive up there and set up camp in the dark and the rain. Turns out everyone stayed overnight at Susie’s family’s condo in Snowshoe, WV (you guys, this place is BEYOND beautiful) anyway, so driving up on Friday night probably would have been a better option.

But, the drive up on Saturday was incredible! I drove most of the way because Zach was sleepy. I’m a natural early riser, so of course I was raring to go. I turned on my This American Life app (the best thing ever) and just drove. The weather was perfect! The plan was to drive to the campsite, set up our tent, then meet our friends at the condo and head over to the Greenbrier River for floating.

Our Drive from the campsite to snowshoe. The views are so lovely! We had to use old school handwritten directions because the cell service and GPS are sketchy in God’s country 🙂 P.S. I love the sign at the entrance to Snowshoe Mountain.

Once we got to Snowshoe, we gathered our friends and headed out for  the drive to the Greenbrier River. It’s a bit of a hike (as everything is up  there). It started to storm the second we started driving, and the drive was pretty stressful. It seemed like every three minutes, the weather changed from gorgeous to ominous:

Rain, sunshine, black clouds, fluffy clouds. Stress!

But, once we got to Jack Horner’s Corner (the place where we rent the inner tubes), the weather looked like it would probably hold up. The store where you rent the tubes is adorable!

They have all kinds of cool stuff: Like Root Beer! P.S. aren’t my friend Josh’s shorts the coolest?

Turns out, we had amazing weather for our float down the river! This is the third year that we have done this, and every other year there was a guy with a flat bed truck to drive us down to the drop off point. This year, he wasn’t around, so we had to improvise. The guy at the store gave us a long rope and we tied a bunch of tubes to the top of Susie’s jeep, and then a few others rode in Zach’s car while holding tubes out the window. It was pretty hilarious. I put my phone away for pretty much the whole trip after this, so the photos that follow were taken by my friend Susie:

The group photo is pretty much excellent.

The camping portion was great too! We had a little rain, but Shane (the birthday boy!) made this really cool tarp thing strung up in the trees that kept us (and the food table) dry. He is so handy! The only downside is that mine and Zach’s tent leaked, so we ended up sleeping in basically a puddle! The tent we used was an old one, so we just tossed it out and didn’t even take it home. All in all, we had a great time! This weekend, we’re off to Louisville to attend the 11th Annual Lebowski Fest! I’ll be sure to take plenty of photos to share.

Our campsite was perfect! That river flowed right behind us and got pretty high late at night during the rain. I was afraid for a second we might have to pack up camp in the middle of the night, but everything turned out ok.