The Warrior Dash

Well we did it; Ellen (sister), Mark (husband), and I ran the Warrior Dash. If you’re not familiar with the Warrior Dash, it’s 3.2 mile, 12 obstacle mud run. IT WAS AWESOME!

Ellen and I trained for it. Mark . . . well he’s a natural.

The course is mostly on a trail but is also marked with red flags set around 30 feet apart. From the starting line we ran about a mile to the first obstacle. From there forward we alternated running & walking. We would run to a red flag then walk to the next flag and so on. We crept through tubes, climbed across a rope, walked through trenches, swam through nasty water, balanced over wood planks, scaled walls, jumped over fire, slid down a huge slide, and of course, crawled through mud.

The blue brave-heart type face paint was fun but turned out to be a mistake. It started to run as we began to sweat and got into our eyes and mouths. Fortunately the water obstacle was early in the race so we were able to rinse it off.

Turned out the water obstacle was the toughest one to complete. Swimming in tennis shoes was no problem but there was a raft that we had to climb over. It floated around ½ foot above the water and was around 3 feet wide so there was no way to hoist yourself onto it. As I tried to figure a way up, another runner came up behind me and said “give me your foot.” Then he submerged himself into the water grabbed my foot and heaved me onto the raft. Then another girl and I sat on the raft and pulled him up. Mark helped Ellen onto the raft and managed to sink down, hit the bottom and propel himself out of the water high enough to land onto the raft and climb up. It was really cool the way all the runners helped each other with the obstacles

There are very few photos of us durning the race. Photographers were stationed at many of the obstacles and then we had to search to try to find ourselves amonst the thousands of photographs. Observers are not allow on the course

Mark is now obsested with the Warrior Dash. He wanted to run another one in September about an hour from home. I’m not too keen on that because it’s likely to be COLD, especially in the water and mud. But I dodged that bullet as Mark will be out of town on work the weekend of the race. I am, however, looking into the various Warrior Dashes in 2015 to figure out how many of them we can do. OMG, I’ve created a monster.

The Dash took us about an hour and 10 minutes to complete and at the finish line we all received a metal. We were muddy and tired, and yet energized. We fashioned a make-shift shower using sheets rinsing off with the gallon jugs of water we brought with us. Being somewhat cleaner and wearing dry cloths we went back into the Warrior after party for a beer and a bite to eat. 2½ hours later we were home were we all took long showers with lots of soap and shampoo. I had to wash our cloths 4 times before they were clean. But it was all worth it

I really am looking forward to next year’s Dash.

The three of us agreed when we registered for the Dash that we would walk at least part of the course and would walk around any obstacle we couldn’t manage. It was an incredible feeling when we reached the finish line and knew that we had run more than half the course and successfully completed every obstacle.

 

File this under “You just can’t make this stuff up”

My husband, Mark, went to the Netherlands last week for work. He left Saturday arriving Sunday. Got some rest, adjusted to the time change, and went to work Monday and again on Tuesday. That’s the short part of the story. The following is the rest of his week.

Tuesday, after work, the out-of-town employees all went out for dinner. Someone said “Should we take our computers into the restaurant with us?” Someone else (not Mark) said “No, they’ll be fine locked in the car.” (you can see this coming can’t you?) The car was broken into by smashing a window and all the computers were stolen. Mark’s passport was also in his computer bag.

The rental company fixed the car window that same evening with plastic and duct tape (honest).

Now the long story begins . . .
Early Wednesday morning Mark went to the police station and filed a report on the stolen equipment. Then on Thursday he drove to the American Embassy in Amsterdam. Arriving before they opened at 8:30am, he stood in line to get in. He had his personal computer and phone with him rather than leaving it in the car (sounds logical). An official came out and announced that no cellphones are allowed in the embassy. So Mark schlepped back to the car, locked his cell phone inside, returned to the embassy, and got back in line. Once through security he was asked if he was carrying his computer. Because he was, he had to go to another area to have it scanned for explosives. After waiting a while to be scanned, he was told that if he wanted to speed things up he could leave and return without his computer. So he schlepped back to the car, locked his computer inside, returned to the embassy, got back in line, went back through security, and stood in another line to get a passport. At the front of the line he was given a three page form to complete. He found a chair, completed the form, and got back in line. At the front of the line he was asked for 102 Euros cash as the embassy’s credit card machine was broken. Not having that much cash, he left the embassy, found an ATM, withdrew the necessary cash, returned to the embassy, got back in line, and went back through security where a few of the guards said “hey you again – you’re back.” He rejoined the passport line again. At the front of the line he was sent to another window to pay the fee. So he stood in that line and paid the 102 Euros. Then he was told to have a seat and someone will call him to swear an oath that the information he supplied was correct. After taking his oath he was told that everything was OK and to return at 2:30pm for a temporary passport. He left the embassy, walked around for a couple of hours, got a snack and a well-deserved beer before returning to the embassy, getting back in line, going through security, and standing in line to get his temporary passport; which he did receive.

Being so late, he spent the night in Amsterdam and headed to the airport the next day to fly home. The airport went as expected until his flight was delayed due to mechanical error. Five hours later his flight was canceled. He had to reclaim his luggage before rebooking his flight. Reaching the front of the line to rebook his flight, the airline told him that they could get him as far as Chicago by Friday night or Kalamazoo by Saturday night. He chose Chicago where he arrived around midnight. His luggage wasn’t so lucky.

He rented a car and headed home without his luggage. Driving home he pulled off the highway to get a cup of coffee but everything was closed so he pushed on . . . followed by a police officer. The officer pulled him over and approached the car asking “Sir I noticed that sometimes you use your turn signals and sometimes you don’t; have you been drinking this evening?” Mark told him his flight delay story and he was just looking for coffee. The Barney Fife want-a-be (as Mark described him) let Mark continue on his way where he decided he was now awake and no longer needed coffee.

Mark finally arrived home around 4:30am this morning. After sleeping a couple of hours, he headed to the airport to return the car, make a luggage claim, pick up his vehicle from the airport lot, and then go to the office to find a temporary computer to use, and put in a requisition for a new one. Now he just has to apply for a new passport and a new work Visa for Rio.

I just want to point out that I was not flying with him. It’s not my fault.

Cruising the Caribbean – 2014

7 days and nights on the Oasis of the Seas– second largest cruise ship in the world.  It’s sister ship is 2 inches longer, and we all know that size counts.  It has the largest dining room in the world, the deepest diving pool on the sea, and can accommodate 6300 guests (about 1000 more than my home town).  It’s organized into 7 “neighborhoods” – Central Park, The Boardwalk, Royal Promenade, Youth Zone, Entertainment Place, Pool and Sports Zone,, and Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness.  This 16 deck, 1/4 mile long ship has the largest, deepest fresh water pool at sea, 2 climbing walls, and a zip line just to name a few of it’s awesome amenities. Since the weather had been unusually cool we did not book any excursions.

The Oasis of the Seas
The Oasis of the Seas
The Oasis of the Seas
One of the many beverage menus
The Oasis of the Seas
Aquatheater
The Oasis of the Seas
The Entrance to Boardwalk
The Oasis of the Seas
Boardwalk
The Oasis of the Seas
Ellen, Mark, and Denny walking into Central Park

Day 1. Mark, Ellen, Denny, and I boarded Oasis of the Seas on a Saturday afternoon.  The process was very organized and efficient.  We immediately headed to Central Park to lunch on salad and roast beef sandwiches then walked through the ship from top to bottom (we’re organized too) making sure we had a drink in-hand at all times.   After unpacking in our ocean-view stateroom we dinned on eggplant tarts, prime rib, and cream brulé.  The evening’s entertainment was the Tony Award winning musical Hairspray.

Towel Bat
Towel Bat
Towel Cow
Towel Cow
Towel Dog
Towel Dog
Towel Elephant
Towel Elephant
Towel Giraffe
Towel Giraffe
Towel Monkey
Towel Monkey

Day 2. At sea.  We tried out the fitness center but found it too busy to be of any good to us, so we drank lattes and wandered around the pool.  Trying more of the many fruity tropical drinks, we snacked on pizza and sandwiches and enjoyed the Solarium (an adult only pool area).  The temperature was chilly, maybe 65 or 70.  For most of the late afternoon and evening hours we had cocktails in the Air Bar while watching the NFL Super Bowl playoffs.  Ellen and I left between games for a formal dinner of lobster bisque, duck, and cream brulé.  Since the guys didn’t want to leave the game we delivered shrimp cocktails, broiled fish, and steak to them in the Air Bar.

The Oasis of the Seas
Morning coffee on our balcony
The Oasis of the Seas
Leaning out our balcony, looking forward

Day 3.  Labadee Hati.  On the north coast of Haiti, Labadee®, if Royal Caribbean’s private island. It was a beautiful 95 degrees as we strolled around, enjoying cocktails, a buffet lunch.  Ellen and I swam in the warm ocean for a while before returning to the ship.  Back on the ship we relaxed with more tropical drinks (dah) and chilled out in the Solarium before dinner.  Dinner was a Classic Cesar, Chicken Marcella, and Tiramisu.  Our evening entertainment was Frozen in Time, a marvelous ice skating show.  Afterward we enjoyed the comedy club. Day 4.  Falmouth Jamaicaman.  We started our day with breakfast at Johnny Rockets before heading for land to do some shopping.  Mark bought swim trunks and sunglasses as well as a shot glass for Kenn.  Back on board we dined on scallops, lamb and baked Alaska.  3 shows filled our evening’s entertainment. Oasis of Dreams is a water show I can only describe as a mini version of Las Vega’s “O” by Cirque du Soleil, followed by “Give Me a Line,” an improv comedy show (Oasis’s version if “who’s line is it anyway”), and then headliner Jeff Tracta, impressionist, comedian, and singer.

Dave, Ellen, Denny, & Mark at Johnny Rockets
Dave, Ellen, Denny, & Mark at Johnny Rockets
Jogging Track The Jogging Track is slightly less than 1/2 mile on Deck 5. Moving along the track covers both inside and outside areas. The left side is for runners and the right side is for walkers. Jogging Track
Jogging Track
Jogging Track
The forward end has a stairway to the fitness center.
Jogging Track
Jogging Track
Jogging Track
One Lap to Go or Maybe Three, Tonight’s Dessert will be Guilt Free
Jogging Track
Clever signs are scattered along the track. “Here we Go Back Around Again”
Jogging Track
There is a stairway to the Fitness Center at one end of the Jogging Track.
Jogging Track
1 Minute Idling Law You Idle You Pay, Up to $800 after 5 minutes
Jogging TrackKeep Your Pace (Left side for running, Right side for walking)
Jogging Track
Here We Go, Back Around Again
Jogging Track
The Finish Line Just Past the Bend
Jogging Track
Jogging Track

Day 5, At sea. It was an active day.  Mark and I fast walked the jogging track for around a mile then Ellen and I filled our day with classes while the guys relaxed around the pools.  We took 2 Lady Gaga dance lessons, followed by a flash mob dance lesson.  Then we sailed over Central Park on the ship’s zip line before catching part of a line dancing lesson.  Dinner was clam chowder, lobster, and flourless chocolate cake. The evening’s entertainment was “Sea Breeze,” a tribute to rock and roll, then the comedy club.

Zip Line
Ellen on the Zip Line
Zip Line
Ellen
Zip Line
Ellen
Zip Line
Ellen on the Zip Line
Zip Line
Ellen
Zip Line
Ellen
Zip Line
Julie on the Zip Line
Zip Line
Julile
Zip Line
Julie

Day 6.  Cozumel, Mexico.  After breakfast we walked around port area for a while and shopped a bit.  Mark a swimming suit,  and I bought a sombrero for Dave McHaggis, and a bracelet for me.  Back on board we enjoyed cocktails in the Solarium.  We dinned on escargot, grilled chicken, and cherries jubilee.  After dinner we headed to one of the bars for “Broadway Tunes with Tracy and Edna” (from Hairspray), and enjoyed “Come Fly with Me,” another Cirque de Soleil type show.

Dave and his sombrero
Dave models his new sombrero

Day 7.  At Sea and our last cruise day.  Mark and I started the morning climbing the rock wall.  We wanted to climb again later in the day but it became too windy to climb. Everyone enjoyed cocktail while attending towel folding, napkin folding, and balloon tying.  After lunch Ellen and I attended a flash mob review class, and a Salsa lesson. At 5:55 Ellen and I participated in the flash mob on the Royal Promenade with a handful of other guests.  Dinner was a delightful tomato and feta salad, ribs and steak, and key lime pie.  After dinner we packed up and prepared for the morning departure.

Climbing Wall - Dave
Climbing Wall – Dave
Climbing Wall - Mark
Climbing Wall – Mark
Climbing Wall - Julie
Climbing Wall – Julie
Climbing Wall - Julie
Climbing Wall – Julie
Climbing Wall - Julie
Climbing Wall – Julie
Climbing Wall - Julie
Climbing Wall – Julie

Pasta Salad

Mix ingredients together, chill, and eat.

  • 2 cups (measured before cooking) Veggie Rotini Pasta, Cooked el detente and chilled
  • 1/4 cup or to taste Onion, diced
  • 1 14 oz can Hearts of Palm
  • 1 can/jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts
  • 10 – 15 Snow Peas, cut small
  • sm container of crumbled Feta Cheese
  • Good Seasons Garlic & Herb dressing mixed as directed

This is my favorite pasta salad.  I often keep it in the refrigerator and eat it as a snack.