Best of 2012: Running

Misszippy recently did a recap of her running year here and I thought I would follow along! 

Best race experience? My favorite was probably the Skyline 50k. I started doing trail races earlier this year and I really enjoyed the experience, but the best feeling was completing 50k in my own backyard, and only coming in seconds behind Dean Karnazes.

Best run? Most of my runs on the Bay Area Ridge Trail have been awesome. There are views of the city, redwoods, eucalyptus, rolling hills, ferns and each run is different, unique and relaxing.

Best new piece of gear? I really love the Saucony Kinvaras that I won during the Find Your Strong project. They are light and fast and comfortable and I am glad to have gotten the chance to try a low heel drop shoe.

Best piece of running advice you received? Walking up the hills during a hilly ultra will really save you a lot of energy in the long run (pun intended). 

Most inspirational runner? I love seeing people who haven't run before start running and do well. My most inspirational is Broski, who went from hardly being able to run one mile to running two half marathons in one month. Others include Suz, who ran her first marathon recently, Terzah, who went from injury to marathon in a mere matter of months and Amber, who was not a runner at all, but ran a half and a 20k this year!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?


Best of 2012: Books

This year, I made myself a goal to read at least one book a week, or 52 books. I just barely squeaked over the wire with 57 books. Some were pretty bad and there were others that were much better. Here is a list of 10 that I would recommend.

The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton : This was a fun, easy read about a woman who goes searching for her grandmother's ancestors and finds out more than she bargained for. 

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford : This book was about a Chinese boy growing up in Seattle during WWII. He has a Japanese friend, and when she gets sent to the concentration camps, he is devastated. Not only that, but he has to deal with his father's hatred of the Japanese. 

Sarah's Key - Tatiana De Rosney : About the removal of the Jews from France during WWII during the
Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, when a little girl locks her brother into a hidden closet to hide him from the Nazis. The story is written from two points of view, the little girl and a reporter in present day France, who tries to get to the bottom of what happened back in 1942.

The Other Boleyn Girl - Phillipa Gregory : This book was about the sister of Anne Boleyn, during the reign of Henry VIII. It was a great way for me to learn more about that time period while still engaging me in an interesting story.

Tisha -  Robert Specht: A true story about a young teacher in the 1920s who gets sent to a small town in Alaska to teach. She learns quickly that the divide between the whites and Indians is deep, but somehow manages to not bend to the white men's prejudices. Her struggle is moving and her courage is inspiring.

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern: This book was not about what I thought it was going to be about. It was so much better! The characters are likeable and you never know what is going to happen next. I was highly entertained by this story.

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn: This book kept me on my toes the entire time, so much so that I read it in one day! It was about a girl that goes missing and her husband gets the blame for her murder. It kept me riveted and was a quick page turner. I disliked the characters but loved the book.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower -- Stephen Chomsky :


Nobody Wants a Partridge

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me....

You know the drill. And you have to sing it. Out loud! 

On the Twelfth day of Christmas, my sneakers gave to me...

Twelve Half Marathons!

Eleven Running Routes

Ten PRs

Nine Thousand Feet
Eight Shiny Medals

Seven Running Friends

Six 10ks

Five Golden Trail Races!!

Four Relay Legs

Three 5ks

Two Marathons

....And An Ultra in the East Bay!!!!

This year was definitely a good one, running wise. I completed 12 half marathons in the 12 in 2012 challenge, which also spurred me to do two marathons and an ultra. In between all that, it was really fun to participate in many virtual races, meet new running friends, travel to fun places in order to race and to find new, great places nearby to run!

What's next year going to bring? I am not sure. My mom asked me yesterday if I had any big events coming up, and besides the Boston Marathon and a couple of Fat Asses, I am laying low for the first few months of the year. But I am not done running! I am just doing it more on my own. We shall see how it goes though. I do enjoy the thrill of the race!

How was your year, fitness wise? Have you ever heard of a Fat Ass before?


Currently: December

Current Book - A Land More Kind Than Home. Actually to say I am "reading" it is kind of a lie; it is sitting on my bedside table though.

Current Favorite Celebrity - Brandon Flowers of The Killers. He rocks. Literally.

Current Drink - Wine. It's the holidays.  

Current Excitement - Last weekend I went to Not So Silent Night, where I saw Imagine Dragons, Grouplove, Passion Pit and more! It was really fun!  

Current fashion trend - Socks. Lately, I am loving a nice thick pair of socks.  

Current Favorite Blog/Website -  Amazon. It has what you need. Running stuff, toiletries, food, electronics... I even buy my lady supplies from there!  

Current Garden Item - Lemons! So many lemons. Do you want some? Anyone? 

Current Love - Walking. I have been taking a daily stroll around the block at lunch and it is so nice to get outside, get some fresh air, and to see parts of the city that I haven't noticed before. 

China Town  

Current Food - Cookies. I made 5 different kinds on Sunday to give away as gifts. I ate at least 2 3 4 of each to maintain proper quality control.

Currently Pondering -What kind of cookie I am going to make next. 


Current Indulgence - Brunch out on the weekends. It's not every weekend, but it's such a nice treat from time to time.  

Current Mood -  Holly and Jolly! 

Current New Find - a little dive bar across from my office that pours glasses of wine right to the tippy top. And they are only 6 bucks. It could be trouble.

Current Outfit - 
Dec Outfit  

Current Peeve - Cashews. I am not a big fan and the mixed nut can seems to be chock full of them. Why can't they put more of the good nuts, like almonds or pecans? 
Current Song -


Current Triumph - running in the dark. It's been fun actually, but getting the shoes on can be difficult
Current TV Show - Greys. I found all 9 seasons on the DVR and they have been my cookie making, Christmas Card assembling sidekick.

Current Wish-List - A Hydration Pack like this one

Currently Delaying - going to my yoga Groupon. Once it starts I have 90 days to use 10 sessions and for some reason I am procrastinating committing!

Do you like cashews (if so, want mine)? Do you use your Groupons? What's on your wishlist this month?


Then and Now: November

Okay everyone, let's say it all together now: I can't believe that November is already over! I know; you have heard it before. But yes, it's December (already). November is over. What happened? Luckily I take photos, because lately I can't remember! Due to my blogger issue with photos, I am doing this collage style this time (thanks everyone for the comments -- I am uploading to flickr and then pasting the code into the blog). So here you have it, the Who, the What and the Where of 2011 vs 2012. 

Who: Baby A (aren't crying photos the funniest? Look at that face!). 
What: Chicken Feet and Bran Flax Muffins
Where: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, San Francisco, Sierra Nevadas

Nov 2011

Who: Ladies who lunch brunch
What: Crabs, Oatmeal pumpkin cookies
Where:  Santa Rosa, Oakland, San Francisco

Nov 2012

The Extras

2011: 10 / 2012: 4

Last year in November I read 10 books. Clearly I had a little more free time than this year! This year I only read 4. Last year, many of those books were really great. The greats included The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Book Thief and The Help. This year the best of the four was

2011: 126 / 2012: 131

It's weird; I thought I ran less miles this year than last, but I beat my last year mileage by 5 miles. Who knew? 

2011: 2 / 2012: 1

Last year I ran 2 races, a half marathon and a 5k turkey trot. This year, in lieu of the turkey trot, I ran on my own, but I still completed one obstacle race instead.

Do you like crab? What's your favorite holiday treat? Did you run a turkey trot this year?


I am a Beast

For the number 12 race in the 2012 Challenge, I accidentally competed in the Spartan race in Sacramento. Okay, it wasn't an accident. However, I was always one of those people who kind of poo-poohed obstacle races, mud races and the like. But when my friend said that we could get a group rate of 13 dollars each (rather than the $150 they were going for), I signed up. I figured that if I didn't go, it was only $13 dollars.

The day before, it started pouring. Severe wind warnings were in effect. The girls I was going with were shooting emails and texts back and forth: should we cancel? It was supposed to rain all day. And be cold. Plus we had to drive to a place near Sacramento, which was about 2 hours away. Our race started at 8:30. Maybe we should just cancel.

It's funny how much less you care about a race when you pay $13 instead of $150.

However, I told them that I was still in if they were still in. I am a Beast. A little rain cannot get me down. The next morning we left at 5:30 in the morning. It was raining. One girl dropped out. Typical girls, we stopped to pee, and to get coffee, and to get gas. But we made it. It was raining. We stripped down to barely anything and got our numbers and peed again and got into the crowd at the start. Did I mention it was raining?

Then we were off! This was not supposed to be a mud run; it was supposed to be an obstacle run. But due to the heavy rains the night before, it was a muddy, wet mess. Even if this race were only to complete a half marathon through a muddy field, it would have been tiring. Add 2 obstacles per mile (or something like that) and a lot of burpees and you end up one tired pup.

The easiest obstacles for me were the balancing ones. The hardest was the 8 foot wall. The worst was crawling under barbed wire on your elbows and knees through rocky poop filled mud.

The first obstacle was a series of three water pits, ensuring that even if it weren't raining, you would be wet the entire time. The last was a rope climb, fire and gladiator combo that I barely remember because I was SO DARN HUNGRY.

The race took us 3 hours and 25 minutes. This was #1 out of 169 in my age, #11 out of 812 for gender and #220 out of 2967 overall (this means there were over three times as many men as women). The fastest person finished in 1:38. That is 7:33 pace WITH obstacles!

Afterward, we got naked in the parking lot (literally) and tried unsuccessfully to get most of the mud off of us and then went and ate a huge burrito and had a nice cold beer.

Because I am a beast. And beasts like burritos.


Have you ever completed an obstacle race? If not, would you? Do you still do things even when weather gets in the way? 

Don't forget to stop by Jills for Fitness Friday!



The holidays were good, there was running to be had, and plenty of stuffing. I am not going to go on about it. Instead, here are a few other random things that have been happening around these parts.

- I found all the seasons of Greys Anatomy on the DVR. The past weekend was full of McDreamy, Christmas card making and pajama wearing. Life is good.

- I finally did that thing I have been putting off forever, calling the DMV. Did you know they have a thing where instead of sitting on hold, they will call you back? So I put myself in line and carried my phone around in my pocket so I wouldn't miss their call. Somehow I missed it. Two of them. So now it is STILL on my To Do list. Drat.

- My blogger is telling me that I can't post any more photos until I pay a monthly fee for more space. Has anyone else ever had this problem? What do I do? I don't want to pay for space, but I do like posting photos. Poop.

- I can't stop eating. This is a bad problem to have during the holidays when the food is plentiful and full of sugar and starch! But it is so, so good. What kind of cookies should I make next? What about these?

- Karen, who is a Grammy, Emmy, Oscar loving fool, is having a 2012 Blog Award. Go over and check out the nominees, find some new fun blogs, and vote for your favorite! (also, I notice some familiar faces on the list: Laura, Jess, Nilsa and more!)

I hope everyone is getting back into the swing of things after the holidays!

What is your favorite cookie? Do you know the fix to the photo storage issue?


10 Days of Thanksgiving: Days 9 & 10

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! Today I will be working and then joining the masses in the great Thanksgiving migration. I hope everyone has a great day today and tomorrow and that you eat lots of great food and have a great day with your friends and family. Here are my last two of ten things that I am thankful of this year!

9. My Feet 
“Running isn't a sport for pretty boys...It's about the sweat in your hair and the blisters on your feet." -- Paul Maurer. My feet have taken me many miles. I have been lucky. I have friends who cannot run due to injuries or pain. Not only that, but they have taken me hiking up high mountains and through cities. I do run a lot but I also love to walk. Lately I have been taking walk breaks in San Francisco for a half an hour here and a half an hour there. I play a game where when I get tot he corner I go whatever way is green. I am having a lot of fun seeing little things that I never noticed before.

10. Family

Each year the definition of family gets broader and broader.  The people you see every day at work, the friends who you can pick back up with after months of separation, the blood relatives and their relatives and their friends. This year I am spending Thanksgiving with my brother and his lady and her family. It will be a different day than normal, but regardless, it will be spent with family.

Where is the best place your feet have taken you? Who are you spending Thanksgiving with?


10 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 6, 7 & 8

There are only two more days until Thanksgiving! And so many more than two more things to be thankful for! Here are a few more things that I am happy about this year!
6. Employment

We tend to take this for granted, but after having several months off, I don't sneer at a steady income. Of course, I am still keeping an eye out for the perfect traveling, photography, writing job with good pay, so if you know of an opportunity for that, let me know.

7. Having a 401k

When I was 18 and I was getting my first corporate job, an older friend of the family told me to put at least as much money into my 401k every month as the company would match. He suggested putting more if I could, but that I should at least put in the company match, since if I didn't I would be essentially throwing away free money. He was right, and now I am giving the same advice to people just starting out in their first big job.

8. Travel

Clearly these all go hand in hand. Whatever money I am gaining from employment and not putting into my 401k is going toward as much travel as I can do! Some years it's more than others and this year has been a bit slower than normal, but I have been lucky to both do some traveling around my home state as well as doing  some visiting with friends and family around the country. I hope I will continue to make time for travel, as it is something I really love! 

Kansas City

Washington DC



Do you have a 401k? Did you do any fun traveling this year?


Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Many people get stressed out with all the extra work that the holidays bring. Not only do you have to do your regular day to day things, but throw in grocery shopping, having a kitchen or house full of people and having to get up early and plan and cook everything so that it hopefully comes out of the oven all at the same time, and you can easily have a meltdown on your hands.

Personally, I love to cook and like we have talked about in some of the previous What’s For Dinner posts, planning ahead is key. It’s hard when you only have four burners and one tiny oven, but it can be done, and it can be fun.

For several years, I was a vegetarian, so I left the cooking of the turkey up to the carnivores. My favorite thing was the sides. Now, I love cooking and eating turkey, but my favorites remain the same. I could eat side dishes all day. Oh wait, I DO eat side dishes all day. However, this can be traumatic on my waistline! So there are a couple of things that I do in order to not feel the post dinner food coma and accompanying guilt.

First, I sign up for a Turkey Trot! I know, it’s sometimes hard to fit in in, but you can put the turkey in the oven and then go off and run. It takes less than an hour for most and you end up feeling invigorated afterward! The other thing I do is that I try to cut down on my butter and sugar intake by doing a few subs to my favorite recipes.

One of my favorite side dishes is sweet potatoes! However, the general recipe is loaded with butter and sugar. Personally I like the taste of the potato and don’t need to cover it up with sugar, so I just go Au natural. Also, I love the flavors of fall, so why not work with what’s available?

Cinnamon Apple Sweet Potatoes
3 Large Sweet Potatoes (or Yams)
1-2 Large Apples
1 cup pecans
4 Tbsp Brummel and Brown spread
2 Tbsp cinnamon
½ -1 cup Craisins
1 tsp salt (or more to taste)

Dice up the apples and sweet potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss together thoroughly. Put mixture in 9 x 13 baking dish or on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour, stirring occasionally (3 – 4 times). Remove and enjoy! The apples give it a bit of sweetness without the added sugar.


Another dish I love to make is dessert. One of my favorite recipes is for these pumpkin spice muffins. If you sub part of the sugar with splenda and use Brummel and Brown rather than butter, you have a muffin you can sink your teeth into without feeling the Turkey Day bloat. 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins
1 cup Flour
¼ cup Splenda
¼ cup Sugar (or you can use ½ cup sugar only)
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Cinnamon
½  tsp Nutmeg
½  tsp Salt
4 Tbsp Brummel and Brown spread, cut into pieces
1 -1 ¼ cup Pumpkin Puree
½  cup Evaporated Milk
1 Egg
2 tsp Vanilla
½  cup craisins (or raisins)

2 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
¼  tsp Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin tins.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in spread with two knives or your fingers until it is fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add raisins. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.

Use a ¼ cup measure to fill 12 muffin tins with batter. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture over the top of each unbaked muffin. Bake for 25 minutes. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes before taking out of the tin. If you are like me, you will not listen to this advice and you will take one “ugly” one out for a sample right away. Somebody has to do it. 

Thank you to Good to Know & Unilever Spreads for being a sponsor. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Who is the Thanksgiving chef in your family? What is your favorite dish to eat? What is your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?


10 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 4 & 5

I will be foregoing my weekly Fitness Friday post today for a continuation of the 10 days of Thanksgiving. Today we have number 4 and number 5 of the 10 things I am thankful for this year.

4. Where my Parents Live

I have posted about this a million times before, but the place I grew up is so beautiful. It is pine trees and clean air and swimming in the cold river on a hot summer day. It is the sound of birds in the morning and the smell of pine and the wandering up and down through the mountains. It is a great place to go home to. I can't wait to go home for Christmas and play in the snow and bake cookies and play a few rounds of Rummikub and read my book near the fire. For some reason it's that much sweeter at Mom and Dad's house.

Hiking with Dad

Lovely snowy day

5. Public Transportation

One of the best things about living where I do is the fact that I don't need a car. I could probably write a whole post about this too. I have talked a little bit about the Casual Carpool, which is how I get to work, and it only takes about 20 minutes. Going home, I take the bus, which also only takes about 25 minutes. There is also the option of taking the train or a boat. I also walk a lot, and it is nice to have the option to do so. Other than that, there are options for bike shares, car shares, rent by the hour and more. One thing I recently found out about is Get Around, where you can rent out your own car if you don't need it, or you can rent a car by the hour if you do. I love that my monthly transportation cost is roughly 150 dollars and that's including all transportation and gas!

My favorite - the F train

Do you enjoy going back to the area you grew up in? How much do you spend a month on transportation?


10 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 1, 2 & 3

Lately, I have so many things going around in my head that I cannot make them settle coherently. This is good timing though, since last year I joined up with Lisa to do the 10 Days of Thanksgiving and it's about that time again! Like last year, I will not necessarily do one a day, but there WILL be 10 things! You can see the ones I did last year here. Also like last year, I am a little late to the party. That's the way it goes in November, I guess. The first three are kind of a theme... Here they are: Things I am thankful for this year, number 1, 2 and 3!

1. Where I Live

The neighborhood

This year I am lucky to be in the Bay Area, where the weather is perfect running weather all year round. No matter what you like to do, it is here. Within walking distance, there are restaurants, grocery stores, running trails, art, wine and easy biking paths. It is all here! There is something for everyone and the everyones are varied. I like having varied everyones around me.

2. Great Food 

Pancakes at La Note

Ethiopian? Vietnamese? Nepalese? Burmese? YES PLEASE! I love all the great ethnic food near me and let me tell you, I MISS that when I am working around the country. I get so tired of fried food and meat with gravy. I want a nice, steaming hot bowl of Pho! So that's great. My other favorite thing to do is Brunch. I have a list of places To Try that I am working on, albeit slowly! Some of my local favorites? Brown Sugar and Sams Log Cabin. This is up for change though! Any suggestions?

3. Places to Run 

Huckleberry Preserve

This deserves a post all on it's own, but it is so nice to not only have a great neighborhood to run in, but also several paths nearby. Best of all, there are several parks with many, MANY different trails to run on. As you know, trail running is my favorite thing to do and I also think running hilly routes is better for you, is less monotonous and makes you stronger overall. So having these so near to me is pure BLISS. I don't ever want to live anywhere where I don't have trail access ever again!

What are you thankful for this year? What is your favorite thing about the area you live in?


Looking Forward

Today I am looking forward to hopefully talking to my Mom on the phone before she leaves to go Back East to see HER mother. She and my Dad are finally taking a couple weeks off to go travel and have fun and see some family. I am so excited for both of them. I am also looking forward to my lunch time walk, which affords me views like this:

This week I am looking forward to dinner and running with the Broski (he still has not given up! Hurray!), a short work week (I guess that is next week though but I am taking it) and lots of pumpkin based dishes! I already made pumpkin curry, pumpkin spice muffins, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin seeds and...whoa I am starting to sound like Forrest Gump! Pumpkin!

This month I am looking forward to many family and friend reunions! November and December are all already booked full every weekend. There will be turkey with the Broski, brunch with friends, friends coming to visit from the Midwest, a holiday walk in the city with the family, 2 concerts and more! It will be a packed 30 days (or 45!)

This year I am looking forward to getting more comfortable at work, traveling, settling in more, running a couple of Ultras and of course The Boston Marathon! The family is probably going back east with me for a grand hoopla of a time. It should be a lot of fun!

*inspired by Lisa

What are you looking forward to? What is your favorite pumpkin dish?


You Are What You Eat

I track my food. I don't do it because I am on some wild diet fad; I do it because I am a number cruncher. I love spreadsheets and lists and comparing how one day or week or year compares to another. I like knowing if I am eating too much sodium or not enough vegetables. I think it's fun! I have been tracking my food pretty religiously for about a year and a half (before that it was only on and off) using Lose It and it has shown me some interesting things.

First of all, I don't eat out very often, but when I do, it makes it harder to track food. You have no idea what is being put into the dishes that you are eating. There is a reason their polenta tastes different (dare I say better?) than mine. That reason is...BUTTER. The same goes for things like pre-sweetened yogurt and pre-made tomato sauce and canned beans. There is salt and sugar and goodness only knows what in there. So, what my point was going toward was that tracking has made me more aware of how much better it is to eat a REAL piece of fruit rather than a canned one, or to make my own tomato sauce rather than dumping a jar in a pan.

So, back to the statistics. On Lose It, you can make some graphs and pull up some numbers and this is where it begins to get fun. For instance, I pulled up my most logged items for the past six months. Here is what items were on the top of the list.

Hearty oats is a mix of oats, chia, flax, almond milk and raisins. I got tired of entering each one separately, so I made it into a recipe. The same goes for cabbage salad, which includes the dressing. There are a few problems. For instance, it says I ate 48 peaches. This is actually 48 peaches. However, for strawberries, it is cups not actual berries. And bananas is actually one banana, not a cup of bananas. I wish that it were more standardized.

Or yogurt, for instance...The number 67 indicates the number of times that I HAD yogurt. I may have had a cup; I may have had a 1/4 cup. You never know. However, I do like that the top items are all real foods! I have to be honest with you though, coffee was actually my number one item, since I have it almost every day!

The other thing I found interesting was the breakdown of where my calories are coming from. Although now that I compare it with the above list, I am not really surprised.

Apparently I snack a lot. I do put fruit in the "snack" category a lot of the time, so you can see why snacking wins over meals pretty easily! Besides fruit, I often snack on yogurt (with fruit), nuts and Craisins (so the list on top is consistent with the graph below!). My carbs are also high, which is mostly due to the fruit, and the sugar that comes from my new favorite snack, the dried young coconut.

FYI: The American Heart Association recommends: less than 1500 mg sodium per day / 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times a week / 4-5 cups of fruit and veggies per day / 200-300 mg cholesterol per day (or less). 

So, if the title of my post is correct, I guess I am a big blob of oatmeal. With little chicken legs.

Are you running the CIM? For tips, check out my guest post over at Terzah's!! And don't forget to stop by Jills for more Fitness (and food) related posts!

Do you track your food? Do you know how much sodium you are getting each day? What do you think your most eaten foods would be if you had a top 10 list?


Currently: November

Current Book -

Current Favorite Celebrity - Paul from Top Chef (my Mom and I just watched the finale)


Current Drink - Water. I have been drinking a ton of it! 

Current Excitement - A good friend is coming to visit the Bay Area for the first time and I can't wait to show her around my city, to do some running and to catch upWe have both been busy lately and haven't had as much time to do so. 

Current fashion trend - Leggings. Are. Not. Pants. 

Current Favorite Blog/Website - My Life as a Foreigner -- her last post was about some of the things that may make her crazy. And let me tell you, one of them involves a pet snail.
Current Garden Item - tomatoes / lemons

Current Love -  Seeing my family not one, not two, NOT three, but five times over the last five weeks! 

Current Food - This Philippine dried coconut from Costco (ps. It's only 8.99 at Costco!). They also have mangos by the same brand. They are equally as good.

Currently Pondering -What my #12 race for 12 in 2012 is going to be!

Current Indulgence - NOT running, although it just feels wrong. The darkness is facilitating it though. 

Current Mood - Happy but a bit tired out. 

Current New Find - Samsung Galaxy S3. Yup, I got a new phone!

Current Outfit - I've spent a lot of time in running clothes lately. Plus I wanted to post this photo. Look at Broski. He is concentrating on getting over that finish line! Grrrr. 

Current Peeve - People who walk and text. Pay attention or get out of my way! Or learn to walk straight and fast and pay attention while you are doing it! 
Current Song - 


Current Triumph - I still have not bought a book this year. In fact, I haven't even missed it! Its funny how you really don't NEED many things and how there are usually easy alternatives to certain things you thought you wanted! (Next up: A no pantry buying spree!) 
Current TV Show - I have been tuning the TV to the local radio station. They just put out a new CD called Live From the Archives, which is all live music that was recorded in the studio or at a KFOG concert. It is a pretty good line up. You should check it out if you are looking for some good new music! (Especially if you like the song above, there will be lots on the CD that you will love!)

Current Wish-List - An apron, a new Garmin (Mine JUST stopped uploading to my computer). 

Currently Delaying - Calling DMV. What I need will probably take 4 seconds but I keep putting it off! I don't know what my problem is. 

What things do you put off a lot? Any new music you are loving lately? What's your biggest pet peeve right now? 


An Apple a Day Monday: V

Last year, through the month of November, I did a Fall cooking series called An Apple a Day Monday. I was lucky to have an available and very productive apple tree nearby last year, which facilitated dishes like Apple Bundt Cake, Apple Crisp, Apple Cider and Apple Bran Flax Muffins. This year I am not as lucky to have the apples, but have been experimenting with some other items instead.

This weekend, my Mom was in town and we had a great time exploring the area and shopping and eating! On Saturday night, Broski came over with the lady friend and they all had a chance to try my Screamin' Hot Habanero Sauce that I made out of the peppers that they gave me. Remember the one that gets rid of your socks? They both loved it and wanted the recipe (Mom is not as fond of hot stuff), so I decided to share it with you too, in case you feel like making some of your own. I got my peppers from the garden, but they are pretty cheap at the market, especially if you have a Latino market nearby. They always have the best peppers!

It's a great addition to any dish and I like it because it doesn't taste of vinegar; it mostly just tastes of pepper /  heat! And a little dab'll do ya! The problem with my cooking sometimes is that I just toss stuff in, so you may need to tweak this a little to make it to YOUR liking, just like I did. The recipe was inspired by this.

Screamin' Hot Habanero Sauce

2 cups of hot peppers (I used Serrano and Habanero)
1 tbsp salt
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup vinegar (I used Champagne, but you could use red wine, apple cider or white vinegar)
1 tsp garlic salt

First, cut the stems off the peppers. I put gloves on to do this just in case. I would hate to touch my eye afterward or something silly like that. Then blanch them in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Remove them and run them under cold water (see how to blanch here).

Place them in a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend. Voila. Now you have sauce. This will keep in the fridge for about a year. A spoon full in any dish gives your dish a nice kick, or you can do like we do, and just spoon it on your meal, one plate at a time!

The original recipe suggested removing the seeds, but I did not. If you want it to not be as hot, you may want to remove the seeds. If you want it more vinegary, you may want to add more than I did, but I prefer it not as vinegary.

Do you like spicy things? What dish do you use peppers in? Have you ever made your own hot sauce? 


Wine Country Half Marathon

Remember I said that the Broski was talking about running another half? Let me tell you why. When we decided to run the Cloverdale Half, we did it only because the race we wanted, The Wine Country Half, was full already. It wasn't heartbreaking or a difficult decision; it was quick and easy to pick a different harvest related race, since Broski works in the wine country and so not only does this mean it is fun to do it on his home turf, but secondly, he is also busy with harvest and so it makes sense to do something closer to him at this time.

So we ran the Cloverdale Half as planned. The next day, Broski's friend Dave, who owns a winery in the area, said that he was running his first half and had put together a team for his winery and still had a couple of spots open. So, in the typical crazy runner fashion, Broski and I decided to fill the empty slots.

First of all, let me say that Dave ROCKED his first half! He finished in under 2 hours! We ran together for most of the time and it was great to get to know him and to be a part of his first big race! Second, I must mention how much I love hanging out with Broski and the Lady Friend. I always go up and stay the night and we have great times cooking, eating, drinking and hanging out.

Unfortunately, this time, Broski was nursing a cold and a fever, so he ate and went to bed early to try to be at his best for the next day. Lady Friend and I stayed up and shot the breeze for a little while. We solved the world's problems, planned a trip to Vegas and decided that we are going to create our own Thanksmas Holiday where we don't have to fight the crowds on our special day. It's sure is nice to know people who make wine, let me tell you. I had to sample the wine from the winery that I would be running for the next day!

The race couldn't have been better. The weather was perfect at the beginning. The course started off in Geyserville with a huge hill, which really separated the men from the boys right from the get go! It then meandered around with some twists and turns and ups and downs, much of it through the vineyards, which are beautiful and all fall colored!

We all ran together until mile 9, when Broski's fever/cold started to catch up to him. By this time, he must have drank 40 oz of water, and it was starting to get hotter. Plus the shirts that Dave gave us to wear were cotton and black and they were hot! We both took off our shirts and kept plugging on, but we had to do some walk breaks up the hills (and there were a lot of them!) It got warmer and we drank more water and tackled more hills until mile 12 or so, when the course went into downtown Healdsburg for the finish.

We finished in 2:06, which was a little over Broski's goal of under 2 hours, but that just means that he needs to try again! I think he did very well, especially since he (a) ran his first half marathon LAST weekend, (b) has only run a long run distance of 8 miles before this and (c) was battling a cold/fever! We also started off a little fast and therefore pooped out a bit early (but like I said before, you have to learn this on your own sometimes).

Afterward, we got a wine glass, some snacks and some red licorice (my opinion? they should have this at every race) and our choice of not only dozens of different wines to try, but Lagunitas beer as well! And the best thing of all? The medal is a wine stopper! Now that is what I call a great after party! So when is the next one?! Broski?

*This race is race number 11 in the 12 in 2012 challenge! Only one more race to go to make 12. 

Have you ever tried exercising when you were under the weather? Have you ever run as part of a team? If you could design a fitness related item, what would it be?