Tri The Kenai | I’m Officially a Triathlete!

Sunday, September 7th 2014 I TRIed (get the pun?) a new athletic activity: a Sprint Triathlon.

The girls after finishing!

The girls after finishing!

A Sprint Triathlon is a 500 meter swim, a 10 mile bike ride, and a 5k run, all in a row.  Continue reading

weekend: Labor Day edition!

Howdy! I hope you had a relaxing Labor Day weekend filled with your last chance to wear white pants until next Memorial Day! (Don’t worry – I never follow the no white after labor day rule either)

Up here, we had an exciting holiday break!

I started off the weekend by finishing up my Alaska Real Estate Pre-Licensing Class (yay!)

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Bike Wrecks and Road Safety

I finally had my first bike wreck.

I’ll start off by letting you know that I am not injured, aside from a scraped knee and sore shoulder.
Yesterday afternoon, I was on a training ride for my triathlon coming up in September, and decided to ride the bike routes in the neighborhoods near my house instead of the paved trails I usually use. The bike portion of my triathlon is on road, so I figured I needed to practice on actual roads so I could get used to being aware of everything around me.

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1 Year

Today is my one-year anniversary in pharmaceutical sales.

I have learned patience.
I have learned the roads of Alaska.
I have learned where the good restaurants are in the major cities and who does the best lunch catering.
I have learned how to properly estimate the food needed for groups of 4-50.
I have also developed a sense of paranoia that everyone I know and love will get diabetes (put down the candy bars people! Artificial sugar is the enemy!)

It’s been a great opportunity to explore the state I love and now call home, and a chance to feel like I make a difference in providers helping their patients.

I just wanted to recognize today. I can’t believe we’ve been in Alaska for this long, it has really flown by. Another winter is approaching (as the chilly and rainy today reminds me) and soon we will be swapping our bikes and shorts for skis and snow pants. I can’t wait!

The Stew’s Go To China: Climbing the Great Wall

Back in April, Matt and I went on a 10 day trip to China to celebrate our two year wedding anniversary. I’ve been a bit behind with posts, but I finally freed my photos from our desktop computer that Matt has commandeered for one of his projects! This means you guys can get excited about hearing about our Eastern adventure (yay!)

On day 4 of our journey, we finally got to experience the thing China is probably most famous for: The Great Wall!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Great Wall of China is so massive, it can actually be seen from space. It’s chinese name is Chang Cheng. There are several different passes that you can go to to climb the wall – we went to the Juyong Pass.

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At the Juyong Pass, there are several towers to climb to. It’s said that if you make it to the 13th tower, you are considered a hero. Wouldn’t you know it, Matt and I are now heroes!

Matt even bought me a medal and we got a personalized sign (so touristy, I knowww) boasting it as well.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There were two things that really blew me away about the Great Wall: first, the amount of tourist stores. There was even one halfway up the Great Wall – talk about a terrible commute!

My medal that Matt bought me from the shop HALFWAY UP THE GREAT WALL!

Secondly, the Chinese people are all about littering. There were trashcans strategically placed all along the wall, and then at the top of the 13th tower I saw a guy throw an empty coke bottle off the side into the ground. It really blew me away by how much litter was on and around the wall – so sad for something that is so historic and special.

Matt and I completed the hike to the 13th tower and back in less than 90 minutes. It was a really hot day and a really steep hike: my calves were killing me afterwards!

As I’ve mentioned before, Matt and I had a weird kind of celebrity status when we were in China. A lot of the Chinese countrymen have never seen white people before, so when they take their trips into the big cities, they got really excited and would take photos of us and with us. So of course, it wouldn’t have been a complete trip if I wasn’t asked to take photos at the top of the 13th tower when I’m sweaty and disgusting.

legions of fans

legions of fans

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The Great Wall was definitely one of the key highlights of our trip: we were so excited to see it and enjoyed every minute of it. I wish we had more time at the wall to explore other parts of it, but I think we saw everything good from where we were.

Below are some of my choice photos from the hike: enjoy!

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look at how steep these steps were!

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Our tour group members who made it to the top of the 13th tower!

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A ticket to climb

 

I’m so behind

Updating my blog in the summer is hard! Between out of town guests, work travel, and outdoorsy-ness, I’ve gotten way behind on sharing all of our Alaskan adventures with you!

With the summer beginning to wind down, I fully plan on updating you guys about everything, including:
The rest of our china trip
My trip in Georgia
Matt’s family visit
Byron & Jessica’s visit
All the biking and hiking we’ve been doing
Prep for my first triathlon in September
And our second half marathon August 17th!

Phew!

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Currently I am in hot and humid Orlando for a work National Sales Meeting. I don’t really have anything to say about it except that it was a super long flight and we have super long days of work.

The Stew’s Drink Brews: Arkose Brewing Co

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One new thing we’re doing here at EmilyinAlaska is sharing our love of beer. Matt & I have long been beer fans (although I would by no means say we have a sophisticated pallet). We just enjoy trying different beers, learning what we like and don’t like, and pretending like we’re being super classy when all we’re doing is just getting buzzed. (Sorry Mom & Dad!)

So, we have decided to partake on an adventure to go to all of the breweries in Alaska (22 of them) and highlight our favorite beers. You can follow the journey hereFirst up: Arkose Brewing Co in beautiful Palmer, AK.

The Arkose Brewing Co. gets its name from the breathtakingly beautiful view of the Arkose ridge from the brewery doors. It’s a very small microbrewery, but the owner has such passion about what he’s doing, it was immensely enjoyable.IMG_8160

To try the beers, we did a flight where we got to choose 4 beers to sample. I went with everything minus the Boxcar Porter and the High Ridge Double Red. (I’m not a big fan of dark beers.)IMG_8161

The tasting room is small, but filled with good beer and cool art. One awesome thing about this brewery is that they have a monthly event called “Beer Meets Canvas” where you pay $30 and show up to drink a few beers and learn how to paint something really cool. Back in the Carolina’s we had something similar called Wine & Design.

Since Palmer is a small community, the owner and his wife (the artist who teaches the class) said it is a great way to get involved in the community and offer different activities.
IMG_8162We were also able to swing a tour of the facility. We go on a lot of brewery tours (mainly for the chance to drink free or cheap beer), so we understand the basic concepts of the brewing process. This was actually one of the better tours we’d been on: the guy was so excited to share his stuff and we learned some new information about the sump pumps they use to move the wort around. I was super into it!

When it was time to go, I felt like we had become friends with the owner; enough to the point where I tried to high-five him when he went for a handshake. Well, I guess it wouldn’t be a social outing if I didn’t embarrass myself some how. I would go back again and bring friends. It’s right behind the State Fairgrounds, so I am hoping to be there again shortly when the fair starts next month!

The Stats:

Website: ArkoseBrewery.com
A
ddress: 650 E. Steel Loop, Palmer, AK 99645
Phone: 907-746-2337
Hours: Tues – Fri 2-8pm, Sat 12-8pm

Brewery Recommends: Winter Ale and Bitter Earth ESB
Emily Recommends: Green Chair Kolsch
Matt Recommends: Bitter Earth ESB

 

A Truly Alaskan Adventure: Dip Netting

Yesterday was a dream Alaskan day. I got to experience something I never imagined or considered I’d be doing. But sure enough, there I was at the mouth of the Kenai River out to my waist in rolling waves with a 5 ft. wide net at the end of a 10 ft. pole catching salmon as they tried to swim upstream.

That's me in the blue

That’s me in the blue

Dip netting is this super cool way of fishing where you essentially stand with a giant net waiting for fish to swim into it. I really loved it because it is purely luck. It takes no skill, and you don’t have to worry about being quiet or making too much movement. It is also an extremely Alaskan thing: only permanent residents who have lived here for at least a year can do it. You also are required to get a permit, and there is a limit on the number of fish you can catch. Since Matt & I share a house hold, we are allowed to catch up to 35 salmon (25 for the head of house, 10 for each additional household member) and 10 flounder. Since Stephanie lives by herself, she could only catch up to 25 salmon and 10 halibut. Fish & Game is super strict about these rules. If they find out you were fishing without being a permanent 1 yr+ resident, they come to your house and fine you. If you don’t have your fishing license, permit, and government issued ID on you while fishing and they ask you for it, they fine you. Because Matt & I shared a permit, we could not both dip net at the same time, we had to alternate to share the permit.

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DIY: Bottle Opener and Lid Catcher

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Last time I was in Juneau, I picked up a really cool bottle opener for Matt that was a moose head, where the moose’s mouth opened the bottled drink. It was so awesome, we really struggled to figure out where to put it because we wanted it to be accessible everywhere. Continue reading

My Week Back South | Pt. 1: South Carolina

I know, I know! I’m a bit delayed. I’ve been back from 10 days spent in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia for almost a week now and I bet most of you didn’t even know I was down there!

I flew down Thursday June 26th for a long weekend, that I ended up extending for an extra week (what’s the point of having vacation if you don’t use it!)

The purpose for my trip was to watch my friends Ben & Tara get married, but I used it as a chance to see some of my favorite things that I’ve missed since being in Alaska!  Continue reading