Irish celebrate Mardi Gras on location

first_imgThis Fat Tuesday, some Notre Dame students will be celebrating with authentic Mardi Gras spirit straight from the Big Easy. “It’s definitely an experience coming down, even with a budget,” senior Justin Asuncion said about his trip to New Orleans this past weekend. “It’s a great experience that every Notre Dame student should take if you can.” Asuncion and fellow seniors Andrew Charnesky and Joe Caparros drove through the night Thursday to arrive in New Orleans by Friday morning, where they experienced traditions ranging from parades to Southern cookouts, they said.  “We had the opportunity to go to an authentic crawfish boil,” Charnesky said. “We’re not from the South; we’d never heard of a crawfish boil before, but it was some of the best food I’ve ever had.” Senior Allison Tompkins also traveled to New Orleans for the first time and agreed that the cuisine stood out as a highlight of her trip. “I had grits for the first time, cheese grits with shrimp on it,” Tompkins said. “The rice and beans was to die for… I didn’t taste anything that wasn’t good.” Tompkins described touring the French Quarter and learning about the history of various parades and the groups, called krewes, which plan them. “I had heard about the pretty buildings, you know, in the French Quarter and everything, but honestly I didn’t know what to expect,” Tompkins said. “It really shocked me how beautiful it was with all the different areas and the Mississippi River and everything.” Notre Dame Food Services general manager Marc Poklinkowski said students staying at Notre Dame for the festivities will be able to experience themed décor and menu items at both dining halls on Tuesday. “South will have our Cajun-themed dishes on both homestyle and Pan-Am,” Poklinkowski said. “The popularity of this meal has increased tremendously over the years, so we found the need to take the regular Pan-Am items off for this day to offer students another area to get the themed menu items they are looking for.” Poklinkowski added North Dining Hall will be offering jambalaya and Mississippi fried catfish as well as chocolate rum cake and mini éclairs and that South Dining Hall will feature jambalaya as well with blackened catfish. “Our dessert bar [at South] will be a make-your-own-dessert featuring pound cakes, fresh strawberries, apples and caramel sauce, hot chocolate fudge and whipped topping,” Poklinkowski said. Although Mardi Gras known for its celebration of excess, Asuncion and Charnesky said traveling to New Orleans can be done even on a tight budget. Charnesky noted that driving and staying with a friend in New Orleans helped cut expenses. “You can definitely do it for under $500,” Charnesky said. “It’s not cheap, but if you’re just conscious about stuff you can do it on a budget. “It’s a great time and it’s going to be something you’ll always remember.” Contact Lesley Stevenson at lsteven1@nd.edulast_img read more

TRACK : Fox emphasizes individual workouts during layoff to keep team on pace

first_imgChris Fox can always tell if a runner put in the necessary work over Winter Break. The Syracuse track and field coach can’t see it with his own two eyes — his runners are back home for break.But when his team returns, Fox can always weed out the ones who slacked off.‘They can see you’re a little soft, maybe not so cut up. People will know. It shows immediately,’ said Fox.With nearly a month layoff between the fall and spring season, Fox’s team — the long-distance runners, in particular — departs for Winter Break, and it’s up to the runners if they want to push themselves out the door every day to stay in shape. Fox and his staff designate 70 to 100 miles for his athletes to run each week. For the three weeks, they are on their own, including numerous ‘tempo runs,’ during which a runner should be running at 100 percent for five or six miles. In addition, the long-distance runners try to continuously stretch and work on core exercises.Though all the athletes got a two-week resting period following the NCAA Tournament that took place in late November, it was time to get back to work once Christmas was over. And for distance runner Joseph Bubniak, it’s not always easy to get back into the swing of things.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘It can be tough to force yourself out the door every day, especially when it’s cold and you can be doing so many other things,’ said Bubniak, who trained at home in Danbury, Conn., over break.Sophomore distance runner Andrew Nelson said it’s a gut check for all the runners because they are on their own, without Coach Fox or anyone else pushing them to get their workout in.‘Mentally, it’s a challenge,’ said Nelson.Fox knows it can be easy to relax for the first time in four months once a runner is back home. Fighting the temptations of not putting the work in is the toughest part.Fox said it’s more of a problem for freshmen to push themselves on their own, but as they mature, it becomes second nature.A prime example, Fox said, is Bubniak. Last year, as a freshman, he didn’t run too often at home. Now, Fox said, Bubniak realizes how important it is to stay in shape because the SU track team is one of the top northeast programs in Division I.‘As we’ve established this program as pretty competitive, the kids know they got to do work when they go home, or they won’t get an opportunity when they get back,’ Fox said. ‘They’re pretty much exposed in the first workout or two. If they didn’t do the work, they’re probably not going to run in any meets.’Fox thinks that despite the temptations to take an extended holiday from training, it’s good for all the runners to have alone time to run in a less pressured atmosphere. The training regimen is there, but it isn’t as strict as an everyday practice from the regular season.Bubniak and Nelson both said the practice over break is less structured and more modified. It’s more relaxed and about getting 10 or so miles in each day.But after the long break, it feels good to reunite with the team. Bubniak and Nelson will run in SU’s first meet since the break this Saturday.‘Coming back, you start getting back in the groove. You have a huge group to train with, so motivation definitely goes up,’ Bubniak said. ‘It’s definitely good to be back.’ Published on January 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img read more