Imerman Angels

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Donut Dash 2014 recap

Twitter can be really great if used correctly. One of those ways it can be great came through on Saturday, November 22 when a group of runners met up for Donut Dash 2014.  I found out about the potential event via fellow bibchatter, Cass. She tweeted out a survey that the organizers(Cass, Julie and Kristen) used to plan the event.
Donut Dash Route
Usually waking up early to run is difficult for me, but running for donuts and meeting a lot of new people excited me. It being a cold, windy and rainy morning also made it a struggle to get out of bed. However, I committed the event and did not want to let them down. The group met at Montgomery Park on Saturday outside of Pete's coffee.

There were definitely nerves because I did not know anyone except Cass and we had only interacted via twitter. I enjoyed meeting her and the other runners who decided to brave the misty morning. They had coffee for all the runners who showed up. I had a cup even though I do not consider myself a coffee drinker because I needed something to warm me up. The organizers had the group sign waivers, discussed the plan and split the group into two waves. I jumped into wave one and we headed off to our first stop, Firecakes.

Firecakes would the shortest distance to run to out of all the shops we would go to. Once wave one got to Firecakes, they gave us three options of donuts. I forgot the other options they gave us, but I got the Honey Glazed donut pictured below. The other donuts were on the small-ish side, but not the Honey Glazed donut. We took our time to eat our donuts and I believe it took me the longest of group one to finish mine. I finished my donut and we started our "long" three mile journey to Stan's in Wicker Park.

Honey Glazed donut from Firecakes 
Prior to the event taking place, I kept telling people how fun I believed the event would be. Most responded with an answer like, "Running after eating a donut sounds like asking for trouble." The donut after Firecakes definitely lingered a bit on the trip to Stan's. This is the only time I worried a little that there might be some issues. Fortunately we made it to Stan's with no issues and were pleased to hear we could choose any donut.

Those who know me well know how much I love peanut butter flavored products. Even some of the runners in wave one knew that my next choice would involve peanut butter;the peanut butter chocolate donut would be my choice. A fellow wave one runner and I decided to split the donut because of the fact it looked so rich and we had one more stop left. We ate our split donut and decided we made a wise choice. It tasted great and we moved on to our last location. Glazed and Infused.

Peanut Pocket(very left) from Stan's 
Glazed and Infused had a very nice set up for the group of runners participating in the donut dash. They put aside a few tables for us and had boxes filled with a variety of donuts. Once I saw the options available, I knew my choice immediately.
Red Velvet 
As seen from the picture above, I went with the Red Velvet option (I promise that the donut sitting on the napkin in the picture is not mine). The cream cheese frosting made the donut. Despite me saying that the second donut pictured is not mine, I did have half of another Red Velvet. There were extras and I took a few of the other options home.

The overall event was a big success in my opinion. I had a lot of fun and it seems like everyone involved did as well. Thank you to Cass, Julie and Kristen for all the work they did in organizing the event. I would also like to thank Stan's, Firecakes and Glazed and Infused for providing donuts for the group.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Red River Gorge Part III

Day 4/night 5

I had a little bit of a rough start to the day by having no place to run. Not getting a run in kind of threw my morning off. By no means am I a morning runner, but I have enjoyed these morning runs in Kentucky. Secondly, we had a cold morning, had to take down our tents and realized we to kayak back to our first site. My hands were so cold and this made taking my tent a big struggle. The group got things taken down eventually and we got ready to kayak back. 

My first step into the water punched me in the face. I should mention how muddy our shoes and feet got before we reached the water. As soon as I realized I would not be able to feel my feet for a while, I got over that. It made things ten times better that I partnered with an experienced kayaker in a tandem kayak. The three boys and I were on a mission to get back to warmth. It felt like forever, but we finally made it back to our van and headed off to a new site. 

We got the site, ate lunch and set up our tents. Warm showers at the site cost $1for four minutes. Once I found out about this, I passed. Two more days without a shower would not hurt. Guess what I found time to do?

I thought I might be able to run in loops around our site, but that failed. I ventured off to the road and ran in a "bike lane." Things were good for the most part and it never really felt unsafe. The other positive of the night is that we got pizza. 
Miguel's is also known for their pizza

We are at a place called Miguel's. It is really well known in the climbing community. Tomorrow we will be climbing! I am a little nervous, but it should be fun. Hopefully I do not freeze tomorrow. 

Day 5/night 6

I did not freeze and I got another hilly run in. The hills and trails here have done a number on my quads. Running on streets and lakefront path in Chicago are going to be amazing. I got done with my morning run, we ate breakfast and we headed off to do some climbing. 

None of us were too thrilled to be climbing on a 35 degree day with no sun, but we made the most of it. There were two different climbs of varying difficulty. I forget what they are numbered, but the walls get their ratings from climbers who have climbed that wall first. It then gets confirmed or denied by fellow climbers.

The group got a short lesson on climbing and safety topics. The kids impressed me with how easy they made it look. Unfortunately, things did not work out so well for me. 

I tried to climb one wall and did not make it too far. My body kept wanting to use my upper body while letting my legs take a break. Most people can guess how that worked out. I went once and had to readjust my harness because it got real uncomfortable. I tried again after the readjustment and got a little further but bruised my knee pretty good. It bummed me out that I did not make it far, but I made the effort. I will have to try again another time. My body kept me pretty warm for the most part and that is a huge plus. 

The group vetoed climbing on Friday because it will be colder tomorrow. I would have loved to get to Lexington and visit a big city, but that will have to wait. Instead of climbing we are going to drive to the natural bridge and hike the trail there. It will be another battle to stay warm.

Pictures from the last day

View from the natural bridge

reflecting on the trip 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Red River Gorge part II

Day 2/night 3 

On my run today, I actually ran outside of our campsite and on some of the trail we hiked on Monday. It is not too hilly, but it is also not flat. I enjoyed changing up my run and not just doing laps. These rolling hills are killing me, but I am loving it at the same time. I wish I had a little more time to explore the national park. 

Once I got back from my run, we had breakfast and packed up to go to another camp site. We drove for about 25-30 minutes(maybe longer) and I finally had signal! It had been weird, but fun to go a few days with no phone. It has been really fun hanging out with this group. I tried my hardest to avoid the Bears game, but a couple of texts let me know the results were not pleasant. Thankfully this trip helped me avoid such a demoralizing loss. We set up camp and ate lunch in the parking lot of our site. That does not sound glamorous, but we had a great view and awesome weather. We got a kayaking lesson shortly after eating. 

Our view of Cave Run Lake
Kayaking is something I had not done before. I have canoed before and figured they would be the same;they are not. Needless to say, I struggled a little bit. Haha. I wish I had a good answer for him. Tomorrow should be interesting since we will be out there for much longer.

Making our tinfoil dinners 
Day 3/night 4

I thought my hilly run would be the toughest part of the day until we started kayaking. 

We packed up our site and kayaked over to eat breakfast in the parking lot again. Once we finished that, we started our journey to our new site and I definitely struggled out there. I could not keep my kayak straight to save my life. Haha. Eventually we took a tiny little break to eat lunch on a small little "beach" before continuing. We were pretty tired form kayaking into the wind and the sun bearing down on us. Shortly after eating lunch, we our muddy backcountry site. 
Cooking up some Jambalaya 

I do not know how long we were officially out here, but I would guess around two hours. That is a really long time for someone who never kayaks, a.k.a, me. Despite my struggles, I still had a lot of fun out there. The weather could not have been any better. Hopefully I will be able to put pictures up once I get pictures developed off of my disposable camera.

Not only were we tired after our little venture over to our backcountry site, but now we had to walk through the mud to get to a spot where we would set up our tents. Then, for a short while, we could not find my tent poles: we were sure we packed it into one of our kayaks. The boys really wanted me to sleep in their tent. The adults searched for a good while to find these tent poles and we eventually found them under the girls tent. That is probably the toughest thing I really had to deal with until tomorrow.

We have a tough day ahead of us as we kayak back to our site (where we were on day 2) to leave for another. The bonus of tomorrow is that we should get a warm shower! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Red River Gorge Part 1

Some of you may not have noticed, but I went on a camping trip with the high school I work at for a week. It is called interim week at the school. The short explanation for it is that the school shuts down for a week and everyone does something that can be a service or a fun trip like I went on. That is a somewhat poor explanation, but is close enough for now. The next few blog post will detail what we did on the trip that I went on. We spent some time on a camping trip on the Red River Gorge in Kentucky.

Night 1

We had a semi long ride down to our site from Winnetka. It really only felt long because we made a few stops to eat and run a few errands. Once we finally got down there, we set up shop and started cooking dinner. We had burgers and chips that were pretty good, some kids told "scary stories" and we relaxed. The two guides talked about goals for the week and students were selected as leaders of the day. 

This should be an interesting trip because I'll be doing a lot of things I have never done before and spending it mostly without technology. I can nor remember the last time I spent time in a tent. Two of the girls and I are planning on going for a run in the morning. I'm glad there are a couple of people on the trip that enjoy it. I know for a sure that my friends who know me well are very surprised that I would agree to go on a trip like this. Haha. 

Day 1/night 2
Compression tights for the win(hopefully you will understand why later)! Two girls and I on the trip on doing our best to stay in shape, so we got up and ran. Together, we ran 1.67 miles or so. They split off after that to do sprints and I ran for a total of 45 minutes. 

We finished our activities and joined the group for scrambled eggs and bacon. After breakfast we talked to our student and two group leaders about the plan for the day and what we would do for lunch. Once we got ourselves together, we headed out for our adventure.

Bacon and eggs cooked by two students

As a group, we followed out student leaders and they used a topographical map to help us find a natural arch on the Sheltowee trail. For some reason, I got it into my head that this would be a flat adventure;oops. I spent a lot of time trying not to get hurt(I ended up with a bruise on my shin, but it wasn't my fault). We got a little lost while trying to find the first arch, so we take a break and ate lunch.

On our way to finding the natural arch 

Shortly after finishing eating, we found the arch! It felt good to find it and hang out there for a little while. The next step in the plan had been to find another natural arch, but after hiking for a few for more miles, we decided to head back to our camp site. 
The view while eating lunch

I can not say for sure how long we hiked, but we did at least ten miles. My CW-x compression tights were a lifesaver. My legs probably would have felt a lot different if it were not for that. During our walk back to camp, I kept looking at places I could run. I did eventually find some places I could get a few miles in. It is funny how my mind has changed since I started running.

Hanging out under the natural arch 
We had time to kill after we got backed and I attempted to learn to play euchre. Hopefully I will understand it a few more times after playing it a couple more times. Once we stopped playing, we had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and relaxed.

My home for the week