Running nearly naked for charity? 

Don't worry, the key word here is "nearly."
But you might as well have no clothes on due to the quick numbing sensation your body is sure to feel once you step outside for this run that had a kick off time of 10pm yesterday.

But it is all for charity... a fact of which I am sure the runners reminded themselves of as they made their late-night lap around the campus.

This was only the second year for the "Nearly Naked Mile Run."
Yet it was another hit.
The idea behind it is you show up to run about a mile around campus, just like any normal day at the gym.
Except you have to donate clothes that will go to the homeless shelter upon your registration for the run.
You can bring a pile of clothes, or just a T-shirt - anything.
But the humor behind this is that you wear what you will donate when you register, then strip down to your underwear (such as a bathing suit or compression shorts, etc) once you register.
So you donate the clothes off of your back.

But your options for running attire are not only limited to bathing suits.
You can wear anything and everything you want, as long as you are not literally naked.

Most people do sport bathing suit attire, but others are a bit more eccentric in their choosing of clothing.
This year there was a runner who wore a unicorn head prop while another group had painted their entire bodies to match one another.

With this said, you are not running alone by any means; but rather quite the opposite of alone, you are running with a pack of other dedicated students who are willing to brave the cold.
You can run with your friends, or pass them, your choice.
Two devoted Belly Dancers model their Naked Mile attire. 

Some people ran to represent their school clubs in order to spread the word. The Belly Dancing Club wrote their name on their backs in order to promote their love for this dance.  

Regardless of the differences in garments, everyone had one major thing in common - they all ran.

As I walked out of my room last night accompanying my roommate who was running, while I documented it all, it had begun to rain.

If that was not tough enough, it began to hail.

Thankfully about 30 minutes later when the race actually began, the hail subsided somewhat and the rain lessened to a drizzle.

Yet as my spectator friends and I eagerly awaited the return of all the runners, we did not have a problem enjoying the nice warm gym.

Once my roommate and I entered the registration area, I was taken aback by all the people!
There was still 35 minutes till the start of the race, and already it was booming with people.

Registration Bustle.

A great shirt to donate for this runner.

  The registration process was easy and quick for the runners to       follow as they were guided from table to table by smiling  
  student government officials.

Clothing donated!

Signing your name, putting valuables in a safe place that you  

were not donating, and then stripping down to your bare minimum clothing of your choosing, while donating the rest.

Easy enough.

After each runner registered, they walked downstairs to the gym floor in order to gather in a pre-freezing cold run pep talk.

Rainbow suspenders and a kilt to bear the cold.

Colorful to the max, with sass to match. 

The new bathing suit season.

Even standing upstairs with the other spectators, awaiting the start of the race, we could hear the boom of the pumped runners chanting for the start of the run.

Then, before I realized what was going on, they began to run back up the stairs leading from the gym floor, back through the lobby where the spectators were standing, and out the main door, into the cold.
The word run is an understatement though; they did not simply run, it was more of a stampede.
Just a little body paint to make things interesting.

They were all a blur... of skin and determinism. 
But you can bet that they stampeded with gusto.
I saw more people bolt by then I could have imagined, it was a rainbow of colors and spectacle of exposed skin - skin that was bracing itself for the undeniable cold that was waiting outside.

Once they all gathered outside at the official starting point, you could hear them pumping themselves up once more.
More pep talk to tolerate the cold!

Then it began.

As the other spectators and I walked downstairs, we were not sure how long the runners would take.
Sure enough, less than 8 minutes later - the first runner finished.
It was a friend of mine, a cross country runner, who lives for events like this.
Being able to look ridiculous, help charity, and the free T-shirt at the end was just icing on the cake of running to him.

Satisfaction is shown with good humor for these runners. 

No matter the differences between everyone's reason for running, the important thing was that everyone was together...
And once the race finished, everyone came together to munch on cookies, celebrate, and dance.

Accomplished runners strike a pose with their new T-shirts.

The nearly naked runners did not appear so naked once they clothed themselves with their victory T-shirts with cookies in hand, and large grins of pride spread across their faces.

Talk of next year's run was already bustling in the gym before the end of the night.

I have a feeling the 3rd annual run will have to work hard to top this one.

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What To Eat? On Campus Dining - The Down Under

Craving a sandwich? 
Maybe some ice cream? 
Or the complete opposite, 
and you want to grab some breakfast food - 
such as oatmeal and cereal for the next morning? 

Well "The Down Under" is your place.

In the morning it serves up breakfast sandwiches, and the rest of the time every type of sandwich from Philly cheesesteak to buffalo tempeh. 
Like any good sandwich shop, you can get your sandwich the way you want it. 
In a wrap, on a hoagie, on flatbread. 
Meat, cheese, tempeh, maybe just vegetables. 

Your choice. 

Want some other sides to go with your sandwich? 
Right next to the section where you order your sandwich, you can also grab other food - such as fruit, chips, cake, hummus, Nature Valley bars, and ice cream. 

They also sell good food for you to take back to your room - such as half gallons of milk, instant oatmeal, jam, soup cans, and so on. 

Conveniently located on the bottom floor of the newest residence hall, the Overlook, "The Down Under" is easy access for not only Overlook residents, but other UNC Asheville attendees. 

Their hours are also ideal for any college student with constant hunger. 

Monday - Thursday: 7am-2am
Friday: 7am-10pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10am-12am

So tonight with the cold rain outside and a day packed with studying, I was ready to grab a hot sandwich. 
I've tried numerous things on the menu from Italian sandwiches to a chicken wrap, all good. 
But my favorite is still the Philly cheesesteak sandwich. 

Nothing better than a toasted sandwich... 

Except maybe enjoying it with a bag of baked chips and a banana. 

So next time you're craving a sandwich, or a fruit cup, or maybe some instant oatmeal for later - try "The Down Under." 

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What To Eat? On Campus Dining - Rosetta's Kitchenette with Starbucks

When hunger strikes during the day, the question is - where should I eat?
There's the cafeteria, the café in the library, Down Under sandwich shop, Build-Your-Own Burger, Salsaritas, Build a Noodle Bowl, and Rosetta's.

Rosetta's Kitchen is actually a full vegan and vegetarian restaurant just down the street from the UNC Asheville campus, but they recently decided to make a kitchenette version with a Starbucks for on-campus, so people can grab it easily.

But you do not need to be a vegan, vegetarian, or even a health nut to enjoy this food.
They serve up the kind of comfort food you want to eat, and don't feel guilty about afterwards.

Comfort food is exactly what my friend, Olive, and I were looking for before a physics study session.

Rosetta's is near the gym area of campus, so it's easy to get after a health class, or working out - and a walk there from a residence hall is workout in itself with the hills and stairs.
But the walk gave Olive and I time to enjoy the nice weather we were having at the time, and by the time we made it to Rosetta's we were starving.

Olive has been a vegetarian all of her life, but you wouldn't be obviously aware of it since it is easy to find vegan and vegetarian options on campus, so students like her do not struggle trying to figure out what to order when eating.

We both did not need to stare at the menu to decide what we wanted.
I tend to eat lunch there everyday, and the menu has enough options that it never gets boring.

I was tempted to order a wrap with avocados, or my usual toasted bagel sandwich with cream cheese, and an oat bar for dessert. But I got the chili and cornbread, with a cookie for dessert instead.

Olive got "the mountain", which has flavored tempeh with mashed potatoes and gravy served with kale. She also decided on strawberry cake as her dessert choice.

I have tried countless things on the menu, and have never been disappointed.

As we grabbed our food, we tried to decide where to sit.
Did we want a window seat overlooking the people as they walked to the gym?
Or a seat in the middle?

We decided on a window seat. 

After we dug into our food, and recycled our trash, I could not help but start to think about what I would order the next day.

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Asheville Beauty - Weather Whirlwind

Heat again. 

Over the past few days, the weather has been bipolar with these weather patterns. 

Yet, even though I was changing outfits about three times a day last week - to either take off layers, or put more on due to the amount of sunshine, or the lack thereof; I didn't mind. 
Sure it may sound like a typical response to say the change keeps things interesting, but it really does. 

The ever-changing weather patterns of North Carolina, especially seen in the mountains, prevents routines from becoming "run of the mill." 
This is meant in the sense that one day you may be trekking to class in the snow, appreciating the heated sidewalks so you do not slip or fall, only to end your day in sweatpants, and with hot chocolate in hand. 
Meanwhile on another day you could be walking to class in shorts with a bounce in your step seeing everyone out in the quad, happy - getting their vitamin D, whether it is playing frisbee, reading, or taking a nap in a hammock. 

Due to the recently changing weather patterns, the variation in days has allowed none of these activities or social events to seem mundane. 

Sure, we may like the heat of the sunshine. 
But we also like the chill of snow. 

The weather adds variation to how we look at things in our daily routines... 

A clear sky leaves open the opportunity for a morning sunrise that is so colorful that the orange tones seep through my room's blinds in the morning, and make the clouds appear as if they have been painted by watercolors. 

Or a chilly morning leaves ice crystals coating the ground, left to sparkle in the sunlight and add beauty accompanied by a sense of serenity to an otherwise ordinary sidewalk. 

All of these attributes make Asheville what it is... an ever changing place that so many people call home.
Who knows, maybe we will wake up tomorrow to a bright shining sun?
Or perhaps an overcast blanket of clouds? 

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