May 28, 2015

Roadtrippin' 2015 - Carlsbad Caverns National Park

We spent the second day of our road trip at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which was about an hour drive from our hotel. Unfortunately, they do not allow dogs inside the cave, so we kenneled Gus and Carson at the Carlsbad Caverns Trading Post. Basically, they were kept in a cage with water for the time we were exploring the cave. It was not like a day at day care for them. Luckily, this was the only time throughout our whole trip that we had to kennel them.



Our day started with a self-guided tour via the Natural Entrance trail. There are two ways to get into the Carlsbad Caverns: by walking (natural) or by elevator (unnatural). The Natural Entrance trail begins outside and descends about 740 feet into the cave via a very steep and dark path. The entire trail is about 1.25 miles long.

Descending into the cave via the Natural Entrance

Natural formations decorate the cavern. These include stalactites and stalagmites.



Some of the formations have been given names, such as this one "The Whale's Mouth."


We continued exploring the cave on the Big Room Trail. The Big Room is the largest room in the cave and can fit over six football fields inside it.



The trail was roughly a 1.25 mile hike around the perimeter of the Big Room with lots more interesting formations to see. Photos hardly do justice to the caverns.


The Doll's Theatre

As we were enjoying the Caverns, we talked a lot about what it would have been like to be one of the first explorers. There are still some old ladders preserved in the cave. Can you even imagine climbing one of these with a lantern and having no idea what lies below you?


We took a break for lunch, which required us to go up to the surface. Then we joined a guided tour of the King's Palace section of the Carlsbad. You can only explore this section with a ranger-led tour. 


The 1.5 hour tour led us through four of the scenic rooms. At one point, the ranger turned off the lights to the room and we were in complete darkness.






In total, we hiked about 3.5 miles around Carlsbad Caverns. The King's Palace Tour marked the end of our visit, but not the end of our day.

After collecting the puppies, we drove 3 hours to the town of Alamogordo. We had a hard time finding a place to eat. Apparently, places still close on Sundays in some towns!

We wound up picking up some sandwiches from Brown Bag Deli and bringing them back to our hotel room. My sammie actually hit the spot after a day of exploring and traveling!


Stay tuned for more road trippin' adventures!

May 26, 2015

Roadtrippin' 2015 - Roswell, New Mexico

Hello, friends! Raisin Bread, the pups and I are back from a 10 day roadtrip around the good ol' US of A. We packed up our trusty little Prius and hit the road.

The puppies are ready for vacation!


Before we left Albuquerque, we grabbed some breakfast burritos from Golden Pride. Road sustenance was much needed.


Our first destination was Roswell, New Mexico, a three hour drive south.

On the road again...


We hit a variety of weather on the first leg of our drive. It was cloudy and rainy.


Then it turned to freezing! 34 degrees!


We made it to Roswell in the afternoon. It was bright and sunny, but super windy!

Roswell is a town built on UFO and alien fascination. There are model flying saucers and aliens all around town. This one was located outside of an inn. Did you know aliens still use flip phones?


We stopped at the Visitor Center and did a little walking tour of Main Street.

Hello, R2D2! He is a part of the United States Postal Service. Apparently, there were many of these mailboxes but this is one of the only ones that is still in commission.


Main Street is also lined with streetlamps that have been turned into aliens.


Even the McDonald's is in on the alien action. Welcome to the spaceship McDonald's!



The Roswell Spacewalk was our first activity in town. We were even able to bring Gus and Carson through with us.



You pay $2 to walk through a blacklight "spacewalk" extravaganza. It is a short and cheesy experience, but hey, it cost $2. Plus, what do you expect from Roswell besides cheese?



Next, we visited the International UFO Museum, which also allows dogs.


I did not find the museum to be all that interesting. There were a lot of exhibits and information that were text-based and I didn't feel like reading all of the text. I just wanted to get some general information about the Roswell "incident" and look at oddities. 


Carson, look out!


Not sure I would put the UFO Museum on my recommended list.

We headed back to our car and drove another 45 minutes to the town of Artesia, New Mexico, where we were going to spend the night.

I was able to get in a nice 1.5 mile run on the treadmill before we went out for dinner. The restaurant on our list wound up being closed, but we turned to our smartphones and found Adobe Rose. For a town as small as Artesia, I was super surprised to find such a nice and creative fine dining establishment.

We shared the strawberry salad (mixed greens, pickled onions and chiles, pecans, jicama, strawberries, cotija cheese and brown sugar balsamic vinaigrette). For my entree, I had the special of the day - ribs with sweet potato mash and corn on the cob. Raisin Bread had the Dr. Pepper braised lamb shank with mashed potatoes and carrots.

Raisin Bread also had a raspberry cheesecake for dessert. The food was phenomenal and I am glad we were able to find such a nice substitute restaurant.


More adventures in New Mexico to come!

May 21, 2015

Mystery Half Marathon Training - Week 3



Another week without a half marathon nailed down yet. I've been hitting the treadmill hard and we lost our second softball game of the season, but it was a close game!

May 11 to 17, 2015
Monday: 20 minutes of yoga
Tuesday: 4.13 miles on the treadmill
Wednesday: 1 hour softball
Thursday: 3.22 miles on the treadmill
Friday: rest
Saturday: 1.5 miles on the treadmill
Sunday: 3.5 mile hike

Goal tracking for the week:
1. Walked 3.76 miles (59.5 miles in 2015/32% complete)
2. Ran 8.85 miles (60 miles in 2015/16% complete)
3. 88,451 steps (1,083,070 steps in 2015/30% complete)

May 12, 2015

Mystery Half Marathon Training - Week 2

I upped my mileage by a lot this week. This week also marked the beginning of softball season. Raisin Bread and I joined a co-ed softball team through his work, and we are playing every Wednesday through the end of June.

I realized this game that I am completely awful! I guess that's what happens when you don't pick up a bat for 13 years. Hopefully, I don't get kicked off the team!



May 4 to 10, 2015
Monday: rest
Tuesday: sick
Wednesday: 1 hour softball (mostly me sitting on the bench)
Thursday: 4.4 miles on the treadmill
Friday: 3.1 miles on the treadmill
Saturday: 1 hour yoga
Sunday: 3.45 miles on the treadmill and 30 minutes of yoga

Goal tracking for the week:
1. Walked 3.04 miles (56.8 miles in 2015/31% complete)
2. Ran 10.95 miles (51.1 miles in 2015/14% complete)
3. 70,475 steps (994,619 steps in 2015/27% complete)

May 7, 2015

Mystery Half Marathon Training - Week 1

My plan to run a half marathon this fall is still on the agenda. I just haven't signed up for one yet. I have a couple that are on the radar. I just haven't pulled the trigger because of some unknowns surrounding my health in the next few months.


So last week marked the beginning of my training for the mystery fall half marathon.

April 27 to May 3, 2015
Monday: ran 1.57 miles and 20 minutes yoga
Tuesday: travel day
Wednesday: 3.1 miles on elliptical
Thursday: day was too stressful to fit anything in
Friday: day was too stressful to fit anything in
Saturday: 3.1 miles on elliptical and 20 minutes yoga
Sunday: rest - 90 minute massage

On top of training for the half marathon, I set some goals at the beginning of this year:
1. Walk 1/2 mile per day (183 miles in 2015)
2. Run 365 miles in 2015
3. Clock 10,000 FitBit steps per day (3,650,000 steps in 2015)

Here is how I did this week:
1. Walked 6.39 miles (53.5 miles in 2015/29% complete)
2. Ran 1.57 miles (40.2 miles in 2015/11% complete)
3. 83,181 steps (927,027 steps in 2015/25% complete)

May 6, 2015

Not Every Weekend [Update] Can Be Fun

Well, friends, I did not have the best of weekends.

It all started on Thursday morning. Gus the Goldendoodle decided to get violently ill overnight, and we woke up to vomit, pee and diarrhea all over his bed and crate. Let's just say that the bed was a goner. Two more non-solid poops and one with blood in it, and it was time to see the vet. After the vet heard about his symptoms and tested him for parvovirus (results were negative), she decided that it would be best to have him hospitalized. Leaving the hospital without him was so so heartbreaking. I was a wreck afterwards, especially since we had no idea what was wrong with him.

That morning, Raisin Bread also left for a trip to Pennsylvania to visit his grandfather and attend a bachelor party for six days, so that left me dealing with all of this by myself.

Carson was very upset that Gus was gone. He would only play by himself for about 30 minutes at a time and then he would crawl in to bed and stay there for the next few hours.


After work on Thursday, I went to visit Gus at the hospital during their scheduled visiting hours. He was in good spirits, but we still didn't have a diagnosis. We did find out that he was extremely dehydrated though.


I also visited him on Friday during my lunch break. We were locked in his room together because he kept trying to escape. Gus was so upset when I had to leave. The vet decided that if he could keep down the food he was fed that morning, he would be able to go home. They took x-rays and there wasn't anything in his stomach, so the vet thought he just got a bad bug that would pass. What a relief. 


Gus came home on Friday night and was acting like his normal self. Silly doodle. He was finally diagnosed with gastroenteritis.


That night began days of, literally, giving Gus medication around the clock. He had to take medication eight different times a day between the hours of 5 AM and 10 PM. 

On top of dealing with a doggy emergency, I also needed to prep for my 10K on Sunday morning. I also really really needed a beer, and I very rarely drink alcohol anymore. Carbo-loading begins!


On Saturday morning, I headed the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to pick up my packet for the Run for the Zoo. I was in and out in about 5 minutes. There was not much to see as far as the expo went, so I just got my stuff and left. 


I was also in desperate need of a coffee after my first 5 AM wake-up time. 


The vet said I could slowly start Gus back on his normal activities if he was acting normal, so we went on a short walk with Carson and saw some pretty flowers. 


Gus needed an IV while he was in the hospital, which required them to shave his fur. They actually couldn't find his veins so three of his four legs were shaved. He looks like he is wearing leg warmers. So funny.


On Sunday, after another 5 AM wake up, I went back to bed and decided not to run the 10K. My body was really aching, I was extremely stressed out and I just couldn't get myself to do it. So no race for me this weekend. I was really disappointed because I have heard that this is a really great local race. It was the 30th annual running so they must be doing something right.

I had a massage scheduled for that afternoon, which I booked as a treat for myself after the 10K. I wound up keeping my appointment, and it was much needed. The masseuse said I had tension everywhere. She said "everywhere" twice.


Raisin Bread returned last night, so I will finally have some puppy relief! Gus's medication has now been reduced to four times a day between 7 AM and 10 PM.

Apr 30, 2015

Eat, Work, Run in DC

DC Trip #4 of 2015 has come and gone. American Airlines seems to have changed their flight schedules, so I wound up at Chicago's O'Hare Airport for my connecting flight. When at O'Hare, it is absolutely necessary to purchase a bag of Garrett Popcorn. This time I got the mixed: half cheese and half caramel. All addictive.


I made it to DC on time and headed to work on the sometimes reliable DC Metro. No troubles this visit.

 

 These trips are always so short and tiring that I usually want to just go to my hotel room and hide, but I promised myself that once the weather got nice, I would do some running outside. Since I have a 10K this weekend and my knee has been bothering me, I decided to make it a short one.  I still managed to get one major sight in on my run: The White House.


If you have ever been to DC, you may have noticed how many statues of men on horses there are around the city. This one is of one of my top 5 least favorite presidents: Andrew Jackson.


Also nearby is the historic and cute St. John's Church.


If the weather is nice again on my next trip, I am hoping to put in a run around the National Mall. 

I flew solo for dinner at Nagomi Izakaya. I had the assorted pickles, hamachi sashimi and a mini salmon and ikura donburi. Hmmm....mini is right. I'm still hungry!


As I was walking back to my hotel and trying to decide what to do about my remaining hunger, I made a detour to Julia's Empanadas and picked up a Jamaican-style emapanada: beef, onion, potatoes and curry. Now, that's better!


I put in a 20-minute yoga session, watched two episodes of Chef's Table and called it a night.

The jet lag usually makes it really difficult for me to wake up in time for breakfast, so it is usually Starbucks at my desk for me. This time though I was able to drag myself out of bed and have a semi-relaxing start to my morning at Slipstream. I loved this place and will be back. Since this was my first visit to this coffee shop, I had a hard time deciding which toast to get, but finally picked the avocado and goat cheese mousse. The bread was so soft and chewy. I also got an almond cashew milk cappucino, which was not that great.


I used to complain about the sheer number of sandwich shops there are in the DC Metro area, but now that I live in Albuquerque, I often cry out at lunch time, "Can't a girl just get a good sandwich???" I went back to one of my old favorites: Bub and Pop's for lunch on Tuesday and got the Italian hogie with genoa salami, prosciutto, capicola, pepperoni, provolone, arugula, roma tomatoes, relish, mayo, vinaigrette and pecorino romano. Their sandwiches are so delicious but so messy. Did I mention that this monster is the "half" size?? I love this place. The food is great and almost everything is made in house.


The rest of the trip consisted of me going back to work, Metro-ing to the airport, hopping on two flights and making it back home. Well, see you again soon, DC!