Greenhorn Adventure Race - Recap, Part 1

Let me start by saying how much fun I had competing in my FIRST Adventure Race. I emphasize the FIRST part because I plan on doing many more. Kevin and I had a blast doing this race together and are already planning our training for next year. Two words - HILL WORKOUTS.

Backing up a bit...Friday, Kevin and I drove out to Cumberland, MD - which is about two and a half hours west of Baltimore on Friday afternoon and had a great dinner in downtown Cumberland. We found this cute little Italian place, Ristorante Ottaviani, and were lucky enough to score a table by the window. What great, summer-like weather we had in this area over the weekend!

Fresh Italian bread was immediately brought to our table and served with olive oil and fresh parmesan for dipping.We started with a house salad served with a Romano Vinaigrette, which they were kind enough to split on two plates for us.The menu was extensive, so there was a good amount of time spent looking through all of the options.I decided on the Capesante con Pesto which was Pan seared scallops with a pesto and fresh tomatoes served over linguine.It was just OK and after eating all the scallops, I picked at the linguine because the sauce wasn't as flavorful as I had hoped.Afterwards, we walked over to City Creamery for homemade ice cream. I decided on a small cup of their flavor of the day - Take 5 - after the candy bar. It was scrumptious.

I forgot to mention that after reading about the race equipment required (on our drive out there) - we realized we both needed whistles. Our time would be penalized if we didn't have them for the race. We were lucky enough to find a dollar store downtown where we each got a whistle for a $1. These would come in handy later..


Check-in started at 7am the morning of the race, so we decided to grab breakfast in the hotel restaurant, which opened at 6:30am. No pictures, but I had a full breakfast, since the race didn't start until 10am. Egg and Cheese on a bagel, fresh fruit, and coffee.

The race took place in Rocky Gap State Park, which is home to the Rocky Gap Lodge & Resort. It is absolutely gorgeous there. The temperature was supposed to get up into the mid - upper 80s, so we knew we had to have plenty of water. We each planned to wear our camelback hydration packs for the entire race. After receiving the rules of the race, we headed to the transition area to rack our bikes and set up all of our gear: helmet, gloves, more water, change of socks, and cherry energy jelly beans.

About an hour later, we received our map, which laid out all of the checkpoints on the course. The entire race was going to be 14-16 miles total - running/trekking, mountain biking, and paddling.At this point, I felt overwhelmed and nervous. I mean - we had no idea where we were and had never been on these trails! We only had an hour and a half to map out our OWN course. Basically, each team was designing their own race!

The main rules:

  • You had to hit all 6 numbered checkpoints in numerical order.
  • You could visit colored checkpoints at any time, but must go to 6 out of 8 colored checkpoints.
  • Each of the numbered and colored checkpoints had rules associated with them. For example, you could only trek/run to Checkpoint 1 (CP1).
  • You didn't have to use the trails and could go off course to find shortcuts.
For the next hour or so, Kevin and I mapped out our course of attack. Once we got through this and had our course mapped out, I felt more confident and knew we would make it and were going to have a blast. Kevin carried the list above and our map the entire way in a ziploc bag attached to his camelback. Since I was our team navigator, I could easily grab it off his back when we needed to refer to the map.

Around 9am, I was hungry and ate a Lemon/Vanilla/Cashew Clif Nectar bar to make sure I had enough energy. At 9:50am, all of the teams headed to the start, but it was crazy to think that people were going to be headed off in all different directions!!

Before we knew it - it was 10am and we were OFF....

Part 2...will be coming as soon as the race pictures and results are posted. I really want to show you the pictures of the course as I talk about it. We didn't carry a camera, but I wish we had so I would have pictures to share now.

As a side note: My new job is going great, but I am very busy since I am new and trying to learn everything. The days are flying by and I am loving it, but it doesn't leave much downtime during the day.

I will be back as soon as the photos and results are posted!!! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend...



5 Updates/Annoucements

Well hello there!

I wanted to pop in and give a few updates/announcements:

1. I received some Buitoni ravioli from Foodbuzz that I am very excited to try them. They are waiting in my freezer until I have time to sample and blog about them!

2. I also received samples of Better Whey Yogurt from Kasey which I also plan on sampling and blogging about very soon.

3. Go over to Erin's Blog - I Walk in This World and participate in her Auction and Bake Sale which supports the fight against Cancer. I donated #16, so for all of you who don't have a Trader Joes nearby - and want to try some things - I promise, you will like it AND it is customizable for any allergies.

These vacuum fried banana chips, for instance, are one of TJ's new products - 1/2 the fat and really delicious

4. The Greenhorn Adventure Race is THIS WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!! Kevin and I are excited, but I am nervous about the Canoe portion since we never did a practice run in a canoe...together. BUT, since this is our first, we are doing it for fun and the experience. SO, that is what I need to remind myself if we happen to end up swimming in the lake. :)

5. Thank you SO much for all your Good Luck wishes on my new job. The position is a big step UP for me, which is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. The training is going well so far, but I can tell the job will be challenging. I plan to continue blogging regularly, but it may be less frequent - at least in the beginning while I get adjusted to my new responsibilities.

I really miss reading all of your blogs, but my brain is currently filled to the brim with new information, so I am going to head to the couch and decompress.

Here is a random OSCAR picture from this past fall for you dog lovers out there. Tired Dog = Happy Dog.
Have a wonderful week!



What A Difference A Week Makes...

This past week, I didn't run once. It was hard, but I wanted to give my hamstring a much needed break. Saturday, I went running, but didn't plan to go very far. Well, I ended up running 6 miles and my hamstring didn't give me any problems. Yes! Maybe it was the oatmeal I had before the run.

Oats, skim milk, honey, unsweetened coconut, cashew butter, dried bing cherries

I came home and kept my workout going with some core/upper body lifting. I have been loosely following Jililan Michael's No Trouble Zones workout, but omitting anything that uses my hamstring. I used my 5 pound weights for most of the exercises, so my arms are really sore today!

A week or so ago, I won my first contest over at Julie GoLean's blog! I got a box filled with some great stuff!
Blueberry Crisp Clif bar - never tried this flavor and look forward to it.
Better'n Peanut Butter. 85% less fat than regular stuff. I couldn't wait, so I opened it and took a quick taste. It was much sweeter than I expected and I think it will be great in oatmeal.
This chocolate looks incredible and I can NOT wait to try it...dipped in the peanut butter!
Never noticed this salsa in Trader Joes before, but I am already a fan. Actually, I am eating it with tortilla chips as I type. yum.
YouBar! I have been wanting to try these for so long - cant wait to open this.
Another exciting bar that I cant wait to try...
There were so many other goodies in the box: Popcorn, tea, fruit leather, gum, etc, etc. I am STOCKED. Last, but certainly not least was this workout mix CD that I brought in my car so Kevin and I could jam out. Great mix of music...Thanks for everything Julie!
Something completely off topic, but exciting is that I got a stained glass transom installed this past week above my front door. A neighbor of mine, who also has a blog, had one installed a few weeks back and I decided to be a "Me Too Iguana". The designer is very talented. After meeting with him to discuss the design, colors, etc. - he made this beautiful custom design and installed it, all for an extremely reasonable price.

My new job starts tomorrow (!!!), so hopefully I won't drop off the face of the earth, but in case I do - please know I am still reading your blogs - even if I am not commenting.

Can you see the sun shining in that picture above?! I hope everyone else enjoyed the nice weather this weekend and had some fun.



Baltimore Blogger Meet-up

Last night, I headed out to Abbey Burger Bistro in Federal Hill for the Baltimore Blogger Meet-up. I got to meet Rose, Ashley, Claire, and her husband Dan. It was so nice to finally meet everyone after reading their blogs for months now!

I felt so badly for Jasmine, who was attempting to drive up from Northern VA, because she got stuck in horrible traffic for hours and never made it. Hope to meet you next time!

It seemed like everyone is training for an upcoming race so we talked a lot about running, training, races, and food! I was trying to recruit everyone to sign up for the Zooma 10k or half marathon that is coming up at the end of May in Annapolis. Well, except Dan, of course, because it's an all-female race. :)

I started off with my old standby, Bud Light, which went down very fast, probably because of my nerves about meeting new people. I ordered a second one, but only took about 2 sips before our food arrived and I couldn't fit anymore beer.

We each custom ordered our burgers using a checklist they provide with every type of topping, meat, bread, cheese you could imagine.

My burger included:

  • chicken
  • lincolnshire cheddar
  • bib lettuce
  • tomato
  • cucumber
  • sprouts
  • mushrooms
  • herb yogurt (on the side)

It was delicious and OF COURSE I ordered sweet potato fries on the side. (sorry for the blurry shot)Overall, it was a fun time with some cool people. Looking forward to the next one - maybe we can all meet for a run?! :)

This is my last day at my current job, so some co-workers are taking me out to lunch for sushi! Cant wait.

Happy Friday everyone.

**Updated to add**

Head over to Erin's blog to support a great cause and enjoy delicious things. Can it get better than that?




It has been a rainy mess in Baltimore for the past few days and that means I have felt pretty "blah". Weather has a way of doing that to my mood. Thank goodness the sun is out today in full force and it is supposed to be a great weekend.


Some food highlights and lowlights from the past few days....

The other day I was talking to Kevin on the way home from work and was in a foul mood because of the traffic that occurs when rainy weather hits this area. I was also hungry. That can be a bad combo for me. I came home and found this...
This guy is good. :) Whole wheat pita w/ cashew butter, honey, and chocolate chip smiley face.

Lunch yesterday was supposed to be Shrimp Summer Rolls from Trader Joes refrigerated section. They were horrible. It said they were good for another two weeks or something, but the lettuce inside was brown and the shrimp was slimey. yuck.
Dinner last night was seared scallops and steamed brussels w/ garlic. Oh and a small amount of leftover rice noodles w/ peanut sauce, but they looked like brains, so I left that picture out.

I picked up the Green Tea flavor of Mochi from Trader Joes and am sorry to say they were SO bad. It tasted like freezer burn, so I am thinking it had been sitting for awhile. The outside rice doughy stuff was hard - and it should be stretchy and gooey. ughh. I still ate it for some reason that I can not explain.
I tried a new flavor of CLIF nectar bars - Cherry Pomegranate. I love the nectar bars - big chunks of nuts all throughout and a great chewy texture.
The ripest mango I have ever eaten was consumed today. They were on sale for 99 cents each, so I bought one. Is that even good? I don't buy them enough to know.
But seriously, so sweet and juicy - my desk is a sticky mess now. Oh well, my last day is tomorrow. ha!


I decided the take the week off from running to try and let my hamstring rest a little bit so I can make the best decision about whether to do a marathon this year. Also, I am competing in my first Adventure race next weekend, so I want my hamstring to be ready!

I have been doing other forms of cardio (arc trainer, biking, rowing) as well as more lifting than usual.

Saturday, Kevin and I have plans to do a run and then rent a canoe to practice our skills (or see if we have any) for the adventure race. It should be comical.


Tonight is the Baltimore Blogger Meetup @ Abbey Burger Bistro in Federal Hill. Be there at 6pm. I cant wait to meet some of you!



5 Ingredient Dinner Equation

Here is the equation for the 5 Ingredient Dinner I made last night that is Quick, Easy, Healthy & Delicious.

  1. Thai Style Pasta/Rice Sticks - boil according to package directions, drain, then add to Veggie/Shrimp mixture at the end.
  2. Frozen Stir-Fry Veggies - Saute according to package directions.
  3. Frozen, Shelled, Deveined, Shrimp. Saute w/ veggies, but add at the last minute - cook until they turn pink.
  4. Satay Peanut Sauce. Add 3-4 spoonfuls to hot veggie/shrimp mixture. Stir to coat.
  5. Sriracha Hot Chile Sauce. Add 1 squirt to Veggie/Shrimp/Satay mixture for a little kick. The more you add, the spicier it will be. Be forewarned - this stuff is HOT!
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 = Shrimp/Veggie Pad Thai-esque Dinner (or 15 for you math folks)

It would be even better with crushed, roasted peanuts on top, but I was all out. Even so, it can be described in one word - YUM.




Easter Greetings

It is becoming my "thing" to disappear for the weekends and then come back with a recap. It's Easter Sunday, so to all that celebrate - Happy Easter!

A big THANK YOU to Molly at POM Wonderful for sending me a copy of this book - Rubies in the Orchard. I am excited to read about the POM History.


I have been keeping up with my workouts pretty well:

  • Thursday - 3.1 mile run. (intended to do 6, but my hamstring had something to say about that, so I decided to listen)
  • Friday - 30 min arc trainer, 2000 meters on the rowing machine
  • Saturday - walk around DC (this counts as a workout!)
  • Sunday - run very easy 2 miles - I felt the hamstring, but it wasn't unbearable. Modified Jillian Michaels workout to only work core and upper body.


I will be creating two separate restaurant reviews for Annabel Lee Tavern in Baltimore, MD and this Thai place that I cant remember the name of in Arlington, VA. Here are some of my other food highlights from the past few days.

Thursday was pizza and salad night.After I took this photo, I added a spoonful of hummus in the mix because I wasn't in the mood for any of the salad dressings we had on hand.Pizza from Trader Joes was delicious, but definitely smaller than I expected. That was probably a good thing though.I had 3 small slices and thought it tasted a lot like "delivery". ;)

Skipping ahead to Saturday's highlights...Kevin grilled up some tilapia he had been marinating and we put together these quick fish tacos for lunch with what we had on hand.
Grilled corn tortillas, grilled tilapia, lettuce, lime juice, plain greek yogurt, and hot sauce (added later).

I had plans to go check out the cherry blossoms with friends in DC on Saturday, but it had poured all morning and early afternoon, so we weren't sure it would happen. But, it looked like it was clearing up when we entered the metro and when we came out - the sun was breaking through.
We had some gorgeous views.
Easter Sunday/pre-workout oats were pretty basic: oats, skim milk, honey, unsweetened coconut, sliced banana, and cashew butter.
Wait a second - the cashew butter is something new for me. I picked this up and enjoyed it, but it can't compete with my all-time favorite: almond butter. This is unsalted and I definitely miss the salt.
Easter wouldn't be complete without a little candy. A Reese's Peanut Butter Egg to be exact. I savored every bite of this beauty.
Puurrty Easter tulips.
I hope everyone enjoyed their weekends...and I look forward to catching up on the hundreds of posts I have sitting in my Google Reader. That's what Monday mornings at work are for, right?! ha - j/k...maybe....not.



Gummy Pills

You guys are so freakin supportive - it still kind of blows my mind. But, thank you for all your great comments about the marathon and my new job! I am still deciding on the marathon. A run is planned for tonight, so hopefully my hamstring doesn't give me any issues.

Wednesday PM

I decided to take the night off from working out. Instead, my night was spent taking a walk in the park with Oscar, dusting the house, doing laundry, running an errand, and then making dinner.

Tofu Stir-fry was on the menu, but I decided to use fresh veggies instead of my normal frozen stir-fry veggies. It took a little more time, but I think it tasted better in the end.

Broccoli and sugar snap peas went into a steaming hot pan with 1 T of EVOO and a clove of chopped garlic. I eventually added a little salt, black pepper, ground ginger, toasted sesame oil, red curry paste, and a splash of Soyaki.

Meanwhile, tofu was baking in the oven. I drizzled the pressed, sliced tofu with Soyaki from TJs. (I feel sorry for whoever has to clean that pan. All I know is that whoever cooks - the other one cleans up. Sorry Kevin.)
I mixed the veggies w/ the baked tofu and topped with scallions and roasted peanuts.

Voila! The flavor on this turned out just right and I really wish I had measured the spices so that I could re-create it. Next time, I would add more veggies - carrots and water chestnuts would be good.
Dessert was the last mango mochi ice cream. I am probably heading over to Trader Joes during my lunch break today to pick up more. I love them.

Thursday AM

I realized that I haven't had oatmeal in awhile. When I feel rushed in the morning, I usually just grab a greek yogurt and cereal to mix in at work. But my new green bowl has been calling my name, so I finally made time to use it.
In the oatmeal mix: oats, skim milk, honey, unsweetened coconut, roasted almonds, dried bing cherries, and a spoonful of White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter.

The dried bing cherries really made this version of oats taste delish - they are plumper than raisins and have a nice tart flavor. yum.

OK - does anyone else hate taking big pills? I really don't like swallowing any type of pills, but I especially hate the big multivitamins. Well, guess what I found at Trader Joes? Gummy Multivitamins!!

I love all types of gummy candy, so to be able to eat gummies and know I am getting vitamins - I am SOLD. My shadow, a.k.a - Oscar, thinks they are a treat for him. :)


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