Tall Tales Tuesday: The Joys and Woes of Sleeper Busses

The “sleeper bus”, as expats affectionately call it, is a common way to travel around Southeast Asia, and Vietnam especially. Rob and I took a few of these busses during our travels around Ho Chi Minh City. Aside from my crippling anxiety before boarding for one in particular 10-hour ride, the busses are comfortable, convenient, and cheap.

As with most things, for every joy the sleeper bus offers, there is also a woe.

Joy 1: You get your own space.

Our own space

Woe 1: If you’re larger than the average Vietnamese, you will not fit.

A little too tight if you're 6'5''

Joy 2: They give you a super comfy blanket.

Cozy Blanket

Woe 2: There is no telling when it was last washed.

Comfy blanket waiting for the next person

Joy 3: You get where you want to be.

Woe 3: They only stop once and there are no working bathrooms on the bus.

Sleeper bus aisle

Joy 4: You can get pretty comfortable in those recliner chairs.

Pretty comfortable

Woe 4: Some people get a little too comfortable.

A little too comfortable

Joy 5: You can watch the country side roll by at a brisk pace (the drivers are not slow).

Country side rolling by

Woe 5: You are freezing the entire time since the AC is blasted.

Blasting the AC

Joy 6: They have sweet, techno-club inspired lights on for night rides.

Techno lighting

Woe 6: They play techno-club music on full blast during night rides.

Regardless of the woes, a $6 dollar ride to a beach town just can’t be beat.

RQ: Would you take a sleeper bus? Have you ever been on something like it?

Skinny Blueberry Oat Scones

For whatever reason, I find scones to be absolutely delicious. Not being much of a cake, or baked goods person, scones are dense, offer more fruit, and can be eaten more slowly than, say, a cupcake.

Skinny Blueberry Oat Scones

Unfortunately, I can’t rationalize the typical scone recipe of white flour, butter, and sugar. So, before leaving for Ireland, I got to experimenting in the kitchen and developed these healthified scones that use oat flour, yogurt, and honey. What developed was Skinny Blueberry Oat Scones.

Blueberry heaven

Since Rob is not a blueberry fan, I made half with blueberries and half with raspberries. Both versions came out delicious. I also added a dash of sugar to the second half of the baking time for little extra sweetness.

Skinny Blueberry and Raspberry Oat Scones

Store them in the fridge up to a week and nuke them for about 30 seconds. Add a tiny bit of butter to melt on top if you feel so inclined. Warm scones that don’t trash all the hard work? Win.

Blueberry Oat Scones

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Oat Flour
  • 1 cup Blueberries
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • 2 tablespoons Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Milk

Instructions

  1. Combine oat flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Whisk together egg, lemon juice, honey, yogurt, and milk.
  3. Stir wet and dry ingredients together.
  4. Fold in blueberries until combined.
  5. Scoop dollops of mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until tops are slightly golden brown.
  7. Serve warm and with a spot of butter.
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I blend regular old fashioned oats in my food processor for about 3 minutes to make my own oat flour.

RQ: What is your favorite baked good? Are you a fan of “healthified” versions of your favorite dishes?

Off to Ireland!

Rob and I are packing our bags as we speak! (Actually, Rob is playing golf and I am blogging, but we do still need to pack.) Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right?

There is something special about celebrating our honeymoon a little bit after our wedding (like 8 months after). It’s like we get to relive the joy and giddiness of committing our lives to each other all over again.

On our wedding day

Our tickets are printed, our hotels are booked, and I am just praying we don’t have a flight situation like our New York trip.

While we’re off in Ireland, I have a few posts schedule to keep this little internet space of mine alive and well. Some workouts, some recipes, some tall tales, a guest post. It’ll run the gamut!

I’ll be back stalking all your blogs in a few weeks!

RQ: Are you a pre-blogger/schedule post-er? 

Timed Countdown Workout

With a trip to Ireland and London happening on Saturday, I’ve spent the past two days at a very empty school tackling my to do list. Since I am missing a few days of work, and arriving back the night before the students start, I want to make sure most things are ready for week one.

To Do List

For whatever reason, I wasn’t expecting my room to look like this when I walked in on Wednesday. Randomly, there was a lot more furniture in this pile then there was when I left the room in the summer. Thankfully, the janitors are super sweet and helped me move some stuff out.

My room when I walked in

In other news, I’ve been crushing on AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) workouts for the past month or so and wanted to share this Timed Countdown Workout made in that style. AMRAP workouts provide enough entertainment and switching it up so I don’t feel bored, or like any one muscle group is being overworked.

Timed Countdown

Start the timer for 5 minutes and try to complete AMRAP for those three moves as you can. Take a short rest, then do the moves for 4 minutes. Continue the pattern until you hit the 1-minute plank. If you want to turbo it up, add the same minutes of cardio that you just finished in-between each set.

Here are a few links to videos of the moves if need them:

Off to cross off more things from my list!

RQ: Teachers – How long does it take you to prepare your classroom at the start of the school year? Non-Teachers – Do you ever reorganize your desk/space at work?

The Do’s and Don’ts of Kayaking the South Platte River

On Tuesday, Rob and I finally kayaked the South Platte River. We had been talking about doing it for quite some time and both had the day free to make it happen. Since the river is right by our house, and we run/bike/walk along it all the time, we knew what the rapids looked like and figured they would be a breeze.

Path and River

After 15.5 miles, 5 hours, and some shake-like-a-leaf inducing rapids that we don’t see on our walks/runs/and bikes, our “easy float” turned into a “thank goodness we made it”. If you have an inkling to do the same thing, here are my do’s and don’ts.

DO:

  • Rent your gear from Confluence Kayaks. The sales people were super friendly and for $40 each, they outfitted us with blowup kayaks, paddles, helmets, life vests, and straps.

Strapping everything down

  • Put in at C-470 along the South Platte Reservoir Access Road. You will be with lots of other tubers and a good community feel.
  • Chat with those who ask questions. It’s fun to share stories and to find out where other people are taking out.
  • Hit the first rapid that is about 20 feet from where you put in. It starts the trip off with a rush and gets you used to the water temperature!

The first rapid

  • Scope out the rapids you’re not sure of. We pulled over to scan a few before we went down them.
  • Wear Tevas, or some other hard bottomed shoe that can get wet and make walking through the water not gross.

Teva feet (Rob's, not mine)

  • Pack a cooler of snacks. Jerky, protein bars, apples. It’s a long journey and you will need the fuel.
  • Go with your best friend. Seriously, it’s a great story that you’ll want to share.
  • Drink a big old beer when you finish.

DON’T:

  • Paddle right up to a 12-foot waterfall rapid and then decide it’s too steep, too fast, too narrow, and the water’s too high to attempt it. Don’t do this especially when the portage trail is on the other side of the river from where you are.
Not the waterfall in question, it was about triple this size!

Not the waterfall in question, it was about triple this size!

  • Step on a rock to exit your boat if you’re unsure of how stable that rock is.
  • Get a late start and have to paddle through rain and hail.

Rob coming out of the hole

  • Paddle all the way to Confluence Park unless you know how long it is. I recommend taking out near Target. The rest of the route is rather industrial.
  • Forget to take the keys to the second vehicle parked at the take out point. If you do, you might have to spend the next two hours soaking wet while you light rail-walk-bike-and caravan to get all the cars back home.

Scoping out the next few rapids

  • Forget to laugh and thank your lucky stars that you made it safely through!

RQ: Have you ever white water rafted/kayaked/canoed? 

Chase the Moon Relay Race Recap

On Friday night to Saturday morning, an amazing group of bloggers and I competed in the Chase the Moon Endurance Run.

Logan, Me, Amy, Cassie, Aimee

Logan, Me, Amy, Cassie, Aimee

If you’ve been following the blog for the last month, then you know how excited/nervous I was for this race. The fact that it was 12 hours overnight, and 10 miles (which is a lot for me right now), was enough to have me worried. I’m happy to report that it was a fun night with no major injuries (though a few falls).

Here is how our night shaped up:

6:00 pm – Be the last one to arrive (silly traffic) and help get our area set up. All competitors brought tents, or some other form of shelter, to put up in the field right by the start/finish line. I loved that it was a big community feel and people were ready for the long, 12-hour haul.

Everyone being set up

7:00 pm – The gun goes off! Cassie was our first runner and she beasted through the 10-mile, trail only, hilly course at an 8:15 pace. While she was running, the rest of us had some dinner and munchies while chatting in our camp chairs. The lead runner returned within one hour!

Cassie is off!

8:30 pm – Cassie returns and hands off to Aimee. We ask Cassie a ton of questions about the course to get a better picture of what the rest of us are up against. The sun sets and we are able to watch the headlamps of the runners descend down the finish hill as they come in from their second loops.

Cassie hands off to Aimee

10:00 pm – Aimee passes off to Logan. Since it was dark by this point, it was hard to tell which runner was ours. Aimee was passing right by us while we were looking down the course trying to pick out her red glow in the dark necklace.

Aimee (red) hands off to Logan (blue)

By now, Cassie and Aimee have set our team up with a solid lead over the other 5-person all female teams and we’re starting to feel confident in our chances of possibly winning our division!

11:40 pm – Logan cruises in, yelling “Cereal Killers!” and transfers to Amy. By now, we were all feeling pretty tired and sluggish. I wasn’t really sure how to fuel for a late race and if sleeping just a few minutes would help or hurt the upcoming 10 miles. To keep us entertained, we played glow in the dark horseshoes (we were all terrible) from our camp chairs with Amy’s husband and friend who came to cheer her on.

The moon tried, it really did

1:45 am – Amy hands off to me! I was worried about Amy since her time was a bit longer than she had predicted. When she came into the transfer area, she said she had fallen three times along the course and warned me to be careful out there. So glad she was ok with no major injuries!

2:30 am – Running along the course, trying to keep my mile splits in the 9-10 minute range (I failed this in the last 2-3 miles), and feeling good. It was dark, the moon barely out behind the clouds, and glow sticks lined the course. I was concerned about not having music for such a long run, but it was so peaceful out there that I didn’t miss having a soundtrack. Add in the fact that I only met other runners every 2-3 minutes, and it was all very zen-like.

Moon over the city lights

There were gorgeous views of the city lights for a good portion of the run, but with only a headlamp to light the trail, I wasn’t able to look around too much. The hardest part of the trail was the ending 3 miles when little mini dip hills kept popping up to ruin my stride and my body and mind were so confused about what it was doing so late/early.

3:30 am – I hand off to Cassie for her second lap. Cassie was a huge asset to our team with her speedy times and running 20 miles for us! While she ran, I changed into some dry clothes (it was so humid) and the rest of us crashed for about 20-30 minutes.

The first leg off to the hills

An earlier shot of the start of the course

5:00 am – Cassie rolls on in to the finish looking strong, but the rest of us are exhausted. The lack of sleep, confusion on how to fuel, and the fact that the race directors didn’t shorten the course to a 10k (like they said they would), made it easy for us to call it a day.

5:30 am – Along with some other runners who called it quits, we pack up our camp area, eat a few pancakes, and watch the sun come up.

Sunrise

6:45 am – With the race ending at 7, we sit by the finish and watch the final runners come in. At this point, I was starting to feel pretty tired. The sitting, the adrenaline wearing off, the 10 miles behind me.

7:30 am – Awards begin at a park just across the football field. Our team placed first nin our division covering 60 miles in 10 hours! The overall winner, a female, ran something like 73 miles over the course of the night! What cracked me up was that each solo winner (top 3) they called up was limping worse than the person before them. It was somehow comforting to know that these amazing runners were human.

Awards and limping runners

8:30 am – Arrive back home and feel really fortunate that I had a short drive (the other ladies had 1-2 hour hauls!). After saying hello to Rob and showering, I proceed to sleep like the dead for 3 hours.

Thank you Energems!

Energems helped keep me awake. More on them later!

Overall, I thought the race was really well done. The organizers were friendly, there was plenty of food, and volunteers were at the aid stations ALL night! The one problem I have is I want to see how far I can make it on my own in a 12 hour night race. This could be a problem.

*The winner of the Camelbak Relay Giveaway is Rebecca! I emailed earlier today to let her know!

Camelbak Giveaway

RQ: Would you ever compete in an endurance race? Why or why not? When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter?

Off to Chase the Moon!

The work trip to Sacramento was an absolute blur and I have a ton to take care of in the next week before heading off to Ireland.

SItting in training

But before that happens, tonight I am off to Chase the Moon with a relay of bloggers called Team Cereal Killers! I will pop in again tomorrow to let you know how it went. I am fully expecting to be completely exhausted by the time 7am (the end of the race) rolls around. Oh well, sleep is for the weak.

RQ: How was your week?

5 for 5 Plyos Workouts

*Don’t forget to enter the Camelbak Relay Giveaway I have going on! It closes on July 10!

While I’m off in Sacramento doing teacher-y things, I wanted to share a do-anywhere workout with you all.

I’ve professed my love for plyometric style workouts before, and I am more than happy to do it again. Since I’m away from home and don’t know what the gym/running area situation will be, plyo workouts are a great alternative to have in my back pocket.

This 5 for 5 Plyo workout is fast, gives a high calorie burn, and requires no equipment. Excellent for travel!

5 for 5 Plyos

Here are some video links to the moves should you need them:

RQ: What is your go-to travel workout? Are you a plyo fan?

Tall Tales Tuesday: Market Scenes

A month or so ago, I shared a video of two Korean women enjoying a working lunch at the fish market, but I have yet to share with you scenes from the Vietnamese markets.

Market set up

Before arriving in Vietnam, Rob and I had no idea what our food shopping situation would be. I have to say, I am very thankful that we found a more western market to get our regular groceries, but the locals all shopped at the outdoor markets.

Morning at the market

The majority of the stands are set up right outside the sellers homes. Technically, they are working from home, as are most Vietnamese business. The lower part is the business, and everyone lives upstairs.

Set up outside the front door

It’s easy to tell which vendors are wealthy by how much they have to sell. Some opt to sit in one spot and wait for people to walk by,

Banana Seller

While others keep their wares on a cart and move among the shoppers in a “convenient” store type fashion.

Traveling market seller

Meat is a tricky thing at the markets. Since the markets pop up, and are busiest, in the mornings, if you arrive in the afternoon there is no guarantee that your meat will be fresh.

Market Butcher- Vietnam

With fermented fish being a best seller at the indoor markets, the smells are quite potent.

DSC07785

I will tell you that in all our market exploration in various towns around Vietnam and the rest of Southeast Asia, we only ever saw one dog prepared for sale. Dog meat is considered taboo in the culture and you have to look very hard to find it. The dog we saw was in a very remote village in northern Vietnam.

Wet market

One of our main issues with shopping in the markets was the height of the canopies. Most of the canopies capped out at 5 feet, making it very likely that Rob and I were ducking and dodging to avoid hitting our heads or poking our eyes out.

Duck!

I took a quick video while we were exploring a market in Hoi An. When I say, “We know better,” I mean that it walking through the local market at mid-morning can be a crowded, noisy, and pushy experience.

RQ: Would you shop in the outdoor market? What is the weirdest thing you have seen in a market? 

Call for Guest Posts!

Tonight, I am flying off to Sacramento for a teacher’s professional development trip with a bunch of my coworkers. After my last flying experience, I am really not looking forward to the late flight and layover. Fingers crossed this one will go better than the last!

With my honeymoon and sister’s wedding coming up, I am going to be gone for two full weeks! I’ve been working hard to pre-blog in order to keep Wrecking Routine alive and well while I am gone, but I figured this was the perfect time for some guest posts!

Call for guest posts!

If you’d like to write a guest post, shoot me an email at wreckingroutine at gmail dot com and we will work out the details. If you need some brainstorming ideas, here are a few: (or send me your own idea!)

Guest post - wreck your routine

This can be anything! How do you change up your routine so you don’t get stuck in a rut? It doesn’t have to fitness related at all. To see some examples, check here.

Guest post - non-scale victory

Working hard on your fitness, eating better, or something else important to you? Share it! What made this something you wanted to work on? What made you successful?

Guest post - tall tales

Share a travel story even if you’re short! Stay-cations absolutely count; something awesome in your town you want people to know about, experience, and/or visit? Now’s the time to let people know about it! Check here for some Tall Tale examples.

To be sure that I can get your post scheduled to go up, it will have to be completed and sent to me by Thursday, July 17. Just want to give you a heads up on that!

RQ: Have you ever written a guest post? Have you ever hosted a guest post?