Fall Back

I have always LOVED Fall Back. When I was a kid I had a great theory. It went something like this:

In the morning, we got to sleep in an extra hour. This is because if we fall back, the clock SAYS 6 now, but "really" it is 7, so we get to sleep in until what used to be 7 o'clock. Score.

In the evening, we get to stay up an extra hour. This is because if we normally go to bed at 10, when the clock says 10, it will really feel like 11, so really we gained an hour in the evening too!

After Fall Back comes Winter!

However, last night I was running on the trails and it was about 6 o'clock and it was starting to get dark and I was thinking about the whole daylight savings thing. I have said it before, thinking and running (especially math!) don't always work out well for me. I have been known to have run several extra miles due to bad running addition.

Last night it was almost dark and I was thinking about how great it would be next week because at this same time it would be light, because it would technically be an hour earlier.

But wait. Then my mind got a little twisted. Is that right?


Then it dawned on me. Next week when the clock says 4, it will really "be" 5. So this means we will be getting LESS light in the evenings! Wait a flipping minute, that's not fair! Who's idea was it to have less light in the evening? Darn farmers! Who needs extra light in the morning?

So I grumbled my way down the rest of my running path in the near dark, thinking that I guess I should get in my trail miles THIS week because I wasn't going to be able to enjoy them as much next week, or for the next several weeks afterward.

I also wondered why it took me three decades to figure this out.

Now Fall Back is ruined for me forever. I liked it better when I was oblivious to it's flaws.

Do you like Fall Back? Why or why not?


Creature of Habit

I am a creature of habit. I find that it makes things easier. Rather than scrambling around in the morning or forgetting something, I feel like if I always do it the same way, it is less likely to go wrong. There are a few things I always do.

Keys: The keys always go in the same place. It a nice empty place where they can't get piled in with a bunch of other things. They have their own place of honor and they always go there. When I am on the move, they always go in the same pocket of my purse, every time.

Coffee: I almost always set up the coffee the night before if I am working the next day. That way I can get up, turn on the pot and then start getting ready for my day while it's brewing. However, I am not really a coffee snob. I have been known to make a whole pot and just nuke it the next day if there is some left over.

White Board: I have a white board where I write my weekly schedule: to do, running, shopping and evening activities all go on the board. Each Sunday, I wipe away all the things I got done and rewrite my coming week's items. It makes me feel like I have accomplished something, even when it's minor (I also leave the finished things up on the board until Sunday so I can revel is the joy of getting them done).

Black Pants: I own several pairs of black slacks. I find it's much easier to just grab a random pair of pants and snatch up a shirt and voila, I have an "outfit". It's not super exciting, but it's efficient.

Water Plants: I have this little ritual when I get home where I water the veggies and pick anything that's ripe. It feels good and seeing food that I have grown (not killed!) is very satisfying and I find it's a great way to wind down after a long day.

Alarm: I like to get up early and have a bit of extra time to get a few things done. Sometimes its something online, or maybe it's updating my planner or organizing a little bit. Either way, it makes me feel more productive during the day to not have rushed around in the morning.

Lunch: I always pack my lunch the night before. I suppose it's all the same, since it takes the same amount of time whether you do it at night or in the morning, but by doing it at night I have that little bit of extra time to do my organizing or whatever in the morning.

Shower: The routine is always the same. Get in, wet everything, shampoo, shave, rinse, condition, soap, rinse, done. I do not dawdle.

Read on Bus: I have a half an hour bus ride to get home and lately this has been the only (sigh, I know) time I have been reading. So, no matter how much I feel like I need to reply to that email or google this or that, I always take that half an hour to read my book.

As you can see from this list, it could probably be summed up by saying (1) I like to prep in the evening to save time in the morning and (2) I like routine. True. So true.

What habits do you have? Are there any weird ones? What is your shower routine?



Cloverdale Harvest Half Marathon

My first half marathon was hard. It was hot, by the end of the race my feet were hurting and I was tired. I finished in 2:13 and change. I remember the feeling of pride and amazement when I was finished.

Last weekend was Broski's first half marathon. I want him to get the bug. I think running is fun and racing is fun! It gives you that runners high and makes you feel strong. So I was a little nervous that he would run it and it would suck and at the end, he would never want to run again. To make it worse, he hadn't run since the Harvest 10k, which was two weeks ago. So I was a little worried, because I wanted it to be FUN!!

The weekend before last, we got together with the family and all my relatives were giving my brother advice. I try not to give him advice unless he asks for it, because I know that he is like me and sometimes just needs to learn the hard way. However, some of my family members still do it. Their advice was good! My uncle said, "the hardest thing about running is lacing up your sneakers". Ain't that the truth! My father said that my brother should try to "start out slower than you think you should, in order to save gas for the end". Also true and a lesson that doesn't really make sense on paper, until you have done it wrong in a race!

My goal for this race was to let Broski run it how he wanted, only offering encouragement, not handing out too much advice (only Pink Lemonade chews when needed). I will leave that part to my other family members. Broski's goal was to finish with a smile on his face and to do it hopefully under 2 hours. Did we achieve our goals? Let's find out!

Before: It was about 44 degrees in the morning, so you know how it is trying to figure out what to wear. Broski went with the short sleeved tee, while I decided to keep my long sleeves on. In a rare show of enthusiasm, I wore orange and black. I don't have to tell you why. The lady friend and her sister came for the 5k, just like last time. They are becoming our best fans!

Beautiful morning for a run!

During: The course was beautiful. It went along the vineyards, where people were RUSHING to get the grapes off the vines before the rains came. Broski looked good. The first few miles were good, we did a little out and back loop on a creek path, which was fun because we could see all the other runners. Then we started going uphill! The hills were rolling, but they were plentiful! (Splits Miles 1-5: 8:43, 8:42, 8:45, 8:44, 8:52)

At the turn around

Around mile 6, Broski's right foot was hurting just a tad, but we kept going strong. The pink lemonade chews were a welcome distraction! Then around mile 8 (where Broski passed his longest mileage run ever), he started getting tight calves. I was a little sore as well, as I had run the headlands the day before and had hit the hills pretty hard. The entire time though, the course was beautiful and after the turnaround, everyone was cheering each other on and even when we got passed or were passing someone, everyone was very encouraging of each other. (Splits Miles 6-10: 8:55, 8:59, 9:06, 8:49, 10:23)

We had to stop and walk for a few minutes here and there in the last 4 miles, but we finished it off strong. However, my Garmin read 13.6 at the end! Our finishing time was 2:05, so by our calculations, if the course would have been correct, we would have made it in under 2 hours! (Splits Miles 11-13.6: 9:34, 9:28, 10:01, 9:09)

Finished! Wine in hand!

After: There was lunch and WINE (hurray for Harvest) and Dolly Parton was there! Okay she was a cardboard cutout. We had fun hanging out with the lady friend and her sister and enjoying a great live band to boot!

So, in my book, we made our goals. We had fun, lemonade chews were dispensed, encouragement was given and 2 hours would have been achieved if the course was not long! Plus, Broski beat my first half marathon time. I better watch out, he will be running circles around me in no time. The best thing? He's going to run another half marathon.


No, I am not kidding.

Have you ever been to any Sonoma County wineries? Do you ever stay for the after party at your races? After your first race, did you want to run another one?

Don't forget to join Jill for her Fitness Friday link up!


Random Rambles

Lately it's pretty much all Giants all the time around here. Sorry. In a week, we will have won and you won't have to hear about them for...5 more months. Actually there are a few other things going on in my six minute mind these days.

- (Spoiler Alert: Mom, don't read this part) Last night after work I went running out on the trails and it got dark a little earlier than I thought it would. I think it was partly due to the cloud cover and also due to the tree cover. So I was just finishing up my run up the last hill when I saw two pairs of eyes. You know how they reflect in the dark? Two pairs, maybe a foot or two off the ground, but it was hard to tell, as I was going up a hill. I clapped and shouted and made a fool of myself and at first I thought they were coming toward me (and I had a moment of "huh, what the heck am I going to do now?") but then they retreated. Up the hill. Where I needed to go. To go back around the other way, I would have had to go about 5 miles. To go up the hill, I would be back at the parking lot in about .2 miles. So I flapped my arms and clapped my hands some more and they finally went into the bushes. I took advantage of that to get the heck out of there! I could hear them in the bushes and for the entire rest of the way I kept checking behind me to make sure they weren't chasing me.

It was probably just a couple of deer.

Lesson learned. Maybe trail runs should be done a little bit earlier in the day. 

Mountain lion in Tilden Park. Photo by Jim Hale (source)

- My friend's cat died on Tuesday. I went to the animal emergency room with her and we were there until late at night. I don't really know how to deal with with grief or with emotions. I can deal with death, but I have a hard time dealing with the people who are dealing with death. I am the person who is reliable and durable and good at things that are black and white like math, but I am not really good at the grey things, the emotional things and the feelings. What do you say or do? Do you just BE there? Because that I can do, but I am not sure if it's better to talk about other things to take her mind off of it or to talk about it or to let her talk about it or...what!! I feel so inadequate. It's a problem I don't know how to fix.

- Okay I have to throw one Giants thing in here. It is just me, or does Timmy look like that kid from Dazed and Confused?

Timmy (source)
Mitch Kramer (source)

Do you think they look alike? Or not?  It'd be a lot cooler if you did (if you can name who said that you get a golden star!)

Have you ever had to frighten off a wild deer animal in the dark? How are you with grieving friends? Has anyone ever said that you look just like someone else?


Last Week (5)

Have you ever felt like your brain only operated for a few minutes at a time? Do you know how lawyers bill in 6 minute increments? My brain lately has been billing in 6 minute increments. Once the 6 minutes is over, a new billing cycle begins and the old one is forgotten, paid, finished. You know when you walk into the kitchen to get a spoon and when you go through the doorway you just stand there for a few minutes, wondering what you came in for? That's been happening to me more and more. It happens mostly at work but has been trickling into my personal life as well. I blame technology. It seems we  rarely focus on any one thing for very long any more.

Since I can't concentrate enough to form a paragraph, I will let some photos tell my story of last week for me.

I wore an appropriate outfit to work. Go Giants!
Then I went to the game, which we won. 
World Series Baby!!
Sorry Nilsa.

TUESDAY, it was unseasonably hot. 
I took a nice walk for lunch and enjoyed every minute of it. 

An evening trail run is always nice. 
It always makes me feel refreshed. 
Even when it's halfway run in the dark.

I took a walk around the neighborhood to check out the decorations. 
This was my favorite. 

I took advantage of the sun and went for a run in the headlands
You could see the city as clear as day.
This is not always the case.

Broski's first half marathon. 
He lived to tell the tale!
(more on that later)

Since our forecast was rain (which we are getting), 
it's important to harvest your veggies or they may spoil.  
This meant LOTS of peppers. 
So I dried some. And made some into this. 
It will knock your socks off.


 Who needs socks, anyway? 

How was your weekend? Do you decorate for Halloween? Have you ever tried canning fruits or veggies?


Squash Galore

Firstly, I want to say GOOD LUCK to everyone racing this weekend! There are a bunch of people doing the RW Half! Go get 'em! Also, a big fingers crossed, for Lisa, who is trying for a sub 4 marathon today! To everyone else, I hope your feet are swift and you end the race with a smile on your face. As you read this, I am currently running Broski's first  half marathon with him!!!

Once again, my "meal planning" consists of making a big pot of this and a big pan of that and eating it throughout the week. This week, the challenge was to use acorn squash, but since the email regarding the challenge came after I had already gone grocery shopping, I improvised. This week's big pot meal?

Butternut Squash Veggie Chili.

The good thing about this is that even though it doesn't have any meat*, the squash gives it some oomph, so it feels really hearty and good. Like I said in my first meal planning post, it's good to have staples on hand, since this week my challenge to myself was to NOT go grocery shopping, since there are quite a few things in the fridge that did not get used up as fast as I wanted last week. So, out came the staples and into the pot they went.

As always, I make enough so that a few can go in the freezer for lunches, and a few cups can go in the fridge for this week's meals. This recipe made about 10 cups of chili. 

Butternut Squash Veggie Chili

1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
2 yellow peppers (fresh from the garden!)
4-5 garlic cloves, diced

1/2 butternut squash, cubed
2 cups of dried kidney beans
6 cups of water
1 packet of veggie stock
1 thai chili pepper, sliced in half

1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp fennel
1 tbsp Italian seasoning

In frying pan with a little bit of olive oil, sweat the onions. Add the celery, yellow peppers and garlic and cook for another 5-10 minutes*. Put cooked veggies and remaining ingredients in a slow cooker and cook for 8-10 hours on low. OR you can put them in a pot and cook for roughly 5 hours to achieve the same effect.

*You could also add ground hamburger to the frying pan if you wanted a meat version. 


In order to get ready for the week ahead, I also baked some butternut squash in the oven. This will be added to either oatmeal in the morning, paired with yogurt for a fun dessert or used as a side dish for other meals during the week. I also cleaned out the freezer and found some chicken, so I cooked up a bunch of that to use during the week as well. That being said, here are this week's dinners.

Monday: Butternut Chili, Cabbage Salad (an old standby)
Tuesday: Chinese Chicken Salad (cabbage salad with chicken, nuts & Craisins)
Wednesday: Chicken Fajitas
Thursday: Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
Friday: Butternut Chili, Brussels sprouts
Saturday: Chicken Salad and Butternut Squash
Sunday: Dinner out / Left overs

What is your meal plan for the week?  What's your favorite way to use winter squash?


Nike Women's Marathon

I got up at 5 to get on the bus to cross the bay. The bus terminal in San Francisco is about a mile from the race start, which is in Union Square. I decided to walk. I got to about 3 or 4 blocks from the square and it was a mad house. Of course that was just when I started to have to use the restroom. So I ducked into the Marriott (thanks JW!) and used theirs before heading over to the Square to line up in my corral.

Like I said before, my corral was 7:30 - 9:00 and actually they were letting the faster corral in at the same place, so they had to go in and then fight their way to the front of all of the people in my pace group. It was a bit of a mess. Everyone had pace bracelets, so you could tell when they weren't supposed to be in that corral, and there were several that weren't.

Once the race started, it seemed like it took forever to cross the starting line, but once I got my results, I realized it was really less than a minute. My Garmin was having a bad day and it kept telling me I was running a 3 minute mile. I was passing a lot of people (trying to get around everyone) but I don't think I was that fast! For the first mile or so, it was a lot of bobbing and weaving, but luckily I had rudely pushed myself to the front(ish) of the start line, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I can't imagine what it was like in the 9:00 - 10:00 group, which was pretty far behind us. I checked out some of the people who came in near the end, and their chip time and gun time were a half an hour apart!

The course was great; miles 3 - 6 were on one of my favorite routes, through Crissy Field, where normally there is an awesome view of the Golden Gate bridge. However, it was quite foggy and there was a view of nothing. I felt kind of bad for the out of towners who came for the views. At this point I started to fuel. I had decided earlier that morning, in a split second decision (dumb maybe) to try dried apricots as fuel. They went down fine with a little chewing, and at about 15 calories each are about the same as a Gu Chomp. Mile 1 - 6: 6:50*, 6:19*, 7:26, 7:34, 7:27, 7:39 (*these may have been Garmin error)

After Chrissy Field, it started to go up, and up, and up, and down and up and up! Basically miles 7 - 11 were about a thousand feet total elevation gain according to the Garmin. This is where I had a lot of trouble. I can run up the hills, but it sure is hard. I could feel my face getting redder and redder. At this point it was kind of misty raining, which was a blessing! Somewhere around mile 11 the marathon and half marathon split up. They went toward the finish and we went toward the park. This made a HUGE difference! All of a sudden, I was running alone. It was great!  Mile 7 - 11: 8:19, 7:37, 8:11, 7:57, 7:15

Uphill, chug, chug

Miles 12 - 17 were all in Golden Gate park and were flatter than the coast, although not flat by any means. They were just more gradual, and more up, up, up and then down, down, down (rather than up, down, up, down). According to Garmin, this was another 900 ft gain/loss. It was fun running this section, as the park is beautiful and I got to see my friends, the Bison. There was also a huge jumbo-tron here. Check out this video  of the 10k, 15k and finish line. You can look at my waddle. All I can say about that is...I run funny! We also met back up with the halfers around mile 16 (their mile 13) and it was a crazy mess for about a half a mile before I popped out into the solitary confinement of the Great Highway. Mile 12 - 17: 8:01, 8:18, 7:58, 7:45, 7:50, 7:32

Miles 18 - 20 were along the Great Highway which goes along side Ocean Beach. I was really looking forward to seeing my family, as I was getting pretty tired at this point. The road was a chip and seal rather than a nice smooth asphalt and it was killing my feet! Also, I just needed a smiling face, which is funny because as I was scanning the crowd for my parents, a person jumped out of the crowd and hugged me! It was my new running buddy! I gave her a high five and kept on. Then there they were, the Parentals and grandma, right near mile 18. Seeing them gave me the boost I needed to keep going. Mile 18 - 20: 7:49, 7:52, 8:11

The Great Highway

Miles 21 - 24 were around Lake Merced. If I would have known how bad this section was going to be, I would have asked the Parentals to be over here. It was dead. I was tired. It was raining on me. There were a lot of cars. The lake was nice though. At one point this guy came out of nowhere and was running right next to me for about a mile. Then he just stopped. I am not sure what that was all about. Maybe I looked tired? Like I needed a push? Well it worked; I was trying so hard to get away from him and to have a little space between us that I picked up my pace by a few seconds. Mile 21 -24: 8:14, 8:13, 8:09, 8:06

Miles 25 to the end were back along the Great Highway. This part was fun, because all the runners behind me were coming the opposite direction. I had a few friends running and I looked for them, but never saw them. Also, I saw two guys that had ridden my bus into the city that morning! What a small world it was shaping up to be! Mile 25 - 26.2: 8:08, 8:15, 7:59

Still feeling good!

Then I was at the end. Almost. First I had to muscle my way through a bunch of walk/jogging half marathon people who were sharing the finish line (and the 200 feet or so leading up to it) with me! Then I was over the line, and this cute fireman in a tux gave me a little blue box. I could have hung out with him longer; why is the box giving portion so short and the run so long? It should be the other way around.

And then I was done. I was wet and cold and hungry but I felt great!

Final Time: 3:29:16
Overall: 46/4452
Gender: 30/4051
Age: 9/837

A few fun facts: *Dried Apricots = good fuel! This may be my new favorite! * I did not pee once. * Total elevation gain (according to Garmin) = 5000 ft (can that be right?) * Elevation loss = 4860 ft *Fastest time = 2:56 (M) and 2:59 (F) * From my loose calculations, about 3% of the people in this race BQ (compared to 35% in the Santa Rosa Marathon) *

Tell me how you feel about firemen. What is your favorite type of dried fruit? Have you ever seen footage of yourself running?


Listen to This

I thought I would start off with a song that I am loving lately! If you haven't already heard it, enjoy! If you have already heard it, then enjoy again!

I almost always listen to music when I run. However, I haven't bought a pair of headphones in years. I use the ones that came with my iPod. The little padding part came off and one side doesn't always work, but I usually just make do with what I have.

I recently got a chance to try a new earphone, Yurbuds. They are bright pink and they have a twist lock feature where you stick them in and then twist and they stay in your ears really well!

The first time I used them I took them for a test drive because you know the old saying, "don't ever try something new on race day". They worked great. They did not fall out at all and the sound quality is really good. Also, both sides work! Score. The only thing I don't like is that my other headphones have a microphone. I don't use it very often but it is nice to be able to answer the phone when I need to without having to get it out and use it without headphones.

Then on race day, I wore them the whole time. I had absolutely no problems. In fact, they stayed in so good that I almost needed them to come out a little faster when I saw my parents on the side of the road. I was scrambling to get my ear bud out and wave and get my gloves to my grandma all at the same time, but that is my own fault. I need to be quicker on my toes!

All in all, I would recommend these as a new earphone for you to try. Plus they come in a lot of fun colors and different types, like this one, which DOES have a microphone! Now I just need to update my playlist and I will be all set for some serious running!

Here are a few of the tunes I had to keep me company during the race:

Some Nights (this is a pretty cool remix of the song)

What are your favorite headphones for running? What is your song that you use when you need to get pumped up? Have you tried Yurbuds?

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary entry into the Nike Women's Marathon and a pair of Yurbud headphones in return for an honest review.


Swann Dives In

Swann Dives In by Charles Salzberg

Do you know what a tracer is? I didn't either until I read this book. It's a guy who is hired to track down missing, lost or "don't want to be found" people. The main character, Henry Swann, tries to go on the straight and narrow and get out of the game by becomming a cable guy. This job doesn't last long. As soon as a wealthy businessman in New York asks Swann to find his lost daughter, Swann is back in the game.

In trying to find the daughter, he meets a lot of strange people and follows their leads and ends up going all the way to London. He also ends up uncovering a mystery about a bookseller and a special rare book. The book mystery and the mystery of the daughter end up connecting and there is a twist in the end that I didn't see coming.

I am partial to detective novels, so this was right up my alley. I liked Swann and enjoyed the author's cast of characters. There is an English professor, a nutty Book seller, and a mysterious woman. I like that there is an element of danger just under the surface.  I like that Swann is a little bit cocky, but not over the top. I love books, so I enjoyed the information and facts that the author threw in about old books. I also liked the bits of information he throws in about the cities that Swann travels to.

I would recommend this as a fun read to anyone who likes mystery or detective novels, or to anyone who hasn't tried one yet, but wants a fun first try!

I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Do you like Detective Novels? Do you have an interesting rare thing that you collect?


Nike Womens Marathon: Pros & Cons

Marathon #3 is behind me now! It was nice to run a race so close to home. Thanks to Yurbuds, who sponsored me for this race, as well as Fitfluential, who got set it up! Now, here are the pros and cons of the race! The recap is coming shortly!

The Start Line @ 7 am


- Good snacks at the end. Luna bars, bagels, bananas, coconut water, frozen fruit (yum), Ghirardelli chocolates and water.

- The race shirts are made from recycled plastic bottles.  (*however, they did not hand them out until after the race)

- All the money from this race goes to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I think I heard someone say that they had raised over a million dollars.

- The spectators and volunteers were awesome. They were very cheerful, cheered for everyone and were so encouraging and helpful.

- There were plenty of aid stations. I don't know how many, but there must have been one about every 2-3 miles. The fuel was Clif shot blocks, which were opened for you already.

- The firemen in tuxes handing out necklaces at the end. And the necklace is pretty cool as well.

- The weather. It was overcast / misty / foggy the entire time.

- The TNT coaches (pacers). They cheered for everyone, not just the Team in Training folks. Also they were very inspiring because they would run with any TNT person who was having trouble. I watched a few of them really get their partner going again when they were lagging.

- Free bras. I am not sure whether to put this as a pro or con because at mile 6 you could exchange your old bra for a free new nike sports bra. However, I wasn't clear as to HOW.  Do I take off my bra I am wearing, in the middle of a run, and change if for a new one? Or am I supposed to carry an old ratty bra for 6 miles and then carry a new bra for the remaining 26? I don't get it.


- You could sign up to have automatic posts to your FB wall, which is pretty cool. I did sign up; none of my posts got posted. I spoke with a friend who said she had the same problem.

- I had to pass a bunch of walkers who were in the way of the runners. I think they started the walkers earlier, which is fine. I just wish they would have reminded them to keep to the right and not to walk 3 (or 5. My dad said he saw one group walking 5!) abreast.

- There were no spectators on the hardest part. They used buses to get the spectators from place to place. They should have had a drop off at mile 20 or 21. Miles 19 - 24 were dead and hard and boring.

- The hills. They kicked my butt.

- The start line. It was a mess. I saw a lot of 10 minute mile people (we had bracelets) in my pace corral. Also, my corral was 7:30 - 9 minute miles. That seems a bit broad to me.

- The crowds. I have said it before and I will say it again: I prefer small races. The start and end and the expo were all extremely crowded. It really did not make me want to hang out AT ALL. I got my bib, shirt and food and got out of there each time. (I did try to find my results, which took me nearly a half an hour!)

- The half marathoners. This race has about 25,000 people. I am not entirely sure about this year, but last year only 4700 of them were marathoners. I really wish they had started the half marathoners later, and given them a separate finish section. At the end I was trying to dodge and weave around them to cross the finish line!

- Their website. They only have a FB page, no actual website. It's a pain. For a company so big and a race so big, I think they can afford to design a REAL webpage! 

All in all it was pretty good. Luckily I got pretty close to the start line, since a lot of the reviews I read complained about having a hard time getting around people in the beginning. I still like the smaller races better, so I probably won't do this race again, but I did have a lot of fun doing it this time!

A few fun facts: * The Nike Women's Marathon is not just for women, despite the name.  * Last year 10% of the runners were male.

Do you ever go and spectate a race just for fun? Would you rather run in rain or heat?


My Bye Week

I have to admit, this week, I am taking the lazy man's way out and having a cleaning out the fridge week! Luckily I made a few staples this weekend, so it should be pretty easy! Planning consisted of a couple variables this week.

(1) I got a food box. In it: broccoli, carrots, apples, pears, radishes, arugula, bok choy and oranges. I already ate all the fruit. For the veggies, I chopped up the carrots with some potatoes for an easy on the go dinner. The broccoli will be an easy five minute dinner as well. Yes, I often eat a bowl of veggies for dinner with a fruit and/or yogurt dessert.

(2) I went to the grocery store to get a few more fresh fruit and veggies. This week's buy: Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, a pumpkin, bananas, apples and persimmons! I love persimmons! These will also be used mostly as side dishes to other vegetables. Like I said, this is a lazy week. I am calling it a bye week, or should I say a NO BUY week. Ha.

So, because of that, dinners this week will look like this:

Monday: GIANTS game! Dinner = nachos and beer!

Tuesday: Turkey Chili (freezer meal), broccoli

Wednesday: Cream of mushroom soup (freezer meal), Brussels sprouts

Thursday: Garbanzo stew (last week's freezer meal), rosemary carrot and potato medley

Friday: Curried Chicken and Rice, roasted sweet potatoes

Saturday: Dinner w/ the Broski -- carbo load for tomorrow's Half. Mexican Fiesta (make your own burrito)

Sunday: Whatever is left over / Grocery shopping day

Head over to Laura and Jills for this week's link up! 

What's on your menu this week? Do you ever give yourself a bye week? If so, what do you eat?


10 Running Tidbits

Yes, it's another list. I am uninspired this week. Plus, last night I got last minute tickets to the A's game, which they lost, so I put a lot of the things on my to do list off until tomorrow. I stole this from Nancy. I haven't really talked a lot about it, but I will be running the Nike Womens Marathon on Sunday and will need all the help I can get, so I appreciate any good juju you can send my way!  

1. FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?
I like Honey Stinger Chews and Gummy Bears.  I can make do with the chocolate raspberry Roctane or the regular chocolate Gu if need be.  

2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?
Like seasons, each race has it's ups and downs. I love the feeling of speed and total energy drain that I get from a 5k or a 10k. Half marathons are probably my body's best distance, physically. However, I love the feeling of strength and accomplishment that I get from a marathon and from Ultras.  

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants or Other?
Nike Tempo shorts OR this old pair of black pants that I used to wear under my ski pants when I was a kid. I found them when I was going through and cleaning out my stuff and I put them on and they still fit, so now they are my running pants!  

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?
Water. I only drink water. I can't stand the sweetness of most of the drinks. From time to time, I will have a Nuun before running, but usually it's water all the way. 

5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD?
Cold. Any day. Heat, and especially humidity, really drains my energy!  

6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brookes, Asics or Other?
Asics have been my shoe forever. Until this year, when I won a pair of Saucony Kinvaras. They are awesome! I may have to invest in a real pair someday.  

Saucony Kinvara
7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?
90 percent of the time, I have oatmeal with fruit and one cup of coffee. The other 10 percent of the time, I have Cheerios instead.  

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or Other?
All of the above. Normally, I run 4 times a week. Lately, my schedule has been hectic and I have been running 3 times a week. This week is taper week and I will run twice. I would rather do one 10 miler than a 4 and a 6. 

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?
When running alone, I need Marshall Mathers to keep me company. If running with others, I am happy to talk your ear off or listen, whichever floats your boat.  

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or Other?
Yes! No, really, the number one reason is that it makes me feel strong and happy and in control. 

If you run, answer one of the questions in the comments! If you don't run, answer anyway! What's your go to breakfast? What's your favorite brand of shoes? 

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


Finish This: October

I hope everyone is having a great week and is ready for a Giants win today!!! Fingers crossed! Also, today, 10.11.12, is my cousin's wedding day! Congrats to Bean and his new wife!! Today's fill in the blank idea was stolen from Lisa.

My friends Buster and Timmy

I wish I could get up earlier and run, but I really like that extra sleep in the morning!

I want an apron for Christmas.

I always eat the same breakfast every day. Oatmeal with fruit and nuts.

I need to find a costume for Halloween. 

I feel tired. I don't have a free weekend until....um....

I think that as much as I like the farm box idea, I can buy my own veggies for a cheaper price.

I ask lots of questions about logistics. It sometimes annoys people.

I hear rain. It's starting to rain! Maybe I need some of these?

I smell greens and vinegar. It's because I tried to make it so my greens wouldn't be so bitter, but all it did was stink up the house.  

I ponder the disappearance of socks, and time, and that bag of dried coconut (that I just scarfed down).  

I seek new pumpkin recipes. (here is one good one)  

I play Ms Pacman like a 12 year old boy. Bring it on!  

I prefer mountains over pretty much anything else. The ocean is not far behind though! 

I wonder where I will be in 10 years, mentally and physically (and literally). 

I mean to travel again soon. The question is not if, but when and where!?  

I never have watched a lot of movies that everyone else has seen.  

I plan on having a house on the beach someday. 

I hope to get a new phone soon, but I am not sure if I want to switch from the iPhone to something else or to just get a new iPhone. These are difficult decisions, folks.  

I worry about not spending enough time with people before they are gone.  

I dislike fakers/posers. Be yourself. People may not like it, but at least it's honest. 

I struggle with feeling guilty when I have to say no to something that I really would like to say yes to.

What do you struggle with? What are your hopes and your worries?


Harvest 10k

Where I grew up, there are bears. We always joke around that you don't really have to be able to run faster than the bear; you only have to be able to run faster than the person who is with you. Since I normally run alone, I have nobody to run faster than, so I am in trouble. However, luckily, yesterday I had a partner to run with, so I have at least a 50 percent chance of survival if a bear comes. I ran with Broski in his first race ever.

However, it IS only a 50% chance...

...Because Broski rocked it! He would have just as good a chance to outrun the bear as I would!

We ran the YMCA Harvest 10k in Santa Rosa, which was a very small race (my favorite!) The volunteers were great, the route was a fun run through the local neighborhood, the crowd was easy going and the post race celebration was fun. Even the local junior high cross country came out and raced. Also, Broski's girlfriend and her sister came out and did the accompanying 5k! It was a family affair!  

Trying to show our #s! It was chilly at first!

Broski's goal was to run under a 9 minute mile the whole time. He has a fancy new Garmin which he can set at a certain pace and it will tell him whether or not he needs to speed up or slow down. However, as we started out, we realized that we may not need to use it. We started out a bit faster than planned and I tried to warn him to slow down but he said he felt good and that he would let me know if he needed to slow down. So, we kept at it. We stayed around that pace the whole time, even while running up and down a few rolling hills. We did slow a little bit on mile 5, but only by about 10 seconds. We even talked most of the time. Or maybe I talked and he grunted from time to time.

Before we knew it, we were at the 6 mile mark and we could see the finish line in sight. I asked Broski if he wanted to sprint it out and he said yes. What a good sport. So we got to the 6 mile cone and started booking it. It was really funny because we started sprinting and the crowd was laughing at us and cheering us on. Then I saw a lady coming up next to me on my left (Bro was on my right) and she was keeping up with us! It was hard to keep up the pace but we ended up sprinting the entire way (about 400m) and I think the lady ended up beating us by a millisecond! She was fast! Our last 400 meters was run at about a 6 minute per mile pace! I couldn't keep that up any longer though. Phew!

* Our mile splits were: 8:08, 8:08, 8:18, 8:15, 8:22, 7:45.
* We ended up as #45 (48:58) and #46 (49:00) out of 196 participants (with an average of 7:54/mi)

So, like I said, Broski underestimated himself. It looks like we have a new runner in the running community! I have to admit, I didn't push him at all. I can't even take credit for his speed; he did it all on his own; I was just there to be company for him. He is excited about his time and the race overall, even though he said after that sprint at the end he felt like throwing up in the bushes!

Next up: a Half Marathon!

Have you totally underestimated yourself on something? Have you ever run so hard you felt a little ill?


Lunch Time

If you haven't already, go here and see how taking stock is critical to easy meal planning! 

Next comes the meal planning. This week (and many), the plan went like this:

1. Shopping. Stock up on the things that are missing from this list. Usually this means going to buy a bunch of vegetables and fruits and sometimes a few of the staples. 

2. Planning. Depending on what is fresh, on sale and available, the weekly plan is made.

I know, this may be backwards. Shop THEN plan? To this I say, YES. I always have my staples so I have pretty much done the "planning" already. All I need to do after shopping is decide what I want to cook. 

Today I am going to only talk about the lunch planning portion. Each week, after seeing what the haul is for the week, I make a big batch of ___ (fill in the blank with a bean dish here). I also cut up all of my vegetables to go along with my meals. This usually means cutting cabbage or broccoli for salads, and cutting carrots and celery for snacks.

Cabbage Salad

This week, we had several vegetables left over from last week. This is normal. I always do a little bit of "overbuying" in order to have a quick snack or to anticipate extra hunger! But fear not, it does not go to waste!

Needing to be used up from last week: Red, yellow and orange bell peppers. Carrots. Serrano peppers.
Add to that from on hand items: Onion, Garlic, Garbanzo beans, Curry powder, Diced tomatoes, corn.
Put in Crock Pot for 8 hours and you get: Garbanzo Stew (recipe below)!

Garbanzo Stew

This was put into 8 one cup containers.. 6 of them go into the freezer and two go into the fridge. I like to put 6 in the freezer, so that way I will always have a variety to choose from. I usually eat 3-4 of them for lunch and then I have some from last week as well as having fresh veggies on hand so I am not always eating the same thing over and over.

Freezer mini meals

Remaining peppers were added to quinoa, basil and lemon to make a quinoa salad, which will be used as lunches as well. The I pair each one up with a various salad and lots and lots of fruit. I usually bring one or two pieces of fruit as well as some loose fruit, cut melon, grapes or berries. So this weeks lunches will look like this:

Veggies for quinoa salad

Monday: Garbanzo Stew, cabbage salad, fruit

Tuesday: Turkey Chili (last week's big pot meal), broccoli salad, fruit

Wednesday: Quinoa Salad, beet salad, fruit

Thursday: Garbanzo Stew, broccoli salad, fruit

Friday: Chicken Curry and Rice (week before last's big pot meal), cabbage salad, fruit

Saturday: Party food (@ my uncle's memorial)

Sunday: Clam House with Mom, Dad and Grandma for a  post race meal!

Garbanzo Stew: 

2 cups dry garbanzos
2 carrots, chopped
1 each red, yellow, orange bell peppers, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
2 Serrano peppers, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 can of yellow corn
5 cups of water

1 tbsp Curry powder
1 tbsp salt
2 packets of Trader Joe's concentrated chicken stock

Mix everything together. Leave in crock pot on low for 8 hours. 

How do you do to use up older veggies before they go bad? What do you eat for lunch every day?

Check out Jill and Laura's sites for more meal planning tips! 


The Month of Races

October is the month of races.

The broski, who works at a winery, was recently getting a little too comfortable on the couch a few too  many times a week. His job is "seasonal", which basically means that it is pretty physical for about 3 months of the year, during harvest, which actually happens to be right now. During harvest he works 10-14 hour days punching down grapes and doing other assorted grape related activities.

However, for the other 9 months, it is less physically demanding. So his pattern was this: get in pretty good shape each year from August to November; get out of shape from December to July. Repeat.

He got tired of this, and has been really trying to focus on getting out and getting some exercise. I have mentioned this before, but I am so proud of him for doing this. It is not easy to break a habit, especially a bad one, and it's even less easy to form new good ones!

So, he asked for me to join him in running a half marathon. He didn't have to twist my leg very hard for me to say yes. However, I suggested he try a 5k beforehand to see how he liked it before heading out for the long haul. He, being almost as stubborn and determined as I, said he would try a shorter race, but he was not giving up on the half marathon. So, shortly after, I found myself signing up for not one, but TWO races in October.

A few days later, I got word that I got into the Nike Women's Marathon.

The broski is doing great. He went from walking, to walk/running, to running 10 minute miles to running 8 minute miles. He is a rock star.

For his birthday, I got him a fuel belt and a tiger tail. 
He sent me this beautiful photo as a "thank you".

Sorry ladies, he's taken.

So...This weekend I am running a 10k with the broski; on the 14th, it's the NWM in San Francisco, and the weekend after that, it's the Harvest Half Marathon (which better have some wine involved!)

Our number one goal this weekend? Have fun! But we are also hoping to keep it under a 9 minute per mile pace. I think we can do it. We already talked logistics. The broski said he probably won't be able to talk while we are running. So I asked if it was okay for me to talk the whole time. He said, "sure, it will be just like being at home with my girlfriend". Ha. Ha. I am totally telling on him.

Do you have family members that run? Did you have a friend/coworker/family member that got you into running? Do you talk while you are running with someone?

Head over to Jills for more Fitness Friday fun!