Sunday, April 13, 2014

Summer 2014: 12k - 26.2mi - 13.1mi

Le gulp - my legs are sore just looking at that middle number!

It's true, I'm registered for my first marathon - the Mayor's Marathon on June 21, 2014. Summer solstice: the longest day of the year, in more ways than one this year. Ha!

I registered for the Twilight 12k and Her Tern Half back in January/February, to try a longer road race and do even better at the HTH this year (info on both races can be found here: It's going to be fun - I have a run to look forward to in May, June and July! 

I expect training is going to be a challenge, mentally and physically. But I'm excited to push myself. I'm confident I can accomplish the whole feat and my only goal is to finish on my feet and healthy. 

So anyway, funny story. Today was an 11 mile day. Coral and Stacia (my training partners) and I head out; it's a great, glorious run. We're cheering as we hit the "finish line" and high-five and start talking water, snacks and all the good things in our near future. 

Then I go for my keys.

And they aren't there.


Next up is about an hour of walking to Stacia's for a car (a nice mile cool down), getting Adam's keys from him and driving slowly around our run route to see if a purple lanyard might be laying on the sidewalk. No dice.

So, we head home and lo! My keys are sitting right on the table where I left them. 

Priceless. Let's hope the next 12 weeks are full of as many laughs!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Alaska to Texas and Back Again

Do you follow the Chinese astrological calendar and horoscopes? I do, ever since the Year of the Tiger.  It was foretold that it would be a great year for Tiger signs (of which I am) and boy, was it ever. Last year, I even wrote a blog post about the Chinese fortune and how I thought it would apply to me. Well, 2014 is the Year of the Horse, the horse symbolizes travel and who am I to go against the zodiac?

I've already been to New York once this year and welcomed family to visit. Two weeks ago, I saddled up for my second trip outside - Texas, baby!

Fun fact about Schmaim: I kind of love visiting Texas. It all started October 2012, when my first Alaskan job sent me down for a training. This time was also a work-based pleasure trip, to the Association of Fundraising Professionals international conference in San Antonio, Texas. And lucky me, San Antonio is an approximate 45 minute flight from Houston, Texas.

Any guesses on who lives in Houston these days?

MEREDITH does, that's who! 

Awesome, epic reunion. From the 5:30 AM airport pickup to 7 PM drop off the next night, we went hard. Excellent food, pitchers of mimosas and fun sight-seeing around Houston.

We went to check out this psychedelic Architects of Air experience. Check out the link to understand how it's built and what it is. Minus that little punk Bryce, this was an awesome experience.

We went to the Houston Zoo and I have way more pictures than just the flamingos, but that's for another blog post someday.

Before heading out of town, I got to have dinner with my Texas Chauvot fam - Quinn, Eathan, Jonesy, Uncle Rob and Aunt Jen. It's been years since I saw them last. My cousins are amazing!

Once in San Antonio, it was three days of jam packed fundraising talk. How to love your donors, what's the deal with millennials and raising money from them (yea, what is my deal?), new trends in fundraising.... That's maybe a quarter of the topics I sat in presentations on, not including general sessions, networking or other resources. There was a strong delegation from Alaska among the ~3,000 attendees, including my buddy Kelly. So around all the work there was play: margaritas, guacamole, CitiBikes, running (in the rain too), fundraiser parties and other whacky hijinks. The weather was great and I was loving San Anton'.

Our conference was opened by Mayor Julian Castro, the youngest mayor ever of Top 50 City. Steve Wozniak (the Apple guy) also presented on our first night, very cool to see him in the flesh, although I still have no idea what the relevance was to our jobs.

And duh! I went to the Alamo during the evening when I had some time off. It's really, really cool. And very tiny. 

With time to kill on our last day, Kelly and I rented CitiBikes and toured the San Anton riverwalk and some of the mission area. Those things are made of lead! Seriously, no one can steal a bike that heavy. It was gorgeous outside and we had a blast getting out before flying back to AK.

And the worst Mexican food we could have eaten... Bland guacamole and the veggie quesadilla had the spring veggie mix you would find in the frozen food section. Seriously - you can see the sugar pea sticking out of the 'dilla in the picture (and the baby carrot in Kelly's mouth, ha!). I promise you: this was the exception, not the rule. We ate like queens every where else.

So that was Texas, in a nutshell. It was great. Then I come back to Alaska, wrestle with jetlag for a few days and when the weekend rolled around I jumped right back in! On Saturday Adam, Jared, Kbro and I went down to Eddie's Run on Turnagain and skied for the day. Three solid runs and skinning in between - it felt great to be outside, surrounded by all the Alaskan beauty and sunlight.

Fun fact: I wore more sunblock on this ski trip than I did my entire week in Texas... I only have to get sun poisoning once to learn my lesson. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Baby, I'm a Stud... (Alternate Title: Break Up is Still Hard)

Oh, yea... Spring has sprung!

The days have been getting longer and the sun is shining all around town. I sit inside and gaze wistfully out the window toward the blue skies and sunlight. I get outside as quickly as possible and...


Ah, yes. The snow is melting! Duh! The roads are wet and there are puddles galore (except in the morning, then it's all ice). Snow pack is getting softer and pockmarked with footprints from human, dog, moose and who knows what else.

Last week I put studded tires on my bike so I could take advantage of the longer days and get back on the trails. For a few days, the trails were well-packed and it was like riding on a dirt trail. Then, it warmed up a little and suddenly it was a real adventure to bike! Slush, slush and more slush. I had to walk once, when I came to a complete stop in roughly 3 inches of wet snow. Blech.

This week I only biked once, just home from work today. Adam met me on the trail and we chatted the whole way home. It was lovely - gorgeous blue skies, white Chugach mountains in the background, other people on the trail (bikers, skiers, runners and walkers). I'm hoping to get back at it next week - at least three days of biking!

And just for fun... Nordic skiing in Talkeetna, AK last Saturday with Fang. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

What Did I Say?

I told you, "February is going to be a bat-out-of-hell month".

And boy, did it stack up.

When I wrote my last blog post, I was scheming away and no one ever knew. My mom, brother and both grandpas had milestone birthdays in February. With some support from the east coast, I came back and surprised all four of them separately. It felt really good to see people moved to tears at my presence... What can I say, this girl still has it! But really, it was just lovely to see my family and friends.

Three days after I returned from New York, Adam's parents and sister hopped off a plane at Ted Stevens International for a 10-day winter vacation. Emily's on task to write their guest blog post, so I won't get into details. But, Johnny told me people kept asking him "You're going where in February?" We'll let the pictures do the talking... (working backwards, loosely)

We spent their last night in Talkeetna at the Blue Moon Cabin (just like I did with my mom almost one year ago!). This is the Denali view in the first afternoon there.

And this is the view the next morning... It doesn't get old. Mt McKinley is still roughly 176 miles away from us in this picture.

Rocking the skhoops in Willow at the official Iditarod start! A gorgeous day and so much fun.

Emily's new best friend forever.

The official starting line of the Iditarod - the Last Great Race on Earth!

King & Queen

We spent a night in Hatcher Pass in a funky cool cabin. Lucky us, we had the place to ourselves that night and this it what we got the next day!

Blue skies...

I love this picture... John snowshoed up with us mid-way up Microdot/Rob's Run. It was great to see him and Adam playing in the mountains!

We spent the first weekend of their trip at Alyeska. Deb came down for a day of shredding!


My new-to-me minks!

Emily, Ian, John and Adam. Patiently waiting for me to snowplow down the mountain...

That brought us right up to the beginning of March. Barb, John and Emily flew back east and Ian is on his own Alaskan adventure in Nome. This week, I'm getting studs for my bike tires and will be getting back to riding while the days gain light. March brings fresh snow (we hope) and plenty of weekend adventures, like winter camping in Talkeetna. It surprised me today to write out my April calendar and not have anything planned for the weekends. 

Who's planning their Alaska trip next??

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Happening Things in AK

Yesterday was the 4th Annual Walk for Warmth, my first special event with United Way of Anchorage. First of all, it raised $51,000+. Second, can you believe I've accomplished two fundraising events in Anchorage? I've been here long enough to put on two successful events. Damn.

Work - check.

February is jumping off with family visits. Adam's cousin Ian is in town; he skis, hikes and plays as hard as the rest of us. He's been XC skiing (on ice, still no snow), hiked South Suicide with Adam & Co the other day and ran the Valentines Day 5K with me today. Barb, John and Emily will be here in less than two weeks and we've got big plans for their trip too!

Family - check.

Finally, I've been cooking and crafting up a storm lately. Last week, I made caribou and shrimp shu-mai. It was posted on the Anchorage Food Mosaic's Facebook page and they were oh-so-good.

Bon apetit!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Must... Update... Blog...

I haven't forgotten about this damn thing, but we just got internet at home last week and I've been so busy the past few weekends and I'm always doing something on the weeknights... Le sigh. I'm full of excuses. What do you want? To keep looking at mouth-watering pictures of Alaska scenery, to read stories of our wild adventures, funny mishaps and general hunky-doriness? You do?? 

Fine, I'll happily oblige.

Life is freaking good. It's been busy. The new job is off like a light. I'm digging the energy and excitement, especially with a fundraising event only two weeks away (make a donation: HERE). There's also quite a bit of learning involved; about health and social services, ways of thinking about things that fall under those umbrellas, methods of dealing with issues within them. We had to read a guide/text book over the holidays. I'm happy to be learning something totally new.

Speaking of totally new, I'm still getting after that pow. Check out my friend Andrea's blog, Gettin' High in the Chugach (link on the right side of the main page of my blog) for a recap of most of our recent ski trips, save for one. Adam & I had five days off together and went north to Hatcher Pass. We skied each of those five days. It was awesome. Friends came and went, we toured alone a few times, watched countless VHS, ate delicious, hearty dinners and overall had a blast. The skiing just keeps getting better. My skiing, I mean. Some days the conditions are shit and flat light has given me vertigo that made me want to throw up. My skills are getting better, I'm more comfortable on the descents, making turns, dropping in, etc etc. I've come a long way since my first go rounds. It's awesome.

Marshmallow Puffs... Skiing out of the Far Side, Hatcher Pass AK

My sweet powder boards... The Ferraris of women's skis... Armada VJJs. SO sweet.

Sunrise, Martin Luther King, JR. Day. Looking back the Knik River, Pioneer off to the left, Matanuska Peak to the right. See the serpent's tongue at the right of the picture?

A dot... On Microdot. I spy Kimbrough, do you?

Who's that girl, na na nana, na na nana

There I am today, MLK JR Day, skiing down part of Microdot! All those chair poses are paying off.

We had a really nice Christmas. We saw friends, talked to family, skied... New Years Eve came and found everyone asleep around 11:30 PM, watching Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Don't be jealous.

Fun story about New Years... I'm trying to expand my knowledge of healthful eating. With my current (awesome) lifestyle, I want to eat a) cleaner and b) the food that will fuel my body for the long haul. With this in mind, I decided to try the Food Matters three-day detox. Three days, super green juices, all green salad and a veggie packed simple soup. Lots of water and tea. Nothing too off the wall for me, but enough to get me started on my new road.

So I'm all jazzed, day one is good, day two is alright. Day two evening found me a little cranky, had a headache... I went to a movie with Bronwyn and had a few of her blue corn chips. Okay, no biggie, I say to myself. Blue corn chips aren't bad, but nothing else. One more day. You understand, dear reader, that I can't eat anything except the menu I listed above, right? I get home after the movie... What's one rice cake going to hurt? I ask as I nibble down.

Day three starts, I drink my green breakfast juice, I go to deep stretch. I go to Middle Way to meet up with Deb and I start to waffle (I guess based on the day before, I'm just still waffling, not starting). Anyway, I get a hot tea (that's okay) and a ginger-berry smoothie (not okay, according to the detox authors, something about the way the specific veggies I'm eating mix with acidic fruits). Well, at least it's not like a bacon cheeseburger or something else, I think as I sip it down.

I have a metaphor for the rest of my cleanse story: I am a meteor. I entered the atmosphere (with the Almond Joy the lady gave me at the pedicure place. What am I supposed to do? It'd be rude to say no). I picked up speed and got hotter (when Adam left the can of Pringles on the counter at home. What am I supposed to do? They would get stale just sitting there). As I got closer to earth and gravity got stronger, I became a little heavier (salad, okay... soup, okay... Turkey sandwich with cheese, avocado and onion? Whoops).

Finally, I hit the earth in one almighty crash. One freshly baked loaf of banana bread.... Well, one quarter of that freshly baked loaf, slathered with butter and devoured in minutes. BOOM. After that, I drank a few large glasses of water and went to bed. I should also mention that Pringles through banana bread happened in about four hours, from start to finish. Ha!

We're full of laughs and good times up here. The 2014 Visitors Calendar is slowly being sprinkled in with interested parties and vacation ideas. Start planning your vacation, our doors are open!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

What Goes Up, Gets To Come Down (Alternate Title: It's All Fun & Games)

After going gangbusters over Thanksgiving weekend, I took a weekend off to recoup. In case I wanted to ignore my coaches advice about taking it easy after yanking my knee, Mother Nature stepped up and dropped beaucoup rain and ice on everything so there's no skiing even if I wanted to.

Thanksgiving was awesome. I ran the Turkey Trot with my friend Liz, ate desert first and laughed the night away. Friday morning, we skidaddled north and went skiing for three days. A little bit of downhill, a little bit of nordic... Life is good!

Like, single digit temps! It makes you run faster.


Beginner ski buddy - Andrea skinning up in Hatcher Pass

Hatcher Pass, AK

Kbro, Aimee, Jess and DDub, Hatcher Pass AK

Monday morning brought the next big adventure... I've been PROMOTED at work and started my new role of Director of Grassroots Fundraising at United Way of Anchorage. This is a brand new position for UWA, I get to develop the whole thing as I go. Needless to say, I'm pretty thrilled. It feels good to be trusted to develop something new and important to the organization. The extra dollar bills was also a pretty sweet touch.

I've been fond of saying lately "I have nothing to complain about". And it's true. 

What Have I Got to Complain About
David Budbill

We've got enough money not to worry every minute
about where the next dollar is coming from.
We even go to the movies once in a while.
We've got a nice collection of friends.
Our house is sturdy and well built.
It keeps us warm and stands well against the storms.
The larder is full of rice.
There are plenty of potatoes down cellar.
The freezer is full of vegetables I grew myself.

In the face of all that, slights to my vanity
seem frivolous and nonsensical.

What have I got to complain about?