Tag Archives: outdoors

The Night is Right….for Running

29 May

When I last spoke to you, I had made the hasty decision to run a trail race — in the dark — and was waiting on a confirmation of the results of my Diet Bet. I learned on Friday that I had indeed won my Diet Bet and the total amount I won was $57.11! The original buy in was $35, so I’d say that was definitely a worthwhile experiment. Shortly after claiming my winnings, a friend from High School invited me on Facebook to play another game for a $25 buy in. Since Diet Bet credits your account for your winnings, you can use them to play other games or request a Pay Pal payout. After I joined her bet and requested a pay out on Pay Pal, I ended up only being down $3 total. I’m pretty determined to win this next game too!

On to the night race! I’m sort of embarrassed about how naive I was about this race. When I heard “trail race” and “moonlight”, I assumed that we would be running on maybe gravel roads, but that ended up not being the case. This was a full-on trail race, with fallen trees that we had to climb over and duck under, narrow trails, steep uphill climbs and everything! I’ll attempt to recap the race without getting to rambly. Please note, most of the following photos were borrowed from the Kanawha Trace Trail Running Club‘s Facebook group, due to the fact it was PITCH BLACK and I couldn’t get many photos:

boy scout camp The race was held at Camp Arrowhead, which is  a local Boy Scout camp. I’d never been out there, but it’s just a lovely area. glow stick   The trail was marked by these orange flags and glow sticks. Leading up to the race, my thought was, “Well, it won’t be TOO dark, because it’s a full moon and there will be glow sticks!” — you guys, glow sticks aren’t that bright. I was straining my eyes to see them, mainly because once darkness fell and I was running, I was deathly afraid of getting lost. My worst fear was ending up away from the pack, which inevitably happened — at one point everyone who was in front of me was WAY in front of me and there was nobody behind me. That’s when I took this Vine video:

Click on the picture to go to the video!

Click on the picture to go to the video!

Oh, and the headlamp? Well, see, here’s where they naivete really comes into play. I didn’t even think of taking a light source with me until my friend Sarah tweeted that she was worried her headlamp would fall off. I immediately texted her and asked, “Should I get a headlamp!?” and she said, “DUH! of COURSE you should you big dummy!!!” — I”m totally kidding, she did not say that at all, but she really should have. Thank goodness I was headed to my friend Mandee’s house to do some wedding related things, and I’ve been camping with her enough to know she owns a headlamp, so I snagged that. Sarah never would have let me run without one, but thinking of running that race without one kind of cracks me up. It was SO dark! In fact, despite the headlamp, I downloaded a flashlight app for my phone while we were lined up waiting for the gun, just in case.

So, back to the race. I mentioned before that I’ve never run trails. The start of the race was on a gravel road much like the one I run on in the park so just after we started I was thinking “Oh, this isn’t bad. I can do this!” — and then we made a sharp left into the woods and immediately starting climbing a mountain! No joke. There was no choice at times but to walk (although I’m sure the 14 year old cross-country racers who won the race sprinted up the hill), but for those of us who are of normal fitness levels, walking was the only option. Not only were we running through uneven terrain, up steep hills and under giant fallen trees:

Imagine coming up on this guy in the dark!

Imagine coming up on this guy in the dark!

…..but there were also giant mud puddles, creeks, slick rocks and all the normal trail obstacles — with the added challenge of complete darkness. I fell twice — once was very minor, but the second time was right at the end of the race while we were running around that giant pond you see in the first photo on this post, and I swear I came pretty close to falling in. I was holding my phone at this point because I was checking our mileage (running in the dark was so disorienting, I wanted to see how close we were to finishing), and I fell directly on my thumb. It still really hurts! Once the finish line was in sight, I couldn’t imagine taking the 7 mile option (I did 3.5, so it would be like doing the whole thing again!) — I was wiped out!

I ended up finishing in 46:25 — about a 13 minute pace, and only about 4 minutes behind Sarah, who had just run a trail race the previous weekend, so I felt pretty good about that. I was the 8th female and 22nd overall, which is probably the first time I’ve ever been in the top ten (females) in a race, so there’s that! It was very cool after I finished watching the runners come down the trail — all you could see was headlamps and flashlights bobbing in the trees.

The overall verdict is: If you ever have a chance to run a trail race it the dark — DO IT! It was seriously scary, really, really hard, but one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had! Also, the organizers of the race did an amazing job setting everything up. For only a $5 entry fee ($20 if you wanted a t-shirt), we had a very well organized race. Furthermore, at the finish line we had music, a bonfire (complete with s’mores!):

The only decent photo I managed to take!

The only decent photo I managed to take!

…vegetarian chili, water, coffee, hot dogs and some pretty great prizes (although I didn’t win any!)

In fact, I was so inspired after the race that I woke up the next morning and was raring to go for a long run, so I did just that:

long run

I can’t tell you what a great time I had on Saturday night. I’ll definitely be participating in the moonlight race again in November, and I’m considering signing up for a 10k trail race that’s coming up. I’m even browsing trail running shoes in my spare time 🙂

For no reason at all, here’s a picture of Frank:

This is post-dog park, his favorite place on Earth.

This is post-dog park, his favorite place on Earth.

Question of the Day:
Would you ever run a race at night time?

Photos From the Weekend

11 Mar

I’m really sick, and really busy at work, but I wanted to fill you in with photos from the weekend really quickly:

outburst

On Friday, we went to a friend’s house to play a few games. Every time we go over there, I discover a new game I love. First, it was Taboo, then Guesstures. This time, it was Outburst. Although the boys heartily beat us, I think we need a rematch because I feel like they got easier topics than we did.

After that, we went to another friends house to hang out:

thom

 

In true Kristy fashion, I only took pictures of the cat. But isn’t Thom regal?

Saturday was a busy day, and although the weather was perfect, I wasn’t able to get a run in. I had about a million things to do, including shopping for a dress for the Gala that was being held that evening as a fundraiser for the library where I work

try on

Have you been to JC Penney lately? They have really stepped up their game and have some seriously cute clothes. I did like the dress above, but settled on this:

gala outfit

 

The shoes and dress are from JC Penney and cost a total of $37! And I looove the dress. It’s lined, it has pockets, it’s adorable and very comfy. I’ll have a photo on here of me and Zach all dressed up soon, because his sister was kind enough to come outside and take some photos of us. It’s pretty nice having your professional photographer sister-in-law live right next door! 🙂 The sweater is clearly from Old Navy, and the earrings I bought first from Gabriel Brothers. The little orange rosettes were the inspiration behind the outfit because I liked them so much!

The Gala was very fun, but my throat started getting scratchy just before we got there.

gala

 

I wish I had taken a photo of every dish, because the food was so good! My favorites were the first course, which was a black bean stew with kale served over rice, and the salad, which was mixed greens, tomatoes, onions and hearts of palm with a mango/passion fruit dressing. Yum!

After the Gala, Zach and I went to a local bar to have a couple drinks in our fancy clothes and then headed home and had some folks over to watch Saturday Night Live with Justin Timberlake — which was SO good!

By the time I woke up on Sunday, I was definitely sick. I laid in bed well after Zach had already risen for the day, and that’s a certain sign that I’m not feeling well. I did manage to get out and do an errand that had to be done (begrudgingly), and I also was able to make it over to a friend’s porch to enjoy the balmy weather:

porchin

 

 

However, I was soon back on the couch. No run for me, which was a bummer because of the awesome weather, but I know there is more to come. I’m feeling pretty bad, but I hope to be back in action by tomorrow. Unfortunately, Zach and I have a tasting with a caterer this evening. It’s a bummer I feel bad for that, but it’s not something I can cancel.

Because of the spring-like weather, I’ve been able to open the windows and enjoy the breeze, which also pleases the cats:

spring

 

Hope you’re having some nice weather near you as well!

Question of the Day:
Has spring sprung where you live yet? 

 

 

I Can’t Control My Eyebrow!

8 Mar

Happy Friday!

I woke up at 6:00 this morning and truly thought it was Saturday. Whomp whomp: What a bummer, right?! But that means I still have a full weekend to look forward to!

Here are some random things I’d like to talk about:

The sun came out to play today!

sunshine

 

I just love these big, giant windows outside of my office! After two dreary, grey days, the sun has finally decided to grace us with its presence. It’s still pretty cold, but at least there is sunshine. Also, the weather forecast for the weekend looks like this:

weekend

 

…which means there is at least 1 outdoor run on my agenda this weekend!

In less exciting news, I think I may be coming down with a little cold. I’m definitely a little sniffly this morning. Hopefully it stops there!

Speaking of running, I’ve been really good about getting my miles in this week. I’ve done a 2 mile, 3 mile and 4 mile treadmill run so far this week. Yesterday’s four-miler is thanks to the ABC app on my phone and catching up with this week’s episode of The Bachelor: The Women Tell All.

tierra

Holy wow. Now, I just started watching The Bachelor this season, and I definitely see the appeal. It’s like a trainwreck! It’s so awkward to me. Sean will be on these intimate dates and the whole time I’m thinking, “He’s doing this with x other women….” — I just can’t see the appeal of being on that show! Watching it, however, now that’s a different story.

How about Tierra, huh? Could that girl be any more delusional? Before watching this episode, my favorite Tierra quote was:  “I can’t control my eyebrow! I can’t control everything on my face all the time!” – but now it’s, “I didn’t call you a liar, I said you lied to me.” and when someone explains to her that it’s the same thing, she says, “See? Everything I say is WRONG!” — oh man. I think it explained a lot when she said she was Little Miss Nevada when she was a child. Now we know what happens to Toddlers and Tiaras when they grow up!

I only watched through Tierra’s part and covered about 4 miles. I’m excited to finish it off, can’t wait to see what Ashlee has to say to Sean!

run walk

 

I noticed when I was walking back from the gym how bright it still was outside! It was almost 7 pm! After we turn our clocks forward this weekend, we will have so much daylight left in the evenings! Yay!

shade

 

My Shade order arrived this week and I’m loving what I got. For how inexpensive everything was, I’m loving the quality. I wore the top above to work yesterday (sorry for the awkward selfie, I’m still working on it) and I got a lot of compliments on it. I love the trendy chevron pattern.

Ok, that’s enough random for one day!

I hope you have some nice weather this weekend wherever you are!

Question of the Day:
What are you most looking forward to this weekend? 

 

It’s Almost That Time

19 Feb

I’m still not in the best of moods. I went to the dentist again today, and it appears my dental woes are still not over. Please learn from me, don’t put off going to the dentist! I plan on making regular 6 month appointments once I’m through all of this. Add to that, just feeling blah still like I discussed yesterday, and I’m just not feeling great.  I really wish I would perk up soon! Any ideas?

However, yesterday I did something that made me a little happier:

photo (7)

 

I got to run outside! Yes, a glorious 3.03 miles (at a 10:32 pace, which is faster than any recent treadmill run — I told you I was faster outside!), and it was a lovely evening for it, as you can see. I just had to stop and take that photo — as I ran West toward the setting sun, the sky just kept getting prettier and prettier. It really felt great to run outside! It was in the mid-50’s, so it was perfect running weather. We’re back to the 30’s today (stupid fickle weather), so it’s back to the treadmill tonight. But, I’ve got a taste of Spring and I’m ready for it! It’s almost that time!

Question of the day:
What’s your favorite Spring activity? 

Worrywart

11 Jan

I’m a worrywart:

worrywart

 

I worry about everything, and everyone, pretty much constantly. Usually, it doesn’t really interfere with my life, but sometimes things get a little out of control.

For the past few nights, my worrying has gotten out of control. I know that I sometimes have anxiety issues, and right now I’m trying to get things under control, because at the moment I have a huge knot in the pit of my stomach that won’t go away.

I’m not sure what triggers these bouts of extreme worry and anxiety, but I can tell you that it isn’t fun for anyone. Especially me. I’m constantly on the verge of tears and I’m very, very hard on myself. After not sleeping very well on Wednesday night, I was exhausted last night and I was sure I would fall right asleep. Not so much. Every time I drifted off, my anxiety woke me up and I started panicking. Thinking about things I need to get done, about bad things that could possibly happen, and worst of all: things that I’ve done poorly in the past. I know in my rational mind that focusing on these things isn’t helpful, but I somehow can’t stop it.

The reason I’m writing about this isn’t to get sympathy, but I need an outlet. If I try to discuss these issues with my loved ones, I end up feeling like I’m bothering them (I’m not, I know, but I still feel that way), or realizing how ridiculous I sound. Here I feel like I can let go because if you don’t want to read this, you don’t have to.

So, how can I handle these issues?

Well, I’m not sure, but I’m going to try reminding myself that my rational mind is the one that’s right, and my irrational mind is wrong.

As an effort to make myself happier, here are some things that make me happy.

IMAG0990Holy cow it’s a beautiful day today. I went outside this morning to take out the trash and it was already in the 50’s! Before 8 AM! In January! Zach didn’t wear a coat at all to work, and I just wore a light one. I took the above picture from my office at work (yes, I’m grateful to have those huge windows right outside my office door), the sky was just lovely. I guess there is some rain in the forecast, but I’m happy enough about the warm weather that I don’t really care.

IMG_0361

Friends! This photo was taken at my friend Mandee’s birthday dinner on Wednesday. I had a great time, but I’m anxious to spend more time with these folks this weekend. I’m already texting people seeing what their plans are tonight. I think some hangouts with friends would really take my mind off of some things.

run

 

Running. Since I’ve started running again without pain, I’ve been anxious to do more running. This unseasonably warm weather is making me anxious to get out there and pound the pavement! I think I might take Courtney’s doberman Margot on her first run tomorrow morning. That should be fun!

IMG_0362

 

Pizza! I don’t know if I’ll be eating any pizza this weekend, but this pizza I had on Wednesday sure was delicious.

See? I’m feeling better already 🙂

 

 

My Favorite Place to Run

10 Oct

I don’t talk much about Huntington on this blog, as was the intention when I started it. As you know, Huntington was named “America’s Unhealthiest City” in 2008, and since then the city has tried to outrun that embarrassing label. I can’t say we’ve completely turned ourselves around, but we have made significant strides:

  • The P.A.T.H. (Paul Ambrose Trail for Health), a 26-mile bike and pedestrian pathway that is being constructed, providing free health and recreation for Huntington and surrounding areas. In addition, an annual 5k, 10k and walk (dubbed “Fit Fest”) is held to raise money to continue construction on the trail.
  • Jamie Oliver came to our town to film his Health Revolution reality show, building us a state-of-the-art kitchen downtown which provides free healthy cooking classes for people of all ages.
  • In general, I see more and more people out walking, running and biking on a daily basis in town.

There is much more, but those are our largest accomplishments.

Surprisingly, Huntington may have one of the best areas I’ve ever seen for outdoor fitness: Ritter Park. I live exactly one block from the park, and it’s my very favorite place. I’ll attempt to give you a ‘virtual tour’ of our lovely park:

When you enter the park at 10th street, the first thing you see is the fountain:

Photo credit: This amazing blog post about Ritter Park.

The park is a wide, open grassy area with an awesome playground (trust me, my nephew will. not. leave. it. when he’s visiting) on the East end, and is surrounded by a wide gravel running/walking path that is (I’ve heard) 9/10ths of a mile. If you follow the path under the 8th street bridge:

This bridge was painted pink a few years ago for Breast Cancer Awareness and caused quite the uproar. It has since been repainted.

(There is a path underneath that bride so pedestrians don’t have to cross the road), you will be on the continued path which goes about 1.5 miles to the World War II Memorial Arch located at the intersection of where Ritter Park ends and Memorial Park begins:

A good photo of the path that you follow around to get under the bridge, again from the awesome blog post.

I actually took these photos!

On certain holidays, the GHPRD (Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District) hangs a giant flag on the arch. If I run from my front door to the arch and back, I have run exactly three miles. If I continue on the trail through Memorial Park (where my favorite water fountain is located) and back, I’ll have gone about 5 miles.

Backtracking back to the Ritter Park loop, if you don’t go under the bridge to follow the trail to the arch, but rather keep on the trail a bit, you’ll find a set of stone stairs that you can climb which will lead you to this gem:

The Ritter Park Rose Garden! The roses are in bloom Spring – Fall, and it’s seriously breathtaking. You can have your wedding there, and it’s quite cheap, but it doesn’t seat very many people, so it wasn’t an option for us. Perhaps some kind bridesmaid will read this and throw me a bridal shower there.

If you don’t climb the stairs to the Rose Garden, but continue on to the East End of the park again, you can make a right and you will see the tennis courts. There are 4 courts, I think, and they cover two of them for the winter. I don’t play tennis, so I’m not going to spend much time on those. However, after the tennis courts, there is a huge hill which is great for hill sprint repeats!

Tennis courts and the park building

If you climb the giant hill, at the top on the left is the brand new Huntington Pet Safe Dog Park. Huntington won a contest that was sponsored by Pet Safe which funded $100,000 towards our dog park, and it turned out great. It’s basically a large fenced in area where the dogs can run. There is a doggie drinking fountain, a small dog run, and that’s basically it, but man do the doggies love it.

On the right at the top of the hill is the Ritter Park Ampitheater:

 

Where outdoor concerts and outdoor theater are held.

And that’s about it! Ritter Park is about the best thing ever, in my opinion. I consider myself very lucky to live one block from such an awesome park where I can run, walk, and interact with other healthy residents of my town.

Recently, Ritter Park was named one of America’s Great Public Spaces by the American Planning Association, along with parks located in Denver, Chicago and Anaheim.  I don’t know if the residents of those cities are as pumped about the honor as the residents of Huntington were, but I’m guessing not. It’s great for our small town to be ranked up there with big cities. I truly think that Ritter Park deserves the honor. I run in that park most days of the year, and I never get sick of it.

Question of the Day:
What’s your favorite place to run? 

 

Good News!

4 Oct

Good news! Waking up earlier proved to work out for me making it to the gym. I really do think setting my alarm earlier is the answer, because I like having a little time before I head out the door.

This morning, I set my alarm for 5:25 AM (it has been going off at 5:45) and those extra 20 minutes really helped. I got up and got dressed, then I was able to drink a glass of water, have a banana, read some blogs and then search for a good strength routine in my old magazines before heading to the gym.

I hit the treadmill first thing. My goal was 3 miles at half-marathon pace (9:40/mile), and then weights. Well, for some reason I was just not feeling the running so I did 1.5 miles and then told myself I’d do the rest after I hit the weight room.

I know you guys love it when I post photos of my treadmill display. I’ m a little worried about not running outside very much lately, but I’m doing all my long runs outside, so that should be ok for the half.

After that little run, I headed down to the weight room to do this power-pairs dumbbell workout that I found in the December 2010 issue of Women’s Health. It was TOUGH. One of the trainers saw me doing it and came over to ask to have a look at the rest of the workout. He said (and I quote), “I like that! It looks hard!” — he was right. It was a toughie. I did three rounds of 12 reps of each exercise (it calls for 15 reps, but I used heavy weights — 10 lbs for most of the moves, 8 for the others). I was definitely sweaty and out of breath when I was done.

Ok, speaking of workouts from magazines. Sarah (of SarahFit.com) did a video once about magazine workouts and how there is always one move that is just impossible to do. This workout was no different.

If you click up there where I linked to the workout, there is a video showing a fitness model doing this exercise and she seems to have no problem, but I could NOT do it. I can do those hamstring curls on the ball, but I need my arms out for stability. Adding in the dumbbells, I was all over the place. If you have a minute and the equipment, give it a try and tell me in the comments below if you could do it. Maybe I’m just a mess!

After that, I did get back on the treadmill, but I cut it short about half a mile because it was getting late. Oh well!

Rewinding to yesterday, I don’t know if you remember a couple months back when I wrote about how I had to get my learner’s permit because my Pennsylvania license had expired before I switched to West Virginia. Well, yesterday I finally bit the bullet, left work a little early and went to take my driver’s test. I’m happy to say that I passed with flying colors! I’m a licensed driver again!

After Zach and I got back from the DMV, I was starving, so I ended up not getting in my run for yesterday. I made dinner, and then we walked over to the Dog Park, where Margot (Courtney’s doberman puppy) had her Dog Park debut. Puppies can’t really go outside or be socialized with other dogs until they are 16 weeks old and have had their final Parvo vaccination. Apparently Parvo can live in the ground for a very long time. I had no idea!

I felt a little creepy going to the Dog Park without a dog of my own to contribute, especially since I’m a HUGE dog lover and I knew I would be petting everyone’s dogs like crazy! I wish I had some photos to show of the dogs I met, but they all moved so fast it was hard to get a photo, but here’s a photo of my other friend Courtney’s dog when she was all worn out from chasing a ball:

Yes, I have two friends named Courtney who have Dobermans. No, it’s not really that confusing — unless I’m blogging about them! Here’s a photo of Courtney Bell’s dog Margot for comparison:

Photo courtesy of Courtney Bell

So, you see, it’s completely different! The dog park was so fun. I met: a Newfoundland named Fat Head (he was awesome and loved the other dogs, but all the other dogs were afraid of him), two bulldogs, a puppy named Miko who was the same age as Margot but a quarter of her size, three chihuahuas, a bunch of mutts and a black lab that carried a soccer ball around in his mouth. It. Was. Awesome. I left wanting a dog RIGHT AWAY!

The walk to the dog park was about a mile, uphill, and then we walked back so yesterday ended up not being completely sedentary. I’ll tell you what, the sunsets here have been amazing lately:

Red sky at night, Sailor’s Delight. Red sky in morning, Sailor take warning.

I’m so excited for date night tonight! Registering at Macy’s and dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s (can’t wait for that salad bar!)

Question of the Day:
Do you have a dog? What kind? Can I dog-sit him so I can go to the dog park without being that creepy dog-less lady?

Turning that Frown Upside-Down

14 Sep

Well. This week has been, interesting to say the least. Let’s start at the very beginning:

Monday was a crazy hectic day, as Mondays tend to be. We both slept in after not getting a lot of sleep the previous evening (due to Zach’s birthday celebration), so we were running late getting to work. I took my running clothes with me to work, and instead of going home after work, I went for a 3 mile run and then met Zach out for trivia. We didn’t get home until late and pretty much went straight to bed.

Tuesday morning I got up and went to the gym, and got quite the great workout in. I did a true tempo run for 30 minutes:

It’s hard to get a non-blurry treadmill photo.

I kept half marathon pace the entire time! I was very proud of myself. I even hit the weights pretty hard after this run. When I got home, I made some breakfast and noticed that I couldn’t see one of my three cats, Posey.

Isn’t she pretty?

I didn’t think much of it, because she is a great hider and almost never comes when you call her name. So, I started getting ready for work. When Zach came out of our bedroom, he said, “Where’s Posey?” to which I replied, “You know, I don’t know. I haven’t seen her all morning. I think she’s probably hiding somewhere.” So, we started searching for her. After I looked in all her normal hiding spots, I started to get concerned, so I pulled out the big guns: the wet food. If you ever can’t find Posey, a surefire way to get her out of hiding is to pull out the dishes I use to feed them wet food (very rarely), and clink them together. She will come running from afar. When she didn’t come out after that, I knew we were in trouble. Zach and I went outside and called and called her, but nothing. I called into work and told them I’d be in after lunch and started my search.

To make a long story short, I didn’t find her. I ended up going into work and just being a teary eyed freak the whole time. My neighbor and friend, Ashley, made me some fliers to hang up around the neighborhood, and I shared photos of her on all the social networking sites to get the word out that I was looking for her.

After work, Zach, my friend Mandee and I walked around our neighborhood endlessly looking for her, and banging those damn dishes together….nothing. I hated going to bed that night without her in the house. I left some food outside for her, along with my sweaty gym clothes (so she could find my scent, haha) and her litter box. The next day, I woke up very early (it was still dark), so I went to the gym and then searched with Zach before going to work. We told all the neighbors about her and just did all we could. I was texting with my neighbor Ashley and she said, “By the way, just in case you thought it was Posey, there was a raccoon on our porch eating that food last night. I had a friend over and he looked out the window and said, ‘Uh, why are you feeding the raccoons?'” — Which caused me to laugh for a very long time.

Zach’s sister (and my friend, and my bridesmaid) Courtney made me more fliers to hang up around the neighborhood. I wish I had photographed one, because this photo was prominently displayed at the top:

Photo courtesy of Courtney Bell Photography

!! She said, “I hope you don’t mind, but I figured the way to catch people’s attention is to put a picture of a pretty girl in red lipstick at the top of the flier.” I didn’t mind, but I did think it was funny. After work that day (Wednesday?), we met up with Courtney and exhaustively went around putting up fliers some more. I’ll admit at this point I was starting to lose hope. Although I think Posey is a unique flower, her coloring is actually very common, and there are a LOT of stray cats in our neighborhood. The chances of someone finding her, in my eyes, were slim. I knew that she would have to either make her way home on her own, or someone would pick her up and take her home — or the unthinkable would happen. I’m not going to talk about that option.

After flier-ing the neighborhood, I told Zach, “I just want to relax this evening. I’ve been stressed out about this for days, and I just want to change into my pajamas, drink some wine and watch a movie.” — So that is what we did. I was on my second glass of wine when the doorbell rang. Zach and I both jumped up, and I ran as fast as I could (in my inappropriate-for-outdoors pajamas) to the door. Our neighbors across the street were out there and he said, “I think your cat just ran under those cars!!”

Sure enough, I went to where he said and heard a scared little “Mew!” come from under the car. I called Posey and eventually she crawled out. I can’t even tell you how happy I was, as I grabbed her and ran indoors. She was obviously completely freaked out (I neglected to mention that I’ve had Posey for six years, and she’s only ever been outside in a carrier on her way to the vet), and the other cats were hissing at her, probably because she smelled like other animals, but she was healthy! After a minute of pure joy, I ran outside again to say thank you to the neighbors for looking out for her. I really can’t tell you how grateful I am to them. Sure, she may have made her way up to the door and let me know she was out there, but what if she got scared and ran off again? The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me.

What a little stinker! Photo courtesy of my dear friend, Jenni.

With Posey found, I was ready to get things back to normal, but Thursday was a nightmare workday. I got some disconcerting news regarding a family member’s health, work was just crazy, and I had a little financial hiccup. None of these things I can or care to go into too much detail about (mainly because this post is getting so lengthy), but it all lent to having quite a stressful day.

When I got home from work, I walked in the door and immediately smelled the Chicken Taco Chili (recipe from Gina at Skinnytaste here) I had put in the crockpot earlier, and was greeted by Zach. Both of these things made my day brighten quite a bit. Food and Fiance do wonders for my mood! I threw together a quick recipe of Isa Chandra’s cornbread (recipe here) and put on my running clothes. I told Zach (and I quote): “I’ve decided to cheer up. I figured out all my work stuff, I talked to my family member and the prognosis is better than I thought, and the financial hiccup has been taken care of. Now I’m going to go for a run and when I get back, I’ll be in a great mood”

So, that’s what I did. I went for a run. I decided that I would run around my neighborhood and take down the Missing Posey signs. I really can’t tell you how liberating that was. I only ran about 1.5 miles, but I broke a little sweat and had a big smile on my face when I got home. So, we dug into our delicious dinner:

Of course I can’t ever show you a photo of food that hasn’t been half-eaten already.

That chili is sooo good, but let me tell you about this cornbread. Whenever I make baked goods that typically call for buttermilk, I usually try to find a vegan recipe. Have you ever used the vegan buttermilk trick? Basically, you take one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and mix it with one cup of soy or almond milk. You will see it curdle right up, and it acts just like buttermilk in a baked goods recipe, and it is much healthier! This cornbread is out of this world. Moist and tasty! All of Isa’s recipes (Isa Chandra is the genius behind many Vegan staple cookbooks, like Veganomicon, which is basically the Vegan recipe bible) are incredible, but this cornbread is one of my favorites. I always cook it in my perfectly seasoned cast iron skillet to give it that rustic feel. I much prefer triangular pieces of cornbread to squares.

This must be my very longest post to date, but I promise I’m almost done!

After a nice evening of chili, cornbread, beer, football and friends, I’m ready to tackle the weekend with a smile. This weekend, Zach and I are attending a football game for our Alma Mater (Go Herd!) and I’ll get to see some friends I haven’t seen in quite some time. I hope you have a great weekend!

Question of the Day:
What do you do to unwind after a rough week? 

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.