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Lessons learned

January 15, 2013

Getting back to “regular life” after a climbing trip is always hard for me. I had a great trip out to Colorado to climb some fun ice with some even more fun ladies. In all honesty it’s simply the people that make climbing so fun for me, because sometimes it can be really cold and miserable. And painful in so many, many ways.

For example: As I’ve mentioned more than once I lost a couple of toenails while in the Bugaboos last summer. So, ice climbing where you are kicking constantly into the ice with crampons yields black and purple toes where there are no toenails. I would sometimes get up in the middle of the night just to put BioFreeze on my toes they were throbbing so bad. Why do I always have the lamest injuries? Or my shin which is now an awesome shade of green, that was pelted by a small block of ice traveling at approximately 49 mph and had me literally in tears. Ah, ice climbing!

So now that I’ve got that out of the way, let me share a few things I learned in Colorado:

1) Gherkins are my new favorite food. They are these little baby pickles that are perfectly sized and super crunchy. I was hard pressed to NOT eat an entire jar of these every afternoon at snack time.

My new favorite vodka and snack. Perfectly paired!

My new favorite vodka and snack. Perfectly paired!

2) Vodka tonic is my new favorite drink, especially when made with Kettel One vodka (thanks to Kate and Cheryl who basically brought a bottle of vodka to Colorado that I drank almost entirely). I am such a vodka connoisseur (well, not really, but it’s kinda just my favorite liquor) so I was thrilled to discover my taste for these. The bad thing is, I really, really love these and while I think I totally “earn” a drink or two after a cold day of climbing, the same cannot be said for sitting on my butt back home in the dirty south. But yet as the clock winds down to 5 p.m. each night I look more and more forward to pouring a drink. I feel like I’m turning into my dad.

3) Another reason I feel like I’m turning into my dad was that I ate approximately half my body weight in pistachios while in Colorado. I forgot how salty and wonderful those little buggers are, and what a perfect combo with the Gherkins (and vodka tonics if you can see where this is going). Although I seriously almost chipped several teeth trying to open those ones that aren’t cracked enough – you know, the dozen or so per bag that always end up at the bottom of the bowl, tossed back in by multiple people? Sometimes I was desperate, desperate people!

4) Small towns can really foster some big fish that think they are so important in their little pond. It’s kind of funny and sad at the same time as they walk around all high & mighty as if people like me who aren’t a regular in their little world give two $h*ts about them while they find passive-aggressive ways to insult me. Ahhh, I’d love to just see them out of their element and see what changes for them. Mainly that no-one could care less about who the fu@# they are! Thankfully this annoying-ness comprised only approximately 3% of my trip.

5) Black coffee that comes from good beans is actually good! Those of you that know me must think I’ve been abducted by aliens. But it’s true. Even at home now I’ve taken to drinking it black. The thing is, it has to be HOT. I drink a cup in 5 minutes or less otherwise it’s too cold. We’ll see how well that goes in the summer, eh? Next thing you know I’ll be liking beer.

6) Even though I am leaner (i.e. less fat) than I was one year ago, I had a heinous time getting my harness on and off every day. I have a newer harness that doesn’t actually open all the way (unlike my rock climbing one) so I have to slide it on and off over all 83 layers I’m wearing. I really struggled to get it over my butt every day. Once it was past the big parts it fit perfectly fine, better than last year on my actual waist. So what’s up with my huge legs and thighs? Oh right, all that squatting and deadlifting I’ve been doing on the Wendler program these past few months. Ooops.

Fried pickles will surely make that harness get on easier, right?

Fried pickles will surely make that harness get on easier, right?

Speaking of training, I should mention that I started a new blog called “Tracking Maija” where I am recording all of my training details. It’s really interesting to no-one but me, but for those people who want to creep and make themselves feel better by seeing my stats and smugly saying to themselves “I can totally beat her at that” here is the link for you to do so: http://trackingmaija.com/

So back in the dirty south it is more than 80 degrees warmer than it was in Colorado. Which makes the 82 degrees feel like 162 degrees. Which is why I have my air conditioning running and have to sleep with no blankets and still get up in the middle of the night after sweating through my clothes and waking up in a small pond. Too much? Well sorry, but I can’t deal with this weather. I am a total whiner, I know. I just cannot, cannot get used to the hot weather in the south. I mean is it too much to ask to have a month off from sweating doing day-to-day things outside?

Holy Molars! A climb we led in Colorado. Water was gushing just below the surface of the ice in the middle.

Holy Molars! A climb we led in Colorado. Water was gushing just below the surface of the ice in the middle.

I did come home to a crisis though. Fresh Market has NOT restocked their medjool dates in weeks and despite the stock I had built up, we finally ran out.

How am I supposed to make my beloved “paleo” pudding without dates?

I immediately started trolling my favorite blogs for a good desert sub that doesn’t have dates and promptly found this cookie dough fudge recipe.

It is so wrong, yet so right in so many ways.

But, I did find some dates at Publix the other day, and I whipped up a batch of the paleo pudding today that is chilling in the fridge now. My preliminary taste test confirms that it will still be OUT OF THIS WORLD GOOD.

Good for my muffins that is!

But, in the interest of not feeding my muffins exclusively I’ve also made some healthy choices which include:

Chicken Bacon Alfredo – I kind of lucked into having all of these ingredients the other day minus the delicata squash, so after cooking the bacon we put two sliced onions to fry in the bacon fat as the “sub” for that. How good was it? I ate it for dinner last night, then breakfast and lunch today. So, that’s saying something.

Shredded carrot salad with jalapeno, lime and cliantro – kind of stupid simple but really, really good. I was kind of surprised with how much flavor it has and it’s a great go-to snack for the fridge!

Roasted beet and brussel sprout salad – what can I say? I’m totally into beets lately. Even without the goat cheese! I’m so healthy.

I have so much more I want to write but…that should do it (for now). 😉

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