Monday, October 24, 2011

My Fun Filled Weekend

     This post was supposed to get published last night; however, I had to wait until I was able to upload all the pictures I wanted to share with you guys. This weekend was probably the BEST weekend I've had this school semester, and I hope to have more just as fun (or more fun) than this one.

Friday Afternoon/Evening/Night:

     Friday afternoon, after  classes, Jamie (my BFF) and I got to head out for my very first concert: The Songs and Stories Tour featuring Steven Curtis Chapman, Josh Wilson, and Andrew Peterson! Located at the Barrean Church, we got there early because we had purchased special tickets that allowed us to attend the soundcheck and ask Steven questions before the concert.

The soundcheck

The concert! =D

My armband to get into the soundcheck.

A tour poster signed by Steven Curtis Chapman!
     We got arrived at the church at 5:30 and didn't get back until 10:30, and the next day my voice was hoarse from screaming, singing, and the smoke was the best night EVER! The artists were such real and down to earth guys, and their incredible Christian music made for the perfect sabbath opening. I can't wait to go to another concert. =)


     On Sabbath I spent most of my day sleeping, watching TV shows on my computer, and doing a bible study with my mom over Skype. However, I did go for a long afternoon walk with Jamie. We spent approximately 90 minutes wandering around Lincoln staying on the look out for any good rentals, and checking out the cool architecture and landscape of the houses in the area.

I discovered, thanks to Jamie, that rose 
hips are edible and quite tasty.

Some people had really cool yard decorations. 
This one was my favorite - A bottle tree.

During are walk we finally got to see the rare black 
squirrel that we had heard lived here in Lincoln.

     I forgot my camera so the pictures above were taken on Jamie's phone, so the resolution isn't that great, but I think it still captures the awesomeness that was our walk.


     Sunday was mostly spent doing homework, but I made sure to make the time to workout. I swam 1.75 miles that morning at our school pool and cycled approximately 7.65 miles on my interval trainer while I did my assigned reading for my religion class. I also took a couple of homework breaks.

     After Jamie got out of her final Scuba class (she is now Scuba certified, you go Jamie!!) she treated me to a drink at a local coffee shop because she had won a free gift certificate for the place at work. 

Jamie had a double mocha latte made with almond mylk.

And I had an iced Yerba Mate tea.

Good Eats!

     I also ate very well over the weekend. I had lot's of fruity goodies, but my two favorites were the two scrumptious creations below.

 My new date sauce recipe with Honeycrisp apple slices.

 My latest tropical green smoothie creation!

     You can find out what is in these two recipes when my recipe e-book is released January 1, 2012.

     Until next time... eat fruit, run fast!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Omaha pictures are in!

     I finally received the link to download my race pictures from the September 25th Omaha Marathon and Half Marathon. I'm feel a little emotional "sting" when I think about not finishing the full, but I keep reminding myself that my next chance at a marathon is only 6 months away, and I'm not planning on letting the colder weather get the best of me this time! =)

     Like I said in my previous post though, I'm glad I stuck it out long enough to at least finish the half. I would have felt even worse if I wasn't able to complete anything. So here are the professional pics:

At first I was felt the cold (it was making me numb)
 but I was still doing ok at this point.

About an hour into the race it might have been sunny but it was still freezing to me. 
I couldn't get warm, and by this point you can tell be my face 
that my muscles were cramping up. At this point I really wanted to quite.

However, I came to this race to finish a run, and wearing my "Go Vegan!" 
singlet really encouraged me not to stop until I finished something. So I  pushed through it, determined to at least complete the half.

The finish line is in sight! I remember thinking, "come on Amanda! Give it all you've got, your almost done. I know your in pain but you can do it! Just a few more feet." 

Another metal to add to my growing collection. =) 

     Be on the look out for another post Sunday night. I've have/had fun plans for this weekend that I'm squeezing in between homework and training. Stay tuned...

     Later guys!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mid-Term Break Relief!

     Hello everyone! Yes I am alive, well, and still here. Not only am I back at Union College this year but I'm also in the honors program now, and am going to be playing in the school production of "Fiddler on the Roof" so this semester had left me with little time to even breathe. Fortunately I have a small reprieve this weekend. This week was mid-terms week, but it ended Thursday and I had Friday off, which has made this a glorious 3 day weekend. =) So I had plenty of time to catch everyone up on what has been happening over these past couple of months.

     My Ecology class this semester has been a blast! The first weekend of school was spent on a class field trip with said Ecology class to Estes Park in Colorado. The point of the trip was to study the how the changes in climate and temperature effected the species and variety of vegetation found in the environment. This meant I got to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, and go hiking on Sabbath (Saturday). I am now completely in love with hiking, and hope to visit Colorado again soon to do just that.

A Marmot

Pawnee Pass - Elevation 12,550 ft.
Not all of my ecology class hiked this trail, 
some stayed down at Lake Isabella to explore the glaciers.
From left to right: Me, Ellen, Dr. Abbey (my professor), and Dalton.

A White-Tailed Ptarmigan 
(their feather turn white after it begins to snow regularly of camouflage).


Got to try out my new KSO Vibrams, and the work really well for hiking. 

I'm on top of the world! 

Lake Isabella 

Chasm Falls

Brought my lunch with me on trip: grapes + tangelos + plums = yum!

A Clark's Nutcracker Bird

     Over Memorial Day weekend I got to spend my time earning some extra cash by working for a local farmer in his organic blueberry farm! I got payed two days out in the sun while also getting lots of fresh air and exercise. What wasn't to love? (They pay was pretty good too. LOL).

Blueberry Bushes


He also keeps a few cows in the fields 
not being used to grow anything.

Some sort of fruit tree. Looks sort of like a Pomelo.

He has his own organically grown 
private orchard and garden as well.

And no farm would be complete without goats. =)

     This year I also got to participate in Project Impact! Every September Union College takes the second Thursday off from all classes in order to allow students to participate Project Impact. This event that started here at Union 30 years ago in which students and faculty alike volunteer (in partnership with various charities and organizations) at numerous locations around Lincoln doing what they can to help the community (e.g. house repair, cleaning and fixing old bikes, constructing a new play set for the elementary school, yard work for the elderly and the home for battered women and children, painting the work rooms of local businesses, soup kitchens, etc.). I spent my 3 hours of volunteer time painting the printing room in Christian Records Services where they print story book that are written in both brail and regular writing. This is so I blind parent can read to their child, or a seeing parent can read to their child while they follow along, and so on and so forth. I had a lot of fun helping the community, meeting new people, and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.

     I've also had the opportunity to run another race; my first race to ever be run outside of Georgia. I had signed up to run the Omaha Marathon (yes a full marathon, not a half-marathon). However, I made the mistake of not considering how changes in state meant changes in temperature and humidity. On the morning of the race the temperature was 40°F with low humidity. 
     This was very VERY bad news for someone like me who had only ever trained for this race in the hot, warm, and humid weather of Georgia's spring and summer weather. Needless to say my body did not react well at all. I couldn't seem to warm up, even after I had started running. As a result the muscles in my legs and ankles started cramping up, and by the time I had reached mile 12 I was in some serious pain. When it came time for the ahl-marathon and marathon tracks to split up I had two choices: I could continue on the marathon track and risk injury, or I could suck up my pride and take the other track and finish another half-marathon instead. It was really hard for me, but I finished the half-marathon and spent the next hour having my muscles iced and rehydrating before heading out. 

     This race was a humbling experience for me. It made me realize that just because you train hard and eat well it doesn't mean that you're invincible. When school started I still had a whole month to train for the marathon, but I was stupid and didn't consider that I needed to run during the cooler hours of the day so that my body could acclimate to the new environment. Instead, I chose to run during the heat of the day because that is what I was accustomed to the temperature. 

     Fortunately I will have another chance to run a full marathon. This spring is the Lincoln Marathon, and in Nebraska spring mornings can still be quite chilly. I have all winter to train for this event, and I plan on running outside in the cold whenever I can so that when spring roles around I will be well acclimated and I can kick some running butt! LOL. In the mean time I will also be training run the Atlanta Thanksgiving Half Marathon when I go home for Thanksgiving Break. I ran it last year and I'm determined to make this race to be the one where finish in less than two hours. I will defeat that courses evil hills!

More pictures will be coming in as soon 
as my photo download order is processed.

     And now for the fun food update. With my busy schedule this year I haven't been able to drive up to Omaha very often to visit Whole Food, but I have been able to buy fruit from Jourdan's Beautiful Foods and some scrumptious dates from the Bautista Family. I've also been able to find some pretty good local places that have met my dietary needs: Trader Joe's, Super Savers, and the Open Harvest Market. 

     Trader Joe's Has a really nice selection of Organic produce as well as a good selection of california peaches and nectarines. Super Savers is just I giant discount food store, and a lot of their produce isn't that good; however, they do have a fantastic selection of bananas, grapes, cherries, pineapple, black mission figs, and cherry tomatoes for really good prices. And the Open Harvest Market is a quaint health store, deli, and co-op that sells amazing local fruits and vegetables (local food is always a + in my diet).

     With this wide array of food sources I have been able to keep my self well stocked in the food department. The only downside on living in this area is that I am currently unable to buy fruit in bulk (unless I buy online) which has caused my food bill to be double what it was in Georgia. Hopefully I can find some way to rectify this, or at least get some more income to balance it out, but for now I've been managing to keep my food bill at reasonable level considering the area I'm in and the prices of good fruit.

Some of My College Culinary Creations:

     Now schools back in full swing. I wish break had lasted sooner, but all good things come to an end. I am looking forward to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert my friend Jamie and I are attending this Friday. It's sure to be a blast! I just have to get through three more days of class and I'm home free. =)

     Until next time!