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Posts Tagged ‘Nuun Hydration’

Infographic at the main plaza at Cahokia. Monk's Mound can be seen to the left in the distance.

Infographic at the main plaza at Cahokia. Monk’s Mound can be seen to the left in the distance.

In this blog, I come to you with stories of everyday adventure; I relay the stories to you like you were an old friend sitting with me around a campfire.  To me, a blog is an extension of the age-old tradition of oral storytelling. I like to paint a picture of where I’ve been or what I’ve been up to and then I like to hear your stories of the same.  Anyway, I find writing about adventures takes the experience and turns it into story and the best stories can become something of family legend.  And “legend” is the category where I’ve found myself for a bit of creative writing recently.

There are 3  ingredients to the story I’m about to share.  The  first is a recurring contest on National Public Radio called 3 Minute Fiction.  3 Minute Fiction supplies writers with a prompt and asks for a story that can be read aloud in 3 minutes (600 words or less).  The stories are judged and winners are selected and read on-air.  I did not win this round of 3 Minute Fiction, but I very much enjoyed writing for it.  The prompt this round was to send “original short fiction in which a character finds something he or she has no intention of returning.”  (Click here to read the story that won this prompt.)

The second ingredient of the story was my recent travels to Cahokia Mounds and subsequent reading of a book about the people who lived there.  If you’ve not read about my trip to Cahokia and how I climbed the largest earthen pyramid in North America and a World Heritage Site, I suggest clicking here before you read on!   The people of Cahokia, like many other native peoples, had an oral tradition which includes a Trickster character.   In Norse mythology, the Trickster was named Loki.  In the tradition of the Blackfoot has a Trickster named Napi.  In other Native American traditions, the Trickster is the Coyote or the Raven.  No matter the culture and no matter the name, the archetype of the Trickster is all about chaos.  He’s curious and devious. He’s trouble, but he’s also somehow friendly and likable.  I think of the Trickster as the guy who runs around your house hiding your car key or steeling your left sock.  It’s a character that’s not necessarily malevolent, but sometimes causes harm.  He just spins the situation to see where it lands.

The geodes on my desk.

The geodes on my desk.

And the last ingredient of this story is my own adventures as a child.  My grandmother really does live in a house built in a limestone dell along the Mississippi, and the walls are dotted with geodes.  I spent many days as a child running around by the river and collecting geodes to bring back up to the house.  My mom or dad would have to get out a hammer- sometimes a sledge hammer for a big one- and we’d crack all my little treasures to reveal the sparkling quartz inside.  It was magical then, and when I go back to find geodes today, it’s still magical.  There are 3 pieces of geode from the cliff by my grandma’s house sitting on my desk at work, as a matter of fact.

I hope you enjoy my 3 Minute Fiction story, The Trickster and the Tears of the Moon.  And after the story… read alllllll the way to the bottom because I am giving out prizes.

The Trickster and The Tears of the Moon

The night my mother died, the Trickster was at the window. I saw him there with his bushy tail and eyes glinting, and I knew he saw me crying on grandmother’s knee. He was listening too, when she spoke of the tears of the moon.

“On nights like tonight, the moon cries,” grandmother said. “And tears of the moon find pockets here in the hillside.” And she reached into her satchel and pulled out a small, roundish rock with a crack through the center.

I gently pulled the halves apart and my eyes danced across the most beautiful, sparkling crystals inside the ugly stone.

And Trickster saw it too.

“The tears of the moon hold beautiful memories. When you’re sad and need them, the memories will always be on the inside.”

I nodded through my tears and tucked the stone in my pocket.

And Trickster watched where I put it.

Many people assumed the Trickster had left the limestone bluffs of the Mississippi long ago- maybe when the Indians had left or when the railroad had been built. Surely he was gone when we got cable television? But he never left really, and I knew that as a child.

And the Trickster heard Old Magic in my grandmother’s story and wanted the tears of the moon for himself.

As I grew, I often played near my grandmother’s home. I always kept the little geode in my pocket, but one summer day, the stone fell out and landed among the other stones.

And the Trickster found it.

You see, he had been collecting little, ugly, balls of rock like my grandmother had given me. He’d haul them back to his tree to look for the magic tears of the moon, but could not crack any of the stones. Soon his tree was full of stones that were full of magic but that the Trickster was unable to get to.

squirelBut when he found my stone, he rejoiced because the magic was finally his. He took it to his home where he could barely fit in the opening because of all of his stones. And he bragged to the birds nearby about the magic he had found. He showed them the crystals and told them about the tears of the moon.

I cried that I’d lost my stone and the summer and autumn wore on. The Trickster spent his time in his crowded tree, staring at the beautiful crystals and thinking himself very clever.

Winter came and winter stayed. I had not thought about the Trickster until one snowy night, under the full moon, I saw him sitting on my grandmother’s porch barely able to lift his head.

Hello, Trickster said to me.

Trickster! I said, startled. Why do you look so ill?

I’m hungry, whispered the Trickster. I have no food and the winter has been 
so long.

Isn’t your tree full?

It is full. But I have no acorns.

Then what is it full of, Trickster?

I cannot tell you.

Then I will not help you.

And I could see in his eyes what he was hiding.

You’ve found my stone, haven’t you Trickster?

I have found many stones with much magic and they belong to me.

Then use your magic stones for a meal, I said to him.

I can’t use the magic, he sighed.

And I knew the Trickster had learned. The tears the moon cried the night my mother died were not meant for him. That magic was only for me. And even though he had my stone, the magic stayed with me.

________________

Contest announcement!

Write your own 3 Minute Fiction and share it with me on Adventure Foot and you will WIN a tube of Nuun Hydration!  (I am an Ambassador for Nuun Hydration- wonderful electrolyte drink tablets… read more here)   Your prompt is the following:

Write a story/myth/legend featuring the Trickster.  (Your Trickster may take any form you like… but I want to know what that guy has been up to!) 

Rules:

600 Words or less.  You can submit your story on my Facebook page, in a comment on this blog or by email to laura  sievert  at  outlook dotcom  <- no spaces… you see what I’m doing there.

ANYONE who submits a Trickster story wins, up to 10 winners. 

I really hope I get some entries. Creative writing is awesome. Have fun with it! Contest ends July 6th or when I get 10 stories… whichever comes first.

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Hey Everyone!

I know what you’re thinking.  Where in the world has Adventure Foot been!?

Adventuring, of course!

IOU some major blogging and I’m really going to get it done this week, so check back often.  I have to tell you about my run at the Allerton Trails Half Marathon and Bridge the Gap Half Marathon, about getting my bike professionally fitted, and the Folks on Spokes metric century bike ride we did a few weeks ago, what I learned about the curse of flat tires, our Ride of Silence Event… I’m just saying, there’s a lot.

How’d I get so far behind?!  That’s primarily due to my Quincy Bicycle Club media blitz!  I was recently elected President of the Quincy Bike Club and my first order of business was getting the word out that it’s the best club to ever hit wheels.  To that end, my outstanding Vice President and I got on the horn to the local media and booked gigs with The Quincy Herald Whig, KHQA-TV, WGEM-TV, Y101 Radio, and WGEM Talk 105 all in the same week.   Also, I redid our entire website.  Check it out at http://www.quincybikeclub.org

Anywho- excuses aside, I’ve got announcements RE: Adventure Foot Contest Winners and my excellent blog sponsors!

As you all know by now, Adventure Foot is proud to be an ambassador for Nuun Hydration and VI Fuel Endurance Gel.  These are two products I really believe in and use allllll the time on my adventures.

Nuun Hydration tabs are electrolyte drink tablets that you just drop into your water bottle.  They’ve got lots and lots of great flavors (my faves are Lemon Lime and Tri-Berry) so I’m sure you’ll find one you love.  The best part about Nuun is that these tabs are not over-sweet like many sports drinks.  That kind of gatorade junk upsets my adventure tummy- especially in extreme heat when you need hydration the most. Nuun is delicious with just a hint of sweetness and the electrolytes keep me going!  Nuun tabs come in a handy little tube of 12 too- so they fit in your bike seat pack or that little pocket on your hiking bag or wherever!  I also love that they create so much less waste than a big plastic-bottled sports drink.  Oh! And if you’re out adventuring to loose weight, Nuun is the electrolyte drink for you!  While a bottle of Gatorade has 75 calories per 12 oz (or 130 for a 20 oz. bottle), Nuun tabs have only 7 calories!  It’s a good decision!   Check out my Official Nuun Ambassador Page by clicking here! 

Anyway- by random number drawing- the winners of a Nuun Water Bottle and 1 tube of Nuun are Cindy and Jacob!!!!!

cindy

Cindy’s yoga Adventure Feet!

jaco

Jacob out for an Adventure Foot bike ride!

Now, onto the second sponsor!  I first discovered V-Fuel Endurance Gel through a friend in the Heartland Roadrunners Club.  I was in the middle of training for my 2nd half marathon at the time, and I’d had a “bad day” of running after eating 2 Gu brand gels on my 10 mile route. I think runners can all relate to what I mean by “bad day.”  Anyway, my friend Dave said that I should try a different brand of energy gel, V-Fuel.   He promised it was different.  He promised no upset tummy.  He promised great flavors.  And he promised better performance.  Guess what?  He was TOTALLY right.  Seriously you guys.  This gel is different.

V-Fuel comes in 3 flavors: vanilla, chocolate and peach cobbler.  The consistency of the gel is thinner than what you expect from a Gu, which I really like on the run.  And the boost in performance is huge, especially on the long runs or rides when you’re trying to avoid the dreaded “bonk.”   But the very most important thing to me is that V-Fuel doesn’t upset my stomach and has never, ever caused an unexpected bathroom break. I asked the creators of  V-Fuel why it was so much easier on my tummy and here’s what I learned:

“VFuel, like other energy gels, starts with maltodextrin as the primary carbohydrate. But from there, we take a very different path. Most other gels use Fructose, or some sort of rice syrup or evaporated cane juice, all containing Fructose. VFuel uses Dextrose as its secondary carb, a more expensive (on our end) option, but one that is drastically easier to digest.”

All of that adds up to a happy Adventurer!

And speaking of happy Adventurers… I have 3 winners to announce for V-Fuel prizes but you are ALL winners today!  V-Fuel has offered my readers a SPECIAL 20% off Discount for your first order! Believe me when I say your first order won’t be your last.  Some people buy their significant other chocolate for special occasions…. my husband and I buy each other chocolate V!  (That’s true.  You just ask him what I got him for Valentine’s Day!)  So where was I?  Oh yeah. Discount.   Type in ADVENTUREFOOT and save 20%. Woohoo!!

And here are the winners!!!

stephen

Stephen coming with the double threat… cycling and ultimate frisbee! That’s the kind of multi-tasking I can get behind!

sarah

Sarah with the tron-looking 5 fingers!

jared

Jared out on a “casual” birthday ultra-run 🙂

Congratulations to all my winners! I’ll be putting together a new banner this week featuring your Adventure Feet!  Everyone else, please check into these two companies and click their links.  I wouldn’t endorse them if I didn’t think they were the very best for my money and for my adventures.  Folks local to Quincy, you can find Nuun Hydration at Madison Davis Bicycle Shop as well as Hy-Vee on Harrison in the heath food department.  V-Fuel is only available online at this time, but my code is good through July, so order some today!  I happen to like chocolate best, but I think the most popular flavor is peach cobbler.  If you have any questions about either of these products, please don’t hesitate to ask!

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It’s BIG news Adventure Foot Readers! I’m announcing my first ever sponsored blog contest featuring FABOULOUS PRIZES from my blog sponsors: Nuun Hydration and V Fuel Endurance Gel!

3 Winners will be chosen to get a box of V Fuel Endurance Gel.  It's awesome.

3 Winners will be chosen to get a box of V Fuel Endurance Gel. It’s awesome.

Here’s how the contest works:

Take a gander at that super sweet banner at the top of my page.  See how it has 5 Adventure Feet pictured?  Well, I am going to update that banner with 5 brand new feet- and if I choose yours- you will win a fabulous prize!

What are the prizes?

3 Winners will win their choice of a 24 Pack of the very best endurance gel on the market, V-Fuel.  You can have Peach Cobbler, Vanilla or Chocolate (my favorite!).

2 Winners will win a Nuun Hydration Prize Pack which will include a Nuun Hydration Water Bottle, one package (12 servings) of Nuun Hydration Lemon Lime (also my favorite) and a super sweet Nuun Hydration white vinyl sticker.

2 Winners will win One tube of Nuun, One Water Bottle, and One Sticker!

2 Winners will win One tube of Nuun, One Water Bottle, and One Sticker!

How do you enter?

FIRST you MUST “Like” Adventure Foot, Nuun Hydration and V Fuel Endurance on Facebook.  You’ll be glad that you did- ‘cause these are great companies making great products.

Then you upload a PHOTO of your Adventure Foot on my Adventure Foot Facebook page.  I don’t care what kind of footwear you chose- just get out there and snap a picture mid-adventure! I’m looking for some creativity here people, so have fun with it.  You may also include a sentence or two explaining what kind of adventure you’re having!

How are the winners chosen?

I’m going to put all of the photos which are entered in numerical order and then I’m going to use a random number picker to choose winners. DEADLINE FOR ENTRY IS MAY 15th!  (This is extended… so get your photos in!) People who had their entries in by April 22 will get additional numbers in the drawing so that it’s fair!

Adventure Feet

Adventure Feet Example

Fine Print?

You have to like all three pages on Facebook or your picture will not be eligible.  By entering a photo, you agree to let me put it on my blog and in my new header if you’re selected to be a winner.  I will not put your name on your photo or spam you or anything like that.  Also, I’ll do my best to contact you through Facebook but sometimes people have Facebook settings so tight that a “page” cannot send you a message.  This is my first contest so I’ll do my best to make it fair.  I’m going to say- void where prohibited and no purchase necessary to win.  Since I don’t sell anything, I believe that is enough legalize.  I’m thinking I will announce winners on or around April 30th.  Stay tuned for that.

Anything else?

YES!  You are already a winner because

V Fuel Endurance Gel is giving MY READERS ONLY a SPECIAL DISCOUNT!!!!!!!!!!!!  20% off all orders through the contest period by using the code AdventureFoot at checkout.       

 

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Look at all the yum in this photo!! I can't wait!

Look at all the yum in this photo!! I can’t wait!

Don’t you just love a good farmer’s market? Every summer I head down to Washington Park to peruse the fresh produce and marvel at it super bright colors endless variety and…

And I pretty much end up buying exactly the same thing every time I go.

This, for the record, is a Kohlrabi.  I don't even know if the Great River CSA grows these. But I'm buying some this year and I'm going to learn how to cook 'em.

This, for the record, is 4 Kohlrabi. I don’t even know if the Great River CSA grows these. But I’m buying some this year and I’m going to learn how to cook ’em.

What have I been thinking?!  I mean, we all have our favorites.  I love the homegrown broccoli that you can get in the spring, or the beefsteak tomatoes that start showing up midsummer, but I bet I’ve passed over a hundred delicious veggies (what the heck is a kohlrabi anyway?) because I didn’t know much about them or was afraid to try something new.

And “afraid to try something new” is just a silly way for a pretty-good-cook with an Adventure Foot to live.

Check the logo!

Check the logo!

So to bring ADVENTURE to my kitchen, I decided to sign up for the Great River CSA program this year!  For those unfamiliar, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and is basically a program in which you pre-purchase a share of a collection of farmers’ produce for the growing season.   This is great for the farmers because you’re paying for their expenses such as seeds, feed, labor, and supplies, and they have a guaranteed buyer for crops they produce.  It takes the guess work out of how much to grow and lets the farmers concentrate on doing their thing!

Adventure is delicious...

Adventure is delicious…

With Great River, that means that every single week from June through the beginning of October, I’ll be picking up a basket of delicious fresh veggies, fruits and herbs and taking it home to cook up something new.

I’m most excited about the variety in the basket.  What am I going to do when presented with a bunch of squash that I’ve never cooked or more cucumbers than could possibly be cut up for sub sandwiches?  I’m going to have to be creative!  And creativity, my friends, is the very heart of adventure.

If you’re interested in getting giant baskets of good food from Great River CSA, there is still time. There website lists all the details.  A full vegetable share costs $475 and a half share is $360. The CSA also has chicken and egg shares, as well as Thanksgiving Turkey Shares.  From their website:

For the vegetable share, each week you can expect a wide variety of in-season, delicious, fresh vegetables and herbs. One full share will contain enough to feed a family of 4 each week. The half share will contain enough to feed 2 people.

Ca-caw! Ca-caw!  (I think that's the sound a chicken makes...)

Ca-caw! Ca-caw! (I think that’s the sound a chicken makes…)

For the summer chicken share, every other week we deliver two chickens (about 3.5 pounds each), plucked, quickly frozen, and packaged in a plastic bag with the giblets, heart, and liver inside the chicken. $162 for the season.

For the summer egg share, every other week we deliver 2 dozen fresh brown eggs of various sizes. They get bigger as the season progresses. $52 for the season.

For the Thanksgiving turkey share, one fresh turkey ready for pick-up just in time for Thanksgiving. Prices vary based on size and type of turkey selected.

Shares are limited, so if you’re interested, sign up soon! 

… and if you have any good recipes for kohlrabi, you just let me know.

HEY READERS!!! SOMETHING IMPORTANT!!!!

Did you know that you can get all new blogs emailed to you when I post them? It’s true.  If you go to the side bar right under that super nice ad for Nuun Hydration (which you should totally click, by the way) is a little box that says “Follow Adventurefoot.”  When you write your email there, you will get blogs right to your inbox.  It’s super easy. And you can unsubscribe if you want later… but I hope you don’t!   If you’re currently viewing this on your phone, the box is not in the sidebar… it’s below this text somewhere at the bottom of the page.

HEY READERS!!! SOMETHING EXCITING!!!!

You have heard how much I love Nuun Hydration and VFuel Energy Gel— well my adventuresome friends, I’m going to be doing a BIG GIVEAWAY from my two favorite blog sponsors in April.  You can get a head start on WINNING if you go and like Nunn Hydration and VFuel on Facebook.  Official contest announcment will be made on April 1st… no foolin.  😉

And One More Thing…

So, WordPress- the site which I host my blog on- has started adding a lot of stupid ads and videos at the bottom of my blog.  That makes me sad because I already pay enough for hosting and stuffs and now they want $60 a year to take the stupid ads off my site.   I might do that at some point, but right now any extra money is going toward race entries!  So anyway, I just wanted to say I’m sorry about the ads.  IF you see ads at the sidebar of my blog (like my Nuun one or VFuel or any of the blogs that I list)  I PROMISE these are not scary links. You just click on them and they go to exactly the website I said they went to.  No tracking or anything icky like that.

Okay, one more, more thing…

Exciting news: I’ve been elected President of the Quincy Bicycle Club!  More on this later… I just wanted to share.

thanks-for-reading

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This is what spring looks like to me!

This is what spring looks like to me!

Hey there, Adventurers!

Can you feel it?  Spring is in the air and it’s time to ramp up the activity level!   I’m just so excited I can’t hardly take it!

Personally, I’m gearing up for TWO half marathons in the next 3 weeks.   I’m going to Run The Bluegrass in Lexington, Kentucky on Easter weekend and then the Allerton Trails Half Marathon on April 6th in Monticello, IL (near Decatur, IL).  If you’re looking for some last minute running plans, you can still get in on either of these events.  The Allerton event is especially nice because, even at this late date, sign up is only $40 for the half marathon or $30 for the 10K.

CLICK ME!! :)

CLICK ME!! 🙂

How am I going to get through 2 half marathons on back-to-back weekends, you ask?  With help from my Adventure Foot Sponsors, of course!  You have probably heard the news by now that I’m an ambassador for Nuun Hydration, but I’m also adding a second sponsor to the blog roll this week!  I’m pleased to bring you the very best energy gel on the market:  V-Fuel Endurance Gel!

CLICK ME, TOO! :)

CLICK ME, TOO! 🙂

V-Fuel is a Colorado based company, and they’re flipping the script on regular old Gu and have created a true endurance fuel that tastes good and keeps my tummy feeling good too (regular users of Gu will catch my meaning).  I’m going to write a full product review on both Nuun and V-Fuel in the near future- so stay tuned.  Even better: I’m planning a CONTEST for April where you could win product or gear from my sponsors! Woo hoo!

Heartland Road Runners Club is in full swing right now, but there’s still plenty of time to start running for Spring.   Come check out “Road Runners After Dark” if you want a taste of how lovely running with the club can be.  RRAD meets at a restaurant every Tuesday night for a fun, social run.  No runner left behind, we promise!  For the month of March, we will be meeting at Kelly’s Restaurant in Quincy.  Running starts promptly at 6:15.

I simply do not get tired of this photo of Jackie Joyner Kersee  handing me a medal at Bridge The Gap.

I simply do not get tired of this photo of Jackie Joyner Kersee handing me a medal at Bridge The Gap.

And as long as you’re running, you should plan on signing up for Quincy’s biggest running event, Bridge the Gap to Health Race!  This race, now in its 13th year, supports the MedAssist program.  MedAssist helps low income patients afford prescription medications.  The race will once again be marshaled by Olympic Gold Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee.  If you’ve never been handed a medal by an Olympian, now is your chance!  There are a ton of options for this race including a walking or running half marathon, walking or running 10K and a running 5K.  There will also be a 5K Leisure Walk which starts an hour after the other races start.

Best day ever?!! Greg Davis of Madison Davis Bicycles and I pose by my brand new Trek Madone!

Best day ever?!! Greg Davis of Madison Davis Bicycles and I pose by my brand new Trek Madone!

And, saving perhaps the best for last: It’s BIKE SEASON!  I’m so darned excited about starting to really rack up the miles on my bike, I can’t even contain myself.  If you’re new to cycling, I suggest you try out the Quincy Bike Club’s Thursday night group.  This group will start meeting on April 4th.  The park which it meets at is TBD- I’ll keep you posted.   Once again this year I’ll be leading “Wednesday Night B Group.”  B-Group for 2013 will B a medium to medium/fast paced ride and I’m going to work in some training exercises  for all of us.  Maybe one week we’ll work out on some hill repeats. Maybe one week  we’ll do some flat sprints.  I don’t know. We’re going to be better cyclists for our work on Wednesday B Group!   Wednesday A and B group (A Group= really fast and experienced riders) will both leave from Madison Park Shelter House at 6 pm.  The first B group will meet April 3.  I will bring Easter candy as a bribe.

OH! And don’t forget to attend the Grand Opening celebration at Madison Davis Bicycles.  It’s April 11th at 6 pm.  The new shop is absolutely gorgeous and Greg is planning some great sales to kick it off.  You won’t want to miss it.

And Adventure Foot Readers- don’t miss this great spring sale from my blog sponsor, Nuun Hydration! $18 for a 4 pack of Nuun plus a water bottle (most of the 4 packs are normally $24 without a water bottle, so yeah. Stock up now.). It’s a great deal!

Click here for an awesome sale on Nuun!

Click here for an awesome sale on Nuun!

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Hale-Bopp.  Mmm Bop.  See the difference?

Hale-Bopp. Mmm Bop. See the difference?

As regular readers will know, I’ve often got my eye to the sky for backyard astronomy. In fact, my most popular post of last year was my eloquently titled,  “The Adventure foot Guide to Not Burning Up Your Retinas or Going Blind While Simultaneously Viewing the June 2012 Transit of Venus Across the Sun for the Last Time Until 2117…or How to Make a Pinhole Viewer.”  That post, not to brag, (but totally to brag), was even ranked #1 on Google’s search results for 3 days.  So cool.

But ya know, watching the Transit of Venus or some of the other cool celestial goings-on sometimes takes a lot of preparation or complicated directions on how to view the event.

Not so with the Comets of 2013!

There are 2 great opportunities to view comets this year and one is TONIGHT (or tomorrow… or anytime through the 18th) All you need to do is:

  1. Follow your Adventure Foot out the door just a little while after sunset. 30 minutes should do.

  2. Locate the crescent moon low on the horizon (If you’ve got a lot of obstructions like trees and houses, you might need to find another location. It’s low in the sky.)

  3. Look at the comet right next to it.  It’s the bright red-ish star…with a tail.

Ta-da!  That little 2.5 mile wide hunk of rock and ice is named Comet Pan-Starrs.  It was discovered in June 2011 by a team of astronomers using the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (or PAN-STARRS), a telescope in Hawaii. Personally, I would have named her Dottie.

Artist's (my) approximation of comets. They casually cruise the solar system with boom boxes playing Monster Ballads from the 80's.  I bet you didn't know that.

Artist’s (my) approximation of comets. They casually cruise the solar system wearing aviators and carrying boom boxes playing Monster Ballads from the 80’s. I bet you didn’t know that.

Pan-Starrs is on a lazy 100-million year orbit around the sun and is the brightest comet to whiz by earth since Hale-Bopp in 1998 (astute readers will also remember this as the “Mmm Bop” era, but that’s unrelated.)

On the off chance that any of my South American friends might be reading today- there’s another comet visible in your sky tonight called Comet Lemmon, hereafter known as Comet Liz Lemmon.

Viewing guide. Credit Science@nasa from space.com

Viewing guide. Credit Science@nasa from space.com

If cloudy skies thwart your comet viewing this week, do not fret!  Another hunk of icy space junk will be blazing through the sky in November.  It’s called Comet ISON and it’s making a close pass by the sun in November.  This solar pass is either going to cause it to melt slowly and have a huge and spectacularly long tail… or possibly cause it to melt real quickly and be a bust.  Guess we’ll just have to see.

By the by- did you know that comets and asteroids are both space debris from the earliest part of our solar system?  They were formed around 4.5 billion years ago out of the left-over stuff floating about.  The main difference between the two is their composition: comets are mostly ice, frozen gas and some rocky material, while asteroids are metal, rock and minerals.  The ice/frozen gas on a comet are what melts and creates its distinctive tail.

Please also check out one of my favorite astronomy related blogs, also from last year.  Click here! 

AND if you’re a Heartland Road Runner (or if you want to be a Heartland Road Runner): Come to Kelly’s at 6:15 tonight, run 3 miles with me, then I’ll point out the comet for you!

thanks-for-reading

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Hey Adventure Foot readers! I’ve got some fun news!

Nuun Hydration before my long run! These flavors are grape, fruit punch and tropical!

Nuun Hydration before my long run! These flavors are grape, fruit punch and tropical!

Adventure Foot is now an ambassador for Nuun Hydration!  I was introduced to Nuun out on RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa.)  It was one of those days over 100 deg. and over 80 miles, and another rider noticed that I looked exhausted and that I’d sweat so much that there was salt dried in my jersey and my shorts.  He asked me if I was staying hydrated and I replied, “Yeah, I’ve had like 8 bottles of water!”   And he said, “Well you can’t just drink water! You need electrolytes too!” and he popped a Tri-Berry Nuun in my water bottle.  Not much later, my headache had subsided, I felt much better, and I became a real believer in Nuun!  Anyway, I’m sure I’ll tell you much more about Nuun over the next year of my ambassadorship, so stay tuned for more!  I’m also planning a give-away, so now would be a good time to “like” Adventure Foot on Facebook, and while you’re at it, like Nuun Hydration too!

Now, on to adventure!

Cross country skiing at Wakonda State Park

Cross country skiing at Wakonda State Park

It’s funny to have just told you about one of the hottest days I can ever remember, seeing as the last few weeks around central Illinois have been so cold and snowy!   But like any good adventurer, I like to follow my foot no matter what the weather.

Wyconda State Park

Wyconda State Park

Quincy took on a pretty deep coat of the white stuff in two big snow events in the last couple of weeks, and it seemed like it was the perfect time to try out some winter sports that we normally don’t have enough snowpack to support: snow shoeing and cross country skiing! The only problem?  I don’t have gear.  Luckily though, my very sweet friend from the bike club, Deb Esnault, had both and was willing to let me borrow them.  Also lucky for me: we wear the same shoe size!

I headed over to Wakconda, our nearest Missouri State Park.  Wakonda State Park in LaGrange, MO is reclaimed land which was once a series of quarry pits.  Now, the quarries are 6 deep lakes surrounded by nicely groomed hiking trails, camp grounds, and swimming beaches.   I’ve spent plenty of time hiking and kayaking there in the summer, but I’d never been over in the winter before.

Adventure Foot Cross Country Skis!

Adventure Foot Cross Country Skis!

My friend Karen and I were going to cross country ski together, but our schedules didn’t work out, so my Wakonda trip turned into a solo expedition.  I pulled up at the park and unloaded my gear.  Save one man setting up to ice fish, I had the entire 777 acre park to myself.

I decided that I was going to cross country ski the 3.5 mile trail around Agate Lake first.  I’d run on that trail before, so I knew it was wide and not too hilly.  Since this was the first time I’d tried cross country skiing, I spent a little time at the beginning of the trail trying out the skis and learning what they were capable of.  The first big difference I found between these and downhill skis is that it was surprisingly easy to move uphill.  That’s primarily due to the way the boots are attached at the toe but not at the heel.  The heel detachment allows for a more natural foot motion when walking uphill.

581867_616430828371818_2096944925_nThe second difference I found was that though these skis were much better at making it up hill, they were much worse at making it downhill!  The shape makes turning the skis difficult and their textured surface doesn’t slide as well down a hill.  That’s okay though, because cross country skiers are often bringing gear and things along, so controlled slow descents are probably preferable.

Once I had the hang of things I set out around the lake.  It wasn’t long until I’d found a good rhythm and was scooting right along the trail.  The day was gray, but the trail was still very beautiful.  I watched a few immature bald eagles dive in the open water at the center of the lake and the only tracks in the snow besides mine belonged to coyotes.

About half way around the lake there is a camp shelter, which I used to prop up my camera for a quick blog pictures. Though cross country skis allow you to stay on top of the snow, it’s still a big cardio workout, and I had really worked up a sweat!  On a longer trail in rougher conditions, I might have really been in trouble since I was so wet.  It would be bad news to have bad weather or cold wind set in if I were too far from shelter.  Anyway, since this wasn’t an episode of Dual Survival…

The beautiful trail around Agate lake.

The beautiful trail around Agate lake.

I really enjoyed the rest of my time on the trail.   The hills the lake offered were gentle and rolling, and just enough of a challenge to keep it interesting.  I liked how quiet the skis were on the undisturbed snow, and it was nice to have some time by myself.  I was back at my car in no time at all.

Showing off my Adventure Foot by the start of the Jasper Lake trail!

Showing off my Adventure Foot by the start of the Jasper Lake trail!

Like I said before, we have so few opportunities to play in deep snow around here, so even though I was pretty worn out from the skis, I decided I was still going to snow shoe for a little while.   I switched gear and headed off towards the smaller Jasper Lake trail.

Snow shoeing was much slower going than the skis, but it had its own charms.  Snow shoes have large flat bottoms called “decks” for staying on top of the snow, but also have metal cleats called “crampons” on the bottom for gaining purchase on slippery rocks or ice. The bindings fit around a regular pair of hiking or snow boots and are attached to the deck by bolts that rotate and let your feet move in a walking motion.

A frozen corner of Jasper Lake

A frozen corner of Jasper Lake

I used the snow shoes to explore the lake shore and generally poke around a little.  The park looks so much different in the winter and a little sunlight showing through the clouds added a lovely sparkle to the snow.  The snow shoes were fun to try and really did save energy when compared to just trudging through deep snow.

Wyconda State Park Map (Click to view larger)

Wyconda State Park Map (Click to view larger)

I really enjoyed my solo trip to Wakonda and am looking forward to visiting this nearby park for more adventures, no matter what the weather.  I hope you find ways to follow your Adventure Foot this spring! There’s so much to explore!

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