Training Update – Week 7

Week 7: Out and Back…Trials and Tribulations of the Oil Field (Plus another Bake Sale…)

I apologize for the late posting this week. I spent most of my week this week traveling, to and from New Orleans and to and from a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. It was my first time offshore, and it ended pretty quickly after it started…drilling became delayed and therefore I was no longer needed out there and was asked to return in a “week or so”. But all of this travel didn’t stop me from my Monday Bake Sale (cinnamon sugar theme week) or from my training! It did however, require some modifications from me…

As I mentioned, this week was a bit strange for me…it started off with a fairly normal weekend of running and baking. When Monday rolled around, I went into work to sell my morning goodies and well, work, and then I packed and left for New Orleans in the afternoon. The flight to New Orleans was nice, it was my first time to Louisiana and I was pleasantly surprised by it’s charm.

Monday evening I had an excellent meal at Cristiano Ristorante in Houma, La that consisted of Chilean Sea Bass atop of jalapeno pineapple risotto topped with cucumber salsa. Excellent! I was so happy to find such a fresh and unique Italian restaurant in rural Louisiana. It was paired perfectly by the waiter with a light white wine.

Then on Tuesday, I had an offshore orientation class to obtain my “pass” to go offshore. It was mainly just HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) issues that have been pretty much hammered into my head over the past 2 years. However, it is still interesting to see how different instructors engage their students. Before class, I stopped for donuts at a popular donut shop in Houma. I got a few donut holes to test the different types offered (and be kinder to my waistline) and fell in love with the buttermilk donut holes! Excellent with a cup of coffee to start off my day.

Tuesday afternoon I had some time to spare, as my flight to go offshore wasn’t scheduled until noon on Wednesday. I met up with some geologist colleagues and went on a gator hunting trip! That wasn’t before trying some cajun cooking though…I needed to try some true Cajun cooking, as I haven’t been impressed by any I’ve tried before. Best coming from the heart of where the cuisine started…South Louisiana! I don’t care for fried foods. They aren’t healthy, plus the oil tends to bother my stomach. I was pleased to hear about a restaurant that specialized in boiled seafood (too bad crawfish aren’t in season…). So we headed to Big Al’s for lunch! I started off with a seafood gumbo followed up by a half of a boiled shrimp poboy (no mayo). I stand corrected, Cajun food is excellent when it’s done right…

The highlight of my visit was the gator tour! Two hours being led on Bayou Black by our tour guide, a local who has been doing this for over 20 years in his boat (not airboat, regular long motor boat). The boat was uncovered and we couldn’t have asked for better weather! With the boat-induced breeze the temperature was in the low-mid 80’s with little humidity (I was surprised…). On this tour, our guide took us down different paths in the bayou telling us all about the ecology of the bayou, different eco-systems, and of course showing up gators! He has different alligators along the bayou that know him by voice that will come to his boat when called for treats (raw chicken). It seriously was just what I needed, a day out in nature soaking in the natural beauty of a new environment!

Tuesday evening, I went with my fellow geologists for a nice historic walk through Houma before we settled on Cafe Milano for dinner. A good dinner with great company, but I did prefer Cristiano for it’s food and atmosphere.

Wednesday I got up and had time to do my (improvised) track workout on the hotel treadmill and then was off to the heliport to fly out to the rig. Once we arrived at the rig, we were informed that there may be more maintenance to be done before we could spud (drilling term for start drilling) the well. The next morning, we completed a “pre-spud” meeting to engage the crew that is going to be drilling the well. The rest of the day on the rig consisted of trying to connect to spotty internet and catch up with work (plus run of course…at the rig’s gym). Food on the rig was terrible! Everything was either fried or too salty to be edible. I had mixed emotions where I was told we’d be leaving on Friday to go back home. Sad because I wanted to see everything happen at once and get the well underway, but happy because it meant I got to run with Team on Saturday and eat better food!

On a sad note, we found out this week that we lost one of our Honored Teammates, Jesus,  to Leukemia earlier this month. He was only 24 years old…Gives us renewed reason to help out in any and every way we can to help combat blood cancers!

Well, with that out of the way, here’s my training summary of the week!

Saturday (9/12) – 6 mile run with Team

Sunday – Stef: Yoga for Runners (1:15min); Mark: rest

Monday – Stef: 20 min (2 mi) treadmill run + lunch yoga; Mark: 20 min morning run with Sasha

Tuesday – Stef: rest/walking around Houma; Mark: rest/walk with Sasha

Wednesday – Stef: treadmill track workout, 2 mile warm-up/cool down, (2 min uphill + 2 min downhill)x4, total mileage = 3.75 mi; Mark: Track workout with Team, 2.6 mi warm-up/cooldown, 4 x up and down 5 story garage

Thursday – Stef: treadmill workout (3.5 mi); Mark: morning 25 min run with Sasha

Friday – rest (both)

Total mileage for week: 15.25 mi (approx same from last week)

Fundraising Update:

I can’t give exact numbers this week (still haven’t been back to the office to count my bounty), but I made three goodies this week with the theme of “cinnamon-sugar”.

First were the Cinnamon Swirl Muffins:

These muffins were made using whole wheat pastry flour and agave nectar as the primary sweetener. The asking donation for this treat was $0.75…

Up next were the most popular item I made, Whole Wheat Banana Cinnamon Rolls. Gosh these smelled so good and looked so good out of the oven, I had to sample one myself! I was inspired by Steph of Stephchows to make this version when I saw her Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, yum!

These were made with Whole Wheat Flour, very little fat, and yummy ripe bananas! Suggested donation for this goodie was a hefty $1.00, but I hope my co-workers found it well worth the money, I sure did!

Finally, to go with all of that coffee people drink at the office, I tried my hand at biscotti! To stay with my theme, I made cinnamon raisin biscotti.

I used half whole wheat pastry flour in this treat and no eggs were harmed in making any of my treats this week (we ran out, so I improvised…)! Asking donation for my biscotti was $0.50/each…not sure how my co-workers liked them yet, but the scraps were excellent, well worth the double baking necessary with biscotti!

Week 8 is going to be another toughie for me…with uncertainty around when I’m going back out to the rig, I’ll likely have a number of treadmill workouts in my future…ugh!

Stay tuned for next week’s edition, I’ll include a yummy (frozen) dessert and update you with any progress and issues we run up against.

Go Team!