We Got an RV!


We headed to Central Oregon for our first trip.


Camp fires will never go out of style regardless of whether we are sleeping in a tent or in a recreational vehicle.


We took in the beautiful scenery and hugged trees.


Some trees were too tall and robust to hug, but that made them even more impressive. This tree is the largest Ponderosa Tree in Oregon and approximately 500 years old.


En route back to the fast paced life, we made a pit-stop to Sparrow Bakery to indulge in the buzzed about ocean rolls.


Much to my chagrin, the bakery was closed (it closes around “2ish” according to their sign) and my disappointment was apparently evident to the young man who asked me to stand-by after I informed him I wanted to try the ocean rolls. He went back inside and came back with two rolls – on the house! The rolls did not disappoint! Sparrow bakery will be a must for me from now on. 


Do you own an RV? What campground do you recommend?

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Spring Break 2015

As a child, my Spring Breaks were filled with television – lots of television. Even though we lived in Florida, we never saw the beach on Spring Break. Throw into the mix Spring Break usually landed on Holy Week with a highly devout Catholic grandma who frowned upon pleasurable experiences during that time of year, and our Spring Breaks were as exciting as a plate of liver with onions – yuck! 

As a parent, Spring Break has become a week that allows our family the opportunity to make wonderful memories together. My husband and I have made it a point to get out of the house during Spring Break in order to grant our daughters (11 and 2) experiences that will forever be forged in their memory banks. Fortunately, most Spring Breaks in Oregon are not usually held during Holy Week, so I don’t have to feel bad about my grandma looking down on me from heaven and frowning. This year, we decided to head to the Oregon Coast to visit my husband’s mother.

Here’s a breakdown of our week:

Monday

My sister-in-law visited us from Seal Rock, Oregon and we enjoyed the evening with wine and baked chicken drumsticks accompanied with a fresh green salad and steamed broccoli. 

Tuesday 

We had a stack of my favorite pancakes for breakfast (King Arthur Gluten Free Pancake Mix – not sensitive to gluten, just love the flavor) and we trekked to Wallowa Lake to enjoy some scenery and a walk around the park. 

View of Mountains that are part of the Eagle Cap Wilderness

Wallowa Lake in its splendor


Wednesday 

After almost ten years of wanting to run the Marine Corps Marathon, my husband and I are going to run it together this Fall! This year, the Marine Corps Marathon went into a lottery system, which meant you got in by luck. Figuring I had nothing to lose but the time I invested in registering for it, I went ahead and registered both my husband and me. When I woke up in the morning and saw an e-mail indicating both he and I made it, I jumped up and down and screamed due to all the excitement.

Immediately following my excitement, I did some strength training, a run, made breakfast for my guests, and helped them prepare for their journey back to the Coast. We pretty much spent most of the day packing for our trip that would take place on Thursday morning. 

Thursday

We were supposed to leave at 8, but due to my inability to complete my nine mile run prior to 8 am, we did not end up leaving until close to 11 am!

For our trip to the Coast, we decided to take the long round about way and stop at a place I’ve been wanting to see since we moved to Eastern Oregon two years ago: The Painted Hills.

We made a bathroom break (very clean bathrooms) at the Mascall Formation Overlook on our way to the Painted Hills.

I’ve seen pictures of the Painted Hills on the Internet and I’ve always wanted to see them with my own eyes. I wanted a picture of the Hills snapped by my own lens. The Painted Hills are in the Central Oregon area close to the city of Mitchell, Oregon. Traversing quaint small towns nestled at the foot of majestic hills is my favorite part of road trips!  

This Painted Hill was one of the first Hills that greeted us as we first drove into the park.

Sand and surf weren’t the only elements of nature we failed to experience during Spring Break. Florida, known for its palm trees and sandy shorelines is also as flat as a can of soda left opened for three days straight. So whenever hills and mountains are involved, I’m always up for the experience regardless of whether it takes running, hiking, snowshoeing or driving to get to it.

Selfie with my wonderfully wonderful husband.

There are have been many times where I have been filled with so much anticipation about an event, that the day or moment it happens, the experience does not live up to the hype I’ve built up. This was definitely NOT the case when I saw the Painted Hills! It was how I imagined it, and its beauty lived up to the awe and fascination I had for them when I could only admire them in pictures. It was my only hope my 11 year-old would remember this landmark and this moment and would someday share this, if not a similar experience, with her children! 

The AMAZING Painted Hills!

Friday

We arrived to Newport close to 11 pm and I did not get to bed until midnight. Spring Break meant a break from routine, but not from marathon training. It was only four miles of running on the schedule, but they were four green miles filled with beach, bridges, and homes with cedar sidings. My husband took me on a trail run that he himself had never run despite growing up in Oregon. It was filled with bridges, dirt and gravel paths! 

Ocean to Bay Trail in Agate Beach

After negating the calories we burned on our run with a delicious and hearty breakfast, we all drove to Cape Perpetua. The weather was definitely tailored for individuals who enjoy wind and rain (not me). However, the views were still striking and the weather added an extra touch of excitement to our exploration.

View of the Pacific Ocean from West Shelter Observation Point

There was slight fog and relentless wind. The shelter gave us good cover from the elements.


Saturday

Twenty miles along the Newport Marathon Course was the best way to start my Saturday. But the day only got better.

Long run along the Newport Marathon Course

My mother-in-law, in honor of my 38th birthday (March 31), made a delicious pulled pork and potato salad meal (yum) and homemade carrot cake – score!!!! I was overfilled with joy because the day turned out so much better than I expected. I got to put in a long run and celebrate with family savoring a wonderful meal! My heart was filled with gratitude! Thank you so much to my mother-in-law for a stupendous weekend.

My mother-in-law gave me my favorite chocolates and Huma Gel. She knows me pretty well. I also got spoiled with homemade carrot cake, carrot cupcakes, and triple chocolate cake! Best part, I felt zero guilt considering I had run 20 miles!

Sunday

We headed back home on Sunday and our return called for another long road trip. We made various stops along the way, but my favorite by far was a trail we serendipitously discovered while making a potty break for our two-year-old. The trail was called Soap Stone Lake Trail. Since it was unplanned, we figured this was a perfect opportunity to explore this Oregon gem.

The trail was 1.5 miles long, and led to Soap Stone Lake. There were wooden bridges, tall green mossy trees, meadows, and wooden stairs. It was also a decent climb as the trail was not flat. I stopped and took as many pictures and soaked in the scenery. Perhaps the best part about our hike was the fact we were the only individuals hiking it! 

One of the bridges and stairs along the Soap Stone Lake Trail

A picture of Soap Stone Lake. We got closer and walked on some of the logs that are fallen on the lake.

Trail Selfie

I don’t know what the little leaves on the top left corner are, but they are edible and they taste delicious! My husband introduced us to them and we kept stopping to pick them and eat them.

All I can say is, “Best Spring Break EVER.” I don’t believe I sat down to watch any television!

How was your Spring Break? Did you get out of the house and explore the world around you?

Marathon Training: Week 15

SPRING BREAK! The morning chaos was on hiatus this week. My husband asked for the week off, so it made for an extra sweet week having him home as well. Three of my mornings were filled with Crossfit and I got to run outside 5 out of 6 days! This was an awesome 15th week of Marathon Training! Only seven more weeks to go.

Monday

Four miles. Did Crossfit in the morning and immediately headed out for a four mile easy run. My Crossfit friend, Bene, ran one mile with me and I had three morning miles to myself.

  

Tuesday

Seven and a half miles. Did Crossfit in the morning, went back home to switch out shoes, and took a couple of breaths before heading out to the track. The weather was miserable – rain, crazy winds, and cold. I felt great once my run was over. I was also really hungry, and made one of my favorite meals: pancakes!

  

Wednesday 

Five miles. Did Crossfit in the morning and once again, headed outside to complete five slow miles. 

My sister-in-law, her husband and my nephews visited us from Seal Rock, Or for the first part of the week, so we took them to see Wallowa Lake on Tuesday afternoon. The lake was empty, so we had a chance to explore and enjoy it all to ourselves!

  

  

Thursday

Nine miles. My husband and I decided to head out to the Oregon Coast on Wednesday afternoon, and I didn’t start my nine mile run until almost 9 am. Opted to complete this long run on the treadmill because I figured it would pressure me to go faster, and it did. Once my run was over, I rushed into the shower and we took the long way to the Oregon Coast.

Because I’ve been pining to visit the Painted Hills since moving to Eastern Oregon, my husband thought this was the perfect opportunity! Wish we would have had the whole day to explore, because it was absolutely beautiful!

  

Friday

Four miles. Not only did I get the opportunity to run in the Oregon Coast, I got a chance to run with my husband! My legs were hurting after yesterday’s nine mile run and sitting in a vehicle for more than 12 hours!

  

We wanted to explore the coast, so we ventured out to Cape Perpetua. The weather was what I consider stereotypical Oregon Coast weather: rain, wind, and fog.

  

Mentally prepared on Friday night for the twenty miles waiting for me on Saturday morning. I also physically prepared with a massive pasta, grilled chicken, broccoli, spinach, fresh tomatoes, and pico de gallo (for salsa) dinner meal! 

  

Saturday

Twenty miles!!!! These twenty miles had been on my radar since training day 1! There were all sorts of mixed feelings. Excitement and uncertainty were the most dominant feelings rushing through my mind and body. How would my body respond? Would I lose my mental bearing and end up walking? There was only one way to find out.

  

Water, Nuun Energy Tablets, Huma Energy Gels, and banana walnut cookie were in my Orange Mud water pack. 

After going back and forth on the course, I finally decided to run my 20 miles on the Newport Marathon course. The Newport Marathon was the first marathon I ever ran (2010). That experience was humbling, humiliating, and infuriating. There were probably more tears and blisters than there was sweat throughout my body. Because I failed to properly train and having only run 10 miles (on the treadmill) as my longest run, I suffered times ten the mental and physical anguish along every step of the course. After the first 16 miles, all I could think of doing was quitting. I think the hundreds of people who passed me along the way felt sorry for me and tried to encourage me to finish.

This time around, I wanted to redeem myself for at least 20 miles of the course. Most importantly though, I really wanted to ENJOY myself.

 

The first  six miles were spent messing with my gear. I had to stop and tie my shoe. Subsequently, a giant black cloud dumped water along the course and I had to waterproof my smart phone because I was not expecting rain. At mile 5.5, the rain had stopped, the sun made its presence, and the humidity was thick, so I stopped again to take off my jacket and tie it on a bungee cord attached to my water pack.

  

It took a good six miles to mentally settle down and find my stride. Once I did, my run was nothing but pure pleasure! I was able to observe the beauty of the course that I failed to enjoy back in 2010. The weather, the water, the breeze, the views, they were with me with each stride, and I felt like I belonged out there. So many times I’ve put myself down for being slow and feeling like I was a phony runner. Today though, I felt so much grace. I had the opportunity to reflect on how my mind and body had evolved into a stronger, sharper vessel. What was more amazing was the discovery that I finally felt like I could tame the negative voices inside my head. For years I berated myself. For years I felt like I was never good enough. With each and every task I endeavored, I wanted to prove something to others: my self worth, my mental aptitude, my charming personality. And despite all the efforts I placed on external approvals, I never seemed to fulfill the shallow void of impressing others in order to be liked and accepted.

  

The negative voices though were not present this time around. In fact, they’ve been absent for some time now. It’s become clear to me I can disown the voices as easily as I own them. As far as running is concerned, there will always be someone faster and stronger than me. But my goal has never been to be the fastest or the strongest. It’s always been to be the fastest and strongest me. And regarding approval, it’s only I who can approve of how valuable I choose to be. At the end of my life, I will be held accountable not so much by how hard I tried to impress others, but by how I treated others. I loved how these twenty miles proved to me that I’m on the right path!!!

 

 In 2010, I crossed the Newport Marathon in 5:46 minutes. Today, I ran twenty miles in 3:26! This means even if I were to have walked the last 6.2 miles of the marathon, I probably still would have crossed the finish line stronger than I did in 2010.