Archive | April, 2014

My Gatorade-Commercial-Worthy Moment … 63 Stories

7 Apr

I saw the orange lightning bolt.

I saw my legs climbing up the steps. The beads of sweat forming in slow motion. I heard the sound of my heart pounding. And I saw it … the orange lightning bolt.

Is it in you?

Duuuuuuuuuuuuude.

Yessssssssssssssss.

It was a Gatorade-commercial-worthy moment.

That was me …

 

 

I belong in that Gatorade commercial.

My calves demand it.

They ran, they stomped, they climbed, they pumped, and then literally danced their way to the top with the power of Los Tucanes de Tijuana’s La Chona and Vintage Trouble’s Strike Your Light. The rooftop crowd was impressed with my Zapateado, Quebradita and James Brown dance moves and the fact that I still had enough energy and strength in my legs to pull those off as I reached the finish line.

My lungs felt a surge of air, I saw sunlight. I raised my hands up like Rocky Balboa. I had made it.

But it wasn’t easy.

It was the same building. The same amount  of steps. The same claustrophobic staircases. The same heavy air restricting the oxygen levels being sent to my muscles. The same insanity. I knew what was coming. My mind knew it. My knees knew it. My quads knew it. The four-dollar coupon for Advil from the CVS knew it. My calves did not. Apparently they didn’t get the memo. I thought I was prepared, but my calves flipped me the bird by the thirty-second floor and I couldn’t believe it. In truth they were pissed off by the fifth floor. I felt them weakening and cramping up just as the air circulation ended.

I heard them saying … Pinche Guat!

But I didn’t understand it, I stretched out.

Apparently air is important when exercising. It oxygenates my muscles. However by the fifth floor there was no gentle breeze or ventilation from the open door at the starting line. Thus the hostility of my calves.

I was on lock down with close to 1,000 other climbers making their way to the rooftop and no Febreeze in sight. Granted we were in waves, but the lack of cellular respiration was the same … apparently I was choking my calves and they were responding by cursing me out.

But I hung in there. I had that orange lightning bolt in my sights. I had a cause, and I had my Dad.  With friends and family I helped raise over $500, contributing to the $195,000 raised collectively by all the climbers. I was part of something bigger, trying to make someone’s life better and that felt good.

So even though my calves were ready to strangle me from all that I was putting them through … It was on. The Fight For Air Climb was on.

63 stories.

Close 1,400 steps.

My Dad … He’s worth it.

 

The challenge waiting for me...

The challenge waiting for me… I thought I got this.

 

But upon closer inspection ... Dude. Duuuuuuuuuuuuude

But upon closer inspection … Dude. Duuuuuuuuuuuuude!

 

Once I arrived I made my way to registration to get the magic number.

Once I arrived I made my way to registration to get the magic number and my shirt.

 

Although there were some people with pretty awesome shirts and badass mentalities. This chic just finished a marathon at the crack of dawn and was reading to take on the 63-story challenge.

Although there were some people with pretty awesome shirts and badass mentalities. This chic just finished a marathon at the crack of dawn and was ready to take on the 63-story challenge.

 

However carrying 60 pounds of extra weight on your back seemed more badass.

But some climbers were carrying 60 pounds of extra weight on their back … that seemed more badass.

 

... However I thought I was wearing a better shirt.

… However I thought my outfit was better.

 

This shirt got my emotional juices up and ready to go.

This shirt was pretty badass. It got my emotional juices up and ready to go.

 

After I warmed up I passed up all the memory markers on the way to the starting line.

After I warmed up I passed up all the memory markers on the way to the starting line.

 

But once I got there I needed to wait for the big guys to go first.

 

Waiting for the 3-2-1 Go ... but looking down you would think after a whole year I would have bought new sneakers. But it was all good ... I made it to the top.

Waiting for the 3-2-1 Go … but looking down you would think after a whole year I would have bought new sneakers. But it was all good … These sneakers have experience and a little wear and tear, just like their owner. They’ve got character and they got me to the top.

 

After 63 stories, an awesome playlist, and angry calves I made it. The view was Guatacular. :)

Climbing 63 stories with an awesome playlist, and angry calves, earns you a Guatacular view 🙂

 

After having my Rocky Balboa moment I waited for one of the perks of the post-climb festivities.

After celebrating my Rocky Balboa moment I waited for one of the perks of the post-climb festivities.

 

After the muscle relaxation and thorough oxygenation of my muscles, I checked out the results ... 63 stories, 1,400 steps. I clocked in at 17 minutes and 47 seconds. Faster than last year. :)

Once the muscle relaxation and thorough oxygenation of my muscles was complete, I checked out the results … 63 stories, 1,400 steps. I clocked in at 17 minutes and 47 seconds. Faster than last year. 🙂 I high-fived myself and called  Gatorade Inc … I’m ready to film my commercial.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 X 12 Chocolate Challenge … The Light One

4 Apr

The creative minds of my fellow chocolate lovers amaze me. It never occurred to me that someone could create a Hot Chocolate Cake. How do people come up with that?

I’m a tea drinker myself, but just because I enjoy my Yogi Tea before bedtime doesn’t mean I don’t savor a good cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows on an extra cold day. So it wasn’t a surprise that I enjoyed the chocolatey treat of this week’s 12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge.

Hot Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

It was definitely moist and rich on the cocoa bean side, but lighter than the other cakes in this challenge. Probably had something to do with the fluffy frosting. It’s no wonder my kids particularly enjoyed this cake, especially the frosting. They are taking the taste testing phase of these challenges very seriously. So glad I eased up on the sugar used for the frosting otherwise it would have been too sweet and my kids would have never gone to sleep. Also glad their portions are on the tiny side, nothing like mom portions. I feel my stress level requires larger pieces. All moms deserve bigger pieces. It’s how they get to their Zen State of Mind.

 

My tasty end of day  portion with my cup of tea.

My tasty end of day portion with my cup of tea.

 

So if you’re looking for a chocolatey cake that’s not too heavy you might want to give it a try. Although I’m not sure how many calories are in this thing … I figure a lot. So if you’re on a diet, this might not be for you.

 

 

Ingredients

1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c. hot chocolate (I use 1 cup of hot water mixed with 1.25 oz. of hot chocolate powder)
1 ¾ c. granulated sugar
1 ¾ c. all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs
3/4 c. whole milk
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. Greek yogurt or sour cream (not fat-free)
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and hot chocolate; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  4. With an electric mixer (either hand or stand), beat eggs for 1 minute.
  5. Add milk, butter, and yogurt. Beat until well-combined.
  6. Stir in vanilla extract until incorporated.
  7. Add hot chocolate mixture, and stir to combine.
  8. Add flour mixture, and stir in until just combined.
  9. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
  10. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  11. Cool in pans for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove cakes from pans and cool on wire rack until room temperature.
  13. The cake is now ready to frost and assemble

 

Recipe courtesy of I Heart Eating.

Guts, Playlists, and Rocky Balboa

2 Apr

It’s their job to pump you up, to get you moving, to inspire you … to get you to 63 stories … 1,400 stairs.

Guts … Guts and Playlists.

It’s their job to get you to the finish line.

I’ve got plenty of guts. I think was born with them. I’m good in the guts department. However I’m in the process of creating the fuel that’s gonna get me passed that wall I’ll probably hit at midpoint. That dangerous 30th floor, where your knees are really feeling it, where it smells like teen spirit, where it feels like the oxygen is running out, and where everyone is clinging to the handrails and you have to dig deep for every ounce of strength just to make the wide turn and pass them up.

Rocky Balboa

Rocky Balboa

 

Yeah … this is where a really kickass playlist brings out the Rocky Balboa hidden inside.

So other than The Eye of The Tiger, I think I’ve come up with some tunes that will help me survive the Fight For Air Climb this Saturday. Now the opening songs is something that needs to get to you. It’s a melody. It’s a lyric. It’s something that helps you envision raising the bar.

For me … it’s Tim McGraw’s Felt Good on My Lips. That opening sequence gets me. I hear that guitar and feel like I can just shake off whatever is trying to hijack my emotional juice. I hear that guitar and it’s on. I feel like I can be in a Gatorade commercial.

The rest of the tunes with their upbeat tempo build up and I eventually get so pumped up going up the stairs that I won’t realize how old I am until the next morning when I have to buy some BenGay for my quads and Advil for my knees. But it’s worth the sacrifice. It’s for a great cause. It’s all for one dude … one of the most important men in my life … my dad. All of this is for him, so I definitely needed a playlist that would keep me going no matter how tough the climb.

And this is what I came up with. If you have any suggestions, feel free.

 

Felt Good on My Lips — Tim McGraw

Eye of The Tiger — Survivor

Counting Stars — One Republic

Break Your Heart — Taio Cruz & Ludacris

I’m Gonna Get You — Bizarre Inc Featuring Annie Brown

Another Night — Real McCoy

Back In Time — Pitbull

Feel So Close — Calvin Harris

Camaron Pelao — Los Polifaceticos

La Chona — Los Tucanes de Tijuana

Strike Your Light — Vintage Trouble

and the one song I want to hear when I get to the top …

Happy — Pharrell Williams