Ragnar Trail

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Checked off another item on the bucket list! Well, maybe it only counts as half a check… Over the weekend, Dan and I headed down to Zions to so that I could run the Ragnar Trail with Josh & Tara’s team. I successfully ran the 3 mile and 8 mile trail, but sadly the race was cancelled before I could run my last 4 miles. Although I was super bummed I didn’t get to finish, I am thankful they stopped the race because I didn’t have the right apparel to run in the snow! (saved me from looking like a quitter ha!) Guess I’ll just have to try again next year!

 

 

Big Cottonwood Half Marathon

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12 week training program

3 runs a week

Running with friends

Big Cottonwood Canyon

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AWESOME!!!

This run might become a tradition 😉

New Challenge… Tough Mudder

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What?

It’s time for the Baird’s to conquer  a new challenge, the Tough Mudder. Our team, the Polygamist Honey-Badgers,  is made up of our closest friends in Salt Lake City. We are scheduled to start the challenge on Saturday, October 13th at 10:20am. The 10-12 mile course was designed by British Special Forces. There’s no doubt this is going to be difficult. With mud, fire, water, hills, wall, and yes even electric shocks, this might be the most difficult physical challenge for us yet.

Why?

Because we only live once… it’s easy to get lazy. Sometimes all you need a little motivation and a goal. Plus, the Tough Mudder is a supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project. I’m sure all of you have a family member or friend who is or has served our country.  Dan and I both had a friend that could have really benefited from this project. Therefore, participating in this challenge and raising funds for this awesome project, is very close to our hearts.

Help?

As our team prepares for this event encouraging words are always appreciated. However, if you’ve got a dollor or two to spare please help us raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. You can donate in Dan’s name by clicking here! Or donate in Alissa’s name by clicking here!

Always trying to live life to the fullest.

Dan & Alissa

Paris, France

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I’ve been dreaming of going to Paris ever since I was in third grade. My brother was in a French back-to-back program which allowed him to go there and a boy to come live with us. I remember waiting for him at the airport with Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” blaring over the speakers, and staring at his pictures. Especially his pictures of the Eiffel Tower. It all seemed so beautiful and cool. My fascination with France grew as I got older, more in to ballet, learned that I really enjoyed French food, and the movie “Sex and the City” helped too! I knew I would get there eventually, it was just a matter of time. I’m happy to say at 31… I’ve finally made it!!!

So now you’re wondering was it worth the wait!? Heck yeah, I LOVE Paris! It was everything I dreamed it would be. It seemed like every inch from the lawns to the subway stations were designed to be beautiful. I just couldn’t get over how gorgeous everything was. It was truly eye candy. There where some places that were a little rough around the edges, but I didn’t mind because charm was nearby.

While in Paris Dan and I explored many sight via a walking tour. We also went to the Louvre. I was super excited to see the Mona Lisa to find out if her eye really would follow me. Sadly it was so crowded it was impossible to tell. I spent a good two in a half hours wondering around the Louvre and still didn’t see it all. The museum was closing and my brain and legs were too exhausted. I’ll just have to go back again some day.

After the museum we continued to the Eiffel Tower. It was so much bigger than I had ever imagined and WOW! I know this is going to sound super girly, but it actually brought tears to my eyes. The best part was at the top of the hour. A confetti of lights would flash over the entire sculpture and an “ahh” sound hummed across the yard as everyone simultaneously experienced the sight. It gave me goosebumps!

The following day we ventured to the Palace of Versailles. Seriously, the place is so over the top ornate and large that it puts every other palace to shame. In fact, I really don’t feel the need to see another in Europe because it was so mind blowing.

Our other adventures around Paris were a little less touristy. Dan and myself really enjoy hanging out where the locals go. We try to eat at the places off the beaten path, discover side streets, and window shop. It is possible to get away from the tourists filled city. You just have to be willing to get lost a little to discover the nooks and crannies.

 

Enjoy the pics!

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Machu Picchu, Perú – Part 2

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After a few days in Cusco, we made our way to Aguas Calientes, it’s the city right below Machu Picchu. All I’ve got to say is make sure to drink the coca tea and take altitude sickness pills… especially if you’re from the midwest. Just walking up the hill made me feel like I had just run a 10K! Aguas Calientes is very small and loaded with hotels, restaurants, spas, and tourists shops. The city thrives on tourism and seems to have lost it’s original culture. Almost the entire city was under construction. Old buildings are being replaced by new fancy boutique hotels and restaurants that totally appeal to the tourists. And just like most tourism hotspots, normal items such as water, cost almost double. I’m sure in a few short years I won’t even recognize the place.

Upon our arrival, we learned of a free hike where you could see Machu Picchu. The lady at the B&B described the hike as “a rush of adrenaline.” Dan was immediately sold I, on the other hand, was not. I get by on my basic knowledge of Spanish, and I’m pretty sure she said we had to climb up a rope to the top… Dan was still sold. So, we dropped off our bags, ate a granola bar, and set off to find the trail.

I literally pouted and dragged my feet the whole way. The hike didn’t sound fun to me, and I didn’t want to risk hurting myself for the “real” hike to see Machu Picchu (total dancer mentality). Half way up the trail, it was gone… washed away from a mudslide (WooHoo!). But, Dan found an alternate root (Boo!). Then, we get to a ladder or what was left of a ladder. About three rungs were broken (We can turn back, hooray!). Yet again, Dan found a way to get to the top (Oh man!). By this time I just accepted that we were going to keep going.

That’s when we reached the rope. Again there was a broken ladder but, this time it was accompanied by a smooth mountain side, and a climbing rope. And let me tell you, that rope wasn’t fully secured in all of the anchors. Dan said, “Get excited!” I pleaded with him, “If there’s one time in your life that you listen to me, it should be now. This is a bad idea!” He said he would test the security of the rope, and I said I would wait for him. There’s no way hell I was going up that thing! Dan tried a few attempts and also decided that it wasn’t worth it. I can’t tell you how relieved I was. 😉 Happily, we went back down and walked around the city to find The Treehouse restaurant recommend from The Perris World Invasion.

The following morning Dan and I woke up at 4:30am, ate breakfast, and stood in line for the bus to Machu Picchu. We entered Machu Picchu around 7am and immediately made our way to the Wayna Picchu hike. They allow 400 people to do the climb and we wanted to get there while it was still cloudy (Great advice Mandy!). We arrived at the check point and waited for the ranger to unlock the gate and sign us in. Ironically the key to the gate was hidden behind a rock at the entrance. All of us tourists began to laugh, realizing that the key was there the whole time. One by one we were allowed entry. Dan and I signed in as numbers 12 and 13. The hike took about one and a half hours… I’d say about 30 minuets of it was me huffing and puffing trying to breath. Once we reached the top we ate a snack and waited for the clouds to burn off. When the clouds did burn off, the view was A-MAZ-ING! We absorbed the view for quite a while. Then, took our time coming down the mountain taking tons of pictures along the way and exploring the ruins.

Machu Picchu is so incredible and more beautiful than I ever imagined. I know there’s been rumor about Machu Picchu shutting down because of the wear and tear from the visitors. Frankly, I think the sight brings in too much money. So don’t worry and book your tickets to Perú!

To finish our day at Machu Picchu, Dan and I soaked in the hot springs, got a massage, and then took a nice long nap. The following day we headed back to Cusco and then to Lima. All in all, Machu Picchu was probably the most majestic thing I’ve ever seen. I still get the chills just writing about it.

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Checked another one off the bucket list 😉

Chitzen Itza, Mexico

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After a long night of working, we treated ourselves to a day trip to the 7th world wonder, the famous Mayan ruins of Chitzen Itza. Around 7am We took an ADO bus from Merida to beat the tour buses… and that worked fabulously! We arrived just as it was opening and got some amazing photos. I even got a video for my dance around the world project 🙂

Here’s a fun fact: It is thought that December of 2012 the world will end with the rise of a serpent from the center of the Cheitzen Itza ball court? (My Dad has been telling me about this years… Love ya Dad!) For the record, Dan and I did walk through the center of the court. It didn’t feel spooky to me, but it was cool to hear everything echo 7 times. Want to learn more about Chitzen Itza?  CLICK HERE!

Below are some pics. Enjoy!

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