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Tijuana Flats Summer Beach Run

23 Aug

First time running the Tijuana Flats Summer Beach Run. I’ve avoided this race because it’s a 5-mile beach run (beach runs suck) in the middle of summer, but I got a free race entry through work earlier in the week. Plus they give you an award at the finish! Who can turn that down?

Surprise to me, I ended up PR’ing my 5 mile time… on a beach run! Makes me want to run a 5-mile road race now!

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CrossFit Woburn Boston

30 Mar

I headed to Boston for Halloween to visit my friend, Cassie, who moved from Jacksonville about a year and a half ago. One of the first items on the agenda was to find a CrossFit gym for at least one workout. I’m not sure what’s happened to me, but going without CrossFit for more than two days drives me crazy now. (You can say I’ve definitely drank the Kool Aid, eh?)

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I looked online with Google Maps and Yelp. It was fairly easy to narrow things down since there weren’t many places with a reasonable drop in rate AND a midday class around 9 am. (One place wanted to charge $50!)

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It was a fun workout (fun is a relative term…) which was pretty challenging. It was a great way to kick off my trip.

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For the drop in, you could either pay the cash or give them a shirt from your box! Then they hang the shirt up around the box. They were everywhere!

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Had a great workout. Glad they were so open and welcoming to drop-ins!

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New Crossfit App Being Launched by Perspyre

13 Jan

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ve picked up on my obsession of all things CrossFit. I’ve definitely drank the Kool-Aid, all the flavors! I’m also excited about all things related to CrossFit from equipment (Seriously. Lacrosse balls. They’re amazing for mobility). When I was approached to learn about a new CrossFit app launching, I had to also share it with you! Here’s their latest press release with additional details. Sounds like a great app for when I can’t make it to the box for a workout or on a Sunday, when my box is closed, and I still want to get a great workout in! 

New Crossfit App Being Launched by Perspyre

Prospering business Perspyre last week announced that it was a launching a brand new crossfit app for its social network platform for fitness fanatics. The app will look to bring together the crossfit community with athletes who compete in disciplines such as triathlons, running, swimming and cycling under one single community app.

Perspyre is a Boston-based startup that now boasts more than 4,000 members on its network, and believes that by launching this new crossfit app, it can further extend its reach in the mobile market.

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After recently changing its company name from AMRAP4Life to Perspyre the company is looking to take advantage of the big demand for fitness-related mobile apps on the market at present. They are looking to follow in the footsteps of seasoned apps such as PumpUp who have a community of over 1.7 million users. PumpUp is an app that has successfully tapped into the reported 17% that utilize mobile Internet via smartphones globally according Gaming Realms, the industry experts that are behind online title Spin Genie.

With the mobile Internet market stronger than ever, Perspyre will have to provide users with something more than just standard crossfit methods and tips, though. The companies co-founder Jason Chisholm told Med City News that the app will aim to encourage its community to share photos, nutritional information, injury recovery techniques, compete against other members, and invite other members to their gyms. The community aspect is something that Chisholm is steadfast on promoting as he; himself is a keen crossfit enthusiast.

Chisholm also hopes to attract a host of vendors and brands to help him and his team to continue to upgrade the app in the coming months. With the app also hosting information regarding facilities, he hopes that trainers and “intensive fitness communities” utilize the app thus attracting potential sponsorship deals.

Whether Perspyre can achieve the lofty expectations of Chisholm, is still uncertain. But as the crossfit market continues to evolve, many will welcome this new community app especially if they feel it offers something different to the major players already at the top of the pile.

** This is a guest post by Paul Thomas .  Thoughts and opinions here are 100% my own. **

Paul is a graduate from the University of Oregon. Upon completing his degree, Paul went into a career in organizing triathlons for his local community while also holding down many freelance writing positions. In his spare time, Paul enjoys spending time with his friends and competing in triathlons across the United States with his fiance, Sam. 

 

Ragnar Trail Atlanta Recap #Ragnartrailatl

2 Nov

I think it was about two years ago, I was sitting at my desk at an old job when I got the email announcing Ragnar Relay’s newest adventure, Ragnar Trails! I had already completed a my first regular Ragnar Relay and at the time was signed up for my second (which I’ve since completed)

I immediately said “I want to do this!” and then realized the closest one was about 8 hours away in the Appalachian mountains. womp womp! Not sure that would work, at least not anytime soon.

Fast forward two years and I found myself with a sudden freedom… an open calendar… AND a much closer Ragnar Trail event. They now had one in Atlanta. Only problem was, I couldn’t convince any of my running buddies to sign up. It wasn’t that anyone was afraid it’s just that their schedules were just already full. So I waited.. and eventually wrote on the Facebook event wall that I was looking for a team. Doing that, I managed to find a team fairly quickly. I also surprisingly convinced a friend of a friend of a friend, Genn, who was also from the North Florida area, to sign up!

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Basically I signed up with a team full of strangers for a race I’ve never done in another state. There’s nothing that could go wrong here… (actually nothing DID go wrong. phew!)

I sent in my registration fee to the team captain, Desiree, which was $135. Our group was actually made up of 3 or 4 ultra teams and one ‘slacker’ team. The slacker team was made up of lower distance runners (me!) as well as some of those that were unfortunately injured and couldn’t commit to a full ultra distance race.

After all the expenses that go into a regular road Ragnar, I found it hard to believe that registration was really my ONLY predicted hard cost. There were no requirements of vans to rent, no hotels, etc. It was so incredibly simple, it seemed TOO easy.

As for extra gear (aside from shoes and other typical running stuff), I just needed a good headlamp. No vest, no red blinking lights. I already had a good headlamp from the regular Ragnar events, so I was set. In addition, I had my two Knuckle Lights. If sasquatch was out there, I was going to find ‘em.

The only other cost to anticipate was the cost of gas from Jacksonville to Atlanta and back. Genn and I decided to just split this. Every time I had to fill up, she gave me some cash. It was pretty simple.

Overall, the drive from Jacksonville to the race took 4 hours. Our team was issued a starting time of Friday at 2 pm, so Genn and I decided to drive up on Thursday after work. We left Jacksonville around 6ish, and checked into the hotel around 11 or so. Yes, I know I said there were no hotels, BUT we decided to fork over the extra cash for a hotel the night before the race to get in a good nights rest before the race began. This was a really good idea.

For those of you that might be considering this race, there is a hotel RIGHT across the street from the race. When I say right across the street, I mean, one of the courses runs right past it and another one runs around it. I HIGHLY recommend if your team is planning on staying more than one night to all chip in $10 per teammate to get a room together. You don’t need to actually stay there, but having a place to relax, shower, change and shit in peace would be fantastic at times. Plus if there was in climate weather, you would have a break from that as well. It is close enough that you COULD stay in the hotel instead of camping and compete in the race without much of an issue.

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The next morning we woke up early to get setup at camp.  A few of our teammates had arrived Thursday afternoon to stake out our camp site area. Ragnar did not assign our campsite but rather let everyone setup where ever they wanted. We were encouraged to be minimalist with our space requirements to ensure all teams had adequate space, but from what I could tell, this wasn’t an issue at all.

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When we first pulled up, there was a parking lot for us to pull our car over to the side and unload all our stuff. We then left our stuff sitting there, drove our car to the parking lot about a mile away and took the shuttle back. Genn and her son hung out by our stuff while I dealt with the car which worked well. I honestly don’t think anyone would have touched our things if Genn hadn’t been there anyways.

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Our site was fairly easy to locate. Our team had previously setup a Facebook page for everyone to easily communicate through prior to the event. When they setup camp on Thursday, they posted a picture of some of the tents to help us try and locate them which really helped.

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First thing I noticed was were were pretty close to the portalet area. Thank god. There’s nothing worse than waking up in your tent in the middle of the night and having to painfully pee with no clue of where the bathrooms area (hello Ginnie springs!). I had no plans on drinking during my stay, so I didn’t anticipate this really being an issue, but you never know! I have heard from other teams though, that it’s possible to setup camp TOO close to the portalet’s and all you hear all night long is the doors slamming shut over and over. Eeesh. That WOULD be pretty bad.

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When you arrive, they have an area for you to drop your gear. So you drop it off in the grass on the right, then go park your car in a lot about a mile away. Then there’s a shuttle to bring you back or you can just walk. It works fairly well to get you in and unpacked quickly.

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Once we dragged all our stuff to our campsite, we began setting up our tents. It was a this point everything got crazy windy and putting up a tent became a bit of a challenge. To keep my tent from flying away, I threw all my stuff (cot, bags, cooler, drybox) inside my tent and finished setting it up.

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We were predicting some pretty nasty weather overnight, so I had stopped at Home Depot on our way out of Jacksonville to pick up this sexy blue tarp. I went for the size bigger than I thought I needed which turned out to be a fantastic idea. This tarp ended up being the exact size of my tent so I could actually stake it down with the tent to prevent it from blowing away.

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I really liked how this tent used orange tape to mark their strings. Helped keep everyone from tripping over it the entire time.

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Ragnar Trail strongly preaches sustainability so they discourage plastic disposable water bottles. As a result, they provide a water station (aka hose sticking out of the ground). I was a little hesitant that this water was going to be nasty, but surprisingly it tasted fine. Plus, Nuun was onsite with free unlimited samples. I just filled my bottle up halfway with water and halfway with Nuun and was set! Bottoms up!

The Runner Village

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After getting everything setup, it was time to check out the runner village. First stop, the starting/finish line. The course was setup in a big loop, so the start and finish line were the same thing.

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To make things more exciting, they were also filming to make a highlight video for the race. Ooooh!

Here’s the video they ended up using. You can see me right in the beginning in the blue shirt. (I was the first runner so I got to start the race! Yes, I filled the start. It was pretty cool!)

Here’s the video I shot through the starting corral.

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Lots of people liked to crowd around this area to meet up with their teammates and check in on the action. It was also where they were giving a safety briefing every hour or so. I think I ended up hearing the safety briefing in full about 7 times throughout the day. (It was over a loudspeaker which we could easily hear from our camp as well)

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Our team started at 2pm (I was the first runner), so we all gathered around at 1pm to hear our personal safety briefing. I snapped this quick pic with two of my teammates, Seren and Elizabeth.

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Here’s how Ragnar Trail works. A regular team has 8 runners. Each runner is assigned a running position. You always run in that order. Each person runs three legs. Each leg is a different loop of the course, either green, yellow or red so each runner gets to run each loop of the course. (In regular Ragnar, no one runs the same legs). I was runner #1, so the order I was running in was green leg first, then red leg and then yellow leg.

Ultra teams would just combine legs, so the first runner runs runner #1 and runner #2’s legs back to back. They just run into the exchange tent and keep on running right through.

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Next to the starting line, is the runner exchange area which looks like this on the inside. Here you get your bib number from the previous runner and a slap bracelet identifying which leg you are running.

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Yeah, haven’t we ALL said this during a race at some point? Loved this shirt.

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They also had a fire pit which becomes town hall for all announcements throughout the day. At night they lit the bonfire and passed out s’mores to everyone.

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They even had bikes setup you could hop on after a run to help flush the lactic acid out of your legs. I LOOOOVED that they had these and definitely took advantage of them.

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There were several merchandise tents setup including Salomon who let anyone that wanted to borrow a pair of shoes to run in. They had a variety of shoes and sizes available. You just signed up and could take a pair out for a test run for your next leg.

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I don’t like running in any shoes other than mine. I didn’t want to end up with crazy blisters or hurt feet, so I passed on this one.

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Another VERY popular tent was the Oberto Beef Jerky tent. Every time I walked by they handed me more bags of beef jerky. Even better they were holding an Instagram contest which I ended up winning giving me a free 3 months supply of beef jerky!

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Being a “green” race, they also ran everything off of solar power.

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Including a cell phone charging station! This was a huge lifesaver. The race was in some sort of cell phone battery suck zone. I burned through my entire mophie block and a second smaller charger in a day. True, I’m on my phone a lot, but that was ridiculous. The line ended up being 3-4 hours long towards the end of the first day. They eventually had to close up shop because the sun went down and they were running out of solar power for the booth.

One tip if you find yourself in a similar situation, set your phone on airplane mode when you’re not using it. This definitely helps to conserve the phones battery.

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Steve the event announcer kept everyone informed and entertained throughout the day! I loved the music he played so I much he shared his Spotify playlists with me.

As the first runner, my order of legs was Green, Red and Yellow. I ran the Green around 2pm Friday. Then the red around 10pm Friday evening and the Yellow the following morning around 7 am. Our team kept fairly consistent time with each of the legs of my run exactly 8 hours a part. Just long enough for me to fully tighten back up before I had to head back out again!

Here are some pictures along the way that I took. Green was first so I have tons. Red was at night so there weren’t many opportunities for photos. My phone was dead by the next morning for Yellow, so I grabbed some pictures from Ragnar and my teammates for that.

 

Green Loop

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The finish line!

In between the green and red leg, I went to the tent to get the free vegetarian pasta dinner. (I HIGHLY recommend passing on this if you ever do the race. It was kinda gross and cold by the time I got it)

When I was walking back to our camping area… this happened.

Then this happened:

Yup. Double rainbow all the way across the sky!

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firepit - ragnar trail

Red Loop

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Here’s a pic from someone that ran the red leg during the day. We ran several portions on this slate rock. Tough leg!

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Once I finally finished the red leg (which took me forever), I took advantage of the bikes to flush my legs out and the free sd’’mores! They were also showing a movie, which I missed because my leg was right in the middle of it. I’ve tried to find the movie online somewhere since, but haven’t been able to.

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Yellow Loop

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One of the ultra teams in our group. Eduardo, Robert, Robbie & someone I don’t know. Robert and Robbie are actually from Jacksonville and in PRS with me. This was cool because I’ve seen both of them several times since the race now.

Eduardo and I became friends since this race and even ended up joining a team for Ragnar Trails WVG a few months later!

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Susan G. Komen 5k

25 Oct

This race was sorta a big deal to me because it was one of my first official 5ks way back when (back in 2008 actually!).

I signed up for this one last minute through a free entry from work and ran it with a friend that was running his first 5k ever. That’s always fun!

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It was a gorgeous day for the race. Slightly warm, but still cool. I set out to run this race for fun and just see how I finished up since it had been several months since I last ran a 5k. I had already started training for a half, so I knew I should be fine with the distance. I had completed a few weeks of training runs already, I just was completely unsure what pace I would finish up at.

I completely shocked myself by finishing in 31:06. My last 5k was completed in 33 minutes and the one prior was 35 minutes, so it was great to see so much progress! (Which I 100% attribute to Crossfit & better nutrition!)

I was slightly bummed I hadn’t tried to get a faster time though. I was only one minute six seconds away from getting seeded for the Gate River Run! Now I needed to find another 5k to sign up for!

WOD 6-8 Jump Around!

14 Jun

You just never know what to expect with a Saturday workout. This day, when I first walked in, THE BOARD WAS BLANK. I didn’t know if this was a good thing or a bad thing. Does this mean he hasn’t even planned the workout for the day or does this mean it’s so bad, he doesn’t want to write it up on the board until everyone arrives…

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Finally, Josh walked up and wrote some stuff on the board. I saw Lateral Bounds which I wasn’t familiar with and saw a lot of 100’s under the days WOD.  I basically ignored the WOD and just focused on the Lateral Bounds, which I quickly became real familiar with.

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Doesn’t look entirely safe, but surprisingly didn’t move hardly at all. Essentially you stood on one side and jumped sideways over the two white PVC pipes then jumped back to where you started. The goal was to do so without pausing at any point.

I joined a group off to the side that seemed to be about my same intensity. We started with the PVC pipes just lying on the ground and each took a turn jumping back and returning. With my knees, this was the exact warm-up I needed. Once everyone completed that with no problem, we sandwiched each PVC pipe between a set of weights to raise it up. Everyone took a turn jumping through. Then we raised them up again slightly higher. Jump. Rinse. Repeat. I thought this method worked well for me personally. I was surprised how high I was ultimately able to jump. We ended up raising it about mid thigh height by the end. I can’t remember exactly how high it was anymore, but it was definitely challenging.

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The other teams in our box were getting really intense with this exercise. On the tallest end, the Rogue boxes measure 30” (the height of an average dining table FYI). They had the boxes on the highest end with the PVC pipes balanced on top of plates to make it even HIGHER! (The above picture is not on the highest side) It was incredible to watch how high some people can jump. The PVC pipe was at waist height for several people and guys AND girls still cleared it. That’s impressive!

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After all that, it was time for the WOD. We partnered up. I ended up partnering with a new girl, Lauren, which was a lot of fun. She was there to check out the gym for the first time. Did you know your first workout at CrossFit 904 is free?

So we set up different stations in the gym. One for Ground to Overhead, another for medball situps, and a third for Jumping Squats.

We did the medball situps with a 12# ball. The Jumping Squats were actually done while holding a kettlebell at your chest. I think I used a 12# kettlebell for this. I was going to do a higher weight (this was the smallest weight available) but with the jumps added into the squat, this was killer! The last exercise, the Ground to Overhead I used a 15# weight. I had high hopes and started with the 35# only to drop down to reality after a few reps.

The count was 100 – but it was split between you and your partner, so each teammate only had to do 50 each. We actually chose to scale down to 80 reps which was 40 reps each.

We split into 3 groups and got started. Each group couldn’t move forward to the next station until everyone in their entire group was done with their reps. Then there was some rule at the end that everyone had to do BURPEES for whatever reason. I completely missed why, I just know all of a sudden everyone had to do 18 burpees and it was a mass chaos burpee situation as everyone knocked these out as quickly as possible.

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Yup, it was a great way to start a Saturday. Next week’s Saturday team WOD is actually a beach WOD. Can’t wait to check that out!

Camping is Intense: Manatee Springs State Park

13 Jun

After the Gate River Run, we ran around the house in a frenzy packing like crazy. We decided to spend the night camping at Manatee Springs State Park with our friends, Thomas and Lauren, for a night away camping.

We had originally planned to bring the boat. In fact, we DID bring the boat. Shortly after we dropped Vegas off at Pet Paradise off of University Blvd. in Jacksonville, I called the campsite to get information for late arrival. I casually mentioned we were bringing a boat when we were surprised to hear that the Suwannee River was flooded and their boat ramp was closed. The park ranger explained we could launch our boat north of the park, but the Suwanee was running really fast, and it might be complicated. Hmmm. We returned home, dropped off the boat and headed out on the road again. Oops. We quickly turned around, dropped the boat back off at home and headed out. A few hours later we arrived at the Manatee Springs State Park at dusk.

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We quickly setup our tent before it got too dark. (Let’s just say it was a good thing we brought our headlamps from the Ragnar Relay) After we got setup, we started making dinner… that’s when I realized I’d forgotten both plates and silverware. Uhh. Oops? We figured things out, enjoyed dinner (with creative plate and silverware), and settled in around the fire.

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Each site came with it’s own campfire ring, which was nice. After a few hours relaxing around the fire, we all crashed for the night.

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When we woke up the next day, we had a brief tick scare. Adam found one crawling on his stomach when we got up in the morning. Yuck! We scrapped together breakfast and headed out to explore the rest of the camp ground. The first thing we found was the most unusual swing set. Have you ever seen one like this?

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Thomas tested the chair out first. It held steady, so we each took a turn after.

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Wheee!

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Kinda crazy that all around the swimming hole, they have these signs up. I’m not sure I’d feel exactly comfortable swimming here knowing there could be snakes all around. Eeesh.

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You can tell how high the water is in this picture!

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Here’s a crazy sign that they have indicating the different flood levels over the year. Check out how high 1948 is!

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They had nice boardwalks built throughout the trees and over the water. It really enabled us to walk out to areas we wouldn’t normally be able to see.

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Turtle, Turtle!

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Pretty interesting tree stump.

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The boardwalk led out to a dock on the Suwannee River. It really was quite a beautiful day.

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You know the place floods a lot when they have this river level indicator.

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As we were leaving, we had the pleasure of seeing this lovely sign.

Some life lessons learned while on camping at the Manatee Springs State Park:

  • If you plan to bring your liquor remnants, store it in an old box of baby formula. No one’s going to look for liquor in there!
  • Plates are overrated. You can just as easily cut up a cardboard box (see “baby formula” box above…) and use that as plates.
  • Silverware is overrated. All you really need is two forks, and a spoon for 4 people.  If you’re hungry, you’ll manage. Trust me.
  • Don’t discount your camping neighbors for any missing supplies (plates?)
  • If you need to approach a neighbor to randomly borrow (Is it called borrowing if you don’t plan on returning?) any supplies (plates?), I highly recommend starting with the cute couple with the dachshund or a yorkie. Yes, I’m stereotyping, Yes, it worked on the first try.
  • If you show up past dark, showering is overrated since no one will remember what you were wearing when you arrived anyways.
  • Read the reviews on Yelp when picking a campground. I’m glad I didn’t bring my dog, since the one reviewer commented they found over 60 ticks on their dog. Sounds as though Adam got lucky only having found one!
  • Always triple check that everyone has the correct address for the location you’re going to. Adam thought we were originally going to a different campground with a very similar sounding name. That could have been bad.

Overall, we had an enjoyable experience at Manatee Springs State Park; although, the situation with the ticks was a bit unnerving, so I’m not sure we’ll go back. It’s OK though because there are SO many great campgrounds in Florida to visit.

Dishcrawl Jax – Riverside

11 Jun

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to check out Dishcrawl Jacksonville on their second tour of the city. Each time they have an event, it tours a different part of town. This month’s haunt of choice was Riverside.

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Each Dishcrawl event visits 4 restaurants within walking distance where you get to sample a few signature items from that restaurant. In advance of the event, you know what part of town the event will occur, but you don’t know which restaurants you will be visiting aside from the first restaurant the group meets at.

Restaurant 1

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Our tour was in Riverside, so we met up at Tapa That. I really like this restaurant. I’ve been here a few times; once for ‘girls night’ and another time with the whole group.

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It’s interesting because their menu changes frequently. In fact, they don’t even print menus – they just update the chalkboard on the wall.

Note to self: check out the bottomless mimosas on Sundays.

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We had a decent sized group so Tapa That had pre-arranged two long areas of tables. While Tapa that was open to the public while we were there, there really weren’t many other seating options left.

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I grabbed a beer while we waited. Beverages are not included in the cost of the Dishcrawl Ticket, so your own your own there. Just make sure you remember to cash out in time before everyone’s ready to leave.

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At each stop. we received a personal introduction from one of the owners before we got started which was a nice touch.

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Love the couch area in the back. It’s a great spot for a‘night out w/ the girls’ and a glass of wine.

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Our entrée consisted of a Roasted Veggie Salad with Herb Goat Cheese, Vegan Friendly Olive Tapenade and Dukes Slow Cooked Chicken Taco. All was really delicious and something I would not have ordered traditionally.

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As you can see, we hated everything. Ha! Once everyone had finished, we headed out to find our second unknown destination.

Restaurant 2

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As we walked up the street, we passed several restaurants without going in. I was getting really curious as to where we were heading.

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Especially once we passed the two churches. I knew at this point, there really wasn’t much of ANYTHING passed here within walking distance. Where in the world were were going?!

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Ah ha! I had not been expecting a food truck on our tour, but was pleased to see it. Especially since Adam hadn’t had a chance to try this food truck yet.

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The Happy Grilled Cheese is owned by a great guy named Anthony.

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I had the chance to visit it on opening day, and it was good. I was looking forward to checking it out again and possibly some different menu items.

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We were served the All American Melt which is bacon, tomato and American cheese with a side of their Tomato Bisque and homemade potato chips.

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Adam immediately dunked his chips into the soup. Last time I visited, I tried their beer cheese soup. I have to say this tomato gives the beer cheese a good challenge. As a kid, I looked forward to nights when we had grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch or dinner. This definitely brought back good memories of that.

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Mmm. Look at all that cheesy goodness!

After everyone finished up here, we headed out to our third stop of the evening. We ended up walking back to where we’d come from and then some.

Restaurant 3

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The third stop? O’Brother’s Irish Bar. This could be interesting.

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It’s always a surprise to come inside and actually have room to move around. I’ve only typically been here for St. Patrick’s Day when it’s absolutely slammed!

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Just like the previous two stops, we had an overview from a member of the staff.

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We started things out with Corned Beef and Cabbage with Mashed Potatoes,

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A side of their Guinness Mac n Cheese

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and a legit Scotch Egg! I’ve only had a scotch egg once before (at the 2012 Slow Food First Coast – I hope they do another one soon!) and it was interesting. This only further solidified my love of scotch eggs. So interesting! I would say the corned beef and Scotch egg were the two most surprisingly tasty of this stop.

Finally, everyone was ready to roll over (literally) to the final stop of the night.

Restaurant 4

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Near by, we walked into Derby on Park. I’ve actually never been to this restaurant before.

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We began with an introduction from the owner.

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Top left is Key Lime pie, the right is Carrot Cake and the bottom left is Double Chocolate Brownie. Whew. These were so incredible. I really wished I wasn’t so full by this point, because the Key Lime pie was spot on. If I were to face plant anything the entire evening, this would be my pick!

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Every spoon full was seriously delicious.

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We really had a great time on Dishcrawl. These events would be great for a unique date night out or for a whole group of friends. It’s definitely something different and offers a unique perspective on some local restaurants. Considering everything you get to try and the amount of food, the cost of the event is worth it too. I look forward to more of these in the near future!

Tapa That on Urbanspoon Happy Grilled Cheese on Urbanspoon O'Brothers Irish Pub on Urbanspoon Derby on Park on Urbanspoon

 

Dishcrawl provided us with discounted tickets in return for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the spell of a food coma.

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

22 Jan

Back in November 2011, I decided to try and grow my hair out long enough to donate. It was pretty long then as it was, so I didn’t think I had that much farther to go. Boy was I wrong! I kept measuring my hair again and again and it was never long enough.

If you donate to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program, it needs to be a minimum of 8” long. Unfortunately, that would have meant I would be getting a boy cut. Uh..  not ok.

After a year and three months, I was getting really sick of my long hair.

True, occasionally it would turn out decent.

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But 99% of the time, I really wore it like this…

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I was desperate to get rid of it. Finally it dawned on me.

I used to wear my hair longer in the front and short in the back in a “swing cut”.

I could donate just the hair in the back, enabling me to keep the hair in the front longer. That should work.

I made an appointment with Jennifer at Salon 210, and soon after I arrived, the cuttin’ started. There’s a full tutorial “How to make the cut” on the Pantene Beautiful Lengths website.

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First, she portioned the parts she knew she would be cutting short into little bands. She did small portions instead of one large one so she could cut it closer.

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Snippity, Snippity!

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I think she may have had a little bit of fun doing it too.

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And whalah! The donation was ready. (That’s a quart size, not a sandwich size, bag, so it doesn’t quite look proportionate.)

Now all that’s left is to pop the bag o’ hair in the mail…

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…and get used to this. Yeah. It’s going to be a big change.

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I think she did a great job handling both the hair donation and cutting/styling it how I liked. Salon 210 doesn’t typically do hair donations (when I asked her, she said it’d been several years), so regardless of what you need, I recommend checking her out. I’ve been seeing Jennifer 10 years now!

I wasn’t compensated for this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed are all my own and I’m so glad to be rid of all that hair!

Ragnar: The Countdown – #ragnarflk #CNNRagnarD

28 Dec

One week from today I’ll be running in the Ragnar Relay Key West! Or I’ll be watching my teammates running! Or I’ll be squished into the back of a 15-person passenger van trying to sleep! It’s going to be so great!

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I can’t wait. It’s been a looooong planning process. I’m pretty sure we all started texting and tweeting each other around February of this year formulating the plans and gathering teammates. (Finally! We have all 12!)

The Team:

  1. Monica
  2. Leif
  3. Andrea keep-calm-and-ragnar-on
  4. Brooke
  5. Stephanie
  6. Lindsay
  7. Adam
  8. Roxie
  9. Amanda
  10. Melissa
  11. Robert
  12. Me!

And miraculously 3 volunteers

  • Zach
  • Nicholas
  • Andre

How Ragnar Works:

I explained this briefly in my previous post here. Here’s another shot at hopefully correctly explaining everything. Runners 1 – 6 start in Van 1. Runners 7 – 12 start in Van 2. We rented two 15-person passenger vans for the race.  (If you want to donate any gas $$ for our team, we will gladly accept! lol) The vans will essentially leap frog each other down. We start at the Coconut Grove Convention Center in Miami and will end up at the Southernmost Hotel in Key West around 36 hours later.

Yes, 36 hours. No, we’re not renting a hotel halfway. We’re literally either awake for 36 hours or sleeping in the van or running or eating or a combination of all four. Sounds awesome, right? That’s what I thought.

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Along the way, each runner runs 3 legs of the race. There are 36 total legs of the race. We run in order, so runner number 1 runs first, then runner number 2, than runner number 3… all the way to runner number 12 (me!)… then runner number 1 will run her second leg then runner number two etc etc etc. Each leg of the race is a pre-determined distance, and not all legs are the same length, distance, or difficulty.

Who Runs What Where When?

How did we determine who would be what runner? You can view all available runner and legs on the Ragnar Relay Florida Keys website. I copied the chart below.

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The good thing about each leg of the race being a different length and difficulty is it makes it possible for a variety of runners of different skill and experience level to participate. Runner #11 runs a total of 12.3 miles, where as runner #3 runs a total of 20.3 miles. Plus, just because some legs are shorter, doesn’t mean they’re easier. Some have varying elevation levels or little to no van support.

To determine which sucker would get which runner number, we each emailed our captain, Stephanie, our top 3 choices in our order of preference. She then had the fun task of coordinating who would run what all while considering who wanted to be in what van together.

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Some people had specific desires of what legs of the race they wanted to run like the 7 mile bridge pictured above.

I personally picked runner number 12 because I want the glory. Runner number 12 crosses the finish line. That has my name written all over it!

We also submitted our estimated 10k pace to the race. The race compiled everything (they actually give you an excel sheet to input everything and then submit it to them). They then go “boop beep bop boop” in their magical Ragnar computer and spit out a start time for your team based on your overall pace times so that you can finish the entire race by their designated race close off time the following day, Saturday. Based off of all this, our current start time is 9:30 am.

Based on our 9:30 am team starting time and the fact that I’m runner number 12, I have the estimated running distances and times.

  • 5.3 miles | Moderate | 5:44 pm
  • 6.9 miles | Hard | 7:36 am
  • 5.8 miles | Moderate | 6:09 pm

A total of 18 miles in 36 hours or so. Yeaaah, baby!

I’m kinda bummed I don’t have to run at like 3 am, but that’s ok because I get to cross the finish line.

Here is the information provided to me on the individual legs:

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Did you read that clearly? I get to start running on the Homestead Speedway! That’s kinda a fun way to kick things off (for me)!

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Some middle of the keys running.

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And finally, running around Key West to the finish line.

The Team Shirts

Oh, and last but not least, our team shirts came in!!

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I looked at a bunch of places online and ended up going with a company called UberPrints.com. I’d emailed a TON of places, even a few local to Jacksonville, and only 2-3 actually contacted me back. UberPrints had an easy website you can plow your way through to make your shirt. I had already designed the logo itself in Photoshop and had the team select it, so I pretty much knew what we wanted. I was just worried that it wouldn’t turn out as well printed on a shirt as I had in my head.

What was the final selling point? I called UberPrints to have them look at the design in my cart and talked to a live human being. She said they personally look at each design before it prints and even tweak it a bit to ensure it will print at the best quality. She even pulled up my order while I was on the phone and said it looked fine. (I was a little concerned it would print blurry because I designed it in Photoshop myself and not in InDesign or some other software actually MADE for print design). So bam, we ordered from there. We paid a few dollars extra per shirt to ensure the order would arrive in time, which it did. Due to cost and time restraints, we didn’t get fancy whicking shirts (those would have ran $50+ per shirt, no thanks!). I personally prefer the cotton. I don’t really plan to run in the shirt, so it shouldn’t be a huge dealeo anyways.

The Finale

So that’s some rambling on my part about the race. Just some excitement and geeking out over the fun that is to come.

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If you’d like to follow along next Friday and Saturday as we run the race, you can follow everyone running by going to http://search.twitter.com and typing in #ragnarflk or you can type in #CNNRagnarD for specific team updates from our team, Chuck Norris Never Ragnar’d.

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