I miss you Vala…

My sweet baby is gone.  My soul mate.  Vala mal Doran, my Tibetan Mastiff was much more than just a dog.  She was my confidant, my heart, my trusty companion, she was always there for me when I needed her.  I will miss her every day.  No more the wagging tail and expectant smile when I drive into the yard. There is a blank spot there now.  Just the darkness of the Alaskan winter, not the golden beauty that waited patiently for me every day.

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Im am heartbroken that some horrible person took your life without thought or mercy. You did not deserve to be shot, you were a kind soul.  I can only think that for those few minutes how hurt and scared you were and my heart breaks to think that you were alone and scared. I wish I could have been with you so that you would know just how much I love you and I would have done my best to hold back the darkness.

I remember you sweet baby face the first day you came home.  You were the prettiest animal I had ever seen.  I was in love. I couldn’t let you out of my sight.  You had the sweetest disposition I had ever seen in a Tibetan Mastiff. Like your namesake, you used your absolute beauty to charm and wiggle your way into everyones heart. You loved your people fiercely and were the most loyal of protectors, though you were just the most sweetest lovable creature on earth.

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No matter how bad things got, you were always there for me.  With a doggie lick and a smile you made everything better.  You were my rock when my marriage broke down and everything came tumbling down.  I held you tight when the sadness would overcome me.  I would bury my face into your soft fur and know everything would be okay.  You smelled like sunshine and happiness.  What I would give to be able to do that just one more time.

This week and well the last 9 months have been so hard.  Not only did I lose you, but by a churlish twist I lost even more.  How I wished you were there to listen to me pour my heart out about the loss of someone who was important to me. Reeling from the loss of my sweet golden girl, I was faced with another loss, that still none the less hurt.  At that moment I wished more than ever you were here to comfort me.

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I will miss you so very much. There is a giant hole in my heart right now.  I will miss your sweet kisses, how you always would sleep on the bed and hog all the covers.  I will miss how you would sleep in with me on the weekends and how breakfast was the best meal of the day. I will miss the feel of your fur and the silkiness of your sable ears. I will even miss the shrubbery you used to drag in the house attached to your tail and pants. In my eyes you were perfect and I wouldn’t change a single thing.

I will remember you always and I look forward to the day when I see you again.

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Beach to Battleship Ironman 70.3 PreRace

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I have arrived in the little gem of a town Wilmington, North Carolina. I braved interstate 40 and Hwy 74 to get here.  Of course my flight arrived into RDU just in time to hit the peak of rush hour traffic.

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To add insult to injury my rental car, which was brand new, decided to take a digger about a mile outside of the rental agency.  So back I had to truck to the agency to wait for another car to be available.  But the agent hooked me up with a nice upgrade, which was nice not having to worry about if the bike box would fit or not!

After a quick pit stop overnight at my mom’s house, I was on my way to Wilmington finally.  This trip is bitter sweet, a race I was so pumped for in June has slowly become an Albatros hanging heavily around my neck. A IT band injury after Santa Claus Half Marathon that was further aggravated by my running Ragnar Great River (which was awesome and worth it) set my training back 5 weeks. Which luckily wasn’t so bad since I have been training since December for this race and already had a strong base to pull from. That along with personal turmoil rollercoaster, the prospect of cross country travel and peak racing were daunting at best. Up to the day that I flew out of Fairbanks I was questioning if I should even go.  I still am questioning if I should have traveled.  Another cross country race, shleping my gear alone through the airport…. which is par for the course.  I can only hope racing well will clear my mind.

The worst part of the day so far was humping my giant bike box up these stairs!  My apartment is part of the Momentum Surf Shop, thank you Hunter for hooking me up with your place!

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I checked into Ironman Village got my gear and only half listened to the athlete briefing.  Which of course led to furious texts to my high school friend Charlie, who is also doing the race, questions about transitions and bag drops 🙂  Thank goodness he is much smarter than I am. I am slowly trying to get my bags packed tonight. Which means I have gear strewn all over my apartment.

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I hit up dinner at the Front Street Brewery.  Food was meh, but the beer was cold and free.  I sat at the bar and for the length of the bar all you could see were people wearing blue and orange Ironman arm bands. These are my people!  The gentleman sitting beside me, John from Atlanta, was great dinner company.  We talked about Triathlons and tech gear.  As a gear head, I was right in my element.  As a single traveler its always nice to meet new people.  The bartender was even more awesome, as he bought my beers for me. Which totally made up for the food being kinda crappy.

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After dinner its time to walk off the carbs!  I took a short walk up and down the river walk. Enjoying the 80 degree sunshine. Race day will be much cooler at around 63 for a high, so its best to enjoy it while you can. Saw lots of athletes walking and running the river walk, along with the normal homeless people.  I did sit down and talked with the lady that was sitting near the coast guard boat. She was a hoot and very friendly.  She offered me some of her dinner and some of her hooch!  I did decline 🙂

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Even got a great shot of the sun setting behind the Battleship NC.

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And this one: Sorry for the lens flare, but my lens is cracked.

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And last but not least was the apple pie ice cream!

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Back to my apartment and time to put Frank together.  I love my Cervelo P2, its fast, light and beautiful.  Frank has been an awesome bike. I am so glad that Bree trusted me with him years ago 🙂

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Tomorrow I gear check my T1 and T2 bags along with my Frank.  I hope to get this done early so I have the remainder of the day to relax, explore, and take in the Ironkids race in the afternoon.

I am hoping that I have an awesome race non the less.  I need this personal victory to overcome the set backs of 2016.  Learning that a friend you thought were there for you, were not, and have actively made your life harder, the break up of a 4 year relationship, the fits and starts of trying again, and moving have all made 2016 a year of transitions.  I like to think that I have made it through T1 and T2 and now all I have to do I propel past the finishing line and everything will fall into place. A simplified analogy, but fitting.

Onward and forward to Saturday!

-Suze

Happy Independence Day Ya’ll

Happy Independence weekend everyone.  Not just a long weekend, in which for me is a 4 day weekend, but a time to reflect as well as enjoy.

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This weekend I am taking to to reflect on myself and my own personal independence while also doing my part to give back to the community.

Today I participated in the nationwide event the RWB Eagle Charge.  Hosted by RWB which is an amazing veterans outreach group, read more here at TeamRWB.  And one can sign up for the eagle charge here, EagleCharge!. Today we celebrated not only Independence Day, but veteran enrichment and personal achievements.

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TeamRWB – Fairbanks

I am lucky to be involved with this amazing group. We run, triathlon, read books, help the veteran community, and provide outreach to the greater community.  It truly is a life changing group.  We are a glorious mix of active servicemen, veterans, spouse, and civilians.  We are open to all. My dad proudly served in the United States Army and retired with honours after a long career. Now it is my turn to give back in a capacity that fits who I am.

The weather held for the duration of the event. And well as usual me and my buddy Cassie made sure we got our pre-race selfie in.

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Then off we go most of us choosing the 4 miler, with one lone 7 miler.  Of course we chose a hilly course, because a challenge can only make us stronger right? Scott, one of our Marines, was the lucky flag bearer for the start.

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The route was pretty simple and I think we all had a great time.  I was the red lantern in the 4 miler finishing in 42 minutes.  Overall, not my best but far from my worst 🙂

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Thats a hill!

All in all it was a pretty darn good day and a good turnout at GoldStream Sports on a rainy, grey day.

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Cassie and I post race w/Old Glory

Cassie and I posed for one final photo, we do love a camera, with Old Glory.

Have a great holiday weekend, get outside, do some personal reflection, and give thanks for the great country we live in which affords us with so many choices and freedoms. Focus on the good things and find positive way to affect change and to support all of the things that are close to our heart.  This weekend I celebrate personal freedoms and having the ability to be and live our lives in way that is meaningful to our selves.

 

 

Hungarian Mushroom Soup is Perfect Recovery Food!

I woke up this morning to over an inch of new snow 😦 Winter has a funny way of holding on tight here in the sub arctic.  Since today I was home bound with endless amounts of homework I decided to make my favourite soup, Hungarian Mushroom.

This will be perfect recovery food for my sore legs as well.  Yesterday was our first 5K of the season.  I did a little better than I expected but still not up to my speed prior to breaking my foot.  I enjoyed a great time with my awesome running buddies.  This is a great start to the season. I was hoping to rock out some new spring outfits, but mother nature did not agree and decided that it was going to be 26 degrees! I only got this one snap of Pat, me and Heidi. I missed getting Skye and Tom in on the photo.

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INKnBURN Healing Mandala and Run or Die kept me toasty warm

Now….on to the soup!

This soup is not the prettiest to look at but it is amazing.  Like most Hungarian Mushroom soups it is loosely based on the Moosewood Cookbook version, which is where this soup was first concocted.  And the best thing is that you most likely have the ingredients on hand in the crisper and pantry. My version is a lower carb version. As most everyone knows I follow a low carb lifestyle, so I try to make this as low carb as possible.

  • 1-2 pounds of sliced mushroom (more the better) I like cremeni
  • 1 cup of finely chopped white onions or any onion but red ones!
  • 1 large clove finely chopped garlic, use FRESH or not at all
  • 3 cups of low sodium chicken or veggie broth, or use half and half.
  • 1/2 cup of heavy or regular whipping cream mixed with 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Hungarian Sweet Paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Spanish Sweet Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of course ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of course ground sea salt (more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of Dill weed
  • 1/4 cup of full fat sour cream (you could use lowfat or full fat greek yogurt) Do not use anything fat free, its just weird
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • Juice of half a small Lemon for garnish

Step 1:  In a heavy stock, soup, or dutch oven melt a small amount of butter or olive oil (your choice) and saute the onions for a few minutes (make sure not to brown them) then add the mushrooms.  Saute till mushrooms are soft and onions translucent.  Then add the garlic.

Step 2: Add in the paprika and stir. I like to toast it and cook it a little before I add in the chicken stock. Then add the rest of the spices, minus the parsley.

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I may not be pretty…..

Step 3: Add in the soy and your stock of choice. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes covered

Step 4: Add in the cream and water mixture. Simmering again for 10-15 minutes, I leave it uncovered from here on out.

Step 5: Remove from heat, wait about 5 minutes and add in the sour cream.  You need to let it cool just a little so that the sour cream doesn’t curdle.

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Almost done 🙂

Step 6: Add in the lemon juice and add the parsley. Now check for seasoning and add salt and more pepper as needed.

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I may not be the prettiest but I am tasty

Normally I will serve this with a side of a small protein for myself, like a small half of a grilled chicken breast.  Today I was serving it to someone else, so I added in a toasted piece of ciabatta bread to finish it off.  If you leave off the bread the carb count is low’ish.  Probably around 10-12 net for six servings. But for me this make 4 decent dinner sized portions.  Removing the flour and the whole milk (subbing in diluted cream) and reducing the number of onions by half, really cut back on the number of carbs.

This is perfect as a side dish or a dinner soup on a cold day.  It is one of my most favourite soups to make.

 

Beware the Ides of March.

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Today may not have been a great day for the mighty Caesar but around here its a pretty good day.  I may even have a Caesar Salad and I promise to not stab the dressing in the back in frustration when I can’t get the darn safety seal off!  Not only the Ides of March but St. Patricks day is also coming up. This week is coming up green.

Another bright spot is that it snowed!  Well….okay maybe it was just a skiff but it gives me hope that we just maybe will get one more good snow before it all melts away.

St. Patty’s run is this weekend but its going to be way to cold for me to wear my new awesome INKnBurn Lucky Charms 2 skirt. I might just wear it anyways over a pair of fleece tights because its so awesome.  I will just have to dig out a green pullover to finish off the look and a hat, some kind of awesome hat.

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So Green and awesome!

It is also an amazing week here at work.  Arctic Science Summit Week 2016 is being hosted here at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Hundreds of amazing Arctic Researchers, NGO’s, Industry, Government, and academia, from all over the globe are here along with the Arctic Council Senior Officials meeting.  The whole campus is abuzz with excitement! Even our former fearless leader came from Vienna to participate in this incredible collaborative summit.

It is ramping up to be extremely busy and I am trying to get ahead of everything in the  next three weeks before I leave for Kona!  I cannot wait to enjoy the sun and tropical island.  Midterms are next week and the Sonot Ski Marathon is the weekend after that. Whew a lot is going on and time management is killing  me right now.

Ive been good about keeping the workouts in other than swimming.  The pool schedule here is too crazy over spring break for me to manage. And indoor cycling gets harder and harder.  Being in San Diego last month really made to long for being out on the open road with my trusty Wendy (my Cervelo P2).

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one hour feels like ten

 

Thankfully I have Friday off to catch up on school and midterm work….And I hope to get in at least one long run this week!