Monthly Archives: November 2012

Marker Madness Poker Run

Saturday was the annual Veteran’s Weekend Poker Run, also known as “Marker Madness”. While most poker runs are done on motorcycles–ours was entirely human-powered–a trail running poker run.

Poker Run Trail Running

Weather was on our side, with morning temps in the 50’s, a rarity for a Midwest November. After receiving our first cards and maps, we set off into the woods orienteering-style.

Poker Run Woods

This park doesn’t see a lot of visitors, downed trees criss-crossed the trail and a thick blanket of leaves covering roots and rocks made the experience a bit rustic and wild.

Poker Run Forest Preserve

Combined with dense vegetation and overgrowth, the trail was very narrow and hard to follow in some areas.

The goal was to follow a very basic map and locate the checkpoints. Checkpoints consisted of one of the following:

  • Marker
  • Pumpkin

If you found a marker, you used it to color the location on your map to prove you found it.

Poker Run Checkpoint

Here I am at one of the checkpoints. The marker was dangling in the rafters of a small shelter which meant that I had to climb up on the bench to reach it.

Poker Run Map

My map began to look a little more colorful after finding a series of checkpoints.

Poker Run Pumpkin

Some of the checkpoints didn’t have markers, but instead plastic Halloween pumpkins filled with playing cards. These were few and far between, but if you were lucky to find one, you’d (blindly) draw a card from it to build your poker hand.

After running around the woods coloring and collecting cards we headed back to the shelter to turn in our poker hands.

Poker Run Fire

We were greeted with a warm fire.

Poker Run Breakfast

And a fantastic spread of post-run food.

Poker Run Hash

Like this delectable Apple, Butternut Squash, and Bacon Breakfast Hash made by The Girl with the Green Soup Pot. We brought a thermos full of spicy sausage gravy and biscuits, while others brought fruit, muffins, and more. Runners sure know how to eat!

Poker Run Aerial Map

An aerial detail view from my Garmin data. Much of the run was along the narrow river that separates the park into north and south. Most of the route was flat, but there were a few steep climbs up the bluff to keep things interesting.

This was a fun way to get some exercise, use problem-solving skills, and enjoy the company of friends on a dreary late autumn day.

It is good to be a part of this pack, this crazy pack of trail running souls.

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Categories: Running | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

First Reaction: Merrell Bare Access Arc 2

My new shoes have arrived!

Merrell Bare Access Arc Running Shoes

These are the Women’s Merrell Bare Access Arc 2 Barefoot Running Shoes in Aqua, or as I affectionately call it, Smurf Blue. These just hit the market this month and are the update to the orignal Bare Access Arc. I like this updated version better than the original. I currently run in the Pace Gloves but was looking for something for longer distances with a tad more cushion. Have done a few miles in these and my initial thoughts are good. I’ll wait to post a full review once I have some more miles on them.

Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Week’s Eats

In a rut and looking for some dinner ideas? Here is what I’ve been making this past week.

Hot Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus

Hot Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus from Eating Bird Food

My Notes: Flavorful and quick! We only used 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper and that was plenty. I’d think that the 1-2 teaspoons the recipe calls for might be too much for most people. You can always start out with less and add more! I added some red and green bell pepper, plus baby spinach, to increase the veggie-ness.

Elana's Pantry Chocolate Chip Scones

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Chip Scones from The Almond Flour Cookbook

My Notes: Makes 12 (not 16). I wouldn’t call these scones as they lack the classic scone texture, but they taste like excellent pillowy cake-like chocolate chip cookies. Try them! I’ve made these twice in one week – once with dark chocolate chips and once with Enjoy Life! chocolate chips.

Clean Eating Apple Grilled Cheese

Apple Grilled Cheese with Grainy Mustard from Clean Eating

My Notes: Added smoked turkey for more protein, and ate with sliced honeycrisp apple and salt & pepper pop chips! Simple, super fast lunch!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza Closeup

Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Veggies

Cauliflower Crust Pizza from Janetha at Meals & Moves

My Notes: Made a much smaller pizza than expected. Used up some veggies on hand (bell peppers and mushrooms). Baked on parchment-lined baking sheet, flipping before adding toppings. Not as crispy as I like my crusts, but nice and “bread-like”. Interesting concept, would try again with some changes, but good base recipe if you want to try working with cauliflower dough.

Tandoor Chef Pizza

Tandoor Chef Roasted Eggplant Naan Pizza

Okay, this isn’t homemade, but it’s out of this world! My local co-op had this on sale for $2.24 and it is worth every penny. The eggplant gets crispy, has a slight spice to it, and the naan crust is fantastic. The only downside is that these pizzas are small and soooo good that I can easily eat a whole one myself, and I do.

Clean Eating Shepherds Pie

Shepherd’s Pie with Buttermilk-Chive Mashed Potato Crust from Clean Eating

My Notes: Liked this more than I thought I would! Good for a cold autumn night. Leftovers were equally as tasty.

All of the above are easy to make and QUICK. I work full-time and don’t have a lot of time and energy to spend hours in the kitchen every night. Most of the recipes I make are quick and require few ingredients.

What are you cooking up this week?

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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