Sunday, June 26, 2011


This last weekend I learned the power of uncles in their ability to make you do things no rational person would do.

It all began last summer when I fresh from the victory of finishing my first half marathon.  Then Uncle Gord struck. 

 "Come run the RAGNAR with us next summer" he said, "It'll be fun!" he said. 

And somehow, it DID sound like fun.  Yeah!  Let's stuff a bunch of people with all their gear into a couple of vans and run for two days straight!  What a great family bonding activity and good exercise to boot!  Sign me up Uncle Gord!

How could I be so easily hoodwinked by this sweet, smiling man?  I even read this on the race website and didn't clue in:
"You and 11 of your closest friends running 200(ish) miles, day and night, relay-style, through some of the most scenic terrain in Utah. Add in crazy runners, inside jokes and a mild case of sleep deprivation. The result? Some call it a slumber party without sleep, pillows or deodorant. We call it a Ragnar Relay." 
As the race approached I pushed fears of inadequate training and concerns about lack of personal hygiene out of my mind by repeating my mantra of, "This will be fun.  Everyone says this will be fun.  This will be fun."

Thus Zach and I made the long drive back to Utah in blissful disillusionment.

For the first few hours of the RAGNAR experience, it WAS fun.  There were decked out vans everywhere, hilarious outfits, music, and as much free Gatorade as your heart could desire.  Aunt Lisa even made us all sweet matching t-shirts for our team "Eating Your Dust".  Zach: Proof that prophecy is still in force today, and that we weren't really going for first place:
Poor Lisa, not having any teenage children to educate her, didn't understand why the first two lines made us all cringe.
But then it was my turn to run my first of three legs.  Filled with the desire to do my team proud, I got in position as Uncle Robert came running up and was off like a shot as soon as he slapped the bracelet on my hand.  I was doing so well for the first few blocks until I realized how hot it gets at 12:30 in the afternoon.  I hate running when it's hot.  And what altitude was this at?  Geez it's hard to breathe!

I bravely made it through the first 2.5 miles of my leg until my calf cramped up and I slowed to walk for all of thirty seconds.  Naturally, that's when the van passed me and saw me walking.  I could almost hear Isaac saying, "She's walking already?  What a pansy!"

Oh the humiliation.  It was enough to make me ignore my darn calf and kick it in to pass off to Marsha.

With that initiation, the real RAGNAR challenge began: surviving the car.  Sitting right after running and marinating in your sweat and sunburn are not ideal race conditions.   Luckily there were lots of opportunities to get out of the van and cheer on the rest of the team.

Go Marsha go!
Gordy had an evil hill leg.  He did amazing.

The Support Studs
Russell's speed left me in awe.
Zach doing the "RAGNAR hill"-  I hurt for him.

For over 35 hours, the only bathroom facility we used was a Honey Bucket.  The lines were ALWAYS long.  I longed for the sight of a porcelain.

Running at night.  Those head and butt lamps and safety vests are nothing if not attractive and comfortable.

Zach: I think Clarissa left out some important details.  First, even though it was difficult going, we actually finished in a (relatively, considering the shape of our runners) decent 32 hours, not 35 hours as might be surmised by her previous statement- she's counting drive time.  Also, special props goes to clinch runners Russel, Isaac, Derek, and Gord.  Of course they carried less general muscle, elderly wisdom, and several pounds less ego than me throughout the race.  I lost a few pounds of ego, however, on that Ragnar hill pictured earlier.

By the time we finished the race I'd had a total of 3.25 hours of sleep, was covered in multiple layers of sunburn, sweat, dirt, and sunscreen, I couldn't walk up or downhill, and I never wanted to see a powerbar or the Judkins van again.

It was fun.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Today marks the last day of our two week Boulder Vegan/Vegetarian Experience and I for one am relieved.  I’ve learned a lot in the last in the few weeks- basically that I could handle being vegetarian, but I will never voluntarily go vegan again.

Lessons Learned:
1.   Vegan ≠ Healthier or Weight Loss.  I cannot begin to estimate how many carbs I consumed to make up for my other denied cravings.  Plus, without all the denser calories that I was used to, I was just plain hungrier than usual.  Also, as Zach will tell you in great detail, eating a vegan diet must be approached with caution in order to obtain all necessary proteins and other nutrients.
      Zach:  Sad but true.  Vitamin b12 and iron is difficult to obtain in vegan diets.
2.   Vegan = Expensive.  Unless you can survive off the $5 ginormous bags of lettuce from the Farmers Market you’ll be buying a lot of milk, egg, cheese, and meat substitutes and even in Boulder those are pricey.  Buying all the produce (fresh or canned) is also expensive. So if you’re going vegan, plant a BIG garden.
3.   I have discovered a new love for Vanilla Soy Milk and Chicken TVP.  Almond Milk however, is on my list of no no’s and no matter how many times I tried, I just couldn’t get the tofu to work for me.
4.  Chocolate is not an approved vegan food and carob chips don’t even come close as a substitute.  If I had realized this beforehand I would’ve given this experiment more consideration.  As it is, that week was my record longest without chocolate.
5.  Some form of milk or animal fat is in EVERYTHING.
6.  Cheese Whiz is vegan approved because it doesn’t actually have any dairy product in it.

As part of the Boulder Experiment we went to a VG Burgers for our first vegan restaurant experience.  The entire menu of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, etc was all completely vegan and twice as expensive as you would normally find.  I went all out and got the bacon cheese burger, which tasted surprisingly close to the real thing, making the experience somewhat disturbing.  The coconut milk shake was delicious in its own right, but would never stand up against actual ice cream.

After Vegan Week doing the vegetarian thing has been a breeze.  I admit that the first day I might have eaten a little more chocolate and cheese (not together) than is probably healthy, but I couldn’t help it.  We are still incapable of making a good curry, meatless or not, and we have consumed multiple pans of Zach’s favorite baked burritos to make up for the week that we didn’t have any.
The restaurant of the week was a Boulder classic, The Leaf.  Surprisingly, it was some of the best food I have ever had at any restaurant, and that’s saying a lot.  The picture speaks for itself:

Bleu Cheese Stuffed Dates and Tempura Avocado on Black Bean Cake.  Everything tastes better when it has a fancy name.

Up until these last few weeks, I’ve considered any meal that didn’t have meat in it “a snack”, but I have now come to the realization that we can happily and deliciously “eat meat sparingly”. Maybe vegetables won't kill me after all.

Zach: I made the mistake of dropping the fact that I was doing the vegan thing at work.  My co-workers were appalled, and asked what could have influenced such a decision, "only a woman" they said.  I mentioned it was my wife.  They now all believe I am thoroughly whipped.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


We’ve been postponing this blog because it would be impossible to give a shout out to the fam without blabbing about Arianne’s unofficial engagement.  But now that it’s official (congratulations Arianne and Carter!) we’re all about shouting at our family.

Welcome baby Hazel! Tasha and Steve have generously given us our third niece to admire and make us baby hungry.  Isn’t she adorable?  Based off Hazel alone we've been considering having children of our own, but so far all we have is Clem and Monica, our loving chlamydia and mononucleosis plush dolls that Zach gave me for Valentine's day.  That's what I get for marrying a pharmacist.

Welcome home from camp Isaac!  The “Determined Wolf” returned victoriously with mad skills like constructing orangutan lavatories, roasting bananas with peanut butter (actually pretty darn good) and bone collecting.  He even has the enviable skill of being able to start a fire without matches, which he attempted to share with Zach and Steve.
Please note the moccasins and multiple bones around his neck
Zach tried multiple times.  We now have multiple boxes of matches.

Max got impatient after Steve rubbed and rubbed with zero smoke to show for it.
The picture of patience.  I noticed he never gave it a go though.
I’ve vowed to never be without matches from here on out.

Welcome baby Rodrik!  We thought we were so clever scheduling our trip for just a few days after the babies were due, and Hazel obliged but this little guy held out on us.  Even after a visit to the hospital to visit the expecting mum and dad we managed to miss him by about two hours.  Still can’t wait to meet him on our next trip to Utah.

After our failed siege on Tawny’s belly it was a long late drive back to Boulder, which we finally consider home.  For some people, home is where the heart is, but for us it’s wherever our gym passes are.  Now that we have those and I own a Boulder City library card we are officially settled in.