Friday (night) Things

This is a wee bit late in the day for Friday Things, but at least it's not late enough to call it Saturday things!  I was with a latte and my book during the time I usually write.  Every couple of weeks my husband works from home and on a few of those days he sends me off to Starbucks with my book during the kiddos quiet time, ahhhh. 

Thankfully his business trip didn't end up happening this week; although, I'm bummed about not getting down to Eugene!  At least I have an inside peek into what's going on down there with my VERY busy Twitter feed, in addition to the regular coverage on NBC Sports network.

One of my fav pics that I lifted from the Oiselle Twitter feed of the gals with Lauren Fleshman (on the right)

Lauren's 5000m race to qualify for the finals was one of my favorite trials moments. That and following the Oiselle teammates that are racing.
Moving on to fun random things... I haven't seen any great videos this week, but my brother shared this on Facebook the other day and just about died laughing.

Speaking of funny pictures, my Uglyracepics made it onto The Boring Runner's blog and I couldn't be more proud!  FYI, if you haven't already heard of Ugly Race Pics, it's totally voluntary and when Erica Sara put a request out to share our ugly, well I felt I had to oblige with my hideous picture.  You know, the one the photog takes in the last tenth of a mile when you're digging deep and gunning for the finish.  OK, I'll stop stalling.  I shared it on my first post, and here it is again:

What sucks even more about bad race pics is that it HARDLY looks like I'm gunning it and that my feet are barely leaving the ground. 

Happy weekend, go listen to some Daft Punk - here's an old fav that I love on long runs: Steam Machine.


Healthified Sweet Potato Bars

Summer camp is kind of a crazy thing.  I mean, this is the first time that I'm dropping my kid off for any length of time with a bunch of college aged kids.  At least I HOPE they're college aged at this point.  To me, anyone younger than 21 looks like they should be in high school...  I suppose when I was five, I was riding my big wheel down the street and my mom probably wasn't too worried about it.  Now I'm slightly freaked out about dropping my son off with people who have all of our emergency contact info, name, rank, and serial number.  Guess we're going to be signing up for more, as the week of camp is coming to an end and big brother wants to stay there all day.  Would that I could, big man.

To distract him from the overwhelming sadness of leaving sports camp today, I bribed him with making his favorite dessert after lunch. 

These sweet potato bars are adapted from Pink Parsley, another awesome foodie blog.  I did the Chobani substitution (that I use with my oatmeal cookies) of cutting the butter in half using their conversion chart, reduced the sugar, added a little flax and subbed in some whole wheat flour.  The kids love them, as do I - especially as a snack with my afternoon coffee.

Sweet Potato Bars

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 T Chobani plain or vanilla greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • half of a 10.5 oz bag of mini marshmallows
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the sweet potato and poke a few holes in the top with a fork. Bake 45 min to an hour, until it is cooked through and soft. Remove from oven, allow to cool until it is cool enough to handle, then peel and mash with a fork until smooth. Measure out 3/4 cup of the puree and set aside.

Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with foil, and spray with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, yogurt and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix in the vanilla and the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. With the mixer on low, slowly add the ground flax and flours, and mix until just incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the sweet potato puree.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 26-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Scatter the marshmallows over the top, being sure to cover the entire pan. Preheat the broiler, and broil the bars until the marshmallows are dark golden-brown. You may have to rotate the pan a few times depending on how evenly your broiler cooks. And watch it like a hawk; because as soon as the marshmallows start to brown, they can quickly burn and explode into the size of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  I speak from experience...


One Word Wednesday



Random Rambling from my Sick Bed

So, I'm sitting here with my feet up on the couch, and have been here since I stumbled downstairs after sleeping until 9am.  I'm hopped up on Excedrin, still have a horrible headache, am weak/achy and haven't been able to keep down anything but a banana smoothie, but, man...  Sometimes being sick isn't half bad!  I've got more reading and DVR'ing done today than I have in the last week! 

It got me to thinking about the other things that might not have been so appealing B.C. (before children) but I jump at the chance to do now.  In no particular order, here's some activities that I actually enjoy now (that I do on my own, of course):

  • trips to the dentist or doctor
  • going for an oil change
  • grocery shopping
  • getting a haircut (I've always enjoyed the results, not always making the time for it)
  • RUNNING, of course, and going to the gym!
We'll see if I feel the same way about illness if I'm still stuck with it for another day...

Sorry your sick day is due to actual sickness.

I'll just have to schedule a 'sick day' due to wellness soon. 


This Week's Eats

Ugghhhh.  Some sort of bug has settled over our household: we've got headaches, are kinda nauseous and lethargic.  Mostly it's me and my husband, which is good because big brother starts summer sports camp tomorrow.  Yet it's bad because, damn, it's hard to parent from the couch...  We'll see how many of these meals get pushed back to next week.  You know it's bad when we're not even sure we feel like eating pizza for dinner.

Hopefully reading all the great Rock n' Roll Seattle recaps and reports from the Olympic trials in Eugene will perk me up...

  • Monday - Pizza
  • Tuesday - Chicken Ceasar Salads
  • Wednesday - fish tacos (we get halibut from the freezer section of Trader Joes, along with all the fixins and I make this cilantro-lime cream sauce)
  • Thursday - sweet and spicy bacon wrapped chicken and mashed potatoes (going to try this recipe a fellow Oiselle Teammate shared with me this week and I realized I'd seen it everywhere on Pinterest)
  • Friday - Turkey Meatball Salad (mmmm, tested and highly approved Pinterest recipe!)
  • Saturday - rigatoni with arrabiata sauce (one we make often, but here's a refresher: in a dutch oven, brown 1/2 pound hot italian turkey sausage with onion/garlic in olive oil, deglaze with some white wine once it's cooked and add 28oz can crushed tomatoes, 8 oz sauce and a 1/2 can of tomato paste - let it cook as long as you can stand waiting to eat)
  • Sunday - chicken and corn chowder (another tested and approved Pinterst recipe)


Friday Things and Mother Runner Party!

SO cool to be invited to take part in the Mother Runner house party while Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell were in Seattle for the Rock n' Roll Expo.  Not so cool?  Traffic from HELL.  Thankfully another mother runner that I know IRL (<-apparently that's the acronym all the cool kids use to denote 'in real life') reached out to me through my blog, professing her love for SBS and Dimity and thus I invited her to be my trusty navigator.  I HATE driving downtown Seattle.  Us Midwesterners are used to one big grid where all the streets go in a straight line and you can see your exit on the highway MILES ahead of time.  Not the case in the Pacific Northwest.  And, of course, it was the perfect storm of traffic hell: the 520 bridge was closed and there was a major accident on I5.  We were about a half an hour late, but still had about 20 minutes to say hello to a few people and drink some sangria.  I didn't get to inspect nearly as many name tags as I would have liked, so if I didn't get a chance to say hello to you, "HI!"

That'd be me on the right and my mother runner companion Lindsay

After the mingling, DImity and SBS interspersed hilarious readings from their new book (Train Like a Mother) with TONS of giveaways: Yurbuds, Champion bras, Altra shoes, Lucy gift certificates, Oakleys, body glide, Nuun!, and one lucky mommy won a Mountain Buggy stroller. 

Photo: So glad to have met these awesome women last night! If you're a mom who runs, check out Run Like a Mother or their latest, Train Like a Mother - with several plan for distances ranging from 5k to 26.2. Great read!

I scored a Clean Bottle and the goodie bags were chock full of cool stuff: lots of coupons for the giveaways mentioned above, Nuun, Gu, Justin's Nut Butter, Hylands cough and cold remedies for the kiddos, Body Glide, Flex Power cream and I'm especially excited about the three pack of socks from Sofsole.  I tried them out today and LOVE them!  I hate how so many sock sizes are 5-9; seeing as how I wear a 9, socks are usually just a little too small or too big.  Sofsoles are size 5-10 and fit perfectly. WIN.

Good luck to all the lovely ladies who will be running tomorrow!  Don't stress about the rain, I'm sure it'll feel much better than being drenched in sweat while running during 80 degree heat.

Moving on, I have to share a video, because it's random Friday and I came across this TOTAL GEM on the Boring Runner's blog yesterday.  How cool is this???  I want to go to NYC and run with Ryan Hall...

Lastly, my song sharing selection for today is another older one, but has been getting a lot of air time on my XM stations lately.  If you haven't already checked out Deadmau5, you should.  Just like a lot of techno, trance, and hey, even classical music, the song doesn't really get goin' until about the 1:30 mark.  I happen to think that crescendos make for inspirational tunes.  Enjoy.


Fitfluential Ambassador!

To say that I'm interested in fitness is probably a bit of an understatement.  I've been active in some way as far back as I can remember.  At least as far back as age seven when I was competing at state meets in the 25 meter freestyle.  I continued swimming throughout my childhood and into high school (and I've certainly had great role models growing up). 

OMG.  just... OMG.  I think I was a Freshman in HS in this one..

Even though I didn't continue swimming in college, I always did some form of exercise.  I started running and doing step aerobics to keep the Freshman 15 at bay. (I even have a Reebok step in my house right now that sometimes sees the light of day, if I have a sick kid and can't make it out to the Y.)  I didn't exactly 'enjoy' running but it got results. After my second child turned one last year, I decided I needed to have a goal and get out of my comfort zone/rut of solely relying on bootcamp and a few 3 mile runs a week to stay motivated. So I trained for and ran the Seattle Half Marathon, and loved the whole experience.  I realized that the reason I didn't love running initially was because I was always running short distances and that I really enjoy myself after getting through the first two to three miles of any run (even in a 5K race).  Its become addictive to get into that zone. 

Running, and sports, has not only kept me healthy and sane (especially with two small kids), but it's opened so many doors for me and helped me to really put myself out there, meet new people and take a few chances.  I've really come to see that the more that I put into anything, the more I get out of it.  If I didn't take that chance on sending a heartfelt hello to the ladies at Oiselle, I certainly wouldn't be writing this blog or this post about being accepted as a Fitfluential Ambassador!  I'm so grateful and excited about the opportunities that have come my way along this running/fitness journey. 

FitFluential is a network of fitness minded folks who share their experiences and journeys through social media (blogs, Facebook and Twitter). As an Ambassador, I'll have the chance to partner with brands that fit well with me and my blog, while giving me the opportunity to develop my writing (especially on the topics of fitness, food and health). 

So thank you Oiselle, thank you new running friends, and thank you Fitfluential.  I look forward to sharing the love!


One Word Wednesday



Fall City Days 5K

I was pretty excited to get out and run my first 5K since March, especially since my pace is slowly but surely increasing.  Or, wait, is it decreasing?  Whatever, I'm starting to get a wee bit faster!  My last 5K was at about an 8:40 average mile and since then I ran an 8K and 4 miler in the 8:20 min/mile range.  I'm trying hard to finish strong and get progressively faster throughout the race, which is REALLY hard to do in a 5K.  They still seem to be three short miles of torture for me, perhaps even to the point of vomiting.  As much as I enjoy seeing how fast I can get myself to go, I don't think this distance will ever be my 'thing.'  I enjoy adding distance waaaaay more than adding speed.  That being said, I totally wanted to sneak under an 8:20 average and hopefully PR!

The conditions were perfect for a great run: nice and overcast day, flat course and not a terribly early race start time.  I usually do all of my running around 9AM and the race started at 9:15.  My friend Ashley picked me up around 7:45, at my insistence, since I hate to be late.  And, of course, we were way too early.  We made good use of our time and got our bibs, went to use the bathroom a couple of times (just in case) and took some pictures.

It was a bit humid out and I think I must've spent more time chatting and less time taking sips of my pre-race Nuun than usual, because when the gun went off I already felt parched.  Not good.  All I could think about for that first mile was that I had cotton mouth and that I'd probably have to grab water at an aid station, which I HATE doing in a 5K.  So, the first aid station had local cheerleaders on either side of the trail holding waters out for us.  Now, they were on BOTH sides of the trail and people were going to BOTH the left and right sides. (foreshadowing!)  So, I saw an opening on the left and went for it - riiiiiight as the first person to be finishing the race (the guy won with a time of 15:53) was coming back from the halfway point turnaround.  Being full body checked by someone running damn near 5 minute miles does NOT feel good!  I even have a small bruise where my phone armband got bonked extra hard into my arm.  Needless to say I was spooked and thrown WAY off my rhythm.  I barely drank that water and kept on, not without a expletive or two, ahem...  A nice guy near me ran with me for a bit to make sure I was OK and we exchanged a few words, probably adding more cotton to my already dry mouth.  (fyi, I congratulated the winner and apologized for being a roadblock and he was very cool about it and empathetic.)  After the turnaround, I made sure to get my water from the RIGHT side of the path this time and hoped it would give me the boost I needed for the final mile.  Not so much.  That was a tough last mile and I certainly didn't meet the goal of finishing strong vs. starting strong.  But I met my goal of getting a PR and running a 8:16 average mile!

I guess I have to work on my progression runs, but overall I'm really pleased with how the effort I've been putting in has been paying off.  Also it could have been the inspiring nail polish. 

Thanks Meggie for the recommendation on the nail polish (Revlon 'Dreamer') and also for your great post recently on not always setting PR goals for a race; it has certainly inspired me to think about my goals in a different way.  I would venture to say that at a certain point/age PRs are just not going to be possible, but man, I think that my age group has the most competition right now!  If I had been running in ANY of the age groups younger than mine, I would have placed: would have been 2nd in the 20-24, 1st in 25-29, or 3rd in the 30-34 group.  This also seemed to be the case at the Ironheart Classic 4 Miler.  As it was, I placed 5th in 35-39 and would have been just as far down the totem pole in the 40-45 group.  Same goes with the men: the first place finisher in the 50-54 age group finished 6th overall with a time of 17:16, totally smoking most all of the younger competition.  It's inspiring, and also daunting! 

The Fall City Days is a perfect event: small, but not too small, inexpensive, easy to get to/park, and fun for the whole family.  I was a bit worried about rain, so I left my family at home and I'm kinda bummed I did; because, as usual, the rain stopped for most of the morning.  There was lots of arts, crafts, food, a bouncy house/slide and a parade.  I definitely want to give it another go next year.  Hopefully following the rules of the road and properly hydrating will automatically take a good 10 seconds off my time...


Belated Happy Father's Day Post and This Week's Eats

Our Father's Day weekend was a pretty typical one.  On Saturday my husband spent the morning/afternoon taking the kids to the children's museum and lunch while I was off to another race (running a 5K PR!).  In the evening, after playing soccer in the backyard, he made us a lovely chicken Parmesan dinner.  Which we enjoyed with a big bottle of wine after the kids went to bed. 

Yesterday, after he got to sleep in, we enjoyed some perfect Seattle weather, lunch at Chipotle and... Target.  Yes, my husband willingly goes with us to Target on the weekends.  Afterwards, I had wanted to go to the Brooks Outlet and visit the Cavalcade (and my friend who works there) while the kids were resting; but, I stayed home so that my husband could accomplish his one father's day request.  He wanted to get the kids 'graduation' presents (big brother's pre-K grad and baby girl a toddler group grad), but I secretly think the 522 piece Lego set was more for his enjoyment and not big brother's... 

Um, yeah, who d'you think put that together?  Not that kid!  And certainly not me.

And now my daughter is the proud owner of a new Disney themed attachment item to tote around, her own soft Buzz Lightyear doll. 

He knew she loves to play with the one at the Y, and now they are inseperable.

We are all so lucky to have such a remarkably wonderful man we call daddy 'round here.

  • Monday - Pizza
  • Tuesday - Pioneer Woman's shredded pork (I eat it on tortillas with some fixins, hubs with bbq sauce on a bun)
  • Wednesday - chicken wraps via pinterest
  • Thursday - probably making sandwiches or something light for dinner, as I'm off to Meet Dimity and SBS at the Train Like a Mother house party!
  • Friday - Pomodoro with angel hair pasta (just saute garlic and onion with olive oil in a large pan, add a 28oz can of whole san marzano tomatoes and mash with a potato masher, season w/salt, pepper and crushed red pepper, cook about 15 minutes/until it thickens and add LOTS of fresh basil and fresh grated Parmesan cheese)
  • Saturday - strip steaks with peppercorn crust, twice baked potatoes and wedge salads with blue cheese dressing
  • Sunday - Chicken and veggies stir fry with Trader Joes Red Curry Sauce and brown rice
Huh, looks as if we don't have any experiments/new dishes this week.  Last week's went well: the Thai Crunch Salad from How Sweet Eats was very tasty!  Although it was a little on the sweet side; next time I'll probably omit the brown sugar called for in the dressing.


Friday Things

Juuuust in case you missed this one that's been making the rounds:

Mmmmm, Wiener Circle. 

I'm low on content and energy; hot and sunny park days zap the energy right outta me.  Thankfully I put on my Rogas and took full advantage of soaking up some vitamin D on my neon white legs.

Embedded image permalink

Incidentally, if you've been waiting to get in on some violet Roga action, Oiselle just got more in stock!  Although I'm waiting until early July to place my next ginormous order when we can hopefully get our hands on some of the fall line they've been taunting us with since MARCH. 

WANT WANT WANT (from Oiselle's Twitter Pics where you can browse more grabby hands items that aren't available yet!)

I wasn't even planning on running today, but it was too nice out not to.  I just did two laps around the Y (about 2.5 miles) at a super EZ 10:30 min mile pace.  I hope it doesn't negatively affect my 5K tomorrow...  Maybe it'll help? 

Here's my latest Friday favorite cheez ball pop song for you to add to your guilty pleasure playlist: "Now or Never" by Outasight.  Enjoy!


Milestone Mania

It's such a cliche about kids and how the time goes so fast. Personally, I didn't think the time was going by very fast until I had a second child; she helped shine a spotlight on how truly warp speed it all goes.  

This week, baby girl got her first haircut. Not that you can tell; I'm not big on bangs, I just wanted them to take some length off the back so that we can start moving her out of the toddler mullet stage. Baby steps.

Next milestone: last week big brother got promoted to the next swim level at the Y, after only one and a half sessions at the elementary level.  I suppose taking him as much as I can on the weekends, and schlepping poor baby girl right out of her crib and to the daycare while he has lessons, has paid off.  I must share a moment of mommy pride: after the director of the swim program watched big brother swim out 5 yards/turn and come back a couple of times, he gave a lot of praise about his breathing technique, etc. and then asked me when he turns six.  Six!  Um, in just about a year.  Made my day.   

And today was his last day as a preschooler.

I can't believe this was three years ago, the last time he was 'graduating.'

Toddler Group Graduation with Teacher Amy and Today's Pre-K Graduation

This is the same class that baby girl just finished.

Such conflicting emotions.  Yes, as much the years fly by and I want this relentless march of time to stop...  Man, the days, they are mostly LONG.  Crazy how that works.  I see women with brand new babies and get that pull, that pang in the gut (or uterus?) and then I get a grip.  I SO don't want to be back in that sleepless haze; I don't want to have more, we've made a very permanent decision on that front.  I think I'd just like to go back in time and enjoy the kids I have now when they were younger - enjoy them from the perspective I have now.  One superhero power I'd want to have?  Time machine, all the way.

Baby Brother just days old in 2007


One Word Wednesday



Open Love Letter to the Seattle Weather

Around this time of year, June-uary in Seattle, you'll hear lots of people complaining about the weather.  Yet everyone here agrees that summers here last from July 4th until the end of August.  We have a handful of crappy days in June and people suddenly forget that we just had at least five dry and beautiful weekends in a row:

OK, I know 5/26 doesn't actually convey nice weather, it's the only pic I had from the glorious Memorial Day weekend we had here in Seattle. 

I will always be a Chicago girl, heart and soul. But when it comes to the weather: I'm a Seattle girl, through and through.  I think the only times I'm ever peeved about the weather is when I have to race in huge puddles (the rain itself is fine), when it was 2005 when we had a la nina winter without many sun breaks (more on that term in a minute) and whenever it snows. Even then, it's not the weather that's bugging me, it's our inability to deal with the snow. 

What's not to love?  The summers, although short, are incomparable with warm, crisp air in the 70s/80s and weeks without any real rain. It stays light outside until about 10pm. Our kids get outside nearly 365 days a year and it's always lush and green and beautiful. I can run year round without worrying about snow that's measured in feet (most years) or, God forbid, muggy and 90+ degree summers.  I can already see the chatter on Dailymile from the Chicago contingent about the heat and 70% humidity.  I do not miss the weather of the Midwest AT ALL. One of the many great things about Seattle weather is this term that I learned 8 years ago called 'sun breaks.' Though the forecast looks to be a rainy day, so often the clouds part and the sun comes out - sometimes for whole mornings or afternoons. We thoroughly enjoyed our week of sun breaks and another beautiful Sunday jaunt to the beach. 

So this would be weekend #6 with a nice day for venturing out.

The one thing I DO miss, ironically, is thunderstorms.  Some people might be surprised to find that we don't get those in Seattle.  Every once in awhile you'll hear a single 'boom' of thunder; but, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I've heard that solitary boom in the last eight years. 

Here's one of my favorite pics from home, of a thunderstorm rolling in.  This was taken from our roof deck.  Yeah, the condo that we had to sell before moving to Seattle (after only living there for just over a year) had a private roof deck.  MAN, I certainly do miss that deck, and that neighborhood, and the margaritas at Fernando's down the street, and the sound of the El whizzing by, and...  Well I guess that's a post for another day.


This Week's Eats

Most of my friends know the depths of my anal retentiveness organizational prowess; but, to entertain those who don't know me that well, I thought I'd share how my meal planning and grocery shopping goes down.

We keep a magnetized notepad on the side of our fridge and jot down things we need to buy at the store, as well as meals that we might want to make the following week, whether they're old standbys or new recipes.

By Saturday or Sunday, we go over what we've written down and round it out so that we have at least seven dishes.  I suppose we only have to think of six, because we eat pizza every Monday (can take us out of Chicago, but not the Chicago out of us).  We aim to even things out with no more than two or three chicken dishes, two pasta dishes and one red meat based meal a week.  We also try to get some fish in there at least every other week, if not more. 

Then I flip the paper over and start writing down everything we need in the house and for the meals by the aisle in the grocery store.  Here's a blurry visual for ya of a half done list.

The veg/produce list is first and I make an effort to make it the longest. 

To cap the weekend off, I got to go solo grocery shopping (ahhhh) for this week's eats:
  • Monday - Pizza
  • Tuesday - Cajun quiche in a rice crust (an old Cooking Light fav)
  • Wednesday - penne with vodka sauce (an old Rachael Ray recipe)
  • Thursday - Carne Asada Fajitas with all the fixins (mostly from Trader Joes: we love the Carne Asada skirt steak, homemade flour tortillas, and salsa Especial.  Plus, they've got great prices on avocados and peppers)
  • Friday - Roasted Garlic and Sea Salt Mahi Mahi filets and broccoli quinoa casserole
  • Saturday - chicken Parmesan (made this recipe with eggplant the other week and missed the chicken, so we're having a do-over!)
  • Sunday - trying this yummy looking Thai Chicken Crunch salad from How Sweet Eats, one of my absolute favorite food blogs *

*photo credit: from www.howsweeteats.com


Friday Things

My husband is home juuuust in time to tell me that he needs to take one more trip about three weeks from now, totally foiling my frantic last minute attempts to get down to Eugene to support the Oiselle athletes (<-check out this link with the profiles of these amazing competitors) at the Olympic Trials.  WAH.  And he's going to CHICAGO, of all places.  Without me.  I die.  I'm sure this is another meeting he could have weaseled his way out of with a video conference, but he's not going to pass up the opportunity to go and eat real pizza.  I guess I can't blame him. 

There's been a bit of fun Twitter talk amongst different team members that are totally out and proud for their love of cheesy pop; I myself have professed my love for Call Me Maybe, not just once - but twice.  It got me to thinking that I should just go ahead and confess my latest favorite.  Deep breath here...  I really am enjoying 'Hit the Lights' by Selena Gomez.  The lyrics are so trite and yet so fun at the same time.  It's all about putting yourself out there and taking chances - something I can certainly get behind.

Get this photo here!

A bit higher on the 'cooler' scale that I'm also loving right now is the Shiny Toy Guns Remixes album; it's not terribly new (came out in '09) but my husband introduced me to it recently.  Although, it has the most awesome cover of Major Tom on there, fueling my inner geek's love for 80s music and one of the best tv shows of all time:

So, did anyone watch the MTV Movie Awards?  I think I caught most of it in bits and pieces over the last week, since they re-air the shit out of it.  ANYWAY, who can say they don't absolutely love Emma Stone?  I have such a girlcrush.  She just made me want to be her bestie forever with her acceptance speech.  This is one of those videos I can't embed, but here's the link.  I was reminded of it when Oiselle linked this great list from NPR on 33 ways to stay creative, most notably #13 to surround yourself with creative people and #19 to stop trying to be someone else's perfect.  Happy Weekend, all.


The Race Recap in which I Reveal a bit of my Psyche (Iron Heart 4 mile)

First I'll start with the race recap...
As I said last week, I was a bit dubious about the Iron Heart Classic 4 Miler.  The last time I'd run a 4 miler was in in September, way before I'd become more serious about my running.  I knew I'd have no trouble beating my previous time of 37:20, so my goal was to focus on my pace and try my hardest to average an 8:30 minute mile.  Since my last two 'short' races (a 5K and an 8K) were a bit hilly and I averaged around 8:40, I figured this was a good goal.  Apparently it was, here are the mile splits:

 I'm really pleased with how much effort I put in during the race: I felt like I gave it my all.  There was zero gas in the tank after crossing that finish line, and that's how it should be.  I'm also pleased that I had a negative split and that I beat my 5K PR pace. (So I'd better PR in next weekend's 5K!)

The race itself was really rather small (only 119 finishers), with an out and back along the Sammamish River Trail from Marymoor Park.  I'm a big fan of the small races and the fact that they were giving out awards three deep in each age group was tantalizing.  One of the advantages of an out and back is that you can easily size up the competition and I felt pretty confident that I'd get outta there with a wee medal for my age group. 

So I stuck around and ate bananas and drank some Muscle Milk Light, a great post race freebie treat, while waiting for the awards.  It took awhile because there was also an 8 mile race that started 15 minutes before the 4 mile, and we waited for most of those finishers.  As well as a 1 miler that happened after the 4 milers had finished.  But the time went by pretty quickly since parking was so close I was able to go to my car to put on a jacket, call the family, etc. and when I came back, the announcer had a rather entertaining commentary going on.  He did an awesome job of cheering everyone on to the finish.
Finally we got to the age group awards and when they were handing out ones to women I'd passed in the younger age groups, I thought I had it in the bag - maybe I was even first in mine?!  Then, no such luck, not even top three when they announced the 35-40 group.  Bummer.  Oh well.  Imagine my surprise and, well, slight frustration when I got an email with the Webscorer results from the race director that said I was FIRST in the 36-40 category.  Wait, what?  That wasn't the age range they gave awards for...  So, something happened with the categories and they split out the 35 year olds into one group and only handed out awards to the top three to that category, thinking it encompassed us all when it did not.  Long story short (too late?), I ended up being 2nd in my age group by just 1.3 seconds.  So I emailed the race director back, asking what happened and I think he felt pretty bad, and said he'd mail my medal and some goodies. :)

If I wasn't doing the See Jane Run Half Marathon the next day, I'd definitely take advantage of this current Schwaggle for the Ironheart Classic in Monroe on July 14th.  Age group snafu aside, it was a very well organized, very fun race for a great cause.  From their website: It is Ironheart’s mission to support cardiac charities worldwide by raising awareness and funds via our active lifestyles. A percentage of the proceeds will go toward selected Ironheart Foundation charities, including: Nick of Time Foundation, Children’s Heart Foundation, Mended Little Hearts, and the Adult Congenital Heart Association.  This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart...

As I mentioned awhile back, my father died when I was young: I was seven years old to be exact.  He was only 40 when he went for a regular weekend run with my mom and collapsed from a heart attack.  They were just running along when he turned to her to say something, like, "honey.." and collapsed.

I'm closing in on that age myself and will have a seven year old of my own when I turn 40.  I shudder to think of my kids losing me, or my husband.  When I think about it, my heart always breaks all over again for my mom.  My eyes are prickling over right now.  But,  BUT.  Things do happen for a reason.  It's like those old Choose Your Own Adventure Books (dating myself much?), would I have met a different husband, had children, had a different relationship with my mom or brother if dad had lived?  I love my life, the people in it, the experiences I've been fortunate to have.  I firmly believe this is the way my life was supposed unfold, that we all have a destiny. 

My brother is 40 now and is pretty proactive about his health.  We certainly abide by the top 5 ways to prevent heart disease: exercise, don't smoke, go easy on saturated fats, maintain a healthy weight and get regular checkups.  Which I encourage EVERYONE to do for themselves, and their families, especially women: heart disease is the number one cause of death for women - not cancer, certainly not breast cancer.  Please make sure to take care of your ticker ladies.  Would we have been more reckless with our health had he not died?  Did his death somehow save our lives? 

Me and Dad circa 1980

And then there's the fact that he was running when he died.  Maybe it has some significance as to why I've become pretty passionate about it; in a way, I run for him.  Just as I run for my family, my husband and kids.  They are my life.  Never do I feel like I'm embracing life more than when I'm running.


One Word Wednesday



Books I Read in May

I think I've been too busy reading blogs this month, only three books to review...

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth

This book blew me away. I haven't felt that emotionally invested in a character in a really long time.  Cameron Post takes you on a roller coaster of an emotional journey and gives you food for thought on love, whatever form it takes. It also felt like a very timely read given all the talk about same sex marriage these days. Hopefully it will strengthen your position on equal rights for everyone or change your mind about it.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

This was a gritty, sometimes uncomfortable read and beautiful at the same time: a great story about love and redemption. I felt myself getting frustrated with Victoria (the protagonist), but I think that was by design and I burned through the pages wanting to know if she'd make the right choices in her life.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

This was a good sequel to Divergent, one of the better dystopian books I've read in a long time. Lots of action and lots more suspense than the previous book. Not sure which came out first, but it's very similar to the Matched series by Ally Condie... I'd give the edge to Veronica Roth and her more poetic writing style. Despite comparisons, it does not surpass The Hunger Games, unless the 3rd book is in any way decent, because Mockingjay was a huge disappointment in my opinion.


This Week's Eats

Argh, my husband is leavin' on a jet plane for work this week.  He NEVER travels.  Last time he left me with the kiddos, well I only had one kiddo...  Big brother was only months old at the time.  So, it's been over four years that I've done a little single parent stint.  I need to nut up, he's only MIA for three days; it's just not what I'm used to.  I have friends who's husbands seem to be out of town at least every month, if not more, and it's so not a big deal.  And, of course, there are military wives (and husbands) and the truly single parents who inspire awe in me by doing it all on a daily basis. 

As a result, I'm gonna have a little fun with this week's dinners.  I'll gorge on random stuff like I did when I was a singleton!  Namely, my favorite potluck salad mom always used to make...  And after I nosh, I shall watch the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice whilst painting my nails and reading girly magazines.  In other words, a typical Friday night.

  • Monday, still eatin' pizza!
  • Tuesday, 24 Hour Salad, awwww yeah!  (this is an old school pot luck salad with chopped iceberg lettuce, red onion, and peas topped with a layer of mayo, a dash of sugar, shredded sharp cheddar and bacon - it can be kept in the fridge for, you guessed it, 24 hours before you combine and season with salt and pepper)
  • Wendesday - my favorite Tarte D'Alsace from Trader Joes (it's like a flatbread pizza with ham, Gruyere and caramelized onions) with a big salad, mmmmmm 
  • Thursday - thinking homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese at this point, but if I'm feeling lazy, I'll have leftover enchiladas from last Sunday*
  • Friday - hubs will be home and we're breaking into the Portillos dogs again
  • Saturday - easy baked ziti (my favorite recipe I got off the back of a Safeway box of ziti - layer the noodles, shredded mozzarella/provolone and sauce like lasagna with the added secret ingredient of a little sour cream mixed in with the shredded cheese layer)
  • Sunday - southwestern chopped salad (chicken, black beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, red onion, with avocado dressing: blend an avocado, 1/4 C olive oil, juice of one large lemon, handful of cilantro and a jalapeno in a food processor - season to taste with salt)
* The Spicy Avocado Chicken Enchiladas were a Pinterest success!  The sauce wasn't difficult to pull together at all, and the avocado on the INSIDE of the enchiladas was a big hit.  I also subbed low sodium black beans for some of the chicken and only made 6 tortillas because I like my enchiladas saucy.  It's rather spicy, so I wouldn't serve it to the kiddos!

source: novice chef blog via Andrea on Pinterest 


Friday Things

I've got the Iron Heart 4 miler tomorrow morning and I'm kind of dubious about it; I mean 4 miles is sort of a random distance.  I'm very enthusiastic about the charity and like that the miles represent the chambers of the heart, but still...  At least I have done a 4 mile race within the last year to have some sort of benchmark.  Got to beat 37:32.  I'm antsy to do another 5K and see if I can get in under 26 minutes.  So I'm signing up for the Fall City Days 5K - any local yokels want to join me?  There's a 10K, too, but I'm just not feelin' the 10K distance right now: anything longer than a 5K is going to be a half marathon for the foreseeable future...

To keep myself accountable this month, I've signed on for Another Mother Runner's challenge.  You can learn all about the authors on their website linked above, or read this great article from Runners World April 2012 issue on moms making time for running.  I'm SO excited that I'm going to get to meet them when they visit Seattle later this month! 

They're having a house party to talk about their latest book, Train Like a Mother - a follow up to Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving and not lose your Family, Job or Sanity

To round out this all about running 'Friday Things' I feel I must post a video.  If you haven't already seen the 'I am a runner' series on the Runners World website, check it out.  Sean Astin is one of my favorites, as well as Ben Gibbard - can't seem to embed the video, so click on this link

Happy Friday!