humor, PSAs

The (Oregon) Transformation is Complete

Go Jules Go title graphic the Oregon Transformation is Complete_2OCT2019

The following entries have been recovered from the diaries of beloved blogger and former Jersey girl, Go Jules Go. Her current whereabouts are unknown. Presumably because, according to her new neighbors, “The service here sucks.”

Day 1: Arrive in Bend, Oregon. Apartment appears well-appointed, though several disturbing items were left on the counter. “Gifts,” the landlord claims. I remain suspicious.

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Day 2: Attend first social gathering under the guise of celebrating someone’s birth. I do not trust these people. Why do they look so…happy?

Day 6: Forced to attend nudist retreat. My plans to go unnoticed thwarted by bathing suit, yet how else do I protect myself amidst the steaming pools of hippie tears hot springs? Must not show nipples weakness.

Day 9: Have risen at 6am for three days straight to engage in something called “trail running.” Zero alcohol remains in my system, yet I suspect they’ve slipped something into my kombucha. I feel…well.

Day 12: Small children and classical music-listening puppies surround me. I fear I am beginning to crack.

Day 21: Ford raging river and sustain 923 bug bites. My survival skills have improved markedly.

Day 30: Discover Trivia Night’s discount beer and tots. They are on to me.

Day 37: Have begun making strange hand gestures following outdoor pursuits. The situation is becoming increasingly dire.

Day 44: Learn the art of metalsmithing from a man who would not accept compensation. What drives the human spirit in this land of zero expectation?

Day 57: The hand gestures have become second nature; I can no longer fight it.

Day 63: Have accepted that I will never know real pizza again.

Day 70: Complete something called a “10k race”… “for charity.” Would have been charitable to not force feed participants hard cider 30 seconds following this strange event.

Day 71: Witness skinny dippers in a frigid lake. Oregonians must fear clothing the way I fear I’ll never stop watching The Hills on Amazon Prime.

Day 80: Trucker hat and race “tech” shirt. Uncle Jesse no longer recognizes me.

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Day 90: Socks with sandals. All hope is lost.

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This is the last known recording from Go Jules Go. If you have any information, please contact 1-800-CRY4HLP.

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What transformations have you undergone?

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Giveaway Junkie, humor, Summer is Hot, Wipe the Drool

In the Middle of the Woods…NAKED.

***Winner of my latest blog contest announced below!***

Go Jules Go title graphic In the Middle of the Woods Naked_3JUL2019

“Just past the two topless women circling the labyrinth…”

I sat in a large Adirondack chair, my chin tilted skyward. It was only 70 degrees, but the sun was determined to make an impression and I took full advantage.

“…Keep going until you hit the river, then turn left….”

I flexed my feet in the sandy grass, my calve muscles twinging.

Still with me? Okay, now keeping going until you see a yurt on your left. HI!”

I snorted, entertaining myself by imagining how I’d describe my location to friends back in New Jersey. Fleshy, human-shaped blurs passed in my peripheral vision every 10-15 seconds. Hey! Maybe my Duolingo app works off-grid…

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Me. Relaxing Taking blog notes (and selfies).

Don’t get me wrong. I know how to chill.

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See? CHILL.

But there was a lot going on here.

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By here I mean Breitenbush Hot Springs.

Never heard of it? Allow me. Breitenbush Hot Springs is a place in the middle of the Oregon woods where people go when they decide they’ve had far too much caffeine and/or clothing.

“I help coach a running and yoga retreat [there] in June! It’s right up your alley! As ‘Oregon’ as it gets! Blog fodder for days!” The Byronic Man, my oldest bloggy friend, marketed it to me late last year.

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Remember the good ol’ bloggy days?

That’s right. The Byronic Man! After eight years, we decided to meet in person for the first time under the most mundane circumstances imaginable.

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Oh. I slay me.

When the running-yoga-hot-springs-retreat topic was broached, I was prettttty sure I was calling Byronic Man’s bluff by saying, “I’m in!”

“The hot springs are ‘clothing optional,’ so we’ll be going from 0 to 60 in the getting to know you department,” he cautioned.

“Sounds like I can pack light!” I replied. “Just promise to ship my ashes back to New Jersey if there’s another cougar this year.”

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I may have had some fun with this.

It was on. I was brave now, after all. I did things like quit my job and sell all of my stuff. In fact, by the time I got to Breitenbush, I was already moved out of New Jersey and unpacked at my new apartment in Bend, Oregon – a plan that magically came together just before this intriguing hot springs retreat.

So, three days in the middle of the woods filled with nudity, shared showers, running uphill in front of strangers, and no cell service, wine or caffeine? BRING IT.

After descending a long (and I mean long) gravel driveway that gave me Maine road trip flashbacks, I checked into my Breitenbush cabin, heart in my throat. Thankfully, The Byronic Man and I had had an opportunity to meet for a beer just before the retreat, so that left only 10,327 things to worry about.

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I’m just going to say it. My hands were shaking.

The first evening kicked off with an “easy” 3-mile run.

I approached the group -ultimately 13 women and 4 men- with a big smile, hoping to make some new friends.

And you know what?

I TOTALLY DID.

I fully intended to turn this experience into a fabulous, ongoing series about how awkward and awful the whole thing was, but… it was… kinda… AWESOME. I mean, I was the only person there who wore a bathing suit, and I’m pretty sure the retreat coach has several videos of me running uphill, but… I LIKED IT. No wine or cell service in 72 hours and I’D GO BACK.

And I’m not just saying that because I lost five pounds.

I’m really sorry. I’m disappointed for both of us. But hey! I’m sure I’ll be mortified again soon!

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And the winner of THE WORLD’S BEST BEER KOOZIE AND DECK OF CARDS IS…

Encounter Soul!

Her entry begins…

The minivan was packed. Travel games galore were in easy reach of our 10, 8 & 4 year old boys. My meticulously planned itinerary was a glance away as we began our 3,000 mile, 55+ hour adventure from San Diego, CA to see my sister in Seattle, WA…”

For the rest of the tale, click here!

Encounter Soul, CONGRATS! I’ll be in touch via e-mail, and soon, this will alllll be yours:

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PSAs

I’ve Been Published in German! That is so KNALLHART.

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Rachel is smokin’ hot.

When my saucy friend and spicy pepper queen, Rachel of Rachel’s Table, contacted me to write an article about running for Gore apparel’s blog, published in both English and German, my first thought was,

“I can’t! I’m a fraud! Wait, you work for Gore apparel now? Green, size medium large, please.”

I hadn’t run in almost a year, thanks to injury and pancakes. But I did have a story about running to tell. I hope you’ll check it out, if only to see how space-agey energy gels translates to German.

Running Isn’t Everything, But I Owe Everything to Running (English site)

Running Isn’t Everything, But I Owe Everything to Running (German site…come on, you know you want to)

Happy New Year, Chipmunks! 2016’s gonna be a knockout year; I can feel it in my tail.

This is me. Running away from 2015. And 2014. And 2013, come to think of it.
This is me. Running away from 2015. And 2014. And 2013, come to think of it.

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Everyone Loves a Braggart...Right?

I Tried My First GU! Oh And Ran A Half Marathon.

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in so long, but I wanted you to believe running my first half marathon last month actually killed me.

Entirely possible.
At least I lived to see BaconFest 2014.

Actually, it did something far, far worse.

It hooked me.

Me. The blogger with a penchant for vodka and chocolate-covered bacon everything.

Dependency? Moi?
Dependency? Moi?

This is my life now:

Note the deodorant-looking stick, Anti-Chafe. Its street name is "Chub Rub."
Note the deodorant stick, Anti-Chafe. Its street name is “Chub Rub.” This is seriously a thing.

Oh and see those little silver packets on the lower right? Those are GU brand energy gels. I don’t even like Gatorade, let alone creepy pudding packs with space-agey Nutrition Facts.

Finally, though, I listened to the advice of 10,273,047 seasoned runners and tried one during a recent training session, around mile 8, when I felt particularly sluggish. I went with the least offensive flavor I could find: Tri-berry. (Named so because GU berries run triathlons. Obviously.) Sure enough, 20 minutes later, I felt a sudden pep in my step that lasted the entire remaining 5 miles.

Fine, GU-lovers. FINE. You win this one.
Fine, GU-lovers. FINE. You win this one.

Speaking of winners, the rumors are true: I completed my first half marathon, The Wild Half, on Sunday, May 18th, in Wildwood, New Jersey!

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I encourage you to caption this one yourself.

I chose the course because it ran alongside the coastline, i.e., it was FLAT. After 8 weeks of training, I still had no idea what I was doing, but my sister, a race veteran, was there to guide me every step of the way.

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Mostly we rode rollercoasters.

Her calming presence didn’t stop me from asking the obvious questions.

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I can just hang it on the wall and say I did this? …Right?!

I was also careful not to disrupt my normal routine the day before the race.

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The morning of, I lined up with the 10-minute mile pace group. My goal was simply to finish without walking, but I knew the faster I finished, the faster I could drink “celebrate.”

Stretching: More or Less Effective Than Vodka Shots? Discuss.
Stretching: More or Less Effective Than Vodka Shots? Discuss.

I programmed the 80’s cardio mix on my Pandora app and got ready to rock and roll.

I was feeling great until about mile 7, when the sun and endless stretch of pavement started to sear my soul. By mile 9, I hit the low point usually reserved for mile 10. Then, miraculously, I saw the mile 11 banner. I had missed the 10-mile marker altogether.

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I was probably distracted by my sobriety.

Despite that mental boost, by mile 12, I was ready to stop running. Two of my oldest friends, shame and pride, pulled me through.

“But NOT finishing would make a much funnier blog post…”

With a stitch forming in my right side, I grimace-grinned down the home stretch.

The official finish line photo. I think I was disqualified for the rebellious-yet-jaunty placement of my race number.
The official finish line photo. I think I was disqualified for the rebellious-yet-jaunty placement of my race number.

I passed through a string of enthusiastic volunteers to claim my snazzy finisher’s medal.

Fried Twinkies here I come (thank you, Jersey boardwalk)!
Fried Twinkies here I come (thank you, Jersey boardwalk)!

So, not only have I become one of “those” people, I’ve also become one of THESE people:

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To add insult to [inevitable knee] injury, what am I up to now?

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If you were forced at gunpoint to run 26.2 miles, who would you drag with you?

chocolate-bacon***As promised, one commenter from my last post receives a Vosges Mo’s Milk Chocolate Bacon bar! The lucky winner is: WTF Elsewhere! Congrats, Lorien – I’ll be in touch via email to award your prize!***

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humor, New Jersey is breathtaking, PSAs

I Ran 10 Miles And I’m Really Not Sure How I Feel About It.

If you’re wondering why I haven’t been blogging much lately, I’m here to confirm your suspicions.

I was abducted by aliens.

It actually wasn't bad. I love hats.
It actually wasn’t bad. I love hats.

After undergoing a series of surprisingly enjoyable probes, I returned to earth (well, New Jersey, so, debatable) a changed woman.

The type of woman I never, ever thought I’d be.

A…a… Oh god. Don’t make me say it.

A runner. I’m a runner now, okay?

I talk to people who I thought were my friends about hydration belts and minimalist shoes and something called GU.

Unless one of these is bacon-flavored, PASS.
Unless one of these is bacon-flavored, PASS.

I look at charts like this and pretend I understand.

Image courtesy of buildleaneatclean.wordpress.com.
Seriously. What the Fudge Stripes is a tempo run? Does listening to the 80s workout mix on Pandora while I run the dishwasher count? (Image courtesy of buildleaneatclean.wordpress.com.)

Perhaps most tellingly, I feel great! can barely move.

We're gonna need a clean up in aisle 6.
Clean up in aisle 6.

Up until 4 weeks ago, the farthest I’d ever “run” was 2 miles. The only race I’d ever completed was a 5K. 8 years ago.

So after managing to jog a whole 3 miles 3 weeks ago, I signed up for a half marathon on May 18th.

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Because I never really loved myself.

That gave me 8 weeks to train. “It’s down the shore,” I said, using the native phrase for [describing] any part of the Jersey coastline. “It’s flat. I’ve got this.”

“Do the first two miles and it’s all downhill,” I huffed during my first long run.

That worked. Except when it was uphill.

“It’s all mental,” I puffed.

That worked. Except when my right calf went numb at mile 5.

I somehow hit 10 miles on Thursday. More importantly, so did my dog, Uncle Jesse.

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May 18th is now less than 5 weeks away, and the one thought that’s genuinely keeping me going? “If I don’t live to see BaconFest [next weekend], pig heads will roll.”

Why else would anyone ever exercise?
Why else would anyone ever exercise?

So, have you ever lost your mind any tips for me? (Note: I’m especially interested in advice about carb-loading.)

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