Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Crazy Saturday--what was I thinking?

Friday I headed to VEISHA town and spent the night with a sibling. . . not because I was going to party at VEISHA, but rather for a 5K.  My training plan had down 6 miles.  I laid out the clothing the night for the chilly temps of 25º.  Thankfully I brought my running wind jacket which I had purchased back in January for the Triple D event. Sadly, I only brought my fleece tights and not the overlayer thicker running pant.  I set out for my six mile run and had a nice route going.  As I neared the halfway mark, I had turned north and then the wind started ripping into me/through my tights across the wide open mall parking lot.  I decided to turn around and make this into an 'out and back' instead of a loop run!

I saw plenty of other runners out in the early morning, some singles and a few large groups with assorted ages.  It was great to be outside. I haven't done much outside running at all this winter. Last year I was out a lot as we had such a mild winter.  My running wasn't completely constant/at the same pace, but it was pretty darn near and that made me happy.    I got back to the house and changed my Mizuno breath long sleeve shirt for the other one of the same type, so that I wouldn't be chilled when walking the 5K.  I didn't run this add'l 3.1 miles past my coach, and maybe should have, but decided that it'd be like going shopping all day long and being on my feet that much longer!

M and I found a great parking spot near the end of the run, and then walked over to the start. It was about 30º when we started. I had printed out a few of the above 'bibs' for Boston for us and to share with other runners at the start.  M's friend J joined us as well and we all pinned on our Boston bibs. Had I been thinking clearly before my 6-miler, I would have put it on then!   A student group at the event was selling 3" pins for Boston with the proceeds going to the One Fund Boston.  We passed out the other Boston remembrance bibs to those who wanted them.  We stood around for about twenty-five minutes before the race started. . . it's always fun to see what others wear for such an event. Some were out in winter clothing, some in shorts with no leggings, one guy was basically wearing a black speedo with his bib number as a sporran. . . maybe he's part Scottish? 

I was pretty glad I wasn't running the event. J commented that it was hard to not 'take off and run' and I agreed, but as there was a hill at the start, I was glad we were just walking it together. J and I started power walking--on accident--and M had to reel us back in so we didn't take off!  At one of the first corners, the group of walkers in front of us made to 'cut the corner'. . . and I mean they were going to CUT THE CORNER.  M joked she thought I was being a real rule follower. I explained to her, and the others, that cutting the corner means walking the shortest distance on the measured course--taking the tangent. It does not mean to cut off a triangle and make a shorter distance by following a rounded sidewalk. 

We talked about current events and memories of their campus, of recently finding coins on campus which I thought would be rare any more with students and credit cards, but then I said the students at the high school dept of the comm college tend to literally throw change into the trash! As well as C's roommate who refused to pick up change, she had dropped on her own room floor, and who was moving out as we visited one weekend. That ex-roomy thought it was odd we volunteered to pick up the change on her floor. It was about $7 as we recalled and paid for the Toll Roads on our way home!

As we had not registered by the beginning of the month, we weren't given a shirt.  However, at the end, they were selling the left over shirts.  I was expecting them to be about $20--especially after I discovered the proceeds help fund a scholarship.  To my delight, the t-shirts were only $6, so of course I got one.  :-)  

After the 5K was over, we said adieu to J and we walked back to the car.  M got her family ready to go to more VEISHA events, and I packed up to go see dad. . . I'm not sure what I was thinking getting in the car after 9 miles and not much stretching, but I did.  Stiff when I got to dad's after three hours in the car and  then I got to climb the stairs and carry things down to the truck multiple times--Really, WHAT WAS I THINKING when I planned this weekend? ? 

For the drive home on Sunday, I made sure to wear my compression sleeves on the calves while I was sitting for five hours. I didn't need anything to happen on the circulation department and then the legs felt better once I got home and moving around a bit as well.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Senselessness turned into compassion and strength of the strong, brave

April is a cruel month in history, especially the last twenty-some years.

April 19, 1993 -- TRAGEDY AT WACO
April 20, 1999 -- COLUMBINE MASSACRE

All I can say is that there are some very disturbed people who cause much devastation to so many innocent bystanders. My thoughts have been with those who survived the senseless act of destruction at the Boston finish line. Many prayers to the families of those who lost their three loved ones. This is just the beginning in the road to recovery for the hundred plus who were maimed bodily and for the thousands hurt mentally. We can't try to make sense of an act so callous, so horrendous and which put the innocent in harms way.  

Prayers and hugs to Boston racers, visitors, spectators and to the running community and their families. 

Cold and blustery day. . . must be spring! April 5K

Fools 5k put on by the fabulous Trekman Racing crew --he has great races, great organization, great after race goodies (food, awards, music, massages, and MORE!)  If you haven't heard of Trekman, maybe you've read of Park to Park in Runner's World magazine?  

This was Trekman's first event with his new combined chip timing/bib process.  When we picked up our bibs the day before, we weren't assigned a number until we logged onto the system. Then the volunteers [awesome volunteers] scanned the bib we would be assigned.  A disposable chip was on the back of the bib--to remain there.  I normally wear the bibs on my pant leg, so it doesn't crinkle and my thumbs won't attack it during a run.  However, Trekman said we needed to wear the bibs front and center on our shirts [though now i wonder what those guys who race shirtless did, hmm].  

Pic of logo on my bib
The weather had been beautiful, though a bit chilly and I decided to ride my bike over the race as a great warmup. It was a fairly uneventful ride in terms fo interruptions (no trains, no cars, etc).  I managed to scare up a doe and her fawn in the first mile, along with a bluebird.    The only problems I encountered were with the glaciers left from the previous snow fall.  I completely forgot about the layers of snow compacting as a result of the bridges above being cleaned.  I'm neither good enough of a rider, nor brave enough, to attempt to cross the ice patch.  As I came to the entrance to the state park, I came across two larger glacier fields, one with a bright red cardinal sitting atop showing off his splendid colors.  I managed to scare up a few more deer as well--surprising they were out so late but realizing they had probably been nestled down in the last days of cold weather.

The first glacier to cross on my ol' Voodoo  
 The energy from a thousand plus people was amazing.  Everyone was standing around in the sun, and trying to stay out of the breeze, and enjoying the beautiful day for a run. The parking lot where the finish festivities were staged was not the start line.  We had to walk a half mile or so to the start line.  Many races I've been to --other than Trekman's-- have signs for those who are under ten minute/mile runners and only speakers near the front.  Not Trekman!  He places speakers all along the participant lineup area, along with signage for runners of all abilities and walkers.  The Fools, taking place at a state park, is relatively flat. I don't mean in the "there's a rise of X and a descent of X so it's considered flat".  I mean in the "there are only a few inclines along the way with a gentle grade and maybe a foot increase is elevation. 

Before we started, Trekman's crew played America's song  and then we were off. . . Now, if you've never raced before you'll learn quite quickly that everyone goes off faster than what their normal pace is.  This is part of the excitement, energy, and adrenaline that racers feel. 

The gun went off, people started a slow run and then we came to a stop. . . one must love that aspect of races ;-)   I tried to stay on the edge, in case I decided to take a walk break. Since I'm just getting into running again after a few months off I figured this would be wise--and then I leave the middle for those folks who want to go really fast and zip here and there, this way and that way.   There was the woman I nicknamed the Gazelle. She was in a high-stepping run, and then she turned around and ran backward to cheer on other people in her group!  Then there was the mother/daughter combo, so cute to see the mom and daughter (about 8) running hand in hand along the course.  There were those dressed in costumes--it IS a FOOLS race after all! There was Thing 1 and Thing 2, bathing suit runners, those with tutus and a cowboy complete with hat, checkered shirt and jeggings!  (I'm still not sure where he found ones long enough for his legs!).  I've never dressed up for this race, but it's fun to see people who get completely into--and who can get their friends and families to get in on the action.  The favorite for me was the Mad Hatter--part of the Alice in Wonderland crew.  He ran with a gigantic hat upon his top! 

There I was, running along near the edge so I could maneuver around people if the occasion arose. All of a sudden a preteen who was walking in the center of roadway decided to start running and moved over the shoulder and then just stopped right in front of me!  This is one of the reasons I never let myself get "so in the zone" of running--always be  on the lookout for people who don't quite obey the rules of the roadway.  I did get around the young girl, although I almost plowed into her.  :-(   

We ran an out and back course with a side lollypop portion.  It was fun doing the lollypop, as then we were able to see the lead runners on their way back, then finishing the out and back let us see the rest of the racing community who was out there.  On the way to the finish line and around the small curves I just ran a straight line, or "ran the tangent" if you want to get all technical on the geometry names.  Plenty of racers think they need to run the complete curves and stay to the outside, but that's only true when you're training and don't want to get run over by a car.  In races, the course is certified, which means that you can run the shortest tangents and still end up doing the total race mileage. It's the reason that you run a half marathon and come up with running 14 miles on your GPS device.  

I finished in a respectable time, though my GPS thought I had gone further than I had, probably because it couldn't tell what I did on the lollypop area. 

After the finish with my "mardi gras'" beads
Here I am after the finish and after my face became slightly less red.  My time did improve from the March 5K, which is expected since there were no hills on this course, nor any street corner turns. 
Larger glacier field
If you want a fabulous race atmosphere and have time in September, think of joining Iowa for Trekman Racing's  Park to Park Half-marathon, 10K or 5K event! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

3rd race of 2013 (March's, it's a late post--eeek)

I cannot believe I neglected to write about my third month, third event of 2013! I must do this before I can write about the April event!  

I was trying to figure out what to do. I needed a 5K for March for this twelve months of runs to continue  We had late month snow that put the dampers on going to visit dad and doing a 5K near him.  (I love to drive in snow, don't really have a problem with it, but I didn't want to drive back in the dark in snow when the last time the weather folks were off with us getting a "trace" and we wound up with seven inches instead!)
Our "trace" of snow, ha ha ha ha
I was looking on Get Me Registered and Running in the USA websites looking for a local 5K to do and found a 5K in a town about an hour away.  The fundraising purpose of the event was to raise funds for a youth group to go to on a missionary trip to help people with their homes. Before the race started, they raised enough from this year's race to do the trip they planned to do in Puerto Rico and then do a trip to Michigan as well!  

Online registration was, of course, closed already and there was no information on their website as to how much the race cost, so I called.  I have never heard of this a staggered race entry before.  I know most places do an online registration cost and day of registration cost. I have never heard of a place having a "pickup packet day /in person registration price" with a "day of event registration price" being even more.  When I called, I was told if I came to the place on Friday it'd be $35, but day of event it was $40.  EEK.  How was I going to justify spending $40 for an event, driving an hour to get there (and back again) and having already paid $20 for a race I wasn't able to do. . . it was a spendy enough weekend to call it a marathon ;-)  One of my friends and coworker had just returned from a trip and knew from driving through this area that there was no snow or ice on the ground (unless us a bit to the north!).  She was in for the 5K as well YEAH! 

Friday night involved getting the clothing ready, laying out styles, extra shirts and then Saturday dawned early and I headed over to C's house to get her. . . turned the seat warmers in the car and set the station to Sinatra for her enjoyment and off we were. 

We found the running store in a fairly new strip mall with plenty of parking down the way. Inadvertently, I did drive unknowingly on part of the course. It was nice to recognize the finish area when we came around the corner.  Registration was in a running store created by runners. They had a lot of stuff packed into a small store front and it was just the right amount!  So many shoes and socks and CEP compression, as well as women designed clothing for women, and a nice array of hydration and nutrition.  Oh, it was so overwhelming early on in the morning (chuckle chuckle). We were also lucky enough to get shirts on race day--they weren't guaranteed for us and only a few sizes were left.  

Songs were sung, thank yous said and we were off on the 5K.  Somehow I thought C got ahead of me and so I spent the race thinking "I need to catch her".  I started off too fast, as always it seems in short races, and had to take some walking breaks.  Then there was the second or so corner to round with a mom holding two five year olds' hands. No problem with that--quite nice to see families and kids getting out for these events.  Instead, the problem was with the woman between that group and myself who kept diving to the left and then the right and then the left and then the right  like she was magically going to fly over the trio and be able to 'cut the corner'. It would have been funny to watch, had I not been so worried about trampling her.  Instead, I put on a burst of energy and sped past the jazzercising runner.  

The scenery was quite a mix--business to residential to a pond and then along a highway with police protection and back onto a curvy residential street before we turned onto a business road again. I took a small walk break here up the incline and then looked behind me and saw more people catching, so I took off around the corner and realized we were just a few blocks from the finish  which actually was a left turn into the parking lot and then an incline to the finish line.  No sooner had I finished with huffing and puffing finesse than I looked around for C. She came up and found me. I asked, "how long ago did you finish?" and she had just finished. She thought I was in front and I laughed because I thought she was in front and I kept pushing myself to beat her and vice versa!  

Seriously one of the cookies at this 5k. . .
perhaps the key is doing a race before Easter? Lots of Easter themed decorated cookies!

After finding some nourishment (a huge smorgasbord with bananas, breakfast bars and dozens and dozens of cookies,  we went shopping. . . what else were we to do?  

We both got new headbands and I acquired a new iFitness hydration pack which has been improved with collapsable water bottle cages (so you run with it as a belt to hold things in the pouch instead of just hydration), a larger cell phone pouch and silicone grips on the back of the front hip sections so it has less desire to slip around on slippery spandex!   There were several other beauties they had in the store to which I had to say 'not just yet'.  The only sad part was that we apparently spent so much time IN the store that we missed out on the door prizes. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cinnamon rolls-Take 1

I have been drooling over the Chebe facebook page whenever they post something about their cinnamon rolls, so I had to give their mix a shot. I already am in love with their pizza crust mix (already has seasonings in the crust), their Foccacia bread (which we whipped up at Thanksgiving with rice milk for gluten free & dairy free bread) and their regular/basic Chebe has became a favorite with the in-laws for holidays :-)  

The Mike arrived home from a cycling ride just after I started prepping the dough, so he was able to take these fabulous photos for me (Should I award him brownie points?) 

I put the ingredients in my food processor; however, that's not necessary. It's quite easy to mix by hand and then knead a bit.  My wrists rather prefer I don't knead, which is why I use my Kitchen-Aid processor. 

Immediately after mixing the dough
I rolled out the crust, measuring marks on the parchment paper for the size the package recommended.  Whenever an edge was going to go over that amount, I just flipped the parchment paper, folding the rolls mix on itself, and then rolled to even out the rectangle.  
Applying the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon mix. The key to cinn rolls, in my opinion/experience, is to leave a bit of the edge without the mixture so when the roll is rolled, you can pinch the dough and get the roll to seam  together.
 I put raisins in my cinnamon rolls, just a little something extra.  I didn't have any pecans on hand and that might be something to use next time. 
I used the parchment paper to start rolling the dough into the log.
(Next time, I will roll from the short end instead of the long end). 

Using a ruler, I cut each one about an inch and a quarter in size.
I think next time, I will make them a little taller, maybe two inches. 

I only have one regular muffin tin and it's a six seater, so I used my jumbo cupcake pans.  First though, I cut small circles from parchment paper to be placed at the base of each container.  

Fresh from the oven.
Next time, I will roll the dough up on the short edge rather than rolling the long edge.
This will make the rolls have more layers.
The finished product:  

After cooking (and photo session) I flipped the rolls out onto a cooling rack covered with parchment paper
Don't look at me that way, I don't want to have to clean hardened cooked brown sugar off my cooling rack!

 Verdict:  Yummy! These hit the spot for what I was craving. I stored the leftovers in a simple zipped plastic bag. They stayed moist and didn't become dry.  I believe the next time they'll stay in for just a  minute or so less in time, but I'll also be rolling them the other way to make the rolls thicker.  Amazingly, they did last more than two days at the house, even without frosting! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Finding humor

Sometimes our exercising turns into more of a workout that is dreaded like work than the fun usually transforms the body. 

Today was another day I got to laugh at the cat as he tried to climb on the treadmill. Usually F cat knows to do this only when I'm stopped in the middle of the treadmill, or when I put the bright yellow sheet back on the track (to protect it from cat hair and . . . other cat things).  Sometimes he thinks he can get on when my feet are on the side rails as I take a small break.  Today though, today he tried to get on from the side as I was running along.  He's done this before and I always freak out for a few reasons:  

1) He doesn't know what he's doing;
2) He has long hair on his feet and I fear that it will somehow get stuck under the track/belt; and
3) I fear the day he gets flung to the back instead of just off the side a few inches.

F cat not long after we moved. .. enjoying a supervised visitation to the outdoors.
Interestingly, when The Mike is on his rollers ( you can watch a clip here in case you don't know what rollers are or why they are used) and I'm on the treadmill, then the F cat simply does laps around the treadmill and rollers (we have a stand between the two machines for storing items and for stability on starting/stopping on the Rollers). 

Sometimes F cat will sit in the chair by us, or on the stand to get occasional pets from us as we have a free moment.  Monday, as I was watching a documentary available on Netflix regarding sheep herding (in big sky country, Montana--great scenery), the F cat had a seat and stared at the television. I'm not sure if this was due to the bleating of the sheep or if he could see the odd creatures on the television.

Last Monday (3/25/13) was my first day back with the coach after a hiatus since the end of the year. I took the break for a variety of reasons, feeling a bit burned out and overwhelmed with all that happened at the end of last year. Even while being careful with what I ate, I managed to gain six pounds in those three months!  

Yesterday, I got to do a 'new' workout calisthenics that the coach prescribed. Last week was the first week and somehow it didn't seem so rough then. Perhaps because it was BRAND NEW to me? Or maybe because I wasn't doing something correctly. This time as I put the band around the ankles and side stepped across the dining room the F cat stopped eating and turned to stare at me as I slowly moved across the room and back. If cats spoke human, I think he would have said, "Have you gone crazy? That band is for playing, not stepping!"    F cat's face and body movement actually reminded me of a run I had last spring near my parents' in farmland country.  I ran past the neighbor's house and pastureland with the calves a few months old. They were chewing grass and as I ran past they gawked, turned their heads as I ran, and--what I thought was most hilarious--one's jaw dropped so much that his grass fell from his mouth!  

Last night I made a feast for dinner, it was awesome, the photo wasn't.   Bacon/spinach stuffed chicken breasts, baked (from PaleOMG page), diced sweet potato steamed, asparagus and, the part that ruined the photo: tomato rice. It was good, but the photo on the rice wasn't focusing very well ( From a mediterranean diet cookbook:  Dice an onion and clove of garlic, place in a hot pan with a tablespoon or so of fat (I used olive oil).  After three minutes, add 1 c of long grain rice. Stir occasionally x 5 minutes. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes.   Add 2 1/2 c of vegetable bouillon ( I used Kitchen Basics veg broth), and cook for twenty minutes or so.  I'm thinking I should have used the risotto rice instead of the long grain.

I also made Gluten Free on a Shoestring's buttermilk biscuits from her first cookbook. The Mike thought these were awesome, the smell was fabulous.  I didn't roll them out, so texture was slightly different. I put the dough on a piece of parchment paper and then shaped into a log, refrigerated for a bit and then I cut into slices and baked per her instructions.  

If you don't have this cookbook, I highly recommend it. I have about five other gluten free cookbooks and I think they're all garbage, too few recipes, too bland recipes or recipes that are just too complicated!  

I thought they were perfect for honey to top. The Mike put peanut butter on his. Then he suggests that variations to try would be cranberry/orange and maybe making them into a bread instead of biscuits.