Fair Daze... The Yummy, the hot, and the ill-advised

Amanda called me last night and said that we should go see the fair. (For those of you not in Minnesota, the State Fair is such a big deal, the state department of education requires all schools including the University of Minnesota to wait until after the last day of the Fair to start class.)

It was hot today. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Just saying.

I got up and headed over to Amanda's. On my way I stopped to get cash and somehow broke my shades. One more thing that'll be harder to replace since I can't go to Target. (I don't know how long the "no Target" rule is going to last. Right now, it's just an experiment.) Oooh, maybe Marshall's or Kohl's would be a good place to get shades. Ok.

Amanda remembered that her job is like two blocks from one of the main gates and she has a parking pass. So we got fantastic parking. Awesomely both of us also remembered to bring our water bottles.

First order of business: French Fries Breakfast - which just happened to be French Fries, Amanda's favorite fair food. Thank you too!

After French Fries, we headed over to the barns. The earlier the better for the barns. Today they were shearing sheep. This year it seemed there weren't very many chickens as there were in previous years. We did see rabbits and hares (yes, I can tell you the difference).

Don't know what's going on here:

But let's look at some birds. Look at the feet on that one.

Yes, that hen is taking a nap.

Gobble gobble gobble.

Amanda made this decision, which was interesting considering how typically well equipped the fair is.

Ill-advised moment number one:

Amanda wanted to see the big horses. Which are really big. I have a lot of respect for the fact their back feet face out into the aisles and my head is at a perfect kicking angle. They're really quite gentle. Which is insane. Because they're huge.

Cows were next. Mooo!

Followed by oinkers! Funny that I had my flying pig shirt on. (That comes up later today too.)

Spam: the Minnesota meat.

This lead us to the health fair building for our annual blood pressure/pulse war. Amanda has a lower blood pressure but my pulse rocks. While one of the lovely volunteers from the American Red Cross was taking my blood pressure, someone from another booth came over and made a general question "is anyone here a nurse? there's someone over there who needs help" at which point both Amanda and my lady sprang into action. Soon several police officers and paramedics arrived on the scene. About the time the medics pulled out the IVs I got up and walked over to the police officers so I didn't have to watch anything that would've made me pass out. This lead to one of the officers asking about the Flying Pig half marathon and some general flirting. Eventually, Amanda got done helping the person and we went on our way.

The fair is like another world sometimes. People grow things and make things and raise animals. It's the opposite of my life. (Oh shoot, I forgot to water my plant...) They also have tractors which are apparently collectible.

Another fair requirement of Amanda's is corn on the cob. It was my first year of corn, not so bad actually.

We did some more stuff; the Eco building (which lost most of it's luster now that my Kitchen is done), the international bazaar, and one of the parades. Next we hit the agriculture building, mmmm apples.

We headed over to the space tower which was closed "due to typical maintenance". For some reason, I thought the sky gondolas wouldn't bother me and we should do that instead.

No one knows why.

We had round trip tickets. We got off at the other end of the fair grounds and walked back.

Nice thing about the long walk back was we felt it earned us some funnel cakes.

Here we are, long hot fun day at the fair.

Now I'm laying at home feeling sunburned and needing to clean before Amanda and my pooky bear show up at 10am tomorrow morning.


Did I tell you about the boat ride?

Once a year my team from work takes a boat ride as sort of a de-stressing, let's enjoy each other kind of activity. We went on Monday and had a wonderful time. A couple members of the team couldn't make it (sorry boss, don't know how we picked a day you couldn't come) and we missed them. It was hot out, but the sun was fantastic and made for great pictures.

Sunglasses - too funny.

She takes a great picture!

I do believe that's Pike Island a beautiful if ill-surface place to go for a run.

I love this picture. I accidentally zoomed in before I took it but I think it turned out great anyway.



Huh, I just got a notification from Blogger that they've enabled spam checking for comments, so I went to my inbox. It was then that I realized no one has commented on my blog since May. Sad. Here's the LinkFest for you...


Long Run Wednesday: Food Please!

This morning, I ran 15 miles in the blissfully cool late summer air. The run itself was fairly not noteworthy. I played with my pace a little and learned some more about, um, digestion management. I'm also getting much better at hydration (yes, I did have to fill up my water bottles) which has been positive.

When I got back I had a leisurely ice bath. I had a minor freakout when I realized it takes, oh, 10 seconds to wash my hair now. How did I ever run with long hair? Then I made coffee, picked up contacts at the doctor's office (they managed to screw up the order by not calling me back like I asked), and headed in to work.

Keep in mind that at this point, I've run 15 miles and while I did a good job of nutrition on the run, there's been no actual food.

So, I showed up at work and endured experienced the looks, comments, touches, etc. over the new hair. Then I went to check messages. Message number 3 of 8 (or so) tells me basically I have to put someone in a nursing home TODAY. Talked to my boss, called this person back and made an appointment for 1200 to speak in person. (Mercifully messages 4-8 had basically that same information.)

Somewhere in there I managed to heat up oatmeal but I still hadn't actually eaten any of it. By this time, I'm late for my 11am appointment who is sitting waiting for me at my office. (Wow, that oatmeal looks good.)

After my 1100, I inhaled the oatmeal and headed off to see the person who called. Which lead to us all driving to a second location to talk to even more people. Which lead to me not having time to eat lunch. Luckily, I had yogurt and granola in the office. (It's not the same as Chipotle.)

I had about enough time to inhale the yogurt before I had to leave for my 3pm appointment.

Which I got back from just in time to lead Team:Work on a training run. (Week 2 of the couch potato plan.) Yes, I sure did just run 15 miles today. And then only eat oatmeal and yogurt.

After the run, I called my teenager and she agreed (ha!) to have Chinese with me for dinner. (I totally have the calories.) Not it's slightly before 9pm and I'm about to fall asleep where I sit.


193 Miles of Running Fun

Ragnar Great River 2010 was a freaking blast! I refer you to last year's post to get caught up on the experience.

The night before, we all went to Kate's for pictures and van-decoration planning. All our pictures were on the van this year. I love this picture (it was Kate's idea but when she said it, I knew it would cool) but it drives me nuts that I'm holding a gun.

Slightly before the crack of dawn, we all arrived at Kate's and started packing the van before packing ourselves in. That's right. 12 people in one van this year. One team, one van, one smell.

We drove down to Winona before stopping at McDonald's for Sausage McMuffins (it drives me crazy that I ate them but they were surprisingly good for something so bad). Then we did a little van decoration in the parking lot. Comments from customers and staff at McDonald's include:
"Oh, you're from Reno? The humidity here must be driving you nuts." - To me from a customer.
"I thought you were some kind of park rangers" - To me from an older lady with a European accent in the parking lot
"What's the deal?" (or something like that) to Paul from what must have been the Men's Club that meets at McDonald's for coffee.

The siren held up very well but certainly wouldn't have survived the highway speeds on the trip down. There was another team that attempted the siren but theirs fell apart during the race. I forget the team's name. (Sorry.)

This is also where the antics began.

Arriving at the start line, I felt like a celebrity. Great. Tons of people wanted to take their pictures with us. Some remembered us from last year. Some even told us they used our video from last year to recruit people to their teams. (Parents: you may want to watch this before showing it to the kids, depending on their ages.)

We got some of these people who wanted our pictures to take some for us too.

Calisthenics (can be seen in last year's video, go ahead, I'll wait) were bigger and better this year. So much so that when a friend of the team's arrived at the start line two hours after we left, people were still talking about how funny it was.

The starting line is right on the river in Winona. Runners are only in Minnesota for about one mile before crossing into Wisconsin. (See the bridge in the background?)

Just more antics. Is it any wonder people remembered us?

Let the violations and citations begin. The crime: excessive rust. That team actually just duct-taped the crime scene tape to their vehicle and kept it their the whole race. (What do you imagine the duct tape did to their already worn exterior?)

At one of the exchanges we saw a rather serious looking guard who was helping direct traffic. That seriousness was only a facade apparently. When we got out to cheer on our runners he said, "I run our group's blog and I just have to get a picture". Did anyone get the name of the blog? (We should have been cited for that.)

If fashion prizes went to individuals and not the team, this guy gets my vote hands down. I want to know who he is. I heard a rumor he was on one of the other Bolder Options teams.

Directing traffic ::Ahem:: Waiting to give another runner hydration in the 90* uber-humid day.

Having the entire team in one van was nowhere near as dreadful as I was imagining. Sleeping was the hardest part. It was great to be with everyone the entire time.

The thing about being the 11th runner on the team is that I woke up at 4:30am 4:45am and was up all day cheering everyone on, partaking in antics or photographing them, and I didn't get to run until 8:10pm. (Don't ask why I know exactly what time it was.) As with last year, my first run was probably the fastest although not quite as fast as last year. It was uber-humid. Also, it was super buggy. All the moths wanted to fly into my headlight and therefore my face. I almost spit on a passing runner trying to spit some bugs out. (I am sooo sorry. I really didn't mean to do that.)

Then I got into the van and didn't do much (including take pictures) until the morning. We did see one of the other Bolder Options teams. I got to see Maria, the staff person who matched me with my teenager way back in the beginning of time.

People in the van liked to listen to 101.3 and 96.3. I don't typically listen to those stations so I heard some new songs that I liked. The two we heard most often (read: about 20 times each) and provide the soundtrack to this experience are Eminem's 'Love the Way You Lie" and Ke$ha's 'Tik Tok'. I think ultimately they'll both make excellent running songs.

My second leg wasn't nearly as bad as last year. I did a much better job of both hydration (have I mentioned the heat and humidity?) and nutrition than last year. Last year about two miles into my run I wanted to die because I hadn't eaten enough before trying to move. This year, no problem. My second leg, I just run us up a big hill and once we get to the top I stop running and some other runner gets to go down the hill and take the team into Minnesota. I asked the team to wait on the hill somewhere and cheer for me. I didn't see them and figured they couldn't find a legal place to pull off. So I was delighted to see them at the top of the hill. It was really nice of them considering it was so close to the end of my run. The second they saw me they had to pile in the van and get to the exchange so the next runner could get ready.

The other thing about being runner 11 is after I do my second and one other runner goes, people are starting their third legs and finishing their portion of the race (and I get totally jealous). After my second leg is also where I got into dry clothes for the first time and ingested sausage mcmuffin sandwiches from a gas station. (I am so grossed out but they weren't that bad...)

Here's Darshan about to join the D.O.N. club. (I have no idea what D O N stands for. Ryan started it.)

We start going a little nuts when people start finishing their legs of the race. Gotta have more cowbell!

I don't remember Graham being so animated last year. Maybe I just know him better after spending 30 hours in the van together.

Best team name?

Saturday was generally an overcast day. Until about an hour before I started running when the sun came out in full force.

It's true: the third leg is the hardest. I did better on that hill than last year. My goal was to run all the way up it which looking back was unrealistic given my limited hill training and the heat. But still, way better than last year. At mile 2 a co-worker came to cheer for me which was really nice of her. Then my team met me on the other side of the bridge with power-ade. It was so hot. Minneapolis was much better running than St Paul, which was really slow. As I approached the end, I started hauling tail.

Team: "Liz, what are you doing? The van's right here?"
Me: "I just need to walk that off..."
Welcome, Liz, to the D O N club.

After that, we waited for one other runner to bring us home to the Island of Boom. We did stop to give Graham water at the Stone Arch Bridge and Tesha, a runner from last year, came over to see us. She started talking to the group and didn't see me at first. I said something and she turned, saw me, started to give me a big hug before pushing me back and saying, "oh my god, you're wet, did you just finish running". Funniest. Move. Ever.

Here we are at the finish line waiting for our final runner.

All done. Boom!

The medal does still double as a bottle opener, although it's better hidden than last year's model.

Did I mention Bolder Options was the charity for Ragnar Relay this year. Fantastic. Go give them money and tell them I sent you!


Long Run Tuesday: Hydrate and WIN

Today another 20 miler was on tap. (Once again, here's the training program I'm using.)

Last night or the night before, I read this post where the author noted he drank about 72 ounces of water on a 20 mile run. I'm sorry. How much now? It was like a light bulb going off, no wonder I get so sick on long runs, I'm totally dehydrated! Today's hydration plan: drink water whenever I want it and refill the water bottles in the water fountain at Summit and River Pkwy. My secondary goal was to have the water bottles about empty when I arrived at said water fountain.

Here's how the run went:

500am - why is it so early? why is it so dark?
503am - Mmm, peanut butter.
515am - head out into the dark

Minnehaha Parkway - as I came down around the corner onto the parkway I about ran into another runner. Literally. We both screamed.

Lake Nokomis - I got to see the sun coming up over the water. There's a reason it's my happy place.

Back to Minnehaha Parkway - Hmmm. It's still really early. This seems like a good place for my first snack.

Onto the River Parkway in Minneapolis - Slow down! I could feel myself getting excited and starting to go a little faster. It was a gorgeous day. I knew it was going to be a better long run than last time. (It would be hard to have been worse than my last 20 miler.) I did a good job of cooling my jets.

Over Franklin Bridge - I like this bridge. I was even able to river-gaze a little bit without getting dizzy.

Back up the river parkway - it's becoming clear to me that the entire marathon course could charitably be called a 'false flat' meaning it's rolling hills that aren't huge. It really starts to climb on the other side of the river. The pacing was starting to pay off because I handled the hills just fine.

The big hill up to Cretin - Well this is going to be fun at Mile 20! It was the only thing I could think. My plan is just to relax and run the marathon course like that hill doesn't exist. If I pace myself otherwise fine, I'll just see how I feel on that hill.

Up Summit to Snelling - notice how that word "up" is coming more frequently? I did too.

Back to the water fountain - I wish I knew how long that water break took me because it'd give me a better idea of my pace. I love that down hill part of Summit.

Back to the River Parkway - not as down hill as I remember it. My legs were starting to get tired and I could no longer eat the granola bar. On to the Gu packs for me. And on to the water bottles. It was starting to get hot and I was in the sun more on this side of the river.

The Ford Bridge - that was just practice for Saturday afternoon, bringing the Ragnar team into Minneapolis!

Minnehaha Parkway, again - I was thrilled to find myself under 4 hours (per my ipod) which includes some walking I did to warm up, the water stop, and all the stop lights on Summit. I got to the point where my arms were too tired to lift my water bottle to my mouth (that's not a problem..) and then I hit that point where I wanted to keep running because I knew it would hurt too much to stop. (My legs are so happy!)

Across Cedar and into the neighborhood - Up on my toes one last time to get up the hill to 46th street, then I started throwing in walk breaks. It was time really. Lord only knows how I had juice at the end to goose the last block.

Post run - I can't figure out my pace because I started my watch well before I started actually running and because of all those stop lights. Half my brain is freaking out. The part that doesn't care is starting to win but it's a process. (How is it only 65*? I am burning up!) Then I connected my iPod and loaded my run into the Nike+ website. Where I learned I won the "5 centuries challenge" I was in. And then I realized I might have to wait 'till October to get my freaking trophy. I say boo.

Ice bath - I hope I don't scare my neighbors when I scream. It's necessary to get into that thing.

Food - Chipotle for lunch (protein burrito!) and then a steak for dinner. It's a peace offering to my legs.