Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ah, Memories...

Kris: So we are on our way to Milwaukee for a multisport expo that I will cover in a following post.   But I had an interesting find along the way.   We were scanning the geocaching app while we were driving and happened to notice there was a cache that listed quite a bit of inventory.  It was actually in a tiny Wisconsin town where my old company has a manufacturing facility.   And I couldn't believe it but the cache we wanted to go for was within 1/4 mile of the building.

We both dropped some travel items and picked up a couple bugs and a coin.   Here's a picture of me with the cache. In the far background is my old company's building

I worked for that company for almost 10 years.   I'm very glad the sequence of events that happened after I left there lead me to now be working for USAT and for Zap.

Oh and did I mentioned I was part of a big layoff?  Yeah I'm not bitter over that...

Pretty glad you listened to me now, aren't ya honey?

Kris: So yesterday I was sitting at work and the well known "bling!" was heard of a new email coming in.  Of course I had to check it.   It was about 4:40 and the new email was a new cache that was just published about 6 miles down the river parkway.  I sent Mark a message and luckily he was already headed home from work and was pointed in my relative direction.  I told him about the new cache and since it was downtown, he was fairly ceratin we couldn't make the FTF and considering the cold weather and our evening plans to try and get on the road to Milwaukee, he almost convinced me out of it.   But I luckily convinced him it would be a fun little adventure, even if we didn't get FTF and maybe would be lucky enough that some of the inventory would still be in there or swapped out for others.

Mark: During rush our is one of the most difficult times of the day to get a FTF.

Kris: So he picked me up from work about 45 minutes after the cache was published and we made our way over to the parkway.   We had to park and then find a way across the running path and make our way down the snowy river bank.  We saw someone else rummaging in the trees so we figured they would have it by time we got down there.  But when we finally got down to him, he was having trouble finding it as well.    After about 10 minutes of searching, Mark found it in an area I already checked.  But I didn't move the rocks so I missed it.  

And can you believe it, we got FTF!!   Even more exciting, I saw there was a pathtag I already had, two geocoins and paper money from Scotland.   Now wait a minute....these were all items placed in the cache as FTF swag from a cacher named Geo-Gophers.   I'm not sure the connection but their items were placed in this MN cache by a local cacher, andrewmcc.   The crazy thing is, Ali (from Geo-Gophers) requested a trade of our pathtag for theirs about two months ago.   At the time we didn't know each other and that's how I first met her online.   Now think about that..... What are the chances that now they had a cache placed in MN where we get the FTF?  Pretty darn slim!  Mark took the pathtag so now we both have this super cute pathtag of Geo-Gophers.

So after getting the FTF, picking up a pathtag, two geocoins and Scotland money between the two of us.  I think Mark is pretty glad I convinced him into the little caching outting downtown ;)

Here's us near the cache's hiding place.

And as we were leaving, it was nearing dark and I got this great picture of the new 35W bridge with the lights on.  It's very pretty in person, the picture doesn't do it full justice.

Mark: OK, Yes I am glad I listened to you. ;)

Cross Country Ski Lessons

Kris: So Thursday night Mark and I went to take cross country ski lessons to "prep" for the luminary loppet in two weeks.  It probably would have been more fun (and we would have had more practice time) if it wouldn't have been somewhere around 0 degrees that evening.  We got all the basics down and got a few practice runs down the classic track.  Here's a shot of me practicing the "salute" that helps you get used to swinging your arms. 
Cute huh?

After we feel we got the hang of it and lost feeling in our extremities, we went inside to blow a few calories on a hot chocolate

and warm up by the fireplace

Luminary Loppet is on February 6th

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Look what we found on our doorstep!!

Mark: So last October while at the Twin Cities Marathon Expo, Kris and I made a unique acquaintance when we met Alfredo Martel, the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Caribou Coffee. We are HUGE Caribou Coffee Freaks!! At the time we were looking at the merchandise at the Caribou both and we happen to be wearing our Caribou sweatshirts. Alfredo commented on our appeal and we ended up having an interesting discussion about Caribou and sports marketing, he even gave up hints about what would eventually be the sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings and Timberwolves. During the discussion we talked about the possibility of Caribou sponsoring runners/triathletes during the 2010 season. He gave us his card and asked us to send him an email with our ideas.

After the TC5K and before heading to the Expo - All geared up in our Caribou.

With the idea of a Caribou “racing” team we wanted to demonstrate the possibilities so we decided to run the Twin Cities 10 Mile wearing our Caribou Jerseys. We received numerous cheers and “Go Caribou” all along the race course.

Running along Summit Avenue to the sound of "Go Caribou"

After our race experience as Caribou “billboards” we were very excited about the future and wrote up the email that same night, including pictures that we had taken during the race

At the Finshig line with our friend Steve

After about a week or so we sent a follow up email which was quickly replied to by Alfredo indicating that he had been very busy traveling but was still interested in the possibilities of a Caribou Race Team and put us in contact with Kelly Keston, Regional Marketing Manager. After a couple of initial emails with Kelly we did not hear anything else from the Caribou side regarding the idea.

Fast forward three months to January and us deciding to send one more follow up email. Kelly promptly replied indicating that Caribou would not be entering the racing community at this time but thanked us for the idea and offered to send us something to say Thank You!

3 Bags of Coffee, 2 Coffee mugs that we didn't have and two new water bottles

I have to say that this was very nice of Alfredo, Kelly and Caribou Coffee. They easly could have just brushed us off and ignored our email but they took the time to say "Sorry, not now, but Thank You for being a Caribou supporter." I have a feeling that "other" coffee monstrosity would never do something this nice.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Winter Cache Bash and a Vikings WIN!

Kris: OK so I'm a little slow in getting this blog up but it's been a busy week!

Last Saturday we went to a Winter Cache Bash put on by some local cachers. It was simply a pot luck type get together and the weather was actually somewhat mild. Here's a pic of the food area.

We decided since it wasn't completely bitterly cold, we would bring a couple of the dogs along. Journey and Ruger (as I mentioned before) aren't the brightest two in the bunch but since we knew it would be a short outting and not a ton of walking we brought them along. They tend to criss cross a lot when walking so here's a pic of Mark doing the "twist" to untangle himself. I was trying to walk with Journey most of the time and she wore me out! She likes to pull in every direction as hard as possible!

Mark: This is of course one of the reasons why these two don't get to go out as much as Roscoe and Sugar. You can sort of see it in the picture, I have a pink winter doggie coat for Journey.

Kris: There were two simple caches in the park that we managed to pick up. We also got to discover the travel bug in the picture below. Called Grey Wolf and Wild Rice's Creamy Wild Rice Soup. One of the more interesting items I've seen as a travel bug. Although the Big Blue Ball was there too (don't have the pic of it right now)

Mark: I had to remind Kris to blur out the Wild Rice Travel Bug tracking number other wise any geocaches reading this could have logged the soup.

Kris: All in all it was a fun, quick outting to catch up with other cachers.

We also recently setup a trade of our pathtag and Mark got this really cool glow in the dark tag

Mark: Near....... Far........

Kris: Sunday was quite the adventure as it was the Vikings Playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys. My parents have always wanted to see a football game at the Metrodome so we gave them two tickets to come with us. It was a VERY high energy game the whole way through (especially since the Vikings were always ahead). Mom and Dad had a blast of a time with all the "stuff" going on and the people that were there. I think they are going to be talking about that one for awhile!

And they also went out the next day and bought a new big screen TV for the next game :)

Mark: Which we get ot help them setup this coming Saturday. ;)

Kris: I became intrigued by a green line on the side of the field that was quite often guarded at one end by two officers. Anyone have ANY idea what that line is for??? It's going to bug me until I find out :)

We had a super fun time at the game! Especially after the extremely obnoxious Dallas fan behind us started to shut up somewhere in the 3rd quarter :) We both came out with sore hands, throats and ringing ears but it was SO worth it. 34-3 was the final score. Now if only the next game was at home too! Unfortunately this weekend's game will be in New Orleans so we'll have to resort to watching it on TV.

Mark: I especially enjoyed the fact that the loud mouth, abusive Cowboy fan that was sitting behind us was complete deflated by the end of the third quarter. And it was really sad that by the end of the game he was shouting out "Go Saints" What a LOSER!!!

Kris: Here is the best pic we got of Brett Favre doing interviews after the game was over.

For our devoted followers, I might suggest you check out our individual blogs as well over the next few months. While we are doing a 90 day "thing" together, we decided it's something that is better tracked on our individual blogs. Especially considering much of the reason behind it is for training and racing. So, if you are interested, I'll be posting a blog about that next. Mark has already posted his blog.

Mark: My personal blog is: Work in Progress

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The other two

Kris: so on this warm winter day (yes lately in MN 30 degrees F is considered very warm!) we are taking Journey and Ruger on a caching outting. I've actually never been out with Journey and considering her energy level, this could be an experience ( and workout for my arms and shoulders)

Here's us in the car getting ready to go.

Journey and Ruger are...well...not the brightest two bulbs on our family tree but they are very excited to be out with us today. Normally Roscoe and Sugar come out with us because they are a little more sane but the event this afternoon should be good for these "other two" :)

We found out there is a geocaching get together in St Paul at a park. So it's a perfect opportunity for Team Dogs to bring out a few of his crew to socialize. Lunch, caching and a bonfire. Should be fun on this nice day

Will take pictures and report back later :)

PS-there is actually a 5th member of our canine family, Truffle. But being a little(round) min pin, she won't be out with us until it warms up a little more

Here's a pic of her from Xmas. Not sure if I posted this before but it's a cute shot of us embarrassing her for entertainment purposes

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Something Similar to Geocaching

Kris: This past Saturday there was a free event, Winter Trails, being put on by REI where we could go over to Ft Snelling and try out xc ski and snowshoe equipment for free. Mark and I have been thinking about attempting snowshoe running so this was a great opportunity for us to check it out. While the sun was out, it was below zero temperatures. Not the most pleasant day to be outside but we strapped on a couple pairs of snowshoes, having no idea what we were doing and took off for a walk. They seems a little clunky and we quickly realized that these were not what you would go for a run in but it was fun to tromps around down the path.

We both agreed that once we took them off, you realize that even though you do sink into the snow with them on it made walking WAY better.

After a quick warm up in the building (where they had yummy hot apple juice and a fireplace)

we reluctantly left the warm building and went over to say HI to a dog they had there for skijoring. He was definitely not the best winter dog as the poor thing was shivering. Luckily they put him back in the truck after we walked away.

We found a guy there that had a pair of running snowshoes available to try so Mark took them out for a spin. He said they were way better and you could tell by the contouring that they were definitely made for running form. We are considering going down to Iowa to do a 4 mile snowshoe run (Trek the Trails) just to try it out. It will be much tougher of a run but hey, why not give it a try? We're hoping to get another chance to practice, Yukon Days, before we go down there. I guess there is a chance we might not get down there but stay tuned....

Mark: I loved running in the Race Snowshoes! I will say this, it is a mad hard cardio workout then normal running, even on a grommed and packed trail.

Kris: Oh....and before I get to Sunday......did I mention Mark decided to drop his keys in the snow while he was out running in the snowshoes?? Luckily after a bit of searching, one of the park people said she saw them lying in the snow and saw the pathtag shimmering in the sun. She got points for finding them for us and bonus points for knowing what a pathtag is :)

Mark: Although I has hoping that Kris would not mention this highlight of the day I should have known better. :P

Kris: So a good friend of mine has been nudging Mark and I to trying Orienteering since we are so in love with Geocaching. So we went to the first event of the season which was a "score-o" event. It was at Lake Elmo park and the high-level of it was you get a map with a bunch of points on it and you have to see how many you can find in a given amount of time using nothing more than the topo map and a compass. It's basically simple geocaching but without the GPS. Pete and his teammate Clark are masters of the sport and gave us a few pointers before we took off. Here's their team blog/website.

While this was a race event, there were also quite a few people just out there for fun and people like us trying this all out for the first time. Mark and I took it slow 1) to fully understand what we were doing and 2) because the snow was knee high is some places. Here's a few pictures:

Mark plotting our next heading

Mark at one of the control points

Mark: I really enjoyed trying this today and I can easily see us including more Orientering/Adventure races in our future. It even occurs to me that this will be nice training for MOGA in the spring.

Kris: I was absolutely beat trying to make our way walking/jogging/running through the snow. We managed to get 11 of the control points (I think out of 25) and made it back with a couple minutes to spare. You have to get back and get to this clock within the allotted time or you get docked a point (1 control) per minute you are late.

I took this picture and was then told the lady in the picture is Andrea and quite the elite when it comes to adventure racing.

We don't have the official results yet but I think out of the 30 or so groups/individuals that attended, we landed somewhere in the middle.

Mark: We will post a link to our results once they are posted.

Kris: There were snacks and hot chocolate at the end. We chatted with Pete and Clark again, deciding we would likely see them at the next event on February 14th. :) And hopefully this time I'll avoid those thorny bushes that were stuck all over my pants and shoelaces

And of course I had to pull out my GPS before we left the park and picked up a few easy caches on our way back home. Had to get to a dinner party at our friends Becky and Dave's new house, otherwise I'm sure we would have gotten a few more. The new Oregon 300 is proving to be MUCH more accurate although it's taking a bit to get used to the different controls.

Mark: Yeah, we made a major discovery about the Oregon 300, the map is great for navigating you to the general area where the cache is hidden, but once you get out of the car the compass feature, similar to my old etrex is the best way to navigate to the cache.

New Year's 2010 (video)

Kris: As promised, here is the video from our Ice Dive that goes with our New Years 2010 post

So who's going to join us for next year? ;)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

They're here!!

Kris: Just a quick note about the exciting package that was delivered today. As our followers can guess it was.....

Our new trail shoes! Never really being trail runners before so this is an exciting moment.

That's all ;) Going to bed now.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's 2010

Kris: So for New Year's Eve we were planning on dinner and then heading out to a friend's house party.  We both had to work that day but met for dinner around 7:00pm.   After dinner at TGI Fridays, we went back to my place for what was supposed to be just a few minutes but ended up playing with the cats on the living room floor and then falling asleep.   We woke up around 11pm and decided that 2010 would come whether we stayed up to watch it or not.   I do wish I had a picture of the moon.  Wow it was so bright out!  With the blue moon and all the snow it really didn't get dark that night.

New Year's morning we had to be up much earlier than I would have liked for a day off to do something most of you know I can't stand.  Being cold!  Yes I do still live in MN and some winters openly question why I don't leave :-P    It was about 6 degrees F outside when Mark, our friend Andy and myself decided to strip down to swimwear and willingly jump into a large hole cut in the ice at Lake Minnetonka.   It was the ALARC Ice Dive.   Mark did it last year.  Andy and I were jumping for the first time.   Honestly the worst part of the whole thing was getting down to my swimsuit and old tennies and waiting around in a cold room and then in a cold tent for about an hour before it was our turn.  By time we were brought out onto the dock, my feet were so frozen they were in pain and it was crawling up past my knees.   I'm pretty sure if you asked a medical professional...we were all NOT treating our bodies very nicely.   But we do it in the name of "fun" (or insanity maybe).

Mark: It was insanely fun!! ;)

Once we finally got to jump, you just had to not think about it and go.  I'll save the details for the video.   My friend Jessica captured our jump and the video is currently on my Facebook profile for those of you that have access.  For those that don't, as soon as I have the file we will post it in a follow-up post.

Mark: When you do watch the video, please note that I did not abandon Kris as soon as we hit the water, there were two guys with hooks that will pull you to the end with the ladder if you want the help, but since there were three of us jumping, Kris, Andy and me, I decided to swim on my own and let Kris have the option of the hook. (Michael!)

For me I really don't remember hitting the water.  I remember in vivid detail everything once my skin hit the cold air coming out of the water.   Instantly the water running from my hair frozen and as I climbed the ladder to get out, the air was like pins and needles.  I grabbed my towel and ran for the building shivering so badly I could barely reach my feet to get my shoes off!  While I was NOT in a happy place for that minute or so...I was SOO glad it was over!!  All for a hot breakfast, t-shirt and promotion to a status of "minnow"

Mark: I am a Walleye!! I wll say this about the Ice Dive this year, it was MUCH colder then my first dive last year. At first the water shocks the breath out of you and then the survival instincts take over and all you can think about is getting out of the water as fast as you can. Last year was almost enjoyable compared to this year. (Kris: Cari if you are reading....only three corrections to this paragraph.  I think his spelling is

Here are some pictures:

Rest of the day was pretty relaxing.  A short swim and soak at the club, then we went out to see "Avatar" at the new Showplace theater in St Louis Park.   Gotta dig the 3D glasses.  The affect is much better than I've ever remembered but the glasses are still NOT hot :-P    

Mark: Avatar is AMAZING!!! It is a fairly basic story, cowboys and indians but the visuals are beautiful, you can almost forget that almost eveything in the movie is computer generated. And I loved the 3D, not over the top but a very subtle touch that enhances the movie with out being the focus. This new technology will change the industry, sort of like Matrix did back in 1999. What you don't see in the picture above is that we are sitting on a couch in the movie theater lounge where we enjoyed a glass of wine before the movie.

Saturday was very relaxed in the morning.   I have been anxious to take my new GPS for a test drive so we found a cache to pickup in EP where we could also drop our first 2010 pathtag :)  Then we braved a very large crowd in IKEA to find a new coffee table for my place.  It was fun picking out furniture together :)  Although I don't think there could have been more people packed into that store!

The evening I was at the Mall of America volunteering my time for HFL again.  I got to hang out with Dodi the Harlequin Dane.  

Unfortunately since Mark wasn't with me this time we missed out on a group shot with the Rainforest Cafe mascot.

Mark was with his guy friends playing their new games.  I'll let him briefly elaborate....

Mark: Got together with the guys for game night. I brought along my new Carcassonne game (Thanks Dad!) and we played that twice in addition to a game of Smallworld and we finished the night with PowerGrid. The night broke up at about 1am. A good time was had by all.

Today we were at the Vikings game.  Traded tickets and were in the opposite corner than Mark's season tickets

Last of the season against NYG.  It was a HUGE win as we are trying to bypass the wildcard game next weekend. 

We are now back at home watching the Philly vs Dallas game. I'm enjoying typing up this blog from my couch on my new coffee table :D  Mark was nice enough to put it together while I cleaned up the kitchen. 

Now we just need Dallas to win and so far so good ;)

Mark: Go Cowboys!!!

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