Go ahead and add the Spring Game to chicken livers, mudding, frog giggin, and everything else on the growing list of Things In Kentucky That Don’t Make Sense To Me.
This Saturday was the Spring Game, or the football team’s first intramural scrimmage of the year. This is how it works: people start tailgaiting around 9am. Then, at 7pm, 50,000 people file into the stadium to watch UK play…itself. And when there is a first down, or a touchdown, everyone cheers. Even though we are also defense, and just got scored on.
It makes no sense to me at all. And every time someone dropped a pass, everyone was like, “Whelp, good thing they’ve got another 7 months of practice before the first game.”
Whatever. I guess the life lesson here is: never turn down an opportunity to tailgate.
Another successful year for team Jim Beam Me Up. Another unsuccessful year for the Spock ears I always want to put on the vans.
This year we had a runner drop out, but it turned out to be OK because JEN GOT TO RUN WITH US!
She was so excited.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Bourbon Chase, it’s a 12-person, 200-mile running relay along the Bourbon Trail across Kentucky that goes through all of the major distilleries.
Runners are broken up into 2 vans of 6, with each runner running 3 legs over the course of the trail.
The morning started out with a little rain, a 9:30am meeting, followed by a bourbon tasting at Jim Beam.
The only way to start an endurance event.
This year we were in Van 2, so had a few hours to kill before Van 1 finished off the first 6 legs. So we checked out the distillery…
…then we hit the road, where there was a lot of this.
Lunch options were limited, and we had 2 people in the van with dietary restrictions. We settled on a Mexican place in Central Kentucky.
I know. We almost changed our team name to Team Gringo Diarrhea mid-race.
From there is was off to Makers Mark for the first Van 1/Van 2 handoff.
The sun kept fighting to break through the rain, and we checked out the mash.
Ryan was the lucky first runner from our van. He took off around 5pm.
We ticked off the legs one by one…
…and ran off into the sunset.
Then it got dark.
And during leg #9, the rain came back with a vengeance.
Poor J. The rest of us spent a good 10 minutes in the van debating how important it was that we all be out on the course to cheer her into transition.
Traditional evening wear looked something like this.
Plus a few blinking lights.
We wound our way through the dark Commonwealth.
Until, after a lot of running and minimal “sleeping” in the van, I ran the final night leg into the sunrise…and the Four Roses distillery which, along with coffee, bagels, and hot chocolate, has the most delicious bourbon of all.
Then, while van #1 ran the next six legs, we crossed some bridges…
…past Wild Turkey and into Versailles for a deeelicious country breakfast.
People also took the rest time to start rolling out our stupidly stiff legs and familiarize themselves with the beauty that is Biofreeze.
After that, it was over to Woodford Reserve for the final exchange from Van #1.
As Ryan made his way up the massive hill that comes out of Woodford, the sun came out.
And it got hot. But beautiful.
The remaining runs were through horse country.
Jen ran the final leg into Lexington. The way it works is both vans go to the finish line and the whole team waits for the final runner, then everyone runs across together, cheering, while the announcer announces the team name, and it’s very festive and a very big deal.
Well. Jen ran so fast that our team wasn’t even at the finish line yet. Apparently the announcer was like, “TEAM 507! HERE COMES YOUR RUNNERRRRrrrrr.” And she ran across the finish line. Alone.
Fortunately, there was free bourbon to comfort everyone after the team fail.
And all was well.
Thanks goes out to Jen for making the flight all the way out here, J & Ryan for inviting us on the team, the peeps in Van #2 for only being mildly stinky and making 30+ hours stuck in a van a non-negative experience, and George for organizing another glorious weekend in bourbon country.
Location: Powell County (about 50 miles east of Lexington)
Distance: Choose your own adventure (our choice was ~5.5 miles round trip)
Entry Fee: $0
Last Sunday Paul got really amped to go for a hike. So we got up nice and early, dropped Spike off at daycare (Marsha), and headed east into Powell County. Which is dry. So no post-hike beer.
You may remember our last real hike in Kentucky, which pretty much turned me off to hiking here forever. I am a fan of hiking (see: origin of this blog), but round here it takes some serious convincing that we are going to a heavily populated area with absolutely no hunting within a 100 mile radius for me to go. Turns out Natural Bridge is like the HOTTEST tourist attraction in Kentucky outside of Derby, which was enough to convince me we wouldn’t be confused for deer.
After a post-drive bathroom break and some superior mullet spotting at the Hemlock Lodge, we headed out on the Original trailhead, then veered off onto the Hoods Branch Trail (the trip from the lodge up to the bridge ranges anywhere from .75 miles-4 miles.) Our mishmash route was about 3 miles to the top.
This site is adjacent to the Red River Gorge, so the rocks started getting pretty cool pretty quick.
I can’t really speak to this personally, but apparently rocks like this are a rock climber’s dream.
…so of course Paul started up with this.
the whole. hike. up.
We eventually “climbed” our way up to the bridge…
…where the final stretch to get up to the bridge must prevent about 85% of the state’s population from actually experiencing the view from the top.
It is a seriously tight squeeze, I felt a little claustrophobic going through. I am genuinely curious if anyone’s ever gotten stuck before.
We got to the top and it was…
…completely void of any barriers to keep people from falling off.
This made me nervous.
After that it was back on the trail…
…with a quick stop at the chair lift station to buy some more water from the two teenage kids in their John Deer hats sitting there drinking Ale 8 and listening to country music.
Best job ever.
Then it was down, down, down.
The “stairs” really were that steep.
And…back to the car! Then, of course, a stop by Miguel’s, the climber hangout, for full pizza with potatoes, mushrooms, and kielbasa.
Holy crap, delicious.
Fun, short hike, nice views, worth the trip to see one of the Seven Wonders of the Commonwealth.
Paul finished his OB/GYN rotation a few weeks ago and apparently in labor and delivery a lot of ladies in labor ask for a sufferin’ towel. It’s just a wet towel they put on your head, but I guess around here it has a special name.
So two days ago it was extra hot and Spike was definitely suffering, so I draped a wet towel over him to cool him off. Usually when we try to dry him off with a towel he freaks out and shakes it and runs around the house with it in his mouth. But today, he left it on his back and walked around the house with it on for like 10 minutes.
Last week Paul noticed that our compost pile was not composting (largely, I think, because he insists on leaving the top off so rain can get in, which is fine, but then animals get in there too and eat everything. Plus it doesn’t heat up, which accelerates the composting process…one of the first things you learn when you are a camp counselor on Catalina Island and need to compost almost all of your waste…WHATUP CIC COMPOST BINS!)
So since worms weren’t showing up in there naturally, he decided he needed to add them. He did some research and found out that the worms you can purchase online are a.) too numerous (you get like hundreds at a time), and b.) don’t always arrive alive. So he decided we should make a trip down to the thoroughbred farm where his sister lives and dig up some red wigglers (yes, that’s the kind of worm we needed, and why he couldn’t do this in our own backyard, I’m not sure.)
So, on an absolutely beautiful Saturday morning, after a long run, we hopped in the car, cardboard wormbox in tow, and took a drive out to the country. And what greeted us as we arrived?
The baby horses are out and about, with their knobby knees and scraggly fur. They are really frickin cute. This one above was a ham, he loved to pose.
Anyway, we got to the house and were greeted by the Westies…
…which Spike was pretty happy about. Paul got his box and we all went down to the river…
…to go worm hunting.
Success! (we got more than that one.)
And, of course, one of the best parts of going out to the farm:
What in Gods name, you might ask, are they?
As far as I can tell they serve no function other than entertainment. They are pretty mean (why is it funny when little things get angry?) and will bite, so watch out. They also actually go HEEHAW when you bring out food.
When we got home we went out to the compost and found it…already composted! Paul switched his beer into a new carboy last week and had (unbeknownst to me) dumped all the yeast into the compost.
Surprise! Basically overnight the yeast had decomposed everything. Now we have some nice clean soil for the worms to play in. Oh well.
There is a new varsity sport coming to Kentucky high schools: bass fishing. In addition to bringing up some good questions (including, how does one become an elite bass fisherman?) KY Sports Radio commented on a tweet someone sent out suggesting that UK’s bass fishing chant should be “C-A-S-T, CAST-CAST-CAST!” Good one.
Hope everyone had a great leap day and made the best of those extra 24 hours…
The beginning of March signals…the end of February Fitness. So how did it go?
Swimming: I was right around 40,000 yards again (about 10K a week), which was whatever. BUT! The good news is that trying to squeeze in the yards helped me figure out that if I fudge my schedule, I can and swim 3x a week by squeezing in a short swim right after coaching morning practice (instead of the 1x a week I was doing last season). This a habit I will continue to follow into March and beyond. So, success.
Sugar: Aside from Joe’s birthday cake, the Ale 8 and Moon Pie (which, due to cultural sensitivities, I couldn’t decline), a trip to Orange Leaf (which is really chemicals, not sugar), and one day at work where I had a total meltdown and ate like 5 mini chocolate bars, I ROCKED IT (I know that sounds like I didn’t rock it, but for me it was a huge step in the right direction). Sugar loses. I win.
No bitching rule: Errrrrr…2 out of 3 isn’t bad.
SO! What’s up in March?
Now that I can run again (I ran 6 this morning without pain…heck yeah) training for Hawaii is starting to really happen. The unseasonably warm weather hasn’t hurt either. Alison, who is in the process of getting her coaching certification, is using me as her first client…or guinea pig. So she’s the boss from here on out. Bring it.
Also happening in March, apparently a lot of this:
Despite the uneventful morning weather, the weathermen are predicting Armaggedon this afternoon. They closed the public schools at noon. I got sent home from work at 1:30. Jim Cantore is here in Lexington. We are currently a 9 on the TOR:CON Index. Apparently sh*t’s about to go down. But right now, the sun is shining and things are calm.
So, in the meantime, I’m sitting on the in-laws back porch (they have a basement, we don’t) enjoying the unseasonably warm sunny weather with Spike. And secretly freaking out on the inside.
Update: We are now a TORCON 10. And I’m following Jim Cantore on Twitter.
As much as I enjoyed the trip to California, it is always nice to come home. Unfortunately, that also meant 18 degree weather and short, dark days.
Yup, that’s pretty much all anybody wants to do.
Paul spent the break snowboarding up in the Canadian wilderness with his friend Ollie (like really, in the middle of nowhere) where he and his brother hunt their own meat and build their own shelter and stuff like that. He brought this book back with him:
Big eye roll. We live in a neighborhood, not in the wilderness or on a farm in the country (despite what our Christmas card suggests…that picture was taken in our backyard.) We don’t own a large plot of farming land or cattle. We are not survivalists. This book does not apply to us.
But after a day of being home of doing absolutely nothing productive, I decided to crawl out from under my comforter on the couch and see what was in the book anyway.
Last week I helped (watched) Chrissy make some bomb bread in her apartment in SF. Inspired, I found a bread recipe (there are many) in the book and decided to give it a try.
Boom. Different recipe than Chrissy’s, totally different type of bread, but still good. Plus baking it warms the house up and makes it smell yeastily delicious, which is especially wonderful on dark wintery days.
And that book? I was wrong. It’s awesome. It has everything–cooking, gardening, raising animals, making clothes, making preserves (Paul is stoked about that), how to skin a rabbit, home repairs, herbal remedies, diarrhea relief for your dog (seriously)…watch out.