Monthly Archives: March 2014

Fight for Air Climb Event – At the Almighty Rhodes Tower By: Jenn

I passed by a stack of brochures just a couple of months ago with a large hovering tower on the cover and a vibrant red word jumping out at me, CLIMB

Without a second thought I picked up the tri-fold pamphlet, eagerly wondering if this is what I imagined… climb the largest building in Columbus, Ohio. Yes, yes I would certainly LOVE to! That’s right, I’m going vertical!

The Fight For Air Climb works in cahoots with the American Lung Association. A fundraising event dedicated to end lung disease by physically challenging your very own lungs.  The climb fights for those diagnosed with lung disease ( smokers and non-smokers) those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and both infants and adults affected with Asthma.

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This event especially hit close to home for me since it has been almost one year to date since my mom has quit smoking. I remember telling her that I was at a point where she had 2 options regarding our relationship. Either she quit smoking or I quit speaking to her. Now believe me this would be no easy task! I love, admire and adore my mother. Which is why it was so very important for me to insure that I take every action I can to keep her around for as long as possible!

March 2013, also the month of my Birthday, she quit! I am so proud of her efforts and impressed with her results! So when this event came along, I immediately thought to myself this can be my thank you! When I told my mom that I would be participating, she wanted to be a part of it too! She volunteered for the event (even more proof on how very awesome my mom is)!

Here we are after the climb!

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My mom was a climb cheerleader. They had lots of them every few flights, there were cheerleaders encouraging you, playing music, passing out water and letting you know how far along you were in the climb. This was helpful for those of us in the zone!

A few floors past my mom I even ran into a friend that I used to work with. It was great seeing him and I stopped for a quick picture.

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I wasn’t aware of how hard stair climbing really is. I practiced a little with the climbing machine at the gym. The stair climber however, is no comparison to the real deal! When climbing stairs you reach your anaerobic threshold within seconds. Your heart rate is working at it’s maximum and it gets there quick. I planned on going into the race giving it my all, I did… and it hurt. I was surprised at the instantaneous sting that arose from my burning lungs.

Stair climbing is becoming a popular activity, I noticed my Runners World magazine just released an article about it as well here: http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/why-stair-climbing-is-good-for-runners

This event totally made me appreciate stair climbing and I can’t wait for this horrendous Ohio Winter, (and not so great start to Spring) to let up a little so I can get outdoors for some serious stair climbing! Let me mention I am NOT a fan of cold weather!!!

Learning how climbing helps runners endurance was an added perk. My next goal is to teach my body how to run at a greater endurance level (without feeling like I’m going to die).

At the end of the event fire fighters even went through in full gear including their oxygen tanks and ran the stairs. Wow! Mom and I made sure to stick around and cheer for them when they were through.

My stats for the event were not as great as I imagined, but that just gives me a reason to do it again next year. I finished in 68th place out of 197 participants (firefighters not included). I was the 14th female to finish (proud of that one). I climbed 40 flights or 880 stairs in 9 minutes and 15 seconds. Most importantly however is that I participated and personally raised $150 for a very important charity that will hopefully never effect my family nor friends!

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For more info on The Fight For The Air Climb click here: http://www.lung.org/pledge-events/oh/columbus-climb-fy14/

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The Arnold Classic Experience By: Jenn

Every year in the beginning of March, the largest multi-sport event in the nation is held in my fine city of Columbus, Ohio (614) BABY!

The event, (for the weekend) is home to 18,000 athletes and more than 175,000 fitness enthusiasts! There are 700 booths chock full of protein shakes, energy drinks and fitness gadgets to help every tan, tank wearing, gym loving attendee open their wallet with a smile. I know I did 😉 And if your a fan of a good swag bag, this is where it’s at. Check out all of the goodies I scored

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Matt and I headed over to the convention center after the Survival Race. We were a little tired but this event is worth it! It rates 1st place for people watching and if you are interested in learning about the new products emerging in the fitness scene, you will see it here.

We couldn’t help but to stop at the big Arnold cut-out courtesy of Homage and snap a pic.

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Speaking of Homage they had one of the hottest booths at The Arnold! Their kitschy tees were loved by all and the booth was swamped! Arnold Classic gear is still available at their website http://www.homage.com/collections/arnold-classic

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We got the pleasure to witness a fantastically odd experience, in which very large muscled men tried to get a very heavy weight (at least that’s what I think it was) out of a box. I’m not sure what the the lbs. of the weight was but those boys had a hell of a time trying to grab it! None were successful, at least while we watched.

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We got to meet some folks with AMAZING bodies! Talk about a motivating experience!

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There were quite a bit of characters as well! Ummmm…

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We met Chuck Zito the actor from the HBO series OZ and Sons of Anarchy. He is also a boxer, martial artist, stuntman and a really nice guy!

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Matt and I purchased some clothing from the Monsta booth. We both really like our picks. I have worn my shirt during a few different workouts.. It’s quite comfy and is versatile for everything. http://www.monstaclothing.com/

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It was a fun action packed day. I left with one of my favorite protein bars to date as well: Clif Builder’s Mint Chocolate Bar. Sooo good! The guys that worked the Clif booth were super nice and we ended up chatting about fitness for a while. I didn’t know there were so many different varieties of Clif Bloks, which is what I use on my long runs. My grocery store only carries 2 varieties, black cherry and strawberry. Both are tasty, but I would love to “spice” it up a bit. I will keep a look out for additional flavors! Any C-Bus residents that may know of a store that carries more options, let a girl know.

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Another fun year at Arnold Classic! Will you be there next year?

White Wine lemon Butter Sauce By: Matt

Spring and summer time is here. That triggers thoughts of fresh fish with a lite touch of a great lemon butter sauce. I’m not talking about that slice of lemon and pad of butter over seared southern flounder or shrimp. When i see that It reminds me of my mom’s lemon butter tilapia. I could hear her saying “Matt look at my fancy fish dish I made.”  With that being said this ain’t your mom’s lemon butter sauce.

Now, Let’s get to it!

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1 ½   cups white wine * Preferably a dry white wine*wpid-IMG_20140323_021941.jpg

2 bay leaves (optional)

8  each whole pepper corns

3 sprigs/steams of fresh thyme

1  each lemon   *Cut in half, squeeze the juice in the pot*

8 cloves garlic *crushed*

1  shallot *rough sliced*wpid-IMG_20140323_114037.jpg

¾ lb. unsalted butter cut into cubed pieces *if it is salted keep that in mind when you add salt TT at the end*

TT kosher salt TT=To Taste

Yields – 1 1/2 cups of sauce

1.  In a small sauce pot add all ingredients except the butter.

2.  Let this simmer on the stove top *medium/high heat* What we are doing here is cooking out alcohol and reducing the wine while still capturing the other flavors of the shallots and garlic, and herbs.

3.  When it is reduces to about 90% *you can see the bottom of the sauce pot*, turn yourwpid-IMG_20140323_113826.jpg stove to low heat

4.  Add the chilled cubed butter a little at a time while whisking vigorously.

*DO NOT STOP WHISKING WHILE ADDING THE BUTTER, OR ELSE YOUR SAUCE WILL BREAK*

Take off the heat when all the butter is incorporated. Add Salt TT, and then strain the sauce. There you have it, your very own White Wine Lemon Butter Sauce. You can hold this on the stove top in a warm spot so your sauce does not turn into a soft butter state.

Enjoy this with anything from Lobster, Sea Bass, Tilapia, to Seared Chicken, or over top of asparagus and Broccolini.

Attention: Did your sauce break? It’s okay, it happens to the best of us.  No worries, it will still be tasty. It may not be visually appealing but don’t worry, try it again.

Trouble shooting:  Make sure the pot is not to hot when adding butter. Make sure you are constantly whisking when adding butter. Make sure you have the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 of an inch.

Keep Cooking!!!

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa By: Matt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis tasty, zesty and mouthwatering Tomatillo Salsa will impress your guests.

*This is a K.I.S.S. recipe meaning – Keep It Short & Simple . Restaurant slang for don’t overdue the already flavorful ingredients.

Now, let’s get to it! 

2 lbs. tomatillos *cleaned, remove the paper like husk*

1 each small White onion or 3 shallots

1 ½ bunch cleaned cilantro

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½  Bunch cleaned parsley

4-6 Cloves garlic

1-2 jalapeño(s) –Depending on heat Preference

1 ½ tablespoons of fresh lime Juice

1 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon of ground cumin

salt and pepper – To Taste

1. Rough chop the tomatillos and onion, toss the tomatillos and the onions in the 1/4 cup olive oil and add a couple pinches of salt and pepper.
– I like to grill the tomatillos and the onion, ahead of time so they have a little bit of cool down time in the fridge. While gathering up other ingredients.

2.  Let the tomatillos and onions cool for a few. Now add all ingredients except the remaining olive oil to a food processor or blender.
Blend tom salsaWe now want to pulse-blend this *meaning zap it* wait a second,  then zap it again.

3.  Add the remaining olive oil (just a drizzle at a time).

4.  Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper at the end.

Now go get some veggies, blue corn tortilla chips, anything you like, and enjoy!

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Keep Cooking!

Cauliflower Soup, the most simple yet delicious soup… ever! By: Jenn

Hey everyone, I know Spring is in the air but the following soup recipe is so amazingly delicious, simple and healthy. It truly Hits The Spot! I have made the soup a few times now and messed around adding some ingredients here and there to get the perfect result. Luckily, last night I found it, so of course I must share! I retrieved this recipe online randomly and am going to attach the original draft with my substitutions and additions at the bottom. I did all of the grunt work figuring out how to get the best flavors from this recipe so all that is left is for you to enjoy it! Click the following pics to take you to the original site if you’d like.

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Below are the changes I made, few in form yet plentiful on flavor!

  • I sweat the onion with 2 cloves of garlic… what I’m Italian, I use it A LOT!
  • Substitute Vegetable broth for water.
  • I used only one container of vegetable broth. So 4 cups as opposed to the 4 1/2 cups they suggest at the latter portion of step #2. For the steaming of the cauliflower I used the suggested amount of water (this saves you $$$ too, just buy one container of veg broth). Go organic if you can!
  • I did not have to work in batches  as suggested. Maybe the loss of that 1/2 cup of water is what did it. Not sure but I accrued the perfect amount for my standard blender.
  • Let’s talk garnish! The picture below is my first trial with this soup months ago. Here I lightly battered some sliced mushrooms in and egg wash and flour and did a super quick fry on them, this was tasty. Last night however, I used fresh grated Parmesan along with the suggested fresh ground pepper and olive oil. That combination with the nutty flavor of the Parm. MADE THE MAGIC!

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Again, this soup is so healthy and easy. Not to mention it doesn’t cost much to make at all! Serve it up like I do with a small side salad, the amount serves 4 bowls full. I freeze the left overs for the following week, and it tastes just as good.

Now, as my family would say – Mangia! Mangia! – Eat! Eat!

Try out this little treasure of a  soup and let me know your thoughts. Also check out http://www.food52.com for more great recipes, their food photography is also killer!

What’s Black & Blue and Cold All Over?… I am, after the Survival Race

Obstacle courses are scattered all over my Facebook and twitter portals now-a-days. They differ in event type, fund raiser or charity and don’t forget good old fashion sportsmanship and competition. Last year Matt and I decided to compete in the 1st Annual Survival Race, a 5k obstacle course. It was fun and we did well! It was about 40 degrees in 2013 and just plain cold, the ground was hard and no amount of hopping aka dynamic stretching warmed you up. When it was all said and done though we had a blast and were both proud of our performance.

DSC01236So of course the second I found out race registration had begun for this year I immediately signed up! What I like about The Survival Race is that with your entrance fee you receive admission to The Arnold Classic Event at the Convention Center that weekend. You also get a kick ass race shirt, P.S. don’t even try to be cool and act like you don’t LOVE a good race shirt, even if the only people who ever see it is you, your dog and the self checkout attendant at the grocery store. The race also gives you something to train for during the gloomy months succeeding the worn off Christmas cheer. If it wasn’t for the fear of getting my butt handed to me during the obstacle course I may have been totally content creating the ultimate Netflix hibernation list while dwindling down my collection of left over stocking stuffer candy. It doesn’t hurt that both last year and this year Matt and I both had Arnold Schwarzenegger just feet (this year inches) away from us. It’s especially awesome because he bears a pretty similar resemblance to our dad who doesn’t live nearby and we don’t see often. This year Arnold introduced our race wave so we got to high five him as we passed the staring line, no lie, it was COOL!

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I jumped in to video record Arnold via my cell phone right before the race and Matt got a nice close up with him directly behind us. Matt’s showing off his I’ll Be Back, face!

Matt & Arnie

This course was demanding to say the least, the obstacles were tougher than last year, and it was considerably colder. The temperature read 28 degrees for our race time, Arnold was running late and the crowd was substantially larger. But eventually the horn blew and we were off! The best part of the race was the start where we got to run through Columbus Crew Soccer Stadium. It was beyond a moment of awe to have little ole you running through a huge empty stadium (insert Rocky music and roar). When we arrived at the beginning of the actual obstacles there was quite a bit of crowding. You just can’t go any faster than the swarm of people waiting for their chance to crawl through a tube. Lesson learned, next year pick a wave time that doesn’t start with a famous person doling out high fives. Speaking of tubes there were plenty of them, tubes to jump over of all sizes, one obstacle involved a large hurdle neither Matt nor myself could clear. The ego bruise didn’t sting as badly since we didn’t witness any other fellow racers defeat the beast. the hurdle

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Obstacles also consisted of cargo nets, sand bag carrying, rope climbing,  rope swinging, rock wall climbing and let me also mention the ice pond that became an obstacle to slide across, thanks to the collaboration of Mother Nature and the Midwest.

To be honest, I was a bit of a nervous wreck before the race, I was sweaty yet freezing, my heart rapidly thumping, adrenalin was free flowing and every single sensory nerve was heightened like little static-y arm hairs. I have a fear that I will fail or that I will get hurt. I know I will give it my all but will that be enough?

After the race was over and every fearling subsided I really had a chance to realize how amazing of an experience I had. I thought to myself, let me ask others what they did that Saturday March 1st. Many wouldn’t say they conquered an obstacle course in below freezing temperatures and did it well, I can say I did that! The Survival Race was a great event, well managed and all around motivating. If you can bear the temperatures I would highly recommend doing it, you just need some mind over frozen matter. I can’t wait to give it my all again next year. I mean think about it, even if it is just an obstacle course… it’s no longer an obstacle for me.

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For more info on The Survival Race and where it’s held click below!
http://thesurvivalrace.com/

Do you have any obstacle courses you love, please share with us!