Electric Run Portland

Monday’s are especially hard to get through after you’ve had a great, busy, exhausting weekend!! My husband and I headed down to Portland with my friend, Ellen, for the weekend. Our main agenda item was to run the Electric Run 5k but of course we had to squeeze in a few other fun things!

We arrived on Friday evening after battling some serious traffic. After a quick packet pick-up and dropping our bikes off for a tune-up at River City, we met up with some of Ellen’s friends for dinner at Deschutes. We’ve visited once before (last December) and knew we’d enjoy it. I had the gluten-free elk burger with a side salad and a couple saison’s which were very tasty.

Image

Afterward, we went to Green Dragon for another beer but alas, were too full to enjoy their amazing tater tots we gorged on last time.

Saturday started off bright and early – Jodus and Ellen wanted to get in a long run so we headed into the city (from her parent’s house). While they ran (for 2 hours!), I enjoyed a coffee, read a little, and wandered the streets a bit as stores started to open up. I am totally in love with this town. ImageImage

We enjoyed a late brunch at Mother’s, complete with huge mimosas! I had the wild salmon hash with 2 eggs over medium. Zero complaints. That place is bomb. (But it is no La Provence…)

ImageImage

After brunch, we wandered around the Saturday Market for a bit before heading back to get ready for our main event! At packet pick-up, we were told that parking was going to be a nightmare and to arrive at 6pm (for a race that starts at 9:30pm!). They sounded pretty serious so we took their word for it. We grabbed sandwiches to go and got there around 6:30 with NO parking issues. As we ate and people watched, we monitored parking and traffic. You were definitely fine for parking until maybe 8 or 8:30. So irritating but whatever. The people watching, including ourselves, was priceless.

Image

The entire premise of the Electric Run is that it is a “Run for Ravers” so lots of lights, lots of neon, lots of loud music. Everyone was totally decked out in neon, glow sticks, body paint, etc. I was even rocking glow-in-the-dark nail polish I bought just for the occasion.

Image

We managed to be at the very front of the starting corral by chance and I was glad that we were. We were right at the front of all the action and got showered with goodies the entire time! If you ever run an Electric Run, I highly recommend getting there early to be in the front. The entire thing is very high energy and they totally amp you up as the sun goes down! (Also, a tip for those planning on running Electric Run – standard glow in the dark stuff like my nail polish and make up stick doesn’t work that great but glow sticks, LED lighted stuff, neons, and black light activated stuff works amazingly well!)

Image

The course itself was fine – a little rough terrain (some gravel, some dirt, some grass, some paved) but they did a good job of starting in waves so it wasn’t too crowded even though there were 9,000 runners. The lights along the course were fun but honestly, I was kind of expecting more of them. There were a few long stretches without anything which was kind of sad. But it was definitely fun.

I guess I should add that I really haven’t been running much at all. 10 miles in June, 14 in May. I’ve been “injured” and focusing on weight training instead so I wasn’t really prepared for this run but managed to do ok and my body held up but it definitely made me nervous to be out there. There were a lot of walkers on this course though (unsurprisingly) so I didn’t feel too bad about being a little pokey on this fun run.

Image

At the end, they had a dance party. A DJ, lots of lights, lots of dancing and music. It was really fun and I could have probably danced the night away, hopped up on a couple free Rockstar Energy drinks!

Image

We ended up back at Ellen’s parents house a little before midnight, wired! Tried to settle my mind and read for a bit but it was definitely hard to fall asleep after so much energy!

The run was definitely about the experience more than the running. Sunday morning, Ellen’s mom asked me if I would do it again. I thought about it for a minute and said, “No.” It’s an experience, and I’ve experienced it, and now I’m ready to move on. It was my 3rd night run (Firecracker 5000 on 4th of July and First Run on New Years) and they’ve been a good time but I’m ready for something new! Most likely, no more running events for awhile until I can figure my body out. Good luck with that, right?

This Friday is Ragnar Northwest Passage. For the first time since I started running, I’m not running in it. Jodus will be. And some other friends. But I’ll be on the sidelines this year. I’m volunteering the first day with my friend, Shannon, then we are spending the rest of the day in Bellingham then meeting up with our team for the finish on Saturday. It is definitely bittersweet… I’m having a little bit of a hard time with it since they are down a runner this year (again) and part of me just wants to jump in and help out but I know that isn’t wise. So I’ll be their #1 cheerleader instead.

Phoenix in December

036

This past weekend, Huz and I escaped to Arizona to recharge our Vitamin D stores. But alas, the weather was not stellar. Regardless, we had a great time. (We’ve gone to Phoenix the past 2 years in October to visit Jodus’ family and somehow expected that sort of weather. Not so.)

We arrived Friday around noon and after picking up the rental car and doing a quick lunch, we met up with Jodus’ little brother in Tempe.

image

I wish I had gotten a picture of all of us but alas, I suck. We walked around a street fair, had a really good dinner at Four Peaks Brewery, and hung out at Dave & Buster’s afterward. It was a fun evening.

image

Saturday wasn’t the nicest day out so we took it pretty easy. We did manage to hit up Frontier Town and have the most amazing Mexican ever.

032

And because we are sixty, we spent the evening playing Monopoly. And Jodus schooled us.

105

Sunday, we drove up to Sedona for a change of scenery. This is the third time we’ve been to the Phoenix area and our first time that far north of the city.

121

Sedona was gorgeous. But see that dusting of snow? Yeah, it was pretty cold.

We wandered around an old Spanish missionary that was turned into a shopping center. It had so much charm!

134138135

We had lunch at Oak Creek Brewery & Grill and stuffed ourselves silly.

148

We wandered through the town of Sedona, in and out of the cute little tourist shops. Next time we go, I’m making everyone do a Pink Jeep Tour.

161

(Note the borrowed sweatshirt because I’m the retard that packed shorts and a bathing suit.)

On the way back to my MIL’s, we made a pit stop at Arizona’s Biggest Christmas Tree. No lies.

217

It was pretty epic.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend, besides helping my MIL unload 80 lbs of concrete, was flipping through the family photo albums and seeing cute little Pippin puppy pictures! (She’s 9 now!)

image

Monday, we took off after a leisurely morning and a lunch at the airport. It was a quick trip but nice to get away and see some family.

155

Maui: What We Ate

Maui 1366

In between a lot of activity on our trip to Maui, we did a lot of eating. But ever since I’ve gotten away from posting daily eats, I’ve gotten a little camera shy in public. As a result, I didn’t capture every meal we ate out and I certainly didn’t capture the many stops at roadside fruit stands for fresh smoothies, coconut treats, and tropical breads. I may have also downed a few containers of macadamia nuts – chocolate covered, onion, coffee glazed. Yum.

Anyway, our dining out. We had a couple really good meals and a couple mediocre.

The first night, we hit Three’s. We took advantage of their happy hour and ordered 4 dishes to share – chicken satay, lettuce wraps, nachos and a quesadilla.

Maui 035Maui 036Maui 037Maui 038

I loved the chicken satay and lettuce wraps. The quesadilla was decent and the nachos were … different. Not bad, just different. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and sitting out on the deck.

Maui 029

The second night, we went to Fat Daddy’s.

Maui 202

It was a small restaurant that obviously specializes in BBQ so that’s what we had!

Maui 204

The meat was great – cooked to perfection. The beans were spicy, the cole slaw was mayonnaise-y, and the cornbread buttery.

On our day in Lahaina, we went to Cheeseburger in Paradise, only for the novelty of it. It was totally kitschy and fun.

Maui 223

As an ode to my husband, I ordered the black and bleu burger and we split a side of sweet potato fries. It was greasy spoon delicious and a total gut bomb. Loved it.

Maui 229

At our Luau on Monday night, we got our fill of traditional Hawaiian food – it looks a hot mess but it was pretty good for buffet food.

Maui 291

Since we were staying at a condo, we typically did breakfast at home before heading out but we did make it out once – to Kihei Caffe. I ordered the chorizo breakfast tacos.

Maui 366

Again, I loved all the outdoor dining options in Maui.

Maui 367

We had a terrible meal at Spices. I also had tacos at Maui Tacos that was ok, not particularly noteworthy.

After our whale watching trip, we were hangry and walked into the first place we saw – Beach Bums. Typical sort of bar & grill food with a nice flare of seafood. I went with the mango mahi wrap and it was pretty darn good.

Maui 2 162

We were happy enough with the meal that we actually went back again right before heading home and I mobbed on a fish sandwich. It was equally delicious.

In Paia, on the way back from Hana, we did dinner at Milagros. Yet again, we sat out on the deck, enjoying the 70* evening weather. I made another go at fish tacos with much better results than Maui Tacos.

Maui 2 213

Our final dinner was at Café O’Lei, per a recommendation of Amanda. And it was my favorite meal of the week. The atmosphere was a bit loud and we were tucked into a corner table with a not great waiter but the food made up for it. I tried to get my fill of fresh seafood to I did just that.

Maui 652

Shrimp and mussels and clams, oh my!

My impression overall of dining in Maui is that there is definitely an array of seafood choices, lots of typical burger joints, but not a ton of traditional Hawaiian food readily available, or at least not that I got my hands on. I was looking forward to trying a taro burger but was saddened by the lack of it on the menus. I guess I will just have to go back sometime to hunt one down!

Maui: Stuff We Did

Maui 641

As I’ve mentioned before, I am totally spoiled rotten. My dad had an opportunity to go to Maui for work and decided to make a vacation of it. And he had me tag along.

Maui 658

There is no way I could have afforded to have this kind of vacation on my own. As is, we couldn’t really stretch ourselves to foot the bill for my husband to come so it was just the two of us.

Maui 2 155

Dad has a hard time being still so we had a really active vacation – it was really fun but not super relaxing, but I’m not complaining! Between the two of us and our 5 cameras, we had over 1,500 pictures. A lot of them are crap, a lot of them don’t really do Maui justice, but there are some gems in there.

Maui 371

This was my first time ever going to Hawaii, so obviously it was my first time on Maui. I spearheaded the planning and navigating part of the trip and had done a fair amount of research so I felt really prepared and think that we definitely hit all the highlights of the island.

Maui 1364

We arrived on Saturday afternoon and made our way to a condo in Kihei (booked via HomeAway.com) and got settled in. We were a block away from the beach, a couple miles from a strip of restaurants, state parks, and shopping, and short drive from the airport, resorts, and marina. It was actually a really great, centralized location.

Haleakala National Park

Maui 189

We woke up at 3am the first day (so only 6am our time) and drove up 10,000’ to the top of Haleakala for the sunrise. It was freezing and windy and a ton of people were there but it was really gorgeous to see.

Maui 123

We took our time coming down the mountain and made multiple pit stops and hiked a couple of very rocky miles.

Maui 1442

Old Lahaina Luau

Maui 1471

On Monday, we spent the day around town, doing a little shopping and getting acquainted. We spent the afternoon in Lahaina, about 45 minutes away from our condo. It was a cute little beach town with a totally different atmosphere from Kihei.

Maui 214

That evening, we did a luau. From the research I had done, Old Lahaina appeared to be the favorite. Obviously, I have nothing to compare it to but we had a decent time.

Maui 836

The open bar drinks were a little weak and there were long lines, the food was buffet style but tasty and full of traditional Hawaiian dishes, and the dances were fun. It was slow to start, though, and that was my only complaint. We were told to be there at 5:15 and they didn’t really start anything until after 6:30. There was no entertainment during dinner, only after.

Maui 337

Pacific Whale Foundation Eco-Cruise

IMG_6055

We elected to go with a non-profit, eco-friendly boat + snorkeling tour and it was the highlight of the trip! The Pacific Whale Foundation was highly knowledgeable and had great equipment. We rented wet suit tops and an underwater digital camera which proved to be a fantastic idea.

IMG_6022

We did the long tour that included two snorkel stops: Molokini, a small island and marine sanctuary, and off of Lanai. On the way back from Lanai, we saw a young humpback whale with a pod of bottlenose dolphins! I hadn’t anticipated seeing a whale as it is a little early in the season but I had my fingers crossed for dolphins.

image

The whale was very active – 5 or 6 consecutive breeches, lots of tail flaps and pectoral fin waves. We were all riveted. Check out their facebook page for more pictures and a video!

Maui 2 099

Wednesday was the one day that my dad had to work so I hung out on the beach and pools of the Grand Wailea, where his convention was at.

Maui 2 012

The Road to Hana

Maui 395

On Thursday, we headed out in our rental car for a day of driving.

Maui 477

Hana is on the northeastern part of Maui and is tropical rainforest – vastly different from the rocky, arid tundra on the south side of Haleakala. It’s been featured in many films, namely Jurassic Park.

Maui 1092

Hana, the actual town, isn’t much of anything – it’s all about the journey, here! 50 miles of winding, narrow roads, littered with gorgeous views, waterfalls, and gardens. With a few pit stops, it took us over 4 hours to go the full 50+ miles.

Black Sand Beach:

Maui 548

Picnic lunch:

Maui 1132

The road “ends” at the Seven Sacred Pools.

Maui 484

Apparently, you can keep going all the way around but we weren’t sure so we headed back the way we came and made a stop at a lava tube that goes a quarter mile! I couldn’t help but keep thinking about the movie The Descent.

Maui 1247

Turtle Arches

turtles 001

On Friday, our last full day in Maui, we decided we hadn’t gotten our fill of snorkeling yet so we booked a small morning kayaking tour around the Turtle Arches of Maui. We ended up kayaking around the south shore for 4-5 miles and taking a couple of snorkeling breaks – we were fortunate enough to have a very small group, the guide and only one other girl. For this trip, we had disposable underwater cameras so these are pictures of pictures because I’m lame and don’t own a scanner.

turtles 002

We saw a ton of turtles – and they are so cool! Big ones, small ones, girls, boys, and even one missing a back fin.

Our last night, we made sure to catch the sunset – it seemed like the whole time we were there we kept missing it!

Maui 643

My dad’s camera picked up more of the orange:

Maui 1294

Our flight home wasn’t until 3 the following day so we took advantage of the free morning and got in one last snorkel session on our own and spotted more turtles and sharks! Little reef sharks. No pictures though. And I didn’t hang around long. We also swung into the Maui Ocean Center on our way to the airport to see some critters in tanks that we didn’t get a chance to see in the water, like octopus and rays.

IMG_6063

And that was all she wrote! The week flew right on by and I can’t wait to go back to Hawaii and check out the other islands. I’m eternally grateful to my father for giving me the opportunity to mooch off of him for the week. Hopefully one day I can repay him with a fabulous vacation.

Maui 2 009

San Diego: 94th Aero Squadron Brunch

Now this is how you do brunch!

San Diego 343San Diego 345San Diego 349

On a recommendation, Huz and I made reservations for the Champagne Brunch at the 94th Aero Squadron on Sunday.

San Diego 338

We booked it for 9:30am to take advantage of the “Early Bird Special” so it was $18.95 each. Um, shake your money maker?

San Diego 341

See that look? Pure joy, people!

San Diego 356

I had about umpteen of these little glasses of bubbly. Had to get our monies worth!

Plate numero uno:

San Diego 353

An array of seafood, an eggs benedict, some rice and of course: bacon and sausage.

Round two:

San Diego 362

A little fruit just for fruits sake, some bomb salmon, more bacon, and a couple potatoes.

Intermission:

San Diego 365

A cappuccino!

Dessert plates for tasting with the Huz:

San Diego 371

Lemon meringue (yuck) and crepe suzette (yum).

San Diego 372

Chocolate fondue (can’t go wrong), chocolate cake (meh), and chocolate mousse (devoured!). I was sad to not see little tarts or cookies or lemon bars or brownies at the dessert table but we made do, obviously. It took us I-shit-you-not two hours to eat all that brunch and I felt like we were amateurs. I would have loved to keep loading up but we were both stuffed to the brim.

Nothing like a long walk on the beach, hand in hand, to work off a 3000 calorie brunch, right?

San Diego 377San Diego 401

Yeah, I couldn’t leave SD without hitting up a beach. Too bad Sunday was the worst weather day of the weekend. And by worst I mean it was in the 60’s instead of the 70’s. Devastating, I know.

San Diego 407San Diego 384San Diego 392

But I got my beach time in. Then we took a short siesta before I had to head home. It was so amazing to have this opportunity to jet set down to California for a weekend to pay the Huz and some dear friends a visit! Wish I could go down every weekend during the winter!

HA! Who am I kidding! This weekend was exhausting! So maybe only like one weekend a month to get my fix…

San Diego: From French Bistro to Taco Shop

Miraculously hangover free, Saturday started with a nice lazy start and we moseyed our way downtown for brunch at Café Chloe.

San Diego 291San Diego 290

We met up with Hallie but I was a bad blogger and didn’t take a picture with her! Have I mentioned how much I adore that girl? No? Well I do. I might even crash her wedding. Truth.

/tangent.

I started with a handle-less soy latte.

San Diego 295

For brunch, I enjoyed poached eggs over a mushroom brioche.

San Diego 298

It was really delicious and fancy but not the most filling. The salad went mostly untouched because it was infected with that nasty bitter curly endive that I despise so much.

The husband ordered the special: crab omelet.

San Diego 297

I think he was disappointed with the portion size so a little dissatisfied with the meal in general. Oh well, onward and upward!

San Diego 301

We took in a bit of sightseeing to walk off our brunch.

San Diego 308San Diego 312San Diego 315

And since brunch wasn’t super filling, we had a little snack.

San Diego 317

Can’t go to California without a little fro yo!

San Diego 319

It was a ridiculous combo and absolutely delightful. Why can’t we have self serve fro yo around here?

Late lunch/early dinner was a meet-up with my girls!

San Diego 329

Claudia, me, and Jen – we met back on The Daily Plate a couple of years ago and it is always fun getting together with them! This time, our foodie endeavors led us to Lucha Libre – a taco shop that was featured on Man v. Food.

San Diego 325

The line was actually insane when we first arrived so we saddled up to the bar next door. We also had some time to kill while waiting for the girls to arrive. The guy working at the bar actually recommended us calling in the order to avoid the line and we could eat at the bar. Best. Idea. Ever.

San Diego 321

I ordered the mahi mahi taco meal.

San Diego 322

It was pretty tasty.

Jodus went with the Man v. Food challenge: The California Burrito, complete with shrimp, steak, and french fries in the burrito!

San Diego 323

It was a behemoth but he had no problems tackling it.

All in all, my opinion is that this taco shop was not worth the hype. I’d have rather gone to a sit-down Mexican joint with Margaritas on hand but to each their own; I couldn’t go to San Diego and not have Mexican!

{PS – Afterwards, we totally hit up a bowling alley and I totally kicked ass.}

San Diego: From Liberty Station to Balboa Park

Waking up to this?

San Diego 024

Yes, this I could get used to.

After arriving late Thursday, I got an early start on Friday with much on the agenda! The Huz had work stuff so I saw him off, relaxed for a bit, then headed off to go exploring.

San Diego 029San Diego 033

I walked.

San Diego 037San Diego 039

And then I walked some more.

San Diego 048San Diego 049San Diego 050San Diego 051

My trek took my down along the harbor.

San Diego 041San Diego 054

Then I cut up into the urban jungle.

San Diego 056San Diego 059San Diego 065

San Diego is really gorgeous; you certainly can’t beat this weather in January.

San Diego 060

As I made my way into Balboa Park, my final destination, I was really in awe. But that could have just been the mild numbness from walking nearly 5 miles.

San Diego 075San Diego 067

Don’t you want to just climb up in that tree and take a nap?

I walked through the main drag just in awe. The architecture is really stunning and museums riddled the street.

San Diego 077San Diego 093

I wish I had time to go in them all but alas, that wasn’t the case. By the time I made it in to the park, I had a hot date with this lady!

San Diego 136

I was really excited to meet Hallie. I’ve been following her blog forever! She works at the park so we did lunch together at one of the museum café’s. I got a killer salad!

San Diego 100

The husband got done with work and met us up there just in time to see the Natural History Museum.

San Diego 092San Diego 112

It came highly recommended for the current gem exhibit!

San Diego 113

They were faboosh! And of course pictures don’t do them justice.

San Diego 125San Diego 115San Diego 128San Diego 130

I added about a million things to my wishlist.

And we couldn’t leave without saying hi to some other guys.

San Diego 107San Diego 109

We parted ways with Hallie and headed over to the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

San Diego 135San Diego 200

We had really high hopes for this zoo – it came with glowing recommendations from many people but honestly, it was a bit of a let down. It is really spread out and after a day of nothing but walking, maybe this wasn’t the best move on our part. The atmosphere was very jungle-y which was cool but there weren’t many animals out and they were far between. The highlight was definitely the flamingos!

San Diego 173

They were in the preambles of their mating season so they were a bit ornery. It was highly entertaining.

San Diego 155San Diego 171

We did catch sight of a gorilla but the crowd around it was really smelly and annoying so we didn’t hang out for long.

San Diego 193

We called it quits after a couple hours of walking around the zoo {so much walking!}, we headed back to the hotel at Liberty Station and all I wanted was a beer.

San Diego 248

And beer, I got! Many, in fact!

San Diego 272

We walked across the street from the hotel to Oggy’s, a pizza joint and took advantage of some Happy Hour Specials. The boneless wings were calling to us and we answered with a joyous, “Hell yes!”

San Diego 255

One Cream Ale and two Porter’s later, I was mighty toasty! We stumbled (literally) our way around and ended up settling on a(nother) pizza joint for dinner when we couldn’t find the hippie joint I had my heart set on. Oh well, another time.

So my memory, and my pictures apparently, were quite fuzzy but I ended up getting a thai chicken pizza and devouring every morsel in my drunken state and I distinctly recall thinking it was the best thing since sliced bread which I’m sure that it was.

San Diego 280

I managed to sober up enough to make it back to the hotel room and pass the heck out. Walking + sunshine = dehydrate Leah + beer = whoa. But it was priceless.