Monday, July 21, 2014

Vacation - Exercise

We knew that Bill would get his exercise in during vacation since it involved 10 days of bike racing!  Kayleigh was missing the first week of Cross Country practice for our vacation, though, so I had all these ideas about how we would get our running in.  We would get up early and go running near the hotel.  We would drive to the lake in the town where we were staying and run there.  We would run at some of Bill's races.  So many ideas!

Although Kayleigh is sitting here, we actually did a lot of running around the various courses to get tons of pictures and videos of Bill.

Well it didn't turn out quite like I thought!  First of all, Thursday was spent driving so that day was out.  Something I didn't mention in the last post was that when we finally rolled up to our hotel (which I had booked months in advance) late Thursday, we were told that they overbooked and we were being sent down the road for the night.  So that meant Friday morning we had to head to the first race with our 10-days of stuff in the truck with us.  By the time the race was over and we got moved into our actual hotel, we were in no mood to go run.  Saturday is the day that we stayed later than expected at the race and then stopped at the vegetarian restaurant on the way back.  One more day lost!  The worst part about all this is the weather was really cold for the summer so it would have been perfect weather for me.

Bill and Kayleigh in the great room of our hotel watching the World Cup while waiting for our food to cook on the outdoor grill and our laundry in the next room.  We could have been working out, but we weren't.

Sunday I was determined to get out and do some real exercise.  Kayleigh and I got up early and went out for a run by the hotel.  It is located on a big circular road that looks like it will eventually be developed but for now is pretty empty.  We figured out how far we had to go for each mile.  I had been really slacking with my running so I was pretty happy when I ran for 25 minutes straight.  We think I got about 2.5 miles.  I then walked until Kayleigh got in the rest of her run.  

We found the water in Wisconsin to be completely disgusting.  We brought our Brita thinking just filtering the water would be fine but we were wrong.  Once we had to start buying bottled water, we soon realized how much water we actually go through.  It was crazy.

At one point when Kayleigh and I were still together, we came upon two cranes or herons (we aren't sure which) running in front of us.  It was so funny because they kept turning around and honking at us.  They may have thought we were chasing them! I felt really good after the run but then at Bill's race I developed a terrible headache which we think was caused by dehydration.  I made sure to drink a lot more after that but it made me nervous about running in the morning.


So, you know where this is going!  I barely ran the rest of the vacation!  Day 5 was at Schlitz Park in Milwaukee very close to the Riverwalk so Kayleigh and I wore our running clothes and went for a short run before the race.  Kayleigh went out for 2 or 3 more runs from the hotel in the evenings.  I think she did pretty good considering we had a chunk of our time already scheduled each day.

Kayleigh taking more pictures. See how high up we are?  Our truck is parked down there.  Which means...

We had to walk up and down all these stairs several times.  Not sure if you can tell in the picture but there were cool quotes on the steps.  Didn't make the climb any easier though!

The hotel had a decent gym and it was next to the laundry room so we could have easily gone in there while doing laundry - but we didn't.
It was absolutely freezing the day we were here but we still got a lot of exercise.  First Kayleigh and I went the wrong way trying to get to an overpass and walked about 4 times further than we planned.

Then Bill asked us to walk down this huge hill looking for bottles he threw at the end of the race.  We got all the way down there only to find out someone had already got them so we turned around and went back up.  

My suggestion for getting exercise in while on vacation is simple.  Plan an active vacation.  Even though we didn't get the runs in that we wanted, Kayleigh and I figured out that we walked over 70 miles across the 10 days.  Most of the bike race courses were about a mile around.  We always walked the whole course at least once or twice before Bill's race, several times during it, and often another time after the race.  And there were some decent hills thrown in there.  Plus we had to walk back and forth to the car and sometimes down the road for lunch.  To add to that, we also walked around downtown Oconomowoc (where we stayed), the mall, and a museum.  All that walking along with the few days of running kept Kayleigh fit enough to slip right back into practice with her team when we got home.

So it wasn't what we planned but we all came home feeling fit and healthy.

One of the many pretty lakes in Wisconsin that we walked along.  This one is in Fond Du Lac.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Vacation - Food

From June 19th through the 29th, we were in Wisconsin for the Tour of America's Dairyland.  Bill has been racing for about 10 years now but he had never done more than a few races during a weekend.  Last year he did 3 or 4 of these races but we thought it would be interesting for him to compete in the full 10-day series.

Personally I am not at all spontaneous and really prefer to stick to my routine.  I've learned to deal with my stress by controlling everything I can!  My main concern for this trip was our food.  I really don't feel well when I eat restaurant food and you can never be too sure if there will be any vegan options other than a side salad.  Bill added another issue to the food plan because, since he would be racing every day, we had to make sure he got enough calories and the right kind of foods to keep him going.  Thank goodness Kayleigh has no issues when it comes to food - two troublemakers are more than enough for any family!
Bill ate lots of bananas.

Because of this we chose to stay in a hotel that offers full kitchens.  Our particular suite had a 2-burner stove, microwave, full fridge/freezer and a dishwasher.  There was also a community grill available.  Although pots, pans, plates, silverware, etc. were provided, we brought along our own pasta pot because Bill eats A LOT of pasta when he is racing.  It took a little maneuvering but we finally figured out how to get it to work in the very tight kitchen.  We also brought along several other small appliances, some more useful than others.  In the future, we can reduce the list quite a bit and save tons of space in the car.

Rice cooker - very helpful, especially since there were only 2 burners.  That's a keeper.
Vitamix blender - another must have.  I used it every morning (probably to the horror of our neighbors) for my smoothies.
Food processor - didn't use
Waffle maker - didn't use.  Turns out the hotel had a free breakfast.  I had my smoothies for breakfast and Kayleigh can eat dairy so she just made waffles downstairs.  I actually didn't notice what Bill ate except for potatoes but he also ate downstairs.
Stick blender - Actually didn't use.  If I wanted to be more considerate and not so noisy, I could have used this instead of the Vitamix, but for whatever reason, I didn't.
Popcorn popper - Leave at home!  Bill just got a new popper and the whole trip up there and back I was scared we were going to break it.  It seemed to always be balanced so that it could easily fall out of the truck when we opened the back hatch.  Somehow it didn't break but Bill only used it once.  He admitted he really only used it because it was there.  We thought he would snack more but he didn't.
Large skillet - We ended up not using it because it didn't really fit on the stove.

So I guess next time we bring just the rice cooker, Vitamix, and pasta pot.  That will help so much when packing the car!  I can't really think of anything that we regretted not bringing.

I tried really hard not to bring too much food with us.  We arrived late Thursday so I figured we needed stuff for breakfast and lunch the next day but then we could get to a grocery store after the first race (they were mostly at around 1 PM).  We also brought a few things  that I wasn't sure if we could get such as non-dairy milk, tofu, tempeh, etc.  Plus we had our favorite energy bars and supplies for PB&Js, but we take that stuff even when we are only going to be gone for a few hours!
Bread, smoothie (vegan!), cookies (non-vegan), kale, beets with beautiful greens,
 asparagus, broccoli, and parsley.

I had researched local farmer's markets. Saturday morning there was one in the town where our hotel was (Oconomowoc).  It was fantastic!  There was so much great produce that we barely needed anything from the grocery store.  We had to get a little creative when cooking though.  I never realized how much we put in the oven.  Luckily we brought foil so we made little packets of the vegetables.

The only seasonings we had were salt, pepper, and lemon juice but it all turned out pretty good.  During the trip Kayleigh discovered a love of grilled potatoes.  Unfortunately we don't have a grill at home but she ate plenty during the trip.  I also made a few sautees.  One was just beet greens, my favorite, but without my hot sauce, it wasn't the same.

Later in the week, I needed to use up the last of the produce so I sauteed tempeh, kale, and broccoli with some stir fry sauce we bought at the grocery store.

We ate out more than we wanted but tried to keep it healthy.  On Saturday we stuck around at the race site longer than expected so we stopped at a vegetarian restaurant.  It is called Cafe Manna and I've never been anywhere like it.  We have vegetarian restaurants in Chicago (not many but some) but they mostly serve diner type food, just vegan.  This was actual food.  I had a curry with eggplant, zucchini, and squash served with quinoa and rice.

Bill and Kayleigh both got pretzel-coated tempeh with mashed potatoes and green beans.

The fork wasn't as long as it looks!

It was like the food I make at home!  Kayleigh really liked hers.  Bill was always hungry so everything tasted good to him!  We also ate at PF Changs one day which was delicious as well.

We always took a packed lunch with us but a few times Kayleigh and I found restaurants to eat at or at least to add to our packed lunches.  My favorite surprise was a bagel shop in the middle of the race course in Beloit.  It had a vegan brownie.  Brownies are my weakness.  That thing was unbelievable and I made it last several days!

 At another race, they had food trucks.  As we walked past I saw one called Urban Caveman and I said to Kayleigh "doubt I can get anything there".

Turns out, that was the only one with a vegan option!  It was riced cauliflower with mushrooms and greens and some kind of sauce.  It was so good I ate half of it before I could even get back to the car and take a picture!

At the Downers Avenue race in Milwaukee, Kayleigh and I found a restaurant on the race route that was so good for lunch that we took Bill back there for dinner.

View of the race from our table.

We ended up with the same waiter so that was pretty funny.  They had vegan pizza as an option which I decided to wait until dinner for only to discover they ran out of vegan cheese.  Dang!  I still got a vegan pizza with lots of veggies and no cheese.  I don't like vegan cheese much but I was still really excited about having that option in a restaurant.
My lunch was a wrap with tons of mushrooms and olives.

Overall I think we did really good.  We balanced trying new places while we were out with regular home cooked meals.  Bill kept his energy up through all 10 races and I didn't have any stomach issues.  I wasn't sure if we could pull it off for so many days but it ended up not being too bad.  The only thing I would change (besides not bringing so many appliances) is to bring some basic spices along with hot sauce and maybe soy sauce.  But in the end, it worked pretty well.

Other pics:

Is that Bill eating tofu?  Yep!  Like I said, he was really hungry!

Kayleigh's favorite grilled potato.  By the way, I took these pictures half way through dinner.  They started with more food than that.

Bill eating another banana.

Our typical sack lunch (besides peanut butter and jelly).  Cherries, rice and avocado, salads from the grocery store and, of course, more bananas.

Here is what Kayleigh picks when I let her go down alone for breakfast - donuts and fruit loops.  Really?!

Yes, we are those crazy people down the hall from you at the hotel cooking sauerkraut!

Links if you find yourself in Wisconsin:
Cafe Manna:
Beloit Bagel Shop with the vegan brownie:
Juice bar with smoothies, juice, vegan chocolate pudding:
Oconomowoc farmer's market:
PF Changs, Wauwatosa:
Urban Caveman:
Fond du Lac restaurant with vegan option:
Staybridge Suites (hotel):
Pick N Save (grocery store):

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Back to School Update

Hey, I just remembered I have a blog!  Actually even though it has been 2 months since I posted anything, I have actually been writing posts in my head all the time.  The problem was sitting down and actually writing them.  My chaos that I couldn't talk about before is continuing but it is becoming more routine so that shouldn't interfere so much any more.  Summer in general is kind of crazy which is funny because it is really only Kayleigh's schedule that changes but that seems to throw the whole household routine off.  And the worst part is just as I start to adjust, she goes back to school!

So, the ongoing process of getting my Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation.  I had planned to study about 6-8 weeks for the first part, take the exam, study for the second part, take that exam, etc. After studying about 5 weeks for the first part I was feeling pretty good about it so I decided to schedule the exam.  I was hoping to take it within the next 2-3 weeks.  Unfortunately, they didn't have any openings for almost 2 months.  I was horrified.  After freaking out for a couple days, I decided to move on to studying for part 2.  Now that I knew the time slots filled up fast, I went ahead and scheduled the second exam for 2 weeks after the first.

From the beginning I had mapped out my studying day-by-day to keep me on track and that became really important now that I was studying for two parts at once.  I ended up completing my study units for part 2, two weeks before my part 1 exam.  So at that point I switched back to reviewing part 1.  My study materials said that only 57% of the people pass the individual parts on the first try so that bumped my nerves to a whole new level!  I am happy to say that I passed part 1 on the first try.  I was so nervous and then so relieved, only to be followed by being nervous about the next part!

After I passed the first part, my co-workers got me a fruit bouquet and balloons which was fantastic.  I couldn't stop smiling for days.  I quickly realized that I had part 2 coming up in less than 2 weeks though, so had to come back down to earth and continue studying.  I passed part 2 on my first try as well.  I really can't believe it because I did not feel very confident.  I followed the study guide exactly how they suggested and I'm convinced that was the secret.  Shortly after passing part 2, we went on vacation so I haven't started studying for the third and final part yet.  I plan to start tomorrow.  Part 3 contains a lot more material (20 chapters in the study guide as opposed to 7 in the previous) so I'm feeling a little intimidated.  I'm sure I'll feel better once I jump into it though.

So I am living proof that you can do anything you put your mind to if you truly commit to it.  I had plenty of moments of doubt through the process but even though I haven't had to study for the past 20 years or so, I was able to get back in that mindset and do what I needed to do.

In a similar fashion, my husband just did something much larger than anything he did in the past as well.  We just got back from 10 days in Wisconsin where he competed in the Tour of America's Dairyland.  You can go here for their website and here for the Facebook updates if you are interested in more information. I have several posts planned about the competition in general and also what we did to plan for the trip, what we ate, and how Kayleigh and I fit in exercise around his races.  I'll give you a sneak preview though and tell you that he got first place overall for the 45+ Masters Category 3/4.  It was so exciting and, at least for me, completely unexpected.

Bill with Greg Hayes and Ross Giese
Masters 45+ Cat 3 & 4