Friday, October 31, 2008

Running Goals 3

Okay! I managed a 5k (+?) in just over 25 minutes. I think 25.03 or so. It was hard estimating the exact amount on my treadmill because I walked a half lap first, and I'm not exactly sure of the exact the mile point I started running at. (Ha ha~ like that sentence?) Felt good though. I kept increasing my speed little by little until I was near-sprinting that last lap. I feel ready for tomorrow's race, the Spark-A-Delic 5K.

As I was running, I noticed a tiny spider on a very long thread swaying back and forth in the cross breeze flowing from the open garage door through the back door. I found myself mesmerized by it as it seemed to slowly inch its way towards me. I don't know how that was possible since the spider silk was attached to the garage door railing above me, and he was at the end of it. As I watched it, I could no longer feel the ache in my left arch, or even how fast I was going. Then suddenly, at around mile two, he disappeared! Must have been a big gust. I love little life distractions like that- I think we all need them every now and then to remind us of the world outside our daily schedules, outside of our heads and minds. Watching that spider made my run go by very quickly indeed. Although if he had gotten ANY closer, I would have chucked my hand towel at that little sucker before my well-being could have been compromised.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Race Goals 2

I set a running time goal for myself for the first time ever. I wanted to run the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in sub-25 minutes (well, I posted between 25 and 27 minutes on that blog, and I did accomplish that at least!). It was a CROWDED affair, and the walking at the beginning and the hill up Virginia St. prevented that.

This coming Saturday is the Spark-A-Delic 5K. I think I'd like to reinstate that goal for this race. The sub-25 minute one, that is. My best 3 mile treadmill time is just under 25 minutes, so I'm going to try to take off an additional 45 or so seconds to fit in the extra .2 miles. It's a pretty flat course I hear, but I don't know how many people will be there clogging up the start line. I will be relying heavily on adrenaline to help me accomplish this.

Oh, and I have a pre-Halloween dress-up shot for you. Yesterday the boys and I went to the Sommerset "Touch a Truck Fall Harvest Festival" with our friends Nathan and Gabe and got all gussied up for the event. Then we went to the Ferrari Pumpkin Patch on Mill Street. I forgot my camera, but we did take this picture when we got home later (although I don't know what's up with it being all huge here-I can't seem to fix it). Ashton is Optimus Prime, and Sean is Leonardo (the cut-off one). I'm the Indian Princess in the middle. :) This is only part one of the Halloween pictures, 'cause there will be all new fan-tabulous costumes for the actual Day... (Oh, and I got a trim and some color, but you can't really tell from the photo. Maybe better in person?)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall Colors Trail Half Marathon

I didn't get to do the Lake Tahoe Half Marathon this year, so instead I ditched the Meridian Gold Run for Education (it was only a 10K, and the boys didn't want to run a half mile with me anyway) in favor of a brand spankin' new course, the Fall Colors Trail Half Marathon put on by Reno's running club, the Silver State Striders. But the best part? I had company! Even though I'm sure he could have cut off an hour or so of our final time, Turi decided to stick with little 'ole me and make a nice hike out of the morning. We got a very early start- the race was supposed to kick off at 7:00 a.m., but we ended up starting 5 minutes late because there were a bunch of cars that drove up at 6:59, and when there are only about 55 people entered in the race, waiting for the few stragglers that probably took a wrong turn somewhere trying to find the start wasn't unreasonable. Here's the first picture of the day- Here's Turi in the dark. You can see the countdown behind him (13:47)- it did lighten up in the next 15 minutes so we were able to see the trail enough so we wouldn't trip and mess up our ankles within the first mile of the start line.

Check out the map and course profile. Looking at the elevation, it looks very intimidating- and it is! 1500 foot climb in the first 3.8 miles. We did a lot of walking at the beginning- pretty much treated this as a glorified hike. The serious runners just plowed right up the mountainside, but there were some other walkers too. One of them even offered to take our picture a couple miles in.

Here is part of the "runnable" track- you can see someone just in the distance-

This next one is on the switchbacks of the Dry Pond Trail, about 7 miles in. This was NOT one of the runnable parts.

There was an open meadow that I wasn't expecting, called Dry Pond Meadow. It was really pretty, with trees in fall bloom surrounding it, and the trail just on the inside of said trees. Wish I had taken a photo there. There were some beautiful greens and yellows. Turi, with his eagle eyes, spotted a hawk (falcon?) sitting at the top of a tree (my eyes were down watching the trail- "Careful girl! Pick up your feet!" gripping my elbow attached to my bum shoulder to my side.). I know it is a little hard to tell what it is with this fuzzy close up (that was closest I could get). Mom, do you know what kind of bird it is?

Couple more shots of the Sierra Nevadas in all their glory:

And the dusty track my knees prefer over pounding pavement:

Turi prefers to follow, so I did most of the leading on the single track, but I did get this shot of him after we started on our way from the picture pause from the above 2 pictures:

There were some beautiful downhill sections that I was able to just "let go" on and let gravity help me down the path. These were my favorite sections of the trail; here is a picture of the fall foliage, which I stole from Turi's camera because we were going to fast to pull my camera out. I think I was yelling for him to take a picture of this section, with the greens and yellows overhead...

There were trees growing over the trail completely enclosing it, and the path was springy and loamy, with lots of those pine needles I'm so fond of running on. Turi got some pictures and some running videos that you can watch. The temperature was perfect, in the 60's I'd say, and it was overcast up until the last mile, so I was comfortable with a light sweatshirt over my running shirt. That last mile, however, was one last little hill up Timberline Drive, and paved. The sun decided to fully make it's appearance, and the combination of heat and hill zapped the last of my energy. I did have to call it and walk for a minute before jogging to the finish at the top of the hill. Not my normal fast, almost-sprint to the finish. But the cool part about that was it gave the announcer at the finish chute time to look up our bib numbers and announce our names over the loud speaker! He even pronounced my last name right! They tore off the bottom of my bib and put a medal around my neck and directed us over to the chili, hot and waiting for us. 3 hours 4 minutes and somethin' seconds. Turi got a special plaque for finishing 2nd in his age group! And the finishing picture:

Thanks so much Turi for running and walking and chatting and hiking with me! It made for a fun morning, and I enjoyed it quite a bit more than I would have on my own- especially the arriving in full dark part. And finally, some of those fall colors that I talked about above that the race is named for (and Turi reaching for his camera too)...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Remote-Control Race Cars!

The boys begged and begged me to open up another one of their birthday presents, so we all four sat down as a family and built two race cars: Sean's was Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car (green) and Ashe's was a Kasey Kahne (red). Here is half of Team Ashton, posing with the parts:

Here are the parts:

I think I did a pretty good job following the directions (too little and complicated for the boys to put together on their own). But here they are threading on the plastic parts for the antennae:

And an up close shot of Ashton with the finished product, including all of the teeny tiny (headache-inducing) decals. Man, those eyes! He kills me with those- I'm gonna have to watch that one with the girls in a few years. Oh wait. I already have to do that.

Then comes fun part! By the time Ashton and I made it outside, Sean had already figured out how make the car go mostly where he wanted it to go.

And Ashton getting the tutorial:

They were so cute playing with these cars all afternoon~ when I peeked out the window an hour later, I caught them laying on their bellies, feet up in the air, on the edge of the basketball court having races.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Yeah! My little (big, or taller, and much at that) brother was in town this weekend with Sara so they could go to her grandmother's birthday party. We went to BJ's Brewery for lunch on Sunday and got to hang out afterward. Just thought I'd share a couple pictures- here's one of the non-Jesus Scott and Sara and Kev:

I swear I can never get that boy to look at the camera! (Oh, yes, I said boy. 'Cause that makes me young too!) And me with my Ashton:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Baking With 6-Year-Olds

Yesterday was the Performance of Champions at Galena High School, their major fundraiser where they invite marching bands from all over the area to perform their field shows and compete. And since all the band parents were helping put on this event, I got to have a little party with the kids. What else is there to do besides let them put up the Halloween decorations randomly around the house, and bake cookies? We (or I should say I) decided on gingersnaps because that seemed like a good holiday cookie to make when it was about freezing outside! Plus I had these cool Halloween cookie cutters that cost a whole dollar, and I am totally willing to pay $1 to entertain some 6-year-olds for an hour. Anyway, on to the pictures! Here they are, ingredients at the ready:

That Ashton is such a goofball! (And I'd like to add a side note here that I love our vinyl under-tablecloth- it not only protects the wood underneath from spills, but is also super easy to clean!)
And Ellie taking a turn with the mixer (she sure was concentrating hard not to tip it!):

I meant to take pictures of the kidletts cutting out the shapes (and Auntie Alice helped too!) but my hands were sticky and I forgot. Oh well. But I did get a shot of them herding the finished hot cookies!

And a close up of some of the shapes~

Some of them didn't quite turn out, but you get the idea... Fun stuff! And tasty too. :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Haircuts and Apple Tree Pie

This is not any ordinary apple pie. This was inspired by my Maman-in-law! She has painstakingly gathered all the dropped apples from her tree and fed her family with all her glorious recipes, cutting out the bad parts and keeping the good. With this pie, I did the same. Except for gathering the fallen apples- I picked these from the tree, but used all the ones that had been bird pecked or had a little "friend" feasting on the inside. We have had a fantastic apple season this year- I think because it wasn't as windy this spring, so the trees were able to keep most of their blossoms. My tree is a Golden Delicious, and the apples have been getting bigger and sweeter by the day. Since I had so many, I decided to make a pie, with a top crust layer only- and it is a very special crust. You put an almost-cup of flour, 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 water and some cinnamon in a Tupperware, snap on the lid and shake it about 10 times. Voila! Insta-crust! And even enough left over for a mini apple to decorate the middle. (Yes, that's what that's supposed to be. :)
The other picture I wanted to share with you this morning is of the boys! They got their first haircut in a salon since they were 2 (from which we were asked to leave because they were screaming and wouldn't sit still, and haven't tried to go back since). They were a bit wiggly, but were well enough behaved that they earned their sucker. Why the haircut, other than the fact that they were getting pretty shaggy since I cut their hair the last time? Today is picture day! Yeah! They were all super cuteness with their shirts tucked in. Aren't first grade and gap-toothed smiles grand?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

I had a bit of a mad dash to the start of the race, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure- I didn't count on the stopped traffic on the freeway trying to get off at Virginia St. to head up to UNR that way, so I went all the way around and parked at Rancho San Rafael instead. And ran to the registration booth, making it to the start line with only about 5 minutes to spare. Whew! Got a good warm up this morning! I was packed in like a sardine in a can behind the start line, and when the announcer said "All fast runners up at the front!" I hesitated- first of all because even though I wanted to run fast this morning, I am still not a fast runner. And second, I couldn't have gotten up there even if I wanted to. Then came the shout to start! And we were off! Trotting. Or on my part, walking. I didn't start my watch until I went under the pink balloon arch (about 15-20 sec. later), but even then I was still walking. Maybe another 15-20 seconds after that was I finally able to start jogging. It was a chilly morning, so I left the house with sweats and a sweatshirt, but after about 10 min. in, I was a little warm. The course started at the bottom of the quad, and we ran down to 9th St., and then right again up Virginia. It was a bit of a hill, but I pushed through it, weaving in and out of people. As we wound our way through campus, I noticed SO many people wearing pink signs pinned to their backs with loved ones names on them who have cancer. One man in particular had "My Wife T" and we played leap frog all the way to the end. (I think I passed him though finally.) Another man had sweat just pouring off him and all down his sign- so much dedication by so many people, and it really started to choke me up as I let loose on the down hill. And not only were there a TON of people running, there were even MORE people on the sidelines cheering everyone on, and it gave me chills, despite being warm in my sweatshirt. I signed up for this run with a minute time in mind, and didn't even think about the cause. My grandmother is a breast cancer survivor- she gave us all a big scare. As I was running, my time stopped mattering, and I decided to run for her instead. I love you Grandma!

I stopped my watch at the finish line (after being passed by a sprinting 10-year-old in the last 10 steps- that made me smile!) at 26.48. Not quite my 25 minute goal, but it was a good day, and I had a great run. And with this many people (especially at the start!), maybe it wasn't the best race to try to set a minute goal for. The finshers were just flying down the chute, so I have no idea how they were able to keep track of times (or maybe they weren't?), but I'd be curious to see what they got for me. Whatever it is, I'm sticking with the time off my watch and writing that on my bib to staple up in my garage/workout room. But there is another 5k on November 1st- the Spark-a-Delic run that I can try to drop some time on (does anyone have any info on this one? I can't find my flier.)...

Update: I made it into the RGJ! Here is the article, and you can see me in the picture- bottom center with the blue sweats with the white stripe, white sweatshirt, white hat...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Baking with Tofu

I found a recipe on a vegan blog I've recently found, called FatFree Vegan Kitchen I wanted to try on coconut tofu cookies. So, I bought the necessary tofu (firm), but decided on just a half batch in case I wasn't crazy about them. They look almost like potato pancakes- very white before they are baked.

They were super easy to make, and were cake-like when baked, but chewy on the outside! The sprinkled sugar on top didn't hurt either. :)

Only 80 cal per cookie, and 1g of fat? I didn't even feel guilty eating them. AND I got to make chocolate tofu pudding with the rest of the tofu I didn't use in the cookies! Double score! Tofu pudding might not sound very appetizing, but it is so thick and creamy, it puts regular instant pudding to shame.

Sean and Ashton LOVED both of these recipes, so next time I'll have to make a full batch (and buy extra tofu for the pudding).

Friday, October 3, 2008

Race Goals

It has been one LONG week this week, mainly because I've had a huge cataloging assignment for my class I'm taking. So, running short of sleep usually means not being able to get up and run in the mornings. Tuesdays I start work late so I did get in 3 miles, but today was the first day since the I was able to force myself out of bed. I decided that since my group and I submitted our assignment yesterday, I deserve a reward. I'm definitely going to run in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Sunday. It is a 5k starting at UNR on Sunday (10/05), so there shouldn't be too many hills. And for the first time, I decided to run for time. My goal has always simply to finish, and if I'm feeling really good (on the long distances), also to not stop. The short races I don't usually make any kind of goal, but stopping is not even an option. :) I am very much a steady runner, and not too fast- if I start out too fast, then I always get tired right away and have a crappy race ending. I ran 3 miles on my treadmill (2 - 2.5 incline, but mostly 2.5), and decided to see how much I could push myself, with this goal in mind. It usually takes me about 25:20-26:00 depending on the day to run 3 miles, but this morning I started at my usual pace (6.5 mph), but kicked up the speed much sooner than I usually do, and did a few intervals as well. I wanted to run in 25:00 or under. That was my goal this morning. My time? 25:01. So close... My goal for Sunday? Somewhere between 25 and 27 minutes sounds reasonable to me- accounting for any hills, weaving in and out of people, and the extra .1 - .2 miles (every course is different!), plus the added adrenaline that will be coursing through my veins...

So. Anyone one want to run with me? :)