#71, #72, #73, #74 Christmas dinner with the ladies of ALKE

Day Seventy One (septuagesimo primeiro dia)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

Semana onze

Now that I have my GPS watch (THANK YOU, JACKALOPE), I can go back to doing timed miles. I still took Romeo for 1.9 and then booked it for 1.1 by myself. It wasn’t raining and I couldn’t help but be incredibly thankful for running in a tank top, by the ocean, in the middle of December. It is so worth all that running in the rain.

We met Ken at the gym where John told us we were in charge of the workout. While completely capable neither Ken nor I ever take charge of deciding the workout. We stuck with our 300-theme for Fridays and did:

  1. pull ups x50
  2. goblet squats x50
  3. staggered push-ups x50
  4. alternating v-ups x50
  5. hanging leg lifts x50
  6. thrust frogs x50

I finished with 30 burpee SPLATS, and thought about how I won’t miss this challenge. #30burpees30days Day 25: 30 burpee SPLATS.

After Pic-Nic we went home where I wrote a book about how to care for Romeo. We’ve never left him alone overnight and we’ve never left him with anyone other than a roommate or family. John told me I should’ve used bullet points, and I said “but these are bullet points”. It was three handwritten pages. Majid will be taking care of him, and Lina and Carla will walk him in the morning.

The Ernesto from Pic Nic made this beautiful galao for me.


I had six ladies in class. I am going to miss them while we’re away, but we’re going to hold some classes between Christmas and New Years’ so everyone stays on track.

I went home and made meatball subs for dinner. We forgot to buy chicken this week when we went shopping, so I have been trying to be creative with the ground beef. I made them the same way as last time, except I chopped the onion more finely and I let them sit for a few minutes after I baked them so they wouldn’t fall apart in the sauce. John brought Ken home for dinner and we ate the rest of the hummus with some crudite I cut up. The Meatball subs were delish.

Lina had brought me and John back bolas de berlim from her trip to the city today. We shared them with Ken. #nomnom

Day Seventy-two (septuagesimo segundo dia)

Saturday (Sabado)

Long run Saturday. I didn’t take Romeo with me because Majid was coming over to learn about how to care for #sweetbabyromeo. I did 14 miles in the sun. Because I didn’t have Romeo I went straight for the lombas without doing my flat warm-up, which was a mistake. The hills feel a whole lot hillier when you’re not warmed up.

I got home in time to shower and run down to Antonio’s to buy an onion for dinner. We met Ken and Ernesto in the jardim (trans: garden, but specifically the one next to Pic-Nic) and we went to the Terra Nostra Hotel and Gardens in Furnas to go to the hot springs. We walked through the gardens before we got in the pool but I didn’t have my phone (who brings their phone to a pool??), so I got zero pictures for you. Next time.

We hung out in the pool for about an hour and then stopped to get bolos levedos and pastries on the way back. The same place that has the most delicious bolos also has this decadent caramel cake. John got a fried pumpkin dumpling-like pastry that was equally as delicious. We sped home so Ken and John could get to the field for the juniors’ game.


Two weeks ago the juniors’ finally had their first win since John and Ken took over coaching. They won 4-3 but shoulda-coulda won by a bigger margin—they definitely out-played the other team, they just conceded a few silly goals. They were facing the same team again, so I at least was feeling confident for them. The junior Mira Mar team is full of really solid players, they just haven’t been playing as a team. They did in the last game, and they played even more so as one on Saturday night.


Mira Mar had two beautiful goals in the first half, conceding none to hold Maritimo at 2-0. They scored four more gorgeous goals in the second half. At about the 91st minute, Maritimo finally got lucky and scored for a final of Mira Mar: 6 Maritimo: 1. Hallelujah.


I was like a proud mama cheering for those boys–I was so proud and I knew John and Ken were, too. Ernesto and Kevin were there and they gave me a lift back down to the vila. Serenela brought her dog Wendy to the game. Betinho also brought the Mira Mar mascot, Mira, a stray dog that Serenela took in and Betinho adopted.



We went to Pic-Nic to celebrate with burgers (but not beers… John is still “not drinking” after his episode at Cesar’s bar with his team). John forgot to ask for no queijo on mine, but Diogo knows. He called it the “Liza Minelli Burger”. He said he knows because he reads my blog. We went home and watched my favorite movie of all time. Love Actually.

IMG_0929Because love actually is all around us.

In all the excitement I FORGOT TO DO MY BURPEES. #30burpees30days Day 26: EPIC FAIL 0 BURPEES.

Day Seventy Three (septuagesimo terceiro dia)

Sunday (Domingo)

Usually I take Sunday off from running, but I am not going to run when we’re in Barcelona (I am packing jump ropes and black bands), so I ran a 5k when I got up. John and I went down to Pic-Nic and then he got picked up for his game. This is the game we’ve been waiting for/dreading/dying to win. Mira Mar was playing their neighbor and rival from Furnas (the hotel with hot springs where we went the day before? We could see this stadium from there), Vale Formoso (pro: val-fur-MOOS). Ernesto and Kevin picked me up. The sun was shining for the third straight day in a row. I took this as a good omen. Poor, little, naïve thinking Liza!


Vale Formoso players dive more than any other team Mira Mar has played and their captain is the number one offender. They went down screaming in an effort to get yellow cards and free kicks. It worked since that is the way that all teams here play and the way the refs call games. Vale Formoso was awarded a free kick maybe 15 minutes in and scored. Mira Mar was awarded a corner kick which John took. John told me later that he always aims for Ken’s face when taking a corner kick. It’s hard to tell from the stands who knocks in corner kicks. This time it was Ken. Mira Mar tied it up 1-1.


Another five minutes passed and a Vale Formoso player ripped a shot on goal that hit the crossbar and bounced down and out, then another Vale Formoso player headed it over the net. The refs CALLED IT A GOAL. Vale Formoso didn’t even think they had scored! But the linesman and head ref conferred: goal. Mira Mar finished the first half down 2-1.

Other notable things that happened during the game:

Vale Formoso ALSO has a crazy fan lady. Two things our crazy fan lady has that theirs doesn’t?

  1. A fog horn and
  2. All her teeth.

Their crazy fan lady was not a fan of the number of American players. I tried to cheer in Portuguese as much as possible, and stayed away form any slang or swears. No need to repeat embarrassing incidents today.

Vale Formoro scored two more times in the second half. Mira Mar didn’t score at all. Mira Mar didn’t even have a shot on net in the second half. In fact, I think they only had one shot on the net the whole game. A free kick that Berto took (top scorer!) that went super wide.

During the second half, the captain of Vale Formoso kneed Mira Mar’s Marco which sent the crowd into an uproar. One Mira Mar fan tossed his cellphone onto the field in anger and was immediately removed from the complex by the policia.

IMG_0969Here, the man in the light blue hat is removed by the policia.

Marco was later taken out by a Vale Formoso player and landed in front of their goalie so hard that their goalie kneeled down to pick him up; he flopped like a dead fish. The one paramedic (or something half that official) sprinted across the field. Just like the game in Arrifes against Aguia, one of the Mira Mar officials stretched Marco’s back out and he continued to play.

Unfortunately, Mira Mar lost 4-1. We had more pasta and sauce for dinner and went to Pic-Nic to have cervejas. Even John had a few beers to commiserate.

I tweeted @spartanrace about my missed day of burpees. I did 60 to make up for my burpee failure the previous day. #30burpees30days Day 26 take 2: 60 burpee SPLATS.

Day Seventy Four (septuagesimo quatro dia)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

Our last day in Povoacao I wanted to run 6.0. I didn’t take Romeo with me (again) because I wanted to just bang it out. John was still sleeping-off Mira Mar’s tragic loss. When I got back John was just getting up and checking in with Ken about the gym. I went off to the ATM and the hardware store to make a key for Majid. After the ATM, I stopped in at the farmacia to see if they had any insoles. I love my Chinese store boots, but they don’t have any support.

For those of you who follow my #runnerproblems, in addition to runaway toenails (which are currently intact!), my plantar fascitis has sucked since we got here. I still foam roll daily for that myofascial release, but it’s been killing me. I can’t go walking around in my sweet Chinese store boots for 8 days. After some interesting sign language at the farmacia I found Dr. Scholl’s insoles. Cha-ching.

Off to Carla’s dad’s hardware store to make a key, and back to the apartment. John hadn’t heard from Ken but we found him at the gym. John and I did separate workouts today, but I did:

  • Fwd lunge (outside in the SUN) to DB bench
  • SB pike/push-up to goblet squats
  • Decline push ups to burpee SPLATS

#30burpees30days Day 27: 45 burpee SPLATS.

We headed to Pic-Nic for the last time and to shop at Fatima’s. We get home from Barcelona Christmas Eve, so we bought groceries (frozen and non-perishables) for when we get back. Ken came over and they made what we later named “The Povoacao”: papas secos, two eggs, two pieces of ham, two pieces of bacon, and (for them) two pieces of cheese. John made hashbrowns, too. We feasted. Lina and Carla came over to learn how to do Romeo’s collar, since they’re going to be checking in on him and walking him in the mornings.

I ran down to Casa Cheia and bought baby lotion and conditioner. I decided to make chocolate chip cookies for our ALKE Christmas dinner (which I can do since Judi sent us 4.5 lbs worth of tollhouse! Thank you very much). Because I only have one glass baking dish, so it took me two hours to make about 35 cookies, but they turned out well. I used the tollhouse recipe and the only thing I didn’t have was vanilla extract.

I headed over to teach my last class until after Christmas—there were eleven ladies. We did a TON of black bands. My gift to them: Feliz Natal!


After class I headed home to shower quickly and change into non-gym clothes. Ernesto had invited John and Ken for dinner, too. While the ladies of ALKE and I housed pizza (and later homemade donuts) and guzzled wine, Ernesto, Emanuel, Ken, Kevin, and John ate Italian sandwiches behind us. John and I finally walked home around 11:00pm to finish our laundry and packing.

photo 1A small group of diehards!


Since Romeo acts out when he knows we’re leaving, he decided to expel toxic gases from his butthole all night long—until we got up at 6:00am. Another night of little sleep for John&Liza.


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