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.

 

 

Post Holiday Let Down

I am suffering from the dreaded post holiday let down.  How can you go from tropical beautiful Hawaii back to a still transitioning from winter Alaska with out going through withdrawl?

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Mountain to Ocean view…

I left that, to come home to this…..A grey wasteland

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Time to get to get back to real life.  The semester for me is all done, just a few grades left then the freedom of summer at least for 3 weeks until summer session starts. I am taking this time to focus on my running.

I had a great run last night, it was short, 4 miles, but I was really able to work on my pace.  Prior to my injury I was running sub 10 and in January of this year I was running about 12:35.  Well I have been working hard on my stand alone runs and have been able to consistently run right at 10:45. So I have made progress.  By the end of the season I hope to be able to get back to at least a round 10:00 per mile.  Its going to take a lot of hard work. And the 10 pounds lost so far have been a big help I am sure.

I have one big goal race in October, Beach to Battleship Ironman and one additional goal of getting in an ultra somewhere.  A suggestion from friend, Tasha, has me looking at the Tunnel Hill 100 in October, but dang why does it have to be the weekend after Ironman?  I guess the search goes on to find a good friendly 50, 100 or even another 24 hour race to fill out my schedule.  Do to conflict I will not be able to attend the North Coast 24 hour endurance run again this year.

I am inspired to run. My Girls on the Run ladies are awesome and inspire me every day to keep going.  These young ladies give it their all each practice and that makes my heart happy. I wish so much that I had a program like that when I was that age.  We had a fund raiser for GOTR in conjunction with our 5K Run for Respect and I was amazed at how many came to run our race.  The community here is strong and giving.

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This amazing young volunteer gave high 5’s to everyone!

I have my first Alaska Triathlon this weekend.  I am hoping all my hard work has paid off and I can better my time from last year by 5 minutes. That is my goal. Five minutes, I think thats doable.  I guess we will find out and I will report back 🙂

 

…and so begin the nerves

It’s not often I get apprehensive about a race. But for some reason I am very apprehensive about Lavaman.  I wish I could say it was the distance I need to travel to get there, Alaska to Hawaii, but that not it. I often travel far and wide to race.  Just last month I traveled to San Diego with all of my tri gear to practice with my amazing So. Cal Triathlon Club.

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This will be my first “real” triathlon since I broke my foot last summer at the Nevada Lamoille Canyon Marathon. That really derailed my training a lot. I still completed a Half Ironman with that broken foot, which in hindsight was not the smartest thing I have done. I also kept biking and swimming, which were all okay with my doctor.  I really really have not gotten back into full on running shape.  It’s been HARD, so HARD.

Ive dropped the 15 extra pounds and that still hasn’t effected my pace, still finding myself slow at around 10:45 per minute.  Sigh, still a lot of work ahead of me to get back to where I was before.

My trusty steed is all packed and secured.  I love my Thule Round Trip Traveler bike box.  It is amazing. Wendy, my amazingly awesome Cervelo P2 is all tucked in nicely waiting for the long haul over the Pacific. May she arrive safely with no drama.

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Snug as a bug in a rug.

Wetsuit or no Wetsuit? I guess I will be taking mine but not sure if its worth wearing it.  It often impedes my stroke. The water should be just under the USAT limit.  My other Tri Club here in Alaska is suggesting a wetsuit and most of them are already on the Big Island and are training with their suits.  I guess I will make the call on race day depending on how the surf is. If its churning then I will go with the wetsuit for the extra floatation, if its glass I will not wear it.

I also got a new triathlon suit. A shout out to Triflare. They make the most fun and amazing prints.  Even though I look like a busted can of biscuits, I will post a photo. If I can’t post it here then how the heck do I plan on wearing it out in public 🙂  My Tri It Together club kit didn’t get to me in time, so I headed down to BodyPhlo in Anchorage this weekend and picked up this beauty.

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more like 7lbs stuffed in a 5lb bag 🙂

I know that I have this in the bag.  I know the heat will be killer for this Alaskan just coming off winter. I know its a short course, Olympic Distance and I know if worse comes to worse I know I can at least finish.  But I want all these hours in the pool, treadmill and bike trainer all winter to add up to something.

I need to shake off these nerves and get to packing all my gear.  This year I have smartened up.  No more taking nice clothes to the island. My bag will be full of nothing but my tri stuff, swimsuits, and my INKnBurn shorts and tanks 🙂  I might as well look good while keeping cool and well it packs so much nicer than my other clothes.

Onward and forward to Sunday….Wish me godspeed and goodluck!

 

 

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.

 

Spring Break!!!!

As my friend T. would say, Sweet Baby Cthulhu, its Spring Break Week. Heading into the tail end of the week we got a day off, WOOT.  So not only as a student did I get a break from class but as a Uni employee I got Friday off!  So instead of sleeping in and drinking my weight in coffee, I hauled my tail to my office anyway. Time to catch up on all of the homework that I have been avoiding for weeks.  Deadlines ticking in the background, I had to put my nose down and actually do the work.

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relax….it will be okay

Whew, this class is harder than I thought it would be.  Advanced International Macro Economics.  I have a great professor thankfully who is super organized and expectations and due dates are clearly outlined.  If not for this and the fact she is in tune with the progress of the class I am not sure I would be able to make it through. I spent all day reviewing the lectures, which I took weeks ago, and finished my questions.  Whew. I do think that I understand it better now.

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WOOT, I am done baby!

To celebrate my completion of the long over due homework I took a stroll around campus.  It warmed up nicely from the -17 in the am to a brisk 24 (above) by 3 pm.  I so love the view from the West Ridge of Campus.  I totally love our campus. Its small but amazing in a lot of ways. When the sky is clear you can see the Alaska Range behind me and there are amazing ski trails right behind my office. What more could you want. As I walk around our campus I can only think about our future.

As a student and employee of the University of Alaska I feel very protective of our institution, from Juneau-Anchorage-Fairbanks-Rural sites.  Right now we are at a crucial time.  The State of Alaska is cutting our funding putting world class education at jeopardy. World class instruction and training are more important than ever in our geographically isolated state.  Not to mention the impact it has on jobs, the community, and beyond.  It is time to speak up to our representative and let them know how important our University system is to the state, not just in our 3 main locations but all of the rural sites that we serve!  We all want to do our part to balance to State budget, but we can’t destroy the systems that we have.  Alaska is isolated enough as it is, cutting off our main avenue of Higher Education and Occupational training is crazy. As the oil field go idle with this low oil prices, occupational re-training is going to be essential to the continued economic growth of our beautiful state. (These are my opinions, not the University of Alaska)

I urge you to visit The Alaska State Legislature to find your local representative or make a general testimony and voice your opinion on the value of the University of Alaska and higher education and training.