Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Haiku

This fresh brand-new year,
I will learn to use my wings.
Watch out -- here I come!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sports Chalet sale!

If anyone lives near a Sports Chalet, they have all Go Fit products (including kettlebells) on sale for 25% off the normal price. So if you're looking to pick up a kettlebell, now may be the most cost-effective time to do it!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Merci!

Big thank yous to everyone who provided wonderful suggestions for my dinnertime dilemmas. I'll comment more specifically when I have time, but for now know that your wisdom is appreciated, and as a result, here was tonight's dinner:

Jerk Chicken (pre-marinated from Nugget Market, Tim and Austin ate this)
Steamed broccoli (everyone ate this)
Tater Tots (the kids and I ate these)
Salad (Tim and I ate this)

Believe it or not, my family LOVES Brussels sprouts (Austin's just ok with them), so it wasn't quite as much of a setup for disaster as it might have seemed for me to cook them. And the dinner recipe wasn't chosen to impress. It actually didn't take that long to make and I chose it because it looked like it had a lot of flavor, it was reasonably healthy, and it seemed like something my family would like. (I used to make a honey and curry chicken dish that everyone loved until I made it too much and they OD'd on it.)

I'm considering starting a different blog to record dinners -- what works, what doesn't, and what I learn. If I go this route, I'll let you know in case you want to play along!

Last night ended with us watching a scary movie, and Tucker unable to sleep. So I spent most of the night on the floor of his room and then I was unable to sleep. So I'm heading off to bed now.

Kettlebells with Tracy

Tracy Reifkind is teaching kettlebell swing classes in Palo Alto in January. I took her class in Healdsburg in September and it was wonderful! Here's a video from the Healdsburg class. I'm in the pink t-shirt and black shorts. There are more videos on Tracy's website.



If you've ever wanted to learn to swing a kettlebell, get yourself to Palo Alto to learn from one of the best.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The problem with dinner?

(Warning -- this is a free-form stream of consciousness post, and since it's from my point of view, may not be very fair to everyone involved. But it's what's going on for me...)

The ultimate problem may be that I'm asking for too much. What I want is for everyone to like and eat what I cook. I'll even settle for 3 out of 4. But it rarely goes that way.

Tonight I tried a new recipe: Curried Chicken Flatbread with Chutney and Yogurt Drizzle. Sounds good, right? I also made some roasted brussels sprouts with apples and walnuts (another new recipe). So I started on the veggies, mixing up the dressing (olive oil, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt), trimming the brussels sprouts, prepping the apples (thick slices) and chopping the walnuts. Mixed all and put into the oven.

Now onto the flatbread. There was an option to make your own dough, but I opted for a thin-crust Boboli. Started cooking the chicken (seasoned with garlic and pepper). Made the sauce (chutney, rice vinegar, curry powder). Chopped the veggies (scallions and jalapenos) for garnish. Once that was in the oven, started cleaning the kitchen.

Tucker comes downstairs with his hand covering his nose. The smell is making him nauseated. This irritates Tim (who knows how frustrating dinners are for me), but I don't take it personally. I start scrambling some eggs. Then grab the veggies out of the oven. We sit and eat.

Tim and Austin LOVE the flatbread. Apparently the flavor is wonderful, and the yogurt, scallions, and jalapenos that top it perfectly offset the rest of the dish. Veggies are another story. Recipe called for putting whole brussels sprouts into 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. I should have known that wasn't long enough, but it was written down so it has to be right, right? So brussels sprouts were undercooked. Apples and walnuts tasted good, and I'll try that recipe again, halving the sprouts and cooking a little longer.

The big problem here is the takeaway. I feel discouraged after yet another failed dinner. And I'm hungry, as I didn't even cook something I could really eat. And I'm lonely because I was all by myself during dinner prep. (Tim offered to help, but I just couldn't bring myself to ask him. In retrospect, it would have been a nice way for us to spend time together.)

I feel like no matter what I try, I can't get it right. If I cook anything with beef, Tim doesn't like it, as he's kind of done with beef. When I do "normal" foods -- straightforward basic flavors -- the kids don't really care for them. Actually, it feels like Tucker doesn't care for much of anything these days, and maybe that's something I need to remember, as the truth is that 66% of the people who COULD eat the dinner LOVED the dinner. And the loneliness is my own fault. So maybe I've come to my own answer here. The good news is that as discouraging as this whole dinnertime thing is, and as much as I'm tempted to just grab a box of cereal and some soy milk, and say "So what are y'all havin' tonight?", I'm still in there trying. And that has to count for something, right?

My new vibrator!


I got a Clarisonic, but I love calling it my "face vibrator" which is proof positive that my inner 12-year-old is alive and well.

In 12 days I will be 48 years old, and I'm still working on the habit of washing my face, morning and night. Somehow having a toy to play with is helping, and for the past few days I've been faithfully vibrating (washing) my face twice a day. It helps that it feels nice. And I think I'm noticing an difference in my skin, which is a welcome thing at any age, but especially as I edge closer to 50.

Need more to read?

Fit Bottomed Girls posted some fit links, including a great list of health and wellness blogs that I'm dying to check out. Yeah, like I need MORE time at the computer, right??? Also worth a look are the Nike ad link and the People Jam link.

I'm recovering from a quick, violent case of stomach flu. Friday night was yucky. Saturday was somewhat better, but I went to bed at 8:30 last night and didn't get up till 6:30 this morning. Today I've eaten some oatmeal which feels good, so that's a step in the right direction. If I keep feeling good, I'm going to do a slow 12 mile run, reserving the option to cut it short if running feels bad.

That's all the news from here for the moment. Have a wonderful day, friends!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Did it!

So I did the 12 days of Christmas workout. It was tougher than I expected. It started out just fine. Quads were tired during squats, but all was great until I got to pushups. Even though I did them at an incline (to a weight bench) I had to break them up. Same with pull ups and box jumps (and I only used a 16" box!). By the time I finished those 3 exercises, it was getting very tough. Did renegade rows with 12.5 pound dumbbells. Had to break up knees to elbows into 10, 10, and 10. Did thrusters with the 12.5s, and the burpees were a joke -- almost like a dream where you're trying to run, but it's like running through honey? Yeah, that was me. But it's done. Next time I'll be trying for straight sets of each exercise.

12 Days of Christmas workout

I found this on CrossFit Fuel, and think it's going to be my workout today:

120 sec of Jump Rope
110 Lunges (each rep counts)
100 Squats
90 Sit-ups
80 Mt. Climbers
70 Push-ups
60 Jumping Pull-ups
50 Box Jumps
40 Renegade Rows 10lb DB
30 Knee to Elbows
20 Thrusters
10 Burpees

Wish me luck...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Today

Laurie posted this quote from Kristen Armstrong's Runner's World blog regarding this wonderful season.

And here we are, a week away from Christmas, days away from Hannukah,and the pace of the season threatens to outpace us. I came to the conclusion that a great way to honor Erin, to honor each other, to honor ourselves and to honor the intended spririt of the holiday season is to give ourselves Grace. The grace to listen to our bodies when we are tired. To enjoy an extra cookie, or three. To huddle up in cold weather and snuggle our children instead of begrudging our lost workout. To take time to savor the chaos and the onslaught of relatives, knowing that soon enough things will settle back to normal and the only thing that will stand out is the reflection of how we spent our time. To hug our grandparents and listen to their stories. To let the kids wrap the gifts, decorate the cookies, sign the cards, and string the lights without our 'help.' To stretch out with a good book. To leave dirty dishes in the sink and linger at the table. To sleep in or stay up late. To include someone who feels blue this time of year. To allow our greatest gift to be our presence, in the moment and in our hearts.

Love well. Our time is now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

3:00 pm

Just back from a 9 mile run. Julianne called me hardcore for running in this weather, but I really don't think of it like that. Here's my thinking. I have the time to do the run. I always feel better after running. And with the right layers, and a cap and a pony, running in the rain is actually a good thing.

I set out not knowing how many miles I wanted to go, but I figured on going at least 4 miles. At 5, I felt good and was just happy to be outside and running. At 8 I wasn't quite home, and figured I would finish at 9. This means that if I do a quick 3 mile run tomorrow, I'll have 1500 miles for the year, and that seems like a good thing to have happen on Christmas day, right?

Ok, time to get cleaned up and back to cooking. Tim called and both Austin and Tucker agreed that this was the best snowboarding day of their entire lives. I couldn't be happier for them!

1:15 pm

Presents are all wrapped. Stockings are filled and hidden. Nearly all the cooking and baking is done. So what's a girl to do? Go out on a lovely lovely run. It's started raining again, but with a hat and layers, rain is delightful to run in. So off I go...

Now I REALLY wish I was snowboarding!


This is the view from the chairlift. Look at all that amazing powdery snow!!!

My poetry...

...was mentioned on Cranky Fitness! I didn't win the Vita Mix (which is only fair, as I already own one), but it was fun to play.

9:30 am

The house smells amazing! The pumpkin cake is done. The tortellini soup just needs to simmer for 10 more minutes, and then it will chill (literally) till tomorrow when I'll add the tortellini and zucchini right before serving. Next up is the lasagna prep, so I'll cook the veggies (carrots, zucchini and onions) and make the sauces, but I'll assemble the lasagna tomorrow.

Here's a picture Tim took on the way up to Tahoe. Thank goodness for 4 wheel drive!

He texted me a while ago saying that there's nobody on the slopes. They may have their best day of snowboarding ever!

Getting stuff done

The fam left for Tahoe an hour ago without me. :( But it was my decision. There is no way I could in good conscience go snowboarding when tomorrow is Christmas and I'm in charge of Christmas dinner. I'm a little sad, but mostly I'm relieved, as this gives me a whole uninterrupted day to get all my Christmas ducks (geese?) all in a row. So be warned -- this could be a day of much stream-of-consciousness writing.

Lasagna noodles are cooked. Cake's about to go in the oven. Next up, tortellini soup. Also on today's agenda is a lovely lovely run!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Last Man Standing, the race report

One thing I now know is this: if your travels take you anywhere near a mall at this time of year, you should allow for some extra driving time. On Sunday I went straight from my son's water polo game to register for and run in The Last Man Standing run, a celebration for local runner Paul Kamerer's birthday.


The race shirt.

Race start time was 1:00. I cruised in at 12:55, scribbled my reg form and tossed some money along with it, then started running in the direction of the starting line, which was quite a ways away. Fortunately, they started the race a little late, but I was still on the wrong side of levee as I heard "On your marks, get set, GO!" and the race started. I wanted to scream "Wait for meeeee!" but that would have taken valuable oxygen!

So I crossed the start line a bit after the official start, but that was fine. Along the way I met the birthday boy, who was escorted by a younger woman running on either side of him. Many people were wearing party hats. There was all ages present, from high school cross country runners, to kids with their parents, to runners in their 60s, 70s, and 80s (that's my best guess on the ages).

I finished the race, and then joined two guys who were cheering people on. We chatted about marathons and ultras (one guy assured me that an ultra is WAY easier than a marathon, because you don't run the entire time -- good food for thought for sure!). After a while, they decided to go in (it was cold and raining), but I wanted to go back and see how Paul was doing. I wasn't the only one with that thought, and there was a group of maybe 30 or more runners all running behind Paul. As he approached the finish line, he sped up and we all cheered as he finished!


Me and Paul (he's wearing my gift to him -- a Zombie Runner hat).

You can read more about Paul and Pinkhouse Gym here. Paul's actual birthday is December 26th. He will be NINETY YEARS YOUNG! Isn't he what everyone wants to be when they grow up???

My new favorite circuit

In a CrossFit-ish manner, i did this today:

7 rounds for time (took 17:30)
5 pullups (resistance band assisted)
10 incline pushups
15 deadlifts (60 lb barbell)
20 stability ball crunches
25 kettlebell swings (12 kg kb)

I also walked for 45 minutes passing out flyers about Bayside's Christmas services. It's sunny and chilly today -- perfect!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas at Bayside

Here's a video from last year's Christmas service at our church. I hope the song translates on the computer -- experiencing this live is truly amazing!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

More goal thoughts

It's Saturday night and I'm bored. Tim and the kids went snowboarding today, and although I wanted to go too, there was too much to do with Christmas just around the corner. So I shopped and wrapped and did laundry and straightened up. I did take a few minutes to do this workout:

5 rounds of
5 pullups (with elastic band for assistance)
10 pushups
15 dead lifts (60 pounds)
20 stability ball crunches

But other than that, it was a day of rest. Seriously, it took like 13 minutes to bang those circuits out.

So while folding laundry I was thinking more about goals for the upcoming year. In the back of my mind, I've been thinking about doing a 50 mile race in April. But it just occurred to me that if I do that, it will mess up my running afterwards. And I'm not sure I want to do that. Honestly, I think I could do a 50 mile race. It wouldn't be easy and it wouldn't be pretty, but I really believe I could do it. I just don't know if I'm willing to pay the price of the aftermath.

Where does that leave me? One of my goals will be 1000 miles for the year, because that really works for me. But beyond that, I just don't know. I like CrossFit. I like P90X. But am I committed to doing a full P90X rotation, or a certain number of days per week of CrossFit? I love kettlebells, and I'd LOVE to get an Art of Strength certification. But as a goal? I don't know.

Honestly, I'm not in the right frame of mind to seriously decide on goals for next year. But that's what's swirling around in my head at the moment.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Goals work

I think it was February when I set my running goals for the year. I'd been tracking my miles, but with no clear idea of what I was shooting for. So at that time, I decided I wanted to do 1000 miles for the year (which I did 10 years ago when I was 37) and run a half-dozen half marathons.

These goals have worked to pull me forward and keep me on track even when I didn't feel like getting out the door. And guess what? I ran 5 half marathons and my first full marathon, and I'm just 35 miles away from hitting not 1000 but 1500 miles!!! (My last two weeks of working out, plus my yearly totals for running are on the sidebar in case you're interested.)

The thing is that whatever goal you choose has to move you towards what you want. In my case, I like that I feel athletic when I'm in half marathon shape, hence the 6 half marathons. And it just seemed fun to try to repeat what I'd done a decade earlier.

And thank goodness I run as much as I do. True confession: I bought some frosting yesterday for some Christmas cookies. Today it's gone. Yep, 1820 calories of pure sugar and trans fat (I guess they figure if you're buying frosting, you can't possibly care about the crap they put in it). The good news is that I enjoyed every single spoonful!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Comment appreciation

Ok, so about a month ago I said I'd reply to comments IN the comments. That hasn't happened. Well, it happened for a few weeks, and then -- life got in the way.

So once again I'm trying to make my actions match my words.

"Back To Running" -- all comments present and accounted for!
"Acceptance? Maybe..." -- all comments present and accounted for!
"Hi" -- all comments responded to!
"I (heart) my rope!" -- all comments responded to!

Again, thanks to everyone who takes even a moment out of your day to read something I've written, and hugs to all who go beyond that to comment. It's great to know that we're not alone, isn't it?

Back to running!

Yesterday was my first "real" run post marathon. I did 5 miles and did it technology-free, so no iPod and no Garmin. It was nice to just go out and run what felt good. And now that my underarm chafing is gone (thank goodness!) and my legs are feeling rested, running felt great.

Several people told me that after running a marathon I'd be hooked and would immediately want to sign up for another one. That's not happened yet. I'm thrilled to be a REAL MARATHON RUNNER, and I still can't believe I qualified for Boston. But I'm not feeling the need to sign up for another race at this point. I'm enjoying the freedom of doing other things -- P90X, playing with my new rope, doing Art of Strength DVDs -- and I think it's ok to be a little more free form for now. I will still be running, as I really want to hit 1500 miles for the year and with just 43 to go it seems pretty doable in the next 15 days.

What will next year hold? I really don't know at this point, and I'm ok with that. But since I am happiest when working towards a goal, I'll be working on finding a new goal soon.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Acceptance? Maybe...

(What I'm about to write makes it sound like my favorite activity is gazing at my own navel and thinking only of me. I SWEAR this does not consume my waking hours. But I had a big realization last night, and I need to write about it in hopes of helping it to stick!)

For my whole life I've felt like I was too sturdy. Regardless of my weight, I've been unhappy with the size of my "frame" for lack of a better term. Objectively, I'm 5 feet 5 inches tall and I have a medium build. But I've always wanted to be 5'3" tall and have what people would describe as a "fragile" build.

So while many of my body image issues have centered around reality (when I weighed 50 pounds more than I do now, yeah, I not only felt fat, I WAS fat), this whole "I want to change the size of my skeleton" thing has kind of made me crazy. It's led me to think of my ideal weight as in the mid-120's (10 or so pounds less than I weigh right now). And it's kept me chronically dissatisfied with my body, no matter what my size or what my weight.

So last night we had 3 Christmas parties to attend. And as Tim and I were getting ready, I started talking about this. Tim said, "You know, this is exactly like how I wish I were taller." And that was the big lightbulb moment for me. Tim is 5'10" tall and I think that's perfect. But he doesn't. His whole life he's been surrounded by guys who are 6' and over, and in an ideal world, my husband was be a critical 2 inches taller. That makes ZERO sense to me. It does not matter how tall he is. And bottom line? That's out of his control!!!

And what's something that's out of my control? The size of my freaking skeleton!!! So today, rather than feeling "too big" (begs the question "Too big for WHAT?") I'm just happy to be healthy and happy and strong. And those things are NOT negative. Yeah, I have a medium build. But that doesn't make me unfeminine or mannish or anything else negative.

Maybe it's time to let the Serenity Prayer apply here:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (the size of my skeleton!!!),
The courage to change the things I can (what I eat, what I do),
And the wisdom to know the difference!

Amen.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hi!

I'm still here. But life is crazy busy. Tonight is Tucker's 13th birthday party. Last night was Tim's work Christmas party. The party was tough as I'm still tired after the marathon. Believe it or not, this comes as a surprise to me. I expected the training to be tough. I expected the race to be tough. But I thought I'd be back to running a day or two after the marathon. The good news is that my underarm chafing has subsided to the point where I can now wear deodorant (thank goodness!) and wear regular shirts instead of tank tops. Lower body is still sore, but this gets better every day.

In a surprising unwelcome development, an old snowboarding injury has come back to haunt me. Maybe 4 years ago I caught an edge while learning to snowboard and fractured my tailbone. It took 6 months for the pain to go away. Now the pain is back. And I know the only thing I can do is to let it subside on its own.

Today I have 4 clients which is a great thing, as I love what I do, and a tough thing, as I need to plan 4 workouts. Guess I'd better get crackin', huh?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I (heart) my rope!

I used my new 40' long rope with two clients today and they both LOVED IT! Here's a video showing a rope in action.

Melange

  • Still tired, still sore from the marathon. Did P90X shoulders and arms today and that was fine, but I still have no desire to work my lower body at all. Does anyone know when you're supposed to start running again?
  • I have lots of favorite Christmas songs for lots of Christmas moods. Favorite upbeat song? Merry Christmas Baby by Lou Rawls. Sexy brass section and an edgy celebratory feel. Anyone else care to share a favorite holiday song or two?
  • Got a good night's sleep last night and it felt great.
  • FRUSTRATED that I have so little energy. I do understand why, but that doesn't mean I have to like it!

The Last Man Standing

I got an email today about a 90th birthday celebration run. Here's more:
Paul Camerer is the oldest man (or woman) still running in races actively in Sacramento.

He turns 90 years old in December. When the members of his garage gym asked him how he wanted to celebrate, without a pause, he said that he wanted everone in Sacramento to join him for a 5k Run. Will you please join us on Sunday, December 21st (the last Sunday before Christmas) at "The Last Man Standing" annual 5K Walk and Run and pot luck?

Would you please also support the birthday celebration as follows:

1. Forward this invitation to your run/walk friends.

2. Include this in a newsletter of a group that you belong to.

3. Print and distribute to others.

Let's have a big party. Look at the picture below on the race entry form (entry fee is $10). Paul, aka "Pinkhouse" crossing the finish line as the runner on the last leg of the team division of the California International Marathon. Look for him at the finish line again this year and let him know that you are going to run with him at his 90th Birthday Party. Let me remind all of us who are younger than Paul but want to be running when we are 90 this: it is an honor to be able to run with a member of the Sacramento running community for the past fifty years (lifetime member of the Buffalo Chips), a decorated World War II officer, a retired Folsom High School teacher, and a volunteer to the Sacramento running community running aid stations for race directors whenever asked.

Please let me know if you're a Sacramento-area runner who would like to participate. The entry form is a crack up! I tried to include it here, but had formatting issues. If only you could see it, you'd see the age groups:

0 - 69
70 - 74
75 - 79
80 - 84
85 - 89
90 - 94
95 - 99
100 and over

And of course, the Waiver and Informed Consent section of the official race registration form:

WAIVER and INFORMED CONSENT: I am aware of the hazards inherent of choosing to get fit and run to celebrate Paul Camerer’s 90th birthday. The side effects of training and finishing may include more energy, increased metabolism, sense of wellbeing and happiness, loss of body fat, more friends, and being with my loved ones. I indemnify and release my parents and all others because it isn’t their fault. In case of emergency, please contact my friends and family and ask them to continue to support my commitment to participate in the LAST MAN STANDING 5K. If found off course, please send a run angel immediately to re-direct my efforts. I have read, understood, and agree to this release.

This is a run I do NOT want to miss!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Feeling so incredibly loved!

Thank you for every single sweet comment -- they helped make my legs feel much better today, I'm sure, although it was comical even to me to try to walk first thing this morning.

I did NOT sleep well last night which surprised me. Legs couldn't get comfortable, and I have the mother of all chafing under each arm (it's been in the 40s today and I've been wearing a tank top as much as possible because chafing HURTS!). Oh well, I've been happy enough for 10 people. And I did wear my marathon shirt while out shopping and a couple of people noticed it. I came close to wearing my medal, but decided that crossed some sort of line and decided against it.

Turns out I have two years to enter Boston, and right now I'm thinking that I'd like to run it in April 2010. But for today, I'm not running at all.

I did, however, get a new fitness toy today. My 40' long rope from Art of Strength arrived. Once my underarm woes are behind me, I can't wait to play with it!

Finally, look what Tucker put on my mirror yesterday afternoon. Isn't this sweet? I think I'm gonna keep it for a while...


Sunday, December 07, 2008

California International Marathon 2008

Warning: a long-winded tired marathon runner (!) is about to write more words than should ever be in one single weblog post.

On Saturday I drove to the Expo, looking forward to meeting some people that I've only known via computer. It's quite strange to meet someone for the first time, and yet know a LOT about who they are from following their writing. But as usual, the best people are fitness or running bloggers!

Me, Laurie, and Katie (their kids were with them and are soooo cute!). Laurie's husband Jay was running CIM and Laurie and Katie were there to support him.


Me and Julianne (my blogger "daughter!").


Catra and me (Catra ran 30 trail miles in Auburn the day before the Expo!).


Michael B (from dailymile) and me (Michael is just as nice in person as he is on the dailymile boards).


Me, KK and Julianne (KK ran the 3rd leg of the marathon relay!).


I met Aron too, but fogot to get a picture. She was running the 26th CIM and she's 26 -- I think that's really cute!

After the Expo, me and the fam went to dinner at Fresh Choice. We saw a man who had a Boston Marathon jacket on and I asked him if he'd been at the Expo. He had and we talked running for a bit. He'd run quite a few marathons and ran Boston last year. When he asked what my goal time was and I answered, he looked surprised. (Guess I don't look runner-ish enough!) He told me that I had an aggressive goal for a first marathon.

We came home, played games, and I was in bed shortly after 10:00.

Morning

Got up. Did my normal computer thing. Got dressed and Tim drove me to the starting line (thanks again, Tim, for getting up so early the day after your oh-so-tough mountain bike ride).

5:50 am and nervously ready to head to the starting line.

Tim told me in the car, "You know how you've been wanting to run all week? Well today you get to run as many miles as you want to!" I kept that thought with me, and it helped me to remember that I really did want to be doing what I was doing.

So I got to the start with no problem. It seemed well organized and it was exciting being around so many runners. It was cold -- I think 37 degrees or so. Sadly, I dropped a glove about 20 minutes before the race while texting. I looked for it and couldn't find it, so I decided that maybe running with one glove would be a good thing, right? Right??? Then I found it a minute before the start and that was an even better thing. The Target sweatshirt was great, and I hung it nicely on a fence right before the race began.

I started with the 4:05 pace group, but after 5 miles, I felt good enough to go ahead and at some point before mile 10 I caught the 4:00 group. Note to anyone considering CIM: pace groups are the bomb!

The first 10 miles were easy as it was so exciting and I knew that my family would be at mile 10. When I got to that point, I didn't see them and I thought I'd missed them. I was sad, but trying to convince myself that it was ok, and then THERE THEY WERE! Tucker gave me a huge hug, Tim and Austin cheered, and I dropped my jacket with Tim and gratefully accepted the banana and ibuprofen I'd asked him to have.

Although I had my iPod with me (security blanket of sorts), I never took it out. There was a man from Canada (I called him Canada, he called me Sacramento) running nearby and we chatted off and on for about 5 miles.

Around mile 12 and feeling good!

I saw Austin again at mile 12 -- surprised and really happy. It's true that family and friends can really pull you forward. The anticipation was good for a couple of miles, and the glow of "they're here for me!" lasted for at least another mile.

Tim and the kids were planning to be at mile 20, so I had that to look forward to. Tucker managed to help hand out GU packs to the runners -- that's a very Tucker-like thing indeed. And unbeknownst to me, Tim's parents were there too, but I never saw them. Wow -- my MIL made veg stuffing at Thanksgiving, and then they were out in the 40 degree weather for over an hour? I have the BEST in-laws!

I'd read about running with your head to start, your legs next, and your heart at the end, and decided to run first 10 miles with my head, then the next 13 (not 10) with my legs, so after mile 20 when it started hurting, I kept telling myself, "I only need my legs to do 3 more miles, and then I'll run with my heart." It helped.

And guess what else helped? At mile 22 -- SURPRISE! My bestest girlfriends, Laudon and Donna were there to run with me!!! I had no idea they'd be there, and it was perfect timing, as by that point, every step felt icky. I nearly cried when I saw them, and they talked and encouraged me for the next 3-1/2 miles -- probably the toughest ones on the course.

Donna, me, and Laudon around mile 24?

Right before mile 26 I gave it everything I had. And when I could see the finish line and saw that I could come in under 4 hours on the clock, I pushed. Hard.

The finish line is in sight.

The clock said 3:59:54 when I went across, and after getting my space blanket and my medal, I dissolved into tears. And then there were my family and friends and hugs all around!

Tucker, me, Tim, and Austin -- I feel so lucky!


My bestest girlfriends, Laudon (me) and Donna!


I AM A REAL MARATHON RUNNER!!!

I didn't know my official time at the finish, as we had to leave pretty quickly after the finish. But the results have been posted and here they are:

LESLIEGANDY2009F45-4993F7614703:59:5400:09:0902:00:2003:58:05ROCKLINCA

What does it all mean? My chip time, aka official time, is 3:58:05 and that means I qualified for Boston! I am stunned, amazed, and oh so thankful to everyone who was here today, who sent emails of encouragement, and to everyone who took the time to write words of support via comments.

Nite nite, friends!

FIRST MARATHON, BABY!

Clock read 3:59:53 as I crossed the finish line, so guess what? I qualified for Boston!!! Full report later. Time to get in the pool (yikes!) for some cold water on some very tired legs.

And I'm off!

My race number is 2009 which seems like a very good thing somehow.

I've run nearly 1500 miles.
I've tapered.
I met fabulous people at the Expo.
I've tweaked my outfit a bit (white Nike hat, new black running jacket).
I got a reasonable amount of sleep.
And I'm off to run a marathon and in the process become (drum roll, please) A REAL MARATHON RUNNER!

See ya on the flip side...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Butterflies and running clothes

I have MAJOR butterflies in my tummy as I consider tomorrow. I'll be heading to the Expo in a couple of hours, camera in hand, excited to meet lots of dailymile and blogger friends!

Maybe later I'll post a picture of my marathon clothes, but for now, words will have to do. Starting at the top, here's what I'm wearing:

Dark grey Northstar baseball cap
Black UA short sleeve t-shirt
Black w/red flames Moben sleeves
Black running tights
White and orange Asics running shoes

(I'm not putting down the ugly but warm Target sweats that I'll be ditching at the start.)

Yesterday I listened to a Runner's Lounge podcast about running a marathon where I heard something I've read before, and was happy to be reminded of:

Run the first 10 miles with your head.
Run the next 10 miles with your legs.
Run the final 6.2 miles with your heart.

That's my plan and I'm stickin' to it!

I want my rope!

I have a rope on order from Art of Strength and I want it now! The rope is 40 feet long and 1-1/2" in diameter and I think it's heavy. It's probably best that it didn't arrive this week, as there's no way I could have stayed away from playing with it, and that's not consistent with tapering for a marathon. But I want my rope! (I think of it as my big-a$$ rope, but as I'm trying to clean up my language, I'm not calling it that out loud.)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Writing about something other than running

Yesterday I got false eyelashes put on at the MAC counter at Nordstrom. If you've never done this, DO IT NOW! They have lots of styles to choose from, they cost $12.00 and they will put them on for you. As an admitted mascara junkie (my goal? to look like I'm wearing false eyelashes all the time!) it was so fun having double the lashes.

If you're not wanting to try fakies, MAC also has a new mascara called Dazzle Lash. I (sadly) removed the false eyelashes last night, but awoke this morning happy to try my new mascara. I'm happy to report that I LOVE IT! It covers really well, doesn't clump, and gives a false eyelashes effect. At $12.00 it's worth a try, and I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Fluffy!


Whaddaya get when you combine marathon tapering with a voracious appetite (geared up for 40 - 50 miles of running per week) and a full-blown case of PMS? Yep, that's right -- it's me, FLUFFY! Don't let that smile fool you, folks. This girl is TROUBLE!

I ran 3 miles today. It felt wonderful. The worst part of tapering has been that I just don't feel like myself when I'm not moving.

The great news is that I get to meet all sorts of cool people at the CIM Expo on Saturday. I have for sure plans to meet up with Julianne, Aron, Michael, and Katie and Laurie, and of course I'll be stopping by to see Catra who's working one of the booths. And if I've missed anyone, and you're going to be at the Expo on Saturday, let me know, k?

Finally, as it's been in the high 30's/low 40's in the mornings, I went to Target today and bought a sweatshirt and sweatpants ($6.49 each) to wear in the hour before the race starts. I figure I can ditch the clothes and someone else can benefit from them, and maybe the sweats plus (just a few) jumping jacks will help to keep me warm. Anyone else have ideas of how to stay warm before a race? I'm all ears!

Ok, time to beat ... I mean FEED my dogs and get on with life!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Lucky me!

My mother is in town from So Cal! She got in yesterday and is here through Thursday night, so I have a playmate to help me through the taper madness!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

PROOF that I have too much time on my hands!


My fridge.

My freezer (where if you look real close, you can see the labels I applied the other day).

Monday, December 01, 2008

The weather for race day...

... couldn't be any better! Forecast is for a low of 41 degrees, and a high of 63 degrees. There's no mention of wind speeds, and there's practically no chance of rain. I'm going to focus on this as I go to sleep tonight and hopefully it will help to keep my head quiet.

Quieting my head

Ok, so here's how my thoughts are going these days:

"So if I run a 9:10 pace for the first 10 miles that's 91 minutes and 40 seconds, and then if I go a little faster for the next 10, that's 90 minutes, so now I've got ..." and on and on and on.

I just checked the CIM website, and I see that they have a 4:05 pace group. So here's my thinking. I want to start with the 4:05 pace group and run with them for the first 13 miles. If things are still feeling good at that point, I may try to get a little bit ahead of them, and eventually catch up with the 4:00 group. Does anyone have any thoughts on this plan? I'd sure like to make a decision and get some good sleep and some quiet brain time during the day!!!

Organization


(Note, this is not my fridge.)
I am by nature disorganized. But I'm married to Mr. Methodical. I own a LOT of organization books. In the 20 years we've been together, I've changed a lot, but it hasn't been easy.

Recently, I've been thinking about a quote I got from my niece. Remember Audrey, my 23 year old niece? We ran the SF Half Marathon together. She lives in a tiny apartment in San Francisco, and it's absolutely darling. Even though it's small, everything has a place. She had one post-it note by her computer that said, "That which must be done eventually, should be done immediately." I've been trying to practice this in my life, and it's helping.

Another lifesaving organization tool is my labelmaker. I got it at Costco quite a few years ago, and we use it a lot. I've labeled keyrings for keys that go to bike locks or bike racks or any other keys you don't use often enough to have them on your main keyring. I've labeled shelves in the linen closet. Yesterday I labeled our freezer. Now, I know that sounds kinda crazy, but we have one of those bottom drawer freezers and while I love the French door top fridge, the freezer is not my fave, as it's impossible to find stuff in it! There's a top tray where I keep Tim's oatmeal (I cook stone ground oatmeal and freeze it) and green smoothie ingredients. The bottom bin is divided into 3 parts. Yesterday I labeled them. So now we have "veggies and ice", "bread& pasta&treats", and "icky meat". Hey, a girl's gotta have fun, right?

Soy causes belly fat? Help!

I read a LOT of weblogs. I don't want to say how many, but trust me, it's lots. But I'm not on the computer all the time, because:

a) I use Bloglines so I know when someone's written something new (I'm not just stalking the blogs, randomly hoping someone will write).
b) I am a really fast reader.
c) If I don't have time to comment and don't have something to say, I don't write.

So one of the blogs I read is called Aim High. Kelly vlogs a lot (and I rarely have time to watch her posts :( ). The other day (when I did have the time to watch a video) she had a guest vlogger who was saying there's a direct connection between soy and belly fat.

In the last 6 months, I've switched from whey to soy protein, wanting to get away from all things dairy. And in that time, I have noticed more fluff in my abdomen. But I thought that was related to peri-menopause or too many candy bars. Is it possible that there's a soy connection? I'd love to hear your thoughts! (And Colette, my nutrition friend, I really want to hear your thoughts!)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Random Sunday thoughts

I just want the marathon to be over! The past few nights I've had trouble falling asleep with worries about the race. For example, where will my family be? Should I just tell them not to come at all, as it's such a pain in the neck to spectate? What should I wear? What if I don't have enough gels? What if I don't come in under 4 hours? Do I even care? It's my first marathon -- I shouldn't care! But I do!!! And on and on and on.

Today I ran 7 miles and it felt fantastic. I ran the first 4 at a 7:57 pace, which is speedy for me. As the marathon is one week from today, I chose to slow down, and ran the last 3 miles at a 9:00 pace. After doing P90X yesterday (Shoulders and Arms, and then Ab Ripper X) and today (Chest and Back) my whole body is feeling nicely fatigued.

So the plan for this week is to run 2 or 3 times, maybe one 4 miler and two 3 milers. (Boys can leave the room now, ok?) So I'm about to start my period, and I really want it to come soon, as dealing with THAT during the marathon is just not my idea of fun. (Hope that wasn't TMI. The boys can come back now.)

We're hosting Christmas at our house, so I've been doing a little shopping to spruce things up. Got two pictures for the dining room at Z Gallerie, and now it looks like a grown-up room. Also got a red polka dot table runner from Pottery Barn, and I've been moving decorative things around in the kitchen. Now I have to decide what to serve for Christmas. I really don't want to serve meat, but I'll be feeding a house full of non-veg people, and I think it would be unkind to do all veg for such a traditional meal. I'll keep you posted on this one.

Final note here. There's a recipe in "eat, drink, and be vegan" that I've been making for about a month now. Every time I make it, it's gone in minutes and I'm not the only one who likes it. The cookbook calls it Goddess Garbanzos. Basically what you do is take a can of garbanzo beans, rinse and drain them, then chop them in a food processor till they're crumbly. Then you treat them like they're tuna fish, and add anything you would normally add to tuna. I've been adding vegan mayo, some Annie's Goddess Dressing (hence the name), some chopped celery and red onion and apple, a little lemon juice, and that's it. We eat it with crackers or just by the spoonful, and it's really really good and really really good for you (as long as you use a light-ish hand on the mayo or dressing).

You can expect a LOT of writing in this pre-marathon week. It'll be interesting to see how it all goes...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Win-Win


Right now Tim is putting up the Christmas lights.

Later I will be wearing my sexy Santa costume.

We have been married nearly 20 years. Coincidence? I think not!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Looking ahead to 2009

The marathon is still a week and a half away, but I'm already looking past it to 2009. I work well when I have a focus of some kind (most people do, right?). This year my focus was boxing camp for the first half of the year, and then the marathon for the second half. So here are my ideas for 2009:

Emphasize kettlebell training and maybe get AOS certified
Run 1000 miles (20 miles a week is a nice target)
Emphasize CrossFit or P90X or some combination of the two
Run my first ultra (???)
Figure out a way of eating that I can stick with for life

I can tell that I'm ready to broaden my horizons to include more than just running. But for now, I'm going to continue to taper (30 miles this week, 10 miles next week) and keep thinking happy thoughts about the marathon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Runner video

Found this on Half Fast and thought some of you might enjoy it:


Photos

We had a great time at the Kings game, except for the outcome of the game. Here's Tucker with one of the King's dancers in the tunnel under the stadium:














Here's the four of us on TV (my brother in law took this picture of his TV -- it's easy to make the camera when you're under the basket!):














And here's my wonderful sister Michelle, Tucker, me, Brendan, and Austin as we check out something on Youtube:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lovin' Santa Cruz

We're in Santa Cruz for a few days with my sister and her family. How fun it is to have family you'd choose to be related to, you know? I've done ZERO exercise the entire weekend, although Tim went running today, then he and the kids and Brian (my brother in law) went surfing, and then Tim and Austin and Brian went mountain bike riding. At least some people in our family are active! Two days off in a row is probably about the best thing I could do right now. Plus time spent with my little sister and her husband and my niece (age 7) and nephew (age 4) is priceless!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yeah, I ran.

I was feeling trapped by my kids schedules. So I did 5 miles. The body is tired, but the mind is way happier now. :)

Laughing out loud!

I LOVE these guys! Have you seen their Mother's Day video? Priceless. Enjoy!


P.S. My other two favorites are "Douche Off" and "Double Dragon" both of which you can find on YouTube.

Great new workout

Yesterday I finally received The Kettlebell Way volume 2, The Empire State. It's done by Anthony Diluglio of Punch Gym and Beth Chamberlin an actress on a soap opera (Young and the Restless maybe?) and a certified kettlebell instructor.

So I did the workout this morning and I love it! It consists of 9 rounds. Each round is 3 minute long and includes an upper body exercise, a lower body exercise, and a core exercise. There's a time bar on the side so you can see where you are in the round (although in the first round it's almost impossible to see the blue of the time bar against the backdrop, so I thought it wasn't working!).

This workout is a nice complement to The Kettlebell Way, volume 1 (which is that same thing as AOS Providence). Since there's a core exercise in each round, it works your core more intensely than volume 1. It's not quite as cardiovascularly demanding as volume 1, but I solved that by doing 30s of swings in each 1 minute rest break.

So now I'm off to do a 5 mile run. I'm already tired so this should be an interesting 5 miles. At the beginning of the week I was dreading the taper for the marathon. Right now I'm thinking I'm going to love it!

(30 minutes later) I've decided to scrap the run. My body is tired, and as I look back at this week's training, I can see why. I am all for pushing through stuff and mental toughness, but today the smart play is to not run. (Except if I feel like running later today -- we'll see!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dreadful news!

My sister called me today and told me that SUGAR CAUSES WRINKLES!

(let's let that sink in, shall we?)

I've always joked that the minute I find out the sugar causes wrinkles is the minute I limit my sugar consumption. On the whole my diet IS pretty good, but I definitely indulge as long as my clothes are fitting and I'm feeling good. But this news? Yikes! No more running millions of miles to make up for millions of fun size candy bars? Oh the agony...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

If you are a basketball fan...

...me and my family will be at the Sacramento Kings vs. Portland Trailblazer's game on Friday night. We have FLOOR SEATS right under the basket! This is a once a year treat, and last time we did this, the game was vs. the Phoenix Suns, and I got to toss a ball back to Steve Nash during the pre-game warmup. And one of the Kings players nearly landed in Austin & Tucker's lap as he fell out of bounds right in front of us. I LOVE the intensity of live sports, and it's especially fun when it's this up close and personal. :)

And if you're a music fan, I have a new song that's just captivating to me. It's called "Brighter Than Sunshine" by Aqualung.

P.S. Lest we sound like crazy people who will blow thousands of dollars on a basketball game (I know they exist, but they are not us!) the floor seat tickets belong to Tim's company, and he gets them once or twice a year. Face value of the tickets? $1000 per seat. (I almost choked when I saw that the first time we used them.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Melange

RUNNING

I tried recording a video AGAIN and still no sound. Oh well. So the 20 mile run went well. There were some things that worked in my favor:

stubbornness
beautiful weather

And some things that worked against me:

a headache that wouldn't go away
lots of See's Candy the night before the run (one of these days I'm going to have to start eating like a grown-up person!)
not enough fuel (I was starving at mile 17 and couldn't do anything about it)

But all in all it went well. By mile 15 I was feeling tired, so I thought about Julianne and Aron who were both doing their 20 mile runs on Saturday and that helped me to feel less alone.

I have a neighbor who's training for CIM with a group called Sac Fit. They had a long run WITH AID STATIONS on Saturday and I didn't know about it. How cool would that have been??? Apparently those who aren't group members can pay a small fee and run the training run with the group. That's something I'll definitely check into next time.

So now it's time to taper. I was reading up on that last night, and I think my plan is to run 40 miles this week, 30 the following week, and ??? the week of the marathon. (Guess I have some more reading to do!)

Today I did Art of Strength Providence and then did a 7 mile run. Running's a lot harder after a good kettlebell workout!

TRAINING

I have the BEST clients! In the interest of privacy, I don't write about them much, but I truly love the people I get to work with. I got permission to share a funny comment with you. I was showing a client burpies (squat, jump back into plank, do a pushup, jump forward to squat, jump up). Her response? "Good god, those look dreadful? Do people pay others to do those for them?" I could not catch my breath from laughing so hard!

Does everyone have the Val Slide? If not, it's a great piece of equipment. I've been using them more and liking them more. (I guess that's true of lots of things in life -- the more familiar you are with something, the more you like it, right?) Today Valerie posted a video of some great ab exercises. You can check it out here.

I may be getting a set of ropes from Art of Strength. I've been intrigued by Anthony's Ropes Gone Wild routines for quite some time, and I think in the next month or so (if I can figure out where to have clients use the ropes) I'm going to get a set. The movements look fun and I think they'll be a great addition to anyone's training routine. You can check out the latest info on the ropes here.

COOKING

We had friends over last night for dinner and I used the pressure cooker to make butternut squash risotto -- YUM! I don't know if I'll ever get tired of that dish, and since I know how to make it, I don't have to worry about that at all! Also I made homemade chocolate chip cookies, and Jesse (the bf) was so appreciative of that -- it made me feel great. (We also had grilled chicken breasts, Caesar salad with homemade dressing and croutons, the risotto, the cookies, and as an appetizer, Tucker's "Yummus" and carrots.)

Cookus Interruptus has two new videos, so if you haven't checked it out yet, now's the time to do so.

TRAVEL

We had plans to head to Utah for snowboarding this weekend (and for the first part of next week) but there's no snow. :( So we're heading to Santa Cruz for a long weekend of fun. My sister and her family live there and I can't WAIT to see them!!!

In February Tim and I are going to Maui (without the kids!). January will be a month of better eating, for sure, as I've been to Hawaii fluffy and I've been there lean, and although it's fun either way, it's even more fun when you're feeling great!

READING

I'm almost caught up with the Southern Vampire Mystery series, which makes me sad. But the client who recommended those books also recommended a book called "Bitten" by Kelly Armstrong. I just started it last night and I'm completely captivated. It is really fun to be diving back into fiction after such a long time away.

Ok, time to get ready for my next client. Have a fabulous Tuesday, friends!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

20 miles!

Ran 20 today -- hooray!
Recorded a video about the run -- hooray!
Video has no sound -- boo!

Tired now. May try again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Melange

  • I'm not a big shopper. Shopping as a pasttime strikes me as incredibly boring. But today a friend asked me to handle an errand for her, so I was at the mall for the Phase 1 grand opening. It was fun seeing the cannons with confetti, the cutting of the ribbon, and the marching band. And I found a new favorite store that is NOT a book store (surprise!) It's called Lush and they have amazing fresh handmade soaps and cosmetics. I got a couple of bath bombs (like fizzy bubble bath, I think) and an Amazonian massage bar, for some grown-up married fun!
  • I tried Irish oatmeal in the pressure cooker this morning. 3 minutes at high pressure with natural pressure release -- NICE! Tonight it's Jambalaya (at Austin's request). I've found a recipe using the pressure cooker and bought the shrimp, Andouille sausage and chicken. And yes, I'll be eating something else. :)
  • My last two runs have been really good ones and fast (well, fast for me). Today I ran 7 miles on legs that were already tired from kettlebells and from a fast 12 mile run yesterday. The point was to run when tired. Tomorrow's a rest day. Then 20 miles on Saturday -- my last pre-marathon long run!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Comment appreciation!!!

I'm trying something new with comments. Like I've said before, I SO appreciate that anyone takes the time to read what I write, and when someone takes the time to comment, it's like the frosting on the cake! So not acknowledging comments feels rude, like not writing thank you notes. And it seems like it takes me forever to write back with the way I do it. So here's the new system. I'm going to reply to comments in the actual comment section. So I've already gone back and replied to the last few posts and will continue working my way back (as well as staying current) until I'm caught up. So if you stopped by and asked a question or something, chances are there will be a response and a heartfelt thank you in the comment section.

More about pressure cooking and cooking success

I hope those who are interested got a chance to check out the sites I recommended. You should especially bookmark Tracy's site and check it often. Just today she wrote a post called "Try it you'll like it -- Pressure Cooking 102".

So before trying a pressure cooker, I was quite fearful of using one. I'm also afraid of deep frying stuff (which is why even at the height of my "I have little kids and I make everything from scratch" phase, I never made donuts -- 300+ degree oil plus toddlers seemed like a recipe for disaster!). After impulsively clicking to purchase my pressure cooker, I figured I had to use it at least 10 times to try to get comfortable with it. The first time I was nervous as it came up to pressure. But then it just seemed ... well, safe. And actually I feel like I have a very fun kitchen playtoy. Plus it feels a little magical in how fast it cooks stuff. So now that I'm past the fear, it's actually really really fun!

As to what I've been making, I'm a recipe follower, at least till I'm comfortable with making something. So I got the book "Pressure Cooking for Everyone" and I made their minestrone (page 34) as my first pc dish. It was easy and absolutely delicious. Next I tried Risotto with butternut squash and sausage (page 115, but I left out the sausage) and again, it was absolutely delicious. I've made risotto before and it's a pain in the ass to babysit so I've only made it twice, but with a pressure cooker, it's so easy that we'll be having it more often. Then I made Mexican chicken in soft tacos (page 79), doubling the vegetables in the recipe. Again, success!

I got on the Internet and was searching for a pressure cooking video that made it seem less scary, and that's how I found Co0kus Interruptus, a hilarious internet cooking show. Tucker and I have been watching the videos, and on Friday night he made some delicious hummus from Cynthia's recipe.
I encourage you to check out more of the videos on the site.

Finally, I'm making some headway in my quest for eating more real food and less manufactured food-like stuff. I brought left over minestrone and carrots and hummus to the TKD tournament on Saturday which worked great. On the drive home, I stopped at Subway and was about to buy a protein bar at the little snack area, when I realized, "I could have a sandwich!" So I had a veggie delight sandwich that was way healthier and more nourishing than the $3.49 (!) protein bar I almost bought.

Now really finally, tonight I made a really yummy pre-dinner snackey thing. It's kind of a mock tuna salad where you chop up canned chickpeas in the food processer, then add in some chopped apple, chopped celery, choppped onion and then some vegan mayo and a little Annie's Goddess salad dressing and some salt and pepper to taste. Tim and I had this with crackers before finishing the very last of the minestrone. (Austin opted out of both of our choices and made himself some Top Ramen -- sigh.) :)

7 Randoms

I am NOT feeling motivated today. Ran 8 on tired legs from yesterday's 10. Yeah, I was that slow girl trotting down the road, but hey, I got it done and it counts, right?

Jacey tagged me to list 7 random or odd things about me. So here goes:

1. I have some food oddities (doesn't everyone?). As a little girl, I would leave the room when my parents and brother put English muffins in the toaster, because the smell made me nearly throw up. (Now I can tolerate the smell, but I still don't like it.) I do not like ice cream. Just don't care for it at all. But I have an unnaturally strong love for cookie dough, brownie batter and frosting from a can!

2. If I had to give up all makeup items except for one (and I didn't have to count lotion or moisturizer as an item), I would choose to keep mascara. I think mascara makes an amazing difference in how I, and most girls look. (Side note here -- I am a complete hand lotion addict, and probably put it on at least 5 or 6 times per day.)

3. I do NOT like using plastic utensils and will ask for "real" ones at places that only have plastic ones out. Recently a friend told me that she only uses plastic because the real ones are never washed good enough. So if you see me eating salad at a restaurant with my fingers, you'll know why...!

4. I LOVE mobiles! My mother gave me this Flensted mobile a few months ago, and now I'm hooked. We have 3 other Flensted mobiles in our house (the original one in my office, this one in the entry way, this one in Tucker's room and this one in our room) and if I didn't think it would be too much, I'd get more!

5. I do not believe in astrology, but years ago when I read Cosmopolitan magazine, their annual "Bedside Astrologer" said that my sign (Capricorn) gets better looking as they get older -- they don't really come into themselves until later in life. I LOVED that and have always remembered it. So astrology is bullshit, except for that! :)

6. I got my belly button pierced when I turned 40 and kept it for 3 years. At that time my kids were 8 and 6, and the neighborhood kids didn't know what to think of me. I was the mom who served edgy snacks (apple slices dipped in 7Up [the citric acid keeps them from turning brown]) and had a belly ring! (No, I did not and do not wear belly shirts, but we live in an area where it gets to 100 degrees and hotter in the summer and we have a pool, so that's how they saw it!) For whatever reason, I checked last night to see if I could still put an earring through the hole. Yep, it's still there if I opt to get edgy again!

7. This year I set out to run 1000 miles, which I did 10 years ago when I was 37. Well, I passed 1000 a couple of months ago, and just hit 1300 yesterday, so now my new goal is 1500 for the year. This is a good goal because it's both exciting and nerve wracking (because it's gonna be tough!).

According to the rules, I'm supposed to tag 7 people, but I've run out of computer time, so if you would like to play and think this would be fun, consider yourself tagged, and be sure to let me know that you're playing so I can find out more about you!!!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Pressure cooker interest

I'm so excited that I have friends who are interested in pressure cooking too! I should have listened to Tracy a year ago (or maybe longer) when she tried to convince me to get one. Better late than never though, right?

I'll be at a Tae Kwon Do tournament in Santa Rosa all day tomorrow, but will try to write on Sunday. In the meantime, there are two fabulous resources for pressure cooking:

Food and Thought: Tracy Reifkind's weblog which contains excellent instructions on making all sorts of wholesome delicious food, including lots of pressure cooker ideas.

The Veggie Queen: This is where I got my pressure cooker (at Tracy's recommendation). Jill knows everything about pressure cooking, and if you order through her, she's just an email away if you have questions -- how great is that?!

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Butternut squash risotto


Tim's working from home today, and I decided to experiment again with the pressure cooker (aka my new best friend!). I love risotto, but standing in front of the stove babysitting it for 30 - 45 minutes is not my idea of fun. But in the pressure cooker? 90 seconds to cook the squash. 6 minutes for the risotto. And the result is one that any restaurant would be proud of!

In response to Aron's question about if you need something special to do pressure cooking -- yes, you need an actual pressure cooker. I got a 6 quart Fagor Duo pressure cooker from The Veggie Queen's website (I put a link to her site in my "Finding my cooking groove" post) and I love it.

I'm beginning to understand why Tracy says she loves her pressure cooker so much. Yep, I think I'm becoming a believer.

Pressure Cooker success!!!

I found a recipe for minestrone in my new cookbook. Rather than simmering for hours, this recipe called for cooking the mix of vegetables, liquid, and seasonings for 10 minutes at high pressure, releasing the pressure, then adding in some zucchini and pasta and cooking till the pasta was done. The soup was wonderful! The veggies, especially the carrots, were fully cooked, yet fresher somehow than if they were cooked for hours. The flavor was delicious. And it took 45 minutes, start to finish, to make. (25 minutes of that was prep time, which would have been shorter if I'd been more focused.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vote!

Image originally posted at Cake Wrecks.

Monday, November 03, 2008

P90X shoulders and arms

Did this DVD tonight with Tim. I'm gonna be feeling it tomorrow!

Tagged!

6 things I value:
What's on the inside.
Family and friends.
Kindness (the most underrated of all virtues).
Optimism.
Good health.
Courage.

6 things I don't value:
What's on the outside.
Pretentiousness.
Arrogance.
Self pity.
Wastefulness.
Laziness.

6 people I'm tagging:
Irene
Colette
Katie
Eileen
Julianne
Leslie G.

Thanks Kim for tagging me -- this was fun!

Finding my cooking groove

I'm starting to cook more regularly for my family. This has not been easy. For years nobody was home at dinnertime -- both kids had gymnastics practice, and it was easy for me and Tim to throw together a salad or just get fresh fast food (a la Chipotle, for example). But the bigger issue was that I got lazy and out of the habit of planning for dinner. Now I'm ready to mend my ways.

Last week I cooked 5 nights out of 7, and the 2 nights I didn't cook, we were at a family dinner one night, and the other night we were all scattered different places. That, my friends, is a VERY successful week.

Today I was going to use my brand new pressure cooker (purchased based on Tracy's recommendation from The Veggie Queen) for the very first time, but I chickened out. Although it came with some recipes, I couldn't find one I was sure my family would like. I did, however, have stuff on hand to do a chicken curry. (I pulled my part out before adding in the chicken at the end.)

Tomorrow night we have the water polo banquet, so no cooking for me. But Wednesday I'll be embarking on my first pressure cooker adventure, with the help of a cookbook I bought at Barnes and Noble tonight. (When in doubt, buy another book right?)

Finally, speaking of books, I'm obsessed with a fiction series for the first time in years. I used to like reading fiction, but about 5 years ago I nearly gave it up completely. It just seemed stupid and pointless and I really didn't care what the made-up characters were doing next. (Depression may have had something to do with how I felt about reading for pleasure.) (I did read every single Harry Potter book, though!) Well, over the last few months I've been reading the Southern Vampire Mystery series (starting with Dead Until Dark) and I love them! (One of my clients introduced me to them and I'm so grateful!) I just finished book 5 tonight, and picked up books 6 and 7 when I got the cookbook. Whatever will I do when I have to actually wait for the next book???

Trying to find the humor


I'm irritated and angry at something that I KNOW I will laugh at someday. It's just that today is not that day. Why am I angry? Because I have to comfort my younger son, who burned his finger. Why is his finger burned? Because he and his brother were using a lighter to caramelize some Laffy Taffy they got on Halloween. Who the heck caramelizes their candy??? Apparently my kids do!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A new meaning for my name

Years ago I read a baby name book where it gave the meaning of Leslie as "from the dark hole." Niiiiice, right?

Tonight at a family get together, my niece (who's pregnant) had a baby name book. This book says that Leslie means, "feisty, beautiful, and smart."

Ummmmm, I guess I have a new baby name authority. I LIKE my name now!!!

Helen Klein 30K, 50K, 50M race report

I left my house a little before 6:00 this morning and drove to the junior high school where the race was to begin. It was pitch black and I followed the bright light to the gymnasium where about 250 people were getting the pre-race briefing from Norm Klein, the race organizer. As excited as I was to be in a crowd of ultra runners, I felt like a poser. I kept looking at what everyone was wearing -- was I wearing the right stuff? I saw runners in everything from singlets and shorts and garbage bags to full waterproof outfits (there weren't many of these). Most people were in shorts. I wore CWX tights, an Adidas long bra top with an Under Armor long sleeve t, and Tim's waterproof golf jacket (wearing it made me feel like he was hugging me the entire way which felt soooo good!) plus a hat (a MUST in the rain). What I wore worked well for a run where it never got warmer than 59 degrees and it rained the entire time.

Talked with a few people, including the daughter of the founder of Running Times. (Her dad was running the 50 mile race!) Took my goody bag to the car, (I didn't check it out till after the race, when I discovered that it had great stuff, such as 12 gels [no exaggeration!] and a huge pack of GU2O [to mix with a gallon of water!] then became best friends with Dan, who had a waist light that made the 1/4 mile trail walk to the start possible for me!

The first mile took around 13 minutes due to construction on the levee and a detour with twisty single-track mud trails. Once we hit the levee I found a comfortable pace (maybe around 9:25 or so) and held there. My feet were soaked through by mile 3 and there was really nothing I could do about it. Decided I was going to run my own personal 40K (24.8 miles), and chose to add the miles on at the middle, as finishing and then going back out sounded super hard emotionally, as well as physically with the difficulty of that first mile (which was also the last mile, of course).

It was SO FUN having other runners to talk to! Met a guy who ran with Catra at the Mt. Diablo 50. Chatted with a group of guys where one was helping the other two to run the 50K. I considered running the 50K, but that would be like eloping (this race) then inviting people to your wedding (CIM in December) so I decided against it. After about an hour of chatting with fellow runners, I turned on my iPod and listened to my SF Half playlist, and then to the latest Phedipedations podcast.

One thing that was way different about being part of an ultra race is that the aid stations are COOL! You know how in regular races you can get water or an electrolyte drink and maybe a gel? Well, at THIS race, the aid station food list looks something like this:

Fig Newtons
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Boiled potatoes with salt for dipping
Jellybeans
Crackers
Rice Krispy treats
Bananas
Flat Coke
Flat Sprite
Hot soup (at the later aid stations)

As Norm Klein, race organizer said, "If Safeway doesn't sell it, we don't have it, and you don't need it!"

The last 5 miles felt tough but doable, and doing an out and back course was so much better than my long runs where I do the last few miles within a mile of my house (the pull to just stop and go home is strong when you do that!). Even though I added a 10K onto my race, I did not finish last, and ended up passing maybe 10 or 12 of the 30K runners in the last few miles, which was a confidence booster for the marathon. I finished in 4:09 covering 25 and 1/4 miles and I KNOW I could have run another mile to do a full marathon. Today is the first day I actually believe that I can do CIM in December!

Before the race started, I was told that today was Helen Klein's last official race. She is an ultrarunning legend and she and her husband put on this race. Today Helen ran the 30K. She is EIGHTY FIVE YEARS OLD! I was there when she crossed the finish line, and I had tears in my eyes as I clapped and cheered with all the other people who got to witness this amazing finish.

After over 4 hours of rainy cold, the shower at home felt marvelous, but I couldn't truly warm up for quite some time. And feet that have been soaked for hours take a very long time to de-prune, in case you're wondering! I laid down for 30 minutes this afternoon, and then was up and making cookies to take to a big family dinner tonight. Now I'm back in my pink giraffe pj's and about to curl up on the sectional for a little TV before a LONG night's sleep!

25 miles -- DONE!

I RAN 25 MILES TODAY!!!

(That SO sounds like a lie, but it's true!)

Will post a full race report later. Time now for some warmth (it was 59 degrees and raining the entire time), food, and rest.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween. Longest run.


This is how I'm answering the door for the trick-or-treaters. Note the bunny slippers and the stuffed pig (of course!)

Tomorrow at 7 am I'll be dressed quite differently as I run a 30K (18.6 mile) race, tacking on some miles to bring it to a 24 mile long run. Am I nervous? You betcha! Why? Because running that long is TOUGH! But I keep thinking that by lunchtime tomorrow my longest training run will be DONE and I'll keep putting one foot in front of the other until the miles are behind me, just like any other run.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spirituality. Abs.

Spirituality

I've been clean and sober for 23 years. When I first got sober I did everything that was suggested for recovery, including daily AA meetings, working the steps, and working with others. What you learn in AA is so valuable for having a quality life, and I wish more people could learn the lessons of AA, although I would NEVER have stood in the "alcoholic/addict" line willingly!

When we moved to Rocklin almost 15 years ago, I had a newborn and was working part time for a computer company. And I virtually stopped going to meetings. In the last year, though, I've connected with a fabulous group of women and have started going to meetings again.

So that's a very long intro to the "spirituality" of today's post. I was reading the "big book" of AA and feel compelled to begin and end my days in the way suggested by the book:

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.

When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life?

Doesn't this seem like great advice for everyone? I did this last night and this morning and hope to make it a daily habit.

Abs

Last night I decided to pull out a P90X video for abs. I think it was Tony's One-on-One trainer. I don't do ab work very often. I kinda feel like that gets taken care of with kettlebell swings and sprint intervals. Anyway, I did like 5 minutes of ab work last night. And today I'm sore. And I like it. Perhaps it's time to rethink my approach to core work.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A beautiful tribute to moms who run from Runner's Lounge

A salute to the running moms who make running a priority and have the discipline to plan and stick with their training even when real life doesn't cooperate. And also for the moms who don't. A salute to the running moms who opt to sleep in an extra 30 minutes after being up all night or skip their run to help with a last minute school project because they know right then something else is more important.Dscn2829

A salute to the running moms who have the strength to eat the right foods at the right times to make sure they have the fuel they need to power their running. And also the moms who rely on a PB & J sandwich as a prerun staple and left over mac n cheese for a little pick me up.

A salute to the moms who look great in spandex and sport tops - without a coverup - because they are runners. And also the moms who don't, but wear it anyway because running makes them feel good enough to wear running clothes in public.

A salute to the moms who dig down deep to run hard and competitively in their races and set the bar higher for all women. And also the moms who run their own race and race to finish just to show their kids it isn't always about winning - it is about finishing what you started.

A salute to the running moms that squeeze in a short run here and a long run there between errands, practices, work and kid crisises and don't miss a beat. And the moms who also squeeze them in and show up at work, at school, or at home red faced, sweaty, stinky but happy because they got their run in.

A salute to the moms who run so her favorite pair of $100+ designer heels Dscn2831 match the priceless look of great running legs. And also the moms whose only pairs of $100+ shoes are her favorite running shoes.

A salute to all running moms who could just as easily stop running because it would make life a little easier, but don't, because they know it makes them a better person. It keeps them healthy when their kids aren't. It keeps them sane when life is crazy. It keeps them out of their fat clothes. And, it gives them personal challenges that are uniquely their own.

A salute to all running moms, regardless of age, speed, ability, or goals who are proud to tell their family and friends they are a runner. We salute them because they are a role model for their daughters, sisters, and the next generation of running mothers.

For these running moms, we say thank you for being a runner.