Jul 282014

I can cross off one more goal on my Summer Bucket List! Over the weekend my cousin Anna and I did a kayaking tour with Alder Creek. It was only $39 each so that wasn’t a bad price for a three hour tour. We chose the Ross Island Tour:

“Go paddling in your backyard! You can even ride your bike to our new location to make it a no driving recreational day! We will leave from the Boat House dock along the Eastside Esplanade near SE Water and Clay and explore the backwaters of the Willamette River between Ross Island and Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.

Outline:  Ross Island Tour

Journey the 3 nautical miles around Ross Island…if conditions permit

Introduction to basic equipment

Launching and landing from a dock

Maneuvering the boat

Scenic views of the city to start

Enjoy the quiet backwater wake free Holgate Channel

Enjoy a little help from the current on the way back.”

Sounded good to me! I definitely wanted a beginner tour since I’ve only done this once before. That first time was kind of impromptu and I wasn’t very prepared for it. This time I was more prepared. I remembered being uncomfortable in what I was wearing (everything got wet). So this time I wore a swimsuit underneath shorts and a wicking sports t-shirt. I brought a hat, sunscreen, chapstick with sunscreen and aqua sox. Remember those things? LOL! I didn’t know they still existed but I found some on amazon and got them for the honeymoon. I figured this was the perfect time to test them out. IMG_4370

I also brought a change of clothes and a towel for after the tour. I brought a bottle of water and some snacks (a banana and a protein bar). I also bought a waterproof iPhone case so I could take some pictures on the trip. The guide instructed us how to get into the kayak from the dock. It’s a LOT harder than you think it would be. I definitely struggled with this part.


We all got into the kayaks and then kind of floated on the current and waves while he talked a little bit about our route. I’ve always wanted to try a sprint tri and swimming would be my strongest part of the race–but open water swimming is what has kept me from ever trying it. I know, I know, open water swimming really isn’t that scary and I used to do it as a kid all the time. When did fear start keeping us from doing stuff??? So yeah, getting in the kayak and feeling it wobble around with the waves and feel uncertain and unbalanced was a little scary.


I did not feel confident in the kayak and the river suddenly felt very big. We were out on the water by 10:30 and there weren’t a ton of boats out there yet, just a few. But whenever they went by I felt very vulnerable because they were much bigger and caused big waves. When the waves came I just stopped paddling and let it take me wherever for a moment, then start paddling again.


We paddled over to the submarine by OMSI and then went underneath all the bridges towards Ross Island. I’ve never been to Ross Island and was excited about seeing it. I had hoped that we would go onto the island and check it out but alas, we just paddled past it. Part of it is a bird sanctuary. We actually got to see some giant herons AND a few bald eagles! That was kind of crazy.



This part of the trip was my favorite part. The waters were very calm, the river narrowed as it went around the island, and there weren’t as many boats. We saw a bunch of other kayakers, some dragon boat teams practicing, and also a BUNCH of SUP people! That looked like so much fun. It also looked like a lot of work and like it requires something I don’t really possess–balance.

I put on a lot of sunscreen before we got on the water and I reapplied a little bit around this time because I was starting to feel my face burning a bit. It was hard–my hands were slimy and that made the paddle harder to use (note to self: bring the spray-on sunscreen next time). Even though I put on a lot of sunscreen, I still got a little burned on my shoulders AND afterward I found a spot I missed: the top of my hands. Doh!


We kayaked around Ross Island and turned around to head back. This part of the river had a ton of boats–mostly sailboats AND a pirate ship!! That was way cool and I wanted to get a closer look but this was as close as we got. Here is Anna paddling in front of me:

By this time I was feel more confident in the kayak and being out on the water wasn’t making me as nervous as it did at the start. We went by the new-ish OHSU high-rises and fancy condos on the waterfront and went underneath the new pedestrian/bike bridge they are building (which looked kind of ugly at first but now it looks like it’s going to be pretty).



At this point we’d been kayaking for about 90 minutes. I was definitely feeling fatigued around this time. Mostly in my forearms and hands (I was gripping the paddle too tightly) and also in my low back. I tried to adjust how I was sitting a few times but that made the boat very wobbly so I tried not to do that very often. This is another reason I think stopping on Ross Island would have been a good thing–getting out to stretch for a few minutes and not sit in the same position for hours.


The sun was out, people were partying on boats, the Portland Spirit Cruise boats were going by and there were the jet-boats too. It felt like rush-hour traffic out there! The wake was huge at this point and paddling got more difficult. I was pretty happy to see the dock off in the distance! IMG_4450

As we were approaching the dock I saw the pirate ship! It had it’s sails up! It looked so cool and kind of reminded me of the boat in the Goonies. ;) We got back to the dock and everyone helped each other to get out. The trick was having people hold onto the ends of the kayak, put your hands on the deck and kind of thrust yourself out–kind of like a beached whale. It was such a strange sensation getting out of the kayak onto the dock. Anna said the same thing, both of us had jello legs. That was so weird! How about these calories:


I ate my banana and we helped take some of the kayaks back up to the parking lot (there was another tour after us). The shaky legs finally went away (maybe 5 minutes later). Anna and I went into the bathrooms to change out of the damp clothes and then we got lunch! I was famished!


We went over to the Green Dragon. It’s a place I’ve wanted to try for awhile and I’m glad I finally did. They had a humongous outdoor, partially covered area.  I ordered the Boneyard Diablo Roja beer and Anna got some kind of ginger beer. Anna got the mushroom burger and I ordered the pulled pork sliders.



The food could not come fast enough!! So freakin’ starving. The sliders were fantastic. Loved the flavor of the pulled pork. I had a side salad with it instead of fries. I tried their IPA vinaigrette dressing because it sounded really fascinating but I didn’t like it. It didn’t really taste like much; so I got some Ranch dressing instead. Lunch was great and after I felt like I could totally take a nap! It was a fantastic day!!

Jun 182014

I found this article recently, 25 Rules Every Runner Should Follow, expecting it to be just recycled tidbits I already knew but was surprised at how many things I hadn’t heard of or considered. Some of them were particularly good and I wanted to share those.

“5. The 2-Day Rule: If something hurts for two straight days while running, take two days off. Two straight days of pain may signal the beginning of an injury. “Even taking five days of complete rest from running will have little impact on your fitness level,” says Troy Smurawa, M.D., team physician for USA Triathlon. If something hurts for two weeks, even if you’ve taken your rest days, see a doctor.”

That makes a lot of sense! After my knee issues I’ve found that I can’t do really hard activities two days in a row. For example, if I bike to work one day, running the next day hurts. But having a day or two in between and I’m usually okay.

“7. The Race-Recovery Rule: For each mile that you race, allow one day of recovery before returning to hard training or racing.”

That makes a lot of sense to me. So does this next one (which is something I never knew before and certainly didn’t follow!):

“15. The Sleep Rule: Sleep one extra minute per night for each mile per week that you train. So if you run 30 miles a week, sleep an extra half hour each night. “Sleep deprivation has a negative impact on training,” says David Claman, M.D., director of the University of California-San Francisco Sleep Disorders Center.”

There were a few other good things to note, so check out that article if you’re a runner, or would like to be!

I woke up one morning recently without any desire to go to the gym. I laid in bed feeling very blah about it. I decided I’d skip the gym (even though my body really did need the yoga class I was planning on going to) and go for a run. It was kind of gray day but wasn’t too cold old. I headed outside after breakfast and walked over to the track near the house. It was a really quiet morning and I was the only one out there, which was nice.

I was doing the Couch to 5K app and the running intervals were between 6-8 minutes at a time. I actually ran 1 mile around the track without having to walk at all! That made me feel really good.

I’d run about a mile and a half by this point and then I started to feel some sprinkles. I was like, Meh, it’s not a big deal. And kept running (of course I wasn’t wearing my running hat) and then a few minutes later is was not just sprinkles, it was pouring rain! UGH! The rain was a lot but not horrid and I kept running because I didn’t want to quit early.  Then it just drenched me. There is definitely something a little exhilarating about running in the rain. It feels very primal and like you’re one with the earth as the rain falls down.


The rain kept coming down harder and harder and I finally took refuge underneath the bleacher roof.  I thought it would let up so I waited for a few minutes, my run jacket and headband completely soaked, and then gave up and ran back to the house. Boo.

Even though the rain cut my run short (only by about 10 minutes or so), I was glad I stayed out there and got some miles in. I walked the last half mile to the house to cool down and when I got inside (and stripped off the very wet jacket) I did some yoga stretches in the bedroom for about 10 minutes. I’m trying to be REALLY GOOD about stretching after each run. I know my IT bands need that.

Later I met my friend Star for dinner at a new restaurant. The SE Division area of town has been under so much change and development! Every time I drive up there, there’s new condos, new restaurants and everything looks different! We went to Bollywood Theater, which a friend recommended. I was excited to try it because it’s been AGES since I had Indian food.

The restaurant itself was very cool. It was nearly empty when I got there and when we left it was packed full. It was loud and sometimes difficult to talk to my friend and hear what she was saying. First–what I didn’t like. I absolutely HATE restaurants that make you bus your own table, get your own water and silverware and order at the counter. Call me high maintenance, I don’t care, but if I’m going out to a restaurant I don’t want to do the work. I want to be served. And if service is good I tip well. It really irritates me when restaurants adopt this model and I probably won’t go back based on that. Also, the line to order food snaked through the restaurant and out the front door. It was also a VERY slow line and took forever to order.

Second–what I did like, the food. The food was excellent. Star ordered the Egg Masala small plate and I ordered the chicken curry small plate. Both came with saffron rice. The curry was rich and spicy, the chicken in my dish was overcooked, so that was disappointing.



What really made the food excellent was the Kati Roll I ordered for us to share. It was egg, pickled onion, green chutney, spinach and paneer cheese wrapped in fried indian flatbread. It was A-MAZ-ING!!! Probably one of the best things I’ve eaten in a long time and will crave that wrap for awhile. Both Star and I were raving about it the entire time we were there. It was THAT good! It’s a shame my chicken dish was a little overcooked and the whole serve yourself thing, otherwise I’d be raving about this place.


Would I come back? Maybe–but I would get the food to go (especially that kati roll!!!) and eat it somewhere else. I love Indian food and it’s been so long since I had it, but I’d probably find somewhere else to go so I could have the full restaurant experience. Anyway, other than that it was good to catch up with my friend and as I write this I’m still thinking about that wrap…yum!