Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Five: Fall's Coming

By now, I've recapped my trip to Alaska.  The only thing I didn't mention was disembarking.  We basically got off the ship, onto a bus, and were at the airport.  Nothing exciting, and I didn't even get a stamp in my passport :(.  Allie was so happy I was home, and spent the new few days snuggling.  We snuggled last weekend too.  I'm sure she'll want snuggles this weekend too.  If the weather is cooler, she'll be all over me.  I made it up to her though.  I bought her a new condo:

It smells like the pet store and she's making it hers.

I won't buy her something every time I go on vacation.  This one was by far the longest I've had in a while, and she got to stay home.  I'm already looking at doing another cruise in 2020, on Holland America again.  They have cruises from Amsterdam going around Norway, and a couple have caught my attention.  Gotta save up for that!  Both Norway and the Netherlands are lands of my ancestors, and it would be fun to travel there.

For now, I'm planning a week in September up at my parents' place, with Allie coming with me.  Then Thanksgiving and Christmas up there, and she'll be with me again.  My next vacation will be for Disney Princess, and my mom and I are now fully registered with the travel agent.  We got the forms to fill out with our shirt size and expected time.  We didn't choose any of the add-ons, and I don't plan to shop much at the expo.  I'm normally a "pick up by race packet and leave" type person at expos.

Finally, I ordered this from the Disney Store.  I swear I'm fully in the mood for Halloween.  It may be for the outside, but this is going inside the front door so I can see it.  I also got a couple Halloween stakes from Hobby Lobby that I'll put in my flower pots.  It gets quite windy in the fall, and I need to make sure my decorations don't blow away.

Friday Five 2.0 with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Alaska: Last Day

The last day :(  We spent all day at sea, and we spent it doing fun stuff on the ship.  All week I'd been seeing a special at the spa called Tired Toes, and I finally went to check it out.  I ended up talking my mom into it too.  We got our shins exfoliated, then covered in a mud layer.  While that was setting, we got some face treatments and a scalp massage.  Then they washed the mud off and we got foot massages.  After all the work I've put my feet through, and not just this year, that massage felt wonderful.

After that, we had been invited to the Mariner's Lunch, since we were repeat cruisers.  It may have been in 2005, but Holland America had us in their records, and we enjoyed a good lunch.  I got the corn chowder with chicken dumplings, then a salmon dish, and of course dessert.  There's a reason I was on salads last week... We also each had a glass of sparkling wine since this was the last day of the cruise.

At that point we went back to the state room, and at least I napped a little bit.  I don't normally eat like that at lunch, plus the sparkling wine, and I needed to sleep some of it.  We had another wine tasting to get ready for.

This one was with a much smaller group than the first day's tasting, and really went deeper into wine.  Today I learned about why certain wines need to be served in specifically-shaped glasses.  Those glasses ensure that wine is placed on the right part of the tongue, otherwise it's not going to taste good.  We compared a French white with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and I preferred the SB, and then a French red with a red blend from Washington.  I LOVED that red blend, and will need to see if I can find it around here.  It's funny how the French tout their wines as superior, and I thought the new world wines were much better.  To each their own.

Afterwards, I went back to the state room to finish up some packing.  I'd been slowly packing all day since our luggage was going to be collected that evening, and then delivered to the airport the next morning.  It makes it faster easier to transport like this.  We did something a little differently in 2005 since we didn't go to the airport.  We spent the night in Copenhagen.

Before dinner, we spent some time on the top deck, and we saw whale spouts!  What's more, we saw a pod of purposes during dinner, and some were having fun and jumping completely out of the water.  Dinner for me was a shrimp and corn chowder, prime rib beef with green beans and carrots, and creme brulee.  After dinner, the entire cooking staff came out for a curtain bow, and I do remember that from the last cruise.  The chefs and waiting staff are acknowledged for all the hard work they do.  We had a wine steward, Mylene, who was fantastic.

It was rather sad to be the last night, and then we woke up in Vancouver the next day.  Time to go back to reality.  Allie of course was VERY happy to see me.

Tuesdays on the Run with PattyErika, and Marcia.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Alaska: Ketchikan

Ketchikan was the last port we'd visit on the cruise.  We wouldn't dock until 11, and this was the day I had time to do my 4 miles on the Promenade Deck.  The previous night's When and Where said there'd be a 5k walk on that deck at 9:30, so I needed to get everything done before then.  Given the paces I'd seen on the treadmills earlier in the cruise, I knew I'd have to weave around so many walkers, and that wouldn't be fun.  It was windy, but not that cold.  I had the right amount of layers, and I didn't need to run carrying a water bottle.  The deck had water fountains in certain spots.  3 laps around equaled a mile, based on the sign on the deck.

Once we did dock, it started raining.  I didn't mind this time since I had the proper rain layers on.  I didn't have to meet my excursion until 12:45, so my parents and I left the ship to walk around the town a little bit.  Ketchikan has a number of totem poles around town, and it's amazing the detail and size of the totem poles.  We also made sure to get to the Diamonds International to get our free charms.

Mine!  Mine mine mine!
We headed back to the ship to get lunch and went our separate ways.  I boarded the ferry that would take me (and many others) up to the Misty Fjords.  It was going to take us 4.5 round trip, and we stayed on the ferry the whole time.  For the first time all trip, I saw a whale!  My mom was jealous since we hadn't seen any whales yet.

Once we got to the Fjords, we sailed around a little bit before heading back.  If I could've layed down, I would've.  A number of people ended up dozing, and I heard a little snoring.

When we got back, I headed back to the state room since my parents and I were having dinner at the Pinnacle Grill again.  We decided to order a glass of sparkling wine each to celebrate Alaska.  We wouldn't get off the ship until we docked in Vancouver.

Now, I do remember what I had this night.  I got the crab cakes for the appetizer, petite filet mignon with whipped potatoes, and then I got the chocolate volcano cake again for dessert.  I think all 3 of us did this time. 

One more day to go!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Monday Musings 8/27

I have two new posts today, one for the Weekend Wrap-up, and one for my Juneau recap.  Get ready for dogs and puppies on that post :)

The first week back from vacation is always tough, and I only did 2 of my 3 runs.  It was also a tough week at work, and I felt totally drained on Thursday.  I didn't run, and decided to do some upper body work instead.  It certainly felt like quite a long week by the time we reached Friday.  My last vacation day on Monday seems like ages ago.  Since Thursday was so tough, I treated myself to the Jim Shore figurines I wanted to order for Halloween.  I'm also tempted to order a door mat from the Disney Store, for Halloween.

Even though we're still under bad air conditions, the weather was perfect before work on Tuesday, and I got out for 2 miles.  These weren't easy miles since I was back at altitude.  Saturday my run was inside since I decided to do some errands in the early morning, and when I was ready to run, the air quality wasn't great, and it had warmed up.  So much for the Fall temps I felt when I got back from Alaska!  I was scheduled to do 3 and I did 2.  I was on salads most of the week to recover from all the wonderful cruise food I ate the entire time.  I don't think I got enough muscle fuel with those salads and my right calf felt tight and tired heading into 1.5 miles.  I did get off the treadmill to stretch, and I wrapped it up with 2 miles.  Better than nothing.  I did have some fun and listened to West Side Story since Saturday would've been Leonard Bernstein's 100th birthday.  Anyone see the Google doodle?

I also got back to strength training.  I did some easy work on Tuesday, and my glutes started cramping almost right away.  I only did one day of upper body work on the cruise, and my hips and glutes got a wake up call on Tuesday.   I did a 10-minute PB workout plus my prehab exercises. Wednesday was a rest day after my chiropractor appointment, and Thursday was some upper body work with some kettle bell swings thrown in.  I did prehab exercises again after my run on Saturday.  I usually do the prehab exercises after my runs, and not much else.  I never want to do overdo it, and I feel it's a great time for those prehab moves.

It was a good re-introduction week, so to speak, since I have 5 miles on the schedule for next weekend.  I hope the air quality improves since I do NOT want to do 5 miles on my treadmill!

Linking up with Holly and Wendy for Weekend Wrap-up.

Alaska: Juneau

The 2nd day of excursions was in Juneau.  This was the excursion where I was going to the mushers camp on Douglas Island, right across the water from Juneau.  While Skagway was cloudy, it was raining in Juneau.  Juneau is in the Tongass rain forest, and we certainly experienced why it's so green.  I'd like to have some of that rain on the Front Range.  When we boarded the shuttle, we were told the youngest puppies we would get to play with were 22 days old!  Squeee!!

While we were heading over to Douglas, I saw some more bald eagles perched either on bridges or phone poles.  It didn't take long to reach the camp, and while we were heading over, we all signed the waver that would let us ride in the practice dog sleds.  Basically they're big golf carts with wheels so the dogs can train without the snow.

When we arrived, the dogs were going nuts.  They know shuttles mean people at the camp, and that means they get to run.  The cacophony of barking was amazing.  I've uploaded a couple videos to YouTube that hopefully have good sound.  There were 3 training teams, and all the dogs were either barking or howling in anticipation.  I guess due to this, they have the training run first when the new groups arrive.  I was put in with a group of 4, and the musher stood in the back.  Once everyone was situated and buckled in to their seats, we were off!

Alaskan huskies are smaller than malamutes and Siberian huskies, and they're bred for speed.  The team hooked up to my practice sled was 16 dogs, and they love to run.  All of them had smiles on their faces as they went through the turns and straightaways of the practice route.  The musher said think of the Alaskan husky as an elite marathon runner.  They have to run every day, and build up their mileage for the big races like the Iditarod.  We would stop on occasion to let the shuttles through since the practice route was the road to the camp.

After we got back to the camp, we got to meet some of the team.  Some of the dogs were shy and the musher wouldn't let us pet them.  Others love attention, so we could pet them and feel their coats.  Since it's summer, they don't have their winter coat yet.  The outer coat is really like a rain jacket so while it may be wet, the under coats stay dry and allows the dog to stay warm in the winter.

The next shuttle arrived, which set the dogs off barking again.  While that group loaded up for the practice runs, our group was able to go to a different spot at the camp to hear about the history of dog sledding and the Alaskan husky.  We first had to wait until the teams were out running again since we couldn't really hear anything over the barking.

In this section, we got to meet Gouda, a retired 10-year old.  They said the dog lets the musher know when they're ready to retire, and the age can range.  Gouda retired at age 8 because she enjoyed being on the couch when she was injured, and didn't want to sled again.  All injured dogs are brought inside to keep them from running and jumping and making their injuries worse.  They may want to be outside, but they have to be inside to heal properly.  Gouda had sprained a paw during training, and she loved laying on the couch all day, and promptly let her musher know she was now retired.

Things we learned:

* Alaskan huskies are a combo of the malamute, Siberian husky, pointer breeds, and a couple of hounds.  Mushers wanted a smaller, leaner, faster dog so the team wouldn't be out in the cold winter races longer than needed.  It could take 20 days to do the Iditarod with Malamutes, and now the average is around 9 days.
* These huskies don't make good house pets.  They have a ton of energy, and many prefer to be outside.
* There is no AKC standard, and mushers don't want it.  They don't want a standard to breed to since the Alaskan husky is a combo of many different breeds.  They aren't met to be show dogs.
* The Iditarod was founded in 1973, and 70-80 teams enter every year.
* The Iditarod is not the serum run route, from the 1920s when they needed to get diphtheria serum to Nome.  It does follow part of the route, and finishes in Nome.
* While the dogs can burn up to 7k calories in the summer, the winter is more around 14k calories a day.  They eat a special kibble year round, and meat is added each day during the winter.

22-day old puppy
12.5 weeks old
4.5 months old
After the talk, we got to play with the puppies!  We started with the 22-day old puppies, then the 12.5 week-old puppies, then the 4.5 month-old puppies.  They start harness breaking around 3-5 months old, then start getting the puppies in the sled lines around 6-8 months.  And a lot of work goes into the training, and not just the puppies.  The mushers have to constantly work with all of their dogs and keep their relationship established.  There's a lot of trust between the mushers and their dogs.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday Five: Getting Back to It

The theme of this week has been getting back into it.  Monday was a nice day to have off, and I did 4 loads of laundry - one of which was sheets and towels, so not laundry from the cruise.  I also finally got myself to the DMV to update my car title.  Tuesday was a work from home day, plus some acupuncture for my anxiety, and immune system.  She wanted to work a little on that since schools are back in session, and cold and flu season will be here before we know it.  I ended up having some anxiety at the end of the appointment, which was counterproductive.  I'm there to bring my anxiety down.  I figured it was due to not wanting to go to work the next day, which didn't surprise me.  Can I extend my vacation indefinitely?

Mama's not allowed to leave again
I'll also admit I didn't want to run on Tuesday.  While I did get two bike workouts and two runs in during the cruise, I mentally wanted a break, but I also knew getting out there for my 2 miles would be beneficial.  The first run back after vacation is always tough.  Plus I'm back at altitude, which made running a little bit difficult.  I felt so strong during my runs on the ship since I was at sea level, and I had to go a little bit slower on Tuesday.  I did take a cardio rest day on Thursday.

Wednesday was my chiropractor appointment, and boy did I need it.  I usually go every two weeks during training, and this had been 3 weeks due to the cruise.  I knew my alignment was off, and my spine needed popping in the worst way.  I felt so much better after that appointment.  I normally take those days as rest days to let my body rest after being reset.

I'm also continuing to post my recaps of each day of the cruise.  So far I have the travel day and boarding the ship, the day at sea, Glacier Bay, and Skagway.  Check back next week for the rest of the recaps!

Friday Five 2.0 with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Alaska: Haines and Skagway

The first day ashore was the third day of the cruise.  We docked in Haines since Skagway's piers were full (and I'm talking full!).  We took a 45-minute ferry ride up to Skagway, and on our way to our dock, we passed 3 HUGE cruise ships.  The biggest one was from Norwegian Cruise Line.  Rumor is it has 4,000 passengers!  That's too big!  Our Westerdam ship has less than 2,000 passengers, and it's a pretty good size.

We picked up our bus to the train depot and drove about 1 mile to the other side of town.  The Westerdam wasn't the only cruise ship offering this excursion, and some of the Princess cruise passengers were also being bused over.  We were in separate train cars, and the company provided a lunch for us.  After a quick safety speech, we were on our way.  We were headed 20.4 miles up, out of Skagway.  This railway was finished after the gold rush was done, following the route the miners used out of Skagway and up into the Yukon.  A lot of the miners were inexperienced, and the Canadian Mounted Police required them to have 1 ton of supplies to help them through the Canadian winter.  This route was used a lot since they couldn't carry 1 ton at once.

After we switched tracks, and switched the seats around, we headed back down on the train.  I thought I was the only one REALLY hungry, and I didn't want to be the only one opening my lunch.  It was before 10:30, and I was hearing everyone opening their lunches.  It wasn't just me!  It seemed the ride back to Skagway was faster, and soon we were pulling in to the depot.  The excursion included 2.5 hours walking around Skagway and to be honest, 1.5 hours was a bit much.  Skagway was small, and rather touristy.  My mom lucked out at the quilt shop, Rushin' Tailors, and got their row by row and some other patterns.  The rest of the time was spent walking up and down the main street, and buying small things.

I bought a Christmas ornament of a totem pole, a small matroyshka doll necklace charm, and we picked up our free charms from Diamonds International.  I know it was a gimmick started on the ship, to get people into the DI stores in each port.  I was in and out with my free charm and no shopping.  Diamonds aren't my thing.

We took the ferry back to Haines, and I could've ended up napping if I could've laid down.  We did relax a little bit in the room before dinner, in the dining room.  Again, I didn't take pictures, so I don't remember the appetizer and main course.  Dessert was creme brulee.

This night's movie was Guardians of the Galaxy #2.