Then and Now: July

Another month gone! Yes, I know it's cliche to say it, but where did the time go? I think the combination of traveling and/or having people visit pretty much every weekend this month made for a pretty quick month! Not only that, but I have been working on organizing and packing to get ready to move back north! Time flies when you are entertaining, traveling and packing! Here is another month of Then and Now, in terms of the Who, the What and the Where!


In July of 2011, I spent a lot of time with coworkers and a little time with Mr. L and Mark Twain. In 2012, my time has been spent mostly with Mr. L, but also entertaining guests, including my Dad, The K&A family and friends from Wisconsin! Not only that, but we made a quick trip back east and got to see more friends and family while there!  It's been a friend and family filled month! 


2011: 62.7 / 2012: 204

It's kind of fun to pull up the stats on RunningAhead! Last July I ran less than a third of the amount of miles as this year. My average pace was 9:54/mi, whereas this year it's 9:08/mi. I ran for approximately 10 hours last year; this year I ran for about 30. I have to admit; I am kind of ready for September when the mileage will be a little lower and I can focus on "only" running one half marathon a month.

2011: 0 / 2012: 2

I ran two races this year: Living the Fit Life's Birthday Virtual 10k and the Bad Bass Half Marathon, which was number 7 of the 12 in 2012 Running Challenge! Recap coming soon!

2011: 6 / 2012: 6

Of the 6 books I read in 2012, my favorite was probably Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. This was a tale of a twin child born in Ethiopia to two interesting characters of parents, who survives the strife with Eritrea to grow up as a doctor. He eventually goes to America to find his way in the world and the story ends with a strange twist.  In 2011, my favorite July read was Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery. I really enjoy the Anne of Green Gables series! Check out my bookshelf page for more info! 


Last year I ate so many fresh fruits and veggies. This year has been much of the same, including some new recipes using cabbage!  When my Dad came to visit, he brought a special treat: hand picked blackberries AND a flat of peaches. I have been definitely getting my "apple" a day!!


Last year I was working in Missouri, in the heartland of America. This year, I have been on the beach. It's been quite a difference! 

How was your July? Have you read the Anne of Green Gables series? What's your favorite fruit?


What I Learned (3): Running

I was running the other day and I was thinking about how many things I didn't know when I started running. Through much trial and error (mostly error), you end up figuring out what works for you, food wise, water wise, shoe wise and more! Obviously, I didn't have a pen and paper with me, and my brain is very similar to Swiss cheese. Therefore, once I sat down to make the list after getting home, it was much, much smaller than I had planned. However, here are the few things that did stick. So, here are a few things I have learned about running in the past several years.

It's okay to walk.

This took me a while to learn. It seems like it's a bit backwards, because usually you walk before you run, but I didn't. If I had to walk, I considered myself done. This was keeping me from running farther. If I would have just stopped to walk and recover, I could have kept going. However, since I started trail running and the hills were brutal, I realized that by walking up the hills, I can save more energy for later! The same goes for any run whether it's on the trails or the roads.

You are faster than you think. 

For a long time, I stayed at about a 10 minute per mile pace because it was comfortable and I didn't really (a) want to push myself and (b) think I could go much faster. However, I decided to try speed training (intervals) after a friend told me how hard but rewarding it was, and by doing that I realized that I was selling myself short. I was a lot faster than I gave myself credit for.

Sometimes you need a buddy. 

I am usually a solo runner. However, sometimes I run with my Dad or my friend K, and it's fun. The time goes by a lot faster, you talk the entire time and it puts the fun back in running. It makes it more of a social session with exercise, instead of a chore.

My running buddies

A bad pair of undies can be your worst enemy. 

I think this is self explanatory. However, as I have mentioned before, some people chose to go without. I am not one of them, but I do believe in the benefits of a good snug pair of undies (but not TOO snug!).

Always carry water. 

I have done the bad thing and assumed that there would be drinking fountains on the trail, or that I was "only going a few miles" so I wouldn't need a drink or that it was not as hot as it really was. Let me tell you, I believe that it is well worth it to carry water, even if you don't end up using it.

It's okay to take a rest day. 

Okay, maybe I am lying about this one, as I still have a hard time taking a day off. I do know though that I feel better, am less sore and am more ready to go the next time when I have a day of rest. It's just hard ON that day to get over the fact that I am "sitting around".

Do you call them undies, underwear, panties, knickers (or...)? What have you learned about running? Do you exercise with a buddy or solo?


Finish This: July

This is San's idea, and I love it. Maybe you should join in too!

Maybe I should go running instead of doing this.
I love the smell of pine trees.
People would say that I’m more of a text person than an phone caller. 
I don’t understand the complexities of physics.
When I wake up in the morning I have breakfast right away. 
I lost my wallet in Ireland and almost missed my plane home.
Life is full of interesting people.
My past is full of
days spent outdoors.
I get annoyed when
that screechy bird sits outside my window and squeaks.
Parties are good when they are smaller.
I wish I had more creativity.
Dogs are
cute but they smell.
Birds are a strange thing to have as a pet.
Tomorrow I’m
running a half marathon.
I have low tolerance for people who feel entitled for things they don't work for.
I’m totally terrified of
getting injured.
I wonder why I
sometimes don't feel like running.
Never in my life have I
watched the Godfather series.
High school was
a time for fun and friends.
When I’m nervous
my voice warbles. I hate public speaking!
One time at a family gathering
my cousin beat me at ping pong.
Take my advice: Don't underestimate yourself.
Making my bed
makes me feel more in control of my day.
I’m almost always
dressed in a t-shirt, jeans and flip flops.
I’m addicted to
baking, but then I have nobody to eat the stuff, so I eat it all, which can be bad.
I want someone to
buy me a house on a cliff in San Francisco. Do you have a few million dollars?

What do you get annoyed at? What have you never done? What is your past full of?

Even though today I am not talking about fitness, head over to Jills to meet people who are!


Three Bean Salad

I have been wanting to write a post on this for a while, but I was sure that the non-gardeners will be totally bored, so I have been holding off. However, this year, whether you know it or not, I tried vegetable gardening for the first time. In case you too are a new gardener (I have had house plants for years and they have always flourished but this is my first food garden) I thought I would talk a little bit about the garden and some of the snags I have run into so far.

First, let me say that this post is to celebrate the fact that I have food. Three beans, to be exact! So, although a three bean salad may be a little small, I am very excited that I have made something that is edible! I made food with my own hands! I also have eaten basil, cilantro and chives from my little garden so far! It's very exciting.

Let's start off by saying what I started off with. I started seeds on May 14: cucumbers (bush), zucchini, tomatoes (bush), beets, butter lettuce, spinach, eggplant (bush), tri-colored beans (bush), cilantro, parsley, basil, chives, squash, scallions, southwestern pepper trio, carrots & dill.

So far I have killed: the cucumber, both lettuces and the dill. So I am 13 - 4. Maybe that's not Superbowl worthy, but it's not too bad.

The details: Most of my plants are in 8" pots. I bought them at the $1 aisle in Target and poked holes in the bottoms. The cherry tomato and the squash are in cardboard boxes lined with plastic shopping bags (with holes poked in the bottom). I used Miracle Grow potting soil and Renee's Garden Seeds.

Peppers, Squash, Cherry Tomatoes

What's going wrong? I think my worst fault is OVER watering. I know. In fact, the cucumber started "wilting" so I watered it. It wilted some more; I gave it more water... when my squash also started "wilting" I realized that since they grow along the ground, all they were doing was bending down so they could grow! Oops! Also, my squash leaves started yellowing. A couple days without water did the trick!

I was paranoid, since I am growing everything in containers, that the plants would not get enough water. I read that they dry out more quickly since they are getting sun from all sides. However, I still ended up giving them too much water. I think (correct me if I am wrong!) that tomatoes need more water than many of the other veggies, but many of them need to be left alone once in a while! Too much "care" was killing them!

I also should have used bigger pots. Some of the plants are much smaller than they should be and I am afraid that my bush tomatoes may not bear fruit, since the cherry tomatoes I put in the box are flowering right now and they were planted afterward. 

What's going right? I also read that watering will wash out many of the nutrients, so I recently added a bit of miracle grow, which really perked everything up! This also beefs up the argument against over watering. Since then, I have been watering with "coffee ground tea", which is just the coffee grounds mixed into a couple of gallons of water.


Where do we stand? After about 2 months, like I said, I have harvested basil, green beans, chives and cilantro. I have no cherry tomato fruits, but the plant is getting big and bushy and I just got flowers, so it's only a matter of time! I have squash flowers (tons!). The eggplant, beets and peppers are still just leaves.

Do you have a garden? Or a green thumb? Do plant posts bore you?


Tuesday Training (4)

Hate training posts? Love lists? Check out this list of 10 things that may make you realize that you are in Africa!

As I mentioned last week, I have been very unmotivated lately as far as running goes. However, this has not stopped me from getting out there and doing it anyway! I spent one of the weekends in Massachusetts, where it was HOT and humid. The rest of the time, I've been running in Santa Cruz, where its been in the 70s mostly. For both weeks, I pretty much ditched my speed work and am mostly running what some would call "junk miles". Junk or not, I am just happy that I managed to do any!

One thing I am really noticing lately is that the more I run, the more I eat. I know this is nothing new, but on my rest days, I am always hungry, so I am continuously eating! I'm like a 12 year old boy, appetite-wise. Also, I have a sock tan line which is pretty attractive.

Week 1 - 4
Week 5 - 8
Week 9 - 11

Week 12 - 13

Week 12:

Phoenix Rail Trail

Monday: Rest -- my right calf was giving me pain
Tuesday: Rest -- still in pain, so I decided to take an extra day of rest
Wednesday: 12 miles @ 9:36 pace (calf still hurting)
Thursday: 12.5 miles @ 9:53 pace (hilly trail run)
Friday: 7 miles -- 6 @ 9:40 pace / 1 mile walk on beach in middle
Saturday: Rest -- Travel Day
Sunday: 9 miles @ 9:00 pace

Total Miles: 40.5
Overall feeling: Tired

Week 13:

Norwottuck Rail Trail

Monday: 6 miles @ 8:57 pace (Norwottuck Rail Trail)
Tuesday: 8.5 miles @ 9:19 pace (Phoenix Rail Trail)
Wednesday: Rest -- Travel Day
Thursday: 11 miles @ 8:46 pace
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 10 miles @ 8:31 pace
Sunday: 20 miles @ 9:06 pace (Wilder Ranch)

Total Miles: 55.5
Overall feeling: Okay (better than last week!)

Wilder Ranch SP

What I have learned these past two weeks is that...I don't think I can sustain the required BQ pace of an 8 minute mile for 26.2 miles! I am having a hard enough time sustaining a 9 minute mile! This weekend I have a half marathon, which should give me an idea of my race pace, but I am feeling like maybe I am biting off more than I can chew with the BQ goal right now.

How is your training going? Do you have a hard time maintaining your pace in the heat?


Oregon Recap

Better late than never, I guess. I had a great time in Oregon a few weeks ago with the ladies. It's nice to travel with people who are easy to get along with, give you space when you need it and company when you don't! Also, as I mentioned before, we were all on the same page when it came to diet and exercise, so we spent a lot of time walking, hiking, running and eating great summer salads! It was pretty cool when we were there; the lowest was about 30 degrees while the high was maybe in the low 70s. 

On the drive up, we stopped in Redding to visit the sundial bridge, which spans the Sacramento River. We also passed Mt. Shasta and stopped to eat lunch in Weed. I love Weed! :)

Sundial Bridge -- Redding, CA

Quite a brood!

Mt. Shasta

While in Oregon, we went hiking up the Black Butte mountain, which is 2 miles each way and about a 1,600 ft elevation gain. We also went for an ice cream at Camp Sherman and went over the McKenzie Pass, where we saw snow. Other fun things we did there were to take walks to the Head of the Matolius, to walk around the towns of Bend and Sisters and to hike to the Sahalie Falls.

Black Butte Hike

Camp Sherman


View from the house

Head of the Metolius

A's first snow!

Fun in the summer snow!

McKenzie River

The Stitchin' Post -- Sisters
Sisters is famous for it's quilting show, which is in July. In fact, when I told my grandma I was going to Oregon, she mentioned that she would love to go to the show in Sisters! So although she couldn't go, I sent her some of the fun brochures about the activities they have there for the weekend. After walking around the Stitchin' Post, I almost want to start sewing something myself!

Have you been to Oregon? Do you sew? Do you remember the first time you saw snow?


Run The Day

I have mentioned this before, but right now, I am having a hard time getting motivated to run. I think it is a combination of things getting me down. I once took a class in Sociology where the professor talked about "Life Changes" and how ONE life change could affect your stress levels/motivation/happiness. If, she said, you have more than one, it can be really hard. Even when the changes are positive, for example moving to a bigger house, getting married or having kids, they can affect you greatly. If they are negative, it can be even worse.

I am not going to get into it into too much detail, but I am in the midst of several life changes right now. Instead of running the day, as Jim Rohn says in the quote above, I am letting the day (or the changes in this case) run me. And the day is really running all over me. Instead of going out for a run in order to make myself feel better, I am putting it off, making excuses and feeling sorry for myself.

The additional dilemma is that right now I have some free time. In a couple of weeks, I will be busy doing things with family and dealing with my life changes. I will not have as much time to run. So I really need to be doing MORE running right now, not less. However, it is hard to get out of this funk and to think positive and to make the most of the time that I have, even when I know that if I don't, I am going to kick myself in a couple of weeks when my Ultra is looming up ahead and I am "not ready"!

I need to snap out of it. Usually running is what makes me feel better; right now not doing it it is making me feel guilty, lazy and worse about things, but I don't really want to do it even so. Just for sanity's sake, I am going to list a mini running version of "Looking Forward" to try and remind myself why I run.

In the next day, I am looking forward to running along the ocean, listening the waves crash on the cliffs and smelling the salty sea mist as I watch the surfers in the distance. 

In the next week, I am looking forward to the Bad Bass Half Marathon, and race #7 of the 12 in 2012 Running Challenge.

In the next month, I am looking forward to my first Ultra race! (days left: 23)

In the next year, I am looking forward to attempting to BQ, either in Santa Rosa or somewhere else. I am also looking forward to the Santa Rosa marathon being over, so I can start doing more trail running without a specific plan in mind. (days left: 37)

Are you motivated to run/work out this summer? How do you fit it in when you have a lot of other things going on? How do you handle life changes?

Edited to add: After I wrote this, and I procrastinated for a few hours, I went out for a nice and easy 11 mile run on the cliffs. It was a sunny day, the surfers were out (just like I said) and I returned from my run in SUCH a better mood. Folks, running really is like crack. I just need my fix and it makes everything better. :)


Currently: July

Current Book - Cutting For Stone -- Abraham Verghese (so far, so good!) 

Current Celebrity Crush - Tom Colicchio (when I googled to find a photo, I found this! Haha. I have never seen him with hair!) There is just something about a guy that can cook. He is sometimes a bit sarcastic, but then he will say something so nice 2 minutes later.


Current Drink -  Creamsicle -- 8 oz Orange Juice, 2 tbsp plain yogurt, ice. Blend up and enjoy!

Current Excitement -  This weekend K and A and the babe are coming to have a beach day with us! I can't wait to take them to my favorite burrito place! Or maybe that pupusa place I have been wanting to try.

Current fashion trend - I bought a couple of brightly colored tops, which I wear with jeans when I am feeling frisky. I wear it with these shoes.

Current Favorite Blog/Website - You've probably already heard of it, but I really love Read it Later, which is now called Pocket. It allows you to "bookmark" a page to read later offline or transfer to your eReader to read at a later date. It is also very easily searchable. I use it a ton! 
Current Favorite Film - I went to the movies and saw To Rome With Love. It was okay but not great. Other than that, I haven't seen a movie in AGES. 

Curent Food - Steel cut oats. I have them almost every day for breakfast. With whatever fresh fruit I have on hand, plus craisins, chia and sesame seeds, it's so good!

Current Guilty Pleasure - Booze. I normally don't drink very much, but lately I have had a few nights where there have been one too many glasses of wine. It's been great but it's making me a lot less motivated to run the next day!

Current Indulgence - Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee. I am still trying to figure out how to order though. Since when does "light on the cream" mean EXTRA cream?

Current Mood - Good!

Current New Find - The store down the street from me has the best bulk aisle. They have pretty much anything you could ask for -- spices, baking products, herbs, nuts, seeds, grains...you name it. It's so great when I need a bit of cinnamon for a recipe to be able to just get $0.13 worth!

Current Outfit -  Right now? I am in my pajamas. Pants are overrated.
Current Peeve -  People who are untidy/unorganized. I had a dream last night about it. I started a new job as a manager and the place I took over was a mess! 
Current Song - I have that Payphone song stuck in my head. I don't LOVE it, but there it is.

Current Triumph - I ran every day this week so far. I know it's only Wednesday, but I will take my triumphs where I can get them! 
Current TV Show - Top Chef Season I

Current Wish-List - I want a new iPhone. Little by little, things on mine are slowing down/stopping.

Currently Delaying - Buying a new iPhone. I figure I will use the old one until it's gone completely.

What's currently going on in your life? Do you like Top Chef? Do you ever shop in the bulk aisle?


Monday Misc

- The other day I met up with Jill and B for a couple of drinks and some chatter. We had a bunch of great conversations, one of which was the fact that Jill did not put on pants and I was wearing a sports bra. B was of the mind that we should have both tried harder to look presentable, but I was happy that Jill and I were of the same mind set. I guess what I am trying to say is that most bloggers I have met have been exactly how they seemed like they would be from their blogs. Thank goodness. I hope that I am the same!

- Speaking of other bloggers, I don't think I mentioned S & R. I have probably talked about them before, since they were the ones who gave us the tent. We met this couple while traveling in Malawi a couple of years ago. They were nice and fun and we ended up hanging out together for a few days before parting ways. We have kept in touch and VOILA, last week they had a wedding to go to in Santa Cruz and they came and stayed with us and we had a great time! This is why I love travel. You meet people that are kindred spirits. You invite them to come and stay with you and you MEAN IT! It's great.

- I don't have TV at home. No TV. No cable. No satellite. I like it this way. This is not strange to me. I grew up without TV and never really got into the habit of watching TV as a way to wind down. Don't talk to me about Gilligan's Island. I know there is a hot girl and a sailor, but I am not sure about the rest of the show. A lot of people find this weird. I find it weird that we have gotten so used to having TV that it seems strange NOT to have one. I am not saying that if you do have one and/or watch it that there is anything wrong with that. I am not saying that I don't watch Top Chef from time to time. I am just saying that there is a lot of crap on TV these days and I don't want to get sucked into it. And I would, because I DO have an addictive personality. So I just avoid it all together.

- I have not felt like running lately. I still want to run, but I don't really want to do the work. I want the effect I get from running, because afterward I always feel great, but I am feeling super, SUPER lazy and unmotivated these days. I think I hit a tiny training wall. Luckily last week was a step back week, so hopefully I will start this week off on the right foot!

- Right now for book club, we are reading Cutting for Stone. I am about half way through. So far, so good! Have you read it? What do you think? No spoilers!

How was your weekend? Do you ever meet up again with people from  your travels? What about blog friends? Do they seem the way they portray on their blogs?


Just Call Me Baby

I have a confession to make. I eat baby food. It makes me run fast.

I was volunteering for a 50k a couple of months ago and in the process met some great guys who put up with my incessant questions about Ultra Racing. What do you eat? How often do you train? How many miles do you go for your long runs? Do you walk up all the hills? What is a good time for a __k? How much water do you carry? What shoes do you use? They were very patient with me. We ran 20 miles together; they had no choice.

I learned...they run runs by the hour, not the mile. For instance, on the weekend, they may go for a 4 hour run, regardless of the number of miles. I learned that they mostly use hydration VESTS, rather than belts. I learned that they use Montrail and Asics and Some Weird Shoe with a bigger heel. And, as far as fueling, I learned that some of them eat baby food.

So I tried it. I tried a few different kinds. Each were apple based and were in those squeezable packages. I know, it's landfill, but I am only using one a week at the most. Here are a few I tried.

Target Up and Up Brand Baby Food -- 1 x 3.5 oz $0.79 each  -- $0.23/oz
Trader Joes Crushers -- 4 x 3.17 oz packs for $2.99 ($0.75 each -- $0.24/oz)
Safeway Brand Squeeze Applesauce -- 4 x 3.17 oz packs for $2.50 ($0.63 each -- $0.20/oz)**

The results? I love it. It goes down MUCH easier than Gu (which I am not a huge fan of but will use if I need to). It's about 50 calories per pouch, so you may need to carry several, which could be a drawback. I used them in tangent with my other favorite fuel, honey stinger chews. I take a shot of applesauce around the 1 hour mark and a few chews about an hour afterward (2 hr mark) and probably about a half an hour after that (2.5 hr mark). I've never been big on fuel, and so far, this seems to work for me. I may start to carry two of them (hey, that's why I wear a bra, right?) and take them on the hours and the chews on the half hour. Who knows. I still have three 20+ mile runs ahead of me to test it out.

What kind is the best? Seriously, just go with **the cheapest one. They all taste the same to me. Just make sure there is no added sugar. They should be made from fruit, which is already naturally sweet!

Now that I mentioned this, you may wonder why I need to worry about all this stuff. It's because I got a wild hair and finally signed up for my first ultra (after hemming and hawing and watching the price rise and the number of available spots drop!) Which one!? It's the Skyline 50k which is right near my place in Oakland! Click the icon to go to the site!

The race is on August 12. That means I have about one month to complain, ask more questions, be nervous, get over my fear train! I have decided NOT to buy new shoes. I will probably wear my regular old Asics that I have been wearing on the street and trails for the last few months. I am still not sure about a hydration vest. I am not sure I need the water, but the added storage pockets may be nice. Also, for my marathon training, I still have 2 more 20 milers. I can decide whether to do one of them on trails in preparation for the 50k. Does anyone have any advice for these issues? 

Don't forget to stop by Jill's for more Fitness Friday posts!  Also, happy FRIDAY the 13th!

Have you ever eaten baby food? If people ask you lots of questions about something you are knowledgeable about, is it annoying or flattering?


A Weird One

Yesterday was a weird day. First thing in the morning, I got into a stupid argument (when are they not stupid!) with Mr. L. We made up quickly but it's still not the best way to start your morning. After that I was low on patience. I decided to go for a run to shake it off. Instead of it getting better, at first I just got more annoyed. WHY are these families taking up the entire sidewalk with their dogs and their coolers and their pool noodles and their 17 kids? WHY do they have so many kids anyway!? Why can't people have a low number of well behaved kids who stay off the middle of the sidewalk?!

Why is this car parked on the shoulder? Don't they know the shoulder is for bikes and runners, NOT for your convenience so you can be 20 feet closer to the beach so you don't have to walk your dog and your cooler and your 17 kids and your pool noodle that much farther!? Why should I have to suffer because you decided to come to my neighborhood today? You probably need the extra 20 feet of exercise because I bet your cooler is stuffed with hot dogs and Cheetos and sugary sodas anyway!

It was not my day. I was being totally negative. In my head of course.

I am passive aggressive. I would probably never actually say anything to anyone. Actually the other day I really and truly ACCIDENTALLY bumped into one of the bathing suit clad ladies carrying a pool noodle. The reason I bumped into her is because the pool noodle is kind of long and I was trying to devise a strategy for getting around her as I was coming up behind her. I mean, do you go to the right around the shorter end of the noodle, or to the left around the bigger end? I decided to go left, as you normally would when passing a slower moving vehicle. Just as I was about to go around her, she swung herself, and the noodle, around and I kind of rammed into her elbow/the noodle. On accident. Then of course I felt bad, as if she wasn't taking up the entire sidewalk with her noodle AND making moves without giving any warning.

But yesterday was not that day. I swerved around the kids by going into the bushes on the side. I jumped over the dog leashes, did the crip walk (<------ if you don't know what this is, you have to click here and imagine me in my running shorts doing this on the sidewalk) around the coolers and did the limbo under the pool noodles.

I got halfway through my run and my calf was hurting. It had been hurting for several days. In fact, I cut my run short on Sunday and skipped my run on Monday and Tuesday because of it. It was probably karma. When  I reached the turn around point, I was in Capitola, which is a little beach town near Santa Cruz. I decided to take a break and "ice" my calf...in the ocean. So I did. I took off my shoes and waded in. I stood there for about 15 minutes, just enjoying the COLD water, the sun, the waves, and yes, even the families and their pool noodles. Afterward, I sat in the sun and dried off a bit. And saw this.

Just so you know, there were tons of people in the water -- "swimming, surfing and doing other water sports". Tons of kids actually. Not so many parents. Maybe the parents are as sick of their kids this summer as I am. Oh my gosh, I am just kidding! Wow. Don't get all riled up.

How embarrassing; you can see my sock tan line.

Anyway...sitting there, watching the waves, listening to the sound of people enjoying themselves and thinking about things restored my inner peace. I know it sounds kind of hippie-dippy, but really, after a bit of a run and some sun and sand and water (and thinking about all the pool noodles getting eaten by sharks), I was in a much better mood. The second half of my run was much better. EVEN THOUGH I still had to do the crip walk from time to time!

Who needs mood altering drugs? I have exercise and fresh air. Sometimes they just takes a little longer to take effect. 

What do you do when you are in a funk? Why do you think we let certain things get to us? If you don't let things get to you, what's your secret?



I am on a cabbage kick lately. I used to only think of it as:

(a) something very soft and mushy that comes with corned beef (ps I actually like it this way too!)
(b) something that gets thrown at you at the St. Patty's Day parade in New Orleans (yes, you pick it up off the ground and then cook it according to situation a)
(c) something that was in nasty, mayonnaise filled, sweet, gross coleslaw. I always hated coleslaw.


During my travels I have seen it in many a dish, so I thought I would try to experiment a bit. I have to admit, Mr. Lovely also spurned this, as we went to a Vietnamese place and got their cabbage salad and he asked me if I could make it for him. So I did.

Mr. Lovely's Vietnamese Salad

1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
2 medium carrots, grated
Several Basil Leaves, chopped
Peanuts, ground

1/4 cup rice vinegar
Squirt of Sriracha (hot!) 
1 heaping tsp minced ginger (I'm lazy. I use this)
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar/honey (or more to taste)

Optional: 1 tbsp peanut butter / 1 tsp finely minced garlic / chopped broccoli

Mix everything together. Eat. Enjoy. Simple and tangy and crunchy! This will even last for a few days in the fridge without losing it's crunch. This is also really good on a fish taco instead of lettuce!

Trying to Make Teriyaki Stir Fry

Sometimes I try things and I don't have all the ingredients but it comes out just fine! This was my attempt to do teriyaki chicken, but I didn't have soy sauce, which you may know is the main ingredient in teriyaki sauce, but it ended up turning out pretty good actually.

3 - 5 baby bok choy, quartered
1/4 cabbage head, shredded
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
4 mushrooms
2 chicken breasts, diced

For not really teriyaki sauce (here is the real recipe in case you would rather make that):
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp flour (recipe calls for cornstarch)
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp ginger

In small saucepan, put all sauce elements. Heat slowly, stirring frequently. Once sauce reaches desired thickness, take off heat (about 10 minutes). Heat large pan. Once hot, add oil of choice. Add chicken. Once chicken is browned, add veggies. Let cook for about 5 minutes, until veggies are cooked but still crisp. Add "teriyaki" sauce. Eat. Enjoy.

I admit, it may have been better with soy sauce, but it was still really good without it! It just wasn't teriyaki!

So, cabbage is not just for gross coleslaw! In fact, I even have discovered that all coleslaw is not gross! I think my next cabbage attempt will be sauerkraut! I love sauerkraut!

Do you have a favorite cabbage recipe? Do you like coleslaw? Have you ever thrown a cabbage or had one thrown at you?


Tuesday Training (3)

I know some of you get bored with training posts, so, if that is the case, instead of reading the below post, read THIS, about the time I missed the bus in Argentina due to an unknown time change and met a local in the process.  Week 1 - 4 and Week 5 - 8 can be found by clicking the links <----.
Santa Rosa Marathon Training -- Week 9 to Week 11

Week 9: Luckily this was a step-back week, because I was really not feeling it. I had to go to the city on Thursday and it threw off my run for that day. Saturday was a stress ball day of broken cars and Sunday was the drive to Oregon, which meant 8 hours in the car. This week was a lot of trail running, which some may consider "junk" miles, but I call them hill workouts!

Monday: 1 hour of P90x Core
Tuesday: 13.1 mile trail run @ 10:20 pace
Wednesday: 8.5 mile trail run @ 10:13 pace
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 8.2 mile trail run @ 10:09 pace
Saturday: 6 miles @ 8:20 pace
Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: Goal 35.6 / Actual 35.5 / Long Run 13.1

Week 10: This week I was in Oregon until Friday, which I thought would cause me to have LESS miles, but in fact, with three ladies trying to get ready plus a baby to get ready, feed and give naps to, there ended up being extra free time, which I used to run. Also, my friend is trying to get back into running, so I also did run/walk intervals with her. I put them in parenthesis.

Monday: 7 miles @ 7:40 pace (+ 3 miles @ 12:53)
Tuesday: 2 miles @ 7:15 pace (+ 3.5 miles @ 13:36)
Wednesday: 9 miles @ 8:03 pace
Thursday: 9.5 miles @ 8:43 pace (on Peterson Ridge Trail -- mostly flat)
Friday: (3.75 miles @ 14:14 pace) Flight home
Saturday: 19 miles @ 8:40 pace (8:20 - 9:20 is the pace suggested by McMillan for my long runs)
Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: Goal 47 / Actual 56 (*my highest ever!) / Long Run 19

Week 11:  This week was a difficult one, physically and mentally. First of all, I went out and had a few drinks on Sunday, so I took Monday off. Then there was 4th of July and more drinks, so I took Thursday off. My schedule calls for 6 days of running, but I often combine the two shorter ones (this week it was 4 and 5) so I can have two rest days. This week I needed them! Wine + little sleep Does Not = happy runner.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 10 miles @ 9:05 pace
Wednesday: 9 miles @ 8:22 pace
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 6 miles @ 8:26 pace
Saturday: 20 miles @ 8:58 pace
Sunday: 8 miles @ 9:54 pace (my legs were SO tired from the long run. Remind me to keep Sunday as my rest day if my long run is going to be on Saturday. This was NOT a fun run. McMillan suggests a recovery pace of 9:20 - 9:50, so I missed my mark on this one).

Total Miles: Goal 54.5 / Actual 53 / Long Run 20

Luckily this means next week is another step back week because I will be traveling again and who knows what the conditions will be. I have to admit, I know that I am SUPER lucky to be training in a place where the high usually doesn't reach the 70s. I am a bit worried that the marathon is going to be HOT and I am going to keel over because I am not accustomed to it. So this weekend there may be a few hot training runs just as a test to see how I will do. Wish me luck!

Taken from Running Ahead

Verdict? 20 miles is not that bad anymore. What IS bad is the run the day after. I think I need to have a short run on Friday (or a rest day) and a rest day on Sunday (or a shorter run). I also don't know how some people can run 100 miles a week when training. I am pretty tired. My feet are tender. I have listened to all the This American Life episodes and 3 audio books. What keeps me going? Views like the one in the photo above. If I was running 20 miles on the street or a bike path or in the heat, I would be an emotional wreck.

A quick note on fueling. Jelly beans? Too sweet, but good because I can take one by one when I want them. Gu? Sticks in my belly UNLESS I eat it over the course of several miles which is okay but can get messy (I fold it and tuck it into my wrist band).  Nuun? So far, so good, but I think better to take before or after rather than during, since I just don't like sweet stuff while I am running. I also found that watering it down a bit helps. I have a new favorite fuel, but I think it deserves it's own post, so stay tuned!

Also, congratulations to Amber, a fellow marathoner and blogger who just got married yesterday!

Are you training for anything? When you travel, do you exercise less or more? What is your favorite distance to run?


A New Place (3)

Remember I talked about some of the things I looked for when moving to a new place? In case you missed it, I always try to find out about: running paths, grocery stores, burritos and libraries. I already talked a little about some of the great places to run that I have found. I will also have a list for you pretty soon regarding burritos and grocery stores.

But right now, I want to say that although those staples were and are important to me, here are a few others that I forgot about or have found as well. Sometimes you don't know what you've got until it's gone and sometimes you don't know what you are missing until you find it! In this case we have some examples of both!

Thrift Stores: I am an avid thrift store shopper. NOT a vintage store shopper. This time especially, since we are only living here for a couple of months. We did not want to move stuff from my storage, which is 200 miles away, to then have to just move it back in 10 weeks. Mr. Lovely lives 3000 miles away, so of course there is no point in moving his stuff! So we decided to get by on the bare minimum. With a few trips to the thrift store, we pretty much had all that we needed! Also, not only are the thrift stores plentiful here, but the prices are awesome! (A few to try if you are in the area: Thrift Center, Salvation Army, Bargain Barn) If you are willing to dig a bit, you will find gold. I found a pair of Anne Taylor slacks for $2. (FYI. Other places with good thrift stores? Kansas City and New Orleans.)

Yard Sales: Who knew I would also be a yard sale person. I guess really it's just a step above (or below?) the thrift store. I am sure what doesn't sell at the yard sale will end up at the thrift store, so it's really just cutting out the middle man (and getting a better price to boot!) Mr. Lovely has decided he is an art connoisseur and has gone on a painting buying spree and I picked up four of these seal-able glass jars for $5!

People Watching: I have seen many a beard, deadlock, tattoo, and backpack. I have seen people playing trumpets, saxophones, guitars and a violin while walking down the street (not to mention the percussion groups and bands on the sidewalk). There are 90 year old surfer dudes and 5 year old ones. There are a plethora of Westfalias and Subarus. There are painted vans and motor-homes. There is a guy selling fish tacos from his truck near the beach. There are skateboarders, bikers, surfers, runners, walkers, paddle boarders, unicycle riders and mini motorcycles. There are punk kids and yuppies and everything in between. It's a beach town. It's great. I love it.

Fish tacos and surfing accidents

People Power: Their mission: "We promote the use of bicycles, utility tricycles, bike-trailers, skateboards, walking, and other non-motorized transit. We are committed to helping government, cititzens, and businesses overcome their dependence on the automobile. Our goal is to demonstrate that better alternatives to the car exist, while improving conditions for bicyclists in Santa Cruz County." A little bit hippie? Sure. Do I love it? Yup.

The Weather: I love the weather. On average, it's between 50 and 70. This is great for running and just being outside in general. Also, plants barely need water, as there is plenty of moisture in the air. If I get lazy and don't feel like running in the morning, I can wait. It's awesome!

Farmer's Markets: I am not talking about the froo-froo ones where everything is 3x more than you would normally pay and there are specialty cheeses and oils and other froo-froo stuff and it's filled with a bunch of stiff white people wearing Ferragamos who are feeling all superior because they are buying cherries for $5.99 a pound. I am talking about the ones who picked the fruit are there, letting you taste everything and selling you the stuff mere minutes after it's come from the ground. I am talking about the place where the peaches are still warm, and the whole family is tending the stall and where you can get a bunch of beets or a couple of fat tomatoes for less than a dollar.

These also go hand in hand with Roadside Fruit Stalls. I saw them in New Orleans (Oranges, shrimp. Yes, shrimp) and in Missouri (Watermelon), but I think California is where I have seen the most. Usually you can stop at the actual farm and buy whatever they are growing. You can also stop at the roadside stall where the food is always cheaper than at the market. Oranges, Cherries, Peaches, Kiwis, Pluots (a cross between a plum and an apricot), Olives, Artichokes...the list goes on. They are all grown locally (in most cases mere feet from the seller) and are fresh, cheap and delicious.

Anyway, there are so many more things that I am loving and am finding and am forgetting that I even needed, wanted or loved! But I am remembering the old ones and finding more new things I love!

What do you love about where you live? Have you found something new that you didn't even realize was there and now it's your new favorite thing? Do you have road side fruit stands in your area?


Last Week (4)

Whew. I have been a bit MIA the last week or so, because of the holiday, an unplanned trip to San Francisco, friends visiting and more. So hold on to your hats, grab a PBR or your favorite summer cocktail and check out what's been happening while I was gone.

Men. You can't live with them and you can't send them to the grocery store. 
Exhibit A: Make coffee. 
1.5 cups of grounds + 6 cups water = something resembling Turkish coffee.
Exhibit B: Go to the grocery store. 
Meat, cheese, condiments and...booze. Lots of booze (not all pictured!)

Top: Santa Cruz's Wilder Ranch
Bottom: Three Sisters, OR

I ate my first garden veggies. Basil and chives. 
Small but delicious. 
I am also growing (not killing!) several others and can't wait to eat them.

We had friends over for the 4th.
There was wine and conversation. 
Good times.

I took them on a hike through the redwoods. 
You want the free tour? Come visit! I still have limited availability!

Oh the bookstore. I went, but instead of buying books (since I am banned) I wrote down some new finds.
A few on the list (pictured below):
The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of the Little House on the Prairie

A sign inside a local store. 
Are we allowed to say this in public now? 

The temperature while I was in Oregon! 
Summer? Hello? And I hear people are having a heat wave. 

I dropped a jar of pickles. 
My biggest regret? I wanted the jar to store beans in. 
Also I got glass pretty much EVERYWHERE. I was finding it in corners for days afterward! 

On my runs, I go past these every day. 
Do you know how hard it is not to run with scissors and a bag and bring some home next time? 

Beer fest. 
Verdict? I can't drink $30 worth of 4 oz beer. 
But I tried. 

How was your week? Who does the shopping in your household? Do you like artichokes?