Then & Now: April

You know I have to say it: I can't believe it's almost May! May is one of my favorite months of the year; It is Spring time, the flowers are blooming, the weather is great and it's my birthday month. You can't ask for much more than that. However, April is good too! This year has differed a lot from last year in the fact that I have been in one place for an entire month! Usually I move around a lot, be it for work or for fun. So, here is April's monthly comparison of the Who, What and Where of 2011 vs 2012!

The Who: 

 2011: Animals!

2012: The Parentals, My Other Mother, Little A, The Cat

The What: 

2011: 4 / 2012: 6

Train Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell & Sarah Bowen Shea (review here): This was an easy to read training book for runners, both beginners or advanced. It was filled with funny stories and antidotes from runners polled. 

Ape House by Sarah Gruen: This was an interesting story about Bononbos (similar to chimps) who can communicate with humans through sign language. The two main characters are a newspaper reporter and the woman who taught the bonobos to speak. Their paths cross in a story that is amusing, enlightening and fun.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory: I read these out of order. Apparently this was number two. However, for my first Gregory, I liked it. I have heard great things about her, and they were no lie. I can't wait to read more of her books. This one 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.

You can see the others I've read here.

Running miles: 
2011: 0 / 2012: 113

2011: 0 / 2012:4

Cherry Blossom 10 Mile
Jelly Bean 5k
Jelly Bean 10k
Grizzly Peak Trail Half

You can keep up with my training here and racing here.

2011: in NZ
2012: in Oakland

2011: On the road 
(pies , kimchi and street meat)

2012: At Home 

The Where: 

2012: Washington DC, The Bay Area, Table Mountain

The verdict? Last year I ate out (and ate a lot of crap); This year I am eating much more healthy and having fun experimenting with some new recipes! I did more hiking last year, but more running this year! I'm exploring things on the local level this year and am loving it! And even though I only read a couple of books last month, I made up for it this month and am still on track for my 52 book reading goal!

How has your April gone this year? How did it differ from last year?


Your Answers Questioned

In my post yesterday, I asked readers to answer a couple of running related etiquette questions and got some interesting responses. I just wanted to do a quick follow up on that post.

Most of the people who answered agreed on these points:

- When coming up behind a runner from behind, yell "on your left" before passing them on the left (except for Robyn, who yells "good morning!" I like it.)

- When running on a wider trail, path or a sidewalk we run on the right side. 

- When running on a street with sidewalks, we generally stick to the right sidewalk (going with traffic) but a couple of us run on the left (toward traffic). **And when Grace runs on St. Charles, she runs in the middle of the street. Literally.

St. Charles Ave, New Orleans

Some of the ones that had discrepancies were:

- Running on a road without sidewalks. Most people said they run on the left towards traffic. I have always been taught this is the correct way as well. Otherwise you can't see the semi truck that is about to hit you in time to jump out of the way into the bushes. I did a little research to be sure, and Running for Dummies agrees! Run against traffic!

- The other one which I had to look up before my first trail race the other day to make sure I didn't commit a huge faux pas was: who yields? Well folks, according trail runner's rules on the run, the runner coming uphill yields to the runner coming down (this site also has great tips such as: don't litter, which seems obvious but is not always, and saying "thank you" if someone yields).

- The one that confuses me the most is bike paths. I went running on the American River Bike Trail in Sacramento and was running on the right and I got cussed at (no joke! and loudly!) by a bicyclist. Afterward, I saw signs instructing runners to run on the left, as if the bike path was a car laden highway. This actually makes sense to me, since a "bike is a car" and is supposed to ride with traffic. This just assumes that the bikers are "traffic", so they stay to the right like they would on the road, and we stay on the left, like we would on the road.

However, I tried to find information about it and this RW forum only made me realize that strangely enough, it may vary from path to path. Some paths may post the rules; some may not. So I guess it depends. However, trail etiquette states that the faster person should yield to the slower, so in theory, if you are running on the right (and I hope you are running at the edge and not near the line) the bike should make their way around you, politely saying "on your left" and making sure you don't accidentally get run over. If you feel like a little extra reading, this guy sums up the rules quite nicely. I especially like where he says, "The bike path is where people go to exercise, so move".

Well, for a "quick follow up", this sure is a long winded post. I guess it's a sore subject, some of these people who run towards me and don't move, or stand three abreast taking to their friends and don't even look ashamed when I have to run around them into oncoming traffic. I get out of people's way and I would feel guilty if I didn't; I expect the same courtesy.

My favorite answers were to the last question I asked, which was: what do you do if three people (or a person with a long leashed dog) are coming toward you, taking up the entire path? Answers ranged from "nothing" to: give them the evil eye, kick them, play chicken and assume they will move and, my favorite by Missris, and one I have employed myself, is to  "accidentally" bump into them with your sweaty elbow. In my case it was a shoulder, but it still does the trick (the trick being making me feel better, not like it teaches them anything).

Thanks everyone for answering. I hope you are enjoying your weekend! Good luck to everyone who has a race today! And  even if you don't have a race, good luck to you too!

Does your bike path have posted signs about which side to run on? How do you feel about bicyclists (or, if you are a biker, how do you feel about runners)? Have you ever been hit by a bike/car/other runner?


Do & Do Not: You

Have you ever had one of those instances where you are running along a trail or a bike path or the sidewalk and a runner comes toward you on the wrong side? And you wonder who taught, or didn't teach, them what side to run on?

I have. And sometimes I wonder if it's ME that's on the wrong side or doing it wrong. So today, I want to hear your vote on the rules of running. Maybe I can learn a few things. Maybe I have been doing it wrong all these years. Let's see.

1. You are running on a trail that is single track (one person width). You come up on someone slower than you from behind. What do you do/say?

2. You are running uphill on a single track. Someone comes downhill toward you. Do you yield? Or should the other runner?

3. You are running on a sidewalk-less road/street/highway. Which side do you run on?

4. You are running on a street WITH a sidewalk. Which side do you run on?

5. You are running on a running path which is wide enough for 2 or 3 people. Which side do you run on?

6. You are running on a path mostly used for biking, which is 2-3 people wide. Which side are you on?

And last, just for curiosity sake, you are running on a path and you encounter any or all of these situations: a) coming toward you are three ladies with strollers, walking abreast, taking up the entire path, b) coming toward you is a person with a dog on a leash that is stretched over to the other side of the path, essentially taking up the entire path, unless you want to do the limbo or c) coming toward you are three fit runners, running three abreast, also taking up the entire path. What do you do?

I am asking because I want to validate my behavior aka a) pushing the stroller out of my way, b) kicking the dog and c) giving the runners the finger.

So, weigh in. I want to find out from you what the proper running etiquette is. I will give you my answers in a separate post. I don't want to sway your judgement. Any other scenarios where you feel that I, or other runners, need to be schooled on?

I am linking up at Jill's today for Fitness Friday!


Use This: The Library

I recently had a friend who was taking a class where she had to watch movies and analyze them. She was talking about how expensive it was getting, as she was often buying the movies, since she never knew how long she was going to have them, and she usually uses Redbox. She does the same kind of work as me, where she moves from place to place, so Netflix was not as easy for her to use. I asked her why she wasn't using the library and she said she didn't realize that the library had movies.

Did you know that the library has movies? For free? And most libraries let you keep them for 7 days.

I have considered going back to school to get a Masters in Library Sciences, so when I was working in Missouri, I went to the local library and offered to volunteer, so I could get more of a handle on what a librarian actually does. To tell you the truth, I was surprised that a librarian does a lot more than I realized,  but one of the main things was helping patrons, aka customer service. So I am still on the fence about that decision. However, I also learned a lot about the things the library offers while I was there.

They have computers, and often a computer lab, with free access to the internet, printers and scanners. And if you are a 12 year old boy, games.

They have books, obviously, but they often have the most recent books out. I even got to help buy books while I was working there (They call it acquisitions. It sounds much more professional that way!) But did you know that if they don't have a book you want, they can get it on an inter-library loan, which means from outside the city, county, state or even country! A lady I know had a book transferred to her from Canada! If nobody has it, fear not, they can even buy it for you if it's in the budget!

They have books on CD. Lots of them! New titles and everything! I borrowed a lot of these, downloaded them and put them on my iPod where I now listen to them while I am running! Move over Ira Glass!

They have eBooks. These you can download without even going into the library. I think that they usually let you keep them for a couple weeks and then it goes away if you don't renew.

They have magazines. Yes. And you can take them out. If you have a flight coming up, you can stock up on Glamor before you go.

The have TV shows. These are the same as the movies; I think you can only rent them for one week, instead of two or three like books. But they have good shows and recent enough ones too! 

They have many reference materials, genealogy materials, newspapers, professional journals and the like.

Many libraries also have: a language learning program (there is one online called Mango), help with a job search, car repair information, practice tests like the GRE or Citizenship tests, tutorials for Microsoft applications and my favorite: Novelist.

Novelist is something the library has to pay for, so not all of them have it, but it's a book recommending site. If you just read a great book, The Hunger Games, for instance, you do a search and it gives you suggestions for books you may want to read next. Or if you are looking for historical fiction about WWII, you can find out that the top books for that, based on popularity are: The Postmistress, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Day After Night (which I am putting on my To Read list right now). Not only that, but it gives you a synopsis of each book. The only thing it's missing is a way to auto upload to Goodreads.

Anyway, I guess what I am trying to say is....I love the library! Sometimes you don't realize what resources are available to you! I didn't!  One last thing. My best friend: the HOLD. Before even going into the library, you can look up what you want and see if your local branch has it. If not, you can place a hold, so they will transfer it in for you and then hold it once it gets there. So you just sit back and wait! It's great! As you can see, I am a fan.

Do you use your local library? If so, what do you utilize the most? Have I missed anything useful?


Food Firsts (2)

You may remember that one of the things on my to do list is to try a new recipe each month. This actually ended up turning into one new recipe a week on average. They are not anything special; they are just an attempt at trying something NEW, not fancy. And it's fun!  Now if I can just get myself to try a new activity each month as well... Here are three of my favorite breakfast recipes from the last few months.

1. Breakfast Quinoa (adapted from this recipe): I love quinoa and was excited to find that I could eat it for breakfast! One of my favorite ways to eat it is to cook it as mentioned below and then add fresh fruit, a few nuts and some almond milk for a yummy and fast breakfast!

2 cups almond milk
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup craisins or raisins

Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until three-quarters of the milk has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook, covered, until almost all the milk has been absorbed, about 8 minutes.

2. Overnight Oats (adapted from this recipe): I liked these because you can make them the night before and then just grab and go in the morning. They also make a great gift for a basket. The recipient just has to add milk and leave in the fridge and they are all set. Easy! 

1/3 cup steel cut oats 
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup nuts
1/4 cup raisins or craisins
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 tsp brown sugar or honey (or to taste; you may want a little more)

Mix all ingredients together in a jar or lidded Tupperware.  Stir well. Leave in fridge overnight. In the morning, stir and enjoy! They are a little chewy but very good! (**I eat this as two servings) 

3. Homemade Granola (recipe adapted from here): This recipe is kind of an estimate, as I like to throw in a bit of this and a bit of that and sweeten to taste, which for me is not very sweet. So, you can use this as a guideline and add what you want! This makes about 6 cups. Each half cup serving is about 220 calories. 

4 cups oats
2 tbsp flax
¼ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup almonds
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ cup unsweet coconut

Mix all ingredients together and spread on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes at 325. Take out and stir around. Bake for another 5-10 minutes. Stir again. Bake for another 5-10 minutes. Oats should be golden brown. Let cool and store in airtight container. It should last a couple of weeks on the shelf.

For more recipes I am thinking of trying, or to find me on pinterest, go HERE.

Have you tried any of these? Have you made any new recipes lately? What do you normally eat for breakfast?


Weekly Doings

After an entire week of rain, last week it cleared up and was beautiful. And then it was in the 80s and I sweated my booty off. This week's highs are supposed to be in the 70s which is perfect! Spring has sprung for real, I think! I had a great week doing lots of things outdoors!

First, I did some of my favorite things: 
Coupon clipping, reading and coffee drinking in the sun.
You can't get much better than that. 
The book, Train Like a Mother*, was good. It's about running.
You can read my review here.

I went for a run on the trails near my house. 
One bad thing about Spring? 
Poison Oak. 
Leaves of three; don't touch me! 

Then I headed up to my parents house for the weekend. 
There is still snow on the mountain tops! 
I love it there! It's so beautiful!

I put my Dad to work, trail running with me. 
I even made him leap small buildings logs in a single bound.
Then he put me to work raking, gardening and towing things. 
Touche father, touche.

My parents made homemade cheese! 
I had to taste it to make sure it wasn't poisonous. 
I haven't died, but I still may need to do further testing to be sure.

The apple trees are just getting their flowers and the bees are getting busy! 
It only took me 2,361,384 attempted photos to get this one useable one. 

Yesterday, on my way back home, we went for a hike. 
The two hats are my Mom and Aunt, sitting mighty close to the edge of that cliff. 

No hike would be complete without an attempt at kite flying. 
Notice I said attempt. 
The wind was not cooperating. 
(I heard a man behind me say, "If you have to run, it's not windy enough". Lazy or smart? You decide)

I drove home, which takes about 4 hours, and listened to Ape House on the way, which totally makes the time go by fast (I have been doing it while running too. It's awesome).

*I received Train Like a Mother for free from the authors. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a review.

Have you ever read a running related book? Have you ever had poison oak (or ivy)? Have you ever listened to a book on CD?


12 in 2012 Update

When Jill asked me if I wanted to join the 12 in 2012 Running Challenge**, I thought, "that sounds like fun", but I didn't realize how much it would consume me, not only my time and energy during races, but my time and energy looking for / deciding on races and my time and energy looking for running routes and training for races. Not to mention that, like travel, once the running bug has bitten you, you are doomed. I made my friend run a 5k with me when I went to visit her in Kansas. I made Mr. Lovely run a 5k (I ran the 10k) with me when we went to Florida on vacation. I am dragging my friend K out to do run/walk intervals once a week. I am perceived as the "healthy" friend. How did that happen? On the other hand, I am seen as an obsessive compulsive nut job. Guilty as charged! 

**In case you are not familiar, the 12 in 2012 Challenge is a goal to do 12 Half Marathons, ideally one a month, for the year of 2012. You can see my post about it up at Fitfluential.

So, one third in, two to go. How has it been so far? 

The first race, the Coyote Hills in Fremont, was a nice hilly race on a bike path. At the time I considered this a trail. Until I actually ran a trail race. This race was in a beautiful location, with views of San Francisco across the bay and perfect weather. There were several hills and a little bit of single track, but it was mostly wide and fairly flat. I had a new PR of 1:47:03 (Recap HERE )

The second, the Bay Breeze Half in San Leandro, was also along the bay (but farther north) and was on a nice wide asphalt bike path, as well as some packed gravel. This was a windy and slightly chilly race, but the course was totally flat. This race got me another PR and second in my age group at 1:42:40 (Recap HERE ).

The third, in Chico, was the Bidwell Classic. This day I was under the weather. However, the weather at the race was great and the course was a nice double loop around Bidwell Park. And I got served water by the firefighters. Best part of any race so far! I did not PR, but was still very happy with my time, at 1:44:04 (Recap HERE).

April's race was the Grizzly Peak Trail Run in Berkeley, which showed me what a trail race was all about. There were several 700 ft elevation gains, and a total ascent of 4496 ft. It was muddy and steep and very, very slippery. However, the views of the city once I got to the top made all the work totally worth it. I came in at 2:14:55 and third in my age group (Recap HERE).

So, what's next, you ask? Good question. I really liked the trail race. It was fun, the group was smaller and the time is not so much of a factor. I will probably do a couple more of of them. However, I do plan on doing a marathon in a few months, so I don't want to do hills ALL the time, so I will probably throw a couple of "fast and flat" courses in there as well. Maybe.

The tentative schedule for the next third of the challenge: 

May - Cinderella Trail Run -- Oakland
June - San Lorenzo Trail Run -- Santa Cruz / Zombie Runner SF -- San Francisco
July -  Golden Gate Trail Run -- Marin Headlands
August - Summer Breeze Half -- San Leandro / Marathon

Coupled with that, there are a few other races I have planned. May 5th, only 2 weeks away, is The Relay, my first relay race. I am excited about the race, but as the days get nearer, I am not sure I like having to deal with the additional logistics of transfers, additional people, food, driving, etc. It's already hard enough to get one person (me) to the start line on time with food in my belly and proper clothing. But I will tell you more after I am done. 

Also, there is a relay race around Lake Tahoe (after I just said I wasn't sure about relays!) which is 70 odd miles around. It is 7 runners who run roughly 10 miles each. It's June 9th. Anybody want to do it? You have to sign up by May 15 to get a good price. 

So, the insanity goes on. However, I am not the only nut job. You can see some of my bloggy buddies recount their tales as well. Go check out Jill, Jill, Nancy, Courtney, Suz, and Rachelle as well as the other participants when you get the chance and root them on!

Have you ever taken on a challenge that has taken over? Are you a list maker? How are your goals for 2012 going so far?


Do & Do Not

A while back, Grace was talking about some of the things she does and doesn't do when running or training for racing. I found it interesting to hear, because you do read about so many different things that you are supposed to do, should do, should wear, should have, should eat, shouldn't eat, etc when running, racing or training.

I found that some of the things she did do, I have never done and some of the things she DIDN'T do, I do all the time. It was just fun to see the differences. So, I thought I would list a couple of things  that I do and do not do.This in no way means that what I do is right or wrong or what you do is right or wrong. I just find it fun to compare and contrast!

I do:

- Eat breakfast before running/racing. Usually this is done 1 to 2 hours before my run. This can also be a snack, depending on the time of day. Generally, I run in the mornings, so my go to meal is cheerios or oatmeal with fruit and almond milk. And a cup (or two) of coffee. Without fail, I will have that. I tried toast with PB and let's just say the PB was not my friend. I even carry Cheerios with me when I travel.

- Yasso 800s. I was introduced to these by Lisa, who is in a running group, so I sponged off her training plan and tried them. Before I ran my first Yasso, I didn't think I would ever get faster than a 9 minute mile. I don't know if the Yassos actually do anything physically, or if they are just a great confidence booster. Either way I am sticking with them.

- Take rest days. I know sometimes it's hard because I feel like I am being lazy and should be doing something, but I do believe that rest days are important. I usually take one day where I do nothing and one to two days where I take a walk with a friend or do yoga/weights.

- Wear my running clothes twice in a row without washing them. Yes. I will be honest with you, the clothes get worn, get hung up and get worn again. Unless it was a particularly sweaty run, which doesn't happen to me very often, I use them twice. I am saving the environment, one stinky shirt at a time.

I do not:

- Eat fuel during runs/races that are half marathon or less (only for marathons or training runs of longer than 15 miles). I know this is not what they say to do, but I seem to get along fine without it, plus I am not a fan of Gu and all those other sweet nasty things. I will take it if I have to (like at mile 23 of the marathon) but I really don't like it. (side note: I did eat some gummy bears at my last trail race, and those weren't bad.)

- Get pedicures (I am afraid of losing my calluses!) My friend asked me the other day if I wanted to go get a pedicure with her and I turned her down. It's taken me a long time to get these feet in perfect running condition (aka ugly and hard) and I am not going to have some lady scrape off all my hard work in mere minutes.

- Buy new shoes every 300-500 miles. I know the drill, the advice. I sold shoes, athletic ones even, for 7 years. But I don't care. My shoes are still comfortable; my knees and feet don't hurt. I see no reason to change my shoes as often as they say to. I think, like Valentines Day, it is a marketing gimmick. Plus I am cheap. Plus I hate the new shoe break in period.

- Drink Gatorade before, during or after a run/race. Like Gu, I am not a fan of Gatorade. Or Poweraid or Clif whatchamacallit. I like water. I probably would have more energy if I ate and drank all the electrolyte/caffeine/sugar items, but I really feel fine without them.

Are there things on my list that you think are strange? What things do you always do when running or training? What things do you typically avoid?


WIAW (4) & White Bean Chicken Chili

What I noticed when I looked back on my last month of posts, is that April must be bean month over here. First, there was Stone Soup, then Hummus and now, White Bean Chicken Chili. I guess it goes without saying that I eat a lot of beans? (so much so that Lisa sent me this recipe, which I will be trying soon!) I do eat a lot of beans, because they are cheap and easy, last a while, you can make a big pot of them, they are good and they are an excellent source of protein. Since I eat little meat, I use beans as my main protein source.

I have made chili before and subbed chicken instead of beef, but this time I wanted to also ditch the tomatoes and see how it went. The results are in; it was fabulous. So here is the recipe. Note, I often toss in a "little of this, little of that" so try this, and if it needs something, feel free to throw a little of your spice to the mix!

White Bean Chicken Chili 

- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 Yellow Onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp flour
- 4 cups chicken/veggie stock
- 12-16 oz chicken breast, cubed
- 2 cups dry beans -- I used Navy (1 1/2 cups) & Black Eyed Peas (1/2 cup) (Soak these for a couple of hours or overnight)
- 1/2 cup lentils  -- I used red ones (just for fun!)
- 1 Serrano pepper (the green one about the size of your index finger), minced
- 1 can or frozen bag of corn

A pinch or two each:
- cumin
- oregano
- fennel
- red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper

Put olive oil in pan. Sweat onions, celery and carrots for about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and chicken. Cook until chicken is done, about 10 minutes. Add flour, stir until mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Add chicken stock.

Add remaining ingredients. Cook for about 2 hours, until beans are soft. Mixture should be slightly thick. Mine turned out Pretty. Darn. Spicy. I used the packets of red pepper flakes you get from a pizza place. 4 of them. But I like spice so it's all good. You may want to skip that part (and the Serrano) if you don't like things spicy! (idea for this recipe taken from here) **Makes approximately ten 3/4 cup servings. Each serving = 220 calories.

And now, What I ate Wednesday, hosted by Jenn at Peas and Crayons. 

 Breakfast: Oatmeal w/ pumpkin & sesame seeds & strawberries / coffee x 3 / gummy vitamins

 Lunch: Quinoa pasta with broccoli, mushrooms and green beans
Snack: coconut water / brownie bite / orange / chocolate treat / celery w/ hummus / apple (not pictured)

 Dinner: White Bean Chicken Chili / beets / cottage cheese (straight from the tub; yes, that's how I roll) 

As you can see, I eat a lot of snacks! I guess I like single servings of...a little bit of everything! I don't normally eat that much chocolate, but since I made those brownie bites, I have to keep making sure they still taste good, right? I am totally giving them away tomorrow. For real. I have no self control!

Also, I added a RECIPE page so that everything will be in one place. It's just a baby right now, but given time, it will grow. Check it out if you feel like beans. Or baking.

What did you have for breakfast today? Do you eat a lot of snacks? What is your favorite bean?


Looking Forward

When Lisa introduced me to the idea of "looking forward", I knew I was going to copy her borrow it from her. It is a great way to remind yourself of all the good things that are coming up in your life, rather than worrying about the bad ones.

Today I am looking forward to my run. I had a really great run last Saturday, where I went all around Oakland, through all the little neighborhoods and up and down the hills, and it really reinforced my belief in how much I love where I live. Today my run will be a bit shorter, but regardless, it will be beautiful. The weather has been in the 60s with a nice cool breeze coming off the bay, so I am ready to get moving!

This week I am looking forward to seeing my parents. I got to see them for dinner on Easter weekend, but it was a pretty short visit, so I decided to drive up and see them for the weekend, so we can relax and visit some more. I miss bossing them around, making them eat what I cook, playing games with them and just plain hanging out with them! So I will probably make up for lost time and do all of the above. Also the wildflowers are in bloom, so we will most likely take a hike and have a photo walk! It will be really fun!

This month I am looking forward to my once a week walk/run with a friend. She put her name in for the Nike Half Marathon and is hoping not to get picked, since she can't quite run a mile without stopping yet. But I have devised a training program for her and we are doing run/walk intervals, so she is going to be fine. It's fun seeing her starting out and knowing how much improvement she will see week by week. It reminds me of how much we are capable of. It's pretty amazing.

Next month I am looking forward to so many things! The Relay, Mother's Day with my real mom and my "other mother" (my friend's mom who has put up with me for so long she gets honorary motherhood), my next 12 in 2012 race, which I think is going to be another trail race, going to a Giants game and much, much more. May should be a pretty busy month!

This year I am looking forward to running another marathon, a possible vacation in Oregon, the Giant Race with my friend Hashi, my Grandmother's 80th birthday party, swimming in Lake Tahoe, many baseball games, times with friends and lots of good food!

What are you looking forward to?


Worth A Thousand Words

A picture really is worth a thousand words. Since this is the case, I have books (tomes even) worth of photos. Luckily, because of the digital age, we can do this, without having a box, photo album or film canister full of photos. Now we have a computer full. One of my projects for this year is to go back and print out some of my photos and put them into an album. I am doing pretty well; of the 10 years worth of digital photos I have to print, I have put about 8 of them into albums so far.

I probably take a photo every day. Maybe not every single day, but most days. I looked back on January, February and March and there are probably only 2 days that I did not take a photo, either with my camera or phone. One of the things I found helps me to remember to take photos is to bring my camera with me everywhere, even when it seems like a pain to carry it.

There are so many different reasons to take photos. Here are a few of mine.

To play: As you know, each week I contribute one photo to Triptych, a site where we give you a word to interpret how you want. Each photo is different and it's fun to see what other people get out of the same word. This also goes for photo of the day sites and lists (a couple of fun ones are: Fat Mumslim's Monthly List and Capture Your 365's Monthly List). I don't do these every day, but sometimes it's fun to make a day out of it.

Triptych's SPLENDID prompt

To capture a moment: These photos are often a little blurry, but they are a freeze frame of something remarkable. Of your baby's first steps. Of a smile. A vacation. A good night out with friends. Or a bicycle ride for two down the streets of a Brazilian town, 4 seconds before you ran into the curb and fell to the ground.

He's on the handlebars, taking the photo as we are riding along.

To remember: I travel a lot and love seeing all the beautiful places in the world. But with time, memories fade and that thing that you thought you would always remember can be just a fuzzy thought. I like to take photos so this doesn't happen. Like this one of my trip to Yosemite in 2004 with my Dad and Grandma, and my botched attempt to die my hair red.

To laugh: I snap a lot of photos with my iPhone. Of signs. Of people wearing silly hats. Of "butt rub". Of naked people walking down the streets of San Francisco. Yup. That really happens.

Bay to Breakers 2010

To create: I used to just snap photos left and right without thinking about it. Now, sometimes I take the time to get the light right, or the setting, or even just the frame. And sometimes I just get lucky.

To chronicle: I use my photos in lieu of a journal sometimes, since I often fall way behind in writing in it. Also, when I do decide to finally write in my journal, I have an easy database of photos to pull from, and to remind me of what I was doing.

Thailand: food to them; bugs to me.

To show:  I take a lot of photos with my iPhone to show my loved ones, who are far away, what is going on in my life. Even if it's as mundane as "look what I bought at Target" it's still fun to feel like they are right here with you, doing boring day to day stuff, as well as the fun things. Or, oftentimes, I show you too! This photo was taken by my Dad after we reached the summit of Mt. Shasta, and sent to my Mom from the top.

I'm ready to get down now

To remind: Different that "to remember" this is more like taking photos of something to remind myself of something...which wine I DO like, what book I want to buy, or how much batteries are at one store, so when I go to the other I can compare. It's like easy note taking.

These clips are cheaper at Target

And mostly, I take photos because it's fun!

Why do you take photos? What do you take the most photos of? Do you ever print your photos out and put them in an album?


What a Week

It's been a while since I've done a Week in Review post! I love doing them, since it's a great way for me to remember what I did throughout the week. I am surprised at how putting it together on a list makes me seem so much more productive sometimes! Not that I am not, but it just reminds me of what I DID do, rather than making me worry about what I did not.

Last Sunday, I went with a friend for a run and then brunch. The place we went to for brunch had really great food and bottomless mimosas, made with fresh fruit juice. The waiter comes around with a pitcher and in order to try the next kind (there were about 20) you have to down the one you have. Sure, the glasses are only 6 oz, but they add up!

 What started out as an innocent Sunday morning brunch....
See those teeny, tiny glasses? 

...ended up as Dance Party USA. 
Hey. There was Madonna.
And 2 Live Crew.

It rained a lot this week. 
View from the back porch.

The sun did peek out from time to time, enough so I could catch up on my
coffee drinking,
and sunshine loving.
That coffee cup holds about a third of the pot. 
I love it.

I also learned that "Cher" hair is back in style. 
Um, ladies, I have had that hair for the last 30 years. 
Well I guess you have to be "in style" once every 30 years.
Note the insert. 
It says "Don't go overboard.  Leave a little body. Poker straight hair is not always flattering"
Yeah. Like I said. 30 years.

I made a couple of care packages for my loved ones.

And this is why I believe in Karma...
The VERY SAME DAY...I received two blog prizes in the mail! 
A Nature Box that I won from Carrie
And Profoot insoles that I won from Marcia.

Heads up people. Do you love boxes?
Or organizing? 
Or organizing with boxes? 
Target special = $1 each! 

This weekend I went running, went grocery shopping and cooked up a storm.
Two kinds of chili.

And a pan of brownies. 
I did not eat this entire thing by myself. 
Only the entire edge part. 
The middle got cut out and made into...

These! Brownie Balls! 
Not quite the same as the cake pops I made last time, but close.

I had to try one. It was pretty darn good. Except that I really didn't need it. 
After I licked the batter spoon. 
And the bowl. 
And ate all the edges of the brownies. 
And all the leftover melting chocolates.
I feel sick. 

How was your week? Have you ever had bottomless mimosas? Be honest, how much of the brownie pan can you eat in one sitting?