"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Thursday, July 31, 2014

10 Miles x 2

On Saturday this past weekend, I put Gracie to the test in what I would declare her baseline ride for future training. I decided I would ride her for 1.5 hrs, gaiting as much as possible, and see how far we could get. I've rated Gracie's medium gait at 7 mph, so I was hoping that with walk breaks and stops for drinking water, we'd average about 10 miles in an hour and a half. I figured I'd let Gracie tell me how she felt during the ride and we'd play it by ear.

This would be our third solo ride ever and our first real solo ride on the trails of the park across the street. 

It was a gorgeous day and I relaxed when I saw that there were only a few cars in the park parking lot. The park can get quite full on the weekends and I hate how often people will have dogs off leash. It's illegal in MD. 

We rode through and did our usual loop: through the back trail (we came across a hiking couple who asked how to get to the river and complimented Gracie :) ), up and down the dead end long hill, back to the main trail on to the gallop hill. Gracie tackled the hills at a trot and asked to walk for a few strides at the top to recover. She needs more hill work for sure, but that's why we're doing this. She gaited all the way back down the hills; she had no problem both maintaining the gait and rocking back onto her hindquarters to negotiate them properly. We then doubled back onto the main trail, retracing our steps to take the trail that goes through the center of the forest. We then crossed the river, went up the hill on the other side to the ridge line trail, following it all the way to the street. We then rode on the street for a bit, past garbage cans and rocks on driveways. Gracie looked at the garbage cans and took one side step away from a ditch but she was completely unfazed otherwise. All this time gaiting.

Love all the green
I'm really liking MapMyRun. *knock on wood* I tried Karen's EquiTrack but it seems to not be compatible with my phone (iPhone 4S) in the long term. You have to buy it, but if it works with your phone, it is a REALLY awesome app; it's like a workout app specifically for horses. You can even set up intervals for your horse and it will tell you when to change gaits. I really liked it the few times that it worked initially, but now every time I open it, it crashes. :( No updates available at the moment, and I even tried turning the phone off and on again. No go. Bummer.

Anyway, the first app I ever used was Endomondo. My favorite thing about it was that it called out the miles and pace per mile. MapMyRun is the only other app I've found so far that does that too. (You can set EquiTrack to do it, but see above. Grrrr...) I was getting a kick out of hearing that Gracie was consistently maintaining a 9 min mile average throughout this ride, which is about 6.6 mph.

She did awesome. When we had about 1 mile to complete our 10 mile goal and about 15 minutes to reach that mileage within the time I had mentally set for ourselves, I took Gracie towards the meadow trail. It's about a mile long; a double-track smooth path that is currently covered in grass, so you can really let horses move out at whatever gait they choose without worrying about blind corners, uneven footing or gopher holes.

Gracie really strode out and eventually broke gait to go into a trot. Her trot is SUPER smooth. You can post it if you really want to, but it's kind of a waste of effort. It's harder to try to post than to just sit it. Her trot is currently faster than her gait. I finally looked down at MapMyRun while Gracie was trotting...and finally got the speed on it. Her average trot is 12mph!!

We ended up completing 10.6 miles in 1 hour and 35 minutes with an average pace of 6.7 mph.

Gracie immediately after untacking and right before her bath.
She is a champion sweater. You can see a tiny puddle underneath her: that's from sweat.
Gracie had Sunday off and so it was Lily's turn. I decided to try the same thing: 10 miles in 1 hour and 40 minutes. I know Gracie is the faster of the two but I know Lily can trot comfortably at 6mph pace, so I gave her an extra 10 minutes.

Lily's muscular badonka-donk.
(Yes, she still has a tail. :) She was swishing at flies. The muggier it is, the worse they get!)
She was having her pre-ride alfalfa snack.
Lily was an absolute superstar. On this day we encountered 3 people with dogs, one of them off leash. Lily looked at them but continued. The off leash dog was a huge Bernese Mountain Dog; we were going down the same hill that him and his owner were hiking up, the dog in the lead. The owner made no move to hold his dog as they came upon us but thankfully the dog didn't care about horses. Lily and I stopped and waited for them to pass before continuing.

Gracie had had the advantage of being ridden in the late afternoon when the sun was lower in the sky, whereas Lily was being ridden during late morning. Sunday had dawned in the 70's but had rapidly crept up into the upper 80's. It was hot, even in the woods. We completed exactly 6 miles in an hour of solid trotting with some canters up the park hills. At the hour mark, I let Lily walk for almost 10 minutes so she could get a break, which conveniently happened while we were traveling downhill so she was able to really get a breather. I took her wading in the river as well. Since she won't let me throw sponges from her while on her back, I'll just have her go into the water as deep as we can. The Hawlings River isn't very deep, especially at this time of the year, but she could wade in above her knees and hocks in some of the deeper pools. She didn't drink very well on this day but was quite happy to splash around in the water and cool down. 

We then trotted on to continue our loop, the same route that Gracie and I had done the day before. We crossed the river one more time and did the lake trail. On the other side of the trail is this very long, steep (for this area) hill that Lily attacked at a gallop. We then turned back down at a trot and continued at a trot through a new side trail I've started using and back through the river towards home.

There is an incline in this picture though it doesn't show at all!
Trotting back down the hill we had just galloped.
Like with Gracie the day before, we finished up with the meadow trail. Lily decided she wanted to canter it so I let her go ahead. The meadow trail has one corner at the far end. Lily had started out cantering on her right lead. She had to turn to the left to go around the corner. As she turned, she did a flying lead change! First flying lead change on the trail! I squealed. We broke to a trot and did the meadow trail one more time. Again Lily picked up the canter on the right lead, and again she did a flying lead change around the same corner! She's only ever done two other flying lead changes under saddle so I was pretty excited.

We completed 10.3 miles in 1 hour and 40 minutes. Lily's average speed was 6.2 mph. Goal achieved!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Knee

So almost 3 weeks ago now, Charles and I went on a long trail ride at the park across the street where we did about 10 miles in 2 hours or so. I figured out the best way to get in 10 miles without repeating trail loops, which means if we ever want to do 20 miles, we just have to do the same route twice.

Beaming :)
Lily says, "Can we stop taking pictures already and just go?"
We had an absolute blast. This was Lily's official comeback from the sinkhole experience: she trotted throughout the trails without hesitation, attacked hills at a canter or even gallop going up, and insisted on trotting going down. I was laughing at her throughout the ride. She was all, "I did the OD! This is EASY!" Gracie did a good job of keeping up. The day was overcast and in the 80's but so, so muggy that the mares and us all looked like we'd been doused with a hose less than 30 minutes into the ride. We made sure to cross through the river a couple of times to give the mares the opportunity to drink water. Gracie pretended to drink while Lily guzzled each time. I think Gracie is one of those horses that won't drink until she's done 15+ miles...

I love this river. The water is so clear!
Wading into the water above her knees
Lily and me
Gracie pretending to drink water...

We were on our last leg of the ride and cantering through one of the wider sections of trail, except it wound around the trees. We've done this section every time we go to this park, usually at a trot or canter. Charles is familiar with the turns and I've told him that you have to be careful with tight turns on the trail because the horses are well aware of where they fit, but they don't normally take into account the extra room needed to accommodate saddle flaps and rider knees as well.

Well, Gracie took a sharp turn around one of the trees too tightly. Charles tried to correct her at the last second but she simply turned her head, not her body. Charles's left knee got slammed into the tree full force at the canter...it's really a miracle that he didn't fall off from the impact. He didn't even lose his balance. But his knee sure paid for it.

It took us 30 minutes to get back to the barn. Charles immediately took ibuprofen that I had in my saddle bags. His knee was still the size of a grapefruit upon returning to the barn.

We set Charles up with an ice pack in a chair with his leg propped up while I hosed off and fed both mares as quickly as possible. I knew he had to be seen by a doctor but he can be a stubborn mule when it comes to getting medical attention. Thankfully, Kathy, Zoe and Dianne were all at the barn at that moment and they all saw his knee and they all said he should be seen. It didn't take much convincing actually, which basically showed how much he hurt.

I put Lily and Gracie back out and we rushed over to Charles's hospital. One perk of working in the ER is that everyone knows you and you get ushered in. It helped that the ER was quiet at that time of the afternoon as well.

One of his coworker doctors saw Charles; she examined his knee and determined it to not be dislocated (which was hard to tell at that point with the massive swelling it had developed). X-rays were taken and there were no fractures. He was set up with crutches and pain meds and told to take the week off of work.

Day of the accident.
4 days later.
It's half that size now, but it has bruising over the knee itself that is starting to turn all sorts of purple and blue, and looks hideous. It
He's ended up needing 3 weeks off, but after 2 rechecks with an orthopedist, it was confirmed that there is definitely no ligament damage either. The swelling over his knee is simply fluid buildup that needs to be reabsorbed and that will take time. It's too thick to be drained. He can walk without cane or crutches but does tire out after a couple of hours on his feet because he is still limping. He is cleared to return to work next week but is on exercise restrictions including riding for the next 3 months just to play it safe.

He's been trying to imitate Dr. House in the meantime. :) He was so, so, SO lucky though. I can write about it now that things are on the mend. I still feel awful that this happened on my watch but I was riding in front, had warned him about the tree, and we'd ridden that trail several times before. It was just one of those freak things that can happen to any of us. But now Charles knows to at least slow down if it looks like the horse is not going to make the turn with enough room. If you're going to hit it, at least try to do it slowly. That's saved my own knees countless times.

In the meantime while waiting for the final verdict, I'd been riding on my days off and worrying whenever I wasn't actively working. It kind of cast a shadow over everything else the last 2 weeks.

The weekend after the accident, Kathy and I trailered to Seneca Creek Park to ride. It was a lovely 8 mile loop that we did mostly at a walk. 

My phone decided it didn't want to take photos on this day, so Kathy very kindly let me use hers:

This section looked like an enchanted forest. So, so beautiful!
View of the trail (and Gracie) from between Queenie's ears
Going up one of the inclines

Old grain mill
Seneca Creek. The trail pretty much followed the creek the entire way.

It was surprisingly hilly and both Queenie and Gracie broke a sweat climbing. Gracie was a very good girl and became a pro at crossing bridges...except for the one time she decided she didn't like one particular bridge (I have no idea why) so she turned and dashed up the side of the hill next to the trail! I brought her right back around and we crossed the bridge right on Queenie's tail. 

At the next bridge, Gracie tried that same stunt again before I could even get her close to the bridge. Oh HELL NO! She got brought to a halt STAT and I asked Kathy to wait, as Gracie needed to go first. No way was she getting away with this new trick. I pointed Gracie at the bridge and kicked her forward. "Yes ma'am!" she said and crossed like there had never been an issue. There were no other problems with the various bridges we encountered on the trail.

Again, she reminds me SO much of Lucero.

Sweaty mare is sweaty.
And pouting because she couldn't go around the trailer to steal Queenie's beet pulp...she had just finished her own!
I want to note that she was SO GOOD about loading into the trailer, both going and leaving! Only a couple seconds of hesitation before she hopped on.
Other than that adventure, I limited my riding to the arena or the driveway, though I did take Lily to the Hill of Doom in the back woods to practice hill sets. It's a short hill but it's very steep, probably at a 75 degree angle. I need to get more pictures for you guys; I only have one shot of it from last fall and it does NOT do the incline justice. We worked on it for 20 minutes, galloping up and walking back down until every time I turned Lily to walk back down, she'd pause, "You're kidding me, right? Again?! I'm bored." You wouldn't know it had been any kind of effort for her though...she pranced all the way home afterwards!

Goofy horses.

Since he couldn't accompany me with the horses and we couldn't do any of the other stuff we normally do outdoors like running and hiking, we tried out a couple of new restaurants, like the Dogfish Head Alehouse.

Raison D'Etre. Yes, please.
Turned out it was live music night and a band called Bad Influence was playing!
They played Grateful Dead-type songs. Good music.
In Tampa, Charles and I used to love going out to a local hippie hangout called Skippers Smokehouse where they had a Grateful Dead cover band. We used to just love to sit and people watch. This brought back memories. 
I was called to do a bib clip on old man Paris, the Cushings OTTB owned by the three ladies at my previous barn. It was a really wonderful visit where I got to catch up with everyone: BQ, Jackie, Tina, Alex & John, and Paris's moms. I was originally planning on being there for two hours tops...and ended up staying for four!

Paris's moms pay for his clips with the most wonderful surprises, sometimes with food made by themselves (they are amazing cooks!) or with gift cards to some really awesome local restaurants that we never would have heard of otherwise. This time around, I received a gift card to a place called Tower Oaks Lodge. We had never heard about it before so Charles and I decided to check it out that same evening.

Thankfully I had decided to check out Yelp reviews to see which dishes people liked the most (we looked at the menu beforehand and everything sounded amazing), and read that most people dress up quite a bit to go to this particular restaurant. Based on the prices (comparable to, say, Carraba's. Restaurants in the DC area tend to be expensive but this one was on the lower end of the spectrum for what we've become used to. Not cheap, but most entrees were under $20), we would not have expected that. So we dressed up a little more than originally planned and were really happy that we did: there were a lot of people in cocktail dresses, dress shirts and pleated pants. Very country club. We weren't quite that fancy, but just enough to blend in. I hate being underdressed...

The place was stunningly beautiful, and I'm still astounded that we'd never heard of it before!

The food was as beautiful as it was delicious.
They make everything from scratch using local produce and meats. Their menu changes depending on what's seasonally available.
Yup, the place has a decorative tack room!
In fact, there was an equestrian theme throughout the restaurant.
This hallway. Magical.

I mean guys, that's the bar!
These photos are all mine, but if you want to see better photos, go to their website.

So yeah. We're just relieved at the moment. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Snaps: In the Arena

I am so far behind on posting, you guys!

These photos are actually from Friday. My best rides on Lily tend to be when we are by ourselves and completely focused. It's not the same when someone else is watching: there is always this pressure to perform which doesn't always work in our favor.

Lily felt on this day like she'd worked all week. I love what field board does for her brain! She was sluggish starting out (it was hot!) so we worked on just relaxing and stretching out during the warm-up.

Pandora wasn't cooperating and Lily was taking a nap :)
Walk warm-up
Trot warm-up on a loose rein
Trot warm-up
Shoulder-in, though hard to tell in this photo. I like how she was reaching for the contact.
Initiating leg yield at the walk with one hand on the reins.
We've been playing with one-handed stuff lately.
Leg yield. My right hand is on my waist. We're not doing the chicken dance. :p
Canter warm-up
"Lily streeeetch..." Kind of a hand-gallop. The idea was to get her to extend her stride, open up.
And yup, she was nicely inverted. >.< But that's why it's part of the warm-up.

Stretching out her body means she can start doing this...

...and then this.

And then I decided to experiment. I hadn't practiced cantering Lily one handed with one arm extended out like this since March. LOVE how she looks in this photo!

And then this happened.
This. was. HUGE!!!
Those of you that have horses with no issues would take being able to do this with them for granted. 
This is a big deal for us. This is how far we have come! Lily stayed at exactly the same speed with the reins draped over the saddle (she used to bolt in arenas). She didn't freak over my arms extended on both sides (this is something that would happen as recently as last summer!) and she stayed on the circle at my bidding (she used to change directions at will if you weren't paying attention). And then at the end, she comes down to a walk upon my request...without any need of touching the reins. I fist my hands against my chest to resist the urge to use the reins! 

We continued cantering in a normal fashion afterwards.
The long warm-up worked: she was really reaching under herself at the canter.
Like so...
And so. Holy inside hind: it's even with her girth! I don't know wtf I was doing (ugh position!), but Lily looks super awesome here.
Posts to follow this week. :)

Friday, July 25, 2014

5 Q's With Mel

Mel from Boots and Saddles modified these questions, originally from ultrarunpodcast.com

Name: Nicole

Me, on my island, with slightly longer hair
  • So many of you already know my real name thanks to Facebook that I'll tell you the story: I started this blog as a source for venting about the craziness of the horse world in South FL so I started writing under a different name for anonymity. I was very careful about being vague about where I boarded at/lived at/worked at because I didn't want to be linked to my blog. And then the craziness was so crazy, I was afraid to write about it anyway. And now I keep discovering people around me, especially from my current barn, that have somehow stumbled upon my blog (and enjoy reading it. Which is awesome.) You know what the tell-tale sign is? They call Carlos "Charles". :) Yup, his real name is Carlos. He's Puerto Rican too. And his last name is not Alvarez. None of the happily married women in his family have taken the last names of their husbands so we chose to continue the tradition. But we still get a kick out of people calling him Mr. Alvarez. :) 
  • "Saiph" is pronounced "Sayif" or "Sife" (as in rhyming with "wife"). It is one of the stars of Orion, my favorite constellation. It is the 6th brightest star of said constellation and marks the right leg of the Hunter. The word "saiph" literally means "sword" in Arabic. Saiph was a character in a story my brother and I created while I was in college. She rode horses (duh), navigated sailboats that could fly (this was BEFORE Treasure Planet! I love sailboats), and was a pro with both the bow & arrow and the sabre (I was in my university's fencing team while in college and my weapon was the sabre. Except Saiph's sabre was the real kind that can actually cut you.) So when I decided I wanted to write under a pseudonym of sorts, I chose the name Saiph.  
    The original Saiph was a badass

  • One day I will tell you guys the story of the Torrech family (my mother's side of the family). It is actually really, really cool, and is wrapped around some of the history of Puerto Rico itself. (Just enough to have a street and a neighborhood named after one of my great-great grandparents.) And there are horses in it. My uncle (he's a historian) and cousins have gone to a lot of trouble researching where we come from. I just need them to send me the photos I requested so I can tell you guys some of the stories...
Age: 35
  • Can I start lying about my age now? No? Ok, I'll wait until I'm 40. I'll just tell you guys I turned 30 in 5 years. ;) (ugh...really? Only 5 years until turning 40??! But but...I still feel like I'm 25!)

Where do you live: Somewhere in the Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland. I will continue to be vague about that. :P

Family status: Married with 2 cats and 2 horses. I technically have a dog also, but she lives in Puerto Rico with my mom and is very happy there. That's another cool story that I haven't told you guys...the story of Ninuk, the Whippet mix. She was a TV dog for a day and that's how I found her.

1. How long have you been riding? Endurance?
I've been riding since I was 10 years old. So that's 25 years riding. (Holy crap.) I started out with Paso Finos and soon switched to jumpers (we had no hunters in PR back then). My personal horses were Paso Finos but in lessons and competitions I rode in the jumpers. I continued in the jumpers when I first moved to Tampa, FL, riding and competing some of my trainer's horses. I then got back into owning my own horses after moving to South FL, which is when I switched to dressage + trails. I've wanted to ride endurance since I read about the sport for the first time when I was 13 but it was not a sport on the island. I've been actively training for it for the last year, but have only one ride under my belt so far: the Old Dominion 50 miler, June 2014.

2. What does a normal training week look like for you?
This can vary, especially with two horses. I usually ride both of them on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If Charles can ride on any of those days, he'll ride Gracie with me on the trail and save me a ton of time. Sometimes I'll give Lily one of those days off and just ride Gracie. Lily will instead get a third ride sometime during the week. I try to ride Lily 3 times a week since she's a hard keeper and does better with more time off, and Gracie 4 times a week since she's an easy keeper and gets alpha mare opinions when she has too much time off. Sometimes a riding session is substituted with a lunging session for one or both of the mares. I've been focusing more on speed and power with Lily lately: lots of transitions and extended canter sets in our arena work, and working on hills at speed on the trail. With Gracie we're focusing on cardiac endurance at her medium gait. She gets hill workouts too when Charles rides with me on the trail, but I'm still working on her baseline fitness. I'd like to do an LD with her later this year or have Charles do an LD on her, but I'm not quite sure yet that she'll be ready.
I fell off the rider fitness bandwagon for a while during April and May, but hopped back on it in June. My goals have been modest: ideally one day of sprints/jogging, one day of drills, and one day in the gym, either at a Spinning class or alternating cardio machines (there is nothing more mind-numbing than cardio machines...I do from 15 to 30 min each on the Cybex, elliptical, and rowing machine in succession). I try for three but I try to be happy if I can get at least two workouts a week. I'm also on my feet for most of my 10 hour shifts 4 times a week at work.

3. Any advice for endurance riding spouses?
I think the best endurance riding spouses are the ones that enjoy camping, can crew, know something about horse care and at least like horses, can crack a joke when the wife is getting too serious, and are able to keep their wife eating and drinking. Dom's Mike is the perfect example of the ideal endurance SO! He's had plenty of practice. :) He even takes amazing photos! Check out the ones he took of Dom at Biltmore. Charles has the basics of this down (especially the humor part!) and I love that he enjoys coming along for these adventures; we just need to work on perfecting the crewing part, which will come naturally with time. 

Just a little more practice... :)
These photos of him and Lily at the OD hold still crack me up
4. Where will this sport be in 10 years?
I really liked Mel's answers, and I agree with Liz's response on that post: ride management could make better maps. I'm still not sure Lily and I would have completed at the OD if we hadn't been riding with Liz...a lot of people got lost due to taking the wrong loop at the wrong time. I could totally see myself doing that. From what I've been reading, I think there will be more short distances (under 25 miles) for newer riders. It's nice to see more and more Introductory rides cropping up at endurance rides: it's a great way for average trail riders to try out the sport.

5. What was your best race and why (AERC endurance - or if you are primary in another discipline, then your best ride in that sport)?
I've only had one race so far and it could have been way better. I did not enjoy feeling like we were flying by the seat of our pants through those vet checks. Training has been modified so that we are better prepared for future adventures over the kind of terrain we encountered at the Old Dominion 50. Not sure I will be doing another 50 with Lily during the hotter summer months; we might just stick with spring and fall for the longer distances. Gracie, however, may be another matter, as she sweats better and tolerates heat better than Lily, especially now that she is slimmer and fitter. We shall see.
I had really good rides when I was jumping and I have already discussed them on this blog. Funnily enough, my favorite rides were all outside of the show ring. I honestly don't remember which shows I won and which ones I lost; the ones where I had the most fun and where I stressed the least were the ones where I earned blue ribbons. The ribbons ended up being the icing on a cake that was already pretty awesome all by itself. By the time I won, I didn't care about winning at all. The shows where I stressed the most were the ones where I lost. My best rides at shows when I competed in the jumpers were on a handsome chestnut OTTB with a blaze named Luciano.
With dressage, I'd have moments of brilliance spread throughout several rides. I love dressage for its complexity and for what it does for my horses to develop their bodies better for more strenuous endeavors outside of the arena.
However, I think that the rides I have enjoyed the most have been the many, many rides I have put into Lily on the trail to get her to where she is today. Each ride has been an adventure and yet another bonding experience with her. I woke up on the day of the Old Dominion realizing that I was riding my heart horse.
Ever since then, I melt a little every time I see her. Every time she's out in the field grazing and she looks up when I walk into the field, a part of my heart gets all squishy. The other day I was brushing one of her front legs in the field. She swung her head around to shoo a fly away and connected with my head. "Ow!" I exclaimed. Lily turned and walked away from me, embarrassed. I had to jog after her and call her back: "No, it's okay! I know you didn't mean it!" She stopped and perked up again when I approached her to finish grooming her.
Last weekend we had a small emergency with one of the other mares in her field, where the mare had a vaccine reaction. I had taken the mare over to the run-in shed so she could hang out in front of the fans while we waited for the vet. There are 3 bays in the mare field including Lily. All of a sudden I look up as one of the bays sneaks up behind me. It took me a second to realize it was MY bay mare. I'd been in the mare field for about 20 minutes by then and Lily came over to see why I hadn't gone to fetch her.
"Oh hi!" I said to her once I recognized her. I got happy ears and a gentle inquisitive nose. "Hi Mom! What's going on?"
That. That right there would never have happened if it hadn't been for endurance. Every training ride with this mare throughout this last year has been a good one because it is what ultimately brought us so much closer together.

Bonus question: what is your favorite beer?
I like Belgian ales in general. If I don't know what to get, I'll go for the Belgian anything. I like their smoother taste and lower hops content (I don't like bitter beers. Because of this I have yet to meet an IPA that I liked) There are a couple of dubbels and tripels that I like, but I tend to like most ales and some stouts. I'm a major lightweight but apparently I'm very European in that I like a beer with my dinner. Haha

Some of my favorites at the moment:
Flying Dog's Secret Stash Harvest Ale
New Belgium's Abbey
Dogfish Head's Namaste
Dogfish Head's Raison D'Etre
Boddington's Pub Ale

* I used to hate beer. Hated it. I drank NO alcohol while in college because I didn't understand how anyone could like it. I actually didn't have my first honest drink until I turned 25. Yup, I took the term "straight edge nerd" to a whole other level. Sure I'd tried stuff before, but I hadn't liked any of it until that time. And then we lived next to a World of Beer in South Florida and it became a habit to go there every Tuesday, when they had their $3 draft special, to eat dinner and try a different beer. Best way to discover what you like and don't like. So I kind of became a connoisseur by immersion. This has expanded now that we live in a place where you can't just walk into the grocery store to pick up a 6-pack. You have to go to a wine shop. Which means that you are going to have a huge and constantly changing variety of beers that you normally wouldn't find at the grocery store, which means that every time we walk into a wine shop, we usually come out with yet another thing that we've never tried before! The extra stop is annoying but the incredible variety makes up for it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WW: Transformation

April 2014
First time I ever worked with her
April 2014

May 2014
May 2014
June 2014

June 2014

July 2014

July 15, 2014
She's lost a nice amount of weight and gained quite a bit of muscle in just 3 months!