Thursday, June 30, 2011

Earning His Keep

We definitely enjoyed our little vacation to my grandparents' summer cabin in Washington. Sometimes, it's just nice to be out in nature, yet not have to set up a whole camp. As usual, I could use a few more days out of town, but it will be nice to check some things off the to do list before I get back to work.

At the cabin, the manfriend earned his birthday keep by using up the chainsaw gas and sweating a lot.

After he sawed up the logs, I stacked them up. My grandparents use a lot of wood for their outdoor morning fires during the summer and indoor fires in the winter when they come to the cabin occasionally. Each summer, stacks of wood need to be dried for the coming winter and summer.

I wrote a few blog posts with a pen and paper while at the cabin and then transferred them to the computer later when I had internet access.

After some wood work and time by the fire, we headed out for an early bird birthday dinner for the manfriend at the Tides Tavern in Gig Harbor. No matter what time you go, this place is always busy.

The Tides is one of my grandparents' favorite restaurants and has a great menu of food and beverages. It's the kind of place you wish was in your home town because it has just the perfect atmosphere and variety of menu options.

The icing on the cake is that the tavern sits on the water so you get to watch boats come in and out as you eat. People can even park at the dock and order from their boats!

Nacho appetizer to share - amazing

I had a smoked salmon salad and some summer ale that was miiighty tasty.

After dinner, we walked around town and found some ice cream before walking along the docks and checking out an outdoor public music concert. Happy 34th Birthday, manfriend!

It's good to be home, but there's something to be said for small town living. Do you have any fun/relaxing vacations planned this summer?

Monday, June 27, 2011

All About the B's

Here's a peek at my last few days.

Breakfast (hint: add pesto to your next egg sandwich - yum)
I hope everyone is enjoying the week so far. My weekend went by fast, but I'm happy to have the week off for vacation.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pros and Cons

of waking up to run before the crack of dawn.

Pro: you get a jump start on the day

Con: it's too dark to safely run alone outside

Pro: you have time to fit a long run in before work

Con: your legs feel like logs the first 3 miles

Pro: you don't have to worry about traffic

Con: there are creepers out (i.e. man passed out face down near river path)

Pro: the creepers force you to run just a weeeee bit faster when you go by them

Con: you need something in your stomach prior, but not so much that it impedes your run

Pro: you get to eat a second breakfast ;)

I knocked out 12 miles in 1 hr 42 minutes this morning. Then managed to fit in a little arm strengthening a la fitnessista and even a little foam rolling for the win! It's nice to have my long run out of the way for the weekend. I'm headed out of town for a friend's bachelorette party at the beach.

This was a step back week so next weekend's LR should be 16-18 miles. Per the usual I'm roughly following a training plan, but not too seriously.

What are the pros and cons of your morning, Friday or week in general?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Training and Cookies (go hand in hand)

I realized the other day that once I get on a training plan, I kind of get tunnel vision. Not in a bad way (well, in my opinion anyway), but in a focused, I must do these miles kinda way.
Runner friends are constantly asking each other "So, what's your next race? Are you doing Butte to Butte (large local 10K)?" I ramble off my answers...Oh, a 50K trail race and a marathon...oh and a relay before the 50K. And yeah, probably the Butte to Butte too.

It's funny how the little races get lost in the midst of the BIG ones. I guess that's how it should be. My ultimate goal is finishing this McKenzie River Trail Run happy and running so that means I've got to run my ass off this summer.
I've been shocked at how laid back I've treated my training so far. Not that I'm ignoring the miles, but simply that I'm not freaking out about the frequent double digit long runs and 40-50 mile weeks. It's a good thing, my friends. I guess I've reached a place of near comfort.

I remember when the simple thought of having to run a 16 mile long run on a Sunday had me nervous for the entire week prior. So glad those days are over. But now I'm at the place where I need to listen to the signs my body gives. The pin pointed pain in my shin, the sneezing throughout the day, the sluggishness in a run. It's all part of figuring out when I need to take it back a notch.

It's not easy, but today I gave the running shoes a rest. I did an hour of Dave Farmar and core yoga this morning followed by a walk with the dog. And nothing else. No run at lunch. No workout after 5 pm. REST success.

And now, how to make some kick ass cookies!

Run out of butter. Use coconut oil for replacement. Melt. Use all necessary sugar. Don't skimp on anything. Follow Nestle recipe as noted on back of bag.
And just like that, you've made your tummy, spouse, friends and coworkers the happiest of clams. This was the first time I've ever had cookies that sort of turned out how they're supposed to look. And the manfriend declared these quite possibly the best batch of cookies I'd ever made.

Next time, I'd prefer to have the butter I need on hand, but for these, the hint of coconut wasn't half bad.

Do you try to healthify baked goods are you more of an all or nothin' baker? I can go both ways. If I want to eat it, the recipe gets altered a bit but if it's something the manfriend wants, I try to make the real deal.

*Wish me luck! I'm waking up at 4:30 am to get a long run in before I head out of town for the weekend. This is going to be PAINFUL.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bridal Shower and Flower Power

This past Saturday, I drove to Salem (about an hour north of Eugene) to attend my college roommate Laura's bridal shower. I lived in a house with five other girls the last two years of college. We enjoyed champagne w/ lemon rind, yummy appetizers and cake, present opening and the clothespin game.

Pottery Barn did a beautiful job of wrapping the cheese board and coffee condiment set I bought Laura.
Audrey (who got married last summer in Monterey) and Laura - both college roomies
The bridal shower was at her sister Gianna's house and it was decorated beautifully. Laura is a bit in love with all things Paris.
I fell just a tad bit in love with the flower arrangements that Audrey put together.
I mean, just look at those roses! And go figure, they were from Costco of all places!
And this is an arrangement I snagged a few weeks ago after we finished with a work event. They decorated our coffee table for a week or so.

Flowers just make everything better.
Does anyone know the name of the small flowers that accompany the roses here?

Since I can remember, I've been a flower person. I was the girl who always dreamed about getting surprise flowers from a crush at school OR her boyfriend at work (it's happened once- thanks, manfriend). And I've always said that someday when I do get married, flowers and photography are two things I'm NOT skimping on.

Are you a flower person? If you do/did get married, what are two things you wouldn't/didn't skimp on?

Wedding fun from last summer:
Big Trees (The Redwoods)
Long Run Monterey Style
The Monterey Wedding

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bold and Smoky

Remember how I tried making Mmm Sauce (a homemade version of a sauce that local franchise Cafe Yumm uses in their rice and bean bowls)? Well, I decided it was time for a redo, with almonds. Last time I used cashews because that's what I had on hand.

Well, after adding all the ingredients and taste testing as I shook a bit more of this and that in, I decided it needed something...
And that's where Trader Joe's Kansas City BBQ Sauce came to the glorious rescue!
While the original Mmm Sauce isn't bad, I prefer the sweet, smoky flavor. I added about 4 Tbsp of barbecue sauce to the original.

Now hop to it and make yourself some Mmm Sauce! I'm using mine on salads this week for lunch. It's a great way to pack a healthy punch of protein and flava to a stir fry, salad or even sandwich.

I love this plate my mom gave me last Christmas (from Pampered Chef I think) because it's perfect for dips or appetizer meals.

Random thoughts: I love this Trader Joe's barbecue sauce because it doesn't have high fructose corn syrup in it (seriously, check your BBQ sauce label right now and tell me if it has HFCS in it). Scary how many of them do.

I just bought this Essie nail polish yesterday "nice is nice." I'm kind of addicted to lavendar polish right now. I won't show you my finger nails because well, they're nubbins as usual.

Scroll through their colors list. It's so fun to read them all. How cool would it to pick out fun names for each one? A few of the goodies: "pillow talk," "hard to get" and "prima ballerina."

The manfriend just got back from a "stage race" in which he did: a 75 mile road race, 11 mile time trial, a criterium (fast loops for 50 min) and finally a 102 mile road race w/ 7k feet of climbing. All in three days. I mean seriously?! Makes me tired just thinking about it.

Finally, I've gotta say I love when a post I write sparks some serious conversation. I appreciate everyone's thoughts on fat talk and your own body image. Thank you all for reading!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Where Oh Where Does the Weekend Go?

Yesterday started with a brutally early wake up call. The dog was being weird around 4am so I let her out and then couldn't fall back asleep. I ended up reading the first 50 or so pages of Two Kisses for Maddy before passing out for another 45 minutes. If you don't read Matt Logelin's blog, you should. He's hilarious and takes awesome photos of his daughter.

Then it was time to TRAIL run! By 7 am I was feeling groggy, yet ready to run in the cool temps. A little over two hours later, we had gone up and over some hills, stopped a few times to chat and returned to the parking lot with 12 miles tackled.

Chips were dug out immediately.
There's nothing like salt and fat after a hard run. And if you like spice, these jalepeno chips will have you coming back for more.
My running failure of the day was only having this 80 calorie gel and my watered down Gatorade with me for a 12 mile trail run. This was the first time in a long time that I was totally out of my runner fuel stash. Gotta stock up on shot bloks, larabars and other goods!

This was the first time I'd tried a Hammer Gel. I was surprised that I actually didn't mind the tropical flavor.
I was more than ready to devour those chips by the time the run was over. And then drove promptly home (after a pitstop for coffee and spinach) to eat some real food.

Then it was go-go-go! to pick up a gift, attend a bridal shower, go to the bank, whip up some quick food for a get together and bam, the day was done. I have a feeling I"m going to need a nap today.

I'm hoping today is more like this photo (i.e. slow going & easy) but the likelihood is doubtful. I have more miles to run and things to do...
The manfriend and I rode our old bikes to the grocery store Wednesday night. His basket is handy for things like several bags of groceries and basil plants I insist we must buy.

There's something about riding a bike to do errands that just makes you feel a little more carefree and childlike.

Do you plan your weekends full or do you demand some down time? For a scheduler like me, I'm starting to feel like I need to save 1-2 hr blocks of time each weekend just to be at home chilling out (laying on the couch, reading a book, taking a walk, organizing things, etc).

P.S. Happy Father's Day, pops and to all the amazing dads out there! I appreciate everything you've done for me over the years. You are a hard worker and I can attribute much of my work ethic and type A personality to you. :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

So This is What Friday Feels Like

Thank you for finally arriving, 75 degree temps and all. I could experience Fridays every day.

Time for sleep and then hopefully an early morning trail run. We'll see...the bod is feeling pretty exhausted, but my Garmin is charged and my Nathan handheld is ready to go. We'll see where my mind and body are at 6 am on a Saturday morning. Ugh.

I hope you had a fabulous Friday!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Those last 5, 10 or 20 lbs

Last night I thought to myself as I got out of the shower after eating homemade pizza and drinking some wine, "Ugh, I feel fat." I know I shouldn't utter these words. I hate fat talk. But the truth is, as much as we try to avoid it, we can't always shut off the useless mjnd chatter.

I stood in front of the mirror seeing lumps and bumps on my hips and stomach. I didn't like what I saw. But I tried to remind myself that I'm healthy and strong. And, I got in plenty of exercise yesterday: Fitnessista's shape up workout week 2, biked to and from work, walked/ran 2.18 miles at lunch and went to Lifeforce Fitness for some yoga, iron pumping and cardio.

The reason I list the exercise out is that logically, I know I shouldn't feel or look fat, but some days I can't help it. My torso is short and I have unusually long legs for 5'3", therefore making any extra weight kind of obvious (to me) in my mid region.

Anyway, we all have days where we eat something heavy or have a few too many handfuls of Tim's Jalepeno potato chips. You just have to move on. Dwelling on a missed workout or one imperfect, delicious meal isn't worth the energy in life. And beyond that, I want to spend my life having fun and appreciating my body and everything I have to offer this world.

Jumping back to 2005, I ended college weighing more than I would have liked, but still feeling strong. I was one of the faster runners on my lacrosse team and I regularly lifted weights and took fitness classes. I was sure that losing 10 lbs would make me content with my body and confident in who I was.

One year and many miles of running later (I had just started my half and full marathon running obsession), I had lost 15 lbs and still wasn't really content with my body, myself or my life. And now six years (holy cow!) removed from college graduation, I'm 25 lbs lighter than the person who earned the journalism degree and yet I still have fat talk.

My point is, no matter what "ideal weight" you reach, you might always have that feeling of "I could do better." But be honest with yourself. Give credit where credit is due.

Those hundreds of hours I spend each year running and sweating my butt off aren't for nothing. And those healthy homemade meals are important too. And the 7-8 hrs of sleep I aim to get most nights, also the right choice.

Fact: chips and ice cream taste good sometimes. Perfection isn't the goal. Living a happy, healthy, balanced life is what I'm striving for. A little pizza doesn't take away all that hard work.
As much as I wish it were otherwise, I'm realizing that loving and appreciating my body (how it looks and functions) is an ongoing process. I didn't just lose 25 lbs and wake up and feel pleased with myself. But, I'm working on it.

Where are you with your body and self appreciation? What helps you when you experience negative self talk?

The 2011 Dirty Dozen list is out. Pretty much everything I love needs to be purchased organically for my own safety. It's a choice I make. We don't know the effects of all these pesticides and chemicals and I'd rather error on the safe (albeit spendy) side.

How does zucchini oatmeal for breakfast sound? I think I might just have to try it! You know how I love sneaking veggies in wherever I can!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shepherd's Bean Pie Done Right

When I first saw Mama Pea's Tamale Pie recipe a few weeks ago, I starred it for future consumption. I knew it was riiight up my alley.

Just ask yourself this: Would I like veggie chili with cornbread baked on top? Yes, please!

After my terrible run last night, I needed a serious pick me up. Next to shopping, there's one thing that will relax me and lift my spirits: time in the kitchen whipping up something delicious.

Shepherd's Bean Pie
Recipe adapted from Mama Pea

1/2 white onion
minced garlic
1 t chili powder
1/2 t salt
2 t apple cider vinegar
1 t maple syrup
1 can diced tomatoes, juice drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

Cornbread topper:
2/3 c cornmeal
1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c milk
1 T maple syrup
2 T unsweetened applesauce
1 T white sugar
1 can corn, rinsed and drained
1/3 c cheddar cheese

*Can easily be made vegan by using non-dairy cheese and almond, rice or soy milk

Saute the onions in olive oil for a few minutes. Then add veggies and spices and continue cooking. Add apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and tomatoes. Heat on medium for another 5 min.

Spread out your bean filling in a large casserole dish and set aside.

Mix together the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and sugar.

In a measuring cup, add milk, maple syrup and applesauce. Mix it up and pour into dry cornmeal mixture.

Fold in the corn.

Spread cornbread mixture evenly over filling.

Step away, admire the shepherd's pie and all its beauty

Top with a bit of shredded cheese before baking. Yes, I'm rocking the sweaty clothes and sunglasses in the kitchen.

Just enough cheese to add a little flavor and let the beans bubble over.

Yum, take a bite.

The two of us nearly polished this off, but I saved two small pieces for us to enjoy tomorrow at lunch. I love leftovers!

I used black beans instead of pinto because that's what we had and I prefer the taste of black beans. And I didn't have tempeh and knew this meal would be amazing with or without it. For the cornbread, I added a bit more sweetener with an extra glug of maple syrup and a bit of white sugar. It wasn't sweet by any means, but tasted amazing on top of the black bean filling.

Would I make this again? Heck yes! The manfriend and I agreed we could eat this at least once a week. Mama Pea, I can't thank you enough.

Running note: my knee didn't hurt on last night's run, which was a plus. AND, I made sure to spend 10 minutes stretching and foam rolling the necessary parts.