Sally’s 2012
January 1, 2013

I love reading everyone’s year-in-review.  But I never feel that I have anything particularly interesting to share myself.  However looking back at where I’ve come since January 1, 2012, my year reads like the elevation profile of the 11.2 mile run through Percy Warner Park.

January
On New Year’s day I wake up with pain in my left shoulder.  It becomes very severe over the next few days and I begin many painful and expensive tests to diagnose it.  I eventually lose most of the strength and mobility in the arm altogether.  It is not for several months (see below) before we are able to diagnose the mystery condition.  But I take my first Caribbean vacation to Jamaica with my good friend Sara.  It is fantastic and just what we needed to thaw the dreary winter grays.  I also start training to Hoop the Half Marathon again.

February
I take a trip to Chicago to visit the city and see friends.  I begin planning my race calendar for the year.  But 2/3 of the way through the month I became very ill and take a brief stay in the hospital.  This sets me back physically and race and training-wise.  I eventually end up having to miss out on 4 different races this month and the next month due to illness and recovery.  I also support a friend during a difficult trial and witness that sometimes the judicial system doesn’t always work out the way it’s supposed to.

March
I miss out on the Triple Crown races due to the previous month’s recovery and post my first DNS ever, unfortunately it’s a 3-for-1.  I come up with an Athletic Bucket List and start working towards a plan to check off the items.  I tour the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and hit 7 distilleries in 2 days.  I attend an Olympic soccer qualifying tournament game.

April
I apply for the Nuun Hood To Coast team, though I don’t get picked, I still make a funny video.  I post some really high mileage with our hoop walking.  And eventually complete the Hooping the Half Marathon.  Many thanks to everyone who donates to the cause.  I finally really start training again in all 3 sports.  I also have my first swim lesson and find out that my self-taught freestyle form really isn’t that bad.  I also meet my Coach for the first time in a different swim lesson.  I witness my amazing friend Kira become ordained as an Episcopal priest.

May
I do my first open water swim ever, which also happens to be my first wetsuit swim ever.  I manage to survive both.  I compete in my first triathlon of the season and learn an important lesson of mental tenacity.  I have another minor surgery unrelated to my two previous medical issues earlier in the year.  I get a new fitting on my tri bike.

June
I make another trip to Chicago for a wedding and to visit friends.  I begin training with my Coach.  I go through a little bit of heartbreak.  I revise my race schedule for the year and really buckle down and distract myself with training.  I compete in the Du Run Run duathlon again and walk away with my first podium finish!  I also finally get back to the doctor for my left arm, and get a diagnosis of Parsonage Turner Syndrome.  I compete in the Muddy Buddy with a friend and have a great time, and once again somehow manage to never really get muddy in a mud event.  It’s a special talent.  I witness more heartbreak at the loss of a friend.  I also go to see Tenacious D with Sara and we have a lot of rocking out silliness.

July
I do a LOT of running, biking, swimming during the hot month, and put down more mileage than I ever imagined.  I compete in my first Olympic distance triathlon.  And I go to the Forecastle Festival after my race and get to see my favorite band play.  I volunteer at a major triathlon in my city and really get a chance to give back for all the racing that I do.  I run in a cape for beer.

August
My Coach comes to town and I get in another swim session.  I work on riding the course for my next big race, but the course keeps changing and I learn my lesson on some hills.  I get up way too early (even for me) to watch the Olympics for marathon and triathlon.  I compete in a Women’s super sprint tri and get misdirected on the course by a volunteer.  They throw out the run times and I end up with a podium finish, but maybe not the one I planned.  I begin physical therapy for my arm and shoulder.

September
I compete in my second Olympic Triathlon, in a torrential downpour.  This is my last tri of the season, but I don’t let that stop me because I sign up for my first Half Ironman race for the next year.  I attend my first Nashville Rollergirls bout and love it.  I buckle down on my running to train for my next few running races of the season.  I run my first 5k in probably 5 or 6 years, and walk away with another podium finish, once again a second place in my age group, which makes for a hat trick of podium finishes for the year.  My best friend has another baby, once again with a dramatic entrance.

October
I run in the Boston Half Marathon.  I get to visit my old friends and meet new ones, and see my best friend in a play.  I tour the Sam Adams Brewery finally.  I try Eritrean food, and of course eat lots and lots of lobstah!  I walk the Goo Goos Jog N Hog due to a painful injury.  That injury turns out to be peroneal tendonitis, and I also find out (on my 3rd Xray and MRI of the year) that I have a cyst in my heel, but the doctor doesn’t think it is affecting me.  I attend a Vanderbilt football game and watch them actually win!  I take a Motorcyle class.  I watch the Kona Ironman championships online and am amazed by the athletes.  I do the Color Run with a couple friends.

November
I make a road trip to tour the Calfkiller brewery and fall more in love with their beer.  I try to talk them into selling me a bike jersey with no luck.  I run in the Ragnar Tennessee relay race and tick off another Athletic Bucket List item.  I volunteer at the Flying Monkey Marathon and witness some truly hardcore runners.  I run the Boulevard Bolt and get another PR.  Coach comes into town again and we have a little team dinner and recap of the year and discuss the next year.

December
I start the month off with my first 12k, the 12 South Winter Warm Up, and finish the day with the 12 South Winter Warmer, one of my favorite beer fests.  Running and beer, what a perfect day!  Then I announce I’m doing something really crazy for my birthday.  I document all of my runs here, and follow it up with beers with friends.  I do one more Yazoo Barely a 4k Beer Run and earn a Yazoo Santa hat.  I find out I qualified for the USAT national championships for Olympic distance triathlon based on that Women’s race in August, which redeems the unfortunate results of that race.  I bake a monstrous cake and swear off buttercream forever.  I take a little New Year’s vacation and got to see my alma mater play in a bowl game.

2013
And what does 2013 hold?  I’ve already started working on my race schedule for next year.  Who knows what else it holds?  I’m hoping for a happy, healthy, and injury-free year.  Looking forward to ticking off more Athletic Bucket List items and maybe clawing my way to more podium finishes?  I’d also like to start trying to race more duathlons.  What are your plans and goals?

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I Thought This Was A 5k
December 28, 2012

…or how I ran my first Ragnar Relay

Ok, so I’m not that dense, I knew it wasn’t a 5k, I was very much aware it was a 196-plus-some-change mile race between Chattanooga and Nashville.  But that was our very cleverly coined team name.  As I have been slowly attempting to tick off items off of my Athletic Bucket List.  One more that has been dogging me for a while is a major relay race.  After applying for Hood To Coast, I knew I really wanted to be on a team for Ragnar this year.  So, I set my sights on stalking the Facebook page.  Fortunately after only one post, Cayla snatched me right up.  Boom, I was in!

As we got closer to race day, I was finalizing all my plans, packing and reducing and packing and reducing again, stalking the weather in several cities at bizarre hours of the day like a fiend, and overeating like it was my job.

Thursday:
Packing and prepping day.

All my stuff for the next 30 hours.

I took the day off work to get all my crap together.*

Packed neatly into 1 backpack. No Diva Kitty didn’t join us for the race.

Really glad I did this.  I was able to pack, prepare 6 peanut butter sandwiches, and just relax and make sure everything was taken care of.

Peanut...Peanut butter...

Peanut…Peanut butter…

All the rest of my team had already gone down to meet in Chattanooga, but another teammate (whom I recruited) and I went to a concert in Nashville and decided to get up early on Friday and drive down then.  It was too bad we didn’t get our team bonding in early, but when you’re about to spend 30 hours in a van together, there’s plenty of time for smelling each other’s sweaty runner funk bonding.

Friday:
5am Wake up call in time to throw on my my first running outfit with a sweatshirt and yoga pants to cover up.  Eat some breakfast and hop in the car with a mug full of coffee, pointing south to Chattanooga.

8:45am We arrived at the hotel and met up with Cayla, our more than fearless leader.  We pack our stuff into the van and head to the start line.

10:30am Our start time and our first 2 runners in our van are off.

teamstart

Team “I thought this was a 5k!”

Van 1 goofing off at the start line.

Van 1 goofing off at the start line.

12:05pm – LEG 1.  This leg is a 5.1 mile leg all downhill on Suck Creek Mountain.  I averaged a pace in the 7’s range, but I still got passed by 4 people, 3 guys and 1 gal.  That gal chicked all other guys so it was worth it.  No kills unfortunately.  I didn’t want to blow it up and go too fast on the first leg and have nothing left for the other 2 longer legs, but I also knew that the downhill leg would burn out my quads if I tried to brake myself too much.  It was a delicate balance of watching my speed and trying not to trip and causing a snowball effect down the mountain.

Starting my first leg.

Starting my first leg.

Handing off to runner # 4

Handing off to runner # 4

4pm – Van 1 is done with all the runners.  We stop at a Cracker Barrel to get some food and head to the next major exchange to rest and wait for Van 2 to come in.  By “rest” I mean everyone trying to nap in the van during the daylight.

3

A little threesome action in the back bench of the minivan.

Once Van 2 catches up with us, it’s starting to get dark and we’re all about to head out on our night runs, donning lots of lights and reflective material.

9:44pm – Leg 2.  This is my longest run, 6.8 miles, fairly flat going over Tims Ford Lake area.  This run felt great and averaged 8:49 pace.  Not bad for night time in the middle of nowhere Redneck Outback.  6 kills on this leg, I was taking them out left and right.  I got lots of compliments on my LiteBelt.

Saturday:
5:53am – Leg 3.  This was my hardest run.  I had gotten sick overnight and my quads were searing from the downhill leg the day before.  But I took some anti-nausea medicine and drank some Coke to settle my stomach.  The last thing I wanted to do was run, but I got through 6.1 miles at a very slow 10:13 pace.  At one point my team had stopped to check on me.  They asked if I was OK, I shook my head a pathetic “no” and just kept going.  I knew if I stopped I would never get going again.  I managed 2 kills on this run, it looked like everyone was hurting on this one.  I wish I had felt better on this run, because I started this run in the dark and the sun came up and it was fully light by the time I finished the run.  A total of 18 miles and 8 kills in about 19 hours.

Van 1 at the finish

Van 1 at the finish

Finish – After handing off to Van 2, we headed to my house for much needed showers and rest since I live in between the final major exchange and the finish line.  After crossing the finish line with the entire team, I went home and promptly slept for a full 12 hours (5pm-5am) straight.  I woke up when I tried to roll over and my quads started screaming at me.

Team "I thought this was a 5k!"

Team “I thought this was a 5k!”

And the MVP award goes to our Captain, Cayla who stepped up when one of our teammates got sick after her first leg and ran the extra 2 legs.  That’s right, she ran 5 legs in 24 hours totaling 22.6 miles.

MVP

MVP

I had a really fun time and I’d totally do it again.  We had great weather and this is a very well executed race.  Don’t get me wrong, it was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done, but I really enjoyed it.  I had excellent teammates, even with being the rag tag bunch that we were.  I still remain in very close contact (usually on a daily basis) with my teammates and we’re planning to do other relay runs again.

Side Note:  If you decide that you need to massage your piriformis after you run, make sure none of your teammates are standing by with a camera to document it.

IMG_0016

*What I packed for the race:
1 pr running shoes (based on weather decided to go with just 1 pr instead of 2)
3 prs running shorts
1 pr running tights
3 prs running socks
3 sports bras
2 short sleeve running shirts
1 long sleeve running shirt
safety gear (reflective vest, head lamp with rear lamp, LiteBelt)
1 light weight running jacket (with removable sleeves, i.e., doubles as vest)
Clothes for in between runs (yoga pants, sports bra, underwear, socks, slip on shoes, long sleeve shirt, hoodie, rain jacket just in case)
running hat (with reflective strips)
gloves
Ear band/hat
iPod + charger (doubles with phone charger)
Garmin + charger
RoadID
Body Glide
Handheld water bottle for running, plus large water bottle for drinking in van
Nutrition: several Gu/Cliff Shots, Cliff Bars/Picky Bars, Nuun for my water, Sport Beans, Honey Stinger chews.
baby wipes and facial wipes (whore’s bath all the way)
toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, feminine hygiene, brush, chapstick, etc.)
Meds (Excedrin, ibuprofen, anti-nausea Rx, Immodium, etc.)
Extra freezer bags and grocery bags
small roll of toilet paper
sharpie
swiss army knife
Travel blanket that folds up small and can be used as pillow

Food:
PB sandwiches
pretzels (I subsisted on these almost entirely)
small Cokes (second half of what I subsisted on besides Nuun water)
fruit snacks (didn’t touch these)
Gummi bears (well the coke version)
Large reusable bottle of water
Various protein bars

Boston Half Marathon
November 7, 2012

Hey I ran Boston.  Ok, so not THE BOSTON, but I ran their little cousin, the Boston Half Marathon.  My neighbor runs it every year and always raved about it.  I also started going every year to visit my best friends from college in Boston, so I thought why not combine the two?  Plus it was an opportunity to finally meet my favorite triathlon/running power couple, Juls and Dutch at the race!! They were even more adorable in person, wish I could hang out and run with them more often (hint, they need to move down South!).

So here are my Top 10 thoughts about my experience with this race.

1. You have to stay on top of the registration date.  It’s always in July and it sells out in a couple hours.  Do NOT mess around with this.

2. It’s a really reasonable race price: $65.  C’mon where else can you get a high quality Half Marathon (with big name elites racing!) for that price?

3. The field is small and fast.  Granted it gets kind of congested in a few places, like the first mile or so, but they limit it to about 6,000 I believe.  And it is a fast field.  They do not play around with the timing of the race.  At the 2:30 mark, they start dismantling the finish line.  Yes, that is an average runner pace, and that is what they consider their last finisher time.  You can still run it at a slower pace, but expect that most course support will not be available.

4. People really run the entire thing.  I walk water stops regardless.  It gives me a break and I don’t spill fluids all over me.  But I hardly ever saw any walkers even near the end or the final hill.

5. It is a hilly course.  The course elevation profile doesn’t really accurately portray the course.  It is a constant roller.  You can ignore the profile that shows any flat portions or any really drastic hills.  The entire thing is up or down hill.  There are also a lot of u-turns and tight turns.  Make sure your ankles and calves and quads are prepared.  Training in Nashville will serve you well.

6. I PR’d!  Granted it was only by a minute, but this is a way harder course than Philly was (flat and straight).  I was aiming for a couple more minutes faster than that, but I started hurting near the end.  I’m actually pleased I got another sub-2 Half! Final time: 1:56:26, top 25% in age group. New PR!

7. I got very, very sick after the race.  For the first time, I hurled after a race.  Granted it was about an hour after running (and not at the finish line), but it was bad.  I got very cold after the race, despite changing and putting on warmer clothes, and had dark purple lips.  I didn’t properly rehydrate and fuel after the race (the post-race options were more like what you see at an expo).  Then we rode in the back of a school bus with the heater on to our drop off location.  All a very bad mixture.  It took me about 5 hours to recover and not look as much like a “corpse” as my friend put it.  On top of that I think I need to rethink my fueling and hydration plans for running.  This has been happening all too often, even with using Immodium (“runner’s little helper”) before and after the race.

8. The course is gorgeous.  It goes through some of the most beautiful areas of Boston and during fall with all the leaves changing, it’s just a scenic run!

9. Course support was very good.  I had water whenever I wanted it.  I carried my own nutrition with me so I didn’t take part in that.  I was a little perplexed by the gear check area, you just drop off your own bag and pick up your own bag, so no real security.  I kinda wish I had seen a little more medical at the finish, maybe I would have partaken, then again I could have just walked away from the area and didn’t notice.  The post-race food was meh – fruit, granola, powerbar, water, gatorade, but really it was all stuff you would have gotten at an expo, which they don’t have.  Think what I needed was some hot chicken broth like after Philly.  And since no expo, they send you your bib and info in the mail before the race, and you get your shirt at the race or the finish.  I kinda like this change.

10. The race shirt is awesome, Adidas long sleeve technical T.  And the race medal is some seriously heavy bling!  One of my favorites, not to mention it’s a 125th Anniversary of BAA, so it was a pretty cool year to run Boston.

Sorry no post race photos, they weren’t very flattering, more so than usual, so this will have to do.

Final Challenge
April 29, 2011

Well, I made it through this year’s 46 Day Challenge.  There’s a reason it is called a challenge.  It’s a challenge to keep up with the exercise on a daily basis, even when you’re sick, busy, or out of town.  It’s a challenge to “make” time rather than “find” time.  You challenge yourself to new physical and mental limits.  Or you just challenge yourself to try something crazy, like a triathlon.

For the last weekend of the Challenge, I was out of town for the holiday.  While travel usually makes it difficult to exercise, I still found time to run on one day and because of where we went for vacation (more on that in an upcoming post, here’s a hint…the happiest place) there was a LOT of walking involved.  I mean a lot.  I almost regretted going for that run on Saturday morning.  I have some well-worn sneakers now!

Also, remember how I hooped the half marathon last year?  Well, I wasn’t able to participate in the training this year, but tomorrow is the half marathon.  I will be on bike support with the hoopers!  Getting in my biking training for the triathlon and supporting a great cause and group of women at the same time!

Here is my final progress.

3/29 Walk 2.6 miles
3/30 Run 5.5 miles
3/31 Walk 1 mile
4/1 Walk 1.7 miles
4/2 Walk 0.25 miles plus some light bike riding
4/3 Walk 0.25 miles plus some heavy house cleaning
4/4 Foam Roller 20 min
4/5 Walk 1 mile
4/6 Run 2.4 miles
4/7 Swim 300 meters, walk 1 mile
4/8 Bike 4.34 miles
4/9 Swim 300 meters
4/10 Bike 5.73 miles
4/11 Run 4.2 miles
4/12 Run 3 miles
4/13 Swim 300 meters
4/14 Bike 9.26 miles
4/15 Walk 1/2 mile
4/16 Swim 750 meters
4/17 Run 4 miles
4/18 Bike 8 miles + Run 2 miles (practicing the transition for the triathlon!)
4/19 Walk 1 mile
4/20 Walk 1 mile
4/21 Swim 400 meters
4/22 Walking minimum 2 miles
4/23 Run 2.4 miles, plus walking minimum 2 miles
4/24 Walking minimum 2 miles, hooping 10 minutes

So, how did you do?  What has been your biggest challenge?

Battle for weekend
December 2, 2009

It’s a grey, damp coldness of a day.  I sit in my office with no windows, but I’m aware of the dreariness nonetheless.  I’d much rather taken a nap this morning.  Or even now if I could.  Last week was a short week due to the long holiday weekend and I’m feeling it this week.  Two more days?  Really?

Is it time to hibernate yet?

The good news is that I apparently battled for my long weekends and won.  Quite fabulously unintentionally.  A quick look at this month’s calendar and I have a vacation/holiday scheduling bonanza that I didn’t even plan.  Last week’s holiday presented a long 4-day weekend.  Full week this week.  Next week Sally has another birthday and I decided to take off both the birthday and the Friday that follows.  Ta-da!  Another 4-day weekend.  Full week the week after my birthday.  Then another holiday rolls around perfectly on Thursday and Friday the next week, this one without any vacation requests.  And what do my excited little blue eyes see…why yes, Virginia, that is another 4-day weekend immediately following with a holiday and conveniently scheduled vacation day.  To recap, that’s four 4-day weekends in six weeks.  Sweet.

Guess that makes getting through the next two days much easier.  Even with all the blah weather.

Canada pt. 4 (the finale)
October 21, 2009

I am finally home again.  It feels great, and Diva Kitty is so happy to see me. (don’t worry the affection won’t last long)  My final trip home was quite an adventure.  Barbie had class this morning, so I stayed behind to pack.  I went for my first run since the race, a light easy 2 miles.  It wasn’t bad, but my right calf started hurting again during the run.  Never had post-race pain last this long.  I guess I need to ease back into it; I’ll get plenty of upper body work this weekend at the hooping seminars.  After Barbie’s class, I drove over to the school to pick her up.  Yes, that was my first time attempting to drive in a foreign country.  Hard to believe that’s the first time, considering how much and how long I’ve been traveling internationally.  I managed the mile or two and back without any problems.  We stopped for some last minute falafel (Yum!) before hitting the road.

We hit some construction traffic in Canada.  Then, while waiting in line at the border, we witnessed something crazy that held up our pass through the border.  It appeared that the border patrol surrounded and arrested several Mennonites or Hutterites several cars ahead of us.  We were eventually back on the road, but were caught in the web that is Metro Detroit rush hour/construction traffic.

We arrived at the airport 10 minutes before my flight was scheduled to take off.  I was certain I had missed my flight, so I went to the ticket counter.  I needed to check a bag anyway.  The guy at the counter told me I would make the flight but my bag might not.  I thought there is no way I would ever make it through security at a major airport in 10 minutes and I really didn’t want to sprint to the gate, especially with my sore calf from the 2 miles this morning.  I got to the gate, and they were just boarding.  Wow, couldn’t believe it.  We landed on time and I walked to baggage claim.  Just as I neared the carousel, my bag was floating by.  No way, the bag made it too?!  At some point in my life I must have pleased the gods of air travel.

I successfully made it home!  So, to recap…that’s 7 days, my first snow of the season, 6 border crossings, 13.1 miles, becoming an international racer, one Ikea trip, one H&M trip, one puffio, one sinful cupcake, a Titans jersey in a Canadian bar, several funny signs, one crazy border crossing, fortuitous air travel, and a sore calf.  What a trip!

Canada pt. 3 (post race)
October 20, 2009

We survived the race!  It was a very chilly start, just below freezing.  But fortunately we had made a last minute trip to the outdoorsy store (coupon in hand!) and got some great cold weather pants.  Barbie and I were in different starting waves, so I gave her a huge hug and some encouraging words before her first half and made my way to my corral.  Though it was a fairly large race (about 20,000 runners), it wasn’t long before I away from the crowds and could comfortably find my own pace.  We approached the Ambassador Bridge, which turned out to be a pretty manageable incline despite my fears.  Once crossing the bridge, we were in Canada.  I’m officially an international racer!  It was a beautiful run the entire race, great scenery and interesting urban landscape.  It was around mile 5 that I realized I forgot to put Body Glide on my feet and I worried about blisters the rest of the race.  Fortunately, I didn’t develop anything awful.  Maybe my socks were already saturated with the stuff.

The tunnel back to the U.S. turned out to be the worst part.  It is the only international underwater mile (once again an international racer).  A mile means I’m in the tunnel for about 10 minutes.  It was a different climate in the tunnel and I really began to stifle from the heat and other runners.  Fortunately, we reached the end of the tunnel and entered the U.S. again.  Of course, as I exited the tunnel Green Day’s “American Idiot” began on my ear buds as if on cue.  I promise I have my music on “shuffle” when I run.

The rest of the race meandered through downtown Detroit.  I felt great throughout the whole race.  Somewhere in the last third of the race, I realized I was on track to best my last finish time for a half.  So that encouraged me to keep going.  In fact I finished in 2:15:05, almost a full 15 minutes faster than my first half!  I’m very pleased.  I trained hard enough and smart enough.  I deserved it.

I attempted to take pictures with a mini camera during the race.  If I am able to download them to the computer, I will update with photos.

After clearing the finish, I went back to the hotel to get warmer clothes to watch for Barbie at the finish line.  I finally found her and we celebrated together.  As I said before:  Running 13.1 miles with your best friend…Priceless!  I’m very proud of her, she had a great race, and really proud of both of us.  Yay, Runner Girl Power!

The best post-race celebration I think I’ve ever had included Pumpkin Spice smoothies at the post-race party.  Wow, yummy!  I need to start making those!  Of course, the past couple days since the race we’ve been moving in rather slow or odd ways.  Post race soreness is a funny creature.  But nothing that a few glasses of wine or a few pints couldn’t fix.

To battle our post race soreness, we hit The Honest Lawyer again tonight.  Barbie did some of her grading, while I worked on some pro bono work.  (Kinda fitting that’s a good place to work.)  It’s my last night visiting with Barbie, but I’ve had a great trip!  And a great break, that was sorely needed.

Canada pt. 2 (pre-race)
October 18, 2009

I have already spent one day in Canada and one day in Detroit.  My first day, I had a brief last day run before the race.  It was cold and some of the snow from the previous day was still on the roofs of houses, but it was a nice jog.  While Barbie taught Canada’s youth, I explored downtown.  As soon as I got of the bus I spotted these signs.  Failblog entry here I come.

thai

wheels

We eventually stopped by my favorite pub again.  And look what they had hanging inside.  Keep in mind, this is Canada, not the NFL!

honestlawyer

titans

Before heading back to the U.S. we enjoyed goodies from Barbie’s favorite cupcake place.

cupcake

We got to Detroit and the first place we stayed (Barbie’s relatives) had no heat. Brrr….  But eventually we went downtown to get our registrations for the race and check into our hotel the next day.  Wish us luck on the race!!

Canada pt. 1
October 16, 2009

Yesterday, I began my annual trip to Canada.  I hopped a plane to Detroit (by way of Baltimore) to visit Barbie.  She picked me up at the airport and we made our way across the border.  After we entered Canada I confessed I was pretty hungry so we pulled off in a border town and I convinced Barbie to stop at a random strip mall pizza joint.  Mostly I wanted to stop there  because I was curious about their sign.

puffio sign

What in the world is a Puffio?!  I mean, c’mon who isn’t curious by that?  It’s either something I’ve never heard of, or it’s some Canadian-ism for something I know by another name.  Either way, it’s a cultural learning experience potential, and I never turn those down!  Turns out a puffio is different from a panzerotti according to the nice lady inside (what is a panzerotti??).  After ordering two “kids-sized” puffios with our choice of ingredients, we discovered two things:

1.  A puffio is a deep fried calzone
2.  “Kids size” must also be metric in Canada because it was HUGE.

puffio

After stuffing ourselves with yummy fried goodness (it was actually good despite the fried factor), we got back on the road.  Soon after we were on our way, it started SNOWING!  Yes,  snow.  It wasn’t much more than a dusting and didn’t stick to the road, but it was enough to make driving confusing.  So, in the middle of October, I’ve had my first snow experience.  Yay, Canada.