Exploring Washington- Colchuck Lake

Hello Friends,

After my adventure to Discovery Park, I decided I was hooked on this life theme and I needed to go bigger. Like mountains bigger.

The Enchantments. Go only if you want to be left breathless. 

Once again, I had seen pictures of this magical place and heard stories as people journeyed for days at a time as they hiked their way through the enchantments. It was my turn, just a little toned down and with a much smaller backpack.

We drove two hours to a Bavarian town called Leavenworth. This adorable place alone is one of my favorite places to visit during the winter months because it literally feels like you inside a Christmas snow globe. Santa comes to life, there are dancing Christmas trees, hot chocolate tastes better and kids are sledding. It’s almost not real, except it totally is. 

We drove past Leavenworth and on a dirt road for miles before we got to the trail head of Colchuck lake which is the very first part of the Enchantments. The gateway to the Enchantments if you will. We saw many groups of people taking inventory of all their gear for their journey ahead. I felt really good about my $25 Costco backpack and my pb&j sandwich. These people looked pretty rad, not even going to lie about it. 

This hike was one of my favorites. It started out pretty mellow but had very diverse terrain. There were super easy flat parts and more intense times where we had to climb up boulders. There was what seemed like a giant boulder fields, several water falls, bridges, the tiniest little chipmunk friends and breathtaking views at every corner. 

As we were hiking I turned to Devon and realized that hiking is a lot like life. There are parts that are super steep and difficult to walk through, parts that are flat that you coast through but in the end, you make it through the journey and realize it was totally worth the ride and beautiful the whole way. You guys, I am super awesome at analogies🙂

When we got to the top of the hike, I was literally left breathless as I gasped at the creation that was before me. Water so blue and crystal clear, mountains so tall, glaciers so large and all of it in one place so perfectly created. The air was so crisp and cold and there was a peace about the lake that could not be ignored or explained. 

We had our awesome lunch, hiked around and froze a little before we decided to head back down. It was just as awesome on the way down (but a whole lot easier) with a whole new perspective of our surroundings. Things just looked different on the way down.

This hike was 8 miles of beauty. These pictures don’t even come close to giving this hike justice. But they are still awesome and I am obviously going to share them.

 

Where should I go next?

Anahid


Exploring Washington- Discovery Park

Hi Friends!

In the last few months I have realized that I truly do live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world with so many adventures waiting to be explored. I have lived in Washington my entire life and have taken its beauty, climate, adventures and opportunities for granted. I have made it my mission to explore parts of Washington I have heard magical stories of and turn other people’s stories into my own.

This leads me to mission “Explore Washingon”. Let’s get started!

Explore Washington Part 1 started with a visit to Discovery Park. This park is located on the shores of Washington in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle. It has views of the puget sound I didn’t know existed and 534 acres of parks to explore.

My best friend, Devon agreed to go on this adventure with me. I had no idea what to expect. We grabbed sandwiches from a local shop and went along our merry way in sandals and purses in hand. This my friends, I would not recommend. We looked weird and like we had no idea we were going to a park. Turns out there is some hiking involved and trails that will lead you on hikes that sandals and purses just aren’t the best for 🙀 Based off of pictures I had seen, I thought we would just park and have a short little walk to the shore. Not the case, but it was still lovely. 

We decided to ignore our less than desirable outfits and just go for it. I really couldn’t believe that just minutes outside of the city there could be acres of the most magestic scenery of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. We found a lovely spot along the beach to have our lunch. We watched sailboats, a giant cruise ship and jet skies go by. We watched birds fly in crazy patterns, we watched people as they went on their afternoon jogs. We watched as a newly married couple took their wedding photos and we even saw two seals swim and play right in front of us. Clearly, we saw a diverse range on things and I could have watched forever. 

I can’t wait to go back, this time in my sneakers 😁  And to take more pictures, obviously.

    
   
See you soon as I explore more of what Washington has to offer! 

Anahid 

Las Vegas Ragnar

Hi Friends,

I fell off the earth but now I am back! Ready to attack the blog world again and share my love of health and fitness with you all.

Starting with…another Ragnar! Yes, I ran another one and I can’t stay away!

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Ragnar Finish Line

After I completed my 1st Ragnar, I immediately signed up for the Vegas Ragnar. I didn’t have enough interest for a full team so I signed up for a 6 pack where you provide a team of 6 and Ragnar matches you with another team of 6 to make a full team of 12. This worked out really well for us and we lucked out with an awesome and laid back team!

I was ecstatic about this Ragnar because I knew what to expect and my favorite little bean from Harness Your Energy agreed to join our team.

We traveled to Vegas, stayed in a hotel, rented a car and traveled to the glorious mountains that Vegas provides. Really? Mountains in Vegas? This Washington girl was just as surprised.

The 1st 15 seconds of my 1st leg was great until I got passed by a girl. In Ragnar world, it is not okay to get passed. If you get passed you are considered someones road kill and visa versa. Everyone keeps a tally of their roadkills on their vans and I was not about to let her have me. I decided to pace with her in order to hopefully pass her at the exchange. This girl could RUN. I ran the fasted I have ever ran in my entire life and beat the girl and the exchange. I immediately paid for it with cramped legs, but it was well worth it🙂

 

 

The remainder of my two legs were also great! I loved running in the heat of Vegas and participating in the camaraderie of the race. There is no other race with the same amount of energy, craziness and beer. There is no other place where you become insta-BFF’s with complete strangers and find it completely acceptable to give bear hugs and high fives. There is no other race that unites a van full of stinky, sweaty, sleep deprived and sore humans the way Ragnar does. My van LAUGHED, and I mean LAUGHED until we cried with real tears streaming down our faces. Well, mostly my little bean and I laughed which resulted in the rest of the van laughing at us.

Also, I should mention that the real reason why I wanted to complete the Vegas Ragnar specifically is because you can earn a double medal by completing 2 Ragnars in one year. For completing the Northwest Passage and the Las Vegas race in the same year, I earned the Dueces Wild and Las Vegas medal!

These are memories that I will always treasure and I feel so blessed to have my health and the opportunity to push myself beyond my limits while somehow managing to call it fun.

Next Ragnar? Northwest Passage 2014. Cannot wait!

Click here to read about my 1st Northwest Passage Ragnar.

 

Thats all for now friends!

Anahid

P.S. Remember to “Like” ChasingCake on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @chasingcakeblog- it will make me a happy happy girl!

 

I DID IT! I Don’t Like to Run so I Will Train for a 200 Mile Race- Part 4

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Hi Friends,

2 Days

1 Night

12 Friends

2 Vans

7 Blisters

3 Hours of Sleep

and

200 miles later

RAGNAR IS DONE!

Let’s rewind 4 months shall we?

This all started at a 7:30 am Awesome Abs class I was teaching. This silly group of runners had been trying very diligently to convince me to run this insane race. I would literally laugh at them every time they asked and reply with the most certain and positive “no” I could give. Without missing a beat in their attempt they asked/tricked/possibly drugged me that morning. As usual, I replied with my laugh and “yea right, no!” reply! Of course that drove them to keep asking/tricking/convincing! Then….the moment happened. Another student in the class who is just as competitive as I am said something. He was clearly still half asleep and delirious because he hates running JUST as much as I do. He said “if you do it, I will do it”. He challenged me! I had never turned down a challenged from this guy and wasn’t going to let this be the first! We made a deal that if for some reason one of us quit, the other person also got to quit. Being the competitive monsters that we are, we both knew that neither one of us was going to quit!

The game was on!

We trained our bums off for 4 months! We complained, laughed, sweated, foam rolled, iced, band-aided, blistered, topricined, and trained our way through 4 months of training.

My friends, it was worth every last second.

This is a little something like how it all went down:

Thursday Night- 2:30 am wake up call:

I prepped all of my clothes, gear and supplies the day before and layed it all out making sure to not forget anything! I packed it all into the smallest bag I could fit it all into since space in our van was not on our side. I went to bed at 10:00pm, probably fell asleep around 12:00-ish and shot straight out of bed when my alarm went off! Very unusual behavior! I thought to myself that this is so freaking early that people are still up partying! The insanity was just beginning!

We had to meet at 3:15 am to pack the vans up. Everyone showed up on time, we packed the vans up and left for Blaine, WA by 3:45 am! The drive up was full of excitement and chatter!

We got to the starting line, signed our team in, decorated our van and got our first runner, my training buddy, to the starting line!

5-4-3-2-1 GO!

We jumped in our van and went to cheer him on. This is pretty much how the whole race was. You would drive up to your runner, cheer them on, give them water then drive about a mile or so ahead and repeat!

My 1st leg:

I was runner number two! I stood at the exchange super excited and ready to get this show on the road. My legs felt great, I was wide awake and full of awesome nervous energy! As I saw my buddy approaching my heart fluttered a little knowing that all this training lead up to this very point! This exchange! I cheered him on as he approached, he slapped the Ragnar orange slap bracelet onto my wrist and I was off! I had an awesome start! I was super calm, my breathing was on, my form felt great and my legs were moving. I kept on passing people and with each pass I felt a sense of achievement and success! This drove my whole first leg! I would see someone in the distance (we called them rabbits), gain speed on them and then pass them (they were then considered road kills). I started to count them! It turned into a fun game that helped keep my pace and mind off of running. At around 4 miles I saw my amazing team in the distance, this motivated me to run harder and faster. They were waiting for me, cheering me on, ringing our awesome cow bell, doing silly cheer jumps and offering me water! I loved it! So much encouragement!

With a little over 2.5 miles left I was still feeling awesome!! At around 6.5 miles I had 16 road kills and no one had passed me. I was determined to keep this going! AND THEN, I heard someone approaching me and approaching me fast. I didn’t look back, I just kept running harder and faster. I knew the end was so close and there was no way I was about to let him pass me at the very end. I turned the corner and saw my runner about 100 yards ahead. I started sprinting because I knew this runner behind me was trying to catch me, I was his rabbit! I looked back and he was about 4 feet behind me. I really started sprinting. He then yelled “ oh no no no! No you didn’t”. I thought in my head, “oh heck freaking yes I did”!! It was an all out sprint to the end with everyone cheering us on, I ran as hard as I possibly could! I sprinted my heart out! My friends, I slapped that bracelet onto my runner with the best sense of accomplishment ever!

The remaining 4 runners ran their legs and we cheered them on whole way. Stopping to give them water, shot blocks, chocolate and most importantly, encouragement!

1st Major Exchange:

As our 6th runner was finishing her run, she passed the slap bracelet onto our 7th runner! This meant that van 1 (my van) got a break while van 2 with runners 7-12 ran their legs. This was considered one of the major exchanges with lots of free goodies from various sporting vendors, hot showers and a place to sleep if we wanted. We all took a quick shower then went on a hunt for food! I ate WAY too much! This was my biggest mistake of the whole race. I was so hungry that I literally ate everything in sight. We then made our way over to the next major exchange to wait for runner number 12 in van 2 to finish.

Runner 12 approached, handed the slap bracelet back to runner number 1 (my training buddy) and the whole thing started over again!

My 2nd leg:

This run was terrible. Absolutely terrible! Nothing about this run went well.  It was marked as an “easy” 3.8 mile run with slight hills. There was nothing easy about this run. It started out as a giant hill and this massive hill literally did not end until 3.5 miles in when it turned into a giant downwards cliff. It was so hot outside, my belly was still stuffed, and I was SO miserable. My legs felt like mush and it felt like I was running through hot soup. My poor team probably thought I was going to die by the look on my face as they were cheering my on. I am sure I must have looked like my puppy just died.

As I was running up the massive hill, I got caught. Yup, I was someone’s rabbit and then his road kill. I was sad but there was no way I could catch him. He was way too fast! As I was running down this hill/cliff I was just praying that I had enough energy in my legs to keep me from tumbling down the hill. This is where things got really bad. I literally could not control my breathing. It felt like someone had put a blanket over my face and a hot heater in front of it and told me to breathe! Not happening. I started wheezing a little  bit and this freaked me out. This had never happened to me before. I knew I had to keep pushing. I started running faster because all I wanted to do was finish! I finally saw the beautiful site of the next exchange and saw my runner! I slapped that bracelet on him, found the closest piece of shade I could and literally collapsed to the ground. My amazing team was circled around me, cheering me on and helping me out.

This was what the race was all about. Pushing myself to my absolute maximum and testing out my own strength. Although I felt like absolute crud, I was so proud of my strength and so encouraged by my supportive team!

2nd Major Exchange:

Once our 6th runner was done with her 2nd leg she passed the slap bracelet onto the 7th runner from the 2nd van! Time for van 1 to take a break! This was around 9 pm….I think? Time was beyond me at this point. We got to take showers, uh hum, prison style showers that were a little bit less than awesome, but at this point this was the least of our worries! Let’s just say I got to know my team on a whole new level. We then took time to eat some food then drove to the next major exchange so we could sleep for a couple of hours. This was a whole other experience. We had 5 Star sleeping arrangements compliments of a high school gym. Woop woop! We “fell asleep” in there with literally NO ONE around us and woke up to people HOVERING over us waiting to take our sleeping spots. How long were those people watching me sleep? I don’t even want to know. After the “soundest” hour of sleep van 2 called us around 2:30 to let us know that their 12th runner would approach the exchange in a half hour. We rolled up our sleeping bags and made our way to the exchange. The 12th runner from van 2 passed the slap bracelet to our 1st runner around 3:00 am and we were off again for round three!

My 3rd Leg:

This leg was awesome! Who runs at 3:30 am? This girl does! It was a 3 mile hilly stretch. It was obviously pitch black out and not a person or car in sight. Kind of freaked me out a bit but that was incentive to run faster! There was a point where I literally laughed out loud at what I was actually doing…running a 200 mile relay race at 3:30 am in the middle of no where. I surprisingly felt awesome during this run! Although it was super hilly, I knew it was the end so I pushed myself as hard as I could. I wanted to finish strong and leave every bit of my energy with that run! I think I sprinted the last half mile and it felt awesome! As I approached the exchange I was mixed with emotions. I was excited to be done, so proud of what I had just accomplished but also a little sad that my portion was over. I slapped that bracelet onto the next runners arm and just like that 4 months of hard work and training was over. Mission accomplished!

The remaining runners all ran their legs and did awesome! We all ran under a 9:00 minute pace the whole way and probably averaged an 8:30 pace.

3rd Major Exchange:

We met up with the 2nd van at the last major exchange somewhere around 5:30 am. We took showers…pause…sort of regular ones. Minus the fact that the water was squirting so high above my head at a force that would have probably torn my skin off…the showers had curtains! We then headed to the finish line in Langley WA. We ate breakfast…the best meal of my life. Orange juice never tasted so good! We had some time to kill while we waited for van 2 to finish all of their legs.

Finish Line:

As the 12th runner from the 2nd van was approaching the finish line, we all met up as a team and cheer him on. This is so amazing and powerful! Once he was about 100 yards from the finish line we all joined him and crossed the finish line as a team! They announced our team name, cheered for us and boy was it awesome! I tried to really remember it all in my delirious state of mind. We rang our cowbell and cheered, hugged and congratulated each other for such an awesome accomplishment!

Final Thoughts:

Do I like to run? Let’s just say it is complicated. I don’t think I actually like to run but I will say for certain that I am addicted to it now. I love the rush I feel once I am done, the sense of accomplishment, the mental clarity it brings, the physical benefits and the healthy competition! I love that I signed up for something that I really did not think I could or wanted to do. With persistent hard work, training and mental/physical strength, I finished what I started and proved myself wrong. I loved every minute of this race. Even the miserable 2nd leg! I love an awesome challenge and this was just that! My team was so awesome and supportive and I had the two best training buddies I could ask for! I am so thankful for that delirious 7:30 am morning conversation.

Click here for the video of us crossing the finish line as a team!

Anahid

P.S. Remember to “Like” ChasingCake on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @chasingcakeblog- it will make me a happy happy girl!

Part 3- I Don’t Like To Run So I Will Train For a 200 Mile Race

Part 1

Part 2

Hi Friends, 

Ragnar is almost one week away! Eeeek! For those of you just catching on, I hate running and I am training for a 200 mile relay race. It’s how I roll.

Many updates to be made about this whole running business.

Update One: I still don’t like running. I thought for sure I would love running by now and maybe even experience this so called runners high but I simply don’t. What I do love is the way I feel after a run and the progress that I have made. I love the physical and mental challenge, but mostly, kicking its rump! I love running up crazy hills, shaving minutes off of our time, improving our form and knowing that we are capable of achieving success!

Update Two: My running legs have been assigned to me! Woop woop! I am runner number 2 out of 12. I am super excited about this because my training buddy is runner number one! I am sure he will have many words of encouragement before he passes the baton off to me! Thanks running buddy!! Couldn’t have made it this far without you!

My Legs:

Leg 1: 6.8 miles

Leg 2: 3.8 miles

Leg 3: 3.0 miles

I am pretty excited about my legs. I feel really prepared both mentally and physically. My teammates are some of the most positive and supportive people I know and cannot wait to cheer each other on!

Update Three: Our start time has been determined! We are starting at 6:15 am. My goodness! We are all meeting at work at 3:15am and driving up north to Blain WA where the race begins. I am not excited to meet up with everyone at 3:15 am…we might see a whole new side of each other! Just kidding, I am sure we will take one look at each other, agree that we are nuts and out of our minds and burst out in laughter! At least there wont be any traffic!

Update Four: My training buddies are the best. Their support has been amazing! There is no other group I would rather complain with for 5 miles!

Training so far:

We have been running around 5 miles at a 9:30-ish pace 3x/week. We train in a very hilly area which slows down our pace a bit.  This will be to our advantage during the race though!

In order to prepare for three runs within 36 hours of each other we ran three run in 12 hours for a total of 10.58 miles. The last run caught up to me during the last mile but we did it!!

Today we are going to run eight miles with all of our gear on. Since each runner will have one leg in the middle of the night, everyone is required to run with a reflective vest, flashing light and head lamp. We going to look super cute! We are going to practice running with all this stuff on…in the middle of the day. People might be concerned for us.

In Conclusion: I am actually super excited for the race. All complaining aside, I cannot wait! I have come a long long way with my running journey and am excited to run this race! I know we are going to make a lifetime of deliriously tired memories and laugh and complain the whole way through! My team is made up of some of the most determined, focused, athletic and awesomely funny people ever! This shall be very interesting and I cannot wait to tell you all about it!

Anahid

P.S. Remember to “Like” ChasingCake on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @chasingcakeblog- it will make me a happy happy girl!

Strawberry Pineapple Slushy

Hi Friends,

Nothing cools my heart on a warm summer day like a refreshing ice cold drink. Especially if the drink involves strawberries and optional wine. One of my favorite activities on a summer evening is sitting outside with Lulu pup with one of these lovely drinks in hand- just unwinding from the day. This slushy is perfect for any day/night of the week with any crowd. You can easily substitute ingredients for what you have in your fridge. Get creative!

I love this recipe because it is simple and can be made with or without alcohol. Drinks for everyone!

Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie

Ingredients:

-1 cup or roughly 12 fresh strawberries. Not frozen. Trust me on this one!

-1 cup pineapple

-1 whole orange

-1 cup coconut water -or- 1 cup of a sweet white wine such as a Riesling

-1 cup ice

Instructions:

Blend the heck out of it!

Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie

Let me know what you think!

Anahid

P.S. Remember to “Like” ChasingCake on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @chasingcakeblog- it will make me a happy happy girl!

*Recipe and pictures by Anahid

Veggie Hummus Sandwich Recipe

Hi Friends,

This recipe makes me happy. It is so fresh, easy and perfect for summer! Let’s get started.

IMG_2789

Hummus Ingredients:

-16 oz can of garbanzo beans

-1 red bell pepper

-1 tablespoon tahini

-1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

-1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

-3/4 teaspoon cumin

-3 ½  teaspoons crushed garlic

-3/4 teaspoon salt

-1 ½ tablespoons water

Veggie Hummus Sandwich Ingredients:

1 large cucumber

2 tomatoes

Olives of your choice

Feta cheese

Instructions:

In a food processor combine all hummus ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Slice cucumbers and tomatoes into ¼ slices.

Layer in the following order: cucumber, hummus, tomato, hummus.

Top with feta cheese or olives.

IMG_2791

Why I love these:

-Delicious!

-Hummus is high in iron for those of us who are lacking

-Clean ingredients that are perfect for a snack

-Don’t care about making them pretty? Forget the sandwich process and just start dipping!

IMG_2787

Let me know what you think!

P.S. Remember to “Like” ChasingCake on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @chasingcakeblog- it will make me a happy happy girl!

Anahid