The first 306 miles

March is going to be a banner month for my bucket list. We’re traveling to Europe, closing on our new home, and I’ll have job news nailed down. Big stuff.

But right now, for the first three month of the year, I’ve been focused on my fitness.


Minus a solitary weekly cheat meal, I’ve been sugar free, alcohol free, mostly dairy free, red meat free, and just generally eating air and drinking kombucha. I’ve also upped to a 6-7 workout weeks (meaning I sometimes workout before and after work to accommodate a rest day). A co-worker asked me how this is possible. My answer: Watch less (or no) TV.

Where am I going with this? My goal to cycle 2000 miles by the end of the year is in full swing, with a current tally of 306.1 miles.

The plan was initially to incorporate 45 miles a week into my regular workouts, and I’ve been mostly consistent. Recently, I spent a week working in California and the hotel gym only provided a sad-looking recumbent bike so I opted for running instead – which put me a little behind but also gave me a boost of “I missed the spin bike” enthusiasm upon my return.

I’m not sure what I was hoping to get out of this whole “Cycle 2000 miles” thing, other than a sense of general accomplishment, but last week my trainer took my measurements and I’ve cut an entire inch on each thigh – which is a feat for a quadzilla like myself. No wonder all those cyclist are so lean in their spandex gear!

If I was you right now, I’d probably be bored as hell reading this blog post – but my LONG-WINDED POINT is that sometimes you set a goal and end up having other positives come out of it. I believe it’s called Causal Effects.

2017 was a mess for me. I over-committed professionally and personally. Though I am capable of many, many things – three jobs while also caring for an elderly parent and managing all of their affairs is basically impossible. There was a moment where I considered how much money was currently in my bank account and if I had it in me to start a new life in a new town with a new name. Don’t worry – just a fleeting thought. 2018 is different. Me first. The oxygen mask goes on my face before I assist others.


#5 – Visit the Pinball Hall of Fame. Check.

I’ve never met another girl who quite enjoyed an arcade as much as I do. Many a Saturday morning growing up, my dad would drop me off at Wunderland with a pocketful of nickels and pick me up around dinner time. When the nickels finally ran out, I could while away the hours playing Golden Axe and Bubble Bobble in the free room. On special occasions, he would rent me a Super NES at the local video store for the whole weekend, allowing me to play Street Fighter II and Super Mario Land until my hands cramped into claws around the controller. Some of my favorite memories in life are centered around a video game console. Good times.

When I learned about the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas and knew I had to visit:

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So last weekend, Thor and I took a leisurely trip to Las Vegas, with no specific plans except to relax. As neither of us would be drinking, Thor was skipping meat, and I was skipping just about everything else, our fun would have to be a little more…vanilla. On Saturday night, we took a cab off the strip and out to the PHoF – which at first appeared to be an open door in a concrete building.


There was no front desk, no entry fee, no greeter. Just a big ass building (10,000 square feet) full of classic pinball (and a few arcade) games, amongst some other relics stacked up in corners or in the back. Although there were a decent amount of people, games were easily accessible, and the variety was vast, with rows and rows of classic pinball.


There were many OLD games, still totally playable, with an index card full of historic facts and details under the glass.


Most games were 50 cents a play, which is incredibly reasonable. Of course, sometimes an old machine at my quarter or one was out of service, but based on the selection and lack of admission price – who cares? Most people are blowing their money down the road in a slot machine anyway.

And of course, we played many rounds of SFII.


But my favorite part of classic arcades and pinball is the artwork. You really get a slice of time that just doesn’t exist from an at home console.



And who can forget this classic?


What was my favorite game? NBA Fastbreak, which I will be hunting for back here in Portland. Super fun!


All in all, we spent a couple hours whiling away our time and then promptly returned back to our suite at the Venetian to wash our hands. (Mental note: bring some disposable hand wipes next time around).

There we have it: my first goal of the year crossed off. We would definitely visit the Pinball Hall of Fame again, and it was definitely worth the $15 cab ride off the strip. How do you find the PHoF?

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My 2017 Bucket List in Review

Let’s be real – this was not an average year for me and my bucket listing adventures. The results are in, and I only checked of 60% of my 2017 goals – an all-time low!

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Some of my hopes were a little off-the-wall (befriend a crow) and some of them were a little tedious (5 minute plank or build a beach fort). I also never anticipated that we would spontaneously decide to buy a house this month so some of the more expensive items were tossed aside at the last minute (expensive steaks and snowmobiling).

Instead of dwelling on the shoulda woulda coulda, I did some pretty fantastic shit this year. So much that I can’t contain it in one blog post. Let’s dwell on that.

Seven Bucket List Highlights of 2017

  1. I logged runs in seven different states, and three different countries.


2. I experienced extreme claustrophobia in the catacombs of Paris.


3. I trekked across Barcelona to find a LOST themed bar (even if it wasn’t as cool as I had hoped).


4. I had a suit tailor-made just for me.


5. I hiked all 30.5 miles of Portland’s Wildwood Trail.


6. I legit collected shark teeth (and other fossils) on the beach.


7. I mastered the art of chowder.


Amongst several other goals of which I’ve already posted about. What did I learn this year? Continue taking risks. When I told people that I wanted to hike the full Wildwood trail, only one single person (my friend, Courtney) thought it was possible. Instead of wondering, she and I just went out and did it. (And afterwards, a pitcher of beer never tasted so good).

But this year was full of the strange, unique, and unexpected. My bucket list was almost secondary to where life took me.

Seven Non-Bucket List Highlights of 2017

  1. I ate my way across Europe for Spring Break, with a casual four hour lunch at a Michelin starred restaurant.


2. I coached an undefeated soccer team of middle school boys.


3. I spent a week at the Corwin head office for a mind-blowing, life-altering, reality-disrupting week of Visible Learning Training (which might not mean anything to most people, but it was THE learning experience my year).


4. I rode a gondola up to 13,000 feet in Vail and ate a delicious hot dog.


5. I spent 14 consecutive hours at the Oregon State Fair.


6. I danced all night to Lady Gaga in Las Vegas.


7. I lounged on the beach a lot (like, a lot). Multiple states and countries.

So there you have it. I got pretty whiny and stressed out at times, but overall it’s chalked up to a year full of learning experiences. My 2018 Bucket List is drafted, but I won’t publish it for a few more days.

#20 – Do 100 burpees in one set. Check. (And all of my other fitness milestones)

Last December, I had a hard time coming up with new and unique fitness goals for 2017. Once again, I have no desire to run a marathon or take up yoga. My goals are uniquely for me. As I am a big fan of burpees, I thought I would put myself to the test of 100 burpees without stopping (accepting the possibility of vomiting a few times along the way).

Over the year, though, I lacked continuity. Between traveling constantly, the awful winter, and working nonstop, I just couldn’t find a normal groove. At the same time, my goal #12 – Run in *new* 12 cities was on track, with opportunities to run in Paris, Dallas, Vail, and the beaches of California, North Carolina, Oregon and Hawaii.

Last Christmas, I also signed up for a Peloton membership and rode consistently all year, logging close to 800 miles on the spin bike. And in the fall, I found a great new trainer who helped rehab my knee and reenergize my strength training.

Pretty active – right? So why was doing a few burpees a day such a struggle? I really don’t know. They just were. When Thanksgiving arrived, I hit crunch-time, and was diligent for a couple weeks. I hated every minute.

One night, I decided to test myself with burpees to-fail, just to get a baseline. The first 35 were awful – my arms burning and I could never catch my breath. How am I this out of shape? I thought. But I forced myself to keep going, shooting for 50. Once I hit 50, I still had gas in the tank and forced myself to 60. Suddenly impressed with my progress, I forced myself to 70 and was far less miserable. I just kept moving, and focused on 100. Albeit, the last 10-15 burpees weren’t pretty, with my sloppy legs kicking back and my arms struggling to support myself – but in the end, I made it to 100.

What did I learn? It’s all mental. I had convinced myself that 30 burpees was exhausting so how could I ever possibly make it to 100? Once I decided that I just wouldn’t stop (motivated to be DONE DONE DONE for the year), it was possible and achievable.

This was not a fun goal. This was not an interesting goal. This was not a goal that I sufficiently trained for, nor am I proud of it. When I look back on the year, running in different cities and hiking the 30-mile Wildwood trail were all of those things. As I’m finalizing my goals for 2018, I’ll be mindful to not slap on a last-minute goal just because I think I should.

Before moving onto 2018, here are some moments from my fun and interesting fitness goals.

#1 – Bury a time capsule. Check.

I had all year to think about and collect items, such as newspaper clippings or important mementos, to put in a time capsule. I had all year. Today I scrapped my time capsule together at the last minute, when it was too warm to go snowshoeing and we couldn’t think of anything better to do. But hey, that’s part of the story – right?

2017 was a pretty unique year for me; I traveled endlessly for work and play, I worked harder than any other year of my life, I suddenly became the sole caretaker of my aging father, and as of today, I bought a house. While I didn’t anticipate so many new and different experiences, I also never had the time to sit down and process them either.

First off, there any many suggestions on the inter web about how to make a time capsule: Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 6.06.08 PM.png

With so many suggestions, my stubborn inner monologue insisted that I would find a way to do it my own way. Ultimately though, there were too many decisions to make: how long until I would open it? What would I put my items in? Where would I bury my capsule? Who would come with me? Should I do it alone?

I did go as far as buying a NASA approved capsule from Amazon:Unknown.jpegBut as there are only a couple days left in 2017, and my friend, David, suggested that we find a way to get outside despite the weather – I knew that TODAY WAS THE DAY.

What exactly went IN my time capsule? Well, if I told you, it wouldn’t be fun to open it later. I did have several pictures from the year quickly printed at Walgreens, and grabbed a couple small mementos. Nothing fancy. What I can say is that my time capsule hinges around HBO’s Game of Thrones series (yes, you read that right).


My friend, Kerrie, and I are both deeply nerdy, and have spent years waxing intellectual about the books and show. For the capsule, we  listed our theories of what we both believe will happen to all of the main (and some supporting) characters – we have some agreements, and some differences.

This means I have set the opening date of my capsule as 12/29/20 – three years from today. Hopefully this will give HBO time to wrap up the final season, and maybe GRRM will release Winds of Winter* to at least clear up where the show made it’s own “artistic” decisions.

Ok – so I’ve got a date – but WHERE to bury it? Once I had picked up David, we stopped at the iconic Skyline Burger for lunch, which is also adjacent to Forest Park. One of the more challenging goals of the year was to hike the 30-mile Wildwood trail of Forest Park, so it seemed only natural to bury my capsule somewhere along a place that was symbolic of my 2017 bucket list.

At lunch, I briefly wrote out a some of the good and not-so-good things that happened in 2017, and a couple hopes for the next three years.


Then we headed towards a nearby trailhead, in the middle of an incredibly windy rainstorm. David seemed unusually nervous about carrying a shovel into the woods on a stormy day but I urged him down the trail a little ways, identified a relatively memorable spot, and buried the capsule.


Should you be thinking about burying a time capsule for 2018, I recommend creating a small box or envelope RIGHT NOW to start collecting things. You can also leave them out later, but finding things at the last minute is probably not the way to go. Nonetheless, my capsule will be fun and interesting to open in three years.



I realize many, many people are ruthlessly savaging GRRM about not releasing the next Song of Ice & Fire books, and I want to be clear I harbor zero bad feelings. He gave us a great ride, and by stretching it all out, we are having even more fun with fan theories. Should the books be published, great. Should they stay forever a mystery, that’s ok, too.


100 Burpees Will Be the Death of Me

Let me tell you, nothing throws off your training schedule like half a week in Vegas. Between the casino smoke and the two foot daiquiris, my mornings weren’t exactly primed for burpees (although decimating a cornish game hen at Tournament of Kings is killer protein).

Now that I’m back in town and back to work, I’m feeling the pressure to close-in on my goal of 100 burpees in one set…ideally by December 1st.

Once again, I ask myself WHY DID I SET THIS GOAL?! It’s really, really hard. Not exactly fun. Not very motivating.


My thinking was that if you can do 100 burpees without stopping, you’re basically a badass. Am I right?

Tonight I gave myself a burpee midterm and made it to 50 without stopping, my arms straining around 37. I also did not feel a distinct need to barf, so that was a win right there. Once I caught my breath, I did two more sets of 25.

At this point in the process, it’s more than physical. It’s straight mental, meaning I might need a partner to push me to the very end of my training. But then again, if I’m going to throw up I might want to do it in secret.