Monday, December 24, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Skippo 2012 race recap

At the start getting some good luck from the baby
Skippo. What is there to say about Skippo.  I have been wanting to do this race for awhile, I was bummed I couldn't do it last year due to the pregnancy so I was pumped to sign-up this year. 

Skippo is a trail race held at Castlewood State Park.  The route is the same every year but you now have your choice of distance. It's a 10k loop, so you can do 10k, 20k, or 30k.    The loop doesn't appear to be too hard, there aren't as many hills as there could be.  However, it's still a tough course.  There is a set of 200 stairs and a hill called Cardiac Hill.  

Not too far into the first loop (I'm in purple)
I signed up and ran the 30k  race.  This means I ran/walked those stairs and the hills 3 times.  This was my toughest race so far. Not just physically but mentally. 

I have never ran 30k before. Not in a race, not in training.  30k is 18.6 miles.  Not only have I never ran that distance, I certainly haven't attempted to run that distance while also going up 200 stairs (3 times!) and tackling major hills.  I was ready for the challenge!

The day arrived and instead of having cooler temps, as is normal in November in St. Louis, we had unseasonable warm temps.  High in the 70's that day.  This was a major concern of mine because I don't run well in the heat with the current health issues.  You might be thinking that high 70's is awesome weather, and it is, but not when you are running and certainly not when you are running 30k.

Out along the course
I had plans to run with another girl, we had the same goals as far as pace was concerned and how to run the race.  We wanted to average a 10 min/mile and walk the stairs and major hills.  We managed to do this the first loop but on the 2nd loop I lost her on the major hill.  I then had to walk several times along the course.  The heat was getting to me bad.  My stomach was upset the entire time and I was dizzy.   I kept grabbing water at the water stations but it wasn't enough.  I tried eating gu but after a bad experience the second loop I stopped.

I am super lucky that there were a handful of us running the race that all knew each other and another friend who knew us all came out to support.  He knew I was struggling and ran the third and final loop with me.  I had to stop and walk A LOT.  At the creek crossing, thanks to his suggestion, I stopped and splashed my body with water to try and cool down. 

I wanted to stop and quit so many times.  There were times I had to stop and just stand there or squat before I could keep going.  My legs hurt, my body felt horrible, I felt horrible. I kept thinking "I can't do this. Why did I think I could do this?"  But I kept going.  I wanted to finish the course.  It was hard to run past the finish line each time, at the 10k and 20k loops.  I wanted to just run in and cut my race short. I wanted to call it a day and forget it every happened.

For some reason I just like this photo
I stuck with it though.  I pushed my body and staggered on through the finish to do the entire 30k.  Physically it was super hard, the hardest race I have ever done. Mentally it was so hard to keep going and pushing myself forward when all I wanted to do was stop.   I did NOT want to quit. I wanted to prove I could do this.

My goal for this race was to do an average 10 min/mile and to place in the top 10 female for the 30k.  I didn't hit that.  I averaged 11:35 min/mile and I placed 12th out of 19.   I did manage to come in 2nd out of 6 for my age group though. That was a surprise. I got a sweat pint glass for that.   I also received a belt buckle for finishing the 30k.  Trust me when I say it's pretty darn awesome.  My official resorts are on Bazu. I also admit they got pictures of me frolicking in the water and they are super embarrassing and funny.

I am so happy I did this race and I am already looking forward to tackling it next year.  This race was a PR for me since I've never done the distance before. So even though I didn't hit the goal I wanted, I have a PR.  It also means that I have something to train for and work towards beating next year.  This was a horrible race for me yet at the same time I'm happy with the outcome. I'm disappointed but also feel I showed strength I didn't even know I had.  It's hard to be too upset with that.

I'm FINALLY finished
Huge thanks to not only my friend who came out to cheer us on and ran the last loop with me (his family was rewarded with homemade ((from scratch!)) red velvet cupcakes) but also my other friends who waited around for me to finish.  Not only that, huge thanks to my Mom who came to the race with me and watched my daughter so that I could run this one.  I know she was worried about me out on the course and I'm glad she drove me home as I wouldn't have been able to do it myself.  I also need to say thanks to a friend who didn't realize the race would still be going on and came to the park to run and found my Mom.  It was awesome to be starting my 3rd loop and see my friend and her daughter cheering me on. What a wonderful surprise. 
The group of us who finished the 30k, proudly displaying our belt buckles

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

You can thank Pinterest and a crappy mood for this one.   I have a board on Pinterest for dessert recipes I want to try and have had this one on there for a bit. I was in a bad mood the other day and sometimes baking helps, so I went looking and decided on this one.

I have to say that this was very easy to make and it tastes wonderful.  I brought in a piece to a co-worker and he wants to send me home with lots of tupperware to be returned filled with this cake. 

I do have to admit that while I love almond extract, I did find it a bit over-powering in this coffee cake. I would use maybe 1/4 teaspoon, maybe 1/2.  When, not if, I make this again I won't use a full teaspoon.  My co-worker didn't have a problem with the amount of almond taste though, so maybe it's just me. 

This recipe was found on Amanda's Cookin', I copied the photo's from there as well. However I will say that mine looks very similar to hers.

Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
adapted from Taste of Home
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
1/2 cup slivered almonds (I didn’t use these)
In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Reserve 3/4 cup crumb mixture. Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt to remaining crumb mixture. Stir in the egg, sour cream and almond extract until blended. Press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of an ungreased 9-in. springform pan with removable bottom.
For filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar for 1 minute. Add egg; beat just until combined. Spread over crust. Carefully top with pie filling. Sprinkle with almonds and reserved crumb mixture.
Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until center is set. Cool on a wire rack. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; remove sides of pan. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Taper time

I have no race recap for you this week and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.  I'm sure Husband would say that's a good thing.

I am still in training, I have a 30k (18.6) mile race coming up on the 10th.  This has made training rather difficult.  Well, not that I have a 30k coming up but that I'm coming off of 3 races.  The 30k will be the longest distance I have ever ran before, not just for a race but period.  The longest distance race I have done is a half marathon, 13.1 miles.  The longest distance I ran was in training and I did 17 super slow miles.   I'm pretty certain I can run 18.6 miles, but not sure how well I can race that distance. I should also mention this is a trail race and not a road race.   This course is a 10k loop, the loop consists of 1 set of stairs, 200 stairs in all and at least one major hill, named cardiac hill.  I'm doing the loop  3 times.  Yes, that means 600 stairs.

Why do I mention this?  Well, since I recently did 3 races three weeks in a row. I've been in taper and recovery mode for a month now.  It makes training for something like this very difficult.   I have to take it easy because my legs need to recover from the races.  Yet I need to train on stairs and hills and with distance to make sure I can do the race coming up.I've also battled two colds in this time frame, which means I've taken more rest days per week than is normal. 

I've never done this before. I've never done hard races back-to-back like this. It makes me mentally unprepared for my race. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm kinda flying by the seat of my pants at this point. I'm doing what I think I need to do to recover from the last several weeks yet keep my body in good condition for whats to come.

It doesn't help that my legs feel like crap on almost every run that I do.  I also haven't done any cross-training because of having to take it easy and taking more rest days but making sure the runs are still happening.  Although, to be honest, today and tomorrow are swimming and biking days this week. 

So that's kinda where I am.  Trying to just survive and figure out how to taper and recover and train for my races all at the same time.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy Birthday to ME

I had a birthday the other week, the 18th to be exact.  (yeah this post is a couple weeks late).  Normally I have issues with my birthday.  This year I embraced it. I said you know what, last year was bad.  Year 33 was a bad year. It had a few very bright spots, the birth of my daughter, but more negative and bad spots than positive.   This year, year 34, is going to be better.   Therefore this year, I'm leveling up.

I will make changes. I will get better. I will take control.  Baby steps but steps are steps.  I started off by celebrating two different days, a week apart, and with different friends.  Surrounding myself with those who like me for me and treat me well, that's the perfect way to start off a brand spanking new year.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rock in Roll Half Marathon 2012 - race recap

The 4 of us stuck together for most of the race (I'm in pink)
Whew!  This was my third race in three weeks.  Tough!   I won't say it's the hardest of the three because Tough Mudder was hard with the obstacles.  However in regards to just the running, this was the hardest of the three.  This one was hilly throughout the entire course. 

elevation for this race
At first the plan had been to just run this for fun. I knew several people running it and some of us were looking at is as just a fun group run.  As it got closer that changed a little bit.  The girl I ran the half marathon with on the 7th decided to run this one as well.  Then she was put in touch with somebody else who was running it and he was going to meet us at the race.  So I went from having no time goal to have a time goal faster than what I did my other half in.    Then I got a cold the week of.  Ugh.

So I went into the race knowing what I hoped to do but also knowing that this course was much harder and my body was still fighting the cold.  I planned to stick with a couple of people for as long as I could but if I needed to slow down, I told myself that would be ok. I would try to help pace them as long as I could.

So we start out as a big group, but soon it was just 4 of us sticking together.  One guy was pacing another girl at a faster pace for her to get a PR (personal record).  Three people were close in pace and one guy was doing the full while two were just doing the half, so they paced each other most of the way.   The four of us left were the slowest ones, but still doing an excellent pace.

I felt this one pretty early on.  It was HARD.  My legs were tired, I had that familiar "I'm going to puke" feeling on almost every uphill.  I knew we were pushing the pace right away but since I was running with others it was easier for me to keep going.  Eventually the girl and I were getting further behind the two guys.  On one straight we increased and got closer to them, but then I got slower on the next hill and they pulled ahead.  On another straight she asked if I felt I could catch them. I said no way, I was giving it all I had. However I pushed her to take off and catch them. 

mile splits
A mile or two later I saw one of the guys ahead of me. I made it my goal to catch him by the finish so we could run in together.  We were coming up on the finish, I was about 2 yards behind him.  Then it happened. I had to sprint over to the side of the road and puke. I was at mile 13.  I had .1 miles to go to the finish.  I was sooo upset.

I stopped my watch while I was puking. I then started my watch when I started to run again.  I basically sprinted to the finish.   According to my watch my finish time would have been 1:48:30.  This would have been a 14 second PR from my half two weeks ago.  As it is, my official finish time is 1:49:05.

14 seconds.  That isn't very long.  However it would have been a heck of a PR because this course is so much harder and my legs were not fresh like they were two weeks ago.   I have to say that I am disappointed I did not get a PR with this race but I still think I ran a great race and I did a hell of a job.  I'm very happy with my time and how it turned out. It's just hard to not be disappointed when the PR was so freaking close.

One of my friends that I talked to a couple days after the race, he said I should mark this one as a BPR*. Barf PR. haha!  I like that!   So we shall consider this one a PR still, but a BPR*.

comparison of the two half marathons, the one on the left is from 10/21 and the one on the right is 10/07

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie Recipe

This is another recipe that I saw on Pinterest and pinned for the future.  Husband was off work one day last week and must have been looking up recipes on the internet because when I went to use the ipad later that night and opened up the internet browser, I was greeted with a recipe.  I looked at it, then switched to pinterest and my board of dessert recipes I want to try and had him browse it. He decided on this recipe.

After making it, I'm torn.  It was super easy to make.  I mean, you can't really get any easier than this.  I think it does taste like a chocolate chip cookie.  I think I just don't see the point in making this over a chocolate chip cookie. Maybe because it's easier?  I don't know.   It is very tasty. I could see making this and taking it somewhere if I wanted to bring an easy dessert but wanted it to be a bit fancier than regular chocolate chip cookies.    As for just making it for us for at home, I probably won't do it again.

The recipe was posted on Bakerella's blog.  (It's also where I stole the photo).

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell*
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Serve with ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
Beat eggs in large mixer bowl on high until foamy
Beat in flour, sugar, and brown sugar.  Beat in butter.
Stir in morsels and nuts.  Spoon into Pie shell
Bake for 55-60 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve Warm

Recipe from Nestle Classic Recipes, 2003

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tough Mudder 2013 - race recap

Getting ready to start the race (I'm in pink)
Tough Mudder was an awesome race. It's not for everyone, it's not for the person who doesn't like to get dirty or is afraid to be hurt.  Tough Mudder isn't a race, it's a challenge. That's what the company says. It's pretty accurate too.  It's not really how fast you can finish, it's about doing your best at the obstacles and making it to the end.

Tough Mudder Missouri was 11 miles long with 22 obstacles.  Some of the obstacles are hard and some not so much.  At least..not for somebody small like myself.  Crawling under barbed wire and through tunnels wasn't much of an issues just because I'm so small.  Trying to get over Berlin Walls, now that's another issue.

Leading up to this race I was terrified of the one titled Artic Enima.  For good reason, if you watch this video.  I HATE being cold.  I can't stand it. I'm miserable.  So to willingly jump into a dumpster that is filled with water and ice?  No thanks!  I did it though.  At first it wasn't too bad.  Then I went under the board and came up on the other side to find that it's mostly ice and not a lot of water. There was so much ice I could barely move. So cold my muscles barely worked. I had a hard time getting myself out of that one.

You can see how big the logs were   

One of the challenges is titled Hold your Wood.  You have to carry a log/piece of wood through water and mud.  These things were heavy!  When we got to the wood pile I was walking around trying to find a small one (there weren't any) and made the comment: This is the first time I've ever wanted small wood.  A guy near me bust out laughing. haha!  He said something in return and we both laughed but I can't remember what he said.  Oh, and I did fall twice during this one, dropping the wood on my leg and foot.  Yikes!

Another challenge or obstacle had us going up a hill that was very muddy and not very easy. Ok, there were a lot of these.  This particular one I made it up with the help of one of the guys on my team and some others.  Once at the top I turned around to see if the person behind me needed help and noticed a guy on his stomach helping his other teammates up. He was sliding forward. I rushed over, squated down, and grabbed his ankle to keep him from sliding off.  He turned around to see who was holding his foot and thanked me.  Then the guys I was with finished helping some others up and came over to help this guy.  Once his team members were up and he stood up he thanked me again and said he felt himself slipping and then somebody grab his ankle and looked back and it was some itty bitty chick who couldn't weigh more than 100lbs and said that I really helped.   Later the girl I was with said she was near him after that challenge and he was talking to his friend about it and was surprised by how strong I was. haha!  That made me feel really good.

Let's see..the monkey bars. So upset about this one!  From the photo you can see that it's not straight monkey bars, you go up (very hard) and then down (easier).  I made it up and was working my way down. I was almost at the end, had one rung left to go, and my hands slipped and I fell into the water. I'm so mad! I almost made it!

The doesn't seem like it's that high.  Once you jump and start falling you get that free-fall feeling and, I admit, I freaked out a bit.

Everest banged me up the worst.  I ran and jumped and didn't catch any hands and fell back onto the half pipe, hitting my head and whole right side.  Major bruising!  It hurt so freaking bad that I got back in line and waited for several people to go before attempting it again. Luckily I made it the second time!

Enjoying our post-race beers
 Over-all I have to say that this race was awesome. I had the time of my life.  I can't remember the last time I had this much fun getting all dirty and challenging myself.  I'm bruised and my upper body was sore for a couple of days, but it was so worth it.  The race will be held in St. Louis in April and I'm already talking to people about forming a team and doing it again.  It's expensive, but so worth it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chang the World Wednesday - Zero Waste

The challenge for the next couple of weeks is all about going to zero waste instead of just reducing your carbon footprint.    You can read more about it at Reduce Footprints.

For this challenge, please consider all the ways in which you can achieve a zero impact. For example, reducing paper towel use is going green ... not using them at all is zero impact. Driving less is going green ... not driving at all and walking instead is zero impact. Adjusting your thermostat for the season is going green ... not turning it on at all is zero impact. The idea is to search out those changes which will, in terms of that particular action, eliminate your impact on the earth. Once you've identified the activity, try it out and see if you can maintain the zero impact through the end of the month. And, of course, we want to hear all about it.

Or ...

If you don't feel that you can achieve a zero impact on any of your activities, then please find at least one area where you can reduce your impact significantly. And yep, we want to hear all about it.

That's hard folks!  Do you think you could do it? I'm not sure I can.  I tried to start reducing the amount of paper towels and napkins we use.  I normally grab a rag and we use cloth for napkins. Actually, what's funny is that for napkins we use dish clothes my Mom knitted me. I don't use them to wash the dishes with, I use a sponge, so I just grabbed one to wipe my hands one day and really liked it.  Anyway, what I was going to say was that while I don't normally use paper in the kitchen lately I have been.   My dog was very ill, to the point that she had 2 surgeries and was rushed to the hospital 3 times.  We had some messes to clean up on the floor. While we use cloth to wipe up any normal "accidents" we used the paper towels to clean up the blood and horrible vomit.    When we have people over for dinner, we end up using paper napkins instead of cloth. However I think that is because we don't have enough cloth to go around.

As far as other things.  For the most part we get eggs from a person who raises them in their backyard.  So we aren't buying them from the store and getting egg cartons.  However I can't even say that is zero waste because every once in awhile I do run out of eggs and have to get some at the store because I don't have time to wait for this person to get me some (it takes a couple of days usually). 

I'm working on making even more of my own cleaning supplies, however there is still waste involved because I have to buy some supplies still.

I live too far from where I work to get around using a car (it's 25 miles one way). 

I use cloth diapers for R, however not at night.  So we aren't even zero waste as far as diapers go.

I'm going to keep checking though!  I'll be more vigilant the rest of this week and next to see if there are ways our household could go zero waste.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cranberry-Nut Bread

I have a problem. I love to bake.  I have another problem, I don't always want to eat it for health reasons.   You know what this means?  I often will find somebody to bake for.  That's what happened with this recipe.  A friend completed their third half ironman this summer and placed first in their age group, so I offered to bake them something in celebration.  They requested Cranberry-nut bread.

I have never made or eaten cranberry-nut bread.  Hmmm..  Thanks to Pinterest I was able to find several recipes and picked one I felt looked promising.   Since this recipe only made one bread, I have no idea what it tasted like. I did try some left-over batter from the bowl.  To me the batter was good but the orange juice was very strong.   I asked my friend for feedback and was told this was very good.  I do plan to make it for myself at some point, but there are just too many other recipes I want to try for it to me anytime soon. ha

I found this recipe on Anecdotes and Apple Cores, it's also where I stole the photo.

Cranberry-Nut Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sour cream
6 TBSP unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup orange juice
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped coarse
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-3 TBSP orange juice

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8.5 by 4.5 inch loaf pan or four mini loaf pans.

2. Whisk together your flour, sugar, salt, powder, and soda in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, the sour cream, the melted butter, the orange juice and the egg until smooth.  Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Gently fold in the cranberries.

3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the top.  Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, around 45-50 minutes for one loaf pan, around 20-25 minutes for mini loaf pans.  Remove from oven.
4. While still in the loaf pans, drizzle a simple glaze of powdered sugar and orange juice over top. (I used about 1/3 cup of glaze)
5.  After allowing to cool in pan for 10 minutes, turn out into a wire rack and allow to cool for 1 hour before serving. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tough Mudder

Care to know what I'm doing today?  


Tough mudder is an 11 mile obstacle course. It's pretty brutal, or so it seems.

This is just one of the obstacles:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mo' Cowbell Half Marathon 2012 race report

The day before the race, picking up race packet. R is very
impressed with the cow mascot
 This past Sunday I raced in the Mo' Cowbell Half Marathon.  It was the second year for the race and my second year running it.  It was my third half marathon.
 I finished with a time of 1:48:11
That breaks down to an average pace of 8:18 min/mile.  That is 10 minutes FASTER than I ran this same race last year.  It's 30 minutes FASTER than I ran my first half marathon April of last year (2011).

I cannot tell you how incredibly happy I am with this race.  I not only gave birth to R five months before the race, I also had major health issues, which I went into in my pre-race blog post.  I have also never run that fast for any amount of distance. So to pull it off in a half marathon and feel amazing the entire time, it's just awesome.

The morning of the race, giving my
bib some good luck crinkles
 Several weeks ago a friend who works for a local running store and was pacing a training group contacted me and asked me if I would like to contact a girl who was running the half.  She felt our pace was going to be close and wondered if I would help pace the girl.  Sure!  So I contacted this other girl and her goal pace was 8:30.  At that time I was thinking 8:40.  But I said heck..if I'm running with somebody I might be able to pull it off.

Leading up to race day I had a couple of good long runs and felt confident I could pull off an 8:30 pace.  The course for this race is mostly flat and I train with some hills.  The problem is that the bigger hills are all at the end.   So I talked to the girl I would be running with and me made plans to run 8:30 for 5-6 miles, evaluate how we felt and increase pace to 8:20. 

Race day arrived and I'm feeling good.  I meet up with my running partner for the very first time and we head to the starting line.  We go out pretty fast, but we are both feeling good.  We are even chatting a bit.  Which probably pissed some people off because who can chat when racing?  I held us back, keeping us between an 8:20 and an 8:33 pace.  We felt good but I didn't want us to hit the wall and I knew we planned to kick it in at the end. 

Getting some good luck lovin' before the race
 There were several kids along the route who had their hands out for high-fives and I was feeling so good, I made sure to give them high-fives and say hi.  Smiling all the way.

This is the elevation, per my garmin, of the course.
So you can see where the hills are
 We finish mile 5 and start 6, both feeling good.  We each took a gel and increased pace a tad.  We got to the water station and I took a drink of water and then we kicked it in a bit more.  We know the hills are coming and we wanted to make up some time because we know we'll be slower when they arrive.

Hills come and we keep a pretty good pace, slower but we were able to manage it and we passed people the whole time.   We see a sign for mile 11 and look at each other and go..where did mile 10 go? 

We hit mile 12 and pretty much said..let's do this thing!  And increased paced a bit more. Mile 13 arrives and we both decide it's only one more mile, we've GOT this.  So we kept pace and tried to increase a bit.  We come down off the last down hill.  We knew it was flat to the finish.  We rounded a turn and can see the finish and I said something like "There it is..let's do this"  and we both kicked it in.  We gave it our all, sprinting as best as we could.  Which probably did not look like sprinting but after running 13 miles it's the best we could do.

Mile splits per my garmin
 We cross the finish line pretty much still together.  I then go a couple yards and made a mad dash to the side to puke.  It happens.  Well, it happens to me, rather often.  Unfortunately I was surrounded by other runners and spectators.  Ooops.  I finished and stood up and said "Sorry you all had to see that!"  Props to my new running buddy as she saw it happen and went and got water and brought it to me.  Nothing like introducing this to a person the first time you meet them.

I feel that maybe I was too conservative in the beginning because we did both feel sooo good the whole time.  However I also had the familiar "I think I'm going to puke" feeling at the end and I've realized that's a sign I've pushed my body.  I also felt my legs almost give out several times in the last two miles. So I think I did race this one very smart.  I also think that if we did go faster in the beginning, I might not have been able to keep up the pace or negative split the race. We did go faster than we originally planned but we were able to race it with negative splits like we wanted.  We not only beat our time goal, we CRUSHED it.   We did the last two miles under an 8 min pace!  That feels soo damn good.  Yes, we had downhills, but we also had uphills.  We both just gave it our all it and it payed off. 

At the finish line, after the puking, sharing my joy with R
 This is, by far, my best race. I raced it the smartest, I ran the fastest, I had a major PR.  On the drive home, Husband and I were talking about the race and he says "Do you think you could do an 8:05 pace next year?".  Here's what I love about that.  First, I didn't mention wanting to do more half marathons. Yes, I love to race so I would want to do more. But I didn't bring it up.  He just figured I would be doing it again next year and is on board with it already.  Second, look at that confidence.  He is not a runner. He doesn't totally understand how hard it is to get faster with the sport.  He does see how many hours I put in to it though.  He totally thinks I can pull off another major PR next year.    And you know what, maybe I can.  I never thought I could run a half this fast. I don't even run shorter distances this fast.  Now I know my body can though.   So Mo Cowbell half marathon, if you fit into my racing schedule next year, we're on. I'm going to smoke it.

My running buddy!  I couldn't have done it without her

I couldn't help sharing one last phot.  Giving R some love after
the race.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Killing me softly

Unfortunatly this is how I feel right now.  One step forward, 10 steps back.  That's how things seem to be going right now.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Julia Child's Chocolate Almond Cake

Husband often likes to tell me how much he doesn't like cake or cupcakes.  However the other weekend he found this recipe and requested I bake it for him.  Makes sense right?   Seeing as how I'm a wonderful (cough cough) wife and how I love to bake, I agreed.   I have to admit this cake is wonderful.  After eating the first piece Husband said: "Dare me to eat the whole thing."  Not on your life buddy!  I love almonds and who doesn't love chocolate.  Combine the two and I'm in heaven.    

The only difference I would make to this cake next time would be to double the recipe.    I would like it to be two layers.  Therefore I would have to double both the cake and icing recipe.

By the way..check out the icing ingredients. There are only three: chocolate, butter, and rum.  Um, Hello!  How could that possibly be bad?  

This recipe was found on Apron Strings, which is also where I took the photo from.

For the Cake:
4 ounces or squares semisweet chocolate melted with 2 Tb rum or coffee
1/4 lb. or 1 stick softened butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 Tb granulated sugar
2/3 cup pulverized almonds
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup cake flour (scooped and leveled) turned into a sifter
For the Icing:
2 ounces (2 squares) semisweet baking chocolate
2 Tb rum or coffee
5 to 6 Tb unsalted butter
A round cake pan 8 inches in diameter and 1-1/2 inches deep
A 3-quart mixing bowl
A wooden spoon or an electric beater
A rubber spatula
A cake rack
A small covered pan
A larger pan of almost simmering water
A wooden spoon
A bowl with a tray of ice cubes and water to cover them
A small flexible-blade metal spatula or a table knife
For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
Butter and flour the cake pan. Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover, and place (off heat) in a larger pan of almost simmering water; let melt while you proceed with the recipe. Measure out the rest of the ingredients. Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.
Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.
Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2-1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily.
Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on the rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.
For the Icing:
Place the chocolate and rum or coffee in the small pan, cover, and set in the larger pan of almost simmering water. Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth. Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency. At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife, and press a design of almonds over the icing.
Yield: For an 8-inch cake serving 6 to 8 people

Friday, October 5, 2012

Half Marathon time is here

It's officially here folks.  It's time for my fall half marathon.   It seems weird to say that, that it's time for MY fall half marathon. I say it like it's normal. Like this is how it's been forever. It's crazy to think this is only my second year of doing half marathon's.  Only my third half marathon. 

Training for this half marathon was interesting.   I signed up for the race in April, during my 9th pregnancy month. I knew I wanted to do it and I knew that if I signed up for it I would be determined to train during zombie mode.  I ran this half marathon last year while I was pregnant so I had high hopes of making a very strong come back.

As you've noticed from reading my past posts, I've hard a hard time of things mentally in terms of my running.  So I knew training for this one was going to be super hard. It's very hard for me to do big races like this, I have a lot of self doubt.  Training for the fall half last year was easier for me because I had a training partner. This year I was solo.

Training started out pretty good. I knew I would have to work on getting mileage back up and my body back in shape. I also knew I wanted to PR (get a personal record) for this race so I needed to work on speed.    Things started out well and then all hell broke loose.  I started to have major health issues.

I would get a mile or two into a run and throw up.  If I didn't throw up, I felt like it and would stop but would soon throw up anyway.     I was having a hard time eating.  I would be shaky and eat but then an hour later I would be hungry again. It got so bad that by the afternoon I was soo tired of eating and food was so unappetizing, because I was eating so much, that I didn't want to eat.  I would start to eat and want to throw up.  I was having a lot of other health issues as well.

I went to the Dr. and was told to cut way back on my running. I was doing way too many workouts and my body couldn't handle it along with the breast feeding.  I tried to tell my Dr. that what I was doing was normal for a runner in training however she didn't believe me.  She felt I was putting too much stress on my body. I convinced her to have my thyroid levels checked as I've had thyroid issues for awhile.

I did cut way back on workouts however I'm happy to report it was my thyroid. I had almost every single symptom of the thyroid issues I have. 

For at least a month I could barely run, wasn't doing any distance.  So I changed my plan for the half from getting a time PR to just finishing it. Then I started to feel a bit better.  I'm not 100% better but in a better place than I was.  I started to be able to hit distance, I started to run a bit faster. 

So now I'm back on track to hoping the training has paid off and I'll be able to PR this race.  No I couldn't train like I wanted to, but I was able to get in some decent workouts.  I'm nervous. I'm worried.  This race is so much more than just a race for me. I just hope I can finish it and be happy with my performance. 

Stay tuned for a race recap!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It sucks..but it's true

This speaks to me on so many levels. It's a hard lesson I've had to learn lately.  However it's one I needed to learn and it's one I need to remember in the future. As I fear I'm not finished being hurt but I also think that's part of growing up.

Monday, October 1, 2012

CTWW - Moving in to Fall

I didn't get in a post from the previous week but I'm glad to be back for Reduce Footprints Change the World Wednesday.

This week, if you are moving into Autumn, choose one task from this LIST and accomplish it. Of course, we'd like to hear all about it.

Or ...

If you are moving into Spring, choose a task from this POST. Again, we'd like to know what you chose to do and how you did it.

Or ...

If none of those activities appeal to you, choose a previous challenge from the list HERE. And yep ... tell us about it!

One of the tips suggests we open blinds during the day and close at night. I would love to do that. Only Husband refuses to close them at night.  So yeah.  When I'm walking around at night with nothing on because I'm getting ready to pump or if it's dark out and I'm nursing...the neighbors can see everything.  Oh well.  I'm nursing...I'm used to flashing people at this point.

There are a lot of really great tips on that list and I'm happy to report that I already do most of them.  Yay!

I haven't ever vacuumed behind the refrigerator though.  I suppose that's one I could do.  I also have resisted switching out my closet yet. I hate putting away my summer clothes, I love warm weather.  I suppose it's time though.

Sorry..not a lot from me this week. It's been one of those weeks.....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Banana Bread

I don't know what it is about this Banana bread recipe but it's awesome.  It's super simple. There aren't a lot of ingredients.  There are no complicated steps to it.  Yet it tastes wonderful. 

I've found there is also nothing like banana bread.  We eat a lot of bananas in our house but if two start too look like they are getting too ripe I always get excited. Because that means I get to make banana bread soon.  Lucky for me Husband doesn't really like banana bread so I get it all to myself. Unless I add chocolate chips.  If I add chocolate chips he usually decides to eat some of it.   I also don't cook it completely.  I like the top/middle to be a tad raw still. I know, not healthy, but oh so yummy.

2 bananas (smashed)
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream sugar and butter.   Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.   Combine flour mixture with sugar and butter mixture.  Add the eggs.  Add the bananas.    Bake for 40-45 min.

If you are addicted to chocolate like I am, adding a package of chocolate chips after mixing in the bananas is often a great variation to this simple bread.